This series uncovers ideas and activities from British Council IELTS teaching centres around the world. Read on for three ideas from British Council Greece.
When it comes to learning new things in the classroom, the last thing you want to do to a student is knock their confidence before they get the chance to try. The same goes for teachers. Adopting new programs into a curriculum can be extremely useful for both teachers and candidates. However, research shows that without proper training on how to use new software, teachers are deterred from including it in their class time and the licenses go unused.
That’s why the British Council in Greece introduced training webinars for IELTS teaching centres they partner with. The aim of these webinars is to introduce users (administrators, teachers and candidates) to Road to IELTS, laying out the purpose of the program, how the program works and exemplifying how it can add value to their curriculum. I spoke to Cliff Parry, the academic manager at the British Council office in Athens. He shared with me the three types of webinars they host.
1. For administrators
Step 1 is learning the nuts and bolts. Administrators are invited to learn how to use Road to IELTS and the Admin Panel. This session is an introduction on setting up accounts, exploring the interface, and getting comfortable using the administration tools available. Because of the nature of the content, this session can be pre-recorded with an open Q&A session or query survey at the end.
2. For teachers
These webinars are aimed at advising teachers how Road to IELTS can be used in their classroom. Each teacher may want to use the program differently depending on their centre’s curriculum, resources and time availability. Attendees are shown a learning plan as an example of how Road to IELTS can be used alongside their existing course content. For centres or schools that have become entirely remote, teachers are reminded that all is not lost without face-to-face sessions. Implementing programs like Road to IELTS that make the most out of the online medium can enrich the classroom experience in a very different way.
These webinars take two forms: opened and closed. Open webinars are demonstrations to 60-100 teachers. The format is more in the style of a lecture, giving structured advice and examples. The closed sessions are around 6-16 teachers, typically school heads or heads of departments. These sessions are much more interactive and oscillate between demonstrations and question and answer discussions.
3. For self-access candidates
Teachers that want to assign Road to IELTS for at-home use can introduce candidates to the self-access webinar. The first section is a walk through of the program. This highlights key features alongside suggestions of how to use Road to IELTS without a teacher around. Next, a look ‘behind the tools’. This section of the webinar focuses on the syllabus document and how it can help with work and time management before the IELTS test. These candidates are encouraged to refer to the webinars for guidance but still use their teachers as their main point of contact.
The webinars can be accessed by either live streaming or by invitation from your teaching centre. As more centres consider the future of their course delivery, webinars continue to be an incredible tool to reach hundreds of administrators, teachers and candidates in need.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to Maria Andreou and Cliff Parry at British Council Athens for taking the time to share their insights for this blog post.
If you have any IELTS teaching tips or experiences you would like to share, please leave them in the comments below – we would love to hear from you.