The Rewards and Challenges of an Ongoing In-Service Teacher Training Programme

The Rewards and Challenges of an Ongoing In-Service Teacher Training Programme

Ana Maria Pereira Campanha (Cultura Inglesa São João del-Rei, Brazil) and Adriana Cruz Carvalho (Cultura Inglesa São João del-Rei, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1747-4.ch003
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Designing and conducting an effective scheme of in service teacher training is a challenge that supervisors face nowadays. Although this kind of training has grown in importance, its quality varies significantly according to their designer's ability to organize a programme which is mainly focused on ongoing professional development. This chapter aims at describing a model of in-service, which has been implemented at a language institution for some time now. The authors will explain the rationale for the approach, and offer a detailed account of the scheme they have devised and which has been carried out with a considerable degree of success. To conclude, they will report on the implications of their findings and specifically address the need to maintain a programme which may shape the future of academic institutions by focusing on teachers' individual growth.
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This in-service teaching programme involved around 30 teachers and 1500 students under the supervision of two experienced teacher trainers. The teachers’ experience vary from two, to more than twenty years of teaching. The need to research and experiment with effective ways to help teachers improve and assist them in their process of professional development encouraged the supervisors to choose clinical supervision as a model for the in-service training programme of the institution.

Wallace (2001) categorizes clinical supervision as a supervisory behaviour moving between two opposite poles: prescriptive approach and collaborative approach. He makes it clear that “some supervisors may show characteristics of both approaches in the same supervisory conference” (Wallace, 2001, p.110). In the same way, this supervisory scheme addressed the dual function of clinical supervision, by trying to increase teachers’ classroom practice repertoire – the training aspect of the scheme – and by making them able to question and reflect critically about particular issues in their teaching practice – the developmental aspect of teacher’s education.

Being responsible for the academic development of the institution, the authors realized that no matter how qualified teachers are, they tend to fossilize procedures and even become ‘blind’ to some aspects of their teaching, if they are not challenged by supervisors to go on investigating and reflecting about what happens in their classroom. Although teaching qualifications may be an effective contribution to one’s professional life, the authors agree with James when he states that (2001), “genuine change in teachers’ knowledge, skills and attitudes is a long process, in effect, career-long” (p.9). Thus, the authors of this chapter would say that continuity should be the basic characteristic of teachers’ educational process. In short, this chapter aims at investigating the effectiveness of a continuous system of support and investigation of teachers’ classroom work.

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