ARE TRAINERS REALLY OMNISCIENT?
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Omniscient, Activity Based Instruction, Trainer-driven, Theorizing the training
Teacher Training programs for EFL teachers in Nepal are largely trainer- driven and trainer- centered. Eastern philosophy believes that those who provide knowledge are Gods. Thus, the trainers symbolize that concept, presenting themselves as omniscient beings, while trainee-teachers seemingly participate in the training process as obedient disciples. These training programs assume that the input by trainers is everything and the teachers after completing the training program will go to their classroom and apply that knowledge. As a result trainers keep on theorizing the training issues in the hall. However, the teachers, after they go away form training halls and enters to the classroom they continue their old fashioned classroom cycle. They completely forget the theory that they have learnt from their omniscient trainers.
Addressing the notion of action and reflection is really very important to make the larger effect of teacher training. Unless the participants share their own experience and understanding to others from the same community, their understanding will not be clear.
With this concept of providing experience and chance to share their world, we designed a primary teacher training program based on activity based instruction. Normally, trainers keep on talking in training hall and trainees become passive recipients. In our case, we added the notion that trainees won’t act as passive recipients rather they will share their experiences and reflect on their own teaching styles. When trainees get chance to share their feelings, and to involve in different activities help to develop a clearer understanding of the teaching learning principles which the trainers were trying to establish.
The result is that the teachers who involved in our activity based training are confident to teach by developing their own language games and activities even without referring to the books. This has been a successful experiment of preparing teachers with a long term effect of the program. My talk is on sharing the program structure and its components.