I have discovered: There are very few formal, systematic descriptions of CALL inservice training for CALL. There are very few guidelines.
Overview: General description Observations on best practices
Types: workshops self-paced tutorials: handouts, videotapes, CD-ROMs, Web
Training in CALL is sometimes perceived as just training on how to use computers. Other types of training are also needed. Content:
CALL "literacy" Pedagogy; use of CALL General computer literacy
Comment from an ESL instructor: "I know what to do with the computer. I know how to make the software work. But I don't know what to do with the students."
Basic characteristic of CALL workshops: There is a very wide range of computer literacy and knowledge of CALL among the participants.
Workshops: from 10 minutes – 2 weeks typically 1-2 hours a session
Inservice training: sometimes voluntary sometimes required by law (or by administrators) sometimes accompanied by credit
Observations on best practices (since 1984…)
In ideal world, inservice training... shouldn't be a one-shot deal should be ongoing should be cyclical should be practical
Many teachers dont want training. They want results. They want information on demand. They want specific solutions to specific problems on an as-needed basis. They want just what they have determined to be useful, just when they want it. What do teachers want?
Find out what teachers really want to know, and start from there.
Choosing topics: Do a needs assessment; survey Solicit suggestions via Ask the curriculum supervisors for suggestions Each year: inventory of computer skills for new instructors The more flexible, the better
Increase teachers' comfort level by addressing personal needs: using a spreadsheet screen shots send attachments to scan pictures and text
A big paradox: In-service training may be counter- productive if teachers are required to attend.
If they arent required to attend, some teachers may never acquire the desired skills.
In some cases, teachers can be paid to attend CALL workshops. (This may sweeten the situation.)
In advance: Describe what computer skills are needed in the session description.
Dont do all the workshops yourself. Outsiders have a special aura. other teachers other units on campus experts from nearby campuses graduate students visitors
Allow for individual learning styles: handouts self-paced tutorials: videotapes, CD-ROMs, Web
large groups pairs or small groups observing while others work Allow for individual learning styles:
Allow for differences in age and status.
Some teachers respond better to one-on-one sessions in a private place.
Training needs to be more than just "hands-on." Background information Demonstrations Time to discuss and reflect
Hands-on workshops: Dont assume that each participant always needs his/her own computer.
Be sure that all computers are configured correctly for the activity. In advance:
Have tech support available.
For hands-on activities: Provide a high ratio of assistants to participants.