Last week was the final teaching session for AISLi Training for Excellence professional development program 2022-2023 and this training was held online during a zoom call. This seminar was titled “Teamwork in the language classroom: a magical mixture of creative thinking, communication, problem solving and collaborative skills” and was taught to 35+ teachers taking part in the AISLI Training for excellence program.

The teachers were eager to learn and develop their coaching skills through many activities. These activities focused on their ability to work together, demonstrate critical thinking and complete tasks. Something, I hope in the future, they will take and use in their classrooms.

The project presented to the teachers was to pick a picture, describe the picture and how it makes you feel or social value to it and create a sentence or slogan that represents the overall meaning of the picture.

To start off the training, the teachers had to write in the chat area an appreciation sentence about someone or something during the 13-week training sessions. Some of the teachers commented on other teachers or presenters during the sessions, while others focused on appreciating an experience or skill they acquired during one of the 13 sessions. This small task establishes empathy and a positive environment if used in the classroom.

The teachers were then broken up into teams and for the duration of the tasks would be working together to complete tasks. Each task was selected to show the teachers a small part of what they could use in the classroom and guide them through the Five Project management phases (1. Initiation, 2. Planning, 3. Execution, 4. Monitor and controlling, and 5. Closure.)

For time, we concentrated on Initiation, Planning and Closure.

We started with the Initiation phase and this phase helped the team look at the teams vision, find their purpose, and create values, during this phase the students create co-relationships and helps them understand their value to the team.

The task for this phase had the teachers create team values. To do this, the teachers had to work together and negotiate which values from a list were the most to the least important to them and decide together to make a team list.

The teachers did great at creating the lists and each list had their own distinct order according the teams agreement. This task is important to set guide rules and boundaries to help the team throughout the rest of the phases.

We then moved onto the next phase in project-based-learning, the planning phase, where the teachers now had to decide on the roles and responsibilities, setting goals and then identify potential blockers.

The task for the teachers during this phase was to decide together and complete a table with who is doing what and what their role in the team is, what resources this person or persons might need and what are some potential blockers that they may run into.

For example, one of the teams came up with two teachers looking for the pictures on the internet, one teacher writing about he picture, one teacher being the recorder and writing about the timeline of events and what tasks they completed for the day and the final teacher as the presenter that will practice and present the project to the class. They also produced some blockers, such as, maybe the internet doesn’t work, someone absent from class, and if the class is online a student having technical difficulties.

What is important to remember that during these first two stages you are not trying to complete the project, you are trying to set up and plan the project and not rushing to the execution or completion of the project. All of the teams during this activity did a great job at this and they were outstanding at collaborating to complete the task.

Then because of time, the teachers had to finally move on to the closure phase where they had to pick the picture, describe the picture and how it makes them feel and create a sentence or slogan that represents the overall meaning of the picture. They had complete this task together as a team and did a great job using the roles and responsibilities to divide the tasks they created in the first two steps.

What is amazing is that most of the teams chose pictures of teenage students doing something together, for example one team picked a group of students cleaning up trash around the playground area and they came up with the slogan “Clean is Good-Together is Better”.

The last and final activity had the teachers complete a self-reflection questionnaire. This gave the teachers a chance to reflect on the tasks they have done together. This questionnaire only focused on collaboration and gave the teachers the opportunity to reflect, analyze and come up with a plan to improve in an area and how to do better in the future.

In the end, the teachers were happy to learn new coaching techniques and were interested in getting additional information about the life competency skills they just learned.

One teacher commented: “This is the kind of seminars that reconciles us with our teaching mission!” by Stefania

This training was a closed session training for AISLI, but if you are interested in learning more and improving your coaching skills in the classroom. Please subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on social media to keep updated on what we are doing.