Principles and beliefs underlying our teaching and training programs
All SIT professional trainings – both training-of-trainers and training for in- and pre-service teachers – are based on internationally-recognised principles and research, including:
- current widely-accepted research in second-language acquisition;
- humanism in education and the classroom;
- the work of John Dewey, David Kolb on Experiential Learning and reflection;
- the work of Carol Rodgers on teachers’ applying Experiential Learning to their professional work;
- the work of Patrick Moran on culture;
- the importance of educators and teacher educators as reflective practitioners.
In practice, trainings apply the principles in the following ways:
All trainings are designed to take place in learning-centered environments: both trainers-being-trained and course participants are active and engaged in working with instructional content towards clearly defined and observable learning outcomes or objectives.
The training acknowledges, respects, and uses the knowledge and experience participants bring to training situations: participants are guided to think about, understand and share how new content applies to themselves, their context and/or their situation, and how it fits in with their previous awareness/knowledge and practice.
The approach fosters collaboration. Participants have an opportunity to collaborate in understanding and using the content; then they engage in constructive group feedback on their use of the content, and develop concrete plans for moving forward in their use of it; finally, content is recycled and linked to previous and subsequent content. This participatory approach respects and works with the fact that people learn in different ways, have different reasons and motivations for learning, and bring different knowledge, levels of awareness and/or skills to any training situation.
The approach supports trainers-being-trained and participants in developing their reflective skills.This support allows them to continue to develop independently as thoughtful, principled educators, and provides tools for participating in professional dialogue with colleagues.
Central to this approach is the learner — his knowledge, skills, his needs and situation; the most effective way he learns, etc. In this approach, the role of the trainer/teacher approach to learning is multifaceted and changes during a single training. It may include taking the roles of facilitator, listener, planner of learning, guide and prompter of deeper or different thinking, teacher/instructor, co-learner and/or manager of the learning environment.
SIT training is designed and delivered to meet learning outcomes. Because learning outcomes say concretely what the learner will be (better) able to do, they provide a clear and communicable focus to training for all the stakeholders involved.
Our approach avoids issues which arise in other training programs.
- SIT trainings are linked directly to outcomes that are specific and achievable.
- In order to ensure that training programs are effective and efficient, outcomes and content are made explicitly relevant and meaningful to participants’ situational, professional, and cultural context, so that they “buy into” and actively participate in the training. To this end, local knowledge, practice and expertise can be added our core training content.
- The approach individualizes training, by acknowledging participants’ individual needs, experience, knowledge and skills.
- It views learning as process rather than as a ‘product’, or something that begins and ends. In the training-of-trainers, there is a rigorous process to identify those most suitable to even begin training; once a trainer-being-trained is invited to start the training and learning process, his or her progress in developing and demonstrating trainer competencies is supported, guided and carefully monitored/assessed.
- Participants are actively engaged in experimenting with/using content, discussing and understanding their experience with it, and identifying meaningful concrete ways they can use the content in the future. This experiential approach has demonstrably different results compared to training that does not have an element of implementation.