Like a jolly good old-fashioned shouty match?

Let off steam and make a useful contirbution at the same time with IHLTeachers discussions.

Good for what ails you!

Share thoughts in the
coursebook discussion!
What’s your take on the Dogme/Coursebook discussion?
Not over yet! Join in with the observation discussion – thoughts and feelings about formal and developmental observation.
Jeremy Harmer Talk on Observation
See the ELT action that can be found on Twitter……………


  1. Jan Madakbas says:

    I don’t know if anybody will read this or whether anybody cares anymore but if there is anyone out there who knows why we need a self-assessment (carried out not by ourselves but by people who observe us) can you let me know.
    I have listened intently and I know that no harm can come of it, in fact probably only good can come of it, but somebody needs to convince me that there is something more in it for me and all the other teachers who are just rolling over and letting it happen to them.

  2. Melissa says:

    I have to declare myself before I respond to your point….for I am a self-confessed self-assessor and, as of this afternoon, also an assessee.

    Anyway, what is it for? Could be a number of things. The cynic in me worries it is just for a folder on the shared drive to be opened by the next inspecting body. Are we just ticking boxes? My inner optimist thinks that it doesn’t have to be just an exercise, it all depends on what results we gather and what we do with them. Perhaps this is how we should evaluate it?

  3. Duncan Mackenzie says:

    First, can I say that Jan’s forthrightness is to be admired. I think we are often too much looking over our shoulders so to speak. And this is a nice springboard for Melissa’s comments too.

    I think, from discussions with various staff members and with Jan himself, that the key point is that we all believe in self-assessment. What’s more, assessment probably needs to be formalised at times as that sharpens the intent and can lead to genuine action after reflection.

    The forum meetings have actually brought this out for me. Yes – I’ve worried about X and can see that I should think about how to adapt what to do about X.

    But where’s the ‘self’ in this self-assessment could be a key question. Part of me feels (frankly) quite insulted at the implicit thought that it is not something we do on a day-by-day basis. Principled teaching and training, tapping into the needs and reactions of our learners and course participants is always in my mind.

    Snapshots of what happens are just that. We all have off days; we can all inspire. Most important, we all take our professions seriously. Any snapshot can see us effective or not. But can a snapshot see the seriousness to self-develop that happens outside the classroom often?

    I am rambling. To conclude, I was quite taken by the thoughts of a potential DD course partcipant today who talked about loving teaching, still feeling the thrill even on frustrating days, but feeling ‘stagnated’ because in her current job too dispiriting was the emphasis on ‘paperwork and targets’.

    1. David Riddell says:

      Jan and Duncan have raised very valid points, I feel. Maybe it is the term ‘self-assessment’ that has been troubling some of us, and the concern that teachers are not really ‘getting anything out of this’. A number of people, myself included, are still not really sure what the real purpose of this exercise is . I have heard that it is because inspecting bodies now expect us to carry out such a process, but I don’t know if this is true. I still have this feeling that we should already know what we are good at and where we need to improve. Target meetings have already been held and all departments have set those targets – so how is this different? I wonder, too, about the usefulness of observing SLP and TP feedback out of context.
      I don’t want to come across as being ‘negative’ – it’s just that I have not been convinced yet of the real value of it all, and I suspect I am not alone. Perhaps when the feedback is presented the value of this week will become more apparent!

  4. Jan Madakbas says:

    Having been to the TT and GE focus groups I think something is coming of this process. The focus groups are more of a ‘self assessment’ because teachers and trainers are actually saying what they think. In the case of the well attended TT meeting the views of the meeting concurred almost completely with those of assessors and the TT DOS team. In the case of the less well attended GE meeting held at lunchtime (only 4 teachers) the issues raised were not new and as far as I can remember have cropped up year after year.
    If the result of this ‘not self assessment’ is to bring to the attention of educational managers once more what we have been saying for a long time,or to confirm that we know our short comings then I guess that is a result too.

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