Why a teacher should keep on learning

By Yolande Deane
DELTA qualified EFL teacher with 5 years’ teaching experience

Professional DevelopmentAfter completing my CELTA course and embarking on teaching, I thought that a couple of years abroad and a couple of years teaching in London would be enough, which on the whole it was for a while. However, I think that if you are someone who takes EFL teaching seriously, wants to teach lessons of quality, and someone who is curious about learning and how anyone learns/acquires a second language, continuous professional development is essential.

After the shock of the intensity of the CELTA course, I swore to myself that I would never ever do the DELTA. I was so “traumatised” by the intensity of the feedback and the course, that I felt I would never be able handle the intensity of a DELTA course. However, ten years down the line I ended up doing the DELTA course, which I finished and passed this year.

I made the decision to apply for the DELTA course at a point in my career when I felt ready to know more, and meet other teachers who wanted to know more about how they could widen their teaching repertoire.  However, paying out for a course is not the only way you can stay in touch with the developments of teaching.  Subscribing to a journal, blog or teaching magazine are some other ways to keep on top of developments.  You might be lucky enough to be in a school that already subscribes to professional teaching magazines or journals, if not, I think it is always worth taking out an individual subscription.

One of the reasons why I think continuous learning for a teacher is crucial is that it often gives you fresh ideas for your lessons, or you realise that your own theory about teaching is confirmed after reading an article in a magazine or journal, which is very satisfying.  Continuous learning usually means you will begin reflecting on your teaching, and reflection is a very important aspect of teaching.  The constant question, “Why am I doing this task?” is always in the back of your mind when you make the effort to keep learning about your profession.  You also become aware of new or well established theories, which make you question why you approach tasks the way you do, or how you could make a familiar task more interesting for your students.  You will find that once you start reading professional magazines or even going to conferences/workshops you will become aware of a whole new community of teachers, who are as passionate as you are about teaching, and this will hopefully steer you through times of lack of motivation and hopefully reignite the reason why you started teaching.

Helpful links:

International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language

British Council Teaching English

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