When I was looking for jobs teaching English, one of the most important benefits I looked for was professional development. This is why I made the choice to work for EF, as I really wanted to continue to grow and improve as an English teacher through professional development. In December 2018, I took advantage of a four-week online course sponsored by EF about teaching English vocabulary. Other companies may say they offer development, but EF actually delivers courses on vocabulary, grammar, and linguistics among many other topics. My experience with the vocabulary training was superb, and I fully intend to take advantage of the rich opportunities EF has to offer now that my first development training course has wrapped up.
I was honestly very surprised by the academic nature of the content covered in the vocabulary course. All the material was taken from sources you'd normally find in a university classroom, and the activities completed during the course made me apply what was covered online in my English classes. I learned two new ways to present students with vocabulary, and I actually had to incorporate these two new techniques into lesson plans and presentations. Using the new techniques was very interesting, and gave me a chance to use other materials from the training course, such as information about word form.
Academic readings and practical applications were not the only required aspects of the course, as I also needed to complete group projects with EF teachers from around China. These projects were extremely collaborative, and provided a chance for me to work with local and international teachers who in turn worked with kids, teens, and adults. I still talk to one Chinese teacher from Chengdu I had to craft a vocabulary worksheet with while also being hundreds of miles apart. We collaborated so closely on the worksheet EF's trainer asked us to produce, that we are still friends!
The final step of my training was to share what I had learned while completing the four-week vocabulary course with another teacher in my school who had not participated in the course. I was excited for this final assessment, since I could become the expert and share what I'd worked on. For my final sharing activity, I decided to tell a new, local Chinese teacher at my school about the important take-aways from the vocabulary training course. My final sharing activity evolved into a 50-minute training I delivered one-on-one to the new teacher who was very nervous about having to teach English for the first time. We talked about English vocabulary, and I shared the aspects of the training I found most useful, then we practiced some of the vocabulary teaching techniques I'd learned together. It was fun, because I'd gone from student to expert, while reviewing most of what I'd learned.
Overall, my experience with professional development at EF was enlightening. I feel like I learned a lot during my four-week training course, and you can learn a lot too! At the time of writing, I am about to embark on another training course offered through EF, but this time I will be learning about professional coaching. I had been hoping to participate in a four-week course about teaching grammar, but my team manager recommended me for the coaching course. How could I say “no”? How could I say “no” to any of the professional development EF offers? Like I said at the beginning, I chose to work for EF in China because I wanted to grow as a teacher, to a grow as a professional, and to grow as a lifelong learner.