Cover Image
close this bookTeacher Training: a Reference Manual (Peace Corps, 1986, 176 p.)
close this folderChapter 1 what a teacher trainer needs to know
View the document(introduction...)
Open this folder and view contentsUnderstanding comparative educational systems
View the documentNeeds assessment
Open this folder and view contentsAdult learning
Open this folder and view contentsConsiderations in designing a training program
Open this folder and view contentsTraining techniques
Open this folder and view contentsSupervision
Open this folder and view contentsFinal considerations for the trainer


In preparing yourself to be a teacher trainer, there are a variety of things you need to be aware of. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you must recognize that you are entering a culture and education system that is often dramatically different from your own. In addition, any knowledge you have of teaching children will have to be adapted and reconsidered before you can begin to train adult teachers. You will need to become skilled in the areas of needs assessment, training design and implementation of training programs. In addition, you will have to develop your skills as a supervisor of teachers.

It may help to think of this chapter as a series of baskets, stacked one inside the other. Each basket serves as a container for the next, giving it a place to sit and a broader context and point of reference. Each basket also contains certain skills that you need to master to be a successful trainer of teachers.

What a teacher trainer needs to know

The largest basket represents your personal understanding of education in the host country. The next basket (set inside the context of the education system) represents needs assessment - or discovering the training needs of the teachers. The next basket represents information about adult learning and surrounds and supports the basket which addresses how to design a training program. The final baskets represent the specific skills you need to implement a successful teacher training program: training techniques and supervision skills. Having started from the general context of an educational system and moved to the specific aspects of a training program, this chapter concludes by stepping back and examining a key aspect of your success as a trainer - your ability to quickly and accurately assess personal skills, knowledge and abilities and those of the teachers you are training.

Chapter 1 will be spent developing the skills that fill these baskets. These skills, added a bit at a time as topics are explored within each section, can be referenced by the trainer according to which basket they are in. The trainer should also remember that these sections are not isolated baskets of skills, but are part of a series of containers that have a contextual relationship with each other. The individual who can design a training program but knows nothing of the educational context, teacher training needs or training techniques will not be an effective teacher trainer. This chapter will introduce you to each of the areas and skills you need to be an effective trainer of teachers.

The education system

As a Peace Corps Volunteer and a product of the American educational system, you need to look carefully at the system you now are entering before you can consider training within it, As you begin this process, you need to be aware of your personal biases towards education and open to other approaches and contextual constraints. Innovative techniques and free and universal education are admirable goals which may or may not address the needs of an overpopulated, under staffed educational system, with limited resources struggling to meet the educational and manpower needs of its society. Some of the things you should consider as you look at the educational system of your host country include:

Stated goals and philosophy of education

(What should it do?)

The organization and structure of the educational system

(What does it look like?)

The values assigned to education and the role it plays in the society

(What does it do?)

The preparation and training of teachers

(Who does it? What do teachers know?)

The status and role of teachers in the culture/ society/community

(What rewards/other duties do teachers receive/have?)

The motivation and aspirations of students

(Why do students go to school?)

One of the ways to approach these vague and often elusive concepts is to think of them in relation to what you know best - your own education system. (The Activity Box at the end of this section will help you compare these two systems - the one you are coming from and the one in which you will be working.)

As you make this comparison, consider how you feel about each system as, ultimately, your attitudes toward the educational practices and norms of your host country will have a significant effect on how you conduct training and interact with host country teachers.

If you have been in your host country for some time you already have an idea of how the educational system functions and will be able to easily conduct this informal comparison. If you have just arrived, you may want to consult with people in your training program who have been working in the educational system for a few years. Your technical trainer may provide you with relevant information or direct you to any of the following information sources:


Ministry of Education personnel

Teacher Trainers

Official Written Documents

Fellow Volunteers

Host Country Teachers

Technical Trainers

Head Masters/Principals

Community Members


Other Informants

How: Interviews, Reading and Research, Meetings, Observation, etc.

The teacher training system

Having developed this information network, and begun to realize where it is you are working, it is time to ask some specific questions about how teacher training is conducted in the host country. If you like, draw yourself another comparative chart and ask these questions of both the U.S. and the country in which you will be working. The main points you should consider in analyzing teacher education in your country are:

1. What does teacher education look like in your country? What is the structure, general content, etc.?

2. Who receives teacher preparation?

3. How long does it take? (for different levels and settings)

4. Where and when does it occur? (in teacher training colleges, in-service workshops, etc.)

5. How are teachers taught? (what is the standard pedagogical approach?)

There are probably many more questions you can ask to help familiarize yourself with the traditional teacher training context, but this can serve as a starting point. Each time you begin a training program, take some time to refer to your original notes, review them and add to them. They will serve as a reminder and highlight points that you might have begun to take for granted.


The following chart will help you to compare the U.S. and host country systems of education. Take a minute to complete it.


United States

Host Country

Curriculum Development

Curriculum Content

Administrative Structure

Educational Ladder/Structure:

-Student Assessment
-Student Advancement
grade to grade
primary to secondary.

Access to Education

Role of Language
- National/Official
- Mother Tongue, First, Second

Material Resources available to Teachers/Students

Classroom Environment
- Style of presentation
- Physical set-up/variety
- Approach to discipline
- Number of students

As you complete the above chart, consider the following questions:

1. Locus of Control: Who is responsible for deciding/controlling _________(The national government or Ministry of Education,

The region, state, or district; the local community or school system; the principal or Headmaster of the school; the teacher.

2. Influence of Religion

3. Integration of Culture

4. Any other relevant variables.

Needs assessment

Now that you know something about how teacher training is conducted in your host country, you are ready to begin thinking about training teachers. The first step in designing a training program is to determine what it is that the participants (in your case, the teachers) need to know. This process is referred to as a needs assessment.

The purpose of a needs assessment is to gather two key points of information and, using the formula below, determine the needs of the teachers you will train. You need to determine: What the teacher is required/expected to know and what they already know. This will give you an idea of what they need to learn in your training program.





(What the teacher knows) =

(What the teacher needs to know)

The following chart will help you address important competency areas for teachers by providing key questions in each of them.


Questions (continued)

The next steps involve finding the answers to these questions. This means that you need to know where to go, who to see and how to gather the information. Some suggestions for information sources and data-gathering techniques for each of the three areas are listed below:


1. Make a list of 811 the people (by title and/or name) you need to consult in order to design an in-service teacher training program.

2. Make a list of the questions you would ask each of the above people. Try to write these in the form of a short questionnaire or an interview guide.

3. Conduct a mini-needs assessment in your school or with colleagues aimed at developing a weekend workshop for teachers and/or administrators.


The new teacher trainer often moves directly from teaching children to teaching adults. Unfortunately, too often the teacher merely continues to teach in the same style though audience has changed. The teacher trainer (and the trainer of teacher trainers!) must be conscious of the fact that adults have different learning needs and styles than do children or adolescents. The following is both a brief overview of some of these differences, and a few suggestions on how to most effectively work with adult learners.

It is essential that you as a teacher trainer are aware of the many factors involved in adult learning. Significant differences exist between the training of teachers and teaching in the classroom. This section will explain some of the important considerations in adult learning that a trainer must know and certain techniques which can be used to facilitate that learning. Remember that the following descriptions are not meant to be considered as rules but rather as guidelines to help you design and implement effective learning experiences for the teachers you will be training. Once in the field, you will undoubtedly find different approaches and should be able to tailor your own training techniques to any cultural context. The objectives of this section are to help the teacher trainer be able to:

1. Describe the differences between adult and child learning.
2. List and describe the four key stages in the learning process.
3. Identify four distinct learning styles.
4. Discuss the relationship between various motivational levels.

Andragogy vs. pedagogy

It is important to understand that as a teacher trainer you are working with adults. Too often the assumption is that everyone learns in the same way, yet adults approach learning quite differently from children and need to be taught differently from children. The technical words to distinguish these different approaches to teaching are andragogy, or the science of teaching adults, and pedagogy, the science of teaching children.

Malcolm Knowles in his book The Modern Practice of Adult Education identifies the following four concepts that characterize the adult learning process:

1. Self-concept. Whereas the child is dependent upon those around him/her, the adult acts autonomously in relation to others. Adults are capable of being self-directed, of being able to identify and articulate whet they want to learn in dialogue with the teacher. In pedagogy, the teacher is in a directing relationship with the student; in adult education, on the other hand, the teacher is in a helping relationship with the student.

2. Experience. With children, education is often the one-way transfer of data and information from teacher to the student. This is not always appropriate for the adult learner who brings a wealth of experience and wisdom into the learning environment. In adult education, the teacher is more often a facilitator in a mutual learning environment. Thus, the focus is on experiential methods such as small group activities, role playing, and other techniques that will be discussed later in this section. The dichotomy between teacher and student is replaced with a community of learners and teachers.

3. Readiness to learn. In traditional pedagogy, the teacher decides what the students need to learn and the curriculum is developed apart from the learner. This does not suggest that students should not be involved in generating objectives and learning experiences, only that the initial curriculum has already been established. In andragogy, the learner takes a much more active role in deciding what will be taught and when. Adult education is more learner centered. As noted before, adults often are able to identify their own needs as they arise from their social/cultural situations. In adult education, it is important that the content of educational programs is directly related to both the adult learner's interests, life situations and working capabilities.

4. Orientation to learning. The adult learner has a different orientation to learning than the child. Children have been conditioned to have a subject-centered orientation to learning whereas adults tend to have a more problem-centered orientation. The key difference is one of time perspective. Children are able to focus attention towards future rewards while adults are primarily concerned with their present situations and interested in solving problems they experience on a daily basis.

The chart below highlights some key considerations for the adult educator.

Distinctions Between Child and Adult Learning Approaches

Key Ideas



the learner

generally dependent


the educator primary

defines problem

helps learner solve own problem

information source


self, experience




time factors



Adult Learning Process and Styles

The topic of adult learning encompasses a broad range of issues. Of these, the adult learning process and learning styles are two of the key variables you need to consider as a trainer.

Some of the continuums associated with the adult learning process are:

active and participatory


shared responsibilities

trainer responsible

shared access to knowledge

trainer access to knowledge

learning how to learn

learning facts

As you review these continuums, place yourself on each according to how you prefer to learn. Consider that the adults who you will be training have preferences of their own. The question now becomes how you, as a trainer, can address these differences and still be effective.

David Kolb, an adult educator, has developed a model which integrates an experiential learning process with learning styles and provides a comprehensive model for the adult educator. This model begins by describing four key steps in the learning cycle and provides a clear method for you to consider while training. Since adult learning is heavily based on experience, Kolb suggests the following types of learning that make up the adult learning process:

1. Concrete Experience: The learner is involved in a concrete experience that is provided in training. The learner explores a new situation firsthand. The learner learns by demonstration, explanation, lecture, and the giving of facts by the trainer.

2. Reflection and Observation: The learner maintains concrete involvement but distances self, becoming reflective observer takes a step back to observe and reflect on what the situation means to him/her. Learning takes place through question and answer periods, discussion, or individual time for reflection and work.

3. Abstract Conceptualization: Based on reflection, the learner analyzes the situation and forms theories, generalizing from the particular to the hypothetical and general. Interaction with peers and the trainer helps the learner analyze situations.

4. Active Experimentation: The learner formulates a plan or strategy to apply the newly attained information to his/her own situation. The learner needs to discover for him/herself the application of knowledge.

This experimental learning cycle can be represented as follows

Experiential learning cycle

These stages represent both process and learning styles. The process suggested here roughly reflects the developmental stages of children the higher level cognitive processes coming at a later age (see Chapter 2, Child and Adolescent Learning for more detail on cognitive development). The important thing to remember is that this is not a definitive four step process. Each of these stages involves some overlap, interaction and flexibility. A creative tension exists between Active Experimentation and Reflection and Observation that, if nurtured, helps the learner's experience to be complete. This is equally true for Concrete Experience and Abstract Conceptualization.

Learners who feel most comfortable immersing themselves in an experience may be the ones who most need to be drawn back occasionally, and helped to conceptualize their experience (and visa versa). The creative tension that exists between these opposites means that people have a tendency, even in childhood, to gravitate towards one end or the other of each continuum (vertical or horizontal axes) of this model. By the time they are adults, they hove firmly established their preferred way of learning and may not wish to move through this process in a stage by stage manner.

Your job as a trainer is to design your training programs so that they address each of the stages in the learning cycle. In this way you will not only address each participant's learning preference, you will help participants to expand their skills in dealing with different learning situations and support the creative tension that is inherent in the learning cycle as well. Consider as you move around the learning cycle that the active role of the trainer in Concrete Experience is continually diminished to facilitate the active role of the participant by Active Experimentation. By including this range of experiences in your program, not only are you addressing individual learning preferences but you are also helping your participants to experience the range of learning strategies at their disposal.

Having established the adult learning cycle as a process, Kolb goes on to suggest that there are specific learning styles that fall between each step in the process. These are:

Accommodation - Concrete and active, accommodates tend to emphasize objectives and practical reality over theory.

Assimilation - Reflective and abstract, assimilators prefer theory to practical application and facts.

Divergence - Concrete and reflective, diverges are imaginative, emotional and interested in people.

Convergence - Active and abstract, converges are more conformist, traditional and authoritarian.

When the above learning styles are superimposed on the experiential learning cycle, you have a model (shown below) that incorporates two of the key aspects of adult learning: learning process and the learning styles.

Learning process and the learning styles

As a trainer, the model above should remind you that you need to address both the individual and the group. Your training design should take each learner through a process that encourages each stage of the above cycle (experience and thought without application will leave teachers with some nice ideas but no idea as to how to use them in the classroom). It should also recognize and address individual learning styles and at the same time challenge learners to cross boundaries and enter parts of the learning process that they might otherwise ignore.

Personal learning styles

Before beginning your role as a trainer, it is important to further examine your own learning styles (see the activity box below for a suggested approach). Do not underestimate the power of your own preferences towards learning. Your approach to the adult learners you will be training will reflect your own philosophy of learning. It is imperative, therefore, that you be aware of what that philosophy is and how you, as a trainer, are portraying a particular style. The awareness of your own preferences, strengths and weaknesses will allow you to adjust your training style to model a more effective and balanced philosophical approach for the teachers you train.

What exactly is meant by the term modeling'? Throughout your life, you have been influenced by educators that have provided you with certain role models. Your ideas and conceptualization of education have been slowly formulated by your experiences in educational settings. Not only did your teachers present content-specific information to you, but they presented a process of teaching as well. You may not remember what you studied in sixth grade language arts but you may remember how the teacher treated you and your classmates. You may remember mannerisms, how the teacher helped you, whether the class was fun, who sat next to you, if you could express your ideas and if learning was a positive experience. All these considerations are part of the process of teaching and training. In the same way, your own style serves as a model for the teachers you train. If you are successful, they will take out of the training session much more than the mere content you present. They will learn how to use a variety of techniques to create an exciting and challenging learning environment.


Motivation is an important part of an adult's ability to learn. Environmental distractions, unmet needs, and personal trauma can divert the learner's attention from the task at hand. Prepared trainers should be able to recognize levels of learner motivation and be ready to adjust their training programs accordingly. Abraham Maslow, a renowned theorist in the field of humanistic psychology, is often cited when discussing the dynamics of human motivation. Maslow suggests that human needs form a hierarchy that can be visualized as a stack of dependent layers; one need level is unattainable until the lower level need is met.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs


Develop to fullest potential; strong sense of individuality.

Respect and liking for self and others.

Membership, acceptance, belonging, feeling loved and wanted.

Protection from physical or psychological threat, need for order and structure.

Food, water, shelter, clothing, etc.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

It is important to note that each need level does not become a major factor in motivation until the lower levels of needs have been satisfied. An individual's position in the hierarchy may change from hour to hour, day to day, or year to year. The learner who has had no breakfast may be biding his/her time to get to the lunch hour, and be wholly uninterested in expending intellectual energy. In fact, some individuals may never reach the highest levels of this hierarchy. As a trainer, if you are able to recognize in which level of this hierarchy the learners are operating in at any given time, you will be better prepared to respond to training problems that stem directly from motivation and needs.


1. Consider a content area or subject which you are familiar with. Outline a lesson plan for teaching that topic to a group of children and then, using the same topic, redesign the lesson to be taught to a group of adults. Check to see if you have addressed each of the four concepts of andragogy in your new design. (See Chapter 2, Lesson Planning)

2. Review the learning styles above. Identify your personal learning style. Now answer the following questions: Which axes of the learning process are your weakest? Which type of learning situation would support your style? What kind of learning situation would be the greatest challenge? How does your preferred learning style affect your teaching/training, and how can you adjust this affect?

3. Review Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Reflect on your needs as they change: a. throughout a day b. throughout a month c. throughout an important year in your life

How do these changes affect your willingness and motivation to participate in learning experiences.


Ingalla, John D. A Trainers Guide to Andragogy Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. May, 1973.

Knowles, Malcolm. The Modern Practice of Adult Education.

Maguire, Pat. Training of Trainers Workshop. Lome, Togo: US Peace Corps, Regional Training Resources Office, 1980.

McCarthy, B. The 4Mat System - Teaching to Learning Styles with Right/Left Mode Techniques. Barrington, IL: Excel, 1980.


Now that you have considered ways adults learn, you have the tools necessary to begin designing your training program. This section is primarily addressed to those who are responsible for designing informal or in-service training programs and curriculum. Teacher trainers based at national teacher training colleges may, however, find helpful suggestions for how to adapt the curriculum they have been given to better meet the needs of their learners.

The following is one model that can be used to design training programs. It is intended to be a guide that can be modified or adapted as you see fit and as the situation requires. It is based on six steps:

1. Carrying out a comprehensive needs assessment
2. Defining program goals and objectives
3. Selecting topic areas
4. Designing learning activities
5. Analyzing the program time flow and rhythm
6. Incorporating program evaluation
7. Analyzing training constraints

You have already spent some time conducting (or thinking about how you would conduct) a needs assessment of your teachers. The remaining steps will either be discussed in detail in this section or, where appropriate, you will be referred to other sections of the manual that cover a related topic.

Defining program goals and


Once the needs assessment has been carried out and the data analyzed and evaluated, you must determine what your program is going to be about. This is the step of setting goals and objectives. It is upon these that the content of the program will be based. As the process of setting of goals and objectives for a teacher training program is similar to that for designing classroom curriculum, it is suggested that you see the section in Chapter 2, Instructional Objectives.

Selecting topic areas

One of the most common mistakes made in the design of any training program is trying to do too much. Your needs assessment will have turned up many potential topics and needs. Relax. You do not need to do everything at once in one program. The key to this step is the ability to prioritize.

The first thing you need to do with the 'raw' data you have collected is to organize it into similar content areas. Then rearrange the aspects or points within that content areas into a list, placing the most important areas at the top and the least pressing at the bottom (as you do this remember that all of the data collected in a needs assessment are important to someone). Next, use the same method to prioritize topics within each of the content areas, listing the ones of most immediate training importance at the top. Now step back and look at it, asking and answering the following questions:

° How long will this training program last?

° Is it the only one, or will you have the opportunity to conduct future training programs?

° Do you want to talk in detail about only one content or topic area (e.g. a whole one week training on student assessment) or do you want to address several different topics during the course?

° What is most appropriate at this point in time for both the trainees and the situation in which they find themselves?

Having answered these questions, select the topics for possible inclusion in this training program, and note how much time you wish to spend on each (e.g. a two-hour session, a whole day).

Designing learning activities

Now that you have decided what you want to teach, you must decide how you are going to teach it. As noted above in the section on Adult Learning, adults learn best when the content is directly related to their reality and based on their own experiences. As a teacher trainer there is a whole 'tool kit' of learning activities available from which to choose. Though talks or lectures are often helpful to get across specific content, eight hours a day of lectures for one week will drive your trainees to distraction or sleep! It is crucial, therefore, to design your learning activities to include a variety of experiential learning techniques.

In the following section are some basic techniques used in training. Look at these and then look at your prioritized list of content topics to be included in the training program. Begin to match content areas with training techniques considering, for instance, whether it is better to use a case study to teach that point or a role play. It is up to you to decide how to write your lesson plan for each session, but an acceptable format has been included in the Appendix for your information.

Training rhythm and flow

As you begin to match learning activities with your content topics, you must keep in mind how they will all go together. Though these considerations are not as important if you are planning an afternoon or even a one day training, they become crucial for any program that lasts for several days or weeks.

The key to a successful design is the ability to balance a variety of variables. After an initial selection of learning activities, begin to place your activities on a timeline for the period your training is to last. As you do this, consider the following:

° High energy vs. low energy: Each day has its high energy and low energy times. High energy times are when participants are refreshed and energetic; low energy times are when you are trying to keep everyone awake. Mornings tend to be high energy and afternoons low, particularly in hot countries with a tradition of heavy mid-day meals and afternoon siestas! (Don't ever try to do a heavy, theoretical lecture after lunch when it's 90 degrees outside! During the week there are also high and low energy times. There is no way to avoid these times, but a good trainer designs a program keeping them in mind. Do your theoretical sessions in the morning, with the most intense ones early in the week. Then in the afternoons, and even in the time just before lunch, have active, doing sessions; small group work, role plays, case studies, etc. If it is possible to include a field trip or site visit, do it on a Wednesday afternoon to break up your week.

° Academic vs. experiential: People learn best not by hearing, but by doing. While it is important for the trainees to learn specific or technical content, be sure to also include activities that involve them in the use of this content. Vary your techniques so that they address each part of the learning cycle (see Adult Learning) and remember that, ultimately, five days of role play can be just as deadly as five days of lecture!

° Large groups vs. small groups: 80th large group and small group sessions have advantages. Large group sessions are good for lectures or demonstrations when you want everyone to get the same information. Small groups are best for discussions and individual participation. Many participants who would never speak in front of a large group of people are very willing to share their experiences or questions with only sex or seven others.

° In class vs. out of class: If possible, try to include field trips and site visits. These are important not only because they give the needed change of pace pointed out above, but also because they bring a reality factor into the training. If the training is too abstractly theoretical, participants may fear that though the ideas presented are good ones, they could never implement them.

° Serious vs. fun: While you want your training program to be taken seriously by participants, this does not mean that it cannot be fun. Include celebrations in your design, especially the opening and closing of the program. If it is a residential program consider how the evenings will be spent; are there movies, town trips, special dinners? If the program is a week or two in length, make sure to included recreational or sports activities. Incorporate something light or fun in each session, even if it is only a two-minute icebreaker.

° Vary the learning environment: Change space as often as possible, even if it means just rotating sessions among a couple of rooms. In a week-long program, people will often +claim' a seat where they remain for the whole time. Shake things up a little. If you cannot move to a different room, then try to change the room you are in by rearranging the chairs, or by putting up new wall decor every couple of days.

° Balancing a Training Team: If you are working in a training team, change trainers as often as appropriate. Each trainer has 0a or her own style that will appeal to some of the participants but not to others. If one trainer is particularly quiet and soft spoken, have him/her facilitate the high energy times. The trainer who is the joker and extrovert may be more successful motivating participants during low energy training times.

When you have completed your training design and schedule, look at it. Would you want to be a participant in the program? Would you find it challenging yet fun? And if you can answer yes, then chances are you have designed a program that your participants will both enjoy and from which they will learn.

The following is the design and rough schedule for an intensive, inservice teacher training program. Titles of sessions, techniques used and time spent on each technique (in minutes, parenthesized) are shown.


Incorporating program evaluation

Your training should be under constant evaluation by you and by the people you are training. The two main types of evaluations that you will want to conduct are:

Formative evaluations: Evaluations that take place while the training is in progress. These evaluations can occur daily, weekly, at the end of a particular topic area, or at the end of every session. Formative evaluations can be in the form of a questionnaire or can be done informally in a group or through dialogue with participants. Perhaps the most effective way is to use a variety of methods so that you are sure you gather input for improving the training program that might otherwise escape you.

Summative evaluations: Evaluations that take place at the end of a training program. They specifically address whether goals, objectives, and expectations have been met, whether the training methods addressed the participants' learning styles, and all other aspects of the training that might affect the participants' learning (including logistical aspects such as food, facilities, etc. - all of which should be dealt with in formative evaluation sessions as well). Summative evaluations give participants the opportunity to offer feedback to the trainer and suggestions and comments for future teacher training sessions.

The purpose of evaluations is three-fold:

1. to better facilitate the learning experience for the participants;
2. to help the trainer improve his/her training designs and skills; and/or
3. to determine how cost effective and successful the training program was overall.

Methods of evaluating a training program are numerous and range from simple open discussion to detailed questionnaires. Here is a brief list of selected methods that can be used to evaluate a training program:

° Group brainstorm of program strengths and weaknesses (Itemized Response Technique), with or without prioritization.

° Individual response to open-ended questions.

° Paired or shared group informal feedback (guided or unguided).

° Participant created skit, award ceremony or other closing activity that summarizes and comments on key aspects of the training.

° Croup or paired completion of trainer prepared questionnaire.

° Individual written response to a questionnaire (using open and/or closed ended questions, comments, yes/no, or scaled (1-5) type items).

As you choose the evaluation method and design the tools to be used, remember to consider: What it is you want to know and why you want to know it (i.e., what will actually be done with the information you are collecting). If this is the only training program of its type that will ever be conducted, perhaps the evaluation should be informal and aimed at having participants review and plan to apply the information covered. If it is one in a series of programs, a formal written questionnaire may serve as the best record of program strengths and weaknesses.

Analyzing training constraints

Before you are truly ready to implement your training design, you need to consider and reconsider the obstacles you may encounter. The following questions (and others) must be answered and dealt with in your design before you can think about implementing it.

° WHO: What human resources do I have to conduct the program? (Will I be doing it alone, or will I have money to pay someone else, or have some assigned help? Are there other qualified people to assist me? Are there people in the community who may play a part? Could this include other Volunteers?)

° WHERE: Where will the training be located? Where is the most cost efficient and convenient place? (Of course you may not always have the choice.) Will I need to distribute money for travel expenses or provide transportation? Will I have to provide lodging and money for food?

° HOW MANY: Given the staff available, and the facilities and available time, how many teachers may I realistically and effectively work with?

° HOW MUCH & WHAT: What financial and other material resources do I have? What teaching aids are or can be made available? (Are there specific teaching materials such as books and texts that are needed?) What materials have to be made and how do I make them/copy them? Are there any visual aids, overhead projectors, videos, etc. available at the training site? (See Chapter 2, Materials Development and Resource Utilization for more details in this area).


1. Make a list of all of the people who might have input into your training program. Indicate how you would contact them, what information they might provide and what role would they play in the training program.

2. List the key obstacles or constraints you might expect to encounter as you design an in-service teacher training program. Note down how you would adjust for time, logistical, cost, etc. constraints in your training design.

3. Use the needs assessment information (hypothetical or actual) that you gathered in the previous section to design a training program you can implement when you return to your site. As you design the program, keep each of the six major considerations of program design in mind.


In order to develop a training design which responds to the diverse learning styles of your teacher trainees and one which is appropriate for the material you will present in your training sessions, you need a variety of training techniques at your disposal.

While by no means an exhaustive list, the training techniques discussed below are the ones most commonly used by trainers. Because they can be used by classroom teachers as well, it is important that you correctly model these techniques in your training sessions. (The adaptation of these techniques to the classroom setting can be found in Chapter 2, Classroom Teaching Techniques.) As you develop your training design, remember that your success in using these techniques will depend on your ability to adapt them to meet the needs of your teacher trainees and the cultural context in which you train.

1. Ice Breaker:

Purpose: To help participants feel at ease with each other and comfortable in the new learning environment where you are training. It also establishes group rapport. As its name implies, it warms the learning environment to the point that the 'ice' keeping participants from interacting with each other is broken up.

Description: An ice breaker generally involves all participants in an active role. It sets the tone for the training by creating a noncompetitive environment, so that participants can interact with each other without feeling threatened. Ice breakers should be fun and attempt to create a bond between trainer and participants that can be strengthened during the rest of the training program. An example might be:

a. Randomly pair-off participants.

b. Have participants work in pairs and find out as much about each other in five minutes as possible.

c. Each participant then introduces his/her partner to the rest of the group.

Since ice breakers can often incorporate games, unorthodox activities or close physical contact between participants, it is important to keep in mind (as with all of these techniques) what is appropriate to the culture and context in which you will be training.

2. Brainstorming:

Purpose: To elicit a wide range of ideas and information from participants. To tap the experience and expertise of the participants.

Description: All ideas and experiences generated by participants are collected and recorded without the threat of judgement or criticism. Brainstorming is used to help focus or clarify activities or a content area. This technique also promotes creativity and finding solutions to problems. Brainstorming is particularly effective in opening sessions to establish goals, objectives, expectations and norms (rules) for the training program.


a. The trainer tells the group that the purpose of the exercise is to elicit as many ideas as possible about a particular topic.

b. Participants are invited to call out as many ideas as they can possibly generate about the topic being investigated. They are asked to draw upon personal experience and opinion, be creative and imaginative. (At this point no ideas are rejected or analyzed - everything offered is accepted and encouraged).

c. Trainer writes all ideas down on newsprint, board etc. for all to see

d. After ideas are generated, the group discusses and analyzes the information collected. At this time, the trainer can ask each person to clarify points they have made that are unclear to the group.

e. The trainer then helps to group and prioritize ideas. This can be done by consensus, vote, or compromise.

f. Through this process of prioritization, the trainer helps the group identify key ideas for the group to pursue or further investigate.

Note: The trainer should make sure that the ideas generated during the brainstorm are then used during the next parts of the training. Unused Ideas will leave the participants feeling as if they have wasted their time.

3. Lecturettes:

Purpose: To provide participants with specific information and/or set the stage for an experiential activity.

Description: Lecturettes are short forms of a lecture which are used to highlight key points of content. They differ from traditional lectures in that they often incorporate participant interaction and, at times, give the impression of a discussion. Useful as introductions to topics and 'lead-ins' to experiential activities, lecturettes seldom last longer than 15 minutes.


a. Trainer prepares outline of lecturette and supporting instructional materials.
b. Key information is presented to participants.
c. Trainer solicits information and/or questions from participants.
d. Trainer allows discussion of unclear points.
e. Trainer summarizes, concludes and proceeds to next part of the session.

4. Demonstrations:

Purpose: To allow participants to witness a procedure or an act. This demonstration can then be practiced by participants and supervised by the trainer.

Description: A demonstration brings to life some information that has been presented in a lecture, discussion, or explanation. For example, a discussion of a particular training technique may not be as effective as a direct demonstration of that technique that participants can both experience and/or apply themselves.


a. Trainer explains the purpose of the demonstration.
b. Trainer demonstrates procedure or new behavior.
c. Participants ask questions, engage in discussion.
d. Participants practice with trainer/peer supervision.

5. Games/Simulations/Structured Experiences:

Purpose: To allow participants to participate in a structured educational experience that approximates a real life problem or situation.

Description: Games, simulations and structured experiences take a great deal of planning and require a high degree of familiarity with the subject matter. In designing these learning experiences it is important to have clearly stated learning objectives and a design that ensures that the desired learning outcomes are reached. Generally, games or simulations ease anxieties or fatigue and are sometimes most effective at the end of a session or at the end of the day. (For specific applications in the classroom, refer to the section on Classroom Techniques)


a. Trainer explains procedures involved activity (where appropriate, trainer demonstrates procedures).

b. Participants are encouraged to be spontaneous and have fun.

c. Game/simulation/structured experience is carried out.

d. Activity is analyzed and discussed highlighting possible adaptations for use of technique by teachers in their classroom.

6. Small Groups (Diads, Triads, and More):

Purpose: Small groups of approximately two to seven are used to help share ideas and bring individuals together for discussion or problem solving. The smaller the group, the greater the chance of individual participation.

Description: Grouping is an essential part of training and can be used by the trainer to either bring people together randomly, to have teachers of the same school or school district solve problems together, or to discuss opposing views or methods with colleagues. The trainer may ask the participants to choose partners or assign partners according to the criteria suggested above. The trainer can use this technique for in training participation or to establish working groups for outside training assignments. Possible tasks might be writing objectives and lesson plans, curriculum design, analyzing situations or reporting.


a. One task is assigned to all groups or a different task is assigned to each individual group.
b. The purpose of the tasks is clearly stated and a time limit imposed.
c. How the group's work is to be presented is clearly defined.
d. Shared responsibility for presentation given to all members of any group.

7. Role Play:

Purpose: To allow participants to practice learned behavior in new situations, act out real-life situations, and experience new perspectives.

Description: Roles may be set up by the trainer or participants may make up their own roles. Participants can thus explore solutions to situations or problems under discussion. Since this is a role play, discussion can center around the role and characterization presented by the participant and thus avoid criticism of the participants themselves. Role plays can be used in the large group or in smaller groups if appropriate.


a. Description of role play given orally or as a handout (developed by trainer or participants).
b. Participants of role play are given a time limit to prepare.
c. Participants act out role play as the character that they are portraying.
d. Trainer facilitates discussion/analysis of behavior portrayed or felt by participants.
e. Participants offer suggestions for changing their own behavior/ attitudes.

8. Fishbowl:

Purpose: To provide participants with an active observation and analysis exercise that allows them to witness and critique a staged situation.

Description: One small group is situated in the center of a larger group so that the outer group can observe and analyze the interactions of the inner group. Participants may observe a role play or an actual situation such as a discussion or a planning meeting. This allows one group of participants to evaluate a given situation from the outside by seeing it enacted in a precise manner by another group of participants. It differs from a role play, which focuses on the feelings and reactions of the role-playing participants, in that the focus is on the observation and feedback that is done by the outer group to the information supplied by the inner group. Situations might include teacher/student behavior in the classroom, interaction between administrators and teachers, decision making or problem solving. Again, the purpose is to practice observation of a group activity and have the opportunity to give and receive feedback on that process. (For more information on giving and receiving feedback see the section on Collaboration Skills).


a. Trainer divides participants into inner and outer group.

b. Inner group openly discusses or acts out situation (developed by trainer or participants).

c. Persons in the inner group are active while the outer group listens and observes behavior. Specific observation roles may be assigned to outer group members.

d. Outer group gives feedback to inner group about what they saw.

e. Trainer facilitates analysis of behavior witnessed in inner group.

9. Field Trips:

Purpose: To allow participants to experience, firsthand, the topic of study. Field trips generally bring to life ideas that have been discussed and analyzed in class.

Description: Field trips should be well-planned and help stimulate the interest of the participants. The trainer must be aware of financial and time factors and coordinate field trips accordingly. Teaching methods, classroom design, or implementation of instructional materials, for example, can all be witnessed firsthand by visiting schools and other educational facilities.


a. Participants are briefed on field trip - location, time and purpose of trip. Objectives for the trip are outlined.

b. Trainer may help formulate a list of questions, observations, or considerations that the participants may wish to investigate.

c. Field trips is conducted - this may include escorts by community leaders and/or explanations by location specialists.

d. After field trip, participants are debriefed. The field trip is discussed and critiqued. Objectives are discussed and a question and answer period allows for participant interaction and sharing of ideas.

10. Interviews:

Purpose: To actively involve participants in soliciting information about a particular topic and/or from a particular source.

Description: Interviewing can be done within the training group or used as a method to involve the group in the community where training is taking place, their own school system, or the Ministry of Education. Questions can be designed by the participants to address issues and concerns they may have and would be valuable to the entire group. Participants are able to witness a variety of strategies used by their colleagues to gather and analyze information.


a. Participants divide into groups.

b. The time period for the exercise is established - either during training time or during an established time outside of training.

c. Participants design their own strategies for asking questions and gathering information.

d. A presentation strategy is discussed and decided upon for presentation of information to the entire group.

e. Information is collected.

f. The information is analyzed and organized and presentations are given.

11. Panels:

Purpose: To use outside 'experts' to present or demonstrate new materials or ideas.

Description: Panel discussions often involve a facilitated debate and presentation on a given topic, followed by a question and answer period. Variations on this pattern that allow more open interaction between panel members and participants are possible and should be experimented with. Panels of experts can enhance the learning experience of the participants and give them access to active members of the community. It can help participants to establish an information support network outside of the training program.


a. Objectives of having guest speakers are set.

b. Panel members are selected by trainer and/or participants.

c. Panel is invited to training session (guidelines and information is provided to panel members). d. Participants are encouraged to ask questions or join in discussion.

e. Analysis and evaluation of panel presentation by participants is facilitated by trainer.

12. Case Studies:

Purpose: To allow participants to analyze and discuss a real or hypothetical situation they might encounter.

Description: By reading a detailed case study participants are able to identify alternative behaviors and solutions to situations and problems they might experience in the classroom. Case studies should be provided by the trainer and be appropriate and applicable for teachers. Topics such as classroom management make ideal subjects for case study analysis. The trainer should design the case study activity so that it is presented with interim reflection periods and discussed in small logical components.


a. Trainer writes or obtains appropriate case study focusing on the topic which is to be addressed.

b. Participants either break up into groups or work together in a seminar type discussion.

c. Analysis and solutions to problems in case study presented by participants.

d. Trainer facilitates questioning and approaches to alternative solutions.

13. Critical Incidents:

Purpose: Same as Case Studies above.

Description: Similar to the Case Studies, the critical incident is a short paragraph describing a situation that requires an immediate response. Participants are encouraged to respond to the incident, take a stance they would defend, and discuss the range of options with other participants.

Process: Same as Case Studies above.

14. Micro-teaching:

Purpose: To allow participants to practice classroom behavior, receive feedback and modify their behavior or perfect their techniques while still in training.

Description: Teachers can practice a particular skill (e.g. introducing lessons, using a particular game, activity, or structured experience), a new behavior (e.g. using open questioning, facilitating a discussion - as opposed to leading a discussion, assisting students in generating objectives, or integrating curriculum), or improvement on his/her teaching style in a simulated classroom. The advantage in micro-teaching is that participants have the opportunity to receive feedback and then restructure their delivery and reteach. For many teachers, this will be the first time that they have an opportunity for peer-evaluation. For this reason, microteaching can be a very effective and useful training technique. (See Collaboration Skills for a detailed discussion of feedback/critiquing and Supervision for more information on observation techniques and the clinical supervision model).


a. The trainer prepares the training environment to serve as a simulated classroom (identifying real students or preparing fellow participants to play the role of particular types of students, adjusting the training sight to approximate a local classroom, etc.)

b. Participants are asked to present an outline or lesson plan for the micro-teaching session.

c. A time limit is given for the length of the actual presentation.

d. An actual lesson is taught or skill or behavior practiced by each participant while a few individuals or the rest of the group evaluates the performance.

e. The trainer can specify particular behaviors to be evaluated or they can be requested beforehand by the participant.

f. Feedback is then given and each participant by his/her peers and the trainer. Peer evaluation can be oral and/or written.

g. When available and appropriate, videotape or cassette recorders can be used to allow participants to actually witness their own performance. Personal evaluation and feedback can then precede peer and trainer feedback. Participants allowed to view or hear their own presentation may be better able to identify weak points and/or accept constructive criticism from others.

h. Upon receiving evaluations, participants restructure their presentations and do a second micro-teaching presentation with altered behavior to improve performance.

i. Re-evaluation is carried out as described in steps f and g.

j. Participant gives a presentation on what they have learned and how it will help them. Feedback by all is encouraged.

15. Peer Training:

Purpose: To allow participants with expertise in a certain field to help in the training process and add to both content areas covered and styles being modeled.

Description: Peer training can help participants to network for future cooperation, collaboration and support in teaching. It takes the role of trainer away from the trainer and gives the authority and control of learning back to the participants. Though rewarding, the preparation for peer training activities can be extensive and involved and the trainer should be ready to commit a great deal of time to this activity.


a. Trainer solicits participant assistance in training in a particular field of study, asks for areas of expertise from participants, or assigns participants topics to be researched, prepared and presented.

b. Participants who wish to (or are assigned to) help with the training work with the trainer to establish a session training design.

c. Other participants are encouraged to ask questions and participate in discussions about the topic area to be presented.

Listed here are some of the techniques you may find useful when training teachers. As stated above, these are only suggestions and can be tailored to fit your own particular situation and training style. Sometimes it is very useful to ask other teacher trainers about some of their techniques to explore other alternatives expand your repertoire of training skills. The primary challenge for the teacher trainer is to design and implement a training program that is coherent, comprehensive and, above all, appropriate to the cultural context of the host country.

As discussed in training design, it is important that you constantly assess your effectiveness as a trainer through feedback from participants and other trainers. No technique will benefit participants if it is poorly administered or inappropriate for the group you are training. Continually check to ensure that participants are learning what they need to know. Time allocated for training programs is invariably shorter than what is needed, so wasted training time is often lost forever.

Other skills needed by a trainer include observation and supervision skills. These skills are discussed in the following section of the manual and will assist in preparing you to be a teacher trainer.


1. Design a three hour training session using at least three techniques you have learned. Choose a specific teacher training topic on which to base your session.

2. Identify a game or activity co D only played by teachers in the host country. Adapt or redesign the game to be used as a tool in your teacher training program,


McCarthy, B. The 4Mat System - Teaching to Learning Styles with Right/Left Mode Techniques. Barrington, IL: Excel, 1980.

Maguire, Pat. Training of Trainers Workshop. Lome, Togo: US Peace Corps, Regional Training Resources Office, 1980.

Training Techniques. Amherst, MA: Institute for Training and Development, 1986.


One of the skills a teacher trainer needs is the ability to supervise teachers effectively. This includes working closely with the teacher to determine areas for improvement, the ability to observe accurately and effectively, and the ability to provide constructive support to teachers as they try to use their new-found skills. The method of clinical supervision and the techniques outlined here can be adapted according to the needs of the supervisors and the cultural constraints of the host country. Time constraints may prevent every phase of the model from being followed exactly.

Clinical supervision

Clinical supervision is a method of supervision where the supervisor is involved with the teacher in a close, "helping. relationship. Ideas are shared and help is given in order to improve the teacher's ability through the analysis of objective data that is collected during the observation. Various techniques used to collect this data will be discussed in the next part of this section.

The most notable difference between the clinical supervision model and other more traditional models of teacher supervision is that the supervisor and the teacher discuss and agree upon the focus for the observation. For example, if the focus of the observation is to be teacher-student interaction and the supervisor notes that rout of a class of 45 students, only six were called on by the teacher to respond to questions", the supervisor and teacher have specific and mutually desired data to discuss. This then forms the basis for a cooperative relationship in which the supervisor helps the teacher to develop strategies for improving his/her performance in future lessons. In addition, the clinical supervision model reduces much of the anxiety usually associated with classroom observation by a supervisor. If the objectives are clearly stated before the observation and the method of data collection is discussed during this pre-observation period, there are no secrets about what the supervisor is doing while the teacher is teaching.

The clinical supervision model is based on several assumptions:

° Teaching is not random but is characterized by regularity in style and approach.

° The pedagogical skills used by the teacher can be classified and studied.

° If the teacher is conscious of his/her behavior, the learning environment is greatly improved as is the teacher's overall instructional ability.

° Through careful and systematic observation, analysis and dialogue with a supervisor, effective teaching can be reinforced.

The Clinical Supervision Model is based on the participation of two people - the teacher and the supervisor. It consists of four phases which can be modified according to the needs of the teacher and the supervisor. The stages, which are described briefly below, are:

1. Pre-observation conference
2. Classroom observation
3. Analysis and strategy session
4. Post-observation conference

When used properly this model not only creates a feeling of trust and common purpose between supervisor and teacher, but builds skills in teachers which, in turn, allows them to monitor their own classroom behaviors and that of fellow teachers.

It is important to note that this model of supervision is quite different from what is usually considered to be "supervision" by teachers and supervisors. The model is sufficiently different that it may not be easily, if ever, accepted in your school or institution. Furthermore, some components may not fit the cultural setting in which you find yourself. You may experience some resistance to this model initially. Often, however, as teachers become more familiar with the rationale behind the model and see results from the use of clinical supervision, their resistance decreases. The supervisor should be sensitive to the traditional way supervision is handled at the school and plan carefully when introducing the model. The model suggested here should never be employed unless both the teacher and the supervisor understand its use and agree that the data collected from the observation will help the teacher become more effective in the classroom. In extreme cases, the supervisor may want to move slowly from a more traditional supervision model which utilizes feedback and critiquing (see Chapter 3, Collaboration Skills) into the many staged, teacher-centered clinical supervision model.

1. Pre-observation Conference


a) To establish real two-way communication.

b) To discuss and agree on an objective of supervision cycle.

c) To discuss and agree on what is expected of the supervisor and the teacher during the supervision.

Real two-way communication means that each person involved in the interaction has a sincere desire to listen to and understand the other. A genuine feeling of trust must exist between the supervisor and the teacher to make the supervision cycle productive. It is important for the supervisor and the teacher to realize that a single observation will not improve every aspect of the teacher's class. The supervisor should limit the focus of her/his observation to one objective and not focus on every aspect of the class. The objective of the supervision should be determined by the teacher in dialogue with the supervisor. The supervisor's role is to help the teacher clarify the objectives that would improve the learning environment. By creating a feeling of trust, listening and asking the right questions, the supervisor can help make the objectives useful to the teacher. If the teacher can formulate the objectives of the supervision, feedback is much more useful for the teacher and will probably be more readily incorporated in her/his teaching style.

The method of collecting useful data is also discussed and determined during this conference. For a discussion of specific aspects of the class that can be observed and techniques for collecting useful data see the next part of this section: Observation.

2. Classroom Observation

The supervisor observes the lesson and collects the agreed upon data. The supervisor should try to avoid value judgments. Again, it is very difficult to work on all aspects of teaching at once, so if the supervisor can focus on the limited objectives agreed upon and collect data that the teacher feels are useful, chances for improving the teacher's teaching are greatly enhanced.

It must be mentioned here that the supervisor should never interrupt a lesson to correct a teacher. There is a tendency, when observing a teacher who is conveying incorrect material to offer the correct information to the students. This action only serves to discredit the teacher and destroy any bond of trust that has been established during the pre-conference phase. Instead, the supervisor should note the incorrect information and bring it to the attention of the teacher only during the post-observation conference.

3. Analysis and Strategy Session

This may be just a brief period after the observation when the supervisor reflects on the class and decides how to approach the next phase with the teacher. If the supervisor is prepared and has had time to organize the data (even if just briefly) the next phase will go much more smoothly. The supervisor should use this time to think about how best the data can be used by the teacher.

4. Post-observation Session

This is the time when the teacher and the supervisor meet alone to discuss the observation and the analysis of data relative to the teacher's objectives. If the data is collected and presented in a clear fashion, the teacher will be more likely to use the data and evaluate his/her teaching and classroom performance. It is important to try to elicit the feedback directly from what the teacher sees from the data. This is accomplished only after a feeling of trust and communication has been established. The supervisor should:

a) Ask the teacher to analyze the data and tell the supervisor about the lesson. (Rather than having the teacher sit passively by while the supervisor tells the teacher about the lesson).

b) Ask questions to focus the teacher on certain aspects of the lesson. (Since it may not always be possible for a teacher to successfully evaluate his/her own teaching, there may be occasions where the supervisor needs to be more directive see Collaboration Skills for a detailed discussion of giving and receiving feedback and critiquing. In general, every effort should be taken to elicit the analysis of the data from the teacher).

c) Discuss ways to improve the lesson and whether the focus of the next observation is going to remain on the already agreed upon objective. (This part of the meeting can serve as a part of the next pre-observation conference).

d) Request feedback from the teacher as to how effective the supervision cycle has been and how to improve the next supervision cycle.

Team approaches using these same basic steps have been used quite successfully. If a team approach is tried, it is recommended that one team member act as the team leader (supervisor) who initiates and maintains contact with the teacher being supervised. The team approach is particularly useful in the strategy session to paint a more complete picture of the observation data and strategies for improvement. If appropriate, the team members can also observe the class and collect the data but care must be taken not to overwhelm the teacher or upset the learning environment of the class by having too many supervisors/ observers in the room.


As mentioned in the previous section, one of the objectives of the pre-observation conference is to focus the supervisory observation on observable behavior. The teacher may have few ideas on what can be observed in the classroom to gain useful insights into her/his teaching practices.

Examples of observable behavior are listed below. This is in no way a complete list and discussion of observable behavior that would add to this list presented would be a valuable component to an in-service teacher workshop.

° Type of reinforcement used by the teacher. (positive/negative, verbal/nonverbal).
° Teacher movement in the class.
° Teacher's ability to redirect questions when wrong answer is given.
° Amount of teacher talk and student talk.
° Type of questions used by the teacher.
° Clear introduction of the lesson with review of previous lesson.
° Summary of the lesson.
° Student learning styles/Teachers ability to address different learning styles.

Observation techniques

Listed below are several basic approaches to and techniques for the collection of data. Where indicated, sample observation forms have been included in the Appendix of this Manual so that supervisors can use a standardized form for their observation.

1. The Anthropological Approach: In this approach, the observer examines various "artifacts" or situations at the school or in the classroom and discusses inferences to be drawn with the teacher.


OBSERVATION: Students are not doing homework that is assigned.

Inference: Students have no time because of chores at home.

Inference: Students can not do the homework due to difficulty with concept or poor explanation.

Inference: Teacher does not reward students when they do homework.

Inference: Teacher has not clearly developed a policy when students do not do homework.

Inference: Homework is not relevant to skills covered in class.

After a brainstorming session between the teacher and supervisor, the observation is discussed. During the course of the classroom visit several observations, similar to the one mentioned above, are made and discussed. This is an excellent way to decide objectives for future observations.

2. Behavior Frequency Approach: The observer counts the number of times a specific behavior is displayed and records it in a predetermined category. This can be a behavior of the teacher or students. Some examples:

° Count the number of questions asked by the teacher and classify them according to type of question.

° Count the positive and negative comments made by the teacher

° Count and classify the type of responses made by students.

° Identify which students answer questions and participate in discussions and to what extent.

° Note how long a teacher waits for an answer and if this varies between with high-achieving students and low achieving students.

3. Time sampling: Probably one of the best known time sampling methods is the Flander's Interaction Analysis in which the observer periodically (every 5 seconds) lists what type of interaction is taking place (a copy of this form has been included in the Appendix). After the agreed upon period is complete, the observer counts up the type of interactions and calculates a percentage. Although the techniques have been used with great success, the observer must understand and memorize classification codes for each of the types of interaction in order to use the chart efficiently.

4. Verbatim Recording: This method involves a considerable amount of writing on the part of the observer who records every word spoken by both teacher and students during the observation. Unless the supervisor knows shorthand or speedwriting, this technique can be very time consuming and not very worthwhile when discussing the lesson. This method might be used periodically during the observation of language classes where, occasionally, it is the verbatim episode that is of most interest to both teacher and supervisor.

5. Classroom happing: This approach is useful for observing teacher movements in the classroom. Before the observation period, the observer draws a map of the classroom - including where she/he would sit. During the observation period (every three minutes or so) the observer places a circle on the map to coincide with the teacher's position in the classroom. The circles are numbered sequentially and an arrow(s) drawn from each circle pointing to the group or groups of students where the teacher's attention was directed while the teacher was in that particular position.

Teacher movements

This technique can also be used to map which students are participating in the class. A very simple way to map class participation is to, having created a blank map, mark each box representing a student who participates in the class. I desired, a more detailed number code could be used to represent the type of participation. For example:

1: Student reads out loud.
2: Student asks question.
3: Student answers question. (called on by teacher)
4: Student answers question. (voluntarily answers)
5: Student makes statement relating to lesson.
6: Student does not know answer to question when asked.

Type of participation

6. Interview Approach: This approach involves the collection of potentially valuable feedback for the teacher by having the observer interview all those people who know or interact with that teacher professionally. The supervisor can directly ask students, other teachers, the principal or the teacher about specific lessons, interaction and teaching skills, etc.

Data collection

If the supervisor has access to a videotape recorder or an ordinary tape recorder, objective information can be collected by making a videotape or audiotape of the class. This technique for collecting data has the advantage of allowing the teacher to view, objectively, his/her own performance. It should be stressed, however, that the supervisor should not feel tied to this technology. Many methods exist for collecting valuable and objective information for discussion and improvement. It is up to the supervisor to choose the appropriate means of collecting the desired data.

In choosing the observation technique to be used, the supervisor or observer and teacher should keep the following questions in mind:

1. Will the data collected provide the teacher with helpful information?

2. Are both the technique and data type chosen compatible with the objective of the observation discussed in the pre-observation conference?

3. Can the system be used comfortably by the observer?

The ultimate goal of any supervision program should be to have teachers become self-supervised. For this to occur teachers must be provided with as much concrete, specific, and non-evaluative data as possible so that they are in a position to evaluate their own performance in relation to the predetermined objectives. Teachers are then in a position to determine where changes might take place. All of this must be done with the help of the supervisor, not by the supervisor.


1. Think of a time when you have been observed and given feedback. How did you feel? How were you approached? What did you like/dislike about the way the observation was conducted? Re-examine this experience with respect to the Clinical Supervision Model and consider what your experience would have been like under this model.

2. Consider how you would introduce the concept of clinical supervision to a group that is:

a. Resistant to it (making a slow or partial transition to it).
b. Unsure of it (making a slow or partial transition to it).
c. Interested in it (introducing the complete, perhaps adapted model).

3. Think of ways in which data can be collected to identify each of the observable behaviors listed at the beginning of the Observation subsection.


Anglin, Leo W., Jr., Richard M. Goldman and Joyce S. Anglin. Teaching: What It's All About. New York: Harper and Row, 1982.

Goldhamer, R. Clinical Supervision. New York: Holt Rinehart and Winston, 1969.

Wiles, Kimball and John T. Lovell. Supervision for Better Schools. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Pall, Inc., 1975.

Assessing personal training constraints

Now that you are familiar with each of the skill areas presented in this chapter, it is time for you to step back and look at how you can fulfill your role as a teacher trainer. Your ability to understand the relationship between these areas and develop and use the skills associated with each will determine your level of success as a teacher trainer. Each time you design a training program or conduct a needs assessment, you will have to reconsider the information presented in this chapter, reevaluate what you know and need to know, and work on gathering the skills and information you need to carry out a successful training program.

Reassessing teacher needs

As your training program commences, you have will have a better opportunity to collect first-hand information about your participants as individuals, and take a more in-depth look at their training needs. With everyone present at the training site you will be better able to explore the subtleties of each individual personality and the perceptions that will influence how they react in both the training and classroom environments. As a starting point, try to determine the answers to these questions:

° What are their perceptions of what makes a good teacher in their society?
° When and why did they decide to go into teaching?
° What do they see as the advantages and disadvantages of teaching as a career?
° How do they feel about: - a teacher's status in the community? - their pay? - their workload?

You may not be able to change their situations, but attitudes and motivations are an important feature of teacher performance. If you are to help teachers develop and sustain positive and constructive attitudes, you must know what their attitudes are and what has influenced them.

The next chapter of this manual is meant to be a resource to you, as a teacher trainer. It will provide an overview of topics critical to the performance of any teacher. You should re-familiarize yourself with these topics, adapt them to your host country context, and use them in the training programs you design for teachers.