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Do we have "Sagans" in language education?

Being a fully up-to-date leader or manager of language teachers is a significant part of the battle but how do you benchmark your teaching output?

(Source: Asociácia jazykových škôl SR)

In his critically acclaimed book, ‘Talent is Overrated”, Geoff Colvin provided substantial evidence that there is no real secret to success; it just takes 10,000 hours of hard, structured hours to become an expert in your field and many subsequent hours to stay on top of your game and ahead of the competition. Peter Sagan may be at the top of his profession but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to keep the pedals turning day-in, day-out in structured program under the watchful eye of an experienced and knowledgeable coach.

This approach applies across the board and language teaching is no exception. There are many language teachers who have accumulated 10,000 hours of classroom practice since they earned their qualifications, but are they aware of the latest developments? Are they sharing and exchanging ideas with like-minded colleagues? Are they maintaining the high standards that drew them to teaching in the first place and who is responsible for ensuring that teachers grow and clients get the best quality service for which they are paying considerable sums of money?

Language school owners and managers are the key here and they have an obligation to provide leadership, and development opportunities for themselves and their teachers. We are living in an ever busier world and finding time and resources to deliver these opportunities are hard to come by. However, owners and managers do not have to do this from scratch; there is a variety of organizations that can provide help and support to hard-pressed management and two of those organizations will be participating in the 2018 ELT conference in Bratislava in June.

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The Leadership and Management Special Interest Group (LAMSIG) operates under the umbrella of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) which has been supporting language teachers for over fifty years. LAMSIG’s aim is to:

“Bring together academic managers, directors of studies, school owners, senior teachers, coordinators, supervisors, principals, deputy heads, ADOSs, managers, directors, and anyone else involved in or interested in leadership and management in language teaching organizations.”

It is a forum for professionals to exchange ideas and to develop their management, coaching, and mentoring skills which they can use to enhance the skill-sets of their teachers.

Being a fully up-to-date leader or manager is a significant part of the battle but how do you benchmark your teaching output? How can a school demonstrate to its clients that the teachers are also up-to-date and adapting to our fast changing world?

The EAQUALS organization (also in Bratislava at the ELT conference in June) is a world- leading, independent, professional association for language education. As a recognized authority on the Central European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), it develops teaching resources for teachers’ CPD, provides a structured development framework and oversees internationally recognized accreditation for language schools that can meet its high standards.

As language teaching professionals, 10,000 hours is not enough. Teachers need to continually grow and update their skills and knowledge; school owners can play a major part in that process but they do not have to operate in isolation. LAMSIG is an organization within which they can acquire the wherewithal to coach, guide and develop their staff. EAQUALS is a benchmark against which schools can measure their standards and professional output. Both organizations are coming to town next month and it is a golden opportunity to develop networks, build knowledge and broaden your teaching horizons.

Keep pedaling.

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