By Rachid Khouya
By Rachid Khouya
Morocco World News
Es Smara, Morocco, January 12, 2012
More than fifty teachers of English from different parts of the southern provinces of the kingdom met in Tiznit last Saturday, the 7th, at the city’s newly –opened training center. They were there to attend a MATE Training Day organized by Tiznit Sidi Ifni local branch, jointly with the English supervisor and the Delegation of the Ministry of Education of Tiznit under the theme: “Teaching Better: Local Experiences”.
The meeting, as intended by the organizers, proved an outstanding opportunity to open a fruitful and rich dialogue about the teaching and learning of the English language locally and nationally and “to spotlight the best practices in ELT, to encourage sharing and collaboration among teachers, to contribute to and encourage professional development”.
In the opening and welcoming speeches given by Mr. Ahmed Ezzaoufi, MATE SIZ president, Haj Tayeb Idahya, the center’s English supervisor and Mr. Bagnan, Tiznit delegation representative, the speakers thanked all the teachers for being there and showing their interest to attend and participate in the success of the training day and share their experiences, worries, concerns and their ambitions and solutions to spread a culture of participation, cooperation and dialogue among the ELT community.
The first presentation was given by Ms. Samira Idelcadi , a teacher of English in Tiznit, and it was about: ’Teaching Public Speaking’ which she defined as “the art of appearing in front of an audience, facing the audience, presenting your speech and making them understand what you want them to understand within the limited time & resources given to you”. The speaker explained the importance of public speaking since: “Most people, at some point in their life, will need to stand up and speak in front of a group of people. Therefore’ teaching students the necessary skills for doing this will help them to do this more successfully’. She provided practical tips and advice to help teachers encourage their students to be not only good students but also good public speakers inside both school and their communities.
After that, Mr. Arbi Mchichi conducted a workshop about ‘Facebook and other teacher-friendly online tools’. Mr. Arbi shed some light on the necessity of using Facebook today as the generation we are teaching is a generation of ‘Facebook’. He also explained other reasons teachers should use Facebook as “it’s free, informal, spontaneous, safe and user-friendly”. It can also, according to the speaker, “inspire and motivate students to learn” and “become autonomous individuals who can make their own decisions and accommodate themselves to the rapid, uncompromising and relentless changes that are occurring within our society and within the world at large” as Mr. Ahmed Chaibi, Head of the evaluation department at the Ministry of National Education sated in one of his articles.
After the tea break, Mr. Omar Habbaz conducted a workshop about the importance of using stories to teach English inside the foreign language classroom. Beyond explaining theory, he conducted a practical example of how teachers can involve students. All the teachers were involved in the workshop and a rich discussion about other ways and benefits of using stories in the classrooms were discussed as teachers shared their own experiences with each other.
Within the same context, Mr. Rachid Khouya led a workshop about ‘Teaching Young Learners using fun activities’ which was an opportunity to reflect about teachers’ perceptions and understanding of their roles and responsibilities. In a country where teachers misunderstand the role of using fun and play in the classroom, Rachid Khouya tried to give an example of how using fun and play help learners become attached both to the teacher and the subjects being taught because as humans “when we love the teacher, we will surely love what he teaches and vice versa”. In the past, teachers used to say: “From the first day, kill the cat’” meaning be harsh, serious and never laugh, according to Mr. Khouya. The workshop was a good example of how teachers themselves enjoy learning while laughing and was a call to stop for a while and reconsider our roles and our ways of teaching. According to Mr Arbi Mchichi, the workshop “turned quickly into a lively show in which the entirety of the audience took part and was ultimately persuaded to reconsider the positions of fun and humor as two considerable elements conducive to better and stress-free learning.”
Mr. Ahmed Ezzaoufi, quite serenely, conducted a workshop in which he demonstrated some of the capabilities of Excel and how it could make the teacher’s task much easier in managing students’ grades. The participants asked for clarifications concerning certain functionalities of Excel and Mr. Ezzaoufi tried his best to be of help.
Last but not least, Mr. Tighoula Lahcen, a teacher from Guelmime shared with us his thoughts and tips on the thorny issue of ‘Classroom Management’. In his presentation and during the ensuing discussion, he shed light on many teachers’ and students’ behaviors that make classroom management a problem and suggested ways to make it less of an issue.
All those who attended the training day agreed that teachers need these kinds of seminars so as to share their ideas and tackle issues related to their daily routines inside their classrooms. All the participants showed their satisfaction with the quality of the papers and the workshops, and asked for more training days to be organized because according to them only well–trained teachers can help this Facebook generation face the challenges of tomorrow.
Frankly, the meeting was successful at all levels as it was a great chance for teachers to reflect on their teaching styles, to demonstrate in the importance of continuous training and lifelong learning because good “teachers are made, not born”.
Edited by Benjamin Villanti
Rachid Khouya is a teacher of English in Es Smara city, south of Morocco. He obtained a Bachelor Degree in English studies from Ibn Zohr University in Agadir. He published many articles and stories in different regional and national Moroccan newspapers. He is an active member of MATE( Moroccan Association of Teachers of English). He is interested in education, human rights and citizenship.
© Morocco World News