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Leading languages – reflections on Train the Trainer

Author: Phyllis Green, West Lothian

In July 2016, I took part in SCILT’s week-long national languages leadership programme, which at the time was called ‘Train the Trainer’ (TTT). The programme began with a summer school. This programme was an ideal professional development opportunity for me.

I developed a passion for language learning and communication when I taught English as an Additional Language in Spain, so I was delighted to be appointed to the 1+2 Development Team in West Lothian in 2015 and I hoped this appointment would give me the opportunity to share my enthusiasm. However, I also felt daunted. Although I had led on language and communication in my role as an Additional Support Needs teacher within the authority, I am an interested amateur rather than a language specialist.

I identified TTT as an opportunity that would support me to lead and deliver the 1+2 Approach more effectively. It would build on my knowledge of both primary pedagogy and the work I had undertaken to promote and sustain the inclusion of children with additional needs in language, communication and literacy. Combined, this would provide a strong basis to communicate my belief in the value of language learning for all.

Each day, TTT began with coffee, croissants and a chat. Classes would usually start with activities to break the ice, which helped us to get to know each other and definitely set me at ease. Opportunity to engage in professional learning and valuable dialogue with colleagues would follow. Fiona Pate and Louise Glen in role-play were both informative and entertaining!

Reflecting on the week, I recognise that, as a non-specialist primary practitioner, I have a sound awareness of the challenges and opportunities faced by my peers. However, an improved understanding of the process of self-evaluation and the other professional learning gained through the programme now means I have a more secure knowledge with which to lead PLL within West Lothian and this has given me confidence and increased authority to deliver the messages around 1+2.

Lynne Jones and the rest of the team who delivered the course created a wonderfully supportive environment, which made the experience so positive and beneficial for me, and I highly recommend it!

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