segunda-feira, 27 de julho de 2009

Interview - Vinicius Nobre - Teacher trainer at CEL-LEP

Vinicius Nobre (or Vinnie) never stops! He's in the coordination of a CELLEP's branch, in the training department at CELLEP, he's also a CELTA and ICELT tutor and he's been recently elected BRAZ-TESOL's first vice-president. Get to know Vinnie a little more:

Tell us a bit about your graduation and experience.
Vinnie - I started teaching when I was very young and didn't think this was going to be my career back then. But I took the COTE and fell in love with teaching entirely. Then, I decided to change my university course and moved on to graduate in Letras from PUC-RJ. I also did my DELTA in London at International House and took the FTBE.
I've worked at different schools as a teacher, teacher trainer and coordinator. I worked with schools specialized in companies and business English for quite a while but for the past 10 years have been with language centers, doing a little bit of everything (kids, teens, adults, business, exam preparation and teacher training). I am also one of Pearson-Longman's author (a new and very interestting challenge).
Currently I have very few groups and most of my time is dedicated to coordination and training I've also been recently elected BRAZ-TESOL's first vice-president - a rather overwhelming (but exciting) responsibility that has been taking some of my time.

As a teacher trainer, what suggestions can you give to teachers who are seeking a new position? What are the schools looking for?
Vinnie - I think that one of the most difficult things to find nowadays is a combination of three different features: good level of proficiency in the language, solid teaching background (experience and qualifications) and interpersonal skills. Schools need professionals who are willing to reflect upon their practice and develop, who show commitment and professionalism. There are teachers with an excellent command of the language and a lot of experience but who may lack the right attitude. Some others have excellent teaching skills but don't invest in their own language awareness. A healthy balance among these three characteristics is hard to achieve - but that's what most successful teachers aim at and what teachers who want to develop a career should do. There's a great market out there but one needs to work very hard, invest in themselves and keep a positive attitude because it isn't necessarily easy.

How can a teacher become a teacher trainer? Is there any recommended course or certificate or is it more a matter of experience?
Vinnie -
In order to become a teacher trainer, a teacher needs to show those three features I mentioned before together with generosity and a willingness to share their knowledge. Getting the Diploma (DELTA) or a Masters Degree will certainly help. Another first step is to start speaking at conferences and helping their peers informally.

What differences in ELT can you see since you've started working?
Vinnie -
I think that methodologies are increasingly becoming more communicative and humanistic, looking at students as individuals. Teachers have a wider range of courses for professional development and they are more accessible than when I started my career. The students are overall more demanding and I have a feeling that there's a growing need for advanced courses and exam preparation.

In your opinion, what should teachers invest more in: improving their language skills, their knowledge about methodoly or their rapport with students?
Vinnie -
As I mentioned before, I believe that all three areas are equally important and should not be overlooked. Teachers should plan to get a language certificate (FCE, CAE, CPE) and a teaching award (TKT, CELTA, ICELT, DELTA). All of these courses are extremely practical and interesting.
Doing Letras is also very important but teachers should never stop questioning and developing. There are several workshops and conferences that teachers can and should get involved with (either attending or presenting). I hear a lot of teachers say that there is nothing new and that they don't attend seminars, lectures or even courses because they don't learn anything new. I don't think this is the right attitude for a teacher. The wheel cannot be reinvented every year but refreshing ideas and revisiting old concepts is always good. And so is a little bit of modesty and openness.

How do you see the future of ELT in Brazil?
Vinnie -
I think that the teaching of English as foreign language will become more and more serious and professional. I have met wonderful practitioners who are really passionate and capable. And I hope we can all work together to get the respect we truly deserve. I'd like to invite everyone to join BRAZ-TESOL as an important step towards building a solid and cohesive professional group.