IH CAM online – my thoughts before starting

In February I started the IH CAM online. What is this course and why am I taking it? Read on to find out.

Motivation

Since I started teaching in 2011, I’ve learnt tonnes by attending workshops and seminars but I’m at a point where I want to take my teaching to the next level.

I’ve read that the best thing to do to prepare yourself for a TEFL Diploma is to read as much as you can before you start. I have tried dipping into methodology books but I don’t really last very long without something practical to tie it to.

On the other hand, when I was tasked with teaching “Skills” to elementary level learners in July 2016, I read up on and experimented with pronunciation practices I hadn’t tried before. I wrote a teaching journal for the first time as I tried things out.

By having an actual purpose to read, my background work becomes useful and effective. (Note to self: remember this when planning reading tasks for my students!)

I am hoping the International House Certificate in Advanced Methodology (herein referred to as IH CAM) will help with this: a chance to get stuck into theory – but with relevant practical work by tying it into the classes I currently teach.

Concern #1 – Lack of information

The official website is rather brief.

Through email correspondence I’ve been able to establish that it isn’t restricted to adult classes – YL ones can be used for the experimentation that’s part of the course. Good news!

Otherwise what I’ve been able to find is an old announcement from years ago which gives some information about the course content and one blogger’s account of a face-to-face course which does imply it’s rather useful when applied to the classroom.

Beyond that, I’m not sure what to expect.

Concern #2 – Online learning

I’ve done a few MOOCs (both related to teaching and not at all) and have found 4-6 weeks to be a suitable length. Even then, there have been weeks where I’ve had the time to get ahead and weeks where I have not been able to spend any time on the course.

The IH CAM is much longer than any other online learning I’ve done. In addition I have a jam-packed term ahead and this makes me very nervous.

While I work a lot, I also fill up my non-work time with a lot of things that help keep me balanced – hiking, language learning, dancing or simply hanging out with friends. A few weeks into term I usually end up dropping one (or more) of those things. With the extra workload of the IH CAM I’m a bit worried how this is going to affect my personal life and the ever unbalanced work-life balance.

On the positive side of things…

A colleague is doing the same course at the same time. This definitely influenced my decision. She also shares some of the same reservations about online learning and we’re excited to be able to discuss what we learn as we go through the course and to keep each other accountable and motivated.

The learning! As I said in the beginning, I’m not sure what expectations I have, so if it gets me reading and experimenting pre-Delta then I’m all for it!

Let’s see how it goes.

Over to you: Have you done an online course? How did you fit it into your schedule?

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