The teachers at Maple Bear have recently been through a training program in September 2015 presented by a highly experienced mentor from Maple Bear Global. After flying in from Canada Beverley did not waste any time in sharing her 40 years of teaching experience with the group.

The training lasted 3 days for foreign teachers and 1 day for Vietnamese teachers and with so many topics to cover and questions and clarifications from teachers we had to work fast. However, this was not a problem as Beverley’s proficiency shone through as she delivered presentations on a range of subjects.

One topic which all the teachers found particularly useful was ideas on how to present the “Read Aloud” section of the curriculum. The training method was simple, a story book was read to the teachers by Beverley and we were asked to analyze her method. Whilst investigating her way of story telling it became quite clear that all the teachers whilst having slightly different techniques could agree on what is most important when reading a story to their students. Some of things we agreed upon were – make it magical! The more magical we can make a story the more students will want to listen. This includes choosing the correct book that children can engage with, include a range of accents for different characters and the dramatic pause. In addition, we talked about how children can gain vocabulary from a read aloud and decided that vocabulary absorption can be improved by pausing the story at various points to explain some of the more difficult words. We also concluded that at the end of the story asking open questions about the book can help the students share with the rest of the class and relate information from the story. This encourages the students to put their ideas into words in English and speeds up language acquisition.

Over the training period we covered many more topics including; the fundamentals of language acquisition, the best teaching practices in Canada and how we can mirror this in our classrooms and watching different Maple Bear classrooms around the world. We also worked on our learning centers where teachers teamed up in pairs and explained how they would create a center on a variety of class topics.

We had a whole day of training with our teaching assistants to promote synergy within the classroom. It also gave us time to communicate on issues that arise within the classroom and what can be done to address them. This has resulted in better communication in the classroom and some fixed classroom procedures so behavioural management can be implemented efficiently with minimal interruption to the class.

In conclusion I have found it very beneficial to share ideas with my co-workers and draw from the massive experience of Beverley’s teaching career. It has influenced our classroom approach and after the training we feel more in line with the principals of the Maple Bear education system.