One reason, naturally, is space. This is also why we have simplified some of the course titles, gently removing many of the adjectives that marketing departments have carefully included, and introducing tick boxes for the most popular non-specific courses. These include not only the ever-popular English language development for teachers and general methodology, but also the ‘refresher’ programmes that offer a mixture of both. The burgeoning number of options covering the use of technology in the classroom get their own ticks. A list of providers offering general refresher courses, along with non-BC accredited centres, is below.
So what trends can we see when we examine the listings? Primary and secondary courses are holding steady and Clil is still strong. But there are perhaps fewer age- or subject-specific courses, while Wimbledon School of English is focusing on English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI).
What is the difference between EMI and Clil? One EMI professor put it this way: ‘Clil teachers worry about whether students are learning the language, we worry whether they are also learning the subject.’
Culture and language courses remain strong and drama seems to be experiencing a renaissance, but the offering for pre-school teachers appears to be on the wane – even as demand for pre-school English takes off across the world. The problem here may be funding; with much of pre-school provision worldwide offered by the private sector, few governments feel the need to fund the necessary training, and even fewer pre-school teachers can afford to fund it themselves. The big growth area this year is teaching language to children with special needs – and about time too! Why do we spend so much time worrying about kinesthetic versus auditory learners when up to 10 per cent of our students will have language processing deficits like dyslexia? A shout here for Oxford International Study Centre, who also cover language learning and autism, and to Nile, whose practical introduction includes dyscalculia and dyspraxia.
Learning how to help your learners deal with these problems is another 21st Century skill to go with the creativity, collaboration and computer literacy that feature in the courses under that title.
This year also sees the emergence of a new major player in the Erasmus field: British Study Centres, where a recent set of acquisitions and mergers have built an impressive teacher training resource centre. Will they soon rival the grand old names like International House London and Bell?
The future in the era of Brexit is hard to foresee – except, of course, for the many Irish providers of Erasmus listed here. The British government has declared it wants to stay in this programme, which has transformed the lives of so many teachers and learners across Europe. We must wait and see.
Providers offering general courses only: Excel English, ITTC, Leeds Language College, Lewis School of English, Oxford House College London.
Providers not accredited by the BC in the UK: Confluence Scotland, International Study Programmes