How to run a Genki Teacher Training Programme

If you’ve been asked to train a group of teachers this holiday, then here is the structure I use.

You’ll find that every step is important, to get the teachers from “but in my school ….” to “Oh yeah, let’s do this!”

If your teachers don’t speak really fluent English (i.e. most groups) I’d also recommend an interpreter.

If you have any questions or want more details, ask away in the comments!

UPDATE:  There is now a much simpler, linear version of the lesson plan book to use with newer teachers.

Genki English Training Manual: Version 1.0

Part I – Introducing Genki English

  • Start with the warm up game.
  • Motivate teachers to speak loudly, clearly and with gestures.
  • For smaller groups of teachers put them in a circle, each teacher gives a command to the group in turn. (The trainer will then see the confidence and English level of the teachers.)
  • Introduce that in Genki English we use music as the main learning tool.
  • Say that we are now going to use the English we’ve just learnt in the warm up game in a song.
  • Song: “Genki Disco Warm Up” (with gestures and everyone singing)
  • Ask teachers to look at each others faces – notice the smiles! This is how kids learn.
  • Say that we can use Genki English songs for any English, however complex.
  • Move into pre-teaching “What’s your name?” by singing the song acapella.
  • Note the importance of eye contact.
  • Practice the song with one participant at the front.
  • Then ask everyone if they can sing it with the music really loud.
  • When they say “yes” tell them they are not passionate enough!
  • Introduce Genki English Rule No. 1 “I can do it!”.
  • Ask them again and again if they can do the song really loud, until they are shouting out “I can do it!”
  • Do the song with the animation and everyone signing in pairs (change partners after each verse)
  • Remember to finish the song with a huge round of applause.

Part 2 – Allaying fears

  • Next we need to allay the teacher’s fears about teaching English this way.
  • Explain all the really cool stuff you’ve done in English education and how you really want to help them become stress free and make English the most enjoyable subject they teach.
  • Needs analysis:
  • 1. Split the group into two.
  • 2. Tell them you want to know their problems with teaching English.
  • 3. Give a pen to one person in each group.
  • 4. Explain that when you play the music you want these two people to come to the front and write one problem they have with teaching English on the board at the front.
  • 5. Then they pass the pen to the next person in their group and this person writes one problem they have on the board.
  • Explain that the group with the most problems on the board at the end of the session is the winner!
  • 6. Get them hyped up saying “Can you do it!” and review Genki English rule no.1 “I can do it!”
  • 7. Say “Ready, steady, go!” and play one of the fast Genki English songs really loud (I usually use “How did you get here?”)
  • 8. Hopefully after 5 or 6 minutes you should have a board full of problems that teachers have.
  • These will be the basis of the rest of the workshops.
  • Usually the problems will be the same with every group of teachers!
  • Assure the teachers that you are going to solve every single one of their problems!
  • When you are doing subsequent lessons, try and link back to this list of problems where appropriate. e.g. if one problem is that students forget the spoken English, then mention this when you talk about songs later. If they mention that they don’t have much room in their classrooms, then when you come to show the Genki English games, show them how to modify the games for small spaces etc.  If they worry about pronunciation, mention this when you talk about using the software.

Part 3 – Introducing the component parts of Genki English

  • Start off with warm up game again.
  • Explain about the importance of warm ups and reviews at the beginning of the lesson. (They signal to the kids that this is communication time, it warms up their bodies for the gestures in the songs, and it helps them remember the English from the previous lessons)
  • Repeat many times “One: Warm up!” in your talk.
  • Say that in order for the kids to not forget the English they have learnt we also need to review the song from the previous lesson. Last lesson we did “What’s your name?” so now sing the song again.
  • Ask the teachers to notice how the English comes back to them so easily with the song.
  • Point out that this is why we use music, it sticks in the kids’ heads all day, along with the English.
  • Say it is an amazingly simple, stress free, effective & fun replacement for “repeat after me”.
  • But explain that just memorizing some English isn’t the same as being able to use English.
  • So for that we use GAMES.
  • Introduce the “What’s your name?” game (from the manual) and play it with the teachers.
  • Ask the team who won “How do you feel?” – they should feel happy!
  • Ask the team who lost “How do you feel?” – they’ll probably say “sad” or something like that!
  • Introduce Genki English rule number 2: “Losing just means try again!”
  • Ask the losing team “How do you feel?” keep asking them till they say “Try again!” in a big loud voice.
  • Play the game again.

Part 4 – Lesson Plan Construction + Demo Lesson

  • Introduce how we fit the parts together to build a full lesson plan:
  • 1)Warm Up + review of previous lesson’s song
  • 2)Introduce today’s new English using the song
  • 3)Practice the new English with a game
  • Then run through a full lesson as an example, e.g. “How are you?
  • If your teachers speak Japanese, Thai, Spanish or Chinese then putting up each lesson plan from the GE manual on the screen in their language really helps.
  • Reinforce the Genki English rules throughout the lesson: “I can do it!” and “Losing means try again!”

Part 5 – Demo Lesson

  • Ask the teachers to tell you what the three steps of a Genki English lesson plan are.
  • Do another model lesson e.g. Numbers or How old are you?

Part 6 onwards – Teaching Practice

If the teachers are fast and up to speed:

  • Put them in groups
  • Hand out the lesson plan for a new theme to each group.
  • Give them 15 to 20 minutes to practice teaching the lesson to each other in the group.
  • When the time is up, choose one group at random to come to the front and teach everyone else the lesson!
  • At this point they will say “No! No! I can’t do it!” – here you get all the other teachers to teach them Genki English rule number 1- “I can do it!” – it’s not just for the kids!
  • They will inevitable make a complete mess of the lesson.
  • Ask them how they feel.
  • They will say “terrible, I can’t teach this” to which you get the other teachers to teach them Genki English rule number 2 “Losing just means try again!”
  • Repeat again with a different lesson in the following sessions.
  • Once you have done this three times over three sessions then most teachers will be able to teach any theme.
  • After 5 or 6 times the teachers will be saying “This is so easy, we don’t need anymore training, we want to get out there and teach this!”

OR.. if the teachers are slow and aren’t motivated:

  • Just run through more demo lessons instead of putting them into groups.
  • They won’t have the chance the experience actually teaching Genki English but they will experience what it is like to learn in the Genki way.

Final Hour: Final Review and Motivation

  • Review the Genki English rules and the 3 parts of a lesson.
  • 1)Warm Up + Review
  • 2)New English with the song
  • 3)Practice the new English with the game.
  • Show some examples of the higher level Genki English themes.
  • Show examples of some of the supplementary Genki English materials (e.g. picture books, worksheetscomputer games etc.) that they can get access to if they perfect how to teach the main lesson plans!
  • Show the teachers why they are so important for the future lives of their students.
  • Ask them to remember their childhood and the people that inspired them.
  • Now they are the role models!
  • Tell them we will all help and support them as much as possible to make the biggest possible positive impact on all their students’ lives.
  • Remember “I can do it!” and “Losing just means try again!”
  • Finish with the Genki English “Thank you” or “Superhero” songs.

Any questions or remarks, ask them in the comments!

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

8 Responses to “How to run a Genki Teacher Training Programme”

  1. Angolna

    “If your teachers don’t speak really fluent English (i.e. most groups) I’d also recommend an interpreter.”

    Do you really see this in other countries too? I thought it was just a Hungarian thing. 🙂

    The English teachers here don’t speak really fluent English except those that have spent at least a couple of months in an English speaking country before starting teaching. The teachers know the grammar very well, but they have trouble speaking without thinking about the grammar all the time and keep correcting themselves even if they don’t say it out loud so they are frustrated.

    I am not an English teacher (however I started to teach kid groups last year) I used to work as a translator and interpreter, spent a year in the US and a couple of months in the UK too, so I don’t have any difficulties speaking English anytime anywhere, but I can see my grammar imperfections, but that’s fine with me, cause I am using the language without any stress, but the English teachers I know (I know a LOTS of them) are getting nervous when they speak English in a real situation (not in their class cause that is okay).

    I believe we (foreign teachers) all should use Genki English to really enjoy speaking and teach our classes the fun way. I am absolutely sure that teachers benefit a lot from using Genki English. Your videos are really cool and fun, thank God we have people like you, and thank to the internet we can find you! 🙂

  2. Mariana

    It’s great to see how much could we learn in such a simple way as via e-mail. I`m really glad every time I get an idea from you. Thanks a lot!!! Mariana from Argentina

  3. Janet Gray

    I’m trying to look at the lesson planbook (English, easy) to use for new teachers. My computer says an error exists on this page. I can’t get any lessons from lesson #12 through lesson 25. Then it picks up again with lesson #26.

    I can’t get ANY lesson plans under the “English,normal” lessons. It says an error occurs in your PDF. I hope you can fix these! They’re great what I’ve seen.
    Janet

  4. Gumby

    Richard,
    Thank you for writing this up. I will print it out and keep in on file. I like the way you get the teachers to list their concerns, so you can address them during the workshop. Unless you cover these, teachers are only half-listening.

    Also I am seeing the importance of ‘practicing’ the rules with teachers. I wouldn’t have thought that setting teachers up to fail would be a good tactic, but it’s probably something that is necessary. Do you plan which group would go first. If so, what kind of things do you look for when making your decision?

    These are something I would like to try in the next teacher’s workshops. Thanks again.

  5. richard

    Hi Janet, I just had a look at it seems OK. You might need to update your adobe pdf viewer, it’s free at adobe.com Does that help?

  6. Natalie

    Richard thanks a lot for GE and for endless great ideas that give me inspiration every day! That’s imasing that I found out about GE only last week and since then I can’t sleep;-) I want to teach kid in a Genki way) Now I have a 10-months old excuse for not doing it right away;-)
    Talking about fluency of speech and mistakes – I always say to my student “It’s better to make a mistake but to speak loudly and confidently than to say smth gramatically correct but quietly”

  7. Margit

    Back to a very old post:

    When you are at part 6, do all the teachers of the group teach bits and bits?

    I got 3 half days in a row in Summer to do a teachers workshop. That’s big for our city! Usually I get 90 minutes per year??!

    For sure I want some teachers do a lesson but as they are over 40 not all of them can teach. Also I am thinking of telling them at the end of day 1 to prepare for day 2, to safe some of the workshop time. Do you think this idea isn’t good?

    If you have any advice, please let me know.

    Thank you, Margit

  8. richard

    Hi Margit,

    It’s very tough to do with 40. I’ve done it with 30 and that was pushing it so now stick to a max of 20 or 25.

    So I’d tell everyone to prepare the lesson. But then randomly pick just 1 group.

    Then tell all of them they have a few more minutes to re-prepare based on what they saw and pick another group to present at random.

    See how many times you can fit it.

    As long as they know there will always be a chance they’ll get picked next then they’ll keep spending more and more time preparing. ( Ah, quite the opposite of normal lessons eh!)

    Also make sure you pick the least confident groups and make sure they split the workload. They’ll often just leave it to one strong teacher, so tell them off if they do!

    If the strong teachers do the teaching it will just reaffirm that only the good teachers can do English.

    But if you pick the weakest you’ll not only get them telling everyone what a good experience it was, you might also discover a few new star teachers!

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