Questions that teacher trainers ask themselves

Recently I’ve been busy running some workshops and giving talks and it’s funny how you can still arrive at a venue and have the same list of questions running through your mind. When you have no idea who your participants are, you have to quickly establish this through chatting to people as they arrive or asking a few questions at the beginning of your talk.  (i.e. Who are you all? What do you do? Why are you here?)

Here’s a list of questions I drew up for new trainers some years ago. It’s like a checklist of points that might be useful. If you’re new to training they might be helpful and if you are an experienced trainer, see if your questions are on the list. If not, maybe you’d like to add some.

Participant profile

What is the level of the trainees’ English?

What are their previous backgrounds in teaching?

What is the mix in terms of nationality, age range and cultural background?

 Needs and expectations

What will the participants want from the session? Do they actually want to be there?

What are their expectations? Will they prefer lots of ‘hands-on’ ideas, discussion or tutor-led input?

Aims and outcomes

What do you want them to be able to do by the end of the session?

What do you want them to try to implement into their teaching or personal development?

How will you assess if those aims and outcomes are achieved?


How much time do you have?

Are your aims achievable in the time allocated?

Prior knowledge/experience

How much do the trainees/teachers already know on this topic and about teaching in general?

Where should I pitch the training?

What might they have trouble understanding?

Other affecting factors

When is the training? In the morning? At the end of a working day? At the weekend? During paid or unpaid time?

What is their level of motivation (intrinsic and extrinsic)?

Rooms and resources

What room is it in?

What is the existing seating and room layout like?

What technical equipment does it have? What will I need? 

Categories: Teacher Training


1 reply

  1. Thanks, John – very useful, this being conference season!
    I’d just suggest adding the following (or at least – let you know that these are things I also think about!)
    – Under Prior knowledge, be sure not to include jargon or abbreviations – or at least explain them! This month I’m dealing with VLEs and PLNs … (!)
    – Under Rooms / Resources – always have a back-up in case the powerpoint – or whatever – goes wrong – or the room just isn’t how you expected!
    – Extra category? How to exploit a handout – but perhaps that’s a separate posting in itself!
    1. Do you give it out the start (and let everyone read it instead of listening to you), or half way through when there is a relevant task on it to do, or at the end – as a reminder ?
    2. What do you include on it – all your ppt slides; just bullet points; an extra article related to your talk; … ?

    I’m hoping your check list will serve me well on Saturday.. (local HU conf., and sadly not Brighton! ) I’ll post another response if not!
    Thanks, John

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