Sunday, February 22, 2015

Where did Charles Rei go...?

That is a question I have been asking myself for about a year now as I have largely stepped back from the international teaching/training network.  No Twitter, close to zero blog posts, no conferences... nothing.

The answer has both personal and professional reasons.  On the personal side, my family and I built a house last year.  I underestimated the effort completely.  Also my sons are at the wonderful ages of six and four... a period I want to take advantage of.

The professional side is more complex.  I have taken on too much work and have been running at over-capacity since May last year.  I broke my own rule for workload and I haven't been able to reduce it.  A quick look at my calendar for next week shows 32 hours of meetings.  That is a lot of 'face-time'.  Hopefully, I will be able to shed some workload sometime this spring.

The second issue is that I am entering many new areas of training and development.  There are so many lines of thought and I am trying to sort them all out.  In short, there are more questions than answers.

This may be a good chance, however, to show what the career development path of a Business English Trainer looks like as it is happening.

Here are my current development projects:

  • Customized language training courses for a tax consultancy
    • ~15 participants in two groups
    • Started in 2011 with rotating participation (new people come, old ones leave)
    • Focus on financial and legal English
    • Supports on-boarding program for new employees (some might call this CLIL-lite)
  • Semi-embedded in an R&D department
    • ~20 participants in two organized groups and one 'pool' of advanced learners
    • Started in 2012 with stable participation
    • 'Communication skills to sentence level' training
    • Special sessions for technical English
    • Small coaching aspect - 'trainer-on-demand'
  • Fully-embedded in an R&D team (a different one)
    • ~15 participants in Germany, ~20 participants in China, 8 groups total
    • Started 2014
    • 40% training, 60% coaching/support including reserved sessions for management
    • Group sessions for language and communication skills to sentence level
    • Observation of / participation in real-world team meetings
    • Support overall development team communication (norms & standards, IT tools, communication planning, intercultural considerations, formal & informal communication channels, team dynamics and conflict resolution, running workshops, documentation review, etc.)
  • Outplacement coaching and training program (not language training)
    • In conjunction with coaches from the HR field - designed to help employees transition after layoffs
    • Application document reviews and interview skills
    • Career coaching - goal setting, personal development, etc.
  • 'Standard' virtual training (the closest thing to regular language training I have)
    • one group - based on CEF level B1
  • 5 individual clients
    • various focal points - some need more language, some need more communication skills to sentence level
  • Materials writing
    • Corpus-derived word lists and activities (most technical and financial)
    • English for Sales course
    • Company-specific C1 course
You will likely read "communication skills to sentence level" quite often from me in the future as this has really become my new mindset.  Over the last year, I have been able to smash through the glass walls of language training and into language in use while communicating internationally.  When that happened, the methods and content I drew up became so fuzzy it is hard for me to say what exactly they are.  Hopefully, over the next few months I will be able to use this blog to help solidify my ideas.  I remember my Cert IBET course and how it helped me bring many ideas 'into orbit'.  I'm hoping some reflection will let me do that now.

By the way, if you contacted me last year and I didn't respond... I'm really sorry, I hope you understand.  It was certainly not personal.

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