From teacher to coordinator: where do teaching and ELT management meet?

Alejandra Oliveri's session at the 10th Anglo congress  started with an examination of what facets a  teacher has to help them when they make the transition to coordinator. Suggestions Included responsibility, experience, authority.

It was mentioned that a teacher also needs to be a manager (of learning, classroom management etc.).

Alejandra believes that the gradual movement into the field of management is a result of increased readiness and a new willingness to accept the increased responsibility.

 Alejandra then asked the audience to think of 14 essential skills that are usually associated with teaching. These included giving encouragement, helping students to feel valued, course and lesson planning, making aims clear, assessing performance, training and research, establishing rapport, dealing with emotions, listening effectively, persuading, working with others, correcting, giving negative feedback, consulting, assessing performance, monitoring, keeping records, developing systems.

Which of these skills are transferable to management? 

Alejandra and the audience agrede that they all were, but Alejandra also said that these skills were not enough. She explained that there was a difference from when she felt she was ready to become a manager and then when she was doing the job.

Other skills typically associated with management are: setting clear aims and objectives, translating these into plans of action, adapting and initiating change, assessing effectiveness, offering objective advice, delegating, budgeting time, dealing with stress, giving regular feedback, encouraging and developing others, demonstrating our knowledge of ELT, keeping up to date, speaking and writing clearly, listening to others, building networks, accepting responsibility, knowing one's strengths and weaknesses, and having the vision and direction to make them clear.

It is also important to take a thorough look at the institution where you work. You need to do this in different ways. For example, the institution as a legal entity is very different to the institution as a social entity. It is very important that all the systems work well. But usually, there is no one person who is responsible for this. It is nobody's and everybody's job. The Manager needs to take a close look at the systems and how they work.

Confidence and attitute are the most important factors for the new manager. You need to look at the bigger picture and take a wider view of the organisation. You need also to:
- become more mature and sensitive to others
- become aware of the transition from teacher to manager and e balance needed
- gain more awareness of what management entails and includes dealing with a potential higher stress load
- start networking and managing relations with administrative staff

Training is important for various reasons:
- establishing credibility by acquiring more formal skills
- gaining more knowledge of financial management and conventions such as costs, budgets, margins, etc.
- handling different ways of communicating and assessing impact

Alejandra introduced us to the framework KASA, which stands for:
- Knowledge...i.e. Market information, management theory, resource information, academic programme.
- Attitudes...i.e. Staff motivation, staff needs and priorities, organisational structure, institutional history
- Skills...i.e. Communication, budgeting and financial management, Human resources, academic management, conflict and change management, teacher supervision and observation.
- Awareness...i.e. Strengths and weaknesses, how you are perceived by the staff, 

Becoming a manager, Alejandra mentions, requires personal as well as professional development.

To finish, Alejandra mentioned the importance of the 10 steps to a learning organisation by Peter Kline and Bernhard Saunders (1993):

1. Assess your learning culture.
2. Promote the positive.
3. Make the workplace safe for thinking.
4. Reward risk-taking.
5. Help people become resources for each other.
6. Put learning power to work.
7. Map out the vision.
8. Bring the vision to life.
9. Connect the systems.
10. Get the show on the road.

Further Reading


  1. Hi Graham
    Thanks for the article. Not sure if my previous comment went through, but that article you linked to is actually mine, not Sue's. Cheers

  2. Thanks for correcting this, Andy - I'll change this in the blog post.


  3. It is very interesting and useful article. I got new ideas for coordinating ESL teachers at school.


  4. Glad to hear it, Gulnara


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