Like teachers of any subject, language teachers need to undergo specialised initial or pre-service teacher training before they are asked to take up their teaching duties. This is just as true for those teachers for whom the language in question is their mother tongue as for those for whom it is an additional language. Guidelines for training aimed at future teachers of languages in mainstream European schools are to be found in the European Profile for Language Teaching Education, the result of an EU-funded project, and in the European Portfolio for Student Teachers of Languages that resulted from a Council of Europe ECML project and is intended to help teachers in training to assess their own progress. These documents may be especially useful reference points for when preparing training programmes for those who are working as teachers but have not yet had any formal training in language teaching.
However, generally such initial training does not cover the special demands made of teachers who work on language courses for adult migrants. Moreover, some teachers of migrants working for community associations and charitable organisations, or as volunteers, may not have had any training at all as language teachers. In such cases, additional training is needed to equip language teachers to teach migrants effectively. Bearing in mind Council of Europe principles, specific areas that may need to be addressed in further teacher training are likely to include, among other topics:
Further training for teachers of adult migrants may take any or a combination of the following forms:
All such options may be seen as part of professional development, the process by which individual teachers, however experienced they are, continue to broaden and deepen their expertise and their knowledge-base in the specific kind of language education that adult migrants need. Professional development can also include any activities in the professional field which are felt to be useful and important to the individual, such as taking on new teaching and non-teaching duties, learning one or more migrant languages, guided reading, counselling students and surveying their views, and classroom-based research. While it is best self-directed, individualised professional development nevertheless requires guidance and financial support, as well as recognition, from the employer.