Year 2011. And it is almost impossible to be a bad teacher.
If you are a teacher who is passionate about teaching and who considers continuous professional development as an important aspect of your career, the opportunities to become a good teacher are ENDLESS.
I am not going to share with you a long list because I find long lists overwhelming and confusing.
Here are my six reasons why you cannot be a bad teacher. In other words, learning opportunities for enthusiastic teachers:)
It is a global staffroom with endless learning and sharing opportunities. After you sign up and before starting to think desperately what to do next, go to We Follow, search for educators on Twitter and start following them. You can search with keywords like elt, esl, efl or tefl. If you think you need some guidance, you can join the aPLaNet Project. It is a European Union funded project which aims to help language educators become autonomous members of online social networks.
A great way to understand how Twitter works and how wonderful it is to be in a global staffroom, you can join the #ELTChat discussion sessions that take place every Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. GMT and 21:00 p.m. GMT. ELT teachers from all around the world log into their Twitter accounts and for one hour they discuss on a topic they have selected. Read more about the #ELTChat.
Ning is an online platform for people and organizations to create custom social networks. (Source: Wikipedia)
When you join a Ning that is created for educators, you have the opportunity to join discussions, share articles, videos and photos.
Here are four Nings which you can become a member of and start interacting with likeminded colleagues:
EFL Classroom 2.0
The Educator’s PLN
aPLaNet – Autonomous ‘Personal Learning Networks’ for Language Teachers
3. Facebook Groups & Pages
Through Facebook Groups and Pages, you can stay more connected with educators from all around the world. (Click here to read about the difference between Facebook Groups and Pages.)
Here are some Groups and Pages you should check out:
EU Educators (Group)
aPLaNet – Autonomous ‘Personal Learning Networks’ for Language Teachers (Page)
Teaching English – British Council (Page)
There are so many wonderful educator blogs in the blogosphere. Once you start following some of them, you will see that they support each other by giving links to other educators’ blogs and that’s how you will discover other great blogs.
As a beginning, check out these blogs, and their blogrolls* as well:
Teacher Reboot Camp
Reflections of a Teacher and Learner
Box of Chocolates
OUP ELT Global Blog
*Blogroll: A blogroll is a list of links to blogs that the blogger likes. A blogroll is usually included in the blog’s sidebar.
5. Online Workshops & Conferences
IATEFL Online Project has been providing online coverage of the IATEFL Conference for five years. The next IATEFL Conference is taking place in Glasgow on 19-23 March 2012 and I’m sure the IATEFL Online Team will do a wonderful job again and take the conference to teachers who are not able to attend in person.
Virtual Round Table Conference (20-22 April, 2012)
The Virtual Round Table Conference is a 3-day online conference. So far more than 2000 participants and 180 guest speakers have participated in the conference. It is great that all the sessions are recorded and can be found on the Virtual Round Table (VRT) Ning. You can join the Ning at http://www.virtual-round-table.com/.
The Macmillan Online Conference (8-9 November, 2011)
Macmillan is organizing its first online conference. It is a 2-day event with a very good line up of speakers. You can see the program here.
The Electronic Village Online (EVO)
EVO is a set of online discussions and workshops that takes place every year from mid-January to mid-February. Sessions include a range from simple discussions to virtual hands-on workshops. Registrations start on January 2, 2012 and being a TESOL member is not required to register.
The term webinar is short for Web-based Seminar, a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the Web, specifically a portmanteau of web & seminar, to describe a specific type of web conference. (Source: Wikipedia)
You can check out TeachingEnglish | British Council | BBC, Macmillan and PearsonELT webinars that offer good quality content on a regular basis.
Teaching English Webinars
Macmillan Interactive Webinars
It is great that everything I have shared with you here is free and you don’t need any special computer skills to get started. All you need is enthusiasm and some time!:)
Let me finish with a quote…
“Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity.” Bo Bennett