So much more than a Teacher Development course

Wow! 3 months! Really? I haven’t written for that long?  Well, today seems to be the perfect day to reflect on how much I’ve experienced, learned and grown since then. 🙂 The first 15 days of July, at Bell Teacher Campus (Cambridge), I was one of the six lucky people to be part of the From Sounds to Storytelling course by Adrian Underhill. One of the things we discussed as a group is how the title makes no justice to the real experience of this course. Yes, we did study the phonemic chart, progressively working with individual sounds, words and connected speech as well as using all that knowledge to work on our storytelling skills, but in fact that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Pronunciation Police Coffe Corner

“Pronunciation Police Coffe Corner” at Homerton College

Here is a list of all that went on:) :  

  • A pleasant and highly motivating atmosphere in the classroom from day 1 and tons of wonderful moments when the room was filled with laughter.
  • The phonemic chart: countless tips, ideas and discussions related to our own pronunciation difficulties, our students’ most common mistakes, discovering the logical and physical sense of the chart and how to introduce it and use it in our lessons.
  • Adrian’s natural way of finding the balance between group work and 1:1 work without every loosing our attention as learners.
  • All the great games, activities and chats were we had the opportunity to loosen up and connect as a group. Strong bonds and friendships remain 🙂
  • All the poems and stories we had the chance to listen to and work with.
  • I never had the sense of rushing. Everything went so smoothly.
  • Lots of scaffolding and coaching to build our knowledge and confidence working on all the different elements that must be taken into account when performing/telling a story.
  • Discussions on ELT matters and our own experiences.
  • Live, first hand demonstrations of Demand High techniques.
  • Workshops and plenaries on various topics.
  • Reflecting on our teaching and learning style(s).
  • Other socially-enaging activities organised by Bell Teacher Campus.
A well rounded conversation :)

A well rounded conversation 🙂

What might you do differently?????

This course and this question in particularly, have made this experience a turning point in my teaching career. Whenever we openly discussed teaching methodology and techniques, Adrian would ask this question, and it still swirls in my phonological loop with his own personal voice 🙂 There are various things I have tried to keep in mind since then whenever I am in a classroom or planning a lesson. Many of them were pointed out to us (the trainees) to analyse and reflect as teachers. Others are those personal and unique traits of a teacher in particular which I had the luxury to observe for two whole weeks in full action. They are:

  • Mistakes are the syllabus : This one definitely flips what most teachers do, including me (until now 🙂 ). Building up from students’ previous knowledge as a starting point is good but not enough. Mistakes gives us so much information as teachers and most of the time we focus on correcting them rather than working with them.
  • Time is precious – hand it to your students: Yes we plan but like Adrian explained we mustn’t stick to it if something better and more meaningful in taking place in the classroom.
  • Teach less – Guide more : Many ELT methodology books look into the facilitator role of a teacher and I can now say I have seen it live and rollin’. There is a great deal that students already know, kind of know, can be intuitive about and are definitely capable of achieving without the teacher providing the direct answer, correction or alternative. This also has a lot to do with the element of time. Teachers sometimes feel like they have to jump in and save the student from “drowning” in a pool of confusion but in fact all they need better equipment, that is their own resources and awareness to help them dive in and explore consciously.  Ask yourself  “How helpful is my help?”
  • Manage the energy in the room: Like I’ve said before, we did loads of different things and I never had the sense of rushing. The teacher is responsible for this one and I think it is a skill worth developing. Projecting calmness, genuine interest and openness as well as deciding what, how, when and why to reach of the objectives we have planned in a realistic and smooth manner makes a great difference.
  • Listen, don’t just hear: This is a good one for life itself. We tend to be thinking about other things while someone is talking to us. Be mindful 🙂 Listen. Really listen and see what happens. 
  • Brainstorming, discussion, reflection and cooperation

  As you can see… it was much more than just another developing course 🙂

Than u Adrian :)

Thank u Adrian 🙂

Liebster Award nominee :)

This weekend couldn’t have started any better 🙂 An emotional last day for students and as I got home, ready to write a new post about my upcoming plans, I read a message that said  “I recently discovered your blog and nominated you for The Liebster Award” 🙂 🙂 🙂  Honestly, I couldn’t believe it. It seemed to good to be true considering my blog is two months old and has only 11 posts so far. I had to rub my eyes and read it several times 🙂

Thank you Ms. L-P. I am really flattered. Nice blog by the way (etvegan.wordpress.com) : ELT + Yummy things. It can’t get better than that 🙂

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Official rules for the Liebster award:
  1. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  2. Answer the questions designated by the blogger(s) who nominated you.
  3. Place YOUR nominations for the Liebster Award! Nominate five (or more) other bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Make sure to notify them via comment/email, etc.
  4. Make up a set of questions for those nominated bloggers to answer.
  5. Display the Liebster award badge on your blog!

Here I go …..

11 Random facts about me: 

1. I’m an early bird.

2. I have recently started running… and hurt my knee already 😦

3. I’ve got the travelling bug. Can’t go too long without catching a plane.

4. Can’t say no to Lindt chocolates.

5. I like making presents rather than buying them.

6. Drama and comedy are my favourites.

7. I’m not so good at remembering things in the long term… oops!

8. I hate being late. I was 20 mins late on my first day as a teacher because of the train. It was so embarrassing 😦

9. I love languages but I don’t really like grammar…

10. I’m a dog lover. Don’t really know how I went about without a dog for so many years 🙂 They are the best companions!

11. Starting this blog has been wonderful. I’ve connected with professionals from all over the globe. Love it!

My answers to Ms L-P’s questions: 

1. If you could travel back in time, what time period would you go to?

1920s  To take part in fighting for the women’s suffrage. Plus, the music was great at that time!

2. If you had to change professions for some reason, what other profession would you choose?

I would like to be a language interpreter for social services, including sign language which I would have to learn 🙂

3. Which of your blog posts are you most proud of?

My BE DARING !!! Vicky Loras’ advice on CPD .  I watched a webinar by Vicky Loras on CPD as part of my webinar watching marathon and wrote a reaction post to it. The feedback was incredibly positive. Vicky Loras herself really liked it so she contacted me via social media and even reblogged it 🙂  I also like it because I share a lot about my teaching journey.

4. If you could take over Aren Duncan’s for a day, what policy changes would you put in place?

Ufff… There’s so much to do, but to start with, I would carry out the necessary reforms so that the Educational curricula would be developed by educators, teachers and pedagogical experts. I would also like to abolish Standardise Tests.

5. Describe a time you messed up, but learned a valuable lesson.

During my CELTA, on a Teaching Practice session students where meant to do a role play. The lesson had gone well so far but when it came to giving them the instructions for the role play I just kept complicating it more and more. The anxiety of being evaluated made me really nervous and it kept getting worse and worse. The students were quite reluctant to the task and they wouldn’t stand up. In the end, by the time I got around it they had very little time left for the role play, which also took away time for delayed feedback.

I felt like it had been such a disaster but actually after the feedback with the tutor and my colleagues, it turned out that they didn’t see it as horribly as I did  and we ended up having a great discussion on students reluctancy to participate, how to deal with it and how to prepare better for delivering instructions.

From this I learnt:

1. Don’t be so hard on  yourself, specially if  you are in the middle of a learning process

2. Mistakes are the best teachers for you and for others.

3. Sometimes you’ve got to go wrong to identify what’s right.

6. What is one book or movie that you think more people should read/watch?

Shifting Sands: A guidebook for Crossing the Deserts of Change  by Steve Donahue

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Once in a while I read it again. It makes you ask yourself wether you are a “mountain climber” as most western societies, focusing on the final goal or a “dessert crosser”  someone who experiences every step of the journey and focuses on the present. This book influenced me as a teacher, reminding me to focus on the process as much as the results and enjoy it while I’m at it.

 

 

 

7. What is something you hope will be true about your life 10 years from now?

Next September I will be taking a detour on my career and step out of my comfort zone to try the TEFL traveler experience for a few years so I hope that in ten years time I will have fulfilled that dream.

 

My nominees 

Laura Edwards: Grown Up English

Angelos Bollas : Narratives of a TEFLer

Eva M. Gutierrez : ELT Stuff 

David Mainwood : The EFL SMARTblog

Hana Tichá: How I see it now

 

My questions for the nominees:

1. What can’t you go about without in a classroom?

2. What’s your favourite season of the year and why?

3. They say cooking can be therapeutic. How do you unwind?

4. Share a positive experience you had with a student.

5. Find a qoute that reflects your teaching.

6. Cats or dogs?

7. What age range do you prefer teaching?

8. Describe a funny classroom moment.

 

 

 

The gift of being a misfit

Today I have time travelled. 

Reading Chia Sua Chong’s post A rose by any other name has taken me back to my personal experiences in the United Arab Emirates. It has also been an inspiration to achieve my third goal for Shelly Sanchez’s 30 Goals Challenge : Tell your Story 🙂 Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 1.33.52 PM

 image from Flickr by John ‘K’ under CC BY NC-ND 2.0
 

The first time my family and I moved to Abu Dhabi I was 6 years old, entering 1st of Primary Ed. On the first day of school I had this conversation with several of my classmates:

X: Hi! What’s your name?
Me: Laila Khairat Gómez
(dad and mom’s surname as is done in Spain)
X: Where are you from?
Me: Spain
X: But your name is arabic.
Me: Well, my dad is from Egypt and my mom is from Spain.
X: So you are Egyptian 
Me: ………
X: Is your father a muslim?
Me: Yes
X: So you are Egyptian and a muslim

Even at such a young age all these questions and explicit deductions of whom I was or had to be felt wrong. I was looking forward to a new school, new classmates and new friends. I assumed I would be playing around during break time as I had always done but instead I got interrogated again and again and by the time the bell rang I hadn’t smiled once.

Soon I learnt that in Abu Dhabi, you could belong to one of three existing social groups:

a) natives from arab speaking countries; they shared the language, cultural customs and religious beliefs

b) foreigners; both parents had to be from the western part of the world with a western mentality and lifestyle

c) the in-betweens or misfits; everyone else (including me, my sisters and all the Indians, Pakistanis, Turkish, Indonesians, Ethiopians, etc. )

There wasn’t really much choice. 

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image from Flickr by Tess under CC BY 2.O

Why would 6 year olds care about such things? Didn’t they prefer exchanging glittery stickers or playing hide and seek? Well, yes they did, but first the boundaries had to be set and nothing or no one even slightly different had to be allowed in.

I empathise with Chia Sua because as a result of this, happening year after year, at about the age of 10 I decided to do something about it. From then on, my name was Laila Gómez, and I was from Spain. I knew I still wouldn’t be part of the “foreigners” but I sure didn’t want to be part of the “native arabs” because they were imposing on me a language, a religion, a dress code and a cultural norm which I had to immerse into if I wanted to be accepted instead of criticised and look down on.

As time passed, I came to realise that all those children were just reproducing the attitude and ideas they had learnt from adults. Those were the questions their own parents would ask them back home when they’d share they had a new classmate and their behaviour was basically what they knew was expected from them. Even after knowing this, it still surprised me as it sure was internalised and came across as their own judgment.To rebel, Chia Sua decided to embrace her culture and language. In my case, I did so by holding strongly to my Spanish half and consciously decided to stop growing as a member of the Arabic culture (at least publicly). This meant:

  1. No more studying Arabic (I didn’t want to understand their gossiping and preferred to use English to communicate. English seemed the neutral option, the language that helped create bridges, the language I used with my misfit friends.)
  2. No more listening to Arabic music or at least not the popular one. (Didn’t want to have hobbies and likes in common with those who decided to block us out.)
  3. No more discovery of the muslim religion. (I was quite sure by then that many of the prejudices rooted from it.)

We lived there for 10 years and this never changed, no matter the age or the school. Nevertheless, when I look back some of my memories also include: image.jsp     Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 4.00.01 PMbollywood_by_shestheorientxpress-d3dqtgh Singing my heart out to Sezen Aksu’s songs, one of my Turkish friend’s favourite singer 🙂 Acting out and dancing like a Bollywood star with my Indian friends 🙂 Eating some of the delicious Naan bread my friend’s mom would make specially for us 🙂

The way I saw it back then: Why can’t we all just sing, dance or eat together? Who cares if we are different? Isn’t that more fun anyway?
The way I see it now: I couldn’t be part of something but as a consequence I was part of many others I would have probably missed out otherwise. 

  At the age of 16 I moved back to Spain. The first day at the American School of Madrid, with students from about 70 different nationalities, where being different was common, the introductions and first conversations flipped 180 degrees:

X: Hi! What’s your name?
Me: Laila Gómez
X: Laila? Like the Eric Clapton song! Nice!
Me: (smile)
X: Where are you from?
Me: My mother is Spanish and my father is Egyptian
X: Really? How cool! 
Me: (smile)
X: So, you speak Spanish then….here most of us speak “Spanglish” (smile) 
Me: (smile) Yes, of course
X: Great! You won’t be missing out then 🙂 And Arabic?
Me: not really… I can read it and write it but I don’t speak it fluently
X: Wow! Could you write my name in Arabic?
Me: 🙂

I’ll admit it saddens me a bit to have missed out on the opportunity to learn and master another language, my father’s language. But like I said, I feel I gained a lot from being a misfit, specially due to cultural and diversity issues. Some gifts of having been a misfit:

  • Learning to build the strength to go against all odds
  • Turning a negative situation into something positive
  • Discovering the beauty of real friendship
  • Getting goosebumps at airports, international day at school and language exchange programmes.

The greatest gift of all : UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE AND VALUE OF AVOIDING PREJUDICE BY ALL MEANS 🙂 Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 5.31.58 PM     As adults and teachers, it is our responsibility to educate the young generations and teach them the values of respect, acceptance, empathy and equality.

P.S : My name is Laila Khairat Gómez 🙂 I am currently studying Arabic, love dancing and listening to Arabic music and enjoy delicious desserts like Baklawa and Konafa.

 

Image sources:

Sezen Aksu: image from culturas-beraber.blogspot.com

Bollywood drawing; image from Flickr by TMAB2003 under CC BY ND 2.0 Naan bread; image from Shestheorientexpress.deviantart.com

BE DARING!! – Vicky Lora’s advice on CPD

Today, right at the equator of my webinar watching marathon challenge, I cyber-bummped into Vicky Loras’ webinar about Professional Development on the Sundays with BELTA archive and I couldn’t help write about it and share my excitement 🙂

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This photo of my lovely Moma, staring eagerly at the open sea, mirrors how I have often felt about my teaching career so far: 

I’m stuck here and there’s so much more out there. 

 “I’VE LEARNT MORE OFF TWITTER THAN IN MY 4 YEARS AT UNIVERSITY” – Vicky Loras

This didn’t come as a surprise to me at all. That’s why I am writing this post, to share all I have been up to in the last 4 months ever since I decided to BE DARING 🙂

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Just like her, I threw myself in and the rewards have kept coming since then. 

6 years vs 4 months 

Although I have been teaching for a while, I’m starting to realise I have probably been in the wrong contexts and haven’t had much luck when it comes to professional development opportunities. The worst part is, this affected me to the point where I was actually starting to consider teaching might just not be for me. The classes went fine, but I did feel stuck and lonely 😦 I don’t pretend to blame anyone here, I know I am responsible for my own development, but being fair, the ambient and colleagues in each workplace can make such a difference.

These 4 months have taught me how and why Continuous Professional Development and creating a PLN are two of the greatest mainstays in teaching.

I’ll go over Vicky’s advice on HOW to professionally develop, step by step as they appear in the presentation:

1) CONFERENCES, WORKSHOPS AND SWAPSHOPS

My motivational boost came about this past February, when I took part in Steve Muir’s course on Multimedia for ELT. Every evening after the course, I couldn’t help feeling a bit down because I wouldn’t be able to take any of those incredible ideas and tools into my own teaching just because this year I happen to be with 3-6 year olds.

Nevertheless, it was a clear reminder of the excitement and possibilities that this wonderful job entails. Here is my thank you post to Steve 🙂

Just a week later after the course finished, I attended my first conference, TESOL Spain’s 37th Annual Conference. There’s just one word for it …. WOW!

I absolutely understand why Vicky uses all kinds of positive adjectives to describe the experience of attending a conference.

A weekend filled with the adrenaline rush I had been missing for so long. It was a pity I didn’t manage to convince any of the teachers I know to join me because I would have loved to discuss live the countless ideas and concepts I came across. Once again, that didn’t stop me this time. 🙂

Blendend learning is one of the topics that most grabbed my attention and of course EDMODO!

But, like I said earlier, I wasn’t going to be able to use it with my actual students due to their age. I had to come up with a way that would allow me to try it out, play around and discover. Guess who I got involved??? MY OWN FAMILY 🙂

Yes, my mom, aunts, uncles and cousins, all around a beginner level. I registered and created a group called “English for us”. It’s been absolutely amazing and fun to do this. I sent them links with videos and online exercises, they worked on grammar, reading, listening and spelling . They had assignments to complete and I even had them send me voice messages through whatsapp to be graded on their pronunciation. We got together about every two weeks for a face to face “class” filled with communicative activities and games.

EDMODO is just one of the many interesting insights. I got so much out of just one conference. I can wait for the next opportunity. 🙂

2) DISCUSSION GROUPS / FEEDBACK SESSIONS

This is where the idea of ISOLATION that Vicky talks about comes in for me. I have worked in 4 different schools and I can say that most of the teachers I have worked with were quite burnt out or too comfortably settled. Out of an estimated total of 5o teachers whom I had to coordinate with, there have been only 3 who were a bit more willing to get out of their comfort zone, discuss ideas, try new things or reflect out loud. It’s quite sad actually.

I understand how energy draining our profession can be, but I was quite sure there had to be a way to keep up our own motivation. I grabbed on to these teachers very strongly and once in a while we had great chats related to teaching matters and came up with some nice projects to work on in our classes.

On the other hand, while taking the CELTA, I was quite lucky to have a lot of this with the other trainees. This is why I know the value of it and have missed it since then.

3) MENTORING

” Look at you, all excited! I envy you.” said one of my colleagues a couple of months ago after I raved about social media, blogs and professional development during a break duty.

I immediately answered ” You could do it as well. I could help you”.

It was quite flattering to think that I would be passing on what I had very recently learnt and helping someone else feel enthusiastic about their work.

I wouldn’t call myself a mentor (sounds to big of a word to me) but I’ve tried my best and so far she has started a blog and began to use Twitter for professional purposes.

As for myself, next September I’m heading off to Barcelona to take the Developing Teacher Course at Oxford Tefl. Who knows… I might find my very own mentor there 🙂

4) OBSERVE AND BE OBSERVED

Yes… it is kind of intimidating but once again, I have to agree with Vicky on this one, it should be seen as a learning opportunity. This is something else I had a small taste of during CELTA and I can’t even describe how much I felt I improved by getting direct feedback from the tutors and peers.

Before CELTA, the only chance to observe and be observed  had been the 3 months training period established at the end of the B.Ed. A very dull experience, as I was assigned a tutor who wouldn’t even bother saying good morning to me. I learnt a lot about what I would avoid doing as a teacher myself, which in fact is quite useful.  I can say I got one great piece of advice that really made a difference in my teaching: move more around the room, use all the space available. My teachers had always stood at the front of the classroom almost 100% and that unconsciously sneaked into my own teaching.

5) JOURNALS AND MAGAZINES

I subscribed to the ETProfessional magazine recently as well. It issues every two months, with great practical ideas and interesting articles. It has got me checking my post box with a smile.

Vicky shares a great link for a list of ELT journals, newsletters and magazines by Victor Hugo Rojas :

https://www.diigo.com/list/victorhugor/ELT+JOURNALS%2C+NEWSLETTERS+%26+MAGAZINES/5kamdy2s

6) TWITTER 

Once again ….yes! yes! yes! to all Vicky has to say about the marvellous outreach possibilities of Twitter. I never even imagined someone would follow me. I started using it to follow some of the speakers I had seen at the TESOL conference and it’s a daily stop for me now.

There is so much to learn, I have to say thank God for bookmarking 🙂 .

It is certainly the best option to connect with other motivated professionals. I have recommended it to every single teacher I know.

7) JOIN WEEKLY CHATS

Another incredible discovery. 🙂

In these recent months I have joined a few #eltchat and #eltchinwag. Sorry to repeat myself but… WOW!

At first I thought it couldn’t be real. Teachers from all over the world meeting to chat about a topic they had previously set to vote !!!

But it is real, and here is where I have also had the chance to connect with great teachers, who are so passionate about what they do and who are willing to share and learn.

My heart skipped a beat every time one of my tweets was favourited or retweeted. I felt I had a voice and an opinion worth sharing. 🙂

I kept asking myself Where had this magical world been all this time? 

8) FACEBOOK PAGES AND GROUPS

Checked!

Like most people, I had a personal facebook profile and I did follow the Teaching English British Council page but that was about it.

Two months ago I created a different profile and have used it exclusively to stay updated and connect with the ELT community.

Through Facebook I have joined various groups like:

ELTPics

Webinars for English Teachers

30 Goals Challenge

ELT Chat

Technology for EFL/ESL teachers

Innovative Teachers of English

Blog Posts of Teachers of English

This is definitely another priceless medium that is available to everyone.

9) BLOGS

After actively reading other teacher’s blogs for a couple of months, I couldn’t wait anymore 🙂 I really loved the idea of having my own blog and so on the 1st of April elt-fun@ics was born.

It isn’t my first blog actually. Two years ago, over a summer, I created a class blog for my 6th graders. I was quite proud of it because I had managed to do so from scratch with the help of tutorials and by studying other teachers’ class blogs. I knew my students and used my knowledge about them as individuals and learners to design a blog full of links and resources that I was quite sure would appeal to them.

When September arrived, I presented it to the Headmaster at the school and she didn’t give her approval because they had just signed a very expensive contract with a publishing company which included access to a kind of moodle that all teachers would have to use from then on. It was quite discouraging. My students never even got to see it. I was kindly asked not to mention it to other teachers either because they “already had a lot on their plates and it might cause confusion with this new project”.

THIS TIME IT HAS BEEN DIFFERENT 🙂

As Vicky Loras said  “There might be someone waiting for you!”  🙂 

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This is still hard to believe

When I started this webinar watching challenge, I thought I would be learning loads of new things and it certainly has been that way. But today, it felt quite nice to keep saying Yes… Yes… Yes... as I watched Vicky suggesting all these ways to develop professionally and be familiar with the incredible and positive outcomes of it. Specially when you start mixing and matching all of them 🙂

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I splashed in and now I’m soaked with motivation and joy! 

Where’s my popcorn? – A webinar marathon challenge

Chronos

Image from Flickr by Barbara Müller – Walter under CC BY ND-2.O
 

Once in a blue moon Chronos decides to cut me some slack and provides me with the gift of time to attend live webinars and online conferences. But, like I said this isn’t how it usually works 🙂

Soooooooo… given that there are tons of past webinars, conference sessions recording and training videos I have been bookmarking for the past month, I have set myself a challenge:

A WEBINAR MARATHON ONCE A WEEK!!!!! 

Would you like to join me??? Leave a comment below and let’s start sharing 🙂

What I will do before I start:
  1. Decide the extension of the challenge = A total of 6 consecutive weeks.
  2. Decide the duration for the sessions = 3 hours straight
  3. Choose a day to make the best out of it = Saturday mornings sounds perfect to get into my very own CPD bubble.
  4. Bookmark a couple of days in advance the webinars/videos chosen for the following session.
What I will do during the sessions:
  1. Take notes on:
  •  ideas and tools I’d like to try out in my classes 
  •  topics/areas for further study
What I will do after the sessions:
  1. Tweet the links to the webinars/videos I have seen using the hashtag #wbnrchallenge
  2. Send a tweet to the teacher/presenter to let him/her know you have recently viewed the webinar.
  3. Tweet an idea you’d like to share and stand out from each webinar.

 

How did this all come up??? 

This year I attended my first conference. Spain’s TESOL 37th Annual Conference in Madrid took place at the Faculty of Education, in the very same building where I studied for my B.Ed in Primary Education-EFL. DESTINY OR WHAT??? 🙂 🙂

During the weekend I had tons of flashbacks, going up and down the corridors and entering some the classrooms I spent several years in. It couldn’t have been more magical. It was great. 🙂

I had that adrenaline rush that keeps you up at night even long after going back home every evening. I knew it came from the excitement of being a learner again with a handful of notes on class ideas and must read lists.

From then on, I’ve had the feeling of having missed out on so much.

There is so much to learn and it’s FREE 🙂 

Here is the list of the sources I will be using.

These are probably quite obvious to those who have been in ELT for a while 🙂 

British Council Seminars Series on Eventbrite : register to attend live online.

Seminars English Agenda British Council : watch previous seminars

Cambridge English Teacher : sign up and view some. For most of them you must be a member.

Jo Gakongas elt-training.com: She has got the sweetest voice 🙂 View past webinars and sign up to receive email alerts for monthly new videos.

Shelly Sanchez Terrell’s – American TESOL Webinars: Hundreds of 30 mins webinars on almost anything and everything related to teaching. (I’m kind of addicted to these I must confess:) )

Oxford University Press Webinars and MacmillanEnglish ELT Webinars: Register for upcoming live webinars or view the archive for previous ones.

BeltaBelgium.com : as a non-member you can watch older recordings.

Russell Stannard’s Teacher Training Videos: free online tutorials for learning to use technology and ICT in education.

IH Teachers Online Conference 2014: 25 video presentations, 10 mins each.

IATEFL.ORG webinars live : only if you can make it to the live session. Past webinars for members only

WizIQ.com online courses, watch the sessions live or past presentations with corresponding chats and power points.

 

To stay updated about upcoming webinars, seminars, conferences, etc:

  • 4C in ELT Event Calendar
  • Facebook group : Webinars for English Teachers (this one I found out very recently thanks to Lizzie Pinard:) )

 

 

Are you up for it ????  Ready…. Steady…. WAIT!!!!!  

WHERE’S MY POPCORN ??? 🙂

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Photo from Flickr by J Mark Dodds under CC BY NC-ND 2.0

How great do you need to be?

AN IDEA FOR USING PHOTOS IN CLASS

At the moment I am gleefully reading Sir Ken Robinson’s The Element, a profoundly inspiring read I strongly recommend.

His views on intelligence, imagination and creativity have led me to create a new page on my blog:

8+1 Photo-Talking

(click on link or menu to have a look at my first few 🙂 Please feel free to use them in class )

Here I combine my long-ago interest in the power of images, more recently on photography specifically, with my love for creating teaching materials.

How great do you need to be at something to feel confident enough to share it with others and be motivated to dig deeper into your potential????

I’ve never taken a photography course. I don’t even have a great camera.

Taking this into account, I find that using my own photos as class material is a good way to promote the idea that you do not need to be professionally skilled to make a creative use of something that has a bit of yourself. 🙂

And of course, it’s going to be a great experience to see language emerge from sharing my very own photos.

This is why I have chosen this new section of my blog to fulfill my second goal FEED YOURSELF INSPIRATION, for the 30 Goals Challenge founded by Shelly Terrell.

These photographs are snippets of moments I have lived and beautiful things I have seen which I felt the need to capture. They are inspiring to me because they are a reminder of my creative potential regardless my expertise. I will admit I find them beautiful and feel proud to share them.

As a teacher, I believe this is something we should promote in our students: explore, create, enjoy and value your own potential.

Thank you Steve :)

This post has been on my mind for weeks now, even before I started my blog, when I was still planning on even daring to do so…

I feel this is just the perfect way to thank Steve Muir for his recent presence in my professional journey.

Steve Muir is an experienced English teacher and teacher trainer from the British Council at Alcalá de Henares, in Madrid. He is the co-founder of the all.at.c blog, a treasure of video lesson plans for advanced learners.

In February, I signed up for a teacher training course offered by the Education Council in Madrid. It was called Didactic Multimedia for English Language Teaching. I’ve always had an interest on technology for educational purposes and this seemed like a great opportunity to learn more about it. It was a plus that the course would be entirely run in English, although I wasn’t expecting much to be honest. I even kind of forced myself to it, for I had been dragging myself to work for the past months and was feeling really unproductive and unmotivated.

It turned out to be the highlight of this school year so far. From the very first class, something changed. It was as if I had been stuck, like a car that had been parked for ages and someone decided to turn the ignition key 🙂

This motivational force was definitely the content, the dynamics, the language and the humour that Steve generated. Giving away marshmallows as a prize on the first day won me over too;)

Apart from introducing so many web based tools, sharing excellent classroom tips and activities with us, presenting interesting blogs and language resources, he also managed to engage a large group of diverse, very tired teachers after long days at work, inviting us to beat box, sing, dance, discuss, get to know each other and most of all provide us with opportunities to share and learn.

Certainly, I learned loads, but what I’m most grateful for is to have had this experience, right when I felt quite unfulfilled. Steve is a model teacher to me and represents the kind of English language teacher I started to train to be but got lost in the way.

I took the CELTA course a couple of years ago. It was a challenge, but I decided to do it because deep down I knew I wanted to go through the wonderful privilege of teaching abroad, in very different countries, to discover and connect with people from other cultures. I am drawn to non-academic contexts, where there is so much room for creativity and such variety in the focus of the learning process.

For the most part of my education, I have always been part of a classroom with at least five or six different nationalities, being the English language what allowed us to communicate and connect. I miss that.

I’ve progressed and gained valuable experience from these years teaching at schools, but it’s time to move on and take risks with the hope of finding a more fulfilling path.

This blog is one of those first steps. Soon I will be heading to Barcelona, to keep on developing as an English teacher. Who know’s what will be next ???

I had almost forgotten it’s really up to me. I can actually choose my next steps and the direction I would like to follow.

Thanks for reminding me Steve. 🙂

exciting future