Tag: MOOCs

7 Days 7 Ways: Continued Professional Development 6) Seminars & Workshops

7 Days 7 Ways: Continued Professional Development 6) Seminars & Workshops

So, day and way #6 in this series on CPD for ELT teachers. So far, most of my ideas for CPD activities were things you could do at home, or at least pretty close to home – most from the comfort of your own sofa! For example:

  1. Blogs (1st March)

  2. Reflection Groups & Learning Networks (2 March)

  3. Magazines & Journals (3 March)

  4. Peer Observation (4 March)

  5. Professional Organisations (5 March)

Now we’ve reached a point where you might just have to leave the house, and indeed travel a little further than normal. Today’s CPD ‘way’ is…

  • Seminars & Workshops

At certain stages of your career, taking a training course can help make significant progress as an ELT teacher. I, for example, did the Trinity College TESOL Diploma after I’d been teaching for a few years, to refresh and upgrade my skills and knowledge. Teachers just starting out on an ELT career could think about doing:

Teachers with some experience, might consider:

These are all internationally recognised qualifications, which clearly has advantages. The main disadvantages are that these courses can be expensive, and that you usually have to find an accredited examination centre to be able to complete them. They are also rather general in their scope and may not always be directly relevant to your own teaching situation; making them slightly less valuable for your CPD.

IMAG0611What you might like to do, then, is find seminars or workshops being offered closer to home. For example, the university close to where you live might be offering relevant seminar courses, or a publisher might be offering a workshop on implementing their latest materials. Some professional organisations also organise one-day workshops or blocked seminars over weekends, for example. The best way to find these, I would suggest, would be through membership of a national or local teaching organisation, and through a Google search – here, you can be as specific as you like in what you’re looking for and should aim to find something that really inspires you and you feel is relevant to your own stage of development as a teacher. 

For those of you are still hoping you can do most of your CPD in nyour pyjamas on the sofa…. 🙂 There are of course distance-learning courses, for example offered by The Open University. And nowadays there are really a lot of online courses and webinars that you can take part in.Check out, for example:

  • www.futurelearn.com“a private company wholly owned by The Open University, with the benefit of over 40 years of their experience in distance learning and online education. [They] have 84 partners from around the world. These include many of the best UK and international universities, as well as institutions with a huge archive of cultural and educational material, such as the British Council, the British Library, the British Museum, and the National Film and Television School. [They] also work with a range of internationally renowned organisations [to] offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.” (quote from their website)   I recently completed a FutureLearn course on “Professional Practices for English Language Teachers” and found it a really good way to refresh my ‘basics’ and get in touch with the latest research on methodology. I also made some contacts with other participants and was therefore able to extend my PLN.IMAG0668
  • www.evosessions.pbworks.com –  The Electronic Village Online (associated with TESOL) “TESOL experts and participants from around the world engage in collaborative online discussions or hands-on virtual workshops of professional and scholarly benefit. These sessions bring together participants for a longer period of time than is permitted by land-based professional development conventions and allow a fuller development of ideas than is otherwise possible. Sessions are free and open to anyone around the globe. It is not necessary to be a TESOL member or attend the TESOL Convention in order to participate. All you need is access to the Internet. Choose a session from this year’s offerings, listed below.  And please inform your colleagues about this unparalleled professional development opportunity!” (quote from website) These ‘sessions’ and discussions are available online and free to access. I’ve just had a quick look at one and am already excited to see more!!

I would like to end on a note of caution; We must remember not to fall into the trap of thinking that only ‘formalised’ training seminars, webinars or workshops are useful for our CPD! Nonetheless, we must remember them when we’re thinking of ways to develop professionally, as they really can give us a boost of inspiration and insight. Ad especially now so many are available for free, and/or close to home, we’d be silly not to make use of them!! 

Let me know if you do a webinar or online course you think others would benefit from – post the link / details in the comments below!!

If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, please tell others! If you haven’t, please tell me! 🙂

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#ELT Things I like right now: July 2015

Here’s a list of things related to ELT that are making me happy right now, in no particular order. Just because.

(Well, actually because I’m drowing in end-of-term marking and need to #staypositive !)

 – Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner’s Dictionary

It’s availavle to buy here and the free online version is here. I got an inspection copy recently and am enjoying using it to plan my lessons, to check students’ use of words, and just in general looking through all the information, info-graphics, etc. it includes.  I’m not plugging it as better than any others on the market, but now I’m excited because I have a new dictionary, and I’m the kind of person who gets excited about things like having a new dictionary!

– Free online courses by Future Learn

A list of all the courses on offer can be found here.  These courses are really interesting, on a huge range of topics – so perfect for professional development when I don’t have the time (or money!) to travel to conferences or other training courses. And also because some of the topics not related to teaching English are just really interesting! I just started my first course a few weeks ago, my first ever MOOC! And so far I’m really enjoying it; especially the flexibility to fit it in around all my other commitments… and marking…!

 – The ERASMUS+ Staff Mobility Programme

I’m a big advocator of academic and professional exchange on all levels, am always encouraging more students and colleagues to take advantage of the ERASMUS+ Programme, and constantly on the look our for new exchange partners for our Dept. of English Studies (especially British unis, so if you work at one and are interested, let me know!! *shameless plug for Trier University*). This term, though, my students and I have been especially able to benefit from guest lecturers who’ve come over as part of the ERASMUS+ programme. I’m teaching a class on a topic that’s pretty new to me. I’ve been having a great time researching and learning all about it so that I can share this knowledge and understanding with my students, but just in case I’ve missed something, I’ve been able to invite three guest lecturers to run workshops for us, who are all experts in an aspect of the topic! Brilliant! Thanks ERASMUS+!

 – The Office Mix Plug-In for PPT

This free plug-in is available here. It allows you to do lots of cool things to create your own videos, for example recording an audio commentary to accompany a PPT presentation. This has been a god-send for me this term, since there are so many bank holidays in May in Germany and we lose a few lessons of various courses – this tool allowed me to send my students video versions of my PPTs so that we didn’t lose too much time. [I’m not advocating this as better than actual teaching, but it’s deinitely better than nothing! And might be particularly useful for MOOCs, blended learning, or online teaching.]

 – IATEFL Annual Conference 2016 in Birmingham

Info here. I’m working on my speaker proposal, and wondering whether I’ll be able to meet the scholarship application deadline…?! I’m already looking forward to the buzz I know I’ll get from presenting (If I’m accepted!) and from being immersed in such a productive, creative, supportive and energising atmosphere together with fellow teachers from all around the world. Will I see you there?