Thanks to everyone who filled in the #AusELT 2015 survey – there’s still time if you would like to participate, and it only takes 5 minutes.
One of the things that is coming across is some not-unexpected mixed feelings towards Twitter.
‘Not unexpected’ because I have mixed feelings about it myself. I couldn’t give a cr@p either what Shia LeBoeuf had for dinner (was it beef?) I don’t follow Shia LeBoeuf though so I don’t have to worry about that. Also if anyone I follow turns out to be really boring, tweet nothing but food pics, make offensive remarks, try to sell me something or whatever, it’s easy. Unfollow. Never see them again. Not in my timeline.
I’ll tell you who I do follow: people who inspire me, who answer my questions, who support me, and who share some really great content to do with things that I am interested in.
I’ll scare you even more now by telling you that I wouldn’t even be in ELT now if I hadn’t discovered people through Twitter who made me feel like it was interesting again and full of questions and challenges and rewards.
I wouldn’t be able to do my current job as an editor of the English Australia Journal as I wouldn’t have access to such a range of amazing, creative and thought-provoking ELT professionals from around the world, and I wouldn’t know what people are talking about, what new ideas are being discussed, what controversies have been raised.
I wouldn’t be able to share so many incredibly useful sites, posts, videos, apps and more with my students because I just wouldn’t have discovered them.
Also, #AusELT wouldn’t exist. Even though the teachers who originally started it were from very different parts of a HUGE region, with very different backgrounds, experiences and institutions, we were able to find each other on Twitter in a way that just can’t happen if your contacts are limited to a particular school, state, specialty etc.
It’s OK if you don’t want to join Twitter. I love (and hate) Facebook just as much, and it can offer many of the same things only without that 140 character limit. But in a nutshell where Twitter differs is this:
- you create/curate your OWN network rather be part of a shared group. The range of interests, geographical locations, personality types etc is entirely up to you.
- you always have unlimited reading material, exactly tailored to your interests, for when you are on the train, in a waiting room etc. – all without making any effort whatsoever.
- you have zero obligation to ever say anything to anyone on Twitter. Anyone can follow anyone, anyone can unfollow anyone, no one knows if you’ve ‘seen’ anything or not…you can just float on the Twitter tide…
- …but if you do start interacting with like-minded folk, as time goes on, your random connections (“hey – great post!”) can evolve into amazing friendships-with-people-you-have-never-met. And sometimes you even get to meet those people.
So that’s how I feel about it, but everyone’s experience is different, so please do share yours in the comments!
And as it happens, this Thursday 5th March, as on the first Thursday of every month, #AusELT is holding a Twitter chat at 8.30 pm Sydney time. To check the time where you are, click here.
This particular chat (unusually) has no specified topic, so we can see where the conversation takes us.
If you are interested in Twitter and would like to dip your toe in the water then please come along. It’s not as hard as you might think – download the #AusELT 1-page guide to Twitter here.
Old hands, if you would like to ‘bring a friend’, this could be a good opportunity.
New chatters – come and ask anything you like.
As a teacher I am physically unable not to have a plan B for a ‘lesson’ so my admittedly rather weak back-up plan is that we also take this opportunity to swap ideas on any nuggets of TEFL gold we have come across recently or come back to frequently. This could be things like
- recorded webinars
- useful/interesting blogs or particular blog posts
- links to particular lesson plans/activities
- online videos
- and so on
If you wanted to prepare to share all you would need to do is get a few links ready to cut and paste, but no prep is necessary. Feel free to just lurk (lurking is a very valid activity!! Just ask Etienne Wenger.)
So here’s hoping I am not on my own on Thursday night – come by and say hi!
This post by @sophiakhan4