Category Archives: Professional development

Networking for Success – #AusELT Twitter chat, 6th Aug 2017

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This Twitter chat took place on Sunday 6 August.  Click here to read the summary: Conference and Networking Tips – A summary of the #AusELT Twitter chats in July & August 2017

Our last twitter chat was about making the most of a conference. One key element of this is the ability to network effectively. Networking, however, isn’t just limited to conferences, but plays an important role in career success and satisfaction.

Join us on Sunday to share and discuss online or face-to-face networking tips that will make us all more effective.

The chat aims to cover:

  • General networking tips – online and face-to-face
  • Networking before, during and after an event

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday.

This post by @ heimuoshutaiwan (Gerhard Erasmus))

Getting the most out of a conference – #AusELT Twitter chat, 2nd July 2017

This Twitter chat took place on Sunday 2 July.  Click here to read the summary: Conference and Networking Tips – A summary of the #AusELT Twitter chats in July & August 2017

Photo of conference presenter, Anne Burns, taken at UECA PD Fest 2015

Photo by @cioccas taken at UECA PD Fest 2015, Sydney

Conferences form a significant part of a teacher’s professional development and ability to network with other professionals. Our next two twitter chats will be dedicated to these two topics. This Sunday, we will be sharing ideas on how to get the most out of a conference for your own and your staff’s professional development.

There are quite a few good websites with great ideas, but we’d like you to share your own stories and ideas that have worked for you.

The chat will be divided into:

  • Before the conference
  • During the conference
  • After the conference

Not sure about Twitter?

Why not have a go? We can help you out. Get in touch with any of the #AusELT admin team on Facebook or Twitter (eg, @heimuoshutaiwan or by leaving a comment below. Here are some posts that should also help you get started:

This post by @heimuoshutaiwan

Teacher Motivation & Recharging your Batteries – #AusELT Twitter chat, 6th November 2016

Read the summary for some great ideas and links on how to make your teaching life a more positive and fruitful one. Managers will also find some guidance on how to build teacher motivation in the workplace.

Themes which emerged were:

  • What motivates you? (Managers take note!)
    • Feeling valued and supported
    • Working with great people
  • How can you recharge your own batteries?
    • Take a holiday – without your phone
    • Get some work-life balance
    • Do things that give you a sense of achievement
    • Spread positivity
    • Be mindful
    • Re-ignite the passion for teaching
    • Get a mentor / Mentor others
    • Start a project
    • Take time to unwind
    • Be grateful

Read the transcript for a summary of the chat.

Happy 2017!

Conference/PD Swap Shop – #AusELT Twitter chat, 2nd October 2016

Many #AusELTers old and new attended the recent English Australia Conference. And we know some of you have been to other conferences this year. At this time of year #AusELT hosts a chat on Twitter where we swap experiences, reflections, resources, links, etc. from PD we’ve done the year.

This was the topic of our #AusELT Twitter chat, on Sunday 2nd October 2016. This chat has now taken place.

photo of  Anne Burns at UECA PD Fest Sydney 2016

Anne Burns at UECA PD Fest Sydney 2016 (@cioccas)

Did you attend a conference this year, or other major PD event? Please join us and share your experience and learning with colleagues from around Australia. Share what you saw, what you loved, what you found interesting or controversial.

If you haven’t been lucky enough to get to any events this year, come along and get a taste of what was on offer from those who did. A good opportunity to ask questions and/or share new/interesting ideas that have come your way lately from sources other than conferences.

To get an idea of how much can be achieved in an hour on Twitter, check out this summary post from our 2014 Conference Swapshop. (Sorry, we don’t seem to have done a summary for the 2015 version.)

Looking forward to e-seeing you all then!

NB: New members/New to Twitter? Please see the Twitter page on the blog for help and ‘how-to’. Come along and try it out!

This post by @cioccas

Conferences & Presenting – #AusELT Twitter chat, 3-4 Sept 2016

CC0 Public Domain Free for commercial use No attribution required

Note: This chat has now taken place. You can read the summary here. Great tips for conference attendees and presenters, some persuasion for would-be presenters, and definitely some big love for networking!

September’s #AusELT chat is coming up! This time we’ll be talking about conferences and presenting including:

  • why attend a conference anyway
  • how to get the most out of the experience
  • why presenting could be good for you and how to get started
  • dos and don’ts for presenters

We’ll also be using the ‘slowburn’ format for the first time this year. For us, this means the chat will be spread over the whole weekend instead of just 1 hour on Sunday night 🙂

We’ll start early on Sat 3rd September, and run right through till late on Sunday 4th September. You can contribute, read and discuss tweets on this theme at any time in that period, so feel free to drop in and out a few times over the weekend! Just remember to add the #AusELT hashtag to your tweets so we can all see them.

If it is your first time using Twitter, slowburns are a nice and gentle way in to connecting with others. You might also be interested in these posts:

Need help with Twitter?

#AusELT 1-page guide to Twitter

So you have a Twitter account – now what? 

Looking forward to e-seeing you this weekend!

This post by @sophiakhan4

Reflective Practice: Benefits, Tips, Feedback – #AusELT Twitter chat, 7 August 2016

double-tree-reflection

Dear AusELTers

Our August Twitter chat is happening on Sunday 7th Aug at 8.30pm Sydney time (click here to see the time where you are).

In our Twitter chat for August 2016 we discussed reflective practice.
This chat has now taken place but you can read the transcript/summary here.

This topic was suggested after there was a lot on interest in a post on the #AusELT Facebook page recently about using teacher post-lesson reflections effectively. As this is a familiar concept to most of us from pre-service training and in-service observations, perhaps we can use this as as a jumping off point. Some questions we could consider here are:

  • Is this useful? Why?
  • Could we do it better? How?
  • Is RP really a skill that can be developed?
  • How can practising teachers, trainers and managers also benefit from RP?
  • What are some problems or obstacles to effective RP?
  • What are some useful ways to ‘operationalise’ it for individuals or institutions?

Looking forward to discussing these questions or any others you care to bring with you on Sunday.

If you are new to Twitter, please come along, we are a friendly bunch  (send a tweet to me @sophiakhan4 and I’ll look out for you!)

You might also be interested in these posts:

This chat has now taken place but you can read the transcript/summary here.

This post by @sophiakhan4, edited by @cioccas

Teachers as team members – How to add value

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Picture by Tina Kuo

 

After a recent training course for entry level teachers, I was sitting in a café with some of the trainees when the topic of teacher roles came up. One of them commented that I was individualistic and that it accounted for my success. I was rather taken aback as I consider myself a team player. The trainee then pointed out that my favourite sport, cricket, is in essence an individual sport played in a team and that batsmen and bowlers effectively operate as individuals: you bat alone, you bowl alone and it is your individual effort that leads to success or failure for the team. This conversation led to some reflection on the roles of teamwork in an ESL set up and this post is the result of that reflection.

Let me start by clarifying that cricket is a team sport and that there are many similarities between cricket players and the individuals that make up an LTO (Language Teaching Operation). Batsmen bat in pairs and if one batsman doesn’t rotate the strike, the pressure on the other batsman increases and the effectiveness of that batsman decreases. The top order and middle order have specific roles. Similarly, successful bowlers operate in pairs. One bowler might dry up runs, applying pressure, allowing a strike bowler to take wickets. The fielders also play a huge role here. Not only is holding onto catches important, but good catches and good fielding apply pressure, get the bowlers to have their tails up and increases morale in the team. Team management, the coaches and the selection teams also form a very important part of this team set up and contribute not only to the individual performances of ‘star’ players, but also to the morale of the team. Every single individual operates as an individual and while their individual brilliance is important, they are very much part of a team.

LTOs as cricket teams

When a teacher is planning his lesson or teaching in the classroom he is operating as an individual, much like a batsman or a bowler. But what about the role other teachers, the DOS, the Academic manager or any other administration or marketing staff play in the success of the school or of the individual teacher? The morale in the school and the LTO is probably more important to the direction and success of the school than any individual teacher, however good they are. Without realising it, teachers rely on the copy machine working, the bathrooms being clean, students being recruited and showing up for class, books being purchased and a multitude of other things that are often completely out of their control. Other staff rely on teachers to produce results that increase the reputation of the school and make their jobs as administration or marketing staff easier. As with any organisation, the individuals are important, but it is equally, if not more important to be a team player.

‘It’s not my job’

In a perfect world, each batsman in a cricket team contributes runs, but in many games, this doesn’t really happen. A number 5 batsman cannot refuse to go in to bat in the third over only because he’s a middle order batsman – he needs to contribute where needed. Similarly, situations might occur in a school where a teacher is required to do something that’s not ideal. If this consistently happens, your team has weaknesses, but this is also the time when average becomes exceptional and leadership qualities are highlighted. Helping out might increase your workload, but it will also show that you are willing to work in a team, you are flexible and you place the needs of the team above your own personal needs.

How

  • Be willing to substitute classes when you can
  • Be willing to help and mentor other teachers
  • Get to know what the other departments in the LTO has to do and how that relates to your job
  • Be flexible when situations arise that are out of the norm
  • Show that you are reliable

‘I’m just in it for a few years/It’s just a part-time job’

How long do you think the average sports person is active in his career? Cricket players practice for hours knowing that their careers as players can last around a decade, maybe a little more if they’re lucky. Is only doing something for a few years an excuse for doing it poorly? Or for not really trying to get better? Even the greats in cricket spend hours in the nets working on technique or ironing out problems. Should professional teachers not also show the same level of commitment to their trade?

Great team players compare themselves to excellence, not to other players. You don’t want to be just above the weakest link in the team. Professional development helps not only the individual, but creates a culture of excellence and a team of winners.

How

  • Attend meetings and PD sessions
  • Contribute to the culture of excellence by developing your own skills
  • Lead by example

‘How can I work if everyone else drops the ball?’

There is nothing as frustrating as seeing plans go up in smoke when someone drops the ball. There’s also nothing as debilitating for a team as when members start blaming each other for failures. People make mistakes, but as team players, we need to work past those instances when balls are dropped, get back to our marks and storm in again with ball in hand. When the blame game starts, productivity goes down. Effectiveness goes down and no one wins. Good team players play the team game, not the blame game.

How

  • Don’t blame
  • Communicate clearly and constructively if problems arise.
  • Be a problems solver
  • Be adaptable in crisis situations

‘They need me more than I need them’

Not all players are equal. Some people are more talented, some work harder, but all of these individuals make up the team and contribute to its culture. But when players start seeing themselves as bigger than the game, they no longer respect those in the game and may even lose respect for those outside of the game. They lose their commitment,stop listening to the opinions or concerns of others, and place themselves first. Your classroom may seem a one-man-show, just like a batsman playing a brilliant innings, but never forget that your classroom is part of a much larger picture, and that the  students play as big a role in the success of the LTO as fans play in the success of cricket.

How

  • Listen to the concerns and problems of other and consider their position before responding
  • Show that you see yourself as part of the team first
  • Be willing to be mentored. Even stars have coaches.
  • Share with your team
  • Respect others

‘I’m in it to win it’

Contributing to success of others is a key element in tasting success yourself, but being a great team player – or being an ambitious individual within a team set up – does not mean you have to live, eat and sleep your job. Every once in a while, remember to take a step back, enjoy your hobbies or go on vacation.

How

  • Take care of your health
  • Relax when needed
  • Spend time with family and friends
  • Play hard when it’s game time!

 

This post was written by Gerhard Erasmus (@heimuoshutaiwan). Gerhard is currently the Director of Studies at a language centre in Taipei, Taiwan, and actively involved in teacher training, from entry level qualifications to tutoring on the Cambridge Delta. He has authored a Young Learners series and consulted on various curriculum and training design projects. He also co-authored the ebook Brainstorming with Hall Houston. His main area of interest in ELT is teacher development including continuous professional development.