Category Archives: Twitter

Poll: Last #AusELT chat of 2016!

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That went fast…

It’s already time for our last Twitter chat of this year (we usually take a little break over December and January as so many people are away) – and the topic is up to you! Please vote in the poll below and we’ll announce the winner on our Facebook page and on Twitter towards the end of next week. The chat will take place on Sunday 6th Nov at 8.30pm Sydney time (click here to see the time where you are).

If you are not sure about Twitter and need a hand to get started, do message me on Facebook or Twitter (@sophiakhan4) or by leaving a comment below.

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? 

Reflective Practice: Benefits, Tips, Feedback (#AusELT Twitter chat on 7/8/2016)

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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).

The winning topic, voted for by the #AusELT community, was reflective practice.

 

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:

Need help with Twitter?

#AusELT 1-page guide to Twitter

So you have a Twitter account – now what? 

E-see you on Sunday!

This post by @sophiakhan4

Native speakerism in ELT in Australasia (#AusELT Twitter chat 1st May 2016)

 

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In this post, Agi Bodis outlines some of the issues around native-speakerism in preparation for our upcoming chat. This chat has now taken place. Click here to read the summary.

 

 

Some of you may remember that an ad for a pronunciation course recently created an interesting discussion on our Facebook page. The course claims to help ‘overseas-born professionals’ fine-tune their pronunciation to improve employment opportunities. It is interesting to note that the word ‘native’ is not mentioned anywhere, but it prompted us to discuss the role of the ‘native speaker’ in ELT.

The ad addresses – or perpetuates – the so called ‘accent ceiling’ (Piller, 2011, p. 144), a boundary many L2 speakers of English experience at the workplace or when attempting to find employment in an English-speaking country. A few of us have questioned the concept of ‘native’ or ‘native-like’ accent as it appears to be a vague term, but it is still something that many students aim to achieve in order to advance professionally or avoid being judged.

So what is ‘native speakerism’? It is an ideology, a commonly held belief, which considers the native speaker as the ideal model for language use, and in ELT, ‘the expert’ when it comes to language teaching methodology as well (Holliday, 2006). The phenomenon thus has implications not only for what is taught and how it’s taught, but also who is entitled to teach the language itself.

In her recent plenary at IATEFL 2016, Silvana Richardson spoke passionately about the discrimination non-native speaker ESL teachers face and the negative impact this has on their professional identity even though the vast majority of English language teachers in the world are non-native speakers (over 80%, according to Richardson).

She questioned the legitimacy of the term ‘non-native speaker’ as it defines people by what they are not, and emphasised the need to shift from a native-speaker competence to a multilingual competence. She proposed that teacher trainers review their programs to make sure these issues are addressed. She also urged teachers to show their support at work and beyond, and join advocacy groups. One such group she mentioned was TEFL Equity Advocates, whose founder, Marek Kiczkowiak (@MarekKiczkowiak), will be joining us in our Twitter chat.

Another related issue that has come up on our Facebook page is the effect of the market: “students want native speakers” or a certain variety of English. Richardson addressed this issue too pointing out that from research it seems that students value professional qualities more than nativeness.

Join us to discuss any of the following points related to native speakerism on Twitter on Sunday 1 May 8:30-9:30 pm AEST (This chat has now taken place. Click here to read the summary)

  • The role of ‘the native speaker’ in teaching materials and/or language testing
  • The market: student expectations regarding learning a certain variety of English (including accent); expectations regarding native speaker teachers
  • NESB ESL teachers: any experience being employed as a NESB teacher; any experience with NESB teachers
  • Teacher training and the native speaker teacher

Looking forward to our discussion!

Links

Silvana Richardson’s plenary at IATEFL 2016: http://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2016/session/plenary-silvana-richardson

Interview with Burcu Akyol and Marek Kiczkowiak on the issue of non-native speakers in ELT – at IATEFL 2016: http://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2016/interview/interview-burcu-akyol-and-marek-kiczkowiak

TEFL Equity Advocates: https://teflequityadvocates.com/

Lexicallab on CELTA and the NS bias: http://www.lexicallab.com/2016/04/celta-the-native-speaker-bias-and-possible-paths-forward/

References

Holliday, A. (2006). Native-speakerism. ELT Journal: English Language Teaching Journal, 60(4), 385-387. doi:10.1093/elt/ccl030

Piller, I. (2011). Intercultural communication : A critical introduction Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

This post by Agi Bodis, @AgsBod

#AusELT Twitter chats in 2016

 

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NEWS ALERT! In 2016 #AusELT‘s monthly Twitter chats will be moving to Sundays instead of Thursdays, in an effort to work around everyone’s busy schedules, though the time (8.30pm Sydney-time) remains the same. And that means the first chat of the year is coming up on Sunday 7th February! (Click here to see the time where you are.)

If you are new to #AusELT, here are some facts about our Twitter chats:

  • they began in 2012
  • they happen on the 1st Sunday of every month between February and November
  • they focus on issues around ELT especially in our region/context
  • they take place at an accessible time for people in this hemisphere
  • they are a great way to personally connect with other ELT professionals
  • they might be 1-hour live chats (great for fast-paced discussion)
  • they might be 24-hour ‘slowburn’ format (great for sharing links and tips)
  • they are led (‘moderated’) by the #AusELT admin team, #AusELT members with a special interest in a particular ELT area, or even guests who are experts in the field
  • previous special guests have included: Mark Pegrum, Scott Thornbury and Jim Scrivener
  • topics are selected by the community or set by guest moderators
  • recent topics have included: effective group work, LGBT issues, and MALL
  • you can read summaries of most of our chats via our blog contents page

In the past we have had regular shout-outs for topics and then voted on these, which had definite benefits but was also quite time-consuming to manage. So this year we’d like to experiment with doing one big shout out for topics at the start of the year, and then using these to help us schedule and set up chats throughout the year. And we promise: there will still be plenty of room for changing the schedule if something new and interesting comes up, if an #AusELT member puts their hands up to run a special-interest chat, or if a guest moderator unexpectedly gets nabbed!

So let’s start by brainstorming some topics we could discuss in 2016! Leave your ideas in the comments, on the #AusELT Facebook page or on Twitter using the #AusELT hashtag.

If you would like some help getting started with Twitter, click here. You can also follow me (@sophiakhan4), Lesley Cioccarelli (@cioccas), Nicki Blake (@Penultimate_K) and a number of other #AusELT members – tweet to us for help and we’ll look after you!

And if you would like to volunteer to lead a special interest chat, please also let us know – we’d be happy to schedule you in, provide guidance and support you ‘on the night’ 🙂

Twitter can be a brilliant place for sharing and developing ideas, gaining perspectives, and connecting with others. Hope to see you out there in 2016!

This post by @sophiakhan4

#AusELT chat summary: Mixed feelings about Twitter? And other social media questions (5th March 2015)

This chat took place in March 2015 and started out as a very meta chat on Twitter about Twitter. You can read a complete transcript of the chat here@sophiakhan4 got the ball rolling before the chat with a post about why Twitter had been so significant for her. It contains an interesting list of things that would never have happened without Twitter (including #AusELT) as well as some reasons why you might want to bother with Twitter if haven’t gone there yet, or if Facebook is your drug of choice.

This chat sumary is divided into two parts. In Part 1, long-time #AusELTer Kylie Tyler (@thesmylers) writes about the Twitter-related part of the chat, reflecting on her own social media journey and sharing tips on how to make it work for you. In Part 2, @sophiakhan4 summarises the later stages of the chat which dealt with social media identity and curation strategies to manage the flow of information.


Part 1: Twitter journeys and how to make it work for you

 I first joined Twitter as @thesmylers in October 2010 but I wasn’t very active and only followed a couple of my friends who’d mentioned they had a Twitter account. I didn’t really know what it meant to “follow” someone and I think I might have “tweeted” maybe twice in the first 2 years. That all changed when I saw my friend @SophiaKhan4 present a talk called The Networked Teacher with @Eslkazzyb at a PD Fest in Sydney. They introduced me to #AusELT and, through the people they followed, the wider world of ELT on Twitter. I gradually built a list of people in the industry I followed and later that year I joined in on my very first #AusELT chat. I have to say it was both overwhelming and exhilarating. I barely had time to read the new tweets that kept popping up 7-at-a-time on my screen, let alone manage to respond to any questions or comments during the hour-long chat. However, afterwards I felt a real sense of achievement and connection with people who were interested in what I was interested in and that made me feel so good! Gradually, as I lurked at the next few chats, I tweeted a comment or two, and following the many conversations became easier and less frantic. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still fast and furious, and I still don’t understand how some people just seem to be part of all the conversations that go on during a chat. That’s why this month’s #AusELT chat was so helpful for me and hopefully in this summary you’ll find some helpful ideas too.

This month’s chat was a small one with some of the usual suspects, as well as newcomer @angelos_bollas, taking part, and some lurkers popping in every now and then. The topic was a good one: advice for those who are new to Twitter and other social media.

What can Twitter do for you and your professional development?

Just joining Twitter and following a couple of people really won’t give you a good idea of just how much benefit it can bring to your professional learning. I read somewhere that you need to follow at least 40 people for at least 6 months before making a decision for or against the usefulness of Twitter and I have to say that I agree, although when I started out I certainly didn’t. The couple of people I followed had nothing to do with ELT and I found myself wondering what all the fuss was. It wasn’t until I started following some #AusELTers, and followed who they were following, and followed who they were following, that, over time, I started seeing the (daily) potential in Twitter. Add to that the monthly #AusELT chats and I was finally sold.

The biggest thing Twitter can offer according to #AusELTers is being able to instantly connect with professionals who share the same beliefs and practices, regardless of whether they are interstate or international. @michaelegriffin referred to a post on his blog in which he exemplified the benefits of Twitter to some colleagues. He tweeted a question and within minutes had responses from around the world appear on his Twitter feed. As well as instant responses, connections like these can lead you to ELT blogs, the latest news and research in the field, lesson ideas and general support. Several #AusELTers even mentioned having formed new friendships through making professional connections on Twitter. This is something that sets Twitter apart from other social media like Facebook and LinkedIn and #AusELTers had a bit to say about this.

Most people agreed that Twitter has the advantage of being more anonymous. @aparnajacob noted that “unfollowing [on Twitter] is not as bad as unfriending [on Facebook]”, and this is true. Newcomers to Twitter can follow and unfollow people, and comment or not, without anyone being the wiser if that’s what they want. They can “just float on the Twitter tide” as @SophiaKhan4 wrote in this month’s #AusELT chat intro here. Other differences #AusELTers mentioned were @Penultimate_K: “Twitter great for chats & quick exchange. Linkedin/Facebook for more in depth discussion”, and @SophiaKhan4: “I follow ideas on Twitter & people on Facebook – Twitter offers a wider range.”

So who do you follow and how do you manage the volume of tweets?

As @Penultimate_K noted: “It takes time to adjust to the speed of the information flow. And the conventions of Twitter.” This is important to know when you first start out. If you’re used to using Facebook, Twitter can be like entering a different world; posts limited to 140 characters, using symbols like @ and #, “retweeting” and “favouriting”, can all seem a bit like a foreign language. But @michaelegriffin had some good advice for this: “one thing I think was helpful for me on Twitter was not to follow too many people at first. I added more as I got accustomed to the feed.”

Start by following some #AusELTers like @SophiaKhan4, @michaelegriffin, @cioccas, @Penultimate_K, and @forstersensei. Then, see who they’re following and from there follow who you’re interested in. Some recommendations from #AusELTers of people to follow were: @AnneHendler, @nathanghall, @TheSecretDoS, @Ashowski, @teflerinha, @HadaLitim, @michaelegriffin, @Larryfelazzo, ‪@oyajimbo, and institutions/associations like @MacmillanELT@TheConsultantsE @Edudemic @TeachingEnglish‪@English_Aus‪, @acereduau, @VocEdAustralia, @NCVER, @RITCWA and ‪@HeutagogyCoP‪ .

Once you’re following more than a few people, the volume of tweets coming through to your Twitter feed can be overwhelming. Apart from being selective about who you follow or going for periodic culling (my technique until now!), here are a few less drastic suggestions from #AusELTers – and remember, as @SophiaKhan4 said, “Twitter is a garden – you need to cultivate it to the shape you want.”

  • Favourite – @Penultimate_K recommends “using the ‘favourite’ function as a kind of bookmark.” “Favouriting” a tweet saves it in your favourites list which you can access at any time. This is a great way to save your reading for a time that suits you.
  • Mute – Muting people can unclutter your Twitter feed by stopping their tweets from showing on your feed. Muting a user doesn’t unfollow them and you can unmute them at any time. Details on how to mute can be found here.
  • Lists – These help you to filter your tweets into categories. You can create private lists of your own or join other people’s public lists. @aparnajacob said: “I enjoy sorting through a list of only lesson ideas for class or PD. You can customise your twitter feed.” @SophiaKhan4 agrees: “I follow a LOT of people – but some quite different pies (to have a finger in). Lists can help with that.” Twitter explains how to make and use lists here.

For practical info on how to use Twitter for PD and participating in #AusELT chats visit the #AusELT Twitter page. You can also access the #AusELT 1-page guide on how to get started with Twitter which includes a “starter” list of people to follow.


Part 2: Social media identity and managing the flow of information

Do you need to have different social media personas (personal and professional)?

 @sophiakhan said she felt stuck with two identities – one for family and friends and one for work purposes. “I would bore all the teachers with mummy and kids stuff and vice versa if I mixed…” @aparnajacob also felt conflicted and cited this as a reason for considering having two Facebook accounts. After all, she said, “Who wants to hear about your work life?”

Of course we all know, ahem, that having two Facebook accounts is not allowed and no one does it. But is there anther way? Echoing the earlier conversation on using lists on Twitter, @michaelegriffin said “I know some folks that use lists/groups well on FB so their non-teaching friends don’t get swamped with ELT”. A few of us were a bit in awe of that and wanted tutorials – though both @michaelegriffin and @sophiakhan4 – arguably big FB users – still hadn’t got to grips with it and @sophiakhan4 thought this might be because this feature is “not obvious or user friendly.”

Having said that, many other chat participants felt it wasn’t an issue and just having one Facebook account or one Twitter account was fine. @thesmylers felt that having multiple log ins on a single account was too difficult. @Penultimate_K also added, “I connect with people [on Facebook] who may not be actual friends through groups/pages.” @angelos_bollas also said he was happy with one Facebook account – but he later admitted “my real friends & family have unfollowed me on Facebook! They can IM me so we keep in touch … plus I post in English – they are Greek and when they post something on my wall in Greek, I tell them off so … they did what they had to!”  So it could be that using different channels for different audiences is a natural evolution that suits some people. It is true that that different platforms lend themselves to certain types of posts and so tend to appeal to different sorts of people – each has a very distinct character and audience.

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cc http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidberkowitz/14897753798

 So what about LinkedIn?

While many #AusELTers thought it was worthwhile to have a LinkedIn profile, @thesmylers will find sympathy with many when she says: “I think I’m on LinkedIn but never used it”. @aparnajacob finds it “clunky”, @sophiakhan4 said she couldn’t “weed out rubbish well” and @penultimate_K wondered if “Linkedin makes it harder to be selective in order to tempt you to a paid account.”

And Google+?

Again people often seemed to have profiles that they did not use much. @Penultimate_K said “I could never get into Google+ – not sure why. It just didn’t appeal to me as a channel” and @Angelos_bollas commented: “Google+ looks so… old, doesn’t it?”

However, several participants were intrigued by the idea of G+ hangouts, with the end result that a week later @sophiakhan4 and @angelos_bollas actually did hang out on G+, a few weeks after their initial random meeting via an #ELChat on Twitter. And it was pretty great! Easy to use, with a lot of potential for small group meetings and…hanging out.

How do you curate useful links?

@Penultimate_K said: “choose the channel where the audience would be most appreciative of the info. Cross-post with care!” @sophiakhan4 said she felt “split over several platforms” for exactly this reason. However, other chat participants kept it simple: @thesmylers said “I only use FB and Twitter – copying links to posts across those works for me” and @Penultimate_K said: “I share on Twitter/LinkedIn. I discuss on the Facebook group” She also added that “FB (whether we love it or hate it) is really great! And searchable!” – however, I would add that while a group page, such as #AusELT, is searchable, if you are curating links on your personal profile page or your business page, you cannot search, you just need to keep scrolling back, and this is a drawback for me.

Some other curation favourites within the group were:

  • Pinterest: looks great – user-friendly – but better for visual things (it save images as a link to other sites, so a post without an image cannot be “pinned”)
  • ScoopIt: useful for curating more information-based teaching-related links but not much social interaction
  • PearlTrees: used to allow for “mind-mappy” curation of links, where links in different categories could still be linked to each other. Now it has been revamped it looks and behaves more like a less user-friendly version of Pinterest.
  • Pocket: A favourite app for @angelos_bollas who says it is similar to Diigo but much simpler to use
  • Wikis: @angelos_bollas suggested curating via a wiki, and even sharing it for public use. He mentioned the ‘almost endless’ storage capacities of a wiki and the flexibility in the kind of content you can store (links, PDFs, pictures etc.) Many of us agreed as we actually do have an #AusELT wiki that we use to curate things of interest to our community. However, we have recently decided to transition the content over to our blog primarily due to the more attractive interface and to curate all content in one place.

And that was about all we had time for. We covered a lot of ground, and as usual I would say – find what works for you!


For a complete workshop on social media for teachers, including presenter’s notes, PowerPoint and other materials, please click here. It’s under a Creative Commons license so it is adaptable and free to use in your institution.

Mixed feelings about Twitter? Upcoming Twitter chat Thurs 5th March

© Sunil Kumar

© Sunil Kumar

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

  • websites
  • recorded webinars
  • apps
  • 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

Upcoming #AusELT chat with Huw Jarvis – Tuesday August 5th 8:30pm AEST

Please note that this #AusELT chat session will be held on Tuesday August 5th at 8:30pm AEST (11:30am BST) when we will be joined by our special guest Huw Jarvis. 

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Shifting from Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) to Mobile Assisted Language Use (MALU) for describing and investing practice

Many teachers and students lament how fast technology has changed in recent years. ELT, with its abundance of acronyms, has often tried to label things. Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) has been a predominant one for many years. Technological changes have seen the emergence of newer acronyms; Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) and more recently Mobile Assisted Language Use (MALU).

This chat session will explore MALU and how Huw feels it can ‘describe, investigate and inform practice’. He notes that his own ideas on MALU are ‘still evolving’ so he sees the chat session as ‘an opportunity to share ideas and issues’.

Huw feels It would be useful for participants to read the following two papers:

Jarvis, H. (2014). ‘Digital residents: Practices and perceptions of non native speakers.’ Asian EFL Journal Teaching Articles. Vol. 75. pp. 21-35. Available from http://www.tesolacademic.org/msworddownloads/AsianEFL%20(March14).pdf

Jarvis, H. and Achilleos, M. (2013). ‘From computer assisted language learning (CALL) to mobile assisted language use.’  TESL-EJ.  Vol. 16. No.4. pp. 1-18. Available from http://www.tesl-ej.org/wordpress/issues/volume16/ej64/ej64a2/

Both papers (and many more) are available as open access from http://www.tesolacademic.org/ where Huw is the editor.

We look forward to seeing you and Huw on Tuesday August 5th at 8:30pm AEST (11:30am BST).