Tag Archives: blogging

Celebrating

100

Image courtesy of Becky Snyder

Two years. One hundred posts. Over 10,000 visits. I never thought this blog would ever make it this far. I normally don’t try to get caught up in numbers. It can be dangerous. But from time to time, it is can be healthy to look back over what has happened, giving you insight into where you are heading. In this case, I thought it might be good to spend some time sharing my thoughts about blogging, social media, and my growth as a teacher, learner, and person over this time. Continue reading Celebrating

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Apologizing

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Image courtesy of Butupa

It’s been an interesting day. Actually, it’s been an interesting couple of weeks. About two weeks ago, I took on an intersession class (one I have never taught before) a day after I had committed to writing the curriculum for a course that is due in a few days. On top of all of that, I have just finished up teaching and marking a TESL course. Needless to say, I’ve been a bit pre-occupied.

All of that sets up what transpired this morning. Continue reading Apologizing

Fearing

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Image courtesy of Saspotato

Social media can be so cruel. Before Twitter, Facebook and the like, I was content in thinking that I knew something. I felt like I was actually pretty knowledgeable and was able to connect the dots to apply that information in a meaningful way. But then I joined Twitter and started blogging. Now, I feel that I don’t really know that much really. When I read what others write and even the short snippets provided in Tweets, I feel, well, pretty dumb actually. I don’t say this to gain pity, I am admitting it because I am starting to realize that this is somewhat of a gift. Continue reading Fearing

Growing

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Image courtesy of Nicholas A. Tonelli

One of the unique things about becoming a teenager in the Canadian province of Alberta is you can get your learner’s driving permit on your fourteenth birthday, and that is exactly what I did. Just as with most young people, the opportunity to move behind the wheel is a thrill and one that you can’t wait to do on you own. In order to obtain your learner’s permit, all you have to do is to pass the written part of the exam. I remember the first time behind the wheel. My dad took me to a remote parking lot in a empty city park and had me start and start in first gear (I learned to drive on a manual transmission car). I loved it, but I desperately wanted to get out on the road. That opportunity came weeks later and only around some residential streets. Then the big day came. My parents and I were going to be driving to another city about 3 hours away and my dad was going to let me drive the whole way. The day was overcast, but clear and the start of the journey was fairly uneventful. Slowly, my dad nodded off in the front seat while my mom clung tightly to the door handle in the back seat. Then it happened: construction. I had no idea what to do. There were people holding signs, orange cones all over the place, trucks moving in and out of traffic, and to make matters worse, gravel and rough roads. Meanwhile, my dad continued his afternoon nap. Eventually we made it through and on to our destination. Once we pulled over and stopped, I realized that my hands were cramping as I had been clinging so tightly to the steering wheel that my knuckles had turned pure white. I could hardly take my hands off of the wheel.

I learned a lot from that experience, but in hindsight, it would have been better for me to have read a bit more on the subject and possibly even practised it a bit in on a smaller scale. Also, it would have been nice to have someone with more experience guiding me along the way, pointing out potential problems along the way (sorry dad, I know you were tired and it all worked out in the end). This is what it was like for me as I was handed over my TESL certificate back in 1995. It was like someone had handed me my driver’s license without the process of a learner’s permit. Sure, I had had a practicum with an experienced trainer, but it was fairly short and couldn’t possibly have prepared me for what was to come next. Over the years, I have grown a great deal with a long way still to go. I thought I would share some of my thoughts about how I have learned to become a better teacher for my students.

So, you have your TESL certificate in hand, what’s next? To me, you are like a young tree that has been planted in the ground. Here are some things that can help you grow.

Continue reading Growing

Contemplating

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Image courtesy of Simon Powell

I woke up this morning and this was spinning in my head. As I write this, I have a feeling it should have stayed in there where it made more sense (at least to me). Oh well, I will give it a go.

17th May 2013. That was the day that I started this blog. I had bold ambitions to share my thoughts on issues that mattered to the ELT community and how they were being played out in my classroom. I never ever intended for this site to make me rich or famous (and for the record, neither of those actually happened anyway), but my hope has always been that it might help others to reflect on their own teaching and possibly start a conversation as I learned from those who read my posts.

In part, that has happened. Continue reading Contemplating

Blogging

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Image courtesy of Alexander Baxevanis

Note: This is in response to the post I did yesterday about the ELT Research Blog Carnival. Some of you asked about another option rather than blogging since some of you don’t blog. I wanted to respond to that and to provide some options. Also, I recently read a post by Rose Bard about her blogging experience. You can read it here. I also read a post by Vicky Loras about PD and blogging. You can read it here.

In January 2012, I made a resolution that I was going to start a blog as well as join Twitter as a way of sharing what I was learning and to learn from other ELT professionals. Knowing how successful resolutions tend to be, I wasn’t expecting much out of it, but I was at least willing to make an effort to try and make it work. I was pleasantly surprised (and still am) that so many people would be open to reading, commenting, and sharing what I wrote. I was also able to meet some amazing people who have added to my growth as a teacher. With the amount of information that was out there, I never expected to be noticed. All of that is great, but what does blogging do for me and for those I keep in touch with? Here are some reasons to blog as a teaching professional: Continue reading Blogging

Respecting

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 Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Ask any language student where they feel the majority of classroom time should be spent and you will get a variety of answers. Students who have grown up in a more traditional educational system may believe that teachers should be at the front of the classroom running exercises based on grammar and lexical structures. Others advocate for more language usage such as conversational groups or essay writing. Whatever their reason, what students feel is important and what is actually going to help them is often disconnected. There are a those who are going to argue that students need to be in control of their language learning of which I would whole-heartedly agree. Anyone who has spent time in my TESL training classes would hear me push for a more learner-centred classroom based on each student’s needs. What that means is that we need to be helping guide them through the process of finding what they do need, not what they have trained to believe they need. Often times, the reasons they choose one system or method of learning over another is simply related to something cultural or familiar. Even the way we approach teaching is strongly influenced by what has happened in our past.

Continue reading Respecting