Eventually My Journey in TEFL is celebrating her 1st birthday in blogosphere. I’m so glad that I started blogging.
I believe September is a very lucky month for me. I’m not going to reveal everything but many good things in my life all started in September.
Everything started last year on 5th of September with Ozge Karaoglu’s introduction to web 2.0 tools and blogging and I decided to be online.
I started my blog but I didn’t actually know what I was going to write.I just added some sites and some wrote some simple ideas.Then I decided to write about things I loved doing in the class, I had just tried with my students. Those were the days I also started twitter. These two looked so combined together. Days passed and I heard some voices. I got support from an online community I had just participated. They retweeted my posts, left comments and they followed me back on twitter and I found out I had already started to have my own PLN.
Twitter and blogging started changing my teaching life. I found myself in a constant professional development which enabled me to collaborate with teachers around the world. All these social-media things gave me the chance to speak my mind, share ideas and have friendly chats with my PLN.
Twitter also helped me to meet members of my PLN in real life. I now have friends from all over the world whom I know I can rely on whenever I need guidance.
If you aren’t on twitter, if you aren’t blogging, if you don’t believe they are useful for your career and if you have come across with this post via google search, please consider it again.
If you join,
You may receive a book that you need from a friend from Brazil. You may be invited to Yorkshire for teacher workshops. You may join a project of a friend living in another country. You may start a project with another friend in another country. You may give your students a chance to have a real conversation in English with real people using skype. If When you aren’t online for a couple of days, you may even get a message from a friend who doesn’t even know you wondering where you have recently been.
If you are blogging and if you are on twitter, you already know the privileges that we have. Thank you for the support…
Well, I told you about the wonderful experience we had with Berni and told that the whole thing was part of a professional development course. We started with advanced grammar and continued with getting students to write, use technology tools (blogs, wikis etc developing ideas), or the traditional way.
The following day was about improving listening skills, broadening vocabulary, using authentic materials and in the afternoon we discussed Bronte novels, compared them and talked about the place of the women in society.
Wednesday was the day of the Bronte visit and walk to the moors.
On Thursday we continued with humour in the classroom, games and game like activities. We found out riddles, jokes, quizzes, puzzles will be great as a warmer or to finish the lesson. You can find a great collection on Gapfillers.We finished the course with error analysis. We talked about all the traditional methods and Berni suggested language audit which was new for me and will give it a try.
We talked about how we can integrate technology to traditional efl teaching. Alex was full with wonderful links. I’d like to share some of the ideas and the links with you.
A warm up or a filler: Choose a category or a topic and set a time limit and then tell students to write without stopping until you stop them. Works well when you brainstorm too. You can do the same with Write or Die which is a site allowing you to write whatever you want. You choose a word goal and a time goal and then start typing.
PicLits is a wonderful site to give your students picture prompts to write their creative stories.
Ink Think Tank
Plinky is great sites that everyday they provide a new prompt, a question, or a challenge, and everyone gets a chance to answer.
Phreethings is another site for writing with your students. They can create their own postcards.
It’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere and that means schools are close and we are on holiday. That’s good because it gives us a chance to relax, read and have some ‘me’ time.
That’s also good because during this time we can do something for professional development just attending some workshops, reading books, even cleaning our files and book shelves will help.
This summer is a bit different for me because my PLN is making me ready for the coming year. Every day they keep sending great links, tips, adding comments and suggestions to the blog posts and it is kind of a constant workshop going on 7/24.
Once again I believe having a PLN is like sharing a staffroom with your colleagues. A staffroom without doors and borders, a staffroom full of colleagues with lots of experience with so many different classes, a staff-room with different point of views which will help a new teacher to analyse better.
Sometimes it is like you are talking alone but then you hear voices. They help you leaving their ideas, suggestions or even they can help by talking face to face using Skype.
I’ve been teaching for a very long time and this comfort that I’ve just found is a wonderful feeling.
We all talk about the privileges of having a PLN and we agree that twitter is one of the most powerful tools for the educators to build your PLN. If you have a PLN, it means that you have a constant professional development network. However, if you think that twitter is just for professional development then you are missing the best part of it.
So what can you do with your PLN on twitter?
Attend conferences, seminars, workshops, Pecha Kuchas online
Watch the matches, games together. You can even hear your friends’ voices.
Drink coffee, tea together and chat at the same time.
Watch Eurovision song contest and have fun together while the votes are given
Listen to music and talk about it.
Eat chocolate and share the guilt as a big group
Fun things happen spontaneously. If you join the conversation, you will understand me much better. Sometimes good things are just a hashtag away.
P.S: You can celebrate birthdays, achievements, births and all the happy moments with your PLN 🙂
As I said before, I really enjoyed this blog reading task partly because I love doing homework 🙂 and it allows me to discover more.
If you like, make a cup of fresh coffee and do some extensive reading.
I’ll start with Murphy’s Law for EFL teachers from Natasa’s blog. Natasa Bozic Grojic writes how things may go wrong in a class when a teacher prepares really cool things for her class.
Denise Ozdeniz has just started blogging but she is one of the greatest teacher trainers I have had. Giving Presentations and Workshops is full of useful tips.
You can read What Now: Staying on top of your game by Bethany Cagnol if you are not sure what to do to stay on top of the game.
10 goofy ways to practise speaking skills. is a wonderful post from Berni Wall’s. One of my favourite posts werealso from here, Using Modal verbs Part One and don’t forget to read Part 2.
To be continued ….
For more hidden gems, visit The PLN Staff Lounge.