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Professional Development

Things I’m happy to know (by Tamas Lorincz)

I jumped at the opportunity to contribute to what I believe to be one of the best blogs in the EFL  blogosphere.

I allocated an hour to writing this post, and even after 12 hours of fruitless toil, I am none the wiser.

The fruitless attempts wordle


What should every EFL teacher know?

I have been trying to find the answer to this question for twenty years. I always believed that I knew what it was and then I lost it again and had to look for it anew. But now I have realised that this search was the answer. (more…)

It’s the small things that count (by David Deubelbeiss)

The small things count

Everyone seems to know what teaching is. We organize, we write on the board, we give out handouts and homework, we ask questions, we mark and get ready for the next day. Is it so simple? (more…)

The Difference a Year Makes

Almost exactly one year ago, I signed up for two sessions through TESOL’s Electronic Village Online–Becoming a Webhead (BAW) and Virtual Worlds and Language Learning (VWLL). I signed up just before deadline, so if you’re still wondering whether or not to give these, or another of the many EVO workshops a try, there’s still time!


2009 Edublogs Nominations

There’s a useful word in Japanese: giri-giri. The closest English translation is probably cutting it close or by skin of your teeth, as in “I”m submitting my nominations for the Edublogs Awards giri-giri!”


What I’ve Learned from My PLN (November 14, 2009)

(Note: If this is the first post you’ve read in this series, and you’re mystified by the PLN acronym, start with What’s a PLN, anyway?)

The seven guest authors for the “Front Lines of EFL” series have been the members of my personal learning network I’ve shared with most intensively in the past few weeks, so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned from them. If you haven’t read all of the posts in this series, then perhaps it will provide a good summary as well, before moving on to more stories.


What I’ve Learned from my PLN

(Note: If this is the first post you’ve read in this series, and you’re mystified by the PLN acronym, start with What’s a PLN, anyway?)

This has been a resources kind of week for me–free books and free conferences!


Stories from the Front Lines of EFL

800px-Blind_monks_examining_an_elephantDo you remember the Indian fable about blind men describing an elephant? Depending on which body part they touched, they described a very different animal.

At times, trying to describe English as a Foreign Language for young learners feels a bit like describing an elephant. There are two things common to young learner EFL classes: they are taught in countries where English is not the dominant language, and students rarely have exposure to English outside of class.

Beyond this, young learner EFL can be a very different beast. Students might be as young as 2 or as old as 17. Teachers may speak English as their first language, or English may be their 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) language. Some teachers work in international schools, some work in private schools, and some work in public schools. Some classrooms have technology tools available. Some classrooms do not. Some teachers use textbooks. Other teachers create their own materials. And still others do a little of both.


What I’ve Learned from My PLN (August 22, 2009)

Showing is better than telling. So, for teachers trying to decide whether having an online personal learning network (PLN) is worth the effort, I thought it might be useful to show some of what I learned this week from mine. (more…)

Life in the Virtual Teacher’s Lounge

Part of the series Giving Second Life a Second Chance

The virtual teacher's lounge

The virtual teacher's lounge

I love teacher’s lounges in the same way I love coffee breaks at conferences. They’re great places to make friends and build professional networks (same people, different roles). The people I meet become my partners in learning.


Exploration for Personal and Professional Gain

Part of the series Giving Second Life a Second Chance

Professional development in Second Life is generally one of two types: using Second Life as a place to learn about things, and learning how to use tools in Second Life to do things (like teach). In both cases, it’s the people you meet who matter most–they will teach you, learn with you, and challenge you. Without people, Second Life is just a pretty computer graphic with some spiffy special effects.