As I have been blogging for four months now I‘d like to say as I am reflecting on the results of my PLN that I am much more confident and contented as a teacher now. Firstly, I enjoy the fact that I’m in the company of a host of great teachers who are enthusiastic about teaching and sharing knowledge and that feeling of sharing and learning is absolutely wonderful. Secondly, I feel much better when I see that teachers all over the world have the same concerns, dilemmas or uncertainties as I do, and that motivates me to continue my growth as a teacher.
These four months I have learnt a lot and these are some impressions and experiences I would like to share with teachers who love learning and teaching English as I do, and particularly with my colleagues in Serbia.
1. Teaching is a lifelong learning process – Teachers should be willing to learn and constantly develop, and to open their mind and heart to the diversity of ideas in the world. Computer literacy and ability to work collaboratively with others are the skills that are necessary for competency in today’s international market. You can find a lot of very interesting and useful ideas in the recent Ceri Jones’ post about the use of technology in the ELT classroom.
There is also an amazing Ady Rajan’s chat summary – Coursebook authors fight back #ELTchat Summary 01/05/2013. The topic of the chat was inspired by two IATEFL sessions The ELTJ Debate (a debate about whether coursebooks reflect students’ lives and needs with Scott Thornbury vs Catherine Walters) and The decline and fall of coursebooks (a talk by Simon Greenall).
2. Reflective teaching – Teachers should constantly reflect on their lessons in order to improve their teaching methods and create a positive learning environment. Talking to students and getting feedback occasionally can strengthen the bond between teacher and student. However, I couldn’t agree more with Hugh Dellar’s opinion in his excellent post on teaching General English students ‘sometimes teachers should be confident enough to explain why what their students think they need may not actually be what’s best for them, and to guide them towards ways of more fruitfully using the little time they have available for the study of English.’
3. Developing critical and creative thinking – Good teachers are not those who cram the most content into their lectures, but those who balance teaching content with teaching students how to think with and about that content. They encourage new ideas and create environment where people feel comfortable in expressing new ideas, they are not judgmental, and they engage and believe in every student.
4. Apart from mastering blogging these four months, I had the opportunity to attend some great presentations at ELTA conference on 10th and 11th May in Belgrade and to listen to Jeanne Perret, Roisin O’Farrel, Julie King, Steve Lever, Alastair Lane, Suzanne Panferov, Zoltan Rezmuves, just to mention some of many other high quality speakers. It was a very fruitful conference with a lot of buzzing and sharing; you can see below just a little of the exciting and cheerful atmosphere during the conference (it was an enjoyable activity from the Opening Plenary by Jeanne Perret on Context, content and emotion in language learning in which we were flying and dancing on a magic carpet).