Probably the topic I’ve presented on the most, but this version of the presentation was with a twist: I had no voice! That means the slides are more detailed than usual as they had to do the speaking for me. Thanks to those who attended and read along 🙂 Since the last version (already 5 years old!) I’ve added a little bit about podcasting and about ELT Playbook.
The slides include clickable links, but for ease of blog readers, I’ve also included a summary with links below as well. Feel free to ask me any questions or add other resources you think are useful for those starting out with online professional development.
Twitter and #ELTchat are where my online professional development started, and as I’ve written before, they changed my life. The #ELTchat hashtag is one of the most active English-teaching-related hashtags on Twitter. The peak of activity is from 19:00-20:00 UK time every Wednesday, when a single topic is discussed. This continues for the next 24 hours in a slow burn on that same topic. The whole discussion is then summarised by one person in a blog post. All of the summaries are available in the #ELTchat summaries index, a one-stop shop for a huge amount of professional development. The hashtag is active throughout the week as people share ideas, resources and questions on all manner of ELT topics.
To find ELT people to follow, look at who’s posting in #ELTchat and who they follow. I’m @sandymillin on Twitter if you want to see who I follow.
If you have a facebook account already, this is probably the easiest way to start your online professional development. Some people have two separate profiles, or a profile and a page: one for personal use and the other for professional use. I don’t, but only because I’ve been using facebook for so long it would take me hours to separate them now – I do only accept requests from people I’ve interacted with though.
There are hundreds of ELT-related facebook pages covering all aspects of the profession. The biggest is probably Teaching English British Council, which has nearly 4 million followers at the time of writing. The IATEFL facebook group, and those of the Special Interest Groups are another way to get an international perspective, as is the #ELTchat page. For those based in Poland, IATEFL Poland has an active page. Ela Wassell compiled a more comprehensive list of Facebook groups and pages back in 2013, the large majority of which are still active.
Webinars are online seminars which you can follow live or watch as recordings whenever and wherever you like. Access to some recordings are restricted to members of particular organisations. There are a huge range of ELT webinars available now, covering pretty much every topic you can think of.
The easiest way to find webinars is to put “______ webinars” into your favourite search engine, substituting _____ for a particular topic e.g. “teaching English pronunciation”, or any of the following providers:
- Macmillan Education
- National Geographic Learning
- International House
- Oxford University Press
- Cambridge University Press
- British Council
- EFL Talks
If you’re looking for something bite-sized, the IH Teachers Online Conferences include lots of 10-minute webinars. You could also look at my webinar bookmarks, or the regular lists of upcoming webinars posted by Adi Rajan on his blog, like this one for February and March 2019. Adi lists webinars both inside and outside ELT which he considers relevant.
As with facebook, if you already listen to podcasts this is a very easy way to add a bit of CPD to your life. My three favourite TEFL podcasts are:
- TEFL Training Institute podcast: 15 minutes, 3 questions answered on a given topic
- The TEFL Commute podcast: 35-45 minutes, magazine style, “The podcast that’s not about teaching, but the subject always seems to come up.”
- The TEFLology Podcast: Two formats:
- 45 minutes with three areas: TEFL news, TEFL pioneers, TEFL cultures
- 30-45-minute interviews with people from across the TEFL profession
The guys from TEFLology have also written a book called Podcasting and professional development [affiliate link] which tells you how you can start creating your own podcasts, as well as providing a longer list of podcasts related to teaching.
Here are four blogs which are written by English teachers in Poland:
- Lesson Plans Digger (in English)
- Authentic Teaching (in English, Polish and German)
- Trener Angielskiego (in Polish)
- Sylwia Clayton (in Polish)
Thanks to Hanna Zieba for sharing these links.
I didn’t share any more information about blogs and blogging, because Making the most of blogs was my IH Torun TTD presentation in 2018.
I couldn’t possibly keep track of all of these links without the use of diigo, an online bookmarking tool. Here’s my beginner’s guide to diigo in the IH Journal. I’m constantly adding to my professional development links on diigo, and you can also see all of my diigo links ever. They are tagged with different topics to help you find your way around (if you can understand my thinking process of course!)
Of course, no presentation I do nowadays is complete without mentioning ELT Playbook, my series of books containing tasks to help teachers improve their ability to reflect on their careers. Each task is accompanied by reflection questions and ideas for ways to summarise your reflections in a blogpost, video or audio recording, Instagram-style post, or a private teaching journal.
ELT Playbook 1 was launched just over a year ago, aimed particularly at new teachers, but also at managers and trainers who work with them, or more experienced teachers who want to go back to basics.
ELT Playbook Teacher Training is in the final stages of preparation, and will hopefully be ready to buy in the next 2-3 weeks – watch this space! It’s aimed at those new to teacher training, either in training or management positions, and also has tasks which could help those creating workshops or conference presentations for the first time.
This should give you a good starting point for your own online professional development. What other resources would you suggest? And what questions do you have?