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Aslı Saglam's Blog about CPD in ELT

Blogging: An Adventure in Professional Development

June23

At the IATEFL 2015 Annual Conference I gave a presentation about potential contribution of blogging to professional development in a forum. It was the first time that I participated in a forum and it was a very enriching experience because all presenters focused on blogging from different perspectives.

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With the advance of technology and proliferation of Online Communities of Practice blogging has become a promising form of continuous professional development for the networked educators. Many researchers, educators and bloggers concur blogging may bring about opportunities for cooperative learning, connecting, sharing, and reflecting. I have been an avid blogger for more than 5 years and my blog had witnessed and accumulated accounts of my journey as a learning teacher. This presentation described a case study which explored posts of an academic blogger who had been utilising blogging as a form of professional learning and presented an approach which other educators might employ as a means for their professional development.

Affordances of Academic Blogging

Potential opportunities afforded by academic blogging involve exposure to insights and experiences of others in the blogging community, engagement with professional learning and networking. Blogs are instrumental for professional development because they enable networking which is an important asset in the digital age. It is often remarked that sharing-dissemination of information- is an important responsibility of the modern educator. In addition, blogs can support professional identity development by making one’s particular values and perspectives and thinking public and explicit (de Moor & Efimova, 2004 in Luehman, 2008) and by developing social alliances and affinity groups. Networked educators bond through shared practices, goals, endeavours, and interactions that support identity development (Gee, 2001, in Luehman, 2008). Furthermore, blogs provide opportunities for reflective practice which is characterised as “a process of internal dialogue facilitated by thinking or writing and through external dialogues and reflection together with others” (Gee, 2001, in Luehman, 2008).

Reflective writing was considered the major form of reflective action within reflection-on-action, that is reflection before or after teaching. The 5Rs Framework is suggested as an effective implementation strategy guiding reflective practices and triggering reflective writing (Bain, 2002).

Table 1

The 5Rs Framework for Reflection

5R Framework What is it? Critical Questions to Ask
Reporting A brief descriptive account of a situation / issue (ie. the reflective trigger) What happened, what the situation and issue involved
Responding Your emotional / personal response to the situation / issue etc Your observations, feelings, questions about the situation
Relating Personal and/or theoretical understandings relevant to the situation / issue Making connections between the situation and your experience, skills, knowledge and understanding
Reasoning Your explanation of the situation / issue Explaining the situation in terms of the significant factors, relevant theory and/or experience
Reconstructing Drawing conclusions and developing a future action plan Your deeper level of understanding about the situation- issue that is used to reframe reconstruct your future practice and further develop your understanding of professional practice

 

Using a case study approach, my study aimed to examine the content of 30 blog posts to ascertain the role of written reflection in improving my professional knowledge and my teaching. Guided by Hatton and Smiths’ framework (1995) for Levels of Reflection, content analysis traced verbal manifestations highlighting hints of change in pedagogical beliefs and practices.

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Figure 1 Hatton and Smiths’ Framework; Levels of Reflection (1995)

Findings

Blog posts which were categorised under “descriptive reflection” usually listed reasons why topic of the writing could be a challenge, referred to relevant literature, explored own professional practices and portrayed professional and personal reasons to instigate action. Blog posts bearing qualities of “dialogic reflection” often highlighted the process of making deliberate connections between my pedagogical beliefs and classroom practices. Some blog posts were identified as “critical reflection” because they triggered constructing and reconstruction of my understanding of realities of teaching and thus leading to a development of a deeper understanding of my own teaching as well as devising future action plans.

Conclusion

Blogging appears to offer a potentially rich and transformative means of continuous professional development since it may empower critical analysis for reflection. Consequently this dialogic reflection, sharing and cooperative learning may transform pedagogical beliefs and practices.

In sum, I think I learned a lot as a professional from reflective blog writing and I was happy to share my retrospective case study with other colleagues at IATEFL 2015.

You can find further details in my slides below.

Q & A with Participants of IATEFL Forum on Blogging

March31

How can blogging support teacher development? 

Barbara Chamberlin, Angela Pickering and Paul Slater from The University of Brighton, Aysegul Salli from Eastern Mediterranean University and myself are intrigued by this question and we will explore affordances of academic blogging as a reflective tool in teachers’ professional development in a Forum on Blogging in IATEFL 2015 Convention in Manchester.

This will be the first time that I will participate in a Forum in IATEFL and I am looking forward to it. We will meet our audience- colleagues- friends on 13 April Monday at 17:25- 18:30 in Central 7.

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There will be three 15 minute presentations focusing on variety of aspects of blogging regarding; blogging and CPD of in-service English language teachers, teachers’ perspectives on the blogging process that is embedded in a teacher training program and pre-service teachers’ construction of teacher identities via blogging. In short, as presenters in IATEFL Forum will explore blogging for teacher development from a variety of perspectives in diverse educational contexts.

We are looking forward to meeting you at IATEFL 2015 in Manchester and exchanging ideas. Presentations will be followed with a group question and answer slot at the end and we really do hope that you join us.

 

 

Question & Answer with the Forum Presenters

Aysegul Sallı


aysegul1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I have been working as a teacher of English at Eastern Mediterranean University since 1998. I have worked in the Department of English Language Teaching and English Preparatory School. I have also been working in the Teacher Training and development unit. I am a PhD candidate and planning to submit my dissertation by the end of this semester.

2. What are the main points that will be covered in your presentation in IATEFL?

At the IATEFL conference, my presentation will focus on the use of blogs and their contribution to the construction of teacher identities of pre-service English teachers.

3. Why are you interested in the area you’ll be presenting on?

I am very much interested in teacher identity and learning technologies. I attempted to merge these topics in my PhD research. I am curious how teacher candidates construct their teacher identities. The involved in this process are attracting my attention. My presentation involves a small part of my research. I am excited to share it on an international platform.

4. How might participants benefit from your session?

Well, I presume the participants will hear some theories about teacher identities and previous studies. They will have ideas about my research context and the results I gathered. I think they may be inspired to investigate whether using online tools really contribute to construction of teacher identities.

5. Can we find you on social media?

I am on social media, though I do not consider myself a frequent user. I am on twitter as @aysegul and on facebook as aysegul salli. I have a blog which has been inactive for a couple years. I think it is high time that I started to actively post on my blog.

Barbara Chamberlin

Barbara Chamberlin1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a senior lecturer at the University of Brighton and the Course Leader for the postgraduate Diploma in TESOL. My teaching is largely teacher education on undergraduate and postgraduate courses, and I also contribute to modules on English Language. I am also the module leader on a module that teaches the reading and analysis of graphic novels and comics.

2. What are the main points that will be covered in your presentation in IATEFL?

Developments that have taken place on the Diploma in TESOL at the University of Brighton regarding teacher reflection and the use of technology, focusing on blogs as a mode for capturing reflection. Focus will be given to the voices of those who have finished the course or who are currently on the course, collected through focus groups and interviews.

3. Why are you interested in the area you’ll be presenting on?

Reflection is not only key to the Diploma, but crucial in terms of ongoing teacher development, therefore questions surrounding the reflective process, ways of capturing this reflection and embedding reflection for ongoing professional development are very important. The changes we have made already have had an impact from my / our tutor perspectives, and we wanted to explore the perceived impact from the teachers’ point of view.

4. How might participants benefit from your session?

It may be useful to get a sense of how technologies are being used in our Diploma and see how teachers on this course experience and perceive both reflection and the use of technology.

Asli Saglam

KHV_61621. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am the owner of this blog, mother of two, an ELT teacher and a PhD candidate.

2. What are the main points that will be covered in your presentation in IATEFL?

My presentation will focus on how keeping an academic blog contributed to my professional development.

3. Why are you interested in the area you’ll be presenting on?

I think that being a part of a teacher is being a life-long learner. Therefore CPD gains a significant importance. I really think that blogging-as a reflective activity has great potential.

4. How might participants benefit from your session?

I think that the best part of the conferences is interaction between educators from all around the world. I am hoping that discussing my case- my adventure in blogging will bring about discussion into potential of using blogging in support of teacher development. I also hope that might inspire my colleagues to consider blogging as a transformative way of teacher development.

5. Can we find you on social media?

My twitter handle is @aslilidice and on facebook you can find me as Asli Lidice Gokturk Saglam

Wishing everyone a happy, fulfilling and enriching IATEFL experience. Hoping to learn with and from you.

 

Blogging: An Adventure in Continuous Professional Development

March17

I think academic blogging has great potential for promoting Continuous Professional Development of teachers as a transformative reflection tool. At least it helped me grow as a teacher on a large scale.

I will be talking about my journey as an avid blogger at IATEFL Annual Conference & Exhibition Manchester 2015 this April. I am looking forward to meeting colleagues & friends and making new friends at one of the greatest ELT Conferences. I will participate in a forum with other educators about academic blogging. My presentation is entitled “Blogging; an adventure in support of teacher development”. The forum will take place 17:25 – 18:30 on 13th April at Central 7 and each speaker will focus on different aspects. I am sure it will be a very insightful session since forum may bring about interaction between all participants, as the other thousands of scheduled sessions in the mighty IATEFL Annual Conference & Exhibition!

So, I reviewed my journey as an avid blogger and outlined this great adventure in an info-graphic. Hope you like it 🙂

Global Education Conference kick-starts this Monday!!! Save the date.

November16

The fifth annual Global Education Conference 2014 is just around the corner. It will kick start and be in full swing on Monday, November 17 and it will continue through Friday, November 21. This week long Global Education Conference is a free online event is expected to host more than 25 keynote speakers , more than 305 presenters and  educators and innovators from around the world. There will be a vast array of topics to be covered ranging from 21st Century skills, fostering international collaboration, globalizing the world through use of ICT in education, digital citizenship, communities of practice, social entrepreneurship, to continuous professional development, just to name a few.

The conference welcomes its participants with the following video

HOPE to CONNECT with YOU ONLINE in this great event!

Attendees may also want to check out the General Information below:

Being a Digital Educator and a Citizen

March18

I am getting really excited about our presentation on “Digital Citizenship and it’s applications in ELT” at TESOL Greece in 13 days. And we have all the motives to be excited because it seems that it’s going to be an excellent event!

Nil (Bilen) and I will share our ideas and we will be pitch firing many questions to our audience such as;  

What does it mean to be an educator and digital citizen?

What is our special role in preparing our learners to be digital citizens in blended learning environment

Which activities can be used in class?

In the end we hope to have a mutually enriching workshop experience with colleagues coming from a variety of educational settings and backgrounds. We really hope that our colleagues would join us on Saturday March 30 2013 at 17:40 – 18:25 and share their ideas about how to be a digital educator and a citizen.

In the meantime, you may want to take a look at a special tree of  links related to this subject that I have curated on PearlTree  

 
Digital Citizenship in Asli (aslilidice)

Please join us on Saturday or on-line 🙂

 

 

Insights from Richard Kiely

October17

Prof.Richard  Kiely gave a webinar that was organised by British Council Turkey and delivered a plenary speech on “The learning of new teachers in TESOL” at Marmara University International Symposium, “Foreign Language Education and Its Applications in Prep Classes” last week.

His book on course evaluation was one of our course books at my doctorate program at Yeditepe University, and therefore, it was my pleasure to meet him at the conference.

He kindly accepted to answer a few questions.

  1. 1.       You looked relaxed and totally in control when you were presenting virtually on ADOBE Connect and I know that it was your first webinar. What did you think of this virtual event? Do you think webinars, on-line communities of practice and MOOCs  could be the future of teacher education?

 Yes, it was my first webinar, so thanks for observing that I looked relaxed. It was not my first tele-conference, so I am accustomed to speaking to groups via the computer. Perhaps two factors facilitated my relaxed participation: first I was in my office at Marjon in Plymouth, UK, my usual workplace, and second, I was speaking about a topic area and research study with which I am familiar.

2.       What should ideal pre-service and in-service teacher development encompass in your opinion? How do teachers learn best? How can teacher experience turn into expertise?

Difficult questions, and really important ones: all institutiona and governments would like the ‘magic bullet’ to address these questions. In my view there is no magic bullet, in terms of a technique, or single course design. The focus is on developing the people, and this is likely to be achieved in a social learning situation:

where novice and expert do things together,

talk about what they are doing,

the experts shows and talks through,

with the novice observing and asking for tips and explanations,

with opportunities for the novice to practice, which is evaluated in a constructive way,

and a desire for a high level of achievement becomes part of the novice’s plan for life.

 

This kind of process ‘furnishes the imagination’ (Kiely & Askham TESOL Quartlerly Sept 2012)

 

3.       In your research study “Trinity College London Cert TESOL Impact Study” you examined the impact of a four-week teacher training programme. You mentioned the significance of “performance in professional identity, which has the potential to lead on-going, situated learning”. Can you further expand this point?

I supppose the key point from our research participants is the extent to which they wanted to know, to be good at TESOL, to identify with the kind of practices they had come to admire. It is these affiliating goals which shape the identity.

 

4.       What were some of the other striking findings?

Many findings, but one striking one was the challenge of dealing with the range of materials in TESOL work contexts. Especially where e-learning platforms and the internet are taken into account, the task of becoming familiar with available materials is a huge one for novice teachers. Many wanted to select their own materials, not just follow the coursebook, but were overwhelmed by the range available. An additional issue here is the time required for scanning electronic resources: we just cannot do that (listen to or read through  materials such as videos, for example) as efficiently as we can printed materials.

 

5.       Finally, in your opinion how can research (in-class as well as following the literature) contribute to teacher education?

My basic position – pro teacher research – is informed by two axiomatic points:

  1. We are in a post-method period in ELT. Teachers have to develop their own practice, which involves iunderstanding what works for them in their different classroom contexts. Research is a tool which can help teachers in that understanding.
  2. What teachers do when they teach is complex – too much going on in classrooms for teachers to remember everything and use what happened in the normal cycles of reflection and improvement. Research provides tools to look more closely at classroom interaction, such that teachers become more aware of the features of their practice, and over time develop professionally by extending what works well, and minimising what does not seem to work well.

Thanks a lot for your time and I really hope that you enjoyed your trip to Turkey.

I look forward to returning to Turkey – I met such fascinating people.

Autonomy, Social Networking and Professional Development

September22

Marisa Constantinides is one of project partners of aPLaNet and she gave a concurrent keynote entitled “Autonomous Professional Development Begins at Home”.  In this session, Marisa outlined ample opportunities that could be found on the internet for professional development of teachers and discussed various ways of getting involved in networks of community of practice.

How can social networks help with professional development?

Marisa argued that social networks have great potential for enriching professional development because they are flexible, continuous, multi-dimensional, and available to be used at the convenience of participants. Moreover, other participants of these networks are often generous in providing collegial support in the form of feedback, suggestions, and examples of good practice. Marisa suggested EFL Classroom 2.0 and ELT Teachers’ Network, as well as ELTChat. Also, she mentioned “grou.ps” as a web provider for creating one’s own Ning.

Marisa mentioned several ways of getting connected with other professionals from home and evaluating what’s available on the net. She suggested training videos on YouTube, webcasts of webinars, TED talks (for auditory visual learners), blogs and books (for visual learners) and social bookmarking such as Diigo for sharing information.

Why?

At the beginning of the session Marisa focused on “multidisciplinary information” that teachers’ should acquire including methodology, linguistics, sociolinguistics, and semantics, reminded audience about expectations of the students by sharing a research that is conducted about concept of ideal teacher in students’ mind and stressed the importance of life-long learning for the professional growth. Therefore, small doses of personal development that autonomous teachers can get from on-line networks can, in the end, put us in “hall of fame teachers” row.

(cross-posted at: aPLaNet Conference Blog)

September22

Autonomous ‘Personal learning Networks’ for Language Teachers (aPLaNet) Project Launch Conference
Today I attended project launch conference of PLaNet in Yeditepe University. This is a very inspiring EU funded project with the aim of providing language teachers in Europe with chances of professional development and in the first plenary keynote project members explained different aspects of the Project and the on-line resources that are created.
In aPLaNet project language teachers are assisted in their professional development by aPLaNet mentoring programme. Participating teachers can become mentees and mentors assist them in using social networks and online tools for professional development and building their own personal learning network (PLN).

Project members talked about aims of the project, mentor guides, mentee guides, methodology guide, case studies and results of the project briefly in the plenary keynote.

Here is the link to the project’s self-access webquest for Twitter, Facebook and Ning that outlines numerous useful links. You can reach the Facebook Page of the Project by clicking on the link.
This project is a living proof of the role of on-line Community of Practice (COP) for enhancing professional development of language teachers.
Asli Saglam

Cross posted at aPLaNet Conference Blog

Hi-Tech Approaches to Teacher Development

May28

Yesterday with my lovely friend Elif (Soltay), I gave a workshop at a joint event of  IATEFL Teacher Development SIG and Learning
Technologies SIG at Yeditepe University.

The Conference happened to be a fabulous event with superstar keynote speakers, involving Scott Thornbury, Lindsay Clanfield, Duncan Foord, Gavin Dudeney, Graham Stanley, Nick Robinson among many others.

Furthermore, there were many workshops loaded with highly beneficial ideas for the interaction between educational technologies and newly emerging forms of teacher training networks (e.g. CoP, VIA, EVO…etc.).Many thanks go to Burcu Akyol and her team for organising such a stimulating and fruitful event.

Our session was entitled “Hi- Tech Approaches to Teacher Education”. Our purpose was to showcase possible chances for teacher professional development on the internet within the frame of constructs in the TPACK framework from Mishra and Koehler (2006) in Graham, 2011. So on one hand there is teacher’s cognition and on the otherhand, there is effect of technology. Our beloved colleagues supported us by voicing their opinions on VoXoPoP. We asked them whether they received any training about using educational technologies in ELT either in pre-service or in-service training and whether they use technology in their classes. This is what they said:

Discussion » Welcoming remarks and Asli’s reflection 🙂

Also, we would like to thank the participants of our workshop who crowned our efforts with their positive feedback.

 

Teacher Development with or without Technology; The Teaching Unplugged Experience by Scott Thornbury

May26

Today I attended Teacher development SIG and Learning technologies SIG joint confernece at Yeditepe University. The event has a very interesting theme, examining intercation of technology with teacher development.

The first keynote session of the conference “The Teaching Unplugged Experience” was given by Scott Thornbury.

He started off eliciting the perception of the audience about ‘Dogme’ and then listed what some people have said about it. There was a wide variety of comments; from ‘it doesn’t work for the beginners (non-natives/ advanced/ young learners…etc.)’ to ‘it doesn’t work in Japan’. However, according to Mr. Thornbury, heart of the matter is that; Dogme is a platform, an engine for teacher development since ‘it invites teachers to question some of the received wisdoms about language teaching’.

He stressed his discontent with the idea of reducing teachers’ role into knowledge transfer and someone who is serving and argues that Dogme, as a self-initiated teacher development initiative, can lead to new forms of teacher development ; colloborative networks. He named some blogs including ELT STEW and Unplugged Reflections which illustrated reflections of such collaborative teacher development endeavours.

Finally, in order to make a difference and ‘matter’ (instead of being just a cog in a machine), the following advice from Atul Gawande  (A surgeon’s Notes on Better Performance) might be adopted to ELT and these may help all of us;

  1. Don’t complain
  2. Ask an unscripted question
  3. Count something (e.g. class-based research)
  4. Write something
  5. CHANGE (not necessarily embracing all new trends but looking for the opportunity to change)

My favourite was the number 5…What do you think?

 

(Cross-posted at IATEFL events)

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