Autonomy, Social Networking and Professional Development

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.

Asli Saglam for British Council Roving Reporters Team.

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