Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Happy Holidays!

Time to rest and rejuvenate and spend quality time with the family.

We all deserve this much needed break!

May Allah accept our work and efforts in 2016. Ameen

Those who can DO, Those who can do more TEACH

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Teachers! Do you read?

Dear teachers, do you read? If you read, what do you read? 

I've always believed that what we execute in the classroom should be informed by what research says or what experts in ELT says. It is easy to fall into the trap of our whims and fancy. I choose to call this a trap because I'm guilty of it too! You know what I'm referring to....those days when you decided to dish out something interesting in the classroom because it got the students moving around and there was much fun and laughter but then when you sat down to reflect on it, you realised that it didn't have much of an impact as far as your lesson objectives were concerned! 

Lets' be honest; some lessons were jumpy and disconnected. Some lessons were conducted not based on the skills our students really need to master. They were sometimes one-off or done 'for a change' and only suited the day and the mood of the teacher. Hence we need to read more of the right kinds of materials that not only strengthen our skills but help us make good teaching and learning decisions.

It is advisable that English teachers also become a member of some teacher development groups to enhance their knowledge and skills- the kind of groups that let you grow and become thinking teachers. A thinking classroom cannot start without thinking teachers, if I may be so bold as to suggest. Through such groups, teachers can get the latest information on their trade, that's for sure. I know some of your reactions might be.."Owh! That's too high for me!" or "I'm not teaching the tertiary levels." but you'll be surprised how much you can gain from reading practical researches on teaching and learning. Even action research for that matter, although action research is not given the respect it should in the research circle and ELT books. If you're a coach, it is even more relevant because you are coaching teachers all the time and need to keep up with ELT developments. From research to training materials, you will get access to them by joining the right group and reading the right kind of materials online.

One such teacher initiative I'm proud to be a member of is Teacher Voices (TV), led by Ibu Flora Debora, Petra Christian University, Surabaya, Indonesia and the reputable Dr Willy Renandya of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore among others. The following description conveys the the groups' objectives.

'Teacher Voices: English Language Teacher Professional Development Group' is NOT a group for students and people who try to learn English as the group's main purpose is to improve teaching skills not English.

This is a professional development group for classroom TEACHERS, textbook WRITERS, curriculum SPECIALISTS, RESEARCHERS of ENGLISH Language Teaching or Applied Linguistics.

'Teacher Voices' aims to provide a platform for English language professionals from around the world to share and exchange teaching and research information and ideas.

Members discuss a wide range of topics such as curriculum and materials development, language teaching methodology, language learning theories, classroom management, teacher research and teacher professional development.

Members of this group are expected to engage in the discussions using FORMAL ENGLISH and avoiding the use of slang and colloquial language.

Please do not use this group for business promotion and self promotion. Please do not circulate any material which are copy right protected in this forum cause it is against the law.

If you would like to administer survey questionnaires, please assure our members of the following:
1. that the research has been cleared by relevant authorities in your universities / institutions (ethics clearance)
2. that you as the researcher will keep members' responses confidential
3. that you will share the results of the research with interested members

Irrelevant posts will be deleted and the users will be removed from the group.

It's time teachers read serious stuff, not just face book postings or the usual story books. Besides, you will get up-to-date information on conferences of your choice to hone your skills as a teacher. And we have friendly experts in TV to respond to your questions although I know some of (my) questions, being a school teacher, may seem a bit trivial :) But the choice is yours. I just feel we are not reading enough serious materials related to our profession. We spend hours on social media but very little time reading resource books and classroom research or at least read from educational websites. 

Here's sharing Dr Willy's upcoming book with (his permission of course). This book is very useful for SISC coaches too because you're in the business of coaching and mentoring teachers. 

(credit Dr Willy Renandya, Nanyang Technical University, Singapore)

Keep the passion burning!

Those who can DO, Those who can do more TEACH