Sunday, April 1, 2007

Prompt 10: Professional Development

Egbert ch. 10
Richardson ch. 7

We cannot emphasize the value of Professional Development in our jobs enough. As teachers, we must believe in the value of having an expert share ideas or a forum for professionals/peers to come together so that we can grow and learn more from our peers. Working with and observing other teachers has taught me more about my job than just about anything else in my career. Of course, we are gaining valuable insight in our Master's classes--this is an obvious form of Professional Development.

Online resources are great for this purpose. I have participated in two TESOL Virtual trainings: 1) Margo Gottlieb discussing the new TESOL standards and suggesting ways to reduce test bias in standardized tests, and 2) J.D. Brown, discussing curriculum development. They were quite interesting, as people from all over the world participated. I also have looked at teacher forums for ESL and other teaching ideas, for tips on classroom manangement or specific activity ideas for the classroom. Check out the links here on ESL Resources; I have used several of them. I have also worked on creating online professional development modules on everything from Second Language Acquisition research to linking assessment results to instructional strategies.

One simple benefit of online professional development is that teachers can take the courses in their own time frame and can often choose the topic or sub-topic of their choice. Therefore, teachers are invested in what they are learning, a crucial factor in motivation, as we see when we are planning a variety of activities for our students, too. Just like our ELLs, we each have a unique learning style and preference.

Another wonderful aspect of online teacher development is that you can give back for what you get, whether it's a forum or a lesson plan exchange site or something similar. I have just discovered , which works like a swap meet. There are so many opportunities online for learning and sharing!

is so popular, too, and I appreciate the ideas that Richardson gives us on using these images to inspire lessons. I like "Flicktion" writing, where we can use the pictures as writing prompts for our students. I know I have spent countless hours looking for pictures in magazines to enrich and support the classroom activities, but it is not always easy to find what you want when you want it. However, with Flickr, the possibilites for teachers and students to find specific images are remarkable. I will definitely use these in my future classrooms.


Matador said...

Finding pictures is time conusming. They can take a way a lot of time. Sites like flicker could be great time savers!

Matador said...

The program has taught me alot about teaching, and has given me many tools to make my job easier.

Some things like finding photos also eats up a lot of my time. It good to know that there are sites that will cut down some of this time.