First I’d like to specify the context of this post. 1. this is for English teachers service in public sector 2. this is aiming for elementary school teachers.
How many times you joined a workshop/seminar and hoping to learn something you can take away only left with wonders like ‘ah…that’s fancy but …how do I adapt that in my daily teaching?’
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting workshops/seminars are anything less, instead, they tend to keep this business vibrant if the goal is set clear and the speaker knows the industry and the real world. They are, however, tend to talk in general principle, and sometimes worse, in line with certain ‘official flavor’.
What I found interesting in ETs’ PD here in my district is, English education is always in the spotlight yet the supportive system behind it is unfortunately limited and scarce.
One day I had this idea of organizing a potluck party for English teachers in Tauyuan area. The potluck party means every teacher shows up with at least one successful teaching method/lesson plan/material…etc. and do a ‘show and tell’ with fellow colleagues.
I put this in my FB status and immediately my very resourceful teacher friend Caroline second the idea. With at least one person sharing the same idea with me, I asked the staff at school to register the event in our teacher’s PD website and together Caroline and I started to spread the word.
We’ve got some really positive feedback from a few reps of publishers but overall the feedback from teachers wasn’t that great. We’ve got only 5 participants signed up until the day before the Potluck Party, which is fine with me since I think workshop nowadays emphasizes too much on the ‘material delivery’ instead of the ‘know-how’. With small-scaled workshop like this, everyone get to tell his/her story and idea in an easier pace and more importantly, we get to learn from each other.
On the day of the Potluck Party, 10 people showed up.
Caroline showed up with her heavy duty gear to carry all her stuff…a lot of contents have been taken out and placed on the table when I took this picture and poor Caroline had to carry this on her own for three floors….with high heels on!!!
I’ve organize everyone’s input here via google doc (click here if you’d like to make this list longer!) and hoping we’ll have a sequel for this Potluck Party for ETs.
I’ve started to see the grassroots power in teacher’s professional development. Facebook, twitter and blogs are all evident of teachers taking charge of their own learning. By networking, teachers learn much more from each other and a sense of belonging grows. Let me emphasize this again, I’m not saying that seminars/workshop that involves hundreds of participants and A-listers aren’t doing good, instead, I still attend to events like that. What I’m trying to say is, ETs here are usually the loner in campus, we are not in the same ‘blood’ as our colleagues at school. Our very tight schedule and workload tend to trap us in classrooms with piles of papers/workbooks in long hours. Sometimes we need to know if we’re doing things in the right way, or, if there’s a better way to do it.
By sharing our ideas and the context behind it, we get to learn different strategies to adapt in different situations/schools. It is also a great opportunity for teachers to nurture their inner self as a leader. We can do so much good not just for our pupils but also our colleagues!
And don’t we all, I mean most of us, found this tiny sense of achievement in sharing our little triumph in the classroom?
Here’s the short clip of the wonderful day I spent with my fellow teachers. I wish there’ll be a sequel to our PPET!