Some Twitter Hashtags for CPD

So, how-to-use-Twitter-for-CPD articles have been a bit done to death (with some good ones being Lizzie Pinard’s and Sandy Millin’s).

Image: Wikimedia

Anyway, it’s really good to use Twitter for CPD blah blah blah, personal learning network blah blah blah, but you can focus it more by following some hashtags.

In the ELT Bubble Sphere

#ELTchat is a fine wine that only gets better.
#ELTChinwag is the rave your friend’s brother went to while you were asleep.
#KELTchat is a chige, hot, spicy and full of nutrition.
#LINCchat is the poutine you never knew you wanted.
#AusELT is the beach barbecue that your cool friend took you to.
#TBLTchat is that chocolate chip rum and raisin cronut and espresso with mojito aperitif (though I’m biased!)
#tleap is the geodesic dome in the refectory built from breadsticks and cheese. 
These are all scheduled chats based on a topic. They occur from time to time.
#tleap is the Michelin starred restaurant with an open dress code and realistic pricing.
This is for English for Academic Purposes teachers, which may not be exclusively for second/foreign language speakers but also native speakers, too.
#ELTwhiteboard is the ice cream you just cannot resist.
This happens often. It is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Over the fence next door

#edchat is mainstream education stuff. Often tech heavy.
#SEN Special Educational Needs. This is mainly about students with such needs in ‘mainstream’ education. We do not talk about this enough in ELT and we get freaked out when students with diverse needs are put in our classes (especially with little notice, and this happens in language schools as well as academia).
#MFLTwitterati is a hashtag where you can get ideas from people who teach French, German and Spanish (and possibly Chinese).
#langchat is something similar
Hopefully, this will be helpful in pointing out stuff that you didn’t know was there.

Task Based Links and News (sort of)

Those of you who follow me on Twitter, (which you should definitely do for the misanthropy and ranting alone), must surely know about #TBLTchat coming up on Tuesday, 21 June 2016. I hope this is bigger than me as I would like it to have more longevity than Tokyo Lesson Jam. Hopefully internet chats are a much better thing. Certainly, I am 93.2% more attractive on the internet.
To get you in the mood, Ljiljana Havran has a great TBLT post here, and Huw Jarvis has an open-access article, in the open access TESL-EJ.

Why Share Lessons on Your Blog?

I don’t know whether many teachers are really concerned about what goes on in other teachers’ classrooms. I am, but then I’m nosy. I want to know what their cool ideas are. I want to steal!
That said, I’m not indiscriminate. I want to steal good stuff that I think will work with my learners. In that case, why do I have people in my personal learning network (PLN) based in across the world, when I’ve said before that learning can’t be generalised?
Because I want to get ideas about flow. Because an idea that won’t work for me makes me think about why it won’t work and what I need to do in order to make it work. It’s part of the reason I set up the Tokyo Lesson Jam, which is way overdue another meeting (December, when I finish my DipTESOL?), so that I could steal other people’s cool stuff.
For those of us who never get to do peer observations, reading lesson plans on blogs is like a glimpse into another teacher’s classroom. You get to say ‘I wouldn’t do that, I’d do this‘ (in a nice way, not a smart-arsed way). You might even say it in the comments of the blog. You might also see how somebody else solved a problem that you’re working on, or tried unsuccessfully to solve it. The internet is the easiest way to join a community of practice and people are welcoming. People will still say that your stupid ideas are stupid, but they will often say so nicely. They will then give you a better idea. If an idea or method should be rejected, you’ll be told why, and if anything usable can be salvaged from the wreck.
So, yes, even if my stupid lessons wouldn’t work for your learners, it can still be useful provided you give the reasons why it wouldn’t.

Checking Vocab KWIC-ly

The other day I had a lesson with my TOEIC class at one of the universities I teach at and we were having a vocabulary review. I decided to check knowledge of collocations by using some collocation forks and have my students check things out using COCA.
That part of the lesson worked well; after getting the students used to productive use of the corpus and reducing the number of lines, all was good. Checking things like ‘take in’ they found that it has mainly visual or cognitive stimuli that collocates.
It might have looked like my students were having a faff about on their phones but if I don’t teach them how to use a corpus in lessons, they probably won’t be able to use it without guidance at home.
I have in the past used Twitter as a corpus with students but it doesn’t work very well to give concordances all the time.
If you are interested in working with COCA, you should definitely give Mura Nava‘s Cup of COCA posts out.

Various: Status Update

The action research I started is in full swing and the independent study that students were asked to undertake was done by around 80% students in both the sample classes, although some students changed their independent study methods from video to songs and nobody read at all.
I did the listening with my false beginner class today and they really enjoyed it although they found it difficult.
I participated in my second ever #KELTchat on Twitter and it was very informative, especially for my university classes.
Other than that, Twitter was on fire this morning due to my previous moaning arguing moaning about how rubbish bland coursebooks don’t meet student needs but teachers are forced into using them anyway.
I have bad news in that a language school I just started working for is being bought. The new owner seems nice but I do feel uneasy in my work. Conversely, I had an interview with another agency that teaches a lot of IELTS courses. I await that with bated breath, as I do my MA TESOL and Applied Linguistics application.