miércoles, 17 de diciembre de 2014

Here´s to my PLN, a thank you toss.

A couple of weeks ago several of my Argentinian teachers of English friends shared this article (in original Spanish version, sorry!) via different social media.  It shows the result of a survey stating that Argentinians scored the best results in a certain English proficiency exam.  Somehow the ones sharing it felt and shared the pride of a job well done.  It came as no surprise to me.  I am from Argentina.  I´ve been shaped by and learned from Argentinian teachers.  I have worked with them and I am lucky to have many EFL teacher friends.  I witness how hard they work daily to share their passion for the English language.   As I was reading the post I remembered the many other language teachers I met face to face in the three congresses I attended in my country this year.  I heard their stories, all different yet fascinating.
     I also met other Latin American colleagues face to face and online and I am looking forward to meeting more and hear about what they are up to, their challenges, and achievements.  And I don´t need any article to tell me that they are doing the best that they can with what they have.
     If today I can read books, watch films and interact in English it is thanks to a teachers who helped me at different points of my life.  I am also lucky to be a native born Spanish speaker.  When a student asked me to teach him Spanish this year, I came to appreciate those souls who decide to teach Spanish as a foreign language. (ELA: Español como Lengua Extranjera) This one proved to be another path to grow as an educator, by acknowledging my own language.  It was also a humbling experience, my admiration goes to those who decide to swim the waters of the Spanish grammar.
One must love a language a lot in order to decide to become a teacher of that language withou being born a native speaker.
My toss  this last month of the year goes to those whose job is to spread their passion for a language and in so doing assume as their mission to ignite the fire in others.
Thank you so much native, nonNESTs, ELA, ESL, EFL and all of you passionate educators out there from whom I get my daily inspiration, encouragement, insights, knowledge.
Salud! Cheers! 

miércoles, 3 de diciembre de 2014

E-Learning and Digital Cultures, the University of Edinburgh, Coursera

Final Assignment

E-learning and Digital Cultures - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

As with many things in life, taking the middle way as regards the use of technology in education poses a new challenge to the practicing teacher.  I meet the pro-technology and the moderates online and the naysayers offline.  At this point I have stopped being an advocate to just relax and enjoy my ride, which is precisely what I have been doing since I started mingling with likeminded educators in all the online opportunities out there for learning with others.
As far as I am concerned the interactions that occur in the various networks I have online have helped me in several ways to get outside the narrow boundaries of my classroom.  I have learned how to personalise my materials to suit my students´needs, I have appreciated the value of reflection and learned how to make it available online by means of online platforms.  I browse new material and methodologies on a regular basis.  I have learned not to be afraid about asking questions and try out new things.  
At the same time I have often wondered where my colleagues are and wondering why they are not here with me enjoying themselves.  As my husband says "They´re probably busy working, Maria!"  This led me to ask myself another question: Why isn´t it a national educational priority to connect teachers and classes around the globe?  Maybe I am carried away by my enthusiasm, I teach English and I find that all the contents in the textbook can easily become adapted to be learned with others. In fact adding a global perspective would give a relevant purpose to the idea of learning a foreign language.
Technology will certainly not solve all educational issues, but we can´t teach pretending we don´t know about the possibilities afforded by it. Today more than ever we crave for human contact, for acceptance.  Let´s take the chance today to bond, to share and to learn by teaching. Otherwise we run the risk to live how Robbie did, isotated, and when the time comes for our batteries to die out, we will do just that: wait patiently for our teaching years to finish.