Confession: I really wanted to call this post ’17 things I learned from reading blogs in 2017′ using Sandy Millin’s fantastic idea in this post about her learning in the past year. It appears to be really hard to ‘fit’ into the specific figure, so I might eventually quit the ’17’ idea. Still, you can see where I am getting at: December is the last month of the year and this by itself is an encouragement to look back at the previous 12 months and share the learning that happened. It is also a chance to feel the moment of the leaving year and to wholeheartedly welcome the new calendar page.
Since this part is the ‘reading’ part of the reflective process, let me share the posts that helped me grow and develop this year.
In July Hana Ticha wrote her post called Burnout Syndrome of the TEFL community and shared her concern about the silence of the bloggers she was/is following. My initial thoughts after reading her post went along the lines of ‘sure, this must be summer!’ I then checked the date of my latest post and saw that it had been about four months since I posted. Summer, really? That post by Hana made me start checking my WP Reader more often. This, in turn, let me read several great responses shared by the bloggers I respect and eagerly follow: Vedrana, Anna, Matthew, Mike and Pete, blogged about their reasons for (not) writing. Wise, open, deep reflections. They reminded me how much I love the reading part of blogging, and connecting to the people some (most!) of whom I have never even met in person (I still secretly believe we may meet one day, but that’s not the point now… 🙂 )
Anna Loseva’s Happy ELT Story (or to me, Live Blogging Party) idea showed the art to use the situation (only two people showing up for a reflective group meeting)flexibly and creatively, with maximum learning outcome to those who did show up. It prompted a new concept of ‘facilitator-less sessions’ for teachers (the post is still brewing) and an idea of a different blogging genre to try in the future.
Vedrana Estatiev’s post on arranging Anonymous Peer Reviewing/feedback giving on an online course shared a cool example of how students could do some work instead of the teacher (well, at least a part of it) and benefit as learners. It was also a reminder to be more learner-centered no matter what kind of environment, or platform we are using.
Svetlana Kandybovich’s post A Penny for Your Thoughts offered a great speaking activity idea, and as she often does through her writing, made me feel inspired and motivated to experiment.
Matthew Noble’s post In Praise of Papyrus was (1) a good example how ideas can be seen as creative genius that come and leave us, and (2) showed that we have so much in common, even though we have never worked together on a course. [Note: Well, we almost did, but ‘almost’ is a key word. Another time!]
Josette LeBlanc’s post Links I Have Found Useful Along the Way offered a great reference point, and serves an additional way to communicate with her through the books, articles and sites she recommends.
Christina C.’s post Just Being There was a description of one of the Teacher Hub sessions she prepared and facilitated, and this by itself was a reason to keep it in my records. Besides, she kindly allowed me to use the idea in one of our RP Group meetings, for which I am grateful! Also, her later post about learning The Bravery of Seeded Apples was not only beautifully authentic and warm but also demonstrated a new genre of writing to me.
Ljiljana Havran’s post on Librarians as Teacher Leaders spoke to me for the same reason: an idea how Professional Development can be done in alternative formats and how important it is to ‘think and look outside the box’ (or get rid of the box completely!)
Michael Griffin’s post and presentation slides ask a good question: ‘But what if we are wrong?‘ came out about ten days after I gave a short plenary talk at a Teacher Training Day in Kiev called ‘The Why of Learning-Centered Teaching’, where several beliefs were discussed and questioned.
Kamila Linkova’s post on Course Admin for Freelancers is a great read to me, as someone who is constantly learning and reading about life management in general and work flow management in particular.
Marc Jones wrote a post about his views on Job Interview, and this was something that caught my eye as a shared (and confirmed!) freelancer belief. In fact, this is just one example of many showing that the ‘free’ part in the word ‘freelancer’ is important.
Finally, iTDI’s issue A Day in the Life of… shared four posts on the topic, offers four meetings with great teachers, invites to think/talk/write about our daily routines, thoughts, teaching and learning beliefs (and is actually an idea for a new blogging challenge some time in 2018?)
**[A big note: all the blogs where I am referring to one specific post are worth following and reading on a regular basis!]
Happy Winter Holidays to everyone reading this post: love, peace, kindness, warmth to you and yours! I (secretly) assume that the authors mentioned above will be reading this post, so it is my chance to express gratitude for the learning process we are sharing, to wish inspiration and creative sparkle for the coming year.
Thank you for reading! 🙂