It's been four months since my last post and as you can imagine it's been really busy. This post is about Continued Professional Development as I think it is an important part of one's progress and, in my personal case, what keeps me ticking about teaching and learning and what brings the most satisfaction.
In a world where skill sets required for different jobs are changing rapidly because of technology and how it permeates our lives, I think that keeping up with the times as well as abreast in our field is not just necessary but an obligation, especially for those in the teaching sector. We need to be knowledgeable and well prepared - how can we help others learn if we do not keep curious about teaching and learning?
It is this curiosity that keeps me going and which inspires me to keep studying, reading, doing short courses and MOOCs. Someone once told me why I bothered and whether I didn't get bored! I think it's a matter of perspective as I think that we never stop learning and those courses which are similar to other courses I have done have allowed me to revise and revisit concepts and ideas also from different perspectives thus giving me a fresh take on them. I'm grateful for the internet and even more for open source education and platforms like FutureLearn, Coursera, EdX and the like as they make it possible for people to keep studying and learning. I'm on full-time employment and I would not have been able to complete 5 MA level qualifications and many other short lower level courses if it wasn't for the internet and online education! I love the fact that I can continue to learn from others via these courses at my own time and that I have the choice to do the course for free or pay a small fee to get a certificate of achievement.
With my relocation to the Basque Country last year and to a new job, I was especially busy in the last quarter of 2018 and also in the first trimester of 2019 so I didn't have as much time to study (my hobby - you've probably worked that out already!). I was able to get a bit more time for myself from Term 2 onwards, April on and so I've completed three courses on FutureLearn which I would definitely recommend:
TEACHING ENGLISH ONLINE
This is a 4 week course which recently won an ELTon Award by the British Council. Although I am already an online tutor and have been one for a few years working as lead tutor on the CertICT and also on other courses by TheConsultants-e.com, I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting ideas and concepts, resources and my engagement in dialogue with other course participants. I think the different weeks provide a nice and balanced view of what teaching online. I found particularly useful the last week of the course where information about points to consider when setting up your own online teaching business or getting started as an online teacher.
MANAGING PEOPLE: UNDERSTANDING YOUR ORGANISATION
This 3 week course was also very interesting. It helped me revise from a different perspective some of the aspects and ideas I had studied when I completed the Post Graduate Diploma in Academic Management. I liked the tasks and also being able to interact with people from different backgrounds - I think this was the best part as ideas and responses came from professionals outside the ESOL sector and this, in my opinion, allows for a different perspective. This course is the first one of 3 so I've signed up for the next one which starts in September.
ENGLISH IN EARLY CHILDHOOD
This British Council 6-week course was my favourite of the three! I work with Very Young Learners (VYLs) and YLs so it allowed me to refresh some of the theories and approaches I had studied and also taught as a YL trainer. The tasks and the videos are up to date and offer a fresh perspective - IMHO. I really enjoyed the tasks and the amount of reflection required and of course the interaction with some of the course participants.
So, CPD or not to CPD?
The answer is yes and always CPD. It is important that we do not become stale teachers and trainers, that we challenge ourselves and if not then that we revisit what we 'think' we know, that we explore and listen to other voices and perspectives in our field. Whatever it is you teach, keep learning and don't let that light and desire to discover go out!
Nowadays, it is impossible not to continue with our learning journey. The internet provides the tools, many of which free, that allows us to keep learning, exploring, discovering the world and, in my case, learning and teaching!