The EARLY INSET 2015
started five weeks ago. Given the level of enthusiasm we have had from participants so far, it seems we have managed to put together a dynamic and capable group of participants.
To my mind, training teachers is a privilege. Online training is no different. For starters, tutors are given the chance to get to know many teachers from different parts of the country, providing a diversity of real world examples and ideas. This year, for instance, we have participants from Rio, Niterói & Petrópolis, Brasília, Goiânia, Porto Alegre and Teresina.
Research shows that once an online community is built, the amount of sharing is phenomenal. I’m always amazed by how willing participants are to share and to learn from one another.
Last week’s discussion on the different types of learners we teach is a clear example of what a group of like-minded teachers can do: in 7 days we recorded 11 hours of comments in 15 different threads
with issues ranging from adult learners and testing
to gamifying education
Just in case you are a little skeptical, click here
and check for yourself!
Online courses are where I see cooperation taking place at its most basic level. I often talk about the asymmetrical nature
of the relationship teacher/student in face-to-face courses. Interestingly enough, many barriers are truly broken in online environments – to the extent that, when we read/listen to a given thread, it’s sometimes impossible to decide who’s in charge.
In most of these courses, help comes from whoever may be available first. And all these years as an online moderator have taught me that, more often than not, help comes from a peer – not from a tutor. Here’s where I really can envisage myself as a true facilitator. I start off some discussions and then scaffold the work – when/only if scaffolding is needed. Seems pretty straight forward. Not necessarily, but with the right group of participants, it is.
So this week I would like to honor the 42 teachers
who, in spite of “life constraints” (You lead a busy life? Who doesn’t?), were willing to give the institution some of their time to share their views on language teaching and their classroom anecdotes with their peers and, thus, grow as language teaching professionals.
Here’s my selfish wish for all of us: May the up-coming discussions be equally fruitful. May we not falter in our purposes. And when June finally comes, may we all rest with that magnificent feeling of duty accomplished.
GUILHERME B. PACHECO