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Teachers as learners: Take a look around you

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A PLN starts at home.

Many people nowadays associate PLN ('Personal Learning Network') with the connections made online e.g. through blogging, Twitter and virtual conferences. However, we sometimes forget the most important people in our PLN - the people we work with every day! They know best of all the context we work in and they can be the most valuable source of advice and support.

Here are some ways I share and connect with my colleagues:

  • Staffroom chats - these can be the highlight of my working day. Many problems have been solved and many great lesson ideas have been born by chatting with the other teachers during free lessons.
  • Observation - we often think of observation as something to be feared as it's usually done by inspectors or senior teachers for evalution purposes. However, it can be a fun way to learn from another teacher. They can watch you, you can watch them and you can discuss everything afterwards.
  • Team-teaching - Why not do a lesson together? Planning and teaching with a partner is a great way to get to know each other as teachers!
  • Book sharing - There are lots of great books out there for language teachers covering everything from methodology and grammar to lesson ideas and teaching tips. If you've got a useful book, lend it to a colleague and borrow one from them if they have one. Exchanging books like this and discussing ideas you got from them is another fantastic way to develop.
  • Do an in-house workshop - I mentioned doing workshops and presentations in the previous post. If the idea of going to a large conference or joining a virtual one sounds daunting, why not get some practice closer to home? Offer to run a workshop at your school with your colleagues in attendance. Who better to share ideas with than someone who works in the same setting?

Hope you found these ideas useful. :)