One of the benefits of Twitter for educators has to be the professional development opportunities. By following individuals I have expanded my techniques and teaching tools. There is a further Twitter option – that of the “chat”.
As a language teacher I have benefited immensely from the weekly opportunities found in the Thursday #langchat with MFL (modern foreign language) teachers. We discuss what is current and relevant in our classrooms now. So why do I make time to “chat”? Here’s why:
It reaffirms that I am on the right track: Teaching can often be a ‘solitary’ pursuit. The chance to be observed or network with fellow staff can be few and far between. But during a chat I often find that I am indeed doing things, and choosing approaches that others are too. Its nice to know that in my ‘isolated’ classroom I am on target for how to deliver my language program.
I find approaches/ideas on a specific topic: Chats are really focused with a weekly theme voted on by participants. What a great way to have some concentrated work on one area. It may be pedagogical one week, and class ‘management’ the next. It can be about new trends or a ‘brush up’ on existing challenges.
I get a look into the future: Many of my #langchat colleagues are in districts or positions that are ‘leaders’ in their field. Although my school may not be at that point, I get tips on where we might be headed. It also allows me to be a ‘leader’ in my school – challenging the status quo and assisting in change.
It broadens my ‘colleagues’ circle: Although we may work as part of a school department, we may or may not have colleagues that have a similar teaching philosophy or approach. My school language department has 4 full-time teachers. My #langchat group has many more. Through it I find others who see the MFL teaching world as I do. Equally beneficial is to hear from those with another point of view.
I invite you to find a ‘chat’ that interests you – your teaching will be the richer for it.