Professional Development for Educators

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The responses to the survey are in! :)

A couple of months ago I read something on another EFL site which got me thinking about professional development for educators and, in particular, for English Foreign Language teachers. I wrote a post about it here: Teacher Professional Development.

Then, I found another article and discussion which prompted me to post again (English Teacher Professional Development) and set up a short survey about PD in EFL.

I then proceeded to hound my readers to complete the survey ;) ! THANK YOU to everyone who did; I really appreciate it. It was definitely interesting going through the responses and you raised some points that I’ll be delving a little deeper into over the coming months. So, again, thank you if you filled out the survey.

Anyway, I made a presentation to walk you through the main ideas that came up. I thought it would take about 10 or 12 minutes, but — despite speaking quite fast — it ended up taking twice that long (around 24 mins!) so you might like to go and make a coffee while the video loads.

Depending on the speed of your internet connection, the presentation could take anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 minutes to load. I remember when I lived in rural Japan, it took a long time for these kinds of thing to load. I’m really sorry if you live in an area with lame connectivity! THIS image…

…will come up while the video is loading.

I’ve tested it and everything is working fine at this end so please just be patient. Also, when it does load (and you should be able to see the little bar across the bottom “growing” as it loads up), you’ll need to click the “Play” button in the bottom left-hand corner to actually start the video.

When you’ve watched it, please go down below and leave a comment with your thoughts, additions, questions, etc. As always, I’m keen to know what you think…

I hope it’s both interesting and useful to you!


P.S. The survey isn’t closed – and I don’t imagine closing it any time soon – so if a friend sent you to this page and you’d like to add your voice to mix, please feel free to do so.


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6 Responses to “Professional Development for Educators”

  1. Lynne Hutchinson-Sor Lynne Hutchinson-Sor says:

    Hi Leslie

    Some very interesting points which were well analysed - I'm now looking forward to reading/listening to the follow up to this. I think I've said before that I'm on the brink of throwing myself into the PD arena as a trainer, so this is particularly pertinent for me and has already given me food for thought, especially the kind of subjects EFL teachers are looking for in further training sessions.

    One point which isn't covered in your survey is how concerned MANAGEMENT feels about teacher training. With my colleague, we've spent a considerable amount of time deciding not only which subjects would be of interest to teachers, but also how we can "sell" these ideas to Directors of language schools so that they'd be willing to invest in our workshops. ROI is an obvious point here and it will be one of the aspects we'll be working very hard to justify with regard to the decision-takers out there. Do you have any info you think would be useful to share about this?

    As usual, thank you Leslie - looking forward to next installment.

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    •  Leslie says:

      Hi, Lynne

      As always, I value your contributions to this site.

      Re: Management… you're absolutely right! They're definitely a harder "sell," so to speak.

      I don't have any brainwaves on that front, especially. Well, nothing tried and tested, at any rate. Here are a couple of things of the top of my head, though:

      * It looks good for regulatory compliance. It may not be the case in your context, but in many contexts it's part of maintaining current standing with the professional association that administers the industry.

      This is, admittedly, a weaker "sell" when approached head on, but if you were to keep one of the DoS's eyes focused on that, it might make his/her job justifying it — in turn — to his/her manager easier.

      * One "metric" that colleges are always concerned about is Student Satisfaction. PD sessions can do two things for staff:

      1. give them a little "breath of fresh air" and perhaps a morale boost, if done correctly (i.e. in an inclusive, non-outside-expert-swinging-his-plonker-in-the-air kind of way)

      2. give them actionable content that they can take back their classrooms and immediately apply — thereby producing more engaging and interesting lessons for the ignorant cashcows, *ahem*, students

      Like I said, just off the top of my head stuff, really. Hope it's of use to you.

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  2. Zsuzsi Zsuzsi says:

    Hi Leslie,

    I joined the mailing list about two years ago but I haven't contributed so far to your endless efforts in keeping up a nice informal EFL Training:( Actually, I appreciate your e-mails and the content of them, I especially liked the article on Pelmanism. I have just watched your video on the survey which I haven't filled out (yet) I must admit. Even though I am a silent reader of a lot of EFL materials who rarely posts anything on websites, I still consider myself a serious teacher who wants to improve her teaching skills. I absolutely agree with you that if a teacher likes the job, he or she will definitely find the time and the money for professional development. Keep up with the good job Leslie and don't get frustrated if you see 'sleeping' members on your mailing list because I personally pay a lot of attention to what you have to say. Thanks again!

    EFL teacher (Italy), currently doing online DELTA preparation

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    •  Leslie says:


      Your comment really made my day! :grin:

      It's true that I do sometimes get a bit frustrated with "sleeping" members. I've said before that I, too, read a lot of different blogs and only comment once in maybe every dozen visits. So I do understand.

      It's just a little hard sometimes because I occasionally get the feeling that I'm only talking to about 4 or 5 people! :???: (…which I know is not true!)

      Your comment has really buoyed my spirits. Thank you!

      Good luck with your DELTA. It's quite the ride, isn't it? :wink:

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  3. Phaedra Phaedra says:

    Hi Leslie,
    I've recently returned from a visit home to re-charge my batteries for another year of ESL in Japan. I'm sorry to have not responded to your survey - while I was away I let everything related to my job just fall by the wayside.
    I did watch the video and appreciated that my responses were well represented. I am one of those who likes pro-d whether it's formal or informal - provided that it is relevant!
    I'm gearing up for another presentation to the local JTE's so I'm guessing they liked my last presentation (back in June). I've got the freedom to present on whatever I like so I'm considering talking about the value of immersion. I'm sure I'll end up offending someone but I'm only here until next summer anyway so I'm not too worried about it - what can they do?!?!
    Keep up the great dialogue!

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    •  Leslie says:

      Welcome back, Phaedra!

      I hope you had a nice break and that the batteries are suitably recharged; we all need that more often than we get it, eh.

      Glad you liked the video/presentaion.

      Re: your upcoming presentation… nice one. I hope it goes well. Let us know what you learn in the lead-up and then how it goes, won't you? I don't want to poo-poo your idea in ANY way, but I think you may be setting yourself up for some resistance. Lots of superficial agreement that it's a good thing, but don't challenge the JTEs to try using more English in class or ask them to tell you how much they actually DO so (I'd wager less than 15% in most cases).

      I hope I'm wrong, but there are a couple of potential pitfalls — or, if not pitfalls, as such, things to consider — off the top of my head.

      All the best,

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