January 1, 2012 by Willy Cardoso
ONE – Don’t stick with one mindset of what is best practice without testing it often. If you’re using a textbook, teach without one. If you are not, do it. Same with technology; same with common sense. Notice the difference in learning and teaching; report it on a blogpost or something like that in which you can invite comments.
TWO – Explore a field you’re not familiar with and its influence in your profession. E.g Neurolinguistics.
THREE – Experiment with classroom layout and try alternative locations, like a lesson at a park, or at a shopping mall.
FOUR – Swap! Teach someone else’s lesson. Invite someone else to teach yours. Make it even better by inviting someone who’s not an English teacher to teach your English lesson, observe and learn.
FIVE – Swap 2! Send a student to observe another teacher’s lesson for an hour, then come back and report to class.
SIX – Bring food to class. Notice the difference in learning and teaching when everyone’s eating. [I once worked with a teacher who strongly believed in this practice]
SEVEN – Include “Teach something moments” in the syllabus. I started this more systematically last year and it was awesome, can’t wait to see more of it. Each learner had 5-10min scheduled in the week’s program to teach anything they wanted.
EIGHT – Talk about teaching and learning with learners. Do you have a favorite theory or methodology? Have you studied motivation or language acquisition? Share it with your learners and see what they think.
NINE – Expand the scope of the previous idea and have the class create a document: How We Learn
TEN – Põe a mão na massa! This is an expression in Portuguese that says put your hands in the dough, meaning DO it. Give learners opportunities to create videos, posters, radio shows, illustrations, reading and listening texts, etc.
ELEVEN – Improve the quality of staff room conversation.
TWELVE – Blur boundaries, embrace complexity, promote interdisciplinarity, cherish unpredictability, and share responsibility.
And an overarching thought: There’s no teaching without philosophy.
This is a list of what I want to do in order to seek professional development and to improve the quality of my teaching and the experience of those who learn with me. Somehow, I wrote the list in an imperative form, like Do This. It may be because of my level of confidence in these things and also because I should really do them, so I’m kind of talking to myself more assertively as though I was a soldier under my own command. In the end, there may be some ideas here that will inspire you to create your own list. If you do, share with me. If you do any of the things I mention, please share with me.
Enjoy the ride — Happy New Year!