Not even the showery night in the typically sunny Natal was able to hold over 30 teachers (including a dear colleague from Manaus, Duanes Santos) from attending our July 2011 event, Tips on How to Develop a Teaching Career. International teacher and trainer Julian Kenny engaged the audience by drawing out their understanding and beliefs about professional development. Having worked in a number of countries all over the world, Julian was able to share his experience about different contexts, challenges and opportunities for ELT professionals to continue developing throughout their careers. The indispensability of a reflective teaching practice was one of the key areas in the session. Participants discussed about the importance of keeping track of their improvements and agreed that a portfolio is a good way to do so.
“If there’s been no change to your CV in the last 12 months, you’re probably not developing.”
Another important point was that nobody but teachers themselves should be responsible for their own development. Teachers shouldn’t wait for top-down institutional decisions to be made about their development, but must constantly seek opportunities to become more effective in what they do. By so doing, their careers will be more enjoyable, they will have more professional opportunities and guarantee their employability.
Professional Development shouldn’t only be seen in terms of formal courses, seminars, conferences, etc. Informal sessions or chats with fellow teachers also go a long way in helping teachers to reflect and develop. Julian suggested a monthly meeting at which members could share their ideas and best practices. Pecha Kucha nights would be another possibility. Here’s an example of one with Jamie Keddie:
We’d like to thank everyone for their presence and active participation, Cultura Inglesa for offering us their excellent venue and sponsoring the certificates. Many thanks to Ercília Dâmaris and Patrícia Guedes for their help organising the event and welcoming participants. Special thanks to our Board and Founding Members: Ana Graça Canan (UFRN), Edilson Souza (UFRN), Beatriz Guilherme (ProEnglish), Marcelo de Cristo (Free Lance Trainer), Fiona Squires (Cultura Inglesa) and Steve Barlow (Cultura Inglesa).
Very special thanks to Julian Kenny who, after a long day’s work running a CELTA course, went the extra mile to grace us with a thought-provoking session.
As president of BRAZ-TESOL Natal Chapter, I strongly believe that we can’t wait for policies regarding English Language Teaching to be changed upside down any time soon. However, with humble initiatives such as this event, we are able to send a powerful message to our communities and the powers that be: change is possible and it starts with each one of us working together to make a difference wherever we are!
Together we’re stronger!Fernando Guarany Jr President BRAZ-TESOL Natal RN http://www.braztesol.org.br http://www.btrn.org