BRAZ-TESOL International Conference – PCIs | 14 July, 2016
Fernando Guarany attended the Professional Development PCI run by Jeff Stranks, Edmilson Chagas, Graeme Hodgson, Henrick Oprea, Fred Azevedo and Higor Cavalcante
Jeff Stranks kicked off by taking participants on a walk down memory lane as he revisited his professional development history and drew lessons from his ELT career as a teacher, trainer and writer. Jeff is a charismatic speaker who kept the audience engaged throughout the session. One (of the many) highlights of his session (in Guarany’s words): if you are a teacher who takes your profession seriously, it is indispensable that you know what you are doing. In other words, that you understand why you are doing what you qare doing (i.e. why studying pronunciation helps learners develop their listening skill), so that you become a professional English teacher.
With his soothing voice and presence, Edmilson Chagas used his survey data on why teachers avoid going to conferences to illustrate some of challenges involved in teacher development. He pointed out the importance of collaborating with others and the joys of meeting like-minded TEFLers who become longstanding friends.
Graeme Hodgson had “something for everyone.” His part of the session felt like a mini-course on key teacher development issues, such as lesson observation, giving feedback and creating a culture and atmosphere in schools in which teachers feel safe enough to be themselves and grow.He had a special guest in his talk, Jon Snow (Game of Thrones) 🙂
Henrick Oprea brought a tiny part of his huge collection of ELT (and non-) books to his part of the session. In a humorous way he gently challenged participants to go beyond the immediate and specific field of TESOL and explore different areas and bodies of knowledge.
Fred Azevedo, with a background in mathematics and management, stressed the importance of a systematic professional development scheme so that teachers have a pathway to go about their careers instead of doing it randomly. He pointed out that, annoyingly, most talks about innovation in education are now being given by architects and designers rather than teachers – because they tend to look at things from a different angle from those involve in education.
Last but, by no means, least, Higor Calvacante invited participants to talk about their English. He started his talk with the question, “If you had to choose between one of two teachers, which would you rather have: a teacher with excellent pedagogy but limited command of the L2 or a proficient speaker of English with little pedagogic knowledge?” Higor discussed the importance of NNESTs constantly working to hone their linguistic communicative skils in the target language.
The PCI had a participative audience who greatly contributed to its success. Congratulations to all involved in the organisation and running of this outstanding initiative.