Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Magic of Professional Development Claims for a Growth Mindset

For years I've been training teachers and coaching them to integrate technology into the classroom.
The changes I've seen around throughout those years vary from none to new, reinvigorated professionals. How does the move happen?

Change will take many different shapes, from reframing an activity the teacher has already tried out to taking the leap into the unknown and thinking of the transformative power of new technologies in the classroom.

The pace is also varied. Some just jump in, others need a "marinading" period to let things sink in and  make sense of what's going on.

However, transformation has its commonalities from what I've noticed. Educators who embrace change:

- are optimists by heart (even when they seem wary of new situations, deep down there they believe change can be good)
- believe in their own power to change direction, even if they feel insecure at first
- are not considering if the professional development opportunities are paid hours or not (though we shouldn't be working for free, educators with an innovator mindset know that these hours will be paid back in other forms in the future)
- do not count their efforts in time spent, but how their effort transformed their practices
- do not give the same old excuse of lack of time; even in some minutes they can learn something new and apply to their classes
- like the adrenaline rush that comes with new findings
- still believe in the transformative power of education
- enjoy being in class with their students
- have, above all, a growth mindset.

And here's a passage from HBR Blog Network that gives a quick overview of a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed one:

"In her 2006 book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Stanford Professor Carol Dweck distinguishes two extremes of the mindsets people tend to have about their basic qualities:
  • In a fixed mindset, "your qualities are carved in stone." Whatever skills, talents, and capabilities you have are predetermined and finite. Whatever you lack, you will continue to lack. This fixed mindset applies not just to your own qualities, but to the qualities of others.
  • In a growth mindset, "your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts...everyone can change and grow through application and experience." Qualities like intelligence are a starting point, but success comes as a result of effort, learning, and persistence."

There's certainly no formula to change and I might be a little too simplistic about what I see happening to the educators who take a leap of faith and move on, but in all these years the main traits I see in the ones who transform their classes and themselves are those of optimism, passion, eagerness to learn and attunement to their learners' worlds.

Do you fit in this category of educator who embrace professional development and change as part of your job? Or is it time to rethink what you are doing and how you face things?

If you are interested in the topic of change, you might enjoy reading Becky Bair's post "Changing Our ‘Stuff’ Is Not Enough"

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Plano de Aula - A Sala de Aula e a Vaca Roxa

Poucas vezes faço concessões ao meu estilo de blogar e até mesmo a língua em que blogo. Por causa da minha linha professora-de-inglês-que-faz-parte-de-uma-comunidade, acabei sempre deixando de lado a minha tão querida língua materna pela a minha escolhida profissionalmente.

Hoje concedo e retribuo toda a generosidade da minha rede de professores brasileiros em escolas regulares, privadas ou públicas, para deixar aqui o apelo da "Vaca Roxa"!

Adoraria saber qual foi o seu momento "Vaca Roxa" nesse seu último mês em sala de aula.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Introductions Practice in the EFL Classroom with Authentic Content

Besides using Haiku Deck app to create visually-appealing presentations, what if you used it with students to help them use language with content produced by real people. So, it is the old "this is..; she does this and that" with a twist in authenticity.

Take, for example, this presentation:

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

  • The teacher could ask students to present her in the form of a paragraph with the most important information. 
  • Students can prepare questions based on the information presented, and then another students would act out as if she were the lady. 
  • Students could work on expanding the information on a slide as if they were the woman, i.e., they could talk about her 3 sons and husband (slide 2)

I'm sure you'll find wonderful "about me" presentations to work with language authentically in Haiku Deck's Pinterest Board:

Of course, it would be great if students could use one of the sample presentations to prepare their own "about me" page. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Digital Curation for Business English Teachers - IATEFL BESIG

Last Sunday, Aug 4th, I had a great time interacting with Business English teachers all over the world in BESIG-IATEFL very well-organized online events.

Here are the slides:

We mainly explored for engaging personal stories related to the workplace, business world.

We talked about ways of using Pinterest for Business English classes by encouraging teachers to create topic board for students and inviting them on a Web Safari. Also, it would be wonderful if students created their own boards and shared with other students. The comment area in Pinterest has great potential for emergent conversations among a group. The teacher can also decide for one group collaborative board by inviting students to the topic board. It is just a fantastic collaborative approach to learning where you give choice, control and agency in the hands of students.

I was surprised to realize that not many teachers knew about , a place where you can add all the posts, articles, resources that you find online and want to keep  "in your pocket" for later use. It is just very helpful to curate great content. From there, you can share resources with students and even encourage them to keep their "pockets"and share resources with the group. What I love about it is that it is totally crossplatform, with easy access on the web and any mobile device. Plus, to add resources to Pocket, you can install firefox and Chrome plugins to save them on the go.

Talking about cross platform, one tool that I feel has great potential for Business English teachers is . There you can create magazines with different topic feeds. It might help with authentic resources for students. Again, it is web-based as well as mobile device accessible.

Then, we moved on to learning playlists. Again, great potential for the classroom with platforms such as, and . All worth the exploration with this great concept of giving more control for the students in their learning process.

Any other curatorial tools you'd add for the Business English Teacher?