Join a SIG
A SIG is a Special Interest Group – Most associations will have them. Joining a SIG gives you the opportunity to mix with other professionals who share your interests and knowledge in a specific area. IATEFL has 16 different SIGs, from Business English to Materials Writing (and many in between). There will often be meetings or conferences organised by the SIG on the specific topic that you are interested in. If you can’t find a SIG to suit your interests – why not start one?
Go to a Conference
Conferences are an excellent way to broaden your horizons, met fellow teaching professionals and learn more about the areas of teaching you are interested in. There are also great opportunities for networking (not everyone’s idea of fun – but important for development nonetheless). There are huge conferences with thousands of delegates and hundreds of sessions, which can be somewhat overwhelming (e.g. IATEFL) and there are many smaller conferences, with a smaller choice of sessions but a more intimate feel (e.g. InnovateELT). Choose one locally or travel abroad and combine it with some sightseeing!
Present at a conference
Once you’ve been to a conference, pluck up the courage to present at one. It might seem terrifying, but it is an excellent way to become proficient in a topic and may even lead to more job opportunities. Start with a small one, and work up to the bigger events.
Lead a Workshop
If the thought of presenting at a conference brings you out in a cold sweat, how about leading a workshop where you teach? You could even go on to take it to other schools, events or even conferences. Starting small, with familiar faces is a great way of dipping your toe into presenting. Choose a topic you are interested in (and/or good at) and share it with your co-workers.
Join a Facebook Group
There are loads of Facebook groups for all sorts of reasons. Choose one (or more) that reflects your interests and contribute. If grammar is your thing, then try Hugh Dellar’s ‘English Questions Answered’ group; if you are after resources then ‘Resources for English Teachers’ maybe useful; if you fancy connecting with teachers from all over the world then the British Council group could be for you.
Try Something New
Once you’ve lurked a while in some Facebook groups, you will have picked up some new ideas – now use them in your classroom. Make a concerted effort to do something different and then take time after to reflect on how it went. How did the learners react? How comfortable did you feel? How did it change your lesson? Did it help your learners? Would you do it again? Why? Why not? Would you change it? How? What went well? What bombed?
Find a colleague that you trust/admire/get on with and collaborate on lessons, activities or curriculum planning. Reflect together, give each other constructive feedback. Be brave and observe each other’s lessons and give feedback. If you observe, make sure you decide in advance what you are looking for – have a specific remit (i.e. error correction, TTT, do you include all learners etc).
Record a Lesson
If you don’t fancy having a colleague critiquing your lesson, why not record your lesson so that you can reflect on it after? Your school may have rules about video, so make sure you get permission. Otherwise, record the audio to remind yourself. You could keep a portfolio of recordings to see your growth as a teacher.
Do Some Action Research
Ask yourself a question about an area of teaching you are interested in or wish to develop and use a reflective process to deepen your understanding. If you have never heard of action research, read this article for more information https://englishagenda.britishcouncil.org/continuing-professional-development/teacher-educator-framework/demonstrating-effective-teaching-behaviour/classroom-action-research
Pass It On…
Write an article or post about something that interests you, create a short course to teach others what you know, record a webinar or make a video answer a question that you hear or are asked often. Have you ever been asked for advice? Give that advice to other teachers.
Share what you know with others. Every teacher has something that they know, that they can pass on.
http://www.ELT.Training would LOVE your contributions (other websites & blogs also available!).