The idea of “Personal Learning Networks,” a group of colleagues with whom you can gain and give support and professional advice, is certainly not a new idea. These kinds of connections have long been used by people in all kinds of professions, including among educators.
Now, however, the Web offers incredible opportunities to expand these PLN’s. Just today I realized that, though I have written about ways ELS/EFL/ELL teachers can develop these global connections in various “The Best…” lists, I’ve never collected them into one — until today.
I hope you’ll provide additional suggestions in the comments section of this post.
Here are my choices for The Best Ways ESLL/EFL/ELL Teachers Can Develop Personal Learning Networks:
Of course, The Teaching English- British Council Facebook page is one of the other first places to start.
One of my favorites is EFL Classroom 2.0. Begun by David Deubelbeiss, it’s an extraordinary collection of every imaginable ESL/EFL resource, and helps connect teachers from all over the world.
TEFL.net is a worldwide forum with discussion boards, jobs listings, and a ton of other resources.
Of course, TESOL, the association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, is a huge international organization with lots of resources. It is also one of two resources on this list that costs to join, but it does offer reduced rates depending on your situation.
The other organization in this post that costs to join is IATEFL, the International Association of Teachers of English As A Foreign Language. TESOL seem similar to me, though TESOL seems more based in the Americas while IATFL in Europe, but that might not be an accurate description of the differences. Please correct me if I’m wrong. IATEFL does have a good listserv for K-12 teachers teachers that is free to join — it’s called Young Learners.
There are two regularly scheduled Twitter “chats” for ESL/EFL teachers, and they’re both great professional development opportunities to connect with colleagues from afar.
One is #ELLCHAT, which has a Facebook page. Those take place on Mondays.
The other is #ELTCHAT, which takes place on Wednesdays. It has a webpage.
Here are two resources offering simple details on how best to participate in these kinds of Twitter Chats:
“Grow Your Own PLN: From Information To Knowledge” is an excellent slide presentation by Nik Peachey.
The Power of Connection is a wiki containing materials from Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto.
Three Great Interview Series is a post from Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto, and shares three places where you can read or hear interviews with ESL/EFL teachers from around the world (including my “hot spot” series).
You might also find The Best ESL/EFL Blogs list useful.
Again, feel free to offer feedback and suggestions.