Choutari, December 2010
As we look forward to starting the third year of this blog-zine in January, we would like to ask fellow ELT practitioners and students, members and friends of the NELTA community around the world, and NELTA officials at home… to please share any suggestions/feedback you have for making Choutari more useful, relevant, and interesting. As NELTA President Ganga Gautam remarks in his entry, we can achieve a lot through professional networking and conversation like this. Your contribution to the discussion and suggestions for doing it better will help shape the networking initiative of this blog and support NELTA’s larger mission of promoting professional conversations through various modes of communication. Please share your ideas as comments under this editorial entry.
On that note, let me introduce the theme of this issue: professional development through scholarly conversations, especially by using new communication technologies. Let us do some comparison to consider the relative effectiveness of web-based networking/discussion like this with more conventional modes of communication including face-to-face, email, or telephone conversation. Certainly, conversations done via media like blog and discussion forum are only available for those who have access to the technology and the web, but because these conversations are shared publicly on the web, they become a resource that any number of fellow ELT colleagues and students in the present and future (and from anywhere in the world) can access through the web. Professional conversations shared through conventional media are limited to the participants involved in the event, and they disappear at the moment of the conversation. Similarly, if we compare web-based professional discussions like this with professional discourse of scholarly publication, this mode allows any of us to quickly and easily contribute and respond: no waiting for several months, no formal review mechanism, no need to limit the volume for affordability of publication…. Of course, all the above are comparisons of apples, oranges, and cauliflower, but the fact is that blogging and online discussion allow far greater volume of ideas, much faster and easier access for more people (i.e. to those who have some level of access to the web), and multi-dimensional interaction between experts/writers and their readers (who may be teachers, students, researchers, policy makers, etc). Most important of all is that the conversation that we have in this mode builds professional resources that are useful for ourselves, and it lets others know who we are as a professional community and organization. Finally, blogs in particular do a great job of organizing and archiving conversations by post, allowing readers to subscribe, and providing levels of administrative access for collaboration.
I highlight these benefits of having ELT discussions on the web with the intention to ask you to contribute to them and give others the opportunity to learn from your ideas. I believe that almost everyone of us has some ideas worth sharing about most of the blog entries we read on Choutari. We just need to share them. If you’d like to share a post in the coming months, please write to neltachoutariATgmailDOTcom.
Here are the ELT khuraks for this issue:
- NeltaChoutari and Professional Development–reflections and suggestions (Ganga Gautam)
- The importance of professional conversation and collaboration, and how blogging makes them possible (an edutopia blog page; please consider downloading and reading the report titled “Professional Learning in the Learning Profession” when you are on the page)
- The Goddess of English: a web article about a funny side to the global status of English (on Dennis Barron, The Web of Language site)
- If your internet bandwidth is sufficient, here is a video titled “Hole in the Wall” in which an Indian teacher finds out something about about how children teach themselves (the key segment starts at 7 min. 15 sec.)
By the way, besides leaving your comments under this entry and other entries as appropriate, please remember to “subscribe” to the blog from the right navigation panel. That will let the blog send you a copy of new posts to your email! You can also subscribe to individual entries by entering your email under your comment, if you want to read discussions selectively. Please do subscribe and contribute to the conversation. Thank you.