As we continue with online teaching and learning, I think all of us have discovered the importance of building community in the online spaces in which we spend so much time. I suspect that we have all also discovered that it’s more challenging to build a community in an online environment than in a face-to-face class. #CdnELTchat hosted a Twitter chat to talk about this ongoing challenge.
During the one-hour conversation, we discussed the following questions. We hope that the questions and tweets will provide material for reflection, even for those who didn’t participate in the live chat or the asynchronous post-chat tweets. Our hope is always that #CdnELTchat will lead to more reflective practice for all of us. This is why we collect the tweets and share the summaries afterwards.
Q1: What does community-building mean?
Q2: What should we be mindful of when we design community-building activities for synchronous classes?
Q3: What considerations are important when we design community-building activities for asynchronous classes?
Q4: What F2F community-building activities have you adapted for an online environment? Have they worked well in the online space?
Q5: How is building community online different from, or the same as in the physical classroom?
And a question for further reflection, that we didn’t have time to discuss. What advice might you give to your pre-pandemic self about building community?
We talked about the importance of building trust, knowing our students, humanizing our classes, and creating safe spaces for everyone. Here are some suggested readings and resources from the chat:
- Equity Unbound: Why is building a sense of community important? From their website: “Watch the welcome video below to find out why Equity Unbound are creating and curating free community building activities for educators.” Highly recommended! (@UnboundEq)
- How to Build Community in Your Courses, Online or In-Person, by Maha Bali (@Bali_Maha)
- Hybrid Pedagogy, Making the Massive Intimate: Building a Lasting learning Community (@HybridPed)
This is the seventh year for #CdnELTchat. During that time, we’ve hosted almost 100 chats on a wide range of topics in ELT, as well as a number of informal check-ins since the start of the pandemic. We are always open to having guest moderators join a chat and share your passion for a particular topic in ELT. Fill in this Google Form, post on our Padlet, or contact us through Twitter: Jen Chow (@Jennifermchow), Augusta Avram (@ELTAugusta), Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL), or Bonnie Nicholas (@BonnieJNicholas).
Use the hashtag #CdnELTchat anytime to connect and to share information of interest to the #CdnELT community. The best thing about using social media like Twitter for self-directed PD is that you can choose to actively participate or just lurk. Both are equally valid choices.