Post by Jennifer Chow
#CdnELTchat was happy to have Anna Bartosik (@ambartosik) share her expertise on Self-Directed Professional Development (SDPD) on June 1. Anna is an English language teacher at George Brown College, instructional designer, and PhD Candidate at OISE. Her research is in self-directed professional development in digital networks. Learn more by reading her blog: https://annabartosik.wordpress.com/.
Before we started our discussion, we had a moment of silence to mourn and remember the #215children in Kamloops. #CdnELTchat is also taking time to reflect and plan a future chat with #teslONchat later this month to talk about what we need to do in order to move forward with the 94 Calls To Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and work for #Reconciliation.
Here are the questions that guided our chat:
Q1: How do you define self-directed PD?
Q2: What do you do for PD? How would you describe your own PD?
Q3: Why do you do self-directed PD? Is there something missing from organized PD that you get out of self-directed PD?
Q4: What have you done for self-directed PD over the past year of #COVIDteaching? Are you planning to continue with self-directed PD, post-COVID?
Q5: What about some of the newer platforms like Instagram and TikTok? Do you have recommendations on who to follow or suggestions on how to use these (or other) platforms?
Q6: What kind of barriers might educators face from administrators when they engage in self-directed PD? What strategies can we use to mitigate these barriers?
You can read the collection of tweets from our chat using Wakelet. Thank-you to Anna Bartosik and the enthusiastic participants who generously shared their thoughts during and after the chat.
Here are some highlights from the discussion:
- SDPD allows participants to choose PD that fulfills ones’ needs and interests; it is flexible in mode and time; and it increases teacher agency and autonomy.
- Many participants use Twitter for “in-the-moment” learning for PD, which often leads to the discovery of other platforms and resources, such as podcasts, TikToks, conferences, webinars, courses, Facebook groups, Instagram accounts, LinkedIn articles, Open Educational Resources and blogs. Writing blogs to encourage self-reflection, mentoring and reading are also PD activities that were mentioned.
- Reasons to do SDPD include having more transformative experiences, making new connections, and being able to cast a wider net to include wider geographical areas, different sectors of teaching and more critical pedagogy. Organized PD may be more restrictive, costly, and may not address what participants want to learn or develop, and does not facilitate intrinsically motivated learning and growth.
- In the past year of #COVIDteaching, participants relied on SDPD in order to support and mentor students and teachers under difficult circumstances. Some participants shared that they learned how to use more tools in order to support the shift online. There were also more online conferences and webinars that were recorded, which provided more opportunities to learn asynchronously.
- Anna shared some podcasts that she listens to: Unstandardized English, hosted by @JPBGerald; @hertzpodcast hosted by @dsquintana & @jamesheathers; @NPRcodeswitch; and @VocalFriesPod, hosted by @carrie_gee and @megandfigueroa.
- Here are some TikToks that she recommends: #215children on TikTok; Nativetktoks,; mikmawm; The_land; Herspective; Professorcasey; Failedviner; Mediumnoah; Kavitalks, Dr_inna; and Womenofhistory.
We hope #CdnELTchat can provide the space for #ELT educators across Canada and beyond to continue to reflect on what we’re learning, what we’re finding challenging and what solutions we’ve tried, especially during this time. Use the hashtag #CdnELTchat anytime to connect and to share information of interest to the #CdnELT community.
#CdnELTchat is a collaborative effort that we hope will lead to more reflective practice for all of us involved in ELT. If you are interested in joining our team, or have any ideas for topics, please send @StanzaSL, @EALStories, @Jennifermchow, or @ELTAugusta a tweet. Our Padlet is always open for your questions and comments.