|Of Icebergs and Whales
At a conference like TESOL or IATEFL, it’s easy to accept that a lot of teachers can’t afford to be there. But, it’s harder to accept that the vast number of teachers connecting and learning online still represent a very small percent of all teachers in the world. So many online professional development opportunities are free, so why don’t more teachers take advantage of them? Why aren’t they here with us at TESOL EVO? Often, they’re afraid of connecting with people they don’t already know, uncomfortable using English to communicate with other teachers, and they lack access to strong Internet connections.
What happens when these teachers are given a safe, nurturing place to connect, a chance to build the language skills needed to talk about teaching in online groups, and friends to invite and welcome them into a group? They connect, share, learn, and inspire. I’ll introduce you to some teachers around the world who have overcome some of the obstacles I mentioned earlier, and have become inspirations to their students and the teachers around them.
While my examples will highlight English teachers, there are teachers in every context who are disenfranchised in the sense that they have no voice in ongoing international discussions about education, and our discussions would be richer for their inclusion.
Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto has taught both English and ESL in the United States and EFL in Japan for more than 25 years. She is currently currently the Program Director for International Teacher Development Institute, where she has the privilege of working with other educators who believe that all teachers deserve an equal chance to improve.
Barbara teaches children in her tatami room, seniors at the social welfare center, and teachers from around the globe online. She has conducted teacher training workshops in Asia, the United States, and Latin America, and is co-author of the best-selling young learners English series, Let’s Go (Oxford University Press).
When Barbara isn’t teaching, writing, or giving workshops you’ll often find her working with teachers in the iTDi community or on her award winning blog, Teaching Village.
Hans’ video introduction to YLTsigEVO 2014
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