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9 Affordable Ideas For EFL Teachers’ Professional Development

After you have been teaching for the whole school year, you have the right to decide to enjoy some relaxing days away from paper and pens.

Teaching is very stressful especially if you are in your first-year teaching. So, you should learn to cope with this stress. Taking regular physical exercise such as cycling among trees, doing yoga in the morning and going for a run in the fresh air can keep your body and mind stress-free.

After that, you should decide to have some time before the beginning of the new school year to develop your skills as a teacher. You might schedule to complete a course or gain more qualifications, but professional development doesn’t have to be anything quite so formal. It can be done by just deciding to learn something new every day. Here are 6 ideas for you to achieve this aim.

1. Subscribe to professional journals and blogs

Journals like English Teaching Professional or Modern English Teacher exist to help and support EFL teachers. Subscribe to them and to similar blogs. All the articles published on them are written by practising teachers and teacher trainers and it’s a great way to stay on top of what’s happening and current in ELT.

Note: Following journals and blogs takes time so, in general, subscribe to a limited number of blogs or journals, only those which have useful material and links, and set aside a specific time every week for taking a look at the latest articles

2. Write an article for a journal

After you’ve subscribed and read a journal for a while, you could write something yourself for publication. It can often help you to consolidate your thoughts and opinions. It might also open up a dialogue with colleagues around the world and for career-minded teachers, it’s a way of bringing your skills to the attention of other people – which could lead to other work opportunities.

3. Write a blog

Lots of ELT teachers write blogs. This is the equivalent of keeping a diary, but you make your thoughts and reflections public. Begin by taking a look at the many types of ELT blogs out there; some are reflections on classes, others are places for debate and discussion, and some provide ideas and practical tips. After following a few blogs in ELT and reading what’s up on them, you could start writing your own.

4. Attend workshops and conferences

Find out if there are any teacher organizations in your local area or country. Quite often, they will run regular workshops or much larger conferences. Try to attend both to get teaching ideas from them and also to meet and network with other teachers.

5. Present an idea or give a workshop

Lots of language schools have time set aside either once a week or once a month or term for teachers to get together for a professional development event. Sometimes the director of studies or a senior teacher will give a presentation or lead a workshop. In addition, teachers are often encouraged to share ideas for activities they have used in class or run a short workshop of their own. Think about something you have tried with your students recently that was successful and might be of interest to your peers.

6. Attend webinars or online conferences

Webinars are seminars, presentations, and workshops that are delivered over the web. They are very common nowadays in the world of ELT. In particular, some of the major ELT publishers offer weekly webinars on a whole range of topics. In addition, many teacher organizations now stream their conference presentations live so it’s easy – and cheaper – way to attend talks by leading educators.

7. Connect with like-minded teachers via social media

Connecting with like-minded teachers via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is a useful way to connect with a group of teachers of interest on a daily basis. Join ELT groups on Facebook to get and recommend useful links and generate online discussion, use the hashtag (#) symbol in order to connect with active groups of teachers who tweet about ELT topics and join professional groups on LinkedIn which is more useful if you are looking for new employment opportunities.

8. Watch videos on YouTube

Lots of teachers are now posting their own videos on YouTube. These include teachers sharing their ideas and experiences in real classrooms. Start to subscribe to the channels of interest and follow them on a weekly basis.

9. Read ELT methodology books

Take a look at the shelves of the library nearby and read some of the resource books on the latest methods of ELT. Ask experienced teachers to recommend something or search the internet to download for free or for a low price many guidebooks in ELT skills.

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