I had heard before ABOUT the power of social media for Personal and Professional Development, and I even tried to use it for that purpose years ago, but then I discovered recently that BEING WILLING TO PARTICIPATE ACTIVELY is what really offers you the best of what YOU can get from social media. So for PD I have been using:
FACEBOOK: The whole personal and professional got mixed up. I even thought of splitting the account, but I am not sure I can keep up with more than one profile in each media. Eventhough I know that for my close friends and family who don’t speak English, it has been really difficult to deal with my posts in English. So from now on, for personal stuff both languages will be used, whereas for professional ones (like teaching and learning) only posts in English.
I also discovered through my students feedback last semester that they enjoyed the posts in English and some of my friends/family said they were taking the opportunity to engage in reading English themselves. So this is good news and I’ll keep up encouraging them to read in English and students to comment using the target language. But I also realised that is not sufficient for them to really engage. They need a broader audience, people who they actually feel it makes sense talking to in English. So, now I am engaging them in Facebook groups and in the future, once I get the hang of it, Twitter. Some of them take their learning to another level and participate, others I believe I will need to be engaged through class activities next term and then, that should help them out of the fear of making mistakes and so on.
Another thing! It doesn’t really bother me the “who I am personally” get in the way to “who I am professionally”. I know that respect comes first (without hypocrisy though) and I keep that attitude even within personal face-to-face relationship. I learn from people all around the world, and as much I respect their rights to choose whatever for their lives, I also teach my own kids and I hope to get the same respect for my beliefs. And that for me means, “We don’t deal with people based on what they believe and support, but on their actions toward each other. Otherwise that is prejudice.” I truly believe we are all on the same boat, and my aim is to collaborate, contribute, share, reflect about my professional life. So, I am happy to leave others personal beliefs out of it.
TWITTER: I have been using it for connecting to teachers and sharing/managing articles/blogposts I want to keep for future reading/rereading. I know that there are other medias for that, but I am not ready to manage another account. I haven’t even got the hang of Twitter yet for chats like #ELTChat. Which I would love to take part in.
BLOGSPHERE: Once I stepped out of the lurking and decided to share my teaching experiences with other teachers (Thanks for Barbara’s encoragement), the all reflecting business started to make sense and it has become quite addicting actually. I did try to have a go on this blog back in 2009/2010 but it didn’t work out cause I thought I had nothing to say and was afraid of doing so. I totally regret not engaging online sooner. I have missed tons of good stuff. Connecting with teachers through Twitter and Facebook gives you something to look forward to because you know you have professionals who will read and give you timely feedback on your experiences/needs. And plus you can read theirs and add your thoughts and better than ever…
LEARN WITH AND FROM EACH OTHER!
Picture from: Non-formality.org