Happy 5th Anniversary #ELTchat!
Today is the 5th anniversary of #ELTchat and the initial thought was to write a blogpost about it: what it means for me, for us. However, thinking about it, I realised that #ELTchat is not about me or you or anyone in particular; it is for all English language teachers who not only wish to grow and develop, but are also willing to share and invest some personal time in order to contribute to an organic whole and help each other.
For some of us, #ELTchat has been a great opportunity to connect with colleagues and friends around the world and have a meaningful exchange of experiences and ideas; for others, it is the staffroom they’ve always dreamt of but never had; and for others, it is a source of inspiration to constantly strive for the best.
So, for this anniversary post, we decided to let #ELTchatters take over and share their feelings. It is never late to start tweeting – join us and be part of a wonderful group of wonderful people. Happy Birthday, #ELTchat.
For this 5th anniversary #ELTchat we asked some of our participants to share their thoughts about our weekly discussions and here they are for you to read, think about and be inspired by.
I first heard about #ELTchat from colleagues but as I had never used Twitter I was uncertain how to get involved in it. As I became more comfortable with technology and social media, I took a chance one day and joined in. I felt right at home from the very beginning, found the idea of communication with colleagues on an ELT topic to be fascinating and discovered that it was possible to put my thoughts into a limited number of characters. The interaction with others was my first example of a PLN and meeting a group of ELTchatters in Liverpool was a highlight of the conference.
I believe that taking part in eltchat has been an important influence on my development as an educator. For one thing, the topics are excellent and provide both information and food for thought. The second thing is the interaction with others in the field of ELT around the world. This has provided an opportunity to develop professional contacts and friendships which I truly value. Thirdly, writing summaries from time to time has helped me to hone my writing skills and has also led me to blogging, something I had not even considered several years ago. I am very grateful to #eltchat and am delighted to be part of the eltchat community.
Marjorie Rosenberg (@MarjorieRosenbe)
#ELTChat provided the way for English language teachers across the globe to connect and share ideas. The beauty of #ELTChat is that any teacher is able to contribute to the discussion of improving our field. The teacher doesn’t have to be a native speaker, from a particular part of the world, or have a vast following. Many teachers, authors, material writers, and trainers have shared ideas and resources on #ELTChat and these resources and ideas have sparked incredible collaborations. I am so honored to have been part of its origins and incredibly grateful to the people who continue to keep it going.
Shelly Terrell (@ShellTerrell)
#ELTchat started just as my teacher training career was taking off, and it really helped me to learn the ropes of the new connected world of ELT. It was often the first place I encountered people who are now friends, and I even learned not to jump in every time someone mentioned #dogme – but it was hard! So congrats guys, keep the ideas and the conversation and and the connection flowing – and here’s to the next 5 years.
Luke Meddings (@LukeMeddings)
#ELTchat was an integral part of what really got me started on Twitter. It connected me to the first people I followed regularly, it prompted me to start my blog, and some of my first posts were some of the earliest ELTchat summaries. It challenged my thinking and was something I looked forward to every week. I haven’t been able to join as much as I would have liked over the last couple of years, but hopefully will be able to remedy that now. It’s an amazing community of people from around the world, and I’m so grateful to be part of it because it has given me some of my best friends, as well as an insight into the lives of so many different teachers. The summaries index on the website is one of the richest teaching resources around, and is one which should be much more widely known. Long may it continue to grow!
Sandy Millin (@SandyMillin)
#ELTchat was a great motivator for me a few years ago when I was feeling a bit lonely at work and sought to absorb some of the motivation of other teachers in other contexts, in order to refresh my outlook on things. The way topics are chosen is great – everyone gets the chance to have a say and such a wide range of topics have ended up being covered in the past 5 years. I also
remember someone giving me good advice early on – that it wasn’t necessary to participate actively in all chats if I wasn’t confident enough (yet). I’d discovered #ELTchat shortly after I’d joined Twitter and I loved that I could benefit from just “eavesdropping” on the chats and reading the summaries until I felt I really had something of valuable to contribute to the conversation. When I did join in actively, I was warmly welcomed by such a great community of teachers from around the globe!
Laura Patsko (@Lauraahaha)
For me, #EltChat primarily means endless opportunities for constant professional development. It is an effective tool for instant interaction with like-minded educators from all around the world, which enables me to see what they do in their classrooms. Also, I believe that #EltChat prevents my ideas from fossilizing and it will always challenge what I consider given or take for granted. It’s a reminder that ELT never ceases to evolve and that the only way to catch up is to stay in touch.
Hana Tichá (@HanaTicha)
#ELTChat did two important things for my ELT work, both in a generous and new way: it helped me to speak out and helped me to listen. The speaking happened in bursts, snippets, tweets – in a “messy” way, where a “mess” doesn’t have to mean something negative. This is also how the listening happened. Instead of a single harmonious voice, I found lots of differing views, opinions, ways of teaching and learning. It’s been a practical exercise in non-monolithic, non-binding conversations – a regular course of a thousand little pins and needles to stop your teaching (or learning, or managing, or selling, or publishing…) from going comfortably numb. Long live #ELTChat!
Wiktor Kostrzewski (@Wiktor_K)
#ELTChat is my virtual staffroom. It makes me realise the diversity and richness in English language teaching world by introducing me to English teachers from across the globe. It also helps me to connect with fellow English teaching professionals and to review my own standards of professionalism from time to time. The weekly chat that happens on Wednesdays refreshes my ELT knowledge base and helps me to learn new things. There will be always something to think about further after each ELTChat. In short, I think my professional development kit to be incomplete without ELTChat. Thank you ELTChat for being an integral part of my CPD.
Cherry Mathew Philipose (@cherrymp)
Happy 5th birthday, #ELTchat! I remember my first chat, two years ago – sending off that first tweet was like jumping off a really tall building. Scary and exhilarating at the same time. I needn’t have worried; #ELTchatters are the friendliest, most supportive people you could ever hope to spend time with on Twitter. Other chats are all orderly and structured and the questions seem be prepared in advance (Q1, A1), but #ELTchat has a spontaneity that really draws you in. This is not to say the moderators are disorganized though – they do a great job!
Vedrana Vojković Estatiev (@Ven_VVE)
ELTchat is a very friendly, open, non-intimidating way to talk about all kinds of topics related to teaching and educating. It’s an excellent way to get to know people and practices from around the world. Whoever you are, you are made very welcome right from the very first time you take part.
It is a way to find ELT teachers and build up a PLN. I really like the fact that all the topics come from teachers, that moderating is unintrusive and it is amazing that this is all done by volunteers. The summaries are a great resource to be consulted by all. You can find something about almost any topic you can imagine. I love the podcasts too!
I can only say: congratulations and a big thank you to all those giving their time!
Mieke Kenis (@mkofab)
Happy happy birthday and all the best to ELTChat!
It has been such a great experience for me as an educator so far and I am sure it will still be part of my teaching career, as it goes on. I have learnt so much about collaborating with teachers all over the world, exchanging ideas and sharing them with my students – so the benefit is double: for my students who learn new things, and for me as well. I also learn new things and add more variety to my teaching.
Plus, it is a resource that is always there and I know I can go back and read summaries of sessions I have missed, or have them as notes when I need to go back and find ideas.
I would encourage as many educators as possible to join this great community!
Vicky Loras (@vickyloras)
It was discovering #ELTchat that gave me a reason to use Twitter. I still remember very clearly how excited I was to discover this vibrant, dynamic and supportive community in January 2011. And when I joined my first Twitter chat I was completely blown away, and hooked! I even wrote a short post about it, titled ‘#ELTchat – PD on speed!’ http://cioccas.blogspot.com.au/2011/01/eltchat-twitter-on-speed.html I have tried to join the weekly chats as often as possible since then, but the tyranny of time differences makes it tricky sometimes.
My PLN is what it is now because of the start I got with #ELTchat. It was because of #ELTchat that Facebook turned from being something personal to being professional – though with all my #ELTchat friends, the line between the two have faded over time. Speaking of which, I feel like I ‘know’ the people I’ve only met through ELTchat, and most of them I have only ever seen in a tiny profile photo. I remember fondly dancing on a table with @Marisa_C and other folk at #ELTchat’s first birthday party in Second Life. And it was through #ELTchat that I met @worldteacher, which led to our workshop at CamTESOL 2013, and also @cherrymp who I met up with in Chennai.
I can’t account for all the differences in my professional development that #ELTchat has been directly or indirectly responsible for, but I know it has connected me to many fabulous teachers across the world, led me to many online PD opportunities and collaborations, encouraged me to blog more, inspired #AusELT and other local communities, and much much more!
Happy birthday to #ELTchat and long may she sail!
Lesley Cioccarelli (@cioccas)
I love the way ELTChat has evolved since the beginning. Of course, at its heart ELTChat still a chance, every week, for like-minded teachers to come together and talk about a topic related to
language teaching. And that’s pretty wonderful. But, thanks to the teachers who’ve joined the community over the years, ELTChat has become so much more than a chat. The transcripts and summaries are an incredible resource covering nearly every topic you can imagine teachers wanting to discuss. Podcasts and videos are clear signs that ELTChat is continuing to grow as teachers come up with new ways to share. A community is as good as the members who choose to join it, and ELTChat is made of of some amazing teachers. I’m proud to have been a small part of such a vibrant community, and excited to see where the future takes ELTChat.
Barbara Sakamoto (@TeachingVillage)
#ELTChat opened new doors for me. Being a member introduced me to concepts, terms and ideas I wasn’t familiar with, patiently explained by it’s wonderfully supportive members. I joined it almost five years ago, as a complete “outsider” In Israel, as a Special Ed. EFL teacher in special in the national school system, I had never heard of Delta or Celta, not encountered the Dogme movement, or even knew that an activity I used a variant of was called a dictogloss. Not only was I warmly welcomed despite all that, with #ELTCHAT I built a PLN. Despite all our differences in classroom environments, I found that there is so much to learn from the teachers of the group, and they are even interested in what I’m doing.
Part of the powerful impact of #ELTChat is the excellent moderators. Marisa and Shaun, who were the moderators that first welcomed me, combine patience and humor with the skill of keeping a rowdy bunch on track. James, Sue and Hada joined forces to successfully continue in the same manner. Looking forward to the start of another year of #ELTChat!
Naomi Epstein (@naomishema)
ELTchat is a fantastic initiative that has for the last five years allowed me – and I’m sure many others too – to connect with ELT professionals around the world on twitter, and to discuss and share ideas on teaching English. Already looking forward to the upcoming 5 years of ELTchat!
Marek Kiczkowiak (@MarekKiczkowiak)
All these thoughts speak volumes about the value of online collaboration and keeping the conversation going. The #ELTchat community has found a way to bring teachers together and has inspired numerous other chats with a more specific teaching focus or local interest but #ELTchat continues to be a focal point for global conversations.
Thank you all for a wonderful five years that has brought so many of you closer to us giving us the opportunity to share with you and learn with you.
The #ELTchat Moderators