Coming soon...

I've decided to do a Ken Wilson on you because as I trawl through my draft posts and glance at the whiteboard near my desk, my heart sinks under the weight of everything that needs to be done ASAP (namely the final week of my Blended Learning project, feedback to 30 students; changes to our (ELTAS) tech-tools day in July and other stuff like that)...

I'm simply not moving fast enough, sorry...

So, here's a quick look see at what's coming as soon as there's time!

  • newly recorded version of the History of English poem which I did at the IATEFL Pechua Kucha Night (complete with slides and a webquest activity to do with your students if you'd like to) - Shelly Terrell was an absolute doll and met up with me the other night to do this again.
  • the ESL/EFL carnival which looks like I'm going to have to transform this into a Prezi,  because the blog post is just too long (but very much worth the wait).
  • a report on the IATEFL LT-SIG day
  • a report on the blended learning/dogme project I've been working on for the last 5 months
  • a series of e-tivities which worked with my adult BE students on Ning
  • an explanation regarding the cost breakdown of coursebooks, written by a major international publisher!!
  • an interview with the incredible Nicky Hockly as part of the She-in-ELT series
  • a series on edu-blogging in which I will be guest-posting on various other bloggers' blogs rather than my own!
  • a summing up of the crowd-wise series plus downloadahle e-book

and there's probably more but can't bring it all to mind right now.

See you soon,

p.s. don't forget you can subscribe to my blog via RSS feed or get email versions - see the side bar or ask if you're not sure how -  in the meantime, thanks so much for your patience.

image credit:
Prague Clock by Kainet

At the top of Maslow's Pyramid

Wow, I am finally surfacing and trying to get my head in gear this afternoon - upon opening up my google reader  and quickly browsing through the ELT blogosphere, I notice many excited reports and reflections on the IATEFL conference which took place in Harrogate this year.

It was, quite simply, one of the best educational events I've ever attended: mega kudos to the organizers, online team headed by Julian Wing and Gavin Dudeney plus the numerous  IATEFL committees  and volunteers who worked so hard at putting something like this together incredibly successfully.   One of the best parts of it all, in my opinion, was Graham Stanley's LT-SIG pre-conference event which was held live, via twitter and also within 2nd Life - I'll blog separately about that later.  But first,

one of the things which struck me most profoundly at IATEFL was something I've been musing on for a while now - covered briefly in my crowd-wise discussion but actually got to see happen in real-time, confirming my thoughts on the process.

It has to do with Maslow's pyramid of needs, so apologies that in just a moment, I'm going to go all deep with you here.

But first allow me tell you a couple of stories:

On the first official day, climbing up the stairs to the conference, I bumped into Jeremy Harmer.  For those few of you who don't know who that is, Jeremy is one of the most influential  and widely  read authors and editors in the field of ELT.  The man who wrote the book on teaching English.  He is also an accomplished poet and edu-blogger.

I apologized to him that I wouldn't be able to attend his session (I was totally gutted) because we were scheduled at the same time.  Jeremy apologized back, saying that he would have loved to attend my talk and   he was interested in the development of e-communities.

Side Bar Confession:
I didn't think he was serious, let's face it: why on earth would the Jeremy Harmer want to attend my swap-shop and musings on the historical, evolutionary and psychological aspects/practical issues involved in setting up e-communities?

But as the conference raced on and all the evening events took place, here is what became immediately obvious: Jeremy was absolutely everywhere.   He attended most of the sessions of his PLN,  attended the LearningTechnologySIG's preconference event, via 2ndLife, tweeting back like the rest of us towards the external twitter community and was very much, not just a professional guru in our field but authentically interested in what we had to say, think and how we teach:  he was above all, an engaged, active, excited member of the Educational Community of Practice.

The second story has much more to do with me and my decisions about which sessions to attend and it wasn't just me I saw doing this...

There were, at the IATEFL conference, a number of very, very famous and important speakers.

Presenters, globally renowned for their years and years of contributions to ELT, prize-winning authors and glorious trainers who I couldn't believe I'd actually get the chance to see live... and then there were people like me who do what we can, train teachers on a small scale, spend most of our time in the classroom  but many, many of us there were spending  hard-earned pennies on an educational event (some presenting, others only attending): money which would normally be earmarked as holiday funds.

In just about every case, whenever there was a clash between one of my PLN (whether from Twitter or from an educational yahoo!group or Ning I belong to) and a famous author, I found my feet walking me towards the member of the community.

One morning, after staying up 'til 4am, there was an 8.20 session.

A slap of ice-water on the face, deep breaths to wake up and a quick jog took me down to the conference centre on time.   There was simply no question that we would be there and his room quickly filled out as the rest of us, bleary-eyed, twitterers and blog-readers stumbled in - some without our first coffee.   When he asked us why, didn't we already know what he was talking about (it was on PLNs) the answer was simple.

Nik Peachey is someone who has provided us, for free, for years, with so much content and ideas through his blogs and explorations of the web2.0 that we were there to thank and support him.

He is a member of our PLN.  Wild horses wouldn't have kept us from going to see him live.

A couple of days later, when schedules began to severely clash, I missed two community members' sessions back-to-back, sessions that I really very much wanted to attend - I got grabbed into a conversation I couldn't get out of - I was genuinely sad and upset about that.  Still am, so they better be at Brighton next year :).

So, anyway, what has all this got to do with Maslow and when am going to stop gushing and get serious?

Lindsay Clandfield's Pechua Kucha discussed his worries about the me, me, me aspect which just about everyone sees when they enter Social Media but undoubtedly, that is for me, just one minor step along this journey.   

When Maslow made his pyramid, he forgot the top of the triangle.  And as it has been missing, through this blog post, am putting it on now.

Beyond personal self-actualization lies the actualization of community.

(cc)Karenne Sylvester, 2010:  adaptation from by factoryjoe on wikimedia commons)

What social media and the web 2.0 is doing, most profoundly is that it is working on the we, we, we.

The IATEFL 2010 conference in Harrogate confirmed it: there is a deep need within humans to support a community they co-create.

The conference was very much not just about only saying hey to our old-new friends and sharing hugs (how quickly we all knew each other) nor was it about how wonderful, wonderful it was to smile in real time at Vicky Saumell and giggle with Jamie  from China, to talk blogging with Nik Peachey over a beer (how cool) or to listen to Shelly and Ozge as they went through their presentation in the apartment for the 20th time (fantastic, fantastic -best presentation of the conference) or to bossily tell Marisa and Shaun to pay attention to our real-life discussion too, not just to one with the 2ndLifers, or to share a cigarette with Emma  Herrod and Scott Thornbury; to find out how nice Luke Medding is in real life, to attend Candy van Olst's presentation of dogme in Business English settings or to get one of Ken Wilson's massive bear hugs, to  rehearse my PK with Sue Lyon Jones, to congratulate Lindsay Clandfield on his mega launch of Global,  to play with Tamas' little Sophie and break bread with Amanda, to have Jamie Keddie profusely worry about me and whether or not I'd make it up to the stage without fainting beforehand; to quickly converse with storyteller Jan Blake and  with Herbert Puchta on the value of non-self-promotion via twitter... but also, also more importantly

how we did not forget our twitter friends 

and how we felt connected to the PLN members who could not there  in person.

We truly didn't want them to miss out on a single moment of the excitement we were going through;  we really didn't want them to miss out on the learning we were receiving so we let them know what was going on... we didn't want them to miss out on how well our fellow community members were doing as they stood up, sometimes for the first times, in front of large crowds and shared their knowledge so....

we shared and shared and shared. And we tweeted and we tweeted.

Collectively, both inside and outside the IATEFL conference, we continued to work at building and strengthening our amazing global community of educational practitioners and I'm so incredibly proud to have witnessed this and in my small way, been a part of all that growth.

Useful links related to this posting:


Visitors and Regular Readers


FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed

Communities of Practice

Directories, catalogs and Back Links

Adult Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory Add to Technorati Favorites

The EFL ESL Blog List - ESL/EFL/TEFL Teaching Jobs and Teacher Resumes

International Blogging Directory

Recent Posts

Simply Conversations

Pedagogically sound materials designed to get your students actively talking:

Free Samples
Conversation Control

General English
Business English

Learn more on why these work