This a post in response to a challenge set by Jason Renshaw (English Raven) to all fellow bloggers, to bring out and highlight our blog’s hidden gems, in other words, posts we really enjoyed writing or which engaged us and our readers in conversations that we thought were important. Even though this blog has no been around long enough to have that many ‘gems’, still there are posts we enjoyed writing and reading the comments of our peers.
I took up the challenge because blogging has a transitory feel to it and it is quite easy to miss out on many great articles and posts written even just a few weeks ago, when the blogosphere produces them by their thousands every day.
How not to Teach English
This happens to still be the most popular blog post of this blog with at least 30 readers clicking on it each day, even though it was posted in June, earlier this year. My initial motivation in writing it was a desire to encourage educational reform in foreign language teaching in my country, Greece, where a lot of foreign language centres still frown on what they consider to be ‘new-fangled methods that don’t work’. To my surprise, and chagrin, many of my readers report a situation which festers in pretty much the same way in many countries around the world, from the UK, to Saudi Arabia, to Japan and back to Greece! It’s time for things to change so that’s why I want to encourage you to read it again and pass it on!
The Usual Suspects
This was another great favourite of mine. I wrote this post in April of 2010, right after I had been to Istanbul to present at the grand debut of ISTEK Schools Conference as an event of truly international magnitude, where I met many of the people I had only known through Twitter and their blogs that far.
It was at a time when I found myself feeling a little bit dejected because whatever event was happening, I kept seeing the same names and familiar ‘faces’, and no matter how hard I tried. it was the same people over and over. This post attracted the comments of most of the people who are on my ‘usual suspect’ list but some of the people who stepped forward were not, but seemed to want to be, only they didn’t quite know how. I learnt that from their comments and since then, I have been working on changing my engagement tactics to get you all on my ‘usual suspects’ list!!!!
Engaging Students through Critical Reading
This post written by Alexander Makarios is one of my favourites on this blog because it goes well beyond the nitty-gritty of the standard pre-while-post blueprint and looks at how we can engage our learners at a deeper level of comprehension and response. It was Alexander’s first post and contains some really interesting and creative ideas.
How I ended up teaching CLIL without realizing it
This was the first post contributed by Alexandra Koukoumialou, and I really like the way she took up the challenge of this course and turned it into a great experience for her student, taking her from zero reading and writing ability to a highly proficient user who could read and produce adacemic writing in Greek – in less than an academic year, actually!
Do you blog or do you just do Facebook?
This was one of my first posts when this blog was started but I had alredy been blogging over on my personal blog, TEFL Matters for a few months and I was being somewhat evangelical, I guess. A few of my trainees started their own blogs, a few more are contemplating it, so some people listened.
Today, I am happy to say, my Facebook newsfeed no longer looks like a child’s playground with news about farmville and games of that kind. I guess, since I coudn’t get everyone into blogging, I just changed the way I saw Facebook and tried to engage my educator friends with useful resources in links. It’s looking good at the moment,
Some of them are slowly but surely turning into ‘usual suspects’. A few others have opted to join a social network I created for them, and, eventually, some blogging will come out of that!!!
Education reform takes time and patience but it is a goal well worth pursuing.
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I hope you enjoy reading these posts which you may have missed as much as we enjoyed writing them and reading our readers resposes.
These are great gems – I recall the posts about “How not to teach English” and “The usual suspects” and thought they were outstanding: definitely worth reposting as hidden gems in the relentless current of ELT blogging!
I like the look of the other ones you’ve selected here and shall check them out too. Thanks so much for re-posting them!