A Christmassy end of year hootananny: From disbeliever to lurker to blogger in 365 days

I had planned to post this b4 new year but what the heck. It’s Xmas!

Tis the end of the year dear friends and so reflection of the year seems in order.

This year has been ‘eventful’ to say the least but then again so was the year before. Anyhow, this year I finally got into blogging and started creating online lessons that I used in debate/culture classes and as part of an international exchange. This was all thanks to the TESOL EVO sessions and the Webheads. I then furthered this interest by doing (just for fun) the DELTA mod 3 at IH and it was quite fun and useful too. I chose Business English and Blended Learning as that was what I needed in my job. Thus, I got to grips with the internet and discovered 2 people who really affected my thinking:

Nik Peachey

Anthony Gaughan

Nik had a DELTA pub discussion open to the public and so I started lurking on there looking for ideas. Eventually, I thought “sod it” and just commented about Blended Learning and ideas for my research and he actually wrote back. This was unbelievable as I was a nobody.

Then in my DELTA book order I decided to splash out on a book I’d heard about called Teaching Unplugged and then online came across the name of Anthony Gaughan. I then tracked down his blog and lurked again, in the corner of the screen. I figured out quite quickly that he was a genius and punching in a weight class far higher than most normal EFL gurus. Full of caffeine one late or early morning I sent out a quick comment on an empty page and he replied so I replied and he replied and I learned far more than from the DELTA and CELTA combined. He is gifted in that he always posts something new, refreshing and amazing and supports commenters in developing their ideas.

So, my next victims..

By now my confidence was boosted and I was put in touch with THE Dale Coulter. Yes, you heard it. His blog was a revelation. I spent hours rereading his comments and thoughts and it had so many “yes” “exactly” moments I lost count. After a few emails and comments he even let me guest post (sure you regret it now Dale!) and I got comments. Needless to say, his blog, like Anthony’s, is amazing because it has fantastic ideas but he also creates and develops amazing discussions that always give you something to think about.

Now, I had a taste for the good stuff I needed bigger prey so…..Twitter

I had always been a skeptic of Twitter and imagined myself Tweeting myself and so it was at first but then someone tweets you and you tweet back and then….you are followed by the people who wrote the books on your shelf.At last, I found people on the same wavelength who taught all over the shop but who had the same way of approaching teaching, the same sense of humour and joy to share stuff.

At this point Anthony delivered a very meaty post about Alternative EFL gurus and so I took it 1 step further with my own comedy blog. 50+ posts later I closed it to keep it at its peak but It seems to have brought joy to a few teachers so I opened another on TBL and finally my own blog.

Along this Twitter journey I’ve met and made friends with (I hope I can say this) teachers, trainers, writers, bloggers and people whose jobs I still don’t understand. They blog ideas and I comment on them and we swap ideas and develop them, all which make me proud to be a part of a PLN and the teaching world. Here are a few:

Jemma Gardner-CELTA teacher training expert and great blogger.

Brad Patterson-E-learning and language guru and the centre of Twitter EFL.

Bethany Cagnol-The brains behind TESOL France and BESIG too.

Dave Dodgson-A man who speaks his mind and we are happy he does

Chia Suan Chong-An amazing EFL mind who sets new standards in teaching

Scott Thornbury-His Sunday posts are the best, bar none and the varied comments

Rob Haines-A thoughtful and supportive genius who welcomes all new Dogme followers

Willy Cardosa-A man who thinks about EFL, not just teaching and we’re very glad he does

Mike Harrison-He does Dogme in ESOL and is THE man to follow on Twitter

Eric Halvorsen-I have the pleasure of working with Eric at TESOL France and his blog shows exactly how talented he is

Chiew Pang-The ever present and helpful Twitter guru who brought us iASKU which I enjoy on a regular basis

Mike Hogan-Nice does not say enough about Mike, he’s great and a tech master

Luke Meddings-Brilliant on a level that most of us will never get to but we can but try.

And some new finds whose ideas and posts I’m beginning to really enjoy:

Tyson Seburn-A cool blog with very refreshing idea

Martin Sketchley-Really teacher-centred blog with brilliant lessons and a constant provider of info on Twitter

Sorry if I missed anyone out.

Oh, I also wrote quite a lot of things this year so if you keep seeing my ugly mug on websites or in magazines I apologise. I also went on a Dogme journey.Perhaps these 2 deserve their own posts though.

Happy Xmas/New Year to all!!!!

7 thoughts on “A Christmassy end of year hootananny: From disbeliever to lurker to blogger in 365 days

  1. I’m really glad you’ve made the journey, and the EFL world is so much the better for it. Thanks for the mention although I don’t feel I deserve to be named among such reverent names!
    Looking forward to the new year with great company!

    • Hi Chiew,

      3 comments on Xmas Day.What a present.

      I think most people on my list wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t seen them interviewed on your blog or mentioned in one of your tweets so I’d say you are at the centre of the Twitter EFL world.So, YES. You MORE then deserve to be there.

      Merry Xmas mate.

    • Welcome fellow lurker. I still lurk on the odd occasion.Whilst I was dipping my toe into the world of non-lurking I had it burned a few times by other commenters which put me off. BUT that isn’t the true spirit of blogging I think. Yes, a very small minority may have a superiority complex or just be interested in their circle but I’m pretty convinced that they aren’t the majority.

      What I find funny is that could you imagine this kind of open communication before Twitter or the net. Imagine writing and posting all these letters to people, waiting for replies and then writing back.What would us lurkers be doing? Secretly opening people’s post perhaps.

      As I put in my EFL experiments post or Tweet ‘ALL ARE WELCOME’. This blog is not for Directors or Teacher Trainers, it’s for teachers even if they do those 2 jobs. Even if you only teach part-time you are a teacher and I’d be happy to hear your ideas and comments. The experiment is supposed to be like a staffroom peer chat and from my own teaching they usually consist of some contractuals, some part-timers and just graduated CELTA teachers to people with centuries of experience.

      If you watched Dale Coulter’s recent iAsku interview, he said that his blog and the comments helps to crystalise his ideas. I think a good blogger provides interesting topics and fosters discussion for everyone to develop together. Check out Anthony Gaughan’s, he’s the master at this.Forget going to a conference or doing a TD seminar, join in one of his discussions, think about it, reevaluate your teaching and them implement a change using what you learned.

      Hope this encourages you to blog and comment.

  2. Phil, I have only just seen this!!! Sorry for the delay..

    Thanks for mentioning me, and it has indeed been a pleasure to make your acquaintance on here and become a friend! I hope one day we can have these silly conversations / sensible discussions in person.

    I too spent a long time being wary of twitter. And of blogging. “Me? Blog? Pah!!” I thought. And look at me now! I LOVE it. And twitter is a constant (sometimes too constant) source of knowledge, joy, banter and excellence that you just couldn’t find elsewhere.

    I love what you say about Anthony. I have been incredibly lucky to work alongside him, have him as my local tutor for my Delta as well as drink wine and chat rubbish with him. He is amazing. He would never say that himself, but he truly is. It’s great that other people spot that too, albeit online.

    Happy 2012, Phil. May all your blogging dreams come true!

    Jem

    • Yes, Anthony is perhaps the centre of EFL. Before I started Tweeting I only knew the big names behind EFL books and articles which were all old and sometimes out-of-date. In reality, I’ve found that CELTA tutors like you, Anthony, Chia and Dale (will be soon I’m sure) are far more cutting-edge and in tune with what’s really going on.

      Happy 2012 too!

  3. Hi Phil, I too only just saw this. Thank you! I have also very much enjoyed working with you on the TESOL France Teaching Times. I look forward to another year of blogging/tweeting/co-authoring with you.

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