Opening up the site
Monday 10 December 2012
I am launching a new feature of this site: 'Guest Pages' - which means individual pages written by teachers who have something interesting to say about particular topics. The first page, by Phillip Moon who teaches in Singapore, is about Writing Journals and how Phillip puts this technique into practice. It's in the last stages of editing, and should be uploaded within the next ten days or so.
I think this is a valuable development. To start with, I have very wide knowledge of teaching English B, aided by having done so many workshops in which I have heard interesting ideas from different teachers - but I am absolutely aware that there are gaps in my experience and/or personal biases and tastes which exclude me from some perfectly valid ways of teaching. The website, then, will benefit from the ideas of people with different perspectives and specialised knowledge. In addition, a website like this, globally available, makes possible the idea of an 'internet community' of English B teachers, in which everyone can be enriched by a sharing of creative ideas and a debating of good practice and fundamental principles.
This 'internet community' idea has been present from the start of the InThinking websites project, but it has turned out to be less easily achievable than we first imagined. Just because the internet enables instant communication does not necessarily mean that a 'community' naturally comes into being. Teachers are busy people and don't easily find the time to sit down and chatter away on a website ... even if that was high on their list of priorities! But I wish to develop a range of ways in which you can join in. Here are some, ranked from 'little time invested' to 'more time invested' ...
Using the Comments boxes ... At the bottom of each page, you can add a comment - or, more usually, a question. I glance at 'Recent Comments' at the bottom of the Home Page every day, and reply to any comment that has appeared.
Chat room / Forum ... A new idea this, and not currently available on the site (the software can easily be installed). I'm cautious about this - just because something is technically possible does not mean that it would naturally produce discussions and materials that were interesting. Would people actually use it ?
Teachers Forum pages ... The first of these will appear shortly. The idea is to have a page, probably under each major heading of Assessment to start with, in which people can add explanations of how they teach and why - for example, 'Ways of teaching for the Written Assignment'. Essentially, this would be for texts of explanations which are too long to fit easily into the 'Comments' boxes. You would submit such text to me by email ( to email@example.com ), and I would add them to the page as required, editing in my own comments and suggestions.
Guest Pages ... The idea of commissioning a few people to contribute interesting stuff about specific topics. I'm still thinking out the details, but the idea is that 'Guests' would be paid (around 50 euros for a page of around 1000 words?), I would reserve final editorial control (i.e. I could reject if I thought something was not up to scratch) but your views and opinions would be as free as possible, and you would obviously be credited, with a byline + small biog.
I'd be delighted if people were to use the 'Comments' box below to air their views and opinions about any or all of these ideas ...