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We teach kids to speak real Spanish. For life.™

by Erica Fischer on Nov 16, 2012

Personal Learning Networks for Language Teachers

Last week, #LangChat participants discussed the role of personal learning networks for language teachers(PLN). Several participants were live-tweeting together from the ACTFL 2012 Conference in Philadelphia, which made the discussion all the more meaningful and lively!

Participants described the value of personal learning networks for language teachers on sites such as Twitter, Edmodo, and other teachers’ websites. @karacjacobs has found that her teaching has changed dramatically in the past year and a half since connecting with her Twitter PLN. @MmeNero likes the “instant” nature of communication with her PLN; whenever she has a question, she is able to get an answer from someone almost immediately. Sometimes, she pointed out, teachers need as much support as students.  Many times that support can only come from personal learning networks for language teachers.

Many participants shared their appreciation for their online personal learning networks for language teachers. They area  great support for filling in where their own language departments have fallen short.

Benefits of Personal Learning Networks for Language Teachers

  • @Catherineku1972 appreciates the power of a PLN as a place where like-minded teachers can find the time to share their thoughts, successes, and mishaps in a forum.
  • @placido pointed out that she feels comfortable sharing thoughts with her personal learning network that she wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing at her department meetings.
  • Similarly, @dwphotoski’s department is a combined art-music-language department – not the best place to share specific ideas about ideas for teaching world languages.
  • @LauraJaneBarber appreciates her online PLN all the more since her department has continued to shrink; personal learning networks for language teachers give her access to more colleagues even as jobs are cut at her own school.
  • @sraoconnor found her department colleagues to be less collaborative than she would have liked; she has found that personal learning networks for language teachers have given her the support and courage to push for changes at her own school.
  • @senoraCMT and @CarolGaab are struck by the generosity of her #LangChat PLN: participants freely share their own GoogleDocs, links, and other resources, without expecting direct reciprocation.

Encouraging Participation in Global Learning Networks

So the question is, how can we recruit more inspiring colleagues to join our personal learning networks for language teachers? Many participants shared that their departmental colleagues often think the idea of a PLN on Twitter is crazy, or simply too good to be true! @senoraCMT advised that everyone keep preaching the value of Twitter and other online PLNs. @msfrenchteach pointed out that Twitter may seem overwhelming to the uninitiated, but participants should suggest that colleagues join us here on #LangChat for just one hour each week to see how they like increasing their personal learning networks for language teachers.

Many thanks to all our participants across the country (and the world!) A special thanks to the evening’s moderators, @calicospanish, @msfrenchteach and @placido.

Have a topic you’d like to see discussed in a future #LangChat? Suggest it on our wiki. And don’t forget to vote in our weekly polls to help pick the topic for that week’s discussion. A link to the poll will be posted by one or more of the moderators early in the week.

Enjoy a Happy Thanksgiving this Thursday! And join us next Thursday, November 29th at 8pm EST (5pm PST) for the next #LangChat!

#LangChat is an independent group of world-language education professionals who come together every week via Twitter to share ideas and discuss pressing issues in the world of education. Check out the #LangChat wiki for more information about our goals and the team behind it all here. These weekly discussion summaries are sponsored by Calico Spanish as a service to the world-language community.

Erica Fischer
Erica is the founder and CEO of Calico Spanish. Her passion for teaching her own children to speak Spanish led her to create Calico Spanish. Our mission is to give all children the opportunity to learn to speak real Spanish for life.

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