My First ELTChat

Participated in my first ELTchat yesterday. It was extremely interesting and definitely worthwhile. Especially for those of us who teach in foreign countries that don’t have a lot of contact with other experienced and qualified English teachers, it’s a great way to hear what others have to say, put forward questions and get to know some teachers on the Net whose ideas interest you.

Because I didn’t really get how it worked, and I saw a few other people enter the chat who also didn’t quite get it, I thought I’d throw up a quick 101 guide. Basically every Wednesday at 12:00GMT and 21:00GMT, English teachers from around the world get on Twitter simultaneously to discuss a set topic. It’s open to anyone so you don’t need to register or be invited. I should also note that there was no attitude or cliquishness either; it was my first time and I jumped right in without any feeling that I should wait my turn or that only certain people were talking to certain people. I actually got some great answers to my question of how to keep students from speaking in their native language when they work in small groups.

To “listen in” , just search for “ELTChat” on Twitter. And to join in, make sure to include “#ELTChat” in your tweets. That’s it. One issue is that the conversation updates very fast, so some people recommend using a website like Tweet Chat to read the conversation, but I didn’t like that option because you can’t enter your own Tweets from there. I ended up using my normal Twitter client, Tweet Deck, and that worked fine. Updated fast and I’m used to the controls.

The ELTChat website puts up summaries of the conversation and transcripts of the chat (very useful because yesterday a lot of great ideas got thrown around on increasing student talking time in class, and making teacher talking time count. I was so busy contributing that I didn’t get a chance to read a lot of the other ideas going up. That site also puts up polls every week so you can vote on what the topic will be.

Also a quick tip for ESL bloggers: If you have a plugin like Twitter tools that turns your tweets into posts, you probably want to shut that off for the duration of the ELTChat. Otherwise you get posts that make no sense out of context!

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