CPD Is Also For Di-ver-si-ty

For those who have been following the Mattiello Consultoria Acadêmica, the slogan ‘saia do status quo’ (get out of the status quo) is no longer a mystery nor an unfamiliar sentence. It means leave the normality and conformism which for some English teachers this has been hard even though the scenario may give us an opposite impression at a first glance. At a first glance.

Teachers have absolutely been changing their mindsets regarding professional development and they have become more open to development courses, workshops and seminar participation. They are aware that this does not mean that their jobs are not being well delivered nor that they are incapable of conducting groups, teachers know that this is part of any career and this shift in their attitude will guarantee a successful job in the classroom. Students’ linguistic results are likely to increase too since their tutors have had access to a huge diversity of information from classroom management to lesson design and how our brains learn things, how the process of a second language acquisition is developed. The scenario is definitely more active and more professional than not so long ago. Teachers have finally understood that being up to date is important, that we could not afford staying in the comfort zone anymore, but look closer. Ask yourself when was the last time you took a course or attended a seminar with a professional that was not in the mainstream of language teaching or professional development. If your answer is never or longer than 2 years ago, then there is a new status quo coming.

There are now so many good professionals providing teacher with a surprising amount of high quality information. Tutors who look for education design combined with technology, go to the Circular Club; those who want to get inspired by other professionals in the education area and love interviews, Talking EFL is the perfect company; for courses (OMG) there are so many with so many good people. Teachers who are interested in Neuroscience there is Neuroeducadamente with the amazing Mirella Ramacciotti and for a more tech approach in the same segment you will find the Instagram account Educational Development Rocks (@edcrocks) of André Hedlund. Courses that are related to Applied Linguistics in the classroom and methodologies can be found at Mattiello Consultoria (there are also online courses) where there is also other course options for teachers. In case your thing is PBL, then the Teach-in Education is the place for you, for pedagogical approaches you need to go to Ampliando Horizontes and there are also so many teachers who have not started a company yet, but they are out there eager to share their knowledge with you. Are all of those people just mentioned above in the mainstream? Not so much. Are they preparing you for CELTA certificates? Indirectly yes. Although CELTA courses are not the core business of those companies and professionals, they will contribute to your career in the classroom just as much. Maybe they are not big stars in ELT right now, maybe their names are not in the hall of fame of language teaching, but teachers will certainly benefit from their work.

A similar phenomenon happens in seminars or big events. It is absolutely fine to want to be present at a talk with renowned professionals, they have an incredible background that is worth sitting on the floor just to get that information. The reason for this article is not to make teachers ignore the big names, but to open the eyes for new names that may have just as precious knowledge to share, but sometimes they are indeed being overseen by some teachers. A personal experience happened last year at BRAZ-TESOL International Conference when two tremendous professionals did not have a crowded classroom. In fact one teacher gave a talk about teaching English to visually impaired students and he had no more than 10 participants and the other talk by a different teacher was about collaborative learning and he had 5 (five!) attendees. Are these professionals in the mainstream of ELT? Definitely not, but the information they shared was so insightful and rich that there should be at least thirty people there in each presentation. Later at the end of that day, many people said that there were other talks where people had to sit on the floor and the presenter started earlier for there was not space for any other attendee and people did keep coming trying to get in. That would be acceptable if some people had not said that it was the third or fourth time they participated in that professional’s talk.

Now I ask you once again ‘are we really getting out of the status quo’? Attitudes like those hinder the entire principle of professional development which entails diversity, otherwise we will not grow as professionals. If we assume that only a handful of professionals are content-rich enough and that nobody else can contribute to our career growth, then there is establishment of a new status quo, a vicious status quo that is as harmful as the normality and conformism of the past. So, use the powerful tool that internet is to be aware of the possibilities that many professionals are giving with regard to continuous professional development (CPD), to be plural in knowledge, because if we consider that only a limited group (the same group) have something to add then professor Boaventura de Sousa Santos is absolutely correct when he says “it is acknowledged nowadays that the excessive bias and disciplines of scientific knowledge becomes the scientist a specialized ignorant” (free translation).

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