Wednesday, February 22, 2017

EFLtalks-Teachers Teaching Teachers-The Teachers' Video Glossary - Report on Rob Howard's Session

Rob Howard is more than a teacher and a teacher trainer. He's the driving force behind "EFL talks" an inspiring community of ELT professionals training other teachers. In his talk the always innovative Rob shared the inspiration and reasons behind creating EFL talks.

Before presenting to us his vision behind EFL talks, Bob asked us what CPD means to us all and how important we believe it is. He then went on to express his concerns that although most teachers aim to continuously develop their teaching practice they can't always do so for a number of different reasons. Rob had been looking for a way to create CPD that was free, growing and sustainable so that new and future teachers could access it.

                                                                                                                               Photo by Efi Tzouri

 Rob drew the inspiration for EFL talks from a Facebook group he had created called "English Students". Although the group was mainly formed for EFL students, Rob soon realized that 50% of the people in the group were actually ELT teachers asking questions about English and teaching. He then went on to discover that 75% of the group's members came from less-advantaged countries. Rob realized that in order for CPD to become Concise, Perpetual and Dynamic he had to resort to his PLN and create a group of teachers teaching teachers with top industry experts. The hook that would entice people to try this new idea was a "10 in 10" system where 10 speakers would give 10-minute talks using only 10 ppt slides. All sessions would focus on practical teaching issues and they would be recorded and archived so that they can be viewable anywhere and anytime.

His first project featuring Gavin Dudeney as the key note speaker was called "10 in 10 for 10" and it was a 10-hour marathon with 50 speakers from different areas of EFL. This powerful community of educators now has over 90 speakers from 30+ countries and all talks can be accessed at Going through this treasure trove of ideas is easy thanks to "The Teacher's Video Glossary" where sessions are grouped alphabetically and according to topic. So far, Rob's initiative has attracted the attention of EFL magazine and was also considered for one of the most prestigious awards in the ELT world, an ELTons. 

                                                                                                                              Photo by Efi Tzouri

That first project was soon followed by many including the "10 in 10 for YOU" sessions which was the result of a two-day effort to crowdsource questions teachers would like to ask other EFL professionals. The final number of questions rose to 40 and the keynote speaker for the sessions was Nik Peachey. Rob's latest endeavour is the "10 in 10 for terms" where distinguished professionals clarify and explain key terms of EFL. 

Now, Rob is interested in creating regional events. He has already started with EFL Talks Ecuador with Vicky Saumell  as special guest speaker. Rob's next plans include regional events in countries such as Brazil, Italy, Malta and Poland. Never one to rest on his laurels, Rob is also planning to release a companion guide of EFL talks which will be available at the 51st IATEFL conference. His future plans also involve a joint project with IATEFL BEsig.

Rob ended his session by encouraging us all to spread the word and share his vision by becoming members of this inspiring community of teachers training teachers.

Report by Maria Theologidou

Interview with Rob Howard by Efi Tzouri

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