Connective English Language Learnings


Connective English Language Learnings
Outline Perceptions of a Personal Learning Network as a form of Professional Development among EFL Educators

Increasing student achievement requires focusing on the needs, interests, and learning preferences of teachers. Sergiovanni (2005) states that “all of the learning and all of the support we want students to experience depends in large measure on the support that teachers receive” (p. 101). To offer effective and efficient support, teachers need professional development efforts that account for these needs. Professional development deals with finding ways to address the knowing-doing gap. DuFour, DuFour, & Eaker (2008) add that “…closing the knowing-doing gap will require purposeful action to alter not only the existing structures of schools and districts, but more importantly, the cultures that have created and sustained those traditional structures” (p. 79). Thus, how one interprets “purposeful action” then becomes key to understanding its effects on organizational change. Purposeful action for administrators, principles, teachers, students, parents, and community leaders – all of whom are vital educational stakeholders – often leads to a variety of perspectives. Since teachers know how to improve education but lack the resolve to actually do it (DuFour, DuFour, & Eaker, 2008), investigating teachers and how they pursue their own professional development becomes juxtaposed to a top-down, “directive control behavior” (Glickman, Gordon, & Ross-Gordon, 2007, p. 144) approach that views the teacher as the object of a professional development effort. Instead of being an object of professional development, the educator thus becomes the central focus or the principal change agent responsible for personalized learning. Personal learning networks (PLNs), for example, provide an individual approach to selecting other individuals, non-human objects, and artifacts (i.e., nodes) through both synchronous and asynchronous communication. Moreover, delivery of one’s PLN can either be online, offline, or some combination of the two. Finally, a crucial part of a PLN is that knowledge “rests in the network” (Siemens, 2006, p. 31). That is, knowledge not only resides within the individual (i.e., cognitivism or social constructivism learning theory) but also resides in one’s own PLN which can be accessed as needed. The manner in which one accesses this knowledge depends on the type of tie, connection, or link we have with the individual nodes. Indeed, it becomes more important to cultivate one’s PLN and to treat it not as an end but as a means to an end. Within the context of teaching and learning English-as-a-foreign language (EFL), educators benefit from developing a PLN as well. The social connections teachers make with others help form relationships that can assist in one’s learning. The cognitive connection that develops through social interaction helps form the mindframes that give EFL educators perspective. That is, professional development becomes a support system for developing cognitive and social connections in a way that best serves individual needs, interests, and learning preferences (i.e., a teacher’s professional competence). Thomas (1987) states that a teacher’s professional competence includes (a) language skills, (b) pedagogical skill and knowledge, and (c) knowledge about how languages are learned (as cited in Bartels, 2005). Therefore, EFL educators not only have to decide on how to develop their PLN but they must also decide on how their PLN will increase professional understandings, knowledge, skills, and dispositions with regard to their own teaching practice. Given that every teacher has specific needs, interests, and learning preferences, an individual approach to professional development is the paradigm that will contrast a more directive approach that sets out to list behavioral objectives and goals that educators must adhere to.

e. For example.. 2005). and (c) apply. Warlick (2009) states that PLNs can be synchronous. Facebook (2010). The PLN integrates social and cognitive networks in that EFL educators may use similar web tools but for different reasons and in different ways. 5). (e) perspective. . directed towards the teaching of English to students of other languages (TESOL) might be the following: EFL educators will understand that sharing experiences and knowledge with others can occur in a non-threatening environment of instructional leaders. creates a PLN that serves to provide the support necessary in order to become a better teacher.Connective English Language Learnings 2 Abridged Literature Review Designing Personal Learning Networks as a form of Professional Development Professional development through the designing of a personal learning network (PLN) shifts the focus of a strict top-down directive to a more integrated approach that stems directly from the teacher. pedagogy. and Google Wave/Docs (2010). and artifacts (i. The EFL educator. semi-synchronous. and (f) self-knowledge (Wiggins & McTighe. and they have (d) empathy. (p. 2005).. In order for the six facets of understanding to emerge. Knowledge and learning is complex. for example. As teachers reflect on the particular area or areas needing improvement. “diversity”.the most cogent understanding of the nature of continuity and change. (b) interpret. utilizing on-line conferencing media. Viewing knowledge and learning as a complex system considers professional development as a dynamic process that subsumes teachers as learners. n. “agency” (as cited in Mason. teachers pursue understandings as well through the expression of six facets: they can. and its theories of critical mass. objects. English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) educators in particular benefit from knowing how to use a PLN to improve what Thomas (1987) refers to as teaching competencies. 6). an understanding for a professional development effort. phase transition. this understanding serves to provide an overarching idea that serves as an umbrella to more specific understandings links to the knowledge and skill sets of individual teachers. p.. emergence and auto-catalysis offer most insightful perspectives on questions as difficult as those to do with the origins of life and of consciousness. Like students. p. The PLN becomes the means by which teachers create the connections they need in order to achieve their own goals. 2008. or asynchronous. Teachers might reflect on any combination of the following questions: (a) How can I improve as a communicator of English? (b) How can I improve my pedagogical skills? (c) How can I increase my knowledge about how the English language is learned? Since learning is complex. Creating a PLN requires setting professional goals that clearly mark the gap between where teachers currently are in their development with where they would like to be in the future. 2008. Cultivating understandings embedded within the social network create a personal learning network that is unique to the educator. framing and addressing the answers to these questions become more valuable if they come directly from the teacher.. nodes) that collectively provide the social capital necessary to become a better teacher.. macroblogging-type tools such as Twitter (2010)..(a) describe. a continual adaptive network develops through a process of ongoing interaction with both local as well as colleagues from the global arena.d. all in relation to complexity theory. 16) Ball (2004) supports this claim by mentioning that “complexity theory seeks to understand how order and stability arise from the interactions of many components according to the few simple rules” (as cited in Mason. “relationships”.. specifically in the areas of English communication.. An integrated approach to professional development links teachers to an array of different individuals. the social aspect of a PLN must promote what Morrison (2002) argues for in favor of Dewey and Habermas as “openness”.). and typical forum-based services that are often found in online communities such as those offered by Ning (2010). As a “throughline” (Active learning. Mason (2008) concludes that complexity theory offers. and knowledge about language (as cited in Bartels. Adult learning that encompasses a PLN system leads to viewing knowledge and learning through a connectivist lens and can set it apart from notions often associated with a more cognitive and constructive frame.

org/ media/ CCK08_Wk5/player. T.e. (2005).pdf Siemens. G. (2008).07. administrator. NY: State University of New York Press.ncu. and one’s understanding of how foreign languages are learned (as cited in Bartels. pedagogical skills. Gordon. Retrieved on March 7. diverse. (2009). Cambridge: Icon Books Ltd. Pedagogy of praxis: A dialectical philosophy of education. & Abrams. Knowing knowledge. Instead of limiting these three roles to the teacher. (1996). 1987) such as language skills.html Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes. enabling educators to improve their practice. New York: Springer. p.. Chen. Applied linguistics and language teacher education. p. . interactive..aspx?dissertation_id=1413 Gadotti. Therefore. doi:10. Sardar. (1999). Although teachers know what to do in the classroom. instead of classifying the three categories as roles. etc. M. 1015-1028.1016/j. Z. Instead of “directive control behaviors” (Glickman. 144) to professional development.002 Creswell. Douglas. learning. N.tate. they are classified as activities given how each one materializes through the forces surrounding any given situation. Retrieved from http://library. Y. quantitative. (2010).. 129). & Ross-Gordon. Learning and leading within the TESOL field is a continuous process of developing one's English communicative skill. Supervision and instructional leadership: A developmental approach. and knowledge about how the language is learned. Only once a culture of sharing has been established can a professional learning community work successfully towards systems that measure higher student achievement.uaa. 2010 from http:/ / www. A comparison of what teachers know versus what teachers practice (Doctoral dissertation). (2006). Retrieved on March 19. ultimately failing to enhance the learning of English as a foreign language. (2004). org/ KnowingKnowledge_LowRes. 4. 2010 from http:/ / elearnspace. C. 2010 from http://moodle. New York: Problem Statement The lack of focus on teacher professional development among EFL educators has resulted into teachers working in isolation. pedagogical knowledge and skill. a more personalized paradigm seeks to diversify the learning process as EFL educators thus begin to reflect and take action on how to improve a teacher’s competence (Thomas. A mixed-method study of EFL teachers’ Internet use in language instruction. 24. S. As a learning ecosystem. and autonomous so that EFL educators become entitled to create educational plans and processes that support research-based protocols. curriculum designer. J. London: World Scientific. (2009). Retrieved on March 19. (2) “facilitation of understanding and related habits of mind”. 2005).) within the network actually takes on a combination of these three roles at any particular moment. Groups and networks. Liang. professional development remains open. (2010).edu/ncu_diss/download.2007. 2010 from http://www. Albany.Connective English Language Learnings Professional development for EFL educators requires that knowledge. and (c) “coaching of performance” (as cited in Wiggins & McTighe. J. Retrieved on March 7. C. Los Angeles: Sage. 2007. Gordon. (2008). Professional development affords EFL educators the opportunity to develop personal goals and to nurture a personal learning network that support the social and cognitive networks. I. they lack the wherewithal to link their knowledge to practice. Siemens. and mixed methods approaches. Teaching and Teacher Education. (2007). each actor (i. & Ross-Gordon. Introducing Chaos. and leading be viewed as a complex and emergent process. Glickman. Organizing around intelligence. Adler (1982) presents teacher roles as falling under three broad categories: (a) “didactic (or direct) instruction”. elearnspace. 2007. Moodle. Research design: Qualitative. 3 Annotated Bibliography Bartels. G.

professional development of EFL educators in Mexico) while at the same time present patterns that are generalizable and valid across a wider contextual learning ecosystem. interviews and observations will be used through the application of an online professional development course (led by the researcher and author) in the form of action research that will be used to provide additional qualitative and quantitative data in order to explain the ways in which EFL educators develop their PLN. quantitative data will be used to categorize areas where professional development is needed. Through a mixed methods study. will be applied at the beginning of the study as a way to compare how EFL educators ultimately approach their PLN. but rather is a connective effort where EFL educators learn how to share knowledge and experiences with others in a non-threatening way. . 4 Purpose Statement The purpose of this study is to provide the theoretical justification for pursuing a practical approach to professional development in a way that is diversified enough to be of use to every EFL educator. thus sound professional development can assist in this regard.e. The patterns that will result will likely come from the EFL educator perspective as well as the external influences the personal learning network has on the individual. Research Questions • How do EFL educators develop Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) around research-based teaching practices? • How does an EFL educator's own perception of English language proficiency. Concurrently.Connective English Language Learnings Developing one’s personal learning network is not a collective effort in that particular objectives are directed towards faculty. EFL educators also learn how to connect with other educators outside the university through understanding how to use the latest technologies and related techniques. based on current research. Since the essence of any professional development endeavor is knowledge and learning. Independent of the action research process. the research and author will be one of many influences within the learning ecosystem that places the networked learning experience in terms of action research.. By adapting a questionnaire to include research-based practices related to EFL teaching. pedagogical skill set/orientation. and knowledge of applied linguistics impact one's contribution to a personal learning network? • How does pursuing a PLN influence the English language learners' and the EFL educator's perspectives of past teaching practices? Summary A personalized approach to professional development is complex. a framework that embodies complexity theory will position individual pursuits of connectivity with all the apparent options that they entail through the recognition of patterns. EFL educators rarely maintain ongoing dialogs with EFL educators from the same university let alone EFL educators from around the world. The objective is to disclose nuances of the learning process that are specific to a particular learning context (i. a survey of what teachers know. The contrary tends to be the norm today.

D. M. 127-188. G. Knowing knowledge. VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).. Retrieved on May 6. (2010). Retrieved on May 6.1111/j. Grow Your Personal Learning Schon.x. (2008). 12-16. (2008). 2010 from http://docs.cfm Argyris. Bartels. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database. 4-18. R. M. Journal of English as an International Language. action. 2010 from http://twitter. Retrieved on May 6. (2007). & Mason. Learning & Leading with Technology. New York: Warlick. edu/ alps/tour/about. Alexandria. Retrieved on May 6. Google Docs. Wiggins. New York: Galloway. 40(1). (2010). VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). Retrieved on April 6. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. & Schon. N.. (2008).facebook. & (1994). & McTighe. Vogt. (2010). Educational Philosophy & Theory. org/ KnowingKnowledge_LowRes. 2010 from https://wave. (2010). Alexandria. 2010 from http://www. (2006).00412. R. Supervision and instructional leadership: A developmental approach.. Applied linguistics and language teacher education. Serviovanni. G. J.. doi:10.ning. New York: Springer. (2005). T. J. Complexity Theory and the Philosophy of Education. Revisting professional learning communities at work: New insights for improving schools. Making content comprehensible for English language learners: The SIOP model.. 36(6). Siemens . Echevarria. . D. M. (2007). C. Schooling by design: Mission. IN: Solution Tree. D.). G. Retrieved on May 6. Retrieved on May 6.d. S. D. 2010 from http://www. DuFour.. Gordon. (n. C. Ning. DuFour..Connective English Language Learnings 5 References Active learning practice for school (ALPS). & McTighe. 3. elearnspace.1469-5812. & Short. 2010 from http:/ / www.2007. 2010 from http:/ / learnweb. Strengthening the heartbeat: Leading and learning together in schools. Glickman. New York: Basic Books.. and achievement. (2010). Frame reflection: Toward the resolution of intractable policy controversies. R. (2005). Theory in practice: Increasing professional effectiveness. harvard. (2003). Native speaking English teachers in Japan: From the perspective of an insider. Bloomington. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. J. Retrieved from Education Research Complete Google Wave... Understanding by design. J.pdf Twitter. (2005). Wiggins. & Rein. N. (2009). (1974).

ncu. purdue.Connective English Language Learnings 6 Links Research Questions • Crafting a Research Question [1] • Research Questions [2] Literature Review • • • • • • University of Toronto: A Few Tips on Conducting a Literature Review [3] University of Madison. english. edu/ owl/ resource/ 614/ 01/ http:/ / www. library. aspx?wc_id=42 . cornell. edu. edu/ writingcenter/ wl_template. aspx?menu_id=1 [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] http:/ / www. aspx?menu_id=108 [2] http:/ / learners. writing. edu/ writingprogram/ writing_center. ncu. edu/ writing/ Handbook/ ReviewofLiterature. canberra. ca/ advice/ specific-types-of-writing/ literature-review http:/ / www. utoronto. edu/ writingprogram/ writing_center. htm http:/ / www. html http:/ / owl. Annotated Bibliography [7] NCU Writing Center: Conducting Research [8] References [1] http:/ / learners. au/ studyskills/ writing/ bibliography http:/ / learners. Wisconsin: literature review guidelines [4] Purdue (Owl): The Annotated Bibliography [5] Cornell University Library: How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography [6] University of Canberra: Academic Skills Program. ncu. edu/ olinuris/ ref/ research/ skill28. wisc.

Article Sources and Contributors 7 Article Sources and Contributors Connective English Language Learnings  Source: http://wikieducator. org/ licenses/ by-sa/ Wikirandy License Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License http:/ / creativecommons. 0/ .php?oldid=616625  Contributors: Bnleez.

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