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My contribution to my professional development as a teacher About fourteen years ago a Greek lawyer asked me if I could teach her the

Dutch language. She didnt care if I was a trained teacher or not, she just wanted to learn Dutch. I knew that I had good knowledge of the Dutch language so I took up this challenge. She was really enthusiastic and, as I live on an island in Greece, it was soon well known that I was teaching Dutch as a second language. So I got other students too, all young adults. However as a not trained teacher I didnt know anything about the theories of teaching or the pedagogical approaches to teaching. I just knew that I didnt want to teach like my English teacher in high school; He shouted at me and really insulted me because I couldnt pronounce the English sound th ,despite of all my efforts at home, in the right way. This event has had a big influence on my approach to teaching; . I give my students respect regardless their background and learning possibilities. I encourage and support them and, considering their individual needs, give them self-confidence. But how could I work on my professional development? Living on an island I didnt have the possibility to take up a teacher education. So I had to undertake some actions in order to develop myself as a teacher: sources to learn about: the different ideas/advices about teaching and learning reading/research relevant topics s

"critical friends"

different methods the purpose of second language teaching context/content of language use teaching approach to second languages communicative/active strategies information about assessments to stay informed about relevant developments teaching materials learning materials

membership different communities

In the beginning was the main purpose of teaching a second language the most important thing I learned; to help the learner to use the language for communication and to develop his personality and his sense of identity in order to enrich his personal or professional life in another culture.1 Teaching and learning need therefore to have an actionoriented approach based on tasks which are not just language-related.2 A task is an activity in which students use language to achieve a specific outcome. The activity reflects real life and learners focus on meaning.3 With this knowledge I chose an effective communicative language learning method for beginners and task based methods for higher levels. Later on I combined these methods with different kind of activities around the themes of the books. These activities can be for example: making a puzzle, writing a post-card, an invitation, an e-mail etc.

CEFR guide of the Council of Europe n.d. , p1 .Web Retrieved 1 Apr.2014 www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/Source/Framework_EN.pdf 2 CEFR guide of the Council of Europe n.d. , p9 .Web Retrieved 1 Apr.2014 www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/Source/Framework_EN.pdf 3 Tim Bowen, n.d. www.onestopenglish.com/support/methodology/teaching-approaches/teaching-approaches-task-basedlearning/146502.article Web Retrieved 1 April 2014

I based my lessons on speaking; from conversations to real discussions. We even play roles related to real life like telephone calls, visiting a bank, job interviews and so on. I also use videos or music to enhance listening and for a better understanding of the Dutch culture which are all simultaneously a base for discussions in the lessons. I learned about the different kind of assessments (for learning, as learning and of learning) which I all use. Many of them are also task-based and I give regularly a self-assessment based on the can-do statements which are not only a teachers tool for ongoing planning, but also for the learner important as they can see their own progress. They help them to understand better what level they have reached and how to improve to reach the target level4. However I didnt just learn from reading. The most I learned from my students: by doing, trying out and asking them regularly for feedback to improve my lessons. I believe that what inspired all of us to keep on learning is a circle: my enthusiasm and their enthusiasm. However I wanted to underpin my way of teaching with theories and to learn how I can improve myself. So that is why enrolled in these courses of Coursera. I believe that, except of some basic theories about teaching and learning, the most important thing I learned in the introduction course is to think about thinking6. The thinking routine Connect-Extend-Challenge of David Perkins7 helped me reflecting better on my teaching. It made me also curious to what extend I could use thinking skills in my lessons and I found out that they are essential for an effective functioning in the globalizing world8. I believe that they will give a new direction to my lessons. At the moment I am not teaching, 5 but beside the thinking skills I would like to expand my lessons with powerpoint slides as I learned from these course that the lessons are more clear ; it is easier to understand and to remember what we learn. Conclusion: The second course confirms me that Im on the right track; I have the base for being a good teacher from students perspective9, thanks to my English teacher. With the activities in my lessons I found the way to release the creative energies of my students.10 My students enthusiasm and their own input (seeking for further information, bringing songs, articles etc) gave me many teachable moments11. I still have a lot to learn and there are many things we have learned the last two weeks which I would like to try out. There is although one other important thing which can contribute to my development as a teacher: As I finally have now the possibility to share my experiences with colleagues, I have to be more active in this community. In this way I cant only learn by myself, but maybe I can also contribute to their professional development.

CEFR guide of the Council of Europe n.d., Appendix D. Web Retrieved 1 Apr.2014 www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/Source/Framework_EN.pdf 5 Adapted from Brushes, Paint & I.C.T http://brushespaintandict.wordpress.com/guided-research/collecting-information/ Web Retrieved 23 Mar.2014 6 John MacBeath, Coursera, Introduction course Foundations of Teaching for Learning, lecture 2.2 7 Harvard Project Zero, Visible thinking http://www.visiblethinkingpz.org/VisibleThinking_html_files/03_ThinkingRoutines/03d_UnderstandingRoutines/ConnectExtend Challenge/ConnectExtend_Routine.html Web Retrieved 13 Febr.2014 8 own assessment http://karenpetersportfolio.weebly.com/assessment-two.html 9 Dennis Francis, Coursera, course 2, Foundations of Teaching for Learning, lecture 1.1 10 Dennis Francis, Coursera, course 2, Foundations of Teaching for Learning, lecture 1.1 11 Dennis Francis, Coursera, course 2, Foundations of Teaching for Learning, lecture 1.1