Webheads in EVOnline 2003  

How Participation in a Community of Practice Informs and Influences the Participants' Personal Teaching Practices

Week 5: Mon Feb 17 to Sun Feb 23

Answers to Scott's Questions

To begin with, I would like to welcome you all and other viewers to Week 5. I would like to welcome Scott to WIA and thank him for raising these questions.
To answer Scott’s questions, briefly, I would like to start with a short indication to my whole experience with both f2f and on-line teaching.

Q (1): How does a teacher bring about transformation from f2f to online teaching? 

A:   I am a novice teacher in both fields, face-to-face and online teaching. Therefore, when I joined WiA, in January 2002, I was struggling at both fronts. I arrived at WiA Cyberspace with a website, that I built as a final project of an elective course during my MS in TESOL program, and some basic principles on creating, and not teaching online lessons. Mind you I didn’t start teaching online yet, I’m still learning it here at the WIA cyberspace, I felt that I knew it all, (the principles), that the computer and Internet are wonderful tools for language learners, but the question is how to implement it effectively, especially, in an EFL C-Lab environment. Every time I go to the C-Lab, thinking that I’m fully prepared for the session, which I spent hours and hours creating, I found that the students and I leave at the end with question marks on our faces, asking: “what did we learn?” they asked themselves, “what did I teach?”, I asked myself. The answers were in both cases: “I don’t know”!! It’s not easy, but it’s not very difficult, Scott. It took me a year to absorb the methods and approaches used in our training here in WIA, and eventually I managed to run a C-Lab session. Lately, when a session is not successful, I laugh about it with my students, and I know I learned something new about how to do it better next time. This philosophy, I learned here Scott. The scaffolding and encouragement I receive from webheads motivate me for a better coming job.

Q (2): What are some of the obstacles and issues that have been encountered in the process?

A:   Regarding other obstacles and issues I encountered, some were technical, while others were cultural. If we are to address this issue, Scott, I believe that there will be always obstacles; some are controllable while others are not. An example of a technical one,  I was exposed to a hacking attack by a student, who hacked my email accounts and a website I use to communicate with my students. This has caused frustration and dela y to the growth of my teaching and learning process.  If you are interested in hearing more about the cultural obstacles, I take this chance here to invite you and all the other warheads to my first live discussion, to explore more and exchange ideas on this issue. You can check the day and time on Week 5 portal page.

Q (3): What have been the highlights/low lights for you as you've made the move?

A:   On making the move, seriously, is when I realized that being a member in WiA means professional security, in the sense that I know now I have a precious “treasure” of knowledge which I can refer to whenever I need help or feedback. The mutual trust and respect that govern the WIA cyberspace are major factors also in making the move. On-line teaching remains a future target that I’m learning here right now, by following the method and approaches used by Vance Stevens, our group leader and “facilitator”, who humbly facilitates things and challenges you in a way that makes you realize and correct your mistakes and errors by yourself, simply and quietly, using a student-centered approach that makes you feel so good about yourself, as the “discoverer”. It’s the secret that prevents us/me from leaving WIA, and always pushes us to look for something new to learn.

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