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Professional Development Communities
This page is dedicated to Professional Development Communities. A community is a difficult thing to define, but it should at least include a common practice (teaching/education) and common meeting space(s) (website, discussion forum, chat, or other avenues of interaction). There are plenty of ways to define this, but I don't want to limit this any more than necessary.
) Tapped In is, in my opinion, the best know and respected online professional development community out there. They have a long, successful history of providing a framework for engagement and a user base that makes this engagement worthwhile. TappedIn essentially provides office and meeting spaces for educators. These include chat, discussion forums, and shared resources. These spaces are primarily for educators, but there are also means for having students join in on the conversation.
Dave's ESL Cafe
) Dave's ESL Cafe is probably the oldest online professional development community for ESL/EFL professionals. This site has been around since 1995. It was one of the first ESL-related sites that I visited when I began teaching, actually it was where I researched my first job. At the time, I was very impressed with the amount of information available on the site, as well as the level of interaction in the forums. These days, I think that it might offer too much information (little control for quality), but the level of interaction is even better. With popularity comes "evil doers", however. The discussion forums have many well-informed participants willing to lend a hand, but there are also plenty of people in those forums just looking to engage you in a negative way. I'd suggest ignoring them and looking for the positive support that is out there.
Teacher Resources by Annenberg Media (
This video workshop addresses critical topics in teaching reading for K-2 teachers. Boston University professor of education Jeanne Paratore moderates the eight sessions with practicing K-2 teachers, reviewing current research on reading instruction and drawing out how it can inform classroom practice. In this workshop, participating teachers can compare their experiences with the onscreen teachers and review the video clips of real reading classes as they discuss the challenges of developing the literacy skills of their diverse students. Using the video programs, Web site, and print guide, K-2 teachers and reading specialists will gain confidence to adopt new strategies and refine their current practices to meet the needs of all their students.
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