Colloquium: "Case study of a community of practice"
Wednesday, March 26, 2003

9:30 am to 11:15 am, (14:30-16:15 GMT)
Baltimore Convention Center Room 306
event number #4101 at the TESOL 2003 Convention, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

How Participation in a CoP Informs and Influences Personal Teaching?

Week 5 : New Collaborative Learning Experiences

(Feb 17 - 23, 2003)

Impact of the New Moderating Experience: "Aha!"


Participating in week 5 as a co-omoderator, during the 7-week Seminars held on January 20 - March 7, 2003, was a rich experience that opened my eyes on important concepts and objectives, related to the use of group "Chats" Online Text-Conferences, as an effective educational tool for English learners.

I found that some computer mediated communication,(CMC) tools not only capable of improving English learners language skills, including speaking, listening, reading, and writing, but they can also train students to think critically, allowing them to become discoverers. This kind of learning process invloves a high level of collaboration between students and teachers or facilitators. It also encourages a healthy democratic learning environment, where students and instructors or moderators are all learners! This is considered, I believe, a major step toward a better quality of e-learning; the kind of learning that can assist educators produce independent learners. This is considered an important pedagogy issue, that could create independent learners, increasing the number of life-learners, needed to participate in building a better future for our world.

Therefore, I will continue particiapting in the Webheads' communities, because I found that CoPs can provide good training for teachers during this crucial time of history, when change is occuring everywhere, affecting the educational process globally.

I have also noticed that the more I participate and get invloved in hands-on activities with the Webheads, the more I gain knowledge and understanding of how things should be done and then work smoothly, easily and quickly.

The "Aha" moments continued occuring, during or following a collaborative and cooperative activity with Webheads! Magic moments often occur during a text-chat with Webhead colleagues or during a reflection over a new learning experience at the CoP.

Because of this, many of my previous Internet lessons or activities, I created earlier for my students, were revised and then modified. As a result, the CALL prgrams I created for my students at Kuwait University, have imporved since I joined Webheads in Action.

In terms of professional developmenet,I found that I spontaneously began to transfer teaching and learning approaches implemented or used at Webheads' communities inside my face-to-face classrooms. For example, I am now more capable of organizing my students into groups and successfully comeplete group-activities inside my f-to-f classrooms.I am also more capable now of managing and completing a hands-on activity for my students, during a CALL session, at a computer lab.

Finally, for me Webheads CoPs are not only a source of knowldge, they are, also a source of motivation, creative inspiration, and support. Therefore, I strongly believe that teachers should participate in such CoPs, if they are serious about improving their e-learning skills and using these skills to improve and benefit their students learning quality or education quality in general. This, I am positive, would aid us all to move on and to step into the 21st century, with full confidence.

The New Chat Experiences, during Week 5

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©2003 Buthaina al-Othman