As part of my attempt to extend my teaching reach to far away learners online, I have made several interesting partnerships this year with educators in Russia, a country where English learning has become a priority. One is with Chatedu, an online language learning hub platform operated by Language Teacher Evgenii Golubev. He and I share similar attitudes toward language learning, and believe it should be more widely accessible to students than the existing models of study-abroad experiences offer. Look for exciting projects between us soon.
Another partnership is with Ms. Tatiana Popova and her English Club. Last week, she held an event called Teachers Teach Teachers, a yearly conference where teachers in her region gather and share insights, techniques, and experiences. It was my great honour to be invited to be the conference’s opening presenter via Zoom. I introduced myself, and my own online teaching experience, as well as my video series ENGLISH WEIRDNESS. I explained how a video production, of any scale, can be used as a language-learning task for which students must engage all of their communication skills, and showed them a short excerpt from episode #3 of English Weirdness.
I was excited to introduce my Hard-Boiled English project and the English Weirdness series to these dedicated educators so far away from where I live and teach. Afterward, I was told that my presentation was much appreciated, and that the teachers gathered that day were intrigued enough by the Weirdness clip I showed that they wanted to watch the rest of it and the other episodes. Overall, it was an exciting event, an opportunity for me to extend my reach as both a teacher and video creator, and a chance to meet fellow educators in Russia. What I took away from this exchange was this: despite the challenges education in general has faced this year, these passionate Russian educators are as excited as I am for the future of English education.
Who knows? Maybe in the near future, when the pandemic is a thing of the past, I’ll travel to Russia and meet these fine teachers in person; something to look forward to indeed.