I've spent the last five weeks doing an online course through Coursera called Shaping the Way We Teach English, 1: The Landscape of English Language Teaching. It's run by the University of Oregon and the best thing about it is, it's all online, it's collaborative (you get to meet and discuss topics on ELT with teachers from around the world) and it is free of any charges. All you need is a computer connected to the Internet.
Basically with course each week involved:
- a reading from an academic journal
- watching a classroom video
- a quiz based on the reading & video
- compulsory posts in discussion forums
- a two-phase lesson planning project
I have gotten a lot out of the course and in just five short weeks it has already impacted the way I teach. I've started trying out a bunch of new things on my students, like projects (not easy to do in just 45 minutes once a week), silent time, replacement role-plays, and lots more.
The peer evaluations are particularly valuable, the aspects I enjoyed reading in other teacher's lesson plans ended up in my classroom the very next week. Some teachers actually found doing peer evaluations addictive.
I have enjoyed the course so much that I am doing the next five-week course which starts in 9 hours! No rest for me until March 16th.