The 30 Goals Challenge, Goal 1: Be a Beam

I’ve been lucky enough to benefit from a sun’s worth of beams since becoming a teeny part of the big, wide world of EFL. From my CELTA tutors to my colleagues, to all the wonderful students I’ve had the privilege of working with, to all the lovely people I’ve interacted with via Twitter in the short time since I discovered that wonderful tool. Indeed, it’s Twitter that has led me to the 30 Goals Challenge, via Vickylora’s blog entry on Goal 9, which led me to the website of Shelley Terrell, whose brainchild it is.

Sharing is, I think, one of the most important aspects of teaching: Knowledge in a vacuum is useless. But knowledge is not the only thing we share, either with our colleagues or with our students.

What else do we share and why is it important?

Perhaps, as teachers, one of the most important things we need to share, with both colleagues and students alike, is our love of learning. (If we don’t love to learn, perhaps we shouldn’t be teachers!)

For the students, we can create, or nurture, in them the desire to face the world around us with inquisitive, open minds and hearts. If the desire is there, everything else will follow. How do we do this? By making our classrooms an environment that challenges strengths but supports weaknesses. A place where students are encouraged to think about how they can solve problems not if they can. Somewhere where it’s ok for students to be themselves: to share their ideas, their backgrounds, their cultures, their dreams, their hopes, their fears, their achievements and indeed their mistakes. A place where knowledge isn’t painful, where mistakes aren’t an embarrassment. Where their world and their acquisition of knowledge isn’t confined to textbooks but instead opened up beyond the four walls of the classroom, welcoming all the riches that the world has to offer. It sounds a tall order for a teacher!! But in reality, it’s as simple as treating the students as people rather than vessels to be filled with tenses and vocabulary. Responding to their frequently-changing needs, by adapting your plans to what happens in your classroom, instead of blindly forcing them into a rigid framework. Believing in your students and helping them believe in themselves. Letting your classroom be a place where students have the confidence to speak up, to share, to make mistakes and to learn, and enjoy the process. And not being afraid to have fun with them!

For colleagues, sharing our love of learning comes through sharing ideas, experiences and theories, as well as support, smiles and cups of tea. Imagine how many ideas we’d have to play with if everybody was sharing their ideas regularly. Oh wait, you don’t have to imagine: just look at Twitter! What a world of ideas has been opened up to us. I’ve tried to share this with my colleagues, none of whom use Twitter in this way, yet, and I  hope they will give it a go.

Let’s keep sharing and supporting each other as we share. And let’s do the same with our students: share more than just knowledge with them. Share the love of knowledge, the importance of being listened to, the security of being supported and encouraged in pursuit of dreams, the joy of being part of a group where every voice counts. And let the English flow.

Thank you for reading, if you got this far, and I hope you will visit again as I fill these pages with more entries, on the 30 goals and any other element of learning, teaching and EFL that I want to explore and share.

8 thoughts on “The 30 Goals Challenge, Goal 1: Be a Beam

  1. Hi Lizzie! Welcome to the 30 Goals challenge. I think what you say about knowledge in a vacuum is really powerful. I agree sharing our love for learning inspires teachers and students to begin to see learning as a journey. I think when we begin losing our love for learning then this will also translate. Right now many teachers are burnt out. Through our community we can support each other and help become less burnt out.

  2. Thanks for having a look at my take on your challenge, Shelly! I’m looking forward to continuing with the other goals and seeing others’ takes on them too. I think it’s a great idea of yours. 🙂
    Our community has already helped me with some of my burn-out issues (linked to death by course book and lack of input…)! Now I just get frustrated when I can’t use many of my new ideas and inspirations due to the restraints I have to work within. Soon be moving on to pastures new though, thank goodness, and look forward to more input and sharing/discussing what I learn with other students and teachers alike!

    Thanks again,

  3. Hi Lizzie, I really liked your post on being a beam to inspire learners and colleagues. Knowledge in a vacumm is pointless and if someone doesn’t love learning, expanding their mind, I also don’t understand how they can enjoy teaching and inspiring others to learn. Good luck with the challenge! 🙂

  4. Hi Lizzie!

    First of all, it is great to see a new and enthusiastic blog on education. Congratulations on starting it!

    Thank you so much for the mention. I really appreciate it!

    I love the way you describe the ideal classroom, as a place which fosters learning for all students, regardless of their backgrounds and that accepts them for who they are and supports them. I am sure and optimistic that there are lots of those around the world!

    I would love to sit in your classroom one day as I am sure you do all these things with your own students, exactly the way you describe the ideal classroom!

    Go go Lizzie!

    Kindest regards,

    • Hi Vicky,

      Thanks for taking the time to have a look at and comment on my blog 🙂 And thanks again for providing the inspiration to get me kick-started!

      I’d love to sit in on some of your classes too, from the sound of your blog, it would be a great place to be! 🙂


  5. Pingback: My blog is 4 years old today! | Reflections of an English Language Teacher

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