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The power of collaboration: a brief reflection on 2019

About a Boy (2002) is one of my top 5 favorite movies ever. If you haven’t seen it yet, I strongly recommend it. The movie starts with the main character — Will (Hugh Grant) — jokingly attributing the quote “No man is an island” to Jon Bon Jovi. A little-known fact, perhaps, is that this quote comes from Mediation XVII written by John Donne. But trivia aside, there’s no denying that nobody is an island. We do need each other, don’t we? And even though some of us may still be oblivious to this, it doesn’t change the fact that without collaboration we as a species wouldn’t have gone this far.

The year 2019 has taught me the true meaning of collaboration. I have been lucky enough to partner up with outstanding ELT professionals and deliver very successful courses and workshops on a wide range of topics. If you follow me on social media, you have probably noticed that most of my courses revolve around LDT (Language Development for Teachers) — an area that I had the chance to work with extensively over the past 10 years and, more recently to delve into during my Delta Module 3. So, it goes without saying that whenever I offer such courses I’m in my element.

However, going into these partnerships, I had the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and constantly re-examine my practice as a teacher and teacher trainer throughout 2019 by revisiting some concepts and principles and putting some beliefs and assumptions under scrutiny so that I, in collaboration with my partners, could design courses which were not only highly practical but also pedagogically sound. I believe that I speak on behalf of most teacher trainers/educators when I say that our ultimate goal is always to come up with relevant courses/workshops/sessions which will hopefully benefit every single participant and enable them to help their students learn English more effectively. As the great Luiz Otávio Barros says “it’s all about the students”.

Additionally, all the partnerships I formed have allowed me to learn immensely from my partners. Creating a course with someone else is a wonderful opportunity to share, learn, and have your ideas challenged. How so? I hear you ask. Well, during the planning stage, discussions will arise as to what content should be left in or out and why. Decisions will be made as to how to strike the best balance between theory and practice, etc. Having someone to help you keep your feet on the ground — especially when you fall head over heels with a new project — and point out any potential problems along the way can be tremendously helpful.

I’m delighted to see that more and more folks in ELT have been embracing collaboration. I believe that in 2020 we will see more institutions and professionals teaming up to offer more efficient and effective solutions to teachers and teacher trainers. As for me, well, I have very exciting news, which I’ll soon be sharing with you. Yes, I’ll be working with amazing ELT professionals and institutions throughout the year to offer new courses and workshops in 2020. Stay tuned!

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