In the SL, we strongly believe that effective professional development comes with an awareness of and an ongoing investment in our personal and social development. In other words, our professional effectiveness will be largely determined by our willingness and efforts to invest in our personal and social development. While we value and respect our individual space, we strive to foster a collaborative team-based learning culture to help us achieve our institutional goals more effectively.
Inspired by our University’s mission of Creating and Developing Together, collaboration and cooperation are among the essential driving forces behind our positive and learning-oriented school ethos. Creating and Developing Together not only inspires but also empowers us in our environment where we volunteer to take on responsibilities for tasks that we create, develop and accomplish together. Creating a work culture that values learning through collaboration and cooperation is possible when people are given the opportunity to experience and understand that activities undertaken as a team can yield more effective results (Çal, Güçeri & Özgirin, 2017).
SL team work is based on a set of key principles as well as other principles that may be collaboratively set by a team for which instructors assume individual and shared responsibility to ensure their effective implementation. Our core principles for team work are:
- setting clear goals, roles and responsibilities for tasks within the group
- setting specific and achievable targets with deadlines
- collaboration and shared responsibility
- mutual respect and trust
- fulfillment of tasks and responsibilities identified for specific tasks within the group
- receptivity to others and their ideas in the knowledge that there may not be just one ‘correct’ way to approach issues/teaching
- a constructive approach in giving and receiving feedback, with supportive attitude and language
- effective and timely dissemination of all relevant information across the group
- preparation for and effective participation in meetings, tasks and other work as set by the group and/or the Director
- liaison with other groups as needed
- liaison with the Director and Program Coordinator on intra-and inter-group issues as needed
- commitment to carrying out the decisions made together with colleagues, teaching partners, route members and those decisions made by SL Board (The SL Way, 2017-18: 9)
For more detailed information and ideas in collaboration and cooperation, please also refer to the following chapter of our book, A Practical Guide to English Language Teacher Development in an Academic Context: Approaches, Explorations and Practices (2017) Bosson, A. and Kurtoğlu Eken, D. (Eds.) Blackswan Publishing House: Collaboration and Cooperation by Vildan Çal, Meral Güçeri & Nezaket Özgirin (Chapter 3).
SL Team Development Activities
Over the years we have organized many social and team development activities organized by the SL Director, the SL Programme Coordinator or SL instructors. These have included numerous social get togethers, parties, and other events such as: celebration events, Halloween fun for children, Christmas and New Year dinners, boat trips, barbecues, personal development seminars (e.g. Developing team spirit / Rhythm and percussion by Cenk Sarkuş; Student motivation by Özgür Bolat; Becoming a happy team by Özge Koca, CCTR; Delivering feedback using 4R technology by Sinerji Eğitim ve Danışmanlık Company), SL outdoor training days, fun quizzes, Teacher’s Day brunches and picnic events.
Space for Myself (SfM) Gatherings
SfMGatherings were first introduced in October 2010 with the aim of creating some personal and social breathing space as a relaxing break from our demanding professional responsibilities. Since then we have had many wonderful SfMGatherings where SL instructors have shared their skills, talents, and interests in a variety of personal and social development areas.
All SL instructors are welcome to offer or organize SfMGatherings as long as the sessions are scheduled at a time which is convenient to most (if not all) other SL instructors to allow for maximum participation. For this reason, SL instructors planning to offer or organize an SfM session are invited to check the SL academic calendars as well as the course and PPD calendars for a suitable day and time.
SL Psychological Counselling
Since 2004, we have been working with Dr. Tony Humphreys – and once with Tom Ryan – clinical pyschologists from Ireland, who have supported us individually in our personal development within a safe and confidential environment and also provided seminars to the whole school to foster team development in a variety of areas. Seminar themes have included: The adventure of learning; Decision-making in teams; Self-reliance; A family issue; The seven deadly sins in education; Personal development and communication; Dealing with conflict and challenging behaviour; Achievement as metaphor; The compassionate intentions of illness; Motivating potentially ‘failing’ students; Conversations on the self; Individuality in learning; Effective communication skills; Teacher motivation.
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