Celebrating a Year of Professional Growth and Inspiration with Language Educators Assemble
Greetings on the LEA Newsletter Dec 2023!
Dear LEA followers,
As we reach the last day of 2023, I can’t help but feel incredibly proud and grateful for the odyssey we’ve shared together in the first year of Language Educators Assemble (LEA)!
How LEA started
I conceived LEA back in 2022 to be a vibrant platform that aims to bring together language educators from around the world, creating a space for learning and growth as a community. As a language educator that has played different roles of practice, I have had the privilege of engaging numerous language educational practitioners, from teachers and tutors to curriculum planners and parents. It became increasingly clear to me that many of these professionals and laypersons were eager to access insights from theory-grounded and evidence-based research to inform their practices.
However, I am acutely aware of the hurdles that individual educators face when attempting to engage with the vast body of academic research. When I was still a beginning teacher more than a decade ago, I had my own questions about ways the mind work and how different profiles of learners might respond to various approaches, as well as the efficacy of certain practices in my context. I was very keen and did personal exploration on as many research articles I could get my hands on, but I found it extremely challenging to navigate and make sense of them. Indeed, time constraints and accessibility issues often impede our ability to fully explore the wealth of knowledge in the existing body of research.
This motivated me to join forces with like-minded colleagues across the globe, all striving to translating complex research into comprehensive but digestible information for practitioners.
In pursuit of this goal, I embarked on a journey to create a website as a central hub for sharing this knowledge. Admittedly, I began this endeavour as a novice, with only a rudimentary understanding of website development. Nevertheless, I embraced the challenge with enthusiasm, and I am thrilled to see how LEA has blossomed into a modest but thriving community.
I warmly welcome you to stay engaged with LEA and hope that it continues to be a valuable resource in your own language education practice. I do wholeheartedly encourage you to furnish me with further feedback, be it in relation to the content or the design of the website. As we strive to enhance our collective experience, your insights are invaluable. As such, do not hesitate to share your thoughts, as I am eager to hear them. If you are keen to take up the professional challenge of sharing your expertise with other practitioners, I do welcome you on this journey.
Looking back at LEA in 2023
Let me start with four numbers that represent LEA for 2023: “55”, “3”, “296”, and “5000+”. So, what do these numbers mean?
So, in this first year of LEA, I contributed “55” articles to the website, each meticulously crafted to ensure high levels of rigour in reviewing existing literature extensively while also incorporating insights from practitioners’ anecdotal experiences (mine and those of others). I do understand this number could be the average monthly (or even daily) number of articles published on some other websites, but I do seriously prioritise quality over quantity. I trust these articles have provided value and inspired or assisted us in some capacity.
What then is “3”? Earlier this year, I declared the aspiration to create 12 distinct resource types for all of us. Although this ambitious goal may take longer to achieve, I have nevertheless managed to compile three resource sets thus far: a glossary of key academic terms, recommended readings, and other well-developed blogs for language educators. In fact, I even updated two of these during this December vacation!
The number “296” refers to the followers of LEA’s official LinkedIn page. It seems that our professional community prefers engaging on LinkedIn over other platforms like Facebook and Twitter. “296” is still an achievement though LEA still has a long way to go; there is an estimate of 12 million English language teachers around the world, I do need to work harder if I hope to assemble a wider representation of language educators teaching various target languages. My ultimate aim is to foster more organic discussions on language education matters on our social media pages, so that all of us can leverage the professional socialisation to reflect on our own practices.
Last but not least, all of us might be curious at the figure “5000+”. Well, this is the approximate number of monthly unique visitors LEA has received in the last few months – and it is still growing. From humble beginnings with minimal clicks daily, LEA now enjoy substantial organic traffic – and it is still growing! Of course, this is not a competition to the top. However, maintaining a strong online presence is vital, as LEA and similar platforms can then offer reliable information to colleagues amidst the prevalent misinformation and disinformation online (usually generated by self-proclaimed gurus aiming to sell their products or services).
Plans for LEA in 2024
What would be a transition to a new year without some resolutions? Definitely, beefing up the resource section on LEA is on the top of my list. Idle words are merely empty sounds, and I prefer not to be left with such a predicament. So, moving on into 2024, I will be dedicating my efforts to introducing diverse resource types and refining existing ones.
Content production, in terms of article writing, will definitely remain a staple. However, I anticipate that my professional commitments may increase in 2024, potentially slowing down my pace (this is still a project built on the side on my own). Therefore, I would be delighted to have some of you join me in this endeavour. Please note that this is a self-funded project where I do not seek profit from it – I do strive to keep it that way. If you do decide to participate, it should be entirely voluntary, without any monetary compensation (I do receive queries from writers who are wanting to sell their services).
You know, one of the most rewarding aspects of building a website as a novice is discovering the amazing world of content creation and platform building. This opens up bazillion opportunities to support others where there always seem to exist new opportunities on the horizon. I am currently exploring the use of various open APIs to provide additional free resources for all of us in 2024. Let’s hope this vision become a reality!
Guess what, my wife (who is also a fellow language educator) is so inspired by my endeavour on this website that she is also keen to start her own – although she is working on a niche that is more targeted at Mandarin teachers and learners. If you are teaching Mandarin or working with Mandarin learners, you might want to keep a lookout on this. I’d definitely update all of us when it happens.
This pretty sums up this email. How has your 2023 been? What are your resolutions for 2024? I do hope you have had a 2023. As we look forward to 2024, I would love to hear about your resolutions. If you do care to share with me, I do care to listen to you. With that, I do hope that you had a fulfilling 2023 and wishing you an invigorating 2024 ahead!
Making a difference with you,
Chin Yew KIEU
Founder, Language Educators Assemble
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