Tuesday, 13 April 2010

World Languages Teachers: Let's Unite on Twitter

Over the past 2 years, I have become more and more aware that the status of world languages is under threat worldwide and not just in the UK. This situation has led to more and more language teachers feeling unappreciated and isolated as their Departments and Faculty are getting smaller or eventually shut down. Through networking with other teachers, it is easy to realise that there is a lot of creativity out there, but more than that, there are lots of language teachers who need to feel they belong to a worldwide community.

There is obviously a need for local communities, I may lose a US teacher talking about our exam boards and National Curriculum, so local communities are great for immediate practical support. However, local or worldwide communities can both lead to genuine friendships in a social networking kind of sense. You may not have met your “friends” face to face, or maybe just a couple of times, but you do know what makes them tick and who to go to for specific kind of support. It certainly does not have to be superficial and it really is about REAL people you can connect with on a professional and personal level and get inspiration from.

I have found Diigo, Ning and Twitter to be the 3 most effective tools for me to achieve this aim.

They complement each other and are easy to fit into a busy lifestyle. They are also more and more portable with free applications available to be downloaded to mobile phones like tweetdeck or Diigo for iphones.

Twitter is particularly powerful as it is fast and to the point. It really is amazing what can be shared in 140 characters...

So following in @joedale ‘s footsteps who put together a fantastic UK local list of languages teachers on Tweepl
I decided to create a worldwide Twitter list for World Languages. I should have just called it languages, really, as the term “World Languages”, commonly used in the US, does not usually seem to include English as a Foreign Language. However, as I have found the EFL community to be such a source of inspiration, I certainly did not want other language teachers to miss out by not having the opportunity to connect with it through the list.

So... How did I do it?
I used the Twitter list facility, which means that if you follow me and you have been added, you can just check from your Twitter web profile. You can also follow individual members of the list or the whole list if you wish. Hopefully this will be useful to give Language teachers new to Tweeter a worldwide perspective.

I have not included companies, just teachers, and I have tended to leave out people who had not been active for a long time or who did not have a full profile. It is easier to connect if we know what you do!

If you are not on the list and would like to be added, contact me via Twitter http://twitter.com/icpjones (My tweets are protected so I will have to allow you to follow me)
The address for the list is
This is work in progress but there were more than 200 languages teachers on the list last time I checked.


jansegers said...

It's a real pitty that Ning is going to remove the free network option...

I'm a bit wondering why Facebook and LinkedIn aren't mentionned in the above article.

Pieter Jansegers

IC Jones said...

Hi there I am actually on Facebook and Linkedin but I use these networks in a different manner: Facebook is personal first although some of the people I follow I might have met through my job first. There are also some people from further afield I have interacted with online for a while or, for Linkedin, some people from the wider languages community. What I have found interesting is that I have often ended up interacting with a lot of these contacts via Twitter anyway...