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“EFL Blogging School for Regional Teachers"

1 martie 2016

The EFL Blogging School Project, Edition II was successfully implemented by American Councils Moldova and funded by the US Embassy to Moldova, aimed to engage 25 EFL educators who have limited or no access to professional opportunities in the area of integrating technologies in their classrooms.

This way,  25 participants from 18 regions of Moldova, namely Anenii Noi, Stefan Voda, Cantemir, Soroca, Donduseni, Causeni, Orhei, Criuleni, Floresti, Straseni, Edinet, Falesti, Telenesti, Riscani, Nisporeni, Calarasi, Basarabeasca, and Taraclia, were selected and trained on how to create and run a classroom or school blog in English. Among these, there were 2 Access Program teachers from Taraclia and Soroca.
The project started on September 1, 2015, and ended on March 1, 2016. During this period, each participant acquired digital skills in: (1) using online tools as blogs to enhance their English teaching experience; (2) engaging students in online projects and raise up their interest in studying English using online tools; and (3) maintaining a class/school blog, inviting members, posting/editing entries and commenting on the others' blogs.

All participants went through a three stage instructional process: face-to-face trainings, online mentoring (each participant worked independently online with the trainers and 10 native speaker mentors), and independent practice (the participants conducted their own trainings to share from their own experience).

For ensuring the quality of online instruction and collaboration, the EFL Blogging School Facebook page and a new project blog were created, linked to the first "EFL Blogging School" project blog The project launched with the official Opening Ceremony on October 10, 2015, which initiated 25 beneficiaries in: the successful highlights of the first edition of "EFL Blogging School" project; the second project structure and timeline; the course requirement; the project syllabus; the project curriculum component; and online platforms developing students' reading and speaking skills.

To strengthen the knowledge the project participants acquired during 5 online instructive module, there were organized 19 Google Handouts on Air sessions with the trainers to offer more details and answers to the participants' questions regarding the studied content.

By the end of the project, all 25 participants created 25 following school or classroom blogs in English, which served as instructive tools in teaching English almost 600 students of all ages. Their blogs represent online portfolios to include students' sample work, lesson plans, teaching advice, and bibliography for students.

In collaboration with 10 native speaker mentors, currently Peace Corps Volunteers and Fulbright Scholars in Moldova, the project participants improved their blogs and integrated them into their English Language daily teaching.

The experience the teachers got during this 6-month project was disseminated through local and regional trainings, aimed to introduce almost 500 educators from 18 regions into the mastery of integrating blogs and online tools in the teaching process.

The "EFL Blogging School" project culminated with the ‘EFL Blogging School" Final Conferenceheld in "B.P. Hasdeu" Public Library and American Councils Moldova office, Chisinau on February 27, 2016. The event gathered 150 EFL school and university educators, mentors, trainers, project participants and their students, willing to find out ways to integrate online tools in the teaching process.

After completing the project, the participants and trainers expressed their impressions through the following quotes:

Aliona Zlatov, Lyceum „M. Tarlev", Bascalia, Basarabeasca , project participant:

"This project gave me a great opportunity to evaluate myself, to improve my teaching abilities and to develop self-confidence to my students. It was a difficult period in my activity and a productive one as well. I have learnt how to use online resources easy, for free and how to relate them to each group particularity. I am extremely thankful for being part of this team. Thanks to Blogging School my lessons are much more creative, interactive and diverse. I am a good example for my colleagues, the most creative teacher for my students, and of course just a brave for myself (because I have finished it successfully).Thanks to my mentor Christiana, my students' motivation has raised enormously. She was like a Duracell battery for them. Now, they call me and speak to me in English, ask about her only in English and are very eager to see her again. As I said during the Final Conference- Blogging for me is like a "lady purse". It needs little space, it contains all the necessary things I need , and thanks to it I look fashionable and stylish.

For those who will read this message and will think about getting involve in this or not- just do it, you will not regret about anything."

Luminta Tiuliuliuc, "Mihai Eminescu" Lyceum, Edinet, project participant:
"My dear Blogging Family! This is exactly how I feel about everything that happened to me during these 5 months. The experience I got, the people I met, the things I learnt - make a whole universe for me as an EFL teacher. As I mentioned in my presentation earlier, teachers leave legacies of relationships and those are priceless. I want to say HUGE THANKS to all our trainers!
Speaking of the contribution Blogging school brought into my life - it's obvious! Can you imagine - my students keep asking me about the next round of assignments and
they MEAN it!
Special THANKS to my mentor, Mrs. Lisa Gill, who was really supportive and motivating! Final Conference was a REAL success and I am proud that I was a part of this extraordinary event!"

Maria Terzi, Access-Taraclia, "Olimpii Panov" Gymnasium, project participant:
"I still can't believe it's over. I feel such a pity deep in my soul...
I don't know why, but I still keep planning my end-of-the-day time to make room for accomplishing assignments:)). It was such a huge experience for me, unlike those ones we are supposed to gain during our regular courses aimed to "enhance" our professional qualification. 
I indeed learnt so many new things which I am going to really USE in my teaching practice and which, I Am SURE, will increase my students‘ interest in studying English.
Thank you for all your efforts. Thank you for being patient with us, and thank you for this amazing world you let us discover and become a part of. 
I will definitely keep asking all trainers for advice and, know for sure, will receive it in its best form accompanied by some even more useful tips. 
I am grateful a lot and looking forward to something new!"

Emma Matreniuc, Access Program, Edinet, project trainer:
"What could have been better than a tight collaboration and learning new things every and single day for a pretty long period of time. How many new emotions and knowledge had arrived into our souls and minds! How many new ideas we created in our Teachers' everlasting flow of creativity and spirit. 
All these on-line instruments and tools, knowledge and modern methods and approaches made everybody closer to the other colleague, made us much more open and discovered unusual possibilities for collaboration . 
It taught us many techniques and teaching instruments that we can implement together with our traditional approach. But at the same time, we realized how diverse our work can be! 
Teaching--is a noble profession indeed. And thank to American Councils for International Education in Moldova, US Embassy and all the Organizers of this wonderful course, all those who made it possible and advance our possibilities and skills, we grew considerably. 
And what is more important, is that such fruitful communication and work made more teachers collaborate and share and formed a fantastic community of peace and perfection, spreading the atmosphere of harmony and desire to make this teaching world a better place."

Narrative Report of "EFL Blogging School" Project,  Edition II (2015-2016)

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