Ayat Tawel

Challenges, Project and Opportunities – Ayat

Enjoy the Challenge & Move Ahead – Ayat Tawel

Ayat Tawel

Challenges are tests. Either you pass them and celebrate moving one step ahead or just surrender and stay still in your place. Since I opened my door to the online virtual world of wonders, my professional development as a teacher and my whole life have changed a lot.

The first challenge I faced was how to apply what I had learnt in the TESOL Electronic Village Online session Becoming a webhead – my first ever online course – into the classroom. Having low tech resources at my school – no internet connection or a computer in class- was a big challenge that couldn’t stop me from achieving my goal of putting onto practice what I learnt to make learning a language as communicative and authentic as possible.

I was able to collaborate with my dear friend and colleague  Maria Bossa, an EFL teacher from Argentina, who used to be my colleague at the same course . I used my own laptop and USB Internet connection to have my students interview Maria via Skype about Argentina as we had part of our curriculum about South America. I was also interviewed by Maria’s students in a similar context.

Having very positive feedback from our students, we decided to extend the project by starting a Facebook group where students from both countries could communicate, interact and learn from and about each other. Having passed this challenge successfully, I was able to go beyond Skype and Facebook in other projects.

In my second collaborative project, I went a step further as I collaborated with a colleague from Canada – starting a reading project where our students were able to read a book, learn vocabulary, analyze events and answer questions in Edmodo. They were able to work in different small groups and were able to exchange cultural information about their own countries by the end of the project.

Joining online communities doesn’t only allow you to learn new things and collaborate with other colleagues to open your classroom to the world, it also gives you lots of opportunities for professional development. Being offered opportunities to present my projects at online events such as Learning2gether, VRT and RSCON was another challenge which I could pass and even get rewarding constructive feedback. However, it left me thinking how I can pay back to such online communities that shaped and enlightened my journey of professional development. I thought volunteering to help moderate or facilitate some of these online events is the best I can do.  However, it actually gave me more than I could give as it opened another world  – which is called voluntary though you’re actually paid a lot.

RSCON was one of the big online events in which I had the honor to be a presenter and a moderator. As a moderator, you are offered pre-conference hands-on training on how to manage a room, deal with technical problems, introduce presenters and help participants before, during and after live-sessions . That’s not the only thing you’re offered; joining organizers and other volunteers in a backchannel room is a real joy. We spend days and nights planning who will moderate which session, moving from one room to another, joking around and definitely learning from each other. It is one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had.

The last challenge I want to share with you is one we all come across, which is how to spend the summer holiday, without feeling bored and if we can get some professional development to refresh our experience without spending too much and at our own pace … whenever and however we can and want.

iTDi solved this challenge and offered me all this in one place!! iTDi is an exceptional community committed to providing teachers with all kinds of inspiration and all the professional development they need. Since I joined iTDi, I have been getting regular updates of ways I can enhance my career. To start with, iTDi mentors, associates and educators from all over the world share their experience, new trends and various ELT topics in inspiring blog posts monthly. They can change your classroom into a different and more creative one every month if you apply new ideas shared and it can also keep you learning something new from each and every post.

The blog posts range in topics from research to practical classroom techniques and anything else you might think you need to learn. Another important and main iTDi activity is the teacher development and Advanced Teaching courses.

But  back to the summer holiday challenge, I have had the most fruitful summer ever this year. I was able to join the iTDi Advance Course Breaking into Business English. It was perfectly designed to suit teachers with good or little experience in teaching Business English and  was offered by Vicki Hollet –  an exceptional figure in the field of Business English. I was able to learn with and from other colleagues through live sessions, forum discussions and sharing lots of resources in the course forums on the iTDi site. The course was four weeks long, but you get access to all resources for ever – making it all an ongoing place for sharing and collaboration .

Going beyond business English, iTDI has generously started its first Summer school MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). It’s a course that extends for a month with daily live sessions in almost all ELT topics. You can enroll anytime and attend 30 live sessions offered by presenters from all over the world. The first week was exceptionally inspiring starting with a keynote by Vicky Loras showing how teachers can collaborate together no matter how far in distance they might be, adding their human touch to the educational process.  More practical classroom ideas on how to better teach teenagers, the use of art and storytelling in the classroom and rapping your vocabulary lessons with rhythm and rhyme, to examples of successful collaboration projects were other sessions of the week.  I couldn’t imagine I would get so much involved in a session about poetry. However, being very creative, Chuck Sandy could get almost all participants to innovate ways to use poetry in the classroom. He was even able to get all participants excitedly collaborate in making up a poem by just sharing the first line and then asking everyone to add a line. Yes, all this and much more is offered in one place: iTDiMOOC and for free.

If you haven’t registered yet, don’t worry. You can watch the recordings at any time and still enjoy wonderful sessions for the coming weeks. Among many wonderful sessions, I am excitedly looking forward to Budi’s session on how to make writing fun and engaging as my students have always found writing a bit boring, and also Vicki’s session on how to make videos, which is a skill that can change many classroom activities into more engaging and motivating ones.

So, I will be waiting for you at iTDiMOOC. Enroll now for free, but don’t forget to also join iTDi as this MOOC is just one of lots of goodies offered from iTDi.pro

Forgive my enthusiasm, but being a part of the iTDi community has changed my life!


Join Ayat and more than 30 other iTDi presenters for the iTDi Summer School MOOC live through August 17th 2014. Enroll anytime and get lifetime access to all recorded #iTDiMOOC sessions, tasks, quizzes, and discussions. View the complete #iTDiMOOC Session Schedule and enroll today.

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Ayat Tawel

Ayat Tawel is an EFL teacher from Egypt who has been teaching mostly young learners for 14 years, though she is now teaching adults at the British Council in Cairo, Egypt. Her main interests are online teaching and learning, exploring and using web 2.0 tools in teaching and enhancing creativity in the classroom. For the last three years, she has participated and presented in some online and face-to-face ELT events and conferences. She has been an online moderator in TESOL Electronic Village Online sessions since 2011 and is a proud iTDi Associate. Ayat is a firm believer in the power of sharing and lifelong learning.

6 thoughts on “Challenges, Project and Opportunities – Ayat”

  1. My dear Ayat! Such a lovely and honest, but yet powerful blog post about PD. Do you read minds? Because you read mine! I feel every word and I love your introductory sentence:
    “Challenges are tests. Either you pass them and celebrate moving one step ahead or just surrender and stay still in your place” .
    I am glad you have never surrendered to your challanges and am glad to know you. Couldn’t agree more with you and I am happy to learn from you as well. We both have very similar path, started at EVO BAW and somehow our ways interweave all the time, which is great. I wish you all the best in the future. Greetings from Croatia. Marijana

    1. Dear Marijana,
      It’s a great pleasure that you feel what I wrote and that our paths are similar. Your words mean a lot to me as we have been through similar challenges , were offered similar opportunities and spent wonderful time full of PD together.
      Thanks again for your wishes, wishing you back all the best and to be as “Super” as you always are !!
      Love, Ayat

  2. Dear Ayat,
    Your dedication to online teaching and learning has not been stopped by insufficient means (lack of class computer and internet connection). I am delighted that your determination has been fruitful not only to you but also to the community of teachers and learners.
    This is a lifelong adventure to which everybody invited. Everything is gain, personal and professional advancement. May you and all prosper in this path to sustained development.

    1. Thanks a lot Cheikh Omar for your kind words. Having determination can really help one achieve his/her goals and overcome any obstacles that might arise !
      Wish you all the best. See you @ itdimooc !!

  3. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

    Dear Ayat,

    Thank you for sharing your first-hand professional experience, which surely is quite inspiring and motivating for anyone pursuing continued professional development and personal growth.

    Too, I really appreciate this generous act of iTDi and remain eternally grateful to all TDiMOOC presenters and organizers for their helping us grow both personally and professionally.

    All the best,

  4. OMG… What can I say??? Nothing but… thanks!!!

    My dear… We have learnt and grew up together not only in the professional but also in the friendship field! It was a great honor to have done that amazing project as it gave us the chance to meet f2f.

    Your post is brilliant!! I can see how passionate you are for teaching and learning. I’m very proud to be your “twin”!!

    Tons of smiles,
    Maria 🙂

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