LEARNING FROM OTHERS - THE ELC

The English Language Centre - ELC

If you've seen my CV, you'll know I've been highly mobile over my career.  However, 14 of my 30+ years were spent in two very nurturing situations - seven years at the Grades 3 & 4 levels in BC, Canada with Hank Petersen (as mentioned in an earlier 'Learning From Others') and seven years at the ELC - the English Language Centre at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

While I had the privilege of working under two excellent Heads of Department, they maintained one consistent quality.  They recruited and retained highly motivated, capable professionals, they enabled them - individually and as teams - and set them free to be creative. 

Here are some things that worked well:
- Collectively, we networked with students' parent departments, and drew upon our team members' combined broad resources - professional, cultural and personal. 
- We negotiated a syllabus and collaborated in developing materials
- We constantly reviewed results, shared ideas & innovations, and revised our objectives and content.
- In the classroom, we were each free to use methods and materials which worked for us and for the learners.  [Any one instructor might have several quite diverse groups. A class from the School of Design might respond quite differently from a Nursing class or a class of Electrical Engineers.]
- When a hated university-wide "Annual Development and Performance Review" was axed, our department created our own voluntary formative peer-assessment programme. 
- Staff members with suggestions or new ideas were free to propose projects.  In my own case, I was able to carry through on most of the projects I proposed. 
- Where some of us made a habit of attending lunch events at the PolyU's Education Development Centre, opportunities were created for us to share any new insights with other team members. 

I am grateful for those seven years of 'opportunities for professionally satisfying work', of trust expressed as empowerment, and of dynamic collegiality.  

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