Friday, April 13, 2018

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Professional Development: Power Statements

Over the past couple of months, I have been volunteering as a facilitator of a support group for employment skills. In this group, participants who are looking for jobs meet together to polish skills such as resume-writing and interviewing. One of the topics we have been addressing throughout the course is called "power statements," statements which highlight a skill or quality you might have, coupled with a specific example and result as support. In this post, I thought I would share a few that I have written as I've reflected on my own qualifications as a TESOL professional.
  • Creative. What I enjoy most about teaching is the freedom to create new lesson topics, ideas, and teaching methods. Among my favorite endeavors has been developing engaging hands-on STEM activities - for example, physics simulations, building flashlights, and consumer testing the absorption capacity of diapers - to serve as springboards for writing and speaking assignments. As a result, students learned relevant academic vocabulary, which they applied in authentic contexts; they were more engaged and better prepared for their mainstream studies.
  • Enthusiastic and Approachable. I love talking with students, both informally, but also public speaking. In addition to giving numerous presentations at TESOL and Illinois TESOL conventions, I recently returned from a recruiting tour in Taiwan. There, I was able to meet with many wonderful students and teachers at several of our partner universities. Speaking to students at Huafan University, Fu Jen Catholic University, and the entire College of Management at National United University was especially thrilling.
  • Strategic Planner.  As part of our ELP team, I spearheaded our efforts to create written program development and review (PDR) plans, including the design, implementation, and documentation of those PDR tasks. This helped lead to 5-year CEA accreditation for our program. From an instructional angle, I played a major role in realigning the writing curriculum to better meet the needs of our students after matriculation. My contributions included designing units for process and lab report writing and source integration. Because of these additional units, students are now better prepared with higher overall grades and increased engagement.
  • Flexible. Over the past few years, it has been necessary to accommodate low-level students into courses that are not quite appropriate for them. However, with adaptation of my materials and a lot of individualized attention, I have successfully managed multi-level classes. At the end of the semester, the majority of those low-level students end up improving their skills enough to pass. The key here has always been individualized caring and rapport.     
  • Collaborative.  One of my favorite things about teaching in the English Language Program at PNW is the opportunity to work together with other likeminded professionals. One example illustrating my collaborative efforts is how I worked together with the other skill coordinators in streamlining our reading, writing, and listening/speaking final exams to create a solid testing bank and rotational schedule.    
  • Analytic. While numbers clearly aren't everything, statistics and scores can be helpful if used correctly. As testing coordinator, I implemented test analysis for reading and writing tests to track achievement of student learning outcomes and inform test revision.