Blog editor’s note – TDSIG Scholarship winner Gerhard Erasmus and TDSIG member Jacob Palmer organised this meetup for teachers in Taiwan back in the autumn – in October – but we are only just publishing their write-up now. We hope that reading the words and looking at the photos in this post will inspire you to put on your own events for teachers in your area.

A Terrific Turnout in Taiwan

It’s a sad fact about teaching here in Taiwan, but the majority of English Teaching positions do not include continuing professional development or professional networks for teachers to interact with each other. For the last year or so, I’ve been reaching out to the broader digital world: joining IATEFL, attending webinars, participating in Facebook groups, curating my twitter accounts, following blogs, listening to podcasts, and enlisting in FutureLearn courses. As wonderful as these resources all are, one thing has been sorely lacking: the personal element. So when I heard that IATEFL’s TDSIG was hosting an actual live event, I hopped at the chance.

I was surprised and delighted at the great turnout. The room was filled with teachers all quiet in tentative anticipation. Shortly after, the TDSIG representative, Gerhard Erasmus, had us breaking the ice with each other, stepping into our students’ shoes and getting us to consider ways that we could deepen student learning with flashcards, and discussing how we do things in our own classes. He did as all great presenters do and put us all at our ease.

Excellent as Mr. Erasmus’ session was, the best thing about the event came after, at the meet-and-greet. A diverse room full of teachers all discussing the craft of teaching English, sharing resources, troubleshooting problems, and, most importantly, understanding that they were not alone.

I’m so grateful to IATEFL’s TDSIG for realizing its presence in Taiwan. I’m looking forward to our next session and to meeting more like-minded people who share my passion for education.

Jacob Palmer

The first TDSIG Meetup in Taiwan

I should start this by saying thank you very much to Karen from MAWSIG that had a meeting with me a few months ago explaining how they do Meetups. And I have to add a big thank you to Sinead from TDSIG for supporting us in getting this off the ground.

The idea of Meetups in Taiwan comes from seeing how effective the PD Fest concept and MeetELT is in Australia and how these events connect teachers and give them the opportunity to network and share.

We were hoping for 20 teachers and ended up with 25 so that was a very good start for us and we are now looking at doing smaller book club meetings to connect teachers teaching IELTS, Higher Education or Young Learners to each other and keep the momentum. We will do some more workshops type meetings in the future and are looking at shorter presentations to give a variety of teachers an opportunity to develop their skills.

I am also looking at putting everything we’ve done in a document that others can use to run similar events in other countries or cities if they wanted to. We are very thankful to the sponsors who supplied us with a room, coffee and great discounts on books.

Step one is completed, and in the end we had a free event that the attendees enjoyed (hopefully), we got some very good feedback and lots of ideas for future events and I look forward to where this could be going in the near future.

Thanks to TDSIG for making this possible.

Gerhard Erasmus