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Extending yourself as a middle leader through an eFellowship

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Claire Amos, Epsom Girls Grammar, describes how becoming an efellow gave her confidence, expertise, and extended her learning. It opened the door to fresh leadership possibilities, and introduced her to vital new networks and professional opportunities.


I was really keen to take on the efellowship because, firstly, I was passionate about elearning and the potential for elearning to improve student outcomes. I really wanted an opportunity to have the time and the framework and the support to look a little bit more closely at what I suspected were the potential, sort of, opportunities that elearning afforded. I suspected that it was leading to increased levels of student engagement. I suspected it was improving writing for some students. I was really keen to have an opportunity to explore and reflect on that a little more formally than I might have just as a teacher.

I think being involved in the efellowship really helped me to develop confidence in my understanding of the power of elearning. It gave me an opportunity to increase my understanding and become more well informed in the field of elearning. That in turn gave me the opportunity to become, in a sense, a leader of elearning in my field, particularly in the English teaching field.

I shared a lot of my learning through a reflective blog, so I was using the same tools that I was encouraging my students to use, and through establishing websites - that's been a really key way to share with people, all over the world, the stuff that you've been doing. It also led to me taking on the role of the ICT in English listserv facilitator for English Online, and that's a role I still have today, where I work with... We've got a forum listserv of over 600 subscribers, and it's a way for me to share what I'm interested in but also to support others and their needs with ICT, particularly in the English context. And I've always sought out opportunities to share my learning at conferences. I think it's really important that people don't hesitate to share their learning because they don't see themselves as an expert. I think it's really important that teachers simply share their experiences with other teachers, and they shouldn't feel like they have to ‘know’ a certain amount about a subject before they're given the right to actually share their experiences. I think just sharing your practice with teachers is really powerful, even if it's your failures and your trials and your tribulations, there's still a lot of learning to be gained from that sharing of experience.

In terms of advice about extending your learning - I think if you have the opportunity to do it, do it. I think the key is to put it into the context of what you're interested in. Put it into the context of where you would like to take your career. Put it into the context of your curriculum area, and then it'll be really valuable because I believe that there's... I can link things like my efellowship, and my involvement in that, with opening doors and opening opportunities. One of the really important things that came out of it was this network of connections that was made - these people that you meet and you know every... I find increasingly, all of my professional opportunities have, in a sense, I can connect back to those connections I made from being involved in an efellowship. I've now gone on to doing a number of presentations at conferences. I've also had the opportunity to participate in more elearning research as a direct result of doing my efellowship. I don't think you can underestimate that network that you develop. Not only do you develop a greater understanding, you develop a network that provides you with support and also provides you with opportunities for yourself and your career. Absolutely, it opens doors!

Published on: 15 Feb 2012