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Community, collaborate, connectivism and consulting

4C ContestIt’s been a winding road of trial and error.  Much like one experiences when teaching the same level session after session, I’ve tried just about every idea that comes into my head with regards to my consulting business and subsequently this website.  What worked for me for over a year, Coursetree, just didn’t seem to fit the bill of what I really want to accomplish.  When I set out to start my own business, it was largely to help schools develop their curricula.  Since then, my mission and motivation has significantly moved toward community and education development.  Because of this, changes all around from names to domains to design needed to happen.

…let alone a business that you need to register with the government, but also as a domain.  Sticking with something you name, loving it and letting it grow its own personality over longer periods of time is harder than it sounds, believe me.  I started out loving Coursetree, then eltrie, and a very shortlived Conseltants, but none gave me the spark of inside meaning, cleverness and aesthetic beauty I was looking for in a name.  One evening, I was skyping with Shelly Terrell, who suggested I write out my mission statement first and go from there.  I’d had a mission statement before, but when I tried again, I began with the basics:  what do I want to do with this business?  Not too fine, not too limitless:

    • I want to help build the language teacher community, especially in Canada.
    • I want to collaborate with educators to create powerful projects that I cannot do alone.
    • I want to promote the idea of connectivism.
    • I want to continue consulting schools and language teachers on how to get the most out of themselves for their student.

There you have it, Tyson:
  4C.  Immediately I felt excited, inspired, purposeful.  I liked the look; I liked the sound (note the homonym?); I liked the meaning. With my Masters program (Educational Technology & TESOL) starting in September at the University of Manchester (I’ll plan to start up a new section on this site dedicated to it), my involvement on the TESL Toronto executive board, full-time teaching at University of Toronto and project planning for 4C, it’s shaping up to be a busy fall and winter!  I look forward to every minute of it.

“What does one of my 4Cs mean to you?” You may get a book delivered to you!
Deadline to enter: September 2, 2011
Being in a festive mood, I’d like to start the first of a little collaboration with any of you!  Using the comment box below this post, choose one of the 4C words and in one sentence, tell me what it means to you with regards to your language teaching.  On September 2, I’ll post a poll with each included and to the one with the most votes, I’ll purchase and send out their choice of my favourite ELT titles (otherwise, I’ll have colleagues here choose!).  Please pass on this little contest to whomever you wish.  Just make sure you enter some form of contact information so I can get a hold of you!

To enter my contest:
1) Choose one of the following 4Cs:
a) community, b) collaborate, c) connectivism, or d) consulting.
2) Write one sentence in the comment box relating that word to your language teaching.
3) Think about which of these four titles you’d like to receive if yours is chosen!

Knowing Me Knowing You



Thanks to all of you for being a part of my growth and journey in language teaching and a special thanks to Shelly Terrell for helping me choose the name and Cecilia Lemos for choosing a logo!

Please REMEMBER to update your RSS feeds, blog rolls and bookmarks to reflect the change in domains.  There won’t be any more name changes, I promise. =)

The chosen sentence will be announced on Friday, September 9.

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I aim to create a sense of belonging to a community within my language classroom.

Daniela Arghir Bunea

Way more often than not, my language students build up on their self-esteem when they collaborate in class.

Vicky Loras

I would choose community for many reasons: we are in a great learning and teaching community with our students, our colleagues and all the great educators we associate with on social media.(I am eyeing the Developing Teacher from the books ; )

I love your new blog layout, Ty!



Collaboration brings out the best traits in students because they have to share, interact and reciprocate = they have to THINK about other people.

Cheers Tyson!


Like the new concept and new look Tyson (although it is a bit strange seeing it in my blog roll as one of my classes last year was ‘4C’!)

Here’s my competition entry:

There is only so much we can learn alone but there is so much more we can learn by collaborating together

Like Vicky, I’ve got my eye on TDT, partly because I’ve heard it’s a great book and partly because my Trinity TESOL Cert Tutor wrote it 🙂


Hi Ty, congratulations on your work so far and your new job at University of Toronto! You are a really busy man!
If I could choose between 4Cs- that would be community – sharing, caring and exploring with teachers world wide! 🙂

Brad Patterson

I’m going to abstain from the contest, and yet add to the richness of the 4C from an etymological perspective.

All of these have a Co/Con/com stem, so they have a meaning of with/share/togetherness.

Co-labor. (nuff said)

Com-munity (L communis= common/// also communicate communion/excommunicate/communist)

Con-nectivism (same as “co-knot”… knot in Indo-European is “nedh”… in Hindi it’s “nahayti”— he binds)

consulting (nothing too crazy here, but the original root of the 2nd part of conSULT is “sal” (IE)… and it meant to take/gather… which is the same meaning as the “legere” stem in intelligent (my fav etymology post on my blog)… i guess they had lots of ways to say “gather” back in the day) 😉

Always digging. Good luck 2 everybody that enters !

[…] the way, if you haven’t already, please take a look at this post and enter the contest to win one of my favourite teacher’s books by September 2nd! […]


Hi Tyson:
Connectivism because I develop as a teacher thanks to my PLN and all that motivation, learning and inspiration is reflected in my classes.

Cecilia Lemos

Hi Ty!

I loved the post, the change and what it means, the new paths you’re taking. All VERY exciting!!!! Am especially happy (and proud) for having had some (small) part in it… 🙂 My pleasure.

Ok, I choose the Teacher Development Book 🙂

Connectivism is the most important learning tool of today: it allows you to create connections – to people and ideas; share, reflect and learn through them.


Mike H

Just got round to reading this, so congrats on the name choice and the new-old direction. Old because I think whatever we’re doing we’re going where we’re supposed to go. =)
I’m going to be a bit cheeky but here’s my submission.
I choose community, as I think it is only through fostering this, both on and offline, that we get to connect with and collaborate with like-minded professionals, and I think this is the same in the language classroom, just replace ‘professionals’ with ‘fellow students’.



In that case – Can I get a prize for the longest sentence? LOL =)

Lu Bodeman

Book chosen: The Developing Teacher

Which letter? “Connectivism” because that is what brings us all together. Through connecting, we become a community that collaborates and consults. 🙂 But Connectivism is where it all begins.

Lesley @cioccas

Hmm, I’m having as much trouble choosing a book as I am choosing a ‘C’! All 4Cs are so important and interrelated (as Lu so effectively outlined above!), but to relate one to language teaching, I’ll offer up this:

CONSULTING with my adult language learners about their own needs, priorities, ways of learning, etc. is essential to informing me how I am best able to help them learn.

[… and the book? ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’ – seems to be most related to my choice of ‘C’! ]

1) consulting

2) My passion for teaching has soared after realizing that the power of consulting and transforming, lies within me and within every teacher.

3) The developing teacher

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