English Companion Ning

Year started: 2008
Audience(s): English Teachers
Who Started It: Jim Burke
# Members: 30,000+
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Purpose:
The English Companion Ning (ECN) is a unique community of classroom teachers, curriculum specialists, professors, and consultants who all contribute their wisdom and resources to the ECN community.
Strengths:

The English Companion Ning (ECN) is a unique community of classroom teachers, curriculum specialists, professors, and consultants who all contribute their wisdom and resources to the ECN community. One of its most important strengths is, in fact, this very notion of community within it. From its inception, it has been free (and will always remain so): it sells nothing and permits no marketing or other attempts to promote products or services. It was designed to provide shelter from the storm of commercials that offer solutions. This grassroots quality to it thus creates a sense of investment in and feeling of ownership of the site. People contribute to it because they care about it; they care about it, because it helps them meet the many demands of the classroom.

Another strength, however, is that the ECN also addresses the personal side of our work as classroom teachers. The nature of teaching in general, and teaching English in particular, is inevitably isolating. Usage patterns and comments I have heard over the years (it will be three years old this coming December) suggest that people log on throughout the day and evening, for an average of seven minutes per visit, to get ideas but also to ask for help and just connect, as a recent forum post with the subject line “Paralyzed” suggests.

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Added on Oct 14, 2011
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Learn more about this community:

An Interview with Jim Burke

"My original inspiration for creating the EC Ning came from attending the National Council of Teachers of English conference, where I realized that young teachers were not participating in the professional conversation at the national level..."
Read the complete interview

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