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It goes without saying that vocabulary is one aspect language acquisition that plays an important role when learning one mother’s tongue, let alone a foreign language. I have often had learners saying that they can fairly get by grammatical structures and the real factor holding them back is how to put words within this lexical construct. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula through which one can get by learning new lexis, being it from the word level to the sentence level; however, memory seems to be one key element...

At the beginning of a new semester, learners are usually excited to get started, enthusiastic about learning and with high hopes of finally achieving that much sought-after fluency. As the course unfolds, so does life: learners have to juggle work, school and their own personal lives, coping with everything at the same time. And as that happens, one of the most common comments I hear from my learners is that they wish they had (more) time to study English, do homework, listen to podcasts, watch the news, you...

Before you read it, think quickly: Why do learners think native speakers make better teachers? Now let me share something with you: I have recently come across some works by sociolinguists and linguistic anthropologists --- as well as social theorists, and I began to wonder why I had not related the latest developments of linguistic anthropology and sociolinguistics to language learning and teaching.  As English teachers, we tend to pay more attention to what applied linguists are doing in our field rather than think about macro issues that lead...

I plan all the lessons I teach, but I don’t teach all the lessons I plan. The initial idea for this one was not mine; I found it online. I was looking for different ways to review past modals of speculation for an FCE prep group. Having a group filled with teenagers, ages ranging from 13 to 16, I wanted something cool to use for a TTT (test-teach-test) approach that would eventually culminate in… past papers. Oh, woe. A fellow teacher had posted a suggestion online: why not use a...

Before you say anything, I am sorry. Yes, I know I've said it before, but this time I mean it. I know I have been silent for a few months, and that the last time I was this quiet I apologised and swore it would never happen again. Only it did happen again and here I am, saying sorry and promising not to forget about writing this blog for months on end, again. I have a good excuse. But then I always have a good excuse. But this time, it really...

Imagine you are feeling a little feverish. What do you do? Bloodletting, of course! You Google the nearest barbershop and get an Uber there so the barber can slash a vein and cure you by removing foul humours from your body. If you’re lucky, they may even use leeches! This may sound absurd to you, but the role of professions changes over time. The teaching profession wouldn’t be any different. Beginning on a very personal example, I’ve been deeply affected by recent changes in mindset and communication. The abilities...

It’s been a while since I last wrote about this topic but recently this has been such a recurrent issue around that there was no way to avoid it. ACCOUNTABILITY, the word, the feeling, the idea, the demand and the right when we teach. Having chosen teaching as a career, all you can do is to be the best you can possibly be, but overall, and above all, there is a reason for that and it is called stakeholders. It’s first your students, then their parents or family, if...

I have a confession to make. But first, some background: as a gander around most teacher rooms or ELT conference audiences will quickly show us, language teaching is eminently a female profession. The British Council reports that 81% of English language teachers in the Brazilian public school system are women, and the Brazilian Ministry of Education (MEC) registers 82% of female teachers in regular education in general (including other subject-matters). Yet that proportion is not felt to be as large when it comes to higher ranks in our career, or...

The writing process involves, at least, four different steps: analysing the task question, brainstorming, drafting, proofreading and finally handing it to the teacher so that the work can be checked. This process is also known as a ”recursive” process because when you are proofreading it is almost certain that you might have to return to the brainstorming step to develop and/or expand your ideas. That is actually the beauty of it: playing with words, picking and choosing what fits best, changing your mind, rewording, paraphrasing, maybe in more sophisticated...

I will begin this post with a confession: although I have been involved in EFL and digital education projects for quite some time, I am not a heavy user of technology; I don’t really own a myriad of smart devices and, most of the time, I tend to prefer taking notes on a good, old notepad. While not resistant to change, I believe I am fairly skeptical that one device or app, or digital service, will single-handedly change my classroom practice. This skepticism might come from my observation of...