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If you have been teaching teens for the past years you have probably noticed how attached they are to their mobiles or tablets. To say that they love technology is an understatement. Playing video games, watching TV series and films or listening to music are some of the usual activities they perform in their free time and they all involve technology. But technology is not the only thing they are interested in. Take, for instance, teenagers who practise sports or even go to a dance school. Would it not...

Just take a quick stroll around the town where you live. How many "bilingual education" ads do you find? From small towns in remote areas to big metropolis, it does seem that a huge number of schools have gone bilingual. But are they all the same? Do they have the same reasons for doing so? First and foremost, it is far-fetched to believe that they are all the same. There is this thing called "school culture" that should be enough in itself to tell everyone that no bilingual school...

This post is specially dedicated to Roberta Caiado, Dóris Arruda C. Cunha and Karl H. Efken, three of my professors who have enlightened me with their thoughts, ethics, perseverance and wisdom and have helped me change my personal and professional life for better. Before writing this post, I was revisiting another one I wrote  (a long time ago) about “Reflective Practice” which, for me has to do with a way of internally reflect and study your own experiences to improve the way you work. The act of reflection is...

Have you ever heard of the Impostor Syndrome? Well, according to the site “Medical News Today”, “research from 2011 suggests that approximately 70% of people will experience at least one episode of Impostor Syndrome in their lives. It may be especially prevalent among women considered to be high-achievers”. The site Scientific American claims that people who suffer from this silent affliction have a “pervasive feeling of self-doubt, insecurity, or fraudulence despite often overwhelming evidence to the contrary”. People from all walks of life have already stated they suffer...

When professionals I know and admire seem to have something against English as a Lingua Franca (ELF), I try to understand why. From their follow-up replies, I get the impression they see ELF as “narrowing the curriculum” and their own position as one of “demanding high” and “catering for students’ needs in the real world.” I think I get it. The problem is, however, I am too in favor of “catering for students’ needs in the real world” and to an extent even “demanding high”, but that’s precisely why...

Had you been asked to divide your life into sub-categories, how many (and what) would there have been? Exactly. This how a teacher’s mind is all the time. Especially when in a classroom, while teaching. During a lesson we are always concerned with our student’s mental processes  - if they are processing the information being given, if they are accepting it, if they are following the steps, if they are acquiring language or skills, if they are overwhelmed, if their affective filters are high or low, etc. At...

“Dear teacher, I’d like to say I have never forgotten your lessons and I’m grateful you have inspired me to follow this path.” This is part of a message I received last month. It is from a student I had over 20 years ago and who is now a successful teacher of English. I still remember her in my lessons, her brilliant compositions and perfect handwriting. She was a quiet student who I have never forgotten and reading her message made my eyes well up. Many of us have received these...

On many different occasions I have discussed the belief that teaching seems to be about asking questions, not always providing answers. In this post we will focus on teaching situations where questions can be effective in helping learners achieve success in language learning and some ideas on how to take advantage of questions. Using images: Most of our modern materials - including international exams - involve images to provoke ideas, discussions or illustrate a text. Asking yes/ no questions may help teachers guide learners towards the pre-defined ideas...

In his book Schools That Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Parents, and Everyone Who Cares about Education, Peter Senge (2012) talks about mental models and how we need to examine them in order to change. What keeps us from changing, many times, is that we do not think about why we think the way we do; we don’t examine our view of the world. An aspect that really needs reexamining and change is our mental models on assessment. Why do most people think the way they...

Murilo's journey to bilingualism has been an enormous learning opportunity for me, and an extraordinary field for me to put into practice many theories related to bilingualism and bilingual education in the 21st century. Murilo, now 4 years old, masters the comprehension of the English language typically spoken by me. There are some terms that I am introducing in his vocabulary that are new, but the majority of my comunication with him in English is understood by him. Now I've decided that it's time to translanguage less. In other words,...