David Crystal once said that the biggest challenge for teachers is “without a doubt to keep pace with the language change”. And I could not agree more! Now, my question is. How to do it? How to keep pace with one of the most complex aspects of human behaviour? Taking into consideration that many countries, states, cities, towns, regions, areas, and tribes are alive and changing, developing, building language by the second, how are we supposed to keep track of it to then help our students? “Watch TV series online, you...

I have already written about ‘motivating adult students’ inside the classroom. However, I would like to go back to that. Before, I focused on more meaningful lessons and working on areas to which students would relate better due to their professional or study choices. Nevertheless, I would like to discuss further how to engage or motivate students behind the scenes. That is when students are not inside the classroom and/or participating in a lesson. In this post, I will be mentioning actions that can and should be taken "behind...

  Planning our first lesson can be daunting, but it gets better with time. Our anxiety is really high, because, as everybody knows, we want to be liked. What’s more, we always want to start off on the right foot.  So, how do you plan your first lesson? I start by drawing up a plan of what my objectives are in this first lesson (and a set of ten questions come up at this point) Setting the profile of the group: Do students know how the course works? How many lessons will...

One of the greatest barriers I have come to face, language wise, was the very often asked question: “Am I going to use this in my ‘real-life’?” or “How useful is this?” I have realised that students have been getting to advanced levels without using more sophisticated vocabulary/grammar structures. In order to change that view, I decided to try and show students how common they are and how they are used.  I have planned a lesson on ‘Inversions’ that can be seen on:  https://beatrizsolinoelt.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/inversions-recycling-language-60/ and I would like to share...

We all know how overwhelming a lesson (especially the first one) can be. We have all stepped into the students’ shoes, so why don’t we make their, and consequently our lives easier? In order to do so, I always follow some specific steps when planning a lesson, and I will share them with you. To start with, I need to know what the lesson’s objective(s) will be. Here, I use the cliché sentence: “By the end of this lesson students will be better able to …”. At this point, I...

I have been to a ‘one-day event Braz-Tesol SIG’ talk at Cultura Inglesa Butantã - SP, that entailed the very up-to-date and important topic – How professionalised is/should our area be? Not only did it inspire me but it also marked a very important “era” in my career development.  I remember very well that, after that talk, I had to stand up and share how motivated I was right there and then. Of course, the speaker was the brilliant and outstanding Vinicius Nobre. On that day, he mentioned...

I am sure every one of us teachers have, at least once in your lives, come across this question: “Teacher am I fluent? Because my boss said, I have to be fluent in order to get that promotion, or to participate in that conference, or to present that meeting, or to travel to the headquarters of the company I work for, etc.”. What do you answer, then? I often find myself trying to explain the difference between accuracy and fluency and however hard I try, my students oftentimes have...

I have recently prepared and given a session about feedback and it seems that there isn't a formula to follow. However, as Ken Blanchard said: “Feedback is the breakfast of champions”. In my opinion, it is extremely difficult to have actual learning without having feedback. Therefore, what is the aim of feedback? After doing a lot of research, I came up with an answer: it is to bring about self-awareness and improvement. (Gower, R. Phillips, D. & Walters, S. 2005). Thus, what techniques can be used? Do you think it depends...

Teaching pronunciation is often overlooked in our field and the main reason I find is that it can be a bit daunting, not only for teachers to master it (in order to teach it), but also for students to grasp it, especially students who are beginners. However, is it really, daunting? Alternatively, the question would be: does it have to be this way? I oftentimes find myself teaching the correct pronunciation of “basic” or “well-known” words to advanced students (who have been in contact with the language for at least...

One of the most difficult things I have been facing over the years is how hard it is to eager adult students to learn (and to stay at the Institution), especially, after the pre-intermediate level, when “the business start to get more serious”. At this level, they start to lack confidence in their ability to learn and use a new language. Aside from having busy lives and lots of other commitments, this year, Brazil is facing a major economic crisis that has put “luxury items”, such as studying another...