An unsuccessful lesson observation. A promotion you didn’t get. An opportunity you were not offered. I believe everyone I know has been through a tough professional moment at some point in their career. And I also believe I don’t know anyone who rejoices facing problems and always sees them as fantastic opportunities to grow and develop when they are going through those issues. Having said that, the attitude one takes regarding such situations is what will shape the professional they will become. Let’s discuss some of these situations,...

Just like telling a learner you don’t know the answer to their question at the start of your teaching career, talking about your professional failure is no easy game. I don’t aim to be blowing my own trumpet in the next lines; what I want to narrate instead, is how often times your backstage may be so well guarded that the audience may simply think you’re ‘gifted’. Let me tell you about two major ‘events’ in my life that may hit home to you, and hopefully be the...

  English teachers are often asked by learners how they can become more fluent in English. Developing oral and written fluency in English requires discipline and a certain study routine – it does not happen overnight as all teachers certainly know and have pointed out to their learners. Learning English nowadays is certainly more accessible than a few years ago. Internet is usually easily accessible and a number of materials and resources can be found there. The trick here, however, is how to turn all this information into knowledge,...

The year has barely started and it’s been quite a busy one here: planning and delivering training sessions, submitting proposals to conferences and writing posts and articles, all with the main aim of focusing on CPD – Continuing Professional Development. The pursuit for professional development in teaching should not stop when obtaining the CPE or a teaching qualification such as the CELTA. CPD, as the name itself suggests, aims at ongoing development, at helping professionals become better day after day. Learning more about the English language is crucial for teachers...

I believe it’s fair to say that one of the most important elements that contribute to the success of a lesson is certainly the amount of challenge learners are posed with. And when we think about challenge in a broad sense, we should certainly take into account the sources of language learners will be exposed to, what the target language to be worked with is, how student-centered the lesson has been designed to be, what we expect learners to produce, and motivated and engaged they are in the...

British or American? Learners all over the globe have for long asked their teachers and peers which English they speak. Nevertheless, much more importantly than having a major focus on one of the main dominant varieties of English, it is crucial to raise learners’ awareness to the importance of being more and more used to being exposed to as many varieties of spoken English as possible in today’s world. ELF – English as a Lingua Franca – is a worldwide phenomenon (exactly – not a variety of English) that...

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The wisdom in this Chinese proverb can be easily transferred to the classroom environment. Helping learners to develop strategies that can better enable them to communicate is the best way to prepare them to interact in real-life situations in a foreign language, I believe. Teachers can help learners become autonomous in numerous ways, and I share some ideas and suggestions I find useful below: Help...

Students taking a course in a foreign language very frequently bring with them a world of expectations and needs – in both personal and professional contexts – that they want to be met in the classroom. Those expectations and needs, however, can many times be beyond what can be achieved within a semester of studies. It is then many times up to the teacher to help learners align their expectations and help them become more aware of what they can achieve in the short and long run, and...

Teaching pronunciation in the English classroom is of great importance – it helps learners communicate better, convey their messages more effectively and sound more natural. Yet, this tends to be a rather marginalized area in EFL classrooms around the globe. Helping learners to sound better, to recognize different accents and varieties of English, and also to read phonemic transcript may contribute to their independence – and it’s perfectly ok to introduce them to the symbols even when they are at early elementary levels. Making the teaching of pronunciation a...