I often wonder to what extent me being an educator has influenced what I am like as a mother - and vice-versa. It is easier to see how being a teacher shaped the mother I am. For instance, I have never done my kids’ work or projects. I have guided their research (making sure they learned to question the reliability of certain sources and that there was no copying and pasting!), helped them organise their ideas coherently before putting on paper, gave my opinion on their ideas. Countless times...

I’ve recently (more deeply) started to reflect on responsibility and language learning. Where it lies. Who is really responsible for it – the teacher or the learner? For quite a bit now, teachers ( and I am, mainly, focusing on language learning institutes, but I think much may apply to many other educational institutes around the world) have been focusing on getting learners to “learn without feeling they’re learning”. In part I blame it to the most common understanding of the communicative approach – and that’s understandable. Once we were told...

Last month I was very fortunate to be able to attend the 50th IATEFL International Conference in Birmingham, the UK. As most it usually happens when it comes to conferences, it was possible to “catch” a few issues / topics that stood out in the conference – because of plenaries, sessions or just the talk between sessions and at the social events at the end of the each day. This year, at least for me, there were two big issues that stood out: gender / sexual bias and the...

Last weekend I took part in an online professional development event organized by EFL Talks, called 10 in 10 for YOU. The idea was to have questions asked by teachers answered in 10 minutes (each), using 10 slides (videos of all the 40 talks will be made available in the website if you want to check them out.) I was thrilled that the organizers invited me to answer one of the questions. And my question was just that: “Do teachers need better feedback?” It’s difficult to answer such question, because...

In a recent PD afternoon I attended, before the closing of the event the main speaker had a Q&A session with the audience, answering questions about teaching English in general. One of the questions stuck to my mind: “How can we motivate our learners?” The question is not new to any teacher. It has been the topic of countless articles, chapters in books, discussions in the staff room, workshops and presentations at conferences. I am not here to dispute the importance of motivation in language learning (or in any kind...

I’ve just had a week off, so I went off on holidays. After a whole year of teacher, training, writing, talking to students, parents, helping those who needed the extra help or a supporting word (or hug!)… I tried to fool myself, thinking I would be able to completely tune out of work by simply not looking at emails from work. But one doesn’t stop being a teacher just because she is not teaching… It starts out quite subtly, really… a song you hear playing that you immediately identify...

Teaching adult beginner groups can be quite challenging, as most teachers (if not all)  who have such groups know. Each age group we teach has its specific challenges, and in my experience, when it comes to adult beginners the main challenges are time (they usually have little time to dedicate to English studying other than the time they spend in the classroom, since they have many other responsibilities and priorities. Many times they have trouble even coming to classes) and fear. Fear of making mistakes and making a...

More than words (or at least more than a language!)   I like to think I am more than a language teacher. Those who know me also know that I don’t say this because I think being a language teacher is a lesser job. Quite the contrary, to tell you the truth. I am very proud of it. But when I think about what I do with my students I can see so much more than (just) a language being developed in the classroom. See, more than a teacher I dare...

/riˈzilyəns/ noun: resilience; plural noun: resiliences 1. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity. 2. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.   Some of you may be wondering why I am talking about resilience in a blog post for English teachers, but for some reason I think most will guess. And even though most (or all) I’m going to “say” here may be common knowledge, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 20+ years as a teacher it’s that we need to see something...

I enjoy playing games in the classroom. And I know my students do too, especially the young learners and teenagers (even though teachers of adult students know that many times adults really enjoy playing games too.) I've recently bought a game called "Hit or Miss" to use with my students. The obvious main aim of the game is to review vocabulary, but I've thought of a couple of other pedagogical uses for it in the classroom. And I thought I'd share this game here, because I believe other teachers...