The Big Picture of Language Learning

“Novices become acquainted with activities not only from their own and others’ attempts to define what transpires in an activity, but also from how those participating in the activity respond to them.” Elinor Ochs, in “Becoming a Speaker of A Culture.” (2002) I have just read Elinor Ochs’ article entitled ‘Becoming a Speaker of a Culture,’ […]

Embracing inclusive education in the ESL classroom: What students and parents have taught me.

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” ― Chinese Proverb This post is dedicated to all the caring and patient teachers out there who  help their students have meaningful experiences learning a second language regardless of any limitations they may have. This post is also dedicated to all the parents who […]

We (still) need to talk about English

As I’m writing this post I’m thinking about my English skills as a non-native speaker. I’m aware of the fact that my English is far from being perfect and I can’t expect it to be flawless. Nonetheless, I consider myself a successful English learner-teacher as far as language is concerned for one simple reason: I see […]

What culture do you want in your classes?

“In the dyad ‘language and culture,’ language is not a bunch of arbitrary linguistic forms applied to a cultural reality that can be found outside of language, in the real world.” Without language and other symbolic systems, the habits, beliefs, institutions, and monuments that we call culture would be just observable realities, not cultural phenomena. […]

Teens just want to have fun

“Do a loony-goony dance ‘Cross the kitchen floor, Put something silly in the world That ain’t been there before.” ― Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic When I was 15 I was sleepy most of the time. I could barely stay awake during my first period classes and I remember tottering straight to my bed after […]

Teachers as practitioner researchers

“…and three things really matter: (1) deciding on something that you want to do; (2) that you can do; and (3) that is really worth doing.” —- Keith Richards, Qualitative Enquiry in TESOL (2003) When teachers investigate their own practice through research, they become practitioner researchers. To become a practitioner researcher, we need to nurture […]

We need to talk about failure

This is the time of the year when I have to contact parents to inform  that their kids have failed their final exams. Breaking bad news — no matter if it it doesn’t come as a surprise, is just as hard for parents as it is for us teachers. That’s why  we need to work […]