One of the best features of my job is that I get to observe teachers in their second semester in the language institute where I work.  In their first semester, they go through a mentoring process and are then observed by two other academic specialists. These observations usually go very well. The teachers are very professional in their attitude toward the whole process; they submit their lesson plans in advance and participate actively and reflectively in our pre and post-observation meetings. I find it a very rewarding experience in...

If you are suffering from Novemberitis and need a comical interlude or just an idea for a lesson, here's an integrated-skills lesson plan for B2 learners. The topic is embarrassing stories  and students will read about it to get in the topic, listen to a celebrity telling her own stories and talk throughout. The main point here is to get them to speak a lot, of course, but also to learn and practice (both in listening and in speaking) the structure of a personal story. ****************************************** 1. Lead-in 3' (WG*):...

Would you like to Like, Comment and Share? This is the activity I mentioned on my last blog post about the three key features to teach speaking. These are the instructions. Preparation:  cardstock paper, popsicle sticks, a pencil, templates, scissors and glue. Tell students they are going to have a group discussion about ‘dilemmas’ and that the Facebook symbols will be used for them to interact. Each student will be given a dilemma and they have to read it to the class. Students can also talk about their own...

  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...

It might ‘cost you dear’! That is what we generally hear when people talk about investing time and money in learning a foreign language. By the same token, professional teachers are usually judged by how qualified they are in the teaching community and investing time and money on CPD seminars seems pretty much the way to go. On 18th March, I had the opportunity to meet up with brilliantly committed teaching professionals at Braz-Tesol Belo Horizonte Chapter on Teacher’s Development. BTW, well done you on your organisation. I delivered...

Our humanity is expressed through our stories. More than ever before educators are in the look for different ways to engage their students by telling their own pieces of stories each class they meet their students, but they are also aiming to help their learners to tell their own stories. By doing that, a transformative type of teaching tend to come on the scene.  A deeper connection among everyone in the classroom starts to emerge with learning in the intersection of emotions, people, content and context. Magic happens then. Just this week, I came...

If you had been my student at around 2010 on of your complaints would have been that I never used songs in my lessons. Earlier in my career I used songs quite frequently, in that gap-fill let's-kill-some-time kind of way. However, as I became more experienced, I realised that this kind of activity is not very useful. As I had no idea how to actually use songs appropriately I decided to simply stop using them. Fast-forward to a few years later, when my colleagues and I had just come...

A lot can be found in ELT books about how to use a range of different tasks and activities in order to make lessons more engaging and the promise of making learning fun has certainly spawned generations of resource books. Yet, although words on our role of selecting and designing activities are ubiquitous, little is usually written about how to use TTT in order to make activities more relevant and effective. In this three-part series of posts, I’d like to share some of my thoughts about how different stages...