We all have our own peculiar little habits that are deeply ingrained in our routine, don’t we? Some of us always put on the socks before the trousers. Others check their phones as soon as they wake up. These aren’t conscious decisions, but rather things that we simply do without really thinking about it, usually because someone told us to do it a long time ago, or we saw someone doing it and assumed that was the “right” way. When we teach, we also have out little habits,...

The most important single characteristic of the flipped classroom is the fact that classroom time is not used for content presentation, but rather for group discussions about students' findings and further investigation. So, going back to the two questions I’ve asked on my first post, on the 6th of June, I believe we already have an interesting answer to the first question. (What to do? Flip the classroom.) But we still need ideas on how to start the journey. A good way to start flipping your classes is to...

At the beginning of a new semester, learners are usually excited to get started, enthusiastic about learning and with high hopes of finally achieving that much sought-after fluency. As the course unfolds, so does life: learners have to juggle work, school and their own personal lives, coping with everything at the same time. And as that happens, one of the most common comments I hear from my learners is that they wish they had (more) time to study English, do homework, listen to podcasts, watch the news, you...

The writing process involves, at least, four different steps: analysing the task question, brainstorming, drafting, proofreading and finally handing it to the teacher so that the work can be checked. This process is also known as a ”recursive” process because when you are proofreading it is almost certain that you might have to return to the brainstorming step to develop and/or expand your ideas. That is actually the beauty of it: playing with words, picking and choosing what fits best, changing your mind, rewording, paraphrasing, maybe in more sophisticated...

It's been some years already that we've been talking about m-learning and its promises, but with not much consistent use of mobile devices as a learning tool with extremely high computational capabilities, sometimes even bigger than our own desktops (certainly this is my case!). There are simply countless ways to deepen the experiences and learning opportunities in class by using the power of touch, the power of hands. It's not from banning cellphones, for example, because of our own fears and feeling of powerlessness due to our vulnerable...

Power To The Music              It is funny how people (students) may instantly think of CCR’s ‘Have you ever seen the rain?’ when you start off a conversation with the chunk ‘Have you ever Blahed?’. Have you ever (seen the rain? - lol) stopped and thought how powerful music can be in terms of learning opportunities? I bet you have, though. As I see it, music is what comes through my ears and touches my heart. In that sense here lies a powerful tool through which mankind has evolved with. Not only...

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...