I got a message one of these days which said “No matter what’s happening. CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY. Don’t focus on what’s wrong. Find something positive in your life!” by Joel Osteen, and that made think about being a teacher and assessing students. We have just had our mid-term tests in the school and that’s the time we have formal tests, we correct them, we make a balance of their performance up to now in the semester, give feedback to students and concentrate our efforts on possible remedial work...

So what happens to thinking when you attach the word critical to it? Is this another newfangled label that promotes a novel pedagogy or method for purely commercial reasons or other ulterior motivations without substantially affecting learning? Is this label bringing into ELT something extraneous to communication skills, such as political causes and social concerns? We in the language teaching profession are rightly suspicious of anything that claims to be new, fashionable, or revolutionary nowadays. For example, “Critical thinking” is definitely one of the watchwords in today’s EFL...

As the end of the year approaches, several students, teachers, school managers and parents may be coming to the conclusion that what was done and learnt throughout the year, or the term, was not enough. In other words, some students will fail their courses. And so, what happens next? How to deal with failure? For obvious reasons, I’ll just deal with ELT here, but the “arguments” may well apply to other school subjects. First of all, I believe that depending on which hat you are wearing, you might see...

#7: E is for Environment The flames will burn for decades, and humankind will shelter, like moles, in underground complexes waiting for the planet to heal itself after centuries of abuse. None shall dare tread upon the surface of the parched, scorched earth. Humans will survive on fungus and recycled sweat, until conditions are finally right for us to return to a place under a friendly sun. When the historians of the future finally uncover the dusty servers and musty documents that show the root cause of the catastrophe, they...

E-learning courses are commonly called interactive courses. Many of these courses host presentations and articles online, assign weekly tasks to participants, organize webinars and chats,  but are they really interactive? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, I'd like to focus on the second definition "requiriring people to talk with each other or do things together". This definition might mean an interactive course would require the interaction of participants. Different authors (MOORE, 1989; HILLMAN, WILLIS & GUNAWARDENA, 1994, GARRISON, ANDERSON & ARCHER, 2000) state the importance of interaction in online and blended learning...

'To Sir, with Love' was perhaps the most watched and the most loved movie in my teenage years. The East London high school teacher who gave up on the school textbooks to teach his rowdy, disruptive students about life, was every teenage kid's hero. I've just come across  the website below, which  offers a glimpse of some of the best inspirational teacher movies. Obviously, 'To Sir, with Love' tops the list. http://movies.about.com/od/toppicks/tp/Inspirational-Teachers.htm However, life is not that obvious. Neither are people. Students come in all shapes and sizes; as much...

Sharing experiences may be daunting but there is a whole developmental process in it. Maybe I am talking about the same idea, yet again, but I attended a conference this past week and much was discussed about the need of continuous development for people working in education. This job of ours require us to be always in our feet studying, catering for our students. Julie Tice, teacher trainer, BC, Lisbon, said that “reflective teaching means looking at what you do in the classroom, thinking about why you do it, and...

Just a minute, let me think![1]   The first decision I had to make regarding this post was if I wanted to write in Portuguese or in English. That was because it is based on a three-question survey I conducted with my last year high school students (3o ano do Ensino Médio) where I work and where the lessons are taught in Portuguese. I decided to write it in English in the end as this was one the suggestions made by part of the students: having lessons in English.   In this...

I've decided to address a very controversial issue in my blog post. Well, it seems it is not controversial at all for most of the people, but it is something that has puzzled me for a while. This is not going to be a very long post as I do not have any answers to the questions I would like to raise. We are all online all the time. Most of us have a Facebook profile, post pictures on Instagram, tweet, blog, have a Pinterest account, have a LinkedIn...

#6: D is for Desks This month we move from tables to desks. Here, though I refer to real desks not desks-as-simile. Real, solid, rectangular teacher’s desks. [caption id="attachment_1784" align="alignleft" width="384"] Evil incarnate[/caption] A desk is such an innocent thing, a flat top and four legs, sometimes a draw to forget things in. But I rage, rage against the using of the desk (sorry, Dylan). I want to find an axe and hack away until all that remains is a pile of splinters and sawdust gently settling in the air. What...