First of all, an apology. A few months ago I started to write about working as a self-employed teacher. I had the intention of writing a whole series, but only managed the first one before life got in the way. Here I am, though, back and ready to get the series going again. I have been a freelance* teacher first in Rio de Janeiro and now Curitiba for over 10 years.  I thoroughly enjoy it, so much so that I shudder at the possibility of ever having to go...

Below is a follow-up to one my post entitled Close Encounters of the Third Kind - Part I",  which went online precisely on March 3, 2016. In it, I attempted to describe how terrified I was by the prospect of having to teach a group of kids exiting childhood and stepping into the much dreaded adolescence, at least in the eyes of a large number of teachers, parents, coordinators and educators of all sorts who are somewhat in charge of not letting things get out of hand. The account I am...

Sabe aquela insegurança horrível de não sentir firmeza no chão antes de dar qualquer próximo passo? Bom, eu passo por isso e entendo perfeitamente quem também está na mesma situação. Para tentar contornar essa insegurança eu passei a gostar da minha característica perfeccionista, porque isso me dava a ilusão de segurança necessária pra dar o próximo passo em qualquer coisa que eu fizesse. Mas...

I want to talk about Spaced Repetition. What it is, how it applies to language learning and what we can do to cater for it in our teaching. First of all, let me tell you how I normally acquire new vocabulary in Portuguese. I come across an unfamiliar word in a conversation or in a text I am reading or listening to. If I am feeling suitably inclined, I might bother to clarify the meaning of the new word, using whatever resources are at my disposal. And then, more often...

When you think of Finland, what comes to mind? Naked saunas? Ice fishing? Smoked fish? Nokia? What might also spring to mind is a highly successful education system. Successful in terms of academic attainment, the number of students leaving school and entering higher education, and levels of satisfaction amongst pupils, parents and teachers. What makes Finland so special? A number of factors have been identified. Amongst which are: • Teaching is a highly respected, well-paid profession • There are no school inspections or teacher evaluations • The school system is highly...

There are some funny thoughts that occur to us,  language teachers. We want our students to become fluent speakers, we want them to be proficient readers, we want them to become effective listeners, and finally, we want them to be great writers in a foreign language. All four skills neatly packed and delivered in a single integrated skills lesson. We are teachers and this mindset has us believing that we should take all matters into our own hands for the sake of our students, but we soon realize...

If you have been teaching for a while you may have come across a difficult decision teachers are faced with: how to continue growing professionally without leaving the classroom. In my experience, the path to getting recognition or a higher salary often make teachers transition into academic or managerial positions. I tried those things, but they didn't fulfill me. I chose to become a teacher in order to work with people, to share my experiences, listen to other people's experiences, learn and teach. I eventually found out that I...

          Or "When Pre-Teens First Meet the Dreaded Older Male Teacher" Based on a true story. When I thought about writing this post, thinking back to the time when I first started teaching was unavoidable. I was quite young, in my early 20's, when I was asked to teach some groups of children whose ages ranged from 8 to 12 years old. What an experience that was! I had enough energy to keep up with their franctic pace and made sure my lessons were filled with a...

Olá, a todos! Em 13 de janeiro de 2015, publiquei aqui no nosso blog o post To be bilingual or not to be bilingual: that’s the question (#not)!, sobre estar criando meu filho Eduardo, então com dois meses e meio de vida, de forma bilíngue. Tive dois excelentes comentários em meu texto, que me motivaram ainda mais a seguir minha senda. Não vou repetir tudo o que escrevi (estaria “roubando” a oportunidade de vocês lerem ou relerem o texto, caso ainda não o tenham feito), mas só relembrando...

New term and new groups bring teachers the challenge and the opportunity to build new connections and experiment with their teaching repertoire in different contexts. Also, new students tend to bring different needs, a plethora of expectations and demand a variety of skills from the teachers. That means the classroom is our greatest lab for professional growth. In order to make the most of it, one of the things we need to do is to learn who the students are to plan what we will need/ want to develop during the term. Here are some...