This two-part post is a summary of some of the dilemmas I have faced as an observer since 1994, when I sat in on another teacher's lesson for the first time. My intention is to raise a few (hopefully) relevant questions without necessarily proposing any easy - or complex - answers or solutions. I will use the pronoun you to invite you to either wear your observer's hat or put yourself in an observer's shoes. For the sake of reader-friendliness, I will alternate between he and she when referring...

It’s clear to us by now that the role of the teacher has been changing dramatically. Gone are the days when the teacher was the source of all knowledge! In an age where students are bombarded with and have free access to information, the image of the teacher as a knowledge-transmitter seems outdated and out of place. However, does that mean that professionals are now exempt from pursuing development of their own knowledge? That hardly seems to be the case! Then, what should teachers be looking to develop,...

It is August, and most language teachers are likely to be here: back to the beginning of a brand new semester. For those of us who are teaching new groups (and why not old ones too), it is the perfect moment to reflect from two different perspectives: Leaving our comfort zone Every semester is a golden opportunity to become better at what we do. For this reason, I usually think of the areas I would like to work on and investigate more about in order to improve as a teacher....

One of my favourite areas to research and study is feedback and the impact that the contribution of others have in teacher development. In this text I will focus on three different features feedback may take depending on tone, intention or professional relationship of those involved: affection, assertiveness and aggression. In general terms, Bill Gates helped us spread the idea that teachers need 'real feedback' to support them in growing and doing their jobs better, as opposed to having a vague comment on their work that will not contribute constructively, possibly causing...

Much is discussed about students with special needs and how to deal with them. Very little is said about teachers who have some kind of special need. I am going to tell you all a quick story. My story. During most my school life, I was not a bad student, but I was not good either. I was, well, average.  I was excellent once, in elementary school to be precise. I have fond recollections of having after-school classes with undergrad students in the afternoon, twice or three times a...

It’s been a while since I last blogged, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t been reflecting on my teaching practice. On the contrary, I’ve almost died from overthinking. This is what I’ve been doing lately: I’ve been thinking about missed opportunities, failures, achievements, goals and dreams. I’ve called on my memories to reflect on what kind of teacher I used to be and what kind of teacher I am now and what I have learned during these years rather than only think about the things that I’ve missed....

"A man's mind stretched to a new idea never returns to its original dimensions." This quote, attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, illustrates what happens with the learning mind: it will not be the same it had been before the new opportunities to grow. The new ideas may also refer to developing knowledge and/ or skills that are not necessarily directly connected to our area of expertise. As teachers, we aim at helping our learners to broaden their horizons, embrace diversity, experience the world. What better way to change the world than to start by experimenting with our own learning? Teaching a foreign language gives...

We have been discussing the importance of mindset and beliefs in education. The impact of the teachers' confidence that their learners can achieve higher, as well as their thoughts about their own teaching to influence learning outcomes. Focusing on teacher development, here are some tips of what teachers can do and how leaders - trainers or managers - can contribute to the teachers' growth mindset towards productive professional development that may benefit not only learners, but groups of teachers as well as the schools they work. From my point of view, even...

In this day and age getting a job, let alone a position which suits you best, has become a scarce commodity. More and more professionals are seeking jobs that meet their needs. However, not many are actually prepared to meet the market needs. This is a harsh reality and it has obviously hit our ELT world. I have sort of picked up the musical side of my family, my Dad was (still is in my heart a great accordion player) and music to me is what comes through your...

Desde até quando consigo me lembrar ouvi pessoas repetindo que para ganhar dinheiro é preciso trabalhar muito. Não só trabalhar muito, mas dar duro também. Todos os domingos vejo amigos se lamentando de que o fim de semana já está acabando DE NOVO(!) e que já terão que ir ao trabalho na segunda-feira mais uma vez. Já ouviu falar na “Síndrome do Fantástico”? E todas as segundas-feiras também escuto frases como “vamos pra guerra!”, “vamos ralar!” ou “lerê-lerê” (horrorosa alusão à época da escravidão). Esse modo de encarar a vida e...