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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 have been working on teaching young learners a lot in these past months, mostly due to a new project we are implementing in our school, so I really thought about sharing some of the views I have been studying which definitely impact the teaching of these students. Cognitive development According to McKay (2006:6-14) children are in constant gradual development, continuing to learn through concrete experience, what can be called ‘learn through doing’ . Their thinking develops in knowledge and intellectual skills, but not yet able to use meta-language, the...

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....

Earlier this week Elaine Hodgson posted about the pros and cons of self-promotion, raising many important points. I was going to comment on the post, but realized my text got longer than the rules of politeness would allow, so here is my take on self-promotion in ELT, which, I must admit, echoes much of what Elaine has said. Teacher promotion is definitely something we need to discuss. I hear you, sis. This business of self- and peer-promotion in ELT has been bothering me a lot as of late, so...

  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...

'Trousers' or 'pants'? 'Lift' or 'elevator'? 'Colour' or 'color'? 'Theatre' or 'theater'? Which lexical item do you use? Which form of spelling do you opt for? Do you teach 'American' or 'British' English? Or both? How do you decide what to teach? Does it matter? Well, according to some recent research, it does matter, and if current trends continue, it might matter even more in the future. The study, called The Fall of the Empire: The Americanization of English, analyzed over 15 million digitized books published between 1800 and 2010,...

A couple of months ago, talking to a dear friend and co-worker about future jobs prospects, I asked her one of those ‘why don’t you’ questions. Her reply was ‘I don’t have much time for promoting myself.’ Well, I know that is true when you have deadlines pressing on you. Then, on a different occasion, I asked somebody whose work is greatly admired and respected, in another ‘why don’t you’ style conversation and her reply was fairly similar: ‘I’m not good at promoting myself.’ Self-promoting has probably always...

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...

I often wonder to what extent me being an educator has influenced what I am like as a mother - and vice-versa. It is easier to see how being a teacher shaped the mother I am. For instance, I have never done my kids’ work or projects. I have guided their research (making sure they learned to question the reliability of certain sources and that there was no copying and pasting!), helped them organise their ideas coherently before putting on paper, gave my opinion on their ideas. Countless times...