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[caption id="attachment_1276" align="alignleft" width="300"] Keep Calm by Guilherme Bomfim Pacheco/MULL - CC BY 4.0[/caption] When my son was about 18 months old I took him to a local shopping centre here in Curitiba. I don’t normally do this because I hate shopping centres with a passion, but it was raining and we were both going stir crazy from being in the house for too long. At one point my son just stopped dead in his tracks, pointed at a travel agent’s and started shouting I the way that only the...

Communication between humans is an extremely complex and ever-changing phenomenon, but there are certain generalisations that we can make about the majority of communicative events and these will have particular relevance for the learning and teaching of languages. Learning to speak a foreign language is much more complex than knowing its grammatical and semantic rules. It involves both command of certain skills and several different types of knowledge. Richards (2005: p. 204) states that learners must acquire the knowledge of how native speakers use the language in a context...

For the past six months I've been teaching a close friend of mine once a week, on a one-to-one basis. He's what most people would refer to as an elementary learner, but in many important ways he's anything but your typical A2. And that's partly because he's highly intuitive. The more I teach him, the more I wonder whether all the syllabus-based grammar work that we do in class is of any use at all. Last week, for example, with a little help from me, he was able to say...

We often wish for a helping hand in our careers; that generous supervisor, coordinator or colleague who will set goals for our development, introduce us to the right people, invite us to embark on different waters and acknowledge our strengths and talents. We hope that this one mentor will spot our gifts, give us an extra push and award us with their recognition; recognition that will help us blossom professionally. Many professionals go on for years and years waiting for that help to arise in the hope of getting...

June has arrived and with it the end of the first academic semester of the year. This period comes with mixed feelings, feeling of duty fulfilled for a term well worked, but also a kind of uncertainty whether or not the groups will remain the same for the following term. In regular schools, enrolments are compulsory as well as taking the whole course, but in Private Language Schools [PLSs], as they are “free courses” as called in  Brazil, there is no obligation to attend the whole course. So, back...

Half of the year has gone but we still have some time for new ideas and projects till December comes. This month I´ll share with you a project developed with our 8th graders this year. One of the units in the coursebook we use deals with different kinds of schools and vocabulary related to learning and classroom language. Students, in general, find it interesting to contrast their own school and Brazilian school system to home schooling or boarding schools students in some other countries experience. Based on the topic of learning...

This lesson plan is one for any time, any where, any students…   1 Show the four images below.   Ask your students to choose one and think (not talk) about why that particular image appeals to them.  Allow them plenty of thinking time.   2 Tell them about the picture you choose, but don't say explicitly which one you've chosen. For example, "This makes me think of summer, and of home. It reminds me of the smell, and of sitting outside on a summer's day with my friends, maybe between classes at...

Everyone at Richmond was deliriously excited about getting an ELTon nomination for our Big Picture app. The ELTons are the very prestigious British Council awards that recognise innovation in ELT. Deborah Tricker, our Global Publishing Director, Laura Orchard who works in our Oxford marketing department and is the queen of all things social media and I were the lucky three to get the opportunity to go to the awards ceremony. We prepared our acceptance speech as we had been instructed by the organisers. Deborah and Laura fretted about what to...

English language learners in the 21st century are in the center of a technological revolution. Prensky (2001a) referred to today’s children as “digital natives” and acknowledged the fact that today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach. Moreover, research has indicated that today’s average young adult has spent fewer than 5,000 hours reading as opposed to over 10,000 hours playing video games, over 10,000 hours talking on digital cell phones, and over 20,000 hours watching TV. In addition, they have sent in...

You may or may not be aware that the football championship is just around the corner with national teams beginning to arrive, stadiums being finished and with thousands of people brushing up on their English. Football (or ‘scoccer ’) is the most popular sport in the world, played and talked about by millions of people. It is therefore no surprise that numerous expressions that began life being used to describe the beautiful game have now entered common usage as idiomatic expressions. Although the contexts in which these expressions are used...