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I don’t think I have ever taught or observed an advanced lesson that went seriously wrong. I mean cringe-worthy wrong. Which shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, advanced students have been in the game long enough and know enough English to ensure that most of our lessons run - at worst - relatively smoothly. Except perhaps for those all-too-familiar “How do you say X?” questions (X = a word YOU don't know), which they seem to pluck out of nowhere, at the worst possible moments. Yes, the ones that...

Hello! It´s such a pleasure to take part in this blog and share some of my experiences in language teaching. It was quite hard to choose a topic to write about as the number of projects we develop in the English department of Colégio A. Liessin each term is huge. For my first post I decided to share with you a project developed last year with our 9th graders involving students from our two schools A. Liessin Botafogo and Barra da Tijuca. We designed a project to get students interested...

The other day I was struggling to chose a topic to discuss about with the teachers in my school. It was somehow funny as things happened - two of the teachers came, on the very same day, asking about ideas and rationale for using music in class. Well, this extract is not exactly on how to work with songs and have students to fill in the gaps with missing words, or organising lines, etc… It is actually in the sense of Brain Gym® and how to have the help...

The globalized world in the twenty-first-century has brought the English language to the status of lingua franca as countries worldwide use it as the main means of communication for social, economic, and educational purposes. For that reason, the learning of English as a foreign language (EFL) has become a growing issue and a variety of models have been developed to meet the needs of EFL teachers. Because language instruction is consequently delivered in all sorts of socio-cultural settings, EFL professionals are challenged to take an active role in...

Here's a second seasonal lesson idea.  This time based on Carnival.  In Brazil the holidays have just come to an end, and in my adopted hometown of Cádiz we're only half way through! I first used this lesson idea with a large class of mixed-level high school students but it can work with a number of different ages and abilities.  Most of the input comes from the students and it requires zero preparation (unless of course you want to kick off with an image of carnival as I've done...

They say that we get more conservative as we get older, that we lose our youthful idealism and replace it with mature resignation, that we become cynical, and that we are less willing to break the rules and become more prone to following a set of rigid routines. However, I don't think this is necessarily the case for those of us in the teaching profession. Nor should it be, in my opinion. In fact, in my experience, a large part of our teaching lives will be spent unlearning what...

Last week I happened to read a post in a well-known Brazilian newspaper blog explaining that several students who have been granted scholarships in the program Science without Borders are at risk of an early and compulsory return to Brazil. The reason? They have not achieved the minimum proficiency in English to be able to attend the course they intended to. If you read the post (see link below), you’ll see that the journalist who wrote it oversimplified the problem by saying that Brazilian students cannot communicate in...

Besides being an English teacher, I’ve been an e-moderator for a while now. And one of the first things I learned when I started studying to become one were the concepts of weaving and summarizing. As an e-moderator, I have to populate forums – I have to create several different forum threads where the course participants will have a discussion about a specific topic. Also, I have to moderate the discussion – I have to make sure all course participants are able to learn together and make the most...

Hello and welcome to March! In 2009 I read an article in Wired magazine that reported on the Stanford Study of Writing and I was very struck by this quote from the leader of the study, Dr Andrea Lunsford, who said, “I think we’re in the midst of a literacy revolution the likes of which we haven’t seen since Greek civilization.” (Lunsford, 2009 in Thomson) This impressed me as a very strong statement, so I looked a little closer at the study. Basically, the team at Stanford followed 190 students for...

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500"] @rosaurochoa in Flickr[/caption]   So many times I´ve heard teachers saying that Twitter is not for them,  they don´t get it,  it is a waste of time. Before you make up your mind, just give it a try. Start using it in very simple ways. My first suggestion is searching for resources educators are already sharing in their timelines. In my case, for example, I´m interested in the use of mobile devices in the classroom, so I´ll look up "mlearning", using the Twitter search feature. Give it a try....