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People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.Blaise Pascal, 1669   He took some persuading. When the 17th Century Christian philosopher wrote that in 1669, it was as a part of a description of human intellect. But these are words which still hold true for many of us teachers who have had any level of basic training. We can all remember that one boring teacher at school or university who used to lecture us. Sometimes...

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="242"] Stewie Griffin (Wikipedia)[/caption] There is a cartoon that I love to watch called Family Guy (Uma Familia da Pesada).  It isn’t to everyone’s taste because of the casual violence, bad language and somewhat offensive jokes.  Whether you like it or not it's clear that the writers know quite a bit about how young children behave. One of the main characters is called Stewie, a talking and very intelligent baby.  No matter how smart he might be, though, he is still a baby and so likes to...

Listening is an essential area of development in both native and second languages. It’s a very challenging skill for students to develop, yet one of the most important.  Scarcella and Oxford (1992: p. 138) state that “listening is the process of receiving, attending to, and assigning meaning to an aural stimuli”. So listening is a complex problem-solving skill. It is more than a perception of sound. Listening requires comprehension of meaning. “Effective listening sharpens thinking and creates understanding”. Listening in L2 includes getting used to a variety of accents,...

My dear, If I could offer you any advice for your newly started career, I would tell you to be curious. More impressive and complex advice will be dispensed to you but I truly believe that curiosity embraces it all. First and foremost, be curious about your students. Get to know who they are, where they come from, why they need to study English and the reservations they might still cling to. Their beliefs are as powerful as yours. Ask them about their past, their present and their future;...

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...