“Dear teacher, I’d like to say I have never forgotten your lessons and I’m grateful you have inspired me to follow this path.” This is part of a message I received last month. It is from a student I had over 20 years ago and who is now a successful teacher of English. I still remember her in my lessons, her brilliant compositions and perfect handwriting. She was a quiet student who I have never forgotten and reading her message made my eyes well up. Many of us have received these...

How often do you revisit and reexamine your beliefs about teaching and learning and about yourself as a teacher? It is easy to find fault in other people's beliefs or practices: “So and So still operate with the concept of X. Don't they know research shows no evidence it works?”; “How can anyone still use the Y methodology in the 21st century, when our students are so different from decades ago?”; or even “There goes So and So again on and on about the latest teaching fad with...

Two weeks ago, at the Independence Day holiday, I had the pleasure of moderating a BrELT Chat with one of the sweetest people you will ever meet at the BrELT on the Road 2018: Veruska Gallo. Our discussion was focused on bringing professional development to the school we work for. DISCLAIMER: this is not a summary of what happened, but an overview of my rushing thoughts during the session. We kicked off the discussion by asking what the CPD initiatives their school offered were. Silence. A disturbing and suffocating silence...

Scene 1: Big conference in Brazil. The speaker, a Brazilian, goes onto the stage to begin her plenary session. While she speaks, you notice she makes some mistakes, pronunciation mistakes, grammar mistakes, but the content of her presentation is relevant and she manages to get her message across. At the end of her talk, you hear teachers, the vast majority of them Brazilians, commenting on the mistakes and criticising the presenter. Scene 2: Same big conference. The presenter on the stage is not a native speaker of English, and...

When it comes to the topic of social media, most of us will readily agree that it has changed the way we communicate, work, enjoy ourselves and engage with the world around us. Where this agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of connectivity. While some are convinced that social media is far and away the greatest marketing and networking tool, others argue that it represents something closer to the downfall of our society as it is believed to increase the levels of narcissism and individualism. Every so...

Image Credits https://goo.gl/R2jQy3 In a week from now a lot of teachers of English from Brazil and abroad will be attending the 16th Braz TESOL International Conference. Bearing this in mind, it reminded me of two plenary sessions from the14th BTIC, four years ago in João Pessoa (PB- Brazil), when both Luíz Otávio Barros and JJ Wilson talked, among other things, about the importance of PD as an ongoing process. And you might be thinking:  Are you writing about PD again? And I say: Yes. Why not? I need it....

Criticism hurts. Hence, it can be stressful, tense and sometimes traumatic. Still, it is such a natural part of life, including professional life, that knowing how to make the best out of it is an important skill for us to keep emotionally healthy. Below I list a few aspects to consider and that can prove useful in our field. Criticism or feedback? We are faced with criticism on a regular basis and no matter where it comes from, we have to learn if it is meant to be...

A couple of months ago, I had to make a very difficult decision. I was honored to be invited to be one of the plenary speakers at the BRAZ-TESOL Curitiba event, a special one celebrating their 20th anniversary. Of course, my first reaction was to say, “YES, YES, YES!”. But then I started thinking: I was already going to be one Saturday away from home for the BRAZ-TESOL Brasília - Goiânia joint event, then I was going to be away for two weekends on vacation, and, right after that,...

We all want a positive work environment where we feel safe to share our ideas, projects, concerns, and challenges… where we can offer and seek advice aiming at a greater good: helping learners reach their goals and becoming the best possible professional we can become. Right – that’s a lovely goal. How can we make it happen? First and foremost, we have to remind ourselves that our professional development is our own responsibility – nobody else’s. Jordan Catapano’s article on Professional Development and the Teacher Leader can give us great...

BRAZ-TESOL, Brazil’s largest association of English language teaching professionals, needed a video that explained what it stands for, so I made one. My qualifications for making the video? None. Learning as I went, I ended up with something that has made me very proud.  Of course making a video when you’re not a professional is not a simple task, so it took me (what it felt like) forever to get it finished. I would get home from work and spend as many hours on it as I had...