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Once in Paris, I had a friend teaching me the following phrase in case I needed to ask for information: Bonjour! Je suis désolé! Où je trouve les toilettes, s’il vous plaît? Apparently, my question was well asked as I was ‘gunnned down’ by the fastest French speech I have ever heard. It is obvious that questioning is a basic skill one must bear in mind when learning a language. My short yet eventful experience in Paris dawned on me that so is answering. I have come to notice...

Assessment has always been an area of great debate among ELT professionals, given its apparent intangibility in connection to the real use of the language. Many of us have been faced with learners watching TV in English and getting back to class saying they understood nothing the actors said, thus questioning the evaluation system that has always told them they are doing well. In that case, most of us have had the chance to show learners they are doing well in certain task and contexts (e.g. predictable familiar...

“An average of 137 women across the world are killed by a partner or family member every day, according to new data released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime” (BBC News, November 25, 2019). It is not surprising that we need a campaign such as the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence   one, running from November 25 through December 10. But what does this have to do with gender bias in the classroom? Well, gender violence stems from men’s belief that women are inferior and...

It’s expected that experienced teachers’ classes will be more peaceful and freer of problems than novices’. But let’s be honest: no matter how long you’ve been working in ELT (English Language Teaching), there will always be difficulties, since we are dealing with people. That alone already means facing the unexpected on a daily basis, not to mention the extra unpredictability commonly seen among groups of teenagers. So yes, there are issues which will always be there. Above all: indiscipline. At times we have our classes observed, and we panic...

This might sound a bit too harsh, but we do sometimes hinder learning. The title of this text was borrowed from a famous saying in football, made popular by the controversial former player Romario, now a politician. He was a very successful and undoubtedly talented player and worked with a large number of coaches throughout his career. He was always very critical to his coaches and peers and did not use to keep his mouth shut when he did not agree with them. According to this idea, the...

On the last September 7th, a group of teachers got to meet at the incredible venue of Casa Thomas Jefferson in Brasilia. I know, in the middle of a holiday, getting on a plane and going on the search for professional development. It was another incredible edition of the conference called BrElt on the Road, brilliantly organized by Barbara Furtado, Priscila Bordon, Bruno Andrade, and Eduardo de Freitas. Filled with talks, workshops, and plenaries, this conference was certainly memorable. But I’m here today to talk about one plenary in...

It goes without saying that teachers of teenagers often worry about how fun and dynamic classes must be so as to keep students engaged and motivated. So pervasive is this concern among professionals who teach youngsters that we sometimes tend to disregard the importance of taking into account the quieter and shyer students in our classes. Before suggesting how teachers can deal with shy students in the classroom, we would like to talk a little bit about shyness. Heitz, D. (2019) explains that ‘shyness is a feeling of fear...

Have you ever heard of the SWOT analysis? It comes from the Administration and Management of a business. This technique is credited to Albert Humphrey, who led this research project at Stanford University in the 60s, using data from many top companies. His goals failed at the time, but the SWOT analysis had yet a lot to give. I have been reading a lot of management strategy and company and personal administration books, and I came across Eduardo Ferraz (2018), who has more than thirty years of experience with...

Chaos. That's what the world is all about. We spend our whole lives trying to organize what cannot be organized. We want to predict the unpredictable. We believe we can have control over our lives but there is no control. We have been doing the same with Education for centuries. We try to put knowledge in boxes. We try to purify access to information. We want to control the amount of input and organize it in order of difficulty. Worse than that, we have been trying to standardize the...