A not-very-happy piece of news has been recently published about Brazil by Education First [1] on its worldwide English language test (https://www.ef.com.br/epi/): Brazil was ranked 41 in an 80-country list. This low-English-proficiency result has been the headline on many popular news websites, language institute social networks, and blogs since it came out a few days ago.  It is important to note that Brazil has scored better and better since the first edition of the English Proficiency Index in 2011, but there seems to be a rush for English proficiency...

The English language proficiency ghost has still been hovering over novel and experienced non-native teachers. When a new teaching position or professional development opportunity pops up, despite the deep desire to fill in that open spot, there comes the BOOH of not being “good enough” in the language we are supposed to master and use just as well as our own. An immediate consequence of the “Is your English good enough?” question is the segregation between native and non-native English speakers in the job market. Many job ads require...

What happens to “learning” if we add the word “mobile” to it? The increasing and rapidly developing use of mobile technology by English language learners is an unquestionable aspect of today’s classroom. However, the attitude EFL teachers develop towards the use of mobile devices as an aid for language teaching varies greatly. The unique benefits of mobile learning for EFL teachers include the ability to brigde formal and informal learning, which for language learners may be realized through supplementary out-of-classroom practice, translation support when communicating with target language speakers...

One of today’s major principles in ELT is the focus on learning and the learner. Books, articles, researchers and teachers all preach about the importance of humanizing pedagogical decisions, directing their attention to actually developing people – the language learners. Learning strategies, multiple intelligences, learning channels, scaffolding strategies, adequate assessment tools, and varied multi-modal resources are a few of the many elements considered to be important when designing an EFL class. However, the real classroom shows us that EFL instruction has actually been – to a certain extent...

Last week’s cover of The Economist was “Brazil’s Quagmire” in which our economy is believed to be in its worst mess since the early 1990s with far bigger problems than the government will admit or investors seem to register.  Our currency has fallen 30% against the dollar since 2013 and inflation is rising. So it is with Brazil’s economy: the harder you stare, the worse it looks. However, the impact of this scenario goes far beyond currency exchange rates or the cover of international magazines. It reaches the...

This is the time of the year when many teachers apply for a new job. This might be the result of moving to a new city, feeling demotivated about their current position, being dismissed from their last job, or just the desire to try new ways in the career. However, this might be an opportunity to rethink about their career and to take a step that will enable the beginning of a long-term plan of professional success instead of just a change in the resumé. In other words,...

So what happens to thinking when you attach the word critical to it? Is this another newfangled label that promotes a novel pedagogy or method for purely commercial reasons or other ulterior motivations without substantially affecting learning? Is this label bringing into ELT something extraneous to communication skills, such as political causes and social concerns? We in the language teaching profession are rightly suspicious of anything that claims to be new, fashionable, or revolutionary nowadays. For example, “Critical thinking” is definitely one of the watchwords in today’s EFL...

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure” said Bill Cosby when inquired about his successful career as a comedian, actor, author, television producer and musician. From weight loss programs to competitive jobs in multinational corporations, the desire for success is a predominant characteristic of human behavior. This strong desire is commonly referred to as simply “motivation”. As we walk in the field of English language teaching, scholars have been equally interested in investigating the relation between motivation and success...

How long does it take to learn English? That is probably the one-million question of our era. At a time of fast-food, instant messages, real-time distance interaction, and quick fixes to (almost) everything, learning a language becomes one more item on our “fast-track” bucket list. As a way to attract market and become more competitive, several English language institutes in Brazil tend to sell quick-fix programs in which students are promised to speak English in as fast as one year (maybe less?). But do such programs really offer...

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...