Last month, we talked about the innovator teacher's dilemma, and I would like to share my innovative experience with you.  I’m sure you have already heard of: Cross over teaching,  Teaching through smart boards, Flipped classrooms Collaborative Teaching Using Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)  Technology and innovative methods of teaching And more Are you using all or some of them in your daily lessons? It’s widely known that the use of technology in the classroom helps to engage the students with different kinds of stimuli and, of course,...

Are you tired of listening or reading about how innovative teachers must be in the classroom? Especially now, during and after the covid-19 (years 2020 - 2021) when we were forced to reinvent ourselves and our classroom? Why are you tired of it? Maybe because it is tiring to be always looking for different ways of calling student's attention or to, at least, make them be more participative and acquire something out of it? Is this really the point? Or is it the experience? The learning? Well, we are teachers. We...

The use of this current communicative approach is very common in the English lesson field. We always tend to use a task as the topic of the lesson and ask students to perform this task at the end of this lesson. As the name states TBLT, also known as TBI (task-based instruction) focuses on the use of authentic language relying on meaningful tasks as the main item of planning, target language, and instruction in language teaching. For instance, conducting or participating in a job interview, visiting a doctor’s office,...

Coronavirus day 3.648: It feels like that, right? At least, it does for me.  Since this has all begun and we started teaching remotely, I have been re-reading all my academic books, trying to find various other approaches and/or methods for dealing with “emergency remote teaching” in a way that lessons will be meaningful, not only to students but also (and mostly) parents. As you well know by now, we are now teaching a second language to a larger scale. We are reaching families, which means we have to focus...

First of all, I’d like to send a warm hug to everyone who is reading this post. We have been living under stressful moments due to an emergency lockdown caused by the COVID-19. As you know, and based on your own needs, families require your full attention, exceptionally now. You are no longer “only” teaching a subject or a content, you are giving them as much of your attention as possible. In my opinion, this is what ‘emergency remote teaching’ is all about. Nurturing, not only our students but...

When did you decide to become a teacher? Did it start because life happened or did it start because you planned it? Did you take into consideration all the effort you would have to put into it? Or all the hours you would have to spend trying to make your lesson better for that particular student who claims he/she does not like the language?  As you know, I have recently changed the focus of my work. I taught English at a renowned Institution and I was an academic coordinator...

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...

If you work in a language Institution or in a (high) school as a teacher, a coordinator or if you are a school principal or owner, you are aware that cultural events are a substantial part of the breakdown.  Any school events or activities that entail cultural and social fronts are providing the students an opportunity to grow, learn, socialise, perfect existing skills, develop new skills and enhance formative development. It all sounds great, but what about the everyday processes?  Who is/are the ones involved in events like these? There...

“If you want to master something, teach it. A great way to learn is to teach.” Richard Feynman - theoretical physicist This was Edutopia’s 24th of June Facebook post which was shared as a “tip” on my Instagram stories on the same day! I wrote: This is my motto, and it is, it has been like that since I can remember. When I first started teaching, back in 2004, I remember I had a major problem with inversions. Yes, me, the now called ‘inversion lover’. When I started teaching advanced...

This post is going to be very personal. I believe that it will depict exactly what I have been feeling for the past few months - the lack of companionship and the empty competition there is in our field. Competition in a field or at a workplace might be profitable in the sense that it can motivate employees, make them put in some extra effort or go for the extra mile, achieve either personal or professional results faster and sometimes more enjoyably. It is an inescapable part of most...

This is, in fact, my first experience at an IATEFL event. I have been to BRAZ-TESOL and BRELT events, however, the IATEFL is quite different. You see names from all over the world, talking about their teaching experiences in Japan, in Nigeria, Uganda, etc and the verdict is all the same: we need to improve the teachers’ training so the students' experience gets better. You get to socialise, take pictures, post them on Instagram. You get to write about the event for blogs. There are so many things to...

Yes, I have just invented that word. Technology use in the classroom is debatable when it comes to usability and rationale of tasks. We (Active ELTers) have been discussing this topic for a long time now and one feature I believe is worth mentioning is that, if you use interactive boards, chromebooks, padlets, projectors, etc you are already using technology in your classroom. So, what’s new about that, you ask? I have been learning a lot from Alice Turibio, my partner at circular.club and as she is a...

Since we are at the beginning of a new term or school year, we like reading articles and posts that are going to be useful. As you know, gamification is the new in-thing, so I will provide 3 ways of using edutainment in your classroom. A paramount point to be taken into consideration, entertainment wise, is that, if it is misused (wrong or unclear purposes) it can trigger parents and/or supervisor’s complaints, or even worse, students might not see the point of the task or might even not learn anything...

This is a fairly broad topic with a myriad of issues, such as the observer and observee’s attitudes towards having his/her lessons assessed. There is also the matter of how many times a teacher should be observed in a term, and when (before/after tests, two weeks after the first lesson, etc), having in mind the assessment factor. Attitude The attitude changes according to the observation purposes: development, (quick) problem-solving, assessment, etc. When a teacher is being observed for developmental reasons, usually he or she tends to be more open...

Had you been asked to divide your life into sub-categories, how many (and what) would there have been? Exactly. This how a teacher’s mind is all the time. Especially when in a classroom, while teaching. During a lesson we are always concerned with our student’s mental processes  - if they are processing the information being given, if they are accepting it, if they are following the steps, if they are acquiring language or skills, if they are overwhelmed, if their affective filters are high or low, etc. At...

There is a fine line between being friends and treating colleagues with professionalism. Especially when points of view differ. The ELT world is full of active communities and groups who meet at conferences or even for a ‘night out’ in order to share ideas in a more relaxed way. And one of the things I love the most is that surely when we are together, we are stronger. To begin with, we make our living by sharing our knowledge with our students and sometimes, we even share pieces...

Most of us, ELT teachers, ascribe our lack of time to the number of lessons we teach in a week. I, oftentimes, find myself trying to design a lesson, study for an exam, read and take care of the house at the same time. Needless to say that this is, in the least, exhausting. Other times, we find ourselves fastened upon a vicious cycle, trying the same old recipes and getting nowhere. But, why don’t we think outside the ELT box? Juliana Mota, a teacher whom I have met...

As an EFL teacher, you must have already realised that the roles we play are as volatile as this ever-evolving world we live in. Let’s start by focusing on some of the changes our role has been through in the classroom: We are not the source of all wisdom and power anymore (if we have ever been), as students have their devices (smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks, etc) right there and then to investigate if what was said is the absolute truth. However, we are still a source of guidance. We...

This year’s international conference, that took place in Caxias do Sul, was, as expected, amazing. I was not sure I would be able to participate until the last minute, therefore I didn’t submit any papers, however, I had the chance of “relaxing” and enjoying the 'backstage'. These types of conferences will surely provide you with a holistic view of the EFL area, and I say that firstly because you will able to meet teachers from various backgrounds: Teachers who love using technology in their classroom (with a learning purpose, of...

Last month I had a rather uncomfortable experience when one of my blog lessons was shared with a group of teachers. The vexation occurred when I got to know that the lesson was being shared without the credits. The topic of the lesson was about the trucker’s strike that took place in May here in Brazil. Thus, let me describe how the preparation took place: First of all, I decided that it was of paramount importance that my young adult students (advanced / 15-18) were more aware of what had...

I am genuinely grateful for being a teacher and for working with the ELT area. I first had the idea of becoming a teacher when I was only nine years old. I used to play with a blackboard and chalk and I used to teach my younger brother and his friends how to read and write. Only when I reached the age of fifteen, did I realise I wanted to teach the English language, its components, its history, its culture, its literature, its beauty. One of the things I...

The writing process involves, at least, four different steps: analysing the task question, brainstorming, drafting, proofreading and finally handing it to the teacher so that the work can be checked. This process is also known as a ”recursive” process because when you are proofreading it is almost certain that you might have to return to the brainstorming step to develop and/or expand your ideas. That is actually the beauty of it: playing with words, picking and choosing what fits best, changing your mind, rewording, paraphrasing, maybe in more sophisticated...

Firstly, BRAZ-TESOL is the largest ELT association in Brazil and its “SIGs” attempt to encourage professional development and the exchange of ideas within a specialist area of English Language Teaching. Secondly, I would like to invite you all to the 7th BRAZ-TESOL Teacher Development Seminar which will take place in April (more information below). Marcela Cintra and Sérgio Pantoja, the plenary speakers, will be talking about "Teacher's Continuous Professional Development: a conundrum?" & "The importance of language awareness in teachers' continuing professional development” respectively. My session will be carried out at 3...

That is it, I am talking about those instructional devices that can be used in the classroom to encourage teaching and learning. Charts, slips of paper, film strips, series, videos, images, maps, etc. Learning is not a simple process. It is said to be the change in behaviour, disposition and even personality brought by knowledge over the time. It is even more complex when we focus on different types of people, therefore different learning styles, and it can be acquired from different teaching styles, methods and approaches and the use...

I have once read an article that stated that the word ‘motivation’ is linked to the word ‘emotion’ because both of them come from the Latin word ‘motere’ which means ‘to move towards emotion’. I distinctly remember this, because it has changed the way think about motivation. It is connected to emotion, as what drives a person (our students) are their interests. I have come across that question (title) so many times throughout the 14 years of experience I have undergone. Moreover, that has always brought other questions to...

How to win the customers It is widely known that “advertising is the core of a business”, and it could not be truer. Gladly, nowadays, the means one may use to advertise their own work are innumerable. To begin with, we have the good old word of mouth. Should you do a great job, people will talk about you and students or clients, in which case, will end up recommending your work. This type of advertising always works like a charm. I have known this to be the...

(Obs.:  I will be back only on the 4th of January) Tip number (3) -  multiple-choice part As you know, this is a longer text. (FCE and CPE - part 7 & CAE - part 8). In order not to get anxious and/or frustrated, you will read the first question and focus only on the first paragraph. Then, you move on to the second question and second paragraph and so on. Everything is in order. Again, you should underline the keywords in the questions and in all the options (answers)....

Are you sitting for Cambridge Exams in November? I believe I can help you by providing practical tips. First, I’ll share my personal experience with you. I have taken the FCE-CAE-CPE and since I passed, it’s safe to say I had the vocabulary demanded by those levels, I used to study every day (whenever possible), I have always read, or tried to read at least a book a month, still, I had no idea what I was doing. Thus, I have developed techniques in order to be able to look...

David Crystal once said that the biggest challenge for teachers is “without a doubt to keep pace with the language change”. And I could not agree more! Now, my question is. How to do it? How to keep pace with one of the most complex aspects of human behaviour? Taking into consideration that many countries, states, cities, towns, regions, areas, and tribes are alive and changing, developing, building language by the second, how are we supposed to keep track of it to then help our students? “Watch TV series online, you...

I have already written about ‘motivating adult students’ inside the classroom. However, I would like to go back to that. Before, I focused on more meaningful lessons and working on areas to which students would relate better due to their professional or study choices. Nevertheless, I would like to discuss further how to engage or motivate students behind the scenes. That is when students are not inside the classroom and/or participating in a lesson. In this post, I will be mentioning actions that can and should be taken "behind...

  Planning our first lesson can be daunting, but it gets better with time. Our anxiety is really high, because, as everybody knows, we want to be liked. What’s more, we always want to start off on the right foot.  So, how do you plan your first lesson? I start by drawing up a plan of what my objectives are in this first lesson (and a set of ten questions come up at this point) Setting the profile of the group: Do students know how the course works? How many lessons will...

One of the greatest barriers I have come to face, language wise, was the very often asked question: “Am I going to use this in my ‘real-life’?” or “How useful is this?” I have realised that students have been getting to advanced levels without using more sophisticated vocabulary/grammar structures. In order to change that view, I decided to try and show students how common they are and how they are used.  I have planned a lesson on ‘Inversions’ that can be seen on:  https://beatrizsolinoelt.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/inversions-recycling-language-60/ and I would like to share...

We all know how overwhelming a lesson (especially the first one) can be. We have all stepped into the students’ shoes, so why don’t we make their, and consequently our lives easier? In order to do so, I always follow some specific steps when planning a lesson, and I will share them with you. To start with, I need to know what the lesson’s objective(s) will be. Here, I use the cliché sentence: “By the end of this lesson students will be better able to …”. At this point, I...

I have been to a ‘one-day event Braz-Tesol SIG’ talk at Cultura Inglesa Butantã - SP, that entailed the very up-to-date and important topic – How professionalised is/should our area be? Not only did it inspire me but it also marked a very important “era” in my career development.  I remember very well that, after that talk, I had to stand up and share how motivated I was right there and then. Of course, the speaker was the brilliant and outstanding Vinicius Nobre. On that day, he mentioned...

I am sure every one of us teachers have, at least once in your lives, come across this question: “Teacher am I fluent? Because my boss said, I have to be fluent in order to get that promotion, or to participate in that conference, or to present that meeting, or to travel to the headquarters of the company I work for, etc.”. What do you answer, then? I often find myself trying to explain the difference between accuracy and fluency and however hard I try, my students oftentimes have...

I have recently prepared and given a session about feedback and it seems that there isn't a formula to follow. However, as Ken Blanchard said: “Feedback is the breakfast of champions”. In my opinion, it is extremely difficult to have actual learning without having feedback. Therefore, what is the aim of feedback? After doing a lot of research, I came up with an answer: it is to bring about self-awareness and improvement. (Gower, R. Phillips, D. & Walters, S. 2005). Thus, what techniques can be used? Do you think it depends...

Teaching pronunciation is often overlooked in our field and the main reason I find is that it can be a bit daunting, not only for teachers to master it (in order to teach it), but also for students to grasp it, especially students who are beginners. However, is it really, daunting? Alternatively, the question would be: does it have to be this way? I oftentimes find myself teaching the correct pronunciation of “basic” or “well-known” words to advanced students (who have been in contact with the language for at least...

One of the most difficult things I have been facing over the years is how hard it is to eager adult students to learn (and to stay at the Institution), especially, after the pre-intermediate level, when “the business start to get more serious”. At this level, they start to lack confidence in their ability to learn and use a new language. Aside from having busy lives and lots of other commitments, this year, Brazil is facing a major economic crisis that has put “luxury items”, such as studying another...