Hi Everyone! Let’s start talking about errors. Teachers usually see students’ errors as negative - as something to do away with. Not seeing them as a hint to the way learners make sense of the foreign language limits the teachers’ possibility of helping students and their own opportunity to learn from errors to overcome them. Students learning a foreign language go through five stages. First, they struggle to say what they mean. They put their ideas into sentences that almost always contain mistakes because they have their first language as their...

Hi Everyone! Teachers are on holidays, which they most deserve! Yet, more likely than not teachers will take some time of their vacation time to prepare something different for their students. With that in my mind, in this post I’d like to share with teachers some of the sites I have found on the Internet as I searched for sites with podcasts for my own students. In these sites, teachers will find good quality podcasts on different topics and levels that can be used either as listening activities or as a...

Hi Everyone! In this first posting of 2016, I want address group work. Ellis (2005) refers to Jacobs (1998), who compares the characteristics of group work with those of teacher-centered instruction.   Ten potential advantages of group activities in language instruction Advantages   Comment 1. The quantity of learner speech can increase In teacher-fronted classrooms, teachers typically speak 80% of the time; in group work more students talk for more of the time. 2. The variety of speech acts can increase In teacher-fronted classrooms, students are cast in a responsive role, but in group work they perform different...

Hi everyone! This month I’ll share the highlights from SiLL – the First International Conference on the Self in Language Learning, in Adana, Turkey last September (17th -19th, 2015). Raquel Bambirra (CEFET-MG) and Climene Arruda (FUMEC) joined me in presenting a panel on experiential research as a way to elicit self-related data. The Organizing Committee invited psychology of language learning researchers  as plenary speakers – Hayo Reinders, (Unitec, New Zealand), Jean-Marc Dewaele (University of London, U.K.); Peter MacIntyre (Cape Breton University, Canada) and Sarah Mercer (University of Graz, Austria). Below is...

Hi everyone!  Last month I discussed multilevel classrooms. This month I share some ideas to I have done in class.  Jigsaw Reading A very interesting and challenging way for students to deal with a reading passage! Preparation: Choose a reading passage. Pre-teach vocabulary and grammar. Cut the reading into 3-4 or more parts, depending on size. Make copies if you have more students than parts of text. In-Class: Distribute the parts of text among students. Each student reads their part silently to themselves. High-level students should receive the more challenging parts. Mid-level students should...

Hi! As a teaching consultant in public and private schools, I often hear teachers complain about problems in multi-level classrooms. With 30-40 students in class, they dream of smaller and leveled classes – something difficult to implement given the spacing logistics of breaking a group in three and having three teachers instead of just one for a class hour… I remind them that math, geography, art and history teachers deal with the same problem. Yet, I’m not very convincing - these other teachers do not face the foreign language barrier…. This brings...

Hi! This month I want to finish sharing with you the remaining three teaching techniques I recently got to know as I searched the Internet for innovation. The idea is to create affordances in class so that students feel compelled to learn. Below I briefly refer to remaining three teaching techniques. The previous three were the topic of last month’s post. 4. Gamification: ‘Gamification’ is another way of saying learning through play - a class procedure effective at any age since it keeps students motivated. The use of games is usually considered appropriate...

Hi! This month I want to share with you three teaching techniques I recently got to know as I searched the Internet for innovation. I wanted to provide more to my students. Although traditional teaching, with me in the lead role and students taking notes, is still important, I wanted to create affordances in class so that my students felt compelled to awaken their wish to learn. Below I briefly refer to three of the six teaching techniques I learned about. The other three will be the topic of next month’s post.   1. Flipped...

Hi Everyone! Have you ever wondered what you’d find out if you investigated your own classroom? Many English teachers may have never considered conducting research given the complexity of classroom events and the lack of accessible information on how to it. After all, research methods and results are usually only accessible to academics in university graduate courses or libraries. Knowing that access to research results not always reach teachers - the ones, in my opinion, most in need of understanding classroom phenomena, I invited former Master and Doctoral students, who had...

Hi Everyone! Have you had an English teacher who inspired you or your learning? This is the question that Gabriela Cunha and I are posing to Brazilian students of English in public and private schools. The question, originally from the research by Martin Lamb and Martin Wedell (2015)[1] from the University of Leeds, is now to be answered by Brazilian students. I explain. Lamb and Wedell conducted a comparative research study on Indonesian and Chinese students’ perceptions about their English teachers to identify the inspiring aspects that had pushed them to...

Hi Everyone!   As expected, the 1o Fórum de Profissionalização Docente, at Universidade Estadual de Londrina was intense (see last month’s post).   Five round tables gathered Brazilian teachers and researchers to discuss: (1) “History: Language teaching, formal education, labouring conditions and representation”, (2) “Public Educational Policies: perspectives in different levels and contexts”, (3) “Education for Research: Tradition and (Des)continuities”, (4) “Linguistic Proficiency and teachers’ professionalization” and (5) Ethics: Principles for Research and Teaching”. Participants signed the Carta de Londrina, which I transcribe below, given its importance to Brazilian foreign language teachers.   CARTA...

Hi Everyone!   Spring begins in September – nature’s renovation season – perfect to start projects and put new ideas forth.   I expect to stir debate in the 1o Fórum de Profissionalização Docente, at Universidade Estadual de Londrina (Sept. 29th-30th), after presenting an innovative approach to teacher development.   Formação continuada refers to formal education, resulting in certificate, master or doctoral degrees. Educação continuada is directed to public school teachers. PUC-SP offers Programa de Formação Continuada para Professores de Inglês (Celani e Collins, 2009[1]); UFMG is responsible for EDUCONLE (Dutra e Mello, 2013[2])...

Hi everyone! This month I address a difficult topic – shame. Shame is a tabooed emotion. Yet, teachers and students commonly mention shame and shameful experiences. For teachers, the question is: do you contribute to the transmission of shame? Can we experience healthier teacher-student interaction: one marked by dignity rather than shame? Shame is painful and expressed in body language, as blushing, sweating or the lowering of the eyes or face. “A feeling of shrinking such as one could ‘sink through the shame’, a desperate desire to hide oneself” (Fuchs,...

Hello everyone! This month, I’d like to share some of the results of a dissertation that investigated, through classroom observation and interviews, the oral narratives of four public and private-school teachers. Carolina Lima[1] wanted an answer to this difficult question: what underlies the decisions teachers’ make? In academia, making decisions or choosing a course of action is expressed with a fancy word – agency. In Applied Linguistics, its most recurrent definition is the socio-culturally mediated capacity to act, which means that our actions are modulated by the socio cultural environment...

Hi everyone! Going to conferences is tiring but also refreshing. Tiring because submitting papers, filling out forms to leave the country and all the money to be invested can make you give up before you decide to go. But, when you face the paperwork and get there, it’s actually invigorating. Conferences provide the opportunity to meet old friends, make new ones, share what we’re doing, get to know what the big people are thinking and have an idea of the direction the field is taking. But my favorite pursuit...

Hi everyone! I was wondering about what I would share with you this month and, as I was rereading an old article, it came to me: group work. Some teachers, used to teacher-fronted classes, resist promoting group work afraid of losing control and of students learning something “wrong”. If you are one of them, remember that learning is not an overnight phenomenon. On the contrary, it is developmental and it takes long. The fact is that group work has been extensively investigated[1] and its advantages greatly outnumber the eventual exposure...

Hi everyone! Today the focus is on a difficult experience for students – participating in role plays. Research[1]  shows that role-play experiences reveal an array of interpretations that may disclose important information for teachers. The data comes a question that asked how the task of preparing, performing and watching role-plays of classmates becomes a learning experience. Ana Esther: We were working on our role-play while classmates presented. So as I wanted to go up front, I didn’t pay much attention to my classmates’ presentations. Cristina: The first thing I observe is...

Hi everyone! Today I address a common teachers’ concern – indiscipline. Research[1] shows that students’ indifference is related to unchallenging teaching practices, to which students negatively react, starting conflicts, such as indiscipline. As a consequence, indiscipline impairs the development of the group because teachers decide refrain from implementing communicative activities not to lose control of the discipline. The experiences below represent the worst conflicts three experienced teachers   (professionals for more than 10 years) had to deal with in public, private schools and language institutes. Luiza: It happened when I was pregnant...

Hi everyone! Have you ever wondered about classroom experiences? About how can they bring an expanded understanding of the teaching and learning process? Starting today, I`ll be contributing with posts on classroom language learning experiences because they can provide a lot of information about what goes on between teachers and students as well as a holistic perspective of the process of teaching, learning and evaluating – the three most common reasons for bringing people to a language class. Every month, I’ll post excerpts of students’ or teachers’ narratives. Selections will...