Preparing for the 15th BTIC? Getting ready to make the most of it with Isabela Villas Boas's tips on presentations and the programme and Elaine Hodgson's ideas on networking? Conferences are usually a great opportunity to reassure us all, ELT professionals, that we are a strong professional team, seeking for development, growth and better quality in our teaching. It is a wonderful learning experience, with lots being shared and discussed. For me, it is a moment for a healthy productive discussion about our perspectives and the future of ELT....

In ELT we often say we joined the field to help others and we take pride in seeing our students achieve higher, being successful using English. Some of us stay true to this 'dream profession' full of challenge and growth for both learners and teachers. Others give up, others just do it for fun. It is, of course, desirable that we all cherish what we do and have pleasure while doing it. However, learning comes first. If we are having fun with the better half of the group...

Earlier this month I attended the 50th IATEFL conference in Birmingham and among many of the discussions and sessions there was a moment when Jim Scrivener suggested teachers used more of their intuition. He was defending a moment for simplifying teacher training and, although I agree with certain points (e.g. training is a starting point, perhaps we should cover fewer areas), I believe it is high time we discussed and developed professionalism from initial steps into teaching. I was particularly worried that a novice teacher encouraged to rely on...

I believe that settling for less than extraordinary is not for English language teachers. We will definitely have ordinary days and teach lessons that are not necessarily extraordinary; this is necessary for us to notice the special moments in our careers. However, by embracing teaching as a profession, questioning what we do routinely or even automatically and choosing to improve, challenge our practices and/ or constantly seek for development, we will be focusing on excellence. The groups we teach are diverse, resources available are varied and in constant...

Last month we looked at getting to know who your students are and the main purpose of having information about them is to focus on their needs when planning lessons, to adjust their expectations to the course goals. If you work in schools or language institutes, courses you teach usually have a core syllabus that all teachers must respect to guarantee overall course outcomes and institutional quality and standards. That does not necessarily mean all lessons will be the same and all teachers will do exactly the same in the classroom....

New term and new groups bring teachers the challenge and the opportunity to build new connections and experiment with their teaching repertoire in different contexts. Also, new students tend to bring different needs, a plethora of expectations and demand a variety of skills from the teachers. That means the classroom is our greatest lab for professional growth. In order to make the most of it, one of the things we need to do is to learn who the students are to plan what we will need/ want to develop during the term. Here are some...

It is the end of the year and what better date to make resolutions and plan the next year? So here are some brief ideas for a brilliant 2016 in ELT: 1. Actively engage in ELT associations. Think about how you can contribute best in productive discussions, taking part in special interest groups. The best thing is being able to make teaching a more and more respected profession by working along with fellow teachers. 2. Develop a new skill in your career. Depending on the stage of your professional development,...

I’m very fond of anecdotes, so here’s one of my favourite teaching moments: fifteen years ago, a young student told me that there were men, women, children and teachers in the world, setting us apart from the other members of society. Little did I know then what she meant. We are all humans, but if we are to make a difference and provoke changes in society, we need to understand we are more accountable for the impact of our words and attitudes than we give us credit for. In...

I have recently met a teacher going through a crisis in her professional path because colleagues and supervisors had been telling her that she was too good not to want to be more than a teacher – she questioned her ‘lack of ambition'. I am not sure what the rationale behind comments might have been, but I would say we need more of those great teachers with the courage to persevere and remain ‘just a teacher’.  I believe this is one of the greatest challenges facing teachers nowadays...