"If you know you are going to fail, then fail gloriously!" Cate Blanchett   1 It was a group of six prospective students from a well-known multinational company in São Paulo. It was back in the day when VCRs were cutting-edge technology, so we had a brand new one at our school. We’d specially bought it to play movies and the videos that accompanied our business English materials. It was a Saturday morning class and I’d arrived one hour early to set up the materials and the VCR, and also to make...

A lot is said in the literature about students’ motivation and how important a role it plays in a healthy and effective classroom environment. With the beginning of the academic year in Brazil, I’d like to take this opportunity to look at how we can keep our own motivation levels high throughout the year. After all, motivated teachers are better teachers, right? Rather than going on and on about theories of motivation, I’ll try to stick to practical ideas that come not only from my own personal experience -...

The year has barely started and it’s been quite a busy one here: planning and delivering training sessions, submitting proposals to conferences and writing posts and articles, all with the main aim of focusing on CPD – Continuing Professional Development. The pursuit for professional development in teaching should not stop when obtaining the CPE or a teaching qualification such as the CELTA. CPD, as the name itself suggests, aims at ongoing development, at helping professionals become better day after day. Learning more about the English language is crucial for teachers...

As I'm writing this post I'm thinking about my English skills as a non-native speaker. I'm aware of the fact that my English is far from being perfect and I can't expect it to be flawless. Nonetheless, I consider myself a successful English learner-teacher as far as language is concerned for one simple reason: I see myself as a language scavenger. What does it take to be a scavenger? When people speak to me and when I'm exposed to language items, I collect whatever I think is useful or...

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,...

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...

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...

It's something I've heard from other teachers.  It's something a lot of my non-teaching friends seem to believe.  It's something I've even said myself as I am trying to convince myself I am in the right profession: Teaching English is recession proof.  In the good times people need English and have the money to spend on teachers.  In the bad times, people are desperate for English to get or keep a job, so even if they don't have the money, they'll find it. As the hard times seem to be...

Is teaching a lonely profession? Teaching, in all its forms, is an activity that requires social interaction, and this chance to interact with people while playing a role in their development is probably among the most common reasons that draw people to our profession. Nonetheless, many teachers with whom I talk to share the impression that they are all alone, making decisions and designing lessons, which makes teaching a (paradoxically) lonely profession. Does it have to be that way? Last month, I had the amazing opportunity of attending two events...