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...

One may often hear how expensive it can be to invest time and money in learning a foreign language. However, it is widely known that an institution is usually judged by its teachers and how qualified they are in the teaching community. Consequently, a LOS (Lesson Observation Scheme) is instrumental in providing the academic department with important evidence on a teacher’s performance in class. Further down is an outline of what we usually use at Cultura Inglesa São João del Rei.   Why Lesson Observation Amongst various reasons, one advantage of...

I'm a teacher and a mentor,  which means I'm in charge of in-service training at  branch level at a large language institute with around seventy branches spread in my hometown and other capitals in Brazil. In practical terms, I welcome new teachers and conduct ongoing training with our teaching staff when I'm not busy teaching and grading students' work. Fitting all of these duties into our busy teaching schedule is not easy, so mentoring calls for a lot of creativity. My colleagues also teach at other schools and...

February is a great opportunity for us to finally get down to implementing our New Year resolutions, isn’t it? It is only natural that we take this time to revisit our professional life and make important decisions to develop professionally and avoid the tantalising stagnation of our comfort zone. Yet, many teachers I talk to tell me they don’t know exactly how to start. I find Donald Freeman’s KASA framework very useful, since we don’t necessarily depend on our employers (if we have them) to set our own targets...

Myths and stereotypes are inherent to a number of professions: the ignorant model, the cunning lawyer, the rude military officer, the sexy nurse, just to name a few. Intertwined with prejudice and/or limited, erroneous views, these myths and stereotypes very often cause discomfort and raise discussion. Teaching is no exception to that. Which stereotypes are usually associated with teachers? Very recently, a statement by the current Minister of Education has come back to the centre of debate. In 2011, during a strike in which teachers demanded a raise, and...

The performance of Brazilian students in national and international assessment tests has been consistently low, which has led researchers to look into the reasons for the inefficiency of our educational system. A study conducted by Fundação Carlos Chagas has found that the programs offered by most universities in the area of teacher education do not prepare teachers-to-be to face the routine of a real classroom. The emphasis of these programs has been on the sociological, political, structural and historical aspects of education, with very little space for the...

We all deserve rest, relaxation and some time off. Educators are working during class time, before and always in late hours, correcting, planning, preparing, researching. So, yes, school recess is certainly a time of a certain relief and a bit of goofing off. However, after reenergizing a bit, meeting friends and family, taking care of our more mundane daily lives, celebrating the end of the year, you might feel ready and eager to learn something new, to connect, network with other like-minded professionals. Numerous free professional development opportunities...

It is that time of the year again. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been the type of guy who devotes quite a lot of time to planning his new year’s resolutions and, at the end of the year – now! – has no idea what they were or whether he’s achieved them. I’m not at all proud of that, but there you have it. Life gets in the way, you know. Too many classes, too many students, too many projects. You start writing a book (again!), you...

I was wondering what to write about for this blog when that uncomfortable situation happened to me today. I felt completely demotivated, discouraged and willing not to be an educator at all.  (I could have been a doctor, like my dad or a party planner, as a very close friend always suggests me, or a travel planner. Perhaps I’d make more money and would have much fun.  But I decided to be a teacher, to be an educator, a giver).  For many reasons I decided not to share...