Following up on last month’s post, I’d like to dedicate this month’s installment to discussing the following question: What does it mean to know a language? Or, more to the point, what does it mean for a teacher of English to know the language? Without getting very technical and/or long-winded, it is my opinion that a teacher of English as a foreign or second language must be able to get their messages across –speaking or writing– with no (or very little) difficulty, being able to employ the most effective words,...

I found it interesting that Vinicius Nobre in his last post wrote about how  social media and professional image are being watched when considering a person for  a job.  Actually, as professionals, ALL of us are being watched ALL the time, no matter where we stand. As a CELTA tutor I find that besides preparing teachers in terms of knowledge, and helping them perfect their teaching skills, I am also responsible for giving them feedback on inappropriate behavior, and helping them see what they need to achieve to become...

Last week we followed a discussion about the university professor who posted a photograph on Facebook of a passenger at Rio de Janeiro airport with extremely prejudiced and harmful comments regarding his social class. The nature of the event was already particularly offensive but caused even greater discomfort because the authors work in education. Fortunately the reactions against the professor and her friends were so intense and immediate that a formal apology was published the following day. However, as the Academic Manager of a large institution, I believe...

The growing need for global communication brings the field of TEFL to a much higher level of professionalism. However, several other individuals are actively involved in the EFL teaching field, but they cannot be considered actual professionals. Ur (2002) defines a professional as a worker whose expertise involves not only skill and knowledge but also exercise of highly sophisticated judgment and whose accreditation necessitates extensive study, often university-based, as well as practical experience. According to this definition, one must perform a threefold task in order to be considered a...

“Learn English 50% faster with native teachers.” That TV ad got me thinking if that was still really appealing to learners in Brazil. In other words, do people actually believe in that? A quick search on Google helped clarify things for me. There are several ads like that. Not only do they claim students will  “Learn faster” (there was even an ad which said “Learn 4 times faster”!), but they suggest it has been “proven” that it is only possible to learn “real” English with a native teacher!...

The other day I was at a friend’s birthday and my friend mentioned she had seen my photos in Liverpool and asked me what I had thought of the city. I said I hadn’t seen much of the city, because I had gone there for a conference (last year’s IATEFL Annual Conference) and it didn’t leave me much time for sightseeing. One of her friends, a new acquaintance to me, became interested and started talking to me. She: “A conference? What do you do?” Me: “I’m an English teacher.” She: “What...

First of all, it’s an honor to be blogging here on RichmondShare along with some of the brightest stars in the Brazilian ELT market, and also a little scary! Thanks Richmond for the invitation and thank you all for reading! Now to the topic at hand: language development for teachers. Scott Thornbury (1997) wrote – and I love quoting him – that among the consequences of (…) a limited knowledge of language are: a failure on the part of the teacher to anticipate learners’ learning problems and a consequent inability...

At the beginning of a New Year we usually make resolutions for different areas of our lives. As with other New Year’s resolutions, such as giving up smoking or doing more exercise, we teachers also think of  improving our language or teaching skills. These will definitely require a certain amount of self-discipline and in some cases, money. However, here are some ideas to consider that will empower you at little or no cost, and make you and your classes more interesting: A)   Students appreciate a well informed teacher, one who...

I was very happy to have been asked to write for the RichmondShare space and thought about getting started by discussing a statement some people make regarding our profession. Are teachers born ready or made? Some people claim that teachers are born ready, that this profession is guided solely by passion which I tend to agree just up to a point. Scrivener (2005:15) states that being it conscious or not, most of our attitude as teachers relies on the experience we had as students seeing our teachers back then, but choosing...

The beginning of a new year usually gets us thinking about the plans that we want to make, improvements that we wish to promote and changes that we would like to witness in our personal lives. It is therefore the perfect opportunity to devise actions to ensure growth in the professional realm too. In this first post of mine, I would like to invite you to reflect upon your New Year’s resolutions with a special focus on professional development. As English teachers, we need to constantly look for ways...