June 11 was a very sad day for everyone at Casa Thomas Jefferson. It was the day our dear friend and colleague Claudio Azevedo passed away. He had been working with us for almost 32 years. In fact, we started together back in 1986, at the same branch. We worked hard together but had a lot of fun as well, when the Friday evening groups were full and we taught until 10 p.m. Of course, we always went out afterwards to celebrate the beginning of the weekend.  We...

An unsuccessful lesson observation. A promotion you didn’t get. An opportunity you were not offered. I believe everyone I know has been through a tough professional moment at some point in their career. And I also believe I don’t know anyone who rejoices facing problems and always sees them as fantastic opportunities to grow and develop when they are going through those issues. Having said that, the attitude one takes regarding such situations is what will shape the professional they will become. Let’s discuss some of these situations,...

Vinicius Diamantino organized a much needed online panel* about how to deliver killer presentations at ELT and educational events. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to participate as planned, but what follows is what I had prepared: how to write effective abstracts and summaries that will get you accepted as a speaker in the first place. Do, though, watch the free webinar ( gMX55xT46244F6H ) with Claire Venables and Cecilia Lemos because they make the points much better! They also talk about the delivery of the presentation itself with invaluable tips...

I am genuinely grateful for being a teacher and for working with the ELT area. I first had the idea of becoming a teacher when I was only nine years old. I used to play with a blackboard and chalk and I used to teach my younger brother and his friends how to read and write. Only when I reached the age of fifteen, did I realise I wanted to teach the English language, its components, its history, its culture, its literature, its beauty. One of the things I...

It is said that a lie repeated a thousand times becomes the truth. Apparently, this concept was conceived by the Nazi master of propaganda Joseph Goebbels. Considering that Nazism was supported by so many, and for so long[1]- despite the horror of World War II - he was probably right. In ELT, saying that something is a lie is probably a bit excessive, but we do have our mantras and things that are repeated over and over again until they become unquestionable. That is, unless a subversive mind begins...

Writing is such a demanding and time-consuming task. Yes, it really is, so why bother? Due to the fact that English is likely to be your bread and butter, we can agree you must have an excellent command of the language, and that includes writing. Moreover, as a teacher, you should be able to help your students learn how to write and many of them may need to improve their writing skills so they can keep their job or get a promotion. Speaking of professional development, you may be interested...

Innovations in various fields and changes in society behaviour and interaction have been giving us teachers a plethora of opportunities to grow and maximise language learning. Research has also shown that the skills learners need to develop require action from the very beginning of our students' academic life. In this 'framework for 21st century learning' one of the core skills is collaboration. In some contexts we have already progressed quite a lot with learners, encouraging group work, pair work, peer correction, for instance. Perhaps assessment is still an issue...

Imagine you are feeling a little feverish. What do you do? Bloodletting, of course! You Google the nearest barbershop and get an Uber there so the barber can slash a vein and cure you by removing foul humours from your body. If you’re lucky, they may even use leeches! This may sound absurd to you, but the role of professions changes over time. The teaching profession wouldn’t be any different. Beginning on a very personal example, I’ve been deeply affected by recent changes in mindset and communication. The abilities...

I have a confession to make. But first, some background: as a gander around most teacher rooms or ELT conference audiences will quickly show us, language teaching is eminently a female profession. The British Council reports that 81% of English language teachers in the Brazilian public school system are women, and the Brazilian Ministry of Education (MEC) registers 82% of female teachers in regular education in general (including other subject-matters). Yet that proportion is not felt to be as large when it comes to higher ranks in our career, or...

I hope this post is an introduction to future projects and discussions that have been on my mind lately. The topic of career choices has raised lots of questions lately, not only during BrELT chats, where some people were in doubt as to which path to follow - e.g. the Cambridge courses or an MA -, but also a recent talk to a great friend of mine who asked me what he should do next in his professional life. I cannot tell anyone to do what I do, I...