Hi Everyone! Have you had an English teacher who inspired you or your learning? This is the question that Gabriela Cunha and I are posing to Brazilian students of English in public and private schools. The question, originally from the research by Martin Lamb and Martin Wedell (2015)[1] from the University of Leeds, is now to be answered by Brazilian students. I explain. Lamb and Wedell conducted a comparative research study on Indonesian and Chinese students’ perceptions about their English teachers to identify the inspiring aspects that had pushed them to...

Generally defined as the unnecessary use of a large number of words to express an idea - when fewer, more direct ones would do - circumlocution seems to bear a somewhat negative connotation. It is often frowned upon by literary critics who tend to attach greater value to a more pragmatic approach to writing. In the ELT world, however, this Latin-derived word, which means literally "around a speaking", holds a more privileged position: It is defined as a strategy learners make use of when they need words they...

My Portuguese grandfather was a globetrotter and, when he died, we inherited dozens of postcards from every city he had visited. I was the only one in the family who took some interest in the postcards and the beautiful places that I never thought I would have a chance to go to. However, I decided to turn those travels into my own experiences and I started writing on them to my imaginary English speaking readers. I reminisce about these things every time I come across old pictures and...

Working in recruiting and teacher training, I came to notice that Knowledge and Skills (which we dealt with last month) may get your CV noticed, but what determines your success in your career in the end, are the two As in Donald Freeman’s KASA framework: Attitude and Awareness. A long time ago, during one of those fiery staff meetings before lesson started, the other teachers and I were trying to standardise how we would deal with a recurrent situation when someone suggested we simply used common sense. I promptly...

The idea of writing this article first occurred to me after I read "Do instructions have to be that dull?", a great article by Rubens Heredia. The common ground between the lesson I describe below and his post might be that both deal with observing teachers teach. I believe we all agree that being either an observer or an observee is simply no easy task, especially when the lesson does not run as smoothly as one would have liked it to. By the way, this is just not...

February has come and we are all back to school again. So let’s talk about homework? For some years I have observed that a certain number of teachers have had difficulties setting and correcting homework for several reasons, from time management to lack of interest on the part of the SS. I have then started to think about the theme "homework" and made myself the following questions: What is the quality of the homework that is being assigned? Is the homework valuable and meaningful to students? Does the homework...

I was about to start this post, and had a totally different idea in mind. But then I couldn't miss sharing with you such interesting, simple and effective idea for the classroom with all resources already there, a click away. I've just come across this post "Interactive Learning Menus (Choice Boards) Using Google Docs" , which gives a practical idea of how to prepare a learning menu based on a Tic-Tac-Toe using Google Docs. The idea behind it, giving choice, control and autonomy to the learner is such a simple...

  This month's post is about different ways of learning, or learning styles, as some authors put it. It's also about why I believe they exist even when we totally ignore their existence. It is a controversial issue for many teachers, who have mixed feelings about it. Do Learning Styles really exist?  Are they just a myth? Most authors would agree that there is very little evidence of their existence, but when it comes to teaching, authors firmly believe that there's no 'right' or 'wrong' and that there are...

Instructions are an important part of every teacher’s life. They can either make or break our lessons, getting students in the best mood imaginable or sending them into a downward spiral of discontentment (has anyone ever heard students react with sighs of “reading again?”). How can we guarantee that the second doesn’t happen?  Imagine a teacher who has an elementary group of adults and wants to help his learners develop listening skills. Now look at the instructions that our imaginary and well-intentioned teacher delivered in one lesson to that...

Teaching adult beginner groups can be quite challenging, as most teachers (if not all)  who have such groups know. Each age group we teach has its specific challenges, and in my experience, when it comes to adult beginners the main challenges are time (they usually have little time to dedicate to English studying other than the time they spend in the classroom, since they have many other responsibilities and priorities. Many times they have trouble even coming to classes) and fear. Fear of making mistakes and making a...