When I started teaching a long time ago, I didn’t have a mentor. I had colleagues and students, and occasionally I would seek help from a more experienced teacher. It was usually a question about the material or language that I couldn’t answer myself. Other than that, I relied pretty much on teachers’ guides even though I occasionally changed a thing here and there. When I started my present teaching job at a large language institute in Rio, I had a mentor, but I didn’t know she was my...

Robin MacClure starts her article “Unnecessary Parents” by saying that “the ultimate job of parents is to raise kids in a way so that they are not needed. In other words, parents should work themselves out of a job.” Well, I think that also applies to teachers, and especially to language teachers. Our goal should be to do our jobs so that, at some point, we are not needed. The point where, even before reaching full proficiency, students are able to learn on their own. In other words,...

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="407"] Image via https://bit.ly/1xhLt5n[/caption] I stopped teaching English classes in 2009. I’d been teaching English for over 18 years and most of my students were elementary school kids (public and private). In that same year I started working online for an American company called Transparent Language, based in Nashua (New Hampshire). At first I wrote for their English, Spanish and Portuguese blogs (which I still do) – then an opportunity to teach online came up. I thought, “Well, it can’t be that bad. It’s fewer students, I...

Being a bit of a YouTube buff, myself, I’ve always been really keen on using videos with my students. So much interaction and such great ideas can come from just a couple of minutes (or even seconds) of audio-visual input! We often use movie snippets or interviews in order to bring the outside world into the classroom, but my favourite videos are the ones that became popular and accessible via video-sharing websites - those usually created by Internet users rather than the conventional media. These are the genres I particularly...

For the past year I've been interested and have intensely studied, researched and explored the Maker Movement. First, just out of curiosity as I was being fed through my Twitter stream (remember I mentioned in other posts how Twitter is still my number one source of inspiration and daily doses of professional development?). The feeling that the Maker movement just made total sense to any classroom got even stronger after attending Giselle Santos's presentation on the topic at the BRAZTESOL International Conference in João Pessoa. Fate or destiny, the...

More than words (or at least more than a language!)   I like to think I am more than a language teacher. Those who know me also know that I don’t say this because I think being a language teacher is a lesser job. Quite the contrary, to tell you the truth. I am very proud of it. But when I think about what I do with my students I can see so much more than (just) a language being developed in the classroom. See, more than a teacher I dare...

I was recently asked about the most innovative educational resource I have found online. After giving it some thought, I could only think of one website, GOOGLE DRIVE. More and more, Google Drive has become part of my daily life; when I organize my thoughts, when I write alone or collaboratively, when I create activities for students, when I correct writings turned in by students, when I save documents and so forth. And again, I ask myself, how can a website change so many procedures in some people's lives and...

As a teenager, I read anything I could lay my hands on; that included all sorts of literature: good and bad. It didn't matter as long as it was an interesting story ( from a young girl's perspective, I might say). As a young English language learner, I was lucky to study at an English language school with a  library and I remember browsing through all those graded readers while I waited for  class. However, there was a difference between me, the avid reader and me, the English learner:...

Last month, we looked at personalisation, guided discovery and raising awareness of sub-skills and strategies as ways to promote learner engagement (click here to check it out). Today, I’d like to share some more ideas on this topic, which I consider one of the most important, albeit challenging, in both lesson preparation and delivery. Reacting to content as well as language As teachers, we are so concerned with the learners’ linguistic development that we may easily fall into the trap of devoting exclusive attention to the words students use rather...

We all know how much students like sending instant messages and using Facebook and Whatsapp to interact with friends. So, why not use free social networking websites to practise language items? The idea sounds great but protecting our students' privacy is a priority at school. And that's absolutely right! Our aim was to have our 7th graders at Colégio A. Liessin Botafogo practise the use of linking words and the Present Perfect tense + vocabulary, such as physical appearance and expressions used when shopping for clothes, in a lively and fun...