Half of the year has gone but we still have some time for new ideas and projects till December comes. This month I´ll share with you a project developed with our 8th graders this year. One of the units in the coursebook we use deals with different kinds of schools and vocabulary related to learning and classroom language. Students, in general, find it interesting to contrast their own school and Brazilian school system to home schooling or boarding schools students in some other countries experience. Based on the topic of learning...

I must have mentioned before on this blog that I teach adolescents in their last year of High School. Needless to say, this is a period of great anxiety as most of them intend to go to university and now have to choose a career. It is the time when most of them realise that their days of “automatic pilot” - in which they simply progress from one grade to another - are over and that making a decision based on the question What do I want to...

#3: C is for Coursebooks Sadly, there are coursebooks whose job seems to be to perpetuate or reinforce stereotypes, like the one below. Happily, that’s not the case in mainstream publishing. Instead we have generic pap - UHT coursebooks aimed at everyone and landing nowhere. [caption id="attachment_1186" align="alignleft" width="314"] https://hongwrong.com/hong-kong-textbook/ via Ken Wilson on Facebook[/caption] ELT publisher seem to be a bit like political parties - all fighting for the same centre ground, coming up with policies (or products, in this case) which are designed to be inoffensive and look good....

Hi everyone! I was wondering about what I would share with you this month and, as I was rereading an old article, it came to me: group work. Some teachers, used to teacher-fronted classes, resist promoting group work afraid of losing control and of students learning something “wrong”. If you are one of them, remember that learning is not an overnight phenomenon. On the contrary, it is developmental and it takes long. The fact is that group work has been extensively investigated[1] and its advantages greatly outnumber the eventual exposure...

When telling a story, common practice usually entails reading from the book and showing your audience the picture. This makes sense in that the picture informs the listener what, and who the story is about. Another visual supplement may be flash cards and/or story cards. Today, more than ever, we record what we've experienced by applying an image by easy accessibility to picture taking and picture sharing via social media. Its very easy to take many pictures. Its super easy to post pictures. The shared picture becomes an image...

Hi everyone! Today the focus is on a difficult experience for students – participating in role plays. Research[1]  shows that role-play experiences reveal an array of interpretations that may disclose important information for teachers. The data comes a question that asked how the task of preparing, performing and watching role-plays of classmates becomes a learning experience. Ana Esther: We were working on our role-play while classmates presented. So as I wanted to go up front, I didn’t pay much attention to my classmates’ presentations. Cristina: The first thing I observe is...

Hi everyone! Today I address a common teachers’ concern – indiscipline. Research[1] shows that students’ indifference is related to unchallenging teaching practices, to which students negatively react, starting conflicts, such as indiscipline. As a consequence, indiscipline impairs the development of the group because teachers decide refrain from implementing communicative activities not to lose control of the discipline. The experiences below represent the worst conflicts three experienced teachers   (professionals for more than 10 years) had to deal with in public, private schools and language institutes. Luiza: It happened when I was pregnant...

As English teachers, we never know when and how we impact people and generally we think this is limited to the classroom, but this is not always the case. There is this teacher who unknowingly encouraged me to reflect on a picture that I had posted to the Eltpics Facebook page.  For those of you who don’t know it, Eltpics is a collaborative project where ELT professionals share their own copyright free photos and images for non-commercial use in ELT contexts.   So, I would like to dedicate this...

The other day I was struggling to chose a topic to discuss about with the teachers in my school. It was somehow funny as things happened - two of the teachers came, on the very same day, asking about ideas and rationale for using music in class. Well, this extract is not exactly on how to work with songs and have students to fill in the gaps with missing words, or organising lines, etc… It is actually in the sense of Brain Gym® and how to have the help...

Hi everyone! Have you ever wondered about classroom experiences? About how can they bring an expanded understanding of the teaching and learning process? Starting today, I`ll be contributing with posts on classroom language learning experiences because they can provide a lot of information about what goes on between teachers and students as well as a holistic perspective of the process of teaching, learning and evaluating – the three most common reasons for bringing people to a language class. Every month, I’ll post excerpts of students’ or teachers’ narratives. Selections will...