Picture the scene: There I was, a shy 13-year-old boy, dressed in an itchy, ill-fitting school uniform in the middle of a German language class. Our teacher, Mrs. Dawson, a strict woman who ruled the classroom with an iron fist, is going round the class calling out people to read chunks of a text out loud, in German. Nothing could be more embarrassing for a nervous teenager in the throes of adolescence than having to read out a short passage (badly) in another language to a room full...

This post is a short account of two lessons I taught in 2002 which helped me to make sense of something I’d read about in the late 90s, but couldn’t get my head around. Not until then anyway. If you’ve been following me for some time, you know that I’m a big believer in experiential learning (i.e., moving from concrete experience to abstract conceptualization rather than the other way around), so let me begin by describing the lessons first. That way you'll be better able to grasp the theory...

Hello everyone! This month, I’d like to share some of the results of a dissertation that investigated, through classroom observation and interviews, the oral narratives of four public and private-school teachers. Carolina Lima[1] wanted an answer to this difficult question: what underlies the decisions teachers’ make? In academia, making decisions or choosing a course of action is expressed with a fancy word – agency. In Applied Linguistics, its most recurrent definition is the socio-culturally mediated capacity to act, which means that our actions are modulated by the socio cultural environment...

O que você pensa sobre o uso da língua portuguesa nas aulas de inglês? Você é daqueles ou daquelas que o simples fato de soltar uma palavra em português durante a aula é algo abominável? Neste artigo apresento os argumentos a favor do uso prudente do uso da língua materna no ensino de inglês dentro de nosso país, onde nossos alunos falam português. Para começar, você sabia que esse mito de que a língua materna (LM) mais atrapalha do que ajuda vem das teorias e princípios dos métodos oriundos...

Something needs to happen to someone to make a story. How we tell that event is what makes or breaks the story. I love stories that begin " I remember ". That catch phrase for me, transports me to wherever the story teller is willing to take me. " I remember" validates a happenstance. " I remember" tells me it's true, or it was true, or it could somehow still be true. " I remember" could answer why questions, how questions, who questions, when questions...

At first I had set out to write about my professional journey as a NNEST in the 1980s, so I thought it would be nice to reflect on some of the first course books I used in my first years as a teacher. That was when I decided to ask for some help from the IATEFL members on our Facebook page but the replies I got took me even further into the past, and that made me want to start my story from the very beginning: my life...

Hello again! It's good to be back after a short absence - a lot has happened since I last posted and I'll be writing about one those things here. I had the great fortune in June to be at a fabulous conference in lovely Cancun, Mexico. While I was there I was talking about the use of previous knowledge and meaningful learning, and focused in on all the previous knowledge that learners have in English of songs and particularly certain lines of songs. Like a dream come true, the night...

Hi everyone! Going to conferences is tiring but also refreshing. Tiring because submitting papers, filling out forms to leave the country and all the money to be invested can make you give up before you decide to go. But, when you face the paperwork and get there, it’s actually invigorating. Conferences provide the opportunity to meet old friends, make new ones, share what we’re doing, get to know what the big people are thinking and have an idea of the direction the field is taking. But my favorite pursuit...

I enjoy playing games in the classroom. And I know my students do too, especially the young learners and teenagers (even though teachers of adult students know that many times adults really enjoy playing games too.) I've recently bought a game called "Hit or Miss" to use with my students. The obvious main aim of the game is to review vocabulary, but I've thought of a couple of other pedagogical uses for it in the classroom. And I thought I'd share this game here, because I believe other teachers...

At the end of last year, the cup song was a total hit. Kids, boys and girls, were all doing the cup song and variations of such. There are videos on YouTube of individuals and groups doing the Cup Song. You can do it with one cup, many cups, one child or a group. There is rhythm, repetition and fun. Cup song was a phenomenon for the third grades up, however the younger kids have the classic clapping games. Patty cake and Little Bunny Foo Foo are classic examples. Finger...