“And 5… 5, 6, 7, 8!” More than 15 years after I had my first lessons, I decided to take up ballroom dancing again. My Better Half dutifully tagged along, but the difference was he was a true beginner. Three months later, we quit, feeling like complete and utter failures. We still want to learn how to dance, but probably not with those teachers. “Why did you quit?,” I hear you ask. Well, maybe it’s true that we teachers are the most difficult learners. Or maybe it’s just me....

Hi everyone!  Last month I discussed multilevel classrooms. This month I share some ideas to I have done in class.  Jigsaw Reading A very interesting and challenging way for students to deal with a reading passage! Preparation: Choose a reading passage. Pre-teach vocabulary and grammar. Cut the reading into 3-4 or more parts, depending on size. Make copies if you have more students than parts of text. In-Class: Distribute the parts of text among students. Each student reads their part silently to themselves. High-level students should receive the more challenging parts. Mid-level students should...

How come you can’t get your students to concentrate? That seems to be a rhetorical yet plausible question until it happens to you. I am not sure about you but I have certainly tasted this sensation in my teaching environment, and for the record, that is not a pleasant one. I have been around for a while and seen students losing track of my lessons due to various issues. The most common one is because of other ‘funny’ students’ attitudes in class, which may lead teachers to lose control. There...

Hi! As a teaching consultant in public and private schools, I often hear teachers complain about problems in multi-level classrooms. With 30-40 students in class, they dream of smaller and leveled classes – something difficult to implement given the spacing logistics of breaking a group in three and having three teachers instead of just one for a class hour… I remind them that math, geography, art and history teachers deal with the same problem. Yet, I’m not very convincing - these other teachers do not face the foreign language barrier…. This brings...

Recentemente, em minhas aulas na graduação e até com colegas na escola, discutíamos a estrutura escolar que muitas vezes precisamos enfrentar: turmas superlotadas, falta de infraestrutura mínima, salas de aulas precárias, falta de recursos (tecnológicos) etc. Na questão do ensino de língua inglesa, tivemos uma discussão bastante acalorada sobre dividir uma turma em níveis de conhecimento linguístico ou não. O assunto da discussão atual é delicado e tem dividido opiniões. Para tanto, vou expor minha opinião do porquê sou favorável à divisão de turmas por níveis. Até porque,...

ELT teachers are used to dealing with different students in the classroom. The literature on dealing with mixed-ability/mixed-level/mixed-age groups is not slim, with numerous articles on the matter having been published. Guaranteeing even participation of learners, however, is an constant challenge. Here are three ideas I try to bear in mind in the lessons I teach:   Make (more) room for pair work Especially after the Communicative Approach became ubiquitous, the image of students working in small groups has become more and more frequent in language lessons all over the...

Students taking a course in a foreign language very frequently bring with them a world of expectations and needs – in both personal and professional contexts – that they want to be met in the classroom. Those expectations and needs, however, can many times be beyond what can be achieved within a semester of studies. It is then many times up to the teacher to help learners align their expectations and help them become more aware of what they can achieve in the short and long run, and...

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...

Holidays are over, preparation has already taken place so now it’s time to get into teaching! When the year comes to an end we think back and realise our work was done and a rest is deserved. Soon we start longing for the new groups, the new materials, the planning… I believe students never realise the amount of work we face prior to the beginning of a new academic year. In good schools all must be planned beforehand in order to provide the best possible educational service. The learning process...

As we come to the end of the year, our classes are also about to finish. Hence, the time for us teachers to start planning the end of the semester has come. We end up getting so busy organizing reviews, writing tests, testing and assessing students, writing reports and/or report cards, providing students with feedback on their work we sometimes forget to “give students opportunities to reflect on what they have learnt and experienced in the lesson/term/year” (Emma Gore-Lloyd, 2014). I first heard about the different phases of a...