You may have been flooded by positive messages on social media talking about how this pandemic is an opportunity to develop new projects, learn a new language, exercise more and drink two liters of water. This kind of toxic positivity is certainly not what teachers need. If you are looking for a flower power kind of vibe, this article is probably not for you. I think the pandemic sucks. I am truly sorry for my lack of reassuring demeanor in a time of need. The thing is, I am...

As I was relaxing after a long productive day working from home for the 5th day in a row, for the 1st time in my life, I came across a Simon Sinek’s short video where he explained why ‘These Are Not Unprecedented Times’. Most of us are feeling as if we were living in a parallel dimension, as if life as we used to live was put on hold and we are somehow experiencing a different setting – perhaps to find out what we are made of… Anyways, he...

In 2019 we had the opportunity to work together on different projects. Such projects involved writing for the Richmond blog, going live on different social media websites and delivering an online course for teachers. We’d like to start by commenting on the online course experience. Needless to say how this course enriched us. While organizing the contents we decided to include in the course, we studied a lot more about so many relevant issues that are undoubtedly pertinent to our daily work. In this sense, the need to research...

If you work in a language Institution or in a (high) school as a teacher, a coordinator or if you are a school principal or owner, you are aware that cultural events are a substantial part of the breakdown.  Any school events or activities that entail cultural and social fronts are providing the students an opportunity to grow, learn, socialise, perfect existing skills, develop new skills and enhance formative development. It all sounds great, but what about the everyday processes?  Who is/are the ones involved in events like these? There...

You probably have heard of the term Glocalization, which translates the idea of thinking globally and acting locally. It seems obvious, and it doesn't seem something difficult to do. But yet we continue to find excuses not to do it. Especially here in Brazil, our culture is one where we expect changes to come from someone above us. We don't take responsibility for the things we can do to change the reality around us. We think that God is going to help us, that the new president is going to make...

When the subject is teaching teenagers, there is always a cloud hanging over teachers’ heads. This cloud has a name and it is quite a familiar one: behaviour. As a rule of thumb, when we have a couple of teenagers together in one room, there will eventually be distraction, standing up, talking (or yelling), paper airplanes flying around, among other “issues”. Having these things in mind, in this post I am willing to share five tips that have helped me a lot throughout my career as a teacher. Build...

A challenge teachers frequently face is reducing the amount of L1 used by their students in class. For obvious reasons, we all want our learners to take the most of our lessons. They also like to feel challenged and to leave the room (or wherever you teach them) feeling that they have spent an hour or so only speaking English. In addition, all of us teachers tend to believe that every minute of communication in the target language is worth the effort. These arguments make complete sense, but...

In these times of fierce competition in the education market, if you work for an ELT institute or a school, it is not enough to be a great teacher and focus only on teaching a good class. In order to be a valued and valuable professional, there are many things you can do inside and outside the classroom to guarantee the perpetuity of your institution and, consequently, of your job. But what are these behaviors? What can you, teacher, do to help the institution you work for thrive?   Show...

I was talking to some friends on Whatsapp and one of them mentioned this teacher he knew and the fact that they had been contemplating a career change. The teacher had a CPE and a CELTA and I said it would be a shame if they gave up on teaching. After all, such qualifications are not easy to get, both demand a considerable amount of time, effort and money. Then my friend said: 'but they don’t have our passion'. I must say his remark puzzled me. What is...

When we ask learners what they like most about school, their usual response is ‘Nothing’, ‘My friends’, ‘Going home’, and few of them come up with a teacher or a subject that they actually enjoy. One of the possible reasons why learners are disengaged from their schooling is because they see no real purpose in what they learn there in relation to their future lives or employability prospects. They usually go to school because they have to and they have to pass the ‘Vestibular’ or ‘ENEM’. Another intriguing aspect...

Most of us, ELT teachers, ascribe our lack of time to the number of lessons we teach in a week. I, oftentimes, find myself trying to design a lesson, study for an exam, read and take care of the house at the same time. Needless to say that this is, in the least, exhausting. Other times, we find ourselves fastened upon a vicious cycle, trying the same old recipes and getting nowhere. But, why don’t we think outside the ELT box? Juliana Mota, a teacher whom I have met...

Criticism hurts. Hence, it can be stressful, tense and sometimes traumatic. Still, it is such a natural part of life, including professional life, that knowing how to make the best out of it is an important skill for us to keep emotionally healthy. Below I list a few aspects to consider and that can prove useful in our field. Criticism or feedback? We are faced with criticism on a regular basis and no matter where it comes from, we have to learn if it is meant to be...

CLIL has been the starting point for the majority of bilingual education programs and methodologies across the globe. Born in 1994 with the establishment of the European Community, CLIL was an attempt to standardize bilingual education approaches within the comunity, or at least to determine a range of  practices that, based on a common concept, could be considered efficient to lead to various levels of bilingualism. That's what David Marsh (the leader of the group that coined the term in the 90s) call "the many faces of CLIL". The...

Imagine you are feeling a little feverish. What do you do? Bloodletting, of course! You Google the nearest barbershop and get an Uber there so the barber can slash a vein and cure you by removing foul humours from your body. If you’re lucky, they may even use leeches! This may sound absurd to you, but the role of professions changes over time. The teaching profession wouldn’t be any different. Beginning on a very personal example, I’ve been deeply affected by recent changes in mindset and communication. The abilities...

  Every professional in the realm of education has the power to influence positive change, for instance, aligning theory to practice as extensively discussed. In this post, leadership will be brought to light for a discussion on how educational leaders may contribute to building the learning environment and causing a great impact on education. Firstly, we are assuming that the more senior you are, the more chances you have to affect the lives of learners somehow connected to you. That means a trainer may impact teachers, who will in turn...

When Ofelia Garcia in her book Bilingual Education in the 21st Century - a Global Perspective  states that "bilingual education is the only possible education in the 21st century", what does she mean by that? Is she saying that she envisages a future with only bilingual schools? Bilingual Education, for a lot of people, is still the kind of Education you have at bilingual or international schools. It is, therefore, a kind of Education that is only available to a few privileged people - the ones who can afford...

Trabalhar como autônomo envolve riscos. Isso não significa que temos que aceita-los sem fazer nada a respeito. Em minha experiência como professor particular (por cerca de 18 anos), teacher trainer e empreendedor, pude aprender várias formas de mitigar esses riscos. Segue abaixo: 1- Tenha um contrato! Ter um contrato cria um efeito psicológico interessante. Embora nossos clientes podem simplesmente ignorar as cláusulas, na prática as pessoas precisam de um norte que oficialize as regras e como o contrato tem um formato jurídico, aumentamos drasticamente as chances de evitar certas dores...

In my institution, we have a solid teacher evaluation system that has been in place for over twenty years, of course with adaptations along the way to face our ever-changing times. In this evaluation system, we try to balance the need for measurement and for development (Marzano, 2012). We also take into consideration teachers’ knowledge, awareness, skills, and attitude, according to Freeman’s (1989) KASA framework. Teachers are evaluated based on their performance in the classroom, with observations as data, as well as based on their role in the...

It’s the beginning of the year.  Private teachers and educational managers are looking for new students while retaining the current ones. However, one area of weakness in keeping with most ELT professionals lies in their sales techniques. Therefore, by brushing up on their sales pitch, we may improve dramatically their conversion and, ultimately, their revenue. This article aims to shed light on an often-overlooked sales strategy called consultative sales. I’ll describe what constitutes its main features, its philosophy and goals. Afterwards I’ll explore ways in which consultative sales can...

Photo from ELTPics by Branislav Kubecka  I’d like to thank all EFL/ESL teachers who agreed to participate and collaborate in my research of this important issue.   Burnout:  physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress (Oxford dictionary). Burnout is a theme which seems to have been frequently discussed among EFL teachers recently. I myself have reflected about it since I experienced a certain awful situation in 2012. I can assure you it is as if one steals the floor under your feet and the consequences are extreme and pure chaos. And  I tell you: either...

My whole formal educational background is academic, from my B.A. in Journalism, to my master's in Teaching English as a Second Language and my doctorate in Education. Everything I have published so far is academic, about learning and teaching. Most of my presentations in conferences are about academic topics, ranging from second language writing, assessment, and teacher development. Only recently have I started presenting on topics related to leadership and management. Thus, I can safely say that I am an academic in a leadership role. It's not that I...

  "And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back." Robert Frost (1874-1963) It's the beginning of the semester and you are still getting to know your group of 10-year-olds. You have only just begun to set the ground rules for the group and you are still in doubt whether you should assign them homework or do the first homework assignments together in class so that they...

I was looking for an inspiring article about motivation when I came across Bruce Dixon’s entitled ‘The Value of a Cold Shower’. It starts by questioning the kind of expectations we have when we attend the opening keynote at a conference. Dixon asks us: ‘Do you want to be entertained, informed, inspired or provoked, or maybe all of the above? Are you looking for your current thinking to be affirmed, challenged, or dismissed?’ He then goes further using the metaphors of ‘warm baths’ and ‘cold shower’ to explain...

A few days ago, the Rio de Janeiro Secretary of Education criticized the actress Tais Araujo for her TED Talk in which she shares some of the challenges she will soon encounter as a mother of black children. The Secretary described it as ‘racial stupidity’. Needless to say, I was shocked to hear that. It made me think a lot about my privileges and the industry we work at. I’ve been working in ELT for 15 years, the last 4 working independently. For 11 years, I was part of...

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending an event at the Braz-Tesol BH Chapter, “The 5 Cs in the 21st Century”. Flawlessly organized by Bia Hedegaard and her amazing team, this was the first event I went to after being involved in the organization of “BrELT on The Road”. One of the plenaries featured the Assessment Diva, Natália Guerreiro. She talked about what’s holding us back in terms of teacher development, and it resonated a lot with experiences I have had lately. Among other things, Natália mentioned how attending...

After much reflection on my professional career, I must admit that everything I do I don’t do alone. I am who I am thanks to the collaboration of an endless number of people that have crossed paths with me and shared some of their wisdom, kindness, support, different takes on ELT and constructive criticism. I am grateful for all of them having this immense impact in my professional life and I'm adamant that networking is key for professional and personal growth. Hugh Grant in the first minutes of the...

One of my favourite areas to research and study is feedback and the impact that the contribution of others have in teacher development. In this text I will focus on three different features feedback may take depending on tone, intention or professional relationship of those involved: affection, assertiveness and aggression. In general terms, Bill Gates helped us spread the idea that teachers need 'real feedback' to support them in growing and doing their jobs better, as opposed to having a vague comment on their work that will not contribute constructively, possibly causing...

[caption id="attachment_5702" align="alignnone" width="640"] team in serie red leader magnifying glass[/caption] A niche is part of the market, which, more often than not, is not targeted by the mainstream educational sector. The “one size fits all” teaching market overlooks these potential students and that may be excellent news for you. These available target niches are made up of doctors, youngsters wishing to au pair in the US, university students from engineering avid for high scores on IELTS, pilots looking for international aviation certifications, elders aspiring for new skills, etc. Focusing...

Ser autônomo ou ter uma escola de idiomas é extremamente desafiador, especialmente no processo de venda dos serviços educacionais. Há quem pense que vendas é uma arte, mas também é um processo racional com técnicas específicas que visam aumentar as chances de sucesso. A imagem abaixo representa um fluxograma de vendas em ELT e iremos abordar em detalhes a estratégia empregada. O primeiro passo seria sair da massificação do ensino padronizado e realmente focar na necessidade do cliente em um ensino personalizado. Mas para isso é preciso saber quais...

Vou confessar uma coisa: odeio ir ao dentista. Nada contra a pessoa do dentista, o profissionalismo ou o consultório. É meio que irracional, como um medo inexplicável, mas eu realmente detesto ir ao dentista. Por isso, evito ao máximo fazê-lo – erro clássico e crítico. Rápida historinha real: usei aparelho fixo por vários anos por volta dos meus 20 de idade e após retirá-lo, fiquei apenas com uma contençãozinha atrás dos dentes frontais inferiores. Por ocasião dessa contenção, eu deveria ir ao dentista 2 vezes ao ano para uma limpeza, coisa que não...

We have been discussing the importance of mindset and beliefs in education. The impact of the teachers' confidence that their learners can achieve higher, as well as their thoughts about their own teaching to influence learning outcomes. Focusing on teacher development, here are some tips of what teachers can do and how leaders - trainers or managers - can contribute to the teachers' growth mindset towards productive professional development that may benefit not only learners, but groups of teachers as well as the schools they work. From my point of view, even...

    Imagine a seguinte cena: Uma escola ou instituição de ensino onde a vasta maioria das ideias geniais viram realidade, ou seja, saem do papel, e geram resultados tangíveis, tanto em termos de ganho de qualidade pedagógica quanto no ganho financeiro da instituição. Algo desejável? Por que então a realidade é tão diferente? É impressionante o número reduzido de escolas de idiomas que utilizam a implementação das estratégias por portfólio de projetos. Mais surpreendente ainda é perceber que os institutos mais bem-sucedidos utilizam projetos mas não são seguidas como exemplo....

In Brazil the beginning of the year is hiring season for teachers. Unfortunately it’s unusual for ELT job ads in this country to list required and preferred KSAs (knowledge, skills, and abilities or attitudes). When they do, something that usually shows up is “living experience abroad” (“vivência no exterior”). To be me, in all honesty, that requirement simply boggles the mind. Here are a few issues I ponder over when I see that: 1. Why LIVING, not WORKING experience? How can “living” be a job requirement? Hey, I haven’t died, even...

According to ABF (Brazilian Franchising Association) there are currently 35 franchisors specialized in offering English teaching services. Some franchises have a staggering number of one thousand schools each. There are also countless independent teaching institutes in the market, employing a massive amount of education professionals. Yet, for all that, Brazil is still lagging behind the race for proficiency. One of the reasons is that basic management processes are overlooked. This article aims to shed light on how schools can maximize chances of success through rational planning and management. Management...

In my previous article (Strategy design and execution in education management – Part 1) we delved into strategic planning and how a single strategy is converted into multiple projects, also called portfolio of projects. In this text, we will focus on project execution, some of the main limitations and some solutions. The Fortune magazine claimed, in 1999, that 70% of strategic failures are due to poor execution and in 2003, suggested that less than 10% of strategies are well executed according to the plan. Evidence endorsing this idea abound...

When designing a strategy, a paramount and inherent aspect for a successful endeavour is that each action is in line with the expected performance and result indicators. There must be a clear goal, a road map that will reveal the path to be trailed, what one should expect and the final destination. As Seneca suggests: "If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable"  A strategy will always demand a series of actions to be successful. Depending on the magnitude of the task, we...