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...

This two-part post is a summary of some of the dilemmas I have faced as an observer since 1994, when I sat in on another teacher's lesson for the first time. My intention is to raise a few (hopefully) relevant questions without necessarily proposing any easy - or complex - answers or solutions. I will use the pronoun you to invite you to either wear your observer's hat or put yourself in an observer's shoes. For the sake of reader-friendliness, I will alternate between he and she when referring...

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...