One of the biggest concerns among teachers who work with teenagers is that they seem to be demotivated most of the time. It’s often said that teenage students don’t participate in classes so enthusiastically or don’t show interest in the activities. While that may be true, it will rarely happen to the whole group. Even so, we worry a lot with those who are not interacting so much; or at least not the way we expected them to. The first and foremost aspect to be considered is the fun...

Have you ever changed your lesson plan (or part of it) halfway through due to students’ lack of engagement? And have you ever regretted changing it because students asked you to do something different in class? If you answered yes for both questions, you face the same dilemma that we do; which is how much of the lesson plan it is fine to adapt in order to please our students’ imminent needs. Let’s face it: English isn’t generally taken so seriously by students (and their parents) as much as other...

Before we start, click on the player above and enjoy this song while you enjoy your reading! I guarantee it will make the experience a lot more fun! :) Some years ago, acclaimed director Steven Spielberg said he thought the superhero film genre would die out. Much has been said about the possible downfall of this movie genre. However, Captain Marvel is already a massive box office hit and all the hype revolving around the release of upcoming Avengers: Endgame has got people really eager to see what the...

If you have been teaching teens for the past years you have probably noticed how attached they are to their mobiles or tablets. To say that they love technology is an understatement. Playing video games, watching TV series and films or listening to music are some of the usual activities they perform in their free time and they all involve technology. But technology is not the only thing they are interested in. Take, for instance, teenagers who practise sports or even go to a dance school. Would it not...

Late in February a BrELTer asked what she could do with songs in ELT lessons. My comment there was huge (sorry!) because I simply love using songs in language learning, both as a teacher and as a student. In fact, I have forgotten most of the French I've been taught except for the French in songs (and may I add, "Non, rien de rien, je ne regrette rien"). There's so much we can do with songs other than randomly choosing gaps for students to fill in. Here are a few...

Let’s start by defining gamification, which according to Oxford Dictionary is  the application of typical elements of game playing to other areas of activity. In our case, it’s the is the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate students to achieve their goals. Games have existed for a very long time and are considered an activity, normally voluntarily, performed within a timeframe and space according to established rules with an end or a goal in itself which provide a bit of tension and...

One of the books that made the biggest impression on me last year was Evgeny Morozov's To Save Everything, Click Here: Technology, Solutionism and the Urge to Fix Problems that Don't Exist. In it, he describes the rise of tech companies into all-pervasive areas of life, their inherent solutionism, and the threats this process poses to society as a whole. So what exactly is solutionism? Well, in its simplest terms, it's the belief that pretty much everything we face in live can be cast as a simple problem + solution. The...

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...

Humans (like all intelligent hunters) seem innately disposed to notice things which move rather than things which stand still. Cook, 2000 Don't move a muscle. by Chris Isherwood CC-BY-2.0 It is often argued that the English language class should try to emulate the ‘real world’ as much as possible. Tasks and activities should reflect what people do in real life, in order to give learners the tools that they’ll need to use English outside the classroom. While this is no doubt good advice, I believe there is also a valid and useful...

To start off with, let me just say that I have never ever liked ‘Hangman’. You know, the game where you have guess the word(s) by calling out letters of the alphabet before the man is hung up on a scaffold. It is not because the act of hanging runs contrary to my political sensibilities but because I have never found it particularly exciting or interesting as a game. Just as some people, I am sure, do not particularly enjoy a game of noughts and crosses (or tic-tac-toe...

Some teachers see warmers, ice-breakers and fillers as basically different ways to say the same thing. In fact, they are quite different. While ice-breakers are usually meant to help students get to know each other better, the objective of warmers is to get them ready for a certain topic or task.  Fillers, on the other hand, are activities that don´t require much time or preparation, and are designed to finish a topic or a class on a lighter note, or to review vocabulary before the next part of...

Olá, pessoal! Lá, no agora distante, primeiro post que fiz para este blog, prometi que iria falar de alguns aplicativos para dispositivos móveis, os famosos apps.  Pois bem, como sou bem pragmático, vamos direto ao assunto: seguem, abaixo, algumas dicas de programas que podem ser baixados, gratuitamente, para qualquer dispositivo que suporte iOS, o sistema operacional da Apple (iPod, iPad, iPhone). Peço desculpas aos usuários de Android: como não sou um usuário desse sistema, nem todas as dicas são para vocês. Mas prometo que vou trazer mais coisas para este...

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...

Here’s one more post with ideas and suggestions for helping our learners become aware of pronunciation areas which are essential for their intelligibility, and overcome their difficulties. This time let’s focus on a very common Brazilian pronunciation problem which fortunately teachers and more recent course books (like Richmond's new English ID series) have been giving more attention to lately than they used to do a few years ago. That’s the mispronunciation of initial R’s as H’s because of the way the letter R is pronounced in that position in...

Já ouvi muitas pessoas torcerem a cara para jogos de video game: são violentos, viciantes… Nada de bom parece vir desses brinquedos “malditos”. Entretanto, há mais benefícios do que se pode perceber e que eu, como um gamer de longa data (e estudioso dos efeitos do lúdico na aprendizagem), poderia elencar aqui. Mas como este é um blog para professores de inglês, acho que cabe alguns comentários acerca de como o jogos de video game podem ser uma ferramenta a mais para nossos alunos aperfeiçoarem seus conhecimentos linguísticos. Os...

Around this time, teachers and students all over Brazil are returning to their English classes. It’s time to check whether kids remember grammar topics and vocabulary or not after two months on vacation. Preparing ELT classes demands more creativity at this first moment than during the year. Teachers need to engage students in the learning process again. Games are taken for granted as meaningful and enjoyable activities for students at any level.  In my career, I have used plenty of them to motivate kids and teenagers to use language....

Olá! Uma das minhas técnicas favoritas (tema do meu trabalho de conclusão de curso e do meu mestrado), que venho usando há alguns anos em sala de aula, é o uso do RPG como uma ferramenta de ensino. O termo é geralmente associado a jogos de videogame, como Final Fantasy e World of Warcraft. Mas estou falando dos também chamados tabletop RPG, ou RPG de mesa. RPG é a sigla de role-playing game, e mistura elementos de duas outras atividades: as brincadeiras de faz-de-contas e contar histórias. Resumidamente, um jogador...

It all starts when you are organizing the room where you teach. And there are many questions we should ask ourselves when doing that… Am I going to have a big table or many small tables? A board? Chairs? Desks? Posters? Pictures? Books? Games? A stereo? A projector? A computer? A cell phone? What about seating arrangements? Students have to feel their room is a unique place which will also help them in their learning process and will nurture their creativity. Creativity strikes again when you are planning your...

Here’s a small teaching present for January 6, one you might be able to use in class at the beginning of your new term.  It’s based on a TV game show called Family Fortunes. If you don’t know the show, click here to see an episode, or here to read the Wikipedia entry. Basic procedure 1 ask students to brainstorm  five typical new year’s resolutions. (You may need to make sure they’re clear on the whole concept of new year’s resolutions, what they are, who makes them and why). 2 Tell...