BY DONNA FIELDS We’re looking forward to sharing with you the most innovative practices - methods you can use immediately in your online or your face-to-face lessons. Unfortunately, most Ministers of Education today, are so concerned with science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and having test scores, that they forget that, at the end of the day, if we don't have people with good character, people who do the right thing, intellect itself will destroy the world, it will not save it.  Dr. Howard Gardner Research Professor of Cognition and Education Harvard University Autumn, 2020 Student...

By Russell Stannard Flipping your online lessons:  a global view of your online lessons Over the last five months, I have done a whole array of consultancy jobs supporting schools to deliver online language courses. These have been private language schools right up to language departments in universities. It has been a very tough time for teachers and one thing that they are continually complaining about is just how much work is involved in preparing and delivering online lessons. It has been a theme I have addressed at several online...

March is here! It’s time to start thinking about how to bring St. Patrick’s Day into our schools and classes. Needless to mention how important this date is when we talk about cultural aspects of the English language. After all, many English-speaking countries celebrate it. Therefore, many schools and teachers in Brazil – and in other parts of the world - try to immerse their students in a St. Paddy’s experience. Well, at least they should… I told a fellow teacher I had been writing this post and she...

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...

Students’ real-world contact with English plays hands down a more realistic role in the development of their skills, rather than the few hours they spend in the classroom. Taking this into account, it is high time teachers worked as mediators between learners and their (desirable) daily exposure to the language. But is it enough to just tell students to do something at home, such as “listen to songs in English more often” or “watch films and series with original audio and English subtitles”? We don’t think it is. So,...

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 I start this post, I must warn you: this was NOT written by someone who has great expertise on this area. It was elaborated by someone who, like many other teachers, have an inquisitive mind and a wish to make students’ language-learning path a bit less of a bumpy ride. I am also not a specialist, and if you came here looking for universal answers, I’m afraid you’ll end up with even more questions. I am a big nerd, that’s what I am. But enough of me. I was...

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...

So, February and March have arrived, and with it groups have been assigned to many teachers around Language Schools. Let me tell you about my groups! I am so happy with what I have got, specially because I have been studying hard to deal with young teenagers, and this semester seems like the perfect opportunity to apply what I have been learning around. There’s this one group in particular which I am over the moon with, and they are the main topic of my post today! I believe what...

I have worked in ELT for about a decade and, therefore, I have delivered hundreds of reading lessons. It is undeniable that many textbooks authors have been doing their best to come up with interesting and relevant topics that work wonders to introduce grammar and vocabulary. However, I often feel that part of our job as teachers is to always put ourselves in the students’ positions. For this reason, I frequently ask myself: “If I were a student, would I enjoy reading this text?” And truth be told,...

As a musician myself, I have always loved working with songs in my English classes. And a lot of teachers I know also love doing so. But we usually use the entire song and its lyrics, and this can be a problem in early levels, as we will rarely be able to find a song whose lyrics completely match the vocabulary and knowledge of early levels’ students. So, how can we use songs without the frustration of having to explain things that are far too advanced (or inappropriate) to...

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...

On many different occasions I have discussed the belief that teaching seems to be about asking questions, not always providing answers. In this post we will focus on teaching situations where questions can be effective in helping learners achieve success in language learning and some ideas on how to take advantage of questions. Using images: Most of our modern materials - including international exams - involve images to provoke ideas, discussions or illustrate a text. Asking yes/ no questions may help teachers guide learners towards the pre-defined ideas...

As a child, I was a tech enthusiast. Born in 1980, I am an active member of a lucky generation which could see the evolution of computers from gigantic monsters which could occupy an entire building so as to produce what we know today as a very limited amount of data, to micro technology,which enables us to store virtually anything in a “cloud” of information. When I started teaching, back in the last century (phew, I AM getting old), rooms were constituted of a blackboard, chalk, chairs and books,...

We all have our own peculiar little habits that are deeply ingrained in our routine, don’t we? Some of us always put on the socks before the trousers. Others check their phones as soon as they wake up. These aren’t conscious decisions, but rather things that we simply do without really thinking about it, usually because someone told us to do it a long time ago, or we saw someone doing it and assumed that was the “right” way. When we teach, we also have out little habits,...

The most important single characteristic of the flipped classroom is the fact that classroom time is not used for content presentation, but rather for group discussions about students' findings and further investigation. So, going back to the two questions I’ve asked on my first post, on the 6th of June, I believe we already have an interesting answer to the first question. (What to do? Flip the classroom.) But we still need ideas on how to start the journey. A good way to start flipping your classes is to...

At the beginning of a new semester, learners are usually excited to get started, enthusiastic about learning and with high hopes of finally achieving that much sought-after fluency. As the course unfolds, so does life: learners have to juggle work, school and their own personal lives, coping with everything at the same time. And as that happens, one of the most common comments I hear from my learners is that they wish they had (more) time to study English, do homework, listen to podcasts, watch the news, you...

The writing process involves, at least, four different steps: analysing the task question, brainstorming, drafting, proofreading and finally handing it to the teacher so that the work can be checked. This process is also known as a ”recursive” process because when you are proofreading it is almost certain that you might have to return to the brainstorming step to develop and/or expand your ideas. That is actually the beauty of it: playing with words, picking and choosing what fits best, changing your mind, rewording, paraphrasing, maybe in more sophisticated...

It's been some years already that we've been talking about m-learning and its promises, but with not much consistent use of mobile devices as a learning tool with extremely high computational capabilities, sometimes even bigger than our own desktops (certainly this is my case!). There are simply countless ways to deepen the experiences and learning opportunities in class by using the power of touch, the power of hands. It's not from banning cellphones, for example, because of our own fears and feeling of powerlessness due to our vulnerable...

Power To The Music              It is funny how people (students) may instantly think of CCR’s ‘Have you ever seen the rain?’ when you start off a conversation with the chunk ‘Have you ever Blahed?’. Have you ever (seen the rain? - lol) stopped and thought how powerful music can be in terms of learning opportunities? I bet you have, though. As I see it, music is what comes through my ears and touches my heart. In that sense here lies a powerful tool through which mankind has evolved with. Not only...

One of the best features of my job is that I get to observe teachers in their second semester in the language institute where I work.  In their first semester, they go through a mentoring process and are then observed by two other academic specialists. These observations usually go very well. The teachers are very professional in their attitude toward the whole process; they submit their lesson plans in advance and participate actively and reflectively in our pre and post-observation meetings. I find it a very rewarding experience in...

If you are suffering from Novemberitis and need a comical interlude or just an idea for a lesson, here's an integrated-skills lesson plan for B2 learners. The topic is embarrassing stories  and students will read about it to get in the topic, listen to a celebrity telling her own stories and talk throughout. The main point here is to get them to speak a lot, of course, but also to learn and practice (both in listening and in speaking) the structure of a personal story. ****************************************** 1. Lead-in 3' (WG*):...

Would you like to Like, Comment and Share? This is the activity I mentioned on my last blog post about the three key features to teach speaking. These are the instructions. Preparation:  cardstock paper, popsicle sticks, a pencil, templates, scissors and glue. Tell students they are going to have a group discussion about ‘dilemmas’ and that the Facebook symbols will be used for them to interact. Each student will be given a dilemma and they have to read it to the class. Students can also talk about their own...

  Planning our first lesson can be daunting, but it gets better with time. Our anxiety is really high, because, as everybody knows, we want to be liked. What’s more, we always want to start off on the right foot.  So, how do you plan your first lesson? I start by drawing up a plan of what my objectives are in this first lesson (and a set of ten questions come up at this point) Setting the profile of the group: Do students know how the course works? How many lessons will...

One of the greatest barriers I have come to face, language wise, was the very often asked question: “Am I going to use this in my ‘real-life’?” or “How useful is this?” I have realised that students have been getting to advanced levels without using more sophisticated vocabulary/grammar structures. In order to change that view, I decided to try and show students how common they are and how they are used.  I have planned a lesson on ‘Inversions’ that can be seen on:  https://beatrizsolinoelt.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/inversions-recycling-language-60/ and I would like to share...

We all know how overwhelming a lesson (especially the first one) can be. We have all stepped into the students’ shoes, so why don’t we make their, and consequently our lives easier? In order to do so, I always follow some specific steps when planning a lesson, and I will share them with you. To start with, I need to know what the lesson’s objective(s) will be. Here, I use the cliché sentence: “By the end of this lesson students will be better able to …”. At this point, I...

It might ‘cost you dear’! That is what we generally hear when people talk about investing time and money in learning a foreign language. By the same token, professional teachers are usually judged by how qualified they are in the teaching community and investing time and money on CPD seminars seems pretty much the way to go. On 18th March, I had the opportunity to meet up with brilliantly committed teaching professionals at Braz-Tesol Belo Horizonte Chapter on Teacher’s Development. BTW, well done you on your organisation. I delivered...

Our humanity is expressed through our stories. More than ever before educators are in the look for different ways to engage their students by telling their own pieces of stories each class they meet their students, but they are also aiming to help their learners to tell their own stories. By doing that, a transformative type of teaching tend to come on the scene.  A deeper connection among everyone in the classroom starts to emerge with learning in the intersection of emotions, people, content and context. Magic happens then. Just this week, I came...

If you had been my student at around 2010 on of your complaints would have been that I never used songs in my lessons. Earlier in my career I used songs quite frequently, in that gap-fill let's-kill-some-time kind of way. However, as I became more experienced, I realised that this kind of activity is not very useful. As I had no idea how to actually use songs appropriately I decided to simply stop using them. Fast-forward to a few years later, when my colleagues and I had just come...

A lot can be found in ELT books about how to use a range of different tasks and activities in order to make lessons more engaging and the promise of making learning fun has certainly spawned generations of resource books. Yet, although words on our role of selecting and designing activities are ubiquitous, little is usually written about how to use TTT in order to make activities more relevant and effective. In this three-part series of posts, I’d like to share some of my thoughts about how different stages...

Hi Everyone! Teachers are on holidays, which they most deserve! Yet, more likely than not teachers will take some time of their vacation time to prepare something different for their students. With that in my mind, in this post I’d like to share with teachers some of the sites I have found on the Internet as I searched for sites with podcasts for my own students. In these sites, teachers will find good quality podcasts on different topics and levels that can be used either as listening activities or as a...

          Or "When Pre-Teens First Meet the Dreaded Older Male Teacher" Based on a true story. When I thought about writing this post, thinking back to the time when I first started teaching was unavoidable. I was quite young, in my early 20's, when I was asked to teach some groups of children whose ages ranged from 8 to 12 years old. What an experience that was! I had enough energy to keep up with their franctic pace and made sure my lessons were filled with a...

I once had the great pleasure to see the funniest comedian ever doing his stand-up routine live at my university.  I was only a few weeks into my first term when I saw the flyers going around advertising Bill Hicks in the student union.  I persuaded a couple of new-found friends to go with me and we sat on the floor of the sports hall and just laughed for two hours.  Pure comedy gold. One of the many routines that he did last night and that I often find...

Last month we looked at getting to know who your students are and the main purpose of having information about them is to focus on their needs when planning lessons, to adjust their expectations to the course goals. If you work in schools or language institutes, courses you teach usually have a core syllabus that all teachers must respect to guarantee overall course outcomes and institutional quality and standards. That does not necessarily mean all lessons will be the same and all teachers will do exactly the same in the classroom....

New term and new groups bring teachers the challenge and the opportunity to build new connections and experiment with their teaching repertoire in different contexts. Also, new students tend to bring different needs, a plethora of expectations and demand a variety of skills from the teachers. That means the classroom is our greatest lab for professional growth. In order to make the most of it, one of the things we need to do is to learn who the students are to plan what we will need/ want to develop during the term. Here are some...

Today is January 6th, which in Brazil is called 'Dia de Reis', a day in honor of the three Wise Men. Having grown up in Rio, I used to think January 6th was nothing but a day to take Christmas decorations down. Then one day, as an adult already, I happened to be in Piauí on this date. A whole festival called 'Folia de Reis' was going on, and I had never even heard of such a thing. I was blown over by the dances I could see...

To keep your students busy over the holidays and to practise some digital remix literacy, here's a little challenge. As you can see, it's based on the carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, and to introduce the challenge and get into the remixing mood, there's nowhere better to start than the song itself and some Youtube parodies.  For the original song there's a very kitsch karaoke version here.  Once your students have got the hang of the original song (if they don't know it already), then you can move...

Modeling language is, among a number of other teaching techniques, one of the first things the novice teacher needs to put a lot of effort and energy into in order to have a hand on, to say the least. In most pre-service teacher training courses I have taught several times at different institutions along many years, I have often been able to spot some aspects of the teaching of pronunciation that are frequently underplayed by teachers and need to be addressed, even with more experienced teachers and those...

Gone are the days when teachers were the sole source of knowledge. The Internet has revolutionised society by granting everyone access to the information, meaning that listening to a teacher talking on and on about a topic is not only unnecessary but actually rather boring. It is therefore inevitable that teachers reflect upon their role in the learning process, and one of the aspects that have to be considered is how much time is actually devoted to Teacher Talking Time (TTT) and Student Talking Time (STT). Last year, Dominic...

While technology has become a powerful tool to share information, talking to people face-to-face still remains unrivalled. Enjoying a meal together or connecting with others through a handshake --- or even a few words, creates a synergy that promotes feelings of trust and collaboration;  it helps us build stronger relationships and a feeling of belonging. Conferences are mostly about all this energy flow that creates a unique learning environment by bringing people closer together. Highlight #1: Pronunciation: A cool activity that you can do with your students is ask them...

My last post dealt with a tendency I have been noticing in my classroom observations regarding lead-ins being either used to pre-teach language that should actually be discovered by students or turned into loose conversation activities with no clear pedagogical purpose beyond “just talk”. I also commented that this long time spent on the lead-in resulted in teachers’ having to rush through their lessons, preventing them from dedicating more time to the actual communicative production as a result of the lesson of the day. This month, I’d like to...

I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to observe around ten teachers each semester. These observations provide me with the chance to assess how effective our mentoring system and teacher induction sessions have been, as I typically observe teachers in their second semester at the institution. Methodologically speaking, most of the classes I observe are generally effective and there are only a few minor aspects to consider. However, if there’s one aspect that is recurrent in my observations and that some novice teachers have difficulty grasping, it’s the...

Instagram is part of my daily life, and I know it is also very popular among our teen students and some adults. Though the focus is social, the imagery and, depending on the user you follow,  Instagram can be a very powerful teaching/learning tool. You can explore with students from grammar aspects of the language to an in-depth take on cultural issues. The news is also there. Here, I've selected some of my favorite Insta IDs with some activities you might want to try in your next class: Natgeo Besides being...

Generally defined as the unnecessary use of a large number of words to express an idea - when fewer, more direct ones would do - circumlocution seems to bear a somewhat negative connotation. It is often frowned upon by literary critics who tend to attach greater value to a more pragmatic approach to writing. In the ELT world, however, this Latin-derived word, which means literally "around a speaking", holds a more privileged position: It is defined as a strategy learners make use of when they need words they...

Photo by Higor Cavalcante | CC BY 2.0 No matter where you are in the world today, English is everywhere you look. It’s used in shop signs, products in the supermarket, the names of buildings, menus, graffiti, airports, public transport, shopping centres, notices, advertising posters and hoardings. In fact, here in Brazil there is even an English name for this type of advertising – ‘outdoor’ (as well as ‘busdoor’ for adverts on the back of buses, and ‘indoor’ for adverts in stations, shopping centres, etc.). I first became interested in Linguistic...

The idea of writing this article first occurred to me after I read "Do instructions have to be that dull?", a great article by Rubens Heredia. The common ground between the lesson I describe below and his post might be that both deal with observing teachers teach. I believe we all agree that being either an observer or an observee is simply no easy task, especially when the lesson does not run as smoothly as one would have liked it to. By the way, this is just not...

I was about to start this post, and had a totally different idea in mind. But then I couldn't miss sharing with you such interesting, simple and effective idea for the classroom with all resources already there, a click away. I've just come across this post "Interactive Learning Menus (Choice Boards) Using Google Docs" , which gives a practical idea of how to prepare a learning menu based on a Tic-Tac-Toe using Google Docs. The idea behind it, giving choice, control and autonomy to the learner is such a simple...

  This month's post is about different ways of learning, or learning styles, as some authors put it. It's also about why I believe they exist even when we totally ignore their existence. It is a controversial issue for many teachers, who have mixed feelings about it. Do Learning Styles really exist?  Are they just a myth? Most authors would agree that there is very little evidence of their existence, but when it comes to teaching, authors firmly believe that there's no 'right' or 'wrong' and that there are...

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Image via https://bit.ly/1u6ZMnD[/caption] Hey there! On my firt post this year I want to remember when I taught at public high schools in my hometown (Bebedouro/SP). It was not an easy thing to do and we all know why: crowded classes, students with different levels of English, indiscipline, you name it. As you may predict, I had to use Portuguese a lot and even a "whiff" of trying to do something conversational would not be easily accepted, so I had to come up with some strategies. On the...

Instructions are an important part of every teacher’s life. They can either make or break our lessons, getting students in the best mood imaginable or sending them into a downward spiral of discontentment (has anyone ever heard students react with sighs of “reading again?”). How can we guarantee that the second doesn’t happen?  Imagine a teacher who has an elementary group of adults and wants to help his learners develop listening skills. Now look at the instructions that our imaginary and well-intentioned teacher delivered in one lesson to that...

Checking exercises is so deeply ingrained in our teaching practice that we seldom give it a thought. Asking students to report back after a small-group activity is also common practice ever since the boom of the communicative approach.  But are we making the best use of classroom time or could we just be doing it for the sake of habit? Just last week, I was talking to a teacher I know about a great lesson she had delivered when we caught ourselves discussing just that. It dawned on us...

Is vlogmas a thing in your house?  It is in ours thanks to my ten year old daughter. Her current screen craze is following hit lifestyle vloggers like Zoella. If you haven't heard of her, don't worry, it probably just means you're not young enough! This article in The Guardian is a good place to start.  But back to Vlogmas. What is it and why should we be interested?   It goes back a couple of years.  Apparently the first Vlogmas was launched in 2012 (according to the Urban Dictionary)...

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...

Being a bit of a YouTube buff, myself, I’ve always been really keen on using videos with my students. So much interaction and such great ideas can come from just a couple of minutes (or even seconds) of audio-visual input! We often use movie snippets or interviews in order to bring the outside world into the classroom, but my favourite videos are the ones that became popular and accessible via video-sharing websites - those usually created by Internet users rather than the conventional media. These are the genres I particularly...

Last month, we looked at personalisation, guided discovery and raising awareness of sub-skills and strategies as ways to promote learner engagement (click here to check it out). Today, I’d like to share some more ideas on this topic, which I consider one of the most important, albeit challenging, in both lesson preparation and delivery. Reacting to content as well as language As teachers, we are so concerned with the learners’ linguistic development that we may easily fall into the trap of devoting exclusive attention to the words students use rather...

We all know how much students like sending instant messages and using Facebook and Whatsapp to interact with friends. So, why not use free social networking websites to practise language items? The idea sounds great but protecting our students' privacy is a priority at school. And that's absolutely right! Our aim was to have our 7th graders at Colégio A. Liessin Botafogo practise the use of linking words and the Present Perfect tense + vocabulary, such as physical appearance and expressions used when shopping for clothes, in a lively and fun...

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...

When I was an English student, some teachers had the magical ability to deliver lessons that were fun and engaging, which allowed me to express myself and to feel I had an active role in my own learning. As I tried to learn how to teach, the ready-made activities that I came across (and the one-size-fits-all solutions they usually propose), frequently failed to replicate, in my students, that feeling I’d had as a learner. So did the ‘fireworks’ - songs and films I naively used as if they were...

The 9th grade students at Colégio A. Liessin recently had a lesson to revise parts of the body. Students were familiar with most of the words as they start learning them in kindergarten through the famous song “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”. Our challenge was to find a way to make students practise vocabulary already known with new words presented in the lesson (calf, shin, heel and some others). As the Olympic Games are coming, we had the idea to ask students to create a sport using two or...

I´m a mother of teens. As a mother, it is almost unavoidable to ask too many questions, and to my despair getting monosyllabic answers. The story goes more or less like this, "So how was school today?" "OK". And sometimes the most I can get is, "boring as always". Well, being a teacher, this questioning mindset simply doubles! By observing classes for the past few years, I came to realize that we teachers have this question system ingrained in us. Many times we consider that a pre-listening activity and post-listening...

This month I´d like to share with you a project we developed during the first semester with our 6th graders at Colégio A. Liessin Botafogo. For each grade we select two readers to read with students in class and we chose the reader Theseus and the Minotaur for the first term of the 6th grade. Students are acquainted with the story through the History lessons they have at school, so dealing with the plot was not difficult for them. We then decided to give students a challenge after reading the book. They...

Hello again! Many years ago I took a class in educational psychology and came across this quote from the cognitive psychologist, David Ausubel: "If I had to reduce all of cognitive psychology to one principle it would be this:  the most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows.  Ascertain this and teach him accordingly."  (1978:  flyleaf). I was very struck by this and was therefore even more interested to find out what cognitive psychology had to say about ‘meaningful learning’, something that we talk about vaguely in...

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...

Try this little experiment. You can do it with any search term, by the way.  Open up your Google browser and type in Brazil, hit search and see what you get. I just did it right now (July 15) and guess what the first ten images I saw were? Oh yes, you're so right! But I guess that by the time you're reading this it'll be different, and of course, thanks to our personalized algorithms it'll be slightly (or maybe even completely) different for everyone of us.   Now...

Hello there! Today we have the second part of the activities I used in a talk about teaching with music a couple of years ago: You Will Survive! Check out the first part by clicking here. 3. Translation. Level: A1+ Option 01 If you want to use more complicated songs with beginning students you can resort to translation. Here are some options: - Choose some words / expressions that you want to review and remove them from the song. - Write the translation of the words below the paragraph, like this: And so you're … (1)...

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...

In my experience as an English teacher, I have observed other teachers’ lessons and been observed countless times. It is probably safe to say that the majority of teachers are much more concerned about what to do than about how to do it. However, the ‘hows' can be as important as the ‘whats' and ‘whys', and we teachers very often fail to realize that clear, concise instructions can mean the difference between a successful lesson or activity or an absolute flop. My own impression is that giving instructions is...

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...

Music has always played a very important part of my life. My dad used to play in a forró band, my older brother is an accomplished guitar player and later in life I ended up becoming a professional singer. Songs were present in my classes a lot and in 2012 I decided to gather up some interesting activities I had tested in my own classes and set up a talk to give at Braz-TESOL Chapter one-day seminar in October about “fresh ways” to teach with songs. My session was called...

Olá, pessoal! Conforme prometido, vamos à segunda parte das minhas dicas sobre como usar quadrinhos na sala de aula. No artigo passado, só para lembrarem, falei sobre algumas fontes para que vocês pudessem conseguir material autêntico para trabalhar com seus alunos. Agora, vejamos o que dá para fazer com esse material todo: Grammar: está trabalhando com algum tópico gramatical específico? Use quadrinhos como forma de exercícios ou para apresentar a matéria. Atividades como preencher espaços em brancos (que você deve criar) são um exemplo, apenas. Mas lembre-se que...

Music and teaching go back a long way in my career. In the beginning there were the Beatles, the Carpenters, Carly Simon, The Police, and any other band that my students happened to enjoy. We have all experienced the incredible mood-altering power of music and we've seen it melt away a bad mood in our classes. Not only does music help set the right tone for a class but it also relieves stress and helps students concentrate. But one question I often ask myself is how we can...

Olá a todos! Para os próximos textos, resolvi fazer um apanhado de dicas sobre o uso de histórias em quadrinhos na sala de aula. Sou um grande apreciador da arte sequencial —e colecionador, diga-se de passagem — e, ocasionalmente, utilizo quadrinhos como ferramenta didática. Inclusive, vale a pena mencionar que aprendi muito com quadrinhos, um dos meus grandes professores/mentores/Mestre Jedi comumente usava algumas edições de minha coleção como forma de incentivo à aprendizagem em nossas aulas. Embora ainda sejam vistos com olhos preconceituosos por muitas pessoas, os quadrinhos vêm...

Hello again! In the past few months I’ve talked about ways to make what we do in the classroom more relevant to our learners’ lives, particularly with regard to the inclusion of digital media.  This month I’d like to give an idea for how to change a typical English language writing task into a task that relates more to real life writing. Let’s take this task as our starting point. Write a paragraph describing your home.  If we look at a model that we could ask students to read to begin, it...

Cecilia Lemos’s today’s post about the importance of intelligibility when teaching pronunciation made me think it is time I went beyond my two previous posts – where I talked about investigating Brazilian learners’ specific pronunciation needs and tackling their intelligibility problems – and move on to something more specific and practical. What do we know about what makes Brazilians more or less intelligible when communicating in an international context – i.e., using English as a lingua franca? According to a small-scale investigation I conducted (da Silva, 1999) using Jenkins’s common core...

I picked this title from Goodreads' weird book titles. By the way, the title above is from a book by English author and academic Malcom Bradbury (1932-2000), whom I have never read and whose book I am now curious about. The reason why I  picked a random title for my post was because I wanted to  illustrate it with a simple task that fosters collaborative creative writing. I like creative writing tasks because they follow a very important principle that allows language to emerge in a real communicative...

Here's a second seasonal lesson idea.  This time based on Carnival.  In Brazil the holidays have just come to an end, and in my adopted hometown of Cádiz we're only half way through! I first used this lesson idea with a large class of mixed-level high school students but it can work with a number of different ages and abilities.  Most of the input comes from the students and it requires zero preparation (unless of course you want to kick off with an image of carnival as I've done...