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...