My dear, If I could offer you any advice for your newly started career, I would tell you to be curious. More impressive and complex advice will be dispensed to you but I truly believe that curiosity embraces it all. First and foremost, be curious about your students. Get to know who they are, where they come from, why they need to study English and the reservations they might still cling to. Their beliefs are as powerful as yours. Ask them about their past, their present and their future;...

I don’t think I have ever taught or observed an advanced lesson that went seriously wrong. I mean cringe-worthy wrong. Which shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, advanced students have been in the game long enough and know enough English to ensure that most of our lessons run - at worst - relatively smoothly. Except perhaps for those all-too-familiar “How do you say X?” questions (X = a word YOU don't know), which they seem to pluck out of nowhere, at the worst possible moments. Yes, the ones that...

The globalized world in the twenty-first-century has brought the English language to the status of lingua franca as countries worldwide use it as the main means of communication for social, economic, and educational purposes. For that reason, the learning of English as a foreign language (EFL) has become a growing issue and a variety of models have been developed to meet the needs of EFL teachers. Because language instruction is consequently delivered in all sorts of socio-cultural settings, EFL professionals are challenged to take an active role in...

They say that we get more conservative as we get older, that we lose our youthful idealism and replace it with mature resignation, that we become cynical, and that we are less willing to break the rules and become more prone to following a set of rigid routines. However, I don't think this is necessarily the case for those of us in the teaching profession. Nor should it be, in my opinion. In fact, in my experience, a large part of our teaching lives will be spent unlearning what...

Hello and welcome to March! In 2009 I read an article in Wired magazine that reported on the Stanford Study of Writing and I was very struck by this quote from the leader of the study, Dr Andrea Lunsford, who said, “I think we’re in the midst of a literacy revolution the likes of which we haven’t seen since Greek civilization.” (Lunsford, 2009 in Thomson) This impressed me as a very strong statement, so I looked a little closer at the study. Basically, the team at Stanford followed 190 students for...

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500"] @rosaurochoa in Flickr[/caption]   So many times I´ve heard teachers saying that Twitter is not for them,  they don´t get it,  it is a waste of time. Before you make up your mind, just give it a try. Start using it in very simple ways. My first suggestion is searching for resources educators are already sharing in their timelines. In my case, for example, I´m interested in the use of mobile devices in the classroom, so I´ll look up "mlearning", using the Twitter search feature. Give it a try....

Following up on last month’s post, I’d like to dedicate this month’s installment to discussing the following question: What does it mean to know a language? Or, more to the point, what does it mean for a teacher of English to know the language? Without getting very technical and/or long-winded, it is my opinion that a teacher of English as a foreign or second language must be able to get their messages across –speaking or writing– with no (or very little) difficulty, being able to employ the most effective words,...

Ok, so you need to read the text and answer the questions. These questions here. You need to answer these questions…Do you need to answer the questions? Simple. (Black Dyke Mills 2 by Tim Green CC-BY-2.0) This is something I recently heard a teacher on a pre-service training course say to a group of (mildly bewildered) students. Interestingly enough, the same teacher commented in the feedback discussion later that he felt like he was patronising students asking this question, but that he knew he ‘had to ask an ICQ’ (Instruction Check...

I really thought that after 31 years teaching and 24 managing a school, no beginning of a new academic term would frighten a person anymore… I was wrong! I have decided to re-read Professor Celso Antunes’ book, “Professores e Professauros” and this made me think about all that we do when we teach… I would like to apologise for the play with words, but I came up with a session for teachers I decided to call : Abreast… or a beast? This title was to represent our continuous struggle to...

It’s great to be blogging here – hello! What I’m going to talk about each month are some of the questions that interest me and that I’m reading and talking about with my fellow teachers and teacher trainees.  This month I want to consider what we do in the classroom and its connection and relevance to learners and their ‘real lives’. In 2007 (which is about a million years ago in Internet years!), Dr Mike Wesch and his students at Kansas State University conducted a piece of research entitled ‘What’s...