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...

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...

Besides being an English teacher, I’ve been an e-moderator for a while now. And one of the first things I learned when I started studying to become one were the concepts of weaving and summarizing. As an e-moderator, I have to populate forums – I have to create several different forum threads where the course participants will have a discussion about a specific topic. Also, I have to moderate the discussion – I have to make sure all course participants are able to learn together and make the most...

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....

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...

  Recently I watched an inspiring interview with  entrepreneur Pam Slim at The Good Life Project site. In fact, if you want to pick incredible people´s brains about topics ranging from design to entrepreneurship, that´s exactly where you should land. At the end of her interview, Pam Slim mentioned that, for her, to live a good life was to live it full color and full contact. If we consider the beginning of the year for many educators around the globe at this time of the year, that´s maybe the wisest...