I’ll admit to having mixed feelings about this, but I’ve reached that age when I’ve turned into a kind of Agony Aunt to my younger colleagues and friends. The 20-somethings come to me with their career choices and, boy, do they ask difficult questions! Their fork in the road often goes along the lines of, “Should I do a CAE or a CELTA?”, “Should I go to college or work on my language?”, or “What do teachers need more (urgently): language or methodology?” You’ve probably seen these questions before,...

One of the pleasures of teaching private students is helping them negotiate the mindfield of school exams. I was doing so with one fourteen year old last week. Part of the language she had to revise were the first and second conditionals. Learners in my experience find these structures grammatically challenging, which they are, due to the amount of gramatical processing involved. However, in my opinion they shouldn't find the meaning as difficult to grasp as it is similar to Portuguese. But some do, and I put this down...