"Your English is so beautiful.” – I sometimes hear, and I promise you I have a point in writing this, which is not that I’m a Leo (although I am). In fact, I’ve always been a bit reticent about those compliments about my English language proficiency, especially when they come from laypeople. I mean, we language teachers/researchers study language proficiency to vertiginous depths and still struggle to design a proficiency test and validate it, how can anyone assess another person’s language proficiency, as they often do, at hello? A...

Scarcella and Oxford (1992) mention that ‘a learner will basically need to develop competences in order to become proficient in an L2 – grammatical competence, socialinguistic competence, discourse competence and strategic competence.’ I bet that at the some point of your teaching career you have come across that student who wants to learn only to speak English. Little do they know that there is a lot more to it than meet the eyes. By the same token, some teachers might consider developing Speaking Skills a challenge, especially if they are...

How many of us have heard learners expressing the wish ‘I want to be fluent in English’? But then, what does it mean to be fluent? As the title suggests, I truly believe in walking through life with our ears wide open, and there is one belief that has permeated my teaching over the years: the importance of triggering learners’ curiosity towards language and its genuine use in various contexts. As a learner myself, I have always wondered how to become fluent in another language. Naturally, when I started teaching, I...

Pensar é algo natural para todos nós.  Segundo a Wikipedia, é uma faculdade do nosso sistema mental através da qual modelamos o mundo para nele podermos transitar e agir segundo a nossa vontade. Pensar vem de fábrica, ou seja, é grátis. Por esse motivo, não se aprende a pensar. Se é assim, por quê então ainda vemos tanta gente por aí dizendo que você só será fluente em um idioma quando conseguir pensar nele? O SENSO COMUM Ainda outro dia, estava eu a observar uma professora em uma turma de...

Durante a cerimônia de encerramento dos Jogos Olímpicos do Rio de Janeiro, transmitida ao vivo para o mundo inteiro, o Brasil deu mais uma prova de que o nosso povo é capaz de realizar grandes feitos. O espetáculo estava uma lindeza só e tudo transcorria maravilhosamente bem: apresentações impecáveis dos nossos melhores artistas, espetáculos de luz e som, coreografias de encantar a vista...

Todo estudante de língua estrangeira sonha com o tempo em que estará falando “fluentemente” o idioma escolhido. Dentre os principais mitos citados no artigo 7 conceitos de fluência e o que você deveria saber a respeito dela, um dos mais frequentes é o de que ser fluente significa falar sem pausas. E não é pra menos. UM RÁPIDO TESTE Façamos o seguinte teste: se você fosse professor de idiomas e um aluno, ao final de uma aula, lhe perguntasse de repente “professor, o que posso fazer para melhorar a minha fluência...

Although attempts to define ‘fluency’ and ‘accuracy’ when speaking a foreign language abound in the specialized literature, there still does not seem to exist a consensus regarding a single, ultimate definition of either one of the terms. One of the reasons which could partly explain the lack of common ground among authors is the very subjective nature of the two words in the context of learning/mastering a foreign language. Any given language is a complex structural system whose components include, but are not limited to, rules, vocabulary and pronunciation....

[caption id="attachment_2345" align="aligncenter" width="384"] Amanda, Nicolas, Olivier e Adir[/caption] Hi there and Happy Holidays! I just couldn’t get my head around what I was going to write this month until I witnessed something that brought one word to my mind: determination. As you may know, I don’t teach anymore. Nowadays I write content as a freelancer and I was finally able to launch an online course for Brazilians in June. Well, being my own boss meant I needed to learn how to sell my products online and so I delved into...

At first I had set out to write about my professional journey as a NNEST in the 1980s, so I thought it would be nice to reflect on some of the first course books I used in my first years as a teacher. That was when I decided to ask for some help from the IATEFL members on our Facebook page but the replies I got took me even further into the past, and that made me want to start my story from the very beginning: my life...

The task of teaching a foreign language (therefore, a third language) for the deaf seems to be a question that can be postponed. As we know, many difficulties have already been identified concerning the teaching of first and second languages. Nevertheless, the history of deaf education shows that in sixteenth-century Spain the monk Pedro Ponce de León taught four deaf noble children to speak Greek, Latin and Italian. Therefore, it's not difficult to imagine that this possibility may be repeated more often nowadays. We have more information, technologies and...

Collocation Competence – fluency and accuracy hand in hand There is a number of reasons why a sound knowledge of collocations is desirable, especially for more advanced learners. Hill (2000) relies on collocations to explain that language consists largely of pre-fabricate chunks of lexis. Therefore, not only is the accurate and appropriate use of collocations one distinguishing mark of a native-like command of the language but it is also a reliable measure of the proficiency level of a non-native speaker. To begin with, the way words combine in collocations...

Na semana de 01 a 05 de abril aconteceu na Inglaterra a 48ª Conferência Anual da Associação Internacional de Professores de Inglês como Língua Estrangeira  - IATEFL.  Com tudo o que vimos e ouvimos ainda ecoando, me pergunto o que podemos fazer para ajudar nossos alunos a aprender mais, mais rápido e com mais eficácia. Por exemplo: “Dar o recado”. Como em qualquer evento internacional, usamos uma língua franca para a comunicação entre participantes falantes de diversas línguas. O interessante para nós, profissionais da área, é que estamos...

Three private students of mine recently proclaimed that they believed they had become less fluent since the beginning of our lessons a little over two months ago. They were naturally preoccupied given that they were paying good money to improve their English. Needless to say, I had to put their minds at ease, and it got me thinking. Both of these learners are Brazilian, and I think that their nationality does play a role in what I am about to describe. They were both also very fluent when I...

This is the second of my posts which focus on drawing big conclusions from small details of language use. In the previous one we saw how the minimum of text, when combined with the right kinds of images, can generate a lot of different activities. This time round, we’re going to look at the intense, perhaps disproportionate, public reaction to a speech and a particular phrase used in that speech. The speech in question was given by the Mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella, at the 2020 International Olympic Committee...

Error correction may be extremely strenuous for both learners and teachers if it is not dealt with caution. Some people tend to downgrade it whilst others find it a necessary condition for language acquisition on the grounds that grammatical and lexical competences can increase the rate at which learners develop. Corder (1967) found out that language learners produced errors that were both systematic and creative in nature. He mentions systematic errors (more evident in ESL/EFL learning) and nonsystematic errors (more evident in one’s native language). Attempts are caused by a genuine lack of knowledge. Learners...

I bet you might be trying to make sense of the phonics above. I wonder how you think this might impair one’s understanding. Of the many factors which contribute to how well a person speaks English, pronunciation seems to be really salient. Consequently, I believe that having a sound knowledge of pronunciation is important for a number of reasons. Such knowledge makes you aware of the sounds/features non-existent in L1 – Brazilian Portuguese (BP). Secondly, by dealing appropriately with pronunciation, one can spot their weaknesses and self correct them. Finally, good pronunciation is instrumental in...