If you are suffering from Novemberitis and need a comical interlude or just an idea for a lesson, here's an integrated-skills lesson plan for B2 learners. The topic is embarrassing stories  and students will read about it to get in the topic, listen to a celebrity telling her own stories and talk throughout. The main point here is to get them to speak a lot, of course, but also to learn and practice (both in listening and in speaking) the structure of a personal story. ****************************************** 1. Lead-in 3' (WG*):...

This two-part post is a summary of some of the dilemmas I have faced as an observer since 1994, when I sat in on another teacher's lesson for the first time. My intention is to raise a few (hopefully) relevant questions without necessarily proposing any easy - or complex - answers or solutions. I will use the pronoun you to invite you to either wear your observer's hat or put yourself in an observer's shoes. For the sake of reader-friendliness, I will alternate between he and she when referring...

We all know how overwhelming a lesson (especially the first one) can be. We have all stepped into the students’ shoes, so why don’t we make their, and consequently our lives easier? In order to do so, I always follow some specific steps when planning a lesson, and I will share them with you. To start with, I need to know what the lesson’s objective(s) will be. Here, I use the cliché sentence: “By the end of this lesson students will be better able to …”. At this point, I...

Do you know, or do you remember, what a typical lesson plan template looks like? Let me just remind you just in case. Although plans vary slightly, they are invariably divided up into four or five columns, headed by ´Stage Name´, ´Interaction´, ´Stage Aims´, ´Procedures´ and maybe ´Materials´. What I really want to touch upon in this post is not lesson plans but stage aims, and the importance of having clear stage aims in mind both at the planning stage and at the moment of teaching, and some of...

The discussion revolving around the use of mobile devices in the classroom is still strong. Some teachers have embraced the gadgets, feeling that they are powerful learning tools. Others, due to insecurity or strong beliefs argue that cell phones and tablets are a poor replacement for traditional teaching, just substituting what is already done well without them. For those teachers, the place of mobile devices in the classroom is in silent mode in the backpacks. There are others who say that students will be browsing through their social...

Here's a second seasonal lesson idea.  This time based on Carnival.  In Brazil the holidays have just come to an end, and in my adopted hometown of Cádiz we're only half way through! I first used this lesson idea with a large class of mixed-level high school students but it can work with a number of different ages and abilities.  Most of the input comes from the students and it requires zero preparation (unless of course you want to kick off with an image of carnival as I've done...