Accountability: the teacher and the learner

On my last post, I suggested that the best way to focus on students’ learning is by focusing on teaching. The rationale behind this is that we can’t control someone else’s actions or thoughts, but we can control our own. This means that if we pay attention to what we can actually do in order…

Do conversation-driven lessons make any sense? (Part 2)

Language is quite a complex system – one which we try to organise according rules and norms. One of the common ways for us to think about such organisation is prescriptively, the way many of us were taught a second or a foreign language. If we look at what David Crystal says about prescriptivism, we…

Do conversation-driven lessons make any sense?

The short answer to this question is a resounding ‘yes’, and I could base my answer on experience – mine and also the one’s from lots of colleagues. However, we should all be wary of such things as “it’s worked with all my groups,” or the converse “it didn’t work with any of my groups.”…

Translating machines and (Language) Teaching

On January 5, 2013, the magazine The Economist published an article on simultaneous translation by computers and one of the first questions it asks readers is How long, then, before automatic simultaneous translation becomes the norm, and all those tedious language lessons at school are declared redundant? The very first thing that sprung to mind…

Recycling and autonomy

Autonomy has become a trending topic in the world of education. To be honest, the way I hear some people talking about it makes me wonder whether this hasn’t always been the case, really. “Oh, I know it! How about trying to make ourselves, teachers, less needed as students progress in their education?” I mean,…

Purposeful communication

Language teachers are constantly on the lookout for mistakes that may or may not impede communication. Nowadays, it’s common for us to read and hear that what matters most is communication, and that learners of a foreign language should not strive for perfection or flawless language production. What, however, is communication? And does this work…

Surviving a last-minute substitution class

I’m pretty sure you are acquainted with this situation: It’s five minutes before lessons start and suddenly you receive a phone call – the dreaded phone call from a teacher saying that he or she won’t be able to get to school on time, or that something unforeseen has come up and they won’t be…

A class, two chats, and an interview

Honestly, I hadn’t really planned to write a follow up to my previous post. However, things just seem to happen in a certain way and you have to do your best to adapt and make use of them to your advantage. I’m a strong proponent of meaningful and interesting conversation used to promote professional development….

Some thoughts on my blog as a word cloud

Coming back to the blogosphere after a rough beginning of year has been, well, tough! To be honest, ever since I joined the cause I knew it would be pretty much impossible for me to read every single post with all the care and attention they truly deserve, and despite all the learning that the…

Same level, same coursebook… same planning???

I do believe DoS and coordinators have the best of intentions when they assign groups of the same level to teachers. After all, if you’re teaching the same level twice, and if both classes are using the same coursebook, this will definitely mean a lot less work for you as a teacher when it comes…