Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.
"When one teaches, two learn"
“I knew that I had a facility with words and a power of facing unpleasant facts, and I felt that this created a sort of private world in which I could get my own back for my failure in everyday life.” ― George Orwell, Why I Write I’ve been blogging about education without much of a break […]
I’m presently enjoying life deep in the highlands of Guatemala. It’s why I haven’t been posting regularly and fanatically. All things at their own time and pace but I’ll be back in the new year – loud, clear, full of posts! I’m taking Spanish and will post many regular entries about my travails. It is […]
I had a hard day at the office. Teachers usually do. So wrote this poem and will share.
I’ve been working on a new post this weekend, a reflection on my own development as a teacher and all the footprints that truly led me to where I am right now. Something for myself but which other teachers might find some truth therein. I’m not even near finished, so many footprints, so many seminal […]
This story comes from my time teaching at Bloor and Bay, 5th floor, N.E tower – Language Connections International. I was teaching new immigrants to Canada part of the day, foreign students the other half. Small classrooms with one wall all windows facing busy Bloor street, downtown Toronto. I was teaching a usual class, reviewing […]
One conclusion I’ve come to after years teaching – testing and assessment are poorly used as a way for students to learn. This is curious and unfortunate because students for the most part DO get motivated and energized through tests and quizzes. The pickle is, the way they are designed doesn’t make the test a […]
Today, went out for a nice bike ride with “my old man”. He’s almost 70 and he kicked my butt! Truly. I’ll admit I’m not in great shape anymore but watching my dad, “power in” the last 20 k of our ride, me lagging behind – gave me pause. The guy just doesn’t age and […]
A Classroom’s Hierarchy Of Needs I just got home after a morning of observing two classrooms. One was wonderful, a place that all students would long to be in. One was dreadful, a place that students would only just barely tolerate and where one student actually said, when asked to make a metaphor using the […]
As a teacher trainer, one of the things I have trainees do many times, is to reflect on themselves, their personal qualities and their accomplishments. Just this little bit of reflection sets a teacher on more solid ground from which to progress. You can do this many ways. Many times, I get teachers to write […]
One thing that has slowly happened to me in my own development as a teacher – I’m now less absolute and sure of myself. Now, that may seem a contradiction and that after 25 years meandering through the fields and mountains of schools, classes, education, I’d have some solid land to sit upon. But I […]
A story. Two teachers visit the principal’s office to get their new class assignment for the school year. The principal assigns them each to a class of new students. Both teachers don’t speak a word of the student’s mother tongue. The students don’t speak even one word of English. The principal explains to the first […]
In the mid to late 90′s I was teaching new immigrants to Canada, downtown Toronto. It was a government program and all new immigrants with lower level language fluency would get paid for up to a year, if they regularly attended language lessons. I’ve written previously about this, here. It was a great time. Friday […]
I had the luck to start teaching English at a school where I basically had free reign to teach as I saw fit. It was just after the fall of communism in the Czech Republic (then still Czechoslovakia), a beautiful spa city, Karlovy Vary. I taught mornings at Zkladni Skola Jana Palocha and then in […]
If you’ve been to any of my training sessions, workshops, presentations – you’ll know I often start with a story They are a perfect way to frame conversation and get us thinking about our teaching. We are hard wired for narrative and I think for both language teaching and teacher professional development, we should be […]
Throughout my teaching career, I’ve often found myself in what I term, “the rut”. Not bored of teaching nor unexcited but rather teaching without any “spice” and just going through the motions. Settled is what I call it. Finding myself feeling like I’ve figured it out and knowing exactly what I’m doing and how to […]
I’ve long been a fan of KT – Kinetic Typography, videos where the text is displayed in a “contextual” and visually appealing fashion. Find Here or many of my favs, all collected for teachers to use. This one is a beautiful example. Made with Adobe Affect Effects, it isn’t for 99% of teachers, even the […]
The other night I watched an interesting news program profiling a doctor who writes out prescriptions for exercise to many of his patients. He writes out what they should do every day and like medicine, expects it to be done and completed just like we should take our medicine until the bottle is empty. I […]
In a few weeks, The Image Conference is being held in Barcelona, Spain. I won’t be able to attend but EnglishCentral will be a sponsor. The future of language learning and teaching is visual, is controlled reality. I got to thinking about all the powerful ways of using images when teaching. I’ll most certainly be […]