EFL 2.0 Teacher Talk

"When one teaches, two learn"


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.

Homepage: http://eflclassroom.ning.com

“Functional” Videos


Language functions are a great way to focus student learning on communication. Showing students and having students study examples of language in use, language used to actually do and accomplish and communicate is a great methodology. EnglishCentral now has many videos focused on all the important language functions. Greetings, talking about family, apologizing, using the […]

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Teaching English Magazine


For those who don’t know yet or haven’t stumbled upon it – I’ve been curating a cool magazine that is available free to all. I spend a lot of time reading and this magazine shares only the best articles about the teaching profession. It’s a great PD primer. A great weekend way to browse and […]

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Teachers Pay Teachers Pay Teachers


Every week or month brings another announcement within the educational tech space of a new player in the “Teacher marketplace” place. I remember back in the early years online, before all the social media, Web 2.0 craze. It was natural and easy for teachers to share resources and help each other. In my own school […]

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Colorizing History. Technological Dilemmas.


Technology is allowing teachers to not just tear down the walls that surround their classroom, it also is allowing improved ways to present content. For the language classroom, images are an essential tool to generate conversation, contextualize vocabulary and build critical thinking skills. I’ve always cheerled my own powerpoint of “Best/Iconic photos of all time” […]

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50 Ways Lists

50blue1 (1)

The “50″ lists created over the last year have been a huge hit with teachers. So happy to know that these simple ideas are being used in classrooms everywhere. That’s what web 2.0 is all about. I thought it would be great to list them all in one handy place!  Just like our #1 in […]

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Educational Philosophy – a dialogue between Plato, Dewey and Marx


{this is part of the “Captive Mind” series of blog posts – publishing online and decommercializing thought.] This piece of reflection was inspired by a former professor of mine – Dr. Gerald Gutek, professor of education, Loyola University and author of many books on educational philosophy ( I highly recommend his A History of Western […]

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Why Do I Blog?

“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 […]

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True False Cognates

false cognate

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 […]

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A hard day at the office ….


I had a hard day at the office. Teachers usually do. So wrote this poem and will share.

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Stories from the trenches: The Creative Teacher

Rose Avenue Grade 4

Over the years, spending time with thousands of new or budding teachers – I’ve thought and thought and thought about the major factors that make a “great teacher”.   It’s not an easy thing to pin down, given that there are so many different teaching environments, so many different students and subjects.  However, this story […]

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Not just playing a part


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 […]

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Stories from the trenches 4


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 […]

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Standardized Learning


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 […]

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Keeping going …..


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 […]

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A Hierarchy of Classroom Needs


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 […]

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Sharing Yourself (Online)

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 […]

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Educational Absolutism


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 […]

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Back To School: The art of possibility


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 […]

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Stories From The Trenches 3


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 […]

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Stories From The Trenches 2

jana palacha

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 […]

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