EFL 2.0 Teacher Talk

"When one teaches, two learn"

Tag archives for advice

50 Ways Lists

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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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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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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


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 […]

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Blast / List From The Past


I spent a few contemplative hours this morning going through some of my dozens of notebooks of poetry and philosophy/aphorisms, written over the last 30+ years. As I was reading one, I came across this list of points on “How To Learn English”. I remember writing this before my first ever conference presentation, my second […]

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The #1 ….. thing a teacher needs to succeed.

** Not your ordinary, endless list – just what’s number 1.                           The Freedom To Teach There is one thing I always wish for the teachers I’ve trained and taught and shown the door into the big wide world of teaching – the freedom […]

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Sport and Language Learning

I’ve been an athlete most of my life. Also a coach and one who’s thought a lot about how to “develop” one’s talent as an athlete. This has served me well as a language teacher. Becoming proficient or even excelling at a sport bears most of the same developmental patterns that one should step through […]

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My Favorite Graduation Speech

It’s that time of year – graduation! Full of commencement addresses and speeches. I’ve got to give my share and I’m always reminded of this time of year by the traffic level hitting this one post; Graduation Speech. For those who haven’t seen it, I’d like to share one of the finest (and funniest) graduation […]

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Following your nose ….

It’s Sunday a day of repose. Re – Pose.  Re Position. If there is one thing in my life I’ve done well – it is to “dance to the beat of my own drummer” a la Thoreau or that other great quote of Blake’s, “No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own […]

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Having “teacher” Endurance

I get asked a lot, “how do you do so much?”   or am labeled, “the hardest working ELT teacher”.  I’m always somewhat lost as to how to respond. Baffled really. I guess I’m a fish that knows nothing about the water I swim in! You see, I just do.  I don’t think much but rather […]

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How to discern a “fit and fun” classroom

With the events in Egypt unrolling these past days, my mind has been on them and also on the wider question, what makes a “liveable” country? I took down from my bookshelf, a treasured book, Notes from the Rainforest, by Gyorgy Faludy. Gyorgy is/was a mind like no other. He had traveled and lived all […]

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Recognizing a good teacher

I had a number of wonderful emails about my blog post – TEFL “non stick” teaching. So I decided to make the blog post into a presentation. (download here – with music – Being a good teacher) Also see my almost iconic presentation, Effective EFL Teacher for something similar but not so general. This call […]

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TEFL Non – Stick Teaching

I stumbled upon Alex Case’s old blog post, “25 ways to get away with being a crap English teacher”. Insightful list that I could add to. However, I’d rather focus on the positive so I thought I’d address the question posed in one of the comments; How about a list of ’25 ways of being […]

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Manufactured Teachable Moments

Have you ever had a “teachable moment”?  Do you think we can actually make them happen or are they totally arbitrary, unpredictable by nature? First, let me explain by way of a story, what a teachable moment is. When I was first teaching, I taught LINC, language instruction for newcomers to Canada. Basically, adult ESL […]

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Teaching as chopping wood 2

Here is a quick update to a post I really think valuable to teachers – Teaching as Chopping Wood. The update is me chopping wood and really just to get others to read a blog post I am proud of and which I think has some valuable though general advice…….. But teaching is like chopping […]

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High Expectations

This post is really about two things. ONE – to thank Karenne whose post brief post about the video below got my brain flooded with a thousand volts. TWO – to briefly and strongly, suggest an important point about instructing and teaching. First the video. (because who wants second hand news?). Get a worksheet for […]

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Then 10 commandments of bearing and being a social network

I’ve spent A LOT of time on social networks. Probably much more time on forums (which I also consider SNs) than with blogs and the normal SN communities. It isn’t easy to create a successful community that is free and without pretense. And, with doing the time, comes some insider knowledge – some wisdom that […]

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Teacher burnout

One of my goals this summer is to be more personal in my writing/blogging. I know I am guilty of sharing precious little about myself. I pontificate, philosophize, condemn, encourage but in that, I share little of “who I am”. I don’t want to be that kind of writer, blogger or secret sharer. So here […]

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The #1 …. (piece of advice to teachers)

** Not your ordinary, endless list – just what’s number 1. You are replaceable!!!! Yes, that’s it in a nutshell. It is a HARD thing to learn, however simple and comprehensible on the surface. I’ve worked and given my best in a lot of jobs. But make no mistake, I learned the hard way – […]

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“Sowers of Seeds” – a spring message

Spring is here in this part of the world. Hope rings eternal. I call it “the filling”. The world replenishes itself and begins the cycle of rebirth.  In a very significant way – teaching is this same “planting of seeds” and nurturing of the gift of life. Whenever I’m in need of a metaphor for […]

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