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When devices are left to their own…devices!

How can technology work in class? Every now and then, I can see articles popping up on the media with huge, eye-catching headlines like “School ditches tablets”. Flashy stories come as no surprise. But what comes as a surprise is educators endorsing them without a second thought, without using their critical thinking skills. Condemning in public technology...

Practical Tips for the Beginning of the New School Year

So here we are again, ready to start a new school year, in volatile times, not aware if we are to continue in our classrooms or whether we will remain at home and teach (and our students and pupils hopefully learn) through various applications online, synchronously or asynchronously, or even if what lies ahead is a combination of contact teaching and of...

It is Yoglish o’clock

Do you remember yourself when in kindergarten?  Do you remember your itchy feet when you were asked to sit still? Human beings start their journey to knowledge through movement and imitation. Moving our body anchors the language and enhances our memory through associations with physical movement. If only we could perceive teaching the English language as...

The Transformative Experience of Stage of B1

The differential factor of B1+ B2 is the word autonomy: The official level descriptor is “upper intermediate”. At this level, students can function independently in a variety of academic and professional environments in English, although with a limited range of nuance and precision. Independence is a massively significant factor and one underlying all...

If I walked into a new class: Tips on unlocking engagement with a new class

When we walk into a new class, we have “absolute musts” in mind. Some of my “absolute musts” is that I inspire trust through personal credibility, that my students get an overview of the academic map of the year, and that I get across as a pleasant professional with expectations of myself and my students.  Formulating a shared class vision is top on my...

Where do we go from here? Is ELT in Greece the only option?

 I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey… I started teaching in a FLS in Keratsini at the age of 21. I stayed at that same school teaching for more than 10 years. I was convinced that ELT was something that happened on the main street of Amfiali, in those 7 classrooms of that school where I had been teaching. In the late 90s I decided to...

The strategies begin with lesson one at the start of the course

Like most teachers, I use the first lesson for a ‘getting to know you’ period to establish a harmonious classroom community.  There are three activities that we do at this time: By Helen Papadopoulou, EFL Teacher 1.  Play 10 questions Before the students enter the classroom, I write five statements on the board about myself.  Two of them are true; the...

How To Deal with Teachers Who Are Reluctant to Training

Dealing with negative teachers in the workplace can be difficult and frustrating. When things become toxic, it's far too easy to get sucked into the negativity. So, what is it to be done? OK, first things first, I think every institution has come across with a reluctant or a negative teacher. You may have teachers who are directly defiant to training and...

Grammar nonsense

Welcome to this teaser of grammar nonsense. It contains three new chapters that are a taste of what we cover in our more extended collection of rants and reflections on how the ELT industry views grammar and how it should be learnt and taught. Grammar nonsense is a collective, industry-wide problem where each individual part of the ‘family’ -education...

Looking for new opportunities through emergency remote learning

  In his 1997 masterpiece Life is Beautiful (La vita è bella) Roberto Benini narrates the story of a father who tries to create a world for his son while being in a Nazi concentration camp. Far-fetched as it may sound, during the pandemic era educators have acted (or at least they should have) like this caring parent in a dystopian environment that has...

The Journey to Professional Agility and Excellence

The journey to teachers’ personal and professional development is nonstop. Most teachers in my circle have been on their toes trying to upgrade their skills toolkit. Setting goals is part of the game and soon one is disillusioned of the initial impression that there is an end to training. Experience speaks loud and clear and reminds us that professional...

Break Time’s Over! Are You Ready for the New School Year?

They say that every profession yields its own merits and concerns. Although some adhere to a strict albeit fixated working schedule, there are others that do not follow suite. It would be inconceivable to even suggest that an educator’s occupation is limited to his presence in class. Hours upon hours of preparation, conducting research, attending...

Good Grief! Yet Another Article on Grammar & Vocabulary?

Grammar and Vocabulary are deemed by many as the cornerstones of language learning. Although this claim does have merit, as these two elements will establish a sound foundation to build upon, both educators and students alike must also acknowledge the fact that there is a broader picture to examine. What about productive skills like writing or speaking...

The personal & professional development journey of a teacher: “the burning desire”

I don’t remember who said that, but I clearly remember having read that one thing successful people need to have, is the knowledge for what they want and the burning desire to possess it. A matter of considerable debate has always been what really makes a good teacher. Some people say the studies, others claim the methodology or the relationship with the...

Entering Kindergarten

In an ordinary year, a child’s entrance into kindergarten is a major milestone for students and their families. The transition can be filled with trepidation, anticipation, eagerness and uncertainty. Some kids enter more prepared than others, with more support and more exposure to formal educational settings. Other children will have experienced nothing...

Teacher Development

Teacher Development: Letting Our Light Shine During my long career in ELT I have attended numerous seminars, conferences, workshops both in Greece and abroad and I still do. As I reflect on all those events, I am so grateful to the amazing teacher leaders I have encountered; their impact on my own practice was immeasurable. I returned to my classroom...

Can you put fun in Grammar Lessons?

  Mention the word “grammar” and students will cringe. In fact, most teachers will cringe, too. Of course, teachers know correct grammar rules, but it’s one thing to know them, and another thing to effectively teach them, and transmit them so that students not only understand the rules, but also apply them correctly. Many experienced teachers say that...

Have More Fun This School Year

  Who has not experienced moments seeing that flash of interest in students’ eyes, smiling as the bell rings because the energy is so high and no one wants the period to end? How do we extend these moments? How do we create an environment that keeps students stimulated and craving more? How do we have more fun? How can we prevent ‘boredom’? What is it that...

Test validity

In very simple terms, validity tells us whether a test works well for the purpose that we will use it for. People often talk about a test being good or bad, or whether it is fit for purpose. In technical language, they’re actually talking about validity. Test developers often claim that their test is valid, or that it’s been validated. But what is actually...

The Grammar Acquisition Process

The whole second language acquisition process is cyclical and it involves six stages. They are: input, noticing, intake, structuring, proceduralization, and output. First of all, in the input stage, it is learners’ new exposure to the second language and therefore, the input should be comprehensible for them in order to learn the language. Input can be...

Transforming Last Year’s Experience into New Year’s Wisdom

The ability for assessing and decision making attested reality of all human-centered professions is their subjectivity to perpetual change. Therefore it is hard to attain perfection in all aspects. The areas, skills and approaches that constitute the teaching practice viable are: Reliable managerial skills Fairness and good judgment The ability to...

Summer All Year Long: Back to school as smoothly as possible

  So, it’s goodbye to August and hello to autumn! September blues! And yet there are no rules or regulations stating is has to be this way, so why do a certain percentage of the population write-off the summer so readily? Who are these people? Trick question? No, not really. Maybe the answer that would spring to most people’s minds is: teachers! After...

Should We Teach Grammar?

 Dr Krashen is one of the world leaders in the fields of bilingual education, neurolinguistics, second language acquisition and literacy. He has authored over 250 articles and books and has received numerous awards.  At one time, it was assumed that the only way of developing grammatical competence in a second language was through direct teaching of...

First Lesson Planning

No matter how many years you have been teaching, September is always a month for reflection. You promise yourself that this year will be different, that you will set new goals, stick to them and be successful. You start planning the first lesson for every single class you have, as in private language schools we have the privilege to teach all ages ranging...