Online Teaching: New Road or Temporary De-tour?

100% online learning enforced by global coronavirus quarantines = Overdue reform for both teaching and, by extension, teacher training. With some sizeable asterisks, but the rewards far outweigh the risks for me on this one. The fear drowned out the potential at the start. There was no monster under the bed, after all. So here [...]

Visualisation #3. Yusuf’s Perspective.

"If you focus your attention on specific imagery in your mind and become very present with a sequence of repeated thoughts and feelings, your brain and body will not know the difference between what is occurring in the outer world and what is happening in your inner world. So when you’re fully engaged and focused, [...]

Visualisation #2. Language Learning.

As stated in Visualisation #1, visualisation is no magic wand replacement for the fundamentals of skill development (language teaching and learning are both complex skills): clear goal-setting; motivation; consistent and graded training for gradual improvement; a mindful and honest connection between educator and learner. Nothing of real worth comes free and nor should it. But [...]

Visualisation #1. Start with WHY.

Some thoughts, two pinch-point moments in scenes from my own life to illustrate the need, then reasons why visualisation is backed by scientific evidence... (Thanks to my friend and former colleage Alister McCarty at Al's Action English for setting me off down this rabbit hole a couple of weeks ago...) How many moments have you [...]

The ‘Learning Styles’ Myth: Don’t Spread Fake News

Don't put anyone in a box if you don't want to stunt their growth. Are you interested in progress in education? Are you interested in helping teachers and students develop as quickly and deeply as possible? Me too. Then the latest scientific and psychological studies need to filter down to our teachers in courses like [...]

‘Education’ in Island by Aldous Huxley. Part II.

Practise what you preach! I would feel like a fraud telling my students to read as much as possible, for example, if I didn't take my own advice.  'Island' by Aldous Huxley: the story of a shipwrecked journalist's discoveries on the utopian civilisation of Pala governed by reason, mindfulness and community. Published back in 1962, [...]

‘Education’ in Island by Aldous Huxley. Part I.

Practise what you preach! I would feel like a fraud telling my students to read as much as possible, for example, if I didn't take my own advice.  'Island' by Aldous Huxley: the story of a shipwrecked journalist's discoveries on the utopian civilisation of Pala governed by reason, mindfulness and community. Published back in 1962, [...]

PET Writing Part 1 (2020)? Trump This!

In the land of standardised exams, the marking criteria is King. A few points, then a lesson idea. Disclaimer: exam preparation lessons are not my favourites, but they are a necessary evil as long as academic institutions and employers want to see objective 'proof' of language level via a certificate. Proof of what? Proof that [...]

Don’t Ass-u-me: The Conjunction Fallacy Lesson Plan

In the war of fake news and manipulation, YOU are the battlefield. So don't just sit there as cannon fodder. Mentally arm yourself with critical thinking skills and think like a fact-checker. If you're a regular on this blog, I won't need to emphasise once again how important it is, in my opinion, that educators [...]

The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway.

I recommend that my students read as much as possible. I try to set a good example. 'Notes From Underground' by Dostoevsky. 'The Gulag Archipelago' by Solzhenitsyn. 'The Road to Wigan Pier' by Orwell. Just a few of the great books I've read in the last year thanks to Jordan B Peterson's recommendations. His own [...]