Summer Slide? Climb Back Up!

Start with Why If we take the analogy of the brain as a muscle, it's no wonder that a period of inactivity will leave it weakened and rusty. After six weeks away, I went back to the gym last week and did some squats; safe to say that for days afterwards, I wouldn't have even [...]

‘Becoming Supernatural’ by Joe Dispenza

Gaining knowledge is good; using it where it matters is even better. I try to filter anything I read into everyday life and share what's really making a difference to me with those I work with as a teacher and teacher trainer. Teaching and learning are, after all, human events, and should be treated as [...]

Expecting Rain? Teaching Pragmatics

I'll start with a true story. Lesson ideas follow. It was a bright, crisp morning in Rome in early February 2020, back when the coronavirus existed only on the news in a faraway place. There wasn't a cloud in the sky; the beautiful blue spectrum that inches from turquoise on the edge to deep blue [...]

Pinker, Grammar and Free Will: Just How the Cookie Crumbles?

That's just how the cookie crumbles. Or is it? Grammar without meaning has no flavour whatsoever. With two Steven Pinker summer reads tucked in my back pockets, using grammar as a vehicle to explore deeper meaning is a renewed imperative, as both a teacher and a teacher trainer, as the academic year comes into view [...]

Teaching Online: Backwards or Forwards? (Podcast)

Quarantines are finishing and physical classrooms are opening up again. As an industry, we can't stay where we are. So where to from here, dear colleagues? Exciting times for teaching if we can grab this opportunity with both hands... Please feel free to comment or get in touch with your experience and ideas.  

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 [...]