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 [...]

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics #3 – Headline vs Critical Thinking Rock

'We suggest that schools offer media literacy classes that teach students the difference between evidence and opinion, and how to evaluate the legitimacy of sources.' Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt echoed my thoughts exactly in their great book 'The Coddling of the American Mind' (2018, p.248) - one of my favourites from the lockdown. "High [...]

3 Rocks of Critical Thinking: Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories. Media Literacy III.

What is the purpose of education? Hannah Holborn Gray, the president of the University of Chicago from 1978 to 1993, once said that "Education should not be intended to make people comfortable; it is meant to make them think." Winston Churchill expressed a similar sentiment decades earlier: “True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation [...]

‘Running into Trouble’ Lesson Plan: QuaRUNtine Lockdown

*Thanks to my life-long friend Aaron Lansberry for the drawing, done after I'd told him the story (note Colosseum in background). England Golf Coach of the Year, March 2019; working on his cartoon drawing in lockdown in the UK, March 2020.  Not teaching at the time, but Sunday morning served me up a number of [...]

Balcony Karaoke Lesson Plan: QuaranTUNE

I believe in bringing real life into English lessons, and English lessons into real life. They aren't two different worlds; they should feed into each. In any case, music gives life a bit more colour, doesn't it, in or out of lockdown? Other lockdown-inspired lesson plans for online teaching: Coronavirus mythbusting Woop, Woop the QuaranTEEN [...]

Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialised World (Part II)

To roll right on from Part I, here are some more insights from David Epstein's outstanding book Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World: The Trouble with Too Much Grit You're Not a Tree: Move Own Choices --> Ownership --> Intrinsic Motivation Flirt with Your Possible Selves Fooled by Expertise Teaching as Perspective Farming [...]

Love, Learning and the Dark Side of the Subjunctive. Budapest 2018.

I'll echo my words at the start of last year's IH Budapest Conference summary, because they still ring true: With a mind open to learning as much as possible during a conference weekend trip (before, during and after!), the hours of the conference itself are just one opportunity. Lessons are learned on life, another country, others, [...]

Super Bowl Lesson Plan

It's great to be able to link English lessons to a real-life cultural phenomenon, and there are few bigger in the USA than Super Bowl Sunday. Here's a lesson plan inspired by English Teaching Forum (Vol.48 No.4) magazine's suggestions back in 2010, but with a final activity focused on Sunday 4th February 2018's Super Bowl [...]

Creative ELT Uses of Simple Tech (webinar, 30th June 2017)

Below are my slides and a brief(-ish) write up of what I spoke about at the's International Online Summer School for English Teachers on 30th June. Always pleased to be involved in these webinar events - great way to share ideas and experiences without the added time and expense of travelling to conferences. [...]

Skyteach webinar SATURDAY 18th MARCH

VERY brief post just to nod you towards the SkyTeach webinar next Saturday 18th March. Really getting into the world of webinars - great way to connect to fellow professionals around the world without even leaving your sofa! I'll be presenting on 'Making Writing Real' at 15.35 Moscow time/12.35 GMT, and will be briefly discussing [...]