Visual impairment and using the pron chart

Here it is 🙂 The humbling experience I had just as I started this lovely journey of further developing as an ELT teacher.
On my first month at Oxford House, I was assigned a C1 group that turned out to be quite special. Thanks to Adrian Underhill’s support, this is a true story of which I am so proud of.

Adrian’s Pron Chart Blog

To followers of this blog: A true story to start the year!!!la foto 1 Blog

Here is a very special post which tells a story. It takes place when Laila starts teaching her new class in September, following our July Pronunciation and Storytelling programme at Bell, Cambridge, in July.

I find it touching, which maybe a hallmark of a transformational human event. There is a quality here which you can feel, and is without words, and is a simple and fully human quality which we all recognise, and which we aspire to our teaching. Focus not on what I write, but on the experience of Laila the teacher, and Carme the learner, through the words of Laila and the pictures, and at the end through the words of Carme.

4 Sep 2014, Laila Khairat Gomez wrote: I have a new C1 class of 6 students who are really nice. My biggest challenge is…

View original post 2,146 more words

Arguing…Who doesn’t?

This turned out to be a great topic for an upper-intermediate adult class 🙂 : Men vs women stereotypical behaviour when arguing.

Flickr Photo by Niko Kahkonen under CC BY NC-SA- 2.0

Flickr Photo by Niko Kahkonen under CC BY NC-SA- 2.0

Outline of the lesson:

Lead in

  • Describe a scenario to the Ss where a couple (man and a woman) are having an argument, for example at a restaurant, at a bus stop, in the supermarket, etc.
  • Ask Ss to discuss in pairs: Stereotypically, how are they behaving differently?
  • Open class feedback


  • Provide your students with a vocabulary list on behavioural tendencies which they must categorise in a Venn diagram, whether it is more likely of a man, a woman or both.  Examples : withdraw, beat around the bush, be straightforward, cry, raise the tone of voice, be sarcastic, roll your eyes, etc.
  • Work on the vocabulary with the Ss – meaning and pronunciation – and have them work in small groups to contrast their opinions. This is more interesting if you can mix men and women within the same group.
  • Open class feedback


  • Ss will watch the following video : Weird things all couples fight about.
  • Before they do so, ask them to predict what they arguments will be about. Let them know they are everyday minor arguments a couple would have.
  • Play the video. Ss check for their predictions.
  • If want and have time, play it twice, the second time with the captions so that they can focus on language for further work on colloquial speech.

Role play

  • Ideally, pair up male and female students and ask them to switch roles for the task. (The man should play the woman and viceversa)
  • Give them time to prepare a 30 second role play of an argument similar to the ones in the video. Ask them to try and include as much stereotypical behaviour as possible.
  • Each pair will perform in front of the whole class. After each performance, the audience must:

(a) Describe what the argument was about

(b) Point out any stereotypical behaviour

(c) Rate the performance from 1-10 based on: creativity and humour, language use and dramatisation skills.

Could you whisper that again, please?

Photo from Flickr by Ricky Thakrar under CC BY -NC-ND 2.0

Photo from Flickr by Ricky Thakrar under CC BY -NC-ND 2.0

Here is an exciting and dynamic game I used in class the other day to review vocabulary. It is similar to the Chinese Whispers classic but with a competitive twist to it. 🙂


– Divide your students into two teams and your board into two halves. The teams will line up facing the board perpendicularly.

– Shout out a vocabulary topic you’d like to review.

– Starting from the last student in line, they will whisper a word along the team members and the first student in line will write it on the board. Once he/she has finished writing it, they must move to the end of the line and keep it going to write as many words as possible.

– If a member of the group considers there is a spelling error, they are allowed to correct it when it’s their turn to be at the board.

– To increase the excitement, after a couple of minutes, change the vocabulary topic. 🙂


– This game could also be used as a warm up task to brainstorm vocabulary on a topic that is about to be covered.

Pronunciation focus: Ask students to come up with vocabulary that includes certain phonemes.

Grammar focus: Shout out a prepositions and students will write down matching verbs. HAVE FUN 🙂

Blind dates

I found a lovely video that I used with a Pre-Intermediate class on blind dates and I couldn’t help sharing it. 🙂

Outline of the lesson:

  • Use the video as a lead in. Stop it at various points and ask students what they think will happen next.
  • Elicit the context (a blind date) and provide them with some discussion questions related to what happened in the video.
  • What does he/she look like? vs. What is he/she like? Teach descriptive adjectives for physical appearance and character/personality.
  • Provide students with some dating profiles. In pairs they can focus on the language style and the vocabulary and discuss which personal qualities would be more valuable or important to them.
  • Using those same dating profiles or asking students to write their own profile on a post it note ( it could be about a person they know) ask them to mingle, ask questions and try to find the perfect match.
  • Finally, give them some general questions about blind dates (personal experiences, what could go wrong?, advice on good spots for a blind date in their city, who should pay? etc)

<p><a href=”″>Blind Date</a> from <a href=”″>Hallie Wilson</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

So much more than a Teacher Development course

Wow! 3 months! Really? I haven’t written for that long?  Well, today seems to be the perfect day to reflect on how much I’ve experienced, learned and grown since then. 🙂 The first 15 days of July, at Bell Teacher Campus (Cambridge), I was one of the six lucky people to be part of the From Sounds to Storytelling course by Adrian Underhill. One of the things we discussed as a group is how the title makes no justice to the real experience of this course. Yes, we did study the phonemic chart, progressively working with individual sounds, words and connected speech as well as using all that knowledge to work on our storytelling skills, but in fact that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Pronunciation Police Coffe Corner

“Pronunciation Police Coffe Corner” at Homerton College

Here is a list of all that went on:) :  

  • A pleasant and highly motivating atmosphere in the classroom from day 1 and tons of wonderful moments when the room was filled with laughter.
  • The phonemic chart: countless tips, ideas and discussions related to our own pronunciation difficulties, our students’ most common mistakes, discovering the logical and physical sense of the chart and how to introduce it and use it in our lessons.
  • Adrian’s natural way of finding the balance between group work and 1:1 work without every loosing our attention as learners.
  • All the great games, activities and chats were we had the opportunity to loosen up and connect as a group. Strong bonds and friendships remain 🙂
  • All the poems and stories we had the chance to listen to and work with.
  • I never had the sense of rushing. Everything went so smoothly.
  • Lots of scaffolding and coaching to build our knowledge and confidence working on all the different elements that must be taken into account when performing/telling a story.
  • Discussions on ELT matters and our own experiences.
  • Live, first hand demonstrations of Demand High techniques.
  • Workshops and plenaries on various topics.
  • Reflecting on our teaching and learning style(s).
  • Other socially-enaging activities organised by Bell Teacher Campus.
A well rounded conversation :)

A well rounded conversation 🙂

What might you do differently?????

This course and this question in particularly, have made this experience a turning point in my teaching career. Whenever we openly discussed teaching methodology and techniques, Adrian would ask this question, and it still swirls in my phonological loop with his own personal voice 🙂 There are various things I have tried to keep in mind since then whenever I am in a classroom or planning a lesson. Many of them were pointed out to us (the trainees) to analyse and reflect as teachers. Others are those personal and unique traits of a teacher in particular which I had the luxury to observe for two whole weeks in full action. They are:

  • Mistakes are the syllabus : This one definitely flips what most teachers do, including me (until now 🙂 ). Building up from students’ previous knowledge as a starting point is good but not enough. Mistakes gives us so much information as teachers and most of the time we focus on correcting them rather than working with them.
  • Time is precious – hand it to your students: Yes we plan but like Adrian explained we mustn’t stick to it if something better and more meaningful in taking place in the classroom.
  • Teach less – Guide more : Many ELT methodology books look into the facilitator role of a teacher and I can now say I have seen it live and rollin’. There is a great deal that students already know, kind of know, can be intuitive about and are definitely capable of achieving without the teacher providing the direct answer, correction or alternative. This also has a lot to do with the element of time. Teachers sometimes feel like they have to jump in and save the student from “drowning” in a pool of confusion but in fact all they need better equipment, that is their own resources and awareness to help them dive in and explore consciously.  Ask yourself  “How helpful is my help?”
  • Manage the energy in the room: Like I’ve said before, we did loads of different things and I never had the sense of rushing. The teacher is responsible for this one and I think it is a skill worth developing. Projecting calmness, genuine interest and openness as well as deciding what, how, when and why to reach of the objectives we have planned in a realistic and smooth manner makes a great difference.
  • Listen, don’t just hear: This is a good one for life itself. We tend to be thinking about other things while someone is talking to us. Be mindful 🙂 Listen. Really listen and see what happens. 
  • Brainstorming, discussion, reflection and cooperation

  As you can see… it was much more than just another developing course 🙂

Than u Adrian :)

Thank u Adrian 🙂

Liebster Award nominee :)

This weekend couldn’t have started any better 🙂 An emotional last day for students and as I got home, ready to write a new post about my upcoming plans, I read a message that said  “I recently discovered your blog and nominated you for The Liebster Award” 🙂 🙂 🙂  Honestly, I couldn’t believe it. It seemed to good to be true considering my blog is two months old and has only 11 posts so far. I had to rub my eyes and read it several times 🙂

Thank you Ms. L-P. I am really flattered. Nice blog by the way ( : ELT + Yummy things. It can’t get better than that 🙂


Official rules for the Liebster award:
  1. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  2. Answer the questions designated by the blogger(s) who nominated you.
  3. Place YOUR nominations for the Liebster Award! Nominate five (or more) other bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Make sure to notify them via comment/email, etc.
  4. Make up a set of questions for those nominated bloggers to answer.
  5. Display the Liebster award badge on your blog!

Here I go …..

11 Random facts about me: 

1. I’m an early bird.

2. I have recently started running… and hurt my knee already 😦

3. I’ve got the travelling bug. Can’t go too long without catching a plane.

4. Can’t say no to Lindt chocolates.

5. I like making presents rather than buying them.

6. Drama and comedy are my favourites.

7. I’m not so good at remembering things in the long term… oops!

8. I hate being late. I was 20 mins late on my first day as a teacher because of the train. It was so embarrassing 😦

9. I love languages but I don’t really like grammar…

10. I’m a dog lover. Don’t really know how I went about without a dog for so many years 🙂 They are the best companions!

11. Starting this blog has been wonderful. I’ve connected with professionals from all over the globe. Love it!

My answers to Ms L-P’s questions: 

1. If you could travel back in time, what time period would you go to?

1920s  To take part in fighting for the women’s suffrage. Plus, the music was great at that time!

2. If you had to change professions for some reason, what other profession would you choose?

I would like to be a language interpreter for social services, including sign language which I would have to learn 🙂

3. Which of your blog posts are you most proud of?

My BE DARING !!! Vicky Loras’ advice on CPD .  I watched a webinar by Vicky Loras on CPD as part of my webinar watching marathon and wrote a reaction post to it. The feedback was incredibly positive. Vicky Loras herself really liked it so she contacted me via social media and even reblogged it 🙂  I also like it because I share a lot about my teaching journey.

4. If you could take over Aren Duncan’s for a day, what policy changes would you put in place?

Ufff… There’s so much to do, but to start with, I would carry out the necessary reforms so that the Educational curricula would be developed by educators, teachers and pedagogical experts. I would also like to abolish Standardise Tests.

5. Describe a time you messed up, but learned a valuable lesson.

During my CELTA, on a Teaching Practice session students where meant to do a role play. The lesson had gone well so far but when it came to giving them the instructions for the role play I just kept complicating it more and more. The anxiety of being evaluated made me really nervous and it kept getting worse and worse. The students were quite reluctant to the task and they wouldn’t stand up. In the end, by the time I got around it they had very little time left for the role play, which also took away time for delayed feedback.

I felt like it had been such a disaster but actually after the feedback with the tutor and my colleagues, it turned out that they didn’t see it as horribly as I did  and we ended up having a great discussion on students reluctancy to participate, how to deal with it and how to prepare better for delivering instructions.

From this I learnt:

1. Don’t be so hard on  yourself, specially if  you are in the middle of a learning process

2. Mistakes are the best teachers for you and for others.

3. Sometimes you’ve got to go wrong to identify what’s right.

6. What is one book or movie that you think more people should read/watch?

Shifting Sands: A guidebook for Crossing the Deserts of Change  by Steve Donahue

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 8.43.11 AM


Once in a while I read it again. It makes you ask yourself wether you are a “mountain climber” as most western societies, focusing on the final goal or a “dessert crosser”  someone who experiences every step of the journey and focuses on the present. This book influenced me as a teacher, reminding me to focus on the process as much as the results and enjoy it while I’m at it.




7. What is something you hope will be true about your life 10 years from now?

Next September I will be taking a detour on my career and step out of my comfort zone to try the TEFL traveler experience for a few years so I hope that in ten years time I will have fulfilled that dream.


My nominees 

Laura Edwards: Grown Up English

Angelos Bollas : Narratives of a TEFLer

Eva M. Gutierrez : ELT Stuff 

David Mainwood : The EFL SMARTblog

Hana Tichá: How I see it now


My questions for the nominees:

1. What can’t you go about without in a classroom?

2. What’s your favourite season of the year and why?

3. They say cooking can be therapeutic. How do you unwind?

4. Share a positive experience you had with a student.

5. Find a qoute that reflects your teaching.

6. Cats or dogs?

7. What age range do you prefer teaching?

8. Describe a funny classroom moment.




The gift of being a misfit

Today I have time travelled. 

Reading Chia Sua Chong’s post A rose by any other name has taken me back to my personal experiences in the United Arab Emirates. It has also been an inspiration to achieve my third goal for Shelly Sanchez’s 30 Goals Challenge : Tell your Story 🙂 Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 1.33.52 PM

 image from Flickr by John ‘K’ under CC BY NC-ND 2.0

The first time my family and I moved to Abu Dhabi I was 6 years old, entering 1st of Primary Ed. On the first day of school I had this conversation with several of my classmates:

X: Hi! What’s your name?
Me: Laila Khairat Gómez
(dad and mom’s surname as is done in Spain)
X: Where are you from?
Me: Spain
X: But your name is arabic.
Me: Well, my dad is from Egypt and my mom is from Spain.
X: So you are Egyptian 
Me: ………
X: Is your father a muslim?
Me: Yes
X: So you are Egyptian and a muslim

Even at such a young age all these questions and explicit deductions of whom I was or had to be felt wrong. I was looking forward to a new school, new classmates and new friends. I assumed I would be playing around during break time as I had always done but instead I got interrogated again and again and by the time the bell rang I hadn’t smiled once.

Soon I learnt that in Abu Dhabi, you could belong to one of three existing social groups:

a) natives from arab speaking countries; they shared the language, cultural customs and religious beliefs

b) foreigners; both parents had to be from the western part of the world with a western mentality and lifestyle

c) the in-betweens or misfits; everyone else (including me, my sisters and all the Indians, Pakistanis, Turkish, Indonesians, Ethiopians, etc. )

There wasn’t really much choice. 

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 2.14.39 PM

image from Flickr by Tess under CC BY 2.O

Why would 6 year olds care about such things? Didn’t they prefer exchanging glittery stickers or playing hide and seek? Well, yes they did, but first the boundaries had to be set and nothing or no one even slightly different had to be allowed in.

I empathise with Chia Sua because as a result of this, happening year after year, at about the age of 10 I decided to do something about it. From then on, my name was Laila Gómez, and I was from Spain. I knew I still wouldn’t be part of the “foreigners” but I sure didn’t want to be part of the “native arabs” because they were imposing on me a language, a religion, a dress code and a cultural norm which I had to immerse into if I wanted to be accepted instead of criticised and look down on.

As time passed, I came to realise that all those children were just reproducing the attitude and ideas they had learnt from adults. Those were the questions their own parents would ask them back home when they’d share they had a new classmate and their behaviour was basically what they knew was expected from them. Even after knowing this, it still surprised me as it sure was internalised and came across as their own judgment.To rebel, Chia Sua decided to embrace her culture and language. In my case, I did so by holding strongly to my Spanish half and consciously decided to stop growing as a member of the Arabic culture (at least publicly). This meant:

  1. No more studying Arabic (I didn’t want to understand their gossiping and preferred to use English to communicate. English seemed the neutral option, the language that helped create bridges, the language I used with my misfit friends.)
  2. No more listening to Arabic music or at least not the popular one. (Didn’t want to have hobbies and likes in common with those who decided to block us out.)
  3. No more discovery of the muslim religion. (I was quite sure by then that many of the prejudices rooted from it.)

We lived there for 10 years and this never changed, no matter the age or the school. Nevertheless, when I look back some of my memories also include: image.jsp     Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 4.00.01 PMbollywood_by_shestheorientxpress-d3dqtgh Singing my heart out to Sezen Aksu’s songs, one of my Turkish friend’s favourite singer 🙂 Acting out and dancing like a Bollywood star with my Indian friends 🙂 Eating some of the delicious Naan bread my friend’s mom would make specially for us 🙂

The way I saw it back then: Why can’t we all just sing, dance or eat together? Who cares if we are different? Isn’t that more fun anyway?
The way I see it now: I couldn’t be part of something but as a consequence I was part of many others I would have probably missed out otherwise. 

  At the age of 16 I moved back to Spain. The first day at the American School of Madrid, with students from about 70 different nationalities, where being different was common, the introductions and first conversations flipped 180 degrees:

X: Hi! What’s your name?
Me: Laila Gómez
X: Laila? Like the Eric Clapton song! Nice!
Me: (smile)
X: Where are you from?
Me: My mother is Spanish and my father is Egyptian
X: Really? How cool! 
Me: (smile)
X: So, you speak Spanish then….here most of us speak “Spanglish” (smile) 
Me: (smile) Yes, of course
X: Great! You won’t be missing out then 🙂 And Arabic?
Me: not really… I can read it and write it but I don’t speak it fluently
X: Wow! Could you write my name in Arabic?
Me: 🙂

I’ll admit it saddens me a bit to have missed out on the opportunity to learn and master another language, my father’s language. But like I said, I feel I gained a lot from being a misfit, specially due to cultural and diversity issues. Some gifts of having been a misfit:

  • Learning to build the strength to go against all odds
  • Turning a negative situation into something positive
  • Discovering the beauty of real friendship
  • Getting goosebumps at airports, international day at school and language exchange programmes.

The greatest gift of all : UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE AND VALUE OF AVOIDING PREJUDICE BY ALL MEANS 🙂 Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 5.31.58 PM     As adults and teachers, it is our responsibility to educate the young generations and teach them the values of respect, acceptance, empathy and equality.

P.S : My name is Laila Khairat Gómez 🙂 I am currently studying Arabic, love dancing and listening to Arabic music and enjoy delicious desserts like Baklawa and Konafa.


Image sources:

Sezen Aksu: image from

Bollywood drawing; image from Flickr by TMAB2003 under CC BY ND 2.0 Naan bread; image from

BE DARING!! – Vicky Lora’s advice on CPD

Today, right at the equator of my webinar watching marathon challenge, I cyber-bummped into Vicky Loras’ webinar about Professional Development on the Sundays with BELTA archive and I couldn’t help write about it and share my excitement 🙂


This photo of my lovely Moma, staring eagerly at the open sea, mirrors how I have often felt about my teaching career so far: 

I’m stuck here and there’s so much more out there. 


This didn’t come as a surprise to me at all. That’s why I am writing this post, to share all I have been up to in the last 4 months ever since I decided to BE DARING 🙂


Just like her, I threw myself in and the rewards have kept coming since then. 

6 years vs 4 months 

Although I have been teaching for a while, I’m starting to realise I have probably been in the wrong contexts and haven’t had much luck when it comes to professional development opportunities. The worst part is, this affected me to the point where I was actually starting to consider teaching might just not be for me. The classes went fine, but I did feel stuck and lonely 😦 I don’t pretend to blame anyone here, I know I am responsible for my own development, but being fair, the ambient and colleagues in each workplace can make such a difference.

These 4 months have taught me how and why Continuous Professional Development and creating a PLN are two of the greatest mainstays in teaching.

I’ll go over Vicky’s advice on HOW to professionally develop, step by step as they appear in the presentation:


My motivational boost came about this past February, when I took part in Steve Muir’s course on Multimedia for ELT. Every evening after the course, I couldn’t help feeling a bit down because I wouldn’t be able to take any of those incredible ideas and tools into my own teaching just because this year I happen to be with 3-6 year olds.

Nevertheless, it was a clear reminder of the excitement and possibilities that this wonderful job entails. Here is my thank you post to Steve 🙂

Just a week later after the course finished, I attended my first conference, TESOL Spain’s 37th Annual Conference. There’s just one word for it …. WOW!

I absolutely understand why Vicky uses all kinds of positive adjectives to describe the experience of attending a conference.

A weekend filled with the adrenaline rush I had been missing for so long. It was a pity I didn’t manage to convince any of the teachers I know to join me because I would have loved to discuss live the countless ideas and concepts I came across. Once again, that didn’t stop me this time. 🙂

Blendend learning is one of the topics that most grabbed my attention and of course EDMODO!

But, like I said earlier, I wasn’t going to be able to use it with my actual students due to their age. I had to come up with a way that would allow me to try it out, play around and discover. Guess who I got involved??? MY OWN FAMILY 🙂

Yes, my mom, aunts, uncles and cousins, all around a beginner level. I registered and created a group called “English for us”. It’s been absolutely amazing and fun to do this. I sent them links with videos and online exercises, they worked on grammar, reading, listening and spelling . They had assignments to complete and I even had them send me voice messages through whatsapp to be graded on their pronunciation. We got together about every two weeks for a face to face “class” filled with communicative activities and games.

EDMODO is just one of the many interesting insights. I got so much out of just one conference. I can wait for the next opportunity. 🙂


This is where the idea of ISOLATION that Vicky talks about comes in for me. I have worked in 4 different schools and I can say that most of the teachers I have worked with were quite burnt out or too comfortably settled. Out of an estimated total of 5o teachers whom I had to coordinate with, there have been only 3 who were a bit more willing to get out of their comfort zone, discuss ideas, try new things or reflect out loud. It’s quite sad actually.

I understand how energy draining our profession can be, but I was quite sure there had to be a way to keep up our own motivation. I grabbed on to these teachers very strongly and once in a while we had great chats related to teaching matters and came up with some nice projects to work on in our classes.

On the other hand, while taking the CELTA, I was quite lucky to have a lot of this with the other trainees. This is why I know the value of it and have missed it since then.


” Look at you, all excited! I envy you.” said one of my colleagues a couple of months ago after I raved about social media, blogs and professional development during a break duty.

I immediately answered ” You could do it as well. I could help you”.

It was quite flattering to think that I would be passing on what I had very recently learnt and helping someone else feel enthusiastic about their work.

I wouldn’t call myself a mentor (sounds to big of a word to me) but I’ve tried my best and so far she has started a blog and began to use Twitter for professional purposes.

As for myself, next September I’m heading off to Barcelona to take the Developing Teacher Course at Oxford Tefl. Who knows… I might find my very own mentor there 🙂


Yes… it is kind of intimidating but once again, I have to agree with Vicky on this one, it should be seen as a learning opportunity. This is something else I had a small taste of during CELTA and I can’t even describe how much I felt I improved by getting direct feedback from the tutors and peers.

Before CELTA, the only chance to observe and be observed  had been the 3 months training period established at the end of the B.Ed. A very dull experience, as I was assigned a tutor who wouldn’t even bother saying good morning to me. I learnt a lot about what I would avoid doing as a teacher myself, which in fact is quite useful.  I can say I got one great piece of advice that really made a difference in my teaching: move more around the room, use all the space available. My teachers had always stood at the front of the classroom almost 100% and that unconsciously sneaked into my own teaching.


I subscribed to the ETProfessional magazine recently as well. It issues every two months, with great practical ideas and interesting articles. It has got me checking my post box with a smile.

Vicky shares a great link for a list of ELT journals, newsletters and magazines by Victor Hugo Rojas :


Once again ….yes! yes! yes! to all Vicky has to say about the marvellous outreach possibilities of Twitter. I never even imagined someone would follow me. I started using it to follow some of the speakers I had seen at the TESOL conference and it’s a daily stop for me now.

There is so much to learn, I have to say thank God for bookmarking 🙂 .

It is certainly the best option to connect with other motivated professionals. I have recommended it to every single teacher I know.


Another incredible discovery. 🙂

In these recent months I have joined a few #eltchat and #eltchinwag. Sorry to repeat myself but… WOW!

At first I thought it couldn’t be real. Teachers from all over the world meeting to chat about a topic they had previously set to vote !!!

But it is real, and here is where I have also had the chance to connect with great teachers, who are so passionate about what they do and who are willing to share and learn.

My heart skipped a beat every time one of my tweets was favourited or retweeted. I felt I had a voice and an opinion worth sharing. 🙂

I kept asking myself Where had this magical world been all this time? 



Like most people, I had a personal facebook profile and I did follow the Teaching English British Council page but that was about it.

Two months ago I created a different profile and have used it exclusively to stay updated and connect with the ELT community.

Through Facebook I have joined various groups like:


Webinars for English Teachers

30 Goals Challenge

ELT Chat

Technology for EFL/ESL teachers

Innovative Teachers of English

Blog Posts of Teachers of English

This is definitely another priceless medium that is available to everyone.


After actively reading other teacher’s blogs for a couple of months, I couldn’t wait anymore 🙂 I really loved the idea of having my own blog and so on the 1st of April elt-fun@ics was born.

It isn’t my first blog actually. Two years ago, over a summer, I created a class blog for my 6th graders. I was quite proud of it because I had managed to do so from scratch with the help of tutorials and by studying other teachers’ class blogs. I knew my students and used my knowledge about them as individuals and learners to design a blog full of links and resources that I was quite sure would appeal to them.

When September arrived, I presented it to the Headmaster at the school and she didn’t give her approval because they had just signed a very expensive contract with a publishing company which included access to a kind of moodle that all teachers would have to use from then on. It was quite discouraging. My students never even got to see it. I was kindly asked not to mention it to other teachers either because they “already had a lot on their plates and it might cause confusion with this new project”.


As Vicky Loras said  “There might be someone waiting for you!”  🙂 

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 9.39.50 PM


This is still hard to believe

When I started this webinar watching challenge, I thought I would be learning loads of new things and it certainly has been that way. But today, it felt quite nice to keep saying Yes… Yes… Yes... as I watched Vicky suggesting all these ways to develop professionally and be familiar with the incredible and positive outcomes of it. Specially when you start mixing and matching all of them 🙂


I splashed in and now I’m soaked with motivation and joy! 

Drill me to tears

An idea for finding out more about your students’ history as language learners.

When you get a new group of students, the first class (actually the first few) is really aimed at getting to know them and analysing their needs as language learners.

Of course, a needs analysis is quite a serious matter as you will be basing on it your choices on material, class dynamics, topics, methodology and even the arrangement of the furniture in the classroom. Nevertheless, I like to think that the first day is also by far the best opportunity to set the tone for the learning experience you will be sharing together and allowing your students to take charge and have a saying on how its going to develop. They’ll appreciate your interest in getting to know them as individual learners within a group, their past and their expectations.

Students are usually quite nervous and stressed on the first day and that’s why some good humour is the best ice breaker you would ever find. Trust me, they are not expecting this one 😉


1) Ss watch part of a video. (Stop it at 22 seconds).

Discuss what is going on:  Who is the woman? Who is the man? Where are they? 

2) Watch some more and stop at 1.21.

Discuss: What is the teacher doing? Is it working? 

3) Watch the rest of it. ( give some time for the laughter to invade the room 🙂  )

Discuss: What happened in the end? How did each of them feel?

4) Ss work in pairs and answer the following questions:

Have you ever been in  a similar situation as a learner? How did / would you feel? 

How important is motivation when learning a language?

What do you find most challenging about learning English? 

Discuss the answers as an open class.


After this, I would provide each Ss with a questionnaire to find out some more about them. Have them interview each other in pairs so they can practice their speaking skills 🙂

The type of questionnaire would depend on the age and level of the students but I would suggest to add some questions that can provide you with information on their preferences regarding topics, materials, sources, tasks, etc.

The more you know about their history as language learners the higher the chances of succeeding in helping them to keep on progressing. 🙂



A classic vocabulary game that suits any day 🙂


Photo from Flickr by Daniel Kulinski under CC BY NC-SA 2.O

Today I had to substitute in a 2nd grade primary class, last hour on Friday … you can imagine 😉

As I entered the class, I knew exactly what we were going to do. I asked, “Have you ever played STOP??” 🙂

I remember playing this game when I was younger myself, not in the classroom though but on a rainy day, during long flights or on Christmas Eve with the whole family.

  1. Draw the table on the board so that students can copy it on a sheet of paper.
  2. Decide the categories for each column. ( I use 2 different sets like the ones below depending on my aims).
  3. When everyone is ready, choose a letter and at the count of 1… 2 … 3… write it on the board.
  4. Students have to fill in the table with words that start by that letter. (like the example below)
  5. As soon as someone completes ALL the categories they must shout STOP! and everyone must put their pens down.
  6. Ask students randomly for their answers. They must listen to everyone else’s answers to keep track of their points.
  7. Points for each answer :

1 = if two or more Ss have the same word

2 = if no one else has the same word

3 = if he/she is the only one to have filled that column




I specially enjoy the fantastic answers given for books and films as students tend to translate the names literally when they can’t come up with one that fits for sure 🙂 🙂 🙂




As a teacher, I have used this activity with all my students, regardless the age and the language level. It always works out to be a great revision game and an exciting brain teaser. 🙂