20% time! - An attempt to empower learners to be more creative and innovative

Probably one of most well-known management philosophies in recent years has been Google's "20% time". Over 10 years ago, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin mentioned the idea in their 2004 IPO letter: They stated, “We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google," They continued, "This empowers them to be more creative and innovative.

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Challenging Words

“Hitler was right”

“Gay is wrong – my religion says so”

“Oh no - refugees again! – all refugees are Muslims and all Muslims are terrorists”

I hear you screaming at this blog already – and no, of course I don’t agree with these quotes – but they are examples of real utterances by real learners in some of my classes.

I’ve been lucky to have taught mainly adults who want to learn, so have had very few problems with challenging behaviour. However, there have been several times when I’ve felt the need to challenge things learners have said in class.

Average: 5 (1 vote)

What are some of the best or most effective ways you've found of giving feedback to your students or doing error correction?

I feel the idea of feedback during error correction a loaded answer, as it is always different for the students you are teaching and where you are teaching. For example, in one country I taught, as the teacher, you were expected to give feedback. However, when I worked in another country, it was more of a collaborative effort and no one wanted to be told they were wrong by a teacher. Some students react differently to teacher-feedback - some need it, some hate it.

No votes yet


More than a thousand participants used English as their main working language; and everybody spoke the same language in more ways than one. In between and after the sessions one could see spontaneously formed groups of researchers animatedly discussing various problems in their own mother-tongue(s) too. I listened to a group of young scientists from Germany, Czech Republic, the USA, the UK and France talk about their post-doctorate courses in France. Their concerns and hopes are similar to anybody else’s.

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Ask Answer Add - A Speaking Activity to Help Learners Maintain a Natural Conversation

Ask Answer Add - A Speaking Activity to Help Learners Maintain a Natural Conversation

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Katherine Bilsborough - From teacher to materials writer

Lots of authors have their first experience of developing materials when they create things for their own classes, either through necessity or because they want to personalise or substitute a course book they are using.

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Rachael Roberts - A favourite speaking activity

First, think of a set of 10-12 questions that you don’t mind answering about yourself and your life and write the answers on the board (not the questions). The questions will depend on the level and how well the students already know you.

For example, some lower level questions might be:

  • Where do you live?
  • How many children do you have?
  • What countries have you visited?
  • What is your favourite food?
  • What are your hobbies?

Some higher level questions:

Average: 4 (3 votes)

Larry Ferlazzo - Online tools

These include The Best Web Tools For English Language Learners (In Other Words, The Ones My Students Regularly Use) and The Best Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced English Language Learner Sites.

Now, though, I think it's time to narrow them down to my choices for the "best of the best" or, in other

Average: 4 (1 vote)

To Tech or not to Tech is NOT the question.

The Theory

To apply this approach there are 5 main steps that you will need to follow but not always in the same order.

1-Ask the right question: this should start lots of brainstorming among students. For example, “How can you guys use these flip charts for learning all through this term?"

2- Show them samples of a previous class work: this should help them borrow, modify, or generate other ideas

3-Divide into groups: let students choose their own team, they know their own dynamics.

Average: 4 (3 votes)

Materials free teaching

Brexit, the Tree, the River and the Five Circles

Great! – no materials! – no photocopying! – no wasted paper! – no boring worksheets!

But if we have no materials, we usually need something to give the lesson some appearance of structure to fill the place of the book or handouts.

a) Brexit and the Tree:

Average: 5 (3 votes)


Subscribe to RSS - blogs