Winter Bonus Sessions Announced!

Having heard from several people who want to use some of their winter break to pursue a learning or teaching goal, I’m excited to announce that, for the first time in about fifteen years, I’ll be home during winter break and have opened a bunch of time slots for online coaching, tutoring, or conversation sessions […]

Guided Meditation in the TL

Sometimes I use guided meditation to relax or to help me fall asleep. Because I enjoy it and in order to get a bit more out of life, I usually listen in a language other than English. (My partner recently said to me that the fact that I use even sleep meditation to get more input […]

An uplifting, versatile, low prep review task

Lots of teachers are looking for review activities this time of year. Here is one I recently thought of that doubles as a mood enhancer and can also be used throughout the year to prompt conversation or writing. I rarely do explicit review of language as content, but I do look for interesting and efficient […]

Letter from Tim on ‘Something from Nothing’

The following is a letter I received from Tim, a teacher in Colorado, in response to my recent video and commentary on getting Something from Nothing in our classes. It was encouraging to me and I thought it might be encouraging for you to hear about the repeatability of the filmed interaction and about the […]

Slowness and Silence (Express Fluency reflection 1)

Last week I had the thrill of joining 70-some language teachers and another 30-odd community members of all ages in Brattleboro, Vermont, for the annual Express Fluency conference. I was honored that founder Elissa McLean had invited me, along with Annabelle Allen, Grant Boulanger, Tina Hargaden, and Dustin Williamson, to teach language classes for four mornings […]

Whiteboard Doublestack

It’s been a while since I shared a low prep/no prep activity, but I was recently reminded of the fun and the mileage of this one, so it’s time to share. Whiteboard Doublestack is a nice consolidation game or middle-of-unit (if you have those) activity, including both input and output, that I saw Nancy Llewellyn do in 2008 and […]

Do I Make Students Do Stuff I Would Never Do?

Here’s a goals-related question I occasionally ask myself: Now, the fact that I would consider something annoying or a waste of time in my own language learning doesn’t automatically mean it’s not worth my students’ while. We shouldn’t assume that our students are versions of ourselves, whether it comes to interests, temperament, neurology, or motivation, though […]

“High-Leverage Practices” from TeachingWorks

This week I go on a tangent from the Goals series to alert you to TeachingWorks, an initiative of the School of Education at the University of Michigan here in Ann Arbor. Its motto–“Great teachers aren’t born. They’re taught.”–represents its conviction that skillful teaching isn’t merely the result of certain personality traits, nor is it something that […]