Calendar of ELT Events, July 2018.

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Many teachers look forward the month of July.  While some plan to have some time to rest and relaxe others believe in taking advantage of few days off to learn, share and feel energized for the semester to come.

Check this month’s BrELT Calendar of ELT Events if your looking for professional development that you can include in your schedule without having to give up your precious days off and have fun!

We have a very special invitation to make:

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The BrELT Team will be presenting the following talks and workshops at the Braz-Tesol International Conference in Caxias do Sul.

Make sure you say hello to us!

Bruno Andrade (mini-course Young Learners and Teens SIG – Saturday)

Age Appropriate Pedagogy in Primary English Language Teaching

The first workshop in the Primary ELT mini course strand aims to raise awareness and foster genuinely, age-relevant pedagogical approaches for teaching English to primary children. This action packed session will be based around syllabus design which is fully congruent with primary learners’ life stages. It will also include age appropriate ways to develop learning to learn and life skills as a core part of primary English language lessons.

Creative Approaches to Learning in Primary English Language Teaching

This workshop will enable delegates to further explore the dimensions involved in primary English language teaching, whilst showcasing fresh and creative approaches. These include ways to exploit materials and practical techniques to promote discovery and curiosity among children. The focus throughout will be application to attendees’ own teaching and learning contexts, as well as plenty of takeaway ideas for the primary English language classroom.

Eduardo de Freitas (talk – Sunday 14:15):

Teaching writing: the unicorn skill.

Writing is definitely the skill we care about the least when we prepare our syllabus or plan our lessons. In this talk, I will discuss the importance of teaching writing in a meaningful way and how we can motivate our learners to write and achieve fluency in this skill. Also, I intend to give practical ideas to start working on writing asap!

Thiago Veigga (talk – Friday 15:30):

Pronunciation and teacher development: are we missing something?

Teachers often do not feel confident about pronunciation in general. The aim of this talk is to reflect on the importance of pronunciation instruction for teachers, discussing how phonology is dealt with in teacher development programs and how to improve as a teacher. We will look at English as a Lingua Franca and the way this notion may impact the teaching of pronunciation and its implications. Lastly, we will analyze the validity of some tips to improve pronunciation.



Using correct language when you get tired of having a positive attitude… A post by Richmond Brasil.

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. (5)


Using correct language when you get tired of having a positive attitude…

No matter the circumstances, I always try to find the bright side of any situation I find myself in. Everyone knows that once the curtain falls and annoying things are unveiled, it’s impossible to ignore them … from the extremely irritating habit most passengers have of sticking so close to the luggage belt that you can hardly see your luggage coming or even worse, making it very hard to retrieve your bag without hurting anyone, to cinema goers adding unwanted rustling chip bag special effects to a film set way before this consumerist society started creating so much crackling waste.  

As you may have noticed by the two examples above, I do not always win the battle in overcoming irritating circumstances around me. And I dare say that neither do our students? So, helping them acquire the language they need to express those not so light-hearted moments is, indeed, a basic necessity. That is one of the reasons why I quite like this lesson from Identities 1, by Paul Seligson and Luiz Otávio Barros, in which upper intermediate students get to learn useful expressions they would probably find hard to start using on their own.

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(expressions/ answers underlined in pink)

The short text is part of a language lesson with a clear focus on uses of which in non-restrictive clauses and, in which the expressions to convey annoyance are a secondary goal.

Notice how students have the opportunity to practice the expressions right after reading the text just by stating their opinion about the three annoying situations. At this stage, students recognise the expressions and are given the opportunity to use them, but they are not necessarily asked to do so. Still, they have to play with the expressions on their minds while reading it one more time in order to talk about it.

After this activity, students work out the rules of the main grammar topic of the lesson and practice it in a very personalised way. You can see the whole lesson here if you prefer the whole picture.

As a last activity, students are asked to classify things that drive them mad by using the same expressions from the activity mentioned above. After pre-arranging their ideas, students are invited to share and contrast things that annoy them:

The lesson was gradually built in order to create opportunities for these new chunks to become active language in a meaningful, personalised and well-structured way. Not an easy task when attempting to refine upper intermediate and advanced student’s vocabulary.

Another reason this lesson, and the whole book, as a matter of fact, can be used as an example of good vocabulary practice and in this case specifically, chunks, is that it goes in line with some generally accepted concepts in ELT.   Lindstromberg and Boers (2008) stated that:

  • Learners should meet new vocabulary in doses that are manageable for them (in this case, 6 expressions only)
  • Putting target items in context makes them easier to remember (they are first seen in a text and explored orally)
  • Using new vocabulary meaningfully and creatively (personalised practice activities)
  • Items in batches of new vocabulary should not be too similar to one another in sound or spelling.

Let’s keep in mind that regardless of how much vocabulary a student knows, it only matters if it is incorporated into speaking. According to Diaz, speaking is the skill generally taken as synonymous to achieving mastery in a language (2016). So, may we always find the best ways to help them master it!



DIAZ, Gabriel Maggioli; PAINTER-FARREL, Lesley. Lessons learned: first steps towards reflective teaching in ELT. Londres: Richmond, 2016.

LINDSTROMBERG, Seth; BOERS, Frank. Teaching Chunks of Language: from noticing to remembering. Helbling Languages, 2008.

SELIGSON, Paul; BARROS, Luiz Otávio. Identities: Student’s Book 1. Oxford: Richmond, 2016.


Nina Loback is Richmond Brazil’s Academic Coordinator for Language Schools. She has a degree in Languages (UEPG/PR/BR), holds a CPE, TKT and is an ICELT holder. She has taught adults, teenagers and children for 10 years and is a frequent speaker at conferences. She is an advisory council member of BRAZ-TESOL Curitiba Regional Chapter and co-founder of Voices Sig for Women.


Attend BrELT ELF Week and get a chance to win over $800 in courses from TEFL Equity Advocates!


Will you be the lucky one?

Attend Marek Kiczkowiak‘s webinar to get a chance to win over $800 worth of online courses which will help teachers tackle the ‘native speaker’ bias and promote equality by writing materials for teaching English as a Lingua Franca

Click here to enter the raffle


Click here to attend the webinar.
BrELT ELF Week 5-9 June
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Inspiring and provocative presentations by top specialists in the market discussing issues related to English as a Lingua Franca such as pronunciation, intelligibility, multiculturalism, colonization and the like.

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Click here to attend the event and learn more about it.

BrELT Calendar of ELT Events – June 2018

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June’18 is surely full of good surprises for teachers! There seminars, events face-to-face, trainings and are webinars on YL Teacher Education, Project Based Learning and Assessment. Take your pic…

…but the one event you can’t miss is

BrELT ELF Week 5-9 June with Jennifer Jenkins, Bruno Andrade, Priscila Bordon, Natália Guerreiro, Katy Simposon, Marek Kiczkowiak, Sonia Moran Panero, Michelle Ocriciano and Telma Gimenez!

Does Practice Make Perfect? A post by Richmond Brasil

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Does practice make perfect?

Luiz Otávio Barros (MA Hons in Applied Linguistics, Lancaster University) has been teaching, training teachers, designing language courses and writing ELT materials since 1992. Formerly academic coordinator at Cultura Inglesa São Paulo (where he was responsible for the advanced levels, as well as COTE, DOTE and DELTA tuition), head of research and development at Associação Alumni São Paulo (where he was in charge of the adult segment) and BRAZ-TESOL’s second vice president, Luiz Otávio is co-author of Richmond’s English ID / Identities, Personal Best and series editor of Access. In 2016, he self-published The Only Academic Phrasebook You’ll Ever Need, available on Amazon.

In general, it does, I know.

But as far as language learning is concerned, this is not as straightforward as it seems.

First, we need to define practice and narrow it down. Does watching a video in English qualify as language practice? Yes, it does. And so does having a group discussion. Or doing a reading activity. But that’s not what I had in mind as I wrote this post. Here, I am using the term practice to describe controlled oral activities that isolate a specific language form for students to manipulate – a sort of rehearsal for real life, if you will.

The term rehearsal creates another conceptual problem, of course. People rehearse in order to hone their skills as, say, athletes, dancers or musicians. So, if we talk about language rehearsal, we’re implying that (1) learning a second language is essentially a form of skill learning, and that (2) “knowing that” (declarative knowledge) can become “knowing how” (procedural knowledge) through practice. Both assumptions came under close scrutiny in the 1980s and 90s.

Stephen Krashen, for example, would have translated practice makes perfect as stress-free exposure makes perfect. Richard Schmidt might have gone a step further and claimed that noticing salient language forms makes perfect. And, finally, people like Merrill Swain and Michael Long, on a different tack, might have argued that negotiation of meaning during real communication makes perfect.

So, for a long time, controlled practice was thrown to the wayside of ELT. This might have happened, I suspect, partly as a backlash to the endless and mindless drilling that our students were subjected to in the 1970s. Counterintuitive as it was, the notion that declarative knowledge could not be automatized through practice (i.e. the so-called non-interface position) gained a lot of traction in the 1980s and 1990s, which might have left many teachers wondering if they should ditch controlled practice altogether.

But it seems that the ever-swinging ELT pendulum has finally swung back to a position where we can compare language learning and other forms of skill learning without fearing for our lives.

Jeremy Harmer, for example, has on more than one occasion attempted to explore the connection between music practice and language practice. Jim Scrivener, in turn, has coined the term “3 times practice” to highlight the importance of tweaking classroom activities so that students can go beyond the ubiquitous gap-fill in its all glory. And last but not least, Scott Thornbury has also given controlled practice activities a nod of approval, arguing, however, that they should be treated as fluency, rather than accuracy work.

So, when it comes to language learning, does practice make perfect?

I’m not sure about perfect, but probably better, regardless of where the ELT pendulum stops next.