All things EFL… A collection of practical ideas, resources for the classroom and thoughts on EFL today

What makes a good teacher word cloud

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Anyone who read my very first post Blogging and the art of procrastination will know that, among other things, it took me a while to find a name for this blog.

Why ACE?  What can I say, I’m an 80’s kid… Everything that’s “awesome” now, was “ace” in the 80’s (where I was growing up) and it’s one of my all-time favourite words. Synonyms are; excellent, outstanding, first-class, first-rate, brilliant, expert

So, am I an ace English teacher? Not always.  Do I aspire to be?  Of course, hence this blog…

Quote determination

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Blogging and the art of determination

This post is a “Happy Birthday” message to my blogging self and a kind of sequel to my very first blog post Blogging and the art of procrastination.  It may have taken me a while to get going, but I’m still here one year on (along with my handful of followers, thank you!)

When I realised I’d been blogging for nearly a year, I decided to look back at my first post in which I list my initial doubts and reservations about becoming a blogger (the reasons for my procrastination.)  So, one year on, what have I learned?  What have I still got to learn and how did procrastination become determination? Continue reading

R is for relevant


R is for relevant!

Recently, I spent all Sunday morning helping my 13 year old daughter study for an exam.  

Now don’t get me wrong I am more then happy to sacrifice a Sunday morning to help my daughter study… However, nothing makes my blood boil more than sacrificing a Sunday morning (or any morning) to help her study:

  1. Something she doesn’t understand because it hasn’t been explained to her (and what’s more is told she doesn’t need to understand it only memorise it)
  2. Something which is totally beyond her and irrelevant to her at this stage in her education and possibly forever depending on what career path she takes…
  3. Something that by her own admission she will have forgotten by next week (as she neither understands it nor the reason for learning it)

So what was it exactly that she had to study?
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Developing digital competence

digital-competenceThis is my first in a series of posts, related to 21st century skills.  In my post  21st century skills-how competent are your students?, I explained how the recently amended Spanish education law (LOMCE) specifies 7 key competencies students need to develop.  These key competences are closely related to 21st century skills, life skills or soft skills (depending on the terminology you prefer.)  The first competence up is digital competence

We live in an increasingly digital world which is changing the way we work, learn, communicate, and participate in society.  As educators we have an obligation to ensure our students have the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to be successful in a modern, digital society.  

Being digitally competent is more than being able to use the latest smart phone or computer software — it is about being able to use such digital technologies in a critical, collaborative and creative way. (The European Digital Competence Framework for Citizens)

In this post I will look at the key areas related to digital competence, identified by the European framework and then look at some activities/tools we can use to help our learners become competent in these areas. Continue reading

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21st century skills-how competent are your students?

competenciesI read an interesting article recently on about lesson plans and what to include 12 tiny tips for writing lesson plans. It made me reflect upon my own lesson planning and gave me an idea for this and subsequent posts. It was interesting to see the inclusion of tip 8 “developing the whole child”.  In Spain, where I teach EFL in a secondary school, the recently amended education law (LOMCE) defines the following 7 Key Competencies to be be developed, based on a European Commission document on 21st century competencies: Continue reading


Awards, rewards… Friend or foe?

Those of you who have read my first post will know that I have an hour’s commute to work.  Recently I was looking for some new podcasts, to make the journey that bit less boring (after 10 years doing the same journey, there are only so many donkeys, cows, sheep and goats I can marvel at along the way…)

I came across TEFL commute  A podcast for English language teachers, a “light-hearted listen aimed at brightening your daily commute”  Lindsay Clanfield, Shaun Wilden and James Taylor (the creators).  It definitely does what it says on the packet! There’s a website to boot, where you can find the links to all the podcasts, related articles, discussion questions and resources.  If that’s not enough, there’s a Facebook page where you can get the latest news, or you can follow them on Twitter.  They’ve just completed their third series and and I’m looking forward to the fourth…

One episode which particularly caught my attention was Episode 8  in the final series, which was inspired by their nomination for this year’s ELTon awards. In this episode Continue reading

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What makes a good teacher (and a good manager!)

ACE teacherAnyone who has read my post Blogging and the art of procrastination will know that, among other things, it took me a while to find a name for this blog.  It eventually came from my online teaching venture ACEnglish with the “teacher” bit added to differentiate the blog from the business.
Why ACE?  What can I say, I’m an 80’s kid…
Everything that’s “awesome” now, was “ace” in the 80’s and it’s one of my all-time favourite words.  Synonyms are; excellent, outstanding, first-class, first-rate, brilliant, expert… So, am I an ace English teacher? No.  Do I aspire to be an ace English teacher? Always.
After I came up with the name, I started to think about what makes an ace teacher. At about the same time, an unassuming Leicester City defied all odds (all 5000-1 of them!) and won the Premier League title in England.  What do Leicester City have to do with what makes an ace English teacher I hear you ask! Well…

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