Is English #intonation "really" teachable in ELT ... that is all learners included regardless age, educational background and nationality?

It is not about Dan Brown's Angels and Demons, and yet for some people, pronunciation can be a demon ... if they feel they cannot be understood or have lack of confidence to communicate in the target language ... does this makes sense?

So very much looking forward to the last Opening Plenary of IATELF Glasgow 2017, given by Jane Setter as seen on website:

Where angels fear to tread: intonation in English language teaching​


"Intonation is one of the earliest acquired aspects of speech; the crymelodies of infants are influenced by the intonation of their mothers, and very small toddlers are able to use intonation to indicate turn taking patterns in play conversations before they can form words. It plays a vital role in successful communication in English, as it does in other languages. If this is true, why is intonation neglected in English language pronunciation teaching, and how can it be taught effectively?"

After reading that the plenary was going to take
"the audience into the seldom-navigated region of intonation in English language teaching, focusing on the role of three main elements: tonality, tonicity and tone. Drawing on material from a number of different sources, we explore the role of intonation in English, and look at which elements are teachable, which are learnable, what resources are available to the teacher and the learner, and how intonation might be approached in the English language classroom and as a self-access learning activity. Expect a multimedia, audience participation experience."
... to be honest I was a little unsure what to expect.

At the beginning of day 4, we had quite a lot of good theory and technical topics, examples of fine research and the unexpected a song from My Fair Lady
Wouldn't it be lovely?
.... ahhh and by the way if one sticks to the end, the presenter also finished her dissertation with audience singing.

Who would have thought that such a theoretical subject could be so much good fun!

So, all in all, can pronunciation and its different elements be taught?

The answer is Yes.
Do NNSs (non-native speakers) need to practise? Indeed.
One of language main reasons of being is the ability to communicate with others.

What about our Cultural Sensibility?
Ms. Setter drew our attention to be aware of the need to be cultural sensitive as speakers of English elsewhere may use intonation for different purposes.
"In conversations with NSs (native speakers), it is necessary for ALL interlocutors to move a little towards the others (Jenkins, 2015)


Reflection time with JJ.Wilson ... Incorporating Social Justice into our Language classrooms

As soon as I read JJ.Wilson's extract ... I just knew I was hooked.

ELT and social justice: opportunities in a time of chaos​
"In this plenary, I will look at the arguments for including social justice issues in ELT classrooms. I will summarise the literature, referencing major theorists such as John Dewey, Paulo Freire, and bell hooks. I will also examine relevant ideas and movements: critical pedagogy and conscientização; participatory teaching/learning; problem-posing and dialogic methods; “poor man’s pedagogy”; service learning; and “the banking method” versus education as the practice of freedom. Moving from theory to practice, I will then show ways in which teachers can include social justice issues in the classroom. These activities include drama, poetry, images, community projects, and so on. I will conclude with some remarks about professional development and the concept of education for social justice. I will stress that the ideas in this talk are not a methodology or a recipe for becoming a better teacher. They are a “way of being”. Each idea, each activity must be made afresh, re-created every time the teacher steps into the classroom"

My first impression:
A witty, good story teller, fine entertainer, charming presenter with a very good Portuguese accent -if I may add- that talks brilliantly  about deep issues like "How can we use social justice in the classroom?"

He also mentioned/paraphrased a couple of quotes:
  • Education is transformation.
  • The basic of all education is love.
  • Education starts from Students experience and reinforces or challenges status quo.

We can incorporate social issues into the classroom> some if the teaching tools he mentioned:
  • Pictures
    • I wonder ...
    • Asking questions about photos.
  • Poems - where students are the writers
    • I remember ... *social changes
    • I am from ... 
  • Drama - where students are "spectactors"
  • Community projects
  • Teachable moments
  • Storytelling
A practical hands-on approach!


Teachers do matter and psychology does as well in our role ... not only in the classroom

Plenary by Sarah Mercer about the importance of psychology in the classroom that not many times is properly considered or talked about.
Do teachers matter?
Will teachers be replaced by AI?
Is this the future of ELT?
This is already happening in Hong Kong

What do teachers do?
Inspire ... make an impact every single day they are inside a classroom,

As educators:

  • Relationships are up there in the agenda with our learners, that is the human connections ... it is the foundation, Key element to develop positive relationships inside the classroom and with their peers.
  • The right mindset, empathy and praise ... sending positive messages ie. adding the word "yet" when students say they cannot do something.
  • Teachers beware of the burnout cascade ... feed on a positive circle. Job satisfaction, "if we are happy at work that makes us successful" not the other way round.

Conclusion found at the lecturer's research paper:
" the role played by socio-emotional competences in the English language classroom. We found that ELT teachers tend to score highly on these competences, which can perhaps be expected, given the highly social and other-oriented nature of teaching generally, and language teaching in particular." (Gkonou, C. & Mercer, S.)

For more information:
Gkonou, C. & Mercer, S., "Understanding emotional and social intelligence among English language teachers", British Council ELT Research Papers 17.03


What are we talking about when we say:"Language for Resilience" - #BritishCouncil Signature event @ #IATEFL


When we are in trouble ... do we ask for help?
Are we maybe stubborn or proud?
Do we keep ourselves to ourselves?

After watching this event, I have placed the British Council "Language for Resilience" in my to-do/read list with priority.
 "The report examines the role that language can play in enhancing the resilience of Syrian refugees and host communities"


Here below some screen-shots that I found most interesting:

Some questions that stuck with me as the five panelists "shared their thoughts on the role of language in enhancing the resilience of individuals and communities affected by crisis".

  • Can resilience always be developed even if a child is emotionally destroyed? 
  • What enhances resilience?
  • Can resilience be transformative not only for children, but parents and teachers?

An on-going challenge: Educating Refugees Children who are vulnerable children with very many different needs.

English matters, English open doors, gives hopes to children and even might save lives.
Let's change profile/branding/labelling of refugees ... it concerns all global citizens.

For more information:

There is no excuse ... Talking CPD #IATEFL

Less than half an hour ago, I finished watching #IATEFL2017 Opening Plenary given by Gabriel Diaz Maggioli entitled "Empowering Teachers Through Continued Professional Development: Frameworks, Practices and Promises.

Needless to say this talk was very up my wishing list to attend (even virtually at 3am local time), so I set my alarm up and was eagerly waiting for it.

My expectations?
Hmmm, dear reader, maybe to get some extra validation on my own path. having ELT Research, Consultancy and Coaching to lead since April 2013 ... as seen on our Facebook page:

"Working locally, nationally & internationally focused on Pedagogical Process-Project & People resourcing in Human Development & Self Professional Development. Committed to lifelong learning.Mission to assist others to achieve their educational leadership."

But definitely even more after reading his presentation summary:
"The notion that language teachers need ongoing professional development opportunities should be considered a harmless platitude. Yet, as the field stands now, most of our colleagues are not provided with such opportunities as parts of their jobs. How is it then that we hear so many wonderful tales of exploration and discovery? Teachers have taken upon themselves to build these growth opportunities. In this plenary I will share some stories, and weave the plots of new stories to come by presenting a “state of the art” hawk eye view of professional development and recommending potential ways in which colleagues can help colleagues learn and develop."

I was most impressed by his comments because he was "calling it as it is" = no hidden agenda. I have also been in management positions and can certainly validate his comments on budgets.

His highly recommended talk should be shortly available for the ELT community, being IATEFL Online (@IATEFLOnline) a partnership between the British Council and IATEFL.

What am I feeling?
Some questions popping into my mind, and to be honest, this reminds me of a Diploma module I was facilitating in Guadalajara, Mexico with school leaders, secondary school directors, coordinators. some teachers but also with few Jalisco Regional supervisors ... that was very interesting indeed - to say the least.

  • Who is responsible of our CPD?
  • Who should pay for it?
  • What can be done?

My Final Thoughts:
I utterly believe in Continued Professional Development ... and yes! we should assume this is a #CallForAction.

CPD is:

  1. our responsibility wherever we are, 
  2. it is not an impossible mission, 
  3. it is in our hands.

This is an opportunity not to be missed


It's finally here #IATEFL2017

Only the best week in the ELT world has finally arrived ... the one and only International Conference for English Language Teachers.

This year we are all e-travelling to Glasgow (... with Edinburgh one of my top 10 destinations in the UK indeed) to e-attend to the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language Conference and Exhibition (well the latter a tad more difficult but anyhow, it today's interconnected world, the sky is the limit ... have you checked Periscope? Facebook Live? Insta Stories?

Take a deep breath ... there is quite a lot to take in!

To be fair, maybe that is one of the challenges, I clearly still remember being surprised by 2013 stats
70 new domains are registered and 571 new website are created within a minute online, at the same time there are 1.8 million likes on Facebook, 204 million emails sent and 278,000 tweets posted. (GoGlobe.com)

Mind you, that was 4 years ago!

There is too much out there, but fear not dear English Teachers (EFL ESL TEFL TT EAP BET and all the others ... #IATEFL is here.

The best of the best, current trends, research, and what's on on the horizon ... all in one place.

For example:

Gavin Dudeney, who I have known since back in the days 2006 with his email-forums trying to connect us ELT researchers, teachers and trainers. This Thursday he has a workshop that is not to be missed if one is a teacher trainer ... ToolBox included!
Do you feel daunted by technology? Got 8 minutes? Then this is your link:

Carol Read, not only IATEFL past-president but a global lecturer, it is not unsual to see regular
Sadly we were not present at the Young Learners and Teenagers SIG (Special Interest Group) Opening Plenary on Values Education but here we have a taste ... lovely reflection in this 8 minute interview.

Pete Sharma, who I met at LABCI 2013, we were both giving semi-plenaries hence I was not able to attend to his for obvious reasons. It is always a delight to hear him sharing his thoughts, even for a 6 minute chat
Pete is sadly not giving a talk this year but a fascinating view of  what might be his IATEFL 2018 workshop?

Wherever we are in the world, we can have a taste of what is going on in Glasgow via IATEFL Online (IATEFL-British Council)

For more information:



Sorry ... but not so sorry #intelligencing March 2017

First entry of the month and yet it happens to be the very last day of it. I am sorry for that - I thought I was going to start apologising- but then I reconsider my thought and came up with: really? I am not so sorry for many different reason that I am sharing with you, dear reader in the following lines.

1. February was comprehensively heavy in seminars/facilitation/training sessions for me, I was fully booked ... emphasis on fully. In my country, January and February are school holidays and hence time for teachers to brush up on their skills ie. work and tons of it.

2. As a consequence I had to have a time to reflect on all those amazing experiences (coming back and reading my BuJo on multiple occasions plus my journal), looking at pictures and videos (as I gathered shots taken from 4 different devices and put them into files in order to create my beloved online photo albums), but also e-mailing and answering back those participants who contacted me right after.
Not enough emphasis one can ever place on thinking critically about our own work, looking back and analysing ... reflecting and intelligencing.

3. To be fair, it was quite a lot to take in. During a month I was in touch with such a variety of human beings with unique teaching styles and challenges. May we take a moment to stress that very last word ... Total respect!
In my role as advisor/mentor/coach, I am used to deal with CTPS complex models, so I was in my element: need to say that this is one of the stages I do certainly enjoy the most.

4. My own international yearly validation for a job I carry out (on a part-time basis) was due, so that meant reading many documents (which I love) ... the latter is utterly true, I am always reading way more than one book/manual/thesis/report/posts/blogs even news just for the sake of reading, you name it. In the end, it was all good, so hurray for me. So immediately after my results I was given two gigs in a row.

5. This has been the month that I have used to the best of my abilities to get ready for a Masters of Arts I have just started, from application, registration, documentation completion, translation of certificates/diplomas/others ... and so on and so forth ie. endless exciting events happening that also included 4 pre-Day1 lectures.

Last but most definitely NOT least: Volunteering has been very very very top of my agenda, even travelling using my "miles" to get plane tickets.
Dear reader: climate change is very real. The weather has hot intensively some parts of my country. Unlike an earthquake that is localised, this natural event called "Fenómeno del Niño" happened throughout the north coast and even in parts of Lima, our capital city with devastating results.
What have I learnt?
Our people are greater than the nation's problems ... this has been proven once again. But there is still lots to do. Step by step though.

What's ahead in less than 24 hours?

Most exciting things indeed. Not only IATEFL starts on Monday ... yippy!
... but also we get back on the road with a talk that I have been programmed to give tomorrow (yes! on April's fool dear reader)

What is it about? ... a reflective session for our ELT community while breaking paradigms to achieve best results possible.
and how ...?
re-thinking our IMPACT
QUALITY of our current lessons
looking for an educational change
WHEN?  Today
WHY? Because THAT is what makes the Future
focusing on our attitude 
Check list:
English knowledge
Ability to communicate so our learnersget it
Experience (varies)


 Therefore, after sharing an insight of this ending month:
... yes, I am sorry but because I have missed writing
... but nor so sorry because all the above. 
Does that make sense dear reader?