My presentation at IATEFL 2019

I’ve made presentations about the Sense of Progress several times this academic year: presenting the training plan at home, doing an INSETT session, doing an external workshop for teachers – and for the IATEFL Liverpool presentation I’ve attempted to bring it all together and speak about a CPD concept which can help teachers focus on the sense of progress.
You can download the slides here. It’s a condensed version of what I said in the talk, so check the ‘progress’ tag on my blog if you’d like to read more about it (or drop me a message for a copy of the evaluation tools).


Me pacing the room to answer questions.

I had great questions and comments from the audience (and anyone else who cared to listen to me before and after the presentation!). For example, what organisational support is needed to make the change sustainable? How do I concentrate less on lag and more on lead indicators? How many years does it actually take for a CPD scheme to make a lasting impact? Exciting – seems like my next year’s plan is cut out for me!



IATEFL 2019: Intro

And it’s the IATEFL time of the year again.
I’m thrilled to be here, to take part in the biggest event of the year in my professional field, to get a year’s worth of professional development in a week and to see all the nice people I’ve been lucky to meet here since 2016.

It’s a bit cold outside, but the conference is lively and bustling. For me, it started yesterday with the LAM SIG pre-conference event, and what a joy it was.

The topic (Evaluation) was very close to my heart, and I even got to be one of the speakers. I’ll write a separate post about it and put the presentation slides up when I have a bit more time, watch this space!

Train the trainer: professional skills in Dubai

What’s the best thing about working for an international organisation? There’s always so much going on, so many opportunities to learn something new and to meet like-minded people – just like last week, when I had a chance to take part in a workshop for trainers of professional skills.



I won’t give you all the details, but here are my biggest takeaways:

  • a lot of teacher training skills and techniques can be transferred to professional training
  • that said, we should be careful not to call trainees ‘students’: the training room is not a classroom after all
  • there are things happening outside traditional young learner and adult ELT that are just as exciting

And a traditional link: a website recommended by the course tutors. It’s a great resource for workplace training sessions, with a lot of activities that can also be used in Business English classes and ESP: games, puzzles and more games!

Out of the Zero-Learning Zone


Here is a great overview article by Jim Knight about professional development – it’s actually a manual on how to avoid stagnation! It covers the reasons why are we sometimes stuck in a rut, what is it that we fear, and how we can get out of the ‘Zero-Learning Zone’. The author offers a lot of techniques to try, from design thinking to doing a hope audit (that’s a new one for me), and after reading this there can be no more excuses – would you agree? 🙂

Job crafting for teachers


Today I’ve been trying to make sense of this article from ‘Popular Psychology’ popularising research into teachers’ job satisfaction. The central idea of it is ‘job crafting’ . To explain it, the author (Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D.) quotes the original article: people “re-engineer their jobs from within as a way to find increased meaningfulness”.  Apparently, for teachers this means not only adapting their teaching approach to different groups of students, but also changing and re-defining their roles at work, especially during the times of big organisational changes.

Is job crafting viewed as something positive? On the one hand, yes – people take ownership of their work and see it as their ‘calling’. On the other hand, the research showed that teachers engage in more job crafting when they get less administrative support and are less satisfied with their work – so it’s more of a coping strategy and a sign that the teachers need more help.

What do you think? Do you do a lot of ‘job crafting’ at work?

Choosing priorities: what happens if it doesn’t happen?


Another of my favourite authors is David Geurin (you may have read the posts Passion or proficiency? or Teachers as warm demanders): his texts are sometimes controversial, but always encourage reflection. And this post, “What would happen you weren’t successful?”, seems a great find for the coming New Year and the plans we’re setting ourselves. There’s too little time and no enough resources to do everything, so how do you choose your priorities? David suggests thinking about the consequences of not doing what you have in mind. If nothing really horrible happens – well, then perhaps it’s not the biggest priority, and vice versa.

What do you think, would this work for you?



Online teaching 7 of 15: corporate training


This article is mostly about corporate training and how it can be transferred from face-to-face sessions to the virtual environment, both synchronous and asynchronous, but it has excellent advice for language teachers as well: which activities lend themselves well to the new medium, and which should be left out, how you can use features of the software for more interactivity, when it’s time to go into presentation mode and how you make sure that your audience is not bored to death. My favourite tip for getting quick feedback from the listeners: change your status from the green tick to the red cross if you haven’t had experience with a concept. Sooooo simple, and yet so effective!