Freelancing vs working for a school

As some of you may know, I recently went from self-employed to working for a private language school. It was a welcome change as I was getting really tired of working long hours for peanuts, and after a few month I can still say that I’m happy with my decision.
In case someone else is thinking about going one way or the other (from freelancing to working for a school or vice versa), I thought I write down the pros and cons of both worlds as I see them — bearing in mind that this is specific to the Italian job market so I’m not sure it would equally apply to other countries. Continue reading “Freelancing vs working for a school”

Delta module 1 – first month

After about a month of online course in preparation for Delta module 1 (you can also read my impressions from the first intensive face-to-face week), here I am again, writing my comment on the online part of the course and how I have been coping with exam preparation while working full time. Continue reading “Delta module 1 – first month”

My own activity book

I recently had the pleasure to read Marc’s blog post on a very interesting first-day-of-school activity book. Marc expressed both strengths and weaknesses on the book, which in turn created some discussion in the comment section. In particular, Chris suggested every teacher should create a personal collection of first day activities that work for them, rather than rely on such books. Continue reading “My own activity book”

My 10 favourite English words

Hello and welcome back. It’s now proper autumn here in northern Italy, the time of herbal teas, roast chestnuts and new students. No wonder it’s my favourite time of the year! 🙂 To celebrate this amazing season, today I’m going to write something OT, which was inspired (copied?) by this blog post.
I find it such a nice idea, that I actually would like to pass it over to you and see your lists. That’s why at the end of this post I am going to “nominate” a few people, inviting them to do the same on their blog if they like. If you are not on the… ehm… nominee list, feel free to write your list anyway, and maybe link it in a comment below. Continue reading “My 10 favourite English words”

Noticing in action

Since English is my L2, after starting to read about Second Language Acquisition and the theories on how we learn new lexis, I have also started to pay more attention to how I acquire new English vocabulary and structures.
Of course this is not rigorous research, I am just going to write about things I have noticed I do and how I perceived some lexis going from short term to long term memory. Before I begin, I have to point out that I am a language teacher and a Linguistics enthusiast, so I am probably more inclined than, say, most of my students to pay attention to new language and how it is used.
Anyway, here are some examples from my learning experience.
Continue reading “Noticing in action”


Stemming from the news of a school apparently substituting punishment with Mindfulness practices, a range of articles and commentaries have been written in the past few days on the effectiveness of so-called ‘Mindfulness’ for teachers and students. Since I have been growing fond of Buddhism in the last few months, and I have read more than one book on the topic, I would like to add my two cents. Continue reading “Mindfulness?”

Why is grammar-translation so persistent?

Today I’d like to share with you some questions and — possibly wrong — ideas I had last week, during our Delta preparation week. One day we were reviewing the development of methodologies in language teaching (from grammar-translation all the way down to humanistic approaches and so called post-communicative era) when I realised how most teachers in state schools here in Italy are still using grammar-translation as their main teaching method.
So the question followed almost naturally: why is grammar-translation so persistent? Audiolingualism seems to have disappeared (at least in my experience and in ELT), but grammar-translation is still playing a big part in children’s and teenager’s foreign language education in Italy. Why? Continue reading “Why is grammar-translation so persistent?”