1. What do you think makes your blog special?
Hmm... I guess what makes my blog special is the same thing that makes all other blogs special: the author's voice.
Blogs have made it easier for real teachers and educator to share their views with the world, interact, and, ultimately, develop professionally. There are many wonderful blogs out there whose authors have chosen to share resources for teachers. Others have chosen to focus on sharing activities for learners.
Finally, there are many other bloggers who have chosen to focus on the teacher and teacher development, which is exactly what I tend to focus on.
2. What is the most useful resource/page/section on your blog?
I've written quite a lot about Dogme in ELT [English Language Teaching] (structured by Scott Thornbury and Luke Meddings), as well as education in general from a more dialogic perspective.
I believe teaching and learning should be seen as the interaction between these two players and it should be done responsively, and not preemptively.
I don't think there's one part in particular on the blog that is the most useful. Readers can peruse the blog through the tags to find texts they might be interested in reading more about.
3. How do you make lessons fun and engaging for your students?
One of the most important parts of language teaching, in my view, is that it should allow learners to communicate effectively in the target language.
Therefore, I try to make sure that all lessons are conversation-driven. I believe that one of the most important skills for teachers to develop is listening to their learners actively and responding to what they say. It's not only about teaching them what I thought they ought to learn when planning the lesson, but also being capable to incorporate language that emerges in the classroom.
This approach has worked amazingly well for me. It helps with rapport, which consequently helps with teaching and learning. Making the lessons fun and engaging is done in the same way that you make a conversation fun and engaging: reach out for the students and be interested in what they have to say. Once we realise we also have something to learn from them, it is easy to accomplish this.
4. What are your top three suggestions for English learners?
My top three suggestions are:
1) USE IT!
Use whatever limited language you may have learned as much as possible. It doesn't matter if you don't know much, you should practise whatever little you have learned;
Studying English is not the same thing as doing your homework. Revise the language that has been taught constantly – it'd be great if students had 10-15 minutes a day to revise what they'd learnt;
3) KNOW YOURSELF!
Remember that you have been through different learning experiences before. Do not forget all that worked for you when you successfully learnt something. Instead, use this knowledge to your advantage.
5. Could you share some wisdom? What is the most common mistake you see English teachers make?
I'm not sure this could be classified as a mistake, but I believe many teachers these days are being bombarded with people saying that learning a language is easy and they tend to overlook some mistakes students make because what matters is that they are communicating.
The thing is, if there are lots of mistakes being made – in Grammar, Vocabulary, and Pronunciation – chances are these will become fossilised.
When it comes to EFL [English as a Foreign Language], it's quite common for students, even advanced students, to use the verb HAVE instead of THERE IS/ARE when it comes to talking about things they can see, for example.
This is something teachers need to work on: how to properly correct their learners and doing it more often. Unfortunately, there are still many teachers who haven't learnt how to correct their learners successfully, and by that I mean that many learners don't notice they're being corrected.