Views on Education

With this post we would like to compile several resources that have been suggested in our Facebook group to talk about education (particularly by Laura Martin).

1. First of all, the classic talk by Ken Robinson, one of the most popular video in TED: Do schools kill creativity?’

Also by Ken Robinson, Changing Education Paradigms

Have a look at the fantastic lesson around this video in Film English, by Kieran Donaghy

2. The perspective of a motivated and motivating teacher in TED: “Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” Her response: “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.’” A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.”

3. Education and technology:

No computers in the classroom in Silicon Valley

4. Free schools:

5. Some notions on “unschooling”:

6. Hackschooling:

If you have any more ideas to add here, please let us know in a comment.


A Tribute to Madiba

The world is grieving for the loss of Nelson Mandela. Our role as ESL teachers is not only teaching language, but culture, so we think it is necessary to mention this event in our lessons.

Here we offer two different ideas.

First, we think we can talk about his figure and his words using this slideshow presentation we found on slideshare. We can use it in different ways, as prompts for speaking or writing, or as a reading comprenhension activity.


Secondly, one of the members of our group, Carmela Vaamonde, from Escuela Oficial de Idiomas A Coruña, shared with us this wonderful listening activity about Playing the Enemy, the book that was later used as a basis for the film Invictus.

You can find the audio for the activity here.

And you can dowload the pdf with the questions and the key here:  JohnCarlin_PlayingTheEnemy

Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night

Gunpowder Plot

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Sandwiched between the overwhelming popularity of Halloween and all-American Thanksgiving, on November, 5th there is a festival that, in recent years, has gained its lost popularity. Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes’ Night is one of those celebrations that are not rooted in everyday activities or seasonal changes, but in the historical events that took place in the 17th century and whose main character, Guy Fawkes, has become the icon for many who fight the political power (see “V for Vendetta” or the masks of the members of Anonymous).

For those who, like us, enjoy introducing their students to the culture of the target language, here go a couple of links with materials for the classroom. If you are teaching beginners or basic levels, Activity Village ( has a good range of basic exercises to practice vocabulary.

In case you need something more elaborate for intermediate students, the blog ( has a video lesson with an on-line quiz. Also, for this level, we have the material from Remember Remember ( especially the punctuation activities.

Finally, there is a more humorous BBC video documentary hosted by Nick Knowles that could be a good entertaining and inspiring resource for more advanced students. In this case we have not found any activities, although we suggest students could write a short article on the events described.

If you know of any more materials that could complete this post, please write a comment. We appreciate your collaboration.

British immigration test

Encarni González, from EOI Raimundo de Toledo shared an interesting activity for B2 students on our facebook group.

The activity deals with the controversial test all those who want to become British citizens will have to pass, together with the campaign that the British government has launched to discourage Bulgarian and Romanian citizens from moving to the UK.

The activity is divided in two parts. The first one involves a text published by The Guardian with some comprehension questions, and the second one is one example of the tests that
those who aspire to hold the Bristish citizenship will have to pass. Are our students ready to be British?

You can download the worksheet British immigration.


In Spain we all know who Christopher Columbus was, what he did and when. So this activity needs no previous introduction for our students. I’ve prepared this activity with an article published by NBC News last year. I have to thank Israel Arochena for sharing the article on facebook.

This is how it goes.

TIME: 30 minutes

LANGUAGE: general vocabulary, modal verbs for deduction

LEVEL: B2 or higher


Ppt with the sentences given in the article published by the NBC.
Cards with correct information.

You can also download the original article here.


Ask for 5 volunteers, they are going to receive all the information. Give each a card and tell read them thoroughly, trying to understand all the vocabulary given. They can even try to reasearch the topic on internet using their mobile phones. When they are done, they can join the other students with cards to share the information given.

The rest of the class will be divided in groups of 3-4 people. They are going to read each of the sentences of the powerpoint and will be given 3 minutes to discuss them. They have to guess if they are true or false and justify their answers. Every t3 minutes the teacher will change the slide with a different sentence.

Groups have to share with the whole group what they have worked out and contrast what they think with what the students with all the information are going to tell them about these sentences.

Solving mysteries

This is my first contribution here and I have to admit that I´m a bit anxious! Thank you for the invitation! 😉

The reason why I have been invited is this: I just happened to come across something I thought could be nice and motivating for advanced students of English so I was suggested to share it in this blog. This time I haven’t thought of a lesson plan as most of the teachers who add posts do, but next time I´ll do it.

Now, have a go and enjoy it!

In-flight magazines

Many airlines produce inflight magazines, there to give you details about their fleet, or inflight entertainment, sometimes articles about places they travel to, or other diversions. They do not make the most compelling journalism, and these are chock-full of business and destination-related junk they include as self-promotion; but often include articles which are up-to-date, short and interesting enough to be used in class,

Some of these magazines are fully or partially available on the Internet, either online or downloadable as PDFs. I find particularly interesting and useful:

Do you know of any other useful in-flight magazines?