The one about the observation……

I got observed the other day and one of the suggestions the person who observed me gave had to do with group discussions, so that’s what I am going to talk about today, but first I am going to build up some suspension……… (not going to spill the beans about what she said yet….).

Beach in Chania

Grab your coffee, sit comfy and let’s chat, like the good old days (when I blogged almost every single day).
So, group discussions…….. How do you set them up?
I put students in groups without really thinking about who goes where. It’s just a quick, you go here, you go there. I put my students in groups of three or four. Before, I go on rambling, my students are university students and this particular group was a group of post grads
Seminars vs. discussions
In my context group discussions are often called seminars. I usually give students information which is based on a text, texts, a video or videos. You get it. They get a lot of input before the actual seminar starts.
Who’s the leader?
There is always a leader in these groups. Again, someone chosen randomly, although I do tend to pick a more quiet student, just to make sure they they will be more engaged in the convo.
Back to the observed session
So, part of my lesson had little group discussion which were leading up to a longer seminar. I set everything up and then monitored. Here’s the thing. Monitoring a group discussion is hard.I mean, how can you monitor 4 groups at the same time? Well, you can get them to record themselves and then listen to the recordings, but who does that on a daily basis? So, in my mind it is impossible to do, so I end up walking around and listening to their discussions and giving feedback if I hear some mistake. Interrupt the group discussion if I hear a pronunciation mistake or just nod and say, ” Yeap! Good point!” or “Really?”. I then may give some general feedback at the end of the group discussion.
Why don’t you ask more questions. Listen to them and ask something. You may make them think of something they hadn’t thought of before. Start a conversation.
Huh? Yes! Why don’t i? That is such an obvious suggestion and so important!
So, why does my monitoring stop at, ” Really?” or “Good point!”?
I guess I think it is a time issue. It is also hard to go in and out of conversations. I am also insecure and think that if I stay longer in a group, the other groups might start talking about a TV show or sports! But, I need to work on this because it makes sense. I need to scaffold these conversations more! I need to actively participate in them and even interrupt my students (it may show them a good example of interrupting!).
I liked this observation. It made me reflect and learn. Now I need to improve!
Thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to follow my blog. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Till next time…

10 suggestions (teaching resources)

Hi everyone!!

Happy New Year! I thought I’d start the year with a post about some of my favourites websites and tools. So, let’s begin.
Music Department

Sheffield University ( Department of Music)

Fun (and quick warmer)

How about starting your lesson with Hangman. If your lesson topic is Plagiarism, play Hangman with your students. It is fun and they will pay attention to the theme of the lesson (at least the intro part).

Snipping tool

When Paint stopped existing, I felt lost. I had so many images I wanted to screen shot and then crop. Then I found the snipping tool in the windows program tab and all is well.
This website has lots of texts that can be used in class. It is like using texts from the Guardian or BBC. Just a different website. My students really liked this one!
This website has numerous past and upcoming webinars you can attend.
How important is speed when reading? If you want to work on that, check out this website for up-ping your students’ reading speed game.
More stuff
If you are teaching anything that has to do with reflective logs (listening, speaking, writing), you may want to check out this website. It has to do with Gibbs Reflective Cycle.  Another website I used in class when I was teaching reporting verbs was this website. I liked how there were lots of tabs. I think this can also be used as a self study task. It took about 20 minutes to go through with the students.
Videos I used in class
I used lots of videos in my academic writing classes. I found them quite helpful. Check them out!
I used this in my pre master class and it was quite easy for them to understand.
Fun video which explains how to develop a focused research question (which is actually what students have the most difficulty doing.
When is a source considered academic and when not? This video gives useful tips and it is quite easy to follow.
What have you been using? Let me know in the comments below. Don’t forget to connect with me!
Till next time….

Where ya been? What ya done?


So, the last time I spoke to you guys, I was going to do the Hana challenge aka blogging almost every day. I said,

I am going to write 15 posts.

Did I do that?



Well, life happened. I got a new job, I changed house, I had to get my stuff sorted, I started a new job.

I have a new life and blogging is quite hard for me at the moment. I have loads of new ideas to share, but I do not have the time to share them. I am knackered. Like… so tired. No energy to write. No energy to share.

That makes me wonder though. Should my job be the thing that takes up all my time?

Well at the moment yes. Work is very important. I have new modules to teach. I create materials, I am doing a lot of marking. I am trying to learn how to get around a new campus.

I am also trying to adjust to a 9-5 job and that ain’t easy.


Life in the UK is different to life in Greece.

My work life is so different as well.

I am not a full time online Business English teacher any more. I am an EAP tutor.

I always wanted to work at a university. Now I am. You may catch me walking around the campus with a smile on my face and wonder if I have gone cray cray. I haven’t. I am just happy and I wish I could share that with you guys, my PLN, but I have no ELT blogging time.


When I do have time, I talk about makeup because here, this blog, is kind of like an extension of my work. It is not work, but it is my professional blog. My fun beauty blog is my getaway (not doing much of that btw either).

Anyways, I thought I’d just write a little update and let you know how I’ve been.

How are you guys? What are you guys up to? How is teaching treatin ya?

Till next time…


Fish bowl paraphrasing activity

Hi everyone,

Today’s post is going to be about an activity a colleague shared with us and I thought it sounded like a good idea. If you teach paraphrasing and academic writing, this post is for you.


Put students in groups of four and then four more around those student. This is something like a circle in a circle.

The students in the inner circle are given a text which hey are asked to paraphrase. Once they are happy with their paraphrase (I suggest you give your students a word and time limit), the teacher takes away the text and asks the student to share their (paraphrased) text. The students in pairs must paraphrase the text again.


Why do this?

It is a great way to help students avoid plagiarism.

It’s a great collaborative task.

It’s more fun than writing a paraphrase on your own.

Have you tried this activity? Have you tried a different version? Let me know what you think!

Till next time…..



Research is like….. Getting creative in the EAP classroom

Hi everyone!

In today’s post I am going to talk about a fun and creative activity I did with my students (not my idea, but really enjoyed it and thought I’d let you in on the task). Teaching in the EAP classroom can be sometimes dry and tiring. It can get boring as well!! Teachers are always trying to find ways to make some of the lessons a bit more enjoyable. This is the case of today’s writing idea. It’s sort of like an EAP picture composition.

What did I do?

Students were introduced to metaphors and were then asked to finish the sentence
research is like……
What this meant was that students had to compare research with something
Research is like a birthday cake……
Now, they also had to discuss the features/elements of research with those that go into the process of let’s say, making a birthday cake. I probably do not make sense…….


Students were then asked to think and brainstorm about everything that comes together in order to do research (professor, thesis statement, books, journals, library etc.).
We wrote everything on the board. I then started writing my text. I introduced the task with an example.
I said,
Research is like a day at the beach. The water is my research question and the sand is the data and the sources I need to use. When I combine the water and the sand they become one entity which helps me make a castle. The castle is my research project. The person who helps me create the sand castle is my professor. He tells me ……
I actually drew pictures of some of the items as I was writing this text.

Final thoughts

Most of the students got into it and made picture essays in a Google doc. Others just wrote a text. It was a fun activity and I will definitely be trying it again next term.
Till next time…..

The one where you meet someone who reads your blog…..

Blogging is an interesting thing. For me, it’s like writing a journal. I chat and ramble and engage in interesting conversations with you guys but because everything is online, while it is real, it doesn’t feel real. Do you get me? I mean I share my stories, I ask for advice but everything is in world wide web!! It isn’t tangible. I do not meet people!!Until……..

1 peristeria

Well, a couple of weeks ago I met two teachers who said,

Oh! When I heard your name and saw your face, I knew I was reading your blog!

How cool! How embarrassing!!

The things I say here!! The things you guys actually have to read and then to meet teachers who have actually read my blog and like the stuff I write? It’s so weird!!

But this isn’t the first time this has happened. Last year I went for lunch with some friends in Newcastle and one of the people there said,


I read your blog as I was preparing for my pre-sessional interview!! Your tips were helpful.

Mind-boggling folks!!

So, you don’t really understand the “power”, “dynamic” of blogging until you have that face to face interaction I guess  or maybe I don’t!

How does that make me feel?

Well, I guess I feel strange and happy at the same time. Happy that I can help someone, strange cause, boy oh boy, do I ramble!! I guess bigger bloggers are used to it, but I am not. That’s why I am writing about it today. Does meeting someone who has read what I say, change the way I blog? Nope!! Still gonna ramble!!!

So what about you guys? Have you met any of the teachers who read your blogs? How does that make you feel?

Short and sweet today. I have to write 15 posts this month!

Don’t think that’s gonna happen, but I will try!!

Till next time….




My Whiteboard & the thought process behind it

Hi guys,

Blog post numero duo (don’t worry my counting in Italian is gonna end today!) is here. Today I am going to talk about and show you my whiteboard. I have never really shared pics of my whiteboard, but I thought I’d share something cause well it’s interesting to share the ‘thought’ process behind what goes on my bard.

My context

I was teaching academic English and the lesson was a writing lesson.

My thought process

Of course I don’t think my whiteboard is perfect nor do I think that you will want to lift it and make it your own, but it makes sense to me and my learners. My white board is often photographed (I will touch upon the whole photograph thing a bit later on).


Let’s take a closer look

You know when you reach the end of a series of sessions which have all been leading up to the writing of a long essay? This is what this board was for. A round up of the things my learners needed to focus on before handing in the first draft of their cause and effect essay. It was, in fact, based on questions and things I had noticed needed to be highlighted. I like using asterisks and smiley/sad faces. I draw boxes, circle things and so on. I do not use colours cause I am colourblind and that does not make sense to me (see what a non colour coordinated whiteboard looks like?).


Setting Homework

Yeap! I make a list of everything my students have to do for homework. This works for me cause I don’t erase it, so it is there the next time I go into class and I get to check it. It works for my students as well cause they take a pic and check their homework (hopefully they do it as well!!).

Camera in the class: Do or don’t?

Well, personally, I don’t mind when my students take a pic of my whiteboard. I do always warn them though. I say,

Just because I am OK with you taking a pic of my whiteboard/ slides, doesn’t mean all the tutors are, so you need to ask for their permission.

I also tell them when they need to write something down. You see, when something is super important, I tell them to take notes and not just a pic. I think they retain it better in their memory. Someone actually told me that. Dunno if it is an urban legend though or true!!

So, there you have it. My whiteboard. I’d love to see yours. As for the #hanachallenge, I am on number 2 (have committed to 15…. let’s see).

Don’t forget to follow my blog (if you aren’t already). ‘Like’ my Facebook page (see sidebar on ways to connect).

Thanks for stopping by!!

Till next time….