What have you learnt?

Hi Everyone!

Long time no read, right? I have been super busy.. So, I haven’t blogged in ages. But I am here today. I was actually thinking about how I went from face to face teaching to online teaching in a blink of the eye, and how that has changed my teaching……..

So, how has your teaching changed and what did you learn? That is the question of today’s post.

While Covid and lockdown restrictions have not completely gone away, I do think that we can reflect on our teaching and I want us to do this together. Let’s start a tag….Or let’s just share our thoughts.

What skills have you gained from this whole situation?

Tech-y (ish)

I, for one, have become better at using my university’s Virtual Learning Environment. Before Covid, I only used it to download materials. Now, I use it to share files and material, upload recordings, give feedback, mark and so many other things! I learnt how to use Collaborate, Zoom, Google Meets, Padlet and more.

Of course, I am not the most tech savvy person, but I am getting savvy-er-ish. Let me point out here that, while I do have a background in online teaching, I never had to do all my teaching online!


I think that because I now have a zillion tabs open when I am teaching or preparing, As I am a module leader now, I often have a couple of Hangout chats open, I am answering an email and creating worksheets. I have become better at multitasking and flipping between tasks. That is not always a good thing though. I have found that due to the vast amount of tabs open, I have often struggled to finish tasks.

Time management

Due to the nature of my teaching and because I am also a module leader, my time management has become better. Getting to work takes me three minutes. As I have no one to chat with at work, I go through everything way quicker.

My time management is too good (or bad) sometimes though. What I mean is that because my computer is in my living room, it is quite easy for me to delay lunch, not get up from my seat for ages, not take my eyes off my screen etc. It has also meant that I have found it quite difficult to draw the line and find work-life balance.

If I have something to do, I do it even though it is outside my 9~5 work hour. The fact that the pc is in my living room makes it very easy to go back to work when I am supposed to be relaxing and enjoying myself.

I am online twenty four seven. I shut down my pc, but find it hard to shut down my brain and not think about work.

Better instructions

Because I do not have face to face classes, I think that my task instructions and rubrics have improved. I actually spend a lot of my time thinking about how I can give instructions to my international students without being able to point at things or answer any follow up questions about my instructions. That is really important in the material my students have to use asynchronously. My students need to be able to understand what they are doing by just reading the worksheet. In the good old days, they could just ask me a question, now they cannot really. they can email me, but due to the time difference, I may not be able to answer on time.

Making lists or lack of…

I was Little Miss List It. I used to make lists and cross stuff out all the time. During the transfer to online teaching though, my lists became longer. Now lists stress me out. Actually, no, scratch that, long lists stress me out. So, instead of using my favourite To Do note book to write down what I have to do, I scribble stuff down and just cross them out when they are done. That works better for me… especially since my office is my living room.


All teachers know that it is very important to create rapport with your students. One of the hardest things for me was creating rapport with my students (especially when they refuse to turn on their camera). So what did I do, I made a point of having a chat with every student at the beginning of the class and telling them about the things I had been up to. That allowed them to get to know me a bit better and me to get to know them. By the end of the course, we were actually sad to finish the online course.

So how has your teaching changed? Will any of your new skills move with you back into your classroom? Let me know in the comments below. I have a few more posts coming your way, so if you enjoyed this post, please follow my blog.

Till next time……


Can chatting be a lesson or is it just being lazy?

It’s has been a while, hasn’t it? I have been busy with life and haven’t had edu-blog post inspo for a while now, but I am back which means I have a ramble for you. I actually have a ramble and loads of rhetorical or not so rhetorical questions.

I took time off and my learners were taught by ‘cover’ teachers. I came back and got my students back.
When I had my first lesson with one of my students, I asked her what she had been up to.
She said,
I had lessons with a lovely lady and we were talking a lot. It did not feel like a lesson. I did not feel like I learnt a lot. I am glad I am back with you.
That got me thinking about lessons that are chatty. Lessons that may focus on having a conversation with a student but where there is no actual material or maybe the learner feels like there is no material….
Is that a lesson?
Can it be called a lesson?
When can having a conversation, be called a lesson?
Speaking- chatty- conversational sessions
First, of all what is the definition of these sessions? Well, in my context as an online teacher, conversational sessions can be a chat with a student about whatever the student wants to talk about. They can be based on a video or article you read together or the student watched/ read alone.
Is this (the chat bit) teaching unplugged? Is it being more adventurous with your lessons or just being lazy?
In your own context is chatting with your student a lesson or not?
Here is what I think. During my so called convo sessions, you do not necessarily need to have handouts when having a speaking session (like the one I defined earlier). What you do need though is some kind of structure and maybe even a mentioning of what the aim of the session is.
For example,
Today we will be chatting about your everyday life. I want you to talk to me about your daily routines. I will point out any grammar or vocabulary points which I will note down for you or which I would like you to take note of.
Today we will be watching a short video and we will talk about what it showed. We will also discuss A, B, C.
If you say something like that, the student will know that there is some kind of purpose to the lesson (that is advice to new teachers I guess).
When a speaking session is based on an article or video it is more structured and can be viewed more like a lesson.
But what about when it is more conversational?
Chatting with a student and not making any language comments is not really learning…. or is it? When you are chatting, do you interrupt to make language comments or do you just go with the flow? Is that learning though? What does the student learn? Does the paying student feel like it is a lesson… or it isn’t.
You, as a teacher may feel like you are teaching when you repeat/ rephrase what the learner said without pointing out any mistakes, but is the learner getting that? What I mean is, is your learner noticing that you have made a correction? How do you know?
So, if you decide to have a chat, what can be learnt from the chat?

Well, as I said, you need to make the chat look more like your normal sessions:

  • Mention aims/ purpose etc.
  • Make notes of whatever language is learnt/ corrected
  • Ask the student to reflect on the conversation. What did s/he do well, what do they need to work on?
  • Ask the student to summarise your chat or visualise it!!Make a mind map of what you discussed.

I think I may have lost my blog mojo, but I did have a few thoughts on this and wanted to share, get your thoughts. So, the comments section is all yours.

Till next time…

Online teaching journal: reflections ….

So, as I said in Wednesday’s post, today I will reflect (#weeklyreflections). I will reflect on this week’s sessions and make note of the things that went well, what didn’t work as planned, and whatever else pops into my mind.

Harvard referencing
I watched a very helpful video on Harvard referencing and did the exercise that accompanied the video as a classroom activity (the one where students shout out the answers). What I noticed though was that not everyone was shouting out answers.
Next time: do it in smaller groups/ pairs.
Teaching the conditionals
I went into my EAP class with the assumption that my students were familiar with the conditionals. They were not. I mean, they were able to form some sentences, but they were not able to understand and explain the meaning of the conditionals or new how to form the so called 3 conditionals. I was going to look at mixed conditionals, but decided to scrape that.
Note to self:don’t assume they know the grammar even if they have been learning English for ages or they have been here for months!
Phones in class
I ‘let’ my students use their phones in class when they want to look up a word. I also ask them to create WeChat groups, where they share things we do in class. I do wonder though when they are looking at their phones if they are actually looking up a word. I have seen a few turn their phones upside down when I get closer to them. I need to rethink this whole phones in class issue.
Summarising a lecture
My students had to summarise a lecture, but they used the exact words that the lecturer used. there was no real summarising.
Note to self: Summarising  lectures requires more scaffolding.
While I was writing this post, I checked Facebook and saw that a colleague shared a good website. Talk to books. I will use this in class as soon as possible. You need to check that website out!! You ask a question and you find the answers in books!Like talking to a book!!
So, how was your week? Anything you’d like to share? Go for it in the comments section or in your on blog post.
Till next time….

Reflection through journal-writing

I read an interesting article by Jack Richards on Creativity in Language Teaching and come across a section that inspired me, made me think and in the end prompted another…. ramble.

1 peristeria

As teachers, we are often asked to reflect. When we, as teachers, get observed, we often have to reflect on what went well during the session and what didn’t. As part of the Delta, teachers always reflect on a lesson as part of module 2.

When we are sitting in the staff room, or drinking coffee with colleagues, we reflect. We talk about a really good teaching moment or whine about something that went wrong. lose sleep over a bad moment, try to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it.

So, teachers do reflect. A lot.

But what about teaching journals? How many of you keep a journal where you reflect on your teaching? A diary or notebook where you write in once a week and reflect on issues that cropped up, good teaching ideas, what went well what didn’t? A kind of reference book which you can look at later on and get inspired… or warned?

So, this week, on Friday, I will share my online weekly journal and I invite you, to do the same. One week, thoughts and reflections. What went well, what didn’t. Something I used and liked, something I want to learn more about. Feel free to tag me if you as a blogger and do the same. Feel free to comment with your weekly reflections (is that a hashtag? #weeklyreflections) in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to ‘like’ my Facebook page (see sidebar) or ‘follow’ my blog.

Till Friday…..



I can use a ROCK and teach an amazing lesson… or can I?

Can you make a lesson where your only prop is a rock? Yes? No? If yes, what would that lesson be? If no, why not?
How important are materials in your class. How important are flashy/ super duper handouts/materials in your class? If you had nothing but a rock to use in your lesson, would you be overwhelmed and have a meltdown, or would your creative juices just flow? Would that make for an amazing lesson or a flop?
I often wonder,
How important is the material we use in the classroom? Do they make or break a lesson?
So, I have rambled quite a bit (bear with me folks, if you have been following my blog for a while, you will know that I haven’t rambled for quite a bit, so let me be) and I am going to get to my point.
I think that materials are important, but they are not the most important part of the lesson. If the material you use in class is bad/poor, you can still teach a good lesson. You could have the most amazing materials, the most up to date technology and still have a bad lesson. Is the material to blame? Are you (the teacher) to blame? Are the students to blame? Who is responsible for a bad lesson? A good one?
I think (eye roll coming), the teacher makes for a good lesson. It doesn’t have to be a well-seasoned teacher, it just has to be a teacher who has ideas and “has it”. You know, the teacher gene…….

Back to the ROCK

So, let’s challenge ourselves, shall we?
How would you use a rock in your class?
Idea 1
Ask your students:
Imagine the rock is a desert island and you need to live on it, what would you take with you? You go through how to write a plan for a story, the features of a story and so on.
Idea 2
Write a poem about a rock. Again, you go through the features of a poem and then get them cracking on.
Idea 3
One rock for each student, they draw faces on them and write the script for a play. The rocks are the characters. Again, go through what needs to be in a play, features of direct speech and so on.
Idea 4
Think about words that have to do with rocks. You can look at all kinds of vocabulary, (derivatives etc), make sentences, write a story, find adjectives to describe a rock, find the opposites of these adjectives, and so on.
Idea 5
EAP twist….. Your students take part in a seminar, they have to have arguments, good arguments. When a student finishes analysing their own argument, they hand the rock to another student who needs to provide a counterargument or something along those lines. All arguments need to be as solid as a …. rock.
Idea 6
Your turn.
How would you use a rock in your classroom?
Where do you stand on this topic. I am counting on you PLN.
Oh! Don’t forget to follow my blog or ‘like ‘ my facebook page.
Till next time…..

Last minute (academic) essay check list lesson

Hi everyone!

In today’s post I am going to share with you my last minute (academic) essay check list. This check list is for an argumentative essay which would be about 2000 words long and would require using sources. I use this PowerPoint check list as a last minute revision. This would be part of a last revision before submission. It is supposed to be used as a self check/ evaluation PowerPoint, but could also be used as a Peer evaluation check list. This can be used for a 90 minute session. You can spend about 15 minutes on each slide or go through the whole PPT and check/ monitor as students work through the questions.


Material/ props

Students will need to bring in their laptops or paper copies of their drafts.

Essay checklist PowerPoint

Last minute essay checklist

The Checklist

I have focused on different areas. I look at:

  • what should be in an introduction/ conclusion
  • what should be in a paragraph/ argument
  • what a counterargument is and its rebuttal
  • Sources and reference list (we are using the Harvard Style, so that is what is on my slides)
  • language (academic vs. non academic)
  • plagiarism

Useful online tools (to be used during the session)

Academic word list pdf

Academic word list highlighter (I would suggest ticking number 10, so as to get as many ‘academic words’ as possible).

Anglia Ruskin Harvard Referencing page (although most university libraries do have their own helpful information page when it comes to referencing systems).

Bear in mind that essays may differ and you may not need all the elements I have focused on in my check list. Feel free to adapt and tailor based on your students needs.

Do you have any suggestions? Let me know how this went. Don’t forget to follow my blog or like my Facebook page, so you can get notifications about when I post. I have a few more checklist/ self evaluation posts coming soon.

Till next time….


A Video-based Lesson: Travelling

Hi everyone!

Today I am going to share a video based session I made on the topic of travelling. I used this with B1 level students. This lesson is a listening/ speaking session. Students will be asked to do a lot of group discussions and they will have to come up with a lot of vocabulary themselves. At the end of the lesson, students will also be asked to be a bit  reflective and self evaluate their performance (in my lesson,I also encouraged them to come up with an action plan). This was a 90 minute session.

The lesson

Task 1: Discussing the difference between travelling/ traveling

Task 2: Looking at pictures and naming the means of transport.

Task 3: Thinking about words related to travelling

Task 4: Mini presentation about how the student got to where the lesson is held (sts must use vocabulary covered so far).

Task 5: Dictogloss

Task 6: Watch a video and answer questions (answers follow the questions).

Task 7: Reflecting on how students did in today’s session. Creating an action plan for the next video-based session.

Listening task idea:

You can either ask students take notes and then show them the questions or give them the questions and ask them to take notes for the questions. I guess this depends on the level of the learners.

Vocabulary task idea:

You can give your students worksheets with vocabulary related to travelling or ask them to look for the vocabulary themselves. I  chose the latter.

The materials

The PPT  Travelling

The listening questions Lauren’s Trip to China


I hope you enjoy this lesson. Let me know how it goes.

Oh! Don’t forget to follow my blog or ‘like’ my Facebook page.

Till next time…..

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…