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Monday, December 22, 2014

Goals & Innovation in EFL

This is part of What is your story challenge, by Vicky Loras.

I'm a Brazilian tech-savvy teacher, researcher and blogger on the integration of handheld devices to enhance the opportunities of learning English as a foreign language.
My area of expertise is mobile learning, ways of integrating apps in and outside the classroom. 
Collaboration in real time and the usage of handheld devices to work with vision impaired students have been my main targets lately.
I also focus on using video passages from movies and TV series very regularly in my classes as to illustrate language features and expose students to more authentic English.

Since I started blogging to share my classroom experience, positive things have happened, such as:

*Speaking at an International Conference in 2013, blogging at Teaching English
*Being selected for the Google Teacher Academy and having become a Google Certified Teacher.
*Meeting like-minded teachers with such a passion for education from all over the world, which is such a reward.

As for my challenges in 2015:

*Presentation at IATEFL Manchester 2015 on Apps for learning independence and inclusion
That’s my first time at IATEFL and I will share my experience on working with a vision impaired student within a group of sighted classmates.
*To keep on sharing findings on free apps and sites that can be effective for both learners and teachers in the two blogs I write for.
*To work with the preparation of Business Students to sit for Cambridge Business Exams.

I appreciate this opportunity given by Vicky Loras in her blog. She has been an inspiration to EFL educators all over the world.

Follow me on Twitter @Rach_Gonzaga
or Subscribe to the blog ;)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Working with social media in the classroom

It is an immense honour to have Carolina Marques guest write on Informed Teachers.
Carolina Marques holds a degree in Translation and is currently taking a post graduation in Bilingual Education. She's an EFL teacher and coach at Cultura Inglesa SP.
In this post, she writes about her experience with social media in the EFL classroom.

It is not fair to say I chose to work with social media in the classroom. In fact, that was something that happened almost organically in my case. One may argue it is because of the so-called Generation Y, also known as the Millennials, who have been plugged into technology since they were born. Others may blame it on this high tech world we live in. Either way, the truth is that we cannot simply ignore technology anymore – neither in life, nor in the classroom.  

Creating a page on Facebook for my Saturday groups has been a very positive experience, in the sense that it helps bringing students together as group, even when they are not at school. Not only does it work as a different channel of communication between teacher and students, it also improves student-student communication.

With regard to content, the News feed on our group page is by no means an online version of what happens in the class, in other words, it does not display only class-related content. We share inside jokes, comments, ideas on how to brush up our English, word lists, collocations, grammar tips, photos, interesting articles, etc. On top of that, since the group is open, any member can post or share anything they like.

I am inclined to believe that this sense of community and collaboration combined with intense online interaction has a knock-on effect on the development of group cohesiveness. Therefore, I can say from experience that working with social media in the classroom has a lot to add to both language learning and teaching.

Carolina Marques da Silva

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Google Basics for Teaching

                                                          Are you a teacher ? 
Have you noticed so much going on about technology to be integrated to classes, used in the classroom and feel like trying but are not sure where to start?
Google Basics for Teaching is here to help you out.

Learn about new tools to add variety and enhance your students' learning experience and your efficiency. Or find out another possibility for a tool you already know.
Creativity and technology walk hand in hand for an incredible experience for both teachers and students!

So, if you need to start from scratch, this is for you. It's your chance to learn and feel confident in using tech tools. 
What if you have some knowledge already? There's always something new to learn as creativity can spice up the learning experience.

This is a course focused on educators and has the support of Google Certified Teachers, peers and content experts.
By now,it's available for the following countries: Brazil, Philippines, India and Russia.
Are you an educator in the countries mentioned above? That's a precious chance. 
Take it!
 I'm in!  

+Raquel Ribeiro Prado Gonzaga 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween & sitcoms II

It's Halloween Week !!!!

Here's a selection of popular world wide TV shows in their Halloween episodes.
Below the selected scenes and a quick activity which is a treat.

Firstly, some background information on the celebration. If possible students can scan the qr code below and have the infographic in their handheld device. Trivia on halloween history, tips and costumes.
                        Great Halloween Infographic

                                                The Big Bang Theory (Halloween Prank)

 Activity: Students watch this hilarious scene and match the typical Halloween pranks.
They use the words in the box to complete the pranks mentioned by Sheldon.
  witch’s     blood    haunted    walls      ghostly
A ________ moan
The  _______cackle
The ________dripping _______
How are the people who play tricks on Halloween called ?      P_________
 Modern Family (season 2 episode 6 Halloween)
Counter: From 14:46 up to 20:48       
Shows a Family who loves celebrating Halloween but are having some arguments...
                ***  HALLOWEEN KIDS  ***
     Peppa pig - Fancy dress party
Match the characters and their costume:
1.dinosaur    2.pirate    3.witch   4.carrot     5.fairy princess   6.clown    7.nurse
George(   ) Susie (     ) Peppa (    )  Danny(    )    Candy(     )      Rebecca(     )     Pedro(     )
Who has the best costume ? __________
Halloween Song :  Skeleton bonés
More on Halloween sitcoms and activities
               ***   Happy Halloween   ***
Follow me  @Rach_Gonzaga
                    +Raquel Ribeiro Prado Gonzaga 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

EFL Speaking Development Tools

Speaking Avatar
Click here_Speaking Avatar
In this blog we feature free tools (apps and websites) to help out in students'speech and speaking development!
Let's consider how much the speaking technology has advanced in the past few years as well as the accessibility of hand-held devices and put them together.

One of the worries of a teacher of English as a foreign language (be them native or non-native speakers) has to do with the inteligibility of students'speaking production, especially in elementary and pre-elementary levels.

Here are useful resources :

It is a voice enabled avatar and the possibilities for teaching and learning a foreign language via this tool are way too many.
Among them, the individualized feedback.
I have used this tool with my adult and teenage students.
They create an avatar and record their voice. I listen to their production and send my spoken feedback via Voki.

scan me!
QR Voice       
You can type a message of up to 100 characters and even choose the language it will be spoken.
Works great for a quick question to a group, a treasure hunt with different instructions to follow, to read a famous quotation, among other possibilities we can find out.           

  Pronunciation Checker    

Great app to check the right pronunciation and intonation of an isolated word or sentence, question.
The options British and American English can be chosen from.
Right now only available for Android. The developer has the intention of having this app also available for iOS soon.

For more info on QR codes for education:   QR codes for education
You might also want to check : Do you practice conversation with your mobile ?

Just by adding a new feature to your classroom, chances are that you can positively motivate your students to find out helpful tools and getting to know technology that can be applied to their learning routine.
How about that ?

or on Twitter  @Rach Gonzaga  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cursos online gratuitos do Connecting Classrooms

Connecting Classrooms is an education programme designed to help students learn about global issues through partnerships with schools all over the world.
This post is in Portuguese because it is about a specific course opportunity for Brazilian teachers of state and private schools.

Além de oportunidades de parcerias internacionais entre escolas e atividades pedagógicas, o Connecting Classrooms disponibiliza cursos online gratuitos para o desenvolvimento profissional de professores, de todas as disciplinas.
O conteúdo é em inglês e tem como objetivo promover a internacionalização de escolas públicas e privadas da rede básica de ensino. 
Os professores concluintes receberão certificado do British Council e farão parte de uma rede internacional de educadores.   

Alguns do temas disponíveis são: Learning online with connecting classrooms, International learning - get started, English for international exchange.
Para mais informações e inscrições nos cursos, acesse: 

Connecting Classrooms é o programa do British Council voltado para escolas públicas e privadas, do ensino infantil ao médio, que une crianças e jovens do mundo inteiro, apoiando o aprendizado de assuntos globais e a formação de jovens atuantes na economia mundial.
                                                    Inscreva seu projeto !

*  Veja o programa implementado numa escola estadual no estado de São Paulo:

Sobre o British CouncilO British Council é a organização internacional do Reino Unido para oportunidades educacionais e relações culturais. Seu trabalho busca estabelecer a troca de experiências e criar laços através do intercâmbio de conhecimento e de ideias entre pessoas ao redor do mundo. Atua em cinco áreas: Educação, Língua Inglesa, Artes, Esportes e Exames. A organização está presente em mais de 100 países, com parceiros como os governos em diversas instâncias, organizações não governamentais e iniciativa privada. No Brasil, tem escritórios em Rio de Janeiro, Recife e São Paulo. Para mais informações, visite o site


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Support Learning with Apps

 Support Learning with Apps_a digital walk, by Raquel Gonzaga

This post is in collaboration with The 30 goals challenge, by Shelley Sanchez Terrell

Goal: Learn with an app
To accomplish this goal, learn with an app or help your students learn with an app

Motivation to go digital
A quick time-travel is required here. The year was 2011. The very beginning of smartphones & tablets epidemic in Brazil.
I realized I had something in my hand called smartphone, which was said to have many resources and possibilities, so I decided go check it out.
I got fascinated by the number of free resources that could be adapted for an educational purpose and decided to give it a try. How was I then to share my findings with colleagues and students?
A blog seemed to be the answer and then the idea turned into 'InformedTeachers', my channel to share my app suggestions and other tech-related EFL activities.

For each learning purpose, an App      

The first thing to do after you get your handheld device (regardless of the brand) is to check the App store.
And then browse through an unlimited number of apps for all sorts of purposes.
I started by indicating a voice recognition app and then homework organizers, dictionary , video apps, and a very useful one which has proved to be a resourceful one, the QR Code.
Related :  Using QR codes in the classroom
               QR codes in education, an innovative way
One thing I have learned is that indeed, there is an app for each learning purpose, but in order to organize your learning one has to choose their main apps.
Apps for language acquisition
The apps I have used for classroom routine and recommended as a support for home study:
* Monoligual (English-English) Dictionary,
*Vocabulary/Lexical book (I also like to call it Note-taking dictionary)
* Pronunciation Checker
* electronic notebook
*QR code reader
* Read it later app
* electronic flashcards
* Language Exams Apps
In order to facilitate their organization, encourage my teenage and adult EFL students to have a kit which they could quickly refer to.
A very important thing to say here is that the choice of app is a personal decision on the hands of the student.I do the research and suggest the apps, but the students make their own choices.
I also have observed more intensely over the past two years is that, once they realise the app can be an extra practice opportunity, they feel like using that on a regular basis and creating their own kit.
There is also the concept of BYOD, which stands for : Bring Your Own Device. The teacher then counts on the available devices students have. There is also the possibility of group work where one device can be used to work in a pair or trio if you choose to work with resources such as QR Code or e-flashcards for instance.
Here are some of the most popular posts  from my blog:
Apps for EFL studying_this is the kit
Apps to study grammar
Apps for Listening &Pronunciation

It is very rewarding to see that after being exposed to the benefits of Apps, even students with a simple handheld device can make use of them to improve their language acquisition outside the classroom, when they are on their own.
Becoming a tech-savvy teacher has helped me bond and motivate my students to take a step ahead in their foreign language acquisition, and encourage them to become independent learners.
Some classroom moments with handheld devices 

Who am I ?

Raquel Gonzaga, Brazilian EFL teacher and EdTech blogger.
I'm Tech-savvy and passionate about motivating students to go beyond their limits and trust their learning potential.

Currently teaching and working as an academic helper  at Cultura Inglesa São Paulo and Ed Tech blogger at  and Teaching English British Council where I write about apps for the EFL class and the importance of tech literacy for teachers.

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