Three practical ways to energize your classroom

I don’t know about you, but over here in Japan the semester is coming to an end and students and teachers alike are starting to feel the pace. There are a lot of fatigued faces on campus as a combination of a long semester, lots of reports and final test week looming is really starting […]

How to encourage your learners to make mistakes

By Neil Millington How often do you share stories with your students about your life? I know some teachers that are really good at telling interesting stories about their travels or adventures. I also know other teachers that would rather keep the student teacher relationship as professional as possible, and prefer to share little about […]

Hugs and Shrugs: Motivation in the Language Classroom

By Neil Millington I have been hesitant to write this blog as I am not sure what kind of reaction I’d get, but I decided to step out of my comfort zone and give it go. It’s about an instance in a class that I taught recently that was totally unplanned and that completely took […]

Making a Difference – Part II

My last blog post was about showing learners how they can make a difference in class using a short narrative. Over the coming weeks I’m writing about teachers I know who are going the extra mile and making a difference in their classes or courses. I am going to start this off with this post […]

Making a Difference – Part I

This week I thought I would share a motivational strategy that I have been using to help show learners that they can make a difference in class. I’m going to follow this up with a blog about a teacher who is going the extra mile and really making a difference to his students, so please […]

Creating a win-win situation: Sharing on social media

by Neil Millington “What’s in it for you?” This question, posed to me by a fellow teacher I had only just met at a conference, was simple enough. I had just finished explaining to him how much work it was to create our website,, an online bank of free reading materials. I was caught […]

Maps in the Classroom

Using Maps in the English Classroom

I’ve been interested in maps ever since I was a kid and got my little hands on my first atlas. The colorful shapes on each page showed far-away places with strange names I couldn’t pronounce. Living in a small town in Manitoba, Canada, these were places I knew I would probably never visit. It just wasn’t […]

Games in the Classroom

Back when I was an Assistant Language Teacher at a Japanese high school, teachers would constantly ask me to develop a game for the students.  It didn’t really matter what it was but I was clearly in charge of making this game, preparing all the materials, and then briefing my fellow Japanese teacher of English […]

Godzilla or Spock? The First Day of Class

It was with great interest that I read Michael Griffin’s excellent blog post called “Scaring Students on the First Day” with its picture of the famous Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (the most ironic name ever – you can’t beat Kubrick) from Full Metal Jacket screaming at the film’s protagonist, Private Joker.  In his post, Mike wonders about the best way to […]