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English Language Teaching Global Blog


Teaching changes lives – exponentially!


Ms. Motta (front row, far right) with her class

Eneais Magalhaes is a former English teacher, who now works as a Marketing Manager at OUP Brasil. Today he shares a story with us about how #TeachingChangesLives, ahead of the closing of the competition later this month.

When I learned about the campaign “Teaching Changes Lives” I was excited – because it invites teachers from around the world to tell their stories, which will certainly be inspiring and encouraging for many others.

As a former teacher of English, I love knowing that what I’ve done professionally has had a positive impact on peoples’ lives. I also like that I have contact with other people who see their work as a mission – their stories inspire and motivate me.

Some time ago I met this kind of teacher during a seminar for English teachers and I learned about her work in a public institution. Her story is worth telling.

Her name is Mônica Motta, and the institution is called CIUG.

The school has been operating for over 20 years now, sponsored by the São Gonçalo Secretary of Education, a city in the metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro.

CIUG provides free English courses to over 1,600 students who would not be able to afford to study the language in a private school. This exemplary initiative of São Gonçalo’s municipality represents a passport for a better future for their students, once speaking English is a requirement for higher level positions.

As we were talking, I heard several interesting stories about CIUG, but I was particularly struck by one of them. Mônica told me she was approached by a student of a preparatory course saying she had been a student there some years before, and that her experience as a student at CIUG triggered off a deep passion for English, and ultimately, for teaching it, which made her choose to be a teacher of English. After graduating from university she decided to become a student again (at CIUG, of course) in a course to enable her to get an international certificate of proficiency in English. She was impacted in such a way by the work developed at the institution that she decided to become a teacher and change people’s lives as well!

Teachers touch peoples’ lives. Fortunately, some of them will also go on to become teachers, and carry the mission out, perpetuating the cycle. The number of people impacted by a teacher’s work is not possible to measure as it grows exponentially.

Mônica and her fellow teachers, as well as all the people committed to keeping CIUG operating are real agents of social change. I was fortunate in meeting Mônica and getting to know her story. It was touching. The sense of purpose, mission and commitment to their students makes hers an example to be followed. I felt compelled to write about it and share this story with as many teachers as possible, as a way to remind them all of the importance and impact their work has in peoples’ lives.

Teaching does change lives – actually, it changes lives exponentially!


#TeachingChangesLives – Winning a scholarship at Oxford

Worcester College QuadThis year we are giving English Language teachers across the globe the chance to win a two-week all-expenses paid scholarship to attend the Oxford English Language Teachers’ Academy Summer School, held at Worcester College, Oxford. Simply create a short presentation or video to show how your English language teaching has changed lives for the better, and you could be joining us in Oxford in July 2016! Find out more here.

What would it be like to win the scholarship? Two teachers who attended the Summer School last year share their experiences with you here.


Giovanna at her end of course awards ceremony

Giovanna Gullì – Secondary teacher in Reggio Di Calabria, Italy

I stayed two weeks at Worcester College where The Department for Continuing Education holds its teacher training courses. There’s so many things to tell you about the beauty of this College where in its wonderful gardens you get rid of  worries and stroll , with squirrels , birds, swans and ducks as friendly companions and blow off steam.

I attended “Raising the Bar: challenging & inspiring” course the first week  and  “Engaging teenage learners beyond the classroom”  for  the second  week. We were introduced to topics such as creative writing, the flipped classroom, and achieving success with teenager learners, through a variety of activities that put into practice the best techniques for teaching English as a second language.

We always worked in groups, used visuals and photos on walls, we did all the activities to use in class with our students, all in a very natural and pleasant way. The atmosphere   was magic, very informative, collaborative, stress-free but at the same time involving and thought-provoking; the workshops were very well presented plus enjoyable, I have learned so much from the training.

I have already started to use some of the strategies and tools the tutors suggested with my  students and they are working remarkably well. I so much appreciated the passion and care the tutors and all people involved at the Oxford Teacher’s Academy demonstrated to us.

Felipe de Jesús Canul Schwietrs  – teacher in Mexico City, Mexico

During the welcome speech we were told: “These are going to be the two most wonderful weeks of your entire life” – and guess what, it was true. Every detail was extraordinarily taken care of. I was really impressed with the professionalism and warmth of every member of the staff.

And what to say about the courses: excellent teachers, amazing curricula and most of all a very practical approach which of course helps teachers refresh knowledge and acquire useful new ideas.

Time flew, before we knew it two weeks had gone by. But the friendship of all the companions from so many different countries sharing common problems enriched the courses and the activities planned outside the courses were great. I’m forgetting the meals, superb! And the country specially Oxford stunning and divine; stunning for all the history behind each of their buildings and places to visit, stunning for the kindness of its people. If I could, without a doubt, I’d do it again.

This could be you next year! Enter the #TeachingChangesLives competition for your chance to win an all-expenses paid scholarship to attend the Oxford English Language Teacher’s Academy Summer School in July 2016.

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#TeachingChangesLives – Verissimo Toste

Children in playgroundAt Oxford University Press, we believe that education changes lives for the better. Every day, we aim to enrich the lives of individuals and communities through education and learning English.

We can’t do this without you – the teachers in the classroom! That’s why we have just launched our #TeachingChangesLives campaign – to hear how your English Language Teaching has changed lives for the better.

Verissimo Toste, who has taught English as a Foreign Language for 30 years and is now a teacher trainer working in the Professional Development Team at Oxford University Press, kicks us off with his story about how English teaching changed one of his student’s lives in particular.  A student in one of his classes was having trouble getting his father to sign his school projects. His father went to work before he got up and arrived back home after he had gone to bed. Watch the video below to hear the idea that Verissimo had to help this student, which not only improved the student’s English but also the relationship with his father.

It’s stories like these that remind us how teaching can changes lives. Have you ever thought about how your own teaching has helped to change lives for the better? The   #TeachingChangesLives competition has been created for that purpose: to hear your stories. Enter today and you could win a two-week all-expenses paid Professional Development scholarship in Oxford in summer 2016!

To enter, show us how your English language teaching has changed lives for the better by submitting a short presentation (no longer than 15 slides) or video (no longer than 5 minutes). Your story can focus on an individual student, a class, or an entire institution.

We look forward to hearing how your teaching changes lives! Find out more here and don’t forget to share your stories on Twitter using the hashtag #TeachingChangesLives.

If you want to hear more stories and teaching tips from Verissimo, why not take a look at his videos on our YouTube Channel.