The ELEVEN challenge

About a month ago I saw this challenge in one interesting blog by Vedrana Vojković Estatiev and I found it really catching and fun. Moreover, her questions appealed to me a lot, so here is my Eleven Challenge about teaching English. Sorry for long answers)

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Not more than 40% new info at a lesson?

I’ve recently read somewhere that it’s necessary to give not more than 40% of new information with 60% of revision each lesson. Or it might even be 30%-70% or even 20%-80%.

I can hardly estimate the percentage at my lessons. I’ve never thought about it.

Do you know that?

Do you follow it at your lessons?

I’m interested in the explanation of this percentage. Might be quite reasonable. I’m going to google it when I have a spare moment, but I’m also interested in your personal opinion and experience.

My teaching failure


I had a lesson this Monday which made me think a lot. The previous lesson I explained a grammar topic and we did exercises and activities, but on Monday I brought a couple of tasks for revision and it turned out to be very difficult for them (though there was nothing new) and they ended up with most of answers wrong. That’s not the worst thing still. It is that I found them extremely discouraged to study.

What might have gone wrong? What should I do next?

It occured to me that you need sometimes to get used to the logic of the English grammar which is quite different from ours. The problem was that the students struggled with understanding a situation in a right way.

What do you think?

Lesson Plan: vocabulary on investment and finance (Market Leader Int 3rd eddition)

Hi there! I wanted to post here two lesson plans which go together on financial vocabulary.

We have Market Leader 3rd edition and, frankly speaking, I dislike the book and the way material is organized there, so I have to create and find a lot of activities to make it more interesting and effective.

Lesson 1.i

Aim: at the end of the lesson the students will be able to use the target vocabulary to speak about financial situation in different companies.

1. To introduce the topic in a simple and relaxed way I decided to play hangman with the word INVESTMENT. Then we discussed several questions on the topic like the following:

a) Would you like to invest money if you had enough?

b) What would you invest in?

c) What do you need to know to invest successfully?

d) What qualities should an investor have?

2. I chose the vocab book which is called “Words at work”. Unit 14 is dedicated to the investment and finance.  We did exercises  1a (individually and as a whole class), 1b (in pairs and as a whole class) and 2a (individually, then in pairs, then as a whole class).

After that I asked students in pairs to give each other definitions and words for the definitions to memorize the vocab.

3. Unfortunately, I can’t possibly find the story I created for “fill in the gaps” task. It was a success story of a company with most of the words and phrases. We did it in pairs and then checked as a whole class.

4. For the final task I wanted them to change the partners so I wrote some phrases on cards with the beginning on one card and the ending on another, so that they could find a new partner by matching them. As I had only three students that day I was somebody’s partner.

The task was to make up a news report on financial situation in a company after some events. I offered some ideas to the students but they were free to invent their own. The ideas were: “Nokia after the merger with Microsoft” and “Apple after launching of iPhone 5”. One of the students in one pair was a news anchor and another was an expert, in my pair I just helped a student to create the text and he performed as a news anchor alone.

5. We performed the reports and gave each other feedback.

Lesson 2.

Aim: to revise previously taught vocabulary and get acquainted with new phrases in order to use them to describe financial events.

1. To revise the previously taught vocab I created a word cloud with all the words plus some extra words on finance already familiar to the students. You can do it here


I read the definitions of the words and they numbered the words. After that I gave them the definitions and they checked the answers in pairs. Then we checked it as a whole class (usual checking stuff, you know)

2. Market Leader p 53. We did the vocab tasks as they are given, checked in pairs and together.

3. The next task can be described as a dictation of a graph. It can be modified depending on the number of students. If you have an even number of them they can dictate to each other, if the number of students is odd, as I had three students you can give a graph to one of the students sitting their face to the board and one student would draw on the board and one more student would sit with their back to the board and draw the same on a sheet of paper.

As you put your students in the necessary positions do your best to explain the task as easy as possible.

a) the person who has a graph dictates everything to their partner

b) he/she has to replace the underlined words with definitions

c) the person drawing the graph on the board or on the sheet of paper should guess the words from definitions and write original words

When everything is dictated the both graphs should look the same.

Here are the examples of the graphs:

Doc - 10.10.13, 22-53 - p1 Doc - 10.10.13, 22-53 - p4

4. The last task is taken from the book “Words at work”, exercise 9. It is a game where when getting on a cell with a situation you should decide whether it’s good or bad for your company and move 2 cells forward or back accordingly. It’s relaxing after such a challenging activity as the previous one.

After these two lessons I was sure that the students learnt the vocab quite well as they could freely use it without looking at their notes.

I would appreciate it if you leave your comments or ideas on the lessons I described.


Who is a CELTA trainee?

Despite of being too apprehensive about the interview I’m just taking the result for grunted. From now it looks quite easy and extremely pleasant due to Vanja, my future CELTA trainer. She was really extremely nice. But although I’m in, I had to promise my trainer to work hard on my English. I’m aware of my problems and, well, I’m trying to improve it. And waiting for January to go to Budapest. I’ve already bought tickets!

Some words about the interview.

As I said, the atmosphere was pleasant and I felt quite OK. Firstly, Vanja asked me some questions related to my essay about my English learning experience, teaching experience and my interest in the course. Then we discussed grammar questions from the application form and she asked me to paraphrase a couple of sentences so they sound better. After that we passed to the methodological part of the application and I was asked to role-play teaching beginners a language item. After a discussion we passed to another role-play where she as a teacher explained a phrase, first I was her student and then I was to analyse the explanation. Then I was given another item to teach and 2 minutes for preparation. At the end Vanja said that I’m in and described me the peculiarities of the course and finally I had some time to ask questions. That’s it. Shortly after that I received a letter with huge amount of information regarding the payment procedure, info on Budapest, how to get from the airport and who to call in case of something… And there is a pre-course task to do, though I haven’t opened it yet( Shame upon me!

But I’m working on my English aiming to pass CAE in December.

Follow me as I am learning teaching


The idea of the blog is sharing my experience in getting maturity as a teacher with my friends, colleagues and English teachers around the world. I hope it will be beneficial for everybody. You might find some ideas or read about something in the teaching world that I find helpful or just to laugh at me describing my struggling with teaching)

I’ve decided to start the blog being on the verge of an important event in an English teacher’s life. Actually I’m thrilled to bits waiting for Monday to come due to… ta-daaam CELTA interview. Yeah, I have recently submitted my application form and agreed with a tutor about the time. If I fail I will get under the bed and spend there some … minutes crying. Wanted to write ‘hours’ but remembered my tough timetable)

I still hope that I will enroll on the CELTA course successfully and will be able to fill you in with interesting experience.

Some background info about me. I have graduated from a teacher training university in Omsk, Russia, had a 1,5-year experience of working at schools, then followed about 2 years of working in language centres and here I am teaching General and Business English to corporate clients in Moscow. I have come to the thought of taking this CELTA course because I lack some practical lessons under control of trainers and I have some weak points as a teacher which I want to improve and develop my strengths as well.

I will be happy to see your comments, pieces of advice, stories from your teaching experience… Everybody is highly welcomed.