Are you an English teacher? Are you interested in sharing ideas about teaching methods? Do you want to have fun? This is the right place for you to be!!! If you’re this kind of teacher, our blog is for you. It contains advice, tips and ideas to help you get the most out of your students. You’ll also find the latest information about tools, trends and research from the world of English Language Teaching (ELT).

As a teacher, you’re probably always looking for new and interesting ways to motivate and inspire your learners. Our blog provides some inspiration for creative lessons that target the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. These ideas should help to relieve any boredom, increase motivation and stimulate progress.

With technology playing a more prominent role in the world of ELT, we dedicate an entire section to this subject with shared ideas about some of the hot topics associated with the benefits and challenges of using technology in the classroom to engage students. We also take a look at some of the most popular blogs for English teachers, the press from English speaking countries, to trends and fashions among students, films, fiction, food etc.

As this is meant to be OUR teachers’ blog, feel free to write anything you might find relevant. If you have any thoughts on how we can improve, complement or innovate, or would like us to cover a particular aspect of English language teaching, please let us know in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you. ❤



The Cultural References Behind Lady Bird


Lady Bird, the Greta Gerwig-directed bildungsroman which has been nominated several times over this award season, is a satisfyingly authentic rite of passage, set in early 00s Sacramento, and traces nuances of pop culture which are at once disconcertingly familiar and yet utterly alien. Despite the film’s 2002 setting, Lady Bird’s style isn’t necessarily reflective of definitive (and sometimes polarizing) early-aughts fashion trends. “She’s in a beautiful moment of self-discovery and questioning and learning about herself,” explained Napier about Lady Bird’s aesthetic, which ranges from thrift, demure lace party dresses from the ’50s for important life occasions like prom, to ’90s grunge-referential plaid jumpers when she falls for a rich, wannabe alt-rocker. Lady Bird offers a treasure trove of cultural hallmarks. Every event in the titular character’s life is defined by a trend reflective of Sacramento ― and the United States at large ― circa late 2002 and early 2003. Some, like a discussion about Alanis Morissette’s “Hand in My Pocket” and a school production of the Stephen Sondheim musical “Merrily We Roll Along,” are admittedly timeless. Others belong distinctly to the moment depicted in the film.

1. A People’s History of the United States

Out one night with her bestie Julie, Lady Bird spots a lanky, long-haired stud playing guitar in a rock band ― the ultimate fantasy. He’s Kyle, a senior at the all-boys Catholic school that attends chapel every morning alongside the students from Lady Bird’s all-girls campus. After starting a job at a café ― she tells a queen bee her mom wants her to learn responsibility, but she also needs the money ― Lady Bird spots Kyle reading on the patio outside. As she approaches him for an afternoon flirtation, we see he’s reading A People’s History of the United States, the famous 1980 book that reframes America’s past as one of mass oppression at the hands of elite bigwigs. Continue reading “The Cultural References Behind Lady Bird”

Culture Club

9 St Patrick’s Day Facts


There’s just nothing like it. On March 17, the island of Ireland thrums with energy and excitement for St Patrick’s Day. But it’s not just us – the whole world goes green to celebrate, so pin on that shamrock and join in the fun!

Why 17 March?
Simple – the date marks the saint’s death. Patrick died in 461 in Saul, County Down. It was here that he had established his first church in a small and simple barn, after arriving nearby at the mouth of the Slaney River. He is buried in the grounds of Down Cathedral in Downpatrick and a memorial stone, made from local Mourne Mountain granite, marks his grave. For those who celebrate its intended meaning, St Patrick’s Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal.

When was the first parade?
Interestingly, the first St Patrick’s Day parade was not held in Ireland at all, but in Boston in the United States in 1737. This was followed by an “official” parade in New York in 1766. Ireland was a little further behind – our first parade was held in Waterford in 1903, while Dublin joined the club back in 1931. Today, the parade in Dublin is a huge, colourful, theatrical event that snakes through the historic city centre, with vivid displays and international bands.

Who invented St Patrick’s Day?
Raise your glasses to Luke Wadding, an Irish Franciscan friar from Waterford whose persistent efforts turned March 17 into a feast day. Born in 1558, Wadding died in Rome in 1657 and his remains are interred there in the college of St Isidore’s, which he founded. If you visit the National Gallery of Ireland, you can see a painting of the friar by Carlo Maratta, while in Waterford city he is commemorated with a statue outside the French Church (Greyfriars).

Are there any unusual parades?
Short, long, silly or serious, you’ll find every manner of St Patrick’s Day parade all over Ireland, from the biggest in Dublin to the earliest in Dingle, County Kerry, where it kicks off at 6am. There’s a week-long festival in Armagh, and a carnival parade and concert in Belfast. The shortest parade in the world used to be in Dripsey, County Cork, from one pub to another. Sadly, the parade is no more but you can still celebrate in the town with the annual Dripsey Vintage Tractor and Car Run.

Was St Patrick really Irish?
No, he wasn’t born here. St Patrick was thought to have originally come from either Wales or Scotland, where he was abducted at the age of 16 and brought to Northern Ireland as a slave. Once here, he was sent to Slemish Mountain in County Antrim to herd sheep. But on his escape, he had a vision and returned to Ireland to spread the word of Christianity. It was on this island that he remained for the rest of his life, preaching, baptising and building churches until his death in 461 in County Down.

Where in the world goes green?
Not content with just donning green hats, everything from buildings to rivers goes green for St Patrick’s Day (a huge source of pride for the Irish here – and for all the Irish people across the world). This year, the Colosseum in Rome, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Paris, the London Eye, the Empire State building, and Christ the Redeemer in Rio will all turn a shade of green on March 17. In Dublin, buildings and bridges all over the city are illuminated green also.

Where did he go in Ireland?
There are sites all over Ireland associated with St Patrick, which goes to show how far this 5th-century saint travelled. The Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary, and Croagh Patrick, County Mayo, are among the most famous, but there are lots more besides. Follow St Patrick’s Trail in Northern Ireland and you can visit Armagh’s two impressive cathedrals dedicated to the saint, as well as Saul Church and the St Patrick Centre in County Down.

Did St Patrick really banish snakes?
Tradition has it that the reason there are no snakes in Ireland is down to our patron saint, who chased them into the sea. It’s a good story all right, but most scientists now believe that snakes never existed in Ireland in the first place. Interested in more of Ireland’s natural history – including reptiles? Drop into the wonderful Museum of Natural History on Dublin’s Kildare Street, to find out more about our island’s fauna in a lovely old Victorian building.

Why do people wear green?
Green is a colour now synonymous with St Patrick’s Day, as people of Irish descent all over the world wear a piece of green clothing on March 17. But the wearing of green only became a tradition in the 19th century. Up until then, the colour most commonly associated with St Patrick was actually blue. Today, it’s all about jade and emerald, moss and olive, so if you’re visiting Ireland on or around March 17, make sure to pack something green.

St Patrick’s Day is coming up, but just how much do you really know about Ireland’s patron saint? Take our quiz!

How much do YOU know about St Patrick?


Teachers only

School Architecture


School Architecture” is a line of research that investigates and analyses the relationship between Space and time of learning.

In the knowledge society,  schools have to deal with different skills from those requested by the industrial society in order to avoid a risky gap forming between the world of education and the social practices of the new generations.

Traditionally, the classroom was always the only place for school education, while all the other spaces in a school (corridors, laboratories, gymnasiums) were subordinate to its centrality.  Every place in a school was designed for a specific purpose and remained unused when that type of activity was not taking place.

In the school of the future, this use of the school environment must become just a distant memory.

The conventional lecture-based teaching method is by now old-fashioned: today’s students are profoundly different from those who filled school classrooms only twenty-odd years ago. The context has totally changed, there has been a spread of technologies and digital languages, and students’ interests and curiosities have changed. In order to engage the students of this millennium, a “new” learning environment is necessary: school architecture, furnishings, timetables, work tools, textbooks and laboratories must be completely redesigned and transformed.

What is needed is to perceive the school as a “single integrated space” in which the various micro-environments of which it is composed, all for different purposes, possess equal dignity and are flexible, fit for the intended use, and able to accommodate people at any moment with the utmost functionality, comfort and well-being.

To accompany these innovation processes, it is fundamental to involve teachers in training courses that give them methods and tools to plan new settings for learning and to reconsider educational approaches.

INDIRE has been analysing and researching these issues for years and has split them into three main lines:

  • international cooperation through participation in the OECD’s Group of National Experts on Effective Learning Environments;
  • support for national educational policy initiatives through analysis and research into national situations and cases of excellence at an international level;
  • scientific support for schools and school networks that wish to undertake innovation locally.

School architecture is an innovative project aiming to revolutionise teaching thanks to the schools’ members active participation in planning activities and designing schools. The research is based on theory and in field observation and doesn’t finish with the publication of its results, but intends to put into practice the knowledge acquired by involving schools and local authorities.

In view of this, an agreement between the special office for reconstruction of the Abruzzo region and the special office for the reconstruction of the municipalities affected by the earthquake in central Italy in 2016, will engage Indire to collaborate with architects, representatives of administrations, teachers and headmasters in the designing of new schools and the restoration of the existing ones. It is a participative project because all the actors involved contribute to the creation of functional spaces for innovative teaching methods and activities.



Teachers only

7 Reasons Finland May Be the Best Country in the World for Education

When it comes to providing a quality education, money isn’t everything. In fact, some of the countries that spend the most on education, like the United States, are not necessarily the countries that display the best results. But one country is showing that providing a quality education is about much more than money. That country? Finland.

About 5%  of Finland’s gross domestic product (GDP) is spent on education, lower than neighbouring Norway and Sweden, as well as other countries such as South Korea, Brazil, and Colombia.

That comes out to just over $10,000 per student, which is right about average for an  Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) country.

Nevertheless, Finland has put together one of the most respected education systems in the world because of two simple reasons: focusing on teachers and focusing on students.

Education is one of the best ways to eliminate extreme poverty. Increasing access to education can lead to stronger economies, reduced inequalities, and even spark climate action — three of the most important Global Goals for Sustainable Development, a set of 17 principles for ending extreme poverty by 2030.

While the connection between increasing access to quality education and eliminating poverty couldn’t be clearer, the means of providing a quality education to all students is not always so obvious.

Finland’s innovative approaches to education include reducing standardized testing, improving equity across the spectrum, and supporting teachers. Here are seven reasons Finland may be the best country in the world for education:

1/ They start late 

Although the Finnish school day starts around the same time as it does in any other country, the same thing can’t be said about elementary school.

In Finland, students do not begin formal schooling until they’re 7 years old. Instead, they spend ages 3-6 in preschool, and because preschool is required by law in Finland, this means that 97% of students aged three to six are enrolled in school.

Continue reading “7 Reasons Finland May Be the Best Country in the World for Education”