Cecilia Nobre ELT Blog

Why do you teach?

Just had an amazing weekend in Istanbul and that got me thinking why I love doing what I do: teach.

I left my dogs with my lovely student Ayça, who kindly looked after them for 2 days, sending me updates and pictures constantly. So sweet and helpful! I’ve been Ayça’s teacher for only 2 months.

I spent the day with another student, Priscila, a lovely Brazilian lady who’s been living in Istanbul for years. Pri has been studying with me online for about 3 years. Finally got to meet her in person yesterday – I also met her lovely son Nicolas. Pri and I were chatting until 2 am and my train would leave at 7 am, but I was having so much fun that I didn’t mind sleeping for just about 3 hours.

Three months ago when I visited my family in Brazil, I also met in person other 2 online students, Claudia and Rogerio. It felt so warm as if we had been friends for a long time (mind you, they’ve been my online students for about 2 ys)

Teaching has brought me so much and has enabled me to meet the most amazing people, who happen to be my students. For me, the last thing I worry about teaching is whether my students will master the use of the present perfect. I teach to build up meaningful relationships, to connect with my students, to enable them to connect to whomever they wish to. I want my students to use this wonderful tool, which is the English language, to achieve anything they want. No barriers. I want my students to feel proud and confident of who they are when they communicate in English with another person. I want them to feel proud of their accents, their struggles and achievements. I want my students to tell someone to fuck off if they’re being insulted and pay a compliment to someone who’s helpful and kind. Being comfortable in their own skin while speaking English.

That’s why I’m an English teacher.

A Brazilian teacher teaching in Turkey

First, my apologies.

I’ve been utterly lazy to update my blog, but I’ll try to feed it as much as possible.

I should have written about this months ago, but you know? Laziness.

I’ve been living and teaching in Turkey ( in Eskisehir, to be more exact) since October 2018 and it’s been a whirlwind of emotions. Life is definitely not easy for teachers in Turkey ( kind of similar problems to those in Brazil) but it’s been an enriching experience. You can find more insights about it on my Instagram stories.

Turkish coffee

What I’ve been learning so far

  • Turkey is an amazing country. I became addicted to Turkish coffee. The B.E.S.T!
  • Most people don’t speak English. And I don’t speak Turkish, shame on me! I might know how to say 5 short sentences and perhaps I know 40 random words ( mostly related to food, because I need to survive!)
  • My students crave for speaking practice. Most of them are not interested in learning grammar, they “want to speak”, which is pretty understandable. They are quite friendly and warm, they love chatting even with people who don’t speak their language.
  • Google Translator and gestures save me here.
  • Most language schools underpay their teachers and education is not taken seriously. Working on Saturdays AND Sundays is something to be expected if you want to teach at those language schools. Insane! More crazy stuff here.
  • Turkish people are the sweetest. They’re so easy to get along with!

The good news is that I’ll soon be moving to Istanbul as I’ll be working at a great private university there. I’m super excited and I’ll be posting more on that in due time.

Bye for now.

A few ways teachers can use video for professional development

Hi, everyone.

I’ve written an article for Voices Magazine about the uses of video for professional development, which is a topic dear to my heart ( it’s my MA dissertation topic).

To read it, click here.

Any feedback is very welcome 🙂





How to teach conversational lessons

Hello, there. This post was written to share my favourite resources aimed at conversational lessons – both online and face-to-face. I hope you find it useful.


The first minutes of the lesson are meant to arouse your students’ interest. You want to ‘hook them’ into conversing with you. Setting the scene can be done through a short fascinating video or an interesting image. 


In order to maintain your students’ interests, attempt to pick topics or situations that appeal to their age and if possible interests. Set the language and content of the task at this stage, for example, ask them what their favourite films are or the genre of music they enjoy. 


After a topic is selected it is important to ensure that your student(s) do not write down their ideas. Their options at this stage are to either rehearse it orally or in their minds.  At this stage, the teacher should listen to students carefully.


At this stage the teacher should monitor the student’s production, taking into account the content and form. This is also the time to assess the effectiveness of your lesson and identify gaps in your student’s knowledge. Take notes if possible.


At this stage focus on the content and probe your student’s comprehension and new language discovery. For example use questions such as,  What did you find out today? What did you learn from each other? ( if there is more than one student).  Attempt to make this conversation as spontaneous and natural as possible.


Give feedback – It is crucial to provide feedback that is oriented to the student’s goals. Focus on the new language that emerged. Systematise the emergent language to make it memorable to your student. Highlight the sub-skills they have used that make them good communicators, for instance, the use of pauses or fillers to gain time. By the end of this stage, students should feel a sense of accomplishment.


Give the opportunity for your student to do the speaking task again or do a similar task. 

And the sub-skills? Don’t forget them!

  • Pausing
  • False starts
  • Back-channelling devices
  • Pronunciation (rhythm, intonation, pace etc)
  • Body language ( yes, it is possible via the computer!)
  • Register
  • Adjacency pairs


Ready-made speaking lesson plans

1.  Viralelt is excellent for listening and speaking practice. All Viralelt posts consist of three parts: an embedded viral video, 10 conversation questions (Question time) and a listening activity (Sitting comfortably?). The only drawback is that it is aimed at intermediate and advanced students.

2. Cristina Cabal is a talented and creative teacher from Spain. You can find lessons for all ages and levels.

3.  One Stop English offers Guardian news lessons, Life from London videos among other lesson plans. Most of them are freely available, but some might require a paid subscription login.

4.  If you enjoy Videotelling, you will certainly love Jamie Keddie‘s lesson plans.

5. Rachael Roberts offers excellent lesson plans, some covering controversial topics.

6.   Film English won a British Council ELTons Award for Innovation in Teacher Resources, and the most prestigious European media in education prize, the MEDEA Award, in 2013, and an English Speaking Union Award in 2014.

7.  Teaching English British Council offers a wide range of lesson plans for adult language classes.7.

8.  Ricardo Barros offers a great collection of lesson plans on different levels and topics. Ricardo also designs lesson plans on controversial topics. 

9. Cecilia Nobre ( yours truly!)designs lesson plans for her online lessons focusing on speaking skills. 
10.  Off2class is a comprehensive platform of ready-made lesson plans divided into levels, topics and skills. 

Speaking lesson ideas

1.  Elllo has an array of audio and video activities with transcripts, quizzes and fill-in-the-blanks exercises that work well as a warm-up activity.

 2.  Guess the story. Give students a set of pictures of a real article/story and they have to come up with the story. You can give hints, ask questions or challenge them. Display the pictures on a powerpoint presentation, Canva or Google drawing. 

3.  Audio recordings such as SoundCloud or Vocaroo for several purposes, given a time limit. Upload it directly to their Google Drive Folder and save its link. Ask your students to:
 ● To explain their favourite recipe 
● To talk about their least/ favourite group, hobby, mobile phone, outfit 
● To describe traditional games, unusual customs…etc. 
● To give a book/film review 
● To talk about the latest picture or status they posted on their social media. Or the latest picture they took with their phones. 

Other ideas using audios
● Give them a set of pictures and ask them to create a story ( use drawings.google.com, https://www.canva.com/ or ppt to display the pictures and download it as a file)

 ● Give feedback on their writing 
● Set up an oral diary
 ● Give them some words and expressions and ask them to create a story
 ● Give them some pictures of a given text ( without giving the text) and ask them to guess what the story/text is about. It’s great for controversial or unusual stories. 

4.  Speakout Youtube channel on different topics and levels. Ask your student which speaker(s) they agree with, which speaker they disagree with, ask them the same questions the reporter asked. 

5. British Council sites 




6. Role-plays 
● With different tones of voices and intonations     ● With a few blanks to be filled 
 ● Jumbled up and they have to reconstruct the dialogue      ● Finish the dialogue 


Which websites or resources do you use for your conversational lessons? Share them in the comments!