You know how much I love teaching, but maybe you also remember how much I appreciate to go back to being a learner from time to time. This is why I attend teacher training courses and meetings hoping to renew my enthusiasm as well as to improve my teaching methods and my English. 
Today, for example, I've been in Rome again (after October updating course) for "Always Learning" , a teacher training one - day meeting organized by Longman Pearson Publisher
Guest star of this morning's gathering was John Peter Sloan, from Birmingham, an ex colleague, now a popular TV comedian, who's still enthusiastic about teaching, so much that he decided to support our work producing stimulating materials which are, first of all great fun both for teachers and learners. And fun we actually had while listening to him for two hours. His Anglo-Italian awkward way of communicating is hilarious, irresistible. 
Among his suggestions, he told us to treasure gaffes, to convince our students that if they don't learn how to speak English easily, it is because they are blocked by their fear of finding themselves in embarassing situations.
So, rule one: play down, minimize, laugh at gaffes
This is why he told us about his own gaffes when he had just arrived in Italy 20 years ago and tried to communicate in our language.
His rule two is "create a bond" with your students and always involve them, do not simply bombard them with information.
Third rule: make it fun. But that is something very simple for John Peter Sloan, a  natural talent in comedy, not anybody. I'm not as good as him at telling jokes, parodying, mimicing , making people laugh.
I didn't know he had written an interative/multimedia course for young learners but I did know about him and his work as a teacher and an entertainer. In fact, I used his articles and his videos in my lessons and even to start this very blog, FLY HIGH! Just check my second  post ever.
This is a video I've recently used for my classes to elicit discussion about stereotypes and which made my students laugh so much! I 'm not sure you can laugh as much if you are not Italian since it is meant to make fun of us playing on typical Italian features. 

In the afternoon we were shown software and given tips for new lesson activities designed for the Interactive White Board.
On the whole, a good day and a good occasion to reinforce and revive my enthusiam for teaching, new technologies and extraordinary communicators. 

“Live as if your were to die tomorrow. 
Learn as if you were to live forever.” ~ Gandhi

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