How to survive your first…

…time in Scotland.
If you are planning to travel to Scotland one day (which I would highly recommend), here’s my top-10-list of advice for you:

1) Trainee trainers
If you want to get through the day without blisters and hurting feet, wear comfortable shoes. Trainers (of all colours ;-)) are higly recommended. If you want to be on the supersafe-side, choose waterproof ones, because…

2) It’s all about the rain
Even though we were really lucky with the weather, we realized that taking an umbrella with you is never a really bad idea in Scotland. Glaswegians treat theirs with special care:

3) Lost in directions?
Admittedly, driving on the left can be quite irritating for Austrians (especially in roundabouts), even for pedestrians. Therefore, there is one important rule you should stick to:
Think before
Luckily, Glasgow tries its best to help you:

4) Hot & Cold
Be prepared to get burnt and blast-freezed at the same time while brushing your teeth, because the hot and the cold water tap are separated. My tip: Turn on both at lower power and mix water of both temperatures together in your hands.

Water tap.jpg
5) Power breakfast
If possible, start your day with a rich (British) breakfast. It will provide you with the energy you need for exploring the city/country.


6) Roasty toasty
In case your hotel has such an amusing, rotating toaster as ours, test it!


But beware: Don’t send your toast through a second time, unless you like it black.

7) Smoker’s guide
If you’re a smoker, keep in mind that smoking is only permitted in (sometimes creatively) acknowledged areas.


8) Wee & big
You may want to familiarize yourself with some Scottish vocabulary in advance so that you know what you’ll get if you order a “wee latte” at the coffee shop.

9) Seriously fresh
My personal trick for refreshing tired feet (with (not so hidden) product placement) after a long day of walking.

Diana Sportgel

10) Charm & Advice
Last, but not least, my secret tip: If there is any chance to do so, take these two lovely ladies with you on your trip – they are simply amazing!


Thank you very much for this great trip to Glasgow!


Of Elvis, Homer and The Gruffelo

Do you know how to get a bunch of English teachers fanatically holding bricks and ropes up into the air? Give them some sounds from “The Sick Note” (The Dubliners) and picture cards and they will be fine. “Music on my mind – music in the English classroom” was the first workshop I took and I left it completely inspired and with a catchy tune for the day. I learned that music can have the same effect on your brain as praise or reward. So it’s not surprising that songs can serve as perfect teaching material – but keep in mind the golden rule “Go with the flow – find out what interests your students and if they don’t like it, don’t do it!” But would you have guessed that “Dear Future Husband” is perfect for introducing personal letter writing? Or Ed Sheeran’s “Nancy Mulligan” for linking to the tragedy of Romeo&Juliet? So tune up music in the classroom!

Next, Mike Riley showed me what Elvis and The Gruffalo can teach us all about enganging students – and thereby masterfully managed to also engange his audience. Here are his quick tips with useful resources:
1) Make it interesting for your learners! (Elvis)     – Have a look at onestopenglish
2) Make it a shared experience! (The Gruffalo)    – Macmillan Book for Teachers – 500 Activities for the Primary Classroom
3) Do it with feeling! (Maja Angelou, poet)    – Macmillan Book for Teachers – 700 Classroom Activities
4) Be yourself (Homer Simpson)   – Have a look…in the mirror
5) Be curious! (Richard Feynman, nobel-prize winner)   – dive into NILE courses
6) Take risks! (Evel Knievel, stuntman) – Have a look at a Macmillan Book for Teachers that you have always avoided
7) An element of mystery (Mona Lisa)  – onestopenglish, search “mystery”
(Yes, Mike Riley works for Macmillan ;-))

Edward de Chazal focused on “Lose those words – how to write shorter, more effective, texts” and thereby addressed a common problem among students. He showed us how to shorten a text of 300 words to an abstract of only 100. I was delighted to find out that his 7-step-technique is based on English for Academic Purposes (Oxford University Press), a book that is commonly used in the EAP courses at Graz University. One especially useful tip he gave us was to print out the final draft of a text with changed font, size and colour and check it for a last time. Just try it!

Last but not least, I had the honour to meet the gorgeous Penny Ur and find out about useful hints for giving homework. Check out her “100 Teaching Tips” if you’re interested!

Before I say good night after such an inspiring day, I want to pass on my catchy tune of the day 😉 So, if I was the student, would you be the teacher? (And teach me if-clauses with this song?)


The countdown is on…

…one more day left to start our IATEFL 2017 adventure! Like the rest of my colleagues, I’m getting super-excited about my first time to Scotland. I don’t expect Glasgow to be as cold as my last travel destination (freezing Norway in February 😉 ), but also not as warm as the one on the picture above (Siegen/Germany last summer).

I’m very much looking forward to becoming part of such a big event, to meeting some of the famous names on my English books in person and to (probably) not being able to understand a word by talking to locals for the first time :D. Most of all, however, I’m looking forward to getting inpired by English teachers all around the world.
My trainers are packed, so let the adventure begin! 🙂