Vicky Loras's Blog

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The day k d lang came to our class…with Godot (Pt 2)

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Last December, I published Part 1 of a lesson plan based on k d lang‘s song Constant Craving, in  combination with the amazing theatrical play by Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot.

Many are the times when with students we study literature or work on songs in English. Little did we know, that with working on the lyrics from Constant Craving we would be led to look at parts of a theatrical play – and some of the students would read the whole thing!

In my language classes, due to time restrictions or goals such as examinations or getting to a specific level by a specific time, unfortunately we do not have the luxury of looking at the whole play, which in my opinion is amazing and I cannot do it justice, I feel.

However, the parts that we do work on are interesting for the students and lead them to converse and also write in English – that is one of the things we want them to do.

So here we go!


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Things we usually do with the students before we start working on the text: 

  • I ask if they have read it in their own language.
  • I ask if they have ever heard of the and what it is about.
  • What do they think it is about?
  • Who do they think will be waiting and who do they think Godot is? – With this question, they can  create such lovely imaginary stories, either spoken (they can even prepare them for a few minutes beforehand, or even use as an improvisation technique for more spontaneous speaking) or written, either as homework for the next lesson, or a short paragraph in class, if time and circumstances allow.


When we start working on the text: 

Here comes one of my favourite excerpts from the play, with two of the main characters, Vladimir and Estragon:

ESTRAGON: Charming spot. (He turns, advances to front, halts facing auditorium.) Inspiring prospects. (He turns to Vladimir.) Let’s go.

VLADIMIR: We can’t.

ESTRAGON: Why not?

VLADIMIR: We’re waiting for Godot.

ESTRAGON: (despairingly). Ah! (Pause.) You’re sure it was here?


ESTRAGON: That we were to wait.

VLADIMIR: He said by the tree. (They look at the tree.) Do you see any others?

ESTRAGON: What is it?

VLADIMIR: I don’t know. A willow.

ESTRAGON: Where are the leaves?

VLADIMIR: It must be dead.

ESTRAGON: No more weeping.

VLADIMIR: Or perhaps it’s not the season.

ESTRAGON: Looks to me more like a bush.

VLADIMIR: A shrub.


VLADIMIR: A—. What are you insinuating? That we’ve come to the wrong place?

ESTRAGON: He should be here.

VLADIMIR: He didn’t say for sure he’d come.

ESTRAGON: And if he doesn’t come?


  • A great idea I love is have two students read it out loud to the rest of the class – or if it is a one-to-one class, like many of mine are, I can read with the student. The students can set the tone, bring the feelings out and make a nice little play for the rest!
  • Why do they suddenly start arguing about the tree, or whether it is a shrub or a bush?
  • Who is the greater realist / optimist of the two? why?
  • What happens when you are waiting for someone and they are not coming? How do you react, what do you do and what are your feelings?
  • Try to continue the dialogue. In your story, does Godot come or not? Who is he? Why has he been late?
  • Borrow photos of the play from the internet. What are the characters saying or doing, in your opinion?

There are so many things to do with such a play! This is only a tiny part of what we can do with it. I truly do not do it justice at all.

Here are some more resources about working with this great play: 


And yet another rendition of the amazing k d lang song that gave me the idea to teach this play! Enjoy : ) 



Podcasts, Prince and UnPlugged – An Interview with James Taylor

I am delighted to present you with the first interview for 2016, with one of my favourite educators ever, James Taylor!

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Today’s guest is an invaluable ELT colleague and friend: an English teacher, blogger, co-founder and former President of BELTA Belgium, TEFL Commute podcast co-producer, iTDi mentor, ELTChat moderator, conference and webinar speaker. He is very active on social media and we all learn such a great deal from him on a daily basis.

James joined me from Brasília, where he now lives.

Enjoy this amazing interview and listen to James talk about everything from ELT, life experiences and travelling around the  world as a teacher, podcasts, books, music and more!

A huge thank you, James!

(And thank you, James for coming up with the brilliant post title!)

Dr François Grosjean interviews Eva Hoffman: Lost in Translation

grosjean_francois-200x300I am very honoured to have Dr François Grosjean on my blog today, interviewing Eva Hoffman, author of Lost in Translation, originally for Psychology Today. A huge thank you to Dr Grosjean for sharing his interview!

About Dr Grosjean:

Professor Grosjean  received his degrees up to the Doctorat d’État from the University of Paris, France. He started his academic career at the University of Paris 8 and then left for the United States in 1974 where he taught and did research in psycholinguistics at Northeastern University, Boston. While at Northeastern he was also a Research Affiliate at the Speech Communication Laboratory at MIT. In 1987, he was appointed professor at Neuchâtel University, Switzerland, where he founded the Language and Speech Processing Laboratory. He has lectured occasionally at the Universities of Basel, Zurich and Oxford. In 1998, he cofounded Bilingualism: Language and Cognition (Cambridge University Press).
His domains of interest are the perception, comprehension and production of speech, bilingualism and biculturalism, sign language and the bilingualism of the deaf, the evaluation of speech comprehension in aphasic patients, as well as the modeling of language processing.

Here is the interview:

Back in 1989, Eva Hoffman published her first book, Lost in Translation, a memoir about immigration, language loss, second language acquisition, and discovering a new land and a different culture. Her autobiography was to have a worldwide success – the Nobel prize winner Czeslaw Milosz called it “graceful and profound” – and it helped launch a new genre, the language memoir. To celebrate this blog’s fifth anniversary, it was only fitting that we should ask Eva Hoffman if she would answer a few questions. She very kindly accepted to do so and we wish to thank her wholeheartedly.

More than a quarter of a century has gone by since you published Lost in Translation. How do you consider it now after all these years and the success it has had?

Occasionally, I’ve had to go back to it and reread parts of it – and I find that I have a double reaction: One is to wonder who wrote it; and the other is to think, “This is pretty good.” The success of the book was initially entirely amazing to me. When I was writing it, I didn’t know if it would be published, or whether anyone would understand, or care about, the experience I was trying to describe – the internal journey involved in emigration, and the process of translating yourself into another language and culture. But since then, of course, emigration and other cross-national movements have become one of the central phenomena of our time; and it seems that I identified something about that experience which many others understand — perhaps in part, because I was writing about it innocently, so to speak; that is, by trying to capture my own perceptions as directly as possible, without thinking about previous literary models, or worrying about the book’s reception. What can I say, I was lucky.

You can read the rest of the interview here.



All the best for 2016!


This time of year has come again – so soon! 2015 has been a great year for my family and myself and I hope for you too. Apart from us all being healthy and happy and our work doing very well, we have had an addition to the family – my younger sister Christine had a wonderful baby boy in September! Welcome James – along with Maggie and Nicholas too, my eldest sister Eugenia‘s children : )

My blog sent me the Year in Review as it always does – but I cannot get it to post like previous years, so here it is, along with a HUGE THANK YOU for reading, commenting, supporting and making me think and learn!

I wish all of you the very best for 2016 – health, happiness and anything else you wish for.

May it be an amazing year!


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Here are some of the interviews I have given:

Keep Moving Forward – An Interview with Christina Chorianopoulou (@Kryftina)

1016688_10151558577278358_481848980_nFor April, my birthday month, I am very happy to present you with another super educator I admire tremendously for her creativity and optimism, Christina Chorianopoulou! Christina lives in Athens, Greece and she teaches students of all ages and levels.

She blogs at My Mathima (which is the Greek expression for My Lesson) and is very active on social media. She shares and writes and constantly creates something – either in education or as one of her hobbies!

Watch her extremely motivating interview:

Feat No 27: Honored by a student

Today we had a special visitor at The Loras English Network​! One of our students came to visit us and spend the day as part of the Swiss apprenticeship programme. Read more on Eugenia’s blog:

Eugenia Loras

Today we had the honor, beyond the great pleasure to welcome one of our students to The Loras Network, not as a student but as an observer.

One of our students chose to visit our school, our business, our family as part of her opportunity to observe several professions. This opportunity is given to all students attending the Swiss public secondary schools at the age of 15. It is an opportunity to go behind the scenes in some professions or sectors of interest and get a better feeling of what is involved.

We had the honor not only to have been chosen by our student, but to do what we love doing; tell her why we love it! All the reasons that we love every single aspect of the Loras Network and its past and present. The maturity with which she was absorbing our chapters was also due to the…

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We’ve been…sketchnoted! Between the Ferns with Doug Peterson

We’ve been…sketchnoted!

Sylvia Duckworth, a great educator from Canada, has been posting her sketchnotes on social media and they are superb! One of them includes quotes from teachers who have been interviewed on Doug Petersons blog. Thank you so much for including me, Sylvia!

doug --- off the record

I was the beneficiary of Sylvia Duckworth’s latest creation. Well, at least some of my interviews were.

As I’ve noted, she’s on fire lately drawing her #sketchnotes of various things. Here latest effort includes some of the memorable quotes from interviews that have been posted to this blog. She waded her way through and pulled out quotes from eight of them:

Here’s her latest piece of artwork.


I was honoured that her interest turned to creating one to celebrate all of the terrific quotes that have been an important part of the interviews.

You can check out all of her works in this Flipboard document.

As for the title…

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Flipping Vicky Loras’ Blogging Challenge

I have said many times and I will keep on saying that when I first joined social media, I was not sure at all if it would work out for me. Almost six years later, I have not looked back.

I have met amazing educators both online and in person, and I am greatly indebted to them for teaching me a lot of things and for their friendship, as I have forged super friendships!

One of these people is the amazing Doug Peterson, who is a prolific blogger and edtech specialist. Doug and I connected on Twitter first and then Facebook, and we have shared lots of stories and he also lives in Ontario, where I was born – so one more thing to connect us : )

I am very moved while writing this introduction, both because of his incessant kindness and wonderful words. Doug did something terrific for the blog challenge I started in 2011 with 27 educators who shared their stories…and more revived it at the end of last year and are keeping it going. He flipped them all into one place, and now it is a beautiful collection. We can still keep adding to it.

What can I say, Doug, apart from THANK YOU and I truly hope with all my heart to meet you in person – let’s hope my plans to visit Canada next year come to fruition : )

A huge thank you to Doug and to all the teachers contributing to and supporting this blog challenge – it belongs to all of us!

doug --- off the record

Earlier this week, I had shared a story for Vicky Loras’ Blogging Challenge “What’s Your Story?”  One of the things that you have plenty of time to do while suffering from a cold is doing some reflection.

As I reflected on the extent of the content, the stories, and the global connections from her challenge, I really became with how impressive this young lady’s reach is.  I certainly couldn’t even begin to reach the number of educators that she has worldwide and then have them share their story.  So, I hopped over to her blog and posted a reply and then it came to me – her blogging challenge is actually in two parts now.  Wouldn’t it make sense to put them all together in one spot?  I thought of a number of ways to curate that sort of thing and thought that a Flipboard magazine would probably…

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