The Pearson ELT Teacher Award was launched to celebrate dedicated and innovative teachers around the world. Read on to find out more about the winner for the North & Central America region, Gabriela Cambiasso, from the United States of America.

Class blogs are a great way for students to find interesting and motivating ways to expand their vocabulary, and to connect with other learners. Gabriela set up a blog for her class called Life in Pictures, where they talk about their daily lives.

She says: “Contributing to the blog is an inspiring and motivating activity that we do in our intermediate writing class. My students become amateur journalists and document moments from their lives – big and small. Using their phones they take pictures, selfies and film short video clips, post them on our blog and write about them.”

Gabriela helps her students choose a new theme every week. Topics have included reviews of their favourite restaurant, talking about the view from their window, their favourite item or something interesting that happened on the way to school. As well as writing about their own experiences, the students also read their classmates’ postings and comment on them.

The benefits of the blog

“By doing this activity my students finally understood the purpose of writing and reading in English,” says Gabriela. “They are highly motivated because they are doing something that is second nature to them: taking photos and sharing stories with their peers. At the same time, they are curious about their classmates and want to read other postings.

“The blog has encouraged my learners to write and read more, and they care about what and how they write. In addition, it helps us all to develop tighter relationships, as we all get to know things about each other that we wouldn’t have otherwise known.”

What the judges thought

The judges of the Pearson ELT Teacher Award were looking for outstanding teachers who are dedicated to making a real difference and striving to help their learners in new ways every day.

Although a class blog is becoming more common, the judges felt that Gabriela’s application showcased particular aspects of creativity and autonomous learning.

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