Session Summary: School Leaders – What is their role in English Teaching?


School leaders play a very important role in English teaching! First of all, they must understand that English is not simply a discipline, but a form of communication. The perspective that English is like any other discipline is detrimental to language development.


The leader can develop good systems at school to facilitate English learning:

  1. Schedule: …  at the beginning of the class period, not when there are too many cancellations for assemblies, rehearsals, etc., and if possible … with classes taking place at the same time in several grades.
  2. Policies: It is important to use English as much as possible during the English classes, but we do not want punishments for the use of Portuguese.
    School culture: Value and promote multiculturalism and multilingualism.
  3. Collaboration: English teachers need opportunities to collaborate with other teachers. Motivation should increase when the topics in the English class fit with what is being studied in other subjects.
  4. Extra-curricular activities: Can provide opportunities for students to use English. Possibilities: Film club, newspaper, cooking class.
  5. Interaction with parents: Need to be educated about language acquisition, advantages of being bilingual, the importance of valuing language learning as well as supporting children.

Professional development


  • Each semester
  • Aimed at teacher training with strategies for students to use English for authentic communication. Examples:
    1. Specific methodology for different proficiency levels.
    2. Development of materials that promote real communication.
    3. Training in new communicative approaches.

The role of the teacher in the school

  1. Participate in communities of practice (or learning communities) along with other teachers.
  2. Lead the creation of a multilingual and multicultural environment at school.
  3. Have an active voice in meetings related to the organization of the schedule and curriculum.

The leader’s influence to improve English teaching


  1. More hours of English.
  2. Fewer students in class.
  3. Consistency between instruction and evaluation.
  4. Appropriate resources for more communicative language classes.
  5. An ambient room for English.