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Contact-new.svg Janet Bianchini
Picture of JanetwithJoey.jpg
Occupation:Freelance Teacher / teacher trainer
Nationality:British / Italian
Languages:English / Italian / Spanish /French / German
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My Profile

Professional Background

Hi, my name is Janet Bianchini and I am living in Italy now after living in Oxford, England for most of my life. I moved here in June 2008 and I am currently a freelance F2F and online teacher/teacher trainer/olive-growing novice and house restoration project manager.

I have been a teacher of EFL since 1979. Teaching is in my blood and it is my hobby, my passion and my world. The past couple of years were meant to be a break from teaching after 30 years of practically non-stop teaching, but I couldn't resist taking up exciting teaching opportunities when they arose!

  • My first teaching position was in 1979 in Madrid, Spain. I taught all levels and the wonderful experience prompted me to continue in this field of teaching.
  • My next teaching position was in the former German Democratic Republic from 1980 - 1981. I taught general English to scientists and professors at the Technical University of Dresden. The level of the students was complete beginner and this is where I discovered my love of teaching this particular level with its unique challenges. A lot of patience was required but I found I had a lot of it! Whilst there, I had the privilege of participating in a big Educational conference where I gave a 15-minute talk on "The use of Visual Aids at Beginner Level". This was in front of hundreds of lecturers, professors and teachers from all over the GDR. I enjoyed having my "15 minutes of fame" and it certainly boosted my oratorial and conferencing skills!

Here is a link to a posting from my blog which discusses "My Life Behind the Iron Curtain".

  • From 1983-1984 I taught EFL in Fuerteventura, in the Canary Islands. This was indeed a magical year for me and I learned a lot about the "Majoreros" the wonderful people from Fuerteventura. I taught general English to all age groups. In particular, I loved teaching the class of six-year-olds. They were fun, lively, exhuberant and so enthusiastic about learning English. I have never played so many games, nor sung so many songs in my life. These children were wonderfully receptive to my teaching methods. Visuals, visuals and yet more visuals were the order of the day. I had a pack of flash cards, which I used in all sorts of different ways. I wonder now how did I teach without any Internet resources and ease of access to photocopiable materials? I had to create a lot of materials from scratch, cutting out relevant pictures from local magazines and even yes, even drawing my own pictures! Any of my students or fellow teachers who have seen any of my beautiful artistic designs, will no doubt ask themselves "How did Janet manage?" All my stick drawings generally look like potatoes...Anyway, what fun I had!
  • From 1984 - 1987 I taught EFL in Patras, Greece. Here I achieved my ambition to learn and speak Greek. I obtained a GCSE "O" Level in Greek in the first year. For some unknown reason,unfortunately, I didn't complete the "A" Level. One day, I would like to brush up my knowledge of this fascinating language. I loved my time in Patras. I made many friends and travelled extensively around the Peloponnese and surrounding islands. My Greek students were great fun and I taught all levels from Beginner to proficiency. In my last 3 months in Patras, I was personally responsible for teaching approximately 50 students to pass the Cambridge First Certificate of English Exam. I learned a lot about this particular exam and that is why I especially love teaching this level to this day. Of course, the exam has seen many changes since 1987 but I have had the chance to teach all the different formats including the recently updated version. I have recently been contacted by one of my FCE students after 22 years!! I remember he was very keen and serious and he was one of the few students who achieved an A grade.
  • 1988 - 2008 The Lake School of English,Oxford I developed as a teacher / teacher trainer / mentor / administrator whilst working here. They were the most formative and amongst the most exciting professional years of my life. I have many wonderful memories. I continue to work for the school doing teacher refresher courses on a freelance basis several times a year.


BA Degree in French and Italian (1975 - 1979)

  • I studied at Leicester University.
  • I spent a year studying French at Dijon University in 1977 and obtained a Diploma in French Studies.
  • As part of my Italian degree I spent an interesting 3 months as an au pair in Genoa, Italy in 1976.

PGCE in TEFL (1981)

  • I did a one-year full-time course in TEFL / TESL at Leicester University School of Education from 1980 - 1981.
  • I did my teacher training in a secondary school in Mallorca and in a local school in Leicester in 1981.

Diploma in TEFL (1989)

  • I decided to brush up my EFL teaching skills and I did a one-year part-time course at the local Oxford College of Further Education

My Interests

  • Web 2.0 - I am interested in new e-tools and their application in education. I like Twitter, Animoto, Dvolver and Xtranormal. I want to learn more about blended learning and integrating technology in the classroom. I am teaching myself about new web tools and am trying to keep up!
  • Learning 2010 - I love learning new things to enhance my personal and teaching experience. I did a 4-week online Integrating Technology "Moodle for Teachers-3" course. I hope to develop my own online courses on Moodle in the future. Together with my coursemates, I developed a Moodle for Gardening and Cooking course, which was great fun!!

I also did a 6-week EVO Images4Education course in January / February 2010 and this was an incredibly huge learning experience.

2010 has been a very busy one and I have written guest posts for the following blogs:(To be added soon)--Janet Bianchini 18:36, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Picture of olives
  • Gardening - I created my very first vegetable patch last summer. I grew tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and delicious melons. I also grow my own fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, rosemary, sage, bay leaf and tarragon. I use these in the fresh pasta sauces I now make. I have compost bins scattered around the garden and I have created lovely friable compost to use in the garden. Here is a link to a Youtube video on easy vegetable gardening.
  • Olive Oil Cultivation - When we bought our home in Italy, we inherited over 60 olive trees. I am a relatively new olive oil cultivator! In 2008 we had a bumper crop of olives, which we handpicked ourselves and we produced our very own 100% extra virgin olive oil! The olives were coldpressed at the local olive mill. In 2009 the amount of olive oil increased by 40%, so we must be doing something right! This year we have increased our grove to 70 trees.
  • Reading - I enjoy reading in general. On a personal level, my favourite books of all time are romantic classics such as "Rebecca" by Daphne Du Maurier and "Wuthering Heights" by Emile Bronte. Recently I have read "A year in Provence" by Peter Mayle. I am currently reading "The Island" by ......On a professional level, I enjoy reading ELT journals such as "Modern English Teacher" and English Teaching Professional". I recently finished reading "Teaching Unplugged" by Scott Thornbury. It's about teaching in the "Dogme" style. I tried out a lesson and wrote some feedback here. (to be added soon)


I love the Abruzzo region. I have lived here since June 2008. Before moving here permanently, I used to visit the region regularly during my summer holidays. I feel I have adapted to life in this spectacular area of Italy. I like writing about Abruzzo in my blog. Please click on the internal link to Abruzzo. Have a look at my Kaltura video which shows some lovely scenery in Abruzzo.

<kaltura-widget kalturaid='t8zxltcaqo' size='M' align='L'/>


  • CPD

I believe strongly in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and I have tried to make it my priority to keep myself up to date with what is happening in the EFL sector. I do this by reading relevant journals, attending webinars and learning from other educators and leading professionals by means of the internet. I love attending workshops and in the past I have attended ARELS and IATEFL conferences in the UK. In particular, I really enjoyed the 38th IATEFL Conference held in Liverpool. I got the chance to visit the Cavern Club made famous by the Beatles whilst attending an educational party there.

I have recently joined TESOL - Italy. I attended the 34th TESOL-Italy Convention in Rome from 20th - 21st November. Here is my feedback. I was delighted to meet some of the educators who share my Personal Learning Network. (PLN) I will be presenting at TESOL-Italy 2010 in Rome. The theme is "Language Flows".

  • PLN

Picture of mountains near my home

My Projects 2010

I would like to do the following things in the near future:

  • incorporate the principles of [WikiEducator] into my future teaching and create further open content resource worksheets or lesson plans.
  • develop an evolving and interactive digital e-portfolio instead of a traditional paper-based CV. This WikiEducator User page is now my up-to-date digital portfolio. It is my passport to the future.

  • learn how to do a PowerPoint presentation in order to create my own slideshows for future teaching and teacher training. NB I have achieved this!
  • organise small teacher training / teacher refresher courses here in Abruzzo.
  • learn about teaching via Moodle, Glogster, VoiceThread, podcasting and other new e-tools.
  • give F2F or online presentations on my exciting learning experience of Web 2.0 tools.
  • share my learning experience with other educators

Activities to Practise the Use of Idioms

Things I've yet to master in life

  • I have yet to master a good lifestyle balance between work and housework! I tend to get distracted from general household chores quite easily and would much rather do anything else which is more interesting.
  • I would like to master the art of driving more confidently. I have had a driving licence for a long time but have not driven much at all. I need to push myself to practise again as it would make me much more independent. I feel proud that I drove myself all the way to Civitaquana the other day!

My Sandbox

My sandbox

To do list

Ideas for content

My Reflection

I would like to post my personal feedback of the Learning4Content -29th Online Workshop which I have published on my blog. Please click on the highlighted link below.

WikiEducator Update September 10th 2009

The post above on my WE reflections has just been published in The Greatest Show on Earth - 13th ESL/EFL/ELL blog Carnivals--Janet Bianchini 17:57, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Feedback & Notes from my WikiNeighbours

Very nice to meet you here. WikiEducator is a very warm and comfortable community. () . If there is any way I can help you, please let me know (coloured backgrounds, margins, user pages in multiple languages). Come visit my user page. Also, just to remind you, I put up a new page on which you can practice collaborating, by using your editorial skills included in the tutorial. See: Alternative Teaching methods and add your comments, criticisms, more methods, or reflections. Just try it. Cheers, Phil. --Phil Bartle 10:44, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

(Comment.gif: Hi Phil, great to hear from you. Thank you very much for your advice. Your User page is really great and I will look into the useful links and tips as soon as I can.)--Janet Bianchini 22:48, 19 December 2009 (UTC) (Comment.gif: Hi Janet, great to hear from you. Let's talk local cultivation and olive oil. In the northwest corner of the United States, we enjoy local berries, cheese, fruit, sausage, vegetables, and wine. My wife has an olive tree, so perhaps we can trade food cultivation ideas along with books et education?!--Jim 18:11, 28 September 2009 (UTC) ... and check out dailyjazztweets)

(Comment.gif: Hi Jim - why not? Sounds like a great idea! Look forward to connecting some more. Have already checked out your fab twitter site. Many thanks--Janet Bianchini 12:45, 29 September 2009 (UTC))

(Comment.gif: Hi Janet, Thank you for writing the blog post on your previous wikieducator workshop. You were the one who brought me here. You wrote so passionately about what you had accomplished that I couldn't help but sign up and try it myself. Don't ever lose your passion. It's a wonderful feeling, so just keep passing it along to others.-- Alexandra Francisco, 24 September 2009)

(Comment.gif: Janet - envious as hell. My 2 fav parts of the planet are Tuscany and Greece (anywhere). Would love to do what you are doing. Good luck - keep in touch.--Rob McCrae 09:34, 30 August 2009 (UTC)) Hi Janet,Great to "see" you here.

(Comment.gif: Hi Janet. Great work so far. Keep adding content and your are on your way to becoming a skilled Wikimaster Warm wishes--Patricia 00:15, 26 August 2009 (UTC))

Hi Patricia - Thanks so much for your encouragement. I am a bit slow in getting into the swing of things and it's taking me longer to do stuff but hopefully things will fall into place with lots of practice.--Janet Bianchini 11:57, 26 August 2009 (UTC) Warm wishes

(Comment.gif: Janet, I am enjoying your reflections on blogging. I wonder if you would be interested in the following page on blogs and blogging. --Nellie Deutsch 12:35, 1 September 2009 (UTC)) (Comment.gif: Nellie, Thanks very much for your useful link to Blogs and Blogging. --Janet Bianchini 13:56, 1 September 2009 (UTC))

Dear Janet, you are designing a very professional WE user page. I am excited to hear that you would like to create a digital portfolio. This is one of the places to reach this goal! There are other site that can assist you in this endeavor. Epsilen] is one of them. To create effective PPTs, create an account on Slideshare or on Slideboom, or 280slides. Good luck and thank you for your kind words about my page! --Dr. Ludmila Smirnova 02:51, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Dear Ludmila, thank you very much for your very kind suggestions and advice. I will look into them as soon as I can. Best wishes Janet--Janet Bianchini 18:47, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

(Comment.gif: Hey Janet, I'm quite jealous of your excellent Wiki skills. --Hani 19:13, 2 September 2009 (UTC))

(Comment.gif: Great personal site, Janet. Now yours seems like a great work/life balance despite your thoughts otherwise. The outdoors is where it's at. --David Porter 22:28, 28 September 2009 (UTC))

--Viralber 12:56, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Hi Janet! Thank you very much for your message( my english is bad but I'm trying to learn ) :-0 you are a great! and so your pages and work!ciao virginia

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