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A very welcome and timely contribution to the growing literature on Reflective Practice in TESOL
—Dr. Jim Askham, University of Leicester

Sharon’s writing is down to earth and her sense of humour shines through on every page, making the book an entertaining read for any English language teacher.  
—Anne Parry, English Language Consultant

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Keeping the Essence in Sight is an invitation to become a better teacher through reflective practice. To remember the essence of teaching, why we go into the classroom in the first place: To teach our students to communicate in the English language. We become teachers because we love teaching and we love our students.

The book is based on Sharon Hartle’s renowned blog, English Learning in Our World, comprised of reflections on her teaching experience, and organized into four sections: Learning, Teaching, Testing, and Professional Development. Within each section she addresses key questions in ELT, such as:

  • How can we motivate learners to want to learn and develop learner autonomy?
  • What are the best ways to integrate technology into my lessons? Should we think about blended teaching instead of blended learning?
  • Can we improve our teaching and our assessment if we change our model of English?
  • What are some east and accessible ways to do professional development?
  • And, most importantly, how can we be better teachers.

As she shares her practical and accessible thoughts grounded in practice and observation, Hartle never loses track of the reader. Discussion questions ask you to reflect on your own experiences and address these key issues for yourself, then apply your ideas to the classroom. So, don’t be shy. Dive in!


Download the Table of Contents and a free sample chapter on the power of reflective practice.

Additional information

Weight 7 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .275 in




Publication Date

17 July 2018




116 pages


6 x 9 inches

Reactions and Reviews

Sharon Hartle’s book is a very welcome contribution to the growing literature on Reflective Practice in TESOL. Based on Hartle’s series of blog posts that began in 2010, this volume offers TESOL professionals abundant food for thought in significant areas of professional knowledge and expertise, including learner autonomy, technology in language learning, blended learning, testing and assessment, and the nature of collegiality.
—Dr. Jim Askham, Lecturer in Applied Linguistics, School of Arts, University of Leicester.

In this book Sharon draws on her vast teaching experience to offer insightful reflections on questions many teachers grapple with but may not feel comfortable discussing in their work environment. Questions such as ‘How do I know if my marking in exams is reliable?’, ‘How can I integrate it into my normal teaching without wasting too much class time?’ and ‘How can I communicate with colleagues who are very different from me?’ are addressed from a thoughtful and knowledgeable perspective providing a framework for teachers to consider their own responses to these questions. A valuable addition to any teacher’s book collection.
—Elizabeth Gregson, University of Trento

Sharon Hartle is an international expert on student-centred learning, reflective teaching, technology for the classroom and language assessment. She is also the best English language teacher trainer I know.  This collection of highlights from her blog posts will challenge teachers to reflect on their own teaching, to learn about the effective use of new technologies, and to critically evaluate the ways in which they assess their students.  I recommend Keeping the Essence in Sight as a basis for stimulating reflection and discussion during teacher training and professional development courses.  Sharon’s writing is down to earth and her sense of humour shines through on every page, making the book an entertaining read for any English language teacher.
—Anne Parry, English Language Consultant

On the surface, Keeping the Essence in Sight: From Practice to Reflection and Back Again, is a selection of thirteen teaching blog entries written over a seven-year period by Sharon Hartle, a university English language instructor who is well-known in Italy and beyond. But at its core, the collection shares the journey of a practitioner-scholar who carefully plans, observes, evaluates, and adapts everything she does in and outside the classroom. The “essence” of this journey is the process of reflection which emerges from Hartle’s continuous dialogue with the readers of her blog, with the students in her classroom, with the colleagues she meets at ELT conferences, with the books and articles she reads, and, most importantly, with herself. The book provides many practical insights into four broad strands of contemporary ELT: learning, teaching, testing, and professional development. But it should not be read as another list of top tips for teachers, rather as a glimpse into the contemplative life which all ELT practitioners should strive to emulate in their perpetual pursuit of “best practice”.
—Michael Ennis, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

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