Blogs without feathers, I finally got the stamp!


May 13, 2010 by Willy Cardoso

Everyone’s been spreading the stamp and getting feathers in their caps.

I was going to start this post with ‘Sorry, I’m late’ or something like that, but too many people already said that, when in fact the whole ELT blogocosm is late with the stamp. I’ll tell you why in a minute.

I’ve discovered some interesting blogs through this initiative, though after the twelfth list I came across, I found out this universe seems to be finite, a lot of the same blogs being featured, but then you know, birds of a feather flock together. I also found out that I was on the edge of this finite universe, which is quite comforting.

One thing that ruffled my feathers was that I haven’t seen anyone saying that this stamp is in Portuguese. Being English teachers you all know how translations can be troublesome. Especially from a language spoken by Brazilians, so you could be proud of something saying ‘This is the worst blog I’ve read in my life’, who knows. But I know you know it’s not that.

Wasn’t anybody curious about that or you’ve checked it and didn’t tell anybody?

Since I don’t believe fine feathers make fine birds, I started to track down the phrase and found out that apparently the first stamps were given in the distant July, 2009, here in Brazil, and not prematurely, 9 months later it was delivered in ELT.

I always knew the meaning of the phrase ‘Vale a pena ficar de olho nesse blog’,  so my curiosity turned to knowing the origin of the expression ‘vale a pena’, in literal translation, (it’s) worth the feather, and here’s a little story for you to tell your students.

When you died, the ancient Egyptians believed you traveled to an afterlife, a heavenly place where you spent eternity. You had to earn your way. There were rules. To enter your  afterlife, you had to have a light heart. Light hearts were earned from a lifetime of doing good deeds.

After you died, the ancient Egyptians believed your heart had to be weighed. It had to be lighter than a feather. To find out if your heart qualified for the trip to the afterlife, your spirit had to enter the Hall of Maat.

The god Anubis weighed your heart. The god Thoth recorded the findings. (In ancient Egypt, everything was recorded and written down.)

If your heart was light, you passed the test and entered your afterlife. BUT, if your heart was heavy because your deeds were dreadful, the god Ammut would suddenly appear … and eat you up!

Ripped from Ancient Egypt for Kids


I’d like to thank Anita Kwiatkowska for her bravery in being the only person to put Authentic Teaching on a list, you could’ve knocked me down with a feather, and although her blog L_missbossy’s ELT Playground is hors concours at the moment, I want everbody to know that it’s been on my must-read list for a while now.

So enough with feathers, if you want more expressions go to

Here’s my list, which will be kept to five just like the old times, back in 2009. I became a fan of Marisa after seeing her presentation at IATEFL. Today, I spent a great deal of time reading her blog while preparing a workshop on Creative Thinking. She gave me a big help through Twitter as well. Thanks Marisa!!! I’m stupefied by how much I learn reading the comments to his posts. A similar remark was made by the next blogger. I see many of the issues raised by Nick Jaworski happening in Brazil and I like the freshness he brings to old issues such as, advanced grammar and translation. Critical Mass ELT. In Sara’s own words: What I want to do is step outside my comfort and safety zone sometimes and look between the gaps of the way people understand things to see if there is more to things than meets the eye. When I grow up I want to blog with the same authenticity as Penelope does. Enough said.


[how I feel: tired for no apparent reason, no showing excitment about the real exciting things that have happened to me lately. I am really excited, but I don’t show it

about me: I’m bonkers for beer, I want to be a beer collector]


6 thoughts on “Blogs without feathers, I finally got the stamp!

  1. Hey Willy,

    What a great take on this! It’s true that most (if not all) us ELTers didn’t highlight that the phrase is Portuguese, which is kind of interesting. I’m one who didn’t as well, but I can’t really say why I didn’t.

    I did notice some similarities between the expression and something I came across in Spain – ‘vale la pena’ – which I take to be ‘it’s worth the effort’. So I kind of assumed the Portuguese might mean the same. Glad to have it confirmed here (it is that, isn’t it?) =)

    I also think that the ELT blolowhatsit is maybe a tad too introspective – everybody tagged everybody else in ELT, y’know what I mean – perhaps it would be better to do it again, but make it non-ELT



    • It’s fine that ELT is all about ELT most of the times. (that’s a weird sentence), but I’d like to know for instance, what teachers of other languages have to say that would contribute to ELT, but unfortunately I don’t understand many foreign languages. And apparently teachers of other languages aren’t internationally prolific.

      I don’t know if you noticed but the last blog I listed is totally non-ELT, I also think that would be nice after a while to have people recommend blogs that have nothing to do with theirs.

  2. Thanks ever so much for including me in your shortlist, Willy, and about your comments.

    Very interesting write-up, a bit embarrassed about how short and dry my own post was!!!!

    Hope you had a smashing session on creative thinking and I look forward to new ideas you may have found or discovered!


    • It’s my pleasure Marisa.

      It’s funny how we sometimes feel embarrased about short dry posts. I have a couple here that I wished I had given more thought, or even that I wish I hadn’t posted at all. But it’s part of the game not being perfect,uh? That’s what makes us still want to do it better.


  3. Love your take on this, Willy, and thank you so much for explaining the literal and historical context behind this phrase (and movement).

    Being feathered in (what I like to believe) a rather different way myself, I understand and appreciate your perspective!

    Great blog – shall be returning more regularly.


    – Jason

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