This post is one of those short entries that don’t have a specific title (or even category) and just pop up in my head for no obvious reason. Still, I think I sometimes need to share them with you, my readers, because while I am putting ideas into words, I can ‘see’ them more clearly.

I started this blog in December 2013, and my first tagline stated ‘aiming to go beyond stating the obvious in ELT‘. I thought that it was important to have a tagline, and I saw that other bloggers have one. Also, I thought it is necessary to give an idea as to what this blog is about (that’s why there was ‘ELT’). Honestly, I don’t think I gave it more attention or thought at that time.

I started to think more about taglines after writing for some time and having my first readers and commenters. I looked at my first one critically and did not like it. My second tagline said: ‘Thinking aloud about ELT and reflective practices‘ and was up until recently. As you see, I kept the ‘ELT’ in and sounded less ambitious about the content. I also liked that the ‘thinking’ part found its place there.

In October 2014 I read Mike Griffin’s Interview with Anne Hendler, and it changed my understanding of taglines. To be specific, I am talking about the bio Anne wrote for a conference, which said ‘Anne is just a teacher’. Wow, so simple, but so powerful. [Note: you can read why she chose this wording, please read the interview — and I highly recommend following both Mike’s and Anne’s blogs, by the way!]

I looked up the meaning of the word ‘tagline’ briefly and found out that it can be a catchphrase or slogan (especially in advertising); and/or a memorable phrase or sentence that is closely associated with a particular person, product, movie, etc. (especially in branding or marketing)

As you might have guessed, I am still in search of a ‘perfect’ tagline. This is my list of ideas, constantly growing:

ideas ‘in-between’

caught in-between projects and courses

staying ELT-ly/ TESOL-ly curious

in transition

meta-level ELT reflections

simply thinking space

space to reflect and share

my ELT/ TESOL stories

mystery? mastery? my story!

Zhenya’s reflective space

The newest line, currently up, reads: ‘Zhenya Polosatova’s reflective lounge: learning, teaching, teacher training‘. Yes, added my name (and feeling good about it!) Also, put the word ‘lounge’ to remind myself that this is a blog to calmly reflect and share, learn from the writing process and from the comments in reply. Learn to focus on reading and writing, and to read between the lines.


A couple of random thoughts:

  1. taglines to me are very close to (but not the same as) Mission Statements in a sense that no matter how much you do or how many new businesses you create (or jobs you take, blogs you start, etc.) you do it to reach your own life mission.

  2. the words in a tagline need to be mine — and I don’t have any specific explanation why I feel this way.

  3. if I did want to ‘steal’ someone’s idea for a tagline, it would most likely be from Sirja’s blog I enjoy reading  – ‘How teaching becomes learning‘, or Liz Ryan (contributor to Forbes) : ‘I write about bringing life to work and bringing work to life‘.

Do you enjoy ‘taglining’? How did you come up with your tagline? How many revisions have you had? What made you want to change the line?

Thank you for reading!

About Zhenya

ELT: teacher educator, trainer coach, reflective practice addict https://wednesdayseminars.wordpress.com/.
This entry was posted in Learning Thoughts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Taglining

  1. Ron Bradley says:

    I love, “How teaching becomes learning.” My all engrossing conceptual framework in all that I now do in training is “Engaging our students in the learning process.” Everything that happens in the classroom, our objectives, are approaches and our strategies should be focused on this ultimate objective. I don’t know if this is a tagline or not, but thought it worth sharing.


    • Zhenya says:

      Hi Ron,
      Yes, to me your ‘Engaging our students in the learning process’ sounds like a good ‘teaser’ to a blog about… ELT? If you start one, I will definitely be one of your readers! I like that this sentence starts with a verb – makes it clear what you aim for in your own lessons or sessions 🙂
      Thank you for reading and commenting!


  2. ven_vve says:

    Hi Zhenya,

    As you might remember from one of my comments on your posts on blogging habits, I find it helpful to brainstorm titles so that was how I came up with my tagline. It’s still the same as when I set the blog up and I don’t plan on changing it at this point. The name of the blog is linked to a particular segment of my life, so when I feel like I’ve moved on enough – I think I’ll know when I’m ready – I’ll probably change both title and tagline.

    I like simple, straightforward taglines – ideally simple but powerful, like the bio example you mentioned – and out of the ideas on your list my favorite is “simply thinking space”. And “Zhenya’s reflective space”.

    Thanks for the interesting post! I hope other people join the conversation and tell us how they came up with their taglines.


    • Zhenya says:

      Thank you for your comment Vedrana – and letting me into the secret of how your tagline came to life! I could probably guess that you would plan it carefully, and the result is that the title of the blog and the tagline go together so well.

      Yes, I am also curious how others came up with their taglines, and whether they are planning to change them (or thinking about them at all?)

      Thank you for reading and commenting and sharing! So good to have your input!


  3. Adi Rajan says:

    I felt my first tagline – a reflective invocation to the gods, tools and scriptures of ELT – was evocative but not an honest portrayal of what my blog was about. In fact, Mike Griffin (https://eltrantsreviewsreflections.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/pet-peeves-and-new-elt-blogs/) even commented on the tagline in a post about new blogs, and the potential that it foretold. But, I wasn’t happy with it. My current tagline is descriptive but quite banal.

    It truly requires skill to strike that balance between being pithy, profound and poetic on the one hand and relevant, honest and not totally OTT on the other hand. Sometimes feels like these two dimensions are mutually exclusive.


    • Zhenya says:

      Hi Adi
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting!
      Have just checked Mike’s post (thank you for the link!) and agree, a wonderful tagline saying ‘“A reflective invocation to the gods, tools & scriptures of ELT’. Interesting though that if you as the author of the blog did not ‘like’ it (in the meaning perhaps of how you envisioned your potential posts, for example?) and that made you change it.
      You called the current tagline ‘descriptive but banal’. Hm, I don’t know if ‘description’ itself can be ‘creative’, or not banal (or anything like that) – just because it is description and is meant to show the picture? Just thought about a metaphor: a painting versus a photo?
      Thank you for your comment!


  4. Sandy Millin says:

    Hi Zhenya,
    What a great post 🙂 It’s these little throwaway ones that always seem to generate the most comments, because they always contain a question which gets you thinking. It’s also interesting to see how others came up with their taglines.
    I came up with my tagline on the spur of the moment, then forgot about it completely until I met Leo Selivan at my first IATEFL conference and he introduced himself and quoted it back to me. 🙂 I’m still really happy with it because I think it is my ‘brand’: “Technologically and linguistically adventurous EFL teacher” Maybe I’ll change it at some point in the future, but I think it still sums me up pretty well at the moment!


    • Zhenya says:

      Thank you very much for the comment Sandy! Yes, I enjoy reading the comments here and learning how taglines are born. Yours is great: I like that it sums up what you do ‘in real life’ – not just on the blog itself. I am hoping to collect the ‘history of my taglines’ and then see how my ideas and life/blog perceptions would be changing. Well, let’s see if I have patience to do so though!

      Thank you for reading, and enjoy the EFL adventures! 🙂


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