This blog post is about the verb “to get,” and how sometimes this verb can get in the way of progress. Biber and Conrad (2001) list the verb “to get” as one of the twelve most commonly used verbs in spoken English, which explains why it would be an important verb to know. However, too much of a good thing can sometimes get in the way of progress. The verb “to get” and all its inflections can end up replacing every other possible verb, which in turn might prevent some learners from moving to the next stage of language proficiency. Continue reading
Teaching verbs can be accomplished through a combination of miming, games, worksheets, video clips, discussion, lecture, translation, and perhaps a host of other strategies. Reinforcing the meaning of many verbs by providing a video clip can help with retention. Flashcards can also assist with vocabulary acquisition. Quizlet’s flashcards deliver still images or animated clips online. Animated clips can accelerate acquisition through motion in context. Quizlet’s ability to include animated GIFs makes it a useful tool for language students learning base verbs.
I recently came across a web resource that reminded me of using Data-driven learning (DDL) with students. I have not tried using DDL for a few years but I think that WordSift will allow instructors to use basic DDL techniques with their students.
What is DDL?
Data-driven learning is a learning approach in which learning is driven by research-like access to linguistic data (Johns, 1991). DDL examines a corpora or body of text. WordSift can generate useful usage data Continue reading
This weekend has been filled with social gatherings and sharing our thanks with friends and family – and our students, but in the world of teaching, before one major theme is complete, our thoughts are filled with what’s next. October is filled with major themes – Fall harvest, Thanksgiving, and Halloween, but did you know it’s also the month of National Dictionary Day? As Shakespeare said, what’s in a name? Well for many language learners, the answer is Continue reading
Not too long ago I created an activity with my students where I asked them to write three types of literary genres they enjoy the most. The task involved writing three words on index cards. I then asked them to meet in groups to share their words. Group by group, they would come to the podium and add their words on Wordle.net – adding each word repeatedly at times and only once other times. At the end, I would let WordleTM do its thing. The result was a collective word cloud that would visualize the commonalities among everyone in my class. Continue reading
Hot Potatoes is a quiz generating software application used to create activities suitable for language learning. Recently, Hot Potatoes has had a facelift. Continue reading
Something we overlook as native English speakers is the common expressions we use in our daily conversations. To those learning the English language, it can be downright confusing Continue reading
No matter what language you speak, music has a universal tongue, wouldn’t you agree? Its power in bringing people together, no matter what language they speak, is priceless. So, if music has the ability to unite us, why not use it in the classroom to help your students learn English?
I have my kids to thank for inspiring this post, partly due to their love of watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood every day. You find inspiration everywhere.
On the show they sing the lesson of the day repeatedly throughout each episode. It sticks in your head and is really catchy, and the nice thing is that the lessons are useful for children in helping to problem solve or deal with certain emotions that may arise out of unpleasant situations. Continue reading
The way we deliver our message has a big effect on how it is received. Not only do we receive the message, but we receive the way it is presented or “wrapped”. It’s the whole package. How we say things adds another layer of meaning to the message. Teaching about the delivery of a message in ESL classes adds a lot of value for students. Continue reading
When we are submitting a cover letter to a perspective employer, we want to showcase our skills and to communicate the fact that we have confidence. In work preparedness classes we promote the idea that confident vocabulary and sentence structure is essential to having our cover letter read. But where is the line between confidence and over confidence, and how do we teach that to our students?
I once received a homework assignment that was a sample cover letter written by a student. The format was good, the sentences well formed, and there were no spelling mistakes. However, a few lines made me wince: “I am brilliant. I am the best person that your company could hire.” This surely was confidence, bordering on hubris, that may in fact have the same effect as grammatical error on the reader of the letter. If I were the hiring manager, I’m not sure I would have read much further. So, where do we draw the line? Continue reading