Thanksgiving Wishes 2020

At my most recent live stream on Hallo, I learned that one of my faithful subscribers is now at a special COVID-19 center in his country in order to isolate himself. He lost his sense of smell, and soon after he tested positive. His family must also quarantine now. He actually hopped on camera to…

Teaching the Value of Passive Vocabulary

This morning I was scrolling through a news briefing, and I came across a word I didn’t know: excoriate. A senator excoriated President Trump for not conceding the election. I commented to my son about learning a new word. Then and there I looked it up in the dictionary to make sure my guess from…

Practical Practice with Complements

I’ve challenged myself to explain complements in three short videos. (See YT member playlist.) Being concise isn’t the tricky thing. The hard part is going beyond the most common examples, for example, naming nouns and adjectives as subject complements. I get into other possibilities, including gerunds, embedded questions, and prepositional phrases. Some learners enjoy the…

Transitioning from Pronunciation Drills to Meaningful Production

Both private students and students at live streams are eager to improve their pronunciation. Working one-on-one, I can tailor all the materials and exercises to that student. Group instruction can be more challenging in that respect. However, both settings prompt me to consider ways I can help students transition from successful drilling to meaningful production….

80 Debate Topics for ESL Students

Have you ever organized debates? Maybe you don’t wish to get into hard-core debates, especially on controversial issues such as the death penalty or gambling. Let me help ease the burden of finding classroom-appropriate topics for students who come from diverse backgrounds. Check out my list of 80 debate topics. I’ve also included suggestions for…

6 Pitfalls of Writing

When I see my writing from twenty years ago or more, I cringe because I realize how much I had yet to learn. Not too long ago, I saw a writing project I did back in high school and my face turned red. The truth is that good writing is a pursuit. We improve through…

33 Engaging Discussion Questions

I often have the need for new discussion questions. Do you? If you feel you’ve exhausted many possibilities and you’re looking for new topics, checkout my list of 33 engaging questions on a range of classroom appropriate subjects, including family and career. The questions are geared towards intermediate and advanced adult learners. Each question is…

Learning about the U.S. Government

It seems that election years prompt me to test my own knowledge of how things work within the U.S. government, and the result is a new YouTube video. About four years ago, I decided explain our political parties and the U.S. Presidential elections. Earlier this year I talked about Super Tuesday. More recently, I described…

Practice with Suffixes

I recently shared a trio of video lessons on suffixes, and I chose to target word stress patterns based on the endings:-ious/-eous-ize–ityThe patterns will have a much better chance of sticking if students have the opportunity to put them into practice. I’d like to share a set of 12 discussion questions that require students to…

Basic Grammar: Countable and Uncountable Nouns

Some grammar topics are introduced at the lower levels, and students continue to study the intricacies as they become more proficient. The topic of countable and uncountable nouns is a good example. A recent video lesson shows how I challenged my basic English students to identify nouns as countable or uncountable and correctly use the…

Gaining Comfort with Levels of Formality

In a recent YouTube video, I challenged upper level students to find more formal or less formal variations of ten statements. Watch the lesson. Such tasks are open-ended because there isn’t one right answer. Ideally, the viewer should do my exercises with at least one other person. Two heads are better than one, and discoveries…