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…

Understanding Other ELLs: An Overlooked Listening Skill

With so much attention on understanding fast speech in movies, TV shows, and other authentic sources, there’s an area of listening comprehension that may not receive the attention it deserves: the speech of language learners. Students tend to focus heavily on listening to native speakers and non-natives with advanced proficiency. As a result, they may…

Setting and Reaching Goals

I recently shared some best practices that I learned from students over the years. (Watch video.) These aren’t specific study habits, but rather approaches and attitudes one can develop in order to have a more successful language learning experience. In the past, I’ve proposed a learner’s pledge for students to consider and (hopefully) adopt. Click…

Pronunciation and Parallel Structure

In my latest YouTube lesson, I present parallel structure as an advanced grammar topic, and I mention the value of parallel structure in both academic and professional writing. However, it would be misleading to overlook how parallel structure plays a role in rhythm and intonation. A series of items, for example, breaks into small thought…

Allowing for Laid-Back Grammar

In a recent lesson on YouTube, I decided to teach and practice agreement with the informal responses “Me too” and “Me neither.” (Watch Basic English Lesson 106.) I had seen some online discussion about the correctness of such phrases (or the lack thereof), but I decided that if I hear it and I personally use…

7 Tips for Targeting Consonant Sounds

It took me long enough, but I finally decided to create an overview of the 24 consonant sounds in English. The YouTube lesson is just over 15 minutes, and I include some insights and additional resources for learners at the end. I had created a whole playlist for American English vowel sounds back in 2011,…