Fast Speech and Why It Challenges Learners and Teachers

Plenty of learners have told me that they struggle to understand fast speech. I’ve offered study tips and listed resources for listening practice in the past, but I’ve finally decided to make my own special contribution. I’m currently running a 20-day Fast Speech Challenge on YouTube. My goal is to teach some common patterns in terms…

Summer Listening Practice

I’ve made suggestions for summer reading, so why not summer listening? I can’t take all the credit for this idea. A private student asked that I put together a study guide for the two months we won’t be meeting. The request is specifically for listening practice. I’m trying to compromise on who should set the tasks….

TESOL 2015: Achieving Balanced Listening Instruction

Every TESOLer at the convention hopes to attend sessions with a lot of take-away. Beth Sheppard of the University of Oregon didn’t disappoint anyone. Making every minute of her 45-minute session informative, she raised our awareness of the need to provide more balanced listening instruction for our students. Just what is balanced listening instruction? First of all,…

Deliberate Focus on Making Random Choices

In my seventh video topic in the Language Notes series I focus on how we make random choices.  From rock, paper, scissors to a coin toss, I take the time to explain the format and the rules of each method. I realize that this topic may have less relevance that mealtimes or other previous topics…

MATSOL 2013 Conference Highlights (continued)

On May 3, I was able to attend two academic sessions at the MATSOL Conference. Compared to the annual TESOL convention, this event is on a much smaller scale. Even so, I found the experience of looking at the schedule to be the same: I wanted to be in two places at one time. That’s a very…

3-step Trip Down Memory Lane: A whole group and small group activity

It’s always fun to build an activity around happy memories. When describing a past experience, students decide how much they’re comfortable sharing, but any amount of sharing helps brings down barriers and creates a stronger sense of community. Furthermore, the content is familiar, and this facilitates self-expression in the target language. The following activity is outlined with intermediate…

Survival English: Listening to Weather Reports

It’s one thing to understand textbook sentences about the weather. It’s another to actually listen to an authentic forecast and try to make sense of it. A lower level student can deal with statements following a familiar pattern, such as it’s sunny today, it’s hot outside, it’s a rainy day, it’s windy, etc. Trouble with comprehension…

Learning a Language Through Laughter: Using Online Comedy Materials

  The Official Abbott and Costello Website offer scripts and audio recordings of the popular routines created and performed by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. The scripts don’t always use standard spelling, and the audio recordings tend to show their age; however, some of the materials can still be put to good use in the…