Business Discourse (2nd edition): Relevant for ESPers Worldwide!

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

As ESPers, we have the responsibility to learn as much as we can about how people communicate. By researching and learning about professional communication and reflecting on our teaching practices, we empower ourselves to create learning experiences for our students. Through such learning experiences, we empower our students to communicate for the purpose of achieving their specific goals. In sum, we promote leadership communication worldwide (when leadership is conceptualized as influencing others to achieve a vision/goal).

Accordingly, when I come across a resource that can empower ESPers worldwide, I want to share it with ESPers worldwide! Check out the following:

Bargiela-Chiappini, F., Nickerson, C., & Planken, B. (2013). Business discourse (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
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A Writing Activity: Describing a Fruit

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko

When I was a student in an intensive English program, one of my teachers used this activity to help us be more specific and precise in our descriptions.  And as easy as this activity looks, it required reaching beyond our regular everyday vocabulary.

Later, when I became a teacher, I used this activity with my students and found it really helpful.

As a “warm-up”, I showed my students a clip from the movie “City of Angels,” when the character Seth asked the character Maggie to describe a pear.  Continue reading

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Randomizing Order in Class

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen

Unfortunately, it is sometimes hard to get students to volunteer, so educators all have their own methods for randomizing the order in which students present or perform other tasks. Do you have students draw numbers from a hat or popsicle sticks from a jar?

I have a fantastic little line method I can do on the board that has both students and other teachers just scratching their heads, but despite how wonderful many of these low tech solutions are, they usually take up more precious class time than some other options out there.

Enter Random.org. Continue reading

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ESL Games: It’s All in the Description—A Speaking and Listening Game

Marc Anderson
Marc Anderson

The Game: It’s All in the Description is a great way to strengthen speaking and listening skills. In addition, it focuses on the present continuous verb tense and essential vocabulary to expand ESL fluency and overall language learning. It also builds questioning skills.

Research Says: Research supports the use of a language game like this to bring real world context into the classroom and enhance students’ use of English in a flexible, communicative way (Asian EFL Journal, December 2003).
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Teaching Content-Area Vocabulary to ELs

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

If ESL teachers want to help their students understand content-area texts, they need to aid classroom teachers in learning  teaching strategies  that help English learners (ELs) gain new content area vocabulary. In a recent TESOL blog,  I discussed modifying teaching methods and materials. In this blog, I will talk about strategies for teaching vocabulary to ELs that can be used by ESL and content-area teachers alike.
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A Conference Call Simulation for Advanced Learners

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

Sometimes, you get lucky! Or maybe I should say, sometimes things come together in just the right way. In this TESOL Blog post, I am going to focus on how such things came together to produce a successful teleconferencing activity.

I was teaching what I would call a Business English class for high-level learners. The class participants were Japanese professionals of different ages. One student was the head administrator of a university hospital. Another student had completed her undergraduate degree at UC San Diego. (That was 7 years earlier.) One of the students was the brand manager in an international (and non-Japanese) company, etc. All of the students worked for different organizations in the Tokyo area. They were all highly motivated.
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Focus on Cultural Education: A Writing Activity

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko

Living in a foreign country can be difficult if one doesn’t understand many of the cultural concepts that “locals” sometimes use on a daily basis.  When I came to the United States a few years ago, I realized how little I knew about the American culture.  I appreciated people who were willing to help me and contribute to my “cultural education.”

Accordingly, I am curious sometimes if our students are aware of the meanings, let alone the history, of the cultural concepts that they encounter during classroom activities or in readings.

I’d like to share an idea that integrates a cultural component into writing.  As examples, I used the concepts of the American culture (although some of them have become international), but this is not to say that this activity cannot be adjusted to local cultures in other teaching contexts. Continue reading

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Socrative: A New Student Response System

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen

Do you like the idea of exit slips, but don’t have time to grade them all outside of class? Do you find yourself wondering whether or not students caught the main point of your lecture? Do you wish you could go paperless for quizzes and other activities or even just reduce the amount of paper you use? Do you want to engage your students more with your lessons?

Well, if your students have smartphones, tablets, or computers in class, then Socrative can help you out. Socrative is free! I registered from my desktop in 30 seconds by entering my e-mail address and a password and then downloaded both the student and teacher versions of the app onto my iPad to test the system out. I was amazed at how easy everything was, and the possibilities really seem endless. Continue reading

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ESL Games: Word Ditto

Marc Anderson
Marc Anderson

The Game: Word Ditto explores multiple meaning words. Multiple meaning words are just that: They have two or more meanings.

There are two main types of multiple meaning words:

  • Those that sound alike (ex. bark as in the bark of a tree and the bark of a dog)
  • Those that sound differently (ex. windy as in a windy day and a windy road)

Within these two main groups of multiple meaning words, there can be differences in:

  • Capitalization (ex. You may see flowers in May.)
  • Punctuation (ex. He prepared a résumé to find a job to resume working.)
  • Parts of speech (ex. I like to fish (verb). The fish (noun) swam in the sea.)
  • Tenses (ex. My aunt read the books that you like to read.)
  • Degrees – literal or figurative (ex. My apartment is below yours. The corporal ranks below the general.)

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Student-Generated Grammar Rules

Alexandra Lowe
Alexandra Lowe

As ESL instructors, we often learn at least as much from our students as they do from us. But that truism was borne out in an unexpected way recently in my beginners’ evening ESL class as we wrestled, in time-honored fashion, with the simple past.

My students had gamely participated in a number of tried-and-true communicative activities designed to help them practice one of the trickiest skills: forming questions in the simple past. Avid futbol fans, they had interviewed each other about the 2014 World Cup results using prompts that I had helped them generate: Did Brazil lose? Did Germany win? Did Argentina beat the Netherlands? What was the score? Continue reading

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