How Plain Language Makes Life Simpler 


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This speaker offers several suggestions for how to make language easier for people to understand–and why it’s so important to do so.  By law, U.S. government agencies must use “plain language” (common words, short sentences, no idioms and graphics).  Companies should use plain language; but, as yet, are not required to do so.  My hope is that companies use plain language in their documents and when speaking with people who need it in order to communicate with someone and comprehend what is being said.

New Daily Videos for Learning New Words


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Children and Teens:  You can learn how to talk about interesting topics with your friends in English from the videos in a new website, called Learn English-Speak English Fluently.   It offers free, 15-minute videos every day and the words are pronounced slowly and clearly.  The new vocabulary words are explained when spoken, displayed on the screen, and reviewed often.  Adults may like these videos for this reason, even though the lessons are for young people.  

The video below is about hiking and nature, and introduces the following vocabulary wordsgate (noun), hike (verb), waterfall [falls] (noun), trail (noun), view (noun).

Source: Learn English – Speak English Fluently


Personal Stories Inspire Language Learning


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Composing a short story about a life-changing event in his family from his mother’s point-of-view,  enabled Christopher Cindrich to fully explore how his father’s death had impacted him, his mother and family members.  He describes the assignment for his Spanish Language and Literature course motivated him to want to use his mother’s native language to tell her story–and learn it himself.

Students are highly motivated to do assignments that allow them to share or explore their personal lives, according to several research studies. (See link below for one such study.)

Vanderbilt college student describing value of writing assignment

So, You Think You Can Teach ESL? | An ESL, education, and teaching blog


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The creator of the website below, Ketan Hein, is a TESOL-trained educator who has taught in South Korea since 2009.  A quintessential teacher, Mr. Hein’s curriculum vitae lists science, math, social studies, physical education and art courses in addition to the common English language subjects.

He, like me, wants to provide a site where English teachers can learn from each other and share ideas for improving education systems and teaching methods.  His site certainly provides such an opportunity.

Source: So, You Think You Can Teach ESL? | An ESL, education, and teaching blog (click to open)

Awesome Teacher Education Site


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ANCD Think Teach Lead

ASCD is a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading. Comprising 125,000 members—superintendents, principals, teachers, and advocates from more than 138 countries—the ASCD community also includes 54 affiliate organizations.

Our diverse, nonpartisan membership is our greatest strength, projecting a powerful, unified voice to decision makers around the world.

NOTE: Most resources are for member access and registration is not free. The site does offer a free trial membership and some materials for free.

This is one of the best international continuing education sites I’ve seen for English language teachers.  If you agree, please consider sharing this site with your colleagues. 

Source: English Language Learners – Videos, Articles, Resources, Experts

Never-Ending Books on U.S. Culture & History


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Below is a link to sample lesson plans from a children’s book publisher (12 Story Library) that offers books on topics of interest to all ages.  Adults may be able to borrow these books at their public library, which is where I found my book, entitled “The 12 Most Amazing American Inventions.”   It includes stories under 12 topics, including: from after they’ve finished reading the book itself!  It includes stories under 12 topics,

Aside from being very fun and interesting, these books never truly end!  The publisher offers a website for each story so readers can continue learning about the topic from it and other resource pages.  Below are the topics offered:

Story Titles

Source: Sample Lesson Plans –


Best Methods for Teaching Adolescent ELLs



Best Practices for Adolescent ELLs  by Judith Rance-Roney

Adolescent English language learners present particular challenges for schools. The population of adolescent ELLs is diverse, and their educational needs are affected by differences in immigration status, quality of educational background, native language, cultural distance from U.S. culture, future plans, and economic status. The article offers five practices that can help schools improve educational achievement for these students: acceptance of shared responsibility by school staff; a dual curriculum that promotes language development as well as academic needs; careful consideration of how to integrate immigrants with the general school population; extended learning time; and individual progress records.

Source: Educational Leadership:Supporting English Language Learners:Best Practices for Adolescent ELLs

How to Talk to Non-Native English Speakers


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Below are helpful suggestions from the article referenced below for communicating more effectively with non-native English speakers.

1. Speak slowly, not loudly.

2. Use hand gestures.

3. Don’t use idioms!

4. Feel free to use incorrect English when appropriate.

5. Find different ways to say something.

6. Pronounce letters and phonemes clearly.

Source: Learn English Articles » Blog Archive » How to Talk to Non-Native English Speakers


New Strategy for Teaching Reading & Writing Skills


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This series of lessons helps explain why learning to read is often more challenging for people who are naturally good at analyzing problems, developing categories and performing detail-oriented tasks.  They tend to be good at math and science, which requires the above-mentioned skills.  Reading instruction often excludes explanations for the many “exceptions” to spelling and pronunciation rules, which are explained on this site.  The instructor provides excellent materials and resources that fill-in the gaps left by traditional teaching methods that cover only some rather than all English words.


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