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Michael S.'s Resources

When you ask me to help you with study skills, here's what I will do for you: I will find out what you are curious about. I will find out what you already do well. I will find the places in your life, big or little, where you are already motivated, passionate, curious, amused, delighted. Where are you totally alive? That is our starting point. My goal is to transfer some of those skills and... read more

May I introduce myself. My name is Michael S. I taught writing, grammar and literature at a community college for many years as a full-time instructor. I am now totally comfortable in front of a class. But how did I become so comfortable? I too was nervous in my first days of teaching. My hands would shake, I would sweat. I was afraid I would forget my train of thought in the middle, and there... read more

No one expects the President of the United States to write his own speeches. He wants to get re-elected, so he uses the services of a ghost writer. Undoubtedly the President has some input, but the speech is still ghost written. Similarly, a student who wants to pass a class with a high grade, sometimes wants to hire the services of a tutor, one who may be short of money and is willing to be... read more

In fifth grade it was spelling bees and the teacher's ruler on our outstretched hands when we would misbehave. The combination of competitive victory and escape of pain made me take an interest in the letters that make up words. I was not going to be defeated by the wildly unruly ways of spelling English words. Nor was I about to let anybody hit me, just because they were the authority. By... read more

Dear ESL student: Perhaps you would like my help to improve your English. You have learned to read and write English in your home country. Perhaps you have a solid foundation with a good knowledge of English grammar and vocabulary. I am guessing that you want to be able to speak more naturally and be understood easily in your daily life in America. I am guessing that you would like to... read more

Students often come to us with expectations that we will teach them how to write and speak correctly. Why correctly? Because they know it produces rewards: money, jobs, status. Although the scientific linguist says that correctness is just based on the preferences of the cultural group with the most status, and has no intrinsic merit by itself, still the popular attitude has it right: Correctness... read more