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I use audio-visual aid a lot during my language instruction sessions.  A fun activity I offer for them is to take them on a field trip in town and make them observe and take note of all type of signs, such as traffic signs, commercial, etc...  Then we go back to the classroom and discuss what the student saw.  It's very useful for them to get familiar with the surroundings for several reasons, but from the teaching perspective, I know they will remember the experience and it will be easier for them to learn certain vocabulary that way.  

What do we mean when we say that we are in or at a place? These two small words can be instrumental in helping us to reveal (and conceal) exactly where we are in the world and, crucially, how we feel about being there. Take the sentence, 'I'm at school'. Seemingly simple on the surface, but can't we say, 'I'm in school' too? So, if they both sound fine, why does 'I'm in/at classroom' sound bad? Lets look a little closer. In for buildings and rooms This is not a difficult one. If we use in, we are referring to the fact that we are in a place which has walls, a floor, and a ceiling. It can be a room, it can be a building, it can be a cardboard box at the side of the road. It depends on how much money your parents are investing in your education. The thing to remember is that, unlike at, we must use an article here to specify the space we are talking about. However, the days of a one-room village school are long gone and so it would be odd to hear ‘I’m in the school’... read more

So, we’ve explored the idea of in and at as ways to describe where we are and what we are doing there and found that it's a little bit more than just buildings and borders. In this post, we'll take a look at how using or omitting articles can help us to express how we feel about the places we are in. Before we begin, let's agree that articles are pretty much the most horrendous part of the English language, especially for Russian speakers. Rather than simple functional devices which can help us build more meaningful sentences, they seem to have more in common with capricious women, drunk on the power of being able to alter their surroundings with the merest flutter of an eyelash. To help us understand them better, I've compiled a series of examples to illustrate exactly how these devices operate. Omitting articles So, we already know that omitting articles is fine when we are talking in terms of our involvement in a process (I'm in school/court/), or our... read more

I’m not prone to exaggeration, but when it comes to the words moreover and furthermore, I can safely say that I would rather poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick if it meant that never again would I have to hear them misused in everyday English conversations with Russian speakers. I see why they come up so often. They both appear, on the surface, to be sweetly analogous to the often-used term ????? ???? and, to Russian speakers of English, it probably feels like it is a suitable upgrade from plain old ‘and’. The problem is that using them in everyday conversations can make you sound, at best, overblown or pretentious and, at worst, vaguely threatening. That said, as with everything, there is a time and a place for introducing these words. They carry with them, a level of accuracy in meaning which other ‘plainer terms, may not have. We just need to make sure that we understand exactly when and where to use the word; and that the right time and place is... read more

10 Tips to Advance Your Second-language Learning Process Speaking a second language is a wonderful tool to have at your disposal. Not only is it fun and cool, but it opens doors to experience another culture in new, exciting and personal ways. And if you're working on speaking a language that others speak in your community, it can also open doors for you professionally. So, if you're itching for some tips to help advance your language learning process, have no fear…I'm here to share with you 10 of my trusty tips for how I learned to speak my second language! (How well do I speak it, you ask? Well, native Spanish speakers often think I’m a native Spanish speaker, just to give you some context.) These are all things that I did myself, so I’m confident in recommending them all to you! :) Let’s get started with some specific tips, and then move on to my more “philosophical” and general advice: 1. Watch television shows, movies and videos in your target language For those working... read more

Hi! I am a Miami Beach-based English Teacher and have recently joined WyzAnt to see if there are EFL (English as a Foreign Language) students who need a bit of help with their English; conversation, TOEFL, grammar, accent reduction....   I enjoy teaching as I like to meet people from around the world and help them reach their goals, and my absolute favorite topic is grammar, especially verb tenses :)   My background is in journalism and social media, but I have been teaching for a while now,  working at a language school during the daytime hours and teaching through an online school as well.    I will be blogging about learning English, and I hope to hear from you! I am available to teach over Skype, in person at a cafe in Miami Beach, or possibly come to you depending on the distance (I live on South Beach).   Have a great weekend!    

Hey everyone!     So I really wanted to talk about something I find very important, especially for those learning to master the English language. I realized that the minimal emphasis on spelling in public schools led to a major fault in the younger generation's writing skills. I found that unless a child reads often, it's hard  for them to determine what "there" one might be talking about. Often times, students may know the context of where to place the word in a spoken sentence, however not choose the correct spelling of the term in written sentences.  Being able to spell properly and maintain good grammar is something essential to children for the rest of their lives -- be it writing essays for school or applying for grants/scholarships, sending letters, filling out job applications, or even having to teach others. As parents, teachers, or educators I believe that spelling tests should still be in full effect to separate words with multiple meanings... read more

Duolingo is a free website and mobile app for language learning. Lessons include translating sentences, identifying objects, repeating words and much more. It is a useful tool that I have been having a lot of fun with lately. I recommend to check it out if you are studying English as a second language, foreign languages, or you enjoy learning in your free time. 

It could be anything: paint, draw, even a new language. The idea that you are done learning once you reach a certain age in your life is as ridiculous as the notion that all women should be homemakers. In fact, it is never too late to learn anything! Take me, for example. I am a magazine editor who found a new life teaching about the very subjects that I learned in college and applied throughout my professional life.   My goal is to ensure that you will learn as quickly as possible any or all of the four subjects that I'm approved for in WyzAnt. Whether you want to understand the finer points of proofreading, or need to learn how to speak or write in English or in Spanish, I'll give you the tools that you'll need to become an expert in your selection from lesson one!

I used to be a quiet person who didn't like to talk in front of a group of people for fear of making a mistake and having them laugh at me.  Luckily, I learned from my high school basketball coach that making mistakes is a good thing, and nothing to be ashamed about.  "How can it be a good thing?" I wondered.     She told me that my fear of making mistakes was paralyzing me, so much so that I was not allowing myself to try new things and new approaches.     Many of my international students come to me with the same fears.  They are too ashamed of their limited spoken English, preferring to sit and listen, rather than try new situations and challenge themselves.  My goal with any new student is to help them understand, the same way my basketball coach helped me to understand, that they are free to make as many mistakes as they can when they are with me. Together, with my guidance, they will learn from their mistakes and... read more

Essay writing can be challenging for young writers.  I have written hundreds of essays.  It's always been a pleasure to receive a grade of A on an essay; however, it is even more enjoyable to receive a direct deposit for a winning scholarship essay!  Yes, it can make all the difference when funding your own education.  There are thousands of scholarship opportunities and most of them require a well written essay submission.   Have you ever been given a writing assignment that requires referencing a dozen different documents?  Are you learning to organize your writing?  Is it overwhelming when you are asked to complete a lengthy essay or report that includes more than just 5 or 6 references?  Do you want to apply for scholarships but you don't know how to write a winning essay?  To write any type of essay, my first tip is to take a step back, re-read the assignment criteria and/or rubric, and ask yourself a few questions.     1... read more

Many students have a fear of learning a foreign language.  Instead of approaching acquiring a new tongue as an exciting challenge, many approach it with the question "Why do we have to learn this?"  Learning a foreign language can be a wonderful experience.  Here a few of my "Dos and Don'ts" when approaching foreign language learning.   DO keep an open mind and be positive about learning something new. DO recognize the similarities of your native language and the new language that you are learning. DO review your notes from class everyday and practice at home. DO find a language/study buddy in your language class. DO think about your future and how a new language is going to benefit you with your future goals. DON'T be negative. DON'T be prejudice about a foreign language and its culture based on stereotypes. DON'T stop trying even when there are words that you do not understand or there is a chapter that is not... read more

Step #1: Feed Your Brain Your brain likes new words that are connected to experience.  So use as many of your five senses while you learn a new word.  Are you learning action words? Get up and do them!  Are you learning the names of household items? Collect them from your house and act out your sentences with them.  Every time you add experience to your new word, you strengthen it in your memory.   Step #2: Tell A Story A story is a good way to help you discover and remember new words. Learn a short proverb common to Americans, or write your own story with stick figures. As you practice telling the story those new words will stick better and better in your brain.   Step #3: Review Before You Go To Bed While you sleep your brain decides what information to store and what to forget.  So spend some time before you sleep reviewing your new words. Don't worry about mastering them, just 10 or 15 minutes should do it.  Then... read more

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