Category: Uncategorized

Slowmo shopping in Home Depot

Slow motion shopping in Home Depot (in Manhattan). Kind of funny but I want to show my students what these big DIY stores look like because they don’t exist in Korea:

Just a little extra just in case… Tony beats up Mikey, uses a stapler, and wipes the prints.

Special events in US culture

Wedding photos:



The first one is not like my experience where people throw in flowers endlessly. The second is longer, has the military flag ceremony, and has everybody holding a single flower which they will, I assume, next place on the casket.

What happened to the candy seller?

If the kid who buys candy gets in this much trouble, shouldn’t the punishment for the seller be even more severe?

Online Discussion Forums For use in Language Classes

Online Discussion Forums For use in Language Classes

Part 2 — Practice

Objectives — (S.W.B.A.T.) & Examples from the website

(From 2004 on…)

1. Register & Log in

Handout (Instructions for Inha Students)

2. Use an online discussion forum to practice English

3. Introduce themselves in comprehensible written English

4. Produce examples of structures covered in their text (Interchange 2)

*Example of target struc. (U.11-cy.1/simple past passive) found in book, periodical, or on website

*S-generated example (U.3-cy.2/wish)

(From 2006, maintained the above objecs. (Gram posts became optional) plus…

5. Communicate using S-generated topics (free-writing/focus on fluency/poll qs)

(Replies to the Intros turned out to be more motivating that g-posts)

Topics Ss came up w/

Interesting S-generated topic

Current Issue w/ Poll Question

Lighthearted Poll Q

(From 2007, same as 2006 + Focus on CULTURE-RELATED TOPICS)

6. Discuss any cultural topic of their choice (small “c” encouraged) in written English

Huge variety of motivating topics (Really Hard to Choose!)

Big “C”

Small “c”

Native Speaker Feedback (Focus Shifted)

Use of bold to recast select structural errors (no more than 1-2 per post initially)

Structural Feedback Examples

Feedback based on cultural content (Steering toward cultural content)

Ss able to discuss things they would probably not in class

Crisis of Faith

English and Korean swear words


Cool Functions

Info to Ss + Poll Q to gather data for lesson planning

Post Class Announcements, Oral Exam Sign-up Sheets, Assignments…etc.

Search for Ss, Contact long-lost Ss & (vice-versa)

Easy assessment–time-stamped posts

Easy access–can reply anywhere, anytime, would work with Ss from other countries

Two of our many success stories

Kim Yeonui (CUK Sophomore)

104 posts (only required to do 12 over 2 semesters)–even posted during vacations

Huge boost in proficiency and confidence in English

Became Pen-pals with (Sharon-Texas-writer) one of our native-speaker moderators and now they correspond by email regularly and exchange care/culture packages

Kwak Hye-young (CUK Soph/Junior)

50 posts (12 required over 2 semesters)

Deep topic threads — Great contributor

Thread w/ Sharon

Significant improvements in proficiency

Switched majors from business administration to English Language and Culture

Currently studying at a University in Wisconsin

A letter from Sharon regarding Hye-young:

September 28, 2007

Dear Jason and Jim,

I first met Kwak Hye-Young on the learn-english-grammar forum in December 2005, where I served as moderator. From the beginning, she appeared to be highly intelligent and eager to learn English. Her long-range goals were impressive, in wanting to pursue her education in the U.S., majoring in accounting or mathematics. It was apparent to me by her questions that she had a wide range of interests and a curiosity about many things. She displayed a good sense of humor, as well, when asking other students on the forum to comment on Jason’s changing appearance — which I found amusing. Hye-young sent me two beautiful Korean Christmas cards, one written in English, and I sent her a small gift from Texas. During the next few months, she showed great improvement in her English, writing at length with more adjectives and better grammar. She seemed very happy to be taking Practical English 2 and Intermediate Conversation with Jason to further improve her skills. Her interests varied from trying to understand the music of the Back Street Boys to her appreciation of the outdoors and plans for a little house with lilacs in the yard. Hye-young continued to bring new topics to the forum by asking if we, in other countries, celebrate children’s day and Buddha’s birthday. By mid 2006, she was still striving to improve her English, asking about the differences between British and American English, which is confusing to say the least. Jason recommended several books and summer enrollment in an English course. I was very impressed with the article she wrote for the forum on the Statue of Liberty, thoroughly researched, and written extremely well in almost perfect English. By the summer of 2006, she was reading Crime and Punishment. Just before her final exams, she told us of her plans to go to China. We lost touch for a while this year, as she was working and preparing for her English certificate. I was glad to hear that she is now settled in at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, likes her roommate, and the food (except it’s too oily, so she worries about gaining weight)! Tons of homework and lectures. I have no doubt she will do exceptionally well; she is certainly proficient in English and should have no problem at all in that respect. I have a great deal of admiration for this enthusiastic, friendly, and highly motivated young lady.



Positive Teacher Feedback (S.F. & Germany)

Plans/Aspirations for the future

-More International users (

-Connect with classes in different cultures for multicultural discussions

-More spontaneous use

-Better and more constant language feedback for Ss from a variety of sources

(20 cents a reply BTW (^_^) — double the going rate)

We are constantly finding new uses and cooler applications of functions. Any ideas?

Q & A — Suggestions — Ideas — Audience FB

A teacher’s life in Zimbabwe

This is scary. Most teachers complain about their jobs, but sometimes we need to remember that some people are truly suffering.

Baby animals lesson idea

1. Over view of the lesson

ã…‡.The title of lesson: Baby animals

ã…‡ Content: Grammar: be-verb matching with subject

ã…‡ Vocabulary: piglet, kitten, calf, duckling, kid

ã…‡ Objectives: By the end of the lesson, students should be able to identity 5 baby animals and speak according to the picture without teacher’s assistance.

ã…‡. Controlled Activity: Word Maze Activity

The teacher gives students a word maze board. Several members are in one group. One of them reads the words which are the target vocabulary items or the day and others draw a line according to reading. After finishing, next child reads and the others draw a line with different color crayon, they do repeatedly until each group member finish reading in order.

ã…‡. Less controlled Activity: A dice activity

The teacher gives a dice which has baby animal pictures on each facet, for each group. Several members are in a group. One of them throws the dice, and then others ask “What is this? What are these? The thrower answers according to the question. For example, these are duckling or this is a kitten.

2. Theoretical justification on the activities

A. Right hemisphere participation

The right hemisphere controls emotional, nonverbal, intuitive and sensory function. When we teach a language, as we use the Right hemisphere participation, we can teach a language effectively. Visuals are used in the controlled and less controlled activities, so those visuals stimulate students’ right brain. That makes meaningful context for the learners.

B. The affective Filler, anxiety, and motivation

According to Krashen, there are two factors for succeeding in a language, the one is comprehensible Input, and the other is low affective filter. In this lesson plan, students do two group work activities which are easy and interesting. When they do first activity, they do not need to worry about errors. Even though at first time, they don’t know the exact pronunciation of baby animals, they can ask to their group members, listen repeatedly and correct the errors without anxiety. The second activity is also similar, as they play a dice game they do not need that they are learning a language. They acquire a language expression without conscious effort just through play. So this lesson is designed with low affective Filler and low anxiety, nevertheless most children like to play a game.

C. Input and Output

Krashen said that when there are much roughly tuned input (caregiver speech, teachers’ talk and foreigner’s talk), if they can understand the content, the learners can acquire i+1 easily. In this lesson the learners can get much roughly tuned Input from their friend while doing two activities. Swain said that when the learners produce the output, they realize the gap between what they know and what they can produce. In this lesson there is much student’s language production, so they can perceive their real ability.

3. Conclusion

As a teacher, when I design a lesson plan, I have to consider the students’ participation. It must elicit students’ participation through interesting activity. As I used various materials which attract students’ interesting, it was always more effective and activated their schema. When there was group work, they participated in class actively and produced much output. The output also can be Input for other students.

Submitted by Hyeon

Sad conclusion to the Korean sex slave story

The follow-up to this story about a sex slave in California was published a while ago. I missed it, but here it is. The most infuriating part is how little America is doing to stop this. For example the Sun Spa massage parlor where the woman in the story “worked” is still open for business. The website where customers review the sex workers – – is still up and running. The information and pictures on this site are disturbing to say the least. It’s clearly promoting illegal activity, so why can’t the American government get it shut down?

Health insurance for EFL teachers in China

I’m not sure why (although I have my theories) but it seems to me that too few of us have adequate insurance when we leave our homes to teach abroad for the first time. International health insurance is available, but we have to know to look for it. Here I’m sending you to a company that specializes in helping expats in China and has offices in the UK, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

They can help you (for example) with Pacific prime insurance while you’re in China. This means insurance for public liability, temporary accommodation, replacement locks & windows, and personal accidents. You can also benefit from fire insurance as well as several other kinds of insurance (like the critical travel and health insurance plans).

Good discussion topic & reading: training your spouse

I thought that this article in which a woman stops nagging her husband to try out techniques used by animal trainers. She gets better results following the animal trainers’ lead…

I thought this would be appropriate for intermediate and above adult learners.

Have I sold out?

Am I too commercial? One teacher criticized my new style (see my English class list for an example) saying that the bright ads are too distracting. I chose brighter colors for that reason actually.

The (maybe) sad truth is that I spend so many hours working on that site and providing free content for English learners (and not just any free content – my free online classes are the only online classes I know of where learners study in context and then use the language) that I want to get some money in return.

At the moment the site is costing me money and while I can afford it, I’m not feeling as charitable as i was 18 months or so ago when I started it. I will never charge students to study on the site, but I think I will ask them to endure the ads. Your comments are welcome.

Sponsored by Jobs Classifieds, a good place to look for job ads.