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February 27, 2005

Welcome to my ESL Blog...

If you are an ESL teacher, then I don’t have to tell you how wonderful, frustrating, eye-opening, and adventurous this work can be. My name is Michelle Simmons, and I’ve been there! (Still am, in fact.) Welcome to my blog — a place where we can just hang out and explore each one of these aspects of ESL teaching in detail, along with many others. We’ll talk about the silly aspects of the job, as well as delve into the more serious matters of the profession. Ready to get started?

The topic of the day is...those students who have learned English from a book. Have you ever had one? They spend months or years learning English, but never truly learn how to pronounce the vowels or figure out where the word stresses are. They know all of the grammar rules and can use phrasal verbs with the best of them, but when it comes to pronunciation, well...let’s just put it this way, a one-year-old child with a pacifier in his mouth is easier to understand.

My question is this; how in the world do you tell them that their English is basically unusable? I have one particular student who taught himself English from a thirty-year-old book, and then came to me to help “refine” his English. I literally couldn’t understand a word he was saying to me, and had to resort to asking him to write down everything so I could figure out what he wanted to say. He was stunned when I told him that our first step would be to go back to the basics and learn the short and long sounds of the vowels.

Have you ever had an experience like this? What about those students who learn in a classroom environment, but get no practical experience speaking? What can we, as teachers with our student’s best interests at heart, do about this unfair teaching practice? How can we educate the schools that learning English is more than just knowing the rules and passing the written exams?

This one has kept me up more nights that I care to admit to, so if you have any ideas or solutions, please, drop me a line using the comment tool below.

And speaking of comments on this blog. I love them and want you to send me yours, but let's keep it on the up-and-up, okay? If everyone submits using the comment tool, this will prevent people from spamming or saying something that they don't want to attach their names to. In addition, it will just be more fun this way because everyone will be able to see all of the comments.

On another note, we are starting a monthly newsletter just for ESL teachers! The first issue will be out March 15 — if you want to keep up-to-date with trends, issues, conferences and more, stay tuned. I should have the subscription link for you by next week.

Well, that’s it for today. Tune in next time to talk about private classes. Opinions vary widely on this one, and if you would like yours considered, hit the comment link below and tell me what you think. Is it possible to make a living giving only private classes? Are they more trouble than they’re worth?

Until next time,


Posted by msimmons at February 27, 2005 06:15 PM

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» Welcome to My Nightmare from [The] ENGLISH-BLOG [.com]
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Tracked on December 19, 2005 10:42 PM


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