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November 10, 2005

Comments on "ESL Instruct" - October

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"He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help." ~ Abraham Lincoln

Hi friends,

Thanks for taking the time out of your already busy schedule to provide feedback on the most recent edition of ESL Instruct.

It definitely has a positive effect on the end-product of the next issue.

If, by chance, you missed receiving it, you can always find it archived on the world wide web here. If you're not already subscribed, look for the sign-on box near the top. Then, you can be sure you'll never miss a single issue.

Please leave any advice or suggestion you'd like to share for makng the our newsletter a more useful and entertaining tool as a comment to this post. Remember, we are listening and your concerns are important to us!

Again, thanks for visiting my ESL Lesson Plan blog and, on behalf of everyone on this end who makes ESL Instruct possible,

I remain,

Lee Hobbs
ESL Instruct, Editor-in-Chief

Posted by lhobbs at November 10, 2005 05:04 PM

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These days we are bombarded with ESL information and tend to resent the arrival of yet more reading matter! But I think, if you follow some basic rules, newsletters can be useful in making potential ESL clients more aware of your activity. [Read More]

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This blog entry has been set aside specifically for you to provide feedback on the December edition of ESL Instruct. Please leave any advice or suggestion you'd like to share for makng the our newsletter a more useful and entertaining tool as a commen... [Read More]

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I'm an English teacher currently living in China in a city called Jinan,but I'm having trouble meeting other English teachers living here.Anybody out there,get in touch.


Note from Lee: Hi there Kat. My recommendation is for you to visit our dedicated forum for ESL teachers at http://www.esl-jobs-forum.com. You'll see that ESL teachers from all over the globe are posting there. I feel sure you'll be able to find someone from your part of the world through this service. Check it out! (and, don't forget to let us know if you were successful). Good luck!

Posted by: Kat at November 11, 2005 10:08 PM

I actually found some of those wild ideas you suggested about Halloween useful for a conversation starter last month.Did you know that some Japanese ESL students also like to "play dressup" on Halloween night?Nice idea.I've added this blog to my "myYahoo" homepage.I'll keep checking in.

Posted by: sallyteachjapan at November 12, 2005 06:28 PM


Note from Lee:

Thanks Sally. Don't forget to check out the ESL forum too. You can find it here.

Posted by: Lee at November 13, 2005 09:20 PM

Thank you very much . . . I truly found the newsletter helpful and interesting.

Posted by: Dianna Palos at November 16, 2005 04:17 PM

Dear Sir/Madam

Thank you very much for your news latter. Have a great day!

Posted by: Herbert E.Perera at November 16, 2005 04:18 PM

Good day!

I am thrilled about your highlighting of Poland . . . I was an ELL teacher in Kazimierz Dolny, Poland (www.kazimierzdolny.pl) and remain in close contact with the school where I taught, the family I resided with and my students...


I am a middle school teacher in Hamtramck, Michigan, and have been since leaving Poland in 1995 - (my classes consist of students from over 26 countries, including Poland.) I visited Poland this past summer and CANNOT WAIT to return again. Before teaching in Poland I studied in Poznan. Throughout my entire trip this past summer I stayed with friends in flats and houses in Warsaw, Kazimierz Dolny, Krakow, Poznan and Gdansk...


bene facta - good deeds

Posted by: Jennifer Patricia Majchrzak at November 16, 2005 04:20 PM

Note from Lee:

Dianna, I'm so glad you got some good use from the newsletter. Your praise is appreciated!

Posted by: Lee at November 16, 2005 10:49 PM


Note from Lee:

Herbert, you are quite welcome! Please have a wonderful day in return!

Posted by: Lee at November 16, 2005 10:55 PM


Note from Lee:

Jennifer, sounds like we've had some similar experiences then! I'm glad you liked the pieces on Poland. Thanks for your links and please feel free to check back here anytime with comments on future editions of ESL Instruct newsletters. Also, don't forget to check out our affiated forum that comments frequently on the topic of ESL in Poland here. See you there!

Posted by: Lee at November 16, 2005 11:06 PM

Hi just browsed your latest newsletter and was intrigued by the bit about the preference for British English with it's focus on spelling.

I am a native of the West Coast of the US, with basically a "TV standard" accent. I have spent several years teaching in ex-British Colonies, and am currently working in Slovakia. The people who are doing the hiring may express a desire for British English for politically motivated reasons but if anyone really wants a job they need to look beyond this obvious difference.

Actually, I have found both colleagues and students curious and eager to understand the differences between the major variants of English whenever possible. I enjoy trying to understand how our language works in all it's richness and look forward to discussions with colleagues and students about this. I am constantly learning from them (referent is intentionally unclear -- I mean discussions, colleagues and students. Sorry for the pedantic bit but I'm correcting academic writing papers and in that kind of mode) These differences include pronunciation, vocabulary, article and preposition use in addition to the more commonly cited spelling....just a comment



Posted by: Lynn at November 16, 2005 11:09 PM


Note from Lee:

Hi Lynn,

Thanks so much for those insightful observations. As Britain's Winston Churchill once said of the United States, "We are two nations divided by a common language." The variants in standard English usage(s) are indeed a topic of interest for me too.

In the end, when asked, I have usually ended up cowtowing to the ESL administrations who demanded standard British English be taught if the job was to be kept. I understand that others, Canadians and Australians, for example, have also had their "run-ins" with this kind of issue.

I really have no idea if the preference is for politically motivated reasons, as you've suggested, or some kind of misinformed snobbery or perhaps just an attempt to "standardize" the school's standards. I have a friend who works for an ESL school run by an Irishman who insists that his American ESL teachers use standard British English pronunciation, for example, in the ESL classroom while he himself uses his own native version of the tongue (West Country) whenever and wherever possible.

During enrollment, the students have even stated an overwhelming preference for standard North American usage at that particular school (on the forms) but still the request for even a "specialized" class goes ignored based on nothing but pure stubborness. Go figure!

Posted by: Lee at November 16, 2005 11:20 PM

I like your site, like the layout.


-Sanja ;)

Posted by: Sanja at November 21, 2005 12:42 AM


Note from Lee:

Thanks Sanja, I hope you'll come back for the next ESL Instruct newsletter in November.

Posted by: Lee at November 21, 2005 04:10 AM

Hi Lee,

I enjoy getting your newsletters. Instead of the sympatico e-mail address, please send future e-mails to (address withheld for anonymity)



Posted by: Delores at November 25, 2005 06:50 PM

Hi Lee,

I was surprised by your response to my comments regarding the preference for British accents in this part of the world (Central Europe) and am once again humbled by having made assumptions. My comment about this being politically motivated came more from recognizing the increasing requirement of an EU passport for most native speaker positions -- which pretty much means the British varieties. I've assumed this was due to work visa requirements.

I have never met with the kind of stringent attitude you describe re: having to speak with standard British accent, so had not considered the possibility that you meant exactly what you said. I am left wondering if that particular director wouldn't be better of hiring actors rather than teachers.


Posted by: Lynn DeRose at December 18, 2005 10:11 AM


Note from Lee:

Hi Lynn,

Thanks for your comments (again).

Just to clarify a little, I should empasize that I can only speak from my OWN experience in the field and in the trends I've noticed in some of the bigger cities in post-Communist Europe. I still think the smaller villages in this neck of the woods are desperate enough to take what they can get with regards to Native Speakers but the bigger cities, from what I've ascertained, have a market big enough to make these kind of bizzare demands on their instructors if this is what their students (or employers) want.

I'm glad to hear that you haven't met with this kind of resistance yet, perhaps these things are isolated incidents and NOT a trend in the field. Let's hope so. I agree with you though, with this attitude,these type of employers might end up getting actors for teachers rather than the real McCoy (if they still insist on hiring North Americans when what they want are British speakers).

The reality is, though, that this will soon be a non-issue in Central Europe as the flood of North Americans coming to this part of the world for ESL work will halt when they can no longer get legal work papers without a good reason (like being married to a national). It seems to me that lately Asia is the place to be for North Americans of the present generation.

Some posters have even commented that the "opposite" situation to one we've been discussing is sometimes true in some parts of the Far East: that being, that upon hearing the English-language, the Eastern locals sometimes "assume" a Native Speaker is of North American extraction even if, in reality, he/she is not.

Great comments, would love to hear your thoughts on some of the other posts.

Happy Holidays!


Posted by: Lee at December 18, 2005 04:10 PM

Note from Lee:

Readers, for reasons of space, the comments for this post have been relocated to the English-Blog space. To remark on this article, please click on the following link HERE!:


Posted by: Lee at January 27, 2006 09:55 PM