May 25, 2014

100 Best Movies

Everybody seems to like movies. A good film is many things; a compelling story, familiar actors, interesting settings and yes...

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May 04, 2014

Telling Good Stories

Everybody likes - and learns from - a good story. Storytelling is basic to every human culture, but...

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March 25, 2014

Online Poetry Wall

If you don't already use or enjoy poetry, you should try it. Poetry is short, direct and usually...

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February 15, 2014

Weird Word Origins

The English language is dense with common and shared word roots, suffixes and prefixes, but some words emerge out of...

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January 29, 2014

Foreign Words And A Contest

The English language has always absorbed and adopted foreign phrases. Some become familiar, some become obsolete, and some just plain....

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December 17, 2013

Yet Another Great ESL Blog

I love writing this blog, but I also know that for teachers, and presumably students, the more resources that are available, the easier, and sometimes...

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Posted by mmorf at 08:42 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2013

Bunch Of Useful Websites!

The whole point of learning a language is to use it, right? And you never learn a language in isolation do you? Usually we learn with others and we learn a language as we are learning all kinds of other things.

In this blog I want to introduce you to, or remind you of, some great learning blogs...

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July 22, 2013

Another Great English Language Blog

Yes, I enjoy writing this blog, but it is certainly gratifying to see a journal with the credibility of The Economist feature a English language centered blog with....

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May 25, 2013

What Do Our Words Say About Us?

What do our words say about us over time?

The words we use, their meanings and of course…

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January 30, 2013

City Or Country For You?

Do you like the full and busy life of a city? Or do you prefer the slower pace of the countryside?

I don't know about you, but for the most part I like...

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January 05, 2013

Phonetics And Poetry

English is a baffling language for many reasons. The multiple sources of words and word roots contribute to the richness and difficulty of the English language. But have you been frustrated by...

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September 28, 2012

US Government Data Bases

We in the United States, and perhaps everywhere in the world, like to …

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September 18, 2012

Teaching Materials!

For many of us, the school year is just beginning.

I don't know about anyone else, but I troll the internet for all kinds of sources, ideas and...

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September 07, 2012

New Words And Words That Aren't Known Yet

For a variety of reasons, words continually emerge and make their way into our language, but just because...

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August 12, 2012

Want To Write A Good Blog?

There are thousands of blogs out there - on every conceivable (and some inconceivable) topics. Blogging is an extremely inexpensive way to work on your writing, get your views out to the whole world and even better...

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May 25, 2012

Learning English as a Second Language Online

For this post, we offer something a little different; a guest blog post. We have Estelle Shumann to thank for this post. I think you will enjoy her....

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May 20, 2012

Got A Good Story?

Everywhere I go, I run into stories. Work and school, and even life in general, all seem to be full of unexpected and surprising stories. And yes, that means...

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May 05, 2012

Words New & Old

As a total word nerd, I am always interested in where words come from. Some, if not most, words have interesting stories behind their origins. But what about those...

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April 09, 2012

What's Up With Google Docs?

The internet is an endless - and endlessly changing - source of connection, inspiration and, of course...

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April 04, 2012

New Words And Unwords

There's about a million words in the English language, though most of use about 2,000 unique words in any given week. But even with that many words...

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February 13, 2012

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

There's piles of unexpected resources all over the internet. In fact I always find myself swamped with possibilities. What I really need is...

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February 08, 2012

Free Documentary Films

One of the aspects I like best about working with international students - or in international situations - is learning new things and exploring new territory. One way to do it on a budget is with films - especially films online. Free films online are even better. And yes, that means....

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January 19, 2012

The Free

There are piles of resources all over the internet. The real problem is...

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January 04, 2012

Out With The Old And In With The New

Welcome to 2012!

I don't know about you, I usually feel pretty worn out after the holidays. The New Year's celebrations are usually the end of the season of one of my least favorite things...

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November 09, 2011

Is English The Language Of The Future?

English, like all languages, is in a constant state of...

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October 25, 2011

Got A Goofy Saying?

In my classes, odd and interesting little phrases seem to always....

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October 15, 2011

For Writers - Contests and Resources

Few things are more gratifying than seeing your name - or the names of any of your students...

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September 15, 2011

"Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish."

"Stay hungry. Stay foolish."

That's how Steve Jobs concluded his graduation speech at Stanford University in 2005.

I like that idea, but it may be because....

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August 23, 2011

Vimeo Anyone?

I've always liked movies. Most students like movies, but who has the time to see them and set aside time to...

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August 04, 2011

Search Terms

Do you ever wonder what we all did before Google? Or any search engine for that matter? Before the internet (which of course, seems like a hundred years ago) I had to...

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July 19, 2011

Are You A Linguist?

Are you a linguist? I am a total word nerd, but that may be an informal term for what I really am...

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July 02, 2011

Got A Great Idea? Could You Use A Thousand Dollars?

Got a great idea? Do you have some project in mind that could be wonderful for teachers or students that you know or work with?

I have a great resource...

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June 08, 2011

Even More Online Resources

Thanks to the internet, there are resources and opportunities that just did not...

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May 30, 2011

Are You LinkedIn?

If you are, or ever expect to be in a job search, and the reality is, who isn't? I can't imagine a better resource for networking and maintaining contact than...

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May 20, 2011

News From Facebook

Many of my friends laugh when I tell them that my primary source of news is....

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May 15, 2011

American Jukebox

I love music - especially music that tells stories and gives us a glimpse into...

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May 05, 2011

Even More Writing Resources

As I am developing resources for my English courses, I find all kinds of resources online. There are all kinds of free outlines, hand-outs and resources as well as...

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May 01, 2011

Curing Writer's Block

Writing is a great way to express and explore a new - or even native - language. Even if you can't think of anything to write about, it always helps to...

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April 19, 2011

Money For Writing - Contests, Grants & Publications

Who doesn't want to incorporate writing into an ESL or TESOL classroom? But what about making some money as you...

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April 14, 2011

Conferences, Resources and Much More

Looking for a job teaching English as a second (or third) language? How about attending a conference on language learning? Here are some...

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April 09, 2011


If you follow the news at all, you realize that things happen around the world that seem tied to other events in other countries or even in...

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March 20, 2011

Is Blogging For You?

There are some good blogs out there - and there are some not so good blogs out there. Have you thought about trying your hand at writing your own blog? Here's a great one-stop source for...

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Posted by mmorf at 09:16 PM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2011

Need Something? Got Something? Swap It!

There's a lot about teaching and learning that changes, but there is one thing that never seems to change. As long as I've been a teacher, I've also been on a....

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February 16, 2011

Calling All Word Nerds

If you are reading this, you are probably certifiable as a word nerd. I certainly...

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December 17, 2010

The King's Speech

The end of December is always a great time to see movies on the big screen. There are always many new releases and many film-makers want their film to be in the running for...

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December 12, 2010

25 Places To Read Free Books Online

Lots of schools have winter/holiday/Christmas breaks at the end of December. If you want to...

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November 28, 2010

From Babel to Esperanto

Could there ever be such a thing as a universal language?
English is sort of the default…

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October 27, 2010

Rally to Restore Sanity

Know any American political nerds?

You know, those people from all around the world who follow the crazy and unpredictable twists and turns of...

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September 27, 2010

Communicating With Animals

Ever wonder how animals see the world? Did you ever wish you could communicate with your pet?

Maybe all of us....

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August 31, 2010

The Prelinger Library

One of the intriguing aspects of learning a language is how much one learns about the culture the language emerges from. One obvious example is how different British English is from North American English.

Each of those traditions....

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August 22, 2010

Best English Learning Blogs

Teaching and learning English can be difficult, complicated and - at times - isolating.

Sometimes all we need most is a sense of how other people are handling similar situations. The problem often however...

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August 15, 2010

Sing-Along English Lessons

To say that learning English is difficult just might be the ultimate understatement. We, as teachers and learners, struggle...

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August 01, 2010

Word Clouds

Would you like to keep a visual record of how often you or your students use...

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July 27, 2010

Between You And Me - Or Is It Between You And I

Personal pronouns can get very confusing. "Between You And Me or I" is a very common problem area. So which is it? Well......

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July 22, 2010

Where Words Come From - Refudiate?

I love the English language for exactly the same reason I, and many others, find it frustrating. There are multiple words for almost any...

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July 17, 2010

Great Teachers And Great Ideas

Looking for some inspirational teachers? Want to see how some of the best teachers from some of the best universities in the world connect with their students? If you are.....

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July 11, 2010

What's Your Social Media Quotient ?

Everyone I know loves, hates, uses or avoids using social media. Whether it is Myspace, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube or...

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June 25, 2010

Yet Another Collection of Online ESL Resources

Yes, you might think you know everything about ESL, but I have found yet another (nearly) comprehensive ESL related website. Yes, I know, there a lots of websites out there, some are private and some are related to universities or agencies. Here's one that...

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June 20, 2010

One-Stop Resource for ESL

Looking for a single source with piles of resources and useful links? I found...

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June 15, 2010

Learning English Can Be Enjoyable

"Learning English Can Be Enjoyable" - that was the title of a series of books and recordings I worked for several years ago in China. Yes, learning English (or any language) can be enjoyable. English in particular has a wealth of resources and approaches that help both teachers and learners. Here are just a few....

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June 10, 2010

Routes (and Puzzles) of English

Ever wonder how the English language got to your particular corner of the world? Or puzzle over some of the odd sounding words that make up the moving parts of our language? If you have any of these questions, I have a website for you. This site traces the various routes.....

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May 28, 2010

Take Me To Your Reader

I teach a lot of writing classes. If there is one thing that can make the biggest difference in someone's life, it is the thrill of seeing one's own words and thoughts published and shared with the world.

Writing can be very intimidating. My students tend to veer from being overly clinical to embarrassingly personal.

And then there is the dreaded 'writer's block' where all ideas seem to....

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May 23, 2010

Beware of the Grammar Girl!

There are many grammar and language related websites. Some deal with vocabulary, some with usage...

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May 18, 2010

Documentary Films - Long & Short - New & Old

One of the aspects I like best about working with international students - or in international situations - is learning new things. One way to do it on a budget is with films - especially films online. One great resource is...

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May 13, 2010

What's Up Doc? Some Great (Mostly) Short Films

I don't know about you, but I am always looking for new sources of information and unique approaches to learning. I love films, bit it can be difficult to find films that are long enough to tell an interesting story, but short enough to...

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May 08, 2010

Website or Web Site? Which is correct?

Learning the vocabulary of a language is difficult enough, but when the language itself shifts and changes, it can make you want to...

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April 19, 2010

AWAD - A Word A Day - Every Word Tells A Story

Everyone who is learning a language - or expanding their knowledge of their own native language - is always learning new words - or the stories behind them. One of my favorite websites for learning new words - and good stories about words is...

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April 16, 2010

Where Words Come From

Ever wonder where words came from, or how they came to have particular meanings or usages? The English language is full of stories, mysteries and....

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April 11, 2010

ESL Sing-alongs And Other Activities For Children

I've only worked with little kids a few times in the world of ESL; the usual short-term language camps or summer programs.

Generally the pay isn't the best, you don't always get the most respect from other teachers....

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April 01, 2010

Knowing They Know That You Know: Triangularization in Fiction

Most of us like to read fiction, but sometimes I wonder why. Is there something inherently intriguing about someone else's story? Or do we like to get lost in another world - in the case of fantasy or science fiction - for example?

Or is there something else going on?

A recent article might shed some light on what it is about fiction that appeals to us, and it might not be...

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March 28, 2010

FOUND Any Good Stories Lately?

Ever find a crumpled note somewhere and wonder where it came from? Did the writer change his or her mind? Did the reader find it and throw it away in rage, sorrow or disappointment?

Sometimes a stranger might leave a note intended for a specific person....

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March 23, 2010

Can You Speak American?

The English language is constantly changing and there are many little "pools" of English speakers with their unique vocabulary.....

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March 17, 2010

'Let's eat Grandma!' or, 'Let's eat, Grandma!' Punctuation saves lives!

Yes, grammar - and punctuation - can completely change whatever it was you intended to say.

'Let's eat Grandma!' or, 'Let's eat, Grandma!', to put it mildly, have quite different meanings. The first sentence use Grandma as the object (both of the sentence - and of the menu) while the second sentences addresses Grandam and invites her to join the eating - not to be eaten. That little comma makes all...

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March 07, 2010

And The Winner Is....Oscars 2010

People around the world seem to love movies. One way or another, most of my students, no matter where they live or what their budget allows, always seem to to know about....

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February 26, 2010

Another Film About Food: FRESH

Every one of us eats - and some of us are beginning to care more about where our food has been before it reaches us. And many of us are taking steps to learn about or even change how we think about food.

When it comes to learning a language, I like to use something we can all relate to. Food is an ideal subject.

A great class or group project would be to work together to buy, prepare, or even....

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February 21, 2010

Read a Good Book Lately?

I love books. In fact I have more books than anyone should have in any one place.

I give books away, trade them in at book stores, but I seem to have more every time I look around around my house.

My main problem is, I know that the next book has someone's wonderful solution or brilliant insight that I need. And the great thing about book is that you never know...

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February 16, 2010

What Do Teachers Make?

Ever get frustrated with a teacher?

Ever get frustrated being a teacher?

Just as being student can be frustrating and difficult being a teacher can be worse - or some times wonderful.

Taylor Mali, a former eighth grade teacher has some interesting insights on the frustrating and wonderful world of teaching. You can see some of his thoughts and observations...

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February 04, 2010

Language Lovers and Word Nerds

If you are intrigued by word histories and the sometimes contradictory usage of common words, do I have a treat for you.

Check out A Way With Words. You can find them at...

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December 13, 2009

Classic Holiday Films

For almost every culture around the world, this is a season of holidays. This generally means a time of travel, gathering with friends and family and ...

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November 28, 2009

More Books and Films about Food

Do we really need more recipes for beef stew, polenta, and ratatouille? If they're the result of the work and creativity of famed restaurateur and "food activist" Alice Waters...

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November 24, 2009

Great Food Films

Across North America - and wherever North Americans congregate around the world - this is the season for gathering with friends and family - and of course - eating. To get you in the mood - at least for the eating part....

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November 19, 2009

The Ultimate Universal Language - Food

Every nation and culture is rightly proud of its food. The style, taste, seasoning, and of course...

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November 08, 2009

Hands-on Language Learning; Writing Your Own Story

For hands-on learners, there is no better way to learn a language than by using it - and using it by writing is probably the best...

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November 03, 2009

All Things Considered - And More

Are you fishing for ideas and inspiration?

As a working teacher, I know I always am. My favorite source for snippets of unlikely and useful information and provocative questions is...

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October 24, 2009

Listening Across The Years - Old Time Radio

In more ways that we can even think about, the internet has changed how we look at language and interacting with people around the world. One aspect I like about the internet is not only how to connect with people thousands of miles
but how about connecting with people from many years ago?

Yes, it's possible. Take a look at...

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October 18, 2009

TED: Ideas Worth Spreading

Want to share some great stories? Want your students (or yourself) to hear some great speeches? If you do, you have to check out...

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October 06, 2009

World Have Your Say - International Radio

Ever wonder how people around the world might respond to current events?

We all hear news that is produced by news agencies and major broadcasters - but what about normal people?

Wouldn't you like to let the world know what you think about a recent news event?

If so...

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October 01, 2009

Not Quite What I Was Planning

As a writing teacher, I see that my students groan when they hear the usual required length of the standard essay.

What they don't realize is that the shorter the essay is, the tougher it is to write.

Try writing a full story - or your own memoir - in six words. It can be done....

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September 11, 2009

Finding Your Muse

Some of my favorite things are things that I have found without looking them - or even looking at all. Some of my favorite music, for example, is stuff that jumps in front of me when I am...

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September 07, 2009

One-Stop Resource

Ever look for a single resource that seems to hold almost everything a teacher might need? I just ran into a book that seems to cover every detail of language learning and teaching. At over 500 oversized pages...

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August 27, 2009

Listen to the Music!

Nothing embodies or expresses a culture more fully - and more enticingly - than its music. As I mentioned in a previous post, my dream job would be to host a radio program where I could share my love of music across the 20th Century (and more). Thanks to the internet...

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August 22, 2009

Pology & Tales From a Small Planet

There are several online journals related to travel and encountering cultures around the world. It is a good idea to have as much advance information as possible. Every culture and people group has its own style and flavor - and each one see "foreigners" differently.

Here are just a few...

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August 17, 2009

Playing With Words - Vocabulary, Anagrams & Inventing Our Own Words

As we have all noticed, English, and presumably every living language, shifts continually.

My students speak in fear of "Old English" but what they don't realize is that English as they know and use it is VERY different from even that of their parents and certainly....

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July 12, 2009

Arabic, Pashto, French or Dari, Anyone?

Most TESOL instructors get their training and background in the civilian world, but when it comes to learning the less common languages like Arabic, Pashto, and Dari, you might be advised to look...

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June 21, 2009

More Great Music from Around the World.

I recently reviewed some of the music collected and produced by Putumayo. They have compiled some great regionally themed music by a variety of artists. There is another music company you should be aware of...

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June 02, 2009

Is There life After Google?

Goggle has become so common that it has become a verb - it has become a truism to say that we can "google it". But there are search engines that do more...

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May 25, 2009

Tell me a Story

Everybody like to hear stories - and when learning a language, there is nothing better than HEARING a story to learn how native speakers not only speak....

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May 19, 2009

Ixtapa - "Fostering Cultural Awareness and Learning Competencies in EFL & ESL"

Anyone up for a trip to Mexico the fall? How does this sound?

"Fostering Cultural Awareness and Learning Competencies in EFL & ESL" October 1-4, 2009

If you'd like to do a presentation, send your information here - The deadline is May 30th so you better hurry.

You can see the speakers and topics of previous conferences...

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May 15, 2009

"The Blues are the Roots; Everything else is the Fruits. Willie Dixon

As part of my series on music - and how it represents cultures - I'd like to let you know about a book I just stumbled into at my local library. With a focus on the indigenous music of North America...

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May 10, 2009

Preparing Language Teachers for the 21st Century

"Designed for practitioners and researchers involved in the preparation and ongoing professional development of language teachers, LTE 2009 will address the education of teachers of all languages, at all instructional and institutional levels, and in many national and international contexts in which this takes place including: English as a Second or Foreign Language (ESL/EFL) instruction; foreign/modern/world language teaching; bilingual education; immersion education; indigenous and minority language education; and...

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May 05, 2009

Tangled up in Blue - the Words of Bob Dylan

You might not usually think of Bob Dylan and ESL in the same sentence, but sometimes a master of language can teach us - or reach us - in unexpected ways. Dylan will almost certainly be nominated for a Nobel Prize in literature some time soon. If he is, he will certainly stretch the definition.....

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