Communicative Skills Based Lessons

Lots of discussions regarding accents or pronunciation or if person is not “English first language” will the lessons differ- First of all- OF COURSE! every experience each of us has makes its way into the lessons…Second of all- yesterday had the following encounter:
Waiting in a line patiently my number stated #43 or forty-three and a woman approached me questioning #40? repeatedly- “forty” – now as these are two different numbers and the woman was heavily accented I questioned with a “pardon me” to hear once again #40!!! Fine then and continued to wait when suddenly- “where is number #43” was heard (by another speaker), and of course – I stepped forward to receive service in a pleasant manner- but the woman who either had misread, or misheard the numbers she was expected to look for, created confusion! In such a way I have heard EFL and ESL teachers also add to confusing classroom situations- and though in this instance the heavy accent may have covered the woman’s mistake, (she wasn’t staff, but was apparently in a hurry and trying to disrupt the process) it wasn’t accent but actual error that caused the trouble!
So now… back to that question of teachers and classroom practices. Training in ESL or EFL is often heavily grammar based and test focused- and minus the most basic of elements for clear communications- listening and speaking skills! An accent isn’t the issue- clarity of vocabulary, and ability to question before either repetition or drilling is, however, essential; many countries’ original processing of classroom techniques ignore the basic practice of questioning.

Classrooms Thrive When Students???

TRUST is my “KEY”

How would you define the concept?

Consider all aspects of Communication: 

Poetry, Spoken Word, Movement, Dance, Song, Images and Text

Suggest the Anagram-

And offer the Students a chance to Design their own Classroom Walls-







Then Practice the IDEAL!












Lasting Stories

So the kids are in the car, the trunk is overflowing and it is off to…

Where ever the family is heading, together or separately, Summer is a time for oral traditions and story telling: campfires and ghost stories, backyards and maybe family memories, trips to a local park and a chance to see who can share a yarn and with much literature about the so called “summer loss” there are easy ways to not only encourage the retelling of a story but also to enhance the thinking process without turning “vacation” into classroom- even when by now- we do know that experiences are educational and informal experiences help the learning process to change and grow!

a Sample and the TBAR structure is optional: a “classic tale” shared:

Why do you think Goldilocks shouldn’t have eaten the porridge?  But she was hungry! So okay-


        Door was open                            Not her house

        Bears live in dens (no doors)    maybe story is giving a message?

        Too hot too cold                          just right

        Extremes                                      kids know how to connect

        Adults – argue (parents)            Goldilocks went for a walk?

         Porridge?                                     Do bears eat people food?

        Why do so many children’s tales have animals instead of people as characters? What messages do we pick up more subtly from a story or a tale than from a direct lecture? Could children- or as adults do we believe that children may even be faster at sensing situations than adults because they are not yet thoroughly conditioned to IGNORE their senses!  What as adults do we “learn” about social situations; how might these lessons sometimes be working against developing inter cultural respect (change Bear to monster – how many modern fables in recent years have kids playing with the “monsters” and how many have kids learning that they aren’t even monsters after all! ) And when in the classroom or at home or anywhere the story is interactively shared or retold, and the kids get to “roar,” “Somebody has been “eating my porridge, sitting in my chair, sleeping in my bed,”…etc. the kids laugh and laugh at –roaring, at being the big and rough and tough dad voice, at being the milder but still annoyed mom’s voice and then – and this is the funniest of all- making their own voices squeaky and younger sounding when being Goldilocks herself! So that the story has literally “universal appeal” because it is not only translated into multiple languages but because it is experienced by the story tellers, the listeners, the community and the global curiousity we all have to learn about one another and to discover same/different and to recognize that ‘humanity” exists- even part of the “natural world” where bears or monsters, and kids as people can connect in spite of adult ignorance and in spite of adults’ demarcations regarding who is acceptable and who might not be!

Maturity and reflections: kids absorb the message; adults recall the story; reflecting on any deeper suggestions takes thought and often experience and education in addition to time!  Summer- the word itself evokes- LEISURE- and when children and adults are granted time to play- “Magic” can happen!

Enjoy the magic!


And how are you spending this Summer?

and my goals include:  nature or nurture


Summer 2017 &Brain Enhancers!

A little different exercise for practicing “read alouds” – all levels, all ages- Begin with a basic sentence, (example ) “Today is a clear, warm, sunny day.”  Now place the word “only” in front of each word separately to make new sentences and speak the new sentence out loud:  1) “Only- today is a clear, warm, sunny day.”  2) “Today only is a clear, warm, sunny day.” 3) “Today is only a clear, warm, sunny day.”  4) “Today is a clear, only warm, sunny day.”  5) “Today is a clear, warm, only sunny, day.” 6) Today is a clear, warm, sunny, day…only…”  Now imagine the speakers – and have students or kids on a car ride or at the beach- come up with their own samples… #English #ESL #EnglishRead&Write  #SummerLearning2017

Posted on my Facebook page as well-plus other stuff- do visit!

And wishing everyone a summer filled with Growth and Good Memories   -@

and/or Twitter  @mytutoringspace

See you!

Summer and Schooling

With Summer School starting and as someone who loved summer time classes both as a student and when teaching at three well respected Universities my wish to all taking summer classes is that the paperwork which may precede you into the programs be placed aside and each of you win points on your participation and on your own merit! And students- don’t “struggle in silence”- for we as Educators can not help the students who leave us “uninformed.” 

#Summerschool2017  #Teachingtact #ESL  #EFL  #ENGLISHK-12  #reflectiveteaching

Input Welcome

A note regarding “point of view

Do you recall the excitement of being anywhere different? The heightened expectation of “the new,” along with the slight concern about all the expectations others may have for how and where and what you may now experience?

Learning a new language can be filled with all of the above for the individual learner even without the extra pressures which travel (perhaps miles away from home) can impose.

And we, as Educators must become aware that our students have the ability to open up our points of view as well.

They – the students- will share with us, the confusion and the missed communications and the real distress over grammar, structure, vocabulary choice and test preparation most of which we both expect and may even plan for but… points of view are the sparks in a classroom that not only surprise with shared insight but which also ought to challenge each of us to reflect and consider how, globally, perspective is challenged via the environment, the politics, the arts appreciation, the science and technology a region had not only available but also “taken for granted.”

A quote from a poet who began his life in one country before moving to America and suggesting how important the new language became and why even more so to him than to his classmates at University who took their reading of English texts “for granted.”

“My knowledge of this subject is qualitatively different. It is an active knowledge, the knowledge of someone for whom all these texts are precious. More precious …because my life-to say nothing of my world view-was changed by these texts… and American students as a rule never come across that kind of approach to literature.” Joseph Brodsky on the difficult art of not only acquiring “proficiency” in a subject but to become engaged in the depth of the variety of points of views on the subject and how to then share, using language, actual human feelings that others may enter into someone else’s point of view.

We share words, divided into levels; teach first the single paragraph then the simple short point of view spoken and written that a student may exclaim, ” I am ready, bring on the “TOEFL” or any other accepted formal exam process for qualifying the student for the next level of participation. But we may not make the time, the so precious time, to offer our students opportunity to demonstrate how and where and when and why their original points of view about “anything” were challenged if not actually changed-What may have became “precious” for them? How did learning a new language challenge their points of view? Did this newly acquired “tool” allow for communication about ideas and ideals, or did it remain the necessary “thing” for purely academic and employment advancement?

If the former- then we as “teachers” increased dialogue that may one day help make those bridges that do connect people not only places to be traversed. But if the latter, then we merely offered a box- ticking off for ourselves which slot to file the learner into-passed or not, ready or not- but for what? Real world experiences? More than a smattering of language levels is necessary for both higher level academics and employment and friendships- Connections count.

The current and upcoming American inauguration is sparking much public and private debate. Points of views are continuously being challenged – dare we open discussions to our International Students? My point of view is we must. What is your point of view on how to best remain as neutral as possible that we may listen to learn other perspectives, while also encouraging these voices to not merely participate within classroom discussion but also in coffee shops and private/public spaces – and thereby broaden each other’s points of view. Is a panoramic point of view with respect for differences possible?

Welcoming your perspective.