Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Seven Best Places in Your Town to Learn English


Why Travel Abroad?

Who said that the only way to learn English or other foreign language was to travel abroad? True, this is an excellent way to acquire a second or foreign language, but it’s hardly the only way. You can delve into and deepen your English or foreign language knowledge and skills right there in your city or town. Where? How? Read on …


Here are Seven of the Best Places in Your Town:

The Public Library
This can be one of the best places to learn English and a lot of other things too, for that matter. You can not only read, but listen to tapes and cassettes, as well as watch videos and DVDs. Ask what materials are available in your local public library and you just might be surprised at how much they have.

A Language Institute
If there is a branch of a foreign language teaching institute in your town, it might be a great place to broaden and deepen your foreign language skills. They would also know of stores, shops, restaurants and grocers familiar with the language you’d like to learn, whether it’s English or some other language.

A Community College
Is there a community college or other higher-learning facility in your town? Check into whether or not they have English language learning, foreign language or writing courses. Many continuing education type courses are offered after working hours or on weekends for the convenience of working adult learners.

Restaurants and Diners
While you’re learning English, Chinese, Thai, Korean, Japanese, German, French, Arabic or other foreign languages, regular meals at related ethnic restaurants or diners can be a great boost to your vocabulary. Especially if any of the staff speak the foreign language you’re interested in.

Bookstore or News Stands
Depending on where you live, the local bookstores and news stands may well offer foreign language newspapers, magazines and other publications in English or other foreign language that you may be interested in. Even comic books and publications for children can be useful, so don’t rule them out.

EFL Classes
Naturally, wherever they are, you’re going to root out any available English as a foreign language or other foreign language courses in your area. Look for classifieds for language tutors too. Then call to arrange for more personalized private lessons.

Local TV and Radio Broadcasts
While this isn’t exactly a place, you can in fact, lean quite a lot from regularly scheduled broadcasts in English or whatever other foreign language you’d like to learn. Check newspaper and TV guide listings for foreign language broadcasts or call local stations and ask about their English or foreign language programming. Also, be ready to record broadcasts from the radio or television so you can repeat them as you need to help you to practice and learn.

Before You Travel Abroad

So again, who said that the only way to learn English or other foreign language was to travel abroad? You can delve into and deepen your English or foreign language knowledge and skills right there in your city or town using the seven places and methods just mentioned. Check around to see what’s available. Then take advantage of every option that you can.


Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Classical Music Videos to Use in the English Language Classroom


Using Classical Music Videos in the EFL Classroom
Naturally, most of your English as a foreign language learners love music. They also most certainly enjoy music videos too. It’s very likely they watch more music videos in a week than you might in a month or more. So why not take advantage of it? In previous article posts we discussed the use of classical music in the EFL classroom for a variety of purposes. Let’s continue with nine actual classical music videos you can access for use with your English or foreign language learners.

Ludwig Van Beethoven
There is a free classical music radio station online featuring Beethoven at: http://www.beethoven.com/. For a nice interpretation of Beethoven’s perennial classic “Moonlight Sonata” or play the video clip below.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mozart has contributed so much to the theme of using music to alter the state of the mind in teaching and learning his pieces simply must be included here. Try his one video clip of Jascha Heifetz playing Rondo (from Serenade No. 7 "Haffner", K. 250) by Mozart online.

Johan Sebastian Bach
An amazing composer, Bach has left us with a music legacy that could not be easily surpassed. This video music clip will help us to understand why. Have a listen here as Mstislav Rostropovich plays the Prelude from Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007.

Antonio Vivaldi
Having already mentioned using Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” in your English language classroom, I thought you’d like a preview listen to some of it here as played by Anne-Sophie Mutter with her classical music group in a fun music video online at YouTube.com.

Franz Schubert
Although his life was fairly short - he died at the age of 31, he left a proud musical legacy for the son of a school teacher. There is a good video documentary on his life online which is ten minutes long, in English and good for EFL classroom use. Have a look for yourself.

Frederic Chopin
Born in Poland and ending his days in Paris, Chopin dedicated himself almost exclusively to the piano more so than any other classical music composer. Watch this amazing video as 8 and a half year old Hannah Hua plays Chopin’s “Nocturne #20 in C Sharp Minor” on a Kawai RX-7 Semi-Concert Grand Piano online. If this doesn’t inspire your learners, what will?

Peyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Tchaikovsky (pictured above) initially studied Law and was 20 years old in 1860. Listen to part of one of his most renowned compositions for orchestra, the 1812 Overture. Part one is online. If you’d like to hear part two of this popular, well-known and well-used composition, it’s online too on You Tube.

Johannes Brahms
Brahms, born in Hamburg, Germany, soloed on the piano in public at the age of 15. On You Tube online you can listen to Brahms’ “Symphony No.3 Poco Allegretto” in the background while watching a brief synopsis of his life and career.

Claude Debussy
Debussy was born in France near the start of the American Civil War and died in Paris from Cancer near the end of World War I in 1918. Listen to the Cypress String Quartet play “Quartet in G” by Debussy online.

Whether you use these and many additional related music videos for pure enjoyment, to stimulate discussions and assignments, as background music during language classes, to evoke visual imagery or as fodder for assigned work, you’ll find them highly effective, useful and enjoyable in your English as a Foreign Language classes.


Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book, "If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.




Thursday, May 29, 2008

Seven English Language Literary Writers You Should Know


English Language Learners Welcome

Whether your learners come from a reading-based culture or not, you should have them become familiar with written English. There are a number of authors whose works your English language learners would welcome, believe it or not. The first in some cases though, is to have the EFL teacher become familiar with English language authors and with how their works might be utilized in class.

Here are Seven English language Writers to Start You Off

William Shakespeare
The second most-quoted works in the English language are those of this English-born playwright from the 16th century. Use a scene from one of the better-known plays like “Romeo and Juliet”, “Hamlet” or the perennial favorite of many, “MacBeth”. Either of the two scenes with the three witches can be easily dramatized for even greater impact.

Theodore Seuss Geisel
More commonly known as “Dr. Seuss”, his works for children are still growing in popularity. Several are animated films and a couple of others, like “Horton Hears a Who”, "The Cat in the Hat" and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” are full length feature films.

The Holy Bible
No matter what region of the world you might be from, your first language or religious beliefs, the Holy Bible is recognized as a historic, prophetic work and book of Supreme wisdom. It is the world’s most-quoted book by far. Almost every knows at least a few passages from the Bible and perhaps parents could input their favorites to your EFL learners.

Edgar Allen Poe
If your learners like horror and suspense stories, then this is the author for them. Considered to be the “inventor” of the short story writing format, Poe’s works, wholly or in part, have also been made into plays, dramas and movies many times over. Which one of his chilling tales is your favorite?

Ernest Hemingway
If you haven’t heard of Hemingway then you’ve obviously been living on the moon.
“The Old Man and the Sea” is but one perennial favorite. When American English speakers talk about writing, he is their prime shining example.

Louis L’Amour
One genre particular to America is the Western. One of this genre’s most popular and prolific authors is Louis L’Amour with his detailed stories of the Old West and frontier. If you want to convey a true sense of what the Old West must have been like, then you can’t do any better than to read a few of his highly entertaining stories.

Robert Frost
A Poet-Laureate of the United States, (pictured above) Robert Frost’s poems cover a range of topics and situations. He read his works before presidents of the U.S. and are required reading in schools across the country. Try “Fire and Ice” or “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” to introduce him to your EFL learners.

Whatever Your Preferences

Whatever the preferences of you and your EFL learners might be, there are a plethora of authors, writers and poets to intrigue and delight you. Take a little time to search the internet for some of its treasure troves of English literature and poetry to use with your EFL learners. They’ll enjoy it and be introduced into yet another of the many wonders and pleasures of the English language.


Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cna Yuo Raed Tihs?


Cna Yuo Raed Tihs?

Recently, while opening my email I came across this very interesting message. It was basically a message where the letters of each word were all scrambled. The first and the last letters were kept intact, but between them they were all mixed. Surprisingly enough I could read it perfectly. The message is below. Can you read it?

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too. Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

More than 55 out of 100
They say that only 55 people out of 100 can read that way. I would believe this number to be higher considering that I haven’t found anyone yet who couldn’t read it.

What do you think?


Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Seven Reasons Why Using Music is Important in Teaching English as a Foreign or Second Language


Using Music in Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Of the many tools and resources available to both EFL or ESL teachers and foreign language learners, music is one of the best, but most under-used. Many texts and information volumes are on the market to aid both teachers and learners in the process of applying the use of music to their classrooms and other language learning environments.

Seven Important Reasons to Use Music
Here are seven important reasons why using music in the EFL or ESL classroom is a great idea for both EFL teachers and English or other foreign language learners.

The Learners Like It
Motivating foreign language learners is a constant concern of teachers worldwide, under a broad range of teaching and learning conditions and environments. One aspect virtually any language learner, of any age or profile, likes is music. Learners are usually quick to talk about their favorite music and musical artists like Atomic Kitten (pictured above).

EFL Teachers Like It
The EFL or ESL teacher has a preference for music as do their learners. So whatever you, as the teacher might like, you can pass on your enthusiasm to your language learners.

Music is Often Free
One frequent problem of English and other foreign language classes is finances. Costs and budgets are a sore point in almost every school district, language institute and teaching / learning situation. Music though, is most often freely available in many genres regardless of where you may be living or teaching.

There is a Wide Variety of Music Available
A quick search on the internet for “free music”, “music broadcasts” or “online radio stations” will yield dozens if not scores or even hundreds of websites where music can be easily acquired.

Music Affects the Brain
Long-standing academic and intellectual studies have extensively demonstrated that music has in-depth impact and affects the brain. This effect can either be positive or negative depending on its type. With some astute guidance, you could be sure of using music with a positive effect on your English or other foreign language learners.

Music Can Enhance Learning
If you’re looking for a way to enhance your EFL learners’ experience with language acquisition, music is one aspect that is quickly and easily implemented. Classical music like the works of Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi or Chopin and Easy-listening genres of music are well proven to enhance learning. Especially in the areas of language and mathematics.

Music Motivates and Interests Learners
Ask your learners what they do in their free time and likely one of their responses will include listening to their favorite kinds of music. If you want to “perk up” a lagging classroom session fast, you can use music to do so in a great hurry.


Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Music in the English Language Classroom: Nine Classical Composers English Teachers Should Know


Using Classical Music in the EFL Classroom
These nine classical music composers have long been recognized for their significant contribution to altering and enhancing English and foreign language learning in classrooms around the world from Angola to Mongolia to Yemen and Zambia. Which of these classical music composers is shown in the picture? (Answer is below)

Beethoven
You can get more insight into one of the world’s most well-known hearing-impaired composers at: http://www.lucare.com/immortal/ There is also a free classical music radio station online featuring Ludwig Van Beethoven at: http://www.beethoven.com/

Mozart
Always portrayed as a flamboyant, vibrant character, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has been the theme of countless papers, essays and compositions. There are also numerous documentaries and a popular Hollywood film on his life too. Learn more about him at: http://www.mozartproject.org/

Bach
An amazing composer Johan Sebastian Bach has left us with a music legacy that could not be easily surpassed. You and your language learners might start delving into the aspects of his life and works by visiting: http://www.jsbach.org/

Vivaldi
Admittedly, I knew a less about Antonio Vivaldi that I thought. He suffered from “heart problems” and chest pains even when young. He was born about 60 years after the deaths of William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes. But checkout his interesting story for yourself at: http://www.baroquemusic.org/bqxvivaldi.html

Schubert
Franz Schubert, the son of a teacher himself finally died from a Syphilis infection in 1828. In he meanwhile though, he lead a varied and interesting life during the 1800s. Read more about him and see some pictures too at: http://www.naxos.com/composerinfo/Franz_Schubert/21172.htm

Chopin
Born in Poland and ending his days in Paris, Frederic Chopin dedicated himself almost exclusively to the piano more so than any other classical music composer. Born 200 years ago you can key up your knowledge of his life and works here:
http://w3.rz-berlin.mpg.de/cmp/chopin.html

Tchaikovsky
Peyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky initially studied Law and was 20 years old in 1860, right before the American Civil war broke out. His passions and music can be expanded upon in your English as a foreign language classes by visiting the site at: http://www.geocities.com/Vienna/5648/PLife.htm

Brahms
Johannes Brahms, born in Hamburg, Germany, soloed on the piano in public at the age of 15. How old are your English language learners? How do their studies compare with those of Brahms? Not sure? Find out than at: http://www.johannesbrahms.org/

Debussy
Claude Debussy (pictured above) was born in France near the start of the American Civil War and died in Paris from Cancer near the end of World War I in 1918. There is an interesting picture gallery, biography and other background information about him online at: http://w3.rz-berlin.mpg.de/cmp/debussy.html


Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Using Classical Music in the EFL Classroom


TEFL Activities Using Music
In previous ELT posts we’ve opened discussion over the varied uses of music in the English as a Foreign Language and other foreign language learning classrooms. Activities for using music to ”time” exercises and class activities (restrictive pacing), music to help in controlling the mood of the learners (the Affective Filter hypothesis) and the effect of music on the brain itself are topics that have been previously broached.

You Call THAT Music?
What music exactly though? While some suggestions as to types of music have been offered, up to this point we haven’t specifically named pieces of music actually proven to be effective in EFL class room use. I did provide some songs with links to a few vocal hits from the 70s in the post, “You Call THAT Music?” I’ve likewise named composers predominantly in use in EFL and ESL class rooms. Among those cited were the following classical music composers. This time however, I’m adding specific pieces of music that you can use.

Beethoven – Sonata for Piano No. 8 in C Opus 13 “Pathetique” (Adagio Cantabile), and Sonata for Piano No. 24 in F Sharp Minor (A Therese) Opus 78

NOTE: There a free Beethoven classical music radio station online at:
http://www.beethoven.com/

Mozart – Symphony No. 40 in G minor (Alegro Molto), String Quartet in G Major,
Piano Concerto No. 21 (”Elvira Madigan”) Adagio, and Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor “Romance”

Bach – Bouree in E Minor (arranged for guitar), Air on the G String, and “Aria De Capo”

Vivaldi“The Four Seasons” (Winter and Spring especially)

Schubert – Serenade No. 4

Chopin – Nocturne No. 8 in D Flat Major Opus 27, and Nocturne No. 1 in B Flat Minor Opus 9

Tchaikovsky – Andante Cantible for Violoncello and Orchestra Opus 11

Brahms – “Lullaby”

Debussy – Pavane in E Minor (Arranged for Guitar)


It Boggles the Mind
This is just a drop in the bucket start. There are so many others it practically boggles the mind. If learners like a particular piece and so comment on it, I have them investigate further for an added dimension to their learning. To help you get started in this endeavor, I’ve provided some initial background information links for each composer and some links to music videos. Hopefully, you’ll soon enjoy using music for a variety of purposes in your foreign language learning classroom as much as I do. If you have any questions, comments or simply would like more information, please feel free to contact me.


Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.


Friday, May 23, 2008

English Language Teaching: How Many Ways Can You Use Music?

How Many Ways Can You Use Music in Teaching English as a foreign or second language?

Do you like music? Do your learners like music too?

How about using music and songs to teach English as a foreign language? In upcoming posts we'll discuss the particular use of music, songs and melody in the teaching of English and other foreign languages. But first, I'd like to share a little music with you. You don't have to know Spanish to enjoy this musical clip of a student jazz singer and band performing during a Teacher's Day celebration in Cali, Colombia at the Santiago de Cali University.

I hope you enjoy it.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.




Curious Sayings and Humorous English Expressions of the Pennsylvania Dutch


English as a World Language
English, with its growing number of varieties, patois, pidgins and inflections, is now firmly established as a world language. The English language is currently spoken as a second or foreign language by more speakers than those who call it their first language. Now there are more than three non-native speakers of English for every native speaker and the number of non-native English speakers continues to grow on a daily basis. “There’s never before been a language that’s been spoken by more people as a second than a first”, said David Crystal, author of the book “English as a Global Language”. In the area where I was born, the city of York, in south central Pennsylvania, there is an interesting variety of the English language spoken by the “Pennsylvania Dutch”.

One difficult aspect of the English speech in Dauphin, Lancaster and York counties located in south central Pennsylvania, where a large concentration of Amish, Mennonites and other “Pennsylvania Dutch” sects live is the manipulation of the grammar elements of English. Here are a few examples of the ways in which grammar and word order are managed in everyday Pennsylvania Dutch speech. For “Outlanders”, anyone who is not Pennsylvania Dutch, these expressions of everyday speech can range from amusing to startling. Here’s a look at just a few of the many aspects of this variety of English.

Convoluted Grammatical Forms

“Throw Papa down the stairs his hat.”

Explanation: Throw Papa’s hat down the stairs to him.
(I don't care how old he is, don't you dare touch ole Papa!)

“Go out and tie the dog loose and don’t forget to outen the light.”

This expression uses convoluted grammar in addition to “Germanic” verbalizations. Here the verb “outen” means “to turn out”. The adjective and noun are used in reverse order from other forms of Standard English.

“The owner says he’ll pay me ten dollars a day if I eat myself, but just five dollars if he eats me.”

Explanation: No, there’s no suggestion of cannibalism here! The worker will get ten dollars a day for providing his own meals, but five dollars a day if the owner has to provide the worker’s food.
(Whew! I'm glad we cleared that one up!)

“He’s a pretty good man yet, ain’t not?” Explanation: He’s a pretty good man (provider), isn’t he?
(a tag question form)

Use of Specialized Vocabulary

Addition of specialized, but “local” vocabulary is also quite commonly done as demonstrated in these examples.

“Shall I put the candy in a toot?” (A “toot” is a paper bag.)

When talking about that fact that his father or grandfather is sick a child might say:
“Pop ain’t so good; his eatin’s gone away and he don’t look so good in the face, either.”

Speaking about his son’s difficulties in school a father could be heard to express the following sentiments: “My son ain’t dumb. It ain’t that he can’t learn, it’s just that after he learns it, he forgets it.”

If you don’t speak “Pennsylvania Dutch” in one of its multiple forms, they just might say of you:
“You don’t make yourself out so good. You talk so fancy like a body can’t understand you.”

In talking about someone who doesn’t read aloud well, at a meeting or in school for example, people might say something like: “When he gets up to read he gets befuddled.”

Or how about this amusing little observation of another person’s speech:
“Don’t talk so quick, it runs together too much when I think.”

Pennsylvania Dutch Proverbs

Some interesting Pennsylvania Dutch proverbs include these offerings:

“Kissin’ wears out, cooking don’t”

No woman can be happy with less than seven to cook for”

“A plump wife and a big barn never did any man harm”

“He who has a secret dare not tell it to his wife”

“Ve get too soon oldt, und too late schmart”

The Keystone State
In this region of the “Keystone state” as Pennsylvania is monickered, this variety of is often called “Ferhoodled English” by the Pennsylvania Dutch themselves and by local “Outlanders”. Famous for their frugal lifestyle and natural, delicious farm-fresh cooking, the Amish and other sects contribute to the tourism of the state. Hundreds of thousands of visitors come to sample the crafts, food and “peculiar” language this austere people. It is but yet another of the many continually developing varieties of English as a global language.

"When you come over - come out" When you're in the area, drop by. See, hear, and experience the food, the culture and the Pennsylvania Dutch for yourself.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 115 countries. Get your FREE E-book,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.



Thursday, May 22, 2008

Writer’s Block: There’s No Such Thing – Or is There?


You Call Yourself a Writer?
If you’ve called yourself a writer for any length of time you’ve been there. There are days when you can’t write a thing. There are days you fight for every word that goes on the page. There are times everything that comes from your pen or keyboard is CRAP – and you know it. Then there are even those times you don’t want to even enter your writing space; not look at a keyboard and the thought of picking up a pen gives you the “willies”. That’s what might be called “writer’s block” and like it or not, unlike the Boogey Man, it does exist in different forms and degrees.

It’s NOT Terminal
Fortunately, it isn’t a terminal condition, although it can at times reach critical proportions. If you’re tired, depressed, over-stressed, sick or just in a mangled state for whatever reason, writer’s block can be minimized or successfully managed with just a bit of effort and foresight. Here are some simple, effective steps you can take to manage, ward off or prevent the nebulous condition known as “writer’s block” in any of its forms.

Do the Philadelphia Foxtrot:

1. Take a Break – long or short, near or far, change your venue. Go for a walk, read a little, catching up on a novel or two, talk on the phone or chat with a neighbor or family member. Nibble a non-fiction tome on a subject you’re interested in. Watch a little TV or grab a snack (just don’t rely on this one too often or you’ll start to pack on the pounds)

2. Relax your mind and body – Many types of writer’s block actually come from forms of stress. So curl up in an easy chair, listen to music, watch a comedy sitcom or video. You might also try checking out a movie at the local cinema or pop one into the DVD player if something’s available. Do Yoga if that helps you to unwind.

3. Treat the Symptoms and the Ailment – Feeling out of sorts? Is it time for a medical and dental checkup? Schedule them ASAP. In the meanwhile, take a pain reliever for your mild head or muscle aches. Sip an herbal tea or mineral water. Have a hot shower if you feel that might help you to relax and detox. You could even take a short nap if you’re feeling a little tired or energy-sapped. The point is, don’t just sit round bummed out – DO something.

4. Read, Refresh and Refuel – What you might really need is to charge up the mental energy reserves of your writing muscles. Try grabbing a camera and going through an informal photo shoot? Do an assignment or two with a camera or use pad and pencils, markers, crayons or paints to unleash your artistic side. Forget about writing, focus instead on expressing your artistic creativity using other media.

5. Read, Research, Investigate and Reflect – Finally, you can often jump-start your muse and get your writing juices flowing again if you’ll delve into some much needed research on the topics you frequently write about. How about trying to D.I.A.P.E.R.I.N.G. your “writer’s block” away by:

• Delve into the dictionary
• Investigate using the internet
• Analyze an almanac
• Pore through periodicals
• Ease your way through an encyclopedia
• Read a reference work
• Internet search and research through some statistics
• Nip on a newspaper
• Grab some audio and video recordings on your hottest topics to “bone up” on the latest in your niche markets

Yes, most writers will agree that there is such a thing as “writer’s block” but it needn’t be a terminal condition if you’ll follow these steps to banish it – at least temporarily anyway.


Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.



Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Improve Your English Language Speaking Skills by Cutting Out Speech Fillers


Listen to Anyone Speak Casually in English
Listen to almost anyone speak casually in English and you’ll most certainly hear them use a constant flow of gap fillers, hesitations, pausings and discourse markers that stall their speech or conversation. You know the ones I mean like, uh, ah, hmm, errr, umm and so on. Others you might hear that are frequently used are Huh, oh, well .., so .., and … but uh …, let me see …, the list could go on and on.

Photo: Hilary Clinton reacts during the 2008 Presidential Campaign

While some discourse markers have a true place in oral discourse of many different types, most often they are unconsciously inserted as fillers or hesitations and do not serve to enhance or promote speaking, but rather heavily detract from what is being said.

English language learners
This can be especially true with English language learners and those who may speak English as a foreign or second language. In addition to the above-mentioned aspects, fillers may also be inserted when the speaker is thinking or searching mentally for the correct lexis and vocabulary. Not only is the distracting and annoying to listeners, but can negatively impact even the speakers themselves. If such is the case with you, what can you do to help minimize the problem?

What You Can Do
Here are five simple steps you might take to help to improve your oral discourse and speaking ability in English.

• Record yourself and others speaking in English
• Note what “fillers” you use, how and when
• Repeat short oral discourses practicing without using the fillers you noted
• Have a friend, peer or teacher listen to you speak and ask them to make note of
your use of “fillers” and unwanted discourse markers
• Watch, record and imitate experienced speakers to improve your skills


Try One Month
Working with these techniques to aid you in cutting out speech “fillers” will help you to improve your English language speaking skills in a very short time. Once you are aware of what you’re doing when you speak in English, and knowing when you use “fillers” will go a long way in allowing you to dramatically improve your spoken English. Try out some of these English language speaking skills improvement methods for one month practice period and you’ll see.


Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.



Monday, May 19, 2008

English as a Foreign Language: 7 of the Most Over-Used Words in English


Do You Read English a Lot Too?
Long ago I lost count of the number of papers, reports, essays, articles, letters, posts, memoranda and compositions I’ve read over the years. As a professor of English as a foreign language for the past two decades, Reading is something I do daily and for long hours at that. Even so, there are some redundancies that crop up almost continually during the course of my reading and sometimes even my writing that I’d like to share.

Over-Used English Words
These are what I believe to be seven of the most over-used words in English in both the written and spoken forms. In the vast majority of instances where these words appear, or are spoken, they could be completely eliminated with virtually no loss in meaning or comprehension of the sentence or spoken discourse.



That
The relative pronouns who, that or which form much of the basis for relative pronoun clause sentences used with such frequency in the English language. When combining two sentences into one, they are indispensable for clarity however.

*For example: A writer is a person who (or that) prepares articles, stories and books.

Remember: Basically, the relative pronoun “who” is used for a person or people, “that” is used for people or a thing and “which” is used for things and animals.

So
As a sequential connector indicating a resulting action or stage in a sequence so, or any of the other connectors such as and, or, so, have grammatical function. And, you can even begin a sentence with “and” but it’s often redundant to do so as was just illustrated.

And
There’s an unsurprising tendency to stick an “and” onto the end of a sentence to allow you to just keep going. There is no “longest possible sentence” in English. You could, by the use of connectors or conjunctions like “and”, just keep going and going and going with a sentence in English. Traversing your way from a simple sentence to a compound sentence through complex sentences which seem to never end, but it’s not good practice to do so.

Just
Remember how you or a child just kept asking “why” in answer to an explanation?

“Why is the sky blue?” you’d be asked.
You’d explain to some degree then get the response – “Why?”
You’d explain further to get yet another “Why?” and so on ad infinitum.

Whenever you though would ask, “Why?” the answer you’d likely get is, “Because …”

“Because what, honey?

“Just because …”

With alarming frequency though, many EFL learners develop the same response, using “just” annexed into sentences without cause. Even some native-English-speaking adults do it too.

Really
Used to modify an adjective is the most common form of applying “really”, “very”, “pretty” and “fairly” into a form of written or spoken English language discourse. It could also be used as a confirmation marker:

“I’m finished all my homework, Mom”

“Really?” (Mom wants confirmation, she doesn't believe her son)

The problem comes in when “really” is annexed onto almost everything said or written. It becomes over-used, redundant and losses effectiveness.

Quite
This one I hear extensively over-used on the part of both my American English and British English-speaking friends and co-workers. Sometimes it just drives me nuts. In the vast majority of cases, this word too, could be pulled with no resulting loss in meaning or comprehension.

The
The use of the definite and indefinite articles is a distinctive problem with Romance family language speakers and learners, as Spanish and French for example, make frequent use of these articles, but English does not. Getting EFL, English as a foreign language or ESL, English as a second language learners to understand the application and use of the articles in English can be a real challenge.

These seven words and some additional accompanying lexis are what I believe to be some of the most over-used words in English in both the written and spoken forms. In the vast majority of instances where these words appear, or are used, they could be removed with no loss in meaning or comprehension. Notice how often you see them used in writing or hear them used in spoken discourse and I’m sure you’ll see just what I mean.


Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.



Sunday, May 18, 2008

6 Dynamic English as a Foreign Language Activities That Always Motivate Learners


Are You Still Struggling to Teach English?

Are you still struggling to teach English to unmotivated, reluctant LEP learners? Well don’t blame them entirely just yet. Try making your EFL classes more dynamic using activities, strategies and techniques presented in this brief EFL teacher education article post. From creative uses of music, dynamic ELT games, speaking-practice dramas, CALL and others, these practical, fast-paced activity types always seem to motivate even the most Limited English Proficiency and reluctant EFL learners to greater participation, language practice and skills acquisition.

A Series of Dynamics

These activity types will step participants actively through a series of ELT (English Language Teaching) dynamics of up to six activity types that always seem to motivate EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learners who may be reluctant to practice English or be LEP (Limited English Proficiency) learners. First, examine and reflect on some of the possible intrinsic and extrinsic causes of poor EFL learner motivation on the part of your learners. Then, select activity types based on the impact on student learning styles, preferences and abilities of your class groups.

Activities and materials selected primarily include the use, application and theoretical basis of:

1. Music, Songs and Poetry C. Graham (1994) and H. Gardner (1993)

2. Dynamic ELT Games, and Puzzles H. Gardner (1993)
“Theory of Multiple Intelligences”

3. Drama and Story-Telling P. Lazear et al, (2003) and A. Wright (1995)

4. Computer-Aided Language Learning G. Dudeney et al (2004)

5. Movies / Videos “Affective Filter Hypothesis” Krashen - Terrell (1983)

6. TPR Total Physical Response, Asher (1996)

A Simple Sequence

Learners / participants are organized into pairs or small groups, depending on their numbers and their particular interests and levels or EFL profiles.

-Next, a variety of dynamics-based activities and materials types proceeding to participant hands-on activities to practice and internalize themes using each of the main materials types.

Example activities and materials types are demonstrated, created, and adapted using available facilities (i.e., TV – VCR / DVD player, audio cassette or CD player, and OHP-overhead transparency projector) to meet the needs and interests of learner / participants.
Presented activities and materials can be adapted to suit groups of EFL learners from Primary / Secondary school up to language institute or university levels.

In an upcoming series, we’ll consider each of these dynamic EFL activity types in greater detail. Reviewing English or other foreign language teaching and learning specifics for the classroom application of each one regardless of the available resources (or lack thereof) a school, language institute or ESL class room may have.


Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.



Saturday, May 17, 2008

If You’re NOT a Native English-Speaking EFL Teacher, Please Read This


A Non-Native ESOL English Teacher Asks

Among the hundreds of monthly visitors and readers of this EFL teaching blog, I sometimes get e-mails from non-native EFL teachers who’d like to parlay their English language communicative skills into a teaching position outside their native country. While I certainly agree it can be a challenge to do so, it is in fact possible. Many of the e-mails I receive are similar in content to this one in which I have omitted or altered names and specifics to protect the person(s) involved.


Dear Prof. Lynch,

“I am a non-native English-speaking teacher. I hold a Bachelor's degree in English from a state university in my country. I have been teaching English for five years. Currently I am teaching English to speakers of other languages (Spanish speaking students) I would like to teach English abroad, but I have noticed that it is difficult for non-native English speaking teachers to work abroad.

Recently, I requested information from hundreds of schools in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America without having success because when most of them replied to me they told me that they only hire native speakers of English and that those interested in working as English teachers must be from countries like UK, USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, etc.

Besides this, most of the employers ask for certificates like TEFL, TESOL or CELTA. Unfortunately, here in my country there aren't any institutions that offer the courses or programs mentioned above.

I feel deeply discouraged. Aren't there any opportunities in any countries where they take candidates from non-English speaking countries for teaching English?

I want to teach English abroad for two reasons. The first is to get a lot of experience working with students from different cultures and to improve my English and my teaching.”


No TESOL Certification, No ELT Job Offers

The first and main problem here is actually NOT having a CELTA, TEFL or other TESOL certification. You'll need to contact the nearest British Council office for locations where you might take an intensive CELTA course. Other options include Oxford TEFL training centers, Cambridge TEFL centers or TESOL centers in the country or region where you live. If there are none available locally or regionally, as is the case with this teacher, you might want to consider an online TEFL certificate course. Note that, without a TEFL certificate virtually NO school abroad would consider you at all. Also, the institution where you take your TEFL certificate course will help you get an overseas position. A search on Google or Yahoo for online CELTA courses or online TEFL certificate programs should yield you dozens of possibilities.

Check, Double and Triple Check ALL Correspondence

Another problem with this teacher was a number of English language spelling, punctuation and grammar errors in his e-mail. If you send an inquiry or cover letter to a school, institution or university by snail mail or e-mail and it contains ANY errors in English at all, you’ve just ruined your own chances of any further dealings with them. It is absolutely paramount that you spell check, grammar check, review and judiciously proof read and edit any correspondence you send out by mail in any form. Perhaps you’ll let an error or two slip by in spoken conversation or oral discourse, but there’s absolutely, positively NO EXCUSE for doing so with a written communication. Find a native or near-native speaker to proof read your correspondence before you send it out. No native English speakers handy? Okay, then e-mail ME and I’ll be happy to check it for you if need be – quickly and at no charge, of course.

Varieties of English

Another problem which might crop up is the variety of English you may use or speak. Alas, this is not a perfect world we live in and certain forms of English are preferred in certain regions and countries of the world. Your age, nationality and background also may factor in, they really shouldn’t most of the time, but unfortunately they often do. Don’t despair though, if you’re experienced, dynamic and certified, you will get ELT job offers from broad if you keep trying. Try applying at different times of the year, to different regions of the world, to different types of schools and institutions that have different English language learner profiles. Persistence can be a crucial key. Just don’t give up and you’ll get there.

Good Luck.


Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.



Thursday, May 15, 2008

English Language Error Correction: A Key Language Skills Development Tool


A Lot of English Language Mistakes

English as a foreign language learners make a lot of mistakes in class, don’t they? Speaking, writing, grammar and spelling errors are practically way of life with teachers and learners alike. It’s a “healthy” problem though because with errors come corrections. And with correction comes learning. (J. D. Brown, 1988) The more errors learners make the more correction is done. The more correction is done, the more leaning that takes place. We most often learn much more from our mistakes than our successes. True or False?

Why Use Error Correction?

When learners are producing language I class, whether speaking or writing, they usually want to know when they make any serious mistakes in their production. Do your learners ever ask, “Teacher, is that okay?” Certainly, they most probably do. In that case then, some form or forms of error correction techniques should prove to be useful. While it’s not typically recommended to correct learner errors while they are speaking, some speech or pronunciation correction should be done immediately after their discourse. If many of the learners produce similar speech or pronunciation mistakes on a consistent basis, a lesson on that particular aspect may well be called for. English or other foreign language learners might also self or peer correct written work and reading in class. (M. Spratt, 2003)

Peer Correction vs. Self-Correction

There are essentially three basic forms of error correction:

• Self-correction
• Peer correction
• Teacher correction

Of these the most effective in English or foreign language skills acquisition is self-correction. When learners realize and correct their own mistakes, they are more effectively internalizing the language. The next most desirable and effective form is peer correction. When learners are able to recognize and correct their mistakes collectively, they actually help each other to develop English language skills with less interference of their respective Affective Filters. (Krashen–Terrell, 1983) Finally, there is correction of errors by the teacher. An effective means, but one that should be last and the least frequently used form of English or other foreign language correction. In cases where the EFL teacher may not be a native or near-native speaker, has grammar or pronunciation problems, heavy accent or speech traits or may otherwise desire to do so, recorded audio or video materials could be used to provide corrective modeling. (B. Kashru, 1983)

Identify the Errors and Correct

Just for fun, let’s try a few interesting examples. Can you identify and correct the tag question, modal and other errors in the following sentences? Also, the corrected sentences should be true.

Today is Wednesday, aren’t they?

It’s raining today, isn’t we?

She doesn’t have a book, do he?

He like coffee, do you?

Students should be allowed to fail exams.

Teachers must to study everyday.

Students can fail all their exams and pass the course, does he?

You don’t must to pay the university registration fee, can’t you?

Yesterday was Monday, isn’t they?


So, how well do you think you did? If you have any doubts or questions, feel free to contact me. Remember, the more errors learners make the more correction is done. The more correction is done, the more leaning that takes place. Let your learners know that making mistakes in English class is okay. Errors can be highly effective learning tools. We often learn much more from our mistakes than our successes, now don’t we?


Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.



Wednesday, May 14, 2008

English Language Teachers: Do You Know These ELT Industry - Related Acronyms?


English Language Teaching Professionals Need to Understand

ELT, EAP, EGP, L1, MT, NNL, TESOL, TBE, LEP, and SLAM- Do you know what these commonly-used English language teaching and learning acronyms happen to stand for? In order to be able to read and comprehend many articles, publications and presentations relating to the teaching of English as a foreign or second language, you need to be aware of these and other frequently-used industry acronyms.


Photo: A cruise ship passing through the Panamal Canal using seaspeak for all ship-to-shore communications

ELT – English Language Teacher/ing
EAP – English for Academic Purposes (such as in a trade school or university)
EFL – English as a Foreign Language (in locations where English has no official status)
EGP - English for General Purposes (also known as conversational English in some areas)
EIL – English as an International Language (Includes PoliceSpeak, Seaspeak, techno-speak and Airspeak)
EOP – English for Occupational / Other Purposes (English for work or non-academic use)
ESP – English for Special / Specific Purposes (specialized English and vocabulary)
EST – English as a Second Tongue (in locations where English has official status and use)
LEP – Limited English Proficiency (low-level English speakers who may have extensive English class study time with little improvement)
SLAM – Second Language Acquisition Methodology (refers to the teaching and learning of foreign languages other than English, i.e. non-TESOL applications)

And How About THESE ELT Acronyms?

L1 – first language (or Mother Tongue)
L2 – Second language
L3 – third language
MT – Mother Tongue (or First language)
NNL – Non-Native language
TEFL – Teaching of English as a Foreign Language
TEIL – Teaching of English as an International Language
TESL – Teaching English as a Second Language
TESOL – Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages
TBE – Teaching of Business English (to companies and executives or employees)

There Are Some Others

On occasion additional ELT industry-related acronyms are used. These presented here are some of the most frequently-encountered ones. Familiarity with these will aid your comprehension of a variety of English-teaching and foreign language teaching related texts.
Next time you need to decipher a trade or technical journal article on an English language teaching and learning topic, knowing these acronyms can help to save you from a headache due to incomprehensible input.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 80 countries. Get your FREE E-book, "If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business? How about an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.



Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Teach English as a Foreign Language: Colombian Coffee


Colombian Coffee
While talking about the wide variety of new tastes and foods a teacher of English as a foreign language abroad could experience here, let’s not forget the tantalizing aroma of Colombia’s mild black coffee that will wake anyone from their deepest slumber with a smile. Coffee likes to be grown in the cool air of mountainous slopes. Because it also prefers the shade, it’s usually planted in the shade of banana trees. The steepness of the slopes, and being interspersed with tall, large banana trees makes harvesting difficult, so it must be done by hand – berry by berry. Unripe coffee beans are green as pictured above. When they turn red, they’re picked – one by one. The commercials really aren’t kidding you. And yes, there is a Juan Valdez. He’s the “official” spokesman for Colombian coffee and travels worldwide promoting it.

A Pound of Colombian Coffee
Now, there are two beans in each coffee berry. A coffee tree may produce around two thousand ripe coffee beans each year. Since it takes about two thousand beans to make one pound, a coffee tree yields only a pound of coffee per year. Colombian mountain-grown coffee, by many, is considered to be the richest coffee in the world. Called “tinto”, it’s served freshly-brewed to every house guest or office visitor as a common courtesy in Colombia.

More Uses Other than Drinking
As you might well expect, coffee is used for much more than drinking. There are a number of other products produced from coffee. There’s coffee candy, coffee liqueur, roasted then chocolate-covered coffee beans, coffee-flavored ice cream, coffee cake made using freshly-brewed coffee – the list goes on and on. These are just consumable coffee products. There are medicinal uses for coffee as well. A coffee grounds facial mask works wonders for all types of skin problems. Then there’s the infamous coffee enema; which we won’t go into any further here. Coffee is used as a rinse for damaged, treated hair and as a poultice for sprains or swelling of the extremities.

While You’re Abroad
So while you’re abroad, teaching English as a foreign language, make sure to avail yourself of the tastes, flavors and array of local fruits, vegetables and other specialty dishes of the region you’re living in. If you aren’t doing this already then get busy. Chances are, you’ll be glad you did.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 90 countries. Get your FREE E-book,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.



Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Teach English as a Foreign Language: Tropical Fruits Galore


Tropical Fruits Galore
Markets in Colombia abound with ripe, fresh tropical fruits in myriads of colors and flavors like the grapefruit-sized Borojo which is said to have aphrodisiac properties in its chocolate brown, thick, creamy pulp. Most often it’s blended with milk for a creamy, flavorful drink. Chontaduro, (pictured here with green mangoes) the plum-sized bright red and yellow fruit of a palm tree, is sold on street corners everywhere in Cali, Colombia’s second largest city, as a high-calorie snack eaten with salt or covered with honey. Okay, so it’s really high in cholesterol, but who thinks about that as they’re wolfing them down? The Carambolo, also called star fruit for its five pointed shape, has a haunting, light, bittersweet flavor you’ll find refreshing due to its ultra-high water content.

Try a Guama
Why not try a two-and-a-half foot long Guama? It’s reminiscent of a giant string bean, with a cottony, sweet pulp and thumb-sized, shiny black seeds. There's the dusty-looking Zapote with its burnt orange colored pulp that permanently stains all it touches, Granadilla, and Maracuya, which you might already know as Passion Fruit. The Curuba is another that should make your must-try list along with the pink-fleshed Guayaba with pinhead-sized seeds so hard that even a hammer won’t break them open. The bright orange and green Lulo (pronounced Lou – low), with its tart greenish pulp, makes a juice not unlike strong lemonade – but better. Don’t worry; you’ll add plenty of sugar – unless you want the hair taken off your chest – from the inside. All these and more are available to pack your pantry along with a bevy of over-sized vegetables. Haven’t sampled these yet? Let me tell you, they’re ALL delicious!

Just you wait and see.

Papayas the Size of Watermelons
The year-long growing season allows papayas to attain nearly the size of watermelons, carrots as big around as your wrist, mangoes weighing more than a pound each and coconuts containing up to three glasses of “water.” Orange juice bursting with flavor is always fresh-squeezed here as practically all other fruit and vegetable juices are.

“Are you SURE you didn’t add sugar to this?” I asked after a long “pull” on an orange juice.

“Nope. You don’t have to.” My friend replied.

“Why - don’t you think it’s more than sweet enough?”

I sure did.

When You're Teaching English Abroad
When you’re abroad, teaching English as a foreign language, make sure to avail yourself of the tastes, flavors and array of local fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood and other specialty dishes of the region you’ll be living and working in. If you’re already living and teaching English abroad and you aren’t doing this then get to it - pronto. Chances are, you’ll be glad you did.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 90 countries. Get your FREE E-books,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.



Monday, May 05, 2008

Teach English as a Foreign Language: They Eat ANTS in Colombia!


They Eat Ants in Colombia!
Not only are the fruits and vegetables different in Colombia, but other foods as well. They eat ants here. Yeah, you read it right – ants. But not the ones you slap away from your picnic vittles, these are specially-raised “Hormigas Culonas” which have an enlarged abdomen. They’re cleaned, then roasted or fried and served with a wedge of cheese or a small container of honey. Only the crunchy abdomen is dipped in honey then bitten off and eaten. They’re sort of like partially popped kernels of popcorn. (Hey, don’t knock it unless you’ve tried it.) To be honest, I had the “willies” my first time too. Now I’m an “old hand” who buys’em by the bag when they’re on sale in the spring.

P.S. As a matter of fact, while I was in the Colombian capitol, Bogota this past holiday weekend, I bought a small package of Hormigas Culonas to bring back to Cali for some friends to try. And by the way, I know that they eat ants in parts of Mexico, too.

Bountiful Colombia
When teaching English as a foreign language abroad, one of the great benefits can be the instant exposure to all manner of unique and delicious new foods. This is especially true here in Colombia, where I teach English.

Nature yields, in full, her bounty and beauty all year long in the deep valleys, fertile grasslands, tropical rain forests and rolling plains shadowed by 3000 foot plus range of Andes peaks that divide Colombia lengthwise into thirds. Hundreds of varieties of flowers unfurl into bloom, perfuming the air even in winter, although winter in this northwestern corner of the South American continent is a subjective term. Hummingbirds and multi-colored finches dot even the urban scenery in such numbers that you’ll undoubtedly think, “Surely there’s a machine around the corner manufacturing them.” The fauna is impressive, but the quantities of new and unusual tropical fruits are astounding.

We’ll continue with additional taste treats found in Colombia, one of the world’s most exotic and notorious countries, in upcoming article posts. Why don’t you make a point to put aside a few of your old prejudices and foibles and try a new taste or two where you live and teach now? Who knows, you just might be in for a not-so-unpleasant surprise. Surely, where you are now, they must eat something “a bit different” that what you were used to “back home”, right?

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 80 countries. Get your FREE E-books,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.