Sunday, October 14, 2012


Hi everyone. I am going to be available more hours for online teaching Starting this month (October 2012).
In addition I have made some great improvements to my web page, including some sample video, see below. hope you will visit me there.

Monday, December 13, 2010

ESL Learning Tips

English Learning Tips
Ask yourself weekly: What do I want to learn this week?
Asking yourself this question every week will help you stop and think for a moment about what is most important to you. It is easy to focus only on the current unit, grammar exercise, etc. If you take a moment to stop and set a goal for yourself every week, you will notice the progress you are making and, in turn, become more inspired by how quickly you are learning English! You will be surprised at how this feeling of success will motivate you to learn even more English.

Quickly review important new information shortly before going to bed. Research has shown that our brains process information that is fresh in our brains while we sleep. By shortly (this means very quickly - just a glance at what you are working on at the moment) going over some exercise, reading, etc. before you go to sleep, your brain will work away on this information while you sleep!

While doing exercises and alone at home or in your room, speak English aloud. Connect the muscles of your face to the information in your head. Just as understanding the basics of tennis does not make you a great tennis player, understanding grammar rules does not mean you can automatically speak English well. You need to practice the act of speaking often. Speaking by yourself at home and reading the exercises you are doing will help connect your brain to your facial muscles and improve pronunciation and make your knowledge active.

Do five to ten minutes of listening at least four times a week. In the past, I decided I needed to get fit and went jogging - usually three or four miles. Well, after not having done anything for many months, those three or four miles really hurt! Needles to say, I did not go jogging for another few months!
Learning to understand spoken English well is very similar. If you decide that you going to work hard and listen for two hours, chances are that you will not do extra listening exercises any time soon. If, on the other hand, you start off slowly and listen often, it will be easier to develop the habit of listening to English on a regular basis.

Look for situations in which you must speak / read / listen to English This is probably the most important tip. You need to use English in a "real world" situation. Learning English in a classroom is important, but putting your English knowledge into practice in real situations will improve your fluency in speaking English. If you do not know of any "real life" situation, create new ones for yourself by using the Internet to listen to news, write English responses in forums, exchange emails in English with email pals, etc.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

ESL In Cebu City Philippines

There are many ESL schools in the Philippines, many are top notch academies. Why come to Cebu City?

Cebu offers a few advantages for the foreign student. First, Cebu is home of the second largest airport in the Philippines. With direct flights to many Asian countries, it is very convenient to travel to Cebu. Second, Cebu City hosts a diverse culture with international resorts, restaurants, and nightlife second only to Manila. In addition, there are several world class malls including Ayala Center and SM Mall in Cebu.

Cebu offers a central location for easy weekend travel to many tourist venues. Bohol with its Alona beach and day tour of the famous chocolate hills is only a four hour ferry ride or a quick flight away. Boracay, Malapasqua Island, and Bantayan Island are also exotic locations within easy reach of Cebu.

If night life interests you, there are many music venues and discos in the City. Pump, a haven for Hip Hop lovers, Vudu, features House music and attracts an upscale clientele. Juliana a Korean owned Club features a variety of music and draws a huge crowd on weekends. There are many other clubs and entertainment venues for your weekend or evening enjoyment.

Restaurants include many international cuisines including Korean, Thai, Japanese, and Vietnamese. Cebu is truly an international and multicultural city, and it is not so large to be intimidating or difficult to get around.

Consider Cebu City as a prime candidate for your ESL study in the Philippines. You won't regret it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

English Pronunciation

Many ESL schools utilize the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to teach and reinforce English pronunciation. My first hand experience teaching Asians English tells me this is not practical. Why?

Ok, first most second Language students from Asia travel to the Philippines or other destination for a limited time. The average stay is 8 weeks. many stay 4 weeks, and a few study abroad for 32 weeks or longer. Secondly, the majority of these students do not know the IPA. So with this in mind, should I spend the time to teach the IPA, or use a direct hands on method to show tongue and mouth positions?

I used to teach remedial speech in middle school in the U.S. The method to get speech impaired students at this level to get proper tongue position is to reinforce correct position through direct interaction using diagrams, animations and most importantly modeling behavior. (Monkey see Monkey do).

Mistakenly many ESL students think pronunciation is solely a speech skill, it is not. It is first a listening skill. If you can't hear it properly, you will never be able to model it or repeat it.

My technique:

At the beginning of each class I use a self made tongue twister to drill my students. First, I have to say we have fun with it, and even in a one on eight class it is effective. Every one gets a turn to say the phrase on the board.

First I model the pronunciation several times, then I introduce any new vocabulary in the sentence. Sometimes I point out homophones and homonyms (words spelled the same or differently, have different meanings, but sound the same; or spelled the same in the latter subset homonym).
Dipththongs and blended letters and words I usually correct and teach as each student takes a turn saying the phrase.

I show them and instruct them on tongue position using my techniques from remediation teaching. I have seen remarkable improvement in the majority of my students within one or two weeks. My students are all adults 20-55, so teaching them pronunciation is exactly like remedial speech instruction, IE: unlearning old habits and replacing with new behaviors.

Term Meaning Spelling Pronunciation
Homonym Different Same Same
Homograph Different Same Same or different
Homophone Different Same or different Same
Heteronym Different Same Different
Polyseme Different but related Same Same or different
Capitonym Different when
Same except for
Same or different

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Dreaded "R" Sound

The r sound is one of the most difficult sounds to make for ESL students. In American English, the /r/ sound is rhotic. When speaking with the General American Accent, Americans use a rhotic /r/, which means we say it in all parts of the word, (beginning, middle, and end) including when it occurs after a vowel sound. This is one of the major differences among accents of English. I tell my students, where you see an /r/ written, pronounce the /r/ sound. The key is to remember that vocalic /r/ has 5 different positions, as it is controlled by vowels, which modifies it's shape each time. ie: or, ar, er, ir, ur.

The /r/ sound and the /l/ sound are difficult because they are both "liquid". This simply means there is no hard place to put your tongue tip (except for the L at a words beginning, "la") and as you say the letter your mouth and tongue are moving. I spend time at the beginning of every class doing rudimentary pronunciation practice, usually by means of a "tongue twister". Invariably when we practice the /r/ sound we end up making faces at each other and making weird noises as I attempt to demonstrate and teach the /r/ sound.
Here are some tips.

  • I tell my students: Sweep the roof of your mouth(front to back) with your tongue saying 'ah'. When I say stop, keep your tongue in that position and continue vocalization. Then Bring the tip down slightly. The tip doesn't touch any part of the mouth at this point.
  • make a bowl or cup shape with your tongue with a flexing action as if your making a muscle.
  • the cup shaped sides of your tongue touch the side of your mouth just above the back molar area.
  • the front of the tongue can be up or down just not touching
  • say "sh," then stop, but maintain the tongue position, and then drop the tip of the tongue slightly relax your jaw and say /r/. This can lead to say, "sh...r" (sure)
Pronunciation: The "r" Sound

Minimal Pairs




Challenging Words
  • rhyme
  • ear
  • wary
  • retrieving
  • care
  • ire
  • ritual
  • irrelevant
  • rail
  • wire
  • ogre
  • relentless
  • rare
  • flare
  • peril
  • rollover
  • roar
  • hair
  • wristwatch
  • labyrinth
  • roll
  • arrow
  • infringe
  • occurrence
  • war
  • really
  • rowing

  • strip
  • heirloom

  • In Phrases
    rest and relaxation
    not a care in the world
    violent behavior
    live and let live
    a calendar girl
    All's well that ends well
    road rage
    without rhyme or reason
    get your wires crossed
    rest assured
    101 West Redwood Road
    random access memory
    liven up
    road rally
    verifiable evidence
    wide variety

    A: What's wrong?
    B: Nothing. Just rehearsing my lines.
    A: What for? Are you performing in a play?
    B: It's called "The Grapes of Wrath."
    A: Never heard of it.
    B: Really? It's the most popular play around.
    A: Are you memorizing or just trying to remember?
    B: I'm trying to concentrate.
    B: Sorry.

    Saturday, April 25, 2009

    How to Learn English

    Many Asians today clamor to learn English, why? English is the most widely spoken language for business and education around the world, that's why. Demand is high, and many schools are available as well as online sources for instruction. What is the best way to learn English?
    There are probably as many answers as teachers and students. Joking aside, English is a difficult language to learn if you are an Asian. There are some fundamental differences in the way western or Latin based languages approach grammar, syntax, and pronunciation.

    The best way to learn any language is to immerse yourself in its total experience. this is called a holistic approach. simply put, surround yourself with English speaking native speakers. One way to accomplish this is to live in America, the UK, or Australia. Live there fro a year study and speak English everyday. Obviously, we all can't do this. It is simply not feasible for us to interrupt our lives and go live in an English speaking country.

    Thankfully there are economical alternatives to going to the U.S. The Philippines offers a great opportunity to study in Asia, in an English speaking country with an abundance of qualified native speakers available. Here you can surround yourself with people speaking English everyday. One can practice their English just by going shopping or taking a taxi. In addition, the Philippines offers many tourist venues and boasts a tropical climate to make a stay here like a working vacation.

    Learning English is a practiced art, and yes language is an art as well as a skill. We not only have to learn grammar and vocabulary, we have to visualize ideas and concepts in English to become proficient. In addition, we have to train our brains to think in English as well. This process is called assimilation. Idiomatic expressions, figures of speech, and phrasal verbs simply have to be internalized by either memorization or repeated usage.

    Living in a culture of English is the fastest way to accomplish this. There is no substitute for practice and using all your senses to assimilate English in a native speaking environment.
    So consider the Philippines as a language learning destination. The Philippines is close (a few hours from Korea by plane) economical, and English is spoken by nearly all the local citizens.

    Tuesday, April 21, 2009

    ESL Plus

    The Academy of Teaching and Training Inc. is a division of ESLplus Inc., one of Canada's leading provider of ESL camps for school aged international students from around the world, private tutorials in all subject and all levels, foreign language classes and one-on-one settings, homestay and corporate training. Get certified to teach ESL (English as a second language) globally! ESLplus Foundation TESOL Teacher Certificate Program now available in the Philippines in key locations in Baguio City, Laguna and Manila. Fulltime and part-time schedules available. Foundation TESOL Teacher Certificate Program. Our TESOL program is hands-on, in-class and interactive, plus practicum. Advanced TESOL / TEFL - Qualifies you to teach English overseas and in the Philippines