Monthly Archives: May 2017

Learning languages isn’t rocket science…

… but it does take a lot of work! I suppose there are adults who can pick up new languages without putting in much effort, the way kids do naturally, but for most of us, learning a new language or improving on one we already know (even our L1 or home language) requires some time and brainpower. Nevertheless, it is possible, and the rewards are great.

I just read this short article and agree with all its advice: “Tips for Learning a New Language”

The author doesn’t shortchange the effort it takes, but she also reminds readers that it’s completely do-able, even for those who aren’t able to travel to countries where their goal language is spoken. Nothing in this article is revolutionary, but it’s a good reminder that routine practice, with communicative goals, is the key. Listening, reading, and speaking as much as possible on a regular basis are the core recommendations.

I also like that the author makes it clear that what it means to be “fluent” depends on the learner’s goals. She quotes a source: ‘As Nagel says, “For some, [fluency is] being able to order a coffee. For others, it’s being able to discuss economic policies.”’

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(Reads, reading, has read): 5 smart tips for teaching grammar through extensive reading

My TESOL buddy Nigel Caplan offers some very practical and important ideas for helping language learners develop their grammar knowledge through extensive reading.

Oxford University Press

extensive reading teenagersNigel A. Caplan, PhD, is an associate professor at the University of Delaware English Language Institute in the United States and the co-author of Q: Skills for Success and Inside Writing. In this post he provides some useful tips for teaching grammar skills through your reading program.

We often encourage language learners to read for pleasure, read for comprehension, and read for vocabulary. But reading is also an excellent way to learn and practice grammar. It is important for teachers and learners to recognise that grammar is not a separate skill divided into discrete chunks (or textbook chapters!), but rather the resources which make meaning in a language. In other words, grammar is everywhere, and everything a learner does with the language is an opportunity to improve their grammar.

Here are some activities you can suggest to your students to help them discover the grammar of their reading beyond…

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