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ESL Life Sketch

The Benefits of Writing Your Life Story in a Second Language

Forward by David C. Brake

The Life Sketch
There are so many benefits to having English learners tell their own story in English. It can increase understanding and awareness by native English speakers when they hear about the events and struggles that the author may have gone through to get to where they are. It can touch other English learners who may identify with the story and inspire them to tell their own life stories. It can act as a motivating catalyst for the author's own personal growth and reflection, and it can serve as a recorded document to facilitate a connect between the author and his or her own family members and future generations.

The only problem is, writing an autobiography or a partial autobiography is a huge undertaking even in one's primary language, let alone a second language like ...

LRNGO users in over 190 countries

English Conversation is a Game Called: What Do You Think They Said?
Anyone with teenagers has heard "bad hair day" and "therez nuthin t'eat" and wondered, I think he was speaking English, but I have no idea what he just said. English is not explicit or literal; it’s abstract and implied. Native speakers slur and mumble and struggle to understand each other. In conversation, native speakers take into account an array of signals in a fraction of a second – and then guess. Take a close look at the signals that make up messages. Good communicators are, in fact, good guessers. ESL students should know that speaking English is a guessing game. So have some fun with it.

When your son asks, Whadaya doin’ tonight?, he means he wants to borrow the car.

When a mechanic says, I hafta replace the head gasket, he means it’s going to be expensive.

LRNGO users in over 190 countries

Stacked TOEFL boks
Most TOEFL Course Sites Would Fail the Test
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By far the most widely spoken language in the world and a common avenue towards business and academic success, English has become the de facto lingua franca of the world’s economies, classrooms, and workplaces since its rise to international ubiquity in the 20th and 21st Centuries. Consequently, a panoply of numerous and varied English testing programs has sprouted across the world, teaching the language to as many different people and backgrounds as there are potential jobs and opportunities promised to English-speaking applicants. The majority of these programs attempts to prepare people for one of the most widely accepted and advocated of English certificate assessments: the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), which is administered by the internationally recognized testing company ETS (Educational Testing Service). ETS is also responsible for prov...

LRNGO users in over 190 countries

Man and Woman communicating with heads open
How to Learn English Speaking via LAMP Method
In order to master a complex matter like learning a new language, most people agree that an individual should immerse oneself in the language and culture, and practice the language daily. For this reason, it’s not surprising that learning platforms using methods that promote a social setting rather than an academic one are gaining in popularity. The Language Acquisition Made Practical (LAMP) method is one solution for immersion and practice in a social setting that has withstood the test of time, and this is one of the many reasons why some individuals advocate Tom and Betty Brewster’s thirty-nine-year-old method; it involves speaking repetition, a key component to immersion and practice. Below is a sample of how effective the LAMP method can be for English learners.

The four key steps of the LAMP method:

  1. Pick Phrases and Use Them Daily
  2. Learn the Phrases
  3. Practice the Phrases with Ot...

LRNGO users in over 190 countries

Girl holding I Like My Teacher Sign
Why Do We Need More English Teachers in the USA?
A need for English teachers in the United States? One would think there would be an abundance of English teachers in the U.S. since English is the official language. Nevertheless, there is strangely a need. One need that has statistics to back up the claim is for a specific kind of teacher: Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) or English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers. The demand is a response to the growing number of expats, immigrants and refugee children and adults that are entering the United States every year. The demand is so high, that there is a huge shortage of individuals that have the qualifications to become TESOL or ESL teachers.

Some certification programs overseas require applicants to only have an undergraduate degree in any field to be eligible; however, the requirements are much stricter for applicants in the United States. For instance, most certified teachers obtain an endorsement or add-on certification in TESOL or ESL, or acquire a Master’s d...

LRNGO users in over 190 countries

Letters of the alphabet dancing
English Sounds vs. Letters
I often think the letters of the English language can be more confusing to those learning the language than they are helpful when it comes to the sounds. For instance, let's look at all the different ways you can spell just one sound alone, the short u or Schwa vowel: above, ugly, the, what, love. Not convinced? Ok, how about the short e sound: bed, said, friend, head, led, lead (the element). Even more confusing, right? Oh, and let’s not forget the potential confusion spawned by homophones: words that are pronounced the same, but differ in meaning and spelling:

ad (advertisement) and add (put together)
fair (appearance), fair (place that has entertainment and activities), and fair (reasonable)
hear (to perceive by the ear) and here (in or to the place)
peace (period of no conflict) and piece (a portion)
see (sight) and sea (large body of water)
The fact is, in many cases there are so many different ways to spell the same sound of the English...

LRNGO users in over 190 countries

Two girls having a conversation exchange
Practice Speaking English in a Language Exchange
It sounds good in theory, but does it actually work? The truth of the matter is that the answer ranges from yes to no, depending on who you ask. Why is that?

Language exchange, like any other type of teaching, is not foolproof. There are many other factors beyond just the method of learning that play a role in what you get out of it.

The first step starts with you. You have to be open and willing to work at communicating with your partner about your goals and when you need help while you practice. No matter how good of a practice partner you have, you will not learn if you don’t put in effort on your end.

Be a good listener and pace yourself. Paying attention to your language exchange partner and taking your time while doing so will pay off in the end. Trying to gobble up too much information too fast will put you at an overall disadvantage. The basics are y...

LRNGO users in over 190 countries

Old Grammar School Sign
The Top 10 Most Important English Grammar Rules
There are times when grammar rules are broken for the sake of artistic expression; however, some grammar rules are not meant to be broken. Below is my list of the Top 10 English grammar rules you absolutely have to know.

  1. A complete sentence involves a noun and a verb.
    “He runs.” It is a short sentence, but it is a complete sentence.

  2. Know your punctuation marks.
    • A period is used to end a sentence.
    • A question mark used to express a sentence is asking a question: How am I?
    • A comma is used to add, pause, and separate words.
    • An apostrophe shows possession and is found in contractions.
    • An exclamation mark is used to express strong feeling!
    • A hyphen links words together: state-of-the-art
    • Quotation marks are a form of citation and shows who is talking or making a statement: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. ” - Maya Angelou
    • A colon is the pause ...

LRNGO users in over 190 countries