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30 Ways to be an Excellent ESL/EFL Teacher

  1. Do preliminary testing if possible in order to group students by language level.
  2. Identify your students’ language goals and vocabulary requirements.
  3. Choose your textbooks and resources carefully.
  4. Bring enthusiasm for learning English to the classroom.
  5. Establish your authority in the classroom from the beginning.
  6. Learn your students’ names, and take an active interest in getting to know each student.
  7. Always be culturally sensitive and aware, and show appreciation for the students’ native language.
  8. Don’t be bound by the textbook, rather use supplemental materials as needed.
  9. Prepare a lesson plan for each class, but be flexible and change focus in class as needed.
  10. Explain what you are teaching, and explain why the topic/activity is helpful.
  11. Make your instructions short and clear for each activity.
  12. Speak clearly and with sufficient volume … speak slower as needed, but not too slow.
  13. Don’t talk too much – limit Teacher Talk Time (TTT) to about 50%, depending on the activity.
  14. Respect both “slow” and “fast” learners, and teach to their language level while motivating each student to reach higher.
  15. Don’t try to force change on a student – allow them to be who they are, to use their own learning style.
  16. Motivate your students with variety … turn some activities into games or competition.
  17. Don’t overcorrect.
  18. Allow time for spontaneous communication.
  19. Be an encourager, and use humor to liven up the class.
  20. Stay calm, and don’t exceed their own desire to learn … practice engaged detachment.
  21. Be attentive to each student, and don’t show favoritism toward specific students.
  22. Circulate among all the students.
  23. Be fair and realistic in testing … and give each student honest assessments of their progress.
  24. Develop the 4 language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing … teach these skills in equal measure if possible.
  25. Become a grammar expert, and develop their grammatical abilities in each of the 4 language skills.
  26. A large vocabulary never hurt any language student … the more words they know, the better.
  27. Be reflective on how well a class went, on how well a term went … prepare future changes as necessary.
  28. Keep it light, and be willing to laugh at yourself.
  29. Be dedicated to always improving as a teacher.
  30. Trust that you are an excellent and dedicated ESL/EFL teacher … and trust that the Universe is working through you.
Posted in #EFL, #ESL, #teachenglish, #teachESL, #TEFL, #TESOL

Mejor Inglés – Better English

Inglés conversacional creará muchas oportunidades para ustedes. Sin embargo, los hispanohablantes se encuentran en desventaja competitiva porque la gente de otros países son capaces de hablar inglés mucho mejor que los hispanohablantes. Aquí hay un enlace a mi curso gratuito en titulado, “Los tiempos verbales de inglés para hispanohablantes,” ¡Los tiempos verbales son la clave para mejorar su ingles!

Conversational English will create many opportunities for you. However, Spanish speakers are at a competitive disadvantage because people in other countries are able to speak English much better than Spanish speakers. Here is a link to my free course in entitled, “English Verb Tenses for Spanish Speakers,” Verb tenses are the key to improving your English!

Posted in #learnenglish, Blog de Español


As the wind flows from one place to the next,
And no one knows where it came from or where it goes,
So were the puns of Johnnie.

Corny to be sure, but also profound,
Sometimes they made you scratch your head,
But there was no denying their ability to make you smile.

Like, “How do you make an egg roll?”
And after moments of reflection,
Johnnie responded with, “You push it.”

Or, “What did the Baby Corn say to the Mama Corn?”
And you thought, “Ear’s to you, Mama,”
But Johnnie flashed you a grin and said, “Where’s Pop Corn?”

So you wondered, “Where does he get these corny jokes?”
Even corny jokes about Baby Corn, Mama Corn, and Pop Corn,
But there was no use trying to find the sources.

Johnnie had endless connections, it seemed,
Every relative, every friend, every client,
Fed him those corny jokes.

He had an endless supply, so we did not fear,
If you needed a chuckle or two or three,
You went looking for the Corny Joke Man.

So one last corny joke to honor the Corny Joke Bloke,
“What did the pony say when it had a sore throat?”
He apologized and said, “I am a little horse!”

But you thought that was all, the joke’s on you,
For there’s never one last corny joke,
Johnnie’s plan was to make you laugh to eternity.

“What did the mayonnaise say when someone opened the refrigerator door?”
“Close the door I’m dressing!”
Ha Ha! Got you again! You didn’t see that one coming did you!

Are you tired of corny jokes?
How absurd!
That’s like saying that you’re tired of being on vacation!

“Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon?”
“It has great food but no atmosphere.”
Woo hoo! – you weren’t expecting that one, were you!

Are you ready to say, “Uncle”? … Do you your ribs hurt yet?
Only when Johnnie saw you on the ground,
Did the parade of corny jokes end.

Chuckle and chuckle and chuckle some more,
Oh I miss those days with Johnnie and his fresh new jokes,
But I’m laughing to eternity with the ones he’s already shared.

I miss you, Sweet Friend, until we meet in heaven,
And I’m looking forward to hearing,
The best new corny jokes you know.

Posted in #heaven, #laughter

What is Devotion?

Your religious body does not determine the degree to which you are devoted to God … not your history, not your traditions, not your ceremonies, and not your religious writings.

Your personal religious practices also do not determine the degree to which you are devoted to God. You can be at every meeting, know the words to every song, have all the ceremonies memorized, pray at all the correct times, dress the way you are supposed to dress, and do everything that is expected of you apart from the body … and in spite of all that, your heart can be far from God.

Similarly, your position in your religious body does not determine the degree to which you are devoted to God. Whether you’re the curate, or the rabbi, or the apostle, or the pope, or the shaman, or the minister, or the elder, or the mullah, or the vicar, or the prophet, or the teacher, your position does not define the condition of your soul.

And of course, your reputation does not determine the degree to which you are devoted to God. People may bow down and worship you, or on the other hand you may be hated and ridiculed by all around you. What people may think of you has nothing to do with how your innermost being is tuned.

Posted in #God, #religion, #spirituality


Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, second only to Haiti. I had seen that statistic several times in the past, but for some reason I never believed it. I thought that surely there must be other countries that are poorer … Cuba? … Honduras? … Bolivia?

Perhaps Guatemala as well, for I had seen firsthand the poverty in Guatemala when we were there in 2010. However, now that I have seen Granada, the crown jewel of Nicaragua, I understand why this country can be considered so impoverished. Guatemala´s crown jewel, Antigua, seems wealthy by comparison.

Nicaragua is very fortunate to be located where it is, just South of the drug shipments that pass through Honduras, El Savador, Guatemala, and Mexico on their way to be sold in the USA. The demand for illegal drugs in the USA creates the supply, but if there was no demand then the illegal drug trade would shrink together with all of the associated violence. Below Nicaragua is Costa Rica, a very prosperous nation indeed, and interestingly one of the few countries in the world that does not have a military. I sometimes wonder what we could do with the one trillion dollars we spend every year on our military if we skipped one year of that spending and instead found something different to invest in. Would our economy go belly up? Would the world fall apart? Would some other nation overrun us and take away all our liberties?

When my wife and I travel, we try as much as possible to absorb the local culture … the food, activities, and life in general. Nonetheless, in less than one week we have already eaten at half a dozen restaurants that most Nicaraguans would not even consider due to the prohibitive cost. For example, the other night we ate at one of the nicest restaurants in town and spend $37 (which in Nicaraguan currency is 1000 córdobas). In light of the fact that the average annual income for a Nicaraguan family is around $1800, it would be excessive for one of the local folks to spend $37 on a single meal. So, while we like to say that we try to experience the local culture when we travel, the reality is that we don´t get anywhere close. One soothing grace is the knowledge that tourism money is one of the principle sources of income for the country of Nicaragua, but the difficulty is in getting that money to the people who need it most.

In the USA 90% of the wealth is controlled by 20% of the population, however the problem of income inequality is even more pronounced in Latin America where 90% of the wealth is controlled by only 10% of the population. I am proud to be a US citizen, but I don´t believe that our capitalistic system as it has evolved to this point is particularly pleasing to God. The socialism of Cuba and Nicaragua is not the answer either. Wouldn´t it be wonderful if we could create a system that honors ingenuity and hard work and wealth building while making sure that most of the wealth is not controlled by such a small percentage? For example, what if 50% of the population of the USA controlled 90% of the wealth? It seems absurd to say that this would be a significant improvement over the current reality, but that is the truth.

Posted in #nicaragua, #poor, #poverty, #rich