• Inductive Grammar: Why are there commas in these sentences? Here are some clues. What’s the rule?

(This posting includes a handout which you are welcome to use with your students.) * During a teacher-training course that I was teaching for American college students who wanted to teach ESL, we were discussing where to put commas.  Several of the students said that they decide according to their breath.  As they are re-reading […]

• How We Can Develop Intrinsic Motivation in Our ESL Students. Specific Examples. (Part 2)

As I mentioned in Part 1, it is possible for our ESL students to be intrinsically motivated to learn English.  And there are ways that we can help them develop this. I discussed the first two recommendations based on research: 1) Give Students Autonomy and 2) Explain the Purpose of the Assignment.. Here, in Part […]

• Myth #2 about Teaching ESL Grammar: Teaching Grammar Doesn’t Improve Students’ Writing.

I’ve always been perplexed by this claim by some teachers: Teaching grammar doesn’t improve students’ writing.  A problem with it is that it doesn’t define what is meant by “teaching grammar” nor what is meant by “improve students’ writing.”  It seems to imply that they have looked at every conceivable way that grammar could be taught […]

• Small Steps for Students Who Are Feeling Discouraged

A boy wanted to ask a girl to the school dance, but he was too shy to talk to girls. To help him start to overcome his shyness, one day in a store together, his mom told him to walk up to a female clerk and ask where he could find the toothpaste. If he […]