Category Archives: Categories

• Writing Your Own ESL Exercises: Two Basic Recommendations

Blog cover Write Own

When I first started to write my own exercises, I learned two simple but important steps the hard way. In this short, 5-minute video, I describe what happened when I did NOT include the two steps in a couple of exercise and how I was able to improve them.

Here is the link to the video:

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Publisher: Pro Lingua Associates is now Pro Lingua Learning

I’ve recently received emails from readers who have been unable to follow links to Pro Lingua Associates (PLA) about textbooks in in some of my posts and downloadable exercises. As of October 1st, PLA has a new owner and website:  Pro Lingua Learning. The transition is expected to be completed soon.

• Stimulating Small-Group Discussion Activity 9: Comparing Life in Cultures with Strict Rules and Ones with Easy-Going Rules

Cover read for discussion SHOT

(This posting includes a handout which you are welcome to use with your students.)

 Some reasons why students seemed stimulated by this discussion:

1) They seemed interested in comparing the social rules in their countries and what happens to people who break them.

2) They had stimulating discussions how safe their hometowns were.

3) They were surprised by how tight or loose their classmates’ hometown and family rules were.

4) They enjoyed comparing how much or how little contact they had with people who were different from them (e.g. different race, religion, sexual orientation) and how open their neighbors would be to having them live next to them.

Here is the basis for this discussion: According to research, countries can be categorized as relatively tight or loose. Tight cultures, with stricter rules, tend to be safer more orderly, whereas, loose cultures tend to be more creative and more accepting of people who are different. After reading about the characteristics of different cultures, students compare their experiences and share their opinions about life in tight and loose cultures.

This and future discussion activities include four parts:

1) A one-page article usually including a brief summary of a high-interest research study.
2) Ten true-false comprehension questions.
3) Pre-Discussion Exercise in which students read and think about several questions about their experience and opinions about the topic before discussing them in groups.
4) Small-group discussions of the article in which each student is given a paper with different content/personal experience questions in the form of Student A, B or C.

About Discussion Activity 9: Comparing Life in Cultures with Strict Rules and Ones with Easy-Going Rules and the handout.

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An Invitation to join Facebook Common Sense Teaching ESL Discussion Group


I recently started a Facebook group and would like to invite all the readers of this site to join. You can click on the icon on the right column or below.

About this group

This group is for ESL teacher from around the world who would like to discuss methods and techniques that can be effectively used in our Conversation, Writing, Reading, Listening and Grammar courses. We are especially interested in ways to make our lessons more student-centered. Members are encouraged to share challenges that they’ve faced and successes they experienced when trying to meet the goals of their courses and motivating students. In addition to members initiating topics, I’ll include postings of teaching techniques from this blog for possible discussions.

Here is the link to the group: Facebook Common Sense Teaching ESL Discussion Group

David Kehe