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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Learning to communicate well is more than just learning English grammar

Dutch people talking on the streets.Image via Wikipedia adapted from Etiquette Moms: Six Communication Skills Everyone Should Know
Teaching how to communicate politely and effectively is one of a parent’s most important tasks. Assuming that students will learn proper communication skills without guidance is a big mistake. People should begin learning basic communication skills at birth and continue. Communicating well with others is a basic tenet of a mature society.
On page 195 of her book, Emily Post’s Etiquette, Peggy Post lists six basics of communication. First, she advises, make eye contact. It is important to establish eye contact with the person with whom one is speaking. Looking directly at the other person in the conversation shows interest and gives respect. some students need to be taught that looking away is a sign of disinterest and is not good manners.
Second, speak clearly and correctly. Using good pronunciation, not rushing speech and using good grammar are all aspects of communication that teachers should model for children. Teachers should pay attention to how their students are speaking and gently correct without embarrassing. There is no need to correct mistakes in front of others since doing so may cause children to feel self-conscious, inhibiting their speech in public.
Third, take turns and don’t interrupt. Students usually must be trained not to jump into a conversation just because they feel like talking. It is important that teachers curb this behavior and teach students self-control. When a students interrupt, the teacher should stop the conversation, firmly tell interrupting students to wait their turn, and then pick-up the conversation where they left off.
Fourth, pay attention and respond appropriately. Modeling good listening skills is the best way to teach good listening. When conversing with students, teachers should listen attentively and repeat key phrases back to the student so that the student feels heard. Ask appropriate questions and allow the student to respond. Show interest in what the student has to say. The best conversationalists are those who listen well.
Fifth, enter conversations politely. There is a correct way to join a conversation that uses good manners. If teachers consistently demonstrate how to politely enter a conversation, overtime, students will learn the practice. Teachers should show students how to approach the group quietly, smile to those in conversation, listen to what people are saying and wait until they are spoken to before speaking.
It is also important for teachers to teach students how to behave politely when someone joins an active conversation. Those in the group should smile and nod to recognize the person joining them, and when the speaker finishes, the group can greet the newcomer and make introductions.
Finally, Post notes that one should end conversations pleasantly. Walking away from a conversation with good manners is a crucial skill to possess and one that teachers should work hard at teaching. Teachers should encourage children to leave a conversation saying some pleasantry such as, “I promised my cousin that I would throw the ball with him and so I need to go now, but it was really nice talking to you.”
Other important skills that teachers should focus on when teaching basic communicational skills are controlling volume, not using “toilet talk” and keeping private matters private.
Teachers should also help students to understand nonverbal communication and cues. Rude facial expressions like eye rolling and grimaces, as well as yawning at a speaker, hair twisting, turning one’s back to the speaker, finger nail picking and checking one’s watch, are all bad manners. Children need to learn that their nonverbal actions and behaviors can make people feel uncomfortable. Learning to read other people’s nonverbal cues is an important lesson too. And with time, students begin to understand when to end conversations, finish a story or change a subject.
Being an adept communicator is a necessary skill in today’s world. Students need guidance to learn how to communicate effectively and politely. Good listening skills, self-control and sensitivity are all skills that are learned.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

English clock
English Study Quiz - What's the Correct Form of the Adjective?

This web site is for people studying English as a Second Language . There are quizzes, word games, word puzzles, proverbs, slang expressions, anagrams, a random-sentence generator and other computer-assisted language learning activities.

Do 3 of the quizzes / activities here at ManyThings.org. Then write your scores in a comment below.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Giving advice: How do you do it in English?



Sunday, June 27, 2010

Martial Arts in School

Demonstrating Kung Fu at Daxiangguo Monastery,...
   PARENTS in Beijing are taking no chances over the safety of their children after a series of attacks on schoolchildren frightened and angered China.
   A growing number of parents have turned to selfdefence classes for children more used to wielding electronic games than their fists. Six times since March, angry and apparently deranged men have attacked Chinese schoolchildren with knives and, in one case, a hammer, killing 27 people and injuring more than 80.  Officials have vowed to “strike hard” against the problem and schools have added security guards, but many parents think that’s not enough. Admissions to kung fu schools in Beijing have risen by at least 20 percent since April, China state media reported. 
   At the Changzhen Kongfu school near Beijing’s university district, more than a dozen 7- to 12-year-old children were learning martial arts techniques meant to help them escape potential danger. “There have been many changes recently. Before, only one to two students would come to consult, but since last week, we have received about 30 inquiries,” said Zhang Xiaohang, the chief kung fu instructor at the school. “A lot of parents register their children for the selfdefence class as soon as they arrive, without hesitationParents are putting much more emphasis on children’s safety.” 
   Zhang now teaches about 10 classes per week and instructs more than 60 kids. For pudgy 12-year-old Deng Zhiheng, the lessons serve two purposes. “I am a little bit fat so I want to lose some weight,” he said. “Second of all, there have been many school attacks recently and I want to know how to prevent such attacks. So it is best if I learn these skills.”  The class mainly focuses on teaching children how to respond to threats calmly and react quickly. Self-defence techniques emphasise avoiding confrontation and escaping to safety, Zhang said.
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Karate Kid



Jackie Chan prepares to slide down the side of...
Sliding down a building

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Read and Listen to a Story or Poem: British Council - Online

Other Reading Websites:

1. Resources
http://www.merlynspen.org/ (a site with stories written by students)
www.rong-chang.com/qa2/ (contains 100 free one-page English stories for ESL learners)
http://www.short-funny-stories.com/ (for one interested in humorous stories)
http://www.short-stories.co.uk/ (a wide range of stories of different types and lengths)
http://www.shortstoryradio.com/ (a site where one can listen to short stories)
www.storiesmania.net/community/ (contains a wide range of stories and offers good examples of readers’ comments and responses to stories)
www.ugo.com/channels/comics/heroMachine/classic.asp (a site where students can make their own comic strips)
www.makebeliefscomix.com/Comix/ (a site where students can make their super hero)
www.squidoo.com/famousdiaryandjournalwriters (contains information on real and fictional journal writers)
www.baddteddy.com/stories/index.htm (contains stories involving heroes or feats of heroism)
http://www.inspirationalstories.com/ (a good collection of inspirational and motivational stories)
http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/
www.eurekalert.org/kidsnews
http://www.sciencenews.org/ (for science news targeting younger people)

2. Classic short stories:
www.bnl.com/shorts/
www.literaturepage.com/category/stories.html
www.readbookonline.net/
www.storynory.com/category/fairy-tales/ (a large collection of classic fairy tales)
www.faerymists.tripod.com/fytales/chinese.htm (a selection of Chinese fairy tales)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

R & J Comic Strip Assignment

The story of Romeo and Juliet - a 5 picture comic strip
Due (final date accepted): 5/23, Monday

These events in Romeo & Juliet listed below have been put in the wrong order. With one partner, choose at least five which you think represent the most important events in the story.  Draw and label those five in the correct order on art paper or using a computer.  (You may copy and paste - they are online in the English blog).  Draw cartoon pictures to show what happened, who the characters are, and their relationship to each other. Your drawings should have enough information to show their importance to the telling of the story. One way to do this is with speech bubbles, showing words that they say in the play. You may use art materials drawing on paper or online cartoon software.  Make your illustrations clear and interesting; they will be displayed to the public - everyone at school will see them.  (One good website is http://www.toondoo.com/, but there are others at http://techpp.com/2011/04/30/create-online-comic-strips/.)

  • Romeo and Juliet separate after their wedding night.
  • Romeo is depressed, heartsick over Rosaline, his distant dream girl.
  • Romeo asks Friar Laurence for help.
  • Capulet and Paris talk.
  • Romeo finds out about the Capulet party.
  • Capulet tells Paris his wedding to Juliet will be on Thursday.
  • Romeo’s buddy, Mercutio, is killed by Tybalt.
  • The Capulet party
  • Friar tells Juliet his plan for her to avoid the marriage to Paris.
  • Romeo meets Juliet.
  • Montague and Capulet servants fight.
  • Romeo visits Juliet at the cemetery.
  • The Nurse finds Romeo in the street and finalizes plans.
  • Romeo and Juliet are married by the Friar.
  • The Nurse and Lady Capulet talk to Juliet.
  • The Prince declares there will be no more fighting under pain of death.
  • Romeo avenges Mercutio’s death and slays Tybalt.
  • Romeo is banished to Verona.
  • Romeo and Juliet swear their love for each other.
  • Juliet refuses her father’s decision that she marry Paris.

Monday, May 10, 2010

cartoon comic strip site for Romeo & Juliet story

Go to this site to make your comic strip to picture your understanding of the story of Romeo and Juliet:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"No fear Shakespeare":

Below on the right side is a "translation" into modern English of the first scene of Act V of Romeo and Juliet. In this scene, Romeo has been thrown out of his home city.  He killed another boy in a street fight, and if he returns, the government will punish him with death.  But he just married beautiful Juliet. They cannot be together. He learns here from the servant, Balthasar, that Juliet has died.

The Original Text on the left is from the online Sparknotes site: Sparknotes R & J.  Compare these two.  This is the section of the play which is in your brown Exploring Literature textbook, pages 442 - 461.  You are responsible for knowing this section for test and final exam.

Act 5, Scene 1

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter ROMEO
ROMEO enters.





5




10
ROMEO
If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep,
My dreams presage some joyful news at hand.
My bosom’s lord sits lightly in his throne,
And all this day an unaccustomed spirit
Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts.
I dreamt my lady came and found me dead—
Strange dream, that gives a dead man leave to think—
And breathed such life with kisses in my lips
That I revived and was an emperor.
Ah me! How sweet is love itself possessed
When but love’s shadows are so rich in joy!
ROMEO
If I can trust my dreams, then some joyful news is coming soon. Love rules my heart, and all day long a strange feeling has been making me cheerful. I had a dream that my lady came and found me dead. It’s a strange dream that lets a dead man think! She came and brought me back to life by kissing my lips. I rose from the dead and was an emperor. Oh my! How sweet it would be to actually have the woman I love, when merely thinking about love makes me so happy.
Enter ROMEO’s man BALTHASAR
ROMEO’s servant BALTHASAR enters.



15
News from Verona!—How now, Balthasar?
Dost thou not bring me letters from the friar?
How doth my lady? Is my father well?
How fares my Juliet? That I ask again,
For nothing can be ill if she be well.
Do you have news from Verona!—What is it, Balthasar? Do you bring me a letter from the friar? How is my wife? Is my father well? How is my Juliet? I ask that again because nothing can be wrong if she is well.




20

BALTHASAR
Then she is well, and nothing can be ill.
Her body sleeps in Capels' monument,
And her immortal part with angels lives.
I saw her laid low in her kindred’s vault
And presently took post to tell it you.
O, pardon me for bringing these ill news,
Since you did leave it for my office, sir.
BALTHASAR
Then she is well, and nothing is wrong. Her body sleeps in the Capulet tomb, and her immortal soul lives with the angels in heaven. I saw her buried in her family’s tomb, and then I came here to tell you the news. Oh, pardon me for bringing this bad news, but you told me it was my job, sir.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Some websites for story reading and writing


1. Resources
http://www.merlynspen.org/ (a site with stories written by students)
www.rong-chang.com/qa2/ (contains 100 free one-page English stories for ESL learners)
http://www.short-funny-stories.com/ (for one interested in humorous stories)
http://www.short-stories.co.uk/ (a wide range of stories of different types and lengths)
http://www.shortstoryradio.com/ (a site where one can listen to short stories)
www.storiesmania.net/community/ (contains a wide range of stories and offers good examples of readers’ comments and responses to stories)
www.ugo.com/channels/comics/heroMachine/classic.asp (a site where students can make their own comic strips)
www.makebeliefscomix.com/Comix/ (a site where students can make their super hero)
www.squidoo.com/famousdiaryandjournalwriters (contains information on real and fictionaljournal writers)www.baddteddy.com/stories/index.htm (contains stories involving heroes or feats of heroism)
http://www.inspirationalstories.com/ (a good collection of inspirational and motivational stories)
http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/
www.eurekalert.org/kidsnews
http://www.sciencenews.org/ (for science news targeting younger people)

2. Classic short stories:
www.bnl.com/shorts/
www.literaturepage.com/category/stories.html
www.readbookonline.net/
www.storynory.com/category/fairy-tales/ (a large collection of classic fairy tales)www.faerymists.tripod.com/fytales/chinese.htm (a selection of Chinese fairy tales)

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Story-telling: Narrative Writing

(from: Reading, Writing and Rhetoric for the 21st Century, New Perspective Graduate Series. Beijing: Higher Education Press, 2007)


Narration means telling of an incident or a series of incidents. It can be purely imaginative, such as short stories or novels, or on the other hand, it can be a record of actual facts, such as, histories, biographies, or news stories. The scope of narration can range from a relatively insignificant incident such as “I saw a horror movie on TV last night” to a great and philosophically illuminating novel such as Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.

Man is born with a need for narrative; cavemen gathered round small fires and exchanged tales of magic and hunting. Modern men are no different; we all know how soap operas and best sellers form an important part of our lives. Besides entertainment, narration is important both in the classroom and in the workplace. You may be required to narrate the causes of food shortage in history class, or you may be asked to tell why China has emerged as one of the world's leading powers in just fifteen years. And in chemistry class, you record steps of an experiment. At work, a police officer may record events leading to an arrest, a nurse may report on a patient’s changing attitudes toward surgery, and a department manager may prepare a report of his subordinates; all this involves narrative writing.

Let us first look at the main features of narrative writing, and then we shall go on to the examination of a model essay illustrating the main characteristics of narrative writing.


Organization
A narrative essay is like a story; it has a beginning, a middle and an end. It should be complete. Most narrative essays emphasize the middle of the story.


The rest of this chapter on story-writing can be read at Google Documents by clicking here: Narrative Writing

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Zealand Adventure

Aoraki/Mount Cook is the tallest mountain in N...Image via WikipediaListen and Learn about New Zealand


Todd: So, Monica, you are from New Zealand.
Monica: Yes, that's right.
Todd: So, for people going to New Zealand, what would you recommend? What are three or four places that you must see in New Zealand?
Monica: Oh, OK, three or four places you must see. Well, it depends what you're looking for really. I think a lot of people that come to New Zealand enjoy an outdoor lifestyle, so there's lots of outdoor activities and places you can go to to enjoy in New Zealand. Personally, I find theSouth Island of New Zealand very scenic in comparison to the North Island, so for me, a must-do is the West Coast of the South Island. It's very pretty.
Todd: The West Coast.
Monica: Yeah. In particular, there's two glaciers. Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers, which are very stunning to look at, and you can either have a look at them by foot, or you can pay for a helicopter ride that takes you up and shows you an ariel view of them.
Todd: Now, do people ever walk across the glaciers?
Monica: There are guides that can walk you across. Yeah, I haven't done it personally, but it is possible.
Todd: So what else would you recommend for New Zealand? What other places should people see?
Monica: I think if you want to see ... let me think ... rural New Zealand. It's quite a nice idea to drive the length of the country and then you can see the interesting farming that is taking place, in particular in the South Island. The lower part of the South Island, and a lot of the North Island as well. There's a lot of sheep in New Zealand and there's a lot of cattle as well, so I think it's interesting to go for a drive to see that firsthand.
Todd: So, you just start up in Auckland in the north and drive all the way down south?
Monica: Yeah, well, there's many ways you can do it, but I recommend one way of doing it is too arrive in Auckland and to have an experience of a big city, well a big city for New Zealand, and then drive down the center of the North Island and maybe have a farming experience somewhere. There's a lot of farm stay opportunities available for tourists who come to New Zealand, so depending on how you do it. You might want to stay two or three days with a family and experience a farming lifestyle. So that's, yeah, one thing I'd recommend. And another is to maybe go to a city like Rotorua which is really in the center of the North Island, and experience Maori culture.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dave's ESL Cafe's Student Discussion Forums 
 
Online English discussion by students, for students -- topics:
  • Computers: Computer talk Current News: Talk on what's currently going on in the world

  • Culture: Discussion on the world's cultures

  • English Schools: Discussion on where to study English

  • Family: Talk about your family

  • Film and Cinema: Talk about past and present movies

  • Food: Hungry? This is the forum for you!

  • Health and Fitness: The forum for those who love a healthy life style

  • Help Center: At the ESL Help Center, you can receive help from ESL/EFL teachers from around the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Hobbies: What's your hobby? Here is a forum for you!

  • Holidays: Discussion on the world's many holidays and celebrations

  • Learning English: Talk about your ideas on how to learn English

  • Literature: A forum for book lovers

  • Making Friends: Great place to make a new keypal

  • Music: A forum to discuss your musical tastes

  • Opinions: A place to express your opinion

  • Pets: A forum for animal lovers

  • Science: Science talk for Science lovers

  • Sports: Do you like sports? Here is the perfect forum for you!

  • The Strange and Mysterious: A place to talk about the world's mysteries

  • TOEFL and Other English Exams: TOEFL and exam talk

  • Teacher Travel: Forum for travel lovers

Monday, January 25, 2010

Welcome to English blogging!

Mount Eden, Auckland, New Zealand - photo take...Image via WikipediaStudent essays about travel:

Before the trip I was worried about that I could not communicate with foreigners well because I was not confident of my English standard. Later I found that communicating with foreigners was not that difficult. I met my home stay family on the first day in New Zealand. John and his wife of the host family were very nice. They took very good care of me and my roommate Ken. Their child Zac also helped me a lot.

I met my school buddy Dylan on the first day of school. Dylan was with me at school for two weeks. He learnt with me and played with me. He was my best friend there. After each lesson we had to move to another classroom for the next lesson and this is quite different from what we do in Hong Kong schools. The school days in New Zealand were fun and interesting. I also made many new friends at school.

In the trip we visited a real volcano called Mt. Eden. I thought it was very strange because around the volcano, it was full of glass. We also had a Maori culture lesson before visiting a Maori village. In this lesson I learnt two songs. One was for the visit and the other one was for the farewell party. In the visit we learnt more about Maori culture and it was interesting. We visited the sky tower, which is the landmark of Auckland, the zoo, museums and Western spring too. These places are famous in Auckland. Also we had a trip to Rotorua and stayed there for two days. Rotorua is a Maori word which means the number two lake. We had a sky ride and enjoyed the spa there. Time flew. Two weeks were just like two days. I will never forget all the things I saw and learnt in this trip. The memories will never fade too.

Andy had fun in New Zealand, traveling there with the Seagull Project:

My Kiwi Experience
4E Lam Chun Andy
Before the summer holiday, my schoolmates and I applied for the NZ study tour which lasted for 17 days. My mum had disapproved it because of the money issue but luckily I was sponsored by the Seagull Project and I only needed to pay half of the fees. My mum then let me go.
After arriving in NZ, I first visited St. Peter’s College and our host families picked us up there. My roommate Ryan and I met our homestay parent and we were so excited. They are 4 members in the homestay family and they are Victoria, Ricky, Holly and Stephy. They were very nice to us and helped us solve problems. They told me a lot of NZ cultures and customs and we had much fun.
St Peter’s college was the school I went to. There were about 1,200 boys and there was an international centre for Asian students and the staff there provided assistance to international students and students like us from a study tour.
At school, I had to go to my buddy’s class and learned with local students. When I came across with difficult vocabulary and did not understand the lesson well, my buddy would help me. Before leaving NZ, my buddy gave me souvenirs. He was so thoughtful. During the stay in NZ, my group leader Mr. Wai led our group to visit many places such as Auckland museums, Moari Villages, Auckland Zoo, St. Mark’s Shopping Mall and Rotorua. Rotorua was far from Auckland and we needed to spend 3-4 hours on the bus to get there. We had buffet lunch once we arrived there. It was fun to ride the luge after lunch and we enjoyed the spa very much in the evening.
The NZ study tour was great and it was a wonderful experience. I would remember the people, the food, the school and the places I visited. They will always be parts of my sweet memories too.


Take a look at Adventure Video of New Zealand:


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Please leave an edifying Comment (see the icon at the end of the Posts) or two or three or . . .. I wrote something about travel last summer, but let your inspiration run wild. And of course, be sure to always check out what's happening at http://www.ats.edu.hk/