For teachers

Free Grammar Practice Activities

Here are some links to free online grammar practice activities to help you or your students get additional grammar help eliminating grammar errors. Online activities provide instant feedback, which helps learners know what they are doing right and what they need to improve. These activities are best done on a computer rather than on the

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Storytelling at the World Bank

Many ESL teachers feel that argumentation skills are essential for academic and workplace success. Essay-writing remains at the heart of every college ESL course and Business English course. There are good reasons to question the over-emphasis on 5-paragraph essay writing and to reintroduce narrative writing into English Second Language courses. In Storytelling in Organizations, Stephen Denning

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Teaching the Social Curriculum

Schools usually have a very strict and clear academic curriculum. The social curriculum can be less clear, but it’s just as important for the development of children into healthy adults. The social curriculum relates to teaching students how to interact and empathize with others. Learning these things helps young people to build healthy relationships and

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Are Narratives Superior to 5-Paragraph Persuasive Essays?

Many teachers believe that the 5-paragraph persuasive essay is the only appropriate writing task for college-level students. Almost all of the college-level ESL textbooks published for the Quebec market include units on the so-called 5-paragraph persuasive essay, but units on narrative writing rarely appear. This dearth is unfortunate since there are some very good reasons to

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The Economic Benefits of Bilingualism

On paper, Canada is a bilingual country. It has two official languages: English and French. All students in Canada take second language courses at school, but many do not learn enough of the second language to be considered bilingual. In part, this is because the second language is not always taught effectively in schools, and

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Academic versus Conversational Vocabulary Differences

There are “extensive linguistic differences” between different registers of English (Biber et al., 1999, p.9). Academic and conversational registers reveal a complementary frequency distribution of vocabulary and grammatical forms. Some of the principle differences are as follows: Vocabulary Differences Arranged by Parts of Speech Nouns Conversation has a lower density of information and therefore fewer

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Aelfric’s Grammar, the First Grammar Book Written in English

If you are a fan of BBC’s story of Uhtred and Alfred, The Last Kingdom, you might be interested to learn about an important scholar working at that time, called Aelfric. Who was Aelfric? Aelfric of Wessex (955-1020) wrote the first grammar of Latin in a vernacular language. The Historical Context of Aelfric’s Life In the

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How to Comment on Student Writing

Good writers understand their readers and the effect their choices have on a reader’s experience of their writing. In contrast, novice writers struggle to anticipate difficulties readers face with imperfect prose. The purpose of a teacher’s comments is, therefore, to “dramatize the presence of a reader” (Sommers, 1982, p.148), letting the writer know what has

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How can I improve my English?

Students often ask me this question. They want to practice their English, but they don’t have anyone to practice with. Whenever I am asked, I am tempted to tell them my friend’s solution to the common question, How can I improve my English? I had a friend named Joseph who moved to Montreal from Czech

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20 Reasons to Use Games in College-Level ESL Courses

At the front of a class, a teacher delivers the lesson she has spent hours preparing.  She has tried to make it engaging and is animated as she attempts to convey the importance of what she wants her students to learn.  Some of the students are listening and attentively taking notes.  Others are struggling to

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Healthcare Communication Problems with Linguistic Minorities

Effective communication between healthcare providers and their patients is an important factor in patient satisfaction. Global patient satisfaction with healthcare has been found to be lower among patients who have more provider-patient communication problems (Charles, Goldsmith, Chambers, Haynes, & Gauld, 1996). The most commonly reported problems involve failures on the part of providers to communicate

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Instructivist vs Constructivist Instructional Design

In this serious game, imagine you were asked to hire an instructional designer for your college or company. Who would you hire? Use the audio players below to hear the candidates talk about their views on instructional design. At the end of the first part of the interview, the candidates will ask you if you

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200 Day-in-the-Life Career-Related Articles

A Day in the Life of a Professional in Your Field of Study Click on one of the links below to open a new tab with a day in the life article related to one of these 224 professions. Paraphrase and summarize the article you choose. Try the VirtualWriting Tutor’s Paraphrase Checker to check how close your

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