37/100 days of productivity

So I’m bust working on an assignment for my TESOL class at the moment. It been going slow at the University lately because everyone is handing out assignments and prepping us for the second half of the semester coming up soon. Also, we’re doing Jane Eyre in class right now and the lecturer thinks the book is a post-colonial feminist anti-christian book. What do you guys think? Hogwash or truth? 

happy studying everyone!

Playlist: Stay Here Indie Chill Mix

8 Tips to Start Learning a Language

I’m sure someone has already written something on Tumblr (or anywhere else, for that matter) about this topic, but I also wanted to contribute my opinion to the discussion.

Here’s something I hear often: I want to learn [insert name of language], but I don’t know where to start!

That’s actually a good question: how do you even begin learning a language? There is so much to consider: vocabulary, grammar, special expressions, tone, culture, not to mention the four skills—speaking, reading, writing and listening. 

Yes, learning a language isn’t easy. However, it doesn’t mean that it should be boring or downright impossible. Plus, learning a language is one of the most rewarding cultural experiences: once you can understand and communicate in a language, you immediately become part of the people who use that language. They are no longer strangers to you, and you are no longer a stranger to them. How cool is that?

So here is my philosophy of language learning and some tips for those who wish to pursue a new language. Enjoy!

Tip #1: Understand Why You Are Learning This Language

Determine your goals first. Do you want to make new friends who speak that language? Do you need to pass a test to work/study/live in a particular country? Do you just want to impress your friends when reading phrases in that language? Are you about to travel somewhere on your vacation? 
Once you know what your goal is, you will know your priorities, too. If you just want to be able to order from a menu, you don’t need to buy a 400-page grammar guide. On the other hand, if you want to live somewhere longer than 3 months, you probably need more than just a grammar guide. So before you do anything, ask first: what is my goal? Why am I learning this language?

The rest of the tips are for serious learners whose goal is proficiency or fluency in a language.

Tip #2: Determine Your Strength

Are you naturally good at imitating accents? Then start by getting used to the sound of language through listening and repeating. Do you love reading? Then start with the alphabet and reading patterns. Are you a grammar nazi? Grab that grammar guide and dig right in! Are you good at memorizing? Find an app for learning new vocabulary and begin memorizing.
Whatever you’re good at, don’t be afraid to start there. Exploit your strengths!

Tip #3: Do Everything at the Same Time

Okay, this may sound weird at first, so let me explain. In language learning, the four main skills are interconnected: reading, writing, listening and speaking do NOT function separately. So, it’s important to start developing all of these skills as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you’ve perfected reading before moving on to speaking, and so on. That being said, you have to determine your own schedule for when to practice what. For example, Monday can be your grammar learning and practice day; Tuesday can be your speaking and listening day; Wednesday can be your writing practice day, etc. It’s up to you to choose when to do what. My tip for you: DON’T do more than two skills at a time. More than two at once is too confusing, even if you’re good at multi-tasking. Take your time: consistency and diligence will pay off.

Tip #4: But Start with Reading

Yes, you should write, listen, read and speak at the same time as early as possible, but in my opinion, reading should come first. Here is why I think so: if you know nothing about a language, the fastest and the most effective way to immerse yourself in that language is to learn the alphabet and the reading system. Reading allows you to: 
a) explore written and printed content at all levels
b) make native-speaking friends online and communicate with them via texting
c) practice reading aloud, developing speaking skills and proper pronunciation
d) start copying words and phrases, developing writing skills
e) learn new vocabulary words

Tip #5: Make a Native-Speaking Friend ASAP

Nothing motivates you in language learning like a good, funny, crazy friend! Finding a native-speaking (and I emphasize native-speaking, not a more advanced learner) friend is much easier than you might think. If there is a community of native speakers in your area, get out of your comfort zone and join them at community events or language classes, if they’re available. But I honestly like online language learning partners better because you can make friends more easily and start learning faster. I’d suggest these platforms/websites:

  • HelloTalk
  • Lang-8.com
  • Interpals.net

Of course, always be careful with meeting people online; but otherwise, this is a great way to make native-speaking friends. Oh, here’s another tip: try to find friends whose level of your own native language is very low—that way, you’ll be forced to use the language you’re learning, which is definitely a plus. Finally, be ready for lots of mistakes and corrections. Pride isn’t a thing in language learning, so forget it. The more willing you are to accept correction and learn from your mistakes, the faster you’ll get to that level when you won’t need too much correction.

Tip #6: Accept the Fact that This Will Take Time

Language learning takes time. Building a foundation will take anywhere between 2-6 months. Mastering a language can take years. So don’t be discouraged if you feel like you’re too slow: in a few months, you’ll look back and realize how far you’ve come. Again, consistency and diligence are key to language learning success!!

Tip #7: Don’t Spend Too Much Money

Here’s the beauty—and reality—of contemporary language learning: you can find everything you need without spending much at all. Why? Because most tools—grammar guides, listening exercises, sample readings by levels, language partnering platforms, etc.—are available online for free. So before you cash out, explore the web. 
This doesn’t mean that you should completely ditch the textbook. Some publishers offer printed resources that are extremely helpful: things like dictionaries, workbooks, flashcards, illustrated guides, etc. can be lifesavers. Just my advice would be to explore free online options before heading over to the bookstore or Amazon for more costly options.

Tip #8: Always Remind Yourself Why You Are Doing This

When you’re on the 200th page of a workbook, or when your native-speaking friend can’t explain a grammar rule, or when you’ve written out a word too many times to count but still can’t remember it in conversation… it’s easy to get discouraged. You’ll want to give up. You’ll think, “Why did I even get myself into this mess?” At those times, remind yourself of the reason why you began learning this language in the first place. Why are you doing this? What’s your goal? Has this experience been changing you? If yes, how? Those questions will help rekindle that fire and keep you going. And seriously, this applies to everything in life, not just language learning. So don’t give up just because you’ve reached a slump! We’ve all been there, and it’s about how you get out of it!

And of course, remember that no experience is a waste. The fact that you’ve started, that you tried, that you did your best, that you met new people (whether they stayed or not)—all this now makes up part of who you are and what you’ve been through. It’s worth it.


2/100 days of productivity

So I finally got up to date with my TESOL (teaching english to speakers of other languages) class with the help of my lovely tombow brush pen (026)👏🏻

(the plant helped a little too)

Playlist: Melodrama by Lorde🖤

Split Infinitives

Okay, this topic is mostly for WRITING, not speaking.  Still, if you are getting ready for TOEFL or TOEIC or any other English language assessment exam, you need to know about split infinitives.

What are “split infinitives”?

First, let’s define what an “infinitive” is. “Infinitive” is “to+verb.” So, the way you can tell that a verb is an infinitive is if it has a “to” in front of it.
For example,
She wants to see her mother.
It is difficult
to build trust.
To be friends means to sacrifice for each other.

As you can see, every infinitive has a “to” at its beginning. In fact, you cannot separate this “to” from the verb itself. If you separate “to” and the verb, you have a split infinitive. This is a fairly serious grammatical mistake.

For example,
Employees must try to really work as a team. WRONG—to fix the split infinitive, move “really” somewhere else.
Employees must really try to work as a team. CORRECT

I want to significantly contribute to this project. WRONG
I want to contribute significantly to this project. CORRECT #1
I want to contribute to this project significantly. CORRECT #2
I want significantly to contribute to this project. CORRECT #3 (but a little awkward)

As you can see, this is actually fairly easy. However, the problem with split infinitives is that they are used all the time in colloquial (or casual) speech, and when people begin to write, they simply write the way they speak. While it’s okay to use split infinitives in your speech, it is not okay to use them in writing (especially for exams, school, or workplace).

Some people confuse infinitives with the preposition “to,” but that problem is easily solved: if you see a verb after the “to,” it’s definitely an infinitive.
For example,
I want to go to the store. <– “to go” is an infinitive; “to the store” is not an infinitive (because there is no verb after “to”)
You can’t tell me what to do
She really tried to come to class, but she was too sick.

Now that you know what split infinitives are, don’t you dare to ever use them in writing!! Oh, wait…. ( ̄ー ̄)

So at my EFL school we run the CELTA which is basically teacher training, it’s the certificate you need if you want to teach English to non-native speakers. The CELTA is a four-week course and it’s notoriously stressful (I had several meltdowns on mine but that’s by-the-by)

Anyway I went to the CELTA classroom today to clean up and saw that they’d been practising timelines on the board; timelines are useful to teach different tenses to the students (particularly continuous and perfect tenses)

And it looks like they’d been having a lot of fun with it

Congratulations on the sex Nina

Peter…. no

I didn’t know Jessica but honestly??? Goals

The use of ‘rapport’ here is particularly sinister

And my favourite

So yeah basically if you’re thinking of doing the CELTA, be ready to have a series of mental breakdowns.

It’s been a while

안녕 여러분!

I haven’t really updated on my teaching journey in a long long time. In my last post about my journey and whatnot, I had included an outline or schedule of sorts.

The outline goes:

  1. Get a master of arts in teaching English as a Second Language/Foreign Language
  2. Graduate and apply to Korvia
  3. Teach in Korea for at least three years
  4. Apply to graduate school in Korea for Teaching Korean as a Foreign Language
  5. Go back to the States to teach or stay in Korea and continue to teach English

So now I’m here to talk about step number 1. I have spent the last few months or so applying to a masters program. Through some intensive research (that I didn’t do since I’m applying with a friend), we picked four schools to apply to: University of North Carolina - Greensboro (UNCG), University of Illinois - Chicago (UIC), Northern Arizona University (NAU), and University of Texas - San Antonio (UTSA).

Keep reading

arboresloqui-latine  asked:

Hi Amanda! (Is it creepy I'm using your first name even though you don't know me?) I'm loving' that you got a job in Korea! That's so exciting!! I've been thinking about teaching ESL abroad and I was wondering what tips or resources you have/used when you were going through the process. Like which TEFL course you took or recommend?

Hello! It’s not weird, my name is out there in a lot of places. :) (it’d be creepy if you knew my last name when I had no idea who you were, so we’re good!)

So here’s the Big List of Important Things About TESL:

  • I went through Oxford Seminars for my certification. They have information sessions all the time, you’ll just have to look into when and where it would be, when it’s closest to you. They also are a 100-hour certification, which is what a lot of schools are now looking for. It makes you more marketable. It’s expensive, but keep in mind that with the course you’re paying for: (1) all of the books and resources, and (2) the lifetime placement services. Which…
  • …is what I used to get my current position. It’s exactly what it says on the tin. If you get certified and then decide you want to wait another few years to be placed somewhere, you can always come back! You have people who can match your skills to the countries you want to go to, and you’ll have somewhere to ask all kinds of questions when such things come up.
  • I thought it might be more reliable and safer than going through things I found myself on places like ESLcafe.com, which isn’t required to vet the job opportunities it posts. Until I have more experience of what I should expect and what I need to look for, I’ll probably just use the placement services. (though Dave’s is useful to talking to other ESL teachers and trading tips!)
  • Be patient. It took about six months for me to sign a contract, but in that time I did interview with a lot of places. And that helped! I had no idea what I was doing at first, but by the time I interviewed with my current school, I really knew what to expect and how to answer in a way that made me look good.
  • It’s okay to have no idea what you’re doing. I did my demo lessons today, and my boss gave a lot of constructive criticism, and while a lot of it was “ah shit, I should have remembered that”, a lot of it was “Oh. Huh, yeah that’s a good point.” You’re human, and you just happen to be in charge of the education of smaller, more impressionable humans. And that’s terrifying, but be easy on yourself. Like with any job, you won’t know what to do at first, but then you’ll figure out a groove that works for you. I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m taking over some classes tomorrow. And I’m terrified. (I feel like I wouldn’t be as scared about screwing up if I was starting a class fresh, instead of taking over in the middle of someone else’s plans?) But I’m also like “Just cool it, it’ll be okay. It’s a learning process for everyone.”

So one resource, like I mentioned above, was Dave’s ESL Cafe. It’s good for talking to other teachers about what their experiences are, ,where to avoid for what reasons… All good stuff. Just take the job postings with a grain of salt, and research a school if you’re able to.

That also being said… if you’re given an interview and they give you the school beforehand, research the school. For example, in Korea there are so many terrible private schools. There’s actually several websites with continuous updates about which schools to avoid and why. (some should be taken with a grain of salt because people are lazy and blacklist a school for making them do work, and also just because one school that’s within a… franchise? of schools is bad, doesn’t mean that every school in that organization is bad. Just that one particular school) Not only do you want to know what you’re getting into, but you also want to have some background knowledge about the school in case they ask. It’s like any job really.

Another general resource is the TEFL Reddit. It’s just fun to browse and share information.

Other useful information:

  • Have your bachelor’s degree. So many places will not consider you if you don’t have at least your BA/BS/B…whatever. In addition to the TESOL/TEFL/TESL certification. (also Oxford will not certify you without your bachelor’s degree)
  • Research the countries you want to go to. Climate, how much they pay, will they pay for your flight, will they pay for your housing, will they give you a food stipend/health insurance/assist with housing/etc, cost of living… Can you save money or are you going to be living paycheck to paycheck? Can you send money home? Will you be able to pay your bills? (like, I will have to send money home to pay my student loans. Korea pays enough that I can do that and still live a reasonable lifestyle) Vacation time? What are the school vacations? Can you springboard from where you’ll be to other places you’ll want to visit? Etc.

So this is a hugely long post, but I’m really hoping it helps!!

Japanese Expressions

Hey guys, I’ve been pretty busy these past couple weeks and unfortunately it’s not going to slow down any time soon! I’m starting my new TESOL course tomorrow which I’m very excited and nervous about. If you guys would like me to make a separate post about the TESOL course please let me know, as it might be something a few of you are interested in doing as well!

Anyways, today we’re going to focus on some common Japanese expressions! Of course this isn’t going to be a master-post of all Japanese expressions, but just the ones that I’ve come across numerous times and think are important to know!


Happy New Year・明けましておめでとうございます・あけましておめでとう
Oh! (feminine)・あら!
Thank you・ありがとう「ございます」

No, that’s okay・いいえ
You mustn't・いけない/いけません
Thank you for this meal (said before eating)・いただきます
I’m off (person leaving)・行ってきます・いってきます
See you later (person staying)・行ってらっしゃい・いってらっしゃい
Welcome (restaurant/shop staff)・いらっしゃいませ

No (informal)・ううん
Yes (informal)・うん

Let me see…・ええと…

Welcome home・お帰りなさい・おかえりなさい
Excuse me for going ahead of you (eating or leaving before someone else)・お先に・おさきに
Sorry for disturbing you・おじゃまします
Thank you for looking after me・お世話になりました・おせわになりました
Sorry I’m late・遅くなってすみません・おそくなってすみません
Take care (to a sick person)・お大事に・おだいじに
Thank you for working hard・お疲れさま「でした」・おつかれさま
Good morning・おはよう「ございます」
Sorry to have kept you waiting・お待たせしました・おまたせしました

Take care・気をつけて「ね」・きをつけて

Thank you for the meal (said after eating)・ごちそうさま「でした」
The pleasure is mine・こちらこそ
Good evening・こんばんは
Good afternoon・こんにちは

Excuse me, I’m sorry・すみません「でした」

Excuse me・失礼します・しつれいします
It’s been a long time・しばらく「です」
Well then・じゃ/じゃあ
See you again・じゃあ、またね

Is that so?・そうですか
That’s right・そうですね

Are you okay?・大丈夫「ですか」・だいじょうぶ
It’s no good・ダメです
I’m home・ただいま

Please wait a moment・ちょっと待ってください・ちょっとまってください

You’re welcome・どういたしまして
What’s wrong?・どうしたの?
Please go ahead/Here you are・どうぞ
Thank you/Sorry・どうも

What’s your name?・「お」名前は何ですか?・「お」なまえはなんですか

Let’s talk in Japanese・日本語で話しましょう・にほんごではなしましょう

Pleased to meet you・初めまして・はじめまして

It’s been a long time・久しぶり「ですね」・ひさしぶり



Please say it again・もう一度言ってください・もういちどういってください

Thank you in advance・よろしくお願いします・よろしくおねがいします

What is this perceived superiority of native speaker language teachers over non-native speaker teachers?! if someone has studied the language in significant depth with sufficient qualifications then no one should be judging them and preferring a native speaker over a highly-qualified, enthusiastic and passionate non-native. Although English is my first language there is ABSOLUTELY no way I would be able to go out and teach it solely on the basis that “i am a native speaker.” Even if I had training in TESOL, that would absolutely not mean that someone who is not a native speaker of English couldn’t do the same job and do it even better than me. Just because I am a native speaker does not mean that my English is rich and excellent and to an extremely high level. I have seen MANY non-native English speakers with significantly better skills in English than me. Being a “native speaker” doesn’t automatically qualify anyone to be a great language teacher. Passion, enthusiasm and qualifications, however, do.

Give non-native speaker teachers a chance to live their dream and work in a career that makes them happy and are vividly passionate about.

I️ wore my moms beige sherpa lined hoodie to work and a youth asked me if he could borrow it for school. I️ was kinda like …. uhh it’s a little too small for you. But he wore I️t anyway. Then he asked me if he could have I️t. I️ explained that I️t was my moms and if he wanted I️t he’d have to ask her. He wrote this note. My mom and I️ had already decided he could keep I️t but the note was a magical touch.


Using Film in the ESL Classroom: Love Actually (Week 8)

[See previous lesson plans involving TV shows, music, and zombies

Lesson Plan

Topic: Giving Advice

Scenario: A Moral Dilemma

Level: Pre-Upper Intermediate; 14 years old-adult; 40 minutes 


  • Grammar:Ss will review how to give advice using the second conditional [If + past…would + infinitive], e.g. “If I were you, I would study for the test tomorrow.“ Ss will review alternative ways of giving advice, e.g. "I suggest,” “You should…”
  • Vocabulary: Ss will learn the expression “a moral dilemma” and then discuss a specific moral dilemma in the film Love Actually; Ss will also learn 5 colloquial expressions from the film, e.g. “to have a poke around,” “to check out (something),“ "to be on the right track,” “to swap,” and “to show yourself out"    
  • Pronunciation: Ss will practice intonation by reading excerpts from Love Actually aloud as a class  

After introducing and reviewing the second conditional, I wanted to challenge my students by using a more abstract scenario. Prior to this week, my topics have been relatively straight-forward and concrete, at least in terms of vocabulary: my classes on dating & relationships, the zombie apocalypse, and gift-giving haven’t involved difficult concepts. 

This week, I introduced the phrase "a moral dilemma” and showed two scenes from Love Actually as an example. (When Juliet sees Mark’s video of her wedding; and when Mark visits her house). I anticipated that the term would pose difficulties for my students, especially the abstract word “moral,” and I knew that the colloquialisms in the dialogue would also be challenging. So, I made sure that everything else was simple: the language that the students used to discuss the film–“I would,” “he should,” etc.–was familiar, so even if they struggled to understand certain words, they could still discuss the scene. 

Whenever I show a video clip in class, I always play it twice. After each viewing, I ask students questions to check their comprehension and prepare for the discussion. I also think it’s a good idea to keep students engaged by giving them a task during the second viewing, e.g. a gap-fill activity. I didn’t want to do a gap-fill activity during this class, so I had Ss read a transcript of the dialogue as they listened. 


  • T will ask Ss, “When do we use the second conditional?”. T will review the two ways to use the second conditional: (1) to discuss imaginary/unreal situations (“If zombies came to Chongqing tomorrow, I would escape"); (2): to give advice (“If I were you, I would study for the test.”) [1 minute]
  • T will review how to ask for and give advice with both the second conditional and “should” [2 minutes]
  • T will present 4-5 scenarios to the class, and ask Ss for advice. Example: “My ex-boyfriend invited me to go to the cinema. What would you do, if you were in my shoes?” [5 minutes]
  • T will ask Ss, “When do you usually give someone advice?” After listening to several responses from Ss, T will introduce and define the expression, “a moral dilemma” [5 minutes]
  • T will tell Ss that they are going to watch two scenes from the film Love Actually twice. T will introduce the characters in the scene (Mark and Juliet) and give a brief background of their relationship. When Ss watch the scene for the first time, they will just watch and listen. Afterwards, T will ask questions to check comprehension, e.g. “Why did Juliet go to Mark’s house?” When Ss watch the scene again, they will read a transcript of the conversation. T will ask Ss to summarize what happened to check comprehension. T will then ask Ss for their opinion: “Why do you think Mark didn’t want to show the video to Juliet?” [15 minutes]
  • T will explain words and expressions in the transcript: to pass, to check out, to have a poke around, to be on the right track  [5 minutes]
  • T will show the second half of the scene. Then she will ask Ss: “What happened?”; “Why didn’t Mark want Juliet to see the video?”; “What did Juliet realize? Why was she surprised?”; “Why is this a moral dilemma?”; “What would you do, if you were Mark?”; “What would you do, if you were Juliet?” [5-10 minutes]
  • T will ask Ss to guess what happens. T will show Ss the final scene, and then ask follow-up questions, using the second conditional, e.g. “If you were Mark, would you have told Juliet how you felt?” [2 minutes]


  • The scene selections: my students were engrossed in the story, so they were motivated to answer questions 
  • The structure of the class: the review at the beginning of class built students’ confidence and prepared them for the discussion; the scenes were short, so students weren’t overwhelmed by the dialogue; asking comprehension questions after each scene ensured that students could participate in the discussion that followed; and the discussion after each scene helped clarify any confusion
  • The breakdown of the term “moral dilemma”: students easily understood the term when it was presented in stages 


  • I should have spent more time on the colloquialisms in the dialogue. Many students didn’t seem to understand certain expressions, and although this didn’t affect their ability to discuss the scenes, they were frustrated.