2008 2008

Jumat, 19 Desember 2008

Improve The Quality Of Your Writing In Less Than 60 Seconds

by: Jesse Dawson



Writing is not really an art. It is a craft – and you can learn a craft. Follow these four techniques to improve the quality of your writing, no matter what type of writing you do.

Writing Tip #1: After you run your spell checking software, go back and re-read your writing. Few people are good spellers, which is why so many of us rely on spell checking software. Unfortunately, spell checkers have their own flaws and sometimes flag silly errors. For example, the words "form" and "from" are both good, legitimate words. But if you wrote a business letter that said, "We took $200 form your checking account to cover the payment," most spell checkers won't catch that oversight. Yet this simple typo changed the meaning of the sentence. Spell checkers are a convenience; they are neither authoritative nor foolproof, so don’t rely on them. Always read through your writing at least once after you spell check -- and keep a dictionary handy.

Writing Tip #2: Use that famous "KISS" principle for your punctuation. You know the rule, don't you? "Keep It Simple, Stupid." Apply this rule to punctuation. If you don't know how or when to use a semicolon, then avoid semicolons; you'll only display ignorance if you get it wrong. In keeping with that KISS principle, limit your use of commas. Far too many people use far too many commas. Just because a sentence is long does not mean it needs a comma. Well-placed commas make reading easier. Commas thrown in simply to break up words are incorrect and distracting. Another important rule of punctuation is to avoid using exclamation marks, almost always. If your choice of words, sentence structure, and overall prose don't convey the sense of excitement you are seeking, then using an exclamation mark won't do it. If your writing conveys your sense of excitement, an exclamation point is, well, pointless.

Writing Tip #3: Make sure your writing is grammatically correct. You don't need the skills of an English teacher to use correct grammar. You simply need to learn the basics -- verbs and subjects agree in number, for example. That is, "he was" is correct; "they were" is correct. To say "they was" is incorrect. If you are not sure about using grammar, especially if English isn't your "first" language, go to some good reference sites for fundamental English grammar and usage. (If you are writing in another language, the same advice holds true for that language.) Invest in a good, basic grammar book or style manual. Check with any bookstore, online or offline, and you can find one.

4. When you finish some writing, put it aside for a couple of hours or days (if possible), then re-read it before you let go of it. Of course, if you're writing or dictating a business letter or other "time-sensitive" document, this may not be possible. If you set your article or story aside for a day, then re-read it, you may notice glaring errors or want to make significant changes. And you thought before you had finished. Many writers and teachers have commented that all true writing is done in the rewriting. Take that advice to heart and you will significantly improve your writing.

These four steps, rechecking your spelling, taking care with punctuation, watching for fundamental grammar errors, and rewriting, will improve your writing. They are proven tools used by every wordsmith.

Top 10 Freelance Writing Resources On The Internet

by: David Drake



RentACoder.com

If you are new to home based money making industry as a writer, RentACoder is probably a good place to start from because its procedures are quite straightforward. Signing up for this website is totally free but you will need to pay 15% of each project you win, as a service fee. Since the money is escrowed by your buyer before project inception, your payments are guaranteed if you do a quality service.

Scriptlance.com

There are many job postings at scriptlance, however; many of those projects never get rewarded. It is quite difficult for a beginner to start off at scriptlance because there is a lot of scamming going on in the bidding phase. However, if you are able to build a good reputation, you can be sure to have a lot of buyers awarding you projects on long term basis.

Guru.com

Guru is a professional freelance website which allows free membership as well as subscriptions known as Guru VENDOR. Although there are many job listings, many buyers choose to have Guru Vendors bid for their projects, so if you sign up with a basic account, you might not go too far with this website.

Elance.com

Elance too has two categories of membership; basic which is free of charge and professional which should be subscribed to. Upon sign up, you cannot bid on any project until you pass an evaluation test from the website. Elance too is a secured site as it facilitates payment escrow.

Craigslist.org

This is a biggest classified portal on the internet and so possibilities of finding work in here is endless. As a writer you could either search for freelance work or post an advertisement promoting your services, free of charge. The downside is that, according to website rules you cannot post too many ads as you will become suspended from the website.

Getacoder.com

This website operates quite similar to RentACoder with the exception of allowing free memberships as well as, premium memberships. Their commission per project is 10% of the project value plus a fixed charge of $5.00

The downfall however is that, if your account remains on zero balance for over 30 days, it will be frozen.

Gofreelance.com

This is a very professional website with a lot of professional and highly paid writing jobs on the offering. However, you will need to subscribe as a member to work. But the good news is that you can apply for a trial period of 7 days by paying only $2.95 thereby, you can have a taste of what you are getting in to before investing money on membership.

Essaywriters.net

If you are a professional writer, essaywriters.net is your perfect opportunity. Signing up for their service is easy however; you will only be able to take up projects once your application is accepted by the website within two weeks.

Getafreelancer.com

You will find quite a lot of writing related freelance opportunities at getafreelancer. Membership is free and here’s how it works. Getafreelancer allow new users to make only 15 bids per month. For each month a writer remains a member at the website, 1 point is added. So if your membership is 1 year old, you will get the chance to bid on 27 (15 + 12) projects per month.

Freelancewriting.com

This is a supermarket of freelance writing jobs. What this website does is to obtain feeds from top freelance websites and display all relevant jobs. So if you don’t have time to spare on several websites, this will be your ideal shopping place.

3 Keys to Better Online Copywriting

by: Daegan Smith


So you want to be a better online copywriter, huh? You may be good at writing –getting straight A’s for research reports and that sort of thing. But online copywriting is different sort of animal. And as good as you may be at your game. This one has a few rules of its own.

When you copywrite for the internet. You are basically doing two things. You are doing marketing and writing good articles.

If you neglect either, you will put across the impression that you are on a marketing campaign that has a few screws loose. The marketing aspect will gauge whether you can attract attention. It will ascertain if you can connect with the reader and get his or her attention.

The writing aspect will prove if you can get the message across clearly and creatively. If your writing is not polished, the reader will get the impression that you are not a professional at what you are doing. And this is a bad thing to start with.

To avoid this you must keep in mind a few keys to online copywriting success. These keys will help you get a firmer grasp on the interplay between writing and marketing so you can better you copywriting powers.

1. Be Creative

Don’t look for rules when doing your copywriting. Rules are good because they help set a standard for which all of your work will adhere to. Unfortunately, rules can sometimes dampen one’s creative spirit.

In today’s fast-paced information world, he who remains dormant loses out. To keep up with the times you must be constantly on the look out for fresh and exciting ways to get your customer’s attention. This could be a new concept of writing or a creative way to push an advertisement.

The internet makes a lot of new things possible. We are only beginning to scrape the tip of the iceberg with the possibilities the internet brings to the online marketer, and the online copywriter.

For example, some would use startling trivia to get the readers attention. Or blurt out something so preposterous, it would shock the life out of readers – which of course will lead to a logical conclusion that drives interest to the product or service the copywriter is pitching.

However, you must be careful that your creativity will not come across as annoying or misleading. This will drive people away instead of attracting them.

For example, some copywriters would create ads that present a seemingly irresistible offer. The reader, interested by the ad would read on further, only to find out that the first offer was just a ruse to get attention. This would seriously annoy the reader and dash any hope that he or she would develop any further interest in your product.

2. Attention, Attention, Attention

If you ad cannot attract attention, it is a failure. Your ad should be one that when placed among other ads, it would stand out.

Remember that you are not the only one who tries to get ads across to internet users. There will always be competition waiting in the wings. Never be complacent and settle for so-so advertisements. They will only get lost in the rubble of ads that litter the internet.

How do you make the ad stand-out? First of all, you cannot make the ads stand-out for all people. You must remember that you are targeting a specific portion of the population. If your products are pipes, you are trying to speak directly to those who are in need of pipes.

You will have to make an ad that stands out to them. Get their attention! Say something loud, but honest! Make them an offer they cannot refuse. But always make an offer you can come through with.

3. Focus on Benefits, Not the Features

People are not concerned with the features, believe it or not. They want a general statement of how your product or service will benefit them. Don’t go around saying, “Look at my deluxe, 200-horsepower, chrome-plated, vacuum cleaner. It can suck up marbles, dust, and other stuff.” This does not attract people.

Say instead, “Clean any carpet, no matter how dirty it may be!” This leaves out the details but goes ahead to address the direct need of the user. If your product features details that you are sure will sweep the reader off his feet. You may present if after addressing his primary need.

Don’t Forget These Keys

These are merely guidelines that outline the basic tenets of online copywriting. With your talent, you can be sure that you can aid the evolution of the online copywriter. Keep these keys in mind and you can be sure your online copywriting skills will dramatically improve.

7 Ways To Get Paid To Write Online

by: David Drake



More and more people tend to earn at home nowadays. However, the catch is that stay-at-home jobs don’t work with many fields. If you are a good writer, then you are among the lucky lot and we are about to discover how it is so.

Usually freelance writing work is available through various resources through freelance exchange websites such as rentacoder.com, scriptlance.com etc. There are also a number of sites for classified advertisements where these work can be easily found; e.g. craigslist.com. If you search through such sites, you will understand that you have many options.

? Blog writing and reviewing is one popular option open to writers. Many freelance exchange websites have openings for this kind of projects with an increasing trend. The task at hand could either be to write on a given topic which will become a blog or to make comments on already written blogs with a back link to the buyer’s account, so as to increase search engine rankings to a particular site.

? Writing for SEO is another popular method. Many website owners are interested in getting a high rank in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) as it will be advantageous for increasing web traffic and their sales. Therefore, website owners will provide writers with sets of keywords to be included in the article. The writer should be skilled enough to meaningfully use these contents without harming the flow and the originality of the article.

? Writing Newsletters is another method. Various institutes now outsource their newsletter writing through many websites. The writer is given specific topics to be written in standard or specific newsletter formats. This work can be considered relatively easy due to the nature of the work. In most cases, you will be given a newsletter template where your job will be to fill in the content according to the given format.

? Writing auto-responders is an ideal job for creative freelance writers. It is usually a very simple task requiring high creativity. Your task as a freelance writer in here is to come up with attractive auto responders with plenty of creative thought.

? Content writing for websites is a highly paid job because it is the writing that turns visitors in to buyers. So if you are a writer with high language skills and if you have a very good creative mind, this job is for you.

? Ghost writers are those who get paid the most. Whenever you are expected to become a ghost writer, it has to do something with publishing the content be it an e-book, research paper or a single article. As a ghost writer, you are expected to come up with the general outline of your project. Once everything is discussed, the writer will start on the project.

? However, if you want to retain your copyrights and take credit for what you do, you still have the choice to do that with websites such as associatedcontent.com. It’s a place where you can simply publish your article and get paid for the number of page hits you receive. In other words, the more popular your articles become more money you will earn!

Rabu, 10 Desember 2008

ESL and TEFL: Teaching English Grammar to Children through Games


by: Shelley Vernon


One of the questions ESL and TEFL teachers are asking on forums the world over is: how can you teach grammar through games?

If you don’t want your class to glaze over with dictation, writing exercises and “Jimmy, would you please read paragraph 1,” then take heart! You’ll find you can teach everything you want with games, and the children remember it better to boot.

Here is a disarmingly simple game, which can be used for many purposes. Please note this particular game is for small groups of up to 20 children or so, and you need floor space. If you have more than 20 children, or no floor space then please see the bottom of the article for games suited to your needs.

The players stand round in a circle with one player standing in the middle. Each player has a picture of an item, or a word flash card, except for the player in the middle. Call out two of the picture card items or words. The two players holding these cards have to change places without the person in the middle grabbing one of their spots. If the person in the middle manages to slip into the spot in the circle then the one left standing goes in the middle. The new person in the middle hands their flash card to the child taking their place in the circle.

If someone is stuck in the middle for two turns say, "All Change!” When the players hear this they must all change places, which gives the person in the middle a very good chance of joining the circle. Once everyone has had one go ask your class to pass their picture to the right, and take the one handed to them from the left. You can give them another go with the new picture.

Notice that only 2 children move at any one time (aside from when you say “All Change), which makes it easy to keep control.

How could you use this game in your language teaching? Firstly, you can use it to reinforce new vocabulary, secondly, for revision, thirdly to help spelling by playing the game with word flashcards instead of pictures, and fourthly, to practise a grammatical structure.

Let us say you want to teach the conditional tense and you start with “I would like”. Hand out pictures of food that your pupils already know. Call out “I would like bananas and pie”. The pupil with the bananas tries to change places with the pupil holding the pie without the person in the middle taking one of the spots in the circle. Continue until everyone has had a go, repeating the target structure each time. With a class that learns quickly you can also introduce the rest of the declension (he and she would like, etc.). You are now ready to proceed to a speaking game where your pupils use the target structure, as they will have heard it repeatedly by now. You can follow the speaking game up with a writing game, and hey presto your children can understand, say, read and write the new target structure.

Now what better way is there to teach grammar than that? You are teaching grammar by absorption and repetition, which is the way we learn our native tongue, and for children it is by far the best way to go.

You can sign up free for games and ideas for all class sizes, from private lessons to large classes on http://www.teachingenglishgames.com

About The Author

Sabtu, 22 November 2008

Learning English Online

by melville jackson


There are many ways in which you can learn the English language online. Learning English online is of great help especially for people who wants to go abroad for the sake of their studies or for their jobs. There are many ways in which you can study English. But the online courses which have emerged are of great help since they offer comprehensive courses. In these courses the beginner gets to know about the basics of the language and can analyze the language with the skills imparted to them by online tutorials. Therefore in recent times, most people prefer the online courses than the rest.

Get help from tutors: The best way to study English is to take the help of tutors who teach English. They will come to your house and teach you. From some experienced people you can take help and study the language in the best way.

Watching foreign movies (English) helps a lot: : Another way in which one can grasp the language is by watching the English movies. When you see the people in the movie expressing their emotions in some foreign language then you will gradually learn that language (English here) very easily.

Story book is recommended by online English tutorials: : Reading a lot of story books can help. This is because of the fact that when you are truing to read anything in a foreign language (and especially a story), then it is extremely easy to learn that language. Reading story books is also recommended by the online English tutorials.

Recommended newspaper reading: : Reading newspaper is also of great help since you get to know about the world and also your own country from the newspaper. It is much like thinking in English, a foreign language. When you start thinking in English you will learn this language very quickly.

Exams help to understand where you stand: : Give exams in English. Online courses offer this help and you can actually test your skills and the knowledge that you have obtained so long by giving the test. The online schools actually offer these tests. When you give the test then you get to know more about the language.

Language skills are polished and sharpened: : Pronunciation and language skills: when you study in an online school you get a clear idea about the language and the pronunciations. In English pronunciations are of great importance. When you study from an online school, your language skills are polished and sharpened.

Kamis, 20 November 2008

Learn English Laughing

by: Frank Gerace


Humor and Learning

Humor is important in learning a language. Not only does it enable the student to learn new vocabulary in context but it also is a motivating force. When a student understands a joke she begins to feel like she is in the world of the new language. Puns are especially valuable because they stress meaning. We'll give a few jokes and puns as examples and hoope that they will move other teachers to use this powerful resource.

Puns

Laughing? Well, maybe not. Puns usually make people groan. They say that for a pun to be good, it has to be really bad. As a matter of fact, they are called "groaners". A pun is a little word game, playing with language. Most puns use a word that has two meanings, or use two words that sound almost the same.

Here are some puns. Use your knowledge of English, and your dictionary if necessary, to explain the pun.

Example: Why is an empty purse always the same? Because there is never any change in it. In this pun, the word "change" has two meanings: 1. coins and small bills, 2. alteration.

1. Do you know why it’s easy for a hunter to find a leopard? Because a leopard is always spotted.

"to spot", verb: to see, to identify. "spotted", adjective: with spots.

2. When gambling became legal in the city, everyone agreed that the city was now a bettor place.

What we hear could be either of two words that sound the same: "better", adjective, "an improvement", therefore "an improved place". "bettor", noun, "gambler", "someone who bets", therefore entonces "a place for gamblers".

3. The principal called the young cross-eyed teacher into his office. "I’m sorry to say, Ms. Jones, we’re going to have to let you go." "But why, sir? I thought I was doing a good job." "It’s simple," said the principal, "you can’t control your pupils.".

Of course, the word "pupil" could refer to a student or to the middle of the iris of the eye..

4. My friend Sam had decided his kitchen needed painting, and instead of hiring a professional, he decided to do it himself. In the afternoon, I went over to his house to see if he needed some help. When I arrived, I found Sam working hard painting the kitchen walls. But instead of wearing old clothes, he was wearing a leather jacket and a ski parka. I asked him why he was dressed that way on such a hot day. He brought me the paint bucket and told me to read the instructions. I did. It said, "For best results, put on two coats."

The pun is the word "coat" either another layer or paint or an article of clothing.

5. The previous pun about the extra "coat" reminds me of the dog that has a fur coat and pants.

OK, the dog has a fur coat but it doesn't have fur trousers. In this case "pants" o the way dogs breathe rapidly and noisily.

Those were puns. Now for a few jokes.

Jokes

Three Police Jokes

First Joke:

A police officer stops a woman for speeding and asks her very nicely if he could see her license.

She replies in a huff, "I wish you guys would get your act together. Just yesterday you take away my license and then today you expect me to show it to you!"

Vocabulary and Expresssions:

"in a huff": annoyed

"get your act together": get organized

Second Joke: While driving along the back roads of a small town, two truckers came to an overpass with a sign that read CLEARANCE 11'3".

They got out and measured their rig, which was 12'4".

"What do you think?" one asked the other.

The driver looked around carefully, then shifted into first. "Not a cop in sight. Let's take a chance!"

Vocabulary and Expresssions:

"overpass": viaduct

"rig": here truck. Any specialized tool or mechanical arrangement.

"clearance": room to pass, or "clear". "Clearance" is the noun of the verb "to clear" which means (among other meanings) de: "go through without touching"

11' 3" is the abbreviation of 11 feet 3 inches;

12' 4" is the abbreviation of 12 feet 4 inches.

Third Joke:

Recently, a distraught wife went to the local police station, along with her next-door neighbor, to report that her husband was missing. The policeman asked for a description of the missing man.

The wife said, "He is 35 years old, 6 foot 2, has dark eyes, dark wavy hair, an athletic build, weighs 185 pounds, is soft-spoken, and is good to the children."

The next-door neighbor protested, "Your husband is 54 years old, 5 foot 6, chubby, weighs 275 pounds, is bald, has a big mouth, and is mean to your children."

The wife replied, "Yes, but who wants HIM back?"

Vocabulary and Expresssions:

Hubby: popularform of "husband", spouse

distraught: stressed, very worried.

chubby: slightly fat

mean: In this context, strict, severe, even a little cruel

bald: no hair

next-door neighbor: the person who lives in the house to one side of yours

6 foot 4: six feet and 4 inches

How to keep on Learning by Laughing?

You can enter "esl puns" or "esl joke" in Google to find many sites that share our belief that puns and jokes are good ways to help learners of English.

Everything I Needed to Know About Article Writing I Learned from My English Teacher

by: Glenn Beach


By now you probably understand how important writing for trade publications is to establishing credibility in the home business world.

On to the first hurdle: how do you get past that HUGE writers' block? How do you know what to write about, and how do you make it unique, informative and interesting?

Remember how you resisted writing those reports in school, insisting that you would never need to know how to do that in "real life"? Welcome to the real world of business writing.

Your English teacher gave you the bare bones: pick a topic, research, take notes, make lists and an outline, write a rough draft in your own words, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Don't forget introductory paragraphs, summaries, footnotes and bibliographies.

Thanks to the internet, you can use a search engine, copy and paste, cut and paste, type, cut and paste edit into infinity, include hyperlinks and add your resource box at the end.

But...you're still stuck on picking a topic. You feel as imaginative as a two by four. Start with your own home business, internet marketing, or entrepreneurial problems. Better yet, start with your journal. You don't keep one? Here, you can borrow some of my own entries: (better yet, each of these items is looking for a foster home)

Didn't want to get out of bed this morning.

Turned on the computer and would rather play a computer game than work.

The quiet is driving me crazy...music would help...now I want to dance...now that I'm up, I could vacuum....wonder what's on tv...

The noise is driving me crazy, I can't concentrate.

Ok, I finally got started. Ten hours later, I just can't stop. I wonder why my wife is glaring at me.

I can't finish anything--the next new project always looks more interesting.

Friends call and want to chat, the cats want fed, that window needs fixing.

How do I know when to be persistent and when to try something else?

My website has lots of visitors, many don't stay for more than 30 seconds, few sign up.

I'd rather be __________ (fill in the blank): sleeping, golfing, fishing, watching tv, eating, reading, swimming.

Now let's turn that list into a list of how-to's. I need to learn how to: get enough sleep; stay focused; identify goals, strategies and action plans; develop credibility among friends and family; identify success (measurable results?); make my website more sticky; encourage prospects to become active affiliates; balance work and pleasure; plan my day; stay motivated... and so on.

First I brainstorm: when have I been able to accomplish any of these things? (take notes) Then it's off to the search engines. (take notes; bookmarking and copy and paste makes this easy) Now organize your notes: whatever floats your boat, whether it be lists, outlines, mind mapping or freeform writing.

Just keep searching, taking notes and bookmarking until something hits you over the head. "This really might work, especially if you did this first and then tried this..." Be patient, it may take a little time.

Don't copy word for word what another writer has already written; but on the other hand, don't worry about inventing the lightbulb either. If you've done much surfing at all, you realize that the internet is HUGE, a veritable wasteland.

The chances of two people reading exactly the same articles or websites and coming to exactly the same conclusions are slim. Any bleary-eyed surfer will THANK you for your arduous research.

And don't rule out your own experiences and thoughts. I once was dealing with a problem and was becoming more frustrated and angry by the minute. I finally just dropped it and went for a walk. (You can substitute any of those things, such as fishing, that you used to fill in the blank above).

While walking I was thinking about another situation in my life, was looking at the part of the natural world I was walking through, and came to a brilliant conclusion. As soon as it occurred to me, I saw that the solution also applied to the problem I was trying to solve earlier. So you see, sometimes it's good to just follow your instinct and GO FISHING.

I'll write that all up into an article some day soon. It's on my list. Meanwhile, I've got a few more ideas I'm writing up first. Now I can't wait to get them all written into articles. So...there's my topics, my motivation, and my action plan.

If you've followed these steps, thanks to your English teacher, the internet, your own experiences, and your stumbling attempts at writing, you're now an author. But more than that, you've learned:

* how to set yourself a goal: new affiliate signups;
* a strategy: making your name familiar or establishing yourself as an expert;
* and an action plan: write an article, submit it to dozens of websites, post it on your own website, maybe even add a few guest articles and start up a newsletter.

Then start over at the beginning...and don't forget how important it is to take time out for fishing.

Learn To Teach English As A Foreign Language

by: John Davison


Perhaps you are at career crossroads, and you are looking for a more fulfilling and interesting way to utilize your skills. If you are interested in teaching and traveling to exciting and interesting destinations, then you might want to consider teaching English as a foreign language abroad. English is the most commonly spoken language in the world today, and desire of those in other countries to learn the English language is growing at a steady rate. Therefore, there is a demand for bright and motivated individuals to teach conversational and written English to those abroad, both young and old.

The benefits of teaching English as a foreign language in another country are numerous. Not only are you providing a service to those who desire it, but you will benefit from those you teach as well. In choosing to teach the English language in one of several locales such as Southeast Asia, South America, Western Europe, and the Middle East, you will learn about new cultures and traditions. You will have the opportunity to shatter stereotypes regarding our own American culture. You will have the opportunity to do a large amount of traveling to neighboring nations. You will become self-reliant and self-assured on your journeys, and you will certainly make many new friends.

Teaching English as a foreign language can have many benefits for your career as well. Your exposure to new surroundings and your experience teaching will garner you excellent communication skills. You might find that your prior work experience coupled with your new teaching venture will provide you with a considerable amount of career options when you have completed your teaching duties. You will have opportunities to change your life and career on a global scale.

Because the demand for instructors to teach the English language abroad has increased, so has the demand for more qualified individuals to apply. Language schools are highly discriminating when it comes to hiring new instructors. That is why it is important to get your certification in TEFL/TESOL (Teaching English as a foreign language/Teaching English as a second language) if you intend to apply for a position with a language school. Certification demonstrates to potential employers that you are serious in taking on this challenging new career. Certification can be achieved by taking courses at a number of campuses nationwide, and there are even certification course programs available online. Receiving your certification for teaching English as a foreign language will certainly prepare you to be a more effective and successful teacher by instructing you on how to teach grammar, how to teach vocabulary, how to teach speaking, how to teach writing, how to motivate your students, how to manage a classroom, and how to construct lesson plans. Receiving your certification will also better prepare you for a move abroad, which can be daunting and stressful. Having the peace of mind in knowing that you are fully qualified to perform your new job will help to alleviate some of the stress in throwing yourself into an entirely new country and culture.

Teaching the English language to students in foreign nations can be exciting, fulfilling, and highly enjoyable. It is a mutually beneficial experience for you and your students. Not only are you representing your own country and culture, and imparting your personal knowledge of the English language and your culture onto others, but you are also learning about other individuals and their various experiences and traditions. While broadening your mind and experiencing something totally unique, you are also embarking on an exciting new career, one that has the opportunity to open many new doors for you professionally.

English Pronunciation For The ESL Learner

by: Lynn Bo


What is an accent? An accent is the carryover of sounds from the speaker’s original language to the second language. When we are infants we literally have the ability to speak any language in the world. We are all born with the necessary speech mechanisms and the capability to learn any language. We end up speaking the language that we do solely by reinforcement. The sounds a baby hears and the speech patterns he is exposed to are the ones that she develops. Soon the baby gains the fine motor skill and control she needs to create sounds herself. The infant will begin by babbling and playing with sounds. Soon she is able to produce simple vowel/consonant combinations which maybe why mama and dada are often their first words, they can make the combination and the big reaction it elicits reinforces their efforts. By 18 months she will be able to produce about 20 words that have meaning and understand around 50 words. Now babies of course have the ultimate immersion experience. In order to obtain any control over their environment they must learn the language and they are surrounded by the language almost 24 hours a day.

Of course the second language learner does not have these advantages. Even if you are now living in an English speaking country, and attending classes to learn English you will still have opportunity to speak and hear your first language with friends and family, this is especially true in America a county of immigrants where finding a community of people with the same language background is possible.

Another challenge is the expectation factor. For many years you have heard a speech pattern and there is an expectation of what you will hear when others speak. You are predicting what sounds will come next based on your subconscious knowledge of language. I call this listening with an accent. It is necessary to break through this barrier, to really hear how others are speaking, to actively listen.

To listen is to learn, and I don’t mean that in an existential way. I really mean that if you can’t hear the way the sounds are produced you cannot learn how to produce the sound. Maybe that is why ETS added speaking and listening sections to the TOEFL. The two skills are so closely linked.

Once you can hear the sounds you must add them to your own phonetic library. This means that you have in your mind the knowledge and understanding of how to produce every sound or phoneme in you original language. Now you must add on some sounds that are in the American sound system that is not in your original language sounds system. Record your self reading a brief paragraph. Only 2-3 sentences in English. Then listen to the recording. Write down exactly what you hear on the recording. Not what you meant to say but what you really did say. How is it different from what was written? Did you say th, when it was written or did you say d? I would suggest sticking with the consonants at first because the differences are easier to pinpoint.

If you would like to get help in improving your pronunciation it would be best to go to a speech therapist rather than an ESL teacher. Speech therapists are trained in physiology of the speech mechanisms and musculature. They understand what is involved in producing each sound and are trained to identify and work with articulation problems. Though an accent is not the same as an articulation problem they have similar characteristics. When a client has difficulty articulating specific sounds the speech therapist can hear and see what they are doing differently and describe and show how to do it correctly. When a client has an accent the speech therapist can see what the person is doing differently and show and describe how to make the sound so it more closely approximates the standard.

The most important advice I can give you is to keep practicing. At first it may feel like you are exaggerating when you “speak with an American accent” but I am sure that the native American speakers around you will not even notice. They will merely be impressed with your great diction!

4 Easy Ways To Learn English

by: George Williams


Now, you decide to learn how to speak English. There are many online resources that can help you improve and practice you English. Now if you are like most other ESL students reading this article then you already have a fairly good notion of the English language. You most likely are looking for a place to practice and enhance your English skills. So, here are four easy steps to do just that.

1. Preparation

There is no need to start from the beginning, since you already a fairly good notion of English. Take stock of your current skills and find out where you are weak. Once you know what you need to learn...all you have to do is learn it.

So, pick out something from your list of things that you know you need/want to learn. Take a few minutes to analyze why you want learn this information, and make sure you focus on that particular point while studying. It is super easy to get side-tracked onto other topics.

If you do see something of interest while you are on your search for information...make sure to take note of it so you can come back at a later time. But for now...FOCUS on the task at hand!

2. Practice

Now that you know what you know what you want to learn, jump over to Google or Yahoo and do a quick search on your chosen topic of interest. From there you should be able to find sites that will provide you with tools and resources such as audio files, video files, exercises, and tests to practice what you want to learn.

3. Use

Alright! You are ripping, raring, and ready-to-go! You studied what it was you wanted to learn, and now you need to put it into use in real life situations. Use what you just learned on your friends and acquaintances. Hit the forums and try out what you now know. Try to use it at least thirty times to really assimilate it well and make it a part of you.

4. Evaluate

Once you are done for the day, sit down for a few minutes and evaluate how you did. Did you learn everything that is required? Are you still weak in certain areas of this topic?

If you have a strong determination to learn English, take note of these things. Start making plan now and start practice it tomorrow. Make sure to do these four steps everyday, and you will steadily see your skills progressing. So now...just go do it!

About The Author

Tips To Learn English

by: George Williams


Do you have any plan to pursue your further education abroad? Will you need English for your career or your education? If so, you may wish to investigate your options for learning, or improving, your English skills.

The TOEFL Test: TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) is a test used by many colleges, universities, government agencies and exchange and scholarship programs in the US, UK and Canada as a means of evaluating the language skills of a person whose first language is not English.

You can find TOEFL study guides easily online with other recommended resources listed. You may be able to access some of the sample tests and prepare with personal study. Or you may look for a class with an instructor to help you prepare for the test.

ESL Classes: ESL classes are a common means for students to learn English with group of classmates. These can be in the form of an evening class with various individuals attending or may be part of a college program during the day.

The course length and the topics covered will differ from country to country and school to school. Some summer programs are geared for international students to gain a basic grasp of the language before starting studies in English taught classes of the college or university.

Since the standards of passing a course, or the course material itself, will vary drastically, some students may feel that the language skills gained upon completing the course does not equip them to handle school work or social interactions adequately.

Some schools offer students and alternative of home-stay programs for students. Home-stay programs benefit the student by placing them for several weeks or months with a host family that speaks English. The student is then able to immerse him or herself in the culture and social speaking of the English country they are living in. There are also online ESL programs that may be suitable for distance education, especially if programs are not readily available in your area.

Private Tutors: Another popular method of learning English is with private tutors. The materials and methods used by ESL tutors will vary greatly and it is important to establish what material will be used and to feel comfortable with the tutor. Asking friends or other students for references can be helpful in finding a good tutor.

A combination of these English learning methods will be effective as well. You can take a summer course while staying with a home-stay host family and then arranging for private tutoring during the school year. Making an effort to use your new language skills regularly in social situations will improve your progress regardless of the program or course you are using.

Rabu, 05 November 2008

How to Easily Write an Article that has Value

by Lambert Klein


Do you struggle to write valuable articles that are concise and informative? If so then read on to learn some tips and techniques that can assist you with your article writing.

Most beginning authors have trouble writing good articles. Often times you will stare at a blank screen and just don't know where to start. If you have a plan such as an outline, then this helps by focusing your attention on each part of the process instead of the whole project at once. An outline can make it manageable and easier.

Now that you understand how an outline can help, let's look at an example that has worked for many successful authors.

Where to start

First write an outline for your article. The outline could go like this.

1. Article Title: Choose an eye-catching, keyword filled descriptive headline.

2. Article Introduction: Introduce your subject by telling the reader about the subject, and what exactly the points is that you will be discussion.

3. Sub Headlines: (There could be 3 sub headlines here take or give a few) List each sub headline.

4. Article conclusion: Sum up what you just discussed while giving any solutions or advice.

5. Your resource Box: An interesting sentence or two with a link back to your web site.

Each sub headline will be one point from several in your article. This will make your article easier to write and read.

Now you will want to do research on your subject. You can do this by searching on Google, Wikipedia and Article directories to name a few. It may be easier if you research each sub headline separate.

Okay, gather your notes and begin writing your article. Do not copy and paste. You should use your own words. Often it helps if you write like you talk.

Just follow the outline above and fill in each section. When you are done go over it and see how well it reads. Change anything that doesn't flow well so that it does. After you are satisfied go back over your article and fix any grammar mistakes and miss-spellings.

Finally have someone else read your article and give feedback to you.

You may find this to be a bit hard at first, but once you do it a few times it will speed up your writing and increase your article appeal too.

Why are you still sitting there? Let's get that article going.

About the Author

100% Unique Articles at Fantastic Prices With Fast Turnaround Time http://www.ghostwriter4you.com/

Senin, 03 November 2008

Learning Tips for Students

by: Dev Sri



Long ago, there was a time, when parents told children to read slowly and loudly to understand everything they read.

A lot of things have changed. Today's children have bigger syllabi to learn. Now, learning experts and teachers ask students to read faster and grasp important points.

Here are a few tips for students who have a lot to learn, but very little time.

Make a Timetable

Your timetable should have separate time for eating, playing games, exercise, reading newspaper and study materials. You should not only make a timetable, but also should stick to it.

Give priority to leisure and games in the afternoon, but separate early morning time for studies. Make sure you read all the class notes before you go to bed.

While allotting time to different subjects, allot more time to difficult subjects. You need only less time for the subjects that are easier for you to learn.

Taking Notes

Taking notes is an important part of learning. You need to take lecture notes (classroom notes) and notes from your textbook.

- Go through the lessons on the day before your teacher would teach it in the class. This gives you an idea of what to expect.

- Write down important ideas as bullet points. One word or a phrase is enough to include an idea.

- Give prominence to important ideas by underlining them in your notes.

- Leave lot of space in each face of paper. This will help you add new points later.

- Organize your notes into separate files. Each subject should have a different file. Label the outer page of the file with name of the subject and your teacher. You should also neatly organize each file according to chapters and topics.

- Read the notes (important points) in the night, before going to bed. Read only once. This helps you memorize the lessons clearly.

- While taking notes from a book, label the name of the book and author. Also, note the page number next to your notes. It makes it easy for you to refer to the book three or six months later.

Reading Techniques

You need to read fast and grasp more things. Here are some pointers to fast reading.

- Note the name of the book and its author in the reading log.

- Take a quick look from cover to cover to identify the important chapters.

- Take a quick look over the chapter, identify the important points, and note them down.

- Read the lesson fast. To increase the speed of learning, pass your eyes through the top of the letters and not through the centre. For example, while reading, pass your eyes through the area where the dot above the letter i appears and not through the loop of the letter o.

- Don't take notes while reading.

- Don't go back to read a word or a sentence. If you don't get the idea of the subject, you can come back to the sentence after you finish reading the chapter. Never look up a dictionary while in the middle of reading a chapter. Refer dictionary only if you don't automatically understand the meaning of a word after finishing the paragraph and the chapter.

- Note down the points you remember. Now check if you have taken all the important points, with another fast reading.

How to increase memory

Try to understand completely what you read or hear.

Repeat what you hear or read in your mind.

Make notes of what you learn at school or read from books. A single word can help you remember a whole idea.

Give number to the points.

Don't try to bring to memory all the things you have learned. Learn the technique of bringing to memory one thing at a time.

How to increase concentration

Mental concentration is important to memory and better learning.

Stick to your reading timetable. You should separate a specific place and specific time of the day for reading.

Sit erect. It increases your concentration.

Don't allow disturbances like phone calls, music etc while reading.

Concentrate on the lessons you read. Don't think about the next book you have to read while you are reading a book. A better way is to make an order of the books and lessons to read and arrange them in order before you start reading.

Immediately after reading a paragraph, try to recall the idea from that paragraph. This helps you concentrate more on your reading.

Ideal conditions for reading/learning

A silent location that you don't use for sleeping, eating or leisure purposes is the most ideal condition for reading.

Install a fluorescent tube light in the reading room. This helps mild light to fall evenly all over the room. Don't sit in the darkness while reading. If you use table lamp, arrange it towards your left if you are a right-hander.

Arrange the papers, pencils, boards and books on the table before you start reading.

Never try to read while you are tired or ill.

Eat healthy food rich in carbohydrates, proteins and fibres. Replace fast food, pizza, burger, chocolates, ice creams, etc with fresh fruits, whole grain food items (like chapatti), milk, fruit juices, etc.

Exercise daily. Swimming, cycling and jogging are good for students. Practise yoga. It increases concentration and willpower.

Don't watch TV. Instead, play some games in the outdoors. While TV makes you dumb, the games make you smarter.

Read lot of books. Read classic stories, fables (like Aesop fables, Panchatantra stories, etc), etc. Don't spend too much time on comic cartoons.


About The Author
Dev Sri provides insider information about Kerala Ayurvedic practices at http://keralaayurvedics.com/

How to Write Articles Quickly

by: Valerie Dansereau



One of the best ways to promote your website or blog is through article marketing. Learning to write articles quickly is a skill you have to master to accomplish this.

Many website owners make article writing a lot more complicated than it has to be. When writing for websites, remember first of all that people online are scanning web pages, not reading every word, so there is no need to spend hours making every word perfect.

Your content isn’t going to be totally unique, no matter what you write about. Every topic you can think about has already been written about by someone else. Think about it – every newsworthy event is covered by CNN, NBC, ABC, etc. Every network and every newspaper are all covering the exact same event or topic, just in different words.

The fact is, there are no new topics. Your job is to take what’s already been written and improve on it by injecting your own comments and personality.

One way to do research quickly is by inputting the topic you want to write about into a search engine. Choose three or four matches and read these articles thoroughly, taking notes.

Or, other places for quick research include article directories, forums and yahoo answers. By reading what people are asking in yahoo answers, you will learn what information people are looking for.

Amazon.com provides some great tools for quick research. By choosing a few top-selling books on a given topic, you can research quickly by browsing a book’s table of contents, the back cover of the book and even an excerpt.

Once you have taken sufficient notes, it’s time to put your article together. Write an outline of the important points you want to make in your article. Then write the article without looking back at the other articles. This is nothing more than the same work you did in high school writing book reports. Most of us have written quite a few book reports in our lifetime, and in those days many of us put ourselves through the unnecessary stress of cutting it too close to deadlines. That means we already know how to write and research quickly!

Basically, we need to decide what we’re going to accomplish and when. If we intend to write an article a day, then we have to stay glued to our computer until we complete that task. If we want to get it done in half an hour or less, this is another goal to work toward. Practice will definitely lead to improvement.

Article marketing is one of the best forms of free advertising there is. Learning to write articles quickly is an easily learned skill that will help us get the most out of article marketing.


About The Author
Valerie Dansereau is a banker turned entrepreneur and is the owner of http://www.work-at-home-parenting.com. For a free report showing you how to make $1,000 a month, even without your own website, Click here.

Senin, 27 Oktober 2008

When You Are Teaching Your Children To Read You Need To Have Fun With Phonics

by Peter Legrove


Teaching reading is not easy and it takes time and commitment so having some fun with phonics will help. There are many ways to have fun with phonics. Ranging from games on the computer to board games and worksheets. My favorite is playing around with Montessori sandpaper letters as kids seem to love the feel of the sandpaper as they trace the words.

For free online games I go to starfall.com as they have a very good selection but you have to play around on the site to find the games your child will like. Another site that has a lot of free stuff is Genkienglish. This site is from a school in Japan and it's in English. Some of the phonics games and songs are very simple but I think they are very effective.

Teaching your child to read with phonics will take time so the more fun you can have with your child will make it easier. With modern technology you can buy a phonics program and after you have shown your child how to use the program, you can let your child go it alone. For busy working parents this situation is ideal but if you are homeschooling and want to spend time with your children you could try out the sandpaper letters.

The Montessori method has been teaching kids for a hundred years, it might be old fashioned but it's effective. And you, the parent, have to get involved with teaching reading as you have to make up the words and phonic sounds with the sandpaper letters. Also when your children trace the letters you have to show them the correct way to write the letters.

Giving your child a head start with reading at school is possible one of the best things you can do for your child and first grade phonics is a good place to start. If your child is good at reading then school life is easier. But what first grade phonics do you teach your child when it comes to reading. I like to teach them what they are already learning at school.

I use the same book they are using in the classroom but I add Montessori sandpaper letters. This way the children can trace the words and phonic sounds they are learning in the classroom. When children trace the sandpaper letters they feel the shape of the letter therefore when it comes to learn to write they already know how to write. Also feeling the texture of the letter with the sandpaper helps to implant the letter in the child's mind.

The Montessori sandpaper letters are a good add-on to any lesson as they help reinforce the letters the child is already learning at school. But like all books and courses it is not the book that teaches your child to read, it is the time you put in with your child. First grade phonics takes time and commitment and a lot of reading to your child, especially reading in bed. So if you want your child to get ahead in reading you have to make the effort.


About the Author

I'm Peter Legrove and for the last 15 years or so I've been standing in front of a primary school classroom. Now I'm nearing retirement it's time to pass my knowledge on. http://www.animalsdinosaursandbugs.com/Teaching-Reading.htm This article is copyright © Peter Legrove. But you can use it as long as you keep the bio box intact.

Tips To Help You When Learning English

by Tong Lin

When you start learning English it is important for you to have a reason for doing so. For example, you may want to emigrate to an English=speaking country and knowing how to speak the language is often a requirement. You may have to learn to speak English as part of your job because you have to deal with English speaking customers. When you have a specific reason that is important to you, then you have something to focus on during the learning stages. In order for you to stay focused, it must be something that you want to do.

When you start to learn English, you should set goals for yourself. These goals should not be too high because if you don't attain them, then it is easy to get discouraged. Approach the learning in small steps and then celebrate every accomplishment. For example, if you already know some English words and phrases, your goal may be to learn to pronounce them correctly and be able to use them in the correct situations. Make an agenda for your goal. You need to have an idea of how long it will take you to reach this milestone. Then when you achieve it, you can make another goal. Start off slowly, but make a commitment. You don't want to spend all of your time studying, but you do need to study and practice.

When you start studying English, it is essential that you have a balance of the four English skills in your classes - reading, writing, listening and speaking. It is not enough just to be able to speak the language. You have to be able to understand what others are saying. You also need to be able to read the language so you can enjoy the literature, read the newspaper and understand signs. It is equally important for you to be able to write in English so that you have a good grasp of the skills of English grammar.

There is no one skill that is more important than the other because all of them rely on each other. When choosing a course of study, you should look for one that incorporates all of these elements. Along with being able to learn vocabulary words, there should be passages that you listen to and read and practice exercises where you get an opportunity to write the language.

Try to use the language as much as you can. This means listening to English songs, reading books written in English and watching English television programs. Adults can learn a lot from watching cartoons and educational programs for children, so they should be part of your learning experience.

The most important thing is to have fun. If you don't enjoy learning to speak English, then you won't be able to keep your focus uppermost in your mind. If you get tired or discouraged, take a short break and then go back to it. You have to be prepared to make mistakes and be able to learn from them.

About the Author

For a great learning English visit http://www.the EnglishSubject.net, the best place to learn English online.

Learn How To Write Sad Love Poems And Love Letters

by Richard

Many famous people have written sad love poems for their girlfriends and wives while away in battle, or extended trips, with 'The great Napoleon Bonaparte' being one that has written beautiful and captivating words truly expressing his love in beautiful love letters and sad love poems that would melt even the iciest of hearts. Today; this is still definitely one of the best ways of expressing true love to your partner and making any woman, or man, weak at the knees. No one really needs any special gift to learn how to write love letters or sad love poems to their partners because the heart really does it all for you; and all you really need to do is write these feelings down onto paper. The easiest way on how to write love letters and sad love poems is by taking examples from some of the many classic love letters written by famous people, or from books of poetry, and rewriting them to suit your feelings much the same way one would do with a private label rights article. When we talk of sad love poems this does not mean lyrical poems; though these are still extensively used by lovers worldwide. You know the common example 'Roses are red and violets are blue, honey is sweet and so are you'

Finding ideas on how to write your own sad love poems.

Sad love poems strike a chord deep in our hearts, and are a far more effective way of expressing your love. You can use sad love poems equally effectively to both express your love, and also use them to make up when you have broken up or even to win someone's heart once and for all. Sad love poems are in abundance during Valentines Day, can be found in guides on making up for relationships in trouble, and are also sent to wives and husbands from lovers that are away on business trips or traveling in other countries. If you struggle to express your love and desire the best way to learn how to write sad love poems and love letters, then visit your local library. Sure you can get lots of ideas for learning how to write sad love poems on the internet, but you will probably find better examples in the poetry section of the library, and the librarian will surely be happy to help you find a few examples you can use as guidelines.

Love Letters and sad love Poems make expressing your feelings easier

Many men and even women that may have been hurt by previous relationships; or have been raised to hide their true feelings, will find expressing love a lot simpler by means of writing love letters and sad love poems to show the man or woman how much they mean to them. It is a lot easier than you think learning how to write sad love poems and love letters and with a little practice you will have the hand of it.

When learning how to write sad love poems, it is not necessary for them to completely written in old style English from Shakespearian times, because that is unnecessary and sometimes hard to read for certain people. There are thousands of descriptive words you can use as alternatives, but it can look great by throwing in a few words like Thou and thee but do not overdo it' example: How much do I love Thee? Let me count the ways'.

You can also throw in a few words like eternity, sweeten, honey, bittersweet, forever longing, deep etc, and you are there. Happy or sad love poems are equally effective but you will probably do well rather using sad love poems if you are temporarily separated , trying to make up with an ex after breaking up, or trying to win trust your partners trust back. Read the poem after you have written it a few times over so that you can get an idea of how it sounds. Make sure you are satisfied with your sad love poems or love letters first before sending them. Although technology like emails, text message and voicemail are great for sharing your love poems, nothing beats the post, and a beautiful colored envelope from you which will be the first post opened. Once you have practice learning how to write sad love poems the sky is the limit in your relationship. Write them for anniversaries, valentines days, and special occasions you want to remind your partner of.

Nurture relationships with love Letters and sad Love Poems.

Women more so than men treasure their love poems sent by you when you were sweethearts forever, and if you have been married for many years you will find that they are still kept somewhere special and secretly read. This goes to show how special the written word really is when it comes to love. Expressing your undying love through learning how to write sad love poems and love letters, is a great way of cementing your relationship, renewing your bonds, for wedding vows, for making up after breaking up, and for showing that your are a person with deep feelings. These are surely reasons enough to learn how to write sad love poems of your own

Senin, 13 Oktober 2008

Plan Your English Lesson

by: George Williams


It is not easy to plan a fresh and new class for your English students every week. Even though your teacher book gives you some great ideas not all of them are practical enough for your classroom. You often have to come up with a few exercises and ideas of your own to fill in as needed.

You may try to get away and find some quite places that can help you focus and concentrate on your planning. Do not forget to take a notepad and some pens. That is about all you will need for now.

First, take a moment to clear your mind of all other distractions and prepare yourself mentally for the task at hand. Okay! Are you ready? Good! Now think about the first group of students you need to plan for. Think about their needs. What do they know? What do they need to know to become more fluent and proficient speakers of the English language? How can you teach them what they need to know?

Just brainstorm for a few minutes and write everything down. No idea is too crazy or unimportant. Once you have drained your brain...write out your best ideas on a separate sheet of paper. These are the ones that you will implement in your classes during the following week.

Remember that every idea that comes up are valuable and do not throw away the ideas that are left over though. Save them in a safe place for you to refer to during future planning sessions. This will keep you from having to think so hard the next time.

It is wise to do some research on the Internet. Take each of your ideas to the next level. Drill down into each one of them vertically. Go just as deep as you can. Then find other ideas that you can add on horizontally to broaden your lesson plans. These are all ideas that complement your original, brainstormed ideas.

If you have made it this far...then the rest is a piece of cake. Just pick out the best of the best of your ideas and add them to your lesson plans. Prepare the materials and resources you will need for each exercise. Make copies of any handouts you intend to pass out to your students.

Do this for each group of students you teach. Once you are done, organize everything in a handy place like a folder or filing cabinet. Do a quick check to make sure you did not forget anything.

With this plan, your class will be well organized and you can make everything turned into a system which will allow you have even more time.

Rabu, 08 Oktober 2008

learning problems in children

by: Dev Sri



Children can experience learning problems because of several reasons. Some children excel at studies while others strive hard. In this article, we discuss the different behavioural and learning problems that students aged 5-15 face.

Dyslexia

Dyslexia is reading problem. The children find it difficult to read what they have written. Dyslexia is characterised by the difficulty of brain in separating and processing written and verbal language. These children find it difficult to learn spelling and to read fluently. They also confuse between similar looking letters like b, d, p, q, etc. They also tend to skip letters, words or sentences while reading.

Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia is the difficulty to write. Students with this problem may be smart at reading and memorizing. Such students also show signs of diminished motor coordination and find the tasks like tying a shoelace.

Dyscalculia

Dyscalculia is problems associated with numbers. They interchange the places of digits. This problem makes it difficult for the children to learn mathematics.

Dysnomia

Dysnomia is characterised by lack of ability in memorizing names or words. Pupils with this problem find it difficult to remember the word for objects, places or things.

Dyspraxia

Dyspraxia is characterised by lack of or poorly developed skills in skilled tasks like typing, sewing, etc. Such children can also show signs of difficulty in controlling sound and speaking and can be slow at eating or drinking.

Children with these type of disorders may be smart at one or more special skills. For example, Ernest Hemingway is believed to have suffered from Dyspraxia.

Helping the children and instilling in them a sense of confidence is essential for the development of such children and to help them lead successful lives.

learning tips for students

by: Dev Sri



Long ago, there was a time, when parents told children to read slowly and loudly to understand everything they read.

A lot of things have changed. Today's children have bigger syllabi to learn. Now, learning experts and teachers ask students to read faster and grasp important points.

Here are a few tips for students who have a lot to learn, but very little time.

Make a Timetable

Your timetable should have separate time for eating, playing games, exercise, reading newspaper and study materials. You should not only make a timetable, but also should stick to it.

Give priority to leisure and games in the afternoon, but separate early morning time for studies. Make sure you read all the class notes before you go to bed.

While allotting time to different subjects, allot more time to difficult subjects. You need only less time for the subjects that are easier for you to learn.

Taking Notes

Taking notes is an important part of learning. You need to take lecture notes (classroom notes) and notes from your textbook.

- Go through the lessons on the day before your teacher would teach it in the class. This gives you an idea of what to expect.

- Write down important ideas as bullet points. One word or a phrase is enough to include an idea.

- Give prominence to important ideas by underlining them in your notes.

- Leave lot of space in each face of paper. This will help you add new points later.

- Organize your notes into separate files. Each subject should have a different file. Label the outer page of the file with name of the subject and your teacher. You should also neatly organize each file according to chapters and topics.

- Read the notes (important points) in the night, before going to bed. Read only once. This helps you memorize the lessons clearly.

- While taking notes from a book, label the name of the book and author. Also, note the page number next to your notes. It makes it easy for you to refer to the book three or six months later.

Reading Techniques

You need to read fast and grasp more things. Here are some pointers to fast reading.

- Note the name of the book and its author in the reading log.

- Take a quick look from cover to cover to identify the important chapters.

- Take a quick look over the chapter, identify the important points, and note them down.

- Read the lesson fast. To increase the speed of learning, pass your eyes through the top of the letters and not through the centre. For example, while reading, pass your eyes through the area where the dot above the letter i appears and not through the loop of the letter o.

- Don't take notes while reading.

- Don't go back to read a word or a sentence. If you don't get the idea of the subject, you can come back to the sentence after you finish reading the chapter. Never look up a dictionary while in the middle of reading a chapter. Refer dictionary only if you don't automatically understand the meaning of a word after finishing the paragraph and the chapter.

- Note down the points you remember. Now check if you have taken all the important points, with another fast reading.

How to increase memory

Try to understand completely what you read or hear.

Repeat what you hear or read in your mind.

Make notes of what you learn at school or read from books. A single word can help you remember a whole idea.

Give number to the points.

Don't try to bring to memory all the things you have learned. Learn the technique of bringing to memory one thing at a time.

How to increase concentration

Mental concentration is important to memory and better learning.

Stick to your reading timetable. You should separate a specific place and specific time of the day for reading.

Sit erect. It increases your concentration.

Don't allow disturbances like phone calls, music etc while reading.

Concentrate on the lessons you read. Don't think about the next book you have to read while you are reading a book. A better way is to make an order of the books and lessons to read and arrange them in order before you start reading.

Immediately after reading a paragraph, try to recall the idea from that paragraph. This helps you concentrate more on your reading.

Ideal conditions for reading/learning

A silent location that you don't use for sleeping, eating or leisure purposes is the most ideal condition for reading.

Install a fluorescent tube light in the reading room. This helps mild light to fall evenly all over the room. Don't sit in the darkness while reading. If you use table lamp, arrange it towards your left if you are a right-hander.

Arrange the papers, pencils, boards and books on the table before you start reading.

Never try to read while you are tired or ill.

Eat healthy food rich in carbohydrates, proteins and fibres. Replace fast food, pizza, burger, chocolates, ice creams, etc with fresh fruits, whole grain food items (like chapatti), milk, fruit juices, etc.

Exercise daily. Swimming, cycling and jogging are good for students. Practise yoga. It increases concentration and willpower.

Don't watch TV. Instead, play some games in the outdoors. While TV makes you dumb, the games make you smarter.

Read lot of books. Read classic stories, fables (like Aesop fables, Panchatantra stories, etc), etc. Don't spend too much time on comic cartoons.

5 Ways to Improve YOUR English without even Trying! for people who speak English as a second language

by: Kim Rogers



Learning a second language can be a very stressful and arduous task if you let it. Somehow, the words you learn in the books don't seem to apply very well to real life situations. Those small and seemingly un-important elements the show a person to be in command of not only the language, but the culture of the people who speak it cannot be adequately expressed by words on paper.

So, how do you learn these little secrets of mastering the ability to articulate yourself in another language?

Here are 5 proven techniques that will help you improve your English without even trying, if you are learning to speak English as a second language. Do they really work? Yes. I've tried them myself as I've had opportunity to live somewhere where English wasn't the primary language. I found it to be a fun, exciting, and painless way to learn both the language and the culture. The culture is simply learning the way the natives express their own words. The genuine accent, facial expressions, hand gestures, sighs, moans, groans, laughter, smirks, and other things that go along with everyday conversation.

Regardless of how extensive or not your vocabulary is, if you master the ability to "sound" like you know the language and can speak it, people will be more than generous to assist you.

1. Watch Movies!

Watching movies is always a fun thing to do. In order to get the most out of your movie watching experience, if your vocabulary is limited, watch a movie in English that you are very familiar with in your own language so you always know what's going on. Try not to translate as you go because you lose blocks of conversation this way. Instead, watch the picture and listen. Hear all the words, but determine what's going on by the pictures you see and the words you're hearing that you already know. Believe it or not, other words will sink in too, and so will the accent and everything else that went with what you saw and heard.

As your vocabulary grows, expand your movie selections to other movies you'd like to see but are only available in English. Try to be able to see the film more than once if possible.

According to the location and type of film you intend to view, you will be able to experience different accents, and other cultural expressions of the English language. Pick and choose the things that you think will suit you best. If it doesn't work out, pick and try something else! Have fun with yourself and your efforts.

2. Watch Soap Operas

The place where extreme expression and limited vocabulary meet! This is such a fascinating way to learn a foreign language. Every accessory that goes with the expression of a word is demonstrated on a soap opera. "Outrage" expressed with a word, facial expression or two, and perhaps even a subsequent face slap, all of that being understandable in any language. "Love", another universal subject, or violence, good versus evil can all be discerned quickly and easily on a soap opera. Plus, soap operas are naturally designed to allow anyone just tuning in to pick up the story quickly. The characters are easily loveable and deliciously "hate-able" so you turn to it again and again to see what's going on, and not only improve your English each time, but reinforce what you've already learned.

3. Read the Comics/Funny Papers

Very non-stressful! Pictures with words, or words with pictures, however you want to look at it, it's a great way to learn! For each thought presented there are words that match a picture, and vice versa. It doesn't matter if you read comic books, or the comics in the Sunday newspaper, read whatever will make you laugh and cause you to enjoy learning at the same time.

4. Read Children's books

If you know any little kids between the ages of 5-8, try reading one of their books to them. Usually little kids know their favorite books by heart, so if you stumble a little, they'll be able to help you.

If you enjoy this method of improving your English, and you find yourself to be pretty good at it, then try reading a few Dr. Seuss books. The rhyming will challenge you, but once you master it, your pronunciation of English, and your delivery will have been considerably refined and improved.

5. Take a service job like waiter or waitress; bartender, or sales person.

This type of job can be done if you have a decent vocabulary of verbs, and know how to say "I, we, she, he, they", etc. The only other thing necessary is a working vocabulary of things relevant to your specific tasks and goals.

For example, as a breakfast waitress, you want to be able to ask if they want their eggs, "scrambled or fried", if they want "more coffee", if everything is "alright", do they want "anything else", and the total of their bill in their own language!

If you sell real estate, you'll want to incorporate words like "mortgage, loan, co-sign, 30 year fixed", etc.

If you sell shoes, you need words like "how does that feel", are they "too tight, too loose, to short in the toe, to big", etc.

The longer you work at your job, the more your working vocabulary will improve.

6. Learn these two sentences and you'll be set for life . . . seriously!

"How do you say (blank)", in English (Spanish, French, etc.), and "What is that called?" (Point if you have to, and smile too). Smiling is a universal language. Once I learned how to ask these two questions, I was on my way to being conversant in the language of my choice!

I could use my limited vocabulary to ask the question and then when I got my answer I would repeat it a few times to make sure I was saying it correctly, and "BAM" I had a new vocabulary word. And, because I asked my question to the best of my ability in the native tongue, the natives realized my sincere desire to learn, and helped me!

7. What happens if you make a mistake?

Nothing. The world won't come to an end, and you haven't embarrassed yourself to the point where you can't show your face again. Just apologize if that's what's called for, or laugh at yourself, make the correction, and count it as a learning experience.

Once I was in a restaurant and I wanted to ask the waiter for a "to go" box, however, I was speaking to my kids in English, and trying to think of what I wanted to ask for in Spanish, and I promptly and incorrectly asked him for a "house to go". He looked at me kind of funny, but he was very courteous, and didn't laugh until I laughed.

I've committed other language faux pas as well over the years, all of which have been a learning experience, and if given enough time, will become a humorous story as well.

Selasa, 07 Oktober 2008

motivating children to learn english


Motivating Children: Going beyond Bribery
How to Motivate Children to Want to Learn English
I'm sure you've all been there. You're standing in front of a class of glassy-eyed children, or, even worse, a class of students who are just plain ignoring you. How can you motivate the children and get them back "into" your class? One sure-fire way to get your students to be motivated is to offer then small prizes or treats to do the task at hand. Oh yes! You will have a class full of highly motivated, participating children. They might even learn something from the activity. However, by giving the children prizes and treats to motivate them you'll end up with an empty pocketbook and a class full of students who are only motivated for the material prize, not because they want to learn (which means they probably aren't getting much out of the activity in the first place). There are many other ways to motivate your students and you won't have to keep a stash of "prizes" in your classroom to do it.

Be More Than Just a Teacher
No matter what your class demographics are, there is one sure way to motivate your class into participating: Get them interested in you as their teacher and the interest in your subject matter and class activities will soon follow.

You're not just a teacher, you're a person too. Sometimes children tend to have the mentality that teachers are just teachers. They exist in school and nowhere else. However, if you let them see you as a person and not just a teacher, you might see a change in how they react to your class and class activities. If they respect you, they will respect the class and be motivated to participate in whatever it is you have for them to do. Of course, that is so much easier said than done. Here are some things you should think about when trying to figure out how to show your human side:

Keep Yourself Motivated
Think back to what classes you like best and why. If the teacher was bored and didn’t make the subject interesting, then the children often didn't like the class either. To keep yourself motivated, change your activities to things that you are excited about. If you’re not excited and motivated about the activities you have planned for your students, it’s time to get some new ones.

Be an Individual
Don't be afraid to talk about your interests outside of school. Look for commonalities between you and your students and capitalize on them. For example, if you like the same types of music as a lot of your students, bring in some CD's and let them listen to music when they are working on projects. Make sure the words are in English so that the children can take in some English language into their subconscious.

Have fun and be silly
Seriously. Talk in a crazy voice or be daft and make them wonder what you'll be up to next. Some teachers frown upon the idea of playing the clown and having fun because they think it is time-wasting and that it is not their role to be an entertainer. If it is not in your personality to be a big kid, then you cannot fake it, and that is OK. If you use fun games and ideas your classes will still be enjoyable. However if you are a big kid at heart then you will find that joining in, playing with the children and generally acting up and being enthusiastic will come naturally to you and is all part of the fun of teaching. It is not clowning around for the sake of it, it servers to keep a fun and happy learning environment, and this alone can motivate your students. If your children can laugh with you, and if they LIKE you, they'll be interested in what you're doing up there in front of the class.

Encourage
When you're frustrated with your class because they don't seem interested in participating, it's quite easy to forget that even when they do something small, you need to keep encouraging and to stay positive. The number one way to demotivate children is to have a negative or neutral attitude. If the children do not feel encouraged and good about learning then they will not feel motivated to learn.

Make your students Active Learners
Think back to when you were in school. Did you like to sit at a desk and listen to the teacher drone on and on. This type of passive learning is BORING and demotivating. Active learning doesn't mean the children need to by physically active throughout the class period – it just means that you design your class period around having them actively participate in the learning process. There are lots of things you can do:

Play Games
Implement games that have the same outcome that you might have them reach by doing a worksheet. For example, if you might normally give them a worksheet to write the correct verb next to the picture illustrating the action, have them instead practice their verbs by doing the action for the word you say or the word on a card that you hold up. Likewise, you could do the action and have them write down the word. You may access free samples of fun classroom games in the resource box below.

When you play games, you can use points and competition as a motivator, but not for kids under six who may find the competition too stressful. For them, just playing the game is motivating enough. You can also sometimes award extra credit, but use it sparingly so that it remains "extra" and a special reward. Also if you use it too much, children can have so much extra credit that it sways the actual grades too much.

Get Them Moving
Movement is a vital component to motivating children. The best way to prevent children from zoning out is to get them up out of their seats at least once each class period. Even if you just require them to come up to you instead of you going to them for help, the movement can help get them out of the trance that they sometimes get from sitting in one spot too long. Grouping the children for study projects and activities helps as well. If you can, let them move the desks around or sit on the floor to change things up as well. Many games involve movement without the children needing to leave their seats, such as miming, moving certain body parts and passing things around as part of a game or race. Therefore even teachers with large classes and no space to move can use this technique, albeit to a more limited degree.

Get Their Hands "Dirty"
Well, not literally, but the more hands-on activities you can do the better they will learn and the more likely they will stay interested in the activity. If you're talking about the words to describe fruit, have each student bring in a piece of fruit and use the fruits in games. It is much more motivating and effective to be handling real objects, or learning with pictures than copying down lists of words from the board. If you are discussing how to put a sentence together, have them construct their own sentences (alone or with a partner) and write them on the chalkboard. You can also intentionally make mistakes to encourage them to look for the "right" way. If you do this you should warn the children so that they are on the look out for your deliberate errors, otherwise you could do more harm than good.

Stick to a Schedule
Creating a schedule for your students help them know what to expect in the class and will help them stay organized as well which will lower the frustration level for children who sometimes struggle in school. It is very difficult for frustrated children to stay motivated. If they know that every Friday is a vocabulary quiz, then they won't have to wonder on Thursday if they were supposed to study last night. If they have weekly assignments due on every Wednesday, then you don't have to spend the majority of the class time reminding them that the weekly assignment is due. This schedule should be clearly explained to the children as well as posted in the classroom.

You can also have a mini-schedule that outlines how each class period will go. For example, each class period you might do vocabulary exercises and games for 15 minutes and then move on to the main activity of the day. It also helps children if you post a daily "plan" on the chalkboard so they know what will be expected of them each day when they walk into the classroom.

Variety is the Spice of Life!
With that all said, it's also important to change things up within the schedule. For example, if you spend the first 10 or 15 minutes each day doing vocabulary activities, make sure you vary these activities so they don't get boring and stay motivated. If you see that the children of one class don't respond to an activity, avoid it in the future and stick to the ones they like. It's also important to realize that some groups of children will be motivated by certain activities that the next group of children will literally detest. For example, one group might really like role playing activities while another group would rather have a tooth pulled.

Another way to create variety is to keep changing the pace. Play a game that wakes the children up and follow it with a calm game so that the students do not get too excited. Then play a fast game so the children do not become so calm that they start to become restless and misbehave or drift off.

Give Them Options
If you spend long periods of time with your class, or if you have a mixed ability class and have to split your teaching time between groups, then the following ideas may help when the children have some free or unsupervised time in your class. Having a collection of fun learning activities for them can motivate children that like to waste time and be a time-filler for children that like to make trouble.

Get a variety of activities for the children such as educational board games, crossword puzzles, sudoku puzzles, art projects… anything that they can learn something from that they would also find fun. For older kids, you can make a competition to complete a packet of activities to get extra credit points or put them on a team to be the first to complete a series of tasks.
If you have a facility where you can send children to watch a film in English that would be most beneficial. Otherwise have suitable English reading material such as comics, or teenage magazines about cars for the boys and dating and makeup for the girls! If discipline is a problem then the children will have to work individually at their desks in silence, but at least they will be engaged in the activity.

One Last Idea… This really motivates younger classes of children up to age 12, but it can work with all ages. Plan an end of the term program so the children can show off what they've learned to their parents and anyone else who attends the program. You can do it right in the classroom and have the children play games, recite poems, whatever you can come up with to have them showcase what they've learned to their parents.

Because this is such a successful strategy you can even put on two performances, one in the assembly hall in front of the whole school, and one in front of the parents, perhaps in the evening or immediately after school. You should find that your head of school is very open to this as it gives him or her an opportunity to show off too!

So, there you have it. There are lots of ways you can motivate your students to WANT to learn and to pay attention without bribing them with tangible gifts that become more important to them than learning the material.


From:www.teachingenglishgame.com

Rabu, 10 September 2008

BECOMING PROFESSIONALLY
COMPETENT LANGUAGE TEACHERS -

Some Suggestions

Haja Mohideen bin Mohamed Ali
International Islamic University Malaysia

ABSTRACT

The article attempts to identify the salient features which are essential for successful language teaching as well as efficient language learning. Effective language teaching can be conducted by all practising teachers when there is commitment to, and professionalism in our line of duty. A good language teacher would be able to produce students who are able to use the language meaningfully if he/she strives for continuous quality improvement. The factors identified in the paper are based on the writer's research and current thinking on the subject.

Introduction

The word teacher can be referred to anybody who is involved in the business of teaching regardless of what we are known as - teachers, instructors, lecturers, associate professors or professors.

How can we excel in language teaching? Is there a magic formula? Good language teaching is a topic which is very broad. I have, therefore, identified a number of internal as well as external factors for our present discussion. Experienced language teachers may have additional suggestions.

Preparation

It goes without saying that a fairly well-prepared lesson will enable us to conduct a class better rather than one which is conducted with a little preparation. We may be good speakers of a language, even first language speakers, but that does not necessarily qualify us to become good teachers of the language without doing adequate homework ourselves. We must be committed to our profession. If a reasonable amount of commitment is not forthcoming, we would be doing a disservice to the profession. Stepping into the classroom unprepared is a sign of our lack of commitment.

Confidence

Having confidence in ourselves is important. But this confidence must be coupled with our preparedness to face a particular group of learners. Teaching advanced learners or adults needs a lot of confidence. I have heard even native speaker lecturers teaching English admit that they sometimes lack confidence to meet their postgraduate students in class. That is because among postgraduate students there are mature people with teaching experience. And they may be able to correct their lecturers if they provide the wrong information. Our confidence to teach a language will grow with experience, increased exposure to the language, using it productively, awareness of recent developments in the field of language teaching, etc.

Motivation

We often hear and talk about motivation. But it is always about the lack of motivation among our students to learn a language. But how motivated are we as language teachers? Motivation cannot be a one-sided affair. It has to be mutual. How can we be motivated to teach English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin, Arabic, Tamil, etc.? The value a language has in a society should be sufficient motivation to teach the language. One can understand if neither a teacher nor his students in Malaysia are interested in languages like Gujerati or Wolof. Helping students to become proficient in the national language is motivation for teachers. Helping students to become proficient in the most widely used international language should also contribute to teacher motivation. Helping students to acquire competence in their own native language is also a motivating factor.

High degree of proficiency in and knowledge of the language

It is a fallacy to assume that a language can be taught effectively by people who have specialized in disciplines which do not have a language, linguistics or literature component. A teacher who has majored in economics would be able to teach economics well. But can he be expected to teach Bahasa Malaysia equally well? If teachers who have not specialized in languages or language teaching are asked to handle language classes to meet the shortage of qualified language teachers this would unfortunately lead to the misconception that languages are easy to teach and almost anybody can teach English or Bahasa Malaysia, for instance.

We must have a high degree of proficiency in the language we teach. We should be constantly striving for near native speaker competence in the way we speak or write in the language we teach. Language teachers "ought to aim for the closest approximation to native… speech because of the very nature of their occupations" (Tench, 1981:17). Acquiring such competence is not too difficult if we make the effort. We have to keep trying and practising to attain near perfect command of the target language.

In terms of speech, we should be highly intelligible to our students and colleagues. Our speech should not be characterized by a strong local accent if intelligibility is not to suffer.

We should make an effort to be linguistically competent, i.e. acquire sufficient knowledge of the language to talk about, to be able to produce grammatically acceptable sentences; have discourse competence, for example, how a paragraph or text is developed in the language; what are the cohesive links we can employ; how is coherence achieved, and so on.

We should be constantly aware of contemporary or current use of language. If we aren't, we will begin to "correct" our students even when they are right. The following are a few examples of acceptable English usage which many of us may find new or strange.

  1. If you see a blind person who looks in need of help, ask them if they would like a hand (Observer Sunday, 10 March, 1991)

An expression which indicates singularity can take a plural pronoun to provide unspecific general reference.

  1. My mother collects Alexandra from school (Sunday Times Magazine, 9 February, 1992)

The word collect co-occurs not only with stamps, letters, etc but also with people.

  1. Everybody must do their part to make a success of the project.

Everybody can take a plural pronoun, contrary to what many teachers may think.

Exposure to good models of the language

After we have earned our qualifications we must not rest on our laurels but rather should continue to be exposed to good models of the language. One definite way of performing well as English language teachers is for us to continually keep in touch with excellent users of the language. We should tune in to the British Broadcasting Corporation, Voice of America, or any good radio station. With published materials we should analyse the language used. What I am stressing here is constructive imitation of good models of the target language in the productive language skills of speaking and writing for our own advanced language development.

Familiarity with methods of teaching

There is an array of language teaching methods. Which one should we use? There is no one method which is the most effective. If we are lecturing to postgraduate students, for example, the method involves mainly talking and writing. But can we do the same in schools? Dealing with secondary and primary school students needs a different approach. Teachers must be familiar with the methods in vogue as well as those which have been around for a long time. When we introduce the various techniques, there is variety in the classroom - the use of videos, tape recorders, language games and communicative tasks will certainly make learning much more enjoyable and less boring for the students. The teacher is the classroom manager. As such he/she should bring in his/her pedagogical skills to facilitate language learning. The students rely on their teachers' training and experience with classroom materials and techniques with regard to the efficient use of the students' time in class (Stevick, 1982).

A contrastive approach to teaching

If a teacher has a working knowledge of the first language of the students, it would help the teacher vastly and facilitate learning. The teacher would be able to compare the language he is teaching with the pupils' mother tongue and bring about an awareness as to how the two languages function. Where there are similarities in the areas of grammar, lexis and discourse, this could facilitate language acquisition. Where there are differences between the two languages, this can be explained where necessary, contrastively. For example, one conspicuous difference between Bahasa Malaysia and English is that while in the latter the verb has to agree with the subject as in

She walks to school everyday
They walk to school everyday

subject-verb agreement does not exist in Bahasa Malaysia grammar. Observe the two following sentences:

Dia berjalan kaki ke sekolah
Mereka berjalan kaki ke sekolah

A bilingual teacher would be able to explain mother tongue-influenced errors. Many researchers agree that the interference from the pupils' first language is one of the important contributory factors to production of errors (Smith and Swan, 1987). In fact, research on Malay students shows this. (Mohideen 1991).

Some linguists notably Burt et al (1982:269) are opposed to the use of the mother tongue in the classroom. Their advice is "Do not refer to a student's L1 when teaching the L2". Perhaps what they are against is extensive use of the students' first language in a second language classroom. We can use the mother tongue sparingly.

Consultation with colleagues

For some reason, some of us think we know enough. But consultation with colleagues is important for our professional development. It is not something to be shunned. Peer consultation is not humiliating. As a community of professionals we should consult our fellow professionals as often as it is necessary. When I discuss with a colleague something which I am not very sure of, I become more confident about it. I am not ignorant about it anymore. And the colleague by explaining becomes more authoritative about the item discussed.

Effective error correction

How important is error correction? A fairly substantial amount of time of language teachers is spent on error correction. However much we correct, we cannot completely eradicate errors, but only hope to minimize their occurrence. Instead of spending too much time as error correctors, I would suggest that we should be providers of quality input. I am not in the least suggesting that we do away with error correction altogether. But we need to be familiar with effective correction techniques. (See Mohideen, 1993). The solution to an abundance of errors in the students' productive mode lies not so much on error correction, but on effective remedial treatment.

Offer of Praise

Offering praise or compliments to students for a work which has certain strengths will build and boost their confidence. Some teachers may feel that praising may make them feel contented and as result they become complacent. But praise is something that pupils yearn for and praise encourages and reassures them and contributes to their interest in the subject. Praise is a form of reinforcement which strengthens and motivates language development (Mohideen, 1995). Always pushing students without due recognition is psychologically damaging and not being fair to them. Praises should be seen as rewards for a job well done and they increase motivation (Nunan, 1991).

Getting feedback about teacher performance

We must get feedback from our students about the effectiveness of our teaching. Alternatively, we can ask one of our colleagues to come to our class and evaluate our teaching. For this purpose we should get some well-designed reliable questionnaires. If we are not comfortable with either of these, then we should evaluate ourselves objectively. This is essential for our continuous quality improvement.

Conducting research

If time permits, we should conduct small-scale research, for example, action research with our students or colleagues. We can, for example, study the tests we administer, and our criteria for evaluation. By being involved in research related to our immediate environment, we can improve ourselves and arrive at solutions in a professional manner. Conducting research is not the preserve of academicians teaching only at university level. That action research ought to become an integral part of any teacher's professional practice has also been emphasized by Kemmis and Mc Taggart (1988). Please refer to Wallace (1993) for some useful tips on action research.

Ongoing training

Whatever our background is, we should be eager for ongoing training. This can be in the form of attendance at seminars, participation in colloquiums, presenting papers at conferences or workshops, reading professional journals and educational columns in newspapers. This is important because some of us are so set in the ways we teach and are convinced that they are the best that we do not want to be exposed to techniques which are recognized as effective. We should be prepared for change and innovation in language teaching.

Conclusion

We often say that our students are very weak in a particular language, they are not motivated to learn the language, they need more contact hours and so on if their performance is not to our satisfaction. These are quite true. But at the same time we also have to upgrade our professionalism and become quality teachers. As teachers, we are professionals. We ought to set high standards for ourselves and strive to attain them. If we love our profession, I think we can do it, By becoming professionally competent language teachers, we can contribute our part in helping Malaysia achieve excellence in the field of language teaching and learning. This is in line with our government's efforts to make our country a centre of educational excellence.


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