Category Archives: Learning

Download this FREE eBook Today: Travel English for Busy Travelers

Download this FREE eBook Today: Travel English for Busy Travelers

Travel English for Busy Travelers – Front Cover

David Ellis is an English teacher based in Japan who has been teaching English in the United States and Japan for over 20 years. He has written and published a wonderful eBook for teaching and learning English called Travel English for Busy Travelers.

Best of all – it’s absolutely free! Now, it isn’t everyday that such an interesting and useful teaching resource appears on our desk, so make sure you download your copy today!


Free download (epub, mobi/Kindle, pdf , etc.) of Travel English for Busy Travelers eBook on Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/574638

Published: Sep. 03, 2015 / Words: 27,850 /Language: English / ISBN: 9781310624575


By the way, if you have any questions, you can contact David on Twitter: @DavidLS1

David Ellis, author or Travel English for Busy Travelers

David Ellis, author of Travel English for Busy Travelers

I caught up with David recently and asked him about the book:

What is the background to the book?

“As an English language teacher, I often ask myself how I can help my students become self-sufficient learners.  Many of my students in Japan are overly dependent on their teachers and feel they don’t know how to study independently.  I decided to write an eBook that my students and other students around the world could easily use for self-study.  Travel English for Busy Travelers is a beginner’s level eBook focusing on conversation practice, vocabulary development, and reading comprehension that’s full of self-study exercises with answer keys.

Why did you write your eBook?

“I have co-written several reading textbooks that have been used in Japanese universities. Recently, I have been teaching more and more English conversation classes, so I wanted to write a conversation textbook. However, I didn’t want to write a general conversation textbook. Out of all the classes I teach, I enjoy teaching travel English the most, so I decided to write an eBook that I could use in my travel English classes.

Free eBook - Travel English for Busy Travelers by David Ellis

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Why did you make the eBook free?

“First of all, I wanted the book to be free to download for my students to help them become more independent learners. Second, I hope to attract a larger readership.  I hope that more people will download a free eBook. I’ve done some writing for free magazines and university newspapers. I have enjoyed sharing my writing and curriculum with my students and friends this way. It’s interesting to get e-mail about the eBook from foreign countries. Usually, the sender of the e-mail is asking when the second level eBook will be released.

What are your publishing plans for the future?

“My teaching workload is getting busier, so it’s difficult to find time to finish the second book this year. I almost have the first half of the second book finished, so I will try to release a level 2A eBook by the end of this year. I hope to finish the second half of the next book sometime next year. I would also like to rerelease some chapters from my older reading textbooks that are going out of print. In Japan, most English textbooks have a rather short shelf life.

What are the most popular parts of the book?

“My favourite parts of the eBook are the reading passages on important topics for international travelers. Readers find the dialogues, the Appendix section on “Textese” (texting language), and YouTube videos to be especially helpful. Audio for the eBook is available on my YouTube channel: Travel English for Busy Travelers eBook – on YouTube

What other type of work do you do?

“I have proofread over ten books for vintage fashion writer and photographer Rin Tanaka. Rin has written some very successful vintage fashion books such as Harley Davidson: Book of Fashions, Schott: 100 Years of an American Original, XLarge: True OG Streetwear, and Wesco: Boots that Stand the Gaff.”

Free eBook - Travel English for Busy Travelers by David Ellis

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Thanks David! We really appreciate you sharing your eBook for free!

FREE Worksheet! Grammar - 66 Books of the Bible

FREE Worksheet! Grammar – 66 Books of the Bible – Reference

Study the Holy Bible and improve your English at the same time with this free printable worksheet from PurlandTraining.com.

In this worksheet we’re focusing on a list of the 66 books of the Bible. The key skill practised is: grammar. The lesson topic is: alphabetical order.

Note: this free worksheet is in the public domain, so you are welcome to download, copy, print, and share it. You can even sell it – e.g. in digital or print form – and keep all of the profits! Enjoy!

You can download the worksheet below, or click the direct download link:

https://purlandtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/books-of-the-bible-grammar-alphabet-reference.pdf

FREE Worksheet! Grammar - 66 Books of the Bible – Reference

FREE Worksheet! Grammar – 66 Books of the Bible – Gap-Fill

Image: https://pixabay.com/

FREE Worksheet! John the Baptist – Vocabulary – Jumbled Sentences

Study the Holy Bible and improve your English at the same time with this free printable worksheet from PurlandTraining.com.

The text used in this worksheet is Mark 1: 4-8, from the World English Bible. It’s all about the coming of John the Baptist.

The key skill practised is: vocabulary. The lesson topics are: jumbled sentences and synonyms. Full answers are included.

Note: this free worksheet is in the public domain, so you are welcome to download, copy, print, and share it. You can even sell it – e.g. in digital or print form – and keep all of the profits! Enjoy!

You can download the worksheet below, or click the direct download link:

https://purlandtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/john-the-baptist-vocabulary-jumbled-sentences.pdf

john-the-baptist-vocabulary-jumbled-sentences
FIFA World Cup 2018 - Discussion Questions for ESOL Classes!

The 2018 FIFA World Cup – Discussion Questions for ESOL Classes!

The 2018 FIFA World Cup – Discussion Questions for ESOL Classes!

Are your ESOL and EFL students keen to discuss the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, which begins today? You could use these FREE discussion questions to get the conversation going!

(Click to enlarge)

World Cup 2018 – Discussion Questions for ESOL Classes!

  1. Tell me about the World Cup.
  2. What do you like / dislike about it?
  3. Do you agree that there is too much sport on TV?
  4. What are the advantages / disadvantages of big events like this?
  5. Compare four teams.
  6. Rank four players.
  7. Invent your own World Cup song.
  8. Have you ever been to a major sporting event?
  9. What would happen if the World Cup was cancelled?
  10. What is the future for world football?

 

Title image: https://pixabay.com/

Summer Vocabulary Practice for ESOL Classes!

Summer Vocabulary Practice for ESOL Classes!

Here are 40 summer vocabulary words and phrases for ESOL and English classes. You can use them to create interesting vocabulary lessons with your English language students.

Check out some of the lesson plans that you can use with these cards here.

Direct download link:

https://purlandtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/discussion-words-summer-pt.pdf

Summer Vocabulary Practice for ESOL Classes!

Connected Speech in Real Life #1 – From Jar of Hearts to Jar of Farts

The hit song Jar of Hearts (2010) by Christina Perri became the subject of numerous parodies due to many people mishearing the title lyrics as not ‘jar of hearts’ but the rather more odious ‘jar of farts’.

Why did this happen? Well it’s all down to connected speech and the sound connection between ‘of’ and ‘hearts’. This is a cc (consonant to consonant) sound connection and we can see in Lesson 5.7 Connected Speech that we need to change this to a vc (vowel to consonant) connection. When the second syllable in a sound connection starts with a  h  sound we usually delete it and then move forward the final consonant sound of the first syllable. As the voiced consonant sound  v  (from ‘of’) moves forward, it changes to its unvoiced equivalent  f.

So we go from:

jar     of     hearts     (Jar Ov Hartz in Clear Alphabet)

to:

Jar     r     Fartz

The first sound connection ‘jar of’ is vv (vowel to vowel), so we connect with a  r  sound (intrusion). ‘Of’ is a function word, so it is not stressed and after losing its final consonant sound becomes an embedded schwa sound after  r:  Jar r

In short, it’s too difficult for the singer to pronounce  v  and  h  together (‘of hearts’), since a vc connection is required. It’s no surprise then that such a lovely sentiment on paper (‘jar of hearts’) becomes something rather more pungently unpleasant in the listener’s ears. It’s just unfortunate that the normal process of using connected speech to create vc connections has resulted in an entirely different phrase, but one that was humorously relevant.

Summer Discussion Questions for ESOL Classes!

Summer Discussion Questions for ESOL Classes!

Ask and answer the discussion questions about summer with a partner or small group:

  1. How many seasons are there in your country? What is your favourite / least favourite? Why? Do you like summer? Why? / Why not?
  2. How is summer different from other seasons in your country? Compare them. What do you do in summer that you don’t do the rest of the year? Do you change your habits?
  3. How many days of holiday do you normally have in summer? Is it enough? Are you able to switch off and relax on holiday, or do you take your work with you, e.g. emailing?
  4. Do you prefer to have a long summer holiday, or several shorter breaks during the year? Do you think school holidays are too long in your country? How long are they?
  5. What kind of summer holiday do you prefer: seaside, lake, mountain, cruise, camping, fishing, city break, cultural break, adventure, desert, jungle, safari, etc.? Have you ever been on this kind of holiday? What did you think of it? Are there any that you wouldn’t like to try? Why not?
  6. Do you prefer to stay in your own country or go abroad? Why? Are you an “outdoorsy” person? Do you like to camp? Could you survive “in the wild” for two weeks without access to a cashpoint, shops, and restaurants? How would you cope if you got lost without a mobile phone?
  7. What is the best summer holiday you have ever had? What has been the most memorable place you have ever visited? Why was it? Have you ever spent the night in a tent, yurt, cruise ship, ferry, train, B & B, motel, or five-star hotel? Tell me a story about each place.
  8. Which hotel or resort would you recommend? Have you ever made friends with people on holiday, but not kept in touch? Tell me about them. Have you ever had any disasters on holiday? What went wrong?
  9. What special events happen in your town / country in summer (e.g. cultural or sporting)? Do you usually attend / take part? If yes, describe each event. If not, why not?
  10. What effect does summer have on your… a) mood, b) attitude, c) health, d) motivation, e) weight, f) relationships with those around you?
  11. What do you like to wear in summer? How does it make you feel? What kind of food and drink do you enjoy in summer? Is there anything you don’t eat or drink in summer? Why not?
  12. Are you a good cook? Do you like to ‘cook up a storm’ on the barbecue with friends, or avoid the hot weather altogether by staying indoors?
  13. What was summer like when you were a child? What can you remember? How was summer different to now? How did you fill the long summer holidays?
  14. How hot is too hot for you? When was the hottest / coldest summer you can remember? Is summer weather changing for better or worse? Is climate change having an effect?
  15. What is the best kind of summer music? Why do you like it? Have you ever been to a festival in summer? Have you ever been on a summer camp or a school exchange?
  16. Have you ever been travelling, hitchhiking, or worked your way around the world during summer? Why? / Why not? What is your dream trip? What are you planning for next summer?

Image: https://pixabay.com/

Teaching Blog: Can you pronounce the English alphabet?

Teaching Blog: Can you pronounce the English alphabet?

This week I decided to hold a spelling bee with my classes. I’ve always liked the idea of spelling bees – in fact, I just like the phrase ‘spelling bee’, although I have no idea what relevance a bee has to spelling. (Yes, I could google it. OK, so I did!)

Despite being 14-15 years old and having studied English for, on average, probably eight years, I thought it would be very unlikely that many (any?) of my Polish secondary school students would be able to pronounce all the letters of the English alphabet. Why? Because in the evenings I teach adults and in general they can’t either. There must be a point early on in the learning process in Poland where the students learn the alphabet, but whether they return to it or not seems to be a moot point.

Teaching Blog: Can you pronounce the English alphabet?

The two word sets that I used for the quiz. Easier (l) and more difficult (r)

Procedure for a 45 min. class:

  1. Register and question: ‘Who can write the English alphabet?’ SS (student/s) came to the board and wrote it – invariably incorrectly. We went through the errors. We said the alphabet together. SS generally sang it too (to the tune of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’). I highlighted problematic letters, e.g. the vowels A E I O U, and also G/J, Q, V, and so on. (10-15 mins)
  2. I wrote ten words on the board (20 for higher-level groups), checked and translated them, then asked the SS to practise spelling them – then there would be a quiz. SS were supposed to practise spelling the words in pairs or groups of three. Not all groups did this, so in those cases I fast-forwarded to the quiz. (5-10 mins)
  3. Quiz: SS sat in teams of 3-4. ROUND 1: I asked one SS from the first team to stand up and spell a word from the list, e.g. JOURNEY. If they got it right, their team got 1 point. If not, I asked the next team to spell the same word. If they got it right, they got 1 point, and I asked the following team to spell a different word. ROUND 2: When I had heard all the words spelled correctly (by a trial and error process of SS correcting their wrong answers by listening to others’ right answers), I erased the 10 words from the board and SS had to answer from memory. Of course, this proved harder, but it was possible for most SS thanks to the previous round. ROUND 3: Time-permitting we played a third round, where the words were my choice and SS had to answer from their knowledge. I chose fairly familiar words like ‘computer’, ‘window’, and ‘chair’ – things that were in the round around us. With three rounds the quiz could expand or contract to fit the remaining time and the ability of the SS. The quiz continued for as long as 25 minutes, with SS building up points. The players in the winning team got a good mark (6) as winners of the quiz.

What worked?

  • Compared to previous weeks (e.g. escaping from a desert(ed) island last week) this week’s concept was very simple: can you spell 10 words correctly? The answer was generally a resounding ‘No!’
  • I ensured that the set of ten words in each group (easier and harder – see above) contained all the letters of the alphabet, so that each letter would get an airing. They were also fairly easy/familiar words, so not a lot of pre-teaching was required.
  • In general I enjoyed being the quiz master. There was a lot of pleasure in the tension of waiting for a SS’s next letter, for example: ‘Spell QUEUE.’ ‘Q – U – E – ‘… would they get it right? I sensed other people enjoyed this too. We were willing them on to get it right. Unfortunately, most of the time, they did not.
  • I quickly realised that this was more of a diagnostic lesson – a lesson where we established that there was a problem with matching the shape of letters to specific sounds. The errors were typical for Polish learners of English, and things that I have heard time and again during eleven years of teaching English in Poland: A, E, and I mixed up; c and s mixed up; short e (egg) instead of long ee; g and j mixed up; ‘ha’ instead of H; ‘key’ instead of K; missing Q, ‘air’ instead of R; and missing V or ‘fow’, like in Polish. No surprises, but I was shocked at the scale of the problem. During the first stage of the lesson – writing and saying the alphabet – I tried to use mnemonics, e.g. U sounds like ‘you’, Y sounds like ‘why’, Q sounds like ‘queue’, I = I (me), and so on. It was too little too late. We didn’t scratch the surface with learning the alphabet. It was just a diagnostic lesson – we found out that the need was there! I advised SS to learn it at home in their own time.
  • In some groups over-competitive SS tried to ‘throw’ other competitors by suggesting the wrong letters. I let them do it to an extent because it made the student who was spelling focus and think all the harder.

Challenges:

  • I created a PPT file to use to go through the alphabet with the SS. You can download it here: The English Alphabet (Powerpoint), but as time went on I realised that it was unnecessary and better to get SS to write the alphabet on the board and see their errors right from the beginning. Similarly, I made physical cards with the ten words on at two levels (see above), but it was quicker for me to simply write these words on the board. We had more time for the quiz, without trying to set up the projector and PPT and hand out the cards.
  • Even fairly innocuous words like CHAIR posed serious problems for the SS in terms of spelling. In fact, listening to SS spell CHAIR was particularly painful because every letter posed a problem:

C – pronounced S
H – ‘What is it?’
A – pronounced I
I – pronounced E
R – pronounced ‘air’

  • A few higher-level groups asked: ‘Why do we need to do this?’ ‘I want to see whether you know the alphabet.’ Some SS felt a bit sniffy, as if this was too easy and basic for their level. In the end I was proved right by most SS’s results in the quiz. I explained that it’s a basic skill and that they should know this at their level. I gave the example of filling in forms in the UK, since many of these SS may well be spending time working or studying there. ‘It’s so you don’t get the wrong name.’ One student, Dawid, protested: ‘But it’s normal name – Dawid.’ ‘OK. Can you spell it?’ ‘Yes. D-A-W-A-D.’
  • Towards the beginning of one lesson the SS’s form tutor poked his head round the door to check that some SS had arrived. He quickly noticed that we were saying the alphabet, with the letters on the board. ‘What are you doing?’ he asked, slightly suspiciously. ‘We’re testing whether the students can pronounce the English alphabet.’ ‘And can they?’ ‘That’s what we’re going to find out.’ ‘Hmm,’ said the teacher, and left. I understand that learning the alphabet is most associated with children’s lessons, but experience told me that they would benefit from this ‘reminder’ – and I feel that most of them did. Later I found the teacher and mentioned the results: that almost none of the students could spell all of the words correctly with the alphabet. We talked about what could be done. The problem is that when you’re tied to the course book (as he is) pronouncing letters doesn’t come up again after the first few lessons at beginner level.
  • The lesson time (45 mins) passed fairly quickly with this format. It was a nice simple lesson to run – without any technology or handouts (as in YATCB Method) – and it did feel like a change from doing the setup > preparation > presentation model of the previous few weeks. However, during the quiz I had to wonder whether it wasn’t a little bit, er, dull, compared with those previous lessons.
  • I feel it was worth doing – to diagnose the problem – but the question now is how to build on it and ensure they learn to say the alphabet. Perhaps I can return to it during future lessons and do a five-minute quiz, rather than spending a whole lesson on it.

See also:

Lesson 1.1 Alphabet

FREE Podcast – Learn the English Alphabet – with Matt Purland