7 Quotes from My Writing Class this Semester

Finals just finished, grades are in, and break begins at the end of the week. It’s time to look back at the semester and reminisce.

I always enjoy teaching writing, and I had another semester full of fond memories with my most recent class. Interestingly, my writing classes usually have plenty of lively discussion. It’s a subject that a lot of students really care about, but it’s also a medium that allows them to express their ideas more completely. In a second language, it’s often more difficult to keep up with the pace of a conversation, but writing provides more time to gather and construct your ideas (of course, this is true for many native speakers too, myself included).

So without further ado, here are some memorable things my students have said or written this semester and why they’re significant.

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Teaching English in Saudi Arabia: An Interview With Daniel Johnson

14787112_10104428013821697_477744730_oI met Dan Johnson at the University of Illinois where we both received our Masters’ degrees in TESL. After graduation, I went to Missouri and Dan went to Saudi Arabia. Needless to say, we’ve had some different post-grad experiences. I got in touch with him to hear about his life and work in the Middle East.

Unlike my previous interviews, which were in person, my interview with Dan was done over email. It starts off with a few general questions about teaching English and then gets into his experiences in Saudi Arabia later. You’ll find Dan to be an interesting, eloquent answerer of questions. I’m very appreciative of the time and effort he put into these answers and I think you will be too. Enjoy.

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5 Reasons Why You Don’t Understand Your Students

When you teach ESL, there are several barriers between you and your student. The obvious one is the language barrier. That’s not what I’m talking about here. The word “understand” in the title is not referring to understanding pronunciation, spelling, or grammar.

This post is about how ESL teachers often have difficulty understanding the motivations, attitudes, goals, and struggles of their students. I’m not trying to attack anyone, and these might not be true for everybody. But if you read one and say “oh shoot, that’s me!”, then you’ve got some things to think about.

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