Helpful resources for language teachers and students, writers and translators

I built this site as somewhere I can provide you with helpful resources. But it's become clear that I need to update and migrate thanks to a broken Wordpress installation. Images and uploaded files in the media library have gone missing (they are still there in the back-end!) Plus, Wordpress plugins only partially function. This is the third … [Read more...]

Learning a language: Don’t just listen, interact!

While listening to audiobooks and podcasts, watching movies or playing games will definitely help you learn a language faster, it's still slower than if you are using it to communicate with people. I'm not saying these things aren't worthwhile, just that we need to interact with people to cement the language in our heads. But not all of us … [Read more...]

Learning Japanese without a teacher

I learnt Japanese successfully, mostly on my own using japanesepod101.com, the Pimsleur audio programs, a few textbooks noted below, and a handful of iPhone apps. How long did it take?Within just a few months of starting to learn Japanese, I was able to travel around Japan alone for a month, with the help of a travel phrase book and a dictionary. … [Read more...]

Gaming conversations – a class for language learners

Do you have a conversation class with many younger students who haven't traveled much? Perhaps they are interested in gaming! Of course, there are many different types of gaming - computer and console gaming, collectible card games, role playing, tabletop board games, card games, poker and so many more. Most younger students are interested in at … [Read more...]

Basic questions for beginner conversation classes

Questions, questions, and more questions! Beginner conversation classes can be very difficult - students are often scared to talk when they are starting to learn a new language. But, talking is one of the fastest ways both to build confidence - mistakes don't kill you - and to cement new words and grammar structures in memory. Tip: When … [Read more...]

An unconventional approach to translation

Firstly, a disclaimer: I'm not a trained translator. I'm well aware that my approach to translation is not how translators typically work. I have worked with several professional translators in the past, so I know my approach is not the standard. But, over the last several months a few people have asked me to explain how I have been able to … [Read more...]

Write about a dream: Language activity for intermediate+ students

Dreams are great to write about - there are plot twists and turns, fantastical characters, unlikely situations and worlds to explore. Many people like explaining their strange dreams to others - you can laugh about them, discuss likely (and unlikely) hidden messages, and be curious what your subconscious is trying to work through. Dreams make … [Read more...]

Mistakes in a second language – cool! Mostly

I've recently moved areas from East to West Germany, and amazed at how much more comfortable everyone here is with using English. In Leipzig, very few people could speak any English, and it was always a (good!) surprise when a shopkeeper asked me a question or wished me a good day in English. In and around Villingen and Wiesbaden, this seems to … [Read more...]

Cheat sheets for English conversation classes

Someone has asked to see examples of my grammar cheat sheets from when I taught larger EFL conversation classes. That's why I'm posting a few and hoping that they will help conversation class teachers everywhere. It's been a while since I have taught any large classes. I've been focusing more on my private students, as well as a few freelance … [Read more...]

Why you must prepare to teach a conversation class

I've been teaching English conversation classes for nearly 7 years now. My students have been a varied bunch. From teenagers to seniors over 90 years old. Students, job seekers, employees and retirees. Travelers, immigrants, artists, doctors and engineers. Even a handful of language teachers (no pressure!) At first I thought I could wing … [Read more...]