Five English Lesson Ideas Based on Authentic, Real-World Content

lightbulbs in a line

We know that using authentic content is important in English language instruction, and there are dozens of ways to do it, from having students write Yelp reviews to watching YouTube videos. However, the bigger question is how to use authentic content in a way that is needs-based, personalized, and relevant.

Implementing Technology Programs in Workforce Language Training [Webinar]

man at desk on tablet

Workforce development is the ideal place to implement a task-based language training program as learners have clear, real-world goals and because language instruction can be incorporated into training for other skills. In this post, an in-depth webinar on developing a strategy, designing effective language instruction, and measuring learner and course outcomes.

Building an Effective Workplace English Program—It’s Easier Than You Think!

workplace collaboration

Learning and development is only one of the many competing priorities that Human Resources (HR) managers face. Fortunately, though, there are some easy-to-follow guidelines that can help HR professionals assess the quality of their current English training programs and, if necessary, bring in more effective, efficient, and innovative tools to help their employees develop their language skills.

Writing in Online Language Classes

One question I often get asked by instructors setting up online language courses is how to structure peer-to-peer communication. They ask because thousands of empirical studies on distance learning have established that a feeling of community drives learner engagement and, therefore, outcomes, but the wrong approach can actually be damaging for language learners. So what is the solution?

Pronunciation Instruction

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and unfortunately for many non-native speakers, a foreign accent can sometimes get in the way. It’s one of the first things that people notice, and incomprehensible, heavily-accented English can be used to label and categorize, often wrongly. Language learners understandably want to minimize their accents, but they are rarely successful; let’s consider why.

How long does it take to learn a language?

By Dr. Katharine B. Nielson – Another question I get asked all the time is how long it takes to learn a language. And my answer–which no one likes–is “it depends.” But there are no easy answers to this question, because it really does depend on so many different things, from how much time you …

Teaching the right thing

By Dr. Katharine B. Nielson – As anyone who’s ever tried to learn a language can attest, it’s not easy. I don’t know how many times I’ve had people tell me that they are “bad” at learning languages, citing the fact that they’d spent four years of high school or college learning Spanish or French, …

Is “bench” one of the hardest words to learn in English? No, it isn’t.

By Dr. Katharine B. Nielson It is hard to accurately write about scientific research for the mass market, and journalists regularly make mistakes. I don’t think, however, that explains what happened last month at Business Insider. Not only did Mark Abadi publish a factually-inaccurate piece about how hard it is to learn English, he relied …

Is writing the Achilles heel of English language learners?

Even for the most advanced English learners, there’s one skill area that often goes neglected in both classroom and online settings: writing. Improving one’s writing skills is incredibly difficult and requires consistent practice—especially in a second language—so learners tend to shy away from tackling it head on. Yet for English learners who need to use …