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Teaching ESL to Adults Blog

This ESL Blog for Teaching ESL to Adults lists all the updates to this site. I'll let you know as soon as I add new worksheets, cloze exercises, and grammar tips, etc. I'll also let you know when I find other great resources for teaching ESL and EFL.

To be sure to keep up-to-date with the latest additions, you can subscribe to the ESL Blog. A list of the top RSS readers are listed to the left. If you're not sure what RSS is all about, click on the "?" next to "Subscribe To This Site." RSS feeds are a big timesaver and give you easy access to the sites you want to keep up with. Bookmarks are on the way out. When was the last time you checked your bookmarks? Check it out!

Aug 01, 2017

ESL Videos

ESL videos by private ESL tutor, Debra Garcia, show teachers how to conduct a Needs Assessment, what to do during the first meeting, and how to use an ESL tutoring contract to reduce cancellations.

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Dec 31, 2014

ESL Tutoring Book Chapter One

Here's Chapter One of my upcoming book, 10 Steps to a Successful ESL Tutoring Business. You can also sign up for three free videos to help you run a successful tutoring business.

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Jul 24, 2014

What do you need to know about starting and running a tutoring business?

Wow! You guys are awesome! I've had over 30 testimonials and over 100 responses to my email announcement I sent yesterday. If you haven't had a chance to answer my burning question to you ("What are your top two questions about starting and running an ESL tutoring business that I absolutely NEED to answer in this e-book?"), there is still time. Thank you!!!

May 20, 2014

ESL Teaching Tips TOC

Table of Contents for the ESL Teaching Tips ezine. Here's the page to get all links to handouts mentioned in my ezines.

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Jan 24, 2014

ESL Teaching Tips Ezine

Sign up for ESL Teaching Tips and get a free ebook of 27 Simple Present Tense worksheets for English Language Learners.

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Jan 22, 2014

ESL Worksheets for Adults is Ready!

It took longer than I thought it would, but the book of 27 Present Tense worksheets with complete answer sheets is ready.

Over the next three days, people on my "ESL Teaching Tips" email list are receiving the link to download the book for free.

Dec 10, 2013

ESL Worksheets for Adults, Volume 1

I'm getting back to work on providing useful stuff for my readers! I'm just putting the finishing touches on Volume 1 of my "ESL Worksheets for Adults."

Folks who have signed up for my "ESL Teaching Tips" should be receiving the volume of 26 worksheets within the next couple of weeks (hopefully sooner!).

May 25, 2013

TEFL or CELTA Certificates

TEFL or CELTA, which certification is best? Factors to consider when deciding between these two cerficates to begin your career teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

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Jul 29, 2012

Voiced or Unvoiced -ed Ending for ESL

Tips and strategies for teaching how to determine between the voiced or unvoiced -ed ending for past tense verb pronunciation to ESL and EFL students.

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Jul 29, 2012

Teaching Simple Present Verbs to ESL Students

Teaching Simple Present verbs to ESL students involves more than just verb conjugation. Form and function are also essential elements of any ESL lesson on the Simple Present tense.

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Jul 29, 2012

ESL Present Progressive Conjugation

Teaching present progressive conjugation to ESL and EFL students first requires teaching the helping verb. Lesson plans must also include form and function of the present continuous verb tense.

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Jul 29, 2012

ESL Present Perfect Continuous Forms

Tips for teaching Present Perfect Continuous forms, verb conjugation and verb functions. This verb tense is used to talk about the duration of something that began in the past and continues until now.

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Jul 29, 2012

ESL Past Perfect Continuous Tense

Tips for teaching the Past Perfect Continuous tense, including conjugation, forms and functions of the verb tense. The Past Perfect Continuous emphasizes the duration of an activity in the past.

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Jul 29, 2012

How to Start Teaching ESL or EFL

How to start teaching ESL or EFL to English language learners depends on the country you want to teach in and the type of setting in which you want to teach. Qualifications vary.

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Jun 10, 2012

Teaching Reading to ESL Students

Steps for teaching reading to ESL students and preparing effective reading lesson plans. Step-by-step list to engage students and effectively teach reading skills to English Language Learners.

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Apr 30, 2012

CELTA Course Locations Around the World

Complete list of Cambridge CELTA Course Locations with contact information. Over 250 CELTA centres throughout over 50 countries. Updated May 7, 2012.

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Mar 22, 2012

Will and Be Going To for the Future

Future Simple tenses include the uses of will and be going to. The general rules are Will is used for predictions and willingness. Be going to is used for predictions and prior plans.

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Mar 22, 2012

Resources for Teaching Adults ESL or EFL

My personal list of websites and other resources for teaching adults ESL or EFL. All sites provide valuable help for teaching adults English.

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Mar 21, 2012

ESL Present Tense Verb Worksheets

ESL Present Tense verb worksheets are a great teaching tool and can be used to reinforce conjugation, forms and functions. Cloze exercises are common handouts used for ESL and EFL quizzes and tests.

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Mar 21, 2012

Free ESL Worksheets for Beginners and Beyond

Free ESL Worksheets for Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced English students. No membership required to download ESL and EFL handouts and printables.

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Mar 16, 2012

Changes to My Website Layout

You may notice changes to the layout of over the next couple of months. Rest assured they are changes that I'm making. (When I see changes to sites, I sometimes wonder if something "bad" is happening, like someone has hijacked the site or something.--But then maybe that's just me!)

The primary reason I'm making the changes is that the incredible tool I use to make my site (SBI) is upgrading and making so many more options available to me to make an even more useful site. I will only make changes that I think will be helpful to my readers.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Mar 14, 2012

ESL Future Perfect Lesson Plans

Tips for Future Perfect lesson plans, verb conjugation, forms, and function. The Future Perfect is used to talk about an activity that will be finished before another time or event in the future.

Continue reading "ESL Future Perfect Lesson Plans"

Mar 14, 2012

ESL Future Simple Tenses

Teaching Future Simple Tenses involves teaching two versions of the tense, plus the Present Progressive tense used with a future meaning. Conjugation, form, and function must be taught.

Continue reading "ESL Future Simple Tenses"

Mar 08, 2012

ESL Past Perfect Lesson Plans

How to do Past Perfect lesson plans, including verb conjugation, form and function of this verb tense. The Simple Past is usually used by ESL students instead of the Past Perfect.

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Mar 08, 2012

ESL Teaching Ideas for Past Continuous

Teaching ideas for Past Continuous or Past Progressive verbs include conjugation, form, and functions of the tense. ESL and EFL teachers must first teach the past tense of the helping verb “to be.”

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Mar 06, 2012

ESL Present Perfect Lesson Plans

Present Perfect lesson plans should focus on verb conjugation, verb form and, especially, the functions of the verb tense. The Present Perfect has three functions in English grammar.

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Mar 05, 2012

English Verb Tense List

Here's the verb tense list you need for teaching ESL or EFL. The basic verb tenses are Past, Present and Future, but there are a total of twelve English verb tenses that need to be taught.

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Mar 02, 2012

Using Tongue Twisters for Pronunciation Lessons

How to use tongue twisters for pronunciation practice and to teach English language learners minimal pairs and vowels sounds.

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Feb 29, 2012

Teaching Voiced and Unvoiced Sounds to ESL and EFL Students

Teaching the concept of voiced and unvoiced sounds to ESL and EFL students helps with pronunciation challanges, especially with past tense pronunciation. Vocal chord vibration is the key.

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Apr 17, 2011

New CELTA Locations in U.S.A.

Cambridge CELTA courses can now be taken in Los Angeles (specifically in Torrance), California and Seattle, Washington. This makes a total of eight locations across the U.S. where CELTA can be studied.

See the link below for a full list of CELTA course locations in the U.S. and around the world.

Continue reading "New CELTA Locations in U.S.A."

Oct 25, 2010

Hopefully, this disjunct is OK

Peter H. from the U.S. took exception to something I wrote on the home page of this website. While I disagree with him, the issue raises a great point about how the English language is ever-changing and constantly evolving (although some would disagree with this positive outlook!).

Peter's comment and my response follow.

Peter's comment:

"Hopefully, it will save other ESL and EFL teachers and tutors a lot of time....."

"Hopefully" is a dangling adverb in this sentence, intended to mean "I hope..." I guess there's little hope (!) of reversing this insult to English, as it has become so firmly established!

My response:

Hi Peter,

Thank you for taking the time to write. While I certainly do not claim to speak "The Queen's English" or anything like it, I will have to disagree with you on this one. I don't think the English language feels insulted by my use of this disjunct (at least I hope not!). I believe that the current state of the ever-changing English language accepts this usage of "hopefully."

You can also see a longer response about my thoughts on English, as well as another instance where someone else might agree with you about my use of English here: "Speak Like the Natives.

Welcome to English as English is used! Hopefully, I didn't ruin your day!

And I do hope (uh oh, started with a conjunction!), that none of my words here have caused any additional grief. I really do appreciate your passion and the time you took to write.

Best regards and take care,


Oct 12, 2009

Please and Thank You

Probably 100% of the ESL students I've met know the word "please." It's one of the first words English language learners are taught. "Thank you" is right up there, too.

When teaching students how to make requests and the various different ways to do so, I always tell them, "just add 'please' to your request and you don't have to worry about your request being in perfect English."

So here is my request to my readers who ask me for resources or ideas: please write "please" in your request.

I don't mind responding to the several emails I get every day, sometimes I even enjoy it, but I'm getting a little persnickety about the word "please."

So if it wouldn't be too much to ask, I'd greatly appreciate adding the word "please" to requests for information or help.

Thank you!

(Incidentally, many of my ESL students have mentioned that they think Americans say "thank you" a lot. Hmmm.)

Oct 09, 2009

Contacting Teaching ESL to Adults

I love to get your ESL questions and comments. Please remember that if you want a response from me, you must fill in your email address in the contact form. Otherwise, there's no way for me to get back to you (and I'm sure you're probably thinking I'm a flake for not responding!).

Continue reading "Contacting Teaching ESL to Adults"

Sep 29, 2009

TESOL Certificate Course Criteria

Criteria for choosing the best TESOL Certificate course to help you start teaching English as a second or foreign language.

Continue reading "TESOL Certificate Course Criteria"

Sep 29, 2009

Christian-based ESL Curriculum?

I received this message from Sally in the U.S. Unfortunately, she did not supply an email address for me to answer her. Hopefully, she'll come back to my site for the answer.

Sally writes:

"I will be teaching ESL to Spanish speakers through my church. I'm excited, but nervous. I've never taught ESL.

I taught HS 20 years ago -- Media and English degrees.

I have just found your site and think it will help me. I'm open to any other help anyone wants to offer.

We don't have a curriculum or supplies. We have thought it would be good to be able to use a biblical, Christian based, curriculum. I haven't been able to find one. Any thoughts?"

My response:

Dear Sally,

That's great news, and you're right, teaching ESL is exciting. It seems that churches and other non-profit organizations are great places for non-English speakers to get low-cost or free English classes. And it also seems that these organizations are often expected to provide services with limited or no resources! That's a shame.

What and how you teach will depend upon (1) the English level of the students, (2) their age, and (3) their purpose in learning English.

You didn't mention the specifics of the first two items, but there are tons of free resources online to address the first two issues. It just takes time to find them. However, I want to address the third issue in more detail.

One thing that ESL/EFL teachers, especially teachers of adults, need to ask themselves is WHY are these students taking this English class.

In your case, Sally, is it to get a deeper understanding of the Bible or of their Christian beliefs? Or is it so that they can get a job or make advancements on their current jobs? Is it so that they can take care of the day-to-day tasks of living in an English-speaking country? Is it so that they can feel better about themselves and have more confidence in their English speaking abilities? Is it to gain "survival skills?" Etc.

The teacher has to put the students' needs first. While it's fine to approach a class from a particular orientation, in this case a Christian orientation, the lessons should be something that the students can use in the "real world," in their day-to-day lives. The material and topics covered should be transferable to the students' lives outside of the church.

I don't know of any Christian-based curriculum, Sally. You may be the person to create such a curriculum. I would just suggest that you find a way for students to transfer the English skills that they learn with you into their day-to-day lives.

Best of luck,


Jul 13, 2009

Do We Need Another ESL Forum?

I receive several emails every day asking all sorts of questions.

Here's a sample of what I received today:

"I work in Graduate Medical Education and have encountered very bright international physicians. However, their English skills are marginal, especially reading and comprehension. International graduates who are new to this country are also very hard to understand, especially in the rural south. Because of their advanced level of education IMG's often pretend to understand what they hear and comprehend what they read. That can be a problem in a patient care setting. Any suggestions?"

"I am an American living in New York. Is it better for me to take my teaching certification here in N.Y or to go overseas and study over there? I am confused as to which is a better option in regards to being prepared to start initially in the country I want to teach in (does this give me a better head start?) or to start here and find a job through the internet once the course is through. Please help. Thanks."

While I love hearing from readers, I find that answering these questions takes A LOT of time. Plus, I just don't always know the answers.

So here are my questions to my readers:

1. Do you think it would be useful for me to set up a forum on this website so that readers can ask me AND other readers ESL-related questions?

2. Or are there already enough ESL forums out there?

3. Would you visit and participate in a forum on this website?

Thank you for taking the time to get back to me by contacting me through the "permalink" below.

Continue reading "Do We Need Another ESL Forum?"

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