Wednesday, April 27, 2011

About the usage of "would"

Dear all,

I got this question sent to my mailbox. Since it might be of use to some of you, I post it here to share the question and my answer to all who have the same question.

Ở Trường em vừa diễn ra đợt thi giáo viên giỏi cấp trường. Một cô giáo dạy bài Unit 9 trong giáo trình Headway ( elementary). Nội dung của bài là cấu trúc "Would like" cô giáo này giải thích Would like = like very much.

Và Yes/no question của nó là

Would + S + like..........? cô giáo giải thích đây là Polite request. Và không được trả lời là Yes hoặc No.

Hội đồng trong khoa không đồng ý

Would like = like và want

nên Would + S + like = Do you/ they want hoặc like
Does she / she want hoặc like

Đây ko phải là polite request

Chỉ có Would you like........ mới là polite request

Theo như khoa em giải thích vậy có đúng ko cô?
Below is my answer:

1. polite request đúng là chỉ dùng "would you like"; xem thêm ở đây: và ở đây:

2. "would she like" là để hỏi về preferences, vậy giải thích như khoa như vậy là đúng rồi.
And finally, some further references:




This third link is a real good one. Let me copy this part off the page, which is relevant to the question asked above:

would: Desire or inclination
I'd love to live here.
Would you like some coffee?
What I'd really like is some tea.

would: Polite requests and questions
Would you open the door, please? (more polite than: Open the door, please.)
Would you go with me? (more polite than: Will you go with me?)
Would you know the answer? (more polite than: Do you know the answer?)
What would the capital of Nigeria be? (more polite than: What is the capital of Nigeria?)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Do you know these English words at all?

What words? Well, words like edupreuner, intextication, tweetheart, to name but a few.

But ... are you sure they are English words? I am sure they are.

Hmm... Maybe these are slangs, or teenagers' fleeting language inventions, which are not recognised in the mainstream?

Nope! They are, actually, recorded by ... Cambridge Dictionaries!

Yeah, you can go here to read these and all other newly invented words which appear in the English language every single day.

Before I stop, just to give you a taste of what is in there, let me copy the definitions from the site for the three words listed above:

1. Edupreneur: (noun) edupreneur noun someone working as an entrepreneur in an area of education

Switching sides: prominent educationists now working

2. Intextication: (noun) the state of being unable to drive safely while texting

Intextication Prevention Tools – This SafeCell Android App Credits You Money for Safe Driving [ (advert)] 31 Oct 10

3. Tweetheart: (noun) a friend or lover that you communicate with via Twitter

Gathering of Tweethearts at Chili’s [ (headline)] 07 Oct 2010

See, you have to constantly update your knowledge, or you don't know English anymore!

Well, one last word: do you know what sofalise is? You don't? Go there and check for yourself!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

For those who think they know English

English is an easy language to learn, right? Well, I don't really think so.

If you are not already confused, here are a few links that can confuse you enormously. They are about English grammar and usage. Read them, and you will learn that you don't know the language at all.

1. - Very good to read. Read today's entry below just for the taste of it.


More and more, fewer people use “less” and “fewer” the way the language gods intended. “There are less people here than there were last year,” for example, is commonly heard or written.

Grammar texts are pretty absolute: Use “fewer” when you’re talking about countable things, and “less” when you’re not. So that first example should be “fewer” people, because you can count them. Simple.

OK, then what about this? “The contract pays him fewer than a thousand dollars a week.” Doesn’t that sound funny? But it must be right: You can count those dollars.

Thus the first “exception” to the “rules”: Use “less” when the context refers to a quantity, rather than individual things, even if there are a number of things. Thus, “he earns less than a thousand dollars a week,” but “he earns five hundred fewer dollars than his wife.”

That “exception” is usually easy to follow: Use “less” with singular nouns and “fewer” with plural nouns. (You need “less” salt on your fries, but “fewer” grains of salt.) If you’re comparing quantities of individual things, “fewer” usually works better than “less.” (You earn “less” money but “fewer” dollars than someone else.)

Even so, there are times when you can’t tell if you’re dealing with individuals or groups. In 2008, The New Yorker ran this cartoon of a checkout lane with the sign “10 items or less“ corrected to “10 items or fewer.” After all, you can count each of those items, yes? Except that almost no one says “ten items or fewer.” Maybe it’s one grocery order, so the individual items don’t count? Hey! You have eleven items! Put one of them back, so you have one item fewer.

Except that you should say “one item less.”

Other “exceptions” include distances (“less” than ten miles away), percentages and fractions (“less” than two-thirds of the voters), time (“less” than sixty seconds), measurement (“less” than thirty square yards), etc., etc., etc. (And, by the way, you shouldn’t use “fewer number,” as in “a fewer number of people.” When you say “fewer,” you’re already signaling that you’re talking numbers.)

Lesser mortals have failed to keep those exceptions straight. And Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage points out that the “rule” actually started out as a “guideline,” where common sense, ear and elegance trump “right” and “wrong.”

Perhaps you can think of it as Garner’s Modern American Usage describes it: “Fewer emphasizes number, and less emphasizes degree or quantity.”

Yes, it requires you to think, but there are less fruitful ways to waste a day.

Now, stop and think: which one do you use, "less" or "fewer"?

2. - Another confusing site, well, I mean it's good, informative, but it doesn't help you in becoming a better English user. Just read the following piece and you will know why.


At various points in my life, I finished up a task and excitedly, dutifully, or resignedly announced its completion by saying “I’m done”. And most of the times, this was met with a congratulation, or at least warm indifference. On rare occasions, it was met with a succinct rebuke:

“Cakes are done. People are finished.”

That was all; no explanation given, and me left sitting there wondering why, if the subject of cake was going to be broached, it wasn’t to give me one as a reward. Because the response was so untethered to rational explanation, I would quickly forget about it, only to be reminded each time that I bothered to tell this person that I was done.

Well, I’m done. And so’s the rule. Let me turn the floor over to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage (MWDEU):

“Done in the sense of ‘finished’ has been subject to a certain amount of criticism over the years for reasons that are not readily apparent.”

The reasons aren’t unreadily apparent, either; they simply aren’t. MWDEU traces the prohibition against humans being done to MacCracken and Sandison’s 1917 book Manual of Good English, which offers no explanation for its impropriety. In the near-century since, no one else has found a reason for it either. What passes for a justification is that one-liner I quoted above; for instance, in one professor’s list of “errors to avoid“, we’re given this explanation, posted in its entirety:

“30. If something has been completed, it is finished–it is not ‘done’. Remember, cakes are done; people are finished.”

It looks to me that the real reason why people started complaining about this usage is that it had two signs of the prescriptivist devil: it was a new usage, and it was a non-standard usage. To be done, the MWDEU reports, supplanted to have done for states of being starting sometime in the 1700s or earlier, which on a prescriptivist timescale somehow counts as “new”. Furthermore, the OED classifies this usage as chiefly Irish, Scottish, American, and dialectical, which to a prescriptivist is just a long way of saying improper. And usually finished sounds fancier than done, which no doubt contributed to the distaste for done.

But unless you believe in 300-year-old grudges, there’s no reason to be against people being done. According to the OED, Thomas Jefferson used it, as did Jeremy Bentham (the philospoher, not the Lost character) and others. There’s no grammatical logic why done and finished are any different, either. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if it weren’t for its snappy motto, this injunction would long ago gone the way of the dodo. Let’s try to help it toward that fate.

Summary: Cakes are done; people are finished? Nope. Cakes can also be finished and people can also be done. And stop mentioning cake if you’re only teasing me.

3. - Very good site, with explanations on confusing things in English grammar.

The only problem: The more you read, the less you know English! Because you will find that there are so many exceptions to any rule in English grammar.

Sorry! But that's why English is interesting, isn't it?

Friday, April 15, 2011

"Clozure: Cloze test made easy"

Something more for ELT professionals.

Go here for it.

Once you are there, you will be able to use random cloze tests to test your own English proficiency, or copy the test you like and use it with your students.

Hope it's useful to overworked (and usually underpaid) teachers.

Open Journals for ELT Professionals (2); "International Journal of English Linguistics"

Another open access journal for ELT professional. Here it is.

Read the description below:
International Journal of English Linguistics (IJEL) is a peer-reviewed journal, published by Canadian Center of Science and Education. The journal publishes research papers in the fields of English language, applied English linguistics, theoretical English linguistics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, computational linguistics, comparative linguistics, and dialectology. The journal is published in both printed and online versions. The online version is free access and download.

Hope it's useful.

Open Journals for ELT professionals (1): "English Language Teaching"

Here is an open access journal that ELT professionals can use. Read the description below:

English Language Teaching (ELT) is a peer-reviewed journal, published by Canadian Center of Science and Education. Authors are encouraged to submit complete unpublished and original works, which are not under review in any other journals. The scopes of the journal include, but not limited to, the following topic areas: English language teaching and education, theory, methodology and educational psychology in English language teaching.The journal is published in both printed and online versions. The online version is free access and download.


Open Journals

Another list of open journals for graduate students and researchers.

Go here for it.

Hope it's useful.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

For Wordle lovers

An article by Ferry Ferlazzo.

Go here for it.


Good read: "6 misconceptions about teaching young learners of English"

Something for you to read and think. I hope you don't hold any of the misconceptions listed.


You can also read below.

1. Teachers of YLs should be paid less money because the only thing they do is playing games and singing songs
2. Teachers of YLs have lower qualifications that’s why they teach kids (or – They teach kids because their qualifications are not enough to deal with more serious teaching)

3. Teaching children is not REAL teaching (Can’t remember how often I was given a look saying ‘Now what do YOU know about the difference between Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous???’) . You also don’t speak REAL English, because if you teach YLs (and are not a native speaker) most probably your level of English is equal to the one of your students’.

4. Teachers of YLs cannot/should not/ are not able to teach adults (This one is interesting – it seems like anyone can get a job teaching kids but if a teacher of kids wants to get a job teaching adults, he or she is immediately rejected)

5. Teaching YLs is a very easy/difficult job (it actually is not, once you get the idea how to do it properly)

6. Teachers of YLs like children (hmm… how to say that… I guess not all of them.)

The author of this article is Anita Kwiatkowska. She is a Polish teacher of young learners currently in Turkey. She is also active in the blogosphere and twittevers and is the person behind the blog l_missbossy’s ELT playground.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Teaching English to Young Learners Syllabus


There are six main units of learning:

1. Language awareness

Language description for the teaching of English to young learners

The practical significance of similarities and differences between languages

Reference materials for language awareness

2. The learner, the teacher and the teaching/learning context

The young learner’s educational background and traditions and the context for learning and teaching English at young learner level

Different motivations for young learners learning English at different stages of their development

Different learning and teaching styles in a young learner classroom

3. Planning for effective teaching of young learners of English

The principles and practical realities of planning for effective teaching of young learners of English

The selection and evaluation of appropriate materials and resources, including exercise types, for specific lessons with young learners.

The evaluation of lesson preparation

4. Classroom management and teaching skills for teaching English to young learners

Classroom presence, control and organisation

Teacher and learner language

Practical skills for teaching young learners of different ages and ability levels

Monitoring and evaluation of young learners’ performance and progress

5. Resources and materials for teaching English to young learners

Resources and materials for teaching English to young learners

Criteria for selection and evaluation of resources and materials for use in teaching and testing young learners of English

Ways in which materials and resources may be adapted for use in teaching English to young learners

6. Professional Development for teachers of English to young learners

Self assessment: understanding the teacher’s own development needs and working on strengths

Preparation for employment: preparing to become a teacher, colleague and employee

Professional development: support systems, publications, and courses for teaching English to young learners


Candidates should ideally have been awarded the CELTA as the CELTYL extension builds on the CELTA syllabus. Candidates who do not have a CELTA but have an equivalent entry level EFL qualification (e.g. the Trinity TESOL) can also join the course. However, they will not be eligible to be awarded an endorsement certificate by Cambridge, but will be awarded a certificate by ILA Vietnam instead.

Cambridge regulations state that candidates:

- must have an awareness of language and a competence in English, both written and spoken, that enables them to undertake the course and prepare for teaching a range of English levels.

- must be at least eighteen years old at the start of the course. It is generally recommended that candidates should be aged 20 and over, but candidates aged between 18 – 20 can be accepted at the centre’s discretion.

- must have the potential to develop the necessary skills to become effective teachers of young learners and to successfully complete the written assignments and the assessment of practice teaching.

- should normally have, as a minimum entry requirement, a standard of education equivalent to that required for entry into higher education. However, candidates who do not have formal qualifications at this level who can demonstrate their ability to complete the course successfully may be eligible for entry.

All applicants must complete a pre-interview task (see the application pack) and have an interview. This interview can be done over the telephone. The admission procedure is designed to safeguard applicant’s interests.

The written application:

- is designed to challenge you.

- needs to be completed carefully and thoroughly.

- shows you the areas you’ll be involved in during the course.

helps the centre to accept only those candidates who we think can successfully complete the course. This is a Cambridge requirement.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Websites for teaching English to Young Learners (TEFL-YL)

Following are websites that you can use if you are (or plan to be) teaching English to young learners.

1. Click here for it.

2. You can find lots of worksheets, games, songs, flashcards, all for free!


4. Click here. You can find contents of a course to prepare teachers of English for young learners, or TEYL for short. More details can be found here.

The content is so good, I have to copy it here for easy access for myself and my students. See below.

Objectives of the CertTEYL Course

1. To give you the special skills required to properly instruct children.

2. To help you understand all aspects of a child: social, emotional, intellectual, etc.

3. To show you how to interact effectively with young learners in a classroom.

4. To let you explore methods that work best in teaching English to young learners and to S-T-R-E-T-C-H your teaching style to accommodate the individual needs of your students.

5. To teach you how to create an appropriate classroom atmosphere for learning English.

6. To help you properly manage children's behavior.

7. To demonstrate to you how to use teaching resources easily and efficiently.

8. To allow you to acquire proper instructive strategies using flashcards, stories, music, drama, crafts, games, projects, and pair work.

9. To further develop your teaching career and to increase your level of professionalism.

CertTEYL Course Outline
We provide a logical sequence of learning and use the modular approach to maximize efficiency.

Course Objectives and Course Breakdown
Should you be teaching children? (with self-assessment questionnaire)
The Science of TEYL
Course Resources
Online Resources/Study Tips

Module 1 - Characteristics of a Young Learner
Defining a Young Learner
First Language Development
Learning a Second Language
Parenting and Communication
Psychological Development and the Role of Motivation
Social Development
Intellectual Development
Physical Development and TPR
Cultural Considerations
Interaction Strategy and/or Philosophy

Module 2 - Learning and Language
What is Language?/Language Acquisition
Learning Another Language
Grammar Goblins
Phonology - The Sound of Language
The Four Skills

Module 3 - Classroom Management
The Makings of a Good Teacher
Behavior Management (includes Discipline)
Classroom Atmosphere
Classroom Safety

Module 4 - Instructive Strategy
Using Gestures and Flashcards
Using Games
Using Music, Songs, and Chants
Using Dance and Movement
Using Dialogue, Drama, and Poetry
Using Stories and Storytelling
Using Crafts and Activities
Project Work
Using Technology in the Classroom
Pair and Group Work
Including Phonology in Lessons
Error Correction (+Concept Checking & Syllabus Design)

Module 5 - Resource Management
Free-form Lesson Planning
Where to get ideas! (includes an Idea and Resource Guide with hundreds of sources for lesson plan ideas)
Building a Set of Re-Usable Resources
Material Evaluation

Module 6 - Professional Development
Teachers' Rights
Language Teaching Versus Test Preparation
School Policies and Practices Versus Teacher Independence
Working Freelance or Owning Your Own School
Further Education

Certification Option 1 - Tasks
The Purpose of Certification
TASK 1 - Short Answer
TASK 2 - Annotated Bibliography
TASK 3 - Plans, Portfolio, Video, or Reflective Project
Alumni Services

Certification Option 2 - Written Paper
The Purpose of Certification
Choosing Your Topic
The Rough Draft and Research
Establishing a Purpose and a Pattern
Revising and Polishing Your Paper
Alumni Services

Within the modules there are: Three Assignments.
Fifteen major tasks.
Three minor tasks.
Forty quick reviews and quizzes.
Seventeen major "readings".
Several other minor readings and tasks. A total of 40 learning sections and another 21 sections that include introductions, instructions, and other important information.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

You are a language teacher, and you don't know what WORDLE is?

The title of this entry is provocative, I know. It's meant to be. Because I want you to coax you into using WORDLE in your classes.

But what is WORDLE? Well, don't depend on anybody's description (including mine own); it's a lot better if you go to the web page to see and experience things for yourself. Go where, I hear you ask. Here is the link:

But if you insist on me giving you description, then read below (taken from Wordle's web page itself):

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.

Just so? Then why do language teachers need to know how to create word clouds from Wordle? Oh, there are several reasons. Let me tell you a few:

1. It's fun. "Worldle" allow you to make beautiful world clouds by experimenting with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. Try it for yourself, and you will see that you can make beautiful "word arts". Your students will love this kind of activity because it's fun, I am sure. You can even organize wordle competitions, using students' essays to make word clouds, and give the best prize to the most beautiful and meaningful word cloud where the format, style, and layout fit with the content of the essay. Lots and lots of fun to be expected.

2. It's actually a tool for language research. Each word cloud is a summary of the main points in a piece of writing, based on the frequencies of the words used in the writing. I've read an article somewhere in which they compare the two speeches made by two Heads of Nations - US and Vietnam. Looking at the word clouds you can immediately tell what is considered most important in each speech.

Below is a word cloud created from the text of the US constitution (I believe). See how beautiful it is, and meaningful at the same time.

See how beautiful it is? And very meaningful. Did you see that the most prominent words are: State, Congress, President, United States? And you will see that Vice-President is a lot less prominent than President, but still it is there. And other things too, hidden messages everywhere. Let you students discover and describe what they find. A lot of interesting activities can be generated.

Now you see why I have that provocative question as the title of this entry? Then go there, create you word clouds, and use it in class!

Good read: "Risk taking and language learning"

Hello there!

I have not been here lately, due to an overloaded work schedule. As usual, I hear you say. Yes, such is the kind of life that I lead!

I've just come across this article which is a good read for ESL/EFL teachers like you, so here goes.

I hope you enjoy reading the article, and if you have any ideas, please share them here.

See you all tomorrow.
As some of you has pointed out in class today, my link did not work. I checked, and there was a mistake in the syntax; that's why.

The link works now; the "article" (actually I should have called it a blog entry) is very short, but the accompanying video clip is very good and I like it very much. And I totally agree with the author's idea which I quote below:

Risk taking is one of the most important features of a good language learner. They accept what they don’t know (the ambiguity of language/communication) and they focus on what they do know. They don’t wait for perfect pronunciation or form. They communicate, plain and simple. And in all this, they like the penguin sit moment after moment on the precipice of babble, noncommunicability and yet again and again, like the penguin, they jump over it and succeed.

Teachers – I’m not sure other than a safe environment for your students, through your own building of relationships – how you might promote risk taking in your students. However, a place to start might just be showing them this video and getting them thinking about it….