Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Studying Grammar

I've been studying grammar all night, and trying to finish an exam in the course, Grammar for Teachers of English as a Second Language. I have a lot of respect for the English Language Learners that I have worked with over the years. Now that I have almost completed this course, I have even more respect for them. I do think I understood, until now, just how difficult it is for language learners to learn and incorporate the rules of grammar in another language. If anyone knows of any really good web sites for ESL students, please let me know.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Internet Archive: Free Download: John F. Kennedy Speech, June 11, 1963

This speech by President John F. Kennedy is a sad reminder of what the United States was like in 1963 when we were trying to integrate colleges, universities, and life in general.

It is also a sorry reminder of the status of women back then. We weren't even mentioned!! Also, I think if you replace the word negroes with gays, lesbians or queers, you will realize that some people still don't have the equal rights. How about the right to marry the person of your choice? It seems pretty obvious that we still have work to do before all people are equal.

Internet Archive: Free Download: John F. Kennedy Speech, June 11, 1963

Saturday, June 27, 2009

It has been too long


It has been way too long since I have posted an entry. I am done with school for the summer, and I'm on vacation from one of my three jobs. So, it's time to start writing and posting information again. Here is a link to an online journal that may be of interest to ESL instructors and other language teachers. It's called The Journal of the Imagination in Language Learning. I think the journal may be ceased, but there are some interesting articles available at this link

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Teaching ESL

As you can see, I have only had time lately to post links to other interesting sites. I have been so busy with my graduate course in teaching ESL, I haven't really had time to write any original blog entries. My class will end soon, and I'm not taking any courses this summer, so I'll have lots of time to write. I've been working on the course for several hours today. In addition to writing the final paper, I have read an interesting study on the problems caused when Arab students use e-dictionaries to translate passages.

If any of you are studying English as a Second Language, I'd love your comments on what you think is helpful and what is difficult for you.

Since there seems to be some interest in this topic, the article is: "Impact of E-dictionaries on Arab students' translation strategies," by Abdul-Fattah Al-Jabar. It's in Volume 54 Issue 2 of Babel.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sharing Foundation Video

Click to watch a video of the great work being done by TSF

Sharing Foundation

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Sharing Foundation

Some friends of mine and I are trying to raise money to support Srey Neang, one of the kids at Roteang Orphange in Cambodia. The orphanage is one facet of The Sharing Foundation, an organization that is committed to "caring for Cambodia's children." If you think you want to help support Srey Neang, or any of the other children or programs of the Sharing Foundation, feel free to make a donation to:

The Sharing Foundation
PO Box 600
Concord, MA 01742

For more information, check out their website:

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Good riddance, Wacko

I woke up this morning to the news that this year was John "Wacko" Hurley's last St. Patrick's Day Parade in Boston. At first, I was too busy contemplating odd nicknames like "Wacko," and "Milton Born With A Tooth." I wondered how people get their nicknames (Miton's is obvious), and whether Tipper Gore and Tip O'Neill had more things in common than the Democratic Party affiliation. I wondered how my friend's mother got the nickname "Bird." My mind games and the fun ended, however, when I remembered how Wacko, John Hurley really is. He worked to ban LGBT groups and Veteran For Peace, from marching the Boston's St. Patrick's Day Parade. For more information, click on the title link.

For now, good riddance, Wacko, or should your nickname be, "Bigot," instead?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Everyone into the jury pool

Well, I had to report for jury duty today. The experience did nothing to perpetuate my faith in the jury system. I was glad that I was excused, but the guy they kept didn't seem qualified to sit on a jury. As a matter of fact, he announced that fact when we first got into the waiting room, and still, he ended up on the jury. As soon as this guy arrived, he announced that he needed to speak with someone. The court officer very kindly said that, as soon as we had transacted some business, he would be happy to listen. The "juror" later told the officer that he shouldn't be on a jury because he had short-term memory problems and couldn't hear. Well, the officer said, he should have let someone know when he received his summons. He did say that the judge, if we got that far, would ask everyone if there was a reason they couldn't serve. Well, since this gentleman had short-term memory problems, he probably didn't remember that when he was questioned.

I don't know what I said that caused the attorneys to dismiss me and, as I said, I was glad they did. But this guy was in no condition to decide a case. He didn't watch the video that explained the difference between evaluating evidence in a criminal case from that of a civil case. He didn't communicate with anyone in the waiting room. He definitely had problems.

There was another guy who slept the entire time we were in the waiting room. Fortunately, he didn't get on the jury. It's kind of scary what a "jury of one's peers can actually look like.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I started thinking about the word, "Wedlock," today, and realized that it perfectly describes how I felt when I knew my marriage was over. I was LOCKED in with the man i had wed. Horrible!! It look a lot of money and a not so good attorney to get unlocked, but it was worth it!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Why do people blame themselves for misfortune?

Read a reprint from "High Country News," about people who blamed themselves for their misfortune during the Great Depresssion. From the stories I've heard, this has not changed for people I know who are currently unemployed.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Internet Archive: Details: All Quiet on the Western Front

Internet Archive: Details: All Quiet on the Western Front

Click the link to watch the anti-war film, "All Quiet on the Western Front." Also, check older link to listen to a chilling radio version of "Johnny Got His Gun."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Is "Mr. Obama" racist?

OK, I've been wondering about this for several weeks now. It seems to me that many radio and TV personalities insist upon referring to President Obama as "Mr. Obama." This seemed to happen very infrequently with former presidents, so I wonder about the genesis of this phenomenon. I wonder if anyone has or will do a study of how many times President Obama is called Mr. Obama in the press, and compare these statistics against those for past presidents. I'll be pleasantly surprised if I'm wrong. For now, I sense a hint of racism here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Great cat animation

Click title link to see a great cat animation.

Copyright Christopher S. Mitchell

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gene Robinson puts Rick Warren to Shame!!

If you click on the the title you'll be able to view Gene Robinson's prayer at the inauguration-week events. If you heard Rick Warren, you'll realize again that Obama should never have invited Warren to give the invocation. Not only is Rick Warren WRONG, he gave a lousy invocation.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Is "makeconnection" ESL-speak for online dating?

I have a friend from Cambodia who is in my graduate course in teaching ESL. She's really smart and speaks English very well. I was surprised one night when I couldn't understand what she was saying. I was driving her home and she was talking about her uncle. I said, "What does he do for work?" Her answer, I thought, was "makeconnection." She also said it had something to do with airplanes. So, we continued for about ten minutes trying to understand each other. At one point, I got laughing so hard that I had to pull over to the side of the road. I was about the makeconnection with another vehicle!!

The next week, we continued our communication debacle. I kept hearing her say, "Not makeconnection...makeconnection!" I really thought maybe he was a matchmaker or something. Finally, something clicked. She thought she had to put a "tian," or "cian," ending on the occupation...electrician, pediatrician, mathematician. So, the mechanic became mechaniccian...or makeconnection.

I know, too, that we native English speakers can cause lots of confusion. More about that, later.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I've been busy with a new graduate course in teaching ESL. I did have to make at least one comment on the inauguration of President Barack Obama. I heard a judge from South Africa on the radio in the early morning hours after the inauguration. He had been very active in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. In describing the inauguration of Obama he said, "It's a marvelous pinch-me kind of day." And, indeed, it was.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Stop the Genocide in Darfur

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