Friday, August 22, 2014

Diet Plan

So, have you every heard of the Wafu Diet? In my newest listening activity, I play the role of a man who leads a very unhealthy lifestyle and what advice he receives to change his life for the better.

http://esl-lab.com/dietplan/dietplanrd1.htm

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Culture Videos - esl-lab.com

I now have 75 culture videos on my Web site, esl-lab.com, and I always appreciate your comments about them. Now, I am looking for more ideas on future culture videos, so please share your suggestions. They are fun to create:

http://esl-lab.com/videoclips.htm

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Swimming and Learning English

Watch me describe how swimming in a cold mountain lake is like learning English -

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Animal Care in Public

Many people around the world enjoy caring for their animal companions, but how should you care for them out in public? Watch my newest video activity on the topic and share your ideas. Here are some of our pets on a walk in the mountains.

http://esl-lab.com/family1/animalcare-video.htm


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Alcoholics Anonymous

Although most people remember the humorous listening activities on my Web sites, I have a number of topics that deal with serious issues including drinking and the effects it can have on families. Here is one example:

http://esl-lab.com/dui/duird1.htm

Thursday, July 10, 2014

World Cup Soccer



The Soccer World Cup has been exciting to watch over the past few weeks, and now we are down to Germany and Argentina in the final. However, what if they were to play IN THE SNOW? My son and I have played soccer under such conditions, but you might ask why. Take a look at this video activity on my site.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Living in Utah

I always enjoy sharing information about the state of Utah in the United States, and here is my newest video on one aspect of this unique place:

http://esl-lab.com/trip1/utahdesert-video.htm


Monday, May 12, 2014

Drivers with Disabilities

Providing services for people who deal with different disabilities is an important issue in society today. One of situations that faces many is the ability to drive and get to where they need to go. In my newest video, I discuss this specific issue as it pertains to life in Utah.

http://esl-lab.com/drive/parking-video.htm


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Learning English Faster

Above all else, I have been asked about 232,432 times (somewhat joking here) by students on the best and fastest way to learn English. Some students are frustrated by their lack of progress or want to pass a test to enter a good university. There is no single answer, but I have some suggestions on what has worked for me and for my own students. Don't be looking for any easy answer. It takes work, but here are my ideas. Share what has worked for you, too.

http://esl-lab.com/faq.htm#english

Friday, May 2, 2014

Reaching Your Goals

No matter where we currently are in life, we often want to reach higher goals (what I call, "rising to higher ground). This includes learning English. However, just with running in the mountains, you often have to pass through deep valleys to reach the summit or top of the mountain. Life can be very hard, but hard times are really what define and make us who we are. Without the hard times, we don't progress. Here is a video I created while running in the mountains of Utah on the topic.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Life Changes

At times, people often make bad choices that lead to negative consequences. So, how can people repair their lives when things go wrong? Watch my newest video on the topic:

http://esl-lab.com/parenting/lifechanges-video.htm

Monday, April 28, 2014

Commuter Train - esl-lab.com

So, you might wonder: Does Randall drive in a nice, fancy car to work every day? Huh, guess again! I take the train just like so many people. Watch my newest video on the topic and learn more about my trip to work. How do you get to school and work? Share your own experiences:

http://esl-lab.com/train/commutertrain-video.htm

Friday, April 25, 2014

Unique School Classes - esl-lab.com

What? Modern dance? Marching band? Floral design and auto mechanics? Many international students are often surprised at the unique types of classes sometimes offered in schools in the United States. In my newest video, I introduce a class that you may never see in some places, but it is popular for many students. Give it a try. Do schools in area or country offer something similar? Share your comments:

http://esl-lab.com/grades/schoolclasses-video.htm

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Good Neighbors

Have you ever had problems with neighbors ? Well, developing good friendships doesn't happen overnight, and there can be cultural differences from country to country and place to place. Watch my newest video on the topic:

http://esl-lab.com/live/neighbor-video.htm

Monday, April 14, 2014

Children's Voices in Language Learning

One of the main reasons I started my Web site (esl-lab.com) was to provide students opportunities to hear children's voices. You don't usually hear young voices in most English textbooks. Here is one of my original recordings made many years ago, but it is still one of my favorites:

http://esl-lab.com/elem/elemrd1.htm

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Private Language Tutor

Have you ever had a bad day? Well, in my newest listening activity, a man has an unusual encounter at the front door. Something very unexpected. How would you feel in his situation? Give it a try:

http://esl-lab.com/privatetutor/privatetutor-rd1.htm

Friday, March 21, 2014

Bus Travel Across America

Traveling in a new country can be a WILD experience, and even in your own country, you can meet a lot of interesting people. In my newest listening conversation, join this woman on the ride of her life with her new friend. How would you feel in this situation? What would you do?

http://esl-lab.com/bustrip/bustrip-rd1.htm

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Smart Phones

A common topic of discussion is the use of cell phones in our daily lives. In my newest listening activity, meet a young man who has an interesting perspective on cell phones and why he wants one. Do you know anyone like him? Enjoy:

http://esl-lab.com/smartphone/smartphonerd1.htm


What are your thoughts on the topic? Is a cell phone a necessity in today's life for all people? How about children under 10 years old? Should teenagers pay some of the expense?  Share your ideas.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Airline Safety

Here's my newest listening activity. If you have ever had a terrible day at an airport, then you might understand how this man feels . . . except he caused his own problems. He didn't think and prepare ahead. Give it a try:

http://esl-lab.com/airline/airlinerd1.htm

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dinner Recipes at Home

So, what do families in the US really eat for dinner? Well, join me in our kitchen to find out the Davis family does for this meal:

http://esl-lab.com/cook/dinnertime-video.htm

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day - esl-lab.com

Happy Valentine's Day! Having only been married 25+ years (which seems like a short time), keeping a relationship alive requires a lot of patience, selflessness, and compassion. And yes, love in a marriage only gets better with effort. You don't have to be perfect; just willing to understand. Here is a video I created on the topic:

http://esl-lab.com/anniversary/familyrelationships-video.htm

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Valentine's Day

With Valentine's Day around the corner, I thought I would share some of my favorite listening activities on the topic. And some advice to men: don't just give flowers one time a year. Make every day special.

http://esl-lab.com/flowershop/flowershoprd1.htm

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

At the beginning of the new year, many people try to make changes in their lives with new goals. Watch my video on the topic to get you started with ideas on how to be successful:

http://www.esl-lab.com/seasons/newyear-video.htm
 
 
 
Randall

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas 2013 - esl-lab.com

To everyone around the world, our family would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a joyous holiday season. May our hearts be turned to those in particular who are in need of love and a kind word during this season and every day of the year.

Randall


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving Day in the US! I am sure many countries around the world have a similar holiday in which people remember the things that they are most thankful for. For me, I am grateful for every breath I take, the sun coming up in the morning, and most importantly, my family. What about you? What are you most thankful for? Share your thoughts.

http://www.dailyesl.com/thanksgiving-day.htm

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Black Friday Shopping

Black Friday is quickly approaching in the United States (this year, on November 29th). But what is it? Watch my video on the topic and share any experiences you have had on this day. Personally, I never go because I don't want to fight the crowds, and my sanity is worth more than cheap electronics. Instead, I often run in the mountains. It's much more peaceful.

http://esl-lab.com/shop1/shopping-bf-video.htm

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Christmas is Coming!

Because Christmas is only a month away, I thought I would start suggesting listening activities on my Web sites that deal with this topic. Here is the first one. I enjoy it because it has the voices of some of my children when they were much younger. Good practice of young, natural speech: http://esl-lab.com/tradition/traditionrd1.htm

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween - esl-lab.com


Happy Halloween! So, what do we do in the Davis family to celebrate the day? Take a look at this video:

http://youtu.be/v446tmpuTAo

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Saving the Environment

I started my Web site 14 years ago at the end of 1997. So, what is the oldest listening activity on my site? Well, one of them is certainly one of my favorites called "Saving the Earth." I recorded with my daughter. My kids have contributed their voices over the years to make the site interesting to users.

http://esl-lab.com/enviro1/enviro1.htm

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

College Roommates - esl-lab.com

Having a bad roommate can be an awful experience. Imagine someone who every cleans up, holds wild parties until the early morning hours, and eats all of your food. What would you do? How do you work through such situations? 

In my newest video activity, you can meet such a guy. Watch and then share your ideas on this.

http://esl-lab.com/roommates/roommatesrd1.htm



Friday, October 11, 2013

Homestay in the USA (esl-lab.com)

Do you want to SMILE a little? My newest video activity is on homestay experiences, but this video is CERTAINLY different than any other I have created. I am experimenting with video puppet shows, and in this one, you hear my voice AND see me sleeping on the sofa as the unusual roommate. Tell me if you think these are useful. I might create more.

- http://esl-lab.com/homestay/homestayrd1.htm



Saturday, October 5, 2013

Huntsville Marathon 2013

Last weekend, my wife and I completed another marathon, and at the mile 23 (37km) point in the race, we jumped in the air to celebrate the accomplishment (and to forget the pain). Just like in life, we all encounter and pass through difficult times (and this includes learning another language like English). However, if we are persistent and never give up, we can see progress in our lives. You can see a full report of the race at http://www.hikinginutah.com/huntsvillemarathon-2013.htm.


Monday, September 16, 2013

A New School Year

Now that many students are back to school around the world, I often students and teachers take a look at my self-study guide at http://esl-lab.com/guide.htm. This page lists most of listening activities by topic, so you can find exactly the type of practice you need. Take a look, and I wish you all the best in your study this year.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dailyesl.com on Portable Devices

Because more and more people are accessing the Internet, I am preparing my Web sites so you can learn on the go using cell phones and portable devices such as an iPad. Give dailyesl.com as an example of this work. Randall

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Viewing Content on Smart Phones

With the growing use of Smart phones and other portable devices, more and more people are accessing the Internet this way instead of computers. With this in mind, and I have just finished making changes to 175+ listening activities on www.esl-lab.com, so you can view/listen to my content just about anywhere. Enjoy! Randall

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day

At times, I sometimes forget the many freedoms we have and enjoy in the United States, but these freedoms also come with responsibility. In other words, we have to freedom to choose our leaders, to share our religious beliefs with others, and the freedom to peacefully protest laws that we feel do not sure our interests the best.

However, these freedoms do not allow us to infringe on the rights of others. If people want to worship God in different ways than I do, then I can respect that and allow them to do so as they may. They can build their places of worship and meet freely. Personally, I think such activities can enrich the lives of other people and broaden our understanding of the world around us.

By upholding these freedoms and ensuring that others enjoy them too, we can bring about greater peace and compassion to others.

Here is one video activity on holidays in the US where freedom is remembered:

http://esl-lab.com/tradition/usflag-video.htm




Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day in May

In the United States, Memorial day falls on the final Monday of the month of May. On this day, people remember those who died in military conflict and war in the preservation of our freedoms. In fact, freedom is never free, but we must seek to maintain it. People often go to cemeteries and leave flowers, small token items to remember the departed, and clean the headstone and grave.

The holiday has expanded to now include visiting the graves of any friend or family member who has died, and it can be a time when people reflect on the lives of those who have passed on before them.

For others, it is also a day to kick off the summer season with family gathers and barbecues.

So, do you have a similar holiday in your country? If so, how do people celebrate this day? Share your ideas.

Randall

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Answering the Telephone

I am always trying to think of new listening tasks to help English students expand and improve their language skills. One type of task is a combination of a PowerPoint slide and video into a mini-lecture on a particular topic.

Here is one example of this new project which I will continue to experiment throughout this year:

- http://esl-lab.com/phone/phone-videolecture.htm

Randall

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Spring is Here

Winter's grip on our state in Utah is slowing falling away as we now are entering spring. However, because we live in the mountains at a relatively high altitude, it isn't uncommon to see snow in the valleys well into April and perhaps May. Here is a video activity on the weather in my state and what you can expect.

- http://www.esl-lab.com/weat1/weather-video.htm

Randall

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day


Many people celebrated Valentine's Day yesterday, and my wife and I spent the evening doing indoor rock climbing and having a meal at a restaurant. Over the years, I have found that spending time together doing things you both enjoy is so important. Building the relationship every day cements your friendship more than giving flowers and candy once in a while. Here is one of my listening activities from www.esl-lab.com on what NOT to do.

- http://www.esl-lab.com/flowershop/flowershoprd1.htm

Friday, January 25, 2013

Career Search: Difference is Cultural Expectations

The types of jobs both men and women hold in different countries are not universal, and often cultural, social, and religious factors play a role in employment decisions. Even government policy and rules often determine how employment decisions can be made. What might be an acceptable hiring/employment practice in one place might not be true in another country.

In this listening activity, we discuss these issues in a somewhat humorous way. Give it a try.

Career Search
http://esl-lab.com/careersearch/careersearchrd1.htm

Randall

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy New Year 2013 (esl-lab.com)

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year. May you be able to reach the goals that you set. You might enjoy my newest video activity that discusses how you can succeed in your resolutions for the new year:

http://www.esl-lab.com/seasons/newyear-video.htm

Feel free to share your own resolutions for the new year and the reasons why you want to make those changes in your life.

Best,

Randall


Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy New Year 2013

With every new day come new beginnings. Yes, a new year is quickly approaching, and it can allow us to rethink and make new commitments, but if we falter (which as humans we do), then we should see the coming of every new moment an opportunity to better ourselves and help those around us.

Happy New Year! --- Randall


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

English Slang

One of the greatest challenges facing English students is the ability to understand, interpret, and, where appropriate, use idiomatic expressions and slang. This is often due to the face that slang usage is so dependent on the content, your relationship with your conversation partner, and other social cues. Because you can't avoid encountering such language, I created a Web site to help students understand slang more. Give EZSlang.com a try.

Randall
http://www.ezslang.com

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Christmas Season

Over the past 14 years of creating online listening activities, there have only been a couple of times when I had all of my children appear in the same recording. Here is an example that goes along with the Christmas season and the meaning that it has in our family and many others like ours.

http://esl-lab.com/tradition/traditionrd1.htm


For us, most activities center on our family and on those in need around us. When I speaking of certain needs, these could be financial, emotional, or even spiritual. We have been the recipient of  so much kindness over the years, and I feel in a privilege to do what I can to help others.

Randall

Friday, November 16, 2012

College Scholarships

Getting a college scholarship requires patience, hard work, and the qualifications for any financial aid that be available to you. However, a student needs to take responsibility for their actions that might put their future in jeopardy. Listen to my latest listening activity, called College Scholarships, that illustrates the affect that positive and negative affects of students' choices. Give it a try:

- http://esl-lab.com/scholarship/scholarshiprd1.htm

 Randall

Thursday, November 8, 2012

ESL Courses: Bonus Points or Not?

So, what is the real value (or not) of teachers giving students bonus points or extra credit for their work in class? All too often, teachers give bonus points to students who do extra work, but the negative outcome can be that students' overall grade can be inflated, giving a distorted view of their real ability. For example, if students have to write an essay worth 100 points, and the teacher gives 10 bonus points simply because the students added a photo, the bonus points given would have absolutely nothing to do with the students' writing ability, especially if that wasn't an objective of the writing assignment.

Yes, it might help students psychologically, but it can give students the impression that they are doing better than they really are. Furthermore, if the content of one class builds on the other (e.g., going from beginning to intermediate writing), then advancing students from one class to the next will set the student up for failure because they aren't ready.

Being judiciously in awarding points will only benefit students in the long run.

Randall

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Honesty in Relationships

Perhaps, one of the greatest secrets in promoting healthy relationships is being completely honest in all you do. Making up stories about your life, your interests, and your abilities will only lead problems when your lies are discovered. In my listening activity called, "Running Shoes" (http://esl-lab.com/runningshoes/runningshoesrd1.htm) describes one similar situation and the best ways to build long-lasting friendship.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this topic.

Randall

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Language Learning and Discipline

Discipline and care are really necessary to learn good habits. In our garden, my wife has apple trees, and you have to shape and prune (cut) the branches carefully so you can enjoy a great harvest. If you don't do this when the tree is young, it will become unmanageable. The same goes with learning. If you don't form good habits early, you won't see the rewards of hard work.

All too often, students procrastinate and don't stay on top of their studies. The same could be said of any aspect of life. But like a tree, it is almost impossible to move or bend the trunk of a tree after a few years unless you pull it out. Forming good habits early in life can help point you in the right direction toward future goals.

 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Katcina Mosa 100K Mountain Run 2012

When people think of physical challenges, they often think about a marathon (26.2 miles or 42.2 kilometers). Yes, it can be demanding on the body; however, there are other longer and more taxing events such as an ultramarathon that will take your body to the limits.

I recently participating in one such event, and although I'm not fast, it was satisfying just to complete it. Along the way, you certainly learn a lot about yourself.

Randall


Monday, July 30, 2012

Hunting Trips

Depending on where you live in the world, hunting is not simply a game sport. In fact, people hunt for various reasons, including as a means of providing food for their family. The same could be said about fishing. At the same time, there are people who don't hunt at all.

In my newest listening activity, you will find two opposing views on hunting in a somewhat humorous situation. Give it a try.

- http://www.esl-lab.com/huntingtrip/huntingtriprd1.htm

Share your ideas on the topic.

Randall

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Raising Birds

If you encountered an injured bird or other animal in the wild, what would you do and how would you respond? Perhaps this would depend on the animal you encountered because I certainly wouldn't want to run into a hurt bear. However, if it were simply a small bird, what would you do? What this video to learn more about how my daughter cares for baby birds:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Taking Responsibility in Learning

From time to time, students ask me how they can improve their language skills while they seek some magic and easy solution. This is often the case when some students want to enjoy their lives in a new country, but underestimate the difficulty and effort required to make progress. Then, when students start failing classes, they sometimes switch into a reactive mode, often blaming things and people around them. However, when you point the finger and someone else, keep in mind that three of your other fingers (that are held in a fist when you point) are pointing back at you. All too often, students wait too long until it is too late.

I always encourage students to be proactive in their learning. Set goals, follow instructions, ask questions, and keep track of your progress.

Once you realize you are in charge of your own learning, you can make meaningful and measurable progress.

Randall




Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bonneville Shoreline Trail Marathon 2012

My wife and I completed a challenging trail marathon in the hills above Salt Lake City, Utah, and this is quite different than street marathons in that you are running up and down over different terrain that pushes you to your physical limits. We were very slow, but we were happy to have completed it, taking time to video the experience along the way.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The iPad Revolution: Part 2

Recently, I wrote about how and it what ways portable devices can and will reshape learning and communication. Recently, I have been experimenting with an iPad to see what it can and cannot do, particularly from a learner's stand point. So far, I have been impressed. For example, I have been working on tweaking my own sites so that my audio and video files will play on the iPad, and in some ways, the iPad can extend the range and useability of such sites for people who are on the go.

For typing and other production tasks, I still find a laptop a more efficient tool, but my perspectives on this could change as I delve into the world of portable computing as time goes on.

Randall

Friday, March 9, 2012

The iPad Revolution

So, will the iPad or any other similar device revolutionize language learning alone? Probably not. Having developed online materials since 1998, I have realized that not even the most glorious gadgets can promote better learning unless there is a sound rationale and application of the tool in the language learning process. The same thing can be said of a kitchen blender: the appliance might have 20 different settings such as chop, mix, and liquify, but I probably achieve the same result with a blender that simply has an ON or OFF switch.

The ipad might help with some tasks, but it won't set the world on fire by simply turning it on. Share your thoughts on the topic: to what degree can help or hinder learning?

Randall

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Video Culture Tips - www.esl-lab.com

My ESL students often tell me that they try to improve their listening skills by watching full-length movies, but my response is that sitting in front of a screen for a couple of hours with popcorn and a drink is one of the most passive methods of learning a language. Yes, you can pick up things, but there is no time to stop and process the content, and the language is just dumped on your with out providing students with a systematic method of learning.

For that reason, I have created my own series of short videos on the topics of language and culture. These aren't meant to take the place of other movies, but to give you the option of learning from shorter, concise videos on specific topics.

Give them a try:

- http://www.esl-lab.com/videoclips.htm

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

College Textbooks: Rent or Buy?

These days, it is really unbelievable the price you have to pay for one single textbook, and it seems that authors and writers churn out a new edition every other week. It's not uncommon for  a book to be in its 12th edition, and yet the material in the book is almost the same. I mean, couldn't the author simply have a Web site where students could download a couple of pages with any minor revisions?

Then, with the change in textbooks, you often can't sell them back to the books store or other students.

I created a listening activity on this topic. Give it a try and let me know you experiences with buying textbooks for college:

- http://www.esl-lab.com/textbooks/textbooksrd1.htm

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Flower Shop - www.esl-lab.com

Hi everyone,

Today is Valentine's Day, and sometimes this is the day for men to remember all the things they should have done for their partner or spouse throughout the year. Perhaps, we should call it "Rescue Day." On my latest PhoneCast, I discuss this topic, and I have a listening activity on my Web site called Flower Shop, in which a man finds  himself in a difficult situation with his wife, and he things flowers will save the day. Give it a try:

- http://www.esl-lab.com/flowershop/flowershoprd1.htm


Monday, February 13, 2012

Part-Time Jobs for Teenagers

The concept of work and when people should first get a job can vary widely from family to family and from country to county? Putting aside some differences, what is the value of teaching children to work from a general standpoint? What this video as I talk about my family and how we feel about work:
- http://www.esl-lab.com/sitter/parttimejobs-video.htm


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