Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
In our family, we often make a tradition food called a cheese ball and then take these to neighbors and friends as a way of expressing our gratitude for their friendship throughout the year. Sometimes, we get together with family and celebrate Christmas eve by eating, exchanging gifts, and even playing some traditional games.
Please share what you and your family/friends to celebrate this day or any other year-end holiday or celebration.
Merry Christmas to all!
Saturday, December 19, 2009
I invite you to take my short online survey to help me collect comments and suggestions about my Web Site(s), including Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab (www.esl-lab.com/). Your help is greatly appreciated:
>>> Go to Web Site Survey
Thanks for your help.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I feel that is often difficult to fully understand other people without understand their value systems which, in many cases, is influenced by their personal beliefs. Personally, I believe that people should feel free to share their beliefs under the right circumstances.
What do you think?
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
One of the hardest things to deal with in life is the death of someone close to you. Furthermore, it is very helpful to understand how different people feel about death from a cultural and religious perspective. I've created a listening and discussion activity on this topic here:
So, what our funerals or memorial services like in your country? What special actvities, meetings, or food can one expect? Is there anything a person new to culture should be aware of when attending a funeral? Share your ideas.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
So, what about you? What are the advantages and disadvantages of shopping in traditional stores and buying things online? Share your experiences.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Listen to this topic and share your comments.
Here are some listening activities from my Web sites on shopping:
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Then, listen to this conversation on my Web site. What quality would help the man in his relationship with his wife?
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
In your case, what strategies, techniques, or activities have you used to improve your language skills?
Monday, November 9, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Unfortunately, most students don't fully realize that they don't live in a vacuum. In other words, they often don't realize that culture and language go hand in hand. You can't divorce the two. As you learn the culture of another people, you become a more effective communicator and a more sensitive person overall.
How do you feel about this?
Monday, November 2, 2009
So, what does freedom mean to you? Please share your ideas.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Do you by chance have any similar holiday in your country or area?
Friday, October 23, 2009
Can you think of a time when you experienced misunderstandings dealing with culture? Share your ideas.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Tell us about one scenic or historical place in your country that would be of interest to visitors.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
However, I tried to explain to her that in many cases, native speakers have no idea that what they are saying is grammatically incorrect, so you might not want to emulate a native speaker in all cases.
As a simple example, what is the problem in this sentence?
- The girl is tired, so she wants to lay down.
This is a very common mistake that native speakers make. Therefore, just trying to sound like a native speaker isn't enough if you are really concerned about a professional level of English.
Any thoughts on this?
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Have you ever grown a garden (small or big), and if so, what did you plant in it? If you have never planted a garden, what are the reasons: climate, space limitations, no interest, etc.? Do you think there are advantages in growing your own food verses buying it at the store? Are there some foods that you just couldn't plant in your part of the world? Do you predict that there will be more food shortages in the world in the future? If so, why?
Share your ideas on the topic.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Learning how to improve your listening skills in English---or in any other language---can be a real challenge if you don't know how to develop these skills. In this video, I talk about some of the "keys" to improving your comprehension. You can download the PowerPoint and a study guide from my Website at:
The video below is the first half of the presentation; you can view the entire talk by visiting the link above.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Attending a college in a new country can bring with it new expectations, a different classroom environment, and new friends. However, I often see international students struggle with these new changes, and they often expect that things will be just like home. Listen to the video and share your comments/opinions on the topic. You can find more videos at:
Monday, September 7, 2009
Now, you can follow some of my other Web site news and activities on Facebook at this link:
Have no fear! I will continue to make this blog an important part of my online activities, and I encourage visitors to continue to share their ideas here. Thanks for being a part of this site.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Please share your ideas.
Friday, August 28, 2009
The result is that students have so many gaps in their learning that they haven't mastered the language at all. The common causes are (1) that teachers often don't recycle or test concepts that the students learn in previous levels and (2) students assume that a passing grade is sufficient for them and then they fail to review and learn the parts they didn't know in the first place.
Students just assume that since they are in the advanced class that they are advanced learners when they really lack a full, comprehensive, and solid grasp of the language.
What teachers can do to help students is to constantly recycle and test all of the gramamr points from all of the classes instead of just teaching new concepts. The more a teacher builds upon earlier grammar points, the more students can apply them better.
So, what has been your experience in studying grammar? What has helped you the most in learning or mastering the language? What can teachers do to help you? Please share your ideas.
Friday, August 21, 2009
However, my ESL students often can't tell the difference between accurate and incorrect usage of the language. Take a look at these examples:
- I'm tired, so I want to lay down.
- If I was in your situation, I'd go to the party.
- Not getting enough sleep can effect your school work.
- The student sleeps in class everyday.
Any comments on this? I'd be interested in hearing your opinions on this.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Currently, I am doing some research on whether such search engines are less, more, or just as useful as something like Google. If you have a moment, please take my survey on this topic, and/or share your opinions. Try using a topic with key words like "cell phones cheating" or some other topic in both Google and Searchme.com. Which search engine helps you find information?
Friday, July 17, 2009
I've just created a video where teachers and students can watch in which I share some keys or "secrets" to improving your listening skills. I have also included some PowerPoint slides and a Student Assignment Sheet. This video is part of a new Web Conference Center I have just created. Visit the link below and then click on the Watch Video link at the top of the page:
I suggest reading the entire page so you understand the project's purpose.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
In other words, although English has only 5 main vowels (a,e.i,o,u), we sometimes don't pronounce these clearly in unstressed syllables. In other languages with the same vowels, these sounds are almost always stressed. Here are a couple of examples in English:
- I want to go to the party.
- I wanna go ta the party.
- I have to call him tonight.
- I hafta call 'im tanight.
Keep in mind that faster speech doesn't mean better communication skills. I've created a Web site to help students called http://www.trainyouraccent.com/. There are also a number of good books that help students improve their use and understanding of conversational English. One of them is Whaddaya Say: Guided Practice in Relaxed Speech. You can find more of my recommended books and electronic devices at:
Besides understanding fast speech, what other factors do you think affect a student's ability to understand a language? Share your thoughts on this topic.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
However, with freedom comes responsibility and respect and potential consequences. Freedom doesn't mean you violate the freedoms of others. For example, I don't smoke, but in the area where I live, people are allowed to do so as long as it is within local laws and ordinances. If I violate somone's freedom, then I could be arrested.
So, what does freedom mean to you? Are there certain freedoms that you wish you could enjoy? Share your ideas.
Monday, June 29, 2009
The one thing I've learned in traveling throughout the United States and the world is that local customs, history, and geography play a role in the food of the area. In particular, the image of the ideal or perfect meal varies widely, and you can expect that everyone has eggs, toast, bacon, hash browns, and tall glass of orange juice for breakfast.
Therefore, if I visited your house for breakfast or dinner, what would be the ideal meal to serve to meal so I really had a flavor for the food and customs of your area? Is there any unique food of your area that I might never have tried before?
Share your ideas on this topic.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
One song I enjoy is from the Pixar movie, Cars, by Brad Paisley. The song, Find Yourself, is about finding out who you are. Many times, you only discover who you really are when you get lost and find yourself in difficult situations. Discovering the meaning of life often doesn't happen during times of comfort and convenience.
For me, I have learned more about myself in times of great difficulty or during times of emotional struggles. Someone once said: "Smooth seas never made skilled sailors." As it turns out, no one will escape this life without disappointments and unexpected loses. The trick is to enjoy life in spite of challenges.
Now, share your favorite song and tell us what it means to you.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
HOWEVER, if you personally had invented and come up with idea for Apple's iPod, how do you think your life would be different today? Would you be still be doing the same thing, in the same job? How would you spend your time and money?
Please share your ideas.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
It was a really hard endurance run, but my wife supports me in my crazy activities. She was waiting me at the finish line. It took me almost 8 hours to finish the race.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
The spread of the swine flu is of recent concern, and many people are worried how this illness will eventually affect their lives. The potential effects could result in social, health, and economic changes. How concerned are you about how this flu or others like it could affect you now or in the future? Also, what other serious health concerns do people have in your area?
Share your ideas on the current and potential effects on your life.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
For example, who would you talk to first in these cases:
- You need advice about breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend.
- You want to borrow money for a trip to Europe.
- You failed some classes at school, and you might be kicked out of the university, but you have to tell one of your parents your situation.
- You don't know how to find a summer job to earn money for school.
- You crashed your parents car while speeding, and you need to tell them.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The economic situation around the world has being going through drastic changes in recent times, but how has any economic downturn in your country affected you personally? Have you had to cut back on certain expenses such as food (eating out), entertainment, and transportation? Do you think life for your kids and grand kids will be better, worse, or about the same in the future?
Share your ideas.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Please share your ideas and experiences on this topic.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
Furthermore, if teenagers have a driver's license, what are they family expectations for how and when the person should drive, and what they are expected to pay for.
Watch this video of Randall explaining the rules in his own family:
Do you think such rules would work in your own family? Why or why not? Please share your ideas.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Each video comes with practice questions and the transcript:
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
So what about in your country or family? What are your family or cultural expectations on who is responsible for cleaning around your house? Do you feel it is important for children to do such work? Why or why not? Please share your ideas.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Many cultures around the world celebrate Valentine's Day in one form or another. How do people celebrate in your country? Do men and women exchange gifts on this day? Do people participate in any special activities? Please share your ideas.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
How many children are in your family and what have your parents done to raise you successfully? Share your ideas.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
If you are visiting this site, then I assume that you have visited my listening Website, Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab (http://www.esl-lab.com). I would like to ask your help and advice regarding a possible change to my Website dealing with the audio formats. I am thinking about adding the option to listen to my recordings in Flash format so visitors don't need to open a separate audio application. Please consider clicking on the link below to learn more about this and answering my survey:
Monday, February 2, 2009
Feel free to suggest your own favorite language-learning materials.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
1. A Story to Remember: http://www.esl-lab.com/story1/story1.htm
A story of a man who was approached by an alien creature. Or was it?
2. Car Repairs: http://www.esl-lab.com/repairs/repairsrd1.htm
A man has real problems trying to get his car fixed in a small town.
3. Budget Hotel Rooms: http://www.esl-lab.com/hotelreservations/hotelreservationsrd1.htm
A man encounters a few surprises at his hotel. Has something like this happened to you?
4. A Great Car Deal: http://www.esl-lab.com/car/carrd1.htm
A woman tries to buy a car from an interesting salesman.
5. Just a Hair Cut, Please: http://www.esl-lab.com/cut/cutrd1.htmDisaster strikes a man who gets the hair cut of his life. What do you think happens?
6. Car Accident: http://www.esl-lab.com/car-accident/car-accidentsc1.htm
A teenager has a car accident, but who's fault was it? Listen and find out.
7. First Date: http://www.esl-lab.com/dating/datingrd1.htm
A girl is going out on her first date with a guy name Dirk? How do things turn out?
8. Grocery Shopping: http://www.esl-lab.com/supermarket/supermarketrd1.htm
A woman sends her husband to the store to pick up some things, but what does he get instead
9. Street Market: http://www.esl-lab.com/flea/fleard1.htm
A man tries to bargain with a seller in a street market. What problems does he encounter?
10. Traffic Ticket: http://www.esl-lab.com/police/policerd1.htm
A man is stopped by the police? Why and how does the driver talk himself out of his situation?
Please let me know what types of materials and topics you would like to see in the future.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Personally, I always realize in the back of my mind that this happens to people everyday. So, for me, I'd probably spend my final days with my wife and kids, telling them about my life, sharing words of wisdom, and just having fun going to Disneyland, hiking, sitting out under the stars, and telling them how much I love them.
How about you?