Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year 2012

I want to wish everyone a very festive, joyous, and wonderful new year. May you reach your goals as you put in the effort and determination to reach them during the coming year. Randall

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

Our family wishes everyone around the world a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Randall Davis

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Christmas Season in the United States

Here is a video on how some people celebrate the Christmas season in the United States. Share your experiences about this holiday and discuss whether or not you have a similar day at this time of year. What family traditions to people observe? Are any seasonal foods prepared?

Online File Storage: SugarSync

 Get your free SugarSync Account!

It isn't too often that I recommend a specific product or service, but online backup by SugarSync is one of them. This service, which is free for a basic 5 GB account, allows you to save your files online and they sync files on multiple computers, making using thumb drives relatively unnecessary. In other words, you can work on your computer files at home, upload them to SugarSync, and then have access to these same files on a laptop or work computer.

Imagine that you can start a file at work and then complete it at home without the need to save the file to a thumb drive. Give it a try. I has made my own work a lot easier.

Get your free SugarSync Account!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day has come and gone this season, but it always is a time to reflect on the many blessings of family, health, hope, and even the trials in our lives that teach us something about life every day. How do you celebrate this day if you life in the United States, and if not, do you have a similar holiday in your own country? Share you thoughts on this. These pictures show are family gathering for this special day.


Saturday, November 5, 2011


Halloween in the United States is often celebrated in many different ways. Watch this video to see what the holiday is like in Randall's area of Utah, USA. Is this holiday (or one that is similar) celebrated in your area? Share your comments or experiences.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall Leaves

The fall season in Utah is a beautiful time of year when the leaves change from green to an intense pallet of reds, yellows, and oranges. It is also a great time to run or hike in the mountains, and on one recent trail run with my wife, I took this picture looking down into the valley where we live.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Learning is like a Garden!

So, how is planting a garden like learning a language? Read on!

Over the years, our family has had mixed success in growing a garden, but for the most part (and as a general rule), plants flourish when you take care of them. However, from time to time, we end up with seeds that start growing on their own, originating from many possible sources: old plants from the previous year, bird droppings, the wind . . . who knows. These unplanned plants, often called "volunteers" in the garden community, are generally unwanted, and I usually just yank them out of the ground.

This year, one such plant sprouted in my onion patch, and I was very tempted to pull it out along with a bunch of other weeds. However, I hesitated, thinking of giving the plant a chance to grow. On more days than one, I stared at the plant, wondering where its sprawling leaves and vines would take it. "What could come from such plant," I grumbled, thinking that the area of the garden could be used much better for other purposes. Please understand that I didn't want to waste my time and water on some no good plant just taking up space.

As the summer passed, the unknown plant kept growing and growing, expanding itself into the onions, on to the lawn, and up a trellis supporting other vegetables. I also spotted a strange melon-like fruit growing on the ground. It didn't quite look like a cantaloupe or honeydew melon, but it seemed to be of that family. Then, it suddenly ripened. We hauled the melon into the kitchen, cut it open, and saw a seemingly bland-looking fruit. Not quite the rich-looking orange of sweet cantaloupe, but when we bit into it, we were amazed out how an ordinary, unwanted plant could turn into scrumptious  treat.

Later on in the season, two more huge fruits ripened on the vine as seen in the picture, weight about 12 pounds (5.5 kilos) each. So the next time you think something isn't worth the effort . . . that something is simply worthless . . . give it a little time, patience, and care, and you might be surprised what it turns into at the end of the harvest.

If you are a student, give your learning some time. Experiment with different learning techniques. You never know when your language skills will take off.

If you are a teacher, never give up on your students. Yes, they might seem unmotivated now, but with the right care, they might just discover your interest in them and turn out just like my melon did.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Wisdom and Knowledge: Understanding the Difference

iOn one occasion on the first day of class, some of my recent arrivals (students) wondered why they needed to go through the cultural orientation we require of all new students. In one particular case, a 18-year-old student proclaimed that he already knew a lot about "American" culture, and thus, thought it was a waste of time.

I think told him the following saying: "True wisdom is knowing that you know nothing." At first, this didn't make sense to him and the other students, and then I went on to explain that the more I had traveled over years (from Saudi Arabia, to South America, to Asia), the more I realized how little I knew. When I was 21, I thought I had the world in the palm of my hand, but 25+ years later, I realize how naive or culturally illiterate I really was.

The more I learn, the more I realize that true wisdom starts from recognizing that there is so much to learn beyond our current awareness, and though observation, patience, and some humility, we can really become teachable.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Great Lakes of Utah Relay 2011

A couple of weeks ago, our family participated in a great 49.3 mile relay near Salt Lake City. Although some of us were running in such an event for the first time, it gave us an opportunity to test our mental and physical abilities, but equally important, an opportunity to do something together as a family. Here is a video of our run. You can also read my report at

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dog Agility Training

Is it possible to teach a pet to do tricks? In this video, I discuss how I train my family's dogs to do different things through an agility course. Take a look at this video. I have been working our dogs to help them become more obedient and to make them better dogs when I go hiking or running. It's not difficult to do, but you have to put in a lot of time and have a lot of patience.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cottonwood Wash - Capitol Reef National Park

One of the lesser-known national parks in Utah holds some of the best hikes anywhere. One of them that combines water, hiking, swimming, and climbing can be found at Cottonwood Wash. Here is a video report of the hike, and you can learn about more hikes at Do you have similar scenery in your area?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Recently, my family and I volunteered at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary near Kanab, Utah, where unwanted, homeless, and abused are nurtured and then placed up for adoption. Here is a video and learning activity on the topic. Do you have similar organizations in your country? If so (or not), tell us about them or the current view on homeless animals in your area.




Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Millcreek 50k 2011

Recently, I participated in a unique mountain running event in which the race started at 9:00 p.m. and I finished it at 7:45 a.m. It covered 31 miles (50 kilometers) with a total gain in elevation of over 3,000 meters. You can read my report of the event here:


In some ways, it reminded me of life itself:  many things that happen to us in life are difficult, but the reward will come after a period of determination.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day in the US

Today, July 4th, is Independence Day in the United States. It is a day when people remember the freedoms they enjoy in this country including the privilege to worship God as they may, to vote, to speak out for different causes, and to go where you may. I created this video on the topic. Share your thoughts on what it means to "be free."


Monday, June 13, 2011

Trail Running in Utah

 My English students often wonder why their skills aren't improving . . . like their stuck at the same level. Have you ever felt this way? In response to this, I created this video a few miles from my home on the topic of setting goals. Enjoy.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Squaw Peak 50 Mile Trail Run - Race Report

Here is my race report for a very difficult 50-mile races in Utah. Doing something as difficult as this reminds me of doing anything challenging: it doesn't matter how long it takes you as long as you finish the journey:



Friday, June 10, 2011

Squaw Peak 50 Mile Trail Run - 2011

I just completed a 50 mile (80KM) mountain trail race this past weekend, and it was really hard. However, just like anything in life, many good things come to those who work to achieve them even if it takes you a long time to do so.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Being a "Good" Student

I am about to start teaching a new group of students in two weeks, and once again, I will talk to them about how to be a successful student. On the first day of class at the university, it is not uncommon for some of my students to come completely prepared with a notebook, pencils, and a dictionary. Other students come with a cell phone, but nothing else. What do you think are the characteristics of a "good" student?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Learning Strategies: How to pick up a language

As an ESL teacher, I have found that some students don't know effective strategies or ways to learn better. In fact, I often how to teach student how to be students because some people have never learned how to learn and put in the effort to make progress.
 In some cases, I am surprised that a student arrives to class with a cell phone (or two), but he/she doesn't have a pencil or paper to write on. Unfortunately, this isn't an unusual case. Then, with no study plan or skills, the student may not make much progress and becomes frustrated.
While I try to help students learn better, they sometimes see me as a wall, rather than a bridge, to their success. Thus, I discuss learning strategies on a daily basis.
One simple thing students can do is to build their vocabulary by using a picture dictionary to learn the vocabulary of a specific theme and then create sample sentences around the grammar they are studying. Just having a dictionary sitting on your desk isn't enough. You need to know how to use it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Trail Running and Language Learning: What's the Connection?

Although there might not seem to be a connection, there is a relationship between running and learning, especially mastering a language. You have to push yourself, both in running and learning, to make meaningful and lasting progress. Take a look at this video. What are your thoughts on this topic?


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What is there little or no looting in Japan?

According to news reports, the Japanese haven't been looting (stealing from) stores in spite of the recent earthquake, and such peaceful behavior often wouldn't be seen in other places (including places in my home country). What accounts for this? Share your ideas.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sharing Audio Blogs

Hi everyone,

I've been experimenting with a new audio service that allows users to post audio comments along and to their social media sites including Facebook and Twitter. There are many possible applications for such a service in that students and teachers can share ideas and create learning content online. Here is one example. Can you think of other applications for such a service? Share your ideas.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Running and Learning: What are the similarities?

Here, I am running a marathon in the beautiful desert country of Utah. You'll notice the little pack around my waist to carry water, first-aid supplies, and food. Just like with language learning, you have to be prepared with a good dictionary, note-taking strategies, and the right mental attitude. What supplies do you think language learners need most? Share your ideas.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Learning English: What's the Secret?

A student told me that it was her goal to talk like a native speaker. I asked, "Are you sure that is a good idea?" Why do you think I responded that way? What is the secret of learning a language better? Share your ideas.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Randall on Twitter and YouTube

Hi everyone,

I would like to tell you of some exciting new developments at my Web site, Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab (

1. Randall's on Twitter - So, what's so neat about that? Well, I am using Twitter to post updates and videos that can help visitors use my Web site better. Video tutorials, you could say. These videos should be able to help you become familiar with my Web sites in a way you didn't know before.


2. Randall's YouTube Channel - My channel contains videos tutorials and other information about the development and use of my Web sites.


3. New Grammar/Listening/Speaking Activities - I am now moving forward with new types of learning activities that should help you learn and assess your language skills in a new way. Take a look at this page for more information:


Let me know if you have questions or comments about these new features and projects. You can also contact me by email at rdavis[at]

Randall Davis

Websites for ESL Teachers and Students


Hiking and Trail Running Hobby:

Friday, January 14, 2011

Anta Entertainment Sells Online Content Illegally

Since my Web site ( opened in 1998, I have licensed my materials on a number of occasions to companies and educational institutions for commercial and non-commercial purposes under formal agreements. Such organizations have come up with innovative ways of using the materials in their products and services.

Unfortunately, there also have been times that people have illegally copied and profited financially from my work and have completed ignored and disregarded my Terms of Use, and a link to these terms appears on every page of my Web sites ( When copyright issues come up (which they have a number of times), I try very hard to work with the individuals or companies to come to a friendly resolution. Unfortunately, there are times when many people are affected, including students and teachers, from very deceptive practices, and in such cases, I feel I should address these things openly.

One such example has been an iPhone app called ListenIN Pro by Anta Entertainment. You can read my complete report at:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy New Year, 2011!

I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year and great success in the coming year. Feel free to share your dreams and goals for the coming year with us.