Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricane Sandy and the S.F. Giants

One of my ESL students writes one essay a week for writing practice for our class. This was a busy week and he had much to write about: Halloween, Hurricane Sandy, and the San Francisco Giants World Series celebration.

He had an interesting observation. He was surprised that in light of the devastation experienced on the East Coast due to Hurricane Sandy, the City of San Francisco proceeded with their parade and celebration for the Giants, this year's winners of the World Series.

He commented that in his home county, Japan, people would show restraint. A large celebration would not occur if something as catastrophic as Hurricane Sandy had occurred.

What are your thoughts are. Should San Francisco have canceled or postponed their celebration? Or was it alright for them to go ahead?

Friday, March 23, 2012

"Beat Around the Shrubbery"

I just finished watching an episode of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot. As you may know, Poirot is a fictitious detective. Much to his dismay, many people mistake him for French because of his accent, but he is actually Belgian.

Poirot's English is very good, but he does use an "unnatural" order to his words at times. He also makes mistakes with his use of expressions and idioms.

In tonight's episode, there were two "errors." He said, "It is dried and cut," and "Let's not beat around the shrubbery."

The correct order for the first error is "cut and dried." When something is "cut and dried," that means it is clear and obvious.

"Beat around the shrubbery" should be "beat around the bush." To beat around the bush means to avoid the subject or approach the subject indirectly.

These mistakes are amusing when they come from Hercule Poirot who is a fastidious perfectionist about everything else. I love him!


Monday, February 6, 2012

Cambridge Offers CELTA Courses Online

In September, 2011, Cambridge started offering CELTA courses online. Sort of.

The practicum component of the course must still be done at the center offering the certification.

If you opt for the online CELTA course, you can earn the same certificate as if you did the course entirely at a center. There is no difference to the award you will receive.

The online option allows a student to take longer to obtain the certificate and to work at his or her own pace. According to the Cambridge site, "courses run over a minimum of 10 weeks and a maximum of an academic year."

The online materials achieve the same objectives as face-to-face instruction, according to Cambridge.

Unfortunately, as of this date, there are no centers offering online CELTA in the United States.

If you need a completely online TESOL certificate, then you will need to consider a different type of certificate. See TEFL or CELTA: Which is Best? for further discussion.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

CELTA Offered Online This Year

It looks like Cambridge is moving into education of the 20th century (maybe even the 21st). According to the Cambridge ESOL website, CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) will be available online starting in September 2011. Currently, it is only available in person at over 200 centers around the world (eight, in the United States, at this time). Here's a list of all CELTA course locations around the world.

The online CELTA course will have the same requirements as the face-to-face course (without attendance, of course). The only thing that will not be able to be done online is the teaching practicum. Six hours of assessed hands-on teaching practice will still be required.

I wonder if this opening up of the strict CELTA course requirements will raise the value of other TEFL/TESOL certification courses in the minds of those who favor CELTA over other certificates.

What do you think?


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"The Time Goes Fast!"

This is what one of my adult ESL students said yesterday when I ended our ninety-minute conversation class. We had met a few days before for a free ESL Needs Assessment that I always offer to potential students, but our meeting yesterday was our first conversation class together.

I always love to hear the English language learners (ELL) I work with comment on how fast the time flies when we work together. Comments like these let me know that the ELL is enjoying the class and, I believe, more easily getting the practice they want.

And, I guess I should mention that "time flies" since I haven't posted anything to this Teaching ESL to Adults blog in over a year! Time flies when you're having fun!

I continue to work with adult ESL students and I love it. I appreciate the many of you who continue to find, read and comment on my blog.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Accusation of Stolen ESL Blog

As most of you know who have been following my ESL blog about my ESL tutoring experiences, as well as ESL tips, grammar tips, etc., I wrote back in September of 2009 that I discovered that someone had stolen my ESL blog. At that time, I filed a complaint with Google. Google researched my claim and took down the site that had stolen my material (they didn't even bother to change anything, the thief stole my blog word for word).

I have personally written each article in this blog based on my experiences teaching ESL, with the exception of a handful of articles from guest writers. You can identify those ESL blog entries because they will give credit to the author.

This blog with the URL of is the original site. I think if other unscrupulous people are stealing this content, you should be able to identify this because they will have a different URL.

Today, I received an email from an unidentified source accusing me of being the thief. Here is the content of that email sent to my contact page of my main website Teaching ESL to Adults:


AN ESL TEACHER IN COLORADO (You aren't forthcoming, so I see no need to be forthcoming with my identity, either!)
First Name: ESL Teacher
Last Name:
E-mail Address:
Country: United States
May I post your message on this website? (please choose one): Yes, it's OK to
post my message, name and country. (Due to spammers, I will never post your
email address.)"

Unfortunately, the email writer did not leave his or her email address (which I understand if he or she thinks I am the thief), so I hope he or she will read this post and perhaps get back to me with the URL of the actual plagiarizing ESL blog so that I may report it to Google.

I thank all my followers of this blog and my main ESL site. And I apologize for not writing every day as I did the first year of this blog. I've been spending more time on the main site, so you may want to follow that site for newer material.

Best regards,
Debra Garcia
ESL Tutor

Monday, October 12, 2009

Should You Get a CELTA or a TEFL Certificate?

If you're considering getting a certificate to start teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), you've probably come across the TEFL vs. CELTA debate. Which certification is better? Which courses are better? Which prepare you to teach adults ESL/EFL and which prepare you to teach children? Which certificate do employers prefer?

Unfortunately, the answers to these questions take a lot of research and then most of the answers you find are subjective. If you ask someone with a CELTA, they're likely to say CELTA is better. If you ask someone with a TEFL certificate, they're likely to say TEFL is better. This is, of course, also dependent upon the student teacher's particular experiences at their particular TESOL certification course.

When potential EFL/ESL teachers write and ask me which I recommend, I cannot give a strong recommendation about which is best. (I can recommend my particular program, as I feel it did everything it promised and more.) I can only suggest factors to consider when making the TEFL or CELTA decision. You can read more about what to consider on my main website TEFL or CELTA page.

The one thing I strongly recommend is that after you've done your research, bite the bullet and just do choose a certificate and choose a course. Don't let the "paralysis by analysis" bug keep you from moving forward.