The purpose of this site is to help you learn language that is used in everyday conversation. Reading newspapers and textbooks can be helpful for academic English, but many students often spend their time reading information that is very difficult and might not be used in day-to-day conversations. Thus, Daily ESL is designed to help you become familiar with common vocabulary and expressions you can use all the time in many situations. Choose a topic, listen and read along with paragraph, and then discuss the questions with a partner. Compare your thoughts to the recorded interview. (These parts are being added to this site now.)
All of the audio has been formated in Windows Media Format, and you can use the Windows Media Player to listen to the recordings. If want to slow down the recordings, you can simply change the playback speed in the menu options of the Windows Media Player:
VIEW >>> ENHANCEMENTS >>> PLAY SPEED SETTINGS
I strongly recommend slowing the audio down so you can listen carefully and even practice your pronunciation.
For years, I have noticed that a great deal of language instruction focuses on intensive reading that often centers around students' understanding of short, abstract or less-frequently used topics. A typical scene is where students have their electronic dictionaries in hand and are looking up every other word for help because the reading passage is far beyond their linguistic reach. The topics are often very difficult and do not deal with everyday conversation, unless you are a marine biologist studying the impact of global warming on a rare form of fungus at the bottom of the sea. I'm sure many teachers have worked with students who have "studied" English for more than 10 years, but these same students couldn't carry on a simple conversation on today's weather.
In fact, students often develop a real dislike for English because so much of their past language classes focused on preparing for tests and not for real communication. Students realize this is the case, and they often feel powerless to take more control of their learning with few resources to turn to that focus on day-to-day language.
Thus, the purpose of this site, Daily ESL, is to give students opportunities to build their communication through Conversation Starters, that is, readings that lead to natural communication. First, learners read about topics in everyday life (Part I, Reading), discuss the information with other partners (Part II, Discussion), and then examine a related topic using critical-thinking skills that are key to better communication including discussing cause and effect relationships, predicting outcomes, comparing and contrasting, and hypothesizing (Part III, Online Investigation). In other words, students need to learn how to analyze information from different sources, including the Internet, to make informed life decisions that impact them now and in the future. Becoming a speaker of a language isn't always enough; the goal for many is to become an educated speaker, and the questions on each page on this site is to encourage better communication, even starting with lower-level students.
Although the readings have been based on typical situations in North American, efforts have been made to make the information as applicable as possible to many settings around the world. Of course, this isn't always possible, but I hope learners can transfer and adapt the content to their learning situations.
There are a number of activities teachers can do to make the most of this site:
- Look carefully at your own classroom curriculum and match your teaching objectives with the readings on this site.
- Assign students to go over the reading and discussion questions and come prepared to discuss them in class.
- Encourage students to apply the readings to their own lives, either in a writing or speaking assignment.
- Expand students use of the language by asking them to do the Online Investigation exercise. This will require students to search, analyze data, and make careful conclusions based on what they read and find online.
- Read the readings aloud for pronunciation or comprehension practice.
All the materials on this site are copyright (c) Randall Davis, 2006. All rights reserved. Students are permitted to print the pages for personal use, and teachers are allowed to make copies and print for incidental classroom use (i.e., one-time use, but not to be compiled to make into a textbook). Copying, modifying, and/or uploading the files to an Intranet or other Website for any purpose, commercial or non-profit, are not permitted. Contact Randall HERE for more information.