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The English Teacher Blog
Our company blog featuring our work teaching English pronunciation, grammar, and test preparation in Washington D.C.  Our place to share resources for improving English language skills and for newcomers to the city.

National Handwriting Day

Yesterday was National Handwriting Day in the U.S. Decades ago, penmanship was taught as a subject in U.S. schools - beyond just learning to form the letters, children were taught to write neatly and in a formal style. This was considered an important part of becoming a fully educated person, and you can see this type of handwriting in older people in the United States. Handwriting is a tricky topic in English language instruction - in our 20 years of teaching, we have found that it is not so common to instruct in how to write the Roman alphabet letters - it seems to be an assumed skill when working with adults, even though this is not an easy skill at all, especially for those whose first languages do not use the Roman alphabet. Of course the keyboard helps us get around this problem, but I have often wondered why basic ESL writing classes do not include a component in HOW to form the letters and how to link those letters to form words. When you do not know how to do this, writing by hand becomes a time-consuming and formidable task. In my experience, students would feel much more empowered if they felt comfortable with this skill. You may need to write a hand-written thank you note in English one day, or express to someone that you are sorry, and those things just aren't the same with a typed correspondence. Have a look here at the ways in which handwriting is still important to many of us.

Why did public schools stop teaching grammar?

There is much to say on this topic, and it will be addressed here in more detail later. In the meantime, this article, published about ten years ago, gives an overview of the trends of teaching grammar in the U.S. public school system - when we used to do it, when we stopped, why it fell out of favor, and what we now know to be the results. Read on if you like that sort of thing. (We do!)

Which target language should you spend time acquiring? It depends upon your purpose

Here at The English Teacher Collective we are obviously in business because people need to learn English. But is studying English as a second or third language always the best choice? Will English remain dominant in the future in certain industries and sectors? This article from the Washington Post contains excellent graphs that break down current worldwide linguistic patterns as well as predictions for the future.

Untranslatable words from around the world

This gorgeous illustrated book of untranslatable words from around the world is definitely on our must-read list! Author and illustrator Ella Frances Sanders does a wonderful job of capturing those sensations, experiences and precise moments that simply can't be described with a single English word. The richness of the world's languages is presented as a visual delight.

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