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This is an introduction to troubleshooting ESL skills: Basic English Language Course. Its purpose is to fill in gaps in communication and give you knowledge of important topics like American culture and social skills, as well as trouble spots that are often skipped over in the English language classroom. It is a highly unique and extremely helpful smattering of solutions - but is not intended as a complete ESL course, nor is it for complete beginners.
Over the past 10 years of teaching adults and college students English as a Second Language, from my classes for beginners to intermediate and advanced students, I have made a note of common challenges. This collection of 60 of the best video lesson responses to these challenges are now organized in sequence with supporting materials and quizzes to help you, the learner, follow along and see your progress.
You will benefit from this Basic English Language Course if you are:
This course is not recommended for:
Take this Basic English Language Course right now and improve your English skill.</p>
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|Section 1: Introduction|
|In this lecture you will meet your lecturer and learn about what topics are included in the course.|
7 Steps to FluencyPreview
|Section 2: Listening|
|What is active listening and why is it important? Find out if it is different in your native language and in English.|
Active Listening Quiz
5 Examples to Improve Your English Listening and SpeakingPreview
How to learn more and improve your English
|Section 3: Speaking & Pronunciation|
|Why is volume important in communication? Have you ever thought about how to use your body to control your voice volume? Learn speaking tips from the Theater Department at my University!|
|R and L are challenging sounds for ESL students from several different language backgrounds. Take a look at how we use our mouth, tongue, teeth and lips to make the sounds correctly.|
|P and B are challenging sounds for many English language learners. Learn the specific differences between them, how to use your mouth to produce each sound correctly, and practice with word pairs.|
Shi and si can be difficult to differentiate for some ESL students. Take a look at some examples and learn the differences.
|Quiz 2||29 questions|
Choose "True" if the words are homophones (pronounced the same) or "False" if they are not.
|Watch this quick video lecture that illustrates a misunderstanding between Gabby and a salon staff person from India, where vowels are often pronounced shorter than in American English. Practice your understanding of long and short vowels with the supplementary materials below.|
|Quiz 3||9 questions|
|Do the words rhyme? Select True or False.|
|Learn a few of the rules for stressed syllables. You will understand a pattern that can help you pronounce many other similar words.|
|We have touched on stress in individual words. Now let's look at stress in a phrase or sentence. Stress creates a rhythm in a phrase, and sometimes that changes how we pronounce words together. See one example in the lecture, then practice with the supplementary materials.|
|Section 4: Best Conversation Skills|
|The last lecture in our conversation section deals with how to smoothly end a conversation. Learn three commonly used phrases.|
|Lecture 15||2 pages|
Top tips on how to prepare for a successful interview.
|Generally the most difficult interview question, "Why did you leave your last job?", can be the question that makes or breaks your chance for success. See an example of how to answer in a positive way.|
|"Actually," "like" and "you know"... these words are commonly used as fillers, words that fill in silence, show that you are thinking, and hold your place in a conversation. Even though they don't have any meaning as fillers, they are really useful!|
|These are not the typically shopping phrases you learn in English class. You will learn a phrase that is commonly used in the US but that most foreign students do not understand. Let's troubleshoot and get it down!|
|Quiz 4||5 questions|
Love or loathe it we all have to do it. This quiz helps you to sound natural when out shopping.
|This lecture will help you to deliver your ideas in an organized way.|
|Some people and cultures enjoy expressing their opinions directly, while others prefer an indirect communication style. Americans generally prefer direct "low context" communication. Learn more in this lecture.|
|This lecture will give you the tools to deal with difficult questions.|
|How can you give your opinion directly when it is negative? Learn how to honestly and tactfully express a negative reaction.|
|Section 5: Vocabulary|
|Learn a few small words that add a big punch to your descriptions.|
|Wow your audience! Use adjectives that set your descriptions apart from the over-used descriptors "good" and "nice."|
|What is a collocation? Why are collocations important? In order to speak naturally and to be quickly understood by others, you should understand what collocations are. In this lecture, you will see a few common examples.|
|Quiz 5||12 questions|
Which words commonly go together?
|What difference does the little word "at" make? Actually, it completely changes the meaning of this phrase! Learn how in this short, focused lecture.|
|Section 6: Phrasal Verbs|
|You may think you know these verbs, but be careful with the little prepositions that come after! The little words make a big difference. Let's troubleshoot three of the most common and most often forgotten phrasal verbs.|
|This is one example of a phrasal verb, included here because it has so many uses, yet I've found that many ESL students don't use it. Watch the lecture to see how to use it, and try it out in your next conversation.|
|Quiz 6||5 questions|
Fill in the blank with the correct preposition to complete the phrasal verb. Leave blank if the verb does not take a preposition after.
|Section 7: Idioms|
"Make a Mistake" in Idioms
|Sports idioms are very common in American English, the most popular of which come from baseball. Learn how to use several of them in this lecture.|
|This sampling of idioms includes several that include the word "hat" as a central theme. These idioms are highly usable!|
To See Eye to Eye
|Quiz 7||7 questions|
Fill in the blank with the word that best completes the idiom.
|Section 8: Grammar Tips|
|Troubleshoot this common error: make sure that when you ask for a definition, you ask correctly!|
My family "have" or "has" ?
|A dead give away that you are not a native English speaker is the way that you express fractions. There is rarely enough time in traditional English language classes to learn fractions, so you may not know the correct way to express them. Watch and find out if you are correct!|
|The prepositions "in" and "on" are often confused. Dates are a good spot to start troubleshooting.|
|Quiz 8||10 questions|
Take this quiz to test your knowledge of some of the trickier ways we describe periods of time and quantities in English.
|Do you speak English good or well? Find out in this lecture which is the grammatically correct expression.|
|What is the difference between specially and especially? Find out how to use them in this video lecture.|
|Quiz 9||8 questions|
Modal verbs are tricky because the way we use them can vary depending on the context. Choose the most appropriate modal verb in each of these sentences:
|Find out how to use modals of different strengths.|
|My students often ask me for examples on how to use the present perfect. See several examples here.|
|Learn how to use "should" and "should have" in the context of taking a vacation.|
|To finish the section, here is a quick tip for more advanced structure in your sentences. Using clauses is considered an advanced grammatical device. Conquer this lecture and you will be an English super star!|
|Quiz 10||10 questions|
Check your understanding of the grammar section.
|Section 9: Writing Tips|
|Learn a highly recommended way to organize your thoughts when you respond to a writing or speaking test prompt.|
|If you are writing an academic paper, it is very important to cite sources accordingly. Even in conversation, you can make your speech more colorful by using different vocabulary to indicate who said something. Learn a few different ways to tell who said what in this lecture.|
|What is the best opening for your email or letter? Learn more here.|
|What is the best closing for your email or letter? Learn more here.|
|Quiz 11||10 questions|
Choose the most appropriate greeting for each of these examples:
|Section 10: Extra: Study Skills Tips|
|To begin our vocabulary building section in the study skills tips, here is a quick tip: keep a special notebook just for collecting vocabulary, which you can review anytime.|
|Connecting ideas helps us to remember them. Connect the vocabulary you already know to new vocabulary words and it will rapidly increase your active and passive vocabulary use and understanding. Learn how to make a Vocabulary Map.|
|Organizing your vocabulary words will help you to remember them. You can organize them in many different ways on paper. Here's one way that you can start using today.|
Positive or Negative Connotation?
|Setting a clear goal helps us in many ways. You can stay focused and also see your progress. Learn how to make a SMART Goal in this lecture.|
What is a SMART Goal?
|Section 11: BONUS: New Lessons|
How to make the TH sound in English
How to Say Hello Like a Natural English Speaker
How are you? Respond Naturally
How to Never Miss a Question
|Quiz 15||10 questions|
This quiz tests your knowledge on how to sound natural with English.
When to Use Might or May
How to Say One of the Most Difficult Words in English
How to Make a Successful Invitation in English
How to Use GET in Many Ways
When to Use "Do" to Make a Question
What NOT to Say About the Weather
How to Use "THE" - Solve this Problem Now!
How to Start a Telephone Conversation in English
How to Study Through Your Interests
Stop Using "Will" and Start Using "Going to" More - Here's How
How to Make a Study Plan on a Busy Schedule
Do NOT Joke or Use Humor on These Topics
How to Improve English Speaking Skills
What Are American Culture Faux Pas?
How to Improve American English Cultural Skills
What Skill Should You Focus on for Fluency?
How to Improve Your English with Gratitude for Thanksgiving
How to Dream in English
What NOT to Do If You Want to Sound Like a Native Speaker of English
What is Your English Missing?
Focus: Tips for German Speakers of English