Just Do It by Mark Garton

Mark is pretty much saving my life right now or, at least, helping me to follow-through on my commitment to post content every other week. So a big thanks goes out to him for another post! For the next week a book review, I swear. Apparently, it takes me much longer to get through a book than it used to because, well, the Internet.

This current post of his looks again at language learning and technology, or the lack there of . . . with the intention of adding it in but not just yet . . . but soon. How? He wonders aloud for us. See his other posts here.

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Advice CALLum by Mark Garton

Again, we have a delightful post from Mark Garton. I think a lot about my colleagues that haven’t quite embraced technology in teaching in the same way that I have, and he gives us some insight into his experience. It helps me to understand other people’s perspectives and challenges, which encourages me to be a kinder, more understanding person. And, if nothing else, it allows me to focus my work on what my coworkers need rather than assuming what is needed.

Mark has a few other posts he’s done for me that you can check out here.

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Weather Fronts by Mark Garton

Hello folks. This week we have a really delightful post from Mark again. He’s got a totally different approach to this writing than I do with mine, so the change, I’m sure, is refreshing. The only bad part is that he is making the rest of us (read: me) look bad. I can say that at least my writing has more typos, so if we’re going for quantity then I win on that count.

If you’d like to read more of his posts for me, you can see them here:

Lessons Learned, Lesson Taught Part 1

Lessons Learned, Lessons Taught Part 2


Weather Fronts


We hear this a lot: “Know your students.” This typically means that we need to know about our students’ learning styles and strategies, and it can be extended to include their particular interests and motivations for learning. When we know our students – and when our students know us, I’d add – there are some fairly obvious benefits for everyone concerned, but upon further reflection some relevant questions come to mind: Beyond what I’ve mentioned above, how much can we really know about our students? How much should we know?

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Lessons Learned, Lessons Taught Part 2

Guest author: Mark Garton

And so eventually I grew up and got a job. And then, well, another one. The point is, I’ve been teaching ESL ever since, and I’ve come to a few conclusions that I’d like to share with you now:

Through all my experience and studies, I’ve found that there are about three basic ideas to keep in mind when you’re either practicing a language yourself or teaching it to others:

  1. Conversation is good.
  2. Reading is good.
  3. Motivation helps too.

Those aren’t too hard to remember. So now my question is: How can I help my students in these three areas?

Continue reading “Lessons Learned, Lessons Taught Part 2”

Lessons Learned, Lessons Taught Part 1

Good news! I finally will no longer sound schizophrenic by calling myself “we.” Starting today there will be a real live other person involved – at least temporarily. My good friend Mark has kindly offered to write a guest post. Besides generally being a good guy, he has taught ESL for many years, was the director the Intensive English Language Institute at Divine Word College, and for you erudite academics out there, holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics.

Soon I will get back to making the singular role of blogging sound like a 24-hour party by calling myself “we” again. In the meantime, enjoy his take on language learning part 1 of 2.


 Lessons Learned, Lessons Taught

by Mark Garton

So why do I teach the way I do? It’s going to take some time to explain.

First a little background: My adventures in language learning and, eventually, teaching, all started for me when I was in third grade at West Elementary in Knoxville, Iowa. My teacher had just married a Mexican, and she came in one day with little Berlitz phrasebooks for her students. We learned a few numbers and other simple words, and I remember taking the book home, riding my bike up a hill overlooking the highway, sitting under a tree and reading it.


I must have been a bit of an unusual child. My teacher’s husband came to school one day, and we got to practice what we’d learned. I suppose this was my first exposure to language learning. If you’re from rural Iowa, you don’t get much of that.

Continue reading “Lessons Learned, Lessons Taught Part 1”