Sunday, August 18, 2013

A True Horror Story - Aimee Copeland - ESL Article

Medical illustration of advanced necrotizing fasciitis

A True Horror Story!   --  Aimee Copeland
Necrotizing fasciitis of the leg

A person's life can change from one small event. Have you heard of Aimee Copeland?

Aimee is an American who contracted necrotizing fasciitis.  This is flesh eating disease. With flesh eating disease, bacteria destroy the skin and muscle on a person's body. These bacteria ate a part of Aimee's leg. This disease is scary. It is also painful, and some people die from it.  How did this happen to AImee?

Aimee was swimming in a river and cut her leg while she was swimming. The bacteria in the water entered her leg through the cut. She got this terrible infection that destroyed part of her leg and some fingers.

This disease is very rare.  Only a few people get it in 50 years.  Sadly for Aimee, doctors will have to cut off her right leg and some of her fingers.  However, Aimee and her family are very happy that she is still alive. Her life seems like a horror story, but she can still decide to live a full life.

Can this happen to you? If you protect yourself, you can limit your chances to get it.

Here is what to do:

1. If you have a large cut, don't go swimming!
2. Clean your cut well, and make sure your cut gets some air.
3. If you have this infection, go to the doctor right away to get medicine.


1. What is the medical name for flesh eating disease?
2. What happens to people who get this disease?
3. What parts of Aimee's body were hurt from flesh eating disease?
4. What will happen to Aimee at the hospital?
5. Why is Aimee's family still happy?
6. What is one thing you can to to stay away from flesh eating disease?
7. What is meant by "right away"?


* If you knew Aimee Copeland, what would you say to her?  Talk about this with a friend. Use some words that you read in the article.
* Has anything happened to you that changed your life in one day or one hour?  Talk about this with a friend.
* Aimee's family is worried about how her life will change after her surgery. Aimee will now be a person with a disability. How are the lives of people with disabilities different? How are they the same? 

* THINK & WRITE People with disabilities are often treated differently, in good ways and in bad. Do you think that people with disabilities should be treated the same or differently? In what ways?

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Confident English in 10 Easy Steps – Part 2

Good Morning & Happy Monday!

Today's article is a continuation from last week, an activity to help students build confidence in speaking.

I hope your students enjoy the activity. 

Thank you for visiting & have a great week!

Confident English in 10 Easy Steps – Part 2

Feel shy to speak English? Here are 5 more tips to help you speak more confidently.

6.   Watch your self-talk.

Self-talk is how you talk to yourself in your mind. Do you criticize yourself?  Do not do this. Instead praise yourself in your mind and even out loud.  For example, say to yourself: You were brave to talk to the shoe salesman. Good for you! 

Keep a notebook where you write down the good things that you did.  This will help you build confidence in all areas of  your life.

little girl wearing boxing gloves
7.   Nervousness is a part of life.  

You have felt nervous in new situations before.  Maybe it was when you started high school, college or a new job.  But you kept going anyway.  Learning English is only one more new thing. You may be a little nervous, but keep going anyway!

Also try this: Whenever you feel nervous, instead think about how good you will feel when you start speaking English more fluently.  Keep these feelings in your mind whenever you start to get nervous. You can use this technique for any area of your life.

8.   Use a tool to improve your pronunciation. 

Here is a website you can use to learn the sounds of English:

You can also use the CD provided in the Office English course.  This course will help you sound more natural and improve your accent. 

Also, remember that native speakers like to hear accented English, especially Americans! As an American, I know this is true.  I love to hear the accents of people from other countries. So be proud of your accent and keep on speaking!

9.      Practice , practice, practice!

Use every opportunity you can to practice constantly

Here is an amazing story: I had a colleague from Kuwait who speaks excellent English, even though she has only lived in the Middle East. I asked her how she did this, and she told me it was by practising English all the time. She felt shy at first, and some of her friends thought it was funny, but she didn’t care.  Now this lady has an excellent job with a high salary, and the respect of her colleagues, because she speaks English so well!

10.  Don’t wait! Start speaking today!

Don’t wait until you can speak better.  This will never happen by itself. You will only speak better if you practice. Just like you learn to walk by walking, you learn to speak English by speaking! 

Do you have any tips to share that help you speak with confidence?  Share them with us in your comments.  I would love to hear from you!

Practice Your Speaking with the topics below!

* Describe a member of your family.
* Tell about a vacation that you enjoyed.
* What is one thing you really like about your life? Why?
* Describe the ideal husband or wife.
* Tell about a famous person that you admire.
* Tell about a strange dream you had.
* Talk about one of the best days of your life and one of the worst.
* What is your favorite dish? How do you make it?
* How would you describe yourself? What is one thing you really like about yourself? What is one thing that you wish you could change?

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Confident English in 10 Easy Steps – Part 1

Good Morning & Happy Monday!

Today's article deals with helping ESL learners build confidence when speaking.

I hope you & your students enjoy it!

Thank you for visiting & have a great week!

Confident English in 10 Easy Steps – Part 1

It is natural to feel shy when speaking another language. I learned three new languages besides English, so I know all about this! You can overcome shyness – I promise you that .  In fact, you can make your shyness work for you, as I did.  You can use your shyness to become a better speaker and to become stronger and more confident.

Here are 5 ways to help you become more confident when you speak English:

1.  Be proud of yourself for learning a new language!
It takes work and intelligence to learn a new language.  Be proud of yourself for being able to do this.  Many people are not doing what you are doing! 

When you learn anything new, you will make mistakes. Learning from your mistakes will make you a better speaker.  Mistakes are a part of life. People forget this, and are afraid to make mistakes. When you are afraid of mistakes, you stop trying.  When  you stop trying, you can't learn. So don't let your fear stop you!

2.  Take baby steps.
Learn something new each day – no matter how small. Practice new words that you learned, new sentences, and in new situations, even though you feel shy. 

When you practice little things, your English will improve and your shyness will disappear faster.

3.   Remember this: People  are pleased when you try to learn their language.
People like it when they see you trying to learn their language.  They don’t care when you make mistakes. This is a form of flattery.  

Trust me: when I see people making mistakes in English, I don’t care about it in the least.  I only think about trying to understand the other person.   

Also, remember that people are not thinking about you.  Most people are too busy thinking about themselves! So say what you want to say and move on.

If you still get nervous, you can start like this: 

         I hope I’m saying this correctly, but... or 
         I’m not sure how to say this, but...   

When you become more comfortable, you don’t have to do this anymore.

4.  Practice in front of a mirror.
Practice what you learned in front of a mirror, so that you can see yourself.  You will feel embarrassed at first, but feeling embarrassed when you are alone will help you stop feeling embarrassed when you are with people.

5.  Practice with complete strangers.
Speak with one person per day, every day.  Use the telephone,  if you must. 

Choose different places – for example the post office, shoe store, library, supermarket . Start by asking only one question, then increase to more.

man at a help desk counter

Practice these tips today!  
Tips 6 – 10 will be posted next week!


* What is something new you tried that you are good at now?
* What are some tips that you use to help you build confidence?
* Why do you think people feel shy when speaking another language?
* Some people think that English is a hard language to learn. Others say it is easy. How do you feel about English?
* What are some websites that you use to help you learn English? Why do you like them?

Thank you for visiting!
Faiza Raintree

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