Teacher, I Want to Learn British English. That’s Problematic Student.

England and America are two countries separated by a common language according to the famous phrase of Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. Warm beer versus cold beer, cricket versus baseball.

Sometimes, it certainly seems that way when teaching at BridgeEnglish Denver. As a native of the old country, I am often asked by students which spelling version of a certain word is correct. Is it color or colour (cue Microsoft red line telling me I spelled the word wrongly)? Should I use the word lift or elevator? Is it soccer or football?

Continue reading


Why is that Teacher? The Small Matter of the History of English.

One of the hardest questions an ESL teacher has to face in the classroom is “Why?”

Oh, the dreaded word “why,” the bane of every ESL teacher, the one question that is impossible to answer and yet ever-present in ESL classrooms around the world. It isn’t that the teachers don’t want to answer our students’ questions about why certain prepositions go after certain words or why the h is silent in one word but pronounced in another word, or why there are three different words that sound exactly the same but are spelled differently and have completely different meanings (there, their and they’re). We really would like to answer our students. The only problem is, we can’t, because there isn’t an answer.

Continue reading


What Exactly Does it Take to Learn English? A Look at Learning Styles in an ESL Classroom

“How long will it take to learn English?” This is a question I hear quite a bit from my ESL students and I never really know how to answer, primarily because I can’t predict the future. Six months? A year? Everyone is different. Some people learn faster than others. Some people just have a natural gift for absorbing languages. Lucky them! But I do know that if you are aware of how you learn, that can make things a little easier and perhaps go a little faster.

Learning styles come in various forms and everyone has their own unique way of learning even if they do not realize it. There are four basic styles of learning and they are auditory, visual, kinesthetic and tactile. Learners however, are not limited to one single style of learning. Some learners use different combinations of all four styles. So what do these learning styles mean?

Continue reading