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Welcome to Compelling Conversations!
Newsletter Volume 2: Issue 4



March 2010
Greetings Laurie,  

Are You Going to TESOL?

Compelling Conversation's author, Eric Roth, will be in Boston for the TESOL conference later this month. Send him an email if you'd like to connect while he is there:

If you're in California, Eric will also be attending the CATESOL conference in April. He will be participating in a panel discussion on Friday, 4/23, titled, "Passion and Persistence: Self-Published ESL Authors Tell Their Stories."  Also at CATESOL, early Saturday morning Eric leads a seminar on the benefits to your students of practicing  informational interviews in class. 

Eric at the blackboard.DSC_0018-1.small.jpg

And for Los Angelenos, Compelling Conversations will be sharing a booth at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on the UCLA campus, April 23-25. Stop by and say hello!

Special Offer

To thank you for subscribing to the Compelling Conversations' newsletter we are again offering a discount for the electronic version of Compelling Conversations! If you've haven't had the opportunity to get a copy of our book  - Compelling Conversations: Questions and Quotations on Timeless Topics (for ESL learners and teachers!) - we have lowered the price for newsletter subscribers: Click here to get your copy for $15 (instead of $20)

Positive Amazon Reviews of
Compelling Conversations

Amazing for private tutoring
By Hollie, California
I tutor several girls from Asian countries, and this book is a great way to get them working on pronunciation and exposing them to American concepts. It's the best conversationalist book I've found.

Outstanding for ESL
By P. S., Seattle, Washington
I cannot praise this book enough. It is an outstanding resource for producing natural, flowing conversations. The students I tutor are well educated adults, rich in culture and experiences. This book allows them to produce natural conversations using what is most intimate to them: their lives and their culture.

Wholesome learning resource!
By E.V., Miami, Florida
When Compelling Conversations got into my hands I couldn't help but to think: I wish I had this book when I was learning English! As English as a second language speaker, I can really tell the difference that Compelling Conversations has with other ESL text books: topics richness that takes learning at a higher level. Not only you will feel motivated to improve your language skills, but you will have a rich-provoking theme about life to discuss and share with your tutor or classmates.

  English Teaching Professional:

"What makes this book winningly unique is its departure from standard language-learning fodder...A notable addition to any English teacher's bookshelf." 



We're all feeling the effects of the economy's contraction, both at home and in our workplaces. Yet, more than ever, people around the world continue to seek English language skills. We selected the articles for this month's newsletter to help you teach English conversation more effectively and share materials that can inspire your students to speak English more inside and outside the classroom.

As always, send us your feedback!

The Crazy Alphabet Game of Teaching English Here, There, and Elsewhere

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Confused by the long litany of acronyms in our fast-growing field? You’re not alone. English teachers, linguists, and school administrators must navigate an Amazon River of changing acronyms and cold, clinical terms to describe common classroom situations. Our field is called ESL, EFL, ELL, ELD, ESOL, and VESL. More»

Have You Added Informational Interviews to Your Advanced ESL Class?
A broad consensus exists among adult educators, especially ESL instructors, that we should take every possible opportunity to focus on job interview skills in our English classes. During these difficult economic times, however, I would suggest that ESL and even EFL instructors working with college and university students also should focus on practical employment skills.  More»

Happy New Decade! How Will We Change? Will We Discuss Change in Our ESL Classes?
As the decade ends, the 2008 video, "Did You Know" produced for a Sony conference seems more relevant than ever. With quick factoids and fast edits, it shows how radically our world is changing. How do we prepare students for a world full of new technologies, new jobs, and new challenges?  More»

Where can I study to become an English as a Second Language Teacher?

A close friend, recently laid off from a position in a news organization, asked me this simple question. The most prominent program on the Westside of Los Angeles remains the UCLA Extension program, but courses cost more than a few pennies.

English as a Second Language programs have proliferated across the country. Click here to view an astonishing list of over 1,000 programs that offer undergraduate degrees or certificates in teaching English as a Second Language.

I was also surprised that this very incomplete list from included over 50 programs for future teachers of English language learners just in California. Some are graduate programs; some short-term certificate programs, and some undergraduate majors. provides detailed information about TESOL programs (or certification programs) around the world. is a popular, user-generated TEFL course review site. The standards seem a bit vague, but it’s a starting point. provides advice for TESOL job seekers.

Our field continues to exponentially grow as millions seek to improve their lives by learning to speak English. Many online programs exist, and their quality must be somewhat uneven. How can you determine which programs are best? What variable matter most? Ideas? Suggestions? As of now, I’m still looking for quality programs that I can suggest to my friend – and other virtual friends on the net. Can satisfied graduates share some positive experiences?

 Are you or will you be teaching an ESL class?  More helpful articles on conversations in the ESL classroom that relate to our trademark phrase, “Ask more. Know more. Share more.” are available at

Articles and Links of Interest

Extensive Reading Crucial for English Acquisition

This Korea Herald article, published Feb 17, 2010, shares the insights of Shin Kyu-cheol, professor in the department of English language at Far East University. Focusing on the need for English language learners to extensively read, expand their vocabulary, and speak more, Kyu-cheol points out the need for more engaging English textbooks. I particularly agree with his observation that Korean students need to worry less about sounding like a native speaker and more about comprehensibility. More»

We recommend one of The New York Times' "most emailed stories"....

Building a Better Teacher

By Elizabeth Green  Published March 2, 2010

ON A WINTER DAY five years ago, Doug Lemov realized he had a problem. After a successful career as a teacher, a principal and a charter-school founder, he was working as a consultant, hired by troubled schools eager — desperate, in some cases — for Lemov to tell them what to do to get better. More

Gender Equality?

Are women becoming more equal around the world? In many ways, women are making great strides in many societies. Yet this interactive map on gender equality, sponsored by Social Watch organization, documents that the gap between “is” and “ought” remains far too wide in far too many countries. Are the statistics overlooking important factors? Perhaps. Can all mere statistics capture the complexity of a social environment? Probably not.  Double standards seem to be standard practices in dozens of countries. Visitors can also pick their own country and see its social development rating.


Special Offer! 

To thank you for subscribing to the Compelling Conversations' newsletter we are again offering a discount for the electronic version of Compelling Conversations! If you've haven't had the opportunity to get a copy of our book  - Compelling Conversations: Questions and Quotations on Timeless Topics (for ESL learners and teachers!) - we have lowered the price for newsletter subscribers: Click here to get your copy for $15 (instead of $20).


"Speech is civilization itself...It is silence which isolates."

- Thomas Mann


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