Ezra Vasquez

The personal blog of an applied linguist, writer, & educator

Month: March 2019

  • Cherry blossoms arrive in Japan

    Cherry blossoms arrive in Japan

  • AI Language Partner for L2 Learners

    I didn’t make it to this session in Atlanta, but it intrigues, nonetheless. Alelo’s Enskill learning platform automatically evaluates learners’ communication skills and produces performance analytics. As learners engage in conversations with artificially intelligent avatars, Enskill continually monitors their performance and provides feedback to both teachers and learners. Via “Alelo Presents at TESOL Its Solutions […]

  • Nothing Teaches like Failure

    Hi! This is your reminder that failure is the best teacher there is. Want to learn something? Try it, and if you're reeeally lucky you might fail. And learn. — Andrea Subissati (@necromandrea) March 28, 2019 This is something I tell my students. I give them the example of the opera history class I took […]

  • Steven Pinker’s 13 Tweets for Writing Well-Written Prose

    Steven Pinker is a linguist and psychologist who teachers at Harvard University. He’s most famously known for his popular-science book on linguistics titled The Language Instinct among other books on cognitive science. In my classes, however, I most often use the style guide The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st […]

  • Difficulties with /l/ and /ɹ/ speech sounds for L2 English learners

    The following video gives useful information on the difficulties some learners of english experience when pronouncing the /l/ and /ɹ/ sounds. Some of this could be shown in the classroom:

  • Mariposas monarca mexicanas

    A short video of Monarch butterflies congregating in the central state of Michoacán, México from one of my favorite Spanish-language podcasts. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Doorway to Mexico (@doorwaytomexico) You can visit Doorway to Mexico‘s blog here.

  • Engage Your Students’ Critical Thinking Faculties with the Trolley Problem

    The trolley problem comes from the philosophical field of ethics, and it presents an excellent impetus for discussion in communication classes or topic for critical thinking in writing classes. Below are two short videos to get the lesson started. via An Animated Introduction to the Famous Thought Experiment, the “Trolley Problem,” Narrated by Harry Shearer […]

  • Poetry Applications for TESOL

    Poetry Applications for TESOL

    I attended the presentation The Uses of Poetry in the ESL Classroom: Ways to Integrate Poetry in a Reading Class on March 15th by Janusz Solarz of Indiana University at the TESOL 2019 International Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Professor Solarz provided three capacities in which an educator might implement poetry in her English lessons. Introductions […]

  • Teaching Shudder Quotes

    Shudder quotes, or weird quotes as the the author Chuck Wendig refers to them in the tweet at the end of this post, can be used to indicate your are using a word with ironic intent. Consider when you refer to the “stroke of genius” upper management foisted on everyone, and how all your colleagues […]

  • New Study Reveals How the Advent of Agriculture Even Changed the Way We Speak

    Historical linguists don’t often have reason to rejoice, but they might be excited about this. New research indicates farming exerted an influence on the speech sounds we make–specifically the /f/ and /v/ labiodental fricatives. The argument for the interdisciplinary approach scores another win. Here’s the link to the paper published by the University of Zurich.