TESL: Vocabulary Technique Activity

Level: Beginning to intermediate

Materials needed: Sets of 6+ items from definable locations (i.e. a fork, knife, spoon, napkin, plate, cup, etc. representing a dinner setting.)  Like dinner settings, the kitchen, a classroom, etc.

Time: 7-12 minutes

Purpose: Provide hands on practical learning of vocabulary which will be usable to the student. Emphasis on aural/visual recognition.

Technique:  The teacher will set the items before the students and let them  handle each piece while she describes the place these items would be found (dining table, etc.).  Then the teacher gives the word for each item and they repeat.  The teacher may then ask the students to pick up the item she names to check their comprehension.

Variations:  Teacher holds up an item and the students provide the names. The items are put away and students draw the item after the teacher names each one. Items from each set may be mixed later on to confirm comprehension.

Amish and Compulsory Education

School has been an issue which the Amish have come into conflict not with each other but with state and local governments.

In Elmer Schwieder and Dorothy Schwieder’s book A Peculiar People: Iowa’s Old Order Amish, the Schwieders document the conflicts between state officials and Amish families over the compulsory education issue. The 1960’s began a series of fines, jail terms, and court cases. In Iowa’s Buchanan County the school superintendent, J. J. Jorgensen, filed complaints against the Amish school leaders for sending their children to unapproved schools.

After a series of fines and the October 28, 1963 judgment of District Judge George Heath that the Amish are not exempt from such school requirements, the conflict rose to a rapid climax. It was the fall of 1965 when the Amish defendants refused to pay the $24 fines and it became obvious the soon Amish land would have to be confiscated and sold which would eventually ruin the area economy. Continue reading

Spanish Language Schools in Guatemala


Michael with teacher Luis.

All language schools are not equal, nor is finding the best place for you as simple as reviewing a few schools online and then picking one. I’ve been there and there’s a lot of info out there, but making a decision of where my wife and I were to spend our next six months or so as we studied Spanish was kind of like diving into a river after talking to others who swam there before. We hoped to hit the right spot and not drown or hit any rocks in the process.

When you’re looking for a place to learn Spanish there are many elements to take in to account: Location, Cost, Perks, Experience and more.

First of all there is the consideration of countries. There are lots of Spanish Language schools in Spain, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and probably every Latin American country on the map. Here’s a list of 90 schools in 14 countries. We wanted to learn Latin America’s version of Spanish and we have plans to be in Guatemala for a while so we chose to study in the beautiful highlands of Guatemala. Once the country was settled, it became a matter of what city: the main choices are: Antigua, Xela / Quetzaltenango, or Panajchel but about 10 cities offer language studies in Guatemala. Private tutors can be found in other places, but you’ll need some sort of contact to connect with them since there’s no central way to find them.

Getting the right teacher is very important. One thing we learned is that in one-on-one teaching sessions, the individual teacher really makes a difference. Don’t be afraid to change teachers if one doesn’t work for you. Usually within one week you can know whether or not you and your “maestro/a” are a good match. If you’re not, change so you can get a better fit and learn all that you can. Continue reading

How to pick a Spanish Language School in Guatemala

We want to be more effective and actually learn to speak Spanish so, we’re moving to Guatemala to learn the language.

Guatemala365 Web search for Spanish Language Schools in Guatemala

Through our searching we found that picking a language school is about like picking a college. You have to weigh cost, quality, recommendations and more to know what you’re getting into.

We found resources like Guatemala 365 which highlight various schools and has a great search tool for narrowing down schools by region. This was helpful, but it’s hard to tell from a Website what will be a really good school and which ones just had a good web designer. Click for more suggestions on choosing a Spanish language school.