Tuesday, December 13, 2011

ELI Prom!

Just a reminder that this Thursday the 15th is the ELI Prom. Prom is a dance held once a year in American high schools. This dance is traditionally for high school juniors and seniors. The purpose of prom is to have fun, spend time with your friends, to dress up, and dance.

At prom, you will take pictures, listen to American music, and, if you're lucky, maybe slow dance with your date.

While at American proms it is customary to bring a date of the opposite sex, it's also equally ok to bring a group of friends.

A word on dress: Girls wear long, formal dresses with high heels. Guys wear a tuxedo and dress shoes. It is also customary for the boy to buy a corsage (a flower pinned to the dress) for the girl.
For more information see the official ELI prom webpage:


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fashion Show

Just a follow-up to the last post to say that the ELI fashion show was a big success. More than 100 students participated, representing than 38 cultures. The UD review covered the event. You can read their article here:


Above you can see yours truly in his fancy Uzbeki Groom Wedding Costume.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Have you ever seen an international catwalk?

Runway or catwalk describes a narrow, usually flat platform that runs into an auditorium, used by models to demonstrate clothing and accessories during a fashion show.

The International Fashion show is this Thursday, November 17th! It's at 7-9 pm in the Perkins Student Center. Students will walk the runway in traditional clothing from different countries.

It's a great way to show off our many personalities in many different styles of clothing from many different countries.

It should be an event to remember, so make sure you're there!

~CarolAnn (CE)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Why English only?

There's a reason why the password in the SALC, the policy in the student lounge, and the phrase that comes out of the teachers' and tutors' mouths is
"English only."

So what's the reason?

It's not because we're mean or that we don't want you to talk to your friends. It's because we want you to practice your English language - that's why you're here, isn't it? - and it's because we want you to make friends with your fellow ELI students, even if they don't speak your first language.

Imagine taking all these language classes, and then never speaking English. You'd lose all your English ability! I know this is true, because it happened to me when I was learning Russian. I was okay at it for a while because I had to speak Russian in class a few times a week, but as soon as I stopped, my Russian went away. Don't let this happen to you!

We care about you and we want you to do well. So when you're in the ELI, please speak English!
And remember to have fun!

~CarolAnn (CE)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why is a turkey like a ghost?

Here's a joke for you that's good for both Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Q: Why is a turkey like a ghost?

Because he's always a-gobble-in'!

Get it? Gobbling? Goblin?

Happy Holidays, everybody! And just a reminder: You do have classes on Wednesday, November 23rd, but they end early - at 3:30. You have no classes on Thursday (Thanksgiving day) or Friday (Black Friday). Enjoy the holiday!

~CarolAnn (CE)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Session

As a new session gets underway, I thought I'd post this video from the opening days of the session in 2007. The crowds and long lines of eager but slightly disoriented students are familiar sights for those of us who have been here for a while. Alas, the only English occurs at about :50 when a girl says "Thank you." The rest of it is foreign babble translated roughly as "So, this is America. Where is the Coca-Cola?" And "I think I saw Bruce Willis at the Trabant Center."

Welcome new ELI students!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Congratulations to the Reading Challenge Winners

Congratulations to Khorphuengbua Amphaphorn or Oy as she sometimes goes by for winning first place in the SALC reading challenge. Oy was my student last session and I am proud of her, though not in the least surprised. Congratulations also to Yanxin Li, the second place winner, and Xin Liu, Sultan Alsharari, and Yu Yungcheng, the third place winners.

For students interested in participating in the Reading Challenge, the official rules can be found at the SALC webpage here: http://sites.google.com/site/elidesalc/eli-reading-challenge.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My name is Jeremy, but you can call me Yipei

I would say more than half of my students have English names. Sometimes they pick names in their English classes. Sometimes they adopt names upon arrival in the US. The use of an English name has two purposes: first to help native speakers, many of whom are unfamiliar with foreign names, remember them; secondly to tweak their identities in response to their new environment. Sometimes students give themselves famous names; I've known a "Tiger" (Woods) and a "Vincent Van Gogh," but more often students simply choose an Englished version of their real names. For example, "Chen" becomes "Charles" or "Yin" becomes "Jane."

While my students usually do an excellent job of remembering my real name, I have decided, in recent sessions, to share in the fun and give myself a few foreign names. In Chinese, for example, I am "Li Bai" (sounds roughly like "Jeremy"), the famed literary figure of the Tang Dynasty. In Korean, I am "Sejong" after the inventor of the Hangul alphabet. And in Arabic I am Abu Nuwas who shows up a few times in Aladdin. At the very least, my foreign identities make my students laugh. They usually ask who gave me the name. I tell them that I gave it to myself. Then I ask how they got the name "Steve" or whatever it is. It usually leads to a good discussion.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Free Hugs!

“What is a free hug?”

    This was the question that was posed to me last week by several students.  They had seen a group of UD students on Main Street carrying signs which read “Free Hugs,” and the ELI students were perplexed as to what exactly a free hug is and why anyone would want one.

     “Is this normal?” one Saudi asked me.  “Do all Americans give free hugs?” queried another.

     What, then, is a “free hug?”  Well, the “free” part of that phrase means that it doesn’t cost anything.  And a hug is a common way that Americans greet each other, show affection for one another, or, in times of sadness, console each other.  If you’re happy to see someone, give them a hug!  If you’ve missed someone, show you care by giving them a hug!  If your best friend is homesick, give her a hug! 
So, in short, a “free hug” is just what it sounds like-- a hug from a stranger with no strings attached.

     But why?  Why take a hug from a stranger?  The “free hugs” movement was started as a form of promoting random acts of kindness.  The idea is that people should do nice things for strangers for no other reason than because it makes the world a happier place.  Juan Mann, the founder of an international day to celebrate free hugs, recalls “... I went out to a party one night and a completely random person came up to me and gave me a hug.  I felt like a king!  It was the greatest thing that ever happened.”  Giving away free hugs is a simple way to bring smiles to people’s faces.

    Since the first official “Free Hug Campaign,” free huggers have been spotted in China, Israel, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Taiwan, Belgium, France, England, India, Uganda, Canada, the United States, Greece, Austria, Portugal, and now... Newark, Delaware!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Banannagrams, Blurt, and Scrabble

I think many of us would agree that it may be coming on high time to rechristen the student lounge at the ELI the game room. Or the Bananagrams Room, maybe. Or perhaps even the Scrabble Saloon. I'm sure we can vote on it at the next meeting. Whatever we may call it, the fact is unmistakable that word games have become ubiquitous among tutors and students in the lounge these days--and not merely as filler for ELI down hours. Instead they've become an important part of tutor-student interaction and vocabulary building.

"Horseradish," for example. "What does 'horseradish' mean?" a student may ask in perplexity at the appearance of that particular condiment (well, the word for it at any rate) on the bananagrams table. "Well," the tutor might answer, "Well, I'm not really sure. But I know I spelled it right." For a moment there is silence and somebody shuffles the pages of the dictionary. Then another student, one who lives in a home-stay with a peculiar fondness for German mustardry says, "I know, I know. It's a kind of mayonnaise. You put it in a Bloody Mary." Mayonnaise? Bloody Mary?

This kind of conversation, which is quite common during ELI game-time, illustrates the kind of discursive learning that word-games encourage. When we read something--an article, a book, a blog-post--the mind often goes straight to the general meaning ignoring the suggestions and polarities of the individual words. It is this tendency to focus on the big picture that allows us to skim long passages of text. Word-games, however, force the mind to focus on isolated words. This process, particularly when accompanied by debate and discussion about the meaning of the words, can help enrich vocabulary and increase our awareness and comfort-level with unfamiliar language.

Word-games, of course, also have the advantage of making studying vocabulary a good time--albeit perhaps stirred by the occasional inter-student, inter-tutor, or student-tutor rivalry. For those unfamiliar with the kinds of games popular at the ELI, banagrams is a form of scrabble in which players attempt to form words up and down in linked rows. The game is unique in that players have their own individual space to make their own words instead of using a shared scrabble board. It also employs a host of useful banana-related vocabulary (peel, split). Blurt is a kind of name-the-word game in which one player reads a definition and other players attempt to guess the word. The first player to "blurt" out the correct word gets to advance his game-piece around the board.

So, next time you're up for doing some vocabulary work, grab a chair and stop on by the student lounge. Or the Banana-Bar. Or the Blurt...the...you know, that word.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Welcome to the ELI Tutoring Blog

"Okay, so..."  My students will recognize that beginning.  What is the ELI?  What is the Tutoring Center?  Why do we have a blog? Are these some of your questions?  Read on...

The English Language Institute (ELI) at the University of Delaware is a CEA-certified Intensive English Program that provides courses in English as a Second Language (ESL) to students from all over the world.  As part of our offerings to our students, we have a Tutoring Center.  All full program ELI students get two hours per week of private tutoring as part of their regular tuition.  During these tutoring sessions, our students can work one-on-one with a trained ESL tutor who can help them with their language learning needs: grammar, pronunciation, reading, writing, vocabulary, speaking, listening comprehension, etc.

This blog is another way that tutors and students can work together.  By adding comments, questions, and posts, we can all create a fun place to use our English skills while we learn.  And who knows, we might even get some people from outside the ELI to join us.  So let's get started.