An ESL Author Looks at an ESL website with New Eyes

Sometimes we don’t see what is in front of our eyes.

Today I learned a bit more about my own website from a fellow English teacher and friendly fan.

A gentleman from Tennessee called my home, thanked me for the sample conversation materials, and asked some insightful questions about the updated Compelling Conversations website. I appreciate his call – and his giving a practical suggestion on how to improve the site for adult educators by adding clearer language. The influx of new immigrants, mostly Spanish speaking with limited formal education, can be seen across the United States. As you might expect, many churches are providing many education and literacy programs for new immigrants in the South – often on a shoe string budget.  I’m glad that the free reproducible worksheets can be of some assistance.

Second, the gentleman’s call encouraged me to take a longer look at my own website through new eyes. Designed more for English teachers than English language learners, the revised site does include an entire section for students. The materials, however, are probably too hard for most English students to understand since they are written for high intermediate and advanced ESL students.

Fortunately, there are also  rough Google translations for the Compelling Conversations website now for speakers of  46 languages. The long list goes beyond the usual suspects (Chinese, French, German, Korean, Spanish) to cover tongues ranging  from Albanian and Arabic to Vietnamese and Yiddish! That’s sort of amazing – even if the computer translations remain imperfect and contain many errors. Consider me jealous of my computer’s language skills! Wouldn’t it be great to just know 10 words in 46 languages?

Perhaps in the future. For now, I’m grateful for Google translations – and dedicated English teachers who share their experiences about my small, evolving website and niche conversation textbook.  Maybe it is silly, but I still get a kick when – like today – an adult education teacher tells me about how their students enjoy the book – even when it is a bit difficult.

So please feel free to share your experiences, positive or negative, because we are learn from each other. As the cliche goes, “everyone is a student; everyone is a teacher.”  Today I learned quite a bit about my own website, its strengths and flaws. Have you visited the revised website yet? What worked? What could be improved? Do you have some suggestions for the next version?

Ask more. Know more. Share more.

Create Compelling Conversations.


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