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How to Get a Scholarship Using Facebook

How to Get a Scholarship

Scholarship Aid College Education Loan Money ConceptYou’ve been accepted to university. You’ve already envisioned the posters you’ll hang up in your dorm room; your iPod is stocked with a mix of Dave Matthews Band and EDM tunes; you’ve cleaned Costco out of its entire supply of Red Bull and ramen noodles—and then the tuition bill comes. Cue the flood of questions about how to get a scholarship.

Your guidance counselor hands you a stack of scholarship application forms, and you groan. With so many people applying for the same treasure troves of shining financial aid, what chance do you have?

What can you do to give your application that extra advantage, so you can breeze into university with enough change in your pocket to order your first 3 a.m. pad thai?

The answer is right in front of you. In fact, you’ve been clicking over to it while reading this very article (for shame!). You’ve got carpal tunnel from frantically “liking” your friends’ posts left and right. Oh yes, you’ve got it. The answer is Facebook.

The truth is that scholarship reviewers are now going beyond applications and transcripts to determine who is best suited for financial assistance. Facebook is an easy and effective way to get an inside view of the applicant’s public image and whether he or she displays the values and qualities desired by a particular fund or institution.

Think of it as your first interview; your Facebook profile is your chance to show your reviewer a bit about who you are as a person, what you’re passionate about, and how well you fit what the reviewer is looking for. Follow these three steps to transform your Facebook account into a scholarship magnet.

Step 1: Purge.

We’ve all heard the cautionary tales—restaurant servers being fired for posting pictures of customers and commenting profanely on their rude behavior; teachers being dismissed for photos (even private ones!) that depict them drinking; a nun was even kicked out of a convent for spending too much time on Facebook! As a general rule, inappropriate material, such as party photos, insensitive comments, offensive language, and even just a generally negative attitude, won’t look good to a potential scholarship evaluation team.

Don’t forget that, even if your recent posts and photos are the picture of wholesomeness, viewers can access your shared content from years ago with just one click.

The solution? Delete. You may look incredible in that keg-stand photo (doubtful), and that rant about your teacher may have some of the cleverest wording ever known to the literary world, but get rid of them. They’re not worth missing out on that scholarship.

What might seem harmless could also taint someone’s idea of you:

  • Applying to a liberal organization but your favorite book is The Fountainhead? Something doesn’t quite add up.
  • Trying for a prestigious scholarship but all your “liked” movies are of the Jackass variety? You’ll need more luck than Johnny Knoxville did when he faced that charging bull while blindfolded.

In all your posts, strive to present a consistent, positive, and professional public image, and you can’t go wrong!

Step 2: Streamline.

Research what personal qualities and experiences are asked for in this scholarship. Use Facebook’s extra features to your advantage: “like” relevant pages or even books and movies that show up in the left bar.

Are you applying for a scholarship from a particular institution or organization? Find their Facebook page and “like” it.

Upload photos or other proof of your activities that reflect the kind of extracurriculars or skills that the scholarship looks for.

Step 3: Engage in positive activity.

Now that you’ve removed all negative content and have updated your page to reflect the kind of person that scholarship committees are seeking, it’s time to establish a positive online presence. Your reviewers will want to see that you’re active in your community and have a continued presence in your fields of interest. Regularly post positive content that lets your personality sparkle.

This is your chance to make yourself memorable, so use it!

Rather than trying to hide your Facebook account (like these students who adopted names like Samwise Gams, FunkMaster Floikes, and Lizzie McGuire on their social media accounts), let it work for you. It might just be what your scholarship application needs to stand out from the stack.

The final thing you must be aware of when using Facebook to help you get a scholarship is the quality of your posts. If grammar and spelling are not your forte, it might not be a bad idea to have a friend or a proofreading company look over your social media posts before you send them. This will give reviewers extra assurance that you care about details and how you are perceived.

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27 Presentation Tips: How to Create and Give an Engaging Presentation

Presentation Tips

Everyone has had the experience of sitting through a bad presentation. Those are the presentations where the lights go down, the audience is faced with slides filled with text, the speaker begins by reading each slide, and the room fills with the sounds of snoring. No one sets out to give a bad presentation, but you can set out to give a good one. If you follow these 27 presentation tips, the sounds that you hear at your next presentation are sure to be clapping, not snoring!

Here are 27 presentation tips that will help take your presentation from bad to good.

How to Structure Your Presentation

1. Create an appealing cover slide.

The opening cover slide is often overlooked, but it plays an important role in setting the tone and style for your whole presentation. Use a captivating graphic on your cover slide to catch your audience’s attention.

2. Keep it short and sweet.

If you keep your presentation short, it will be easier for the audience to remember the important information. Bombarding people with information just confuses them. Besides, no one has ever complained a presentation was too short!

3. Follow the “Rule of Three.”

Steve Jobs was a master communicator and presenter. One of the things that made him so effective was that he followed the rule of three in his presentations. To follow the rule of three, make sure that your presentation touches on three major ideas. You can then use stories, graphics, examples, and analogies to elaborate on these three ideas.

4. Use a maximum of ten slides.

Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 Rule is that a maximum of 10 slides should be given in 20 minutes, and the size of the text on each slide should be no less than 30 point. Following Kawasaki’s rule forces you to make sure that the information provided on each slide is necessary; it also forces you to explain your slides.

5. Use slides to clarify points.

Slides are there to reinforce your message. Do not let them carry the entire message. You should also avoid reading the slides directly or using them as a crutch.

6. Design your own template.

Consider designing your own template by following some of the steps given on various websites, or purchase a template. This will allow you to create the theme that is best suited to your presentation. Audiences have seen the common PowerPoint templates time and time again, so give them something different to look at. The extra effort that you take in creating something unique will pay off in helping to maintain audience attention.

7. Make sure that your content is correct.

Edit and proofread your slides to make sure that the spelling and grammar is perfect. No one wants to look at a slide that has a spelling mistake on it, and no one will trust the opinion of someone whose presentation is riddled with errors.

8. Make sure that your presentation flows from one slide to the next.

Smooth transitions can help your presentation to flow easily from one idea to the next and from one slide to the next. You do not necessarily have to use fancy style transitions, but you can use verbal clues to tell your audience what is coming up on the next slide—and why they need to know!

9. Summarize.

There is an old public speaking tip that says to tell the audience what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them. Presentations should follow this same format. Prepare your audience for what is coming, and then use the body of your presentation to tell them your three major points (refer to tip #3). Use your last slide to summarize your presentation and remind the audience about key points they might have already forgotten.

10. Consider using other types of presentations.

Instead of PowerPoint, consider alternatives such as Prezi, Easel.ly, or SlideRocket, which are available on the Internet. Using a different type of presentation may not only inspire you to stretch your creativity, but it may also inspire your audience.

How to Make Your Slides Aesthetically Pleasing

11. Don’t put too much information on one slide.

Try to keep your slides clutter-free and full of blank space. Don’t include too much text. A good rule of thumb is 30–40 words per slide.

12. Be concise.

According to a 2015 study by Microsoft Canada, the average human attention span is eight seconds, which is less than the attention span of a goldfish (nine seconds)! You need to be clear and get your point across quickly before your audience zones out. Don’t use clichés—even though you should “think outside the box,” for instance, your audience has heard that tired cliché hundreds of times before. Make sure that the text on your slides is meaningful to your presentation.

13. Use appropriate fonts and sizes.

Serif fonts, such as Times New Roman and Garamond, are easy to read at smaller sizes, but the serifs are often lost on a large screen. Sans-serif fonts, such as Arial and Franklin Gothic, work well for presentations. Consider using unusual fonts (within reason) to keep the audience’s interest. You can download fonts from DaFont, 1001 Free Fonts, and other font downloading sites. Just be sure that the font does not make your text difficult to read. Remember tip #4: Use nothing smaller than a 30-point font size. Keep in mind that, if you use a smaller font and the audience can see your slide, you will quickly be out of sync with them because they can read faster than you can talk.

14. Use color.Font and Color Examples

Different colors evoke different emotions. For example, red is associated with passion and urgency, blue is calming and evokes tranquility, orange conveys energy and warmth, and green is associated with nature and the environment, while black is heavy and formal. Warm colors, such as red and orange, can be used to highlight, while cooler colors can be used in the background. You should also make sure that the colors complement each other.

For the audience to be able to see the text, it must contrast with the background color. For example, use a dark green background with white text or a light blue background with black text. Accent colors are used for emphasis and should be used sparingly. No matter what color combination you choose for your presentation, make sure that you use it consistently.

15. Use high-quality graphics.

Do not use blurry pictures, overly familiar clip art, or eye-roll-inducing stock photos. Try to use images the audience may not have seen before by searching for fresh new photos on such sites as Unsplash and Pixabay. Remember that using no photo or graphic is better than using a bad one.

How to Make Your Presentation Memorable

16. Be passionate about your topic.

Whether you are giving a presentation on the different types of sandpaper or the truth factor in urban myths, you should be able to speak passionately about your topic. If you speak about what you love and know well, your passion will encourage the audience to tune into your presentation.

17. Know your audience.

When you know the background of your audience—in other words, what they know and what they need to know—you can structure your presentation to meet these needs. In turn, the audience will be more interested in what you have to say.

18. Involve the audience.

The easiest way to involve your audience is to ask questions. However, no one wants to ask a question and have no one raise their hand to answer. Try asking general questions, such as “How many people watch videos on YouTube?” Involving the audience helps you connect with them.

19. Include stories.

Stories are easy for the audience to remember; listeners tend to experience the story as it is being told. A good story will also elicit an emotional response in listeners and motivate them to act. Make sure that the story fits the context of your presentation (i.e., has a purpose) and is relevant to the audience.

How to Present and Keep Your Nerves in Check

20. Practice, practice, practice.

If you know your material, you are less likely to read slides and more likely to look at the audience. You will also feel more confident.

21. Transform your nerves into enthusiasm.

Everyone enjoys listening to an enthusiastic speaker. If you speak animatedly, your audience will be inclined to pay attention to you.

22. Take some calming breaths.

Take a deep breath before you begin presenting. This may help calm your nerves.

23. Smile and maintain eye contact.

Never turn your back on your audience. Another good hint is to stand to the left of the screen. In this way, your audience can look at you and sweep their eyes over the screen.

24. Make sure to show your personality.

Steve Jobs was a great presenter because he let his personality shine through. Don’t feel that, just because you’re giving a formal presentation, you must stifle everything that makes you unique. Your personality is what makes you interesting, engaging, and relatable; infuse that into your presentation.

25. Put your game face on.

Athletes and performers know that the key to a great performance is to pump themselves up during the pre-game or pre-show warm-up. You need to pump yourself up too. You can run in place, do some stretches, or practice one more time—do what you have to do to get ready. And then, as Nike™ always says: Just do it!

26. Have fun!

It may be counterintuitive, but if you know that you have prepared well and have a great-looking presentation, you should realize that you have done your best. Use that knowledge to relax and enjoy the experience. You can also use humor to joke with the audience and make it fun for everyone.

27. Thank the audience for listening.

To conclude your presentation and to cue your audience that your presentation is finished, you can thank them for listening and participating. People appreciate being appreciated. Remember that you can also include a final slide that thanks the audience and provides your contact information.

Conclusion

There is no magic formula that you can apply to a presentation to make it great, but if you follow these 27 tips, you should be able to present a memorable, stress-free presentation.

Image source: Davide Ragusa/Unsplash.com

GrammarCamp

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6 Things to Learn Outside the Classroom During University

University Life

We’re going to let you in on a little secret: most of what you learn in university you’ll learn outside the classroom.

Sure, the research professor you’ve spoken to twice is going to fill a great spot on your reference list. And, okay, I guess it is kind of nice to have a degree so you can do the thing you want to do for the rest of your life.

But the lessons learned about Anglo-Saxon coins in your Old English class will pale in comparison to the moment when you realize that your Old English professor is actually cooler than anybody else in the class. (Thanks for the pub night, M.J.)

In the end, the things you remember about university life will almost always occur outside of the classroom. Here’s a list of things to learn outside of the classroom during your university career.

1. Who to go to when you need help

So, you had a terrible day. It’s inevitable. You failed your midterm, you missed the bus, or you got splashed by a car on the way home. Maybe it’s even worse, like the guy you were seeing won’t answer your texts, your brother is in the hospital, or you feel desperately homesick. You need to vent.

Christmas CatBut your roommate is busy complaining about a ten-page research paper that’s due in the morning. Your parents aren’t answering your calls. (Why doesn’t Mom ever charge her phone?) Even the cat that used to visit your house is nowhere to be seen (just because you tried to dress him up like Santa for Christmas that one time . . .).

Where do you go?

It’s important to learn who to go to when you need help. Go to your friend who will always listen, not the one that’s always too busy to hang out. If that’s not enough, there are endless resources that nobody talks about. Most schools have student health services, and most will be happy to book an appointment for you. Even if there’s a waiting list, they should be able to provide you with a helpline or a group class.

Use every resource you can get your hands on. Book a yoga class. Try meditating at home. Keep a journal. Just know that you are never alone and that somebody, somewhere, will be able to help you.

2. What to do when you don’t know what to do

“Oh no, I should have taken biology. Why the heck am I a double major in vocals and political science?” This battle cry of confused students can be heard in schools everywhere. This is bigger than academics—this is your entire life! What do you do when you don’t know what to do? How do you decide?

Flip a coin. (No, I’m joking. Sort of.)

Make a list of everything you like to do. Make a list of everything you’re good at. Cross out anything that won’t support you financially.

Do you not have a list anymore? Welcome to adulthood.

Again, I’m joking!

Here’s the real secret: very few of us actually know what we’re doing. Anybody with a plan is really just hoping that plan will actually work out. Most people with a career path had a simple passion and chose a related field.

Nobody gets through four years of vocals and political science without some sort of desire to do so. Maybe you love something in there. Maybe you’re good at something in one of those fields. Maybe you thought you’d make a fortune being the world’s first operatic lawyer.

If not, then it’s time to regroup. Pick something you love, that you’re good at, or that will make you financially stable. If your choice happens to fit more than one of those categories, then great!

In the end, you might choose a path that you’re not totally certain about. Could it hurt you in the future? Might you regret your choice? Sure, of course. Eventually, though, you’ll just have to flip a coin. If all else fails, at least you tried something, and you won’t know you don’t like it unless you try it first.

Aha! Your mother was right all along. So maybe you will like broccoli when you get older. You just have to give it a chance.

3. When you’ve reached your limit

It might be drinking an entire mini-keg yourself on St. Patty’s Day. Or it might be taking on five classes, four clubs, three roommates, two part-time jobs, and the meanest professor in the world (in other words, the worst version of The 12 Days of Christmas ever). Either way, you’re going to wake up regretting biting off more than you can chew.

Recognizing your limit is the sign of being a grown-up. If you don’t think you can handle four clubs and two part-time jobs on top of all of your classes, drop something. Drop three things. Do whatever you need to do to stay happy and healthy. You are not Superman (and you don’t need that whole bottle of wine to yourself).

4. Where to get anything and everything cheaper

Surprise! It will often feel like your school wants to take all of your money. (I know, don’t fall over in shock.) Sometimes, the bursar’s office can feel like that bully on the school ground that shakes you by your shoes even though you only have three dollars. Just take my three dollars, and leave me alone, right?!

Used BooksWrong! Those are your three dollars. Yours. Spend them like they are magic beans.

Plant one in your local used bookstore and find your course books cheaper than a box of Ramen. The owner has probably already set up a bookshelf containing everything on your syllabus because he or she is expecting your arrival. Plant one in an off-campus clinic to get a discount on medication prices for students (and beauty products that are cheaper than the ones on campus). Plant one in a shared Netflix account with your roommates. Sure, you could just give them your password, but if you all split it, you’ll only pay a fraction, and you’ll get more magic beans in return to spend elsewhere.

See? Now you’re working the system. Time to climb that beanstalk!

5. Why your ridiculous roommate does the things he/she does

Maybe your roommate showers ten times a day. Or uses an entire roll of toilet paper every time he goes to the bathroom. Or refuses to share his frying pan with you and only speaks on the phone at three in the morning. Maybe she’s never held a broom, takes a cab everywhere she goes, and, you swear, only slams the cupboard doors to make you angry.

It’s so annoying that you can barely focus on anything else. You tell your mom about her antics every day. You and your roommates are going absolutely mad, and nobody knows what to do. She does all these terrible things!

But do you know why?

One of my past roommates was from a place where cleanliness was very important. She could only make phone calls late at night because of time zone differences. She cabbed everywhere because, back at home, it wasn’t safe to walk at night.

Okay, there’s no need to use an entire roll of toilet paper or scream so loudly on the phone. Still, understanding why somebody can be so frustrating is the first step to forgiveness. (Closing the cupboard doors more gently wouldn’t hurt anybody, though. Just talk to her about it!)

6. How to thrive looking less-than-cool

You’ll never have more fun than the time you wear a light-up Rudolph nose out to the bar for Christmas or the time that you and your roommates dress up as giant birthday bags for Halloween (even when the costumes melt off in the rain). Looking like an absolute fool is the first step to having an excellent time all throughout university, guaranteed.

People will stare at you. People will talk about you and roll their eyes and make faces. Guess what? It’s because they’re mad that they’re not having as much fun as you are. Ask them if they want to join you! If not, just keep doing you. That Rudolph nose your roommate bought you at the dollar store is going to be carefully stored with your other prized possessions, and nothing anybody says can ever destroy the fun you had that night.

So go to everything you can, and try to be the most ridiculous person there.

The guy who gives out Mardi Gras beads at the bar, the Stormtrooper riding a unicycle on the busiest street in the city, and the girl with the giant horse painted on her face at the big football game? Those people are always the ones that have the most fun.

Conclusion

Truly taking care of yourself during this wild time in your life is important. In the end, only you know what it is that will help you. If dressing up your roommate’s cat as Santa will bring you Christmas cheer, then it’s just going to have to deal with the jingle bells.

What’s important is that your university life be a series of ridiculous moments that you remember for the rest of your life.

Don’t focus only on classes, or you won’t notice when a life lesson speeds by you on a unicycle.

Image source: thelester/Pixabay.com, Henry Lorenzatto/Stocksnap.io, Freddie Marriage/Stocksnap.io

How to Write an Essay in Five Easy Steps

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33 Great Online Resources for ESL Speakers

33 Great Online Resources for ESL SpeakersAs an English as a second language (ESL) speaker, it can be overwhelming to search for online resources to help you with your grammar and English usage. The Internet is great because it provides a wealth of information, but this information is often hard to navigate. How do you know which online resources for ESL speakers will best suit your English learning needs? GrammarCamp is here to help!

Our grammar experts have compiled a list of the best tools to help those learning to speak English. To help pinpoint specific needs, we’ve broken it up into five sections: Grammar and English Usage; Spelling and Punctuation; Vocabulary and Writing; and Speaking and Listening. To help assess what you’ve learned, we’ve also included the sections Quizzes and Worksheets, Lesson Plans, and YouTube Channels.

We hope these online resources for ESL speakers will help you become confident in your English usage and that you will continue to consult them whenever you need to brush up on your skills or improve your knowledge.

Grammar and English Usage

1. Daves ESL Cafe: Dave Sperling is an ESL teacher. His comprehensive website provides lessons on grammar, idioms, pronunciation, and much more for ESL/EFL students and teachers.

2. ESL Partyland: The mission of ESL Partyland, according to the website, is threefold: “provide students with the content and tools necessary to learn online; provide teachers with class materials; and allow for students and teachers to easily communicate together.”

3. Scribendi.com: Scribendi.com is one of the world’s oldest and most trusted online editing and proofreading companies. Its primary goal is to provide clients with fast, reliable, and affordable revision services. The service is especially popular among students and ESL speakers, as it can help them overcome any language barriers that may be hindering them from communicating their ideas clearly.

4. Breaking News English: On Breaking News English, you can read current news stories at varying levels of difficulty. The following resources are also available, according to the website: “seven levels of free lessons, from elementary to advanced, with printable activities and handouts; lessons based on current news stories with 30+ online quizzes for each lesson; and listening files in British and North American English that can be downloaded in mp3 format or subscribed to via a podcast.”

5. ESL-Lounge: ESL-Lounge offers hundreds of exercises focused on parts of speech and vocabulary classified by difficulty, including ESL lesson plans and materials, books, talking points, pronunciation, and terminology.

6. GrammarCamp: GrammarCamp was developed by the award-winning editing experts at Scribendi.com. This online course allows you to learn English grammar at your own pace and become a better writer. With comprehensive lessons and quizzes, this course has helped people around the world improve both their written and spoken English.

7. Activities for ESL Students: Grammar and vocabulary quizzes at multiple levels of difficulty are available from Activities for ESL Students. The website also offers bilingual quizzes in dozens of languages.

8. 5-Minute English: 5-Minute English provides short and easy exercises for ESL speakers, including lessons on grammar, reading, vocabulary, listening, pronunciation, slang, and idioms. It also provides answers to students’ questions about confusing features of English.

Spelling and Pronunciation

9. TalkEnglish: English is currently the most commonly used language in worldwide business. TalkEnglish’s Business English lessons help people with office jobs communicate in such an environment. According to the website, “Each lesson contains multiple sentences that you can click on to learn how to say that sentence. You should be able to easily find what you need by the different subcategories. Repeat after the audio files and you will improve your business English.”

10. Antimoon: Antimoon’s website explains that it “provides advice and inspiration to people who are serious about improving their English. The Antimoon Method is a set of principles and techniques for learning English effectively. If you want to learn English well, you cannot rely on English classes; you have to take control of your learning. Antimoon will show you how to do it in a fun and effective way.”

11. English Zone: English Zone provides a variety of information for ESL speakers, including grammar, reading, verbs, pronunciation, idioms, spelling, writing, and conversation.

12. Learn That Word: Learn That Word “creates every session just for you. Nothing is out-of-the-box! Advance on your word journey in fast, easy steps. Focus on learning what’s important to you; we’ll manage your progress behind the scenes. LearnThatWord is a complete solution. We’re your virtual mom, catering to your every need and helping you be the best you can be.”

13. BBC Learning English: Since 1943, BBC Learning English has been involved in teaching English around the world. It is a branch of the BBC World Service, and it offers free learning materials to learners worldwide. According to the website, BBC Learning English “deliver [their] materials as full-length courses, but each component of the course is stand-alone and can be studied on its own. This means the learner can choose the best way to study for them: by following a full course or by following the individual materials most appropriate to them.”

Speaking and Listening

Speaking and listening resources.14. Using English: According to the website, UsingEnglish.com is “a general English language site specializing in ESL, with a wide range of resources for learners and teachers of English. The site uses different varieties of English, and there are contributors from the United States, Canada, Pakistan, and non-native speakers, but much of the site uses British English.”

15. TEFL Tunes: The TEFL Tunes website uses the principle that language can be learned through music. Website visitors can select the level of difficulty, the song’s theme, the skill they want to learn, and even the artist they want to learn from. Subscriptions to the website are £10 for an individual or £36 for a school. However, there is also a selection of free song lessons available.

Vocabulary and Writing

16. Answers.coms Idiom Dictionary: Learning idioms can be one of the biggest challenges when studying English. To help you keep them straight, The Dictionary of Idioms “contains idiomatic words and phrases, slang terms, figures of speech, common proverbs, and metaphors, each clearly defined and illustrated with at least one sample sentence or quotation.”

17. The Ultimate Vocabulary Resource Guide: Looking for even more great online tools for improving your vocabulary? This guide, compiled by the writers at SuperSummary, includes links to vocabulary tools, resources for educators and parents, vocabulary test preparation tips, and more.

18. Cram: Cram offers “a wide selection of flashcards for you to study, memorize, test yourself on, and more. Flashcards are effective because they are founded on the principles of rote and memorization. You can use its web-based flashcard maker to create your own set. Once you create your online flashcards, you will be able to study, export, or even share it with your fellow classmates. You can collaborate perfectly with anyone, anytime.”

Spelling resources.19. ESL Lab: Finding the time to keep your language skills fresh can be difficult. ESL Lab’s vocabulary lists will teach you how to use vocabulary in everyday situations. According to the website, “Each of the pages on this website is designed to build communication skills and includes a listening and discussion activity. As you learn the vocabulary, try to use it in other situations.”

20. About.com English Vocabulary: About.com English Vocabulary offers resources for learners of English who are at a more advanced level, including articles, quizzes, and worksheets.

21. Vocabulary.co.il: This is a “fun educational website dedicated to helping you build reading, phonics, or English language skills. It offers free online word games, which are specifically designed to build vocabulary skills and to motivate people to learn through fun practice in spelling, phonics, and vocabulary.”

22. Pizzaz: For learning to write fiction and poetry in English, Pizzaz offers some simple creative writing activities. It also offers printable resources both for learning and teaching English writing.

Quizzes and Worksheets

23. Self-Study Quizzes for ESL Students: One of the main benefits of Self-Study Quizzes for ESL Students is that none of the quizzes require JavaScript, Java, or Flash; they are all HTML only and should, therefore, be accessible on any computer with Internet access.

24. English Club: English Club’s vocabulary quizzes offers a compilation of over 1,000 activities for ESL students pertaining to grammar, vocabulary, idioms, and more.

25. ESL Resource Center: The ESL Resource Center was created for ESL teachers and provides plenty of worksheets, tips, and lessons on grammar, spelling, reading and writing, pronunciation, vocabulary and idioms, and listening.

26. ESL HQ: ESL HQ offers free ESL flashcards, worksheets, games, activities, lesson plans, advice from teachers, job listings, and more.

Lesson Plans

27. The Internet TESL Journal – The Internet TESL Journal offers a large collection of lesson plans, articles, research papers, handouts, and teaching ideas categorized according to the skill they aim to teach.

28. Waygook.org – Waygook.org is a forum providing message boards about language and teaching. In addition to conversations between users, message boards contain lesson plans, PowerPoints, and other resources that are helpful to ESL speakers.

YouTube Channels

YouTube resources.29. VOA Learning English: VOA Learning English allows viewers to see captioned news reports in American English at a speed that is 33% slower than normal.

30. Listen and Read Along: Listen and Read Along offers Reading Movies (Rovies) that encourage reading and attempt to make it an enjoyable experience for those learning the language.

31. TOEFL TV: According to the channel’s description, TOEFL TV is “a place to learn, share, and grow. TOEFL TV has tips from real teachers and real students to help improve your English skills. You can hear what leading colleges and universities think about the value of students who can communicate well in English in an academic setting.”

32. OMGmeiyu’s Channel: OMGmeiyu’s YouTube channel is an excellent resource for native Chinese speakers learning English and seeking to learn American English slang.

33. English with Jennifer: Run by an experienced ESL teacher, English with Jennifer “will introduce new content to some and serve as a review for others.” Both students and teachers can also leave comments and questions that Jennifer will address.

Image sources: Ryan McGuire/Stocksnap.io, Sonja Langford/Stocksnap.io, Glen Noble/Stocksnap.io, geralt/Pixabay.com

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How to Learn to Proofread

How to Learn to Proofread

It takes a certain personality and skillset to excel in a proofreading job

How to Learn to ProofreadProofreading requires steady nerves and a focused mind. Certain people are predisposed to the job because they’re systematic and unhurried. High-energy people who prefer to focus on the big picture are often less successful as proofreaders. Instead, if the words “systematic” and “unhurried” sound like you—or if you’re willing to follow instructions to the proverbial “t” and are looking for a new career—you’ll find it easy to learn to proofread.

Concentration

Even those who don’t like to focus on one thing at a time have to concentrate acutely on some everyday tasks. For example, when you’re completing a government form you have to concentrate to make sure you fill it out correctly. If you’re able to get through a form without stopping every five minutes to do other things, you can probably learn to proofread. Concentration might not come to you naturally, but by enrolling in a formal proofreading course and practicing, you can easily hone your concentration.

Method

Maybe you’re reluctant to learn a new skill because you currently have no idea how to proofread. Don’t fret. When you learn to proofread, your training course will walk you through tried and true methods that will allow you to complete each task perfectly. If you can’t follow instructions, or if you’re always thinking of new ways to do things, you probably won’t learn to proofread quickly. But, if grammar, spelling, and style have always been your fortes, you’ll likely learn to proofread in no time.

Time management

When you first learn to proofread, you’ll be taught how best to manage your schedule so you don’t have to constantly put one task on hold to complete another. You might find yourself working from home as an independent proofreader, so look for a course that will teach you how to reserve hours each day for your job and how to complete your job efficiently.

Attitude

Although personality is a fixed trait, attitude can be learned. Try to practice consistency and methodical, clear thinking as you learn to proofread. You should avoid jumping ahead and second-guessing yourself. Learn to trust only what you see on the page, but also be wary that your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. When you learn to proofread properly, you learn all sorts of hacks that other professional proofreaders have been using for years.

Suggestions

Don’t scrimp on paying for a good course if you want to learn to proofread properly. You might think you can save money by buying a book or sourcing a cut-rate course from outside the English-speaking world, but resist these temptations. ProofreadingCamp is a comprehensive proofreading course that was created by Scribendi.com, one of the world’s most successful and trusted online editing and proofreading services. With lessons that will teach you the standard practices that Scribendi.com’s staff of professional proofreaders use daily, this is decidedly one of the best, most up-to-date proofreading courses available.

Once you plunk down your hard-earned cash for a reputable course like ProofreadingCamp, don’t waste the opportunity; actually learn to proofread. Follow the course material to the letter, and acquire the skills and methods you’ll need to become a successful proofreader.

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Spelling Tips You Can Learn Through Proofreading Training

Spelling Tips You Can Learn Through Proofreading Training

Must-know tips that proofreading training can give you

Spelling Tips You Can Learn Through Proofreading TrainingWhether you get your proofreading training from a university, a specialized course, or on the job, there are many skills that you should expect to learn. Proofreading training will enable you to check manuscripts efficiently. There are certain common mistakes that you should always check for, and there are some forms of grammar and vocabulary that are specific to particular disciplines, like medicine or engineering. Checking for spelling mistakes is an important part of proofreading, and your proofreading training should arm you with insider tips on this task. Once you get basic proofreading training, you will eventually evolve your own hit list of errors common to your particular field of specialization, and you may find you need to adapt standard practices to fit the specific demands of your job.

Word processors

Most proofreading these days is carried out in electronic format, which means you will be looking through a word processor file. Your proofreading training program should include the use of a particular word processor. Word processor packages all have spellcheckers, and some, such as Microsoft Word, also check for grammar. There is no shame in using this function. However, you should not just open the document in Word, look for red lines, and think your job is done. Your proofreading training will tell you to make sure you have set the dictionary language to the particular dialect of English used by the writer. There is a very distinct difference between American English and British English. Do not rely entirely on the word processor’s spellchecker.

Spelling focus

As you read through a text, you will be looking for points of grammar and layout as well as spelling. Handle each of those classifications separately, and only focus on the spelling in the document in one pass. Proofreading training will teach you to read a document several times and to focus on one problem type with each read-through.

Reading method

Each proofreader has his or her preferred reading method, which to many may seem quirky. For example, many proofreaders insist on reading a text aloud. This is a tip to ensure you read every word, rather than skim. Proofreading training will teach you other methods to ensure you focus on words, including reading the text backwards or even reading it upside down. If you are reading a hard copy of the text, you might follow standard proofreading training advice and use a card to cover the text not yet read or trace the words with your finger as you read.

Concentration

Your proofreading trainer will tell you to organize your time and get a distraction-free environment for your work. You need all your powers of concentration to focus on proofreading. Don’t break off in the middle of a text, and don’t try to check several documents simultaneously. Proofreading requires a methodical approach; formal training and some good old-fashioned practice will help you develop a method that is suitable to your own circumstances.

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Different Methods of Teaching Grammar

Different Methods of Teaching Grammar

Different Methods of Teaching GrammarEnglish grammar is notoriously difficult to learn for both native and second-language speakers. There are so many intricacies, obscure rules, and exceptions that it comes as no surprise that different generations of teachers have used various approaches to teaching grammar to train literate English writers. In the past, memorization-based techniques that relied on repetition slowly gave way to more creative methods. Today, we live in a society that prizes literacy and is willing to adapt to more effective methods to achieve the best results in teaching grammar.

Inklyo has a Grammar Boot Camp you might want to check out. Below, you’ll learn some of the other methods for teaching grammar.

Diagramming Sentences

One of the older forms of teaching grammar, diagramming sentences, first appeared in the 19th century. This method involves visually mapping the structures of and relationships between different aspects of a sentence. Especially helpful for visual learners, this method disappeared from modern teaching at least 30 years ago. Different forms of diagramming are used to visualize sentences, from the Reed-Kellogg System to dependency grammar, but all organize the functions of a sentence in a way that illustrates the grammatical relationships between words. More recently, diagramming sentences has had a small pop-culture resurgence in prints of famous opening sentences and websites that allow you to diagram to your heart’s content.

Learning Through Writing

This method is often used in schools in the U.S. and Canada. Students are encouraged to explore language through creative writing and reading, picking up correct grammar usage along the way. If there are specific problems with certain grammatical rules, these are covered in a more structured lesson. An emphasis is now being placed upon language acquisition over language learning, as it has been observed that learning grammar by memorization does not work well and that students are better able to recognize and understand grammatical rules when lessons are more interactive (i.e., they have to apply these rules in their own writing). Repeated practice is also important and easily achieved through creative or personal writing exercises. This article, posted by The Atlantic, suggests that to better equip future adult writers, teachers in the 21st century should consider dropping outdated grammar teaching techniques in early education and opt for learning through writing techniques.

Inductive Teaching

The inductive method of teaching grammar involves presenting several examples that illustrate a specific concept and expecting students to notice how the concept works from these examples. No explanation of the concept is given beforehand, and the expectation is that students learn to recognize the rules of grammar in a more natural way during their own reading and writing. Discovering grammar and visualizing how these rules work in a sentence allow for easier retention of the concept than if the students were given an explanation that was disconnected from examples of the concept. The main goal of the inductive teaching method is the retention of grammar concepts, with teachers using techniques that are known to work cognitively and make an impression on students’ contextual memory.

Deductive Teaching

The deductive method of teaching grammar is an approach that focuses on instruction before practice. A teacher gives students an in-depth explanation of a grammatical concept before they encounter the same grammatical concept in their own writing. After the lesson, students are expected to practice what they have just been shown in a mechanical way, through worksheets and exercises. This type of teaching, though common, has many people—including teachers—rethinking such methods, as more post-secondary level students are revealing sub-par literacy skills in adulthood. As one former teacher states, deductive teaching methods drive many students away from writing because of the tediousness of rote learning and teacher-centered approaches.

Interactive Teaching

Another method of teaching grammar is to incorporate interactivity into lessons. Using games to teach grammar not only engages students but also helps them to remember what they’ve learned. This method allows teachers to tailor their lessons to the different learning styles of students. For instance, each student can be given a large flashcard with a word on it, and the students must physically arrange themselves into a proper sentence. Other games can include word puzzles or fun online quizzes.

Over the years, many methods have been developed for teaching grammar and have been built upon, abandoned, or combined, all with the same goal in mind—teaching students how to communicate effectively and understand how to use the English language. Because of the grammatical complexity of English, each method has its pros and cons. Some lessons are less likely to be remembered, while others may require more in-depth explanation and practice. Regardless of how grammar is taught, a well-rounded understanding of English grammar is the most important factor in improving the literacy of students.

 

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Proofreader Courses: The Googd, the Back, and the Ugley

ProofreadingCamp.com helps you learn how to evaluate proofreader courses.

Learn how to evaluate proofreader courses

ProofreadingCamp.com helps you learn how to evaluate proofreader courses.If the title of this article irritates you, you might consider a career as a proofreader. Proofreading is a specialized aspect of editing that requires you to correct spelling and grammatical errors without rewriting large pieces of the text. A proofreader is not a critic or an editor and should not overstep the boundaries of the job. However, a proofreader is not someone with reading abilities who just walked in off the street. You need a solid grounding in the skill, so you need to investigate proofreader courses.

Where to look

Fortunately, the World Wide Web has brought us online proofreader courses, and you no longer have to apply to a university to get industry-standard training. The reach of the web gives you the option of taking courses provided in many different English-speaking countries. If you are multilingual, you could even look for proofreader courses in other languages. To find a suitable course, your first stop should be your favorite search engine.

What to look for

If you are interested in proofreading, make sure you narrow your search to courses that have “proofreading” in the title. This may seem like a piece of useless advice, but it’s actually incredibly important because of the sometimes-unclear boundary between proofreading and editing. The skill of proofreading is an essential part of any editing job, so many editing courses include proofreading but don’t specialize in it. Resolve to consider just proofreader courses.

Live or offline

Your particular circumstances will dictate whether you focus on proofreader courses that enable you to learn at your own pace or those proofreader courses that are conducted as webinars with live interaction with the tutor. Keep your budget in mind when making this selection. One-on-one tuition can prove expensive, even if it is conducted over the Internet. Your schedule will also dictate whether you can log in at specified times to participate in discussions or whether you would be better off taking a pre-written course.

Supported or unsupported

Proofreader courses that are made up of pages of text to read are much cheaper than those with interactive video. However, don’t go too cheap. If you get into difficulties with some of the course notes, you will have wasted your money. The course should at least include support from a contact at the school. You may not need interactive support, but an email exchange to enable you to clear up any points of confusion is well worth the extra fee. A named contact is easier to deal with than an anonymous help desk. Make sure the course you choose is supported by experienced tutors who speak English as their native language.

Check credentials

Only consider proofreader courses offered by experienced editing and proofreading services. You may find courses offered by general training companies. Consider it a warning sign if you find proofreader courses listed among tutorials on a wide range of other subjects. For an example of what to look for, check out the proofreader courses at ProofreadingCamp. This online training specializes in proofreading and is offered by Scribendi.com, an award-winning editing and proofreading service that has been in business for 15 years. Make sure you’re learning your craft from an authority on the subject.

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How to Succeed in an Online Course

How to Succeed in an Online Course

How to Succeed in an Online CourseYou’re in your last semester of your undergraduate degree. Only five classes to finish before you cross that glorious finish line and leave the books behind. You have a couple of electives left to take, so you decide to take two online courses. This will be great! Without having to go to class, you’ll have so much extra time to do the reading and complete your assignments. Plus, you know, Netflix. (What? Who said that?)

Cut to three months from now. You just realized your final papers for both online courses are due on the same day, and you haven’t started either of them. You also haven’t done any of the reading for the past five weeks. Oops. That particular variety of stress, the one tied inexplicably to writing papers, wraps its cold hands around your neck. Who knew that an online course could be so much work?

Let’s do something you won’t be able to do in real life: roll the clock back to your enrollment in those online courses. No, I’m not going to suggest you don’t take them. Instead, I’m going to teach you how to succeed in an online course—information that’s particularly helpful before you begin one of these classes. Spoiler alert: it actually involves you doing your work. And, sadly, it has very little to do with Netflix. (Don’t worry: Full House isn’t going anywhere.)

1. Scheduling is your friend.

All students struggle to stay on top of their workloads. (Any students who say they don’t are clearly robots, and this blog is for humans. You’re not welcome here, Stepford Student.) Finding the time to attend classes, do the assigned reading, complete assignments, and study for exams is difficult enough for a regular course. Online courses make it even harder to stay on top of things, because no one is holding you accountable for staying on schedule. There’s no professor to guilt you during class for not having done the assigned reading, no classmate to ask you questions you most certainly don’t know the answers to. And there certainly isn’t anyone to remind you that your midterm paper is due next week. It’s all on you to stay on track. So how can you do that?

When it comes to succeeding in an online course, you need to schedule three things:Time Spent in an Online Course

  1. “Lecture” Time
  2. Reading Time
  3. Assignment/Exam Preparation Time

Most online classes don’t have required “lecture” times per se. Still, you need to have a set time dedicated to learning the lecture material. Let’s say you have a break in your regular classes between 2 and 4 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. Well, now you have a break between 2 and 3 p.m., because 3 to 4 p.m. is dedicated to your online course. Schedule your reading time in a similar manner, and for goodness’ sake, stick to your schedule.

If scheduling is your friend, your syllabus should be your bestie. Relying on your syllabus will help you succeed in your online course. After all, how can you possibly prepare for exams or complete assignments if you don’t keep track of your deadlines? For some people, this may mean writing deadlines in a planner. Others may rely more on technology; for example, adding your deadlines to your phone and creating pesky little reminders may be helpful if you’re prone to forgetfulness. Do what you need to do, as long as you’re making a plan and sticking to it.

2. Active learning helps you . . . well, you know, learn.

Learning the material from an online course can be tricky. For lots of students, simply reading the material is not a great method for absorbing the content. Not having a professor to engage you in the content can also make that content difficult to take in. So what can you do to actively work with—and thereby actually learn—the material from your online course?

The methods that work best for you will depend on how you learn best. But, generally speaking, repurposing the material is often a helpful way to learn it. This may involve making notes, creating (and subsequently answering) mock test questions, creating a PowerPoint presentation, or making a video. You could also get together with classmates to discuss or debate important points, to role-play major events or theories, or to eat ice cream. (Hey, it can’t be all work all the time, you know!)

I know what you’re thinking. Who has time to do any of those things? To answer that question, I’d like to redirect you to the previous piece of advice. Who has time? You do. Why? Because you scheduled time for this online course. I would also like to add that there is always time for ice cream. Always.

3. Practice online etiquette.

Even online courses occasionally require some kind of correspondence between teacher and student or between students. Whether you’re working in a discussion group or just have a question about an assignment, you will occasionally have to communicate with someone via the Internet. There is a right and a wrong way to do this. Let’s take, for example, this email to a professor of an online course:

What not to say to your professor in an email.

This email contains spelling errors, incorrect punctuation, inappropriate short forms, and an unprofessional signature line. Colin would surely never hand in an assignment in this condition, nor would he use such a casual tone if he were speaking to the professor in person. If you need to email your professor or otherwise communicate online for your online course, be sure to use proper spelling and grammar, as well as a professional tone. Think of school as your job, and write accordingly. Let’s try Colin’s email again, shall we?

An appropriate and professional email to a professor.

Another aspect of etiquette to keep in mind for your online course (and all your courses, for that matter) is to check your syllabus before emailing your instructor with a question. Instructors don’t much care to answer questions you already have the answers to—do not email in haste!

Conclusion

There you have it: you now know how to succeed in an online course. Now that you have the know-how, it’s time for the follow-through. Go forth, student, and prosper in your online courses. Even if you’re not currently in school, many online courses are available to help you improve your knowledge or skills. And now that you know the best way to tackle an online course, why not take a course in editing?

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What Will I Learn in a Proofreader Course?

What Will I Learn in a Proofreader Course

Find out what an author can gain from taking a proofreader course

What Will I Learn in a Proofreader CourseWriters often overlook the mistakes in their work. You may read through your finished piece and think it is fantastic, but are you the best person to judge? You may be aware of your inadequate spelling and grammar skills but unable to afford to pay a professional proofreader to go over everything you write. A proofreader course will help you assess your work objectively. Look for a proofreader course that will help you recognize common mistakes and improve the salability of your writing.

Spelling mistakes

No one is perfect at spelling. When you read over your finished work, you are unlikely to spot errors in words that you just don’t know how to spell. There are some common pitfalls in spelling that millions of people repeat all their lives. Your proofreader course should be able to list the most frequent spelling errors and help you look out for them. Also, these courses can direct you to tools that will highlight your spelling mistakes.

Grammar

As with spelling, your proofreader course should include a list of the most frequently made grammatical errors. You won’t be forced into the stilted phraseology sometimes used by academics, but you will be taught the correct way to phrase commonly accepted English. Because spelling and grammar are closely related, expect a lot of interaction between these two topics. Words alter their meaning based on the grammatical context, even if they retain the same spelling. Similarly, words that are spelled differently but sound the same can be used correctly only in specific grammatical contexts.

Typos

Typing errors should be the easiest mistakes for you to spot. Most of the spelling and grammar mistakes you make are probably because you do not know the correct spelling or you haven’t been taught proper grammar. Typos, however, are simple accidents that occur when you’re racing to type out words on your keyboard in an attempt to keep up with the speed of your thoughts. Your proofreader course should provide you with a method for tracking down typos in your written work.

Language

A proofreader course should remind you to always be consistent with the language you use. This type of proofreading sorts out the muddle that exists between the different varieties of the English language. Remember the saying “England and America are two countries divided by a common language”? Don’t mix British and American spelling in the same piece. Your proofreader course should teach you to stick to one standard dictionary.

Organization

Good proofreading requires good concentration. Your proofreader course will recommend ways to organize your work so you are less likely to get confused or distracted. You may be hoping to take up proofreading as a career, so the organizational part of the proofreader course should cover the business of being a proofreader.

Reminders

Your proofreader course won’t be of much use if the lessons don’t sink in. You should expect the course to include periodic tests. Specifically, you should be able to check your comprehension at the end of each module. You might be daunted by this prospect, thinking back to the three-hour-long exams you took in college. However, online courses have more subtle methods to make sure you understand the contents of the course. ProofreadingCamp, for example, includes interactive games to reinforce key points and help students check their progress. So relax, and look forward to your proofreader course. You will soon be sharpening your writing skills and improving your earning potential.

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