Tag Archive: english language

Tara’s ESL Blog: Successful Listening in English


What’s up everybody! Today we are going to talk about how to improve your listening skills in English. Many of my students have come to me in the past asking for tips on how to understand more when they are listening to a native speaker of English in a song, movie or real-life. Listening and UNDERSTANDING can be a very challenging task, but with a few tricks you can begin to comprehend MUCH MORE than before. So, what can you do TODAY to start listening effectively?


Tara’s ESL Blog: Learning English with Books – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Chapter 1

Tara’s Lessons for ESL Students: Learning English with Books


Many of my students and I enjoy using different types of fictional and non-fictional texts during our classes. One of my favorites (and one of my students’ favorites as well) is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by the beloved British author Roald Dahl.  Although considered a children’s book, it is a story that is fun for young and old readers and appeals to people from all over the world.

There are so many reasons why this novel is great for students of English! First of all, the vocabulary used in this book is interesting and very useful in everyday life. The new words and idiomatic phrases you learn are repeated throughout the story, and will STAY in your mind because you are reminded of them from start to finish. Also, there is lots of SPOKEN English used in this book, so you get an idea for how native speakers really talk to each other, and then hopefully go out and use it! Finally, this novel allows ESL students to have fun while accomplishing the goal of reading a complete book in English!

In today’s blog we will take a look at a typical lesson for this novel. I hope you enjoy it!


Tara’s ESL Blog: Using the BASIC tenses


“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, which is why we call it the present.”

― Bill Keane

One of my favorite quotes by Bill Keane talks about the concept of time, or tense as we say in English grammar. The quote tells us that the past cannot be changed, the future is uncontrollable, and that the present moment is all that we have. I personally find a lot of truth is this statement, but does that mean that you only need to learn how to use the PRESENT tense? Of course not! If that were true then you would not be able to tell me about your trip to Europe last year, or your plans to visit China next year. Plain and simple: The BASIC tenses in English (or any language you are learning) are necessary in order to be able to properly communicate and be understood by native speakers.

Many of my students have trouble organizing the different tenses in English. In order to help ESL students understand the tenses better, I created this blog to explain them as simply as I could. Below, you will find the BASIC tenses in BOLD (dark black). These are the most common tenses and should be mastered if you want to be able to communicate in English. You should keep in mind that the “simple” tenses are just that! SIMPLE! They are clear, concrete ideas. They have specific forms. The more complex tenses are listed below the BASIC tenses so that you can get an idea for their uses as well.

Now, let’s take a look at the tenses in use:

Present Simple: This moment. = what is happening/occurring NOW.

“I teach. I work. I sleep. I eat.”

  • Present continuous: an ongoing action in this moment. “I am teaching/working/sleeping/eating.”
  • Present perfect: something that happened in the recent past, which continues still or ended (yet, already), with an emphasis on RESULTS (what / how much / how often). “I have taught/worked/slept/eaten.”
  • Present perfect continuous: an ongoing action that happened in the recent past, with an emphasis on DURATION of time (how long). “I have been teaching/working/sleeping/eating (since, for + time).”


Tara’s ESL VLOG: The Future Part 2 – Simple Rules


What’s up everybody! My name is Tara Musich and I am a certified and experienced teacher of American English. Today I am presenting you with a video that’s part of a series that I am making on the Future Tense. Today’s video is about some special rules for using the future tense. These are some rules that I have shared with several of my students while working on using this tense and I thought it would be nice to share with you – my YouTube viewers and subscribers. So, we’re going to go over four rules together. We’ll go over the rule and then take a look at the example. You can look in the text below to follow along, if you like!


Tara’s ESL VLOG: Why Listening is NOT Enough!

Hello everybody! my name is Tara Musich and I am a teacher of American English, currently teaching online while living abroad. Today I am going to talk to you about a topic that many of my students and I discuss together. The topic that we often discuss is “Why listening is not enough.” Now, when I say that to you, you might think “Hey wait teacher what do you mean listening is not enough? Everybody tells me I should listen like a baby and I should just be listening all the time and then this will help me speak”…and in many ways listening does help you, but let me give you an example of why it is not the best way to start speaking.

So, imagine you want to learn to swim, swim, right? In the pool or in the ocean. You know you start reading books and watching documentaries about swimming. Maybe you watch some sporting events about swimming. Maybe you decide to talk to someone about swimming. Someone who is a good swimmer, for example …And they can give you some advice about how to swim correctly and how not to make mistakes and things like that. Maybe you join a special group guided by an experienced swimmer and you know, you can discuss all of your worries and difficulties in regard to swimming. After you’ve done all of these activities, have you learned to swim? …Well the same is true for speaking, truly. You can read about it, and you can watch movies and you can think about it, do all of these things, but unless you truly use it and practice with it, you’ll never really be able to speak in a foreign language, any foreign language, if you don’t really start speaking.


Three Good Ideas about Learning Language

1. Reading allows you to connect with the language, and it builds your vocabulary within a specific context – which makes your speaking stronger.

Many people “moan and groan” when presented with the prospect of having to read something – anything! As a lover of language, written or spoken, this was never a problem for me as I love to read literature of all types. However, as a teacher of English, I realize that not all my students feel the same way that I do, and so I asked myself how I could help my students to enjoy reading more. It seemed like the best answer was: only read what you are interested in!

You should put extra effort into finding a form of literature that is appealing to you – don’t read anything that seems boring to you! I have found in my experience that there is something for everyone, whether it is a paragraph of text or dialogue, a comic strip, a news article, a famous poem, a short book or even a series of novels! If your teacher has presented you with a text that you are not interested in, SPEAK UP, and tell them! The most important thing for you and your English language learning is to choose a subject that is not only useful in daily life, but also very interesting to you.





Tara’s ESL VLOG: The Future Part 1 – Will, Going To & Gunna

There are 2 forms that native speakers use to speak about the future. Many teachers and textbooks will tell you that there are rules for how to use each of them, but you should focus on using them interchangeably. Native speakers of English do this, so you can too! Once you can USE them easily, and switch between the two forms, then you can focus on the grammar rules. Let’s take a look at the following “language equations”:


Read more, Learn more, Speak more

When I was attending university, working towards my degree in Spanish and Italian, I had to read a lot of books. Stories such as Don Quixote by Cervantes and Como Agua Para Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, filled my head with new phrases, exquisite vocabulary and a strong sense for Latin culture. What I did not realize while I was reading – and writing! Oh, the multitude of essays that I had to write! – was that my speaking was going to improve as well.