Speaking Well – Four Steps To Improve Your ESL EFL Students Speaking Ability

Mastery of English as a second or foreign language (ESL or EFL) comes down to how well a student speaks. He may write well, for example, get high marks on tests, or even have an accent nearly identical to a native speaker; but if he can’t express ideas, opinions, or instructions clearly in a conversation, few would call him proficient. Language is for communication after all, and that primarily means speaking.

As teachers, we continually assess the strengths and weaknesses of our classes. We then take this information and develop effective lessons, always working towards greater communicative ability which maintains a balance between fluency (getting the words out) and accuracy (using grammar and vocabulary correctly). What follows are four steps which serve as a model in planning lessons that give students ample practice time with the language. These steps also work towards free use of the language. Before the four steps, conversational ability should be defined, though.

Conversation involves the following: using the language, listening to the language, processing the information, and then responding to it. The purpose of the conversation affects the process, as does the place and the people involved. Compare English spoken to open a business meeting with English used to order at a restaurant. This language then differs from what may be needed during the business meeting, or to complain about the quality of the food.

From these examples, we can infer that a good speaker uses grammar and vocabulary effectively and accurately. We should also consider the context of the grammar and vocabulary, and how it can add nuance. For example, when, why, and to whom would a speaker describe business meetings in the following manner?:

Example A: “Even though our weekly meeting with those R&D people can be boring, I know how important it is. Let’s face it: it’s a necessary evil.”

Example B: “Ugh! Our weekly meeting with those R&D people drives me up the wall!”

Someone who speaks well would similarly understand when to use different grammar points. Native speakers “just know” the language, even if we can’t always give the whys and what fors of grammar or vocabulary. Lessons which involve speaking activities should always strive to build and reinforce these skills. In time, decisions in language usage like the above become more regular, or even subconscious.

Preparation: Allow the students to prepare for the tasks ahead with an effective warm-up. This gives everyone in the class ample opportunity to get their English wheels turning. Adequate time translates into fewer mistakes while you’re presenting and drilling the target language, so comprehension and use of the new language increases.

Present: Next present the topic for discussion, target grammar, or any vocabulary selected for the lesson. The warm up can serve as a springboard into the topic. For example, write on the board any synonyms of today’s key words used by the students, and then introduce the target vocab. Or if you focus on grammar, write several sentences from the warm up that will highlight the target structure. In both cases, information from the warm up gets recycled, thus providing a more efficient use of class time. The grammar or vocabulary becomes more memorable, too, because of the link to the initial conversations.

Practice: After the presentation, ESL / EFL students need to practice the new material. It’s unfair to expect them to make use of the new language without adequate practice. Drills work to achieve automatically, even at higher ability levels. Tightly controlled drills with new grammar points or vocabulary lay the foundation and provide examples. Activities should then move into freer and freer use of the language, which will allow each student to integrate the lesson material with pre-existing language.

Free Use: You should always work towards real use of the language. Whereas the first part of the lesson focuses on accurate production of the language, it’s done to then allow better practice of fluency (getting the words out). Activities at the end of the lesson allow students to select vocabulary and grammar structures, and to tie the day’s material with previously studied language. These activities also let upper-level learners apply strategies, use gestures and body language, and adjust their language for the intended audience or listener.

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The Three Cs for Online Marketing Success

Online marketing success comes about for every aspiring marketer in a very subjective manner.

The marketer has got to maintain a high consistent positive mental attitude in his or her efforts to succeed online.

Most aspiring marketer come into the business with little or no planning. They lack the skills and book knowledge that is a prerequisite for succeeding on online marketing.

Too often many beginners are too hasty in wanting to try out 'everything' online in their quest to succeed online. Eventually they get mentally burned out because their online marketing efforts fail as a result of information overload and most of them ended up suffering from a state of paralysis of analysis. Instead of focusing on mastering one or two online marketing strategies they execute too many strategies that lead them into oblivion when results do not show up.

Having a Correct Mindset

What these beginners lack is a systematic plan or a roadmap to online success. The path to online marketing success is clear when one begins with having the correct mindset to doing the business online. Having a correct mindset to succeed online helps an aspiring marketer to form positive habit patters to learn the basic fundamentals of creating a successful online marketing business.

The 3 Cs of online marketing success

Here are the three Cs for any aspiring marketer to get on the road to create a successful online business


The World Wide Web is a big resource of content. Essentially it's world of information out there. People now have easy access to information that can help solve their problems. That's the simple and logical reason for people to make searches with the world's number one search engine, Google. By using specific keywords, people can search for information instantaneously in Google.

Online marketers have many strategies to get a web business up and running, in order to provide ready information on niche products and services. Having a blog or website is a great start to create a website business.

Content for a website comes in two ways: educational and promotional. Good websites provide content of value that can help provide the information that people are searching for. The saying that Content is King is justified when the information provides an educational value to users of the internet.

At the same time online marketers provide promotional content. The front end to a web business is to provide educational content to offer value to the website reader. A successful web business is well monetized by creating promotional offers to potential customers. Monetization allows an online marketer to promote, market and sell to customers.


Promoting a successful and profitable online business implies that we must be able to utilize the ready content to create a highly creative website that can entice and attract website viewers. Content is king but a well-designed Copy is one that converts sales. Good copywriting with content of value is the hallmark of a successful online marketer.


The World Wide Web is connects the power of Information Technology with that of Social Media. Having a good website or a great product or service does not constitute a business. Without people we have NO business. Ours is now a business of connecting with people. Social media is an integral part of any web business. Social networking platforms drive traffic to our online business. Social interaction is key to the success of any internet marketing business. We can build a successful web business when we can brand our profile in the social networking world. People will gain trust and confidence when they have a perceived idea of ​​what we do in our online business.

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More Than Muscle Building: Why Body Building Is a Healthy Option

When people talk of body building, they automatically think of well-oiled, pumped up muscles on beach bums and gym bodies. It conjures images of tanned bodies straining under several pounds of weight and using the most state-of-the-art instruments of torture to achieve the perfect form.

This is not uncommon. Most people would not list body building as a step towards gaining and maintaining a healthy body. Exercise, maybe but not body building. However, body building does more than just create symmetry and size. It also helps strengthen the body and develop flexibility and athletic performance.

Body building can also help develop resistance and it does not hurt that it actually contributes to a better looking and well-defined body.

Alibis and excuses to stay away from bodybuilding

You must have heard of them before. People who refuse to bodybuild believe that developing muscles will make them heavier and thus, slower and that muscles will only revert to fat once you stop. These are untrue.

Muscles are the main engine that drives each movement that we make. Stronger, bigger muscles only mean that we can move better and have better flexibility. If indeed muscles can slow a person down, then sprint runners should remain thin. Bigger muscles might make you look and feel bigger, but they will not slow you down.

Muscles will never turn into fat because they are two different tissues. If training is stopped, they will shrink over time because they are not used. People who turned from muscle-bound to fat may have stopped training and increased their food consumption during that period, allowing their bodies to store more fat and burn less calories.

Seven steps to succeed in body building for health

1. Develop a goal. Nothing ever succeeded without a plan or if something did, then it must have been a complete fluke. Know what you to achieve and how you plan to do it, whether you just want to gain more muscles or lose fat, you need to have a clear goal on what you expect to get and how you'll get there.

2. Get a physical. You'll need your doctor's OK if you plan to include body building in your regimen and especially if you are a beginner. Get a thorough check up to make sure that your body is capable of the physical workout it will be undergoing. Check that your cardiovascular functions are well and steady and that you have a healthy liver and kidneys.

3. Select a gym. A no-brainer, perhaps but joining the right gym may help your routine more than you realize. Choose a gym that's conveniently located near your home or office. That way, you will have no excuse not to go. Choose a gym where you will be comfortable not only with the equipment but with the instructors as well.

If you are a reliable self-starter and prefer a little more privacy, you can also opt to have your own home gym. It's really not necessary to buy fancy equipment immediately; just start with the basics and then gradually add from there. If you start small, you can determine which equipment you need to buy as you go along. This is better than being stuck with extra equipment that you will not be using.

4. Get a program that fits your level. If you're a beginner, it's senseless to pick a bodybuilding routine that's too advanced or of going into a gym not knowing where to begin. Your body thrives on gradual change so you run the risk of injuring yourself if you try to lift more than you should. Consider your training level and your goals and then get a program that's right for you.

Try to check some information about bodybuilding routines for beginners to familiarize yourself with your options. You can check out books, magazines and websites or go to a professional and have your own routine designed specifically for you. Normally, gym memberships include this service, so you might want to ask for specifics when you join one.

5. Develop a sensible diet. Yes, you do need one. Don't think that once you start bodybuilding you can load up on sweets and salts all you like. The purpose of a bodybuilding routine is for you to lose fat and replace it with lean muscle. Proper diet will give you the right type of nutrition for energy, bone and muscle growth and recovery.

6. Don't rely too much on bodybuilding supplements. With all the promises printed on labels and the enthusiastic ads on TV, you could be tempted to just depend on supplements to do the job for you. Supplements only add to your routine and should not take the place of a proper diet and training. Only when your training level is increased should you consider taking bodybuilding supplements with your diet.

7. Don't forget your R 'n' R. Sleep and rest are very important in general health and especially when you're bodybuilding. Your body and especially your muscles, need time to recover after a good work out. Make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep to allow your body to grow and recuperate.

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5 Reasons Doctors Love Dr House

Most doctors I know get a kick out of the television show, "House." Though we're all aghast at his bedside manner and cavalier attitude, still there is a certain attraction. Those not in the medical field may wonder how physicians can enjoy watching such a callous fellow.

Here are the five top reasons doctors love Dr. House.

1. Dr. Gregory House says things doctors would like to say themselves, but don't have the nerve. Most doctors filter what comes out of their mouths. They may think curse words, but seldom say them. We rarely accuse our patients of lying, even when we suspect it. We may think our patients have behaved foolishly, but we keep our thoughts to ourselves. It comes as a catharsis to finally hear a doctor (albeit an imaginary one) say things that cross every doctor's mind.

2. Dr. House does do any paperwork. Doctors hate paperwork. It's not only beyond boring, but sometimes perceived as interfering with patient care. The benefits are usually invisible, uncompensated, and extend the workday (needlessly, he would add).

3. Dr. House walks away from boring cases. Few doctors have this privilege. Physicians take patients as they come, without guarantee of intellectual stimulation. For family physicians, this means seeing high blood pressure patients, day after day after. For dermatologists, it's acne, psoriasis, and eczema, and for cardiologists it's heart attack, heart attack, heart attack. Even poor Dr. Wilson sees cancer, cancer, cancer.

4. Dr. House does not worry about getting paid. He's apparently on a salary, and gets paid the same no matter how few patients he sees or clinic hours he skips. Other doctors get paid by the patient or by the hour and are expected to produce. Most of us would be happy to have an afternoon to spend watching TV or surfing the web, while others are busy doing our work for us.

5. Dr. House does not worry about what anything costs. For a doctor it's a burden to not only worry that the right tests are ordered, but that they'll be paid for, either by insurance, the patient, or the government. House simply does care. He orders every test in the book. In real life it's not the hospital administrators who are looking over our shoulders to see what tests we've ordered – it's the insurance companies that require pre-authorization and proof that less expensive therapies have already been tried. Being an advocate for our patients, and taking the extra time to make sure appropriate testing is obtained, generally amounts to more uncompensated paperwork. Bullying your way through simply does not work for real doctors.

Aside from his diagnostic skills, Dr. House is the antithesis of a good physician. But still he's funny, and now and then I learn a thing or two. Once or twice a season I solve the case before the esteemed Dr. House – which keeps me coming back for more. The cases are true, by the way, all oddballs that the average doctor might see once in a lifetime. In medical school we're taught that when you hear hoofbeats, you should think horses, not zebras. But in Dr. House's case, he's got a stableful of zebras.

Copyright 2010 Cynthia J. Koelker, MD

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What is Industrial Design?

Industrial Design is also known as ID. It is a rather specialized professional field of work. Ever wonder who is are the people who come up with the pretty design of the mobile phones and other electronic gadgets. Well, the people behind the prettiness and user-friendliness of these consumer gadgets are the Industrial Designers.

Contrary to popular misconception, an industrial designer does not design factory and manufacturing processes. The word 'Industrial' of Industrial Design has often been misconstrued as factory-related. The truth is, industrial design is actually an artistic and creative profession. The scope of work involves the innovative and aesthetic aspect of product design and development.

Industrial designers are often required to be multi-talented. He or she have to be an artist, marketing expert and engineer roll into one. This profession requires the fine balancing of hardcore practicality and refined sense of aesthetics.

For example, the outlook and functionality of many consumer products are dictated by the industrial designer.

Besides being artistically inclined, Industrial designers must also be computer and tech savvy. More often than not, they are required to be able to operate sophistication computer design softwares known as CAD or CAID. CAID stands for Computer Aided Industrial Design.

The most popular industrial design programs are usually NURBS softwares. The popular ones are Alias ​​Studio, Rhino3D and Think3.

As you can see by now, Industrial Designers can be a rather demanding profession. Members of this profession are required to be both technically-strong as well as being artistic. This is one of the hardest combination in a personality as they are often conflicting skill-sets and attributes.

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Green Living – Eco Home Design and Environmental Friendly Habits

Why green living?

I have 8 grandchildren and I would like them to live in the future in a world as good or better than the world we know today. But that will only be possible if we take more care of our use of natural resources and the environment. I think I need to take responsibility for what I can, linked to my daily life, and I would recommend you to do the same if you care for your grandchildren.

Is it difficult to live more green?

Many have the feeling that to live more green is very bothersome, expensive and difficult. But take these advices and see if they fit your temper and possibilities. As with a lot of things in life it helps to think and plan a little ahead of what you want to do. For me the following approach toward a more green daily life has been rewarding.

Generate ideas of more green living

Use five minutes to list a lot of things you expect would reduce your and your family's impact on the environment. Just dot the ideas down as they come into your mind. If feasible do it as a family event around the table and engage everyone in this green brainstorm. Think of three types of more green living as follows and put your green ideas into the three categories:

1. Green ideas that will save you money
2. Green ideas that will be neutral on your economy
3. Green ideas that will cost you money

1. Green ideas that will save you money

The ideas for greener living that will save you money should be implemented immediately. It is stupid to waste money and at the same time pollute more or use more resources than needed. Many companies here in Denmark have made use of this to reduce their environmental impact and to improve their competitiveness and profit from that green initiative at the same time. Many private households would benefit from it too.

Examples of green ideas that will save you money more or less from the moment you implement them are:

– Avoid running toilets and dripping taps (remember the garden, too).
– Have your lamps and electricity running more than needed, eg in rooms without any persons, and the standby lamps of electrical equipment.
– Drive your care more softly and you reduce the consumption of gasoline and keep your tires longer.

2. Green ideas that will be neutral on your economy

If you think of your grandchildren as I recommend the green ideas that will be neutral to your economy should also be taken into consideration. It is ideas for greener living that just need a little attention from you in your daily life.

Such more green habits could be

– When you are shopping avoid the extra bags and wrapping from the shop if you don't need it.
– Make your own compost in your garden and keep as much of the nutrition's in your garden instead of 'exporting' garden waste and have to buy fertilizers etc.
– Reduce your consumption of red meat and prepare food with more fish, chicken and turkey and supplement more with veggies. – That will also be healthier.

3. Green ideas that will cost you money

Ideas for greener living that cost you money might also be worthwhile considering, so please read on. Here I will emphasize the environmental effect when you buy new kinds of equipment, like a new freezer, a new car, a new computer, a new washing machine etc. The whole trend of eco home design will often belong to this category.

Take your time to investigate the different qualities related to the environmental impact of the different brands and models of machines and equipment. Search for independent rating of the environmental impacts. In Europe we have a marking with A to E for the energy consumption and the most environmental friendly washing machines etc. will have an A label. Most consumers at least in Denmark will be very much aware of that label and go for it if it isn't too expensive.

The beauty of such an expense is that in most cases it will pay off in the long run to pay the extra for an environmental friendly model because you will save electricity or other tings in the long run. In many cases the premium environmental friendly machines will also be of the best quality and that will help you too. So you see it isn't that difficult to get started with some new greener habits and you can still look your grandchildren in the eyes because you are caring for their future.

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Warren Buffett's Rules for Investing Inspire REAL Wellness Rules for Thriving and Flourishing

Introduction: Financial and Personal Investing

Warren Buffett and I have something in common. We are both unofficially, arguably and more or less fondly known as The Greatest, he as the world's greatest stock investor, I as the world's greatest REAL wellness authority. (So ​​far, I'm the only person writing about REAL wellness, which puts me at the head of this impressive category.)

Warren is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway – he has $ 85 billion in his bank accounts; I have not founded anything, my bank accounts are more modest than Mr. Buffett's but uncannily, Mr. Buffett's views on investing parallel my own on matters of wellbeing.

I'll explain how my views on health-related matters mirror Warren's convictions about investing in stocks. Well, if not quite mirror, then certainly bear a vague resemblance if you look hard enough for such confluence.

I believe the best way to thrive and flourish, and to do so with minimal reliance on doctors, drugs and medical treatments, is to understand and adhere to a REAL wellness lifestyle. The REAL in REAL wellness is an acronym, representing the dimensions of reason, exuberance, athleticism and liberty. A set of lifestyle principles in each of these four dimensions complement Warren Buffett's rules for investing.

Rules for Investments of Two Kinds

I discovered this alignment in good part by virtue of my personal acquaintance with the Greatest authority on the Sage of Omaha, namely Robert P. Miles. Bob is the author of top-selling books about Mr. Buffett, including The Warren Buffett CEO: Secrets From the Berkshire Hathaway Managers and 101 Reasons To Own the World's Greatest Investment: Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

ï »¿My impressions of the link between Mr. Buffett's rules and my ideas about REAL wellness were also supplemented somewhat by two short investment articles. One was Stephanie Loiacono's Rules That Warren Buffett Lives By (Investopedia, June 24, 2019), the other Seth Spears Warren Buffett's Ten Rules of Success (Spears Marketing, January 23, 2012).

There are many investment rules attributable to Mr. Buffett, many of which he actually expressed. Let's look at these genuine rules that are most reflective of and consistent with REAL wellness principles. I'll state ten Buffett rules, then comment on each.

Rule No. 1: Never lose money.

In the case of REAL wellness, do all you can to never lose your health. This rule cannot be left to chance. You can't do much about many of the primary factors that affect your wellbeing (eg, biology, culture and environment), but a positive health enhancing lifestyle is in your hands.

Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No. 1.

Ditto REAL wellness.

Rule No. 3: If the business does well, the stock eventually follows.

If your culture and environment are supportive (ie, friends and family model healthful lifestyle attitudes and behaviors, you are likely to follow suit. Choose friends wisely and, if necessary, put distance between yourself and oafish, course or behavioral hooligan relatives.

Rule No. 4: The most important quality for an investor is temperament, not intellect.

To thrive and flourish, focus on emotional and psychological attitudes and beliefs that promote serenity, adaptability and plentiful exuberance.

Rule No. 5: The stock market will experience swings – stay focused on investment goals and remain steadfast during market turbulence.

Life is shaped by random events; control what you can with wise personal choices, knowing setbacks will visit even the most conscious and prudent among us.

Rule No. 6. Reinvest your profits.

This rule implies taking care to protect your assets, that is, avoid risking capital needed for the common wants of living well. From a wellness view, the lesson is don't jeopardize foundation resources (eg, physical mobility) with thrill-seeking for momentary gratifications.

This, of course, is difficult to impossible for the very young and most teenagers, but for settled adults it's doable and wise. In old age especially, guard against momentarily attractive excesses (eg, wild parties, drugs, excess alcohol and associations with shady or deplorable characters).

Rule No. 7. Be willing to be different.

Don't hoard your insights and ideas on matters consequential. Exercise your right to discuss all matters of momentous, grave and material. Do so with frankness, skill and consideration of varied audiences. Identify the nature and soundness of your unpopular opinions, and then be different at strategic times, or just have fun with your mates, especially on matters tied to politics, sex and religion.

Rule No. 8. Be decisive. Mr. Buffett puts it this way: never suck your thumb.

This of course means support yourself after you have made choices, eschewing inordinate or boundless mulling to the point of paralysis. Such sulking leads to disorienting stress, loss of opportunity and / or the appearance of being fearful and weak. Even when decisions prove dubious or worse, if you acted on the best available information, your errant choices deserve (self) respect. Learn from experiences good and otherwise and move forward, wiser and steadfast, resolute and unflinching.

Rule No. 9: Be Persistent. Cultivate tenacity and ingenuity.

If it were easy to think critically, overcome dogmas, resist flimflam artists, scammers and superstitions, live exuberantly with ample joy and meaning, dine well (healthfully) most of time, look good and be fit and live pretty much the kind of life you cherish, who then who would not do so? Not many. Living well in a manner that optimizes wellbeing and enables thriving and flourishing requires that Mr. Buffett's 9th rule for persistence in investing be applied to how you live. That is, you must be decisive – do what you must to cultivate tenacity while guide yourself with ingenuity in ways both mental and physical.

Rule No. 10. Know what success really means.

How will you understand if you are sick or well, happy or sad, a success or failure, fit or unfit, alive or nearly dead unless you have a clear sense of what it means to be on the brighter side of these and other dichotomies? Develop an inquisitive nature about the meaning of superb health beyond mediocre norms. Seek insights on what is possible regarding your exercise capabilities, given your age, current functional state, resources and general situation – then assess ways to transcend just getting by, in a state or low-level normalcy, like most others you observe. Discover the nature of exceptional functioning and the multiplicity of ways to move further along in the direction of high capacity living.


Mr. Buffett is fully understands that even with the mind-bending quantity of riches in his personal accounts, the quality of his existence is not thus measured. Instead, his success derives from decades of disbursing resources that mitigate global problems, allay miseries and enable opportunities for the many. Ultimately, it is the manner in which he uses his capacities and the unique role he plays in life that specify his inestimable persona, the most valued element of worth and merit.

If you want to draw attention to your ideas, find someone with whom you can link to them. In doing so, you will appear more sensible than you really are. I don't wish to boast about this, but I don't think I could have adopted a better model for REAL wellness rules than Warren Buffett.

I hope he won't mind.

(Postscript – Response from Robert P. Miles):

I've often thought that Don Ardell and Warren Buffett are brothers from different mothers. While you and Warren don't share nutrition (he drinks six cherry cokes per day, doesn't like vegetables, exercise or water – he favors See's Chocolates and Dairy Queen sundaes – 300 to 600 calories), you two nonetheless have many things in common.

You both are octogenarians, have younger wives, are politically like-minded, frugal, agnostic, unconventional thinkers, ravenous readers, excellent communicators and seem to be squeezing every drop out of life or, as your idol Ingersoll advised, suck the orange of life dry.

Finally, I suspect that you might both prefer, when the end comes at last and a parade of celebrants file by your respective caskets, that nobody suggests that Warren was the wealthiest, or Don was the fittest, but rather that Warren and Don were certainly among the oldest.

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Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux – Tutorial for All

Whether you are an end user, a system administrator, or a little of both, this book explains with step-by-step examples how to get most out of an Ubuntu system. The book is designed for a wide range of readers, appropriate for:

  • Students
  • Home Users
  • Professionals
  • System administrators
  • Computer Science

A " Practical guide to Ubuntu " gives you a broad understanding of many facets of Linux. No matter what your background, this book provides the knowledge you need to get on with your work. This book explains how to use Linux from graphical interface and from the command line. This book is designed so you can get the most out of it in the least amount of time. You do not have to read this book straight through in page order. Look up a topic of interest in the table of contents or in an index and read about it. The book includes many pointers to Web sites where you can obtain additional information.The Linux operating system, which was developed through the cooperation of many, many people around the world, is a product of the Internet and is a free operating system. In other words, all the source code is free. You are free to study it, redistribute it, and modify it. As a result, the code is available free of cost-no charge for the software, source, documentation, or support.

A rich selection of applications is available for Linux-both free and commercial-as well as a wide variety of tools: graphical, word processing, networking, security, administration, Web server, and many others. Large software companies have recently seen the benefit in supporting Linux and now have on-staff programmers whose job it is to design and code the Linux kernel, GNU, KDE, or other software that runs on Linux. Also is important to users is the amount of software that is available-not just source code (which needs to be compiled), but also pre-built binaries that are easy to install and ready to run. These programs include more than free software. Netscape, for example, has been available for Linux from the start and included Java support before it was available from many commercial vendors. Its sibling Mozilla / Thunderbird / Firefox is also a viable browser, mail client, and newsreader, performing many other functions as well.

All this is only one small parted of book. Chapters covered in this Book:

  • Installation
  • Working with Ubuntu Linux
  • System administration
  • Security
  • Clients and servers
  • Programming
  • Etc.
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How Do You Help a Student Who Feels Hopeless?

The start of a new class always carries with it a sense of hope for students and their instructor. This is a time when students are the most likely to listen, read the assigned materials, and make an attempt to complete the required learning activities. From an instructor's perspective, there is an expectation that students are ready to learn and want to learn the course topics. For the most part, students will begin the class by making an effort, at least initially. After the first week of class, reality settles in and this is the time when students will either continue to try, or their effort will wane.

When students make an attempt to understand the course materials, and for some reason they cannot comprehend what they are reading, or they do not understand how to complete an assignment, these challenges can create a turning point for them. If they do not know how to ask for help, or they feel the need to express their frustrations in an unproductive manner, it may just be easier to give up.

Students who are enrolled in an online class find it even more challenging as they may feel as if they are working on their own. Their instructors may not know of their struggles until after the end of the class week, when the due date for an assignment has passed and a student has not submitted anything. By that point it may be too late to get the student back on track, especially with an accelerated degree program.

What makes getting behind even more challenging are the negative feelings associated with it. In my experience as an educator, the longer students feel frustrated, the more hopeless they are likely to become in the long term. Their attitude may shift from "I'm not sure" to "I don't know" to "I can't" as a final disposition. When students reach that point, rehabilitation becomes very challenging for instructors.

What I ask myself, and I ask other educators as well, is this: What are you willing to do to help prepare your students ahead of time to avoid this situation from occurring? How do you encourage your students as they make an attempt to be involved in the learning process? Do you recognize their struggles? More importantly, when you know they have given up, what do you do or what are you willing to do to help them get back on track?

The Hopeful Student

Every student starts out hopeful to some degree when they begin a class. A new class represents an opportunity to continue to make progress, or make improvements if the last class did not result in a positive outcome. Even if students are apprehensive about their new instructor, or what might be expected for their performance in class, rarely do they feel hopeless when the class begins. Some students may lose their sense of determination after the first week, and they find out what the reality of the class will be like. However, the initial willingness to participate and be involved is there.

The hopeful student has outward signs which include being actively engaged and present in class, along with submitting their assignments on time. This is also a time when they are likely to be the most responsive to their instructor, as to listening and / or responding to feedback provided. This is when initial impressions are made and new working relationships are formed. Students will remain in this state until the first challenge is experienced, which may be as early as the first week, when they attempt to read the assigned materials or complete the required learning activities.

When looking at the many qualities a student needs to be successful, hope may not be the first one every educator puts on their list. However, I have discovered that it is hope which motivates students in the first place to begin a degree program, whether they hope to make a change in their job, career, or life. If a student has hope, they likely believe it is possible to make the change they are seeking or want. If I can nurture that feeling, and connect it to the effort they are making, it can serve as a powerful source of motivation for them and sustain them when they are faced with challenges. This is especially important as the reality of weekly course expectations settles in and students work to complete the required learning activities.

The Hopeless Student

As a student experiences the learning process, and interacts with the instructor and class, there are going to be emotions experienced. For example, a student may feel as if this is a productive environment and one in which they can learn, and be supported while they attempt to complete what is expected. That is one of many potential positive emotions a student may experience. There may also be negative emotions felt and those feelings can have a direct impact on the sense of hope a student has about their ability to succeed, or at least complete what is expected of them.

Also consider how a student interacts with the classroom environment and the potential triggers which cause emotional reactions. The learning process is sensory by nature. Students read, listen, write, think, process, understand, and comprehend information while they are actively involved in their studies. For an online class, the hands-on aspect of learning is missing and yet the overall experience is still the same. This is a process of mental engagement and through engagement of the mind, there can be emotional trigger points experienced.

As an example, questions from a student are an indicator something has been triggered. In contrast, an aggressive tone within something a student has communicated indicates a different type of emotional trigger. Triggers are often related to sticking points and conflict. Students may not understand something they are reading, they cannot complete a required task, they may lack a specific skill, or anything else related.

If students can manage the resulting feelings triggered, and find help or answers, the problem or issue experienced becomes resolved. However, if they cannot receive assistance when needed, or find answers on their own, the negative emotions felt may continue to build. This is when frustration can turn to aggression, or feeling stuck can lead to a sense of defeat. If left unchecked long enough, students may be left with a feeling of hopelessness regarding their ability to learn.

The Helpful Instructor

Can these negative feelings experienced by students be avoided or prevented? It is likely an instructor cannot always state with certainty every student will feel happy at all times; However, there are steps which can be taken to minimize the impact of negative feelings and prevent those feelings from escalating into long term issues.

Become an Active Participant: An instructor sets the tone of the class, and this includes how accessible and responsible he / she will be for students. If a class is to be student-centered, instructors must be involved as active participants. Students need to see their instructors as someone who teaches, manages the class, and has empathy for the student experience.

Help Students Prepare: An instructor must also be looking ahead and try to foresee potential issues and problems which may be experienced, and help students prepare. For example, there may be a challenging assignment due at the end of the week and an instructor knows from prior classes the areas in which students have struggled. One method of preparing students could include posting tips and suggestions, to help them plan ahead.

Watch for Signs of a Struggle: Instructors need to also be alert for signs of a struggle within students and intervene with a caring attitude. These signs can be evident in discussion responses, missed deadlines, or the tone of communication. A challenge for instructors is upholding school policies while helping students who are in need. Whenever exceptions need to be made, and it goes beyond the authority provided as a faculty member, this is the time to contact the school and explain the situation. Acting as an authoritarian does not build relationships, but demonstrating warmth while coaching and guiding students does.

Classroom management is a matter of providing controlled guidance and maintaining active involvement in your class. When students know their instructors are available, active, and present, they are more likely to feel hopeful about the class, their role in the process of learning, and their ability to succeed. If you can nurture positive feelings within your students, they are going to be much more willing to try to complete their required tasks, participate in discussions, and even make mistakes along the way, as they know someone is there to help them. This is one of the most positive aspects of adult learning, when students feel hopeful and engaged in class.

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What is Hospitality Interior Design and Who Uses It?

In the hospitality industry, interior design performs a similar function. The layout of a lobby or guest room in addition to the color scheme, lighting, and furniture choices, greatly affects how a guest feels and how they view their surroundings.

Hospitality interior design covers a variety of different venues. It is used in restaurants, hotels, even retail stores. Every design aspect from the floor plan to the color of the walls and the style of furniture makes a difference in affecting a certain tone or atmosphere. Depending on the tone a business wishes to set, an interior designer might choose a bright, vibrant color pattern paired with modern furniture and innovative decorative accents or he might select a subtle, more muted color palette paired with plush furniture and simple wall decorations to inspire feelings of calm and comfort.

Lighting and color palette go hand in hand when it comes to hospitality interior design. Most interior designers have been educated to know what types of lighting to pair with bright color schemes versus those which are more subtle. The lighting of a venue may also be affected by furniture choices and the actual architecture of a building. Rooms with vaulted ceilings might require wall fixtures which direct the light upwards while smaller rooms might utilize overhead lighting or corner lamps. Not only does the type and placement of lighting affect the atmosphere of a room or building, but the degree of illumination is also important. A soft glow is more relaxing while bright or colored lighting inspires feelings of excitement and energy.

In addition to lighting and color palette, several more factors come into play within the realm of hospitality interior design. The type of furniture selected dictates whether a room is meant to be more decorative or functional and the arrangement of said furniture plays a role in establishing atmosphere as well. An open floor plan into which the furniture is sparsely placed induces an airy, free atmosphere while small groupsings of furniture might incite feelings of intimacy. When considering different styles of hospitality interior design there are myriad factors to think about but the most important decision to make is what kind of atmosphere should be affected. A good interior designer will be able to make all aspects of hospitality interior design work together in order to create a cohesive feel the subscribes to a certain tone or atmosphere.

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