Curriculum and Details for 石龙的 On-line ENGLISH Classes

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I’m currently in Thailand where I’ve lived since October 17, 2021. As most of my Chinese friends know, I lived in China for 12 years before that working as an English teacher at a large private school in Beijing.

Here in Thailand during the past year, I taught two semesters of English at two rural public schools, and at the same time did medical editing for Chinese doctors, hospitals and universities on the side.

The thing is, medical research papers are mostly about identifying and treating diseases and I don’t want to do that ALL the time.

I did a lot of online teaching during the COVID-19 epidemic and thought it was fun so I thought of adding a few extra online English classes for friends in China to make my life more fun and interesting. Also, I’d like to earn a bit more money to finance my Silk Road Kung Fu Friendship Tour.

Reading is the single factor most strongly correlated with academic success (see Section 3 below), however,conversation and writing are the highest levels of language use, in my opinion.

There are eight main components of English language I most enjoy teaching.

  1. Story telling and conversation classes (intermediate/advanced)
  2. Topic-based classes (all levels)
  3. Co-reading: Reading aloud with a coach (all levels)
  4. Read along with a song (all levels)
  5. Having fun with idioms (all levels)
  6. Situational based conversations: Airport check-in, customs, taxis, hotels, etc. (intermediate)
  7. Editing (intermediate/advanced)
  8. Kid’s jokes (all levels)

Students can tell me which they like more, or divide a one-hour online class into two, three or four of the above. I’m pretty open-minded about that kind of thing.

1.      Story telling and conversation classes

We all have stories to tell. The oldest teachers were story tellers who wove their spell-binding narratives around the tribal fires at night.

Telling a story is a great way to practice English. You also get to practice using “sequence words,” like First, second, third… (boring!), as well as more interesting sequences words like: prior to, in the beginning, next, soon after, then, consequently, and so on. You get to describe events, people (their physical appearance, personalities and actions) and more lofty things like music, and philosophies! Story telling is a universe of experiences woven with words, the images, tastes, smells, sounds and feelings they can evoke, and even the breath of life itself.

This is a good way to get ready for conversations.

Story telling can be simple like answering the question: What did you do last weekend? Or, what is your dream job?

It can also be more complicated, like describing an event in your life that taught you a valuable lesson. On the other hand, it can be a funny story about something ridiculous that happened.

Conversation is the highest level of foreign language practice

The cognitive processing involved in a good conversation is huge – but also hugely fun.

This is for intermediate and advanced foreign language speakers.

What do people usually talk about? Usually what they know best or things they want to learn about. There are also good “generic” conversation openers, and ways to conclude conversations that won’t offend anyone. Likewise, there are ways to disagree with other people’s viewpoints that are reasonably safe.

Everyone has different needs. Younger people are usually more concerned with academic and career development, and relationships, topics I know some things about (probably more than most people).

One nice thing about online teaching is I can access the Internet easily and 1) use many different dictionaries quickly to make sure our understanding of any particular word is exactly correct, and 2) can find (or create) lots of examples and do more in-depth research on any particular topic. Research is one of my specialty areas.

In a conversation, topics can change quickly, and that’s one of the reasons conversations are so interesting.

2.      Topic-based classes

In contrast to “free-talking” (conversation) there is also topic-based English as a Foreign Language (EFL). This is best for intermediate and even advanced level English readers and speakers.

I like PPT based topic classes. Using PPTs students don’t need to take so many notes, and I always make those PPTs available to students after they take that class.

Having been a university student for 15 years (1973-1988 continuously) and having worked in research for years, I’m good at researching topics, summarizing the most important points relating to any particular topic, and organizing that information in logical and hopefully entertaining ways.

So, I can make new PPTs on most topics quite easily and quickly.

I think being creative, artistic and at least a little humorous every now and then are critically important too. During my university career I dropped classes with boring professors. A creative humorous professor makes learning a pleasure.

So, just tell me what you’re interested in, and we can study it!

In years past I taught TOEFL, TOPIC and IELTS. Those things however started to bore me a lot. I do however have a PPT on how to get good scores on nationally and internationally normed tests like the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale (IQ test), Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (IQ), Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) and TOEFL, TOIC, IELTS, SAT, MCAT, LSAT and so on). That’s a strategy-based approach, because I know how they design those things. That’s one of the things I studied during my four-year Graduate School program in “Educational Psychology,” along with things like legal issues in fair testing, methods to ensure fair testing, how test questions are normed, all the details involved in designing and constructing IQ, personality, projective and academic achievement tests,  counseling and so on. So, teaching TOEFL and IELTS are not my thing, but having a strategy on how to study for them is a good idea.

The following are some of the PPTs I’ve used before. Most are academically oriented, as in the past I usually taught in schools.

Please be aware I believe in both Socratic, and the Renaissance Man schools of education. Socratic education involves teachers asking more questions of students to get the student thinking rather than just talking and giving all the answers. Learning critical thinking skills is absolutely essential to surviving in this highly complex world. The Renaissance Man philosophy of education is based on the belief that to be an “educated” person, the individual should know at least a little about almost every subject. For example, a doctor that knows only medicine is not truly educated, however excellent a doctor he or she may be.

I can make new PPTs on almost any subject that doesn’t bore me too much in a few hours. Sorry, but I find applied physics boring, however I enjoy theoretical physics.

Exact mathematical plot of a Lorentzian wormhole, by AllenMcC.

(I could make a PPT on the Simultaneously Co-Existing Universes Theory, but school administrators don’t approve of such things.)

I could also teach business English. I taught that at Konyang University in South Korea for two years. Luckily we had a good textbook. The chapters were divided into the major sub-disciplines of business, like management, accounting, marketing, economics, information systems, human resources, innovation and entrepreneurship, and so on. I wouldn’t attempt to teach business per se, but can help students understand the vocabulary and concepts involved.

Usually I ask the student to read the PPTs, and I check for comprehension and pronunciation. All PPTs have questions for students because I love interaction. Teachers talking and talking put me to sleep, unless they tell fascinating stories and are true masters of their fields.

Other topic based classes include:

  • Professional writing – I worked as a professional writer since 1980 and…
  • The wonderful world of MOOCs

For those not familiar with MOOCs, MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses, that are almost always free. Thus, anyone can start taking at class at Harvard, or MIT today, for free if you want. If, however, you want a certificate at the end, that means you have to do all the assigned reading, participate in online discussion, and pass the tests. At Harvard, the tests are a bit challenging, but not too difficult either.

For all that, most MOOCs I’ve taken only cost $99. But, if you don’t care about the certificate, the vast majority of them are totally free.

There is also a large Chinese MOOC site…

http://www.xuetangx.com/ (In Chinese)
http://global.xuetangx.com/ (In English)

And Beijing University has its own too.

One limitation of MOOCs is that there is virtually no individual interaction between students and the professors and thus critical feedback on a lot of issues is lacking, except in the form of tests.

I’ll get around to making an easy short PPT about MOOCs sometime soon too. What’s most fun however is simply exploring one’s favorite topic areas within the major MOOC domains. Most MOOC classes only take a few hours a week for a couple of months to complete.

  • “The subject everybody loves to hate: Grammar!”

I probably know grammar better than most foreign EFL teachers because I 1) had some very good teachers, 2) learned several other languages, and some knowledge of grammar is essential to do that, and 3) also studied linguistics, the science of languages, that also requires at minimum some knowledge of grammar.

  • Phonics – the sounds of a language

There are phonemes (distinct sounds) most east Asians reliably mispronounce, like the “th” sound, the V, and in some cases the “Z” sound. That would be a short easy PPT to make. There are easy ways to improve pronunciation of those phonemes.

Really, there are probably a dozen or so other PPTs I’d like to make if there is interest in them. Just tell me what aspects of English language you’d like to learn!

3.      Co-reading: Reading aloud with a coach for better understanding and improved pronunciation

Reading ability and motivation are the two most important factors in determining academic achievement.

  • Ross Finnie and Richard Mueller at the University of Ottawa have shown that “the largest determinant of university participation, however, is the score on the reading portion of the PISA.”


Reading pleasure is strongly correlated with reading ability. In other words, enjoying what you read is very important. https://www.shsu.edu/academics/education/journal-of-multidisciplinary-graduate-research/documents/2016/WhittenJournalFinal.pdf

This style of reading “jumps” the student from beginning English reader and speaker to intermediate and then advanced in large leaps.

At the end of this page is a doc you can download with a little more detail. On that doc is a list of some great books to read. I also have a collection of 223 e-books, but am open to helping students read journal or news articles s/he might find interesting as well.

I know, famous literature is supposed to be boring and old, right? Wrong. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is modern classic literature and reading it can double your IQ in a few weeks! Don’t believe it? Try it! By the way, it helps a lot to have a native English speaker coach you while you read it because there are many little jokes in there EFL students might not figure out easily. This is also high-octane fuel for fun conversation learning!

Naturally I have more traditional classics like by Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, T.E. Lawrence, Henry David Thoreau, and so on.

4)     Reading along with a song

Many countries have something like YouTube, YouKu.com and so on. Most of them (and most music APPs) have songs with the lyrics.

Music is a cool way to learn English because it requires reading, listening, and speaking all at the same time in rhythm with the music. For most EFL students this means speeding up their speaking in a fun way. So, reading along with a song is a good challenge and very useful English learning task.

5)     Having fun with idioms

If someone types “list of English idioms” into Google, 125 million lists come up.

There were times when I was a teenager and even in my 20s, when I was busy, or thinking about something important and someone came along and started a conversation.

In those cases, I often responded with an idiom or proverb as a way of acknowledging that I heard them, without inviting further conversation. If the person continued talking, I’d keep responding with idioms and proverbs that matched their conversation topics, without engaging in that conversation. Naughty me!

One of the hardest parts of learning foreign languages is getting familiar with a few thousand idioms (and proverbs). Learning how to use them is another matter.

For example, someone might say: “Hurry up! Hurry up!” You could respond with the idiom: “Haste makes waste!” Or, if someone says: “Go very slowly, take your time,” you could answer with: “He who hesitates is lost!” which has the exact opposite meaning of haste makes waste.

So, practicing with idioms is a good idea. It can save time and energy in responding to a lot of life’s ridiculous chatter. It also shows a general high level of language mastery, which is also nice.

6)      Situation-based conversations: Airport check-in, customs, taxis, hotels, etc.

Name a context and we can practice conversations to match the situation. I took a couple of acting classes during my many years of university study, and two classes in voice training for actors (in the Theater Department). So, I can teach not only the right words, but also the right feelings to impart in different contexts. Those are useful skills for foreign language learners.

7) Editing

If you have written something and you’d like to have it edited, send it to me. You can see how I edit things and learn from the process. I started working as an editor decades ago and continue to the present. Mostly these days I edit (rather complex) medical research papers from Chinese doctors, hospitals and universities. You can see some of my editing work of the past year here.

8) Kids’ jokes

I know a bunch of good jokes for kids. Telling a joke is an art, and being able to entertain kids is another art. Put them together, smooth out the delivery, and you have at least an hour of fun. (I’ll also make a PPT about this sometime soon.)

About me

I grew up living next to universities in the US and Europe because my father was a university professor and received grants from foundations to do research in Europe for extended periods of time. http://www.crusaderstudies.org.uk/resources/historians/profiles/brundage/index.html (Don’t let the “crusader” thing scare you. He was a closet socialist! True! He gave me a copy of Mao’s Little Red Book in 1969 when I was 13.)

My mother had a Master’s Degree in English earned at Fordham University in New York where she met my father.

I’ve loved reading since I was five years old, and have traveled through and lived in some 30 nations from the age of six. And so, I’m curious about almost everything. Consequently, my range of conversation topics is pretty wide.

I speak some basic Putonghua, Spanish, basic Bahasa Indonesia and Malay, but have mysteriously forgotten most of my Korean. I made a cognitive psychology theory about that. I call it the: “Savage repression of the second most recently learned language theory.” Did my brain repress memories of Korean as I learned Putonghua right after and my brain needed to clear space for the new language without confusing them? Maybe!

Just so you know, I prefer to be called 石龙. If you watch a lot of American movies or TV shows, people named “Greg” and “Gregory” are usually duplicitous losers. That’s Hollywood. They love stereotyping, even an otherwise nice name. In any case, I find 石龙 more comfortable.

Here in Thailand most people call me “G” as it’s easy to pronounce and remember. My Muslim friends call me “Abdul Rashid” and at the Shaolin I have another name. I’m not so concerned with what you call me, just don’t call me late for lunch!

A joke

There was a very strict professor who sternly warned all his students: “Do NOT COME LATE TO THE EXAM! I will let you take the exam, but then I’ll give you a ZERO!”

When the exam day arrived everyone was on time, except one student who came 20 minutes late. The professor was furious, but said nothing, knowing he was going to give that student a ZERO, however well the student did on the exam.

After the end of the exam time, the tardy student kept working for another few minutes. By this time the professor was boiling angry.

Then the student came to the front of the lecture hall to turn in the exam.

“Who do you think you are, coming late to my exam?” bellowed the professor.

“Oh, you don’t know who I am?” asked the student.

“I don’t care who you are!” hissed the professor.

Very quickly the student put his exam in the middle of the pile of exams on the professor’s table.

Naughty student!

Ha, ha, ha

Unlike the strict teacher I always give a student fair chance. Education should be fun in my opinion, not some grueling sado-masochistic ride through hell, as some teachers and professors make it.

If you’re curious about my professional background, my CV is at the bottom of the About page on the menu above.

Class fees – there are no fees

There are no fees, or tuition, however I do ask students make an investment in my Silk Road Kung Fu Friendship Tour fund before class.

The first half an hour of the first class is free. If you like it, great, continue.

If not, well it’s been nice knowing you.

Investments I hope to receive for teaching:

  • 1 hour, one person – 200 RMB
  • 1 hour, two people – 250 RMB
  • And so on.

Best regards, and I hope to hear from you soon,


WeChat: naturalman2014 and Naturalman2021

I like to use VooV Meeting as it works well with PPTs.

See you in cyberspace!

Note: Sorry to say I can’t take any Thai online students at this time. I’m not sure it’s legal, and I am a guest in this country. All travelers should be very careful to follow the laws and policies of the country we’re living in.


Below is a more complete doc. with the contents of this page.

In harmony with nature: Hobbit holes reflected in water, by Jackie.lck – https://www.flickr.com/photos/jackielck/8651308193, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37656037