Impressions: Making Positive Impressions in Conversation Video Program

As an ESL/EFL teacher, do you know how to teach nuance in language? Are you looking for a resource that powerfully and effectively demonstrates the difference between language from a cultural perspective rather than from a structual perspective?  Impressions: Making Positive Impressions in Conversation Video Program has been professionally filmed to illustrate methods for teaching interpersonal skills with meaning and clarity, and help English learners understand the nuances and subtleties of using English for effective communication.   It has been developed by Gwen Zeldenrust and Lynn Schneider - two experienced ESL teachers.  The feedback from both students and other ESL instructors has been very positive.

Newcomers to English speaking countries often face many difficulties when attempting to be accepted into a program at university or college, or attempting to gain employment in the field in which they have been trained.  Some of the barriers they face are due to miscommunication.  Often this miscommunication could be prevented through awareness of the way language is used in North American culture.

Impressions: Making Positive Impressions in Conversation Video Program follows Nadia, a newcomer to Canada and her journey to become certified in her profession.  Similar to many other highly skilled newcomers, she must apply to a program at an academic institution which will give her the appropriate credentials.  The character must complete four steps to be accepted to the program that she needs to complete.  Although the character has an advanced level of English, she encounters many problems with the correct phrasing of English when communicating with people who will make decisions about her acceptance or people who could help her to complete the process more efficiently. These communication problems lead to barriers for her.  The problem is not her language skills but her understanding of Canadian culture.  Often culture determines what one says and how one says it.

The story in the video is presented in a set of four steps.  Each step contains two scenarios.  The first step portrays an interaction which is acceptable but is not beneficial for the character.  A teacher gives instruction about how to rephrase what the character says while maintaining the original meaning but giving it a more Canadian style sensibility.  Then the scenario is replayed but with the suggested language structures.  The second scenario shows how these preferred language structures receive better results by easing the interactions.

Impressions: Making Positive Impressions in Conversation Video Program includes:

- a detailed (47 page) Teacher's Guide with PHOTOCOPIABLE Extension Activities and Answer Keys

- a PHOTOCOPIABLE Student Workbook with Answer Keys to help them master the sutleties and nuances of North American English

- 8 audio files

- 22 minute video

For more information about Impressions: Making Positive Impressions in Conversation Video Program:

Watch Gwen's presentation at a TESL Conference

Majida Belahcen, ESL teacher, former ESL student and recent newcomer to Canada plays the role of Nadia in the video.  Listen to Majida describe the importance of using English in the Canadian cultural context.

To read more, click this link for an article published in TESL Ontario