Tuesday, February 11, 2014


7 Things Bell's Whiskey Reminded Me about Learning

I recently saw an AMAZING commercial. In this advertisement Bell's Whisky is selling a scotch, but I feel like they are also selling the importance of literacy and learning in general. I don't know why I love this commercial so much, but I do know that it clearly shows seven different things we need to remember about learners.

1. Students should see / do things again and again in different ways!
The man is exposed to letters in scrabble. He is exposed with post its around his house. He has flashcards. He practices with alphabet soup. He checks out different books. As teachers we need to vary activities to help out students learn best!

2. You have to be OK making mistakes
Learning means you will make mistakes. That's OK. In fact that's good! If you don't make mistakes, you probably aren't learning! He starts off spelling cat with a k, but he learns that isn't correct and improves!

3. It isn't just the teachers! 
Students should be encouraged to seek help from librarians, loved ones, friends and other students. Help your students find local English speaking groups, or reading clubs they can join to really practice!

4. Students should support one another!
This is one of my HUGE pet peeves in class. When students don't applaud or encourage one another in class, they get a death glare. I think this is SO important! I actually make it part of their grade. Listening to others when they participate and encouraging one another will help everyone.

5. Everyone loves stickers!
Don't forget that students LOVE being told they are doing a good job. A gold star is the universal symbol of "You rocked." If you are really against giving gold stars consider writing small notes or finding other ways to let students know they are excelling.

6. Languages should be fun (and useful)!
He has fun while he is learning. He is flirting with his wife, and enjoying himself. Your class doesn't need to be all fun all the time, but adding some fun activities or topics will help students learn. Make them laugh with jokes, or just play some games.

7. Motivation is key!
Learning to read as an adult is considered to be much harder than reading as a child, but this student had GREAT motivation. He wanted to make his family proud. He wanted to enjoy his son's work. He wanted to be a part of his son's life in a way that before reading he couldn't. This is particularly effective motivation! If your students have their own motivation remind them of it. If not discuss different reasons learning languages will help them. They'll probably talk about their career, but be sure to mention the mental effects as well.

What do you think? Did it remind you of anything else? Do you adore the commercial as much as I do, or is there another one you prefer?

Show it to your students and see if they can relate to the man at all!


  1. Thank you,Carissa! Your work is wonderful! I am going to show this video to my sts.I totally agree with what you say about supporting one another.I also encourage my sts to do so.

    1. I am glad to hear it! I really feel it is very important to everyone learning :)

  2. I came upon your site because I was searching for the "ESL whiskey" commercial. Your point about encouragement via the "gold star" or positive comments needs to be repeated, particularly to instructors in adult education. We often think that because they are adults, they do not need to be told that they are doing well and that they are progressing and developing their skills. I tend to be one who writes comments, and those comments need to be more than single words. Instructor acknowledgement perpetuates self-motivation.

    1. Excellent points Joy! I was just reading a freebie book I snagged on Amazon on, "how to teach adults," and to be honest I thought it missed out on a lot! It seemed to be focusing on how to do things differently than with teaching younger learners. Certainly, there are differences, but so many things are the same: motivation, reinforcement, etc.

      Thanks for commenting :)


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