Natalie Kimbrough | Dec 1, 2011

Natalie Kimbrough teaches history in the Community College of Baltimore County, Dundalk Campus.

This short article pictures a typical day of a community college professor, a teaching-intensive faculty member.

Clear messages, boundaries, understanding of the context and the persons involved in communication


I experience how important clear messages are in any form of communication. Direct messages informing what I want and need (needs, interests, and positions) and listening to what the other person wants and needs is crucial. Clear expectations shared by both parties that can be accomplished by setting up the clear boundaries at the beginning of a conversation (time, place, focused topics) can prevent any possible miscommunication and misunderstanding that can occur. Lastly, understanding what the context is and where they stand in the context is another important aspect of communication factors.

The following are some of the examples of unhealthy communication killers with which mutual understanding can be hardly fostered: Shutting down, dismissing the other person verbally and nonverbally, not listening to what the other person wants and needs (ignoring/not responding to them at all/redirecting the other person to my own agendas), sharing unwanted advice, dominating the talk by appealing my point of view to the other person, and so on.

Communication flexibility seems to be the most valuable quality that a workplace communicator can develop in order to become more competent in diverse communicational situations with communicators with new communication styles.


Book of the Week, Resources


The Communication Skills Book (Third Edition, 2009)

Matthew McKay, Ph.D., Martha Davis, Ph.D., and Patrick Fanning

New Harbinger Publications, Inc.


Basic Skills: Listening, Self-Disclosure, Expressing

Advanced Skills: Body Language, Paralanguage and Metamessages, Hidden Agendas, Transactional Analysis, Clarifying Language

Conflict Skills: Assertiveness Training, Fair Fighting, Validation Strategies, Negotiation

Social Skills: Prejudgment, Making Contact

Family Skills: Couples Skills, Communicating with Children, Family Communications

Public Skills: Influencing Others, Public Speaking, Interviewing

3rd international ESP Conference


ESP Conference paper submission

ESP Resources

The 3rd international ESP Conference:

Embracing ESP as ‘World Citizens’ across
Disciplines and Countries 

Liverpool Hope University
26-27 April 2019

This is the 3rd international ESP conference. The aim of the conference is to highlight the important contributions in ESP.  We will discuss current studies in this field from all over the world.

We invite papers dealing with ESP and the related fields.

  • Assessment challenges in ESP
  • New developments in syllabus design
  • Digital world and ESP
  • Methods in reading and academic writing 
  • Issues in ESP
  • Integrating content and language in ESP
  • Migration and ESP
  • ESP Teacher 
  • ESP at work
  • Translation and ESP
  • Impact of Technological development on ESP
  • Future dimensions of ESP

Topics are not limited to above. 

Paper Submissions:

Papers are formal presentations on original research by one or more authors, lasting a total of 30 minutes (20 minutes for presentation and 10 minutes for discussion). Please note…

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A New Start


I have just come back from my visits to my families abroad for a while. It was a break I needed and offered me important opportunities for clarification in my life. Grateful for the time.

I would like to research and write about ‘Communication’. Gave some deep first thoughts into what communication we professionals need at work where we interact with colleagues with different backgrounds of all sorts and how we can help ESL instructors in diverse settings to be equipped with the proficiency in communication skills at work no matter where they come from.  At the end of the day, it is related to one person’s wellbeing and happiness in life, not to mention in the person’s professional life.




What is a ‘boundary’? A boundary is as a property line with the obvious sign, “No Trespassing.” My land ends here and yours starts from there. One may wish boundaries in relationships were that clear.

Boundaries are very subtle and invisible. So they are confusing. Also, the definition of it varies depending on the person who interprets it. They are very contextual as well. If the situation is not recorded simultaneously, the interpretation could be different between a participant engaged in the context and a third person who listens to the participant’s descriptions only. Although they seem very complex for a lot of us to explain at times, they surely exist as distinctive areas at work and they certainly function in work relationships by setting the limits of one another’s behaviors, speech acts, and body language.

Violation and invasion occur when participants in the context do not share agreed terms in setting their boundaries. Usually, those agreed terms are stipulated in the code of conduct. Even then, all specific situations are not included in it so only the participants can start a conversation to set up the boundaries and to agree in each working relationship. That is how it works in reality according to my personal experiences. And there isn’t a course teaching how to do it in Toronto yet.

Boundary setting is one of the most crucial skills at work one should be equipped with at North American workplaces yet many ESL instructors cross those boundaries and create tension in relationships at work. And they WASTE their energy paying too much attention to that tension. It is the counter effect of the ‘close attention’ at work that one can use to be more productive to help themselves and others. Examples of boundary invasion and the suggested steps to establish them in a working relationship will be discussed further.