Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Season 5 Episode 193 | Listening | Successful Teams & Conflict

I never looked at it from this perspective, but conflicts are actually sometimes good. You have to choose the right grounds though. You have five different types: compromise, collaboration, avoidance, competing and accommodating. In this podcast, you’re going to learn a lot about the stages of a conflict, as well as the different ways of compromising.

Read Success teams and conflict. Complete the article with the headings (a-e)

a. Balancing the needs of the individual __

b. Adapting to context __

c. Utilizing conflict to reach our full potential __

d. Workplace conflict; a necessary evil? __

e. The role of conflict in team development __

__ 1 We’ve all been there. The boardroom fails silent as two o fits occupants lock horns. Some of the onlookers revel in the conflict, silently watching it unfold. Others try to pacify and mediate. Others still, strategically take sides. Although conflict in the workplace has traditionally been seen as detrimental, some modern theorists claim it is essential to productivity. An ugly, but necessary obstacle on the path to optimum performance. So, at what stage in a team’s development might conflict arise and how can it be successfully navigated.

__ 2 One of the first academics to see conflict as a necessary and inevitable part of a team’s development was the psychologist, Bruce Tuckman. In his 1965 publication, Development Sequence in Small Groups, Tuckman proposed a four-stage theory of team development. The model explains the maturity, development, relationships, and performance of a group. The four stages are:


At this stage, the group is created and learns about the opportunities and challenges available. They agree on goals and discuss how to tackle any issues present. One challenge at this stage is the fact that each team member will still largely be operating as an individual and the predominant behavior is polite and courteous, meaning people refrain from conflict. Leaders tend to play a dominant role at this stage, offering guidance and direction.


At this stage, people start to push against any of the established boundaries and begin to form strong opinions about the other personalities and characters in the group. When people are perceived as not pulling their weight or attempting to dominate the group, then others will push back. If disagreements and conflict of personality are not resolved at this stage, some teams may never move on, or will quickly re-enter this phase as disputes arise. Intolerance and impatience can be high. Managers frequently need to intervene in order to resolve issues.


If a group is able to move beyond the storming stage, then agreement and consensus evolves. Leaders can take more of a facilitative role, rather than acting as autocratic leaders, as people become comfortable with their colleagues and have a much clearer appreciation of their roles and responsibilities. Teams are committed and unified towards a common goal and strive to accommodate each other’s needs.


The team now has a shared vision that does not require the intervention of a leader. They work in a largely autonomous manner and generally want to outperform the goals set during the group’s inception. Conflict is easily resolved and the members now look to each other, rather than leadership, for help and support.

In 1977, Tuckman revised his theory to include a fifth stage:


This final stage reflects the status of a group after it has disbanded. If a strong team was formed initially, then the break-up stage can leave people feeling vulnerable and insecure about the change. A great deal of empathy is often required from management at this stage.

__ 3 Successfully navigating the “storming” stage of Tuckman’s model relies, in part, on the ability to recognize sources of conflict. A lack of shared goals or the perception of different priorities is a common cause of conflict, as are personality clashes. Significant differences in working styles, conflicting methods of communication, and different expectations of individual output can all contribute to a hostile working environment. People often value different things or face of scarcity of resources that makes it hard to collaborate. When individuals feel that they have to compete with other team members for a share of a limited budget, it is inevitable that conflict will occur.

__ 4 So if conflict of varying degrees is highly likely, what’s the best way to resolve the issues that arise? Given the diverse sources of conflict, it is perhaps unsurprising that successful teams are able to adapt their reactions to suit a range of contexts. According to Thomas and Kilmann, in conflict situations, as individual’s behavior can be broadly described along two dimensions; assertiveness (i.e., the extent to which the individual tries to satisfy his or her own need) and cooperativeness (i.e., the extent to which the individual attempts to satisfy the needs of his or her competitor). These two basic dimensions can then be used to define five conflict management styles:


Individuals show a high degree of cooperation, often to the detriment of their own objectives. It may involve yielding to the view of someone else, even when you disagree with them. This style works well when the other person has more expertise and/or style works well when the other person has more expertise and/or a better solution, and can also strengthen long-term relationships.


Here the individual neither addresses their own concerns, nor helps others resolve theirs. Rather than confront issues head on they actively avoid them, often by diplomatically moving to another topic, postponing discussion, or retreating from discussion altogether. For minor issues this is a good way to minimize conflict and is also effective when a situation is emotionally charged or tense. However, in the long-term, this strategy can lead to conflict and failure.


Here people mutually try to achieve both sets of goals through consultation, which can be effective in complex situations. However, it requires a lot of trust, time, and effort to reach a consensus that accommodates all ideas and perspectives.


Individuals aggressively pursue their own interests at the expense of those around them, subsequently making little to no attempt to cooperate. Often this approach does not work well and leads to the greatest amount of conflict. However, when decisive action is needed, for example, in times of emergency, this can be an effective way to resolve conflict.


This mode presents a happy medium. Both parties aim to find a mutually acceptable solution to the issue at hand. This might mean accepting views that you don’t agree with in order to have some of your own accommodated. This style could work when goals are of equal importance, but largely it leads to neither goal being reached effectively.

__ 5 Given the diffuse sources of conflict, a successful team must learn to adapt both its working and management styles in order to optimize performance, regardless of individual beliefs and preferences. In other words, teams that are unable to accommodate and harness conflict may never achieve their full potential. However you choose to address conflict in the workplace, one thing is clear; it is an essential part of a team’s development, and until we view it as such, we will consistently underperform.

skillful reading 4

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Season 5 Episode 192 | Critical Thinking | Making Counter Arguments and Concessions

Welcome back to another ESL podcast! In today’s podcast, we’re going to look into ways that are effective in terms of strengthening your own argument.

By including and dealing with opposing views in the form of counter arguments, you anticipate objections, demonstrate you have considered the issues in depth, and provide strong support for your own conclusions.

A counter argument may highlight a disadvantage of the argument you propose, or give an alternative explanation that seems to make more sense. Such opposing arguments are often introduced with a signpost phrase or question, e.g., However, it could be said that….some people argue that…., admittedly,….but isn’t this just…..?

To then deal with the counter argument, demonstrate how or why the counter argument is incorrect or how it is less important or probably than your argument. Avoid stating a counter argument without refuting it.

Concessions show respect and consideration for the opposing views, by acknowledging some positive features of them, e.g., They are correct in the sense that…., while we agree that….

  1. Match the two sets of arguments, counter arguments, and refutations.
  • The main reason is that women are choosing careers.
  • Performance doesn’t change easily, and studies support the theory of the effect of role conflict.
  • Fathers face conflict with their roles, so we cannot conclude it is the woman’s choice.
  • The promoted worker’s performance went down due to role conflict.
  • The issue of declining birth rates is too complex to identify one cause.
  • The promoted worker’s performance went down due to laziness.

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Exam Success | Episode 1 | Ann Succeeding In IELTS

Such an amazing talk with someone who I had just met a day before the exam. After reaching out to people in the group to try and be of service, I ended up coming across Ann, who was preparing to take her IELTS test in just a day’s time. She got her results within five days times, and to her astonishment, she achieved the band in her speaking. Well, to kick off this new series, I’m going to bring on people who have achieved success in different test preparation courses. Welcome to a new series!

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Season 5 Episode 191 | Presentation Skills | How to Cope with Different Presentation/Lecture Styles

Many people, like me, enjoy different presentation styles — based on tonality, energy, story-telling, etc.  I have my favorites, and then there are presenters that put me to sleep. So, if you’re someone who not only has to listen to a presentation but also engage in meetings with foreigners who speak monotone….how can you cope? Well, that’s today’s discussion. Tune in!

  1. Think of two lecturers you have had during your academic/professional career. Describe the style and approach of each one in the comment section on this blog.
  • organization of material
  • speed of delivery
  • style of lecture
  • visuals and support material provided

If you regularly have the same lecturer, you will become familiar with the speed of delivery, the amount of support provided, and the organization of material. When the lecturer is new to you, be prepared with your notebook and audio recorded. Access all available support material, and listen for clues to the organization of the lecture in the opening to the lecture.

Listen to two parts of a lecture in the podcast down below. Identify which lecturer does each thing, Speaker A (Brett Wilson) or Speaker B (Sofia Lang).

  1. Provides pre-reading
  2. Starts with examples and then moves to general statements
  3. Encourages interaction
  4. Gives clear verbal signposts for the organization
  5. Speaks faster
  6. Relies on visuals for showing organization

IELTS Writing | Patreon | S1: E1 | Stating Opinions | Personal/Impersonal

Welcome to my Patreon! If you’re unaware, I have a wide-range of benefits to this specific badge that’s available for IELTS Learners.

For students who are wanting to learn IELTS around the world, this tier is for serious learners who want exclusive IELTS content. 

– Listening techniques

– Speaking techniques

– Reading skills

– Academic writing

In addition, there will be a range of videos, Q & A’s, and even live coaching (and 1:2:1 coaching twice a month for two hours total). 

There will also be free-writing and free speaking prompts, as well as videos and audio casts (three times a week) for students to study.  Lots of writing samples and you will also have the ability to get 2 writing tasks 1’s and 2 writing tasks 2’s graded.  Any additional writing tasks can be purchased in a bundle. 

Topic requests and videos based on the questions will also be made, so be sure to communicate within the group with me and the other Patrons!


In saying that, here’s what this episode will feature.

  • Adding and understanding the meaning between personal opinions and impersonal ideas.
  • Reported speech phrases and matching.
  • How to give supporting details and examples to further strengthen your argument.
  • Agreeing and disagreeing (speaking segment) and phrases for fill-ins.
  • Writing Task 2 for you to submit and a sample answer.


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Season 5 Episode 191 | Presentation Skills | How to Cope with Different Presentation/Lecture Styles

Many people, like me, enjoy different presentation styles — based on tonality, energy, story-telling, etc.  I have my favorites, and then there are presenters that put me to sleep. So, if you’re someone who not only has to listen to a presentation but also engage in meetings with foreigners who speak monotone….how can you cope? Well, that’s today’s discussion. Tune in!

The study skills element of this course has provided opportunities to…

  • develop an understanding of concepts and skills important for the learning process.
  • reflect on your own learning development.
  • build your group-work skills.
  • develop your planning, prioritization, and self-evaluation skills.

Study skills will remain important throughout your academic and professional life. Success in these domains involves reflecting on the strengths of your knowledge and skills in particular areas relating to studying, and developing your skills through further experience. One of the first steps to future success in your studies is to identify areas for development and to prioritize these.

Already goodWant to know moreWant to develop furtherKnowledge, skills, qualities, and experienceOrder of importance
Understanding success and self-management
People skills
Creative thinking and problem-solving
The art of reflection
Successful job application
Critical and analytical thinking
Improving performance on exams and
Improving underlying academic skills


IELTS | Speaking | 1 on 1 Coaching | Speaking Part 3 – Celebrations At Restaurants

Welcome back to the final installment with my wonderful student, and in this episode, you’re going to hear me implement structure in her talk. See, the problem with a lot of students is if they fail to use any kind of structure, they end up giving a baseless thesis with sporadic examples that don’t contribute or flow. That’s surely detrimental to your score.


Podcast on Spotify:

Podcast on ListenNote:

Podcast on CastBox:’s-ESL-Podcast-id1251433?country=us




Q & A:



Buzz sprout:

Early Access to next week’s episode titled: TOEFL iTP — Grammar — Errors with Articles.

Early access (general patreon badge = $5) is now available on my Patreon! If you’re learning TOEFL iTP, this is going to be a two-part series (free to the public over two weeks but now available on Patreon if you subscribe to my badge), as well as exercise (exclusive to Patreon only) for you guys to practice! Link down below!


Patreon Early Access for ESL Podcasts!

My wonderful ESL Podcast listeners! Some of you have asked me, “how can I donate because you’ve helped me so much”…and now the day has come. At $5 dollars a month,  you will get early access to ALL of my ESL podcasts! So, with the podcasts I have scheduled right now, which are about 30 of them, you’ll be able to listen to all of them EXCLUSIVELY. In addition to that, this will be a community, so you guys will be able to ask me all things English Language learning and I will hosts exclusive podcasts, videos, Q & A’s and webinars! I’m exciting about putting this out for you guys, so with that being said, come join this tier and contribute!


Podcast on Spotify:

Podcast on ListenNote:

Podcast on CastBox:’s-ESL-Podcast-id1251433?country=us




Q & A:



Buzz sprout:

TOEFL iTP | Listening Part A | Longman | Test #2

Welcome back to a full listening Part A test (number two) from the Longman book. I’ve done test #4 and the plays have been ASTOUNDING, thanks for Indonesia and my folks in Jakarta. So, here’s another one for you guys!

  1. Key words: why class move, couldn’t get in,
  • they were in the regular room.
  • the key was misplaced
  • he’s taking a different class
  • he has the key to the classroom

2. Have book? no, returned it to Jim

  • she will lend it to the man
  • she never lent the book to Jim
  • Jim wants to borrow the book
  • Jim has the book

3. writing checks? yes, I’ve written ____ and ____ and i still need to write _____.

  • paying bills
  • talking to the landlord
  • turning the lights off
  • looking for an apartment

4. should we leave now? Not time for class.

  • she has no time to go to class
  • they are already late for class
  • it’s too early to go to class
  • she has to be on time for class

5. class difficult? not difficult, time consuming

  • he is resuming his duties one more time
  • he is assuming the class is difficult
  • the class is terrible all the time
  • the class takes a lot of time

6. dorm rooms new paint, I’ll say

  • she needs a new coat
  • she likes the paint in the dorm rooms
  • she has the same opinion as the man
  • she left her coat in the dorm room

7. ready? couple of minutes, math problems first

  • he needs to complete the math assignment first
  • He’ll be ready in a couple of hours
  • he is going to history class now
  • he was ready a few minutes ago

8. file folders? No, they were moved.

  • she’s sorry she moved them.
  • She really knows where they are
  • they haven’t been moved
  • someone else moved them

9. difficult problem, not unrepairable

  • a solution is not apparent
  • the problem can be fixed
  • there is really a pair of problems
  • the problem is difficult to solve

10. hope no quiz, we won’t, professors doesn’t give

  • the professor gives quizzes regularly
  • the woman is really quite prepared
  • it is unusual for this professor to give quizzes
  • he doesn’t think there’s a class today

11. look at problem? impossible to comprehend

  • she could not comprehend the chemistry lecture
  • she has not had time to look at the assignment
  • it was possible for her to complete the problem
  • she could not understand the problem

12. pay fee? Not as far as I know.

  • he doesn’t know how far away the exhibit is.
  • he’s uncertain about the fee.
  • the exhibit is not very far away
  • he’s sure the exhibit is free

13. can’t take, wait to take it next semester

  • not taking it at all
  • taking it along with chemistry
  • taking it later
  • taking it instead of chemistry


  • an astronomer
  • a physician
  • a philosopher
  • an engineer

15. expecting gift? Couldn’t have surprised her more

  • nothing could surprise her
  • the gift really astonished her
  • she couldn’t have gotten more gifts
  • she was expecting the gift


  • she’s wearing a new dress
  • she’s ready to study for hours
  • she’s exhausted
  • she has studied about the war for hours


  • he’s really tall
  • he’s the best
  • he’s got a good head on his shoulders
  • he always uses his head


  • He’s already talked to the professor about the assignment
  • there is no assignment for tomorrow
  • He’s not sure what the professor will talk about
  • The professor discussed the assignment only briefly


  • he went to it
  • he knew about it
  • he didn’t know about it
  • he gave it


  • it’s hard to lock the room
  • the cloak was delivered on time
  • someone struck the crockery and broke it
  • it is now midday


  • that she wouldn’t take the trip
  • that she would go to the beach
  • that she really liked the beach
  • that she would take a break from her studies


  • they were disappointed
  • they didn’t get any gifts
  • they were unexcited
  • they were really pleased


  • she believes she can succeed
  • she’s decided to pull out of it
  • she wants to put off the speech for a while
  • she thinks the speech is too long


  • she’d like to offer the man a scholarship
  • the documents were returned to her with a signature
  • she needs to sign the documents
  • she works in the scholarship office


  • he doesn’t have time pay the bills
  • the bills weren’t paid on time
  • of course, he paid the bills on time
  • he will pay the bills for the last time.


  • he thinks the lecture was really interesting.
  • he’s not sure if the ideas are workable
  • he understood nothing about the lecture
  • he’s not sure what the woman would like to know


  • he missed an opportunity
  • he was late for his trip
  • he should take the next boat
  • he should send in his application


  • he agrees with what she said
  • he thinks she didn’t say anything
  • he couldn’t hear what she said
  • he did hear what she said


  • that John would pick them up for the concert
  • that the concert would start earlier
  • that john would not be going to the concert
  • that they would be late to the concert


  • he enjoyed the trip immensely
  • the boat trip was really rough
  • he couldn’t have enjoyed the trip more
  • the water was not very rough