Archive | May, 2012

A student from Brazil wants to practice English by Skype

17 May

Let’s show you another person who recently contacted me, looking for a Skype partner.


I received this request today.


The attitude behind these statements is FEAR.  Fear of lawsuits.   The worry is “What happens if something goes wrong?  Where did the student hear about BIBPenpals?  From the school?  Then the school will be liable.”

Let’s think about what can happen.   A student in the USA named Mary could contact a boy in France named Jacques.  Jacques and Mary spend hours on the computer, exchanging emails, messages on Facebook and talking on Skype.  Then Mary asks for a passport and somehow gets money together for a plane ticket and runs away to France.  

Students in Brazil can practice pronunciation with videos on Youtube, but they want to learn new ideas and swamp songs and videos with students in the USA.

I hope the principal who told me this scenario will someday see that the same situation might happen between two students who could meet at his school.

FEAR stops this Brazilian student from practicing English with a US teenager.   Why not take a chance, ask your son or daughter to sit next to you and you (the parent) can contact Bruno.  Remember, 2014 is coming soon….  WORLD CUP and 2016 will bring the OLYMPICS.  If you would like to know more about BIBPenpals, please visit the YOUTUBE channel and write to me at


BIB Penpals might appear at an upcoming Ignite Miami evening

10 May

Here’s a fun idea Ignire Miami at  


Here’s what I submitted:

60% of the U.S. population does not have a passport.

Most U.S. teenagers are monolingual, putting them at a disadvantage in the global economy.

Students are required to accumulate 70 hours of service hours as part of the requirements for high school graduation.

In addition to picking up trash on the beach and volunteering at hospitals, what if kids could (a) use their skills on Facebook and with email to (b) contact teenagers in other countries who want to improve their English.

Here’s the message that I send to students in other countries:


Hi, I’m a teacher of English and I work with students at several high schools in Florida. Many of these students have never visited your country but they dream about traveling … and these students have a skill that many of your students want: the U.S. accent.

I created a project called “Skype Penpals” (BIB Penpals) to encourage students in the USA to write to and speak with students in other countries. The U.S. students can become “conversation assistants” to help other students with English language practice. The U.S. students can also learn some phrases in other languages.


You can learn more at

My non profit organization has developed a free program called BIB Penpals (email or Skype or Facebook connections with teenagers in other countries)

In 5 minutes I plan to describe the program and in the remaining 2 minutes I’ll arrange to hand out flyers and take questions and concerns from the audience. Typical questions are

a) how do you make sure students remain safe? ANSWER: ask parents to sit with the teenager and use some commonsense.

b) have you introduced the program to high schools? ANSWER: yes and most principals turn it down for legal reasons. What if something goes wrong? The U.S. student heard about the program through the school and the school is liable.” So I am appealing to a general population to the public for support and to find US teenagers to volunteer. I issue letters to confirm participation in the program as proof for the hours…

c) how does your organization make money and fund this outreach to students? ANSWER: donations. I receive no salary and the donations cover the cost of explanatory disks and website space.

I hope you are inspired to invite me to describe this program.

Nice idea. It’s like
Steve McCrea
954 646 8246 mobile