I’m Michael Rost, the founder of Lateral Communications. I work with language professionals – researchers, teachers, authors, editors, publishers, media producers, organizations – around the world. I collaborate with my partners to develop and distribute cutting edge classes, learning products, curricula, and training programs. I aim to establish a unique identity for every project.


I like to stay involved with every project from conception through development, throughout production, into the launch and promotion. I especially enjoy working with customer support – and improving how the product or service is being used and experienced.

Depth of Understanding

From my first job as an English teacher in the Peace Corps in grim conditions to my current work on global online education with its technological advances, my focus has always been on promoting an appreciation of the value of diversity and the rewards cross-cultural collaboration. My travels, my research, and my writings have all been in support of this goal.


Whenever I start on a new project – a book, a series, a course, a game, an app – I like to ask, “What hasn’t been done before?” If a project has a vibrant innovative energy, it’s likely to bring out the best in everybody involved. I feel that my job as a project manager or series editor is to nurture and manage that innovative energy.


When I work with teachers on professional development, I start by helping them identify their passion for teaching and learning. Once we are able to kindle – or reignite – their passion, the development process begins to flow more easily.


Every project – textbook development, research issue, or team building – starts with observation. Clear observation – in meetings, focus groups, onsite visits, report generation – is an essential element of success throughout the execution of the project. Clear observation is developed through a calm mind and “soft” understanding of the goals of the mission.


Understanding the role of listening in language development has been a major breakthrough in my career. All of the language courses I design feature listening as the central component – out of which, speaking, interaction, reading, and writing can grow. Listening is the foundation of successful communication and learning .


Ultimately, whether a product or service is delivered successfully is a matter of efficacy. At the end of the day, what is delivered has to be elegant, efficient, and cost-effective.

Listening in a Multilingual World:


Spotlight Article

The Challenges of Second Language (L2) Listening

A much-sited position paper by Michael, presenting the case for all of us becoming successful multilingual listeners – even at a beginning level of proficiency. Developed under the guidance of Margaret Imhof and Graham Bodie.

View this article or download on

Listening in Action

Designed and updated by Keiko Rost.

Designed and updated by Keiko Rost.

A renewed edition of Michael’s classic work, this Kindle edition provides 101 clear, accessible, exciting ways to teach listening to learners of all ages and all levels Each activity provides links to online resources (such as free music, interviews, and YouTube videos) for constructing and expanding, as well as samples of activities in use.

Available on Amazon.

Active Listening


Mike’s newest guide for classroom teachers, written with JJ Wilson.

After presenting concise summaries of relevant research on listening, this volume presents 50 clear activity types for developing listening skills and strategies.

Developed under the tutelage of Jill Hadfield and the late Chris Candlin.

English Firsthand


Leading communicative language series in Asia.

Michael is the series editor for this leading communicative language series in Asia, working with a dynamic team of writers, headlined by Marc Helgesen.

Now in its fourth edition, this series has been expanded through cutting edge learning and assessment technologies.

Pearson English Interactive

LATCOMM Image Pearson English Interctive

Winner of the American Educational Publishers Award

Pearson Education’s leading online course for learning English and winner of the American Educational Publishers Award. This course was developed under the guidance of Joanne Dresner, Sherry Preiss, and Irene Frankel. With four levels, this is a video-based course, with an emphasis on listening, speaking, pronunciation.

The teacher’s version on Pearson is available here, and the student course is available here.

Contemporary Topics


A global leading academic listening series

A leading academic listening series around the world, Contemporary Topics helps learners develop listening strategies and critical thinking skills.

Currently being updated for a new fourth edition.

Teaching and Researching Listening

Teaching and Researching Listening book by Michael Rost

Michael’s career work, now in its third edition.

This volume is widely recognized among linguists as leading publication in the area of the teaching listening.

The book describes and illustrates cognitive and social processes involved in effective listening, and successful approaches and guidelines for teaching and testing.

Available on Amazon or directly from the publisher.