Monday, 20 November 2017

Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again. (André Gide)

Present perfect simple and continuos here. You will also find this extract, which I have taken from Practical English Usage (Oxford), very useful.

The less routine the more life. (Amos Bronson Alcott)

Have a look at this lesson on the present simple. You can also see how to form the present simple in affirmative and negative sentences and in questions here

Friday, 17 November 2017

Health is not valued till sickness comes. (Thomas Fuller)

Here is the interview with Kevin Poulter, the English chef who opened a restaurant in Chile. Learn how to make cookies and check out all the vocabulary for the kitchen. Topic 3 is here and topic 4 is on its way!  

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The English Language is a work in progress. Have fun with it. (Jonathan Culver)

Here'a a video called What's your family doing now?  You can also do an exercise on the present progressive/continuous here. Have a look at this living room. Can you describe it? More practice on the saxon genitive here.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Never wear a backward baseball cap to an interview unless applying for the job of umpire. (Dan Zevin)

Here are the contents of last Thursday's session. You can find a list of unusual jobs you never knew existed here - it includes pet psychologist, one of our groups' choice! 

The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help. (Ronald Reagan)

Have a look at this video which is great for practising vocabulary related to rooms and actions, but doesn't use contractions :( You can revise how to say the date hereYou can also revise how to give personal information here. Once again, no contractions :(
Native speakers will almost always use contractions in everday speech, so you should too!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

The kitchen is the heart of every home, for the most part. It evokes memories of your family history. (Debi Mazar)

Sing along with Sam Cooke Don't know much about history ... Check out the pronunciation of ordinal numbers here. Look at bedroom and bathroom vocabulary. And have a very good weekend!

Sometimes I look up a recipe for chicken and tomatoes and end up cooking pork. The insiration gets lost in translation. (Alex Guarnaschelli)

The Guardian's podcast: Let's eat ... Sunday lunch. The changing face of British meal times. Quantifiers - much, many, some, any, (a) little, (a) few, English Grammar Exercises here. My favourite meal: a very short reading with exercises. Enjoy the rest of the week and the weekend!

Sunday, 5 November 2017

When you wake up at 6 in the morning, you close your eyes for 5 minutes and it's already 6.45 . When you're at work and it's 2.30, and you close your eyes for 5 minutes it's 2.31. (Anonymous)

Jobs and work vocabulary here. Have a look at this wonderful video on parts of the house. It's just 2 minutes and 41 seconds. My only criticism: Lucy doesn't use contractions! Notice the two different pronunciations of garage - Lucy's and the narrator's. We practised a third option, /ˈgærɪʤ/, in class. That's variety for you!

Friday, 3 November 2017

It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up. (Muhammad Ali)

These are the activities from this Thursday's session. And have a look at the surprising truth about what makes us happy at work here.
Check out this page, on asking for and giving opinions, in anticipation of next Thursday's session. Highly recommended!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

One's work may be finished someday, but one's education never. (Alexandre Dumas)

Topic two here. The links on the last slide actually work so no need to include them here.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Little by little, a little becomes a lot. (Anonymous)

You can find some more jobs and work vocabulary here. If you haven't already done so, have a look at the difference in use between bring, take and carry. You might find the story of fish and chips interesting too. Finally, what's a British Ploughman's lunch?

If you have good food in the fridge, you will eat good food. (Errick McAdams)

Here are the contents of this Thursday's lesson. People describe their favourite food here. Read this short informative essay on how to live a healthy life. Now switch off your computer and go out there and get some fresh air. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Treasure your relationships, not your possessions. (Anthony J. D'Angelo)

Here is this week's board. Play this game to learn school subjects. You can practise the pronunciation at the same time. There is also a classroom language quiz here.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

No team works without teamwork. (Dwyane Wade)

Many thanks to A for the fantastic link to a wealth of reading resources: elementary and pre-intermediate. J, too, has been very generous and shared this fantastic link to a wealth of listening resources
Keep up the good work everybody!

Friday, 20 October 2017

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it. (George A. Moore)

Here are the activities from last Thursday's session. All the teaching materials can be checked out here. You might find this text about the advantages and disadvantages of living with parents interesting. This one too.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

I always say that practice gets you to the top most of the time. (David Beckham)

Try this exercise, listen to this song about the family, and look at the notes from the blackboard. Then enjoy your weekend. 
Thank you PP for this link.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, loving what you are doing or learning to do. (Pele)

Topic One here
Study skills here.
Verb + object + verb here.
Giving an opinion, agreeing and disagreeing here.
Lost in Translation here.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body. (Joseph Addison)

Read this, if you haven't already done so. You can check out the course contents here. You might also find this article on language learning strategies useful - it has plenty of follow-up links.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and then suddenly you are doing the impossible. (Francis of Assisi)

Here are some more contents from this month's lessons. Watch this 3-minute video on greetings in English and here's another one. Have a good weekend and see you on Monday.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Our true nationality is mankind. (H.G.Wells)

You can check the spelling of nationalities here. If you have time, watch this video on members of the family in English for Monday's class. You will also find an interesting vocabulary sheet here.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Everything starts with one step, or one brick, or one word or one day. (Jeremy Giller)

Check out the difference between everyday and every day. You can also look into the difference between all and every. If you're really up for the challenge, the difference between at last and finally is also worth clearing up.

Friends are the siblings God never gave us. (Mencius)

Here are the activities from the third session. If you have time, have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of online dating here.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment. (Zig Ziglar)

Try this exercise - very short, but very pertinent. Have a look at this video - again short - by a fellow colleague.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. (Lao Tzu)
Here are some of the contents from the first classes. Listen to the pronunciation of ten numbers here and months of the year here. Enjoy the weekend and see you on Monday.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. (Arthur Ashe)

Here is an interactive version of Adrian Underhill's phonemic chart. Thank you, S, for sharing this link to a free pronunciation APP. You can find free graded readers here. You can revise how to say the date here. So what are you waiting for? Let's get started!  

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

There is no substitute for hard work. (Thomas Edison)

Here is the alphabet and months of the year, numbers and something extra. Don't forget to use a mirror to practise the pronunciation of everything we have practised in class. Good luck and have a good weekend!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

To have another language is to possess a soul. (Charlemagne)

Hello everyone. Here is something you can use for good pronunciation.
See you on Wednesday.

Monday, 18 September 2017

You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; in just the same way, you learn to love by loving. (Anatole France)

Do this questionnaire on study habits. Watch this and then do the listening activity which I hope you will find useful. Here is Stranger than Fiction so you can start your reading programme. You can listen to it being read here.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

There is NO elevator to success. You have to take the stairs. (Unknown)

Hello, everyone and welcome to the new course. It is important to have a couple of things clear from the very start

After that, it will be all plain sailing.  

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Summer is almost over ..... all you half naked people are gonna have to find a personality. (Unknown)

We are now embarking on the final leg of the summer which means we need to start thinking ahead instead of just enjoying the moment! 
Days of September exams here 
Times of September exams here

Sunday, 11 June 2017

I write in the most distressingly slow way in terms of punctuation and grammar. (Maurice Saatchi)

All you need to know about apostrophes here. The rules for commas here. Excellent overall punctuation guide here. So what are you waiting for? Time to get started; and of course, the more you read, ...

Sunday, 7 May 2017

The only people who care about advertising are the people who work in advertising. (George Parker)

Thank you so much RR for sharing this. It is absolutely mind-boggling, and, as you say, very pertinent to what we have been looking at in class. Here also are some of the worst marketing blunders ever.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company. (Mark Twain)

Thank you P/J for this very interesting read from National Geographic on climate. Many thanks also to E for bringing this video and lesson  to our attention. 

Saturday, 25 February 2017

For a gallant spirit there can never be defeat. (Wallis Simpson)

Well done, I, on a magnificent win of the first Just a Minute Final. J too, who, against all the odds, beat her opponent fairly and squarely. A round of applause as well for CR who won Thursday's cookery competition with her Chocolate Guinness cake which was absolutely delicious! The rest of us will have to take solace in the knowledge that we tried.  As Michael Jordan said, I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying. In any case, What is defeat? Nothing but education. Nothing but the first step to something better. (Wendell Phillips).
More practice on plurals hereSend me your answers.

Monday, 20 February 2017

I think it depends from where your background is. (Nicholas Parsons) Iran (Shappi Khorsandi )

Includes interesting exchange on the pronunciation of often and people's origins.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

With real estate, it's location, location, location. In public speaking, it's acoustics, acoustics, acoustics. (Christopher Buckley)

Rising tensions in the English Department
Here is an example of a speech on the topic winning arguments which lasted for a full minute without being challenged.
Well it varies according to the person that you are arguing with. Should it be a child that you are having a contretemps with, the ideal is deviation tactics. For instance Lola Lupin who I mentioned before won't eat her dinner. So what I do is say, "yes it is rotten food, let us sing a song", making sure that the particular chanson has a few vowels in it that require her to open her mouth! During which I pop the spoon in and I have won the argument. However if it is an argument with a person that knows their subject, what I do is nod sagely and smile superciliosly, let them ramble on, and at the end I say "well I'm sorry, I think you're completely wrong", turn on my heels and leave. I ... [Episode 633 Just a Minute Season 50 2005-07-25]
You can time yourselves with this example to get an idea of what speed would be acceptable.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. (Winston Churchill)

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!
Here are members of the English Department rehearsing for the big day. If there is a big enough audience at the beginning, we might even venture to have a go and show you how it's done! Anything you could possibly want to know about Just a Minute, including transcripts, here.  

Monday, 6 February 2017

Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through. (Jonathan Swift)

Have a look at a very brief lesson on criminal and civil law. Hopefully you can now tell the difference and be more law-abiding citizens as a result! You may find some of these podcasts, care of J's students, well worth your time.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Sometimes those who challenge you most teach you best. (Anonymous)

Here are two extra activities on signs and notices for you to work on. The second parts in both are far more difficult. Are you up to the challenge? You should also find time to read through this explanation on paragraphs and paragraphing and this one on establishing arguments.
Here is another challenge: the 7-step listening one!

Monday, 2 January 2017

If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that. (Stephen King)

Read this and this and this carefully. Everything, absolutely everything, should ring a bell. Here is an example with feedback and here is another one. Of course, if I were to give you any tips, the key words would be: read, think, read, plan, read, ...

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. (Saint Augustine)

And another for you to check out. Voting will take place soon. We are clearly running out of time but nothing makes a person more productive than the last minute! 
See you this afternoon for tests on reading and listening, and feedback on all those Christmas texts. Don't forget the self-assessment checklist either; and this is just the calm before the storm.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world. (Gustave Flaubert)

Here is another proposal for our Christmas trip. I should have received all of them by now :( At this rate, we will be voting for the best trip for Christmas 2017! 
How to improve your writing here and here.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The real goal of classroom assessment is to improve student performance, not merely audit it. (Sousa and Tomlinson)

The festive season is approaching fast and so is the first term assessment! You are asked to grade your performance during the first term by completing this checklist. You should hand it in by 20th December at the very latest!
Meanwhile take a look at this. Hopefully it will ring a bell!

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

If you worried about falling off the bike, you'd never get on. (Lance Armstrong)

Here is the first proposal for our Christmas trip to London. It is definitely not for the faint of heart! Fortunately, the Peter Pan Race is a spectator event and we are not expected to take our swimsuits with us for Christmas Day! We should be grateful for small mercies because we still have to walk, bike and skate. I'm still not sure where my Christmas Day dinner is coming from though.

Monday, 14 November 2016

To enjoy the glow of good health, you must exercise. (Gene Tunney)

Thank you so much S for sharing this incredible ad on just how good sport is for you. On the other hand, check out how a stressful workplace could take 33 years off your life expectancy here! Both sources provide us with plenty of food for thought.

Monday, 7 November 2016

The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one. (Oscar Wilde)

If you fancy a laugh, read this. It is an actual job application a 17 year old boy submitted at a McDonald's fast food establishment in Florida ... and they hired him because he was so honest and funny! Listen to your fellow countryman's English on busy being unemployed in southern Spain. If this were his monologue for the C1 oral test, would you pass him?Why/why not? Be prepared to give your opinion in class. 

Sunday, 6 November 2016

A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That's why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet. (Truman Capote)

You will find some really interesting information about the passive here. It is actually intended for teachers but I think you will find it well worth the read.
Have a look at the BBC's comments on the art of conversation. Then check out how to hesitate like a native English speaker and these hesitation strategies. Finally, what to do when stuck for words.