LAST POSTS

3 Dec 2013

Some studying tips... FOR THE WHOLE YEAR!

Hi there!

Now that the exams are round the corner, here I leave you with some tips that will help you learn better. Hope you find them useful!
  • Don't overdo it: studying 15-30 minutes per day is more effective than studying 2 hours once every week.
  • For a whole week, try studying 15-30 minutes each day. Not less. And definitively not more than that (even if you could).
  • You will see that the following day, studying is much more fun, simply because you didn't push it to the limit the day before.
Read more...

2 Dec 2013

The 50 most common spelling mistakes

While the Spanish strive to learn English... Cambridge University reveals the 50 most common spelling mistakes we make. See if you can find them! (The answers are at the end)

(Taken from ESQUIRE | 06 DE NOVIEMBRE DE 2013)

wich
confortable
becouse
accomodation
polution
dificult
posibility
nervious
imposible
diferents
comunication
coffe
wises
possitive
tipical
hellow
embrrasing
reponsabilities
responsable
recieved
decission
bougth
arround

posible
belive
bycicle
enviroment
beatiful
recomend
begining
reponsability
demostration
recived
oportunity
advertisment
untill
ruber
bussiness
succesful
adress
nowdays
necesary
enought
whith
goverment
bussines



CORRECT ANSWERS:

wHich
coMfortable
becAuse
accoMmodation
polLution
difFicult
posSibility
nervous
impoSsible
difFerent
comMunication
coffeE
wisHes
positive
tipical
hello
embArraSsing
reponsIbilities
responsIble
recEIved
decision
bougHT
around




poSsible
beliEve
bIcYcle
enviroNment
beaUtiful
recoMmend
beginNing
reponsIbility
demoNstration
recEived
opPortunity
advertisEment
until
ruBber
bussiness
succeSsful
adDress
nowAdays
neceSsary
enough
with
goverNment
businesS

Read more...

11 Nov 2013

Chimananda Ngozi Adichie: the danger of a single story



Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Today I wanted to write about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie  an Igbo writer from Nigeria that I have very recently discovered. For the moment I have read her short story collection The Thing around her Neck and the novel Purple Hibiscus. I strongly recommend both of them.


She has been labeled as the most prominent of a procession of acclaimed young anglophone authors that has succeeded in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature. Since she's settled in the US, some of her stories also show the cultural clash between the Western and African views of the world.


Listen to her on this very interesting talk about the power of stories. You'll find her extremely easy to understand due to her crystal-clear diction and her outstanding communicative skills.



If you want to read a little bit more about her life, and her writing career, check the document below. You can also visit Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's official website.



Read more...

5 Nov 2013

Choosing a topic for your oral presentation

Hi there!

In every level you will be asked to prepare one or two oral presentations. Even if you don't like them much, they are extremely helpful for you to revise and consolidate contents, and also to develop your fluency and spontaneity in English.

The teacher might give you the topic, or they might give you the choice to talk about anything you want, but... how do you decide what to talk about?

Normally, students choose the topics based on one of the following criteria:
Oral presentations
  • They talk about what they think the teacher wants to hear.
  • They choose topics that they consider easy.
  • They choose a topic that inspires or excites them.
Without a doubt, the best results happen when the students are inspired by the topic.

The truth about your presentation is that if it doesn't excite you, it won't excite your listeners. If you're not fascinated by the content, the audience will automatically become bored. Plus, you'll lose your own motivation along the way...

So, the next time you ask yourself, "How do I decide what to talk/write about?", start with what inspires you and build from there.

Once you have the topic, explore your book and your notes and try to include all the new things you can!
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4 Nov 2013

Health; going to the doctor's; good stress; present perfect simple vs. continuous

Hi there!

These days we've been talking about health and eating habits. In one of the first sessions we discussed whether milk was good for the body or not . Here I post the video in case you may want to watch it again. If you open it directly on YouTube remember that you can activate subtitles. However, remember that they are computer-generated, so you may find many mistakes. Still, they are still helpful to follow the main ideas.





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3 Nov 2013

Language, culture and identity: the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

B2, C1
Hi there!

Today's entry is devoted to the relationship between language, culture and identity: believe it or not, the language we speak shapes the way we are, feel and behave, as it also affects the way our brain works. At the same time, our language is always deeply rooted in one particular culture, which determines the way we think and the way we conceptualize the world.

However, to what extent is that determination true?

Would you agree with the following sentence? What implications does it have?


"Without a culture we cannot see,
but with a culture we are forever blind."
K.J. Irving

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis holds that the structure of a language affects the perceptions of reality of its speakers and thus influences their thought patterns and world views. Therefore, people who speak different languages can "live" the world from different perspectives and therefore have a richer experience. 

If you are interested in this subject, check out the video below. I must admit it might be a little bit too technical, but it will give you a good picture of what the Sapir-Whort hypothesis defends.

NB: If you open the video on YouTube, you can activate the option "subtitles", although I'm afraid they're only available in Spanish...

Enjoy!


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24 Oct 2013

On public speaking

Hi there,

I've just come across this article on "public speaking", which is -fortunately- becoming an important matter for educationalists in Spain.

Why is "public speaking" taught in British schools but not in Spanish ones? What are the consequences of this? Read the article to find out...

¿Por qué los colegios ingleses enseñan oratoria y los españoles no?




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14 Oct 2013

How to improve writing skills!

If you want to improve your writing skills, try one of these fun writing activities! They might seem a bit crazy but they do work!!


Taken from ESL Basics


  1. Write a story that is made up of 26 sentences, where each sentence begins with a different letter of the alphabet. The first sentence will start with “A”, the second sentence will start with “B”, and so on.
  2. Practice using the common suffix “-ion” by writing a paragraph that includes at least 15 words that end in “-ion”.
  3. Write a sentence that contains no nouns.
  4. Write a sentence that contains four nouns, three verbs, two adjectives, and one adverb.
  5. Write a sentence in which each word only has one vowel in it.
  6. Write a sentence that contains every letter of the alphabet at least once.
  7. Write the longest sentence that you can – without using the letter “e”.
  8. Write a paragraph about your most valued possession, using as many possessive pronouns as possible (my, mine, your, yours, his, her, hers, its, our, ours, their, and theirs).
  9. Write a dialogue between two people with as many questions as possible.
  10. Write down the lyrics of one of your favorite songs. Then use formal English formatting and language to transform those lyrics into a business letter.
Choose one/some of these activities and leave us a comment with your experience! :)
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10 Oct 2013

How to get your point across in Spain

Hi there,

I've just found this very interesting article on how we communicate in Spain. I believe the writer manages to capture many of our cultural features, and how we display them in communication... or doesn't he?

How to get your point across in Spain


What do you think of the image given of the Spanish? Do you agree with the way we are portrayed? Feel free to post a comment below!
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Revision of tenses; personality adjectives; relationships

Hi everyone!

Here you have the first entry of the year! I'll regularly post a summary of what we've done in class but, most importantly, I'll also post extra material to consolidate and to expand what we do in the lessons.

We've already advanced quite a lot and are almost finishing Unit 1! These days we've been revising tenses, question formation and auxiliaries. As for vocabulary, we've talked about relationships and also personality.

If you want to continue revising English tenses, try the following exercises online:

  • Revision of tenses 1: here you have exercises with pairs of tenses (present simple vs. present continuous; past simple vs. past continuous; past simple vs. past perfect, etc).
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7 Oct 2013

42 Idiom Origins


If you are a "word nerd", check out the following video: the origin of 42 idioms explained in under 10 minutes!




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3 Oct 2013

What to do with new vocabulary

Hi there,

Yesterday in class we talked a little bit about what to do with all the vocabulary that comes up in the reading texts and the extra handouts I give you.

From the Advanced Level onwards we still learn some grammar, but basically we'll revise what you already know and we'll mainly focus on your vocabulary to polish and refine your English. Get used to using a highlighter to mark all the new expressions you come upon. After each unit, revise everything you highlighted and copy it to your notebook. That way you'll revise your vocabulary after every unit and studying won't be so hard at the end of the year.

I know it takes time, but believe me, it's really, really worth it, and you'll be more than happy to have that list for the final exam in June. And for all your subsequent years learning English. Take my word :)
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28 Sep 2013

The Magic E

Hi!

Today's entry is devoted to the "magic E"! The "magic E" is that silent <e> that is not pronounced, but it magically lengthens the previous sound!

See the difference that the <e> makes in the following pairs of words:
Here you have a song which is used in schools in English speaking countries to show the pronunciation effect of silent <e> at the end of words.

It's a song for children, I know... But it's really catchy, you'll see! And it can help you too! :)





Read more...

26 Sep 2013

¿Por qué se nos atraganta el inglés?, in ABC

Here I leave you with another item of news published in ABC, entitled "Por qué se nos atraganta el inglés".

http://www.abc.es/sociedad/20130915/abci-atragantados-ingles-201309141744.html

Do you have any comments or opinion? Please, feel free to post below.
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"Cero en expresión oral", in ABC

Please, check this newspaper article on the art of public speaking.

http://sociedad.elpais.com/sociedad/2013/09/13/actualidad/1379089531_961683.html

It was published in ABC following Ana Botella's performance to defend Madrid's venue for the Olympics.

Very insightful, indeed.


Read more...

25 Sep 2013

How to use www.soziety.com

Hi there!

In this entry I tell you about the website www.soziety.com, where you can practise your oral skills from home and completely for free!

The website works as follows: you select your mother-tongue, the language you want to practise and your current level; the website will then look for your perfect matches. Normally, you'll talk to English speakers who want to learn Spanish: that way, you do each other a mutual favour. And, by all means, you can practise other languages too!

When registering, you can chose your preferred mode to talk: by phone, skype or google voice.

Go to the website and click on "Apply for an invitation". You will be re-directed to this page where you have to include your details:



Read more...

14 May 2013

Learn a phrasal verb a day!

Good afternoon!

Having trouble with phrasal verbs? Here I leave you with this link to learn a phrasal verb a day!

Thanks Pepe, from Avanzado 1 CAL for the contribution!
Read more...

18 Apr 2013

Infinitive or -ing?

Many of you still have problems with verbs followed by infinitive or -ing.

Click here for a revision and here to do an activity online.
Read more...

11 Feb 2013

Negative prefixes; why men & women can't be friends

Hi everyone,


On Wednesday we worked with negative prefixes (prefixes to form opposite words). These prefixes can be a bit difficult because there is no rule that tells us which prefix we have to use. For example, is it inexpensive or inexpensive?

That means that we have to learn them by heart...!

Here you have the most common negative prefixes, with some examples:

Dis- 

Negative prefixes


Un-
Negative prefixes


In-
Negative prefixes

Il- (always used with words that begin with <l>)


Negative prefixes


Im- (always used with words that begin with <p>)


Negative prefixes



Ir- (always used with words that begin with <r>)

Negative prefixes

You can revise this a little bit more on this link from BBC World Service. If what you want is practise, here you have a matching exercise and a multiple choice exercise(Note that the adjective "satisfied" can have to opposites: "unsatisfied" and "dissatisfied").

Now, changing topic...! The day we saw negative prefixes in class we also discussed some issues about family and friends, and someone asked if you believed that boys and girls could be friends, and just friends.

Well, I've found a video recorded at Utah State University about this topic ("Why men and women cannot be friends"). It's in English with subtitles in Spanish, so check it out! I'm sure you'll find it very funny :)

Read more...

7 Feb 2013

Ten characteristics of a good teacher

Hi everyone!

Sonia Sánchez, from Avanzado 1 CAL, has sent me this article entitled "Ten Characteristics of a Good Teacher", by Patricia Miller. It is particularly interesting for the CAL group, but those in the ordinary group can obviously read it too. Really insightful!

Read more...

2 Feb 2013

Wikileaks; Bowling for Columbine; Sicko; Gandhi quotes

Hi everyone!

Last week we continued with Unit 5 and we've practically finished it by now.

On Tuesday we talked about Wikileaks (Unit 5.3. in your books). Click here for a newspaper article from The Guardian in which Assange, the founder of the website, criticises and attacks the new WikiLeaks film which is to be released shortly.


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27 Jan 2013

Introductory "it"; India; How can you tell if someone is lying?; "Imagine Dragons"

Hi everyone!

Since we came back from Christmas we've practically fully covered Unit 4, related to crime and punishment.

One of the first days we watched a video about the dramatic news of the incident occurred in India. If you wish you watch the video again to practise your listening, I post it below. Remember that you have the whole transcription, so you can check it as you listen, if necessary.

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