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Click on the picture and you can watch a video - good for listening practice and you can help the planet!
 
 

Record your speaking

Here's a reminder from last week's lesson....

If you want to improve your speaking you should record yourself using your mp3 player or mobile phone.  
Then listen and analyse yourself. 

But what should you listen for?

Grammar
  • Are your verb tenses correct?
  • Is your sentence structure (subject, verb, object) OK?
  • Do you use prepositions correctly?
  • Are you using Articles correctly?
  • Are all your sentences simple, or do you use complex grammar (such as first conditional, reported speech, passive etc)?

Vocabulary

  • Can you find the words you need when you speak?
  • Do you only use simple words?  Can you use some new words from class?
  • Do you connect your ideas together? (using firstly, after that, while, so, and then etc.)

There are so many things you can check.  It will help you to understand what your speaking problems are.

To help you start here are some topics for you to talk about.  And then I'm sure you can think of some other topics yourself.

You can record yourself again and again with the same topic.  Hopefully each time you can better and include more complex grammar and vocabulary.

And with all this practice your speaking level should match your class level!

Happy speaking!
 
 

Watch the news and answer the questions

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Here's something I used to do with my students in Australia.  

We watched a news program created for English students in Australia, and they answered the questions.  
You can try 2 programs here:

1.  A news report on Teenagers and Obesity
2.  A news report on banning mobile phones in cars


 
 

How can I remember new vocabulary each week?

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Post-it Notes!

Each week you should try to learn about 10 new words...and REMEMBER them!!! 

The best way to do this is to write them on post-it notes and post them round your house.  For example, one on the fridge, one on your bedroom door, one on the mirror, one next to your bed etc.  

What should you write on the post-it?  
Here's an example using the word - several:

      several (adj for C nouns)   =   many, lots of, (maybe 5-7 things)

      Several students got high grades in their exam.

Every time you see the post-it note you MUST READ everything on it.  So, if you see the post-it note 10 times everyday for 7 days, that means you say this new word 70 times in one week!  

This repetition creates a little 'pathway' or road in your brain, and this means the new word has become part of your English knowledge in your brain.  
However, like all roads, this must be looked after and 'maintained'.  This means you should try to use this word when you speak in class or when you do your homework.  
If you don't use the word then, unfortunately, your 'word pathway' will break down.  And this is what happens to some roads in Istanbul when they are not maintained!!

 

Reading 1

03/02/2011

1 Comment

 
Hello everyone!

Here is the first post to help you practice your English outside class.  I hope you find the activities useful.  If you enjoy them maybe you can find similar activities on the Internet.  If you find anything interesting please tell us - you can write something in the COMMENTS.

How can I improve my reading?

We studied a reading text in the last lesson and you guessed the meaning of words you didn't know.  This can be quite difficult so it is a good idea to practice the process often.  

You can read a recent news story here about the problems in Tunisia and practice this process.  The text will probably be difficult for you but that means you need to use the tactics we practiced in class.  
Remember:
  • Please don't use a dictionary as this won't help you develop this skill.
  • Try to read and focus on the words you understand to help you generally understand the text.
  • If there are one or two words that you don't understand try to work out the grammar of these words (eg. are they verbs, nouns, adjectives etc.?)
  • If there are too many difficult words then try to read a different sentence.  (When you read a long text you don't need to understand every sentence.)
  • Then try to guess what these words might mean in this sentence - you don't need to be perfect.
  • If you think any of the words may be useful for you in the future then write them down.  You can check their exact meaning in a dictionary, after you have finished the reading activity.  Plan to use these words in class next week.  You can get bonus points if I notice you have used a new word from this text!!!!!
You don't need to read everything - remember 10 to 15 minutes a day is best.  The more you practice this process with different texts the easier it will become.  

This ability to work out language is necessary if you want to use English at work or take exams, such as IELTS or TOEFL, in the future.  Also, all your future reading exams in English will test this ability.