Monday, April 30, 2012

ESOL Nexus – meeting ESOL learners’ needs online

This post is about ESOL Nexus, which is a portal for ESOL teachers and learners in the UK from the British Council – you can access it here:

What is it: 
ESOL Nexus has come out of a European Integration Fund-backed project to support third country nationals (ie. Non UK & Non EU nationals) learning English – there’s more information on their site here:

The site does this by providing self-access materials for learners alongside resources to help ESOL teachers.

Read the rest at ESOL Nexus – meeting ESOL learners’ needs online ~ Classroom201X

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

MIT launches student-produced educational video initiative

Another good source for English language videos. These will help you develop a your English vocabularies in science, technology, engineering and math.

Original short videos, in collaboration with Khan Academy, aim to fuel K-12 students’ interest in engineering and science.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — MIT has launched an initiative encouraging its students to produce short videos teaching basic concepts in science and engineering. The videos — aimed at younger students, in grades from kindergarten through high school — will be accessible through a dedicated MIT website and YouTube channel. A subset of the videos will also be available on Khan Academy, a popular not-for-profit educational site founded by an MIT alumnus.

MIT launches student-produced educational video initiative - MIT Media Relations

Lets Face It: English Is A Crazy Language

english language

There is no egg in the eggplant,
No ham in the hamburger
And neither pine nor apple in the pineapple.

English muffins were not invented in England,
French fries were not invented in France.

We sometimes take English for granted, 
but if we examine its paradoxes we find that:

Monday, April 23, 2012

World Book Night

World Book Night is about promoting reading. Follow on Facebook and Twitter (@wbnamerica).In the US, tens of thousands of people go out into their communities and give out free World Book Night paperbacks. There is also English language WBN in Ireland and the UK, with website, activities and links. So what do you do if you can't do that? We'll use the internet, that's what. 

Although print books, handed out in person, are the focus, reading is what matters most. Have a Project Gutenberg book on me. Have as many as you want. Share them with all your friends. Free rounds of books for everyone!

PS: April 23 is UNESCO’s World Book Day, chosen due to the anniversary of Cervantes’ death, as well as Shakespeare’s birth and death. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Writing: the Hamburger Essay

HamburgerWhat? That makes me hungry! It's not really something you can eat. The hamburger essay refers to a style of writing that is common on essays written in English. Use this guide on how to write a hamburger essay to improve both your paragraphs and essays.

The guide will also help you understand how to create a map of your essay which will help make writing easier, and much more organized. This writing workshop takes the hamburger essay to another level focusing on four different exercises that can be used in class to help students improve their essay writing skills.

Presenting the Hamburger Essay

Thursday, April 19, 2012

English writing practice

English Leap is a commercial lesson site but also has many free learning resources. This one is for writing. Others address grammar, vocabulary, common mistakes, career resources and more.

Here are some tips to help you with English composition:
  • In the words of George Orwell, ‘Never use a long word when a short one will do.’
  • Keep your sentences short and well-punctuated, not long and convoluted.
  • Omit unnecessary words. There are a number of phrases in the English language that can be replaced with simple words to convey the same meaning; this should be done whenever possible. For example, the clause This is a matter which... can just as easily be written as This matter.
  • Try to stick to the active voice, rather than the passive.

The above points can be condensed into one golden rule of writing: keep it simple.Good writing is not about complexity; it is about conveying your message to the reader. Which leads us to the next rule:
  • Keep the readership in mind while writing.
  • Avoid being overly formal. It is impersonal.
  • Avoid multiple negatives. They often invert the intended meaning, and are difficult to untangle.
  • Make the verb agree with the subject, not with a word in between the two. 
For example, The bus, with all its passengers, were about to overturn is wrong, because here the subject is the singular ‘cart’, not the plural ‘passengers’. Hence, it should be The bus, with all its passengers, was about to overturn.
  • Use commas to bracket those parts of the sentence that would otherwise obstruct its flow, but do not use commas to join independent clauses. The proper punctuation mark to use in this case is the semicolon.
  1. English writing practice:Tips on English writing and free practice lessons

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mobile ESL

anywhere, anytime

Are you on the go? Do you have a mobile device? Have you used it to study English? Mobile learning, also called m-learning, is growing. Here are a few links to help you get started.

Friday, April 13, 2012

English: Learn Languages for Free | Open Culture

Learn English for free online. Download free audio lessons to your computer or mp3 player ~ and start learning English instantly

  • 6 Minute English iTunes Free Downloads Web Site
    • Learn and practice useful English with the BBC.
  • Better @ English iTunes Free – Feed – Web Site
    • Focuses on conversational English, with an emphasis on idioms and slang.
  • Business English iTunes Free Web Site
    • Learn the English you will need to function effectively in an American business environment.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Using social media as a language learning tool | Teacher Network Blog | Guardian Professional

Here is an interesting (intermediate to advance level) article about using social media for language learning. What social media do you use? Do you use them for language learning? What social media would you like to see the study group use?

Children now turn to social media by default. This makes it a great but currently underused tool for language teaching.

twitter in french

Way back in 2000, Ros Taylor wrote for the Guardian about the web's potential for language learning. At the time, internet users represented less than 6% of the world's population, and Taylor's article pioneered the use of online resources as a viable alternative to textbooks for GCSE students. As the internet became more popular, websites have become a pivotal resource for school pupils across all subjects. 

Earlier this year France launched a national campaign to improve foreign language skills amongst its schoolchildren, centred round a website called which uses self-study materials accessible on mobile and tablets to immerse children in a spoken English environment. While the internet has surpassed Taylor's expectations and embraced full-scale language courses such as this, there is still one area that remains virtually untouched by teachers – social media.

Read the rest of Using social media as a language learning tool | Teacher Network Blog | Guardian Professional

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Good Read: How To Speak Like A Native

Can’t roll your R’s when speaking Spanish? Don't sound like a native English speaker? Maybe you don’t need to:
“Pronunciation can be learned—but it should be learned with the goal of communicating easily with others, not with achieving a textbook-perfect accent. Adult students of language should be guided by the ‘intelligibility principle,’ not the old ‘nativeness principle.’” 
Source: Time Can an adult … Continue reading →

Good Read: How To Speak Like A Native
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...