Friday, January 31, 2014

OPEN CLASS: Retelling a Short Mystery

In this OPEN CLASS, we discussed the short mystery film "The Black Hole" available on YouTube and learned new English structures and vocabulary from it. Here are the details.

SHORT FILM: The Black Hole
FOCUS: Retelling a story; Asking hypothetical "What if" questions
LANGUAGE: Simple Present, Second Conditional
STUDY GUIDE click here

You can watch the video from the conversation which was recorded as a LIVE Google Hangout as well as the short film below.

Here is the Hangout of our Open Class

Here is the short film "The Black Hole"

We thank the wonderful participants: Andrey, Antal, Jane, Liliana, Peter, Lily, Renzo, Sleem and Andri.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

LANGUAGE FOCUS: There is / There are... so many things

There is / There are talk about the basic existence of something real or abstract. Here are some examples. Examine each one and do your best to answer the question at the end.

Friday, January 24, 2014

LANGUAGE FOCUS: A Brief History of the English

by StoryPaul

Have you ever wondered why English grammar rules and vocabulary are so diverse and inconsistent compared to other more "pure" languages?

The English we know today has its origins over one thousand years ago as events in history would merge speakers of Old English (a more rudimentary language that evolved from Anglo-Frisian dialects of Germanic invaders to the British isles) with those of Old French (the more academic language that descended from spoken Latin in the Roman Empire).

Today, English is a modern language that is in a constant state of evolution as business, science and technology are most often communicated globally in English. Arguably, there are many social, economic and geopolitical factors that have made this the case.

But here's the linguistic one. It's the varied origins of English in the past that make it a language that is adept at adaptation, as it becomes the world's lingua franca. It's a language that today, at the dawn of the 21st century, continues to incorporate words and concepts of other Western languages and some Eastern ones as well.

Does this means that English threatens the continuity of other languages? Absolutely not. English is just a language that many will continue to learn as a second language because it helps to break down barriers to communication with the rest of the world, not just the English-speaking countries.

So if you study English, keep in mind that it is a very open and dynamic language. Not a closed and rigid one. This is why trying to learn English by merely studying its rules is often not as effective as taking a more natural and contextual approach to learning it.

The following video from the people at TED-ed tells us the story of the early evolution of English. To watch, make sure to TURN ON the captions if you want to read along. Enjoy!

Friday, January 17, 2014

LANGUAGE FOCUS: The Story Method

by StoryPaul

The S.T.O.R.Y. Method is the practical, dynamic and 100% contextual training method I created for English students. It's based on 5 key aspects of a learner's communication experience (Story, TimeObjective. Recognition. You). 

I train learners to naturally acquire structures, pronunciation and vocabulary by first understanding the context of the communication experience. Young children learn their first language contextually. So do people who recently arrived in a new country.

Find out more below...