Thursday, September 11, 2014

English Onion and Leek Soup by Jamie Oliver

In addition to his skills as a chef, Jamie Oliver also makes cooking fun. 

"Crisis sees rise in number of youngsters out of work and not studying" -- El País article

On September 11, 2014, El País, the national daily newspaper published a worrying article about unemployment among young people in Spain. Click here to access   this article.

Although the term crisis is used for our current economic woes, I encourage students to use the word slump.

By the way, the article makes reference to "ninis" which are young Spaniards who do not work or study. This popular expression comes from the Spanish "ni trabaja, ni estudia" = ni + ni. It is often used in the press to describe this depressing situation.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Succumb (English) = Sucumbir, ceder (Spanish)

This blog features a hyper link to the Spain's national daily newspaper's on-line English version. If you click on the hypertext today, Sept 10, 2014, you will find an article on Madrid's mayor, Ana Botella, who has "succumbed" to public pressure and decided to step down from her post. Here is the article on this politician

The featured verb, succumb, is commonly used in English journalism when a politician makes this sort of decision. 

Merriam Webster defines succumb as

intransitive verb \sə-ˈkəm\
: to stop trying to resist something
: to die

Full Definition of SUCCUMB

1:  to yield to superior strength or force or overpowering appeal or desire <succumb to temptation>
2:  to be brought to an end (as death) by the effect of destructive or disruptive forces

Wordreference offers this translation into Spanish
  succumb  =  sucumbir, ceder (= YIELD), fenecer

Lightning Hopkins: a Blues Legend

was a blues singer and musician who became associated with his homestate of Texas through his enduring guitar style. When people describe Texas blues style, they always start with Lightning Hopkins. I have been a fan of Lightning for many years. Here are some biographical data .

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Technical English: GLOBAL (Unit 1) NI 1

One interesting aspect of the English language is that it is used by many people as a lingua franca. That is, people whose native language is not English will use the language to communicate with other non-native speakers in specific situations. 

For example, a medical congress in Belgium may be attended by doctors from 20 or 30 different countries, but English is the official congress language so all the papers, workshops and posters are presented in English. This international English possesses certain characteristics, including a lack of phrasal or compound verbs and, of course, limited slang. 

It is impossible here to cover all these characteristics here but you might find these vocabulary lists of interest, from a Technical English website: 

GLOBAL INTERMEDIATE NI 1 Textbook for 2014-15 Academic Year

We are using the Global Intermediate by Lindsay Clandfield and Rebecca Robb Benne (MacMillan Publishing) for this academic year. It is  a very complete textbook which encompasses 10 chapters with a variety of topics and materials. If you are signed up for this course, please purchase this textbook soon. Good luck and see you in class!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

NA 1 2014-15 Practice with Idiomatic Expressions (in Spanish, modismos)

Our NA1 class will use the Third Edition of  New English File Upper Intermediate this academic year. 

I recommend you check out the on-line resources offered by this publishing house. You may find the section on Idioms and Collocations useful. Here is the link.

Click here

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Welcome Back!

Hello! I am back to my blog after a summer break. Although most of the summer was spent close to home, we did have a wonderful adventure in the Azores, just three hours north and west of our Canary Islands home. We visited the main island of Sao Miguel and also spent some time in Pico, a lush green island famous for its whaling tradition. I hope you are all well. Best wishes and watch this space for new developments! David Shea

Pico Island Information link. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Paula (NA2) on Early Years Education

            If I had the chance to make school rules, I would use different methods and teach questions that are useful in life.
             First of all, there would be a maximum of ten children per class so teachers could provide a certain individualized attention. Secondly, at nursery school and primary school the learning must be based in the experimentation so as to train children´s senses and common sense and, on the other hand, have the chance to learn in a more active and fun way.
Furthermore, they should train the ability to identify their emotions and how they might manage them, such us: breathing, doing exercise or meditation, because, in my opinion, this is absolutely necessary to ensure self-confidence, a well-balanced person and face the problems they will have to get over in the future.
Another factor to take into account is if we want to have conscientious adults, we must always be a model for our children and show them the importance of values such as respect, persistence or generosity, among others. And last but not least, throughout the learning, teachers must encourage a critical attitude so the students reach the capacity to think for themselves in every situation.
             In conclusion, education, as far as I am concerned, should provide a solid base to create a mentally healthier person and achieve more complex knowledge in our life.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Conversation topics for NA 2 speaking exams

DIY: one partner likes to do DIY around the house activities and has to convince the other partner that this is a great hobby to take up. It saves money and also provides satisfaction, for example, but requires carpentry, plumbing and other skills.
Global Warming: Discuss what can be done to improve our environment, both on an individual or neighbourhood level and in terms of government measures.
Guests Again!? Your partner has received a phone call from some US relatives who are going to come to stay. But they are quite a crowd and there is not enough room. Also you have had guests recently.
Social Networks: Discuss the pros and cons of social networking at both a personal and business level. Include in your discussion its usefulness in keeping people connected, how it helps some shy people overcome their fears, but also how addictive it might be for some users and also how it wastes a lot of time.


Here are the monologue topics for the NA 2 May speaking test:

1   Which person has inspired you the most?
2   What kind of work would give you job satisfaction?
3   Which three adjectives best describe your personality?
4   When you argue with friends or family, what do you argue about?
5   Why is it important for you to be good at English?
6   ‘It is not possible to be both successful and happy.’
7   What has been the most important historical event in your country?
8   Which famous sights in the world would you really like to see?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

If I could live in another century (Vanesa NA2)

In this essay, I propose to take my readers on a journey back in time. Films have suggested the time machine’s existence: Back to the future or Crusade in Jeans are good examples. If I could get in one of these marvelous inventions, I would travel to the twentieth century, more concretely, to the 1960’s in USA.
Maybe this is just a short trip, but I consider that the 60’s in the USA have been the most fascinating time in our history. A time full of love and music, a time when we believed that the rules were to be broken and nothing would stop our desire for freedom. If I could move to that time, I would have excited when man walked on the moon and Bob Dylan sang Blowing in the Wind, while all of us looked peacefully to Vietnam.
Without a doubt, I would have been a devoted fan of The Beatles and I would have shouted hysterically together with millions of girls in the JFK Airport, when the Fab Four came to conquer all the American hearts with their shaggy hair waving about wildly. Probably, the Woodstock music festival, celebrated in 1969, would have been an unavoidable appointment. Can you imagine listening to Jimi Hendrix, The Who or Joan Baez in the same scenery? This Festival became a symbol of the revolution against traditional values and I would not have minded being part of that movement.
A time of innocence and hope soon faded when the young president Kennedy, symbol of an inspiring future, was senselessly murdered in 1963. An American young girl like me would have cried in front of Capitol where she, with all of nation, would have felt that their hopes died, too. A similar emotion when another social and politic symbol, Martin Luther King Jr, was assassinated. But the words of this leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement will walk with us forever: “I have a dream” and we have to think that the dream has not died, another world is possible.
The 1960’s in the USA was a decade of hope and changes, but also a decade full of broken promises. Otherwise, this nation marked the course of the world and I would have loved to be part of such a magical time.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

MY HERO (Guiomar NA2)

When I was a child, I was always excited when the summer arrived. Every year I spent my school holidays with my family in Jaén, but my principal wish was to see my great-grandmother. She was not so gifted, but I saw her as she was the strongest woman in the world. However, some years after her death I found out that she had had a life full of challenges.
My great-grandmother lost her first husband (my great-grandfather) when my grandmother was five years old, during the Spanish Civil War. To make things worse, she could not find where her husband had been buried.
We have investigated but it is not easy when people who knew him died such a long time ago and there is not much information about that era. She had to suffer fascist people's jokes, every year she went to France to earn money, and her second husband committed suicide. Nevertheless, she never gave up, she knew how to appreciate her life and gave everything she had to her daughter and son.
 She was not just a fighter, she was my fighter woman. I will never be like her, but I try my best every day to make her feel proud of me.