Food, glorious food!

Check out the some words we learnt to talk about food.

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How sound affects us

Even when unnoticed, sound plays its part in our well being and mood. If you are curious about how it can be so, watch the TED talk by Julian Treasure and find out how sound actually affects us.

You can click here to access the lesson that features the talk and a multiple choice listening comprehension exercise.

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If you are interested in the topic of sounds and noises and you’d like to learn more vocabulary related to the topic this blog post might be right up your alley.

What makes people successful?

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Richard St John spent 10 years trying to find out what traits successful people had in common. It took him 500 interviews and listening to more than a thousand success stories to come up with the answer.

On a TED talk he explains his findings. Click on this link to access the talk and a multiple choice listening task to do while you watch: http://ed.ted.com/on/kUEoaB9w

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What do you think about it? #occeoic

Taking into account what you just learnt after watching the TED Talk, and your own experience, what advice would you give to people in the situations below?
1) Imagine a friend of yours wants to change their career but they are full of self-doubt and are wondering if it will be worth it. What would you say?
2) Imagine a co-worker of yours is full of brilliant ideas to improve the workplace but won’t communicate them for fear of being turned down or unwelcomed. Could you give them some advice?
If you need extra help to describe personality in English, you can click on this blogpost, which features a short film and a list of websites where you can learn or revise adjectives of personality.

 

Mind your spelling

On a former post I had written about how weird the English language was and this text by Richard Leverer proves it once again. But, among all this jungle of weirdness, probably one of the big challenges for most English learners is spelling and pronunciation. It is even a big issue for native speakers who may have difficulties spelling correctly.

Some words have different meanings, but are pronounced the same (homophones); others share the same sounds but are spelt differently, and there are silent letters (debt) and disappearing syllables (as in strawberry, because of word stress)….enough to make anyone go crazy!

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There is a poem that illustrates this wonderfully. The title is ‘The Chaos’ (by the way, are you sure you know how “chaos” is pronounced?) and it was written by  Gerard Nolst Trenité in 1922. You can read the whole poem on this post . How do you feel about it? Do you agree with the Frenchman who said he’d rather spend six months of labour than reading six lines aloud ever again?

The Spelling Reform

Watch the following video and find out the speaker’s main argument.

There are many people who advocate a spelling reform, in fact many proposals have been put forward to bring English up to date, arguing that the current spelling system has a significant economic and social cost.

What do you think about this? Would you like English spelling to be easier? Do you think there is no point in changing it ?

TIPS FOR LEARNING SPELLING AND PRONUNCIATION

  1. Keep your own pronunciation record. I always recommend dedicating a few pages on your notebooks to grouping words according to their pronunciation. This is particularly helpful with vowels and vocalic groups. When you learn a new word which has a “weird” pronunciation, write it down with other words that contain the same sound. It can be useful also when there is a word you always seem to be getting wrong.
  2. Learn the symbols of the IPA (international phonetic alphabet). The IPA is an essential tool for language learners. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to learn to transcribe or even be familiar with every single sound, but you should be aware of some phonemes, as it will enable to pronounce any word at all by simply looking it up in the dictionary. The interactive phonetic chart below may be of some help to get started:

3. Learn to recognize word stress and sentence stress. Stress is the most important features of the English phonological system. Being aware that some syllables and words will not be heard because they are weak forms, while others will surely stand out because they are strong, will make it a little easier for you to start prediciting certain phrases because of their stress patterns. And you’ll finally get to understand the reason why “the English seem to eat up all the words”.

4. Be patient!

Short Film Festival CinEOI

We’re all into film making in our school, and every year we celebrate our very own Short Film Festival (VI Festival de Curtas CinEOI) to encourage students from all schools in A Coruña to create their own pieces, stimulate their creativity and encourage them to use Galician as the language of creative and audiovisual expression.

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In a language learning context, short films are another fabulous way to practise. We use them a lot in class for telling and retelling stories, expressing the emotions they arouse, quessing, matching, etc. They are sometimes so wonderfully crafted and give place to opportunities to discuss important human and social issues.

On this youtube channel you’ll find some of the films we have used in class at one moment or another. But if you enjoy watching films I recommend the following links:

London Short Film Festival 

Short of the Week

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Microblogging #occeoic

If you would like to share your own favourite short films you can reply on this post or start the conversation on Twitter. Remember to use the hashtag #occeoic to help find your comment (to guarantee your comment gets retweeted and shared post it to @oneclickcloser)

 

 

 

 

 

Picasso

This year A Coruña is holding an exhibition of Picasso, which will feature more than 200 works.

There is an important connection between Picasso and our town as he actually lived here during a period of his life and it was in Coruña where he first exhibited his works in public.

What do you know about Picasso? Which is your favourite art piece?

Here is a video explaining the connection between Picasso and our town. Listen and answer the questions below.

1. How long did Picasso live in Coruña?

2. Which events took place during that period? Mark the ones you hear.

He fell in love / his sister died / he exhibited his works / he learned to paint / he became a young artist / he moved to the countryside

3. What’s the name of the work often considered his first masterpiece?

4. What’s the name of the exhibit?

5. How many works will you see by Picasso?

In this article A Coruña through the eyes of Picasso you’ll find out more about the artist’s years in Coruña. Also, check out this lessons with comprehension activities onhis work and biography.

Join a Conversation

Have you ever been to an exhibition? What did you see? When was it? Who did you go with? What exhibition would you like to see if you had the opportunity?

Feel free to reply on this post, sharing your experience by clicking on the “reply” icon above. Also share your media and ideas by writing on twitter. Don’t forget to include the #occeoic hashtag.

 

 

 

 

Living In A Wired-Wide World

These days we have been talking about digital technologies and, inevitably, how connectivity is affecting our relationships and lifestyle. We are constantly engaged in many different ways, from texting, to producing and sharing our own media.

This urge to keep our eyes on a digital display is particularly powerful among young people, as this article from New York Time mentions. Yet, adults are also falling for the digital trap very quickly. And I feel we are all still in the process of adapting to the frenzy of being wired 24/7.

The following short film, directed my Miles Crawford, is amazingly revealing. How do you feel after watching this two-minute film?

Gary Turk is the man behind “Look Up”, another powerful short film that became viral last Spring.

There is obviously a heavy irony in this film becoming viral, as explained on this blog post by Jez Kemp. I recommned reading it. Do you agree with the point he makes?

Irony aside, it is definitely food for thought. And, I am quite sure it is an aspect of our lives that you have all ended up talking about with friends and relatives, decribing the downsides of digital technologies. But what about the advantages?

Digital and social technologies are here to stay. Why? What do we really get from being connected? What are the main advantages for you? In which areas of your life have you experienced greater benefits from having a social media profile?

As an English teacher,  I  see wonderful learning opportunities for anyone who wants to improve their linguistic and communicative skills.  I am an advocate for using digital technologies to be exposed to learning experiences, which were unavailable only ten years ago.

Effective language learning, in my view, may not possible without face-to-face interaction, but learners empowered to make the most of everything out there, can make a difference in their learning journey. It requires support, learning to filter content, rehearsing and, also, discipline (knowing when to switch off). But I think it is worth it.

JOIN A CONVERSATION – MICROBLOGGING

Would you like to share your views on this topic? All you have to do is post a comment expressing your ideas and experiences of living in a wired-wide world.

The discussion can go on on Twitter, too.

All you have to do is post a tweet and use the hashtag #occeoic