Tuesday, March 31, 2009


After talking about the movie, Slum Dog Millionaire, several times in class , I remembered a documentary I once video-taped. It shows a true-life case of cheating on the program, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Below is an embedded link to the first part of that documentary on Youtube.

I don't know what language the subtitles are though!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Housitting answers

Hi class

The answers to questions 11 to 20 are:

11 - 1989
12 - Internet
13 - one month
14 - pets/cats and gardens
15 - pay any bills/expenses
16 - home owners
17 - privacy
18 - $375
19 - the agency/company or Contented Homes
20 - insurance

After that, can I leave it up to you to keep yourselves busy doing self-directed study? You may work outside the classroom. If you choose to remain in the classroom, please be considerate and don't disturb or distract each other. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Top ESOL sites from Delicious

I know, I know--I recommended that you stay with one site only, so that you don't feel overwhelmed. But in case you have the urge to check out other sites, below I've listed the top ESOL sites that pop up when I search for the term in Delicious.

  1. Activities for ESOL students
  2. BBC Learning English
  3. Interesting things for ESL students
  4. Dave's ESL Cafe
By the way, you can search for ESL as well as ESOL. Some extra sites show up:

  1. ESL podcasts
  2. Randall's ESL cyber listening lab
  3. YAPPR (this is new for me)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Japanese Tourists in Australia

Hi All (five of you today)

This afternoon, I'd like you to work on an IELTS writing exercise. I would like each of you to try it. Just before 3, I will come by and collect your work--so please don't head off early!

Raj has already attempted this assignment on his own. However, I feel that he may not have understood the main points in the information, so . . .

  1. Copy the task onto the whiteboard
  2. Discuss what is the main information that the data shows
  3. Decide how you will begin writing
  4. Individually complete the task
After that, you are welcome to work on whatever you wish.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Continuing . . .

Hi All

By now you should have decided which site you prefer for learning English (for now). Please work on that for the first 30 minutes or so. But then check this post (by refreshing the web page). Today I want to introduce you to about 5 sites that you may also enjoy.

  1. Online dictation is a good technique. Here is a good place to begin.
  2. Here is Radio New Zealand. It has podcasts to listen to.
  3. Speaking of podcasts, you may listen about Iceland's economic collapse here. This comes from The State We're In, a Dutch radio site that produces weekly broadcasts.
  4. In the past few days, I mentioned 'minimal pairs'. You can practice those here.
  5. Finally, you can practice word order at this site.
  6. World English might be good for you to look at also.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Top ESOL Site Selection

Afife has just reminded me that AM3 class are interested in online ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). She told that they would like to join us in the computer access suite this Wednesday from 1 to 3.

"What would they like to do?" I asked her.

"Anything and everything," she replied.

So today I am spending an hour looking through my archives to find some good sites. I recommend that you try the following:

  1. BBC Learning English
  2. VOA Special English
  3. ESOL online for students
  4. Adult Learning Activities
  5. Breaking News English
  6. IELTS on youtube

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Thursday afternoon - week 3

As usual, I shall be working at the Learning Centre this afternoon, but I shall try and come by to see you.

Here is a list of work for you

  1. Have you given me your report about rubbish recycling?
  2. Prepare a timetable for what you plan to do during the next 10 hours of self-directed learning
  3. Browse through the June 1996 Reader's Digest magazine (Ahmed N.B. Chess!)
  4. Finally, if you have time, you might like to read the Sleep Advice article in the plastic green folder.

Topic sentences

Hunting on the Internet, I discovered this resource. It gives you practice in finding topic sentences. Why don't you have a go? Good luck!

(p.s. The exercise comes from a very comprehensive page for French students to learn academic reading and writing skills.)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Try to correct these sentences. In each there's an easy mistake.

  1. Imagine planet orbiting a star.
  2. They eventually managed persuade Robert to seek hospital help.
  3. I was found a nest with an egg in it.
  4. A profession pilot was planning to take a radio-show host aloft.
  5. The russian did pay my fare and my Hotel to go to vienna.
  6. Do you spend too much time at work on tasks you hates?
  7. Three-fours of the white population of the South was of Celtic descent.
  8. We were surprising at how bright the light was on the snow.
  9. Every day for seven month the Polish farm girl came to feed him.
  10. A tiny piece of a victims bone can send a killer to jail.
  11. He visited his doctor first thing at Monday morning.
  12. Olympic flag consists of five interlinked rings.
  13. “Mum’s got a boyfriend, the elder sister whispered.”
  14. Gum passes through the digestive tract vitually unchanged.
  15. Could a single donor liver saving them both?
  16. For three days the two didnt speak.
  17. They flew across frigid seas with out radar.
  18. Chess it good training because it makes you sit and think.
  19. A smiling doesn’t cost anything.
  20. She lived to a ripe old aged.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Self-directed Study Options

Study Options

1. Get a notebook.
2. Commit to attainable goals
3. Keep a record of the hours that you spend on various activities

For your Individual Development Plan (IDP), you and I will decide what you need to do e.g. by the end of the term read 3 books, complete 5 chapters of Murphy's Grammar, dictate for 2 hours.

Sorry, no 'instant' results

Speed reading: 10 articles in the green folder from the book More Reading Power
IELTS online: Try this site
Goal reading: Record how many pages/hours you read, and write reviews
RD generic question sheet: Complete this sheet for Reader's Digest articles
Reading log: Make a list of all books you’ve read/rejected with thoughts about them

Student accounts: You need 3 things: Backbone, Wishbone and Funnybone. Read these accounts and write one yourself.

Goal writing: Set a goal for number of pages you will write within a time period
Journal: Keep a journal or daily diary
IELTS writing: Try exercises from IELTS material in the class
Create a blog: Go to http://www.blogger.com/home and begin
Write to my blog: Respond, ask questions, explore links and archives of my blog.

Pair dictation: Dictate sentences to a partner
Record yourself: Record and listen to your voice on tape
Minimal pairs: Practice hearing and producing the correct pronunciation here.
Imitation: Listen to and then imitate a recording of someone whose voice you admire

Diagnostic test: Complete a diagnostic test to decide which grammar points to revise from a text book such as Murphy
Online drill: Use an online site to practise. Here are some.
The ‘X’ files: Keep a file of errors you’ve made (both the errors and the corrections)

Academic word list: Familiarize yourself with the 571 words on this list
Basic spelling: test yourself by levels, the first 1000 or the second thousand words
Online spelling: Use online spell testing. Here are some links.
Notebook: Keep a notebook of words you have spelled incorrectly
Context collection: Highlight 5 new words per RD page

Insight into IELTS: Work your way in the class (and at home) through this text
Strategies for Study: This is another excellent book to use as a resource.
Online IELTS: This is only one site but there are several

Headphones: Obtain a pair to help you listen in peace on any computer
Tape cassettes: Listen to tapes (we need this gear in the classroom)
Talking books: Borrow these from the library
Online listening: There is a wealth of material on the Internet. Start here.
Lectures: Listen to recorded lectures. Sit in on actual lectures. Also work with the textbook Study Listening

Assistants: You could take part in Conversation Hour with AM3
Jabberwacky: Improve your response speed here.