Five Ways to Use Tech to Enliven your Studying

Technology has evolved considerably in the last few years at an almost terrifying pace.  We are truly fortunate with the number tools at our fingertips.  If anything, we might be a little too blessed with what’s available as it becomes difficult to identify a single tool that will suit your needs.  It takes time to learn how to use a new program, and even longer to implement it effectively in the classroom.  That being said, some programs are very student focused, need no input from a teacher, and can be used inside and outside the classroom.

Here’s five ways that students can use technology to help aid their language development.

Recording new vocabulary

There are many ways to record new words, but not many that will test your ability to remember them.  One great (and free) tool for documenting any new content is ‘Quizlet’ (http://www.quizlet.com/). Quizlet gives you the opportunity to create unlimited study sets and it will generate quizzes based on your content.  Quizlet is a great way to refresh your memory after a spending a few days studying new material.  There is an app for both Android and iOS so there’s no need to bring a heavy laptop to school.

Listening Practice for Short Phrases

Sometimes the most difficult thing about a new phrasal verb is to apply it to a context.  Take ‘look’ for example, the number of prepositions that could follow this verb is quite daunting for a student and remembering the different meanings can be quite a challenge.  A really useful tool for seeing phrasal verbs used in context is ‘Play Phrase Me’ (http://www.playphrase.me/) which plays short video clips of people using whatever text you enter into the search bar.  The website scans videos that have been uploaded into their database and looks for matches.  

Collaboration with Other Students

Students love to share.  In our experience, regardless of age differences, students love sharing new knowledge that they’ve come across – be it online or offline.  The problem with sharing content is that it’s often difficult finding a platform that everyone can access without the need to sign up for an account, a process which can be quite time consuming.  A quick and free solution is ‘Padlet’ (http://www.padlet.com/) which is a shared ‘wall’ where anyone with the address can share content without the need to sign up.

Speaking Practice

Speaking is a very difficult skill to practise alone.  How can you give yourself feedback? You could record your voice and listen to yourself at a later date, but if you’re looking for immediate feedback then grab your smartphone and install Google Keep (http://www.google.com/keep/) which is a very handy app.  Google Keep is a note taking application designed to allow the user to make quick notes on the go.  However, it also has a very useful voice recording feature which will attempt to transcribe your voice.  Simply speak into your phone and it will turn your words into text – if your pronunciation is not accurate then the software won’t transcribe it properly.

Reading and Listening

TED (http://www.ted.com) has become a wonderful source of content for internet users around the world.  Language learners can take advantage of a really useful feature that is ignored when videos are played full-screen.  TED videos come with an interactive tapescript which you can follow whilst listening to the TED speaker deliver his/her presentation.  What makes it really useful is that you can select any piece of text, like a button, and the video (which plays in the top left corner of the screen) will jump to the text’s location and play it.

 

Teacher Training at ELA-Edinburgh

This August we will run the latest in our hugely successful series of ELA Teacher Training Programmes – and it’s not too late for you and your colleagues to benefit from our expertise in professional development of teachers.

Options on the programme include:  Special Needs, Business programmes, CLIL.

At ELA-Edinburgh we specialise in courses for non-native teachers of English. These courses are a chance for teachers to review their language skills but also develop techniques and review the methods they use in the classroom.

What does the course involve?

  • A pro-active review of the different methodologies
  • Lesson planning: Aims, Timing, Components, Class Layout, Types of Tasks, Supplementary materials
  • Input sessions on how best to teach writing, speaking. reading and listening skills
  • Games: discussion on their use. Designing fit-for-purpose and adapting ‘known’ games
  • Error Correction and Teacher Talk Time Workshop

    Improve your error correction

Of course, the list goes on. Our courses are bespoke and designed to suit the needs of our trainees.

 

 

 

Why choose ELA-Edinburgh?

  • Learn from our DELTA qualified and experienced teacher-trainer
  • Enjoy our modern classrooms and interactive smartboards
  • Have access to our extensive library of teaching materials
  • Study in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic new town
  • Experience the unique buzz of Edinburgh’s festivals in August
  • Meet students from all over the world and be part of our international community

Come to Edinburgh in August and experience the world’s largest performing arts festival

If you would like some more information on the course or discuss your requirements, please email dos@elacademy.co.uk or give us a call on 00 44 131 226 6182

“10 Things to do in Edinburgh” by ELA-Edinburgh students, Matteo and Paola

1 GRASSMARKET

Two of Paola and Matteo’s star attractions: Edinburgh castle and the grassmarket

Let’s say you just arrived in Edinburgh. You still have time before returning to the Hotel, but is getting late and you are a little bit tired. Still, you want to take a walk around the city and get something to eat. The perfect place to aim for is the Grassmarket. It is an old square in the Old Town, just south of the Royal Mile, so you can get a glimpse of old medieval Edinburgh. They used to hang people there, and a lot of pubs are “in theme” (you can even have a pint at The White Hart, the oldest pub in town).

2 VISIT ROSE STREET

The Rose street is the perfect place to visit some pubs and restaurants with local food. There are a lot of different places where you can go for local specialities like ginger beer, haggis or whiskeys. Rose street is pedestrianized zone, so it is quite easy and relaxing to go through.

3 MARY KINGS’ CLOSE

The Edinburgh Old Town is probably the best place to understand how the life in the 16th century was. The best place to do it is Mary King’s Close, which is on the Royal Mile. Situated below the Edinburgh City Council, it’s perfectly preserved, and the spooky mood certainly adds something to the experience, if you are into that kind of thing. Mind that the tours are usually pretty crowded, so booking a spot in advance could be a good idea.

4 EDINBURGH CASTLE

The Edinburgh castle is the second highest point in the city and you can see it from a great distance. It looks impressive because you can see it from all over the town and if you walk the way up to the castle on the hill you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city.

5 PARLIAMENT OF SCOTLAND

All the way down the Royal Mile you can find the modern center of power for Scotland. The most recent center of power, the Parliament of Scotland, was built in the last decade, following the Devolution, so if you appreciate contemporary architecture you will probably enjoy it. Also, since the Scottish are pretty proud of their fight for freedom, you can learn all the details of their parliamentary quest. The most interesting part of the exhibition is visiting the Debate Chamber (you can also watch a public debate).

 

The Scottish parliament in front of Arthur’s Seat

6 VISIT WELLINGTON COFFEE SHOP

The Wellington coffee shop is a lovely place for recover from the first daily english session. The great Italian coffee and the tasty scones with his different ingredients makes the life easy going.

7 HOLYROOD PALACE

The other seat of power down the Royal Mile is Holyrood Palace. Built during the 15th century, it was the residence of Scotland’s Royal Family. Now it is the Royal Residence during official visits of the British Royal Family. When the Queen is not visiting Scotland, you can visit most of the palace, and in summer also the gardens. In particular, in the gardens you can visit the ruins of the St. Augustine Abbey.

8 ROYAL MILE

One of the most beautiful and famous streets is Royal mile. The architecture of the buildings is typical for Edinburgh with its old churches and houses with the gothic style. You can also look for some souvenirs or some pretty little things to buy. Furthermore there are some fudge kitchens where you can buy the best homemade fudge in very different flavours. They also show you how they produce this special Scottish candy.

The Royal Mile: home to Mary King’s Close and Holyrood Palace

9 CLIMB ARTHUR’S SEAT

The sleeping volcano just behind Holyrood Palace is the highest point of Edinburgh (ca. 250m), and the potential panoramic view that this fact implies should be enough to convince you to climb all the way up. You can actually see all of Edinburgh, south to the Borderlands, the Kingdom of Fife and all the way out to the North Sea. Also, if you appreciate archeology and paleontology, you can find the remains of three Prehistoric Forts. The tracks are easy, but remember to bring a jacket (it’s very windy) and sturdy shoes.

10 PORTOBELLO BEACH

The Portobello beach is a few miles away  from the city center and if you are there you have a beautiful view over the sea. You can go there if you need some variety from the crowded city. If you are as crazy as some Scottish people you can do some sunbathing.

 

Free English Lessons at ELA-Edinburgh in June

Would you be interested in receiving free English lessons from enthusiastic teachers in top class facilities? Normally it would be too good to be true but at ELA-Edinburgh this June it is our reality!

Those of you who regularly read our blog will know that ELA-Edinburgh is putting on a Trinity CertTESOL course from June 5th-30th. This teacher training course will give our trainees a great qualification as they start their teaching careers.  An important part of the course is teaching practice; our trainees will do at least 6 hours of teaching during their course. This is where you and your friends can benefit!

We are offering free lessons for students who will be taught by our trainee teachers. Every weekday from June 6th -June 29th you could benefit from two hours of free lessons! This is an offer that we can only run during CertTESOL courses so don’t miss out! We only have a certain number of places available so don’t wait too long before applying.

All levels of English are welcome, when you apply we will send you a level test to complete and find the right class for you. All you need to do is pay a £30 deposit, which you will get right back if you attend all the classes! Plus, as a bonus, you will get an hours’ free lesson with a highly experienced teacher at the end of your course!

This is a unique opportunity to get lessons in one of Edinburgh’s premier private language academy and benefit from our fantastic teaching resources. As the saying goes, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!

For more information, or to ask for a placement test, email dos@elacademy.co.uk phone 0131 2266182 or come and see us at 71 George Street!

Learn to Learn to with ELA-Edinburgh

Here at ELA-Edinburgh we see helping our students become better students as one of our main goals. With this in mind we include ‘learning to learn’ sessions at the start of all of our courses and the feedback from them is always great.

Make sure this isn’t you!!

Earlier this year we brought you tips on how to study more effectively, just look back in our blog to check out the details. Today we present some advice on how to learn vocabulary. If you sit at your desk and repeat irregular verbs to yourself, we are here to help!

  • Flash cards

You can make them at home and study them on the bus, at lunch or in front of the TV. Here is an example to get you started that shows some of the information you might want to include.

 

Don’t forget to mix up the order of the cards and take a moment to guess before you turn over your card!

If you’re more into technology you can try some of the great learning apps, such as Quizlet, which let you build your own personalized vocabulary lists

 

 

  • A notebook
  • Perhaps the next stage from flashcards is a notebook with your organized class notes. Teachers often notice that students write down vocabulary in a lesson but then do not organize it. Successful students generally have a well ordered notebook with different sections for phrasal verbs, idioms or grammar notes. This involves re-writing your class notes at the end of every week but you will soon notice the benefits.
  • Dictionaries

    Whether online or print, dictionaries will define a word, help you spell it and explain how to pronounce it.

     

  • Word Maps

Word maps give you the freedom to link words in groups or categories and the chance to illustrate your diagrams. If you’re a visual learner and enjoy learning through pictures, they could be             perfect for you.

  • Learn ChunksMany people find it easier to learn phrases rather than individual words. For example, ‘do homework’ or ‘make your bed’ are chunks of language. Other examples of chunks might be phrasal verbs, ‘to get on well with somebody’, or idioms, ‘to get on like a house on fire.’
  • Learn to take words apartMany language students find that analysing a word helps them to guess it’s meaning without turning to a teacher or dictionary for help. For example; the word ‘unimaginable’ might look long and complicated but let’s try taking it apart:

    Viewed like this the word has three clear parts; the prefix, the stem (or route) and the suffix. If we remember that ‘able’ refers to ability and that ‘un’ is a general prefix to make something negative, we can guess that unimaginable means impossible to imagine. This technique is particularly useful for speakers of other European languages.

  • Review OftenYour goal is to transfer your new vocabulary from your short term to your long term memory. There’s no point learning words in class today and not being able to use them a week later so make sure you look back over your notes regularly. With the help of a well-organized workbook you can make sure that vocabulary doesn’t slip out of your head.

 

Building English Language Skills – With a Twist

ELA – Edinburgh Broadens Horizons!

Last week, at ELA, students of the Liceo Scientifico Statale Galileo Galilei of Trieste participated in a 35 hour course . Unlike our standard array of activities however, they also took part in a series of Model UN (MUN) workshops with the Edinburgh University Model UN Society (EdMUN). Model UN seeks to simulate the activities of the actual UN, and teach valuable life skills such as public speaking, debating and negotiation through that medium. It was a new and innovative way of engaging advanced students with the English language and judging by the feedback we have received it was a huge success.

More than any simple classroom activity, MUN has the capacity to draw students into engaging with current affairs as well as improving their English skills. The workshops contained over 15 hours of lectures and training in public speaking, negotiation, conflict resolution with a healthy dollop of international politics. The whole thing was capped by a one day Model UN Conference taking place on Saturday, which allowed the students act as an ambassador for a country in a simulated UN. It was remarkable to see the progression of students over one week from being shy and reluctant to speak; to giving full two minute speeches by Saturday. We very much hope that this is only the first of many new and interesting activities we can bring to our students.

Aside from thanking our wonderful students from Liceo Galilei, we also have to extend our thanks to EdMUN and the Edinburgh University Student’s Association for working with us on this exciting new project. It has been a true pleasure!

CertTESOL course at ELA-Edinburgh June 5th-30th

ELA-Edinburgh is excited to announce that our Trinity CertTESOL course will run from June 5th-30th this year. You only have to read our blog from September 29th to know what benefits a CertTESOL qualification can bring to an aspiring teacher. To put it in a nutshell, this certificate is respected around the world and will open doors as you begin your ELT career. With CertTESOL in your pocket you can find jobs in places you want to be and work for schools that are well-run.

 

 

Having signed up for the course, what are you expected to do to earn your teaching certificate? It’s worth pointing out that every CertTESOL course follows the same strict guidelines laid down by Trinity. This helps to ensure that the qualification is respected wherever you want to work. What follows is an outline to what the course actually involves.

A pre-course task and interview. This is mainly aimed at evaluating your knowledge of English grammar but don’t worry, you’re not expected to be an expert! The interview gives the course tutor a chance to make sure the course is right for you and, if you’re a non-native speaker, assess your level of English. 

A total of 130 timetabled hours and 70 non-timetabled hours. This includes 6 hours of your teaching, observed and assessed, plus 4 guided hours observation of experienced teachers. You will also receive 90 hours of supervised input.

4 or 5 written assignments. These are in the form of a journal and are designed to help you reflect on the elements of the course you have just studied. As there is no test at the end of the course these take on added importance.

Teaching Practise. This unit is by far the biggest on the course, taking up 74 of the 130 scheduled hours. It covers a wide range of issues including: methodology, teaching skills, guided observation, textbook and materials evaluation as well as methods of testing.

Language Awareness and Skills. The second unit tests trainees’ knowledge of grammar, lexis and phonology and how to teach these to students.

Learner Profile. Unit 3 aims to teach you how to analyse students’ needs, design courses and teach one-one classes. It draws on the knowledge you gained in the first two units.

Materials Assignment. In this unit you will learn to produce, adapt and evaluate the materials that you use in lessons. You then use the materials you designed in a lesson observed by a Trinity moderator.

Unknown Language. The final unit examines methods and approaches suitable for beginners of a language, while avoiding use of the learners’ mother tongue.  

End of course party. Traditional and well deserved!

At ELA-Edinburgh we enhance this comprehensive course of learning by providing you with fantastic, modern classrooms with interactive smart boards and a wide range of textbooks. Though you will be led by our experienced and friendly course tutors, the whole ELA staff is on hand to help. 

You can find more information on the CertTESOL syllabus here and visit our website for more information. Alternatively, can contact us at info@elacademy.co.uk

Announcing Liceo Galilei Visit, and Model UN Partnership

ELA-Edinburgh  and the Edinburgh University Model UN Society (EdMUN) are pleased to announce that the Liceo Galileo Galilei of Trieste will be in Edinburgh during the 2nd week of March to take part in a series of language classes and EdMUN’s TeachMUN project.

Students from Liceo Galilei will take part in rigorous language classes in the mornings, and then learn all about the Model United Nations phenomenon in the afternoons. As well as essential language skills, they will learn valuable skills such as public speaking, debating and negotiation in a week-long series of fun activities. We look forward to welcoming them to historic Edinburgh on March 6th!

This is part of our ever-improving number of social, academic and cultural activities that we offer here at ELA, not just for youth students, but students of all ages! ELA is delighted to be able to team up with a local University Society for this venture, and hopes to hav
e many similar successful events in the future.

 

Business English at ELA-Edinburgh from 13/2/17

Here at ELA-Edinburgh we’re excited about starting our new Business English class next Monday. The course is planned and our students are raring to go; there’s no reason why you can’t join them.

 

Why ELA-Edinburgh?

ELA is the perfect location to study Business English. With our fantastic interactive smart boards and extensive library of materials we are perfectly equipped to meet our students’ needs. Our wealth of experience in the corporate sector has shown us that our policy of small classes and experienced teachers means each student gets plenty of individual attention. We have learnt how to

We use a range of business materials

plan our classes to suit the needs of our students in their current or future careers. To do this we use a range of materials, from coursebooks to podcasts and newspapers.  But what is it that actually distinguishes business from more general English classes?

 

What is Business English?

Of course many features are the same in Business English as in other classes. As always at ELA you will learn lots of vocabulary and practise plenty of grammar. However the vocabulary that we teach in business courses is particularly suited to the world of work. This language tends to be more formal than the vocabulary found in

Learn the language you need for the work place

general or exam preparation course books. In any work situation the right language is vital to communicating with colleagues, Business English gives our students experience of what language is most appropriate for the office. As a result most of our students tell us that they feel much more confident after completing our business course.

 

Skills and Functions

The two main differences in Business English are the skills and tasks that we focus on. Our course equips our students with the language tools they need to progress and impress in their professional lives. Among the many tasks we practise are:

  • Presentations- get the skills you need to stand up in front of colleagues and deliver a talk
  • Emails- learn how to compose work emails quickly and logically
  • Telephoning- this is a difficult skill for many learners but vital in business. Practise in the safety of our classroom!
  • Interviewing- let’s make sure you get your dream job
  • Negotiating- get your message across in often stressful situations. We’ll use dynamic case studies to give you experience
  • Cultural Etiquette- we’ll teach you the unwritten office rules of English speaking countries

 

Why not join our happy students?

Our Course

Our Business English course runs from Monday 13th February every weekday, 1330-1530. We welcome students of all ages from all over the world throughout the year. All of our students benefit from regular testing and individual tutorials to focus on their progress. If you would like more information on our Business English course please get in touch by emailing us at info@elacademy.co.uk

Celebrating Robert Burns at ELA!!

As all Scots know January 25th is Burns Day in Scotland, the annual celebration of our national poet and a good excuse to let our hair down in the dark days of January! At ELA it was a golden opportunity to get our students involved in learning at little bit about Scottish culture and tradition.

ELA Burns supper 2017

 

Scottish people across the world celebrate the poet-farmer from the South West of Scotland every 25th January with traditional Scottish food and drink, his poems and songs. Copious amounts of haggis, neeps and tatties are eaten while whisky and Irn-Bru (Scotland’s national soft-drink) wash down the food. Scots believe Robert Burns is worth celebrating not only because of his beautiful poetry and songs but also because of his eloquent commitment to equality and fairness.

The Immortal Memory

Typical Burns Supper nourishment

Students and staff tuck into their Haggis

We held our Burns Supper on Wednesday afternoon after class, but not before our teachers made sure that the students knew something about our famous poet. As all good teachers know, it’s very important to let the students do all the hard work. So we decided that the students would make the speeches at our Burns Supper. The first speech gives some information and thoughts on the life of Robert Burns, this is the Immortal Memory. Our students delivered it in their own unique style, drawing on their own national traditions for support!

 

The highlight of any Burns Supper is very often the ‘Toast to the Lassies’ (or girls). This should be funny and self deprecating but ultimately complimentary. Our toasts quoted Bob Dylan and featured some original poetry, written especially for the occasion.  At all Burns suppers the lassies have the last word with the ‘Reply to the Laddies’ (boys). Our reply went down a storm and was greatly appreciated by students, teachers and guests.

 

 

The toast to the lassies

To put it in a nutshell, everyone at ELA had a wonderful time celebrating Robert Burns and we believe that this kind of fun is part of learning a language. At ELA we are lucky to have such amazingly friendly staff and students to make events like this a great success!

 

 

The reply to the laddies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vocabulary builder:

Can you guess what the under-lined words from the text mean?

Let your hair down: a) Dance b) Have fun c) Read poetry

Golden opportunity: a) Perfect chance b) Lots of hard work c) A small chance

Eloquent: a) Elegant and persuasive b) honest and caring c) long and difficult

Supper: a) Breakfast b) Lunch c) Dinner

To draw on: a) Using an experience b) Remembering c) Ignoring

Toast: a) Hot bread b) Drink to health c) Joke

Tuck into: a) Start eating b) Enjoy eating c) Stop eating

Self-deprecating: a) Have no fun b) Make fun of others c) Make fun of yourself

Go down a storm: a) Be controversial b) Be very funny c) Be very popular

Put it in a nutshell: a) Talk for a long time b) Tell a lie c) Say something in just a few words

 

Tweet us @E_L_Academy when you have the answers!!!