False friends! Can they really be your friends?

First impressions.  It’s a topic that is explored by a number of course books at a variety of levels and it is often interesting  how different people contextualise it.  Most people think of a professional environment – such as a job interview or starting a new job.  This is not always the case.

“I made a bad impression when I met my boyfriend’s family.” 

Having spent time with this particular student, I found it difficult to comprehend that such a positive person would make anything less than an exemplary first impression.  So I asked her how.  The answer is not too surprising.  There was a discussion between her and one of the members of her boyfriend’s family and she translated a Spanish phrase into literal English where the meaning was the opposite of what was intended.

Está bien si yo no te caigo bien‘ she said, which translates (literally) to ‘It’s ok if I don’t like you’ but what it actually means is ‘It’s ok if you don’t like me.’ A small difference, but one which drastically changes the meaning.  Needless to say, the conversation went downhill after that.

It got me thinking about other situations where there could be a potentially catastrophic misunderstanding. One of the most common culprits are False Cognates (false friends) and they can lead to some difficult situations.  Here are some that have appeared in class:

Spanish

One the student’s friends was embarazada, but she wasn’t ’embarrassed’ by anything.  In fact, she was pregnant.  I asked her if she had recently bought a new carpet and she said yes, and pulled out her carpeta – which turned out to be a ‘folder’.

German

We learnt about a brav friend of one of our students.  We asked her why she was brave, and she told us that was wasn’t, she was ‘honest’. We asked her if she ever gave her friend a present, or a gift, and she was shocked!  She wanted to know why she should ‘poison’ her friend.

Italian

One student remarked how his friend was very educato, so we asked if he had a PhD.  It turns out that he left school early but was very ‘polite’.  He had some dry skin on his wrist and another student asked him if he wanted some moisturizing ‘cream’.  He laughed, wondering why he was offered crema (custard) for his skin.

French

At the end of class, we were told to have a bonne journéebut we weren’t going on a journey.  We were just told to have a nice day. One of the other students remarked that he was going to have a grand day, which caused confusion. Why was his day big?

To recap:

Original Word English False Cognate Meaning
embarazada (Spanish) embarrassed/ashamed pregnant
carpeta (Spanish) carpet/rug folder
brav (German) brave/courageous honest
gift (German) gift/present poison
educato (Italian) educated/schooled polite
crema (Italian) cream/ointment custard
journée (French) journey/trip day
grand (French) grand/expensive big

 

 

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!

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

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!!!

New Year’s Resolutions to help you study in 2017

As Edinburgh welcomed 2017 in style at our world famous hogmanay street-party, the ELA team are here to help you start 2017 with an academic bang!!

Edinburgh started 2017 with a bang and so can you at ELA!!

Make sure this is the year you make the improvements you want in your English; take control of your learning and become a better student. All our teachers at ELA encourage our students to take responsibility for their own learning. We know it is our job as teachers to make our students better at learning.

Here are some resolutions for 2017 to make this come true:

Be Prepared

Come to class with a pen and a notebook for new vocabulary and grammar. It’s amazing how many students expect to remember language without writing it down! Sadly, most people do not have such good memories….

Write down new vocabulary!

Don’t be shy!

Tell your teacher what you need and what you want to study. Be ready to give your teachers feedback on the lessons and let them know if you want to change anything.

Move your cultural life into English

Remember that most language is learnt out of the classroom so the most important thing is exposure to the language. Learners who become fluent all really enjoy using English to socialise, read, watch TV or listen to music. Even if you don’t think you’re learning anything, your brain is busy remembering things.

Take advantage of the UK

Here in Edinburgh you will be surrounded by English. You can never understand all the new language you meet everyday but be prepared to guess its meaning. Use the context to help you and don’t be afraid of making a mistake!

Use your teacher as a resource

Will you be the teacher’s pet?

Write down some of the new words you have met in your cultural life and check their meaning with your teacher. You’ll soon be the teacher’s pet!

Set yourself targets

When you study a new piece of grammar look for opportunities to use it! Remember that satisfaction you feel when you use the 3rd conditional perfectly. After all, what’s the point of using the language on paper but not being able to produce it in conversation?

Be Honest

When you don’t understand something or get confused please do tell your teacher. Mistakes are good because we can learn from them and they give your teacher an idea of how to help you.

 

If you follow our advise and take advantage of the great teachers we have here at ELA, we’re sure 2017 will be a successful year for you!

You will be as successful as this young student

Our New Home in George Street

We have some exciting news to share: ELA has moved to a brand new location in the heart of the Edinburgh city centre: 71 George Street, 4th floor.

Office,4th Floor Office Suite

Our new location at 71 George Street

While we will miss the building on Melville Street, this new location offers incredible views of the city from every room! Who needs a decorative poster of Edinburgh Castle or the view to Fife when they can simply look out the window? Our new classrooms get lots of natural light and have a far more modern layout, offering our students and staff more comfort and convenience. We still have our fantastic interactive smartboards as well as classrooms perfect for groups classes, individual lessons or business English

 

The Castle meeting room

The Castle meeting room

Our morning class make use of of our smartboards!

Our morning class make use of of our smartboards!

 

Additionally, the new site is in a far more central location, surrounded by a great variety of shops, cafes, restaurants and more. It is easily accessible from any direction of the city and perfectly situated for our students to go out and discover the best Edinburgh has to offer once their classes end for the day.

We are so thrilled to share this news with you – stay tuned for a special invitation to come see it for yourself and help us celebrate!

 

Tenth birthday at ELA!!!

Happy birthday to us! Join us as we get misty eyed and take a trip down memory lane. Along the way there will be some fantastic vocabulary for you to learn- just see the bottom of the blog!!

happy-birthday

 

A decade ago this month the Edinburgh Language Academy opened its doors for the very first time. From just 3 classrooms in Leith the school has grown to ten rooms spread over 3 floors in the west end.

For the last decade Olga, our director, has been here to oversee the smooth running of the school. We asked her for some personal highlights. Here are some of her most memorable moments from the first ten years at ELA:

  • 12 year old Simone locking himself in the toilet and refusing to come out because he was so homesick for Italy! Olga remembers “we had to bribe him with chocolate to come out!”
  • Abdullah from Iraq finally getting the 7.0 in IELTS he needed to bring his family to Scotland and start his masters. “It was his third attempt and he had so much riding on the result, it was really very emotional” says Olga.
  • A day trip in 2010 to St. Andrew’s that coincided with the Open golf championship and tens of thousands of golf fans. “We had planned everything for the students but nobody told us about
    One of our early classrooms in Leith

    One of our early classrooms in Leith

    the golf! We were waiting in traffic for 3 hours.” (It’s fair to say that this isn’t one of Olga’s happiest memories….)

  • Attracting our first big of students in November 2006 was a big breakthrough. “I remember thinking: we can do this. It proved to me that we were going to be a success.”
  • The first teacher development course, for a group of Georgian teachers, the school ran. “It was a big challenge for us and it went really well; it was a big step for us and something I want us to do more of us.”

 

We have been in contact with staff from past years to see what memories they have of the school. Almost of them said: the students! It seems their happiest memories of ELA are connected to the students. David and Sarah, who taught at the school over several summers, remember the chaos of enthusiastic Spanish teenagers during summer school. “You never knew what exactly was going to happen but you knew it was going to be fun.”

Current staff also stress the students are the best thing about the job. “Working with people from all over the world, all in one

building, is incredibly rewarding” says Steve, our director of studies.

From Scottish Bridges to...

From Scottish Bridges to…

...horse riding. We've done it all at ELA!!!

…horse riding. We’ve done it all at ELA!!!

 

Over the last ten years we have taken groups to every tourist attraction in Scotland and taught a huge range of exams to people from (almost) ever country you can name. We’re looking forward to ten years more!

 

To celebrate our 10th birthday we’re offering some great treats on our website, check out www.elacademy.co.uk for more information!

 

Match the underlined expression to the meaning, when you think you know the answers tweet! @E_L_Academy

  1. Misty-eyed (adj)                                      6. Riding (v)
  2. Take a trip down memory lane (v)       7. Coincided (v)
  3. Oversee (v)                                               8. Breakthrough (n)
  4. Bribe (v)                                                    9. Stress (v)
  5. Treat (n)

 

a) To pay someone to do something in a dishonest way     e) To be in charge

b) Depend                                                                                   f) To remember things from the past

c) Upset and Nostalgic                                                              g) A big and important development

d) Something that isn’t ordinary but is very good                h)  To emphasize

e) To happen by accident