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

 

 

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

Introducing….. IELTS

There can be no doubt; IELTS has largely cornered the market for universities and visas. It’s a safe bet that if you want to study in the UK, or move here from the outside the EU, IELTS will help you on your way.

IELTS is recognised at universities and governments all over the world. In the UK it is one of only two exams recognised by UK Visas and Immigration. Students; IELTS will help you get your tier 4 visa to come to the UK and enjoy our fantastic colleges and universities. Remember that ELA is always happy to arrange short term Visa and TIER 4 Visa letters for candidates who qualify for them!

Clearly IELTS is more important than ever. So what is it????

Unlike most other exams IELTS can be taken by students of various levels, the exam is designed to evaluate a range of abilities. As such there is no pass or fail; instead there are bands from 1.0 to 9.0, with half scores also possible. You can see how it compares with the Common European Framework below:

ielts-scores

IELTS tests the four skills of reading, listening, writing and speaking. Most candidates are relieved to find there is no grammar section! You also have the luxury of choosing from General or Academic IELTS, though the vast majority of people take the academic exam as it’s what universities and colleges want. Although the language in IELTS reading and writing can be quite formal there is plenty of room to produce phrasal verbs and idioms in the speaking! Just remember not to beat around the bush!!!

At ELA we have had a decade of teaching IELTS to highly motivated students. We have had the pleasure of seeing countless students from all backgrounds achieve the score they needed to progress in their academic or professional lives. As teachers this gives us the kind of job satisfaction that keeps us motivated!

We have a library stuffed with IELTS materials

ielts-materials

  • Various different course books
  • Official IELTS practice tests
  • Listening materials
  • Interactive smartboards in classrooms
  • Writing and speaking guides
  • Vocabulary books

All of these resources are put to good use by our experienced teachers to make sure you’re given support in the areas you need. At ELA you can study for five hours a day. In the morning (9-1230) you’ll focus on expanding your language skills as well as academic English. In the afternoon you can produce the language you’ve learnt in our IELTS course (1330-1530.) Longer-term students will have regular tutorials with our director of studies, who will keep an objective eye on your progress.

If you’re ready to take on the challenge of IELTS then we’re ready to help. Contact us at dos@elacademy.co.uk to get started!

Top 5 reasons for downloading an audiobook

AUDIOBOOKS

 

You might have heard this term, which started circling the web over 5 years ago, but didn’t know what the fuss was all about. Well, let us introduce you to this modern way of ‘reading’ or learning a language.

Please meet audiobooks, professionally narrated recordings of different kinds of literature, ranging from classical novels to modern sci-fi, including biographies and even recipe books. They are usually the exact version of a book, but sometimes they are shortened to further simplify the reader’s or in this case the listener’s life.
Now that we know what audiobooks are, we will find out why they are so popular and where to download free audiobooks in English.

Here are top 5 reasons why you should listen to an audiobook.

1. Audiobooks are great for those who do not like reading. We all have different learning techniques, some prefer reading while others prefer listening, so if you are one of the latter team, then audiobooks are your perfect match. Also, they are amazing for when you are feeling too lazy to read or just too busy to spare some of your time to reading.

2. You can take your audiobook wherever you want. It will substitute your boring date on your walks in the park, sunbathing sessions by the pool and many other activities like going to the gym, travelling and so on. Whether you are on the move or lying in your cosy bed, they can be downloaded straight to your phone or other smart device and be available within minutes.

3. When learning a new language, for example English, audiobooks will help you improve your pronunciation and boost your vocabulary. Furthermore, listening is proved to be an efficient way of memorising important facts, so stack up on books and get learning.

4. If you haven’t seen yet, there is a huge list of audiobooks available to suit everyone’s taste. And since they do not take up any space in your bag you can download several books at a time and enjoy listening to different stories and scenarios.

5. Another advantage of audiobooks is that you can set your own pace and regulate the speed of the recording. You can set it on low speed, to allow your brain to consume and process new information, or you could speed it up and learn more in an hour.

And if you are still not convinced, I suggest you give it a go and let us know what you think.

Big fans of audiobooks, who I am sure are members of Audible, will most definitely recommend to sign up and explore the rich collection of books that Audible has to offer.

At last, all I have to say is, audiobooks are wonderful! Even if you prefer reading books, you should at least once, try listening to your favourite novel.

 

As promised, here are a few websites where you can download free audiobooks in English:

http://esl-bits.net/

http://www.openculture.com/freeaudiobooks

How to Build a Time Machine

Start here

Work with a partner. Answer these questions:

1. Is it illegal to break the laws of physics? Can you give an example of one law of physics?
2. Do you think time travel is possible? What do you know about Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity?
3. If you could open a portal to the past, where and when would you go?
4. What about a shortcut to the future- would you jump ahead in time? Why (not)?
5. Look at these two images. How are they connected to the idea of time travel?

1 2

A. Match these words ( Black hole, Wormhole, Dark energy, Quantum mechanics) with a definition:

1. a theory that explains the behaviour of elementary particles, both separately and in groups

2. a theoretical form of energy postulated to act in opposition to gravity and to occupy the entire universe, accounting for most of the energy in it and causing its expansion to accelerate.

3. a region in space where gravity is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape

4. a special type of structure that some scientists think might exist, connecting parts of space and time that are not usually connected

C. Play a fun game! Falling into a Black Hole!
http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/black-hole-boardgame/en/

Video

A. Watch the first part of the video (0.00-1.00) and fill in these sentences:

Time travel is 1 _________________________________________
Einstein’s 2 ______________________________________ claims that the stronger the gravity the slower 3 ________________ moves.
This means that by linking two parts of 4 ____________________ that have different gravity you would in theory be able to travel back and forward in time between the two planets.
Gravity is the strongest close to a black hole, which means that time moves slower close to the black hole than it does on 5__________________________.
The problem is that right now scientists don’t know how to get space explorers from Earth to the black hole 6___________________ because they have not been able to build anything that travels faster than the 7___________________________.
Wormholes are claimed to be the only 8_______________________ that would allow people to travel back and forth in time.

B. Watch the next part of the video (1.00-1.57) and fill in this diagram that summarises how to build a time machine.

Diagram

C. Watch the last part of the video and take notes in order to answer the following questions:

1. According to the video, how far back in the past would a traveller be able to go?
2. How much energy would a time machine actually require?
3. What is the Grandfather Paradox?
4. In your opinion, will time travel ever happen?

A short video about the space race

This is a video 2 of our IELTS students prepared for the topic “The Space Race”. Very useful information to build a little bit of background knowledge about this less than familiar field. We hope it will help you cope with this daunting subject matter!

Silly Science

alien-1085230_960_720

1. Work with a partner and try to answer these questions:
A. If sound can’t travel through vacuums, why are they so loud?
B. Why does hair go grey?
C. How can fish hold their breath for so long underwater?
D. Why do you get wrinkly fingers when they’re in water for too long?
E. Can a ninja walk on water?
F. Coconuts have hair and produce milk. Why aren’t they classed as mammals?
G. Which came first: the chicken or the egg?
H. What happens if you put mints into a bottle of soda?

2. Watch this video and take notes.

A. Which question from Activity 1 does it answer?
B. What explanation does it provide?
C. Describe the different steps of the experiment.

3. Watch this second video and answer these questions.

A. Which question from Activity 1 does it answer?
B. Fill in these sentences with 3 words from the video:
a. Jamie decides to modify the liquid by adding some blue food colouring and ___________ which is used in pancakes, to make it look like ___________ so Adam can try the experiment under different conditions.
b. The experiment __________ and Adam _____ across the surface.
c. The explanation is that the new combination is a non-Newtonian __________ which can change its viscosity, and, while it may look like a _________, it will act like a solid on impact.
d. Lastly, if Adam steps and stands on it, he will _______ and it is quite clear that ______________ could not _____________.

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