How to maintain your English over the summer!

The summer holidays are finally here! While this is a great opportunity to work on your tan, go to the beach or visit family and friends it also means that you probably won’t be practising English for around two months. As two months is a long time without using any English here are some tips and recommendations from the ENglish assistants so that you don’t lose everything over the summer.

 

  1. Watch TV series/movies in English. I know lots of you already watch English language series and movies so a great way to keep up your English is to take off the Spanish audio and listen to the original English with either Spanish or English subtitles. Lots of series can be found on Netflix or Amazon Prime as well as on YouTube and other free websites. On most TVs there is also the option to watch any dubbed programme in the original language. Don’t get downhearted if you don’t understand every single word, it’s completely normal! In lots of series they speak with very heavy accents or they use a lot of slang which makes it a great way to learn some cool phrases. By watching series/movies you are still surrounded by English every day but it’s probably more fun than sitting in class.
  2. Download an app such as Duolingo. There are some great language learning apps out there such as Duolingo or Babel. In these apps you can set the difficulty level and choose the type of vocabulary or grammar you want to focus on so you make sure that the app is tailor-made to what you are interested in. These apps set you challenges so you can hit a new target every day as well as having some cool games too. It’s a great way to practise English every day even if it’s just while you’re waiting for the bus.
  3. Watching/reading the news in English. If you want to find out more about what is going on in the world, reading online news reports in English is a great way to stay informed and hear new points of view from different parts of the world. BBC News and CNN are free to access online, and will keep you informed about what is happening not just in Britain and the USA, but all around the world. These websites also feature a lot of video content to practice your listening skills too! Use these sites to find out about politics, culture and sports.You could also check out sites like Upworthy and The Daily Dot, which are very popular with young people. These websites have collections of funny and moving opinion pieces and articles that are great for sharing on social media. Finally, Youtube is an amazing language learning resource that you probably already use every day! Dozens of TedTalks videos, which are topical public speeches by well-known people, are available on Youtube with English subtitles and are always fascinating. As well as that, if you are a fan of a certain celebrity, band or TV show, try and find some interviews with them on Youtube and keep up your English in a fun way.

One for the teachers!

So students, I guess if you’re studying right now on this beautiful Sunday morning your teachers at school probably aren’t at the top of your list of favourite people. However, I came across this video from Upworthy (if you don’t know it already you should check it out, it’s a great site) and wanted to share it with both students and teachers. Students so that you can take a moment to appreciate all that your teachers do for you and teachers so that you can give yourselves a big pat on the back!

http://theshrug.com/plane-passenger-asked-a-teacher-a-rude-question-about-her-job-her-response-is-perfect/

Study Smart!

It’s getting towards the end of the first term and we’re entering into a time of lots of tests and assignments. I think I can speak for all the other assistants and teachers when I say we know that studying can be hard and that sometimes it feels like you’re just not getting anywhere no matter how much you study! So, here is a little picture (courtesy of one of my old university lecturers) to reflect upon when things are hard. Remember, ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’! Good luck to you all! 12107859_10153326027787857_3052650423624037001_n

The Darker Side of Social Media

We now live in the age of social media where it seems that people cannot even leave their front door without taking a selfie for Snapchat or Instagram. Indeed, one of the first questions students asked me in my first classes was: “Do you have Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat/Facebook” etc. Now, don’t get me wrong, social media is an incredible tool for keeping in touch with friends abroad, letting friends and family know what you are up to or, in the case of the Arab Spring, kick starting a revolution. However, many news outlets picked up on a story this week which highlights the darker side of social media and the effect it can have on young people growing up in the age of the selfie. Essena O’Neill seems like a regular 18 year old but in fact she is one of a growing number of teenagers and young people who are making a living out of social media. Companies would pay her to pose in their clothes or use their products in her Instagram photos that were then shared to her 1m+ followers. However, this kind of lifestyle is incredibly high pressured and Essena has taken the radical step of showing just what goes into the ‘perfect’ Instagram shot. She has changed the captions on many of her photos to describe the process behind taking them. These new captions include “Didn’t eat for 2 days” and “We are a generation obsessed with likes and comments”. You can read about Essena O’Neill’s decision here: http://www.elle.com/culture/news/a31635/essena-oneill-instagram-social-media-is-not-real-life/

London´s calling! Art project with our exchange partners from London

Last Friday our exchange partners from Alexandra Park School in London spent the day with us in IES Clara Campoamor and participated in lots of different activities during the school day. Bryanna and myself helped out with the art activity in which the students from both schools created a jigsaw puzzle to represent their experiences on exchange.
Below are some photos of the finished puzzle!

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Hi again from Flora – feat. photos this time round!

Me again 🙂

I can now add photos to blog posts – yay! So here are some photos of my home town and my family and I’ve also included an audio clip of the band I used to play in. Enjoy!

Me and my parents at my graduation in July
Me and my parents at my graduation in July.
Our graduation selfie
Our graduation selfie
My beautiful home town of Edinburgh
My beautiful home town of Edinburgh
I went to university in York - this is our campus
I went to university in York – this is our campus

Here is a link to my band playing the soundtrack to ‘Frozen’

https://soundcloud.com/uoy-concert-band/frozen

International Day of the Girl Child

International Day of the Girl Child – 11th October 2015
The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030.
“Who runs the world? Girls!” (Thanks, Beyonce).
Growing up I always thought I could do anything I wanted and it never even occurred to me that perhaps in some parts of the world girls were growing up without this belief and they didn´t have the same access to education and jobs as I had. Unfortunately though this is a reality in some parts of the world. Two days ago International Day of the Girl Child was celebrated in order to promote rights and opportunities for girls growing up across the world.
In 2011 the UN dedicated the 11th of October as International Day of the Girl Child in order to recognize the challenges that girls face growing up in the 21st century but also to recognize the importance of the rights of young girls across the world.
Since its inception in 2011 the day has covered various themes such as: ending child marriage, innovation in education and empowering young girls.
This year the theme of the day was promoting the vision for 2030, a vision that demonstrates complete gender equality and looks to create a world in which girls have the same rights and access to education as boys and believe in their own ability to achieve their goals and become whatever they want to be. In celebrating the International Day of the Girl Child UN member states committed to providing equal opportunities for girls and women in fields such as education, healthcare and jobs as well as promoting a zero tolerance approach to gender violence.
Events took place all around the world to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child and Michelle Obama even created a spotify playlist called ´Girl Power´ which you can find here: https://play.spotify.com/user/thewhitehouse/playlist/3R2DGCLfGdVqqqN6rdQYr5

“If you want to break the cycle of poverty, educate a girl” – Graca Michel.