Monday, 15 December 2014

The True Scholar ~ Emerson

“Shall I tell you the secret of the true scholar? It is this: every man I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn of him.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson (American essayist, poet, and popular philosopher, 1803–1882)

Friday, 10 October 2014

What is the purpose of reading?

What are the main purposes of reading, in your view? List your ideas:

Read the text and watch the short video at , making a list of the four main purposes of reading described there.





(Check answers below)

Combine your ideas with the ideas from the link. How many purposes of reading can you now identify?

Which is the most important function of reading, in your opinion?

1. Saves time 2. Makes us nicer 3. Cures loneliness 4. Prepares us for failure

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Mahavakya - Timeless Wisdom from India

Beautiful wisdom from India:

"This video is a tribute to timeless Indian ideas that are rooted in the spirit of the oneness of creation and the interconnectedness of all of life. Performed by Vidita Kanniks - this 90 second video clip features Kanniks Kannikeswaran's musical arrangement of four ancient sayings 'swadesho bhuvana trayam' (the entire universe is my motherland), 'isavasyam idam sarvam' (all that exists is sacred), 'nahi jnanena sadrsam pavitram iha vidyate' (there is nothing more liberating than the knowledge of the self) and 'vasudhaiva kutumbakam' (the Universe is my family)."

( From )

Do you practise meditation? How do you relax and keep healthy, physically and mentally?

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Happy World Elephant Day!

"If I said, build me a machine that will take care of the forests, what would I get?"

Yes, the answer is the elephant! Elephants are known as the guardians of the forests.

Learn more with the great 30 minute film at

Seven fascinating facts you probably didn't know about elephants:

Check out the information at to find out how you can help elephants.

World Elephant Day is August 12th. You can wear grey to support the world's endangered elephants.

Image from

Saturday, 9 August 2014

What kind of music do you like?

Another way to ask this question is "What's your favourite musical genre?"

Genres of music include rock and roll, pop, disco, rap, funk and classical.

Do you like reggae? Reggae is a genre which first developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s. Here's a quote from Bob Marley, probably the best known reggae musician.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Should we try to preserve endangered languages?

Languages are dying all over the world.

"Unesco’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger lists 576 as critically endangered, with thousands more categorised as endangered or threatened. The highest numbers occur in the Americas. “I would say that virtually all the [minority] languages in the US and Canada are endangered,” says Peter Austin, a professor of field linguistics at the University of London. “Even a language like Navajo, with thousands of speakers, falls into that category because very few children are learning it.” If measured in proportion to population, however, then Australia holds the world record for endangered languages. When Europeans first arrived there, 300 aboriginal languages were spoken around the country. Since then, 100 or so have gone extinct, and linguists regard 95% of the remaining ones as being on their last legs. Just a dozen of the original 300 are still being taught to children." (from the article "Languages: Why we must save dying tongues" by Rachel Nuwer).

1. Read the complete article at to learn the arguments for and against the preservation of endangered languages.

2. Make a list of points both supporting and opposing the statement, "It is important to make efforts to preserve endangered languages".

3. Decide on your own point of view. Express your point of view in one sentence.

4. Write a paragraph explaining your point of view, using the sentence you wrote in step 3 as your Topic Sentence.

5. Find a friend who takes the opposite point of view and discuss.

The top 10 languages in the world claim around half of the world’s population (Thinkstock)

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Power of Barking

In English, we may say a dog's bark is worse than its bite.

How important do you think "the power of barking" is?

*Unfortunately, I don't know the source of this image so I cannot attribute its creator.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

How to Make the Most of a Language Tutor

Here is a link to a useful talk titled "How to Make the Most of a Language Tutor":

The speaker is an experienced language learner offering her views on what works best when learning with a tutor. Generally, I agree with her suggestions. In online classes with students aiming simply to improve their level of spoken English, I follow a similar procedure to the one she describes.

For more details, contact me by email: :).

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Talking About Food: What's Your Favourite Meal?

Which is your favourite meal? In English, the "main meals" are breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It's often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Do you agree? What do you usually eat for breakfast?

Here's an interesting short video showing the foods people eat for breakfast around the world:

Is your breakfast healthy? Which breakfast foods are healthiest? Check this article for some suggestions:

Image from

Do you eat three meals a day? Some people believe we should, "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper (poor person)". Do you think it's a good idea? Why or why not?

Which dish or dishes do you eat most often in your country? In Australian households, pasta, rice, grain, vegetarian, meat-based and many other kinds of dishes are found on the table as Australia is a multicultural country.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Great website for English language news

I'd like to share a great resource I've just found for English language news on a huge range of topics from a wide variety of sources, all in one place: . Updates are frequent, too.

It has been added to my Favourites list. Check it out!

(Image from )

Monday, 24 February 2014

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Using Conditionals in English

We all know that constructing "if" sentences ("conditionals") in English can sometimes be tricky.

Here's a superb mind map from ZDENDA to help you navigate!

Just click on the image to enlarge it.

More information can be found at .

Is it impossible to translate some words?

Lucy Greaves writes,

"No two languages map neatly on to one another with direct correspondences between words. Languages are bound up with the cultures of their users and have all developed in different contexts and along different paths. There is also a great deal of variation in the way different individuals relate to the language they use."

Read the complete article in "The Guardian" here:

Do you believe some words cannot be translated? Can you think of examples in your first language?

Has your first language contributed any words to English?

What strategies do you use when you can't translate a word into English?

Don't forget to check out the great blog at !

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Join "Ask the Experts" -- Live Chat on IELTS Official Facebook -- Feb 07 2014

"Don’t forget to join the ‘Ask the Experts’ live chat session on the IELTS Official Facebook page 07 Feb at 13.30-14.30 GMT.

This session you can ask any questions you have on the Academic Writing test.

Go to .

Find out the time of the session where you are:"

(From: IELTSOfficial)

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Do you know the name of this Australian animal?

Do you know the name of this distinctively shaped creature?

This fellow (not real, of course) has travelled with me for at least fifteen years, in Australia, Asia and the USA.

If I had to choose a favourite among Australia's many unique and diverse forms of wildlife, it might indeed be this one:

The wisdom of John Lennon

Do you agree?