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Issue #002 -- Week 12/05/14-18/05/14
May 19, 2014

Welcome to the second issue of our English Corner E-zine!

As promised, this week's edition goes out on Monday and hopefully just in time you to enjoy a little bed-time reading.

I wanted the latest Social Club classes to be a little more relaxed, in order to concentrate on getting everybody on board, as a great number of students are not receiving these E-zines yet. Also, I'm still working on improving on the look and feel of this newsletter, and it all takes time.

Now let’s recap what we did last week during our English Corner classes.

Wednesday 05/14 - Tell Me Your Story

We did the Social Club on how to tell your story and make it attractive. This was designed as a sample of a teaching method used for conversational English. It suits students who want to improve their vocabulary and spoken English.

It works like this:

- Prior to the class the student chooses the topic for the story s/he is going to speak about. This could be anything the student wants to improve his/her vocabulary on - work related, a personal interest, an interest in a specific country, travelling, etc.

- The teacher would then suggest some new vocabulary that can be included in the story, or it can be ignored, as the student wishes.

- The student and teacher would then meet face-to-face or online, for a session of either ½ hour or an hour, as per a previous agreement. During this session the student exposes the story to the best of his/her abilities, with the teacher correcting all aspects of vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation as necessary.

- At the end of the session, they would both agree as to which part of this story should be expanded in the following session, in order for the student to gain further vocabulary on the same topic.

- Alternatively, the topic can be totally changed and the student can choose a totally different topic to explore in a further session.

This system of teaching and learning a language is helpful to those who need a specific vocabulary (perhaps work related) that they use on a regular basis. Practicing talking about it and being duly corrected by a teacher is a good way of getting to feel the language involved, the story and the English speaking audience.

Please express an interest by using the form below, if you’d be interested in taking this kind of classes with me in the future.

Thursday 05/15 - Hobbies

Here we looked into some interesting hobbies to develop.

We’ve got some inspiration from a website, where people share some cool hobbies, such as: collecting donkey things, banana things, writing baroque music, fixing clocks and other crafts used for decorating our environment at home and at work. You’ll find a good example of great pictures on:

Another word for hobbies is ‘pastime’ which is something that amuses and serves to make time pass agreeably. We discussed some of our hobbies and then we looked into the situation in China, where one student mentioned that people don’t have much free time ‘to pass’ and we looked at this concept for a while, trying to figure out some of the reasons for which people don’t have much spare time in China. I personally think this is a legacy from the old educational system, where children get used to do so much homework and this increases in time. By the time one reaches to be a young student one would even find a situation in which there is some spare time as awkward and wouldn’t even know what to do with it.

Another reason I can think of is that all those extra-curriculum classes that children are encouraged by the parents to take are not chosen for the pleasure of the children and they sometimes don’t even understand deep down the reasons for which they are doing what they are doing – they just know that it has to be done – a situation which doesn’t nurture love for the art in question, be it dancing, calligraphy, painting, singing, or English.

People then develop into adults, without valuing the concept of free time, in which they can be creative and do something just for fun. I mean ‘do something’ in the sense of something that has a palpable result at the end, something which can be enjoyed, not ‘do something’ as in watching TV or sleeping, or chatting to friends on WeChat.

If people don’t put value on their free time, then they will not seek to make free time from other activities they’re undertaking, which explains why so many shops never close during the day, for shop-owners to even take a lunch break, or do something they would enjoy more. Instead, I’ve witnessed babies sleeping in a rocking chair or in a cot in the middle of a shop, or even shop-keepers having their lunches at the till, while serving customers.

Would you share your thoughts on this matter? Why do you think it's important to make time for something creative? Or how can you explain the lack of importance in this sense?

Saturday 05/17 - Word Games

We started this session with an active “Adjectives BANG!” game in which we had two teams competing with each other in accumulating points for the correct adjective they would ‘shoot’ their enemies with.

The signal was one adjective uttered by myself, at which moment both teams had to come up with an antonym to my word. For example, if I said ‘slow’, the team who could say ‘fast’ or ‘quick’ the first would get the point.

This game can easily be played in pairs and it can be repeated, swapping partners, in order to allow younger students to have more repetitions of the target vocabulary in a fun and easy way, thus enhancing their learning abilities.

When we got bored with that game we played a game of “Guess the Celebrity” between the two teams and we had great fun. Wish you were there!

This is it, folks!

Well, this is all we did last week. We tried to make it as light and pleasurable possible, githe gloomy weather we had to go through...

Now I shall try to see if I can add some pictures and links to this e-zine somehow ;-)

Have a good week ahead, everybody!

Lucia da Vinci

Founder of My English Club

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