Hungry for English?
We have wonderful food to satisfy your English appetites :)
Our delicious English sandwiches come in three tantalizing flavours:
Foundational English--incl. preparation for the Canadian Immigration Test.
TOEFL/ IELTS exam preparation.
Preparation for the Canadian Immigration Exam.
For all information inquiries, please send your request by email to:
To join and become a member:
1. Send an email to the above address letting me know which course of study you are interested in---Basic, Business, or Exam Preparation.
2. ***Press the "PayPal" button at the bottom of this page to make your first payment for the classes.-Every 6th class is:FREE-no charge.***
Join in this exciting program right now--and learn all the English that you need. It is right here at our glorious englishrightnow.org
3. I will then email you, giving you complete access to this website, along with further instructions on how to use it effectively to your advantage.
4. All books and past professional exams are downloadable from this site--free for students of englishrightnow.org
We have video chat, online simultaneous collaboration of documents, audio recordings,videos, and you can download and copy all material from this website, and furthermore, you still have the option to take classes in-person with the teacher--by appointment (New Westminster B.C.).
The Oxford English Dictionary.---includes a Spanish Dictionary.
English:Most widely spoken language
“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” – Frank Smith
Despite slipping behind Mandarin as the world’s most widely spoken language, English is still the most popular language on the globe, with 1,500 million native and non-native speakers worldwide, and with 60 out of 196 countries using English as their official language, according to the Oxford Royale Academy. It is also the language of diplomacy and the official language spoken by the European Union, the United Nations, and many Commonwealth countries.
8 Reasons Why English Is a Complicated Language By Lariba Ashfaq Ahmed November 13, 2019Text Box
“Because of language, man has access to the past and the future. He can express the true and the untrue. Language helps him understand both what is and what could be.” ~ Wesley Douglass Camp
Linking people around the globe , English language is the first to be recognized as a Global Lingua Franca. It has turned out to be an elemental block of every existing field ,may it be business, science, information technology, entertainment and so on. English is often used as a medium to analyze an individual’s literacy. Though many countries do have English as their native language, those who have the command over the English Language are considered and respected as highly educated .
Owing to its growing popularity and demand, the need to acquire knowledge about the language is accelerating as well. Though widely spoken, here are some reasons why English may have you obfuscated-
1. Ever came across a word with two opposite meanings. Well, Such words are called CONTRONYMS. If you ‘dust’ something, are you sprinkling salt on salad or clearing dirt off the table? If you ‘screen’ something, are you protecting your face from UV rays or planning a movie night for friends? Contronyms are also known as “Janus words”after the two faced Roman God.
2. Lead (to be followed) and Lead(a metal), Well (being alright) and Well (a brick structure to store water), tear(to rip) and tear (as in crying). Words that are spelled same and often pronounced same but mean different things are known as HOMOGRAPHS. English is full of homographs.
3. Did you know? Meaning of words can shift depending on which syllable is stressed. For example, an OBject is a ‘thing’ and to obJECT is ‘to complain’, CONtent means ‘what is contained’ whereas conTENT means ‘peace’, an ADDress means ‘location of a house’ and to addRESS someone is ‘to talk to them’.
4. Homophones are different words with same pronunciation. ‘Altar’ means a raised platform whereas ‘ Alter’ pronounced the same way, means to cut down or reduce.
5. Job is not done yet! You might spell a word accurately but might be messing up with its pronunciation. Even the widely-used pronunciations turn out to be incorrect. For example, Genre is often pronounced as “Jen-re”, but the correct way is “zhahn-ruh”. Similarly, Coupon is often pronounced as “que-pon’ , but the correct way is “koo-pon”.
6. Words are often spelled implausibly with silent letters. Knight, Pneumonia, Psychology, Reign and the tongue- twister “Czechoslovakia”.
7. Ever wondered why a dog comes to your mind when you say the word “ Bark”, because it is a sound made by a dog . Words that phonetically mimic or resembles the sound of the thing it’s made by or associated with ,refer to ONOMATOPOEIA . Some onomatopoetic words are Snake’s hiss, Cat’s meow, Book’s snap or a Bomb’s boom.
8. Why a common man is called “a man of straws”? Why an easy task is known as “cup of tea” or a “piece of cake”? Why orderly arrangement is an “ apple-pie order”? Why does “it is raining like cat’s and dog’s” mean it’s raining hard? Many of these mind-toggling idioms in english leave you confused.
“Yes, English can be weird . It can be understood through tough thorough thought, though.” ~ David Burge
Lucy Williams worked in an office near the city centre . She usually went for a walk in the park during her lunch hour. Nearly every day she saw a very old man who was always in the park on the same bench. He had white hair and a long white beard and a very contented expression. She sometimes nodded to him or said hello and he always smiled back very happily. One day, she decided to stop and speak to him.
‘Excuse me,’ said Lucy, ‘I often see you here. You always seem very cheerful and you’re never sick! What’s your secret for a long and happy life?’
‘My secret?’ asked the old man, smiling at her ‘I don’t have a secret.’
‘But how often do you take exercise?’ asked Lucy.
‘I never take any exercise, young lady.’
‘What about your diet? How often do you eat fresh fruit and vegetables?’
‘I hardly ever eat vegetables.’ he replied, still smiling, ‘And I smoke almost all the time.’
‘That’s amazing!’ said Lucy. ‘How old are you?’
‘Thirty five,’ he replied
A "podcast" is an audio file that you can listen to on your computer/cellphone/mp3 player.
B2. Healthy living
adverbs of frequency
In this next video a student is sharing his e-portfolio in preparation for a showcase.
How do we help kids connect with their strengths while being real about core academics?
When we reframe the way we talk about kids, we reframe the way we think about them. Let's not deliver the same idea in a “nicer way,” but push ourselves to keep each child in mind as a whole person rather than reducing them to conventional metrics. This a huge temptation because these metrics dominate current educational discourse.
One of multiple ways our school community is shifting towards asset-based communication about students is through holding quarterly student showcases - letting kids speak for themselves!
At our last quarterly showcase, hundreds of family members went into classrooms to talk with students about their learning. Students shared multi-media projects, presentations and other examples of their growth. It was refreshing to hear conversations that included statements of pride from students and families, kids articulating what they’ve learned, and students celebrating each others’ learning.
During the student showcases, our bilingual students are given a platform to share their ability to communicate and create in two or more languages, as opposed to conventional report cards and conferences that systematically frame students in terms of language deficits.
Although this might sound simple, there is a lot of societal pull to move in the other direction - to focus on oversimplified metrics. Instead of reducing the stories of kids and schools to numbers and rankings, let’s move towards a more meaningful narrative.
cross posted at widaatwcer.blogspot.com
Learn Grammar through content
Hiding grammar lessons in content material Douglas Magrath Wednesday, March 23, 2016
A variety of activities will enhance language acquisition. Suggestions include articles, student presentations, discussions, role plays, field trips and demonstrations.
In a content-based approach, grammar still needs to be taught since the need will arise for the students to communicate using a specific structure (passive voice, for example). Grammatical accuracy still needs to be part of the hidden agenda of the course, especially for college-bound students, and it can be hidden in the readings.
In social studies, learners may hold a mock election or a mock UN debate. Later on, they can write out their experiences in a journal or as a part of a follow-up assignment.
A hands-on learning experience will be more meaningful and go into deep memory. Role-playing is included, along with work on idioms and listening comprehension using published articles on the subject.
Context clues are important, and additional helps can be provided by outlines on the blackboard, visuals, charts, word banks and realia.
The core of the content-based ESL class derives from the subject rather than the forms of the language. The goal of the class is to use the subject as a way to increase communicative competence.
English becomes a means of acquiring new information rather than an object of study.
"ELLs will often learn the social contexts of English long before they master the elements that they need for learning and conveying their knowledge of academic content," Virginia "Jenny" Williams writes. "Academic language can take five to seven years to acquire at levels that are needed for a typical classroom in the U.S."
Students may be at the advanced level in the four skills, but they may still have difficulty with the academic courses if they are taking them concurrently with the ESL program. Even after passing the TOEFL or other placement test, they face hurdles when it comes to regular course work with native speakers.
Advanced fluency, the final phase of second-language acquisition, can take five to seven years to emerge. During this stage, students take on a near-native ability in the second language when speaking, but academic language may still be developing.
Content-area readings should allow students to relate their language learning to the academic subjects they are studying. As stated in the ACTFL National Standards: "Making Connections: Learners build, reinforce and expand their knowledge of other disciplines while using the language to develop critical thinking and to solve problems creatively."
Reading and Listening
Focus on the 4 basic language skills: Receptive
Sheilamary Koch Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Why do some English learners struggle with reading and listening? How can we support them in navigating these receptive language skills? Let's take a closer look at these two basic language skills.
Having strong receptive skills provides a solid base for achieving success in the productive skills. Verbal fluency and writing ability are more tangible for learners and teachers alike. On the other hand, both reading and listening involve a great deal of internal mental processing on the part of the student, which can create obstacles when it comes to teaching and assessment.
Due to their inherent nature, listening and reading pose distinct challenges.
Verbal language can be difficult to grasp because it disappears immediately after it is spoken, while written language remains on the page to be read at one's own pace and reread if necessary. On the other hand, the gestures of the speaker as well as the tone and intonation of the voice provide the listener additional information about the speaker's message and opinion.
Listening involves understanding the meaningful sounds that comprise spoken language. It is the first skill that's developed by an L1 learner as an infant. Long before speaking his or her first word, a baby has been surrounded by language in the context of daily life.
Having such a context is an advantage over the typical classroom environment. As teachers, providing lessons that use props and regalia and are taught using a contextual format is a way to bridge this gap for students.
In terms of assessment, keep in mind the significant amount of time an L1 learner takes to produce accurate language, and do not expect to gauge comprehension on what a new L2 or L3 student can express verbally. Written true-false questions, multiple-choice questions, or ticking the word or sentence heard assessment options that address this issue.
Young learners who lack basic reading skills can demonstrate their understanding in similar exercises with images instead of words. Older students who are tentative about the language also relax when they aren't expected to read in order to complete listening comprehension tasks.
When secondary and high school students were asked about these two language skills, the general consensus was that they found reading more difficult when they began learning English. Some cited the difference in how the letters are pronounced in English as compared to their L1, while others found that not having sufficient vocabulary kept them from deducing the meaning of what they had read.
When learners are strong readers in their L1, they can easily transfer this skill to reading in English. However, if they find it challenging or their language level isn't high, they will need assistance in transferring these skills. A good starting point for teachers is determining the specific weak area or subskill, then helping students build that up.
Some students may be getting stuck at the decoding or word level and need to expand their vocabulary, while others know many isolated words but lack understanding of sentence structure and the grammatical links between sentences. On the discourse level, reading subskills include reading for gist or skimming, reading for detail, reading for specific information or scanning and deducing meaning from context.
In reading — and in most cases listening to — a given text, there are three recommended stages: pre-, during- and after-reading. Key activities at the "pre-" stage are preteaching unfamiliar vocabulary and identifying the purpose for reading the text.
"The teacher leads a discussion to draw out students' prior knowledge of the theme and interjects additional information considered necessary to an understanding of the text to be read," Vaezi said. "Moreover, the teacher can explicitly link prior knowledge to important information in the text."
Vaezi cited several during-reading tips, including:
teaching readers to be on the watch to predict what is going to happen next in the text to be able to integrate and combine what has been read with what is to come
instructing them to make use of context to guess the meaning of unknown words in a text
encouraging them to pause at certain points while reading a text to absorb, sort out and internalize the material being read
Post-reading activities not only serve to check comprehension and correct areas of miscomprehension, but they also provide a prime opportunity to engage students' critical thinking skills and led to deeper analysis of the text and its significance on a larger scope.
"In the real world, the purpose of reading is not to memorize an author's point of view or to summarize text content, but rather to see into another mind, or to mesh new information into what one already knows," Vaezi said.
Want a better job?
Want a better job and salary? Master the English language – study
Study International Staff | April 24, 2017
Employers across all sectors and business sizes will offer higher salaries and promotions to those fluent in the English language, new research by the Cambridge English Language Assessment (Cambridge English) and Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) shows.
Better salary packages are found to be most common in non-native English-speaking countries like Brazil and China, which are coincidentally the same nations suffering from some of the biggest English skills gap.
“We live in an increasingly connected world and communication is an important part in this process. [People who] can communicate are more likely to grow professionally and personally,” Mário Magalhães, a production engineer at GGMR, Brazil, said in the report.
The findings are based on data from 5,373 employers in 38 countries that completed the annual QS Global Employer Survey, and insights from industry experts at Cambridge English.
Globally, job applicants are not meeting the level of mastery in the English language that employers want. This results in a “40 percent skills gap” between the desired level of English mastery and the language skills actually available, regardless of company size, according to Blandine Bastié, Cambridge English’s Country Head for UK and Ireland at Cambridge English.
The biggest skills disconnect are in internal-facing roles such as Human Resources and Personnel, Accounting and Finance, Production and Logistics, as well as in non native-English speaking countries such as China, Japan, Russia and South Korea.
By contrast, the gap is lowest in middle and top management as well as in countries where English is an official language (e.g. Singapore and India).
Applicants able to close this English language skills gap can look forward to heftier starting packages and tend to climb faster up the corporate ladder. A total of 46 percent of employers say they will award bigger salary increases to those in this group as well.
For employers like Japan’s ITOCHU Corporation, English is an important business tool, a sentiment shared by the majority of the employers across the globe. “The English language requirements of our staff can only increase in the next 10 years, because our business will depend more and more on global business,” Natsuki Segawa, Manager, Aerospace Systems, ITOCHU Corporation, Japan said
An overwhelming number of employers (95 percent) in non-native English-speaking countries find such skills are vital. Nurbek Achilov, the founder of Kazakhstan’s G-Global Development Community, calls it the language of ‘business, science, etiquette and innovations”.
Employees should know how to read, write, speak and understand the language well; reading is identified as the most vital skill in 11 industries since English is the lingua franca of many international journals and contracts. Second to reading is fluency in conversing in English, a skill identified as crucial in about nine industries, especially those requiring heavy social interaction such as travel, leisure and hospitality. “They should also practice speaking the language as much as possible so that they can impress at the interview stage, and focus on reading and writing for more advanced technical roles.”
Douglas Todd: Is the English language privileged? It's certainly popular
Opinion: English is not a 'better' language. But the reality is that, for a host of reasons, it is prevailing as perhaps the world's second language of choice
DOUGLAS TODD Updated: August 2, 2019
The English language is probably the prime reason the vast majority of Asian and other families make sure their offspring go to colleges and universities in Australia, Britain, the U.S. and Canada.
(Believe it or not, some amusing surveys also suggest Canadians are thought to have attractive accents.)
“In recent years the rise of the internet and the accession of central and eastern European states have made English dominant,” said The Economist editorial. “Today over 80 per cent of the European Commission’s documents are written first in that language, then translated into the EU’s remaining 23 official languages.”
Minority languages deserve protection and promotion. But The Economist makes sense when it says adopting English as a common language in Europe is not a threat to cosmopolitanism, it’s a complement to it.
A greater sense of community can be achieved when it’s possible to talk and write in a common tongue — and right now English looks like it has the greatest potential to become what Esperanto was meant to be.
France: English and Jobs
28 April 2017
One in three French workers feel their lack of English has cost them job opportunities, a survey has found.
Parlez vous anglais?
French people feel that they've missed out at work due to their poor level of English, according to a new survey of English language students carried out by the ABA English school.
Just under one third of all age groups believe language barriers impeded their ability to rise up through the ranks at work, the survey found.
The stats were even higher among those aged 20 to 45, with 55 percent of respondents saying they felt their lack of language skills meant they missed a chance to boost their professional development.
Meanwhile 66 percent of respondents felt that English was becoming increasingly important in the French workplace.
As for why English learners from France were taking lessons, 47 percent of the 20-45-year-olds said they were doing it for work, 23 percent for personal development, 19 percent for travel, and the rest for family or studies.
Study abroad: What are English Language Tests
Study Abroad: What Are English Language Tests
New Delhi: If you are planning to study abroad, just applying to the college of your choice is not enough. There are other requirements which you must fulfill in order to secure a place in a university abroad. One of the essential requirements is a valid score card of an accepted English Language Test. For Indian students, good score in an English language proficiency test is a must to apply at all major foreign universities in USA, UK, Australia, Canada and other English speaking countries. Some of the major English language proficiency tests which are conducted in India are listed here.
As an applicant to a foreign university you must enquire more about these exams and find out which exam's score is accepted at the university of your choice.
IELTS: The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a test taken by people who intend to study or work in a country where English is the language of communication.
IELTS is available in two versions - Academic and General Training. Academic IELTS is for those who apply for higher education or professional registration. General Training is for those who migrate to Australia, Canada and the UK or apply for secondary education, training programmes, and work experience in an English-speaking environment.
IELTS score is accepted by more than 10,000 institutes and training organizations across the world.
TOEFL: TOEFL is one of the most popular English-language test accepted by more than 9000colleges, universities, and agencies in more than 130 countries Australia, Canada, UK, and USA.
The registration for TOEFL goes on throughout the year and there are almost 50 tests conducted in a year.
CAE: Cambridge English: Advaced (CAE) is another English-language test which is accepted as a proof of English language ability. This test is accepted by 100% universities in UK.
The test dates are available throughout the year. There are 2800 test centres in 130 countries. The exam is both paper-based and computer based.
ESL Skills in Business
Teaching the ESL skills needed in the business world
Rather than just learning about grammar or words, ESL students must actually use the language to learn new material related to their future dealings in the business world. The core material should be authentic, with curriculum taken from the subject matter, so students use English as a tool to learn new information and interact with it, and the topics should fit the needs of the students.
Therefore, as Pardess Mitchell points out, the instruction needs to be relevant to the learner's future career: "It is important to show students what they are learning is relevant to life today, to connect concepts learned in class to the 'real world' and to allow students to reflect on these matters. The goal is to encourage students to think about a particular topic and apply it to their life, thus making the information useful."
At englishrightnow.org, we use “real-world” material in the instruction of Business English.
This ensures that students will be able to connect concepts from the classroom to the “life today” as it pertains to the business world J
The goal at englishrightnow.org is to prepare students for the “real world,” along with a good grounding in the practical day-to-day usage of English.
May the adventure begin! Englishrightnow!
Immigrants and English
Poor immigrant language skills lead to poor health: Study
Published on: April 11, 2016
Immigrants with poor skills in English or French are three times more likely to report ill health, according to a study by Statistics Canada.
The unique report found that many immigrants who arrive in Canada in good health start declining if they have poor language skills.
“The odds that immigrants with persistently limited proficiency would report poor health … were close to three times the odds for immigrants whose language abilities were persistently good,” said the report, titled Official Language proficiency and self-reported health among immigrants to Canada.
Canadian Refugees and English
Sask. English as an Additional Language teacher gives advice on helping new Canadians
Myrina Rutten-James says it takes at least 2 years to do day-to-day tasks
CBC News Posted: Jan 06, 2016 7:52 PM CT
You can tap the brakes on your car or go on a break from work; English is a language with a lot of nuance.
With Syrian refugees calling Saskatchewan home, Myrina Rutten-James said it is important people have patience when language barriers come into play. She teaches English as an Additional Language at the University of Regina.
"Often it takes about two years just to become fairly proficient [in English], to be able to do the day-to-day tasks that you need to do," Rutten-James said on CBC's Afternoon Edition.
"But research shows it takes between four and seven years of full-time immersion to really understand the language and be able to use it to the level of certainty that people would like."
She explained idiomatic expressions like "I'm over the hill" can be very troublesome for people learning the language. Another difficulty is phrasal verbs like "not cut out for" or "puts up with a lot".
It's not just how people use the language that make it difficult to pick up.
"There are so many things that make it complicated for someone to learn a language, their motivation, their goals, access to the second language before they arrive… current life situations," she said.
For people trying to learn English, it's important to recognize that it is a lifelong process.
"It's very difficult to pick up everything you need to learn in a short period of time, they need to be patient with themselves," she said.
"Learning English can be a very frustrating experience and so you want to be mindful of the larger picture and what it is that you want in the long term."
· Have the person you are trying to help restate what you said, instead of saying "do you understand?"
· Ask them specific questions so you can gauge whether or not they understood what you told them.
Language learning seeks depth
Students expected to think critically and interact meaningfully
Preparing students for an increasingly global workforce means teaching them not only how to speak a second language, but how to think critically in that language and have a deep understanding of the culture and geography that are embedded in it.
Increases in rigor and depth are a focus of this year’s American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) conference, which will be held Nov. 20 to 22 in San Diego.
“I think people are beginning to see the need for world language proficiency at a higher level than has been produced,” says ACTFL President Jacqueline Van Houten, also a world languages specialist at Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky.
The conference will feature hundreds of presentations and workshops over several days, including many focused on updates to ACTFL’s World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages. The revisions, first released in 2013, have driven subtle but important shifts in classroom practices.
The language standards set goals in five areas: communication, cultures, connections, comparisons and communities.
Prior to the update, students were expected to “engage in conversation, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions” in a foreign language. Now, the standards call for students to “interact and negotiate meaning” as well as share information, feelings and opinions.
In the past, when a few students were asked to talk about their day in a foreign language, their classmates could sit and listen politely, says Paul Sandrock, director of education at ACTFL and a conference presenter. Now, students should be asked to decide, for example, who had a busier day, which requires debate and making value judgments.
Students should now learn not only to understand and interpret language, but to analyze it—using higher-level thinking skills to discuss and debate meaning rather than focusing simply on the ability to translate content word for word.
Another way to help students develop abilities like critical thinking in another language is to look at the 12 skills for college and career readiness laid out by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21).
Then, teachers should choose one skill that each language lesson will target and build a lesson or student project that not only teaches language skills but asks students to demonstrate P21 skills like problem solving, says an ACTFL presenter Lauren Rosen, director of Collaborative Language at the University of Wisconsin.
Teachers can go one step further by incorporating technologies that can help foster those skills. With programs like Google Hangouts, students can talk to their peers in other countries. They can also use smartphones to take pictures and create presentations that demonstrate vocabulary skills, Rosen says.
English: The Universal Language of Science
The Hidden Bias of Science’s Universal Language The Atlantic Daily newsletter.Technology
Adam Huttner-Koros. Aug 21, 2015
The vast majority of scientific papers today are published in English. What gets lost when other languages get left out?
Newton’s Principia Mathematica was written in Latin; Einstein’s first influential papers were written in German; Marie Curie’s work was published in French. Yet today, most scientific research around the world is published in a single language, English.
Since the middle of the last century, things have shifted in the global scientific community. English is now so prevalent that in some non-English speaking countries, like Germany, France, and Spain, English-language academic papers outnumber publications in the country’s own language several times over. In the Netherlands, one of the more extreme examples, this ratio is an astonishing 40 to 1.
A 2012 study from the scientific-research publication Research Trends examined articles collected by SCOPUS, the world’s largest database for peer-reviewed journals. To qualify for inclusion in SCOPUS, a journal published in a language other than English must at the very least include English abstracts; of the more than 21,000 articles from 239 countries currently in the database, the study found that 80 percent were written entirely in English. Zeroing in on eight countries that produce a high number of scientific journals, the study also found that the ratio of English to non-English articles in the past few years had increased or remained stable in all but one.
In short, scientists who want to produce influential, globally recognized work most likely need to publish in English—which means they’ll also likely have to attend English-language conferences, read English-language papers, and have English-language discussions. In a 2005 case study of Korean scientists living in the U.K., the researcher Kumju Hwang, then at the University of Leeds, wrote: “The reason that [non-native English-speaking scientists] have to use English, at a cost of extra time and effort, is closely related to their continued efforts to be recognized as having internationally compatible quality and to gain the highest possible reputation.”
Listening: The First Step...
Opinion. Listening the first step to reading. 11 Sep 2015 00:00 Carole Bloch
In his insightful book, The Rights of the Reader, Daniel Pennac comments: “When someone reads aloud, they raise you to the level of the book. They give you reading as a gift.”
People who love reading know the precise value of that gift. But there are those who cannot read, both children and adults – and they should be remembered this September, in Literacy and Heritage Month.
In days gone by, storytelling and, later, reading aloud was common practice.
Listening brought its own pleasures: the first lines of a compelling story anticipated thrills like the “Ntunjambili” chant, opening the sheltering rock to fleeing, terrified children, or the call of “Open Sesame”, revealing the cave in which the 40 thieves’ glittering treasure lay.
This was how substantial learning took place. History, values and knowledge were shared. In Mesopotamia, just 6 000 years ago, the few who could read were called scribes rather than readers, surmises Alberto Manguel in A History of Reading, to emphasise the “greatest gift” of “having access to the archives of human memory and rescuing from the past the voice of our experience”.
Today, many of us are entranced by the vast visual world of digital stories. But would the thousands of children who struggle through the education system benefit from listening to them? More specifically, for children learning to read, what is the significance of hearing well-told and well-read stories?
A clear answer may elude many parents, teachers and librarians, and there have been few magnificent storybooks published in languages that most local young children and their families speak. The pervasive insistence that children learning English must learn in English as soon as possible does not help to change this situation. Nor does the way in which “skills-based” teaching methods for initial literacy tend to be prioritised over nurturing an interest in and a love of stories and reading.
But listening to stories is indeed significant for learning to read. Comprehension and vocabulary grow strong in children who have stories told and read aloud to them.
For several decades research has confirmed this, as well as the fact that knowledge of story structure predicts children’s later general reading success.
Of course, learning to read cannot happen without close encounters with the mechanics of print, but it’s is far easier if healthy story language roots have already embedded themselves in fertile minds.
When story time involves children and adults poring over words and illustrations together, crucial concepts relating to print become integral to the powerful process – even though much of this learning may go unnoticed.
But when children don’t have such experiences, and struggle to make sense of what they’re learning, we often attribute this to their need to be taught particular skills rather than appreciating their need for linguistically and imaginatively rich input.
Stories chosen for interest rather than for the attainment of a particular reading level challenge and expand children’s intelligence as they explore exciting ways of being and of expressing themselves. Without bidding, they incorporate them into their play and other activities. And, being finely tuned to our expectations of them, when we show faith in their power to grapple with the big ideas and emotions in the stories they hear from us, they will often surprise and delight us with their capabilities.
Videos in natural English
Spain considers ban on dubbing in bid to boost English language skills Published: 04 Dec 2015.
A new proposal from the ruling Popular Party could see Spain say adios to the practice of dubbing foreign programmes on television as a way of improving the nation's English proficiency.
Spaniards lag far behind their Scandinavian, German and Dutch cousins when it comes to English proficiency, but they could soon be shooting up the EU English league tables if one election proposal comes to fruition.
The conservative Popular Party (PP) led by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy want a part of all television programming in Spain to be emitted in the original version, getting rid of dubbing and broadcasting with subtitles instead.
swissinfo.ch and agencies. Sep 28, 2015 - 16:27
Survey shows Swiss youth struggle with national language learning
Young Swiss struggle to learn other national languages at a sufficient level for the classroom and the workplace, according to a national study on multiculturalism from the perspective of the country’s youth.
The 2015 Swiss Federal Survey of Adolescents found that fewer than a quarter of the young respondents living in the French-speaking part of the country found it interesting to learn German in school, with the feeling reciprocated in German-speaking Switzerland.
And the low interest level translates into students’ skills. Just 23% of youth from the French and Italian-speaking parts of the country can speak German at a basic conversational level, while 21.9% of German speakers said they don’t know any French.
English, however, enjoys more popularity among young people, with the majority of survey respondents saying they could speak English well or very well.
English-language training targets multinationals.Dec.11,2015.
By Veronica DeVore, Zug. http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/global-stage_english-language-training-targets-multinationals/41784028
Although English is not one of Switzerland’s four national languages, it is the lingua franca of most of the international companies headquartered in the country. A new programme on Swiss soil is training their future workforces, almost exclusively in English.
Pauses can make or break a conversation
Date: September 30, 2015
Source: University of Gothenburg
Summary: Long pauses can make speech difficult to understand, but short pauses can be highly beneficial, according to linguistics research.
Long pauses can make speech difficult to understand, but short pauses can be highly beneficial. This is shown in a new doctoral thesis in linguistics from the University of Gothenburg.
When we speak we don't. Pause. After. Each. Word. Instead we pause between longer utterances ‒ sometimes to breathe, sometimes to think and sometimes to see if somebody else wants to say something. We usually don't even notice the pauses, but if a pause feels a bit too long we start wondering what is going on.
Kristina Lundholm Fors has explored what decides whether the duration of a pause in speech is perceived as normal or as uncomfortably long. She finds that we tend to adapt our pauses to our conversation partner -- when the other person uses longer pauses we follow along and do the same thing, and vice versa.
'This way we learn what a normal pause is for the person we are talking to, in that particular conversation,' says Lundholm Fors.
Lundholm Fors used eye tracking to study the processing of sentences with long pauses, sentences containing pauses of typical duration and sentences without pauses. Her results show that sentences with unusually long pauses tend to be more difficult to process. The long pauses in her study were four seconds long.
'Four seconds doesn't sound like a long time, but when you are talking to somebody it can feel like an eternity. A typical pause in speech lasts only about a quarter to half a second.'
So, long pauses can affect communication negatively, but they can also have a positive effect if they are not too long. After the eye tracking study, the test subjects were asked to indicate which sentences they had heard during the experiment. The sentences that contained a half second pause turned out to be significantly easier to understand than sentences that lacked pauses and sentences that contained an unusually long pause.
Pauses are a natural part of speech, and learning more about them can help us understand how the participants in a conversation take turns talking. Lundholm Fors' research shows that pauses in speech are not distributed randomly; instead, the use of them follows a distinct pattern.
'This means that when we talk to other people, we pretty much know when there's going to be a pause, and this is information we can use as we prepare to say something,' she says.
The results of Lundholm Fors' doctoral thesis can contribute to better modelling of pauses in speech -- models that in turn can be used in the development of systems for communication between humans and computers.
'Since the pauses are important for the processing of information, more natural use of pauses in computerised speech can contribute to improved understanding. The pausation models can also be useful in the evaluation of individuals with various disabilities affecting the ability to speak and communicate,' she says.
Dual Language Books
Dual language books bridge culture, language for English learners in Edmonton
Alexandra Zabjek, Edmonton Journal Published on: October 9, 2015 | Last Updated: October 9, 2015 7:07 PM MDT
The idea is simple: Use a book printed in both English and in a child’s mother tongue to help that child learn English.
“It used to be a widely held belief that if you’re a newcomer to Canada, you need to stop speaking your language and immerse yourself in English,” said Jayashree Ramaswami, an English-as-a-second-language consultant with Edmonton Public Schools.
“In the last 20 years, there’s lots of research that’s resulted in a change in how English language learners are educated. What has been proven is that building on their home language is most important.”
As Edmonton schools work with increasing numbers of English language learners, educators employ different techniques to improve their skills. A dual language book prints a story in two languages on the pages. Some of the books are popular Canadian classics, and others are folk tales from different countries.
At Jackson Heights School in Mill Woods, Ramaswami has supported teachers in a project where students create their own dual language books, based around a “family treasure” from a student’s home. The books become about identity, family history and language.
They also open a door for parents who don’t have strong English skills to participate in a school activity. The parents might translate their child’s book or come in to read it.
“All children love when their parents are able to participate … And the research has shown that when parents engage in learning, their achievement is higher,” said Ramaswami.
Jackson Heights teacher Pam Schenk has used the family treasure books to introduce new languages into her classroom. Students have been delighted to learn other languages and proud to hear their native tongue in the classroom.
“It brings these communities in to the school system and says they’re gifts and skills with another language are important,” Schenk said.
English: most popular language in Europe
More than any other foreign language, European youths learn English
The European Union is awash with languages. There are 24 official languages in the EU and more than 60 indigenous regional or minority languages. Despite this linguistic diversity, European students study one foreign language far more than any other: English.
Roughly three-quarters (77%) of primary school students in the EU learn English as a foreign language, according to data from Eurostat. This includes all or nearly all young students in Austria, Malta, Italy, Spain and Cyprus.
By comparison, German and French, the next most popular foreign languages, were studied by only 3.2% and 3% of EU primary school students, respectively.
Luxembourg and Belgium, each with three official languages, have the lowest share of primary school pupils studying English as a foreign language. In both countries, students frequently study one of the official languages, typically French or German, instead of English.
Learning English has been growing more popular in EU nations, with the share of young students studying English as a foreign language more than doubling from just 35% in 2000. Meanwhile, the share of young students studying French and German has remained below 15%. Governments (and parents) may have their eye on preparing students for a global economy in which English is seen as the dominant language.
While most European students are introduced to English in primary school, learning English is even more popular among those in upper secondary school (roughly equivalent to U.S. high school). More than nine-in-ten upper-secondary students (94%) in the EU learn English, compared with fewer than a quarter who learn French (24%), German (20%) or Spanish (18%).
IELTS Results Withheld
English exam body withholds results from 350 Chinese students over violations
News follows complaints that IELTS results were being delayed by ‘routine checks’
South China Morning Post Society Wed Oct 21, 2015
About 350 Chinese students who have taken the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination since July have had their results “withheld permanently”, because the testing authority believes they have violated its rules, mainland news portal Thepapern.cn reported.
Over the past few months, many students in Shanghai, Nanjing, Changsha and Chengdu have complained that their IELTS results were being delayed by routine checks and some said the move had affected their applications for visas or overseas universities.
In a statement to the news website, IELTS said it took the responsibility of providing test results very seriously. Results were withheld only in cases where there was strong evidence to suggest the candidates had not complied with IELTS regulations, it said.
“In these cases, we are unable to guarantee that their result is a true reflection of their English language skills,” it said.
It declined to comment further, citing confidentiality, but test reference books containing the IELTS questions and answers are commonly sold in the mainland, allowing dishonest students to cheat.
Thanks to the rising popularity of studying abroad among Chinese students, more and more people are taking part in the IELTS. Last year, 600,000 mainland students sat the test, more than one fifth of all the candidates for the examination worldwide.
In these cases, we are unable to guarantee that their result is a true reflection of their English language skills
An unnamed agent who advises mainland students said on his WeChat account that a large number of candidates who attended the IELTS test on July 25 had been targeted by the checks. He said these students were probably those whose scores improved significantly in a short time, or had an extreme imbalance in performance levels in the four sections of the test. But there were also some instances where the results of all students in a particular class were being checked.
“I estimate half the students who got a 7 score in any of the four sections were chosen [for checks],” he said.
According to the agent, such large scale checks on mainland students by the IELTS authority had taken place every year for the past few years.
The Brain and Learning
As travel experiences go, there are few things as satisfying as ordering a meal in a foreign language. But while the practical and social aspects are obvious, multilingualism also has a transformative effect on the brain – improving brain power and changing the way we see the world.
Read on for an illustrated journey on how language affects the brain!
Learning Foundational English
Our teaching approach at "Englishrightnow.org," is to bring together the "Canadian Language Benchmarks" (CLBs), communicative competence, critical thinking and math skills, and employability skills through a variety of tasks and activities that will only enrich the students appreciation for the English language.
All four skill areas are covered; listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
This is the Canadian Immigration English Test.
Learning Business English
1. Prezumes: Resumes with Pizzazz.
2. Job Centre role play.
3. Financial Terminology Quiz.
Please go to "Class Announcements", in the sidebar to the left,for full details.
4. Canadian Economic Prospects: Go to our
"Creative ESL/EFL Blog" for this insightful article :)
TOEFL and IELTS Exam Preparation
TOEFL and IELTS Methodology:
After sufficient work has been done, I shall be giving students real TOEFL, or IELTS practice exams, mark the exams, and then give follow-up help to the students as is deemed necessary.
It should be noted that the skills studied in either TOEFL or IELTS are really interchangeable as each section comprehensively treats language skills that are necessary for all students.