French education minister Genevieve Fioraso has announced that some courses should be taught in English in French universities. In a bid to attract more foreign students to French universities it is becoming increasingly important to have lessons in English. The powerful Academie Francaise has shown stern disapproval to the plan, but others have welcomed it as an inevitable step to preserve the integrity of French education. French newspaper Liberation even printed the day’s news in English, with the headline ‘Teaching in English. Let’s do it!’
We conducted a study with students from our school and asked them what they thought were the best ways for studying and improving their English out side of English lessons. The results revealed some of the tried and tested methods, but also threw up a few surprises. Let us know what you think and if you would add any of your own!
Talking to an English friend.
Moving to an English speaking country
Watching films and t.v in English
Listening to English radio
Reading a short novel (such a a teenagers series)
Listening to music with English lyrics
Getting an English girlfriend/boyfreind
Starting an ‘English club’ with freinds
Bookmarking favorite English websites to read each day
Watching You Tube videos
We hope you found this list useful and would love to hear your own suggestions.
Phonebox Language School has begun work on a new charity scheme named English Enable. English Enable aims to provide English lessons to some of the world’s poorest communities through Skype.
English lessons can have a real effect on people’s lives and can be part the solution for dealing with poverty. Learning English can empower people, giving them the skills and confidence they need to improve their lives and help their community and families.
English Enable plans to find those communities who are most at need and help them to set up a simple Skype connection on basic computer equipment. English lessons will be provided by professional English teachers who are volunteers at the school.
We are desperate for publicity, sponsors and volunteers so please don’t hesitate to to contact us if you can help.
Google is reportedly working on a new product, ‘Google Glasses’. Sergey Brin, co-owner of Google was spotted on a New York subway wearing a complex set of spectacles – that many have claimed to be a prototype of Google’s latest product. The glasses have been developed so far in secret by the internet super giants – although they made a brief debut at a blind conference in San Francisco last April.
According to some experts the glasses could allow wearers to combine their visual surrounding with the technology on the glasses, allowing them to identify visual stimulus, such as landmarks, signs, writing, and then do a voice controlled search. Information from the glasses would be told back to the wearer through a small screen located on the glasses themselves.
This could be great news for English learners, imagine the possibilities. You could walk into a shop and not know the name for a product then ask the glasses for the translation, and receive the answer in seconds on the glasses’ screen. Online Google translation could be conducted in a blink of an eye, and even English lessons on Phonebox could be possibly conducted while wearing the glasses.
Although the official announcement of the glasses is not sure, we might expect later this year to receive more information from Google. Until then then we will all have to make do with our smart phones.
Lance Armstrong had a succession of Tour De France wins between 1999 and 2005, it was always in question if he had taken performance enhancing drugs to get the edge on his competitors. According to the cyclist of Oprah, a popular American talk show, he felt that doping was part of job, a necessity in order to win the Tour and to be part of a ‘level playing field’. When asked if he felt bad about taking drugs he only replied that it was scary. Armstrong admitted also to be a ‘bully’ and would ‘turn on people‘ if he did not like what they were saying – this he felt was due to his commitment to winning, and would fight if backed against a wall. Read the full story here
performance enhancing drugs – drugs taken to improve performance during sport
get the edge – improve better than competitors
level playing field – to make things equal
turn on people – attack people, verbally or physically
backed against a wall – forced into a bad situation
London offers many things, bright lights, fashionable shops, fantastic night life, and the fast paced life of a multicultural densely populated urban landscape. Another major draw for the millions of visitors to London each year is the chance to improve their English. But it is expensive, right?
Well it doesn’t have to be! There are many ways students can visit London learn English and leave with perhaps more money than they arrived with!
First and perhaps most obviously it is possible to improve your English while working. It’s not going to be the laid back holiday you dreamed of, but it is going to put cash in your back pocket while hopefully teaching you the local lingo. Try to go for jobs that will force you to speak English, such as being a bar person, a waiter, shop assistant or clerk. In these jobs you will be forced to interact with the general public, speaking with many different accents. Perfect for a crash course in English.
If this sounds too much, perhaps your English needs some TLC first. Try flat sharing with some English speakers, they will be keen to get to know you and chat, and won’t rush you or expect your English to be perfect. You can also learn English in ‘real’ situations, often somewhere like the pub can be perfect for a loose enjoyable chat.
If you do feel that proper English lessons are a must why not go online and suggest a language exchange, their are plenty of English teachers in London, and many of them would love to improve their language skills as well, this sort of exchange can build lasting relationships and help you to assimilate in a country.
So go out there and get talking – you’ll soon sound like one of the locals.
London’s Underground is the oldest in the world, not the biggest, not the busiest but the oldest. The famous Underground symbol has become a world recognised logo and brand in its own right, drawing millions of people each year to London and selling merchandise such as ‘tube maps’ and ‘mind the gap’ t-shirts. Very much like the red phone box, used in our own logo, the Underground logo is a world recognised symbol of Britain. Read more about the history of London’s Underground on the BBC news site.
BBC news can be a great way of improving your English with interesting news stories updated each day, and a host of English learning materials, such as the award winning BBC world service learning English page.
Here you can read shorter stories, listen to podcast, download materials and much more.
A school in Bolton, England has started a pioneering new teaching method, where all its lessons are conducted using an Ipad. They state that just like when the pencil and notebook became a ‘usable technology’ they are embracing the Ipad as today’s best tool for helping children learn in the classroom. Ipads are also a very useful tool for English learning, many of our students who learn at Phonebox Language School use an Ipad for their English lessons. On the Ipad our students can talk to teacher, in real time face to face, using video calling from Skype. Is this the true future of English learning? Watch a video about the school in England here
Now it is possible to learn English with professional native English teachers, on your iphone! How? Through using a free communications software called Skype, students can learn English on their iphone with a free Skype application. Students can book lessons with the teacher and then have them call them on their iphone via Skype. With an iphone 4 you can also have face to face Skype calls where you can see the teacher, so it is just like having the teacher there with you. Of course, even greater advantages come from using an ipad, as you can benefit from a larger screen. Is this the future of how students learn English? Let us know your thoughts.