Intensive Advanced 2

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Advanced 2. Relationships.

Have a look at these two links. Listen to the recordings and then do the exercises (Quiz and Vocabulary Challenge). Click here and here.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Advanced 2. Video: Homeschooling (2)

Watch the video (here) and fill in the blanks with one or two words (Select to see the answers):

Hi, I’m Melissa, the Homeschool Mom. Today I wanna talk to you about why I homeschool my children. If you haven’t visited FreeSchool yet, check it out in the link below. It’s full of safe educational videos for kids. But, on to homeschooling. Homeschooling is growing in popularity as an educational option in the United States, with about 3 per cent of the school-age population being taught at home during the 2011-2012 school year, but you could ask ten different families why they homeschool their children and get ten different reasons. Most homeschool parents agree that the environment that their children would be exposed to in a public school is something that they are concerned about, others list reasons like safety, morals or the quality of education that their children would receive.
First things first, I’m not a homeschooler because I struggled my way through school and therefore hate it, which I’ve had some people assume. In fact, I was a straight-A student and my class valedictorian. I’m not telling you this to brag, I’m telling you this to illustrate that the public school system worked very well for me –or it would have, if the only goal of attending school was to get good grades. It was because I sailed through the system with a nearly perfect score that I realized that this system, that I had dedicated 15 years of my life to (I attended two years of college before my husband enlisted in the military) that was supposed to help me succeed in life actually failed me in several areas that were really important to me.
First, I was really unhappy in school. I loved the reading, the learning, the classes, the projects, but the social dynamic made me miserable. Personally, I think that if you trap 20 people in a room for seven hours a day and only allow them to leave to eat and use the bathroom, it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s not gonna be fun. Multiply that times 180 days and turn all of the people into teenagers, and you can see why there are problems.
Second, school didn’t leave me much time to pursue my own interests. These days, I spend a lot of time teaching my kids, cooking, and making Youtube videos, but as a teen I wanted to be an artist and a writer! I spent a lot of time drawing, painting, writing and reading, but I still wonder how my life could be different if I had just had more time to focus on those interests instead of waiting for class to start, waiting for class to be over, and riding the bus.
I did the math, and just during the four years that I spent in high school, I spent over 720 hours riding the bus. That’s 30 days. I spent the equivalent of a month, day and night, 24 hours round the clock, riding the bus. I did get a lot of reading done, but I also got harassed by a high school student who shouted profanity at me because I was in his seat until I started crying, when I was nine.
So, third, the things that I learned at school were really limited by what the school had to offer. As someone who attended school in a rural area, we didn’t exactly knock it out of the park in terms of academic variety. As a child, I wanted to learn French –they only offered Spanish. The gifted programme literally did not exist at my school, until my family moved in. My mother demanded accommodation, at which point they gave us about half an hour every week with the “special ed” teacher. Not kidding. Also, the librarian refused to let me check out books above my grade level. Quote: “Above my grade level”. Until my mum stepped in, and made them let me, you know, check out books from the library. Yeah.
Now, you may be saying: “Sure, all that stuff happened to you, but I don't have those problems in my school system. My school system's great! It does all the things that I want for my children.” And that may be true! Good for you. That's awesome.
The point is that there's a lot of things that are out of your control, they're out of your hands, and even if you do discover that there's a problem, you may not be able to get them to fix it. So, with homeschooling, the entire educational process is in your hands, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. So, I was already considering homeschooling my children when my oldest son was diagnosed with a pervasive developmental disorder at the age of 2, which really kind of sealed the deal for me. I remembered the way that children with special needs were treated when I was at school, both by the school and by the other children and I didn't want him to go through that. And I decided that I was gonna handle his educational needs and his educational experience myself. Cut to eight years later, and it turns out that homeschooling is just really fun. It's a great fit for our family, and a great way for us to learn and grow together, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
So, what about you? Do you homeschool or send your kids to public school, and what made you make that decision? Leave your experiences in the comments. And no mum-shaming please, everybody makes the best decision that they can for their children and, just like our children, those decisions can all be different. Don't forget to give this video a thumbs up if you like it and subscribe to see what's coming next from FreeSchool Mom.


Friday, December 1, 2017

Advanced 2. Video: Homeschooling

Watch the video (here) and fill in the blanks with one or two words (Select to see the answers):

Why I chose to homeschool.
I have a confession to make: I used to be very anti-homeschooling and I mean I used to say things like: “These homeschooled children are not getting proper socialization. These poor children are subjected to their parents, who don't even have a degree in teaching. How do they know how to teach their children? Are they even smart enough?” So, I even... When my children were little, I used to fantasize about the day I could send them to school and I would be free and then when my daughter, my oldest, was three, my dad gave me a book about education and said “Angel, you have to read this”, and it really got me thinking about education and what I wanted for my kids. At that point I didn't even think, I still didn't think I could handle homeschooling, but I felt like it had planted a seed and got me thinking about it. So, when it was time for kindergarten registration, I just... my gut was just nudging me in the direction of homeschooling or just keeping her home for that kindergarten year. I had no idea where I would be, what I would be doing the next year or in five years, but I just, I just felt like that was the right thing for me to be doing at the time.
What drew me to it in the first place is that I'm an entrepreneur at heart and I love the idea that I could custom design my family's educational experience, that I was totally in control of our calendar and our daily schedule. I liked the idea of having that kind of freedom and control over my family's experience.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Advanced 2. Education

Changing education paradigms. Click here,  watch the video and then leave a comment if you want.
If you want to learn more vocabulary, click here.
This video about whether schools kill children's creativity is very interesting too (special thanks to Tomás Cuesta for the link). Click here and please leave a comment explaining why you agree or disagree with Mr Robinson.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Advanced 2. Homeschool vs public school

What are the main differences between the traditional school system and homeschooling? Watch the video and find out. Click here.

Advanced 2. Homeschooling vs. Traditional Schooling

Here you can find an article about the pros and cons of homeschooling and traditional schooling. If you click here, you can also see the video that goes with the article.
To see more videos, click here and here.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Education

Watch this video about schools in Great Britain. Click here.
And now learn more about education in the USA. Click here.
Click here if you want to read about the difference between a college and a university.

Advanced 2: Different accents. Funny videos

Have a look at these videos and check out the different accents. Courtesy of Tomás Cuesta.
RP accent. Click here.
Indian accent. Click here.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Advanced 2. Pronunciation matters.

Just for fun. Click here and watch the video.
Thanks to Ángeles Fernández for the link.

Advanced 2. American slang vs. British slang.

On this occasion Hugh Laurie visits Ellen Degeneres and they start to play a funny game: Ellen has to guess what these British slang words mean and Hugh has to try and guess the meaning of the American expresions. Click here and join the game. 

Advanced 2. British English vs. American English.

Click here and enjoy.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Advanced 2. The English Language. Origins And Evolution.

Would you like to find out more about the origins and evolution of the English language? Have a look at these two videos (subtitles are available in English too). Click here and here.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Advanced 2: Listening comprehension. The Perfect Schedule.

Listen to Rory and Abidemi talking about the perfect work schedule and answer the questions ("comprehension quiz"). Click here.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Advanced 2. Work-life balance.

Click here and watch the video. Listen again, this time read the transcript below and fill in the blanks with one or two words (select the gaps to see the answers).

Transcript:
This is the Audi R8. It’s a highly efficient and compelling car. Its engine produces an astonishing 199 kw at 6500 rpm, and a torque of 330nm at 4000 rpm. Now part of the reason that it’s so efficient and part of what makes us human beings comparatively inefficient is that this car has only one goal and that goal is exceptionally clear. It has to go very fast down tarmac roads.
As a general principle, no machine can be optimally efficient at more than one thing. A robot that has to both climb stairs and make pancakes will be far less efficient than two distinct machines, each of which can focus exclusively on a single task. The more limited the goals, the higher one’s chances of efficiency.
Now, unlike the Audi sports car, our brains are not designed or evolved to be maximally efficient at any one thing. This amazing cognitive and emotional machine is a profound generalist. It comes moderately well-equipped  for a huge range of possible activities: to write a novel, spear a fish, bring up a child, drive very fast up Fifth Avenue, sit in a highrise office writing reports, live in a hut in New Guinea, marry, plot an assassination, live in an ice cave, go into politics, stay single or expand a small business into the Asia market.
Now the price we pay for being generalists is that we’ll be less good at any one of the many activities we perform than someone who did only one thing their whole lifelong.  We might not be the very best at inflating party balloons, our house will be a bit dirty, we might be a bit late for the meeting, we’ll not be perfect patient and interested dinner companions, we’ll mess up the public presentation again, someone will probably be better than we are at helping a child to paint. This might be quite depressing at moments, perhaps late at night as we look back across the day, but before we get to sad, we should realize that our less than completely optimal performance is down to one very understandable thing: That we’ve chosen breadth and variety over total focus and narrow perfection, and that’s a very wise choice. Focusing on one thing to the exclusion of all others has its costs, as anyone who has ever spoken to an athlete who trains ten hours a day, tends to find out. There’s a cost to being the human equivalent of a sports car.

Unfortunately, our society has set up an absurd idea that it will be possible to do many things and do them all completely well, that’s why we hear so much talk about an illusive thing called work-life balance: A perfectly optimal career and a perfectly optimal home life. This is a mad idea. Work-life balance is impossible because everything worth fighting for unbalances your life. We’re not gonna be at once the ideal domestic chef, child carer and CEO. If we strung out across multiple roles, all will suffer, but that’s ok. That you’re doing too much and none of it without mistakes isn’t a sign that your life has gone wrong, it’s a sign of a very wise and understandable position; that you’ve opted for imperfect variety over flawless focus.

Advanced 2. Listening comprehension: Work (Outsourcing)

What`s the meaning of "outsourcing"? Well, if you own a company and decide to outsource, basically you begin to hire people outside your company / country to do specific tasks.
Now, listen to Todd and Julia talking about this topic and answer the questions (The "comprehension quiz"). Click here.
If you need extra practice, you can also check out the "related links" section below (it's on the right side of the page as well) 

Glossary: 
-To place a bid: To make an offer.
-To crop: To trim a picture.
-Freelancers: Self-employed people who are not employed continuously but hired to do specific assignments.
-To cobble something together: To put together roughly or clumsily.
- Convenient: suitable to the purpose // happening to be near and useful at a particular moment

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Advanced 2. Video: Living at parents' home.

More and more young people can't afford to buy a house so they have to live at home with their parents. Watch the video (source BBC News) and complete the transcript with one or two words (select to see the answers). Click here

TRANSCRIPT:

Luke Sibson lives a very modern dilemma. Aged 27, with a degree, he works in London but can’t afford to live here and commutes back every even5ing to his mother’s house in Eastbourne.
“I spend up to five hours a day travelling to and from London for my job. There simply aren’t any employment opportunities in my sector down where I live on the south coast, so I have to come to London. I’d love to live here but I just can’t afford it.”
Getting your own place was always part of growing up, but today’s figures suggest it’s increasingly a luxury for young people. In 1996 2.7 million 20 to 34-year-olds lived with their parents. By 2013 that had risen to 3.3 million. That’s 26% of that age group. They include 24-year-old James Hughes, who doesn’t have a permanent job, and lives with his mother Maura in Belfast.
“It’s not that I’m unhappy living at home but I would like to move out because I lived on my own when I was over in  The Netherlands studying a master’s so I got used to living away from home and I’d like to go back to that plus I think they’d like the house to themselves as well”.
“I just wish he could get a permanent job and be able to make his own way or see a future. Working part-time is very difficult.”
Although they are both earning good wages, it’s taken them almost 12 months to get a mortgage offer of £20,000. Being unable to afford your first home is hardly new but it’s the numbers that are now striking.Campaigners for more affordable housing say the situation was entirely predictable.
“We failed as a country to build the right number of homes for so many years now and we’re supposed to build about 240,000 a year and we’ve built less than half of that for decades now.”
Back from London this evening and at home with his mother Ruth in Eastbourne, Luke Sipson says he never envisaged this life.
“I had set plans to own a house and a car and have a family by the time I’m 30. I’m now 27 and I’m not any closer to achieving that. In fact, in some ways I’ve probably gone back a couple of steps.”
“My generation, we are in a more comfortable position ourselves and are able to support and provide for probably our children more than our parents could.”
Luke’s is a generation caught in limbo, trying to move up but unable to move out.
Reeta Chakrabati. BBC News.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Advanced 2. Personality.

In this recording Rebecca and Todd talk about personality traits. Click here, listen and answer the questions on the right side of the page (comprehension quiz).
Glossary:
To procrastinate: to put off an action until some later time.

Advanced Level. Game: Personality test.

Take the test and find out which US state matches your personality. I belong in Illinois!
Click here

Advanced 2. Writing.

Click here and read about how to describe your family. Have a look at these descriptions and then write a similar one about your family (200-230 words).

Monday, October 2, 2017

Advanced 2. Marriage and divorce.

What are several reasons why some relationships end in divorce? When there is conflict, what are some ways in repairing and enhancing marital relationships? Are there times when a divorce lawyer may be needed to settle family disputes or breakups? (source www.esl-lab.com). Click here, listen to the conversation and answer the following questions.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Saint Patrick's Day.

Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17th to commemorate the arrival of Christianity in the Emerald Isle. Today, it is also celebrated by Irish communities all over the world.  If you want to find out more about the origins of the holiday, click here.

Saint Patrick's Day

Today is March 17! For the Irish this particular day is full of symbolism because they celebrate the Patron Saint of Ireland. Click here if you want to know more about Saint Patrick's history.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Just for fun

It all started when a Dutch show presented Donald Trump with a very simple idea: We totally understand it's going to be America first, but can we just say The Netherlands second?
Now the rest of Europe can't stop making similar videos. They can't help trolling Trump. If you want to see them, just click on the links. Enjoy! 
Portugal (jump past the introduction to get to the video at the 2:06 mark)
Germany (jump past the introduction to get to the video at the 1:47 mark)
Denmark