First things First
Well, first let me say hello to all of you out there and a big thank you to those on the BBC Learning English Team for giving me this great opportunity to take part in this very exciting project!
It’s strange for me to think that I’m actually doing this type of internet based activity. I was recently told that I’m a “digital immigrant” at a conference on ELT and Technology (ELT is an acronym for English Language Teaching). Apparently, this is a term to describe those of us who grew up without using technology but started using it later in life. And you know, it really doesn’t seem so long ago when my then girlfriend laughed at me because I thought I could only access my personal email account from my computer at work because I had opened the account on that computer!!! Actually, that was 11 years ago, during my second year in Turkey and my then girlfriend, Mehpare, is now my wife (and yes, she still laughs at me…).
Well, anyway, here I am, Teacher Blogger (what a weird and wonderful title!) for the BBC, my Mum will be proud!! (by the way, do you know what that is an acronym for???)
Well I’m going to keep this short and sweet as I’m quite tired from partying all day yesterday with my beautiful daughter Nehir Irene (Nehir means River in Turkish and Irene means peace in Greek). It was her birthday yesterday! She’s 2 years old now. Time really flies doesn’t it! It seems like only yesterday that she was born.
Before you go though, how about tackling a few questions that I’ve set below. Come on, you’re here to learn aren’t you? So get your thinking caps on and take up the challenge.
I’m addressing all of you who are reading this, not just Marvin who, I’m told, will be the Student Blogger this month. One of the best ways to improve your language skills is to study how native speakers use the language for yourself. So what are you waiting for? Study how I have used my English here to express myself!
By the way, Marvin, I’m really looking forward to our correspondence!
Gule gule! As they say in Turkey (it means “go laughing!”)
What do you think you know about me now? Write down 3 things that you definitely know about me and 3 things that you can guess. Give your reasons for these guesses!
2. Guessing from context – find these words in the blog and try to guess the meaning
What is an acronym? Give an example of an acronym you know.
my then girlfriend - What does then mean in this context?
3. Developing lexis (words and phrases)
Find three phrases that mean "Time has passed but I didn’t notice!"
posted on Monday, 01 September 2008 | comment on this post
Wow! I haven’t had this much fun for ages! It’s so cool to read your great comments and to see how keen you are to get down to work and complete the tasks I set. Jorges, Josette and Vijay, it’s good to know I’m not the only digital immigrant here in "Blogland" so thanks for your support and thanks to Paco for the faith you showed in me to develop my skills! Vijay also has his own comical anecdote about his early experiences with a computer! Thanks also to Monica from Brazil for the term "Blogland"! You have such a wonderful imagination and guessed correctly about how I met my wife – but which guess was correct Monica, eh? ;) In fact many of you made some very good guesses about me, Anna Paula and Josette did particularly well here. It’s so much more interesting to read between the lines of the text, don’t you think? (I know Danijel does!!). Vladimir is also able to read pictures very well, you should read what he says about my face at the top of the blog!! I was also very interested to hear from Bia that Nehir also means river in Arabic too, so yes Nata, this is a learning experience for me too (and by the way Nata, you ought be very proud of your English!). Paulraj, you are right to say that I’m really proud to be married to my wife Mehpare. Many of you think that she is Turkish but she isn’t! What other country could she be from do you think???
Regarding the Guessing from Context questions, most of you seemed to manage this very easily though congratulations especially to Kiran and Gordana! They explained that “then” in this context means “at that time but not now”. “Acronym” was too easy so I’ll have to set even more challenging tasks this time (you said I was very demanding Cocetta and Beatriz but you ain’t seen nothin yet!)
For the answers to the Developing Lexis section see Mariona and Alexandar’s comments for the correct answers (some others of you also got them too!). When I ask you to find phrases, I want you to look through my blog and find the phrases I wrote. This will help you pick up new phrases. Phrases are very important to learn because native speakers use them all the time. The more phrases you learn, the more fluent you will become (it’s the best way I know to brush up your language skills Silwal)! I suggest you note them down to help you remember. You can also look through and find phrases that you like (not just the ones I tell you to look for!). I’m wondering if any of you out there can share how and where you find new phrases and then remember them!!! We can all learn so much from sharing ideas can’t we Dino!
Antonio, I think using skype is also a useful way to improve your spoken English, you can look for people who say “Skype Me” and call them up for instance. I did that once and it was great fun talking to complete strangers!
Min, you’d be surprised how popular Turkey is for holidaymakers, Amy (your last Teacher Blogger!) is planning a visit with her family for example. I hope that Amy will try and get in touch with me before she comes and I can show her around my hometown Istanbul, which is I think, the best city in the world (you were right Ana Paula, I do have a strong bond!). Then Amy’s children could meet my “wee girl” Nehir (as Alex from Italy so nicely described her – where did you pick that up I wonder?)
Right well that’s about it from me, now, where on earth is that Marvin…?!!!
Today’s Tasks (Oh yes, don’t think you can escape!)
Have you learned any more facts about me? What are they?
Can you guess any more things about me?
Has your idea about who I am changed at all? How ? Why?
2. Guessing meanings from context
What do you think “read between the lines” means?
What do you think “brush up” means?
3. Developing Lexis
Find 4 phrases that helped me say that I really liked something.
Find another phrase that you think is useful.
Share how you find new phrases and then remember them.
posted on Wednesday, 03 September 2008 | comment on this post
Thanks everyone for your comments! You all did very well on the phrase finding and Clara from Roumania guessed correctly where my wife is from! Keep sharing your tips for learning with each other!
Welcome on board! You were missing in action for a while there but you finally made it! I think you made the right decision to entertain your friends rather than blogging. I would have done the same thing myself.
I promise I’ll try my best to help you with your writing. One of the ways I can help you is to focus on some of your errors. Sometimes I will do this by “reformulation”. This is a term you will learn about when you do your teaching course in Ireland. Sometimes a student will say something wrong in class like “Yesterday I go to the cinema.” and the teacher will reply by saying “Oh, you went to the cinema yesterday, what did you see?” . This is a very useful teaching technique as it allows the teacher to keep the conversation going and demonstrate correct usage. So when you see a word or phrase in bold, in this blog entry, this will be me reformulating something you wrote wrongly in your blog. Perhaps you can then check what you wrote and then note down the correct version in a special notebook. It’s up to you how you do it. Looking at your first blog entry, I can see that you have already achieved an amazingly high level of English!! So I wouldn’t say that your written English is your weak area at all. However, we could focus on your use of lexis if you like (lexis, maybe you know, is another important term in language teaching, it means words and phrases). This is perhaps something that we can polish up a bit. But it is really just a question of a few finishing touches for you! Another way you can help yourself is to study what I write and look for phrases you can use yourself as we have all been doing already here in Blogland haven’t we guys?!
Maybe I should start by introducing myself and how I got to where I am today. You know, it seems we have a lot in common. We’re both teachers. Also, when I was at school, I was one of the worst students too! I wasn’t a bad student though, just a naughty one probably because I’ve never really liked being told what to do. Maybe that’s why I became a teacher – so I can tell everyone else what to do!!! In order to become a teacher, I had to do a four week CELT course too! I did mine in England (I’m English)in a town called Solihull. At first, when I was leaving university, I wanted to work in publishing as an editor. This was very difficult in those days as you had to have contacts in the sector to get a foot in the door (it’s not what you know but who you know!). I sent off my CV to loads of different publishing companies and magazines, eventually, I got one interview but I wasn’t offered the job. The main barrier to finding a job for me was that I didn’t have any specialized knowledge beyond my university degree in English literature. I knew that it would be possible to work for a publisher producing ELT texts if I could get some experience as a teacher so in the end I decided to take the CELTA course. I also decided I wanted to work here in Turkey as I had a very good Turkish friend living here and I had had a great time on different holidays here as a teenager. So I took the course and came to Istanbul and that is also how (13 years later) I ended up here as a teacher blogger for the BBC. In my first year of working as a teacher in Istanbul, I worked with a lovely lady called Katherine, years later she got a job with the BBC Learning English team and put them in touch with me and I applied to be their teacher blogger for this month and hopefully next! I started here teaching adults but now I work in a primary school teaching little children that are around 8-9 years old which is great fun!
I wish you the best of luck for your CELT course Marvin and hope that the certificate has as wonderful an effect on your life as it has on mine!!! It is truly a great decision that you have made and will undoubtedly change your life!
Well that’s all from me for now. I hope that your ar now safely ensconsed back in your own home and the funfair has finally moved on! Perhaps I can tell you about my time working in Baden Wutemburg as a Harbour Master on Lake Constance one day!
PS. “long time unemployment” should be “long term unemployment”
Today’ tasks for everyone:
Why did I become a teacher?
How long have I been living and working in Istanbul?
Have I had any other jobs apart from being a teacher?
Why did I use the phrase “I would have done the same thing myself”
What does “reformulation” mean? Can you break this word into smaller parts to find the meaning?
What useful phrases can you find that are used when talking about getting a job?
What other useful phrases can you find?
posted on Friday, 05 September 2008 | comment on this post
Teach the World not the Word!
Sorry for the delay guys! Been run off my feet as today was the first day of school!
I’m so sorry to hear about your computer and camera, I know how infuriating those kind of things are. It’s not that we care about the things, it’s that we care that we can’t do the stuff we had planned right? It’s also a hassle to replace, fix them or make do without as you put across so well in your in your blog…
Anyway, you’ve got enough on your plate what with the CELT course and settling into your new digs and all. (People, believe me, Marvin really has got his hands full, this course he’s doing is very demanding!).
I loved the anecdote about the Bedouin that you began your blog with. I can really empathize with that feeling of moving too fast for the soul, I sometimes get that feeling at work!!! That’s not to say that my job is soul destroying as so many jobs are out there are, I love my job, but sometimes the kids and my bosses have me running from pillar to post! Marvin, it’s good to start your lessons with such anecdotes (as long as your students can understand it) and these kinds of stories make great discussion points. You should utilize your humanistic insight and this ability of yours to tell stories, in particular your own stories, when you are teaching and planning your lessons (for the course and after). If you take your whole self into the classroom then you will more easily grab the attention and curiosity of your students. Language development occurs through interaction and interaction occurs when there is motivation, when people have the need or desire to communicate. You, your experiences and reflections are your greatest resource for creating inquisitive minds!
The other major piece of advice I have for you would be that you should always have clear language goals for your lessons and be sure that the activities you have set are able to achieve them. Whenever you plan an activity you must ask yourself “Will this activity help me achieve my aims? If the activity can achieve my aims (or part of them), what problems may come up and how can I pre-empt or deal with them as they come up.” Of course a lot of this will depend on who your students are, on their own particular characters, their language needs and level. I suspect that a lot of this will sound familiar as you already have experience in the classroom. Don’t hesitate to ask about something specific that comes up in the course though, it’s my pleasure to help!
Regarding your almost faultless writing, I have found a few errors that I will note below. However, today I’m going to use a different technique that is more student centred (which is almost always a more effective way of facilitating for learning!). Yes, I’m going to ask you (and everyone else) to correct your own mistakes! Marvin has an excuse not do the homework now but nobody else does!
But before that Marvin here are 2 freebies:
Will I be the only non-native student? (which one is correct?)
What will the syllabus/curriculum be like? (which one is correct? – I’m not sure, it depends if you are talking about the syllabus or the curriculum!:)
1.Correct the mistakes
I just know that we're going to conduced six lessons and have to deliver three papers about English language teaching.
I'm waiting now that my soul is catching up.
The room is far from a five star accommodation but the people are very sweet and are trying very hard to make myself feel at home
I've also a few bad news to report
It wasn't an expensive one, but I planed to take a lot of picture while I'm in Ireland.
According to my blog, how and why do people develop their language skills?
Think of any good teachers you have had, why were they good?
3. Developing Lexis:
Find me 5 phrases that I used to talk about being busy, doing hard work, having a problem or a bad job
Now some photos of Arnavutkoy the area where I live in Istanbul:
I wanted to post more but I need to reduce the size (too many kb!) help...! (I use a Mac too!)
posted on Monday, 08 September 2008 | comment on this post
Keep at It!
It’s good to see that you are going to live by the maxim of “picking yourself up and dusting yourself down” (I got that from a Peter Tosh song actually!)It really is quite normal for you to feel like this as this is a course that works on the principle of “trial and error”. The key to success in the practical component of this course will be the degree to which you are able to reflect on and adjust your planning and practice accordingly. Trust your own self evaluation and the feedback you get from your tutor and fellow students and bare these in mind when you plan your next session. Also be sure to consider and implement the practical ideas you get from your tutors during your input sessions or the lessons that you observe! Tutors like to see that you have been listening to their advice!!! It will also help to discuss your ideas (for your observed lessons and the essays) with your tutor and fellow students if that is at all possible. Most importantly of all: remember, there are no mistakes only learning opportunities in the classroom!!
I can see from your previous blog that you are very interested in what you are learning and your idea for the lesson about describing things is great (both fun and authentic!). Authenticity is, I would say another key concept for good language teaching. Bare this in mind too when planning your written and practical assignments.
Now, regarding definitions of “syllabus and curriculum”. I think confusions arise because of differences between American English and British English usage. British people use the word syllabus to refer to what is taught within an individual subject (say Mathematics). We use the word curriculum to talk about everything that is taught in a whole school or educational system. So the government in Britain talks about the National Curriculum because it is talking about everything that must be taught by all schools. However in America people use the word syllabus to mean the same as curriculum in the British sense of the word. Hope that helps!
Keep at it Marvin! There’s no gain without pain!
Oh, I forgot. Marvin, I have some very important homework for you: Arrange some time out from your studies and go to an Irish pub and drink some of that black stuff! Cheers!
Thanks to everyone for their comments and effort in completing the homework. Please check out Leila from Finland’s comment for her excellent corrections (though you don’t need to add off to Marvin’s correct use of far from.)By the way Leila, I noticed that you were previously a student blogger here and I read a couple of your blogs and guess what – I’m actually from Stratford On Avon! It’s my original hometown (like the Bard)!
Apologies to Fariba from Iran for our continuing with the topic of teaching!!! However it is at the forefront of Marvin and mine’s minds at the moment…
Bia it’s very difficult to give you tips as I don’t really know much about those exams but I do know that “practice makes perfect!”
Monica, thanks for sharing our similarities and no – we don’t get enough dough (teachers never will, perhaps it’s because we have ethics and they know we will remain teachers anyway!!!. I can’t believe there is a lack of English blokes over there – you’re not looking hard enough!
Vladimir – perhaps I will tell you about my time as a harbour master, perhaps I just will sir…
Ana Paula – don’t work too hard and don’t ever let it destroy your soul!
Take care everyone!
Your homework tonight is…
Discover from my blog what type of music it is that I like and then listen to some and dance with your friends or loved ones!
Some more pics! First one is the view from my window near the computer!
posted on Wednesday, 10 September 2008 | comment on this post
It's the Weekend!
Well it’s good to hear that some of you are reggae fans (Leila, Anna Paula and even better to hear that I have managed to introduce some people (like Josette, Marianna and Mahjabeen) to the wonderful world of Peter Tosh and reggae! Not so long ago there was a great dub reggae band based in Istanbul called Root Vibe (you might be able to find some videos of them on YouTube) they have a bass player that you all are getting know now… Also, I have a radio show. It’s called “World Groove Radio”. My friend and I broadcast the show every Saturday night/ Sunday morning at 01.00am. The radio station is called Acik Radio (which means “Open radio”). You can listen to it live on the internet, unfortunately it is not available as a listen again show. Anyway here is the link. Let me know if you listen to it. Even if you can’t listen to my show, there are other goos shows on the radio. All the DJs on the radio work voluntarily and the station is not commercial so we play any music we like which means you can always hear some wild and wonderful sounds (especially in the evenings as during the day it is mostly talk shows). Here’s the link in case you are interested:
just click on the “Listen Live “ button in the top left corner.
Many of you have said that you would like to hear about life in Istanbul so here are some initial reflections. One of the reasons that I love living in Istanbul is that there seem to be so many opportunities to do interesting things (like be a radio DJ or play in band the type of music you love). Istanbul is a fascinating city with it’s own unique identity. It still hasn’t been completely “globalized” (though there are too many brand name coffee enterprizes opening up everyday!). There are many independent cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs and the place is teeming with young people. Turkey has a very young population compared to northern Europe so this makes for a very vibrant street and night life. Most of all, I feel very safe here, even though the city is a great, heaving metropolis, it is very peaceful. People here seem to be able to live together very well. Cities can often feel like lonely and dangerous places for a lot of people, but not Istanbul!! Turkish culture is very hospitable. People here see it as their duty to take care of visitors, especially foreigners. I love walking around my neighbourhood, exchanging greetings and chatting a bit with the people who live in my street or to the shopkeepers and especially my barber (and believe me, Turkish barbers are something special!). Turkish people are great conversationalists and I always hear something that makes me smile when I’m out and about. People here seem to feel more free to connect with other people than they do in England where it sometimes seems that even saying hello is an intrusion! I like the fact that the city isn’t completely “finished” in terms of design and that there a many old buildings (and I don’t mean just the tourist attractions). Having said that, Istanbul is host to to one of the most beautiful and awe inspiring buildings in the world, the Aya Sophia. This just has to be seen to be believed!!! Also the city has one of the most breathtaking physical settings of any of the cities in the world! It is on the sea of Marmara and the banks of the mighty Bosphorous which I see everyday! A stroll along the Bosphorous can wash all of your small scale daily worries and stress away. And then there’s the food in all its freshness and variety. You can still eat out here cheaply and well. I can’t recommend the city enough! Come and see for yourselves!! If you can’t here are a few more pictures…
1. Summarize why I like Istanbul in 5 sentences only.
2. Find 5 phrases that you like.
3. How do you feel about the place that you live in?
posted on Friday, 12 September 2008 | comment on this post
Hello Ana Paula and Everyone else!
Hi Ana Paula! Well I’m really looking forward to getting to know more about you! It seems you’re a bit of an old hand at this blogging business (no offense). Actually, you look like a real spring chicken in your photograph (that’s some kind of strange compliment!! Ha!Ha!). So tell me, what do you do for fun after a near soul destroying day at work? Are you into music? What are the hot new sounds coming from Sao Paulo these days (I’m researching for my program!) Brazil is, after all, famous for it’s music and dance. By the way, that is a very interesting picture of you sitting at the window. Which window is it? Is your photographer friend Spiderman or something?
Good Luck to Marvin (everyone send him some good vibes to help him get through his CELT!!!). We believe in you Marvin!
Now I’d just like to say a very big thank-you to all those who did their homework and more importantly, for sharing with me your thoughts and feelings about where you live.
Brian from Taiwan. It’s a privilege to here from you sir! Hope you are not one of those students under great pressure!
Maione from Italy. I have visited Italy a couple of times and have loved every place I’ve been. I will be sure to put Tuscanny on my list of places to visit in the future! (Is it a rural area?)
Haliza from Malaysia: I’ve heard lots of good things about KL. Istanbul is also multi-racial and multi-cultural (from different areas in Turkey and other countries). This always makes more interesting doesn’t it?
Fahima from UAE. Gel! Gel! Gel! (as they say in Turkish)
Letizia from Rome: You described your magnificent city like a poet! Such beautiful writing. This must be the effect of living in such a rich and colourful place. I spent a few days in Rome and will be sure to revisit!
Christine from Germany: Because of your vivid description, I feel like I’ve just visited your town. Also, never give up on being sociable!!! It is always best to communicate!
Vladimir from Ukraine: the place where you live sounds as special as you! Please keep up with the comments as you always put a smile on my face (and my wife’s!). You have a rapier wit sir! Glad to hear the youth are polite and well bred!
Mauricio from Brazil: I think you can identify phrases very well! Though “phrases” does not only mean “phrasal verbs”. Why don’t you check out some of our other friends’ comments (Christine from Germany for example) to get some more ideas about finding phrases. Good Luck! Phrases are everything!
Lizeth from Argentina: It’s great to find a home away from home isn’t it? By the way, I love your answer “It’d be a pleasure”.
Monica from Brazil: Thanks for your kind about my family!! (FYI however, my daughter is the spitting image of her handsome Dad!) Which town or city do you live in? I have often though that Brazil must be similar to Turkey in certain ways (and obviously different too!). Fuzili is a famous (though very old) Persian poet. He once wrote:
All that is in the world is love
And knowledge is nothing but gossip
His name has a very interesting meaning and reason as to why he chose it Check here for more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuz%C3%BBl%C3%AE
: I’m so glad that you tuned in!
: Why would I be disappointed in you? I can’t stand pop music myself! Take care and have a good rest when you can!
Here's a view of my street (and little Nehir!) from our balcony
My Dad in my first hometown Stratford On Avon
posted on Tuesday, 16 September 2008 | comment on this post
Spring Chickens, Good Vibes, Bosa Nova punk and David Lynch
Dear Ana Paula,
Thank-you so much for your recommendations regarding Brazilian musicians. I’m particularly intrigued by the strange object playing artist Vander Lee so I’ll be sure to check him/her out (male or female?). I’ve made a note of them all and will see if I can get hold of any of their stuff. I also like the sound of Ana Carolina (a good vibe is everything!). Perhaps I’ll get a radio show out of this! I was surprised to hear that Bosa Nova is only 50 years old (it’s also a spring chicken!). For some reason, I thought it was older. I’ve never really been into it although a couple of years ago an interesting Bosa Nova band from France came on the scene. They were called Nouvelle Vague which as you might know is a reference to a type of French Cinema movement. Their thing was to do cover versions of English punk songs in a Bosa Nova style! Quite a strange but very successful mix!!!
As regards watching movies, I love it! Nowadays, what with little Nehir around, we haven’t been able to go to the cinema much but we do watch DVDs at home. What is this “seventh art”? Is it a film or is it a term for “film” that I haven’t come across before? (How wonderful this blogging is, I’m learning so much!!!). Personally I’m into art house cinema. I like independent film makers, my favourite being the great David Lynch. I love the way he tells stories through a series of emotional and psychological states. I’m deeply moved and intrigued by his visual imagery and sound and the emotions, memories and ideas they stir within me! How about you? What type of films are you into and why?
Thanks for posting the pictures of Mogi Das Cruzes. It’s certainly in a beautiful setting nestled in at the foot of those mountains and surrounded by forest. Sounds like you have the best of both worlds a well connected city life close and well connected to nature (like Istanbul!).
Regarding your question about which preposition to use with Skype, I think you should use “on”. How do I know? Well just from “noticing” how other people use it. Also, because I know that people usually use “on” when they talk about internet communication software/sights in general (on MSN, on Yahoo, etc) and we say that we talk “on” the telephone don’t we. There is no “rule” regarding this type of use of preposition especially with such a modern word like “Skype”. People could have started using “through” but somehow they didn’t. Actually language did not emerge from any kind of “set of rules” in the first place, people started using similar words and phrases and patterns began to emerge. So my advice to all of you in matters like this is: The key to becoming a really fluent and accurate speaker of any language is to listen and read as much as you can. Then, while you read and listen, consciously start noticing language use, make a note and then try to use the language you picked up on. This is after all close to the way you acquired your native language! As you are such an advanced English speaker (at least writer!) you have probably already realized that native speakers use chunks of language all the time and that some words are used together and others not (like “on the internet” not “at the internet” with no rhyme or reason so your best hope is to notice this and try to store it somewhere (in your head preferably but a notebook is helpful! There are some very good dictionaries around like the Collins Cobuild Dictionary that will give you information about things like which preposition is used with which noun or verb but always sticking your nose in a dictionary can be a bit boring!
Noticing language use:
Look at how I have used prepositions in today’s blog.
Which nouns or verbs are they used together with?
Are the prepositions part of any useful phrases or “chunks” or even whole sentences that you can use yourselves?
Make a list of at least 5 chunks I used with prepositions.
Some more pics of my ladies!
posted on Thursday, 18 September 2008 | comment on this post
Busy doing what I want!
A good weekend to you too Ana Paul and everyone else! I’m writing this after taking a little nap (you call this a siesta in Brazil don’t you?) having got back from the organic market for our weekly shop! (Didn’t hear any Japanese though!) Later on I’ll be heading to my studio to practice playing bass then on to the radio station (after a quick drink!) for tonight’s show (actually Sunday morning 01.00am!). I’ll be sure to play something for you tonight Ana (and all my new bloggy pals!). I love the weekends but as you can see they are pretty busy too!
Indeed it is a shame on you Ana Paul for only seeing Dune. I can say that this is not really a very good “Lynch” film too. You should check out “MullHolland Drive”, “Blue Velvet” or “Wild at Heart” etc… He also directed a great TV show called “Twin Peaks” that is great too! I love Hitchcock as well but I’m not really familiar with Capra’s work so I will make an effort to remedy that!
Thanks very much for your swift response with the homework. I can see that I have a very keen student here (where is everybody else’s hw though? Caught in the time delay that occurs here in Blogland?!). I want to offer you a little advice about how you record these kinds of phrases however. I think that you might find it more fruitful to write the phrases exactly as you see them written like this:
I’ve made a note of them…
(I) will see if I can get hold of any of their stuff
I’ve never really been into it
NOT like this (as in a dictionary)
made a note of
get hold of
to be into
If you record and learn phrases like this then it will be harder for you to remember because you have to think about transforming them to the right form… This is harder for your brain and you are more likely to make a mistake!!
So make a note of them as you see them and just be sure that you know when it is appropriate to use it. This will really help you develop your speaking skills as well as Skype (perhaps we could Skype some time!).
In this blog I have highlighted some phrases that you can record. Now find some different ones for yourself!
Here’s a photo of us with friends having breakfast at the Ecological Organic Market!
Have a good one folks!
posted on Saturday, 20 September 2008 | comment on this post
Anything could happen!
Dear Ana Paula,
It’s great to hear that you got to stage number 1 in the dance process but I’m curious to hear how many stages there are until you get to the real thing? I’m also curious to hear as to why you are such a reluctant dancer! This sounds serious (do we need to call a doctor?! ;). Glad you liked the show! Regarding how my friend Mark and I select the music, the first thing you should know is that we usually don’t collaborate. We just turn up at the station and surprise each other. That seems to give us and everyone else the sense that anything could happen! Regarding how I select the tracks that I play, it really depends on what mood I’m in the night before and the morning of the show as well as what stuff I find that week in my record collection (yes, I said “record” collection!) or by searching the internet. The golden rule though is that I must like it and it should groove. However, “groove” has a very broad meaning!!! If you tune in next week you will probably see what I mean! Why don’t you choose a few tracks and I’ll see if I can find them and play them for you (if I like them of course!!). By the way, this is not something I do professionally (I mean for money) just for the love of music! I believe that music is probably humankind’s greatest achievement. Everyone loves music and music loves everyone, it can cross all boundaries and hurts no-one. Also I can’t recommend making music with friends enough. It is such a good feeling and an extraordinary way of connecting with people, very good for the soul. Do you play an instrument? Is there anything you do, or, would like to do just for the love of it? This question is not only for you Ana but everyone else too, - let’s call it homework if you like- you are all so interesting and I’m building a better picture of you all the more you comment. I’m wondering how the picture you are building of me is looking now…
(A special note for Vladimir: beware the monster from the deep could raise it’s fearsome head at any moment…)
I think that will have to be it from me for now but let me leave you with a special picture of my wife and…
Extra task (alongside my question in the blog): write some sentences using the phrases I've highlighted.
posted on Monday, 22 September 2008 | comment on this post
Kung Fu Panda
Dear Ana (Kung Fu Panda) Paula,
It’s great to read your posts, they are so colourful, lively and full of character. Interesting how people’s personalities can shine through text!
Here is a link about a mini film festival in Istanbul called Film Ekimi which is basically a preview of the good films coming up this season, many of them art house:
There is a big international film festival in Istanbul around February time so when you are ready to take a year or two off work and travel the world’s film festivals be sure to check out Istanbul’s (I’m serious – try and do it!)! Cinema is very popular here!!! If you come, be sure to look us up.
I’m not quite sure how to take Catherine’s comments about my dancing actually – a bit tongue in cheek if I know her (I’m no John Travolta but I will get up there and strut my stuff with the best of them if the music takes me!) Anyway, I’m sure you’re only kidding about your dancing ability too right Miss Panda…? By the way do you know Catherine from Brazil as I know she worked there for a while.
Regarding Woody Allen, I wasn’t there and didn’t meet him. He was in Istanbul with his jazz band for a concert. She saw him coming out of Aya Sofia (it’s a very famous old church/mosque/museum. I mentioned it I think in a previous blog. She loves Woody and went ape when she saw him and just ran up to him (not even his body guard could stop her!). The Aya Sofia is perhaps my favorite old building…
Ok so now I’m gonna play tough teacher and highlight some of your errors. Your job is to correct them yourself and everyone else in blogland can do this for homework too!
Here they are:
1) Anyway, once I´ve tried to take some belly dancing classes
2) which are a very demanding task
3) by that time
4) First thing you should know is
5) thanks for telling me how is you and mark
Then when you have finished that pick out some phrases that you like( let’s say 3) and try to use them in a sentence or in your daily life…
posted on Tuesday, 23 September 2008 | comment on this post
I’d like to say how satisfying it is for me (as your teacher) to see you using the phrases you have picked from my posts! As I have mentioned before, this is the best way for you to learn, by noticing interesting language as it is used, noting it down exactly as you see or hear it and then trying to use it. Well done and thank-you! Just one small thing though, I just noticed that in your blog entry dated Monday, 22nd September you used one of my phrases wrongly - can you find the mistake? Here is what you wrote:
“First thing you should know is how to move your hands and head at the same time.”
Trying to find your own mistakes is one of the best ways that you can improve your English. You are much more likely to improve by doing this yourself than if a teacher corrects your errors for you. Sometimes of course you will need some help though!! So that’s why I asked you to correct your own mistakes. You did very well, well done but there are a couple of things you need to look into. Here are the answers anyway so you can check your own answers (and everyone else)
1) Anyway, once I tried to take some belly dance classes…
2) which is a very demanding task
3) at the time
4) The first thing you should know is
5) thanks for telling me how you and Mark
Now,Ana Paula (and everyone else), can you tell me why in 1) above you should use the past form “tried” and not the present perfect form “have tried” ?
Also check your use of the present perfect form in this sentence from your last post – check it, change it and tell me why:
However, I´ve found the idea very interesting and I´d love to participate of a film session followed by a round-table meeting :-).
Ok, if that wasn’t enough, listen to Stayin Alive and pick out some more useful phrases from there and use them in your next post!
The sentence you asked me about in your most recent post “we live at a small and cosy white house which has a lovely garden in front of it” gets your idea across perfectly well so don’t worry about that. However there is a small preposition problem – can you find it?
By the way, the flowers look absolutely beautiful, thank-you for sharing them! Your Mum really does have green fingers! Please congratulate her from me. To answer your question about siblings, I have an elder brother. He lives in Oxford with his wife Mel and son Edward George. Here’s a picture:
By the way, I am on holiday for the next 10 days! Yippeeeee! We are planning on going to the south coast. This means that possibly I won’t be doing the show this Saturday… let’s see, you’ll have to tune in to find out!
YPW from Sweden – glad you liked the HW!
Hey Vladimir & Naheed– looks like that monster came up quicker than you thought! I knew you’d eat your hat when you heard who the man was! Ha ha! The teacher tricks his students once again! ;)
Welcome Sunny from China – I hope you find this blog as much fun as I do!
Toni from Barcelona – thank-you for your kind words!
Daria – excellently precise HW – I’m very impressed!
Mauricio – Come on, it can’t be that bad where you live. Go and have a better look!
Robert from Poland – why don’t you get some ear plugs for your dogs!
Nurzhan – try the tasks I set for Ana Paula… then read the complete works of Shakespeare and put a book report about it on my desk by Monday!
Maione – isn’t Aya Sophia amazing! (and WA!) there is a problem with this sentence: “In spite of my efforts,a bit tongue in cheek if I can understand her feelings.”
Adriana – thanks for the tip about Tribo de Jah. I am a big reggae fan actually and I’m sure it will be pearl – listen out for that!!!
Marianna – my mask never drops from my face. Everyday is carnival day for me– the trick is just to know who you are yourself and to stay true. Now you have captured my imagination and I’m intrigued…
posted on Thursday, 25 September 2008 | comment on this post
Darth Vader killed my mate's Dad!
Dear Ana Paula,
I would have posted sooner had I not ventured down south to the village of Cirala (spellıng is different actually with Turkish letters but they would probably show up funny on the web!) next to Olympos (which is actually now called Adrasan and near the city of Antalya). Check it out on the web. I can say that it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Actually last time I was here I met a lady from Brazil and she gave the beach a ten out of ten rating. I'll post some pictures later.
Regarding books I have to say that my all time favourite author is Toni Morrison for her book Beloved. I believe that this is the best book writtten in the twentieth century (even though I haven't read them all, I'm quite confident about this). In my opinion, she is a contemporary writer yet writes very much in line with the modernist tradition following Virginia Woolf and James Joyce (as well as African griot style of storytelling) but I believe that she succeeded where Joyce (with Ulysses) "failed". This is not to say that Ulysses is not a masterpiece, it surely is, however she has managed to tell American history using a stream of consciousness style which is accessible, poetic, real and compelling for anyone and not just diehard avantgarde literary freaks. Perhaps you have read it? If you haven't drop everything and start this one - "Beloved"!! I also like what I have read of Dostoyevsky however I have only read "Notes from the Underground" and parts of "Crime and Punishment" but after your reminder, I shall return to this great writer once more...
I'm glad that you liked the show again Ana Paula! Thanks for tuning in again!!
Star Wars. You know I remember when this first came out at the cinema. My whole family went on a special outing to Birmingham Odeon (in the city of Birmingham some miles out from Stratford) to see the first film premiere there! It was really a special occasion and we were absolutely blown away by the film! I also have a great story to tell about that film - you know when Darth Vader first appears in the film and he talks to one of the workers on the Death Star and lifts him up with one hand and strangles him? Well the actor who played that soldier is my friend's Dad!!! As you can imagine, many actors lived and settled in my hometown of Stratford On Avon...
Well I'm going to wrap this up now but before I go I can share with you the good news (for me at least) that I will continue as Teacher Blogger next month! I'm really happy about this!! However, I suppose that there will be a new Student Blogger starting soon. Of course I am always happy to make new friends but I must say that I will miss you as the student blogger Ana Paula. I really feel like I have gained a good friend in you so I hope you will continue your comments and that we can hook up through facebook and Skype etc! So this is definately not a goodbye to you Ana Paula but a very sincere thank-you and a see-you!
Take Care my friend!!!
posted on Tuesday, 30 September 2008 | comment on this post