IC1 Listening

April 14, 2011

Listening for details

In class we focus on listening to understand the general story, and listening for specific information.
Sometimes it helps to listen very carefully to every word and try to write down what you hear.  So this is what you are going to do in these activities.

Activity A – First of all click here to listen to these sentences, and decide which you hear first – a or b.  You may need to listen several times to check you have the correct answer.

1. a)  She’s made it.                                  b)  She made it.
2. a)  He’d started it.                                  b)  He started it.
3. a)  You’re taught it.                                b)  You taught it.
4. a)  I’ve lost it.                                         b)  I lost it.
5. a)  We’ll watch it.                                   b)  We watch it.
6. a)  I won’t buy it.                                    b)  I want to buy it.

Activity B – Now click here to listen to some different sentences, and write down what you can hear.  You will hear each sentence twice.  However, you may need to listen several times to help you write down all the words.

Click here to check all your answers.

If you think this helps your listening, why don’t you record some speaking from the TV or internet videos (news programs are good) and try to write down everything.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand every word because you can still guess the general meaning.  It will also help you to learn new words.


IC2 Congestion Charge debate

April 13, 2011

Why don’t you listen and analyse your own speaking?


This was your first debate in class and you only had 10 minutes to prepare, so I think you did very well.  Also it’s very difficult to speak when you know it is being recorded, so I think you may have felt a little nervous at the start.

I managed to write down some of the “typical” speaking mistakes that students make, and we can go through those in the next class.  However, you might find it useful to listen to yourselves, and think about your fluency and accuracy.  Notice where you make mistakes or what you would like to improve, and see if you can work on that.

Click here to listen to the debate

Unfortunately, with all the pressure of the recording and the excitement of the congestion charge(!) you didn’t have time to work on using those great “discussion phrases” that we looked at in class.  Perhaps you could listen and think about which phrases you could have used.

Recording your own speaking every few days or every week is a very good idea as it helps you to focus on your mistakes at home.  Then you can try to avoid these mistakes when speaking in class.

A fun way to improve your listening

April 13, 2011

National Geographic has an interesting education website.

You can watch videos on various subjects and answer questions about them.  To get you started I’ve included a link here to watch a video about earthquakes.  If you enjoyed this then take a look at some of the other videos they have on their page.

Click here to watch the video and answer questions

IC1 and IC2 Reading

April 13, 2011

How can I improve my reading?

When we study a reading text in class I always give you a time limit to find the answers.  This means you need to focus on the words you understand and guess the meaning of words you don’t know.  This can be quite difficult so it is a good idea to practice the process often.

You can click here to read a recent news story about the earthquake in Japan and practice this process.  The text will probably be difficult for you but that means you need to use the tactics you learn about in class.

  • Please don’t use a dictionary as this won’t help you develop this skill.
  • Try to read and focus on the words you understand to help you generally understand the text.
  • If there are one or two words that you don’t understand try to work out the grammar of these words (eg. are they verbs, nouns, adjectives etc.?)
  • If there are too many difficult words then try to read a different sentence.  (When you read a long text you don’t need to understand every sentence.)
  • Then try to guess what these words might mean in this sentence – you don’t need to be perfect.
  • If you think any of the words may be useful for you in the future then write them down.  You can check their exact meaning in a dictionary, after you have finished the reading activity.  Plan to use these words in class next week.  You can get bonus points if I notice you have used a new word from this text!!!!!

You don’t need to read everything – remember 10 to 15 minutes a day is best.  The more you practice this process with different texts the easier it will become.

This ability to work out language is necessary if you want to use English at work or take exams, such as IELTS or TOEFL, in the future.  Also, all your future reading exams in English will test this ability.

IC2 Reading

April 13, 2011

Reading newspapers for IC2

Reading newspapers not only improves your reading, but it all helps you to:
> learn new and useful words

> notice grammar in a real situation and improve your understanding of grammar

> learn new grammar

> improve your writing

Why don’t you try reading a short article once or twice a week from the Hurriyet Daily News.  You can choose articles about world news or Turkish news.  It might feel really difficult at first, but just spend 5 to 10 minutes trying to understand the general information.

With practice this gets easier.

And it’s all free!

Click here to go the news website