Real English Victoria is quiet this week.
I don’t mean totally; I mean relatively.
From July 31st to August 8th, 20 students from Musashino Joshi Gakuin, a high school near Tokyo, descended on Victoria to investigate the differences between education, environmental protection, and nutrition between Japan and Canada.
The spaces at REV were perfect for small collaborative groups where students practiced their English in discussions and project-related activities, while Canadian buddies and experienced teachers helped students use English in more powerful ways.
Wow! It’s smoky out there!
A lot of students tell us that one of their favourite things about Victoria is the clean air. Unfortunately, that is not true this week! As you can see, the air is thick and smoky. I even saw small pieces of ash floating down from the sky yesterday morning.
Why? The smoke is from the hundreds of forest fires burning across BC. You can a map of the fires on this BC government website: https://governmentofbc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=ef6f11c8c36b42c29e103f65dbcd7538
Scary! As you can see, although the smoke is bad in Victoria, it is even worse in the interior (centre) of BC. News reports are saying that BC’s air quality this week is among the worst in the world. This BC government website is the Air Quality Health Index: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/bcairquality/readings/find-stations-map.html . It shows the health risk in different parts of the province. You can click on “low,” “moderate,” “high,” or “very high” (at the top right of the page) to see an explanation of each category. It will also tell you if you should consider reducing (doing less) or avoiding (stopping) physical activity.
Should you wear a mask? Maybe. Some masks will help, but some won’t. You have to get the right kind. This factsheet, from the Washington State Department of Health, gives more information about masks: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Pubs/334-353.pdf .
Here is a picture of Patti’s dog Jinju. She’s hiding because she has a heart murmur and has extra difficulty breathing because of the smoke.
Hopefully the air will clear up soon. I heard on the radio this morning that rain is expected this weekend! Until then, I hope everybody stays healthy and safe.
“I like your class, but it’s hard.”
I hear that a lot in Power Speaking. I always find it interesting because when I started my career as a teacher, I never imagined myself teaching a high-pressure class. For sure, we laugh a lot in Power Speaking. But we also have high expectations of ourselves, and we move quickly through the activities.
Reading is hard. Even in our own language, it takes children years to learn. And even in our own language, some people love it and some hate it.
Why do people like reading? Most of my Power Speaking students emphasize that reading can develop creativity and imagination. It is also a good way to learn about new places, people, and time periods. For myself, I like to read before I go to bed because I find it relaxing.
Why is it so hard to read in your second language?
You asked, so we listened! We now have a Full-Time Intensive IELTS Program.
Prepare for all parts of the Academic and General IELTS exam in our intensive program. This program is from 1 to 6:30 PM, Monday to Friday. You will spend a full 5 hours everyday preparing for the IELTS exam. Get personalized help and get the score you want!
Ask us for more details.
Today is the day that we turn 2.
For most people, 2 is not a big number. “Why are you so excited about a second anniversary?” you might ask. “You’ve only been open for two years!”
But for us, it doesn’t feel like it’s been only two years. It’s been two years of learning new skills, bridging local and global communities, and constantly reaching for our best. We’ve laughed and made great friends and a wonderful family. When we’ve made mistakes, we’ve always gotten back up stronger than before. It’s been a lifetime of discovery, and we’re so honoured that you helped us get this far.
From all of us at REV, and from the best, warmest, and proudest part of our hearts, thank you so much. We’re looking forward to spending year 3 with you!
If you want to come and celebrate with us, we’ll be having a casual picnic at Beacon Hill Park on July 5, from 3:30 – 6 PM. Everybody is welcome! If you’d like, you can bring some snacks or drinks to share.
Hope to see you there!
The sky is blue, the clouds are white, and the sun is golden… summer’s coming! What are your plans?
On Sunday June 17, you can go downtown to enjoy Victoria’s 3rd annual Car-Free Day. On this day, Douglas Street is transformed into a huge pedestrian area (walkers only – no cars) with food stands, craft booths, music, and activities. You can enjoy walking around, or you can volunteer. (PS – It’s also Father’s Day in Canada, so don’t forget to call your Dad!).
Here is the website: https://www.carfreeyyj.ca/
Credit: Car Free YYJ Official Photographer
Click below to find out more about fun activities in Victoria this summer!
In recent weeks I’ve had a number of students take their test for either the first or second time. I’m very happy to report that all of them felt more confident after attending IELTS at REV and even if they didn’t achieve their intended score, they all improved on previous tests. Great job everyone!
That brings us to today’s topic: writing. Yes, writing tends to be the one section of the test that can absolutely terrify students. Because of this, they tend to avoid serious attention to it or ignore it all together. The first thing to realize is that writing is what we call a productive skill; meaning that we don’t become good writers from simply being around writing or reading about how to write. You actually have to practice your writing! So, here’s a few tips that might help those of you who are frustrated with your progress.
1. Basic Academic Writing: Academic writing is a specific style of writing with its own rules and nuances. Unfortunately, many students haven’t had enough exposure to it. Here are some things to remember:
Patti: Hi Shota! Today is your last day at our school. I just wanted to ask you a few questions because you are one of the happiest students that I know here. You have been here since January and I think that you had a very successful time in Victoria.
Patti: What are some tips that you would give to students coming to Victoria? Life tips?
We will miss you Shota!
Shota: For ‘life tips’ I think that it is important to make connections. Not superficial connections. Close connection! My close friends help me a lot for life in Canada, to study English and to get experience in Canada. So, I think it’s the most important thing.
Patti: How did you make close friends?
Shota: I was in luck, he is my co-worker. I work almost everyday so I could make close connections.
Patti: You say that close connections are very important. Anything else?
Shota: Think optimistic!
Canadians are so kind. So if I make a mistake or if I can’t speak English very well, you don’t need to care.
You don’t need to worry too much.
Patti: No need to be embarrassed.
Shota: Don’t hesitate!
Patti: Thank you, Shota. I just wanted to appreciate you as being a great student at our school and bringing a lot of happiness and positive energy.