Tips and advice for learning English better.

Thursday, February 07, 2019 / Published in CELPIP, Learning English

It is important that you do all of these activities EVERY DAY. If you are not living in an English-speaking country where you can go to shops, recreation/sports centres, restaurants, etc., and practice English, you need to spend as much time as possible each day doing something in English for at least a couple of hours. This will help you to practice thinking in English, too.

TV and Radio to improve listening

CBC News Listening (CELPIP Listening All Parts)

CBC TV Listening (CELPIP Listening All Parts especially Parts 4 & 5)

Websites to improve fluency (listening and speaking)

Rachel’s English Ben Franklin Exercises Listen to each video several times and repeat what Rachel and her guests say. If you practice these often you will improve your listening and speaking skills in a few weeks, even if you are not in an English country!

Songs to improve fluency

Listen to these songs and try to learn them. If you do this it will definitely help your ability to hear and speak English more quickly! Do not focus on YOUR pronunciation of the words that you see, focus on LISTENING TO THE SINGERS PRONUNCIATION OF GROUPS OF WORDS and you should do the same.

Pharrell Williams Happy or for the Weird Al Version (funny)

Frente singing Bizarre Love Triangle

Joni Mitchell Both Sides Now

Wednesday, February 06, 2019 / Published in Community, Learning English

Have you seen this meme on your Facebook or other social media?

Or this cartoon from Raeside?


http://raesidecartoon.com/vault/winter-driving/

 Why do Victorians find them so funny?

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Thursday, January 24, 2019 / Published in CELPIP, Learning English
Friday, January 18, 2019 / Published in Learning English, Travel

This past December I took a trip to Japan – again.

I’ve been to Japan three times. It’s a country where you can stay in the same place for weeks and still feel like you haven’t even begun to discover any of its secrets. There’s always something curious waiting to pique your imagination, and there’s always something for everyone. From little harbour towns to sprawling urban meccas, mountain hot springs to pristine beaches, and generations-old family businesses to over 200 Michelin-star restaurants, this island nation of 127 million people has it all.

During my latest trip, I went to Tokyo for the first time. People are used to tourists in Tokyo. English is everywhere – until it isn’t.

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Friday, January 18, 2019 / Published in CELPIP, Learning English
Tuesday, January 15, 2019 / Published in CELPIP, Learning English
Speaking Task 7 Part 2
https://www.showme.com/sh?h=epBq7oO
Thursday, January 10, 2019 / Published in CELPIP, Learning English
Friday, December 14, 2018 / Published in Activities, Events, Holidays, Learning English, 中文

 

December is a very festive month in Canada. You can see, hear, and feel the Christmas spirit everywhere. Many students asked, “We don’t have families here to celebrate Christmas with, and stores are closed early. What can we do for fun during Christmas?” Here’s a little guide to help you (based on your budget) spend a lovely time during “the most wonderful time of the year”!

Free or by donation:

Annual Gingerbread Showcase

Festival of Trees

Cookies and cocoa, Picture with Santa

Cookie Decorating at the Victoria Public Market

Government House Holiday Open House and Carol

Lights on the Gorge

Times Colonist 2018 Christmas Lights Map (Drive around the city to see some of the most amazing Christmas light displays!)

Note: Many of these free events are actually for good causes. The donated money all go to charities which then go to those in need. If you can, help support these events with whatever much you can. Sharing makes us all richer!

With a small budget:

Skate with Santa ($2.00 when you bring a non-perishable food item!)

Swim with Santa

With a bigger budget:

Ballet Victoria – The Gift (featuring one of our many talented students, Davide!)

The Magic of Christmas at The Butchart Gardens

Christmas at the Royal BC Museum

Christmas Workshop Series at the Victoria Public Market

Victoria has so much more to offer for Christmas! If you’re the artistic kind, try out some of the Christmas-themed workshops around the town to make wreaths and seasonal decorations. If you are into music, there are caroling performances here and there in town. Best of all, organize your own caroling group!

If you feel like getting out of town a bit, you can also head to Ladysmith for Festival of Lights, or to Sidney for Winspear Festival of Trees and Gingerbread Scavenger Hunt.  

A reminder: If you’re taking the public transportation to get around, it will be operating on a reduced schedule on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. And always remember to bundle up!

Wednesday, December 05, 2018 / Published in Community, Learning English

Brrrr…. Do you feel cold? I do! Victoria is currently having a cold snap. This means a sudden drop in temperature. The weather forecast says that it is going to be clear and cold until Friday. After that, we will return to our usual cloudy and rainy winter weather. https://weather.gc.ca/city/pages/bc-85_metric_e.html

Have you noticed that the school is a little chilly? How about other public buildings? There is a reason for that. Many buildings in Victoria are heated using natural gas. In October, there was an explosion in a natural gas pipeline in BC. The pipeline is fixed now, but the company can’t provide as much gas as usual. As a result, they have asked businesses and homes in BC to turn down their thermostats (reduce the temperature inside) to save gas. You can read more about this story here: https://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/natural-gas-shortage-could-last-all-winter-households-urged-to-conserve-1.23497101

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018 / Published in Learning English

When I was in university, I took some Chinese classes. One of the biggest challenges I had was learning how to pronounce the sounds correctly.

As a native English speaker, I struggled to reproduce a lot of Chinese sounds. Not only were the sounds difficult for me to make, but Chinese is also a tonal language. Chinese has four tones: high, rising, dipping, and falling. It also has a neutral tone. The sounds and tones were hard enough on their own. Together? HAH! Even now, I sometimes still have difficulty having correct pronunciation for both sounds and tones.

What really helped me improve my pronunciation was music. Once a week, at my university, there was a Chinese singing class. Each class we would learn and practice one or two songs. It was always fun, and I have many fond memories of laughing with my classmates at our pronunciation. However, as time went on, we found that the songs we learned were actually helping a lot with our pronunciation. To this day, I still remember many of the songs we learned. I also like to practice new songs!

Using singing and music is a wonderful way to learn a language. Here are some of the songs I’ve used before in my classes.

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