Tips and advice for learning English better.
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
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.
CELPIP Speaking Task 5
*UPDATE: Written on the whiteboard is “Although (your choice) is a good choice, I think that (my choice) may be better.”
What is not clear is that “(your choice)” refers to the choice that the other person has made. My apologies if the video is not clear on that point!
We have a special blog post from one of our amazing students, Mike!
I would not say it is a challenge, but it’s a valuable experience for being an English learner that I had three interviews with different native English speakers. Before sharing these, please let me introduce myself first.
My name is Mike and I was born in Taiwan. Following the traditional education in Taiwan, English was not a tool for me; it was a subject which I had to study for the exam and I hated it. For this reason, I hardly talked to anyone in English because it almost killed me. It was easy to keep the speaking part of English away when I was a student; I could be a good student only with reading and writing. But it didn’t work after I got a job and that was why I went to Canada to improve my English skills.