Teaching English

below are some tips and vocabulary for writing and especially for getting through the IELTS exam

 

Everyone talks about grammar. At least they do in Russia!

I think this is maybe to miss the real problem in learning English.

One of the most difficult things for english learners is to master vocabulary. Most text-books focus on grammar, because that is something that can be tested and taught in a very formalistic way, but, actually, there is very little grammar in modern English.

The hard work comes from learning and using synonyms correctly. In terms of listening, that mastery of vocab is expressed in a knowledge of collocations- how words stick together. This means that we can anticipate the sort of things we hear because we are used to the way one word naturally attaches to another. Instead of listening to every single word, we listen to the sense of what is being said and anticipate which words will be used.

In terms of the two essays, the graph essay (1) needs to be clear and precise. The second essay needs similar clarity but evidence of development. Idiomatic vocabulary throughout as well as “linking words”

Here are some valuable

 

linking words

now

at the moment

at present

right now

these days

nowadays

in the past

before

then

at that time

years ago

when I was younger

soon

 

ideas:

I think one important thing is

I guess one difference is

I suppose the main difference  between A & B is

 

Causes and Solutions

I imagine it’s because

it appears to be

I guess it’s because

the main reason is

it is caused by

because

I suppose the best way to deal with this problem is

I reckon the only answer is

the best way to solve this is

**there are three important points: firstly (A), secondly (B and thirdly, finally, (C) (this is my preferred option always- the tricolon) This can often come across as very formal so be careful!

 

Giving examples

For example

for instance

such as

like (use in speaking, not so much in writing. Do not over-use this word)

 

Being clear and precise

What I mean is

What I want to say is

As I was saying

 

contrasts and concessions

but

on the one hand (remember two hands) on the other hand

while

although

or

admittedly,

however,

nevertheless,

even though

although

yet

despite

in spite of

still

by contrast

conversely

in comparison

alternatively

another option could be/ might be

 

 

Linking words for writing

in addition

additionally,

furthermore,

moreover,

apparently,

also

not only… but also

as well as

 

consequence

hence

in that case

under these circumstances

accordingly

Because of this,

thus, therefore, so

 

Deduction:

in that case

this implies that

if so, / not

 

giving examples:

to illustrate

to clarify

in other words,

such as

namely

for instance

 

reinforcing:

also,

furthermore,

moreover,

in addition

besides

in the same way that

not only… but also

 

highlighting:

particularly

in particular

specifically

especially

obviously (be careful- if something is obvious, there is no point in saying it, and if it is not obvious, then you have the wrong word!)

of course

particularly

mainly

 

 

generalisations:

usually,

generally

on the whole,

as a rule

 

conclusions:

in brief

to summarise,

overall,

therefore,

(succinctly)

 

Here is a rough speaking test:

Speaking test

Interview

– What is your full name?
– Can I see your ID?
– Where are you from?
– Do you work or study?
– Where are you studying or working?
– Do you like your school or your company?
– Do you want to change your school/company?
– Do you usually drink water?
– Do you prefer to drink bottled or tap water?
– Is bottled water expensive in your country?
– Why is that?
– Do you like shoes?
– How often do you buy new shoes?
– Have you ever bought shoes online? Why / why not?

Cue Card

Describe a part of your country that you find interesting. Please say

– What and where is it?
– How do you know about it?
– What activities do people usually do there?

Discussion

– Why do you think this place is interesting?
– Why do people love to visit some parts of the country?
– Why do people want to settle in certain places?
– What are the main differences between places to visit and to live in?
– Why are people different in different parts of the same country?


 

Next time: vocabulary for Pie charts and graphs (Essay 1)

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GREEK GODS

I put up a small talk about the origin of the Greek gods with some illustrations that copy statues and various paintings. Art work below!

cronos by TIM

 

Apologies for beginning with an image of Cronos but it makes some sense.

The teaching of mythology brings children and adults into contact with other world cultures, but it is also a chance to introduce some of the great works of art and literature. Norse mythology, for instance gives us a huge insight into the development of English in much the same way that greek mythology once found a natural home in Greek and latin classes at school.

Here is a link to the youtube talk I have just posted. Do check it out, subscribe and add comments if you wish!

 

hestia by TIMjuno in sky by TIMjuopiter and juno in Farnese by Timleto and children by TIMbirth of venus after Botticelli by TIMPoseidon by TIMcastration of Uranus by TIM

 

What Disney added to the whole thing is significant. Just as he introduced children to classical music and dinosaurs (religious groups stopped him linking evolution to the development of man so there is no ape-man animation in the Rite of Spring, just dying dinosaurs), so too he introduced us to classical mythology. It is all oddly coloured and the Disney publicity machine went wild about a particular loganberry colour- but there is so much in the Beethoven segment that is worthy, albeit a conflation of Bacchus/Dionysos and Silenus.

tribute-to-ward-kimball-bacchus-by-timuranus by TIMathena in Louvre by TIMPersephone and hades after Bernini by TIM

 

Always important to remember that Dionysos was a dangerous god. I will do something later on the Bacchae by Euripides!dionysos fantasia and statues by TIM

One of the delights of mythology is in identifying why stories arose. For instance, the golden fleece is located in Colchis, now in Georgia.  Recent excavations in Vani revealed panning in the river and a gold rush that must lie behind the legend. Jason was a prospector – it’s a  pre-history version of “Paint your wagon”, one of the great American musicals utterly destroyed by a film that was cast with non-singing leads. More on that another time!

 

hermes by TIM.jpg2nd-century-roman-copy-in-louvre-by-tim.jpg

 

The Baby Zeus was hidden from Cronos by being suspended between earth and heaven in a hanging basket, and when he cried, an army of Cretans danced furiously to drown out the sound. The is is the origin of much Cretan dancing! Zorba would be proud!infancy of Zeus by TIM.jpgcopy of Romanelli Cronos by TIM.jpgGoddess vatican by TIM.jpg

Some RS notes

State Three religious traditions, other than Christianity, in Great Britain.

 

Explain Two reasons why the Trinity is important to Christians.

 

Explain two ways Christians respond to the problem of evil and suffering.

In your answer you must refer to a source of wisdom and authority. (5)

 

Atheists believe in NO GOD

AGNOSTICS believe it is impossible to Know

Quotations:

 

On evil

he promises to comfort his servants (Psalm 119: 66-76)

 

Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field’ (Genesis 3: 17-18)

 

‘inasmuch as ye do it unto one of one of the least of these… ye have done it unto me’ (Matthew 25:31-46)

 

on creation and arguments for God:

I am alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Revelations 1:8; 22.13

 

Genesis 1-2 God creates in 6 days (some people take this literally – see my drawings for this)

Koran 79:27- Allah constructed it

All humans descend from Adam

Isaiah 42: 12: It is I who made the earth

Maimonides (Jewish scholar): “If it is created in time, it undoubtedly has a creator”

 

Upbringing:

Proverbs 22:6: Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

abraham and the angels

The Trinity:

Matthew 3:16-17

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

 

325 AD The Nicene Creed (written) at the council of Nicea and recited in Church services especially on Sundays (Orthodox, Catholic and Anglican)

and the Council of Constantinople in 381 defined the concept of the TRINITY

 

John 14:16-17: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

creation

Genesis chapter 2 (slightly different story:)

creation part 2

 

Design argument: the classical design argument for the existence of God and its use by Christians as a philosophical argument for the existence of God; divergent understandings about what the design argument may show about the nature of God for Christians, including Romans 1:18–24; Christian responses to non-religious (including atheist and Humanist) arguments against the design argument as evidence for the existence of God.

 

Many Christians believe in the design argument- this proves the role of God in the universe.

The universe does not exist just by chance- there (a) is a purpose to everything or (b) a rule that governs everything

 

Surah 2:164 “the creation of the heavens and the earth, night and day, winds and clouds are a sign for people who use reason”

Romans 1:20: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

 

Two main ideas of design argument: 1) by Aquinas- the rule argument. (inanimate things still are governed by “rules”; today this still works if we think of the universal rule of “gravity”)

2) purpose or complexity: idea of William Paley (the watch metaphor on the heath. Every part of the watch was designed) even the smallest items in the universe seem to have a purpose. Think of the way climate change has spiraled out of control because we used fossil fuels.

 

William paley thinks of the complexity of a watch and compares this to the complexity of the human eye (many parts combine to support a single function)

Could not happen just by chance!

 

Many parts

Sophisticated machinery

 

(think of the fibonacci sequence in spiral shells and the arrangement of petals on a flower. They follow a RULE)

 

(Fine tuning theory of science: the existence of water, the goldilocks region where the earth is situated in the solar system.. the conditions of earth are uniquely suitable for sustain human life)

 

BUT: This is not the God of religion:

But even if God were a divine watchmaker or rule-giver, he does not need to exit now, and does not need to be a single God. Could be a factory of watchmakers…

 

 

Some people are not convinced. CHARLES DARWIN puts forward the theory of evolution (the survival of the fittest)

In 2009 a survey found that 37% of people in Britain accepted the principle of evolution. (is beyond reasonable doubt”)

Some people think that evolution can be reconciled to the design principle: God started off the process (maybe he no longer exists)

 

Everything has a beginning. Nothing comes from nothing (Parmenides)

 

2.7 Cosmological argument: the cosmological argument for the existence of God and its use by Christians as a philosophical argument for the existence of God; divergent understandings about what the cosmological argument shows about the nature of God for Christians, including Thomas Aquinas’ First Three Ways of showing God’s existence; (Cosmological argument) Christian responses to non-religious (including atheist and Humanist) arguments against the cosmological argument as evidence for the existence of God.

 

The Cosmological argument has its origins in ISLAM:

 

Kalam, argument by al Ghazali

actual infinite cannot exist

Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.

The universe began to exist.

The universe has a cause of its existence. (so, the universe ‘s existence proves the existence of God)

Ghazali wrote: Kitab al-lqtisad fil’ltiqad =moderation in belief

 

He believes in the dignity (sharf) of knowledge

If All knowledge comes from God (God created us as thinking beings) then we can use our knowledge to get to the point where we can understand revelation. Religion and reason should be in harmony.

 

(1) Thus, all knowledge or science must lead towards reaching the ultimate reality of God, to the extent possible given human capabilities.

(2) The potentialities of human knowledge are affirmed by Islam in its recognition of various registers and abilities, including external and internal senses, reason, intuition, and revelation.

(3) Moreover, all knowledge must be established with certainty,

knowledge. the rational and logical method, independent of intuition and revelation, could also lead to a level or a form of certainty

Surah 79 27-33

 

 

The Mediaeval scholars in Europe like Thomas Aquinas were influenced by Muslim thought (because of the Muslim population in southern Spain)

Aquinas (13th Century 1225-74) defined 5 ways to philosophically prove the existence of God. The first three form the COSMOLOGICAL argument

 

-argument from Motion (everything is in motion(Heraclitus). Something started all that motion)

Argument from Cause (everything is caused in a long chain of cause and effect. There was an original first cause)

Argument from Contingency

(Everything we know is dependent on something else. At some point there was therefore nothing. As nothing can come from nothing, and as there is clearly something now, them must be a being on which everything else depends. So that non-contingent/ necessary being is God)

 

There is also a 6th way invented by Anselm of Canterbury (11th century) called the Ontological argument which tries to prove the existence ofn God by simply defining what God is (that than which nothing greater can be considered, or in 17th Century, God is perfection, a re-boot of the argument by Rene Descartes)

 

 

OBJECTIONS:

1) BUT: If everything has a cause, why is there an exception for God. (God is the uncaused first cause. Why could we not say the universe is the uncaused first cause?)

2) no evidence that the first cause is actually “God”

3) some people think the big bang is the first cause. Some other people ask what caused the big bang – In fact, this is a silly question. The big bang creates TIME and SPACE so we cannot ask what is before time and space…

 

Big bang first defined by Georges LeMaitre (Belgium catholic priest)- so religion and science do not have to be in opposition)

 

2.8 Religious upbringing: Christian teachings about raising children to believe in God, including reference to Proverbs 22:6; features of a Christian upbringing and why they may lead to belief in God; Christian responses to non-religious (including atheist and Humanist) arguments about why a religious upbringing may result in a rejection of God’s existence

 

Atheism assumes an initial belief in God

Atheism is about a rejection of THEISM

 

Principles of the family:

Ideas of modesty and the role of women may be rejected by some people today

Ideas of gender equality may be more emphasised today than in Bible

Traditional role of the marriage may be questioned by development of legally recognised gay marriage

Laws that redefine marriage:

Same sex marriage legislation: Marriage (same sex) couples act 2014

Adoption and Children Act 2002 –allows single parents and gay couples to adopt

Statistics:

In UK, in 2011 only 1 in 3 marriages involves a religious ceremony and 33% end in divorce (society has become more secular)

 

St Paul to Ephesians: 5.21-22: Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

 

Galatians 3: 28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

 

Pope John Paul II: Men should truly esteem and love women with total respect for their personal dignity, and society should create and develop conditions favouring work in the home.

 

Genesis 2:8: The Lord God said ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’

 

1 Timothy 5:8: If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

 

Ephesisans 6:1-4:

Children, obey your parents…Parents, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the instruction of the Lord.

 

Passing on traditions:

Deuteronomy: 6:5-6: These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.