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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WATER

Here are some notes which were prepared for a school…do feel free to borrow as you wish.

the illustrations are fun

ZEN BUDDHISM:

In Japan, in Buddhist temples you will sometimes see a basin called a “tsukubai” which is used for washing before ceremonies. It is also used in the tea ceremony People wash their hands or mouth at the “tsukubai”. It is on the ground so you must crouch. The word “tsukubai” means “to bow down” or “to crouch”

The tsukubai are made of stone and have a small spoon to scoop out water and pour it on your hands etc. both the person giving and the person receiving HOSPITALITY plays an important role in the ceremony.

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The Japanese tea ceremony is part of this image of pure water Note the kanji (special ceremonial/religious writing) from the first picture and the translation below. Everything has a meaning

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 11.39.32.pngThe tea ceremony (Cha-e 茶会) involves waiting. Guests come into the tea garden from an outer garden called the Yoritsuki. They wait in the KOSHIKAKE MACHIAI before they are invited into the teahouse.

They walk down the garden path (ROJI) and they are made to feel they are entering a different world. Time is slower.

The Teishu opens a sliding door to the teahouse (Chasitsu: 茶室) to greet the guests

 

Guests begin the ceremony by washing their hands at the Tsukubai

The floor of the teahouse is covered with Enza (special mats)

People kneel on the floor

They are given tea by the TEISHU (tea maker/ host)

They eat WAGASHI (sweets) and drink tea.

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THINKING ABOUT WHAT WE ARE DOING

The tea ceremony is about doing something very simple in a perfect way. It is about hospitality and it is about making simple things beautiful.

 

It is about THINKING about what you are doing.

Most of the time, we do not think about what we are doing. We listen to music. We talk. We think about OTHER things.

The tea ceremony shows us about conscious learning.

This is something that we practice in mediation.

Forms of meditation exist in all the main religious traditions.

 

 

 

 

 

HINDUISM
Brahmins follow the strictest idea of ceremonial washing.

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Many Brahmin wash in the holy river Ganges.

(the man in the picture is wearing the “sacred thread” or UPAVITA which shows he is following a guru or teacher. The sacred thread is won in the same way -over the left shoulder- that a woman will wear a sari)

Every year, up to 40 million people travel to the river Ganges to wash. (Pilgrimage)

A Pilgrimage is a journey where people feel they are doing something to get closer to God. Pilgrimage happens in all the main religions.

Hindus try to make one pilgrimage in their lifetime. The river Ganges is a favourite place of pilgrimage. It is sacred to the Goddess GANGA. Bathing in the river washes people of their sins and helps people to MOKSHA (Release from death as well or “awakening” and it also leads to a greater knowledge of themselves)But many people also travel to sacred mountains and temples linked to particular gods and goddesses

 

Some people believe in achamana which is drinking and touching pure water from the palm of the hand (this is an important p[art of Brahmin rituals but actually any Hindu can perform this ritual) when reciting special prayers called Mantras

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 11.43.25

It also involves putting a tilaka on your forehead

Special washing ceremonies called Punyahavachanam are used before marriage, Homa. Water is generally sprinked on people (ASPERGES)

Traditionally, the bride’s parents wash the feet of the groom before the wedding.

Abhisheka: a deity’s murti or image is washed in water, milk, yoghurt ghee, rosewater

It is an important part of the ritual of a coronation (does not happen very often now!)

When a death happens, Hindus may take a bath to clean themselves

Women often take a bath after they have a period.

Many of these traditions are shared across the various faiths.

ISLAM

Before praying, Muslims wash: they wash hands, mouth, nostrils, arms, feet and head It is called “al WUDU” الوضو In Turkish and Albanian, this is known as “abdest”, and in Persian as “dast-Namaz” (literally means: “Before praying” The word Namaz in Punjabi/Sanskrit/Persian means “Prayer”)

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 11.44.23

1) After receiving the bread and wine, a priest washes his/her hands in the Anglican/Catholic/Orthodox Church

2) On Ash Wednesday a mark is made with ashes on people’s foreheads. What do you think this symbolizes?

3) Catholics believe that Baptism washes away people’s “original sin”

4) Baptism is a form of “initiation” (Beginning)

Initiation: an important word. Do you remember we talked about the way we “initiate” a class- how does a class begin? When does a class begin?

5) In Judaism people often visit the MIKVEH if they are “unclean”, that is if they have been in contact with dead people, blood –

6) Many people in Christianity make pilgrimages to Rome, Jerusalem (2 million tourists a year), and in the middle ages, people famously travelled from across the kingdom to Canterbury where ArchBishop Thomas a Becket had died. A famous book called “the Canterbury Tales” was written about the journey and the stories people told to each other. Some of the stories are serious and some are very funny. The book is one of the first great bits of English writing by Geoffrey Chaucer.

Sikhs may visit the golden temple of Amritsar. Hindus may visit the Vaishno Devi Temple in the mountains of Kashmir. Buddhists may visit the Bodhi tree or life tree where Gautama meditated for 49 days before his enlightenment. 13 million Muslims visit Mecca every year. In Mexico, 10 million Catholics visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

7) Meditation. There are many forms of meditation in Christianity. In Catholicism, some people say the ROSARY (a series of prayers based on a string of 50 beads), some Orthodox Christians recite the “Jesus Prayer”, some Christians believe in silent prayer. There is a tradition in Sufu Islam of dancing (the Whirling dervish). In Hinduism and Buddhism people often use a simple word or mantra repeated over and over again. They feel this is relaxing and brings them closer to God.

Some people practice meditation without religious belief. It can be a very therapeutic exercise (therapeutic/ therapy- from the greek θεραπεύω I serve, cure, heal)

8) Sharing a meal, hospitality. Remember the story of Abraham and the 3 angels. In Christianity, Hospitality might involve “Holy Communion” where Christians celebrate their community together by sharing a simple meal. “Eucharist” simply means “thankyou”.

9) Images and words help us to “enter another world” and to concentrate.

10) Icons, statues and religious pictures are sometimes blessed and washed in Christian ceremonies. On the first sunday of Lent in Orthodox Churches, it is traditional to bring icons to church to bless them and carry them in procession.