error correction in English

Turn it upside-down

I’m learning to do freestanding handstands.

I’m no expert yet.

I started about two years ago; I’m one of those people that does handstands in the park and looks pretty silly.

When I started, I looked up a quick guide on techniques on the Internet, then just went out and tried to do it.

I fell over. (more…)

how to take notes in English

Feng Shui your English

We have a store room in our house, the trastero as it’s called here in Spain.

I’m almost scared to go in there. Not because there are ghosts in it or anything, but because I have no idea what’s in there.

Actually, I have an idea what’s in there but I prefer not to think about it: roller skates that I’ve never used, a huge tent that I’ve used once, fifty skipping ropes that I’ve obviously never used (don’t ask…), and a million other things I have little intention of using again.

And I don’t really want to know what’s in there because then I’ll feel the nee (more…)

how to learn English by reading

The king of all vocabulary exercises

I was lying on a sun lounger next to the swimming pool in the baking heat, with only the sound of the crickets in the August air.

I started munching on the figs I’d just plucked from the branches of the fig tree next to the pool.

I felt I’d earned them.

I’d just finished reading my first novel in Spanish and felt both proud of myself, and slightly disappointed. (more…)

I want to improve my English

The Future is Awesome!

Is it me, or is the future pretty disappointing?

I don’t mean that in a negative, pessimistic way. Let me explain…

I grew up in the 80s, and I was told to expect some pretty awesome futuristic stuff in the early 21st century.

I’m still waiting for my hoverboard and flying car. Not to mention a robot that actually cleans my house, and not some stupid circular box that bangs into my furniture for hours on end. (more…)

how to self-study English

How to be an awesome English student (and annoy your teacher in the process)

It’s so true.

The best classroom learners generally really annoy and frustrate traditional teachers.

After all, the teacher has prepared their (possibly irrelevant) material to try to put into their students’ heads, planned the class with what they’ll say and when they’ll say it, when suddenly their student starts taking control of their own learning.

It completely throws them! It was the last thing they expected.

(more…)

how to self-study English

The problem with English classes (part 3)

Hi there!

Here comes part 3, where we get stuck into the last and easiest problem to solve: time.

Want to refresh your memory? Here’s part 1, and here’s part 2. If you haven’t read them, give them a once-over, and start on this post after.

There’s one thing that everybody I’ve taught and those who read my blog have in common: they all want to improve their English in some way (I know, I’m not exactly a genius to have worked this out). (more…)

how to self-study English

The problem with English classes (part 2)

Hi guys!

Welcome to part 2 of The problem with English classes, where I go deep into the major obstacles that impede a learner’s progress in a classroom environment.

Today, we’ll be looking at the role of the teacher, and that of the learner.

If you haven’t read the first part, or simply want a recap before getting into the second instalment, click here to read part 1.

Last week we looked at how classroom teaching material runs the risk of being irrelevant.

How can we overcome this? (more…)