Thursday, October 23, 2008

All Students, Old & New

How to use this Blog.

Whether you're a brand-new student or a returning 'old' student, this Blog is for you. Here are just a few simple ways it can help you with your English:

1. Messages like this one.
Every so often - once a week if I can do it - I write a new message like this one, to draw your attention to a new or updated Web site that may help you with your English.

2. The right-hand column. The column on the right-hand side of this window contains a list of useful web sites, organised into categories. Here are some categories:

- Listening. Many students complain that they don't get enough listening practice. So the Listening section is where you want to be. There is something for each level of English.

- Connect With Other People. Many teachers in other British Council centres have created Web sites for their classes. They are in the form of Wikis, Blogs, Podcasts, Forums (fora?) and others.

Use these sites to communicate with other students or teachers, and make friends in another country. Writing to others and receiving messages from them will motivate you and help you make progress in English.

Here is one you can try: The Link, hosted by Mark Appleby, a British Council teacher in Oporto, Portugal.

Would you like to have a web site for yourselves? Put your ideas on the Tag Board - the message board on the right.

- See How English Is Really Used. Don't know the difference between "further" and "farther"? Do you say "different from" or "different to"? "Think of" or "Think about"? Want to find all the phrasal verbs with "look"? What structure do you use after the verb "suggest"? Then this section is for you. Use "concordance" sites such as The British National Corpus or The Virtual Language Centre - which is easier if you are just beginning. These sites can help you to conduct personal research into English.

- Web Sites for New English File. This section contains direct links to sites connected with whichever English File you are using. I suggest trying the Grammar and Pronunciation Practice sections.

- Practising and Learning English. Here is a long list of sites that can help you with grammar, vocabulary, listening or reading. Some are British-Council sponsored, others are not; but they will all give you opportunities for practice.

- If You're Preparing For An Exam: this section links you directly to sites that will help you with Exam Practice, such as the excellent Flo-Joe for Cambridge First Certificate, Advanced or Proficiency. With the increasing importance of the IELTS system, there is a link to their site, too.

When using the Blog, on clicking a site in a message like this one, the site will always open in a new window because I put in a code to make this happen automatically. That way, the Blog always remains open for you. In the right-hand column, however, I haven't been able to find a way of doing this. But no worries: hold the SHIFT key, the one with the upward arrow that you use to get CAPITALS, while you click on the link. Then the site will open in a new window.

And just one other thing...
To make this site interactive between you and other people, I have installed a Tag Board at the top of the right-hand column. It's very easy indeed for you to leave a short message there. Use the Tag Board to recommend sites or comment on how much you liked, or didn't like, a web site.

How? Write your name, where it says 'Name', then write your message where it says 'message', and finally click Go. You don't need to leave your e-mail address - and indeed, you should not do so if you think you are at risk from Spam or undesirable correspondence.

Another method is to write a comment at the bottom of a message like this one. You do not need a special log-in or password in order to do this. Here is a previous message which gives you help on how to leave a comment.

Your comments are very important because:
(a) they give this Blog a sense of community, of common ideas and purpose, and ...
(b) students have often written in with recommendations for new sites. This is very important indeed, as the Internet is constantly changing.

So is this Blog. See you all soon.
Mike

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I checked British Council China link...It's a very interesting site, well done. Any learner can choose among many sections: listening, practice,grammar. The listening section is useful, because it contains wide range of material audio, from articles to stories. I used this section, and what I love most it has been the audio soap opera "Big City Small City". I think it is a nice way to practice grammar and comprension. I've just downloaded first five episodes.Not totalk about the grammar section, where it is possible to solve any little dubts of grammar you might have.
This site is the best way to start to study English by internet.
You can find it in the right hand column, among LISTENING SITE.
Sara

Anonymous said...

I visisted BBC web site. It's nice and amusing studying english in this way. I studied English idioms and some english expression to speak about asking, suggestions or making a point. the real interesting thing is to understand how to speak in different way. for example if you speak with your friends you'll use a different way than you speak with your boss. I've also known that asking for the time you can also use the expression "Excuse, have you got the time, please?" this sentence in more polite. the fact is that it's not so simple to find so many free time to study english with internet. but I promised myself to do it to get better this language.

Serena