Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Testing Times

Dear All,

Classes are now coming up for mid-course or end-course tests. However, there's no need to panic. Here are a few tips on how to prepare:

1. Look back through the course text book for grammar and vocabulary items you found difficult. Imagine you're in a Level 3B class. You think you have have a problem with the first conditional and future time clauses. In the class book, "New English File Intermediate", these are treated in unit 4, page 54.
But you can do some further practice by using Internet. In this Blog there's a link to the web site associated with this book. If you visit here, you'll find the Grammar section. Click on Grammar and choose File 4 or go directly to it by clicking here. Type the answers into the boxes and see your score - also see the correct answers.

2. Check out some other web sites. How about the British Council's 'Learn English' site? On the main page, follow the links to 'Central/Practice/Grammar'. Then click on the Grammar Archives. Here you'll find a link to brief explanations of grammar points. Click on 'Conditionals' then 'First Conditional' for a short explanation.
You might also look at Learn English Professionals, another British Council site. Click on Grammar Movies and look for First Conditional. Play the movie for a short explanation.

3. Check out the other web sites listed on this Blog under "Practising and Learning English" in the right-hand column of this blog.

That's all for now - another message will be appearing soon.
- Mike

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fabrizio De André

No doubt many of you have seen Sunday night's tribute on RAI 3 TV to the famous singer songwriter. But you can also read about him in English on the Weekend Financial Times web site. There's a highly complimentary piece about De André by the British journalist Tobias Jones. Read more...

Tobias Jones is perhaps best known for his book, "The Dark Heart Of Italy", on Italian society and politics since World War II. You should find a copy in the English section of Feltrinelli, or in any of the numerous English language bookshops in Rome. There's also Amazon, of course.

Please do leave a comment or a message on the Tag Board.
And more soon.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Happy New Year 2009 to you all

Dear everyone,

I'm very pleased to see that people have been reading this Blog even during the Christmas holidays. That shows real enthusiasm. Thanks to all those who left messages, too.

I wanted to write this message during the holidays, but I was unable to send one from my PDA/Smartphone using Windows Mobile. I would like to hear from anyone who uses a Smartphone or Blackberry, or similar, and whether they use it to read this blog.

I hope to see all you current students some time this week. Meanwhile, momentous events are happening, and you may wish to read about them in English. Here are a few links:

BBC News

CNN (United States)

The Times (London)

The Times (New York)

The Guardian

The Daily Telegraph

The Independent

A Google or other search will turn up many more sites. If you discover any interesting ones let us all know in a message.

Eventually, I will create an English-language newspaper section for the right hand column on this blog.

More soon - and I hope you all had a good break.

- Mike