Learning a language out of the classroom

Do you ever have trouble practising languages outside of the classroom? Do you wish there were more hours in a day? Well, you aren’t alone. Most language learners say that the main thing that slows their progress is a lack of time and opportunity to practice. But don’t worry, there are ways to incorporate your target language into your everyday life without any drastic change. Let’s see how…… Fit Your Language Learning Into Everyday Life PODCASTS They are a great way to not only improve your listening ability, but tune your ear to the accent and pronunciation of your target language. You can choose a podcast about anything that interests you in daily life, such as music or current affairs to make it an effortless way to practice. Duolingo offers a range of free podcasts at varying language levels to suit you, available through their app, or on Spotify https://podcast.duolingo.com/english A quick internet search will show you an endless choice of topics and styles so you can find the one that works for you. Why not listen to one during breakfast or on your daily commute to work or school? TRANSLATE A really simple way to fit language learning into your daily life is to take what you already love and translate it! For example, imagine you are learning English and you like watching Friends on Netflix. Try watching it with English subtitles at first, then move to English audio. You’ll be surprised at how much you understand and improve. Likewise, if you love to read, buy a translated copy of your favourite book. By combining something you already...

Covid: cuando realidad = ficción

Parece un reportaje gráfico de este pasado fin de semana, pero entre estas fotos hay años de diferencia y se tomaron en diferentes puntos geográficos, en concreto Barcelona y Londres. En Londres llevan años manifestándose contra el abuso de poder del gobierno, cada 5 de Noviembre, y suelen ser manifestaciones que acaban en disturbios, con la organización antisistema Anonymous como alentadora de este fervor popular y con Guy Fawkes como inspiración para este movimiento. Hace ya 15 años, en 2005, se estrenó una película: V for Vendetta. En ella una sociedad distópica malvive entre toques de queda, impuestos abusivos, brutalidad policial… ¡espera! Esto me suena. Y si le añades una máscara que en la actualidad es la seña de identidad de Anonymous, parece que no esté hablando de una película sino de una realidad quizás pelín exagerada …. O como dirían los negacionistas y antisistemas… ¿es sólo cuestión de tiempo? Como si de una celebración más se tratara, cada 5 de Noviembre las manifestaciones empiezan de forma pacífica y acaban con coches y mobiliario urbano quemado y destrozado, comercios saqueados, heridos, detenidos… Aunque es la crónica de este fin de semana en España también lo es en muchas ciudades europeas. ¿Qué similitud tiene lo que ha pasado este fin de semana con lo que viene siendo la tónica habitual de cada 5 de noviembre en Londres? No es difícil ver la similitud en cuanto a descontento del ciudadano de a pie, acrecentado en estos momentos por los confinamientos, cierres de negocios y toques de queda para intentar ganar la guerra a un virus, el Covid, que para algunos no...

Starting a job… in a pandemic… from home // Empezar a trabajar en plena pandemia una pandemia … desde casa

This year has been a whirlwind for us all, whether that’s been for you in Spain or me in the UK. And it doesn’t stop… BUT what’s true is that fun can still be had workingfrom home. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Kasia and I am one of the fournew native English interns at Elite. I study Spanish and Business Management at the University of Manchester and will be working at Elite until the end of July. The start of my placement, alike for Leah and Evie was not how we planned! Our expectations were to commence the journey to Barcelona with time to discover our surroundings (the beautiful Montserrat) and meet informally for a meal with Susana. Instead, for me, I began with acup of tea in my hand and my laptop open, ready for a Skype callto hear our induction activities from an English setting – and, yes, it was rainy as you probably imagine, typical British weather! We immersed ourselves in our virtual classrooms on the week of the 7th September, greeting our students, not with a handshake or typical first lesson game but with the use of Skype or Microsoft Teams and friendly chit-chat ‘get to know you’ classes. On the other side of Europe, you may find our other intern Ellie who started her internship as planned, absorbed in the life ofEsparraguera.I’m sure she will agree, our experiences have been very different.The 4 walls of my striped office aren’t quite the same as those in a classroom, but it works!Nonetheless, her experience hasn’t been that of a normal...

Travelling during the Coronavirus – Viajar en tiempos de Coronavirus

In March I took the last flight out of Barcelona into Ireland, expecting to be home for about 3 weeks but after 3 months of rain and my mothers’ terrible cooking I decided it was time to go back. Unfortunately at the beginning of June there were no direct flights to Spain from home so the first step for me was to travel 3 hours from the north coast of Ireland to Dublin airport, thankfully one of my friends is in the army and has a military ID and therefore can travel wherever he wants during the state of alarm so he took me to the airport without any problems. Dublin airport, as expected was deserted… I cleared security and got to my gate in approximately 5 minutes. Step 2 was flying to Amsterdam which was incredibly straightforward, now it seems to be a hub for people travelling throughout Europe so there were no questions about my purpose for travelling there nor interviews upon landing, I simply scanned my passport into a machine as usual and was free to do anything or go anywhere. For me it was like going through the looking glass, life in the Netherlands is completely normal with bars, restaurants, and all types of shops open. The sole reminders of the pandemic are a couple of questions upon entering a restaurant “Are you healthy? Do you live with anyone that’s sick?” and an Orwellian style van that drives around with a megaphone ordering people to keep a distance of 1.5 metres. After 3 months of lockdown, normality feels very strange. During my 24 hours in...

Education: how’s it been affected by the Covid-19?

Education, just like everything else has been severely affected by the coronavirus. At my university, the teachers who had experience with online teaching and tools were proactive in helping colleagues adapt their courses. Having taught a few online classes and discovered that they can make creative use of the technology, many teachers will be changed forever. We expect that even those who go back to teaching in a traditional classroom will incorporate some of the online tools that they are now learning to use and this will be the same all over the world. In Italy, the International School of Monza is part of the world’s biggest educational technology (edtech) experiment in history. The school is still running as teachers teach via video conferencing every day. Kids participate using Padlet, a virtual post-it note system that lets students share ideas; and Flipgrid, which lets teachers and students create short videos to share. Students do individual work, group work, and confer with teachers when needed and teachers use Microsoft Teams instead of email. Software like Microsoft Teams allows teachers to see students as they are writing. That allows for real-time feedback, rather than waiting for the work to be completed. Some students who shied away from participation are stepping up; the quieter and more introverted students can participate more because they are not being seen by their peers. With 1.5 Billion students out of school and hundreds of millions attempting to learn solely online, the crisis will reshape schools, the idea of education, and what learning looks like in the 21st century. But as tech connects people in their homes, its limitations...

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