Friday, July 22, 2011

Job Interview Advice: Video Tips

Tasks: Watch the videos and complete the missing information

1. Classic Job Interview Questions (
Presenter's name: _____________________
Company: _____________________

1 What is your biggest _________?

Pick something you have redressed
Use a recent __________
A weakness can be viewed as a strength
_________ answer the question

2 Why should we ______ you?

Check the job __________
Give a short summary
Give a good recent example

3 Why do you ______ the job?

Prepare an answer
Do your __________ on the company
__________ your goals to the company goals

4 Tell me about __________

Give a good balanced answer, not a life history
Follow the same __________ as your CV

2. Vault's Video Guide to Job Interview Dos and Don'ts

Advice about...

1 Clothes

Wear a __________
No ________ jewellery
No loud colours
Not too much __________

2 Handshakes

Use a __________ handshake
Use good __________ contact
No limp or bonecrushing handshakes

3 Talking about yourself

Give a __________ summary of your career and goals
Don't give your __________ life history

4 Assessing your weakness

Focus on areas that can be __________ over time ________ personality or character flaws

5 Inappropriate questions

________ give personal, private information (e.g. marital status)

6 Some important things to remember

________ up to greet the interviewer
Bring a copy of your _________
Ask for the interviewer's business ________
Turn off your _______________
Don't wear too much _________ or ______________

3 Watch: The Origin of Job Interviews (sketch from The Armstrong and Miller Show)

Go to:

4 Watch "Office Interview" (Pepsi Max Advertisement)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

English Online - The Olympic Games

News English Lessons | ESL Lesson Plans | Olympic Gold Medal

BBC World Service | Learning English | Olympics 2008
"Do you want 'to play ball' and become an English language 'heavyweight'? We've got lots of ways to help you practise your language skills and become an English language sporting champion. On this special Olympics 2008 site you'll discover the history of the Games and improve your general and sports knowledge. You can learn the English name of every sport in this year's (Beijing 2008) competition, as well as some of the key vocabulary of nine top Olympic sports. And after you've done the work, there are lots of fun interactive quizzes to take to see how much you've learned. You can compete against your friends too in the 'Can you win?' 60 second challenge. But remember, there can be only one winner!"

BBC World Service | Learning English | Olympics | Olympics 2008
Sports' names >> quiz

Learning English - Crossword - Winter Olympics

BBC Learning English | Words in the News | Olympic torch controversy

BBC - Learning English Blog: London Olympics 2012

Breaking News English ESL Lesson Plan on 2012 Olympics

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sports online


If you are interested in football, try BBC World Service, Learning English, Vocabulary Football



How well do you know tennis? What's "deuce" and what's "ground stroke"? Why is Wimbledon so important? Find out at BBC World Service, Learning English, Wimbledon

  • The language you need to understand tennis: The rules, the shots, the faults, tennis words in the news
  • Audio programmes for you to listen to, including the history of Wimbledon

Also, try BBC World Service, Learning English, Vocabulary Tennis


Extreme sports

If you are interested in extreme sports, try BBC Learning English, Extreme sports

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Audiobooks and podcast novels

Audiobooks (= books to listen to) are a great way to enjoy books while doing other things, for example, while commuting to and from work or school/college, doing housework, cooking or gardening. You can listen on a CD player, a computer or a portable music player such as an iPod, or a mobile/cell phone. Some audio books are full-length; some are abridged (= shortened).

Fiction / Non-fiction

Audiobooks can be fiction (= imaginary story books) or non-fiction (= fact and opinion books). Fiction includes contemporary (= modern) fiction and classic literature (= older books). Fiction genres range from crime thrillers to science fiction and fantasy. Non-fiction genres include biographies, hobbies and interests, sports and travel.

Audiobooks for Learning

Some people prefer to learn by listening, rather than reading. Non-fiction audiobooks, such as self-help books, are popular. Language learners can listen while reading the text, helping to improve their language skills, including reading speed, pronunciation, vocabulary, sentence construction.

Audiobooks to buy

A good source of quality commercial audiobooks is the Apple iTunes online store.
Online websites include:

Audiobooks for free

You can often borrow audiobooks from your public library. These can be good quality.
Free audiobooks are often produced by amateur enthusiasts, and consequently, resulting in products of variable quality. That said, there are various online website catalogues, including:

Podiobooks and audiobook podcasts

Podiobooks put out "serialized audio books in podcast form", which means you can listen chapter by chapter, on the website, or better, by subscribing to the RSS feed (you need to register first). Check out Podiobook's top audio books.

Scott Sigler

Scott Sigler is the writer of the world's first "podcast-only" audio novel, Earthcore, a science fiction / horror thriller, released as a free download, chapter by chapter, in March, 2005. Sigler had had problems with his publisher, and decided to go direct to the public to try to get an audience. He succeeded brilliantly, building a large enthusiastic fan-base with further books, in both audio and print form (Amazon best sellers). His science fiction thriller, Earthcore, is at the time of writing (29.05.11) still the most popular Podiobook.
Sigler "performs" the stories himself, using a different voice for each character, so the novels are brought strongly to life,  The stories are action-filled and exciting, but carry a warning for younger and more sensitive listeners: these stories contain adult situations, strong language and violence - lots of violence! Try listening to one or more of Scott Sigler's audiobooks:
Infected (Science fiction thriller, first podcasted 2006, published 2008) "Perry Dawsey is 6-foot-5, 265 pounds of angry ex-linebacker. He knows all too well that if he doesn't control his quick temper, people get hurt. Through constant focus, he has locked his violent past away in the deep dungeons of his mind. The infection changes everything. Strange, microscopic parasites tap into Perry's bloodstream like tiny little vampires. The Triangles, as Perry calls them, try to control their host by manipulating hormone levels and flooding his body with neurotransmitters - imbalances of which cause paranoia, schizophrenia and excessive aggression. As Perry begins a desperate battle to cut the Triangles out of his body before it's too late, his self-control dissolves into raging, murderous madness." Check out Sigler's trailer for Infected, the book and the official trailer for the movie, Infected

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Online Text tools

There are lots of interesting online text "tools", to help people with their vocabulary, words, spelling and so on. Here are a few online text "tools".

Computer tip: Keep this page open. (If you open the links in another tab or window, you can return to this starting page easily.)

Phraseup* assists you with writing by finding and filling-in the words you can't remember. Sometimes we know what we want to write, the sentence is phrased in our mind, but we can't figure out some of the words we need... Each suggestion is accompanied by definitions, synonyms and translations to other languages. Give phraseup* a try, what are you * for?

Public opinion exercise with phraseup*

To find out what the world thinks, put these phrases into phraseup*

  1. The best thing about Britain is *
  2. British people love * in their free time.
  3. British food is *
  4. Americans spend too much money on *
  5. Australians are extremely *
You can use this tool to count number of web results two given phrases or expressions. It's a great way to proofread a text or to check terms popularity.

Check some phrases with

Which is more commonly used?

  1. If I was you / If I were you
  2. If I had gotten / If I had got
  3. colorful / colourful
  4. city center / city centre
  5. omg / lol
  6. The Beatles / Jesus Christ

100 most common footballers' English words (Oxford Dictionaries Online)
"Fabio Capello, the Italian-born England football manager, was recently reported as saying that he could manage his players with just one hundred words of English... the BBC contacted Oxford Dictionaries for a list of the 100 most common English words... from the wonderful two-billion-word Oxford English Corpus."

Use your mouse to check out the 100 most common footballers' English words.

BBC News: 100 words of English
Visit this BBC news article to answer these quiz questions:

  1. According to the Oxford English Corpus, what are the five most commonly used words in English?
  2. According to Fiona Douglas, how many words do advanced learners of English have?
  3. According to Susie Dent, how many active words does the average native English speaker use?

New words @ Cambridge Dictionaries Online
Have a look at new fresh words entering the English language, usually a few every week!

Spelling Game: Word Challenge (Oxford Dictionaries Online)
Try this spelling game. It's good fun! (but you need Flash)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Culture Shock

Introduction to culture shock

Watch this online video: Inter Cultural Effectivness - Culture Shock Video

Discussion: Your experiences

  • Have you ever tried to live abroad, in a foreign country, with a very different culture?
  • How did you feel at the beginning?
  • What problems did you have?
  • What was most difficult for you to get used to in the new culture?
  • How long did it take you to adjust to the new culture, and feel comfortable?

What is culture shock?

To change to a serious approach, watch the Video Quiz: Culture Shock and answer the questions.

Alternatively, watch this video about culture shock.

What are the stages of culture shock?

Learn about the 4 stages of culture shock with a timed reading exercise called Wild Children 5: Culture Shock. Here are the questions you will be asked at first:

  1. When does culture shock happen?
  2. How do you feel during the first stage of culture shock?
  3. How do you feel during the second stage?
  4. How could the third stage be described?
  5. How do you feel during the fourth stage of culture shock?
  6. Why might reverse culture shock be a problem?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Learn about Oxford, England

What to do

1. Check your Oxford vocabulary

Check your vocabulary about Oxford with an interactive crossword puzzle:
Oxford Crossword

2. Learn about Oxford

Beyond the Postcard (BBC Learning English) ( is a "series that looks at some not so well known features of some very well known places. There are text, audio and video comprehension exercises to help you practise and improve your English."

Oxford and the English Civil War

Read about the history of Oxford's involvement in the English Civil War. "In the 17th century, Oxford played an important role in Britain’s civil war. The war was between those who supported Parliament and those who supported the King."

Inspector Morse

Listen to an interview about a popular TV series about an Oxford policeman. "Inspector Morse is a popular fictional policeman from Oxford. On television he was played by the British actor, John Thaw. Ruth Ward, Chairman of the Oxford Guild of Guides, talks about the famous detective."

Carfax Tower

Watch a video about a famous tower in Oxford's city centre. "Discover more about the history of Carfax Tower and the surrounding area." Begin your visit now:

Oxford: Beyond the Postcard (BBC Learning English).

Where to Next? Mystery Tour of the UK (with BBC Learning English)

Where to Next? is an interactive game that takes its users on a tour of six locations in Britain and Ireland.

The rules

The rules are simple. Each of the six locations contains a group of English language questions and audio reports. Your tour will involve listening to these audio reports and answering as many questions correctly as possible. When you have finished one location you can progress to the next one on your tour.

But be careful! You only have a limited amount of cash. With every wrong answer, you lose some cash, and if you lose it all, you must start again!

What to do

  1. 1. Start the tour
  2. 2. Take notes

    Please note down a little information for each of the six locations.

    Name of place: ..........

    Other information (What is it? What's interesting about it?): ..............

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Death Penalty

Subject: The Death Penalty / Capital punishment

1. Methods of execution

Find the names of at least 5 different methods of execution.
Recommended URLs:
In your opinion, what is the least painful method of execution?

2. Personal Opinion

Choose the answer closest to your opinion.
Do you agree with the death penalty for murderers?
  • Yes, definitely.
  • Yes, in most cases.
  • I'm not sure.
  • No, not in most cases.
  • No, definitely not.

3. Key arguments

Copy and complete the table in the box below. Note some ideas in support of one side of the debate, either for or against, according to your opinion. Try to include 3 or 4 key ideas, and some supporting reasons or examples.
Arguments for/against capital punishment    Main ideas and supporting reasons or examples
  1. .......................................................................................................................
  2. .......................................................................................................................
  3. .......................................................................................................................
  4. .......................................................................................................................
Recommended URLs for research:

4. Jury duty

Find out if you would be chosen to serve on a jury in a death penalty case in the USA.

5. Michigan State University's Courtroom Case 1: Lesley Gosch

Study the real life case of Lesley Gosch, in preparation for a debate on the pros and cons of capital punishment.

6. Further study

BBC Ethics: Capital Punishment:
Death Penalty Curricula of Study for High Schools, Michigan State University:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cambridge ESOL (FCE/CAE) examinations links

Cambridge ESOL examinations

A. General resources
B. First Certificate in English (FCE)


C. Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)