Adult Class Level 2: Recent review – once in a blue moon

28th June 2020

Coffee ~ ologist | Jun ji hyun, Korean actresses, Asian beauty
How often do you drink coffee with a beautiful Korean actress ?

To review recent expressions

once in a blue moon / not as much as I use to / not as much as I’d like to / from time to time / now and then / occasionally / only in my dreams !

How often do you:

Watch foreign films ?

movie 2003] Lover's Concerto 연애소설 - k-dramas & movies - Soompi ...

See your boss smile ?

Dealing with an Angry Boss

Play badminton ?

Rent Badminton Game in Lagos Nigeria - Fontt Enterprises

Hang out with friends ?

Cheerful asian young women sitting in cafe drinking coffee with ...

Go to the movies ?

Movie Theaters for Kids in the San Francisco Bay Area

Get a pay rise ?

On the Job by Anita Bruzzese: 6 Tips to Help You Get a Pay Raise

Linking words:

and / as well as / and also / along with

These link positives or negatives:

I like tea as well as coffee He plays football and also badminton 

Big C is quite cheap and also has a great choice

but / however / having said that / on the other hand

These link positives to negatives / negatives to positives:

Jet Mart is convenient. Having said that, it is (it’s) extremely expensive.

Czech beer is not easy to find in Sai Gon, however it’s fantastic quality.

‘therefore’ is a conclusion word:

Bài Ca Thịt Nướng King BBQ Hari Won - YouTube

King BBQ is outstanding and has a magnificent salad bar. Mr Park is reasonable (so-so) quality, but more expensive. Therefore, we will eat at King BBQ in future.

Theme: coffee in Sai Gon

Beautiful young asian woman drinking coffee in the terrace of a ...
People Drink Coffee On Street At Old Quarter In Hanoi, Vietnam ...

There are so many choices in Sai Gon. Tran Nguyen has the best quality but is very expensive. On the other hand, Milano is incredibly cheap and very convenient however, many people smoke there. Highlands is really popular. Having said that, it is not cheap. Street coffee is extremely cheap but terrible quality !

Listening exercise:

http://esol.britishcouncil.org/content/learners/skills/listening/having-meal-restaurant

Mamma Mia - Italian Restaurant & Bar ở Quận Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội ...

Last Friday, I went out for dinner with Claire and Helen. Helen’s got a new job so we went out to celebrate. Claire booked a table for 7.30pm at her favourite Italian restaurant in town. When we arrived, the waiter showed us to our table, gave us some menus and took our drinks order. We were really hungry so we decided to have a starter and a main. We placed our order and chatted for a while. Our garlic bread soon arrived. We were hungry, so it disappeared very quickly! Next, the waiter brought our mains. He said, “Buon Appetito!”, which is Italian for ‘Enjoy your meal!’. Claire and Helen chose pasta and I had pizza. The food was delicious, but I couldn’t manage a dessert! Claire and Helen had some ice cream, but I just had a coffee. I can’t wait to go again!

IELTS Review: The basics you should know before your test.

25th June 2020

Want to migrate or move to the UK for work? | IDP IELTS

IELTS

Useful words and expressions

All IELTS students should have these words and expressions in their vocabulary, and be able to use them confidently and correctly.

Adjectives

absent-minded / eye-catching / mouth-watering / second-hand

ubiquitous / sky-high / visually stunning / spectacular / 

10 Best Korean Restaurants in Singapore: BBQ, Bibimbap & Fried ...
How would you describe this Korean food ?
THE BEST Tiong Bahru (Singapore) Hotels with Free Parking of 2019 ...
The prices at this Singapore hotel are …
19 Best Coffee Shops in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City - Back Of The ...
Coffee shops in Sai Gon are …

Adverbs

quite / rather / somewhat

considerably / significantly / remarkably / undeniably

 

Asia's Most Visited Countries
The number of tourists visiting China is … more than those visiting Vietnam

Discourse Markers 

Additionally / as well as / furthermore / moreover

Therefore / consequently

On the other hand / having said that / although / despite 

Top 10 Most Beautiful Korean Girls In The World
Describe this Korean lady using at least two discourse markers.

Expressions / chunking phrases

At the end of the day / Am I pronouncing that correctly ?

Turn a blind ear / it fell on deaf ears

Friends and family / According to …

Same thing, day in, day out / You get what you pay for / a waste of money

Bored Office Worker, Annoyed Businessman At Workplace Stock Photo ...
How does this man feel about his job ?

Like / Dislike

Like:

I absolutely love … / I’m crazy about … / I (really) like / I’m into / I haven’t heard (seen/read) this before, but I think it’s great / I’m a big fan of … / I’m quite keen on /

No strong opinion:

I don’t mind / I have mixed feelings about …/ It’s OK / I don’t really have any strong views / feelings either way

Dislike:

I hate / I can’t stand / I don’t really like / I think it’s awful / I detest / I’m not a big fan of … / I’m not that keen on …

What do you think of:

T-ara - K-POP
T-ara from South Korea
India Capable Of Winning All ICC tournaments, Says Brian Lara ...
The sport cricket
Everyday items, Street litter 3D Models 2nd_World
Litter, trash, rubbish on the streets

To buy time

Photo of thinking young asian beautiful woman posing isolated over ...
Remember … never leave silence; use these time-fillers:

That’s a good / interesting question

Let me think …

Well, I would say …

How can I put it … ?

Sentence building

Use adjectives to describe nouns

adverbs to describe adjectives and verbs – give more information

opinion phrases

linking words to connect positive to positive or positive to negative

reasons why an action is being done

I like coffee

Winston the Wolf enjoys Jimmie's coffee as Jules and Vincent look ...

I like coffee so much because it tastes great and makes me wake up although too much will stop me from sleeping at night but, in my opinion, the benefits far out weigh the disadvantages.

Using Relative Clauses

who For people: This is the man who sold me the fake Rolex ! 

which For things: We tried fish and chips which is delicious.

where For places: Let’s go to the shop where we saw the great bargains.

Whose Possessive: That’s the singer whose record we heard last night.

The car, whose driver was young, won the race.

Exercises

We arrived at a nice beach ______ we could swim and lie in the sun.

A man ______ mobile phone was ringing did not know what to do.

The patient, ______ had a serious disease, was taken to hospital immediately.

Smithsfield is a small village ______ people live a quiet life.

A boy ____ sister is in my class was in the bank at that time.

I know a person ____ can speak seven languages.

We visited the church _____ is in the middle of the square.

It is a protected area of land _____ you can see a lot of interesting wildlife.

This dress is made of silk, _____ is a very expensive and delicate material.

A police officer _____ car was parked at the next corner stopped and arrested them.

Listening Websites: A list with links can be found on this page:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/23/listening-skills-tips-and-links/

IELTS Mindset: Preparing for the speaking test.

14th May 2020

As usual, I use bold font to highlight words, expressions and idioms that students can learn and then use in their everyday speech. Remember, some expressions are only used in some situations, but an IELTS instructor will always notice an attempt to use a wider variety of English.

Những lầm tưởng về IELTS Speaking - AMERICAN STUDY

Next week, one of my IELTS classes has their speaking test therefore this blog will help, I sincerely hope, to prepare them, and enable them to achieve a commendable result.

With that in mind, tonight’s class will just be practice, practice and … more practice.

I try to relax my students by telling them that passing IELTS is easy (that normally gets their attention). I have to elaborate; IELTS is easy because they

TELL YOU WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR

Namely, vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and para linguistics (body language, eye contact, stress, intonation, rhythm) and fluency (the ability to speak without overlong pauses) as well as answering the question relevantly.

Let’s break that down:

Vocabulary: low-frequency words // idioms // expressions //

Structure: complex sentences employing discourse markers and clauses

Let’s kick off with complex sentences. Here’s a link to a previous blog regarding just that subject; there are a number of exercises for students to practise:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/04/30/ielets-mindset-complex-sentences/

Now some tips on using various expressions and phrases to introduce and close your speech. Again, this is from a previous blog (IELTS 12th May 2020):

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/12/ielts-quick-fire-talking/

The above blog gives an example of answering a question about laptops, then allows students to compose their own response on subjects of their choice.

Finally, here are some expressions that can be used to ‘spice up’ a student’s talk as they are all everyday phrases though some will be UK-specific as they are part of the common culture:

Not my cup of tea = a polite way of saying you don’t like something.

I can take it or leave it = have no strong feelings about something.

I’m really into it = like or love something very much.

It does what it says on the tin = something that does the job, no more, no less (this is from a UK TV commercial).

Does exactly what it says on the tin - Story behind the logo

Vocabulary game:

To pracise using low-frequency words, put students in teams, giving each team a set of IELTS words (or phrases, idioms). They have a set time, maybe a minute, to use as many as they can, speaking about any subject they choose.

Some students may prefer to be given a set topic, so choose typical general subjects such as shopping, food, their city or country, free time etc.

Words and expressions are:

ubiquitous // somewhat // not my cup of tea // significant or significantly // I can take it or leave it // exhausting // challenging // miserable // having said that // I’m keen on // all in all // consequently // allow me to explain // eventually // thrilling // put up with

Vocabulary booster

Find low-frequency words for these adjectives:

boring // repetitive // tiring // interesting // relaxing

Break A Leg: What Does "Break A Leg" Mean? | Useful Example ...

IELTS: Writing correction

12th May 2020

Writing practice

Review: 'Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am' Charts Her Life Through ...

Rewrite the following texts using new vocabulary, phrasal verbs or idioms, where appropriate. Feel free to change verbs into continuous. Correct the mistakes and use better syntax (sentence structure).

Tips:

  • Use clauses to combine sentences about the same subject.
  • Use ‘however’, ‘having said that’ etc in place of ‘but’.
  • Incorporate any new language style you have learnt on the course e.g. negotiation language, polite language, and see if you can use alliteration (words beginning with the same letter).

Warm up: Here’s a short exercise. Try to rewrite using as few sentences as possible, which will entail employing complex sentences, linked by discourse markers. An example answer follows.

My friend will come to visit me. In HCM. I will show him city. In my city is many things to show him. Him like market. I show him market. And restaurants. And museums. Many museum in HCM. I hope he will likes.

Remembering The Strong Voice of VS Naipaul - Bold Outline ...

My friend will soon pay me a visit here in Ho Chi Minh City and there is such an abundance of things to see and do, for example my friends enjoys markets therefore I shall take him to several, followed by some great local food in one of the countless restaurants. Additionally, he adores museums and we are spoilt for choice here with many fascinating exhibitions.

Now … your turn.

Firstly, this is one large chunk of text, no paragraph breaks, so organise the writing.

Avoid repeating the same word or words. Use a thesaurus to search for synonyms.

I’ve started you off with two example sentences however, the rest is up to you.

My name is Tony. I am 23 years old. I am a accountant. I very much don’t like my job. It is not exciting. Because I do the same thing every day. All day. I like travel. I like Thailand. I very want to go there. At there I can eat food spicy. I like football. I don’t like baseball. Sometimes I watch on TV football. I like very much listen music. I play piano. I play recorder. My friend asked me to be in his band but his music I don’t like. He is my friend. His music is horrible. He is very bad guitar man. I live in HCM. I don’t like sometime. Now it rain every day, very heavy. We have to live with bad rain. Every day. The traffic is bad. Much motorbikes. Air very not good. I like to shopping. I buy shirt. I have many shirt but I buy more shirt because I like shirt, I have red blue green yellow shirt and black. Today I gets email. Email is from friend. I have not see friend for long time. I was surprise.

Mo Yan in 2008

My name is Tony and I am 23 years old. By profession, I’m a accountant. However,I don’t like my job very much . I do the same thing everyday so It is not that exciting.

I like travelling and I really want to visit Thailand where I can eat spicy food as well as seeing golden temples. 

Who knows … maybe if you keep writing, you will become a Noble laureate like our writers

Toni Morrison

V. S. Naipaul

Mo Yan

Bob Dylan

Why Bob Dylan Deserves His Nobel Prize - Rolling Stone

IELTS: Speaking exercises

12th May 2020

Speaking exercises

In Israeli City of Haifa, a Liberal Arab Culture Blossoms - The ...

Today’s theme is the use … the correct use … of discourse markers.

Furthermore, speakers MUST NOT say ‘like’ or ‘kinda’.

It is a pet peeve of mine to hear people interrupt the flow of a conversation with the unnecessary and incredibly irritating application of the word ‘like’ as a … totally incorrect … discourse marker [or discourse particle]. To illustrate, at a previous centre, a centre with a very prestigious reputation, I heard some US teachers say the following:

“I went out last night and had, like, two beers.”

“Are you looking for, like, an apartment

This filters down to the students, some of whom deliberately say ‘like’, because they think it makes them sound American and cool. I correct that misconception; it makes them sound that they are unable to complete a simple sentence. When I notice this as a problem, I tell the student to listen to themselves and count how many times they use ‘like’ erroneously.

Why Do People Say "Like" So Much? | Grammar Girl

And so, to work …

Practice how to speak fluently and with the correct use of linking words. For example:

however // having said that // although 

firstly // following that // after that // and then finally

Just a minute

Students must speak for a minute with no deviation, hesitation or repetition.

Students can select a subject and then ask another student or team to speak for a minutes. Otherwise, choices could be:

books // local food // foreign food // clothes shopping // music // siblings //

Top 5 Yoshoku: Western style Japanese dishes | TokyoTreat ...
5 things only siblings of a disabled person would know

Platinum Fashion Mall: Bargain Shopping for Clothes and Accessories
Italy's bookshop crisis: 2,300 stores close in 5 years
Jazz it up: Arab musicians bring their songs ... | Taiwan News

Speaking Test

You meet a fellow traveller at the airport when your flight is delayed. Make small talk conversation including idioms and expressions.

To make this more of a competition, award two points for every idiom, one for every expression, and additional points for discourse markers.

Colleagues discussing over business card while sitting in waiting ...

Topics can be:

Talk about the flight. How bad the airline is, frequently late. Do they fly often ?

Introduce yourself. Why are they flying ? Business or pleasure ?

Ask about work – do they like it ? Where do they work ?

Ask about family … but not too personal

Ask about where they live

REMEMBER to react, and to use stress and intonation.

Oh, really // how interesting // tell me more // where is that exactly ? // Oh, right // Me too ! // I had a similar experience //

Conversation practice

You have plans to go to a new restaurant but one of you can’t make it because something turned up. Apologise and give the reason why you must change the plan. Offer alternative suggestions. 

Example:

Search for new partner leaves me wondering where she's waiting ...

Hello, Sharma ? I’m so sorry, I can’t make it tonight.

Sharma will ask why. Give your reason

Have to work late // family member is ill // have an exam tomorrow // missed bus // not feeling well // have to attend a family event //

Activity 2

In the UK we try to hide our emotions, keep a stiff upper lip, but sometimes people can get angry. Repeat the exercise, but this time, the person waiting is in a bad mood.

The Myth of the 'Angry Black Woman' — Her Culture

Now the person waiting does not accept your excuse.

This the the third time you’ve cancelled ! // I’ve already been waiting 30 minutes // You only tell me NOW ! // I don’t care, get here now or never call me again ! //

How could you apologise and offer to make it up to her ?

6 Creative Ways to Say Sorry Using Flowers

IELTS, Mindset: Complex sentences

30th April 2020

The correct sequence of tenses for complex sentences

Today we’ll concentrate on building longer, more interesting sentences, altering sentence structure, and applying discourse markers and relative pronouns in order to be proficient in meeting the IELTS requirements.

Let’s kick off with some basic sentences, each containing one fact.

Park So Yeon ( 박소연) - MyDramaList

Park So-yeon is from South Korea. She performed under the name ‘Soyeon’. She was in the band T-ara from 2009 – 2017.

One possibility is to make a longer, main sentence (an independent clause) then break it up with some extra but not essential information (a dependent clause):

Park So-yeon, who performed under the stage name Soyeon, was a member of the South Korean group T-ara from 2009 until they broke up in 2017.

Here, I employed a relative pronoun (‘who’) to introduce the dependent clause, and altered the sentence slightly, adding some extra words.

Another, more advanced, option, which I recommend experimenting with as it will impress the examiner, is to start with a dependent clause. Allow me to demonstrate:

Performing under the name Soyeon, the South Korean singer Park So-yeon achieved fame as a member of the band T-ara, with whom she played from 2009 until 2017.

You will, no doubt, notice that the grammar may have to change, that is altering the verb form, by which I mean transforming the simple past into present continuous.

Now, you can guess what’s coming, it’s your turn to practise. I realise that not all of you are so enamoured of T-ara and South Korean women as I am, therefore, for that express purpose, I have selected three examples and you merely have to choose the person that most interests or appeals to you:

Daniel Craig thừa nhận sẽ thủ vai điệp viên 007 lần thứ năm - Phim ...

Daniel Craig is an actor. He is most famous for playing James Bond. His wife is Rachel Weisz. She is also an actor.

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Thandie Newton is an English actress. She has three children. She studied at Cambridge University. She was in Mission Impossible II with Tom Cruise.

Taiwan's Tsai Ing-wen to visit US, angering Beijing - Nikkei Asian ...

Tsai Ing-wen is president of Taiwan. The official name of the country is the Republic of China. She has been president since 20th May 2016. She was the first woman to be president of ROC Taiwan.

Next stage is to introduce some information and then offer up an alternate view, that is to say, a critical response which can be achieved by the use of appropriate discourse markers.

Let’s focus on the most recent Noble prize laureate ( Literature):

Handke in 2006

Peter Handke is an Austrian writer. His first novel was published in 1966. The English title is ‘The Hornets’. Handke was critical of the Noble Prize. In 2014, he called for the award to be abolished. Many people were critical of Hendke winning because he had supported the Serbia cause in the breakup of Yugoslavia.

There is a lot of information here, some purely factual (dates, nationality) some regarding the reaction to the award.

The Austrian writer Peter Hendke, whose first novel ‘The Hornets’ was published in 1966, was awarded the Noble laureate in 2019 despite his previous comments calling for the abolition of the award. Furthermore, there was a lot of criticism surrounded the announcement due to Hendke’s support of the Serbians during the Yugoslavian war.

Alternately:

Although there was a lot of negative critical reaction, Peter Hendke, an Austrian writer whose first book was published in 1966, received the Noble Prize for Literature in 2019 in spite of the fact that he had previously called for the award to be abolished. The writer, whose first book was titled ‘The Hornets’, had additionally expressed views supportive of Serbia which caused a backlash once the winner of the award was announced.

Your Turn:

Either write about somebody famous, somebody you admire or write something about yourself, making sure to include something positive and negative.

Next time, we can work on introductions, how to respond to IELTS questions by leading into the answer as opposed to simply answering directly.

T-ARA Comeback Cancelled! - Soyeon And Boram Leave The Group But ...

IELTS: Writing practice. Yoga, health & well-being

25th April 2020

Asian girl does yoga on gym carpet. lotus pose. | Premium Photo

I know that yoga and exercise are popular activities among my students, so let’s use this topic for some sentence building.

IELTS candidates will be expected to speak for two minutes on a given subject, then engage in a dialogue with the examiner.

The candidate will feel more confident with an arsenal of phrases, expressions, idioms, discourse markers, and an impressive array of ‘low-frequency vocabulary‘ (big words).

The candidate, additionally, has to employ complex sentences and well-structured responses in order to boost their score.

As with music, practice is the key:

High Quality Stock Photos of "monk tai chi"

I set a test for one of my IELTS students, Ms Nguyen. As a warm up, I asked her to tell me about a place she wanted to visit, so this was similar to an IELTS speaking test, Part 1. Following that, I asked her to prepare a Part 2-style answer about a hobby which prompted her to relate her experiences regarding yoga.

To start, we went over some phrases and sentence structure. Ms Nguyen was recovering from a slight injury: how could she phrase this …

I’m not in any pain, but I’m only about 70% recovered.

I’m not in any pain, although I’m only about 70% recovered.

Although I’m not in any pain, I’m only about 70% recovered.

Although I’m only about 70% recovered, I’m not in any pain.

Here, we replaced ‘but’ with ‘although’, and then altered the word order.

Which sentence do you prefer ?

Exercise: Rearrange this basic sentence (sample answers at end of blog)

I’ve been to South Korea but I haven’t been to Japan

Part 1 exercise: tell me about a place you’d like to visit.

{Low-frequency words & expressions: extraordinary, outstanding nature, notwithstanding}

Japan:

16 Japan experiences every traveler should enjoy | CNN Travel

I like the culture, by which I mean sophisticated cuisine, outstanding nature and kind-hearted people. Good points notwithstanding, I am not so enamoured on the working culture which seems to be highly stressful especially compared to the norm in Vietnam.

Although I really like Japan, I am currently undecided as to whether to study there or not. On the plus side, the subject, sustainability, fits in with their life ethos. Additionally, the fee is lower for international students and, furthermore we will be supported by extra classes. Despite these benefits, I have some serious concerns over issues such as sexism as well as the constant pressure which leads to a high rate of suicide.

POINTS TO CONSIDER:

Do you see how Ms Nguyen gave three examples in her opening sentence, and used the adjective + noun structure (‘outstanding nature’ etc).

Use of adverbs (‘highly’, ‘currently’).

Low-frequency words (‘enamoured of’, ‘sophisticated’, ‘notwithstanding’).

Discourse markers (‘despite’, ‘although’, ‘additionally’).

Moreover, see how Ms Nguyen utilises complex sentences. Keep these in mind as you read her second exercise:

Part 2 exercise: tell me about a hobby or activity you enjoy.

{I gave Ms Nguyen some time to prepare, and allowed her to use a thesaurus to look up better words. Having said that, there are still some little grammar mistakes; can you spot any ? Don’t worry, a few mistakes are to be expected.}

Yoga

Sống tích cực mùa Covid- 19: Sao Việt tập gym, yoga, chăm sóc da ...

Every yoga student has individual needs and abilities therefore the instructor will suggest a method suitable to our needs and requirements. This including advise to prevent us from harming ourselves or pushing our bodies too far.

To be specific, on Tuesday we shall concentrate on stretching our shoulders, neck and spine . We shall do this by adopting positions designed to facilitate this objective. Initially, I felt some soreness because it was an unnatural position. However, there are various levels and when one has mastered the first, they can progress, move on to the next.

If I have a great, productive class, I feel relaxed, calm and refreshed. Some people may overemphasis the benefits of yoga but for me, it isn’t that complicated. I find it a pleasing way to release stress from work and to keep myself active.

Otherwise, I tend to just stay at home socialising with my family, then watching my favourite documentary shows.

Yoga, despite being seen as a very restful and gentle past time, can actually be very dangerous including concussions, injuries and broken bones. Having said that, I know my limits and keep within those parameters.

In conclusion, yoga is my favourite activity as it not only helps my body to reduce stress and keep healthy, but also it is a fun way to occupy my free time and bond socially with my colleagues.

SAMPLE ANSWERS:

Although I’ve been to South Korea, I’ve yet to visit Japan.

I, so far, haven’t been to Japan, although I once travelled to South Korea.

I visited South Korea although I haven’t been to Japan.

Ms Nguyen’s mistake: in the first paragraph, she uses include in the continuous form, not the present simple (“This including advise,” instead of ‘this includes advise.’)

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Cultural differences

24th April 2020

IELTS Examination Jakarta

This blog is aimed at IELTS level students, or anyone who wants to learn how to speak or write in longer sentences.

This involves the use of complex sentences and discourse markers. Furthermore, a wide vocabulary is necessary to prevent repetition and to maintain interest as well as, of equal importantance, to make you feel that you are able to express what you really want to say.

One must not forget that when speaking, intonation, stress and body language will all help to make you sound more like a native-speaker.

To recap, a complex sentence uses different clauses (part of a whole sentence) to make a longer, more interesting sentence.

(I will write a blog just about complex sentences, with examples and exercises, in the near future)

Example: Thay Paul plays guitar. Thay Paul is from London. London is the capital of the UK

Thay Paul, who plays guitar, is from London which is the capital of the UK.

The bold text is the main clause, the plain text is a supporting clause. Which and Who are relative pronouns (Paul = who, & which links London to “capital of the UK”). Therefore, we have three pieces of information in one complex sentence.

Discourse markers link ideas together. Look out for ‘although’, ‘therefore’, ‘furthermore’ which should all be part of your everyday vocabulary.

For vocabulary, you can look at your work; could you replace a basic word with a better one ? Make use of a thesaurus, and note down any new words you encounter.

Now, moving on, today’s theme is cultural differences. This doesn’t have to mean travelling to a different country or continent, but even in the same country. For example, one of my neighbours told me about a business trip she took. Ms Phuong is from south Vietnam, but she had to travel to Ha Noi in the north. This is her account of the journey:

BIS Hanoi Students Ambassadors Raise Focus on Sustainable Issues ...

I asked Ms Phuong to tell me what happened.

What to do in Hanoi for 5 days – Hanoi guide for first-time ...
Hanoi old quarter

Last week I went to Hanoi and it was partly business, partly pleasure.

I wanted her to elaborate:

I went to Hanoi, last week, and it was partly business, partly pleasure. Although my expectations were low it turned out to be a greatly rewarding experience.

That was a great introduction, please continue:

I have mixed feelings

I was curious, so I allowed Ms Phuong ten minutes to gather her thoughts, write notes, then tell me:

I have a love-hate relationship, as I believe many south Vietnamese do, with Hanoi. On one hand, I really enjoy the cuisine, the flowers and the colonial architecture. Good points notwithstanding, I have one serious issue with the city and that is the work culture.

Being born in the south, I am used to long working hours, up to ten hours a day and, if need be, working on Saturday mornings. Southern workers tend to be highly focused on work and are always seeking ways to improve their performance. In contrast, workers based in the north seem to lack such a strong work ethic. The working day is limited (is capped) to eight-hours a day and, in my experience, this is a common practice. Furthermore, staff frequently go out for refreshment or leave early.

I noticed this while I was living in Hanoi, and when I return to the city on business. Fortunately, my staff comply with a strict office working policy; I encounter this issue when dealing with suppliers. I have to waste time waiting which makes me feel frustrated as there is nothing I can do to expedite matters.

NOW – what did you make of Ms Phuong’s answer ? I’m speaking in terms of the English, not necessarily the point she makes about Ha Noi.

(make of = think about).

How many complex sentences did you notice ? How about discourse markers ? Were there any words you didn’t know ?

Ho Chi Minh City - Wikitravel
Work meetings are more about therapy than productivity, study ...

Oh, no … we are not finished, not by a long chalk (not by a long way). Now it’s your turn. Write a short piece based on cultural differences or, if you prefer, write a rebuttal to Ms Phuong’s experience.

Guidance:

A short introduction

First point with reasons to support your view.

A contrary (opposite) view.

Short conclusion.

For those studying for IELTS, read it to yourself, and use a stopwatch … can you speak for two minutes ?

Say “Good bye” với 10 cách thú vị và ý nghĩa - EIV Education

IELTS (Mindset): Why do you like the film ?

6th April 2020

A typical IELTS question could be:

Talk about a film you like. Why do you like it, and what is the story ?

The 15 Most Moving Film Endings in Cinema History | Taste Of ...
Cinema Paradiso 1988 Italy

This blog will serve as a model to IELTS students to help with their speaking and writing skills.

IELTS has lots of ‘open’ questions, to enable the student to speak freely on subjects about which they feel comfortable.

In my last online lesson, I mentioned a film that I though a student would like, as she had chosen to speak about Scarlett Johannsson.

Loạt vai diễn làm nên tên tuổi Scarlett Johansson - VnExpress Giải Trí

The film in question is ‘Lost In Translation‘. Here is a little piece about the film.

Lost in Translation (2003)
An iconic shot from the opening of the film

NOTE:

Short introduction – do not answer the question immediately

Organised structure – one point per paragraph

A change of attitude – a critical view

Short conclusion

LOOK OUR FOR

Low-frequency words

Complex sentences – combining two or more bits of information in the same sentence.

Discourse markers – words to link ideas together

Adverbs and less common adjectives

So, without further ado, the question:

Talk about a film you like. Why do you like it, and what is the story ?

Lost In Translation - Tiếng thở dài của những tâm hồn lạc lối

INTRODUCTION – talk about cinema or films in general DON’T immediately talk about your favourite film.

Watching films and going to the cinema is one of my passions, so choosing just one film is going to be terribly difficult, not to say impossible. However, if I have to select one film, it would be ‘Lost in Translation’, with Scarlett Johannsson.

First paragraph. Information about the film and the main charcters.

The film, directed by Sophia Coppola, daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, was made in 2003, and takes place in Tokyo. A young, newly-married girl, named Charlotte, is alone in her hotel because her husband is constantly out working. Staying at the same hotel is a middle-aged, world-weary American actor, Bob Harris, in Japan to make a commercial for Japanese whiskey.

Second paragraph. The plot – what happens … and why.

Both characters appear to be suffering from culture shock and seem afraid to leave the security of the hotel. For example, despite seeming to be impressed by all the neon and energy of the city, Bob spends his night in the hotel bar with other tourists, while Charlotte reads and listens to music in her room.

Third paragraph. Develop the plot.

They meet in the hotel where age difference notwithstanding, they seem to get on extremely well, extremely quickly. Furthermore, they give each other energy and courage to venture outside. We learn that Bob is less than happy in his current life, while it becomes apparent that Charlotte is doubting her own marriage. At one point it look like they will get together. However, Bob decides to go back to the USA, leaving Charlotte, but not before they share an embrace on the street, in which Bob whispers something in her ear. We, that is the audience, do not get to hear what he said; we have to speculate.

Fourth paragraph: Something negative for balance.

Some people could be irritated that the final words are a mystery, other could be severely disappointed by this love story that never quite happens. The two protagonists return to their lives which will, possible, be unfulfilling. This negativity is like a black cloud on an otherwise bright, sunny day.

Conclusion: A short summary.

‘Lost in Translation’ is described as a romantic-comedy-drama. The characters are totally believable and likeable, while, technically, the cinematography is stunning. Furthermore, in my view, it is a charming, heart-warming, and life-affirming movie.

35mm Contest #22] Lost In Translation (2003) Cho Thời Gian Ngơi ...

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Remembering April 30th

5th April 2020

WARNING: THIS BLOG CONTAINS IMAGES OF WAR THAT ARE NOT SUITABLE FOR YOUNG READERS

April 30th is a national holiday in Vietnam. My Vietnamese students should know why, other students can probably guess.

A Guide to Vietnam's Reunification Day | Student Exchange Vietnam ...
Vietnam celebrates 40th anniversary of Saigon's fall

Describe this photo:

What is the subject ? What is the background and history ? Why is this picture significant ?

What happened after this snapshot?

background– recent story or history to some event.

significant (adjective) – very important or large. 

significance (noun) / significantly (adverb)

snapshot– a moment in a photo – captured by time.

In this photo we can clearly see …

The photo shows …

The photo depicts …

Vocabulary:

war / conflict / civil war / agent orange / reunification / peace treaty / ceasefire / chemical warfare / the seat of government / reeducation / education growth / Le Duan / public opinion / anti-war sentiments / Vietnam War Memorial, Washington DC / My Lai / Kim Phuc

Use the above vocabulary to describe the following photos. Organise your thoughts, then employ discourse markers to link your ideas together.

If you are not certain, you may use expressions such as:

I’m not entirely sure, but I think …

This would seem to show …

I’m not familiar with this image …

Practice speaking in complex sentences by using relative pronouns (who, where, which, whose)

Bác Hồ đã chọn đúng những vị trí lãnh đạo | Báo Dân trí

A picture of Le Duan with Ho Chi Minh (top) and Mao Zedong (bottom). Vietnamese students can read more here: https://baotiengdan.com/2020/02/21/le-duan-va-chien-tranh-bien-gioi-1979/

Effects on Environment - Defoliants Used During the Vietnam War
What does this landscape depict ?
Give Peace a Chance | Dissent Magazine
What is going on here ? Where is this taking place ?
The Paris Peace Accords - The Vietnam War - Edexcel - GCSE History ...
Fall of Saigon to Communist troops marks the end of the Vietnam ...

Read more at this site: https://erenow.net/ww/vietnam-war-an-intimate-history/11.php

Read the article about education in Vietnam here: https://wenr.wes.org/2017/11/education-in-vietnam

This is a great opportunity for IELTS students to interpret the information represented on this graph. What is the trend ? What is the anomaly ? How would you categorise the fluctuation in figures from 2007 – 2010 ?

Vietnam Veterans Memorial - WorldStrides
War Memorial in USA
50 Years On, My Lai Massacre Remains A Gaping Wound : NPR
To commemorate the My Lai massacre in Vietnam

WARNING:

NEXT PHOTO MAY DISTURB SOME READERS

THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST ICONIC PHOTOS, NOT JUST OF THE WAR IN VIETNAM, BUT OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY.

THERE ARE NO ADJECTIVES CAPABLE OF DESCRIBING THE IMAGE.

THE PHOTO HAS BEEN CREDITED WITH TURNING AMERICAN PUBLIC OPINION AGAINST THE WAR.

Love to Kim Phuc | worldpoet546
Ms Kim Phuc, aged 9, after her village was bombed June 8th 1972
UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Ms Kim Phúc Phan Thi meets Centre staff ...
Ms Kim Phuc now, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.
The Girl in the Picture by Denise Chong: 9780140280210 ...
Ms Phuc’s story can be read in this (highly recommended) book.