Zoom Rules Revisited

11th September 2021

A polite note for your consideration

The employer is responsible for providing a safe working environment for staff.

In the physical workspace, the teacher should not be physically or verbally harmed in any way.

Kicking, hitting, being jumped on etc are unacceptable, and the offender needs to be punished.

In the online workspace, the teacher should not be expected to work with an unreasonable amount of background noise.

TAs and senior staff need to be more proactive in both recognising and addressing these problems.

The situation is clearly very stressful for all involved.

Let’s work together and make classes a fun, happy and, most importantly, appropriate place for learning.

Suggestions:

Any student in a noisy environment should have their mic muted.

Any student who interrupts the class on a regular basis will be placed in the Waiting Room. Repetition of the offense will result in the student being barred from the class.

Postscript

I have happy to report that my centre has taken action, and changes were implemented within a few hours of this posting. My Manager is pretty amazing that way – your help and input can not be overstated. Thank you.

Young Learners, Level 3: Doing your chores

27th August 2021

Everybody Up Unit 6 review

Child Communication Development Stages & Collaboration In 21st Century
Do you help mummy ?

Describe these pictures using adjectives, and in a full sentence

EXAMPLE – what is it ?

16/14/12 Inch) Horse-Design Backpack Girls School Bag Magical Colourful  Kids Student Bags Travel Rucksack Gifts | Wish

It’s a colourful backpack with a beautiful friendly unicorn.

Now, your turn:

1

Easy Tamagoyaki Minions :) | Bento box recipes, Lunch box recipes, Bento  box lunch

2

Robots serve up food and fun in Budapest cafe - Science & Tech - The  Jakarta Post

3

4 Write three heavy objects (things) then three light objects.

EXAMPLE: An elephant is heavy, a mouse is light

5 How can your help your mum and dad in your house ? Three ways to help out.

6 What does the young girl do before work ?

Before work the girl _________________________

Image result for black girl washing up"
Image result for black girl walking dog"
Image result for black girl cleaning her room"

7 Now what is this boy doing after school ?

After work the boy ____________

Image result for Indian boy does homework"
Image result for arab boy washes car"
Image result for boy takes out garbage"

Young Learners, Level 5: Comparisons

24th August 2021

Everybody Up Unit 4 pp 32 – 33

Why Successful People Don't Compare Themselves to Others - Mindscaling

We have two very cute dogs however, they do not look the same. Let’s take two basic adjectives (big & small) and use them as comparisons.

big —– bigger

small —– smaller

The black and white dog is smaller than the black dog.

The black dog is bigger than the black and white dog.

To make your sentence more interesting, add more information:

The cute black and white dog is much smaller than the dangerous angry black dog.

The grammar rules:

For small words, just add ‘er’

small —- smaller // tall —- taller

big add ‘g’ + ‘er’ bigger

If the adjective ends with a ‘y’

ugly – replace y with ‘i’ then add ‘er’ —- uglier

angry —- angrier

For big words, use ‘more’

delicious —- more delicious // dangerous —- more dangerous // energetic —- more energetic

NOW … YOUR TURN

1 Tell me about the men (small, short, tall) then use the comparative.

Image result for robert parish wadlow"

2 Tell me about these two people.

Image result for old and young asian person"

3 Who is stronger ?

Image result for strong and weak person"

4 Compare these clothes. Try to give me three adjectives (pretty, thick, warm, plain, colourful).

Image result for north face jacket"
Ugly coats - it had to be done....

5 Compare these guitar players (energetic, exciting, amazing, boring).

The most boring guitar player ever - YouTube


6 Tell me about these two people

T-ara T-ara Is My Life -Thông tin về T-ara T-ara hay Tiara (phát âm:  /tiˈɑːrə/; tiếng Hàn: 티아라; tiếng Nhật: ティアラ; cách điệu: T-ARA, T ARA hoặc  TΛRΛ) là một nhóm nhạc nữthần tượng của Hàn Quốc ra mắt vào ngày 29 tháng 7  năm 2009 bởi Core ...

Easy – yes, a piece of cake !

Answers:

1 One man is short, one man is tall. The man with glasses is taller. The man on the left is much shorter.

2 The man is older than the lady, the lady is younger than the man.

3 The man with the black T-shirt is much stronger. The man on the right is much weaker than the other man.

4 The black coat is thicker, warmer and cheaper than the second coat. The second coat is more colourful but uglier than the first coat.

5 The guitar player (guitarist) jumping is more energetic and more exciting than the other man. The second guitarist is more boring.

6 The beautiful cute young Asian lady is more friendly than the old American man. The old man with glasses and a beard is angrier and uglier than the smiling lady.

Bye bye … see you in the next blog

IELTS: Animal Magic – Expressions N – Z

12th August 2021

In the morning, my students are like bears with sore heads
Man’s best friend
Newts of the Yuba | South Yuba River Citizens League
I’m a newt, and I’ll have you know I’m totally sober

NEWT: As pissed as a newt – Informal British English meaning to be drunk.

SIDEBAR: This is is very unusual saying, but around 200 years ago, young teenage sailors were known as ‘newts’. It didn’t take much alcohol for these boys to become very drunk, hence the expression.

OWL: To be a night owl – someone who stays up late, maybe all night.

PANDA: To have panda eyes – night owls and insomniacs often have black rings around their eyes, like a panda. I first heard this in Malaysia.

QUAIL: To quail at something – to be afraid or nervous about something.

RED HERRING: A false clue in a mystery or detective story

NOW LET’S TAKE THESE EXPRESSIONS OUT FOR A SPIN

  1. When did you last sleep ? You ____________________________________
  2. The police followed a clue but it was just a _____________________
  3. My neighbour is a real _____________________ playing music all night.
  4. I have toothache but I __________ at going to the dentist.
  5. Did you hear him sing karaoke ? He was ___________________________ !

Are you ready for some more ?

SWAN: Swan song – a final appearance.

TIGER: A tiger mum – a mother who pushes her children to study and study and study.

UNICORN: Life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns – sometimes life is hard and we have to deal with problems (tell me about it).

VULTURE: The vultures are circling – vultures wait for animals to die, then they swoop down and eat the dead body, so this expression means something very bad is about to happen.

WHALE: Having a whale of a time – having a wonderful time, really enjoying yourself.

X: Give me a break ! However, check out this little beauty:

This is an X ray tetra, a non-aggressive fish found in the Amazon

YAK: To yak or yakking – to talk non-stop, usually about nothing important.

Yakety Yak - song by The Coasters | Spotify
YAKITY YAK" LYRICS by THE COASTERS: Take out those papers...

ZEBRA: Zebra crossing – black and white marking on the road. In the UK, cars usually stop to allow people to walk safely. In Viet Nam … hhmmmm not so much (i.e. never).

The most famous zebra crossing in the world. From The Beatles ‘Abbey Road’ LP

Speaking of The Beatles, allow me to quote from ‘A Hard Day’s Night’

  1. The party was amazing, we all had _________________________
  2. The show was her last ever, it was her ________________________
  3. Will you stop _______ ! I can’t think !
  4. Walk to the ________________________ because this road is dangerous.
  5. She has a _____________________ who makes her study English every day.
  6. The business is losing too much money. The _________________________
  7. I have to pay my rent, my student loan, my electric bill. This is no fun ________________________________________________________
Bye bye from The Monkees

IELTS: Animal Crackers – animal expressions to impress examiners

10th August 2021

This Is Bat Country GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Just because you’re having online classes, with different teachers, (lucky you) doesn’t mean you should stop expanding your knowledge of weird and wacky English expressions, and let me tell you, you won’t find many of these in those cotton-pickin’ textbooks.

English speakers use animals as:

metaphor (my neighbour is a pig)

simile (she drinks like a fish)

idiom (look what the cat dragged in)

adjective form (he is rather bovine – like a cow, she moves with a feline grace – like a cat)

Today, I’m going to introduce you to expressions featuring animals, some of which may not be suitable for polite company …hey, you want to learn REAL English … that’s how we speak !

Now, without further ado …

ANTS: Ants in your pants – when someone can’t keep still, is always moving about which can be very irritating.

BATS: Bat-shit crazy – NOT used in formal, standard English. This is more common in US English to describe someone who is acting very strangely.

CATS: To let the cat out of the bag – to tell a secret, to tell something you were not supposed to disclose.

DOGS: Gone to the dogs – someone or something that was once respectable but is now dirty, useless etc.

ELEPHANT: Couldn’t hit an elephant – implies that someone is very bad at something for example, if they had a rifle they wouldn’t be able to hit a very large target.

SIDEBAR: “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance,” are the famous last words of John Sedgwick, an officer in the Union army in the US Civil War. He meant that the enemy was so far away, they couldn’t possible hit a massive target let alone a single man. Sedgwick was, ironically, shot and killed by the enemy. Read more here:

https://www.phrases.org.uk/famous-last-words/john-sedgwick.html

FISH: Like shooting fish in a barrel – refers to something that is so easy, no effort at all is required to be successful.

An Elephant in My Pajamas: The Misplaced Modifier – Ivy Global Blog
Groucho Barks ?

At this point, time to stop and reflect, practice what you’ve learnt. What expression fits ?

  • He used to be a respectable professional, but his wife left him he began drinking and now he’s _______________________________
  • The bloody woman next to me on the plane just wouldn’t sit still. She had ___________________________________
  • I’m never teaching that class again ! The kids are all __________
  • This job is so easy, it’s _________________________________
  • Oh ! I knew they had a secret. Now the _____________________
  • Don’t worry about Peter, he’s so bad, he _______________________
The quest for best animal joke ever! | Earth Rangers: Where kids go to save  animals!
Hahahah ants in my pants, I love that one !

Ready for some more ? OK, let’s kick it !

GOLDFISH: Living in a goldfish bowl – a life with no privacy, everyone can see what you do, all the time.

HORSE: A dark horse – someone that has hidden talents or abilities

INSECT: Go away, you little insect – not polite, used when someone is making you feel very uncomfortable, or is harassing you.

JACKASS: You jackass ! – again, very informal signifying a silly or stupid person.

LION: Taking the lion’s share – taking the biggest amount of something.

MONKEY: Too much monkey business – too much madness or uncontrollable behaviour

Practice makes perfect so … kick it !

  • You spent $100 on that Relox watch, made in China ! _____
  • Being famous is awful, everyone taking photos all the time, it’s like _____________________________________
  • I can’t work for this company anymore, I don’t trust them, ________________________________________
  • As the CEO, he took ___________________________ of the bonus.
  • I don’t want to buy those cheap fake sunglasses, go away you _________
  • Wow, Julie wrote this ? It’s so good, she’s a real _________________ always so quiet in class.

OK, enough for one blog, I’ll continue N – Z if there’s any interest, I’ll continue N- Z even if there isn’t any interest. Now I gotta prepare for two online classes and a speaking placement test, drink tea (I am English, don’t forget) and hope my internet doesn’t act like a jackass and pack up on me.

Everyone, stay safe and well.

Thank you for visiting this site

Young Learners: Amazing Adjectives

9th August 2021

Movie and TV Cast Screencaps: Maggie Cheung as Flying Snow / Hero (2002) /  32 Screencaps
The amazing Asian actress Maggie Cheung in the famous film ‘Hero’.
The brilliant breathtaking Blues musician Robert Johnson

Adjective Game 1

Let’s start with ‘A’, the first letter. Who knows these adjectives ?

Am__________ (This word means very good, wonderful)

What other adjectives can you think of beginning with ‘a’ ?

Be___________ // (This word means very pretty)

What other adjectives can you think of beginning with ‘b’ ?

Cu__ // Dan______ // ele_____ // fan_______ (very good) // gr_______

// he________ // int_________ // Ja____ (from an Asian country) // ki___ //

la__ // me____ (not clean. Also the name of a talented footballer) //

ner___ // outg______ (opposite of shy) // pop_____ // qui__ // ru__

// sel____ // tal________ // unu_____ // valu____ (costs a lot of money)

Here Are 10 Of The Most Expensive Paintings In The World Right Now

// wea______ (if you can buy the Mona Lisa, you must be extremely wea_____) // Xenop_______ (do not like people from other countries) // ye__ – _____ (lasts for 12 months) // Zamb___ (person from Zambia)

Zambia
Zambia country profile - BBC News

Suitable answers: amazing / beautiful / cute / dangerous / electric / fantastic / greedy, great, Greek / healthy / intelligent / Japanese / kind / lazy / messy / nervous / outgoing /popular / quick / rude / selfish / talkative / unusual / valuable / wealthy / xenophobic / year-long / Zambian

Adjective Game 2

Sentence building using adjectives is very easy. Even using basic adjectives can improve your English. Colours, sizes and where someone is from are all easy adjectives. Look at this example:

The flag is very large and is white with a red circle in the middle. The flag is Japanese.

Look at these flags. Choose one and describe it to the class. Points for the students who guess which flag. Extra points if they know the country.

Adjective Game 3

Describe these people:

Albert Einstein, born in Germany
Usain Bolt, born in Jamaica
Park Soyeon - T-Ara - Posts | Facebook
Park Soyeon from Korea
Omar Sharif born in Egypt
Dr. Vandana Shiva DS.jpg
Vandana Shive from India

Young Learners: Sentence building and Zoom warm up games.

2nd August 2021

A selection of short exercises to develop sentence building and encourage use of adjectives. Games aimed at students aged 7 – 12

Warm up game 1

Who can name a country or city beginning with ‘A’ … ? ‘B’ … ?

Warm up game 2

What country do you associate with:

  1. sushi 2. hot curry 3. the White House 4. kangaroos 5. pizza ?

Warm up game 3

What animal is the biggest ?

How many eyes do most spiders have ?

What is more dangerous, a crocodile or an alligator ?

What does a camel have in its hump ?

What is the only bird that can fly backwards ?

What do pandas eat ? What do you call a baby kangaroo ?

Answers: A blue whale (up to 98 feet) // 8 eyes // crocodiles // camels store fat NOT water // hummingbird // bamboo // joey

Warm up game 4

Adjectives – words to describe a person or a thing

Example: The Kangaroo is small // cute // funny

Name an adjective beginning with ‘A’ … // ‘B’ … // etc

Students should be instructed to write down new words and then try to use them

Sentence building 1

What is your favourite film (or TV show, book) and why ?

EXAMPLE: I really love Star Wars because it is amazing and has many exciting space fights. The actor is incredible and the Princess is so beautiful. The film is sometimes funny and sometimes scary.

Sentence building 2

Tell me about your family ?

What do they look like ?

What are they like ?

EXAMPLE: I love my mummy very much because she helps me with my homework. She is small and has long black hair. She is friendly and happy. She likes to play badminton because it is healthy and fun.

Sentence building 3

Write interesting stories about these photos. Use adjectives and long sentences

Premium Vector | Cute elephant character playing music and singing isolated  .
Asian Woman Eating Pizza In Restaurant Stock Video - Download Video Clip  Now - iStock

Zoom Classes: You cut my hours, you slash my wages and you give me these ?

27th July 2021

Teacher suspended after appearing topless during Zoom video lesson | Nestia
Google Images. A teacher was reported suspended after appearing shirtless on Zoom

In a previous blog I tried, against my nature, to show a positive side to Zoom teaching. Teachers, TAs, admin staff are kept in employment, albeit with significant pay cuts, while the students are able to practise their English skills … should they choose.

I’m trying to keep this light-hearted, but all anecdotes are true, based on my experiences of Zoom. CUT TO last year, our first period of lockdown.

I can’t turn my light on, I’ve got no power

First up, back in the early days, teachers went to campus and used laptops to hold Zoom classes. The first five or ten minutes were spent waiting for late-comers, asking people to put their cameras on, then to KEEP their cameras on, ditto mics. One character, a teenage boy was sitting in darkness … this was a daytime class and Sai Gon in the day in bright, big time. Said teenager claimed that he had no electricity in his house, therefore could not put on the lights.

Do you sense a ‘however’ coming on ?

However … his laptop was working (sure, maybe it was running on battery). His wifi was working, but, the smoking gun … a slither of bright light from the corner of the room. Yes, said young gentleman had drawn his curtain and was ‘claiming’ he had no power.

Do you sense another ‘however’ coming on ?

However … I had an ace up my sleeve for, off-screen but next to me was my manager. I updated Mr No-Power on this development. A native teenager lying to an English teacher is not so unique. But would he lie to his Vietnamese manager. Damn right he would.

Just the tip of the iceberg. My camera’s not working

The teacher asks, politely requests, a student to put the camera on. This is after the class has seen a slide giving class rules AND a video in Vietnamese explaining what is expected. It is expected that students will put on their cameras. CUT TO a black screen, and yet another (here is where a teacher needs the patient of a whole temple of Buddhas) invitation to turn on the camera. Student claims camera is not working. Unfortunately, student had turned ON the camera and we could all see, in glorious Technicolor, the student, bold as brass (but thick as a brick). The mistake was then realised, and the student could be seen reaching for the lower corner of the laptop, and camera fades to black.

But that’s just one or two rotten apples, right ?

Are you kidding ? I teach IELTS which is the serious subject; a good grade here is a passport to a different country, to study, to live, maybe get exposed to different points of views, philosophies and outlooks. So you would think the students would be really motivated, right ?

Think again, pucko !

I had one IELTS class with about eight or nine students, including professional people and even a doctor. Guess what … despite the rules being reiterated, the Vietnamese-language video, I end up speaking to eight or nine black screens. Every lesson.

Doesn’t your campus kick ass ?

Kiss ass rather than kick ass. They go, half-heartedly through the motions, make rules but lack the balls to enforce them.

The reasons are clear. Firstly, this is not a state school, the students are CUSTOMERS … they generate revenue. It is a business axiom that the customer is always right. A business needs to keep and expand its customer base. My campus wants customers to return, to tell their friends, schoolmates, family members, each and everybody, they produce Disneyesque promotional films of photogenic children saying how they love learning here, and how they love their teachers (ya never see the fat ugly kids with buck teeth do ya).

Oh, man, you must be puttin’ me on ?

I wish ! You can look for yourself on YouTube, though not too soon after eating; there are stomach-churningly nauseating. Furthermore, the punters are locals, they are Vietnamese. I’ve seen some YouTube videos of a South African man explaining a similar situation in China. When push comes to shove, the natives support each other. Always. Teachers are a dime a dozen, they come ‘n’ go, and who can blame them ? Customers are more valued, they will always take precedence over a foreigner (that is how we are designated). Ready for one or two final delicacies ?


But teenagers are famous for their good behaviour

Haha, yeah good one. Just a brief entrance here. I had one class, back at campus, with some teens. I began saying hello to each student. Some would just stare at me, refusing to say a word. Then they initiated a new game; I would call a customer and rather than answer immediately, the teen would say, “Me ?” with terrible over-acting, faux surprise. This carried on with every subsequent teen. Finally, a teen, let’s called her Mary, copied her classmates, to wit:

Me: Mary, what’s number 3, please ?

Mary: Me ?

Cue the Beethoven

Beethoven as a Child and His Father's Alcoholism - MagellanTV

Me: Is your name Mary ?

Mary: Yes.

Me: Then answer the question and stop wasting my time.

I went on to explain that I will do everything to help anyone who really wants to learn. However, those who just want to insult me and disturb my lesson … well, let’s Samuel L. explain:

GIF jules winnfield and i will strike down upon thee with great vengeance  and furious anger ezekiel 25 17 - animated GIF on GIFER - by Grilace

Finally, (though you can guess this one could run and run), another IELTS class. I was given a real motley crew of unmotivated, unanimated, lifeless schlimels (if you don’t know what that means, look it up, I ain’t doing all the work for you). One schliemel was a teenage boy, a poster-boy for gormlessness. He informed me, by chat box, that his mic wasn’t working. Now, IELTS is all about speaking and practising, it ain’t just watching the teacher, it ain’t TV, dig ? You’ve gotta join in or you are wasting your (parents’) money.

Did you strike down upon him with great vengeance and furious anger ?

I farmed out that hit. Stopped the lesson and let everyone see that I was contacting Customer Care who, in turn, phoned gormless schliemel. Lo and behold, the mic miraculously started working. The guy would have been happy to sit and listen for an hour or two without contributing anything. After, he could go away and laugh that he hadn’t done any work.

If the job sucks, why d’you do it ?

Good question. I’ve spoken to many teachers, in various countries, and the answer is generally, ‘What else can I do ? It’s my profession’. And, at the moment, I don’t need to tell you, travel just ain’t as easy as it used to be.

Is there anything good about it ?

No. OK, I’m pulling your leg. A minority of students are sweet, respectful and polite. They really want to learn, and I can see the progress week by week. Occasionally, very occasionally, an adult student can become a friend, while the younger kids provoke avuncular feelings. Very rarely, one gets to meet a Princess. But these, as stated, are the minority.

“What a piece of work is man ?” What indeed

These situations are hardly isolated.

I saw an interesting site that highlighted some deplorable behaviour by participants. Read the full page here: https://skierscribbler.com/9307/news/inappropriate-behavior-in-zooms/

A new set of guidelines, according to the article, has been set following recent misbehaviors:


Camera’s must be on during online classes, students that fail to comply with this rule may be marked absent (unless there are extenuating circumstances).


In all zoom calls there is now a mandatory waiting room.


Students are no longer allowed to change their names.

Backgrounds must be one of the default zoom backgrounds or a solid color.


If students have a profile photo, it has to be of themselves.


In some classes, chat restrictions have also been implemented.

The teachers are all taking a massive financial hit to keep these lessons going. ‘T’is a pity the customers display contempt and disrespect. C’est la vie.

IELTS Mindset 1, Lesson 6. Speaking, speaking and more speaking

20th April 2021

May be an image of 2 people
OK ? Let’s go !

Tonight’s lesson will focus on speaking, so I’ve shuffled through my memory and come up with some blogs which should prove extremely useful.

However, we shall kick off with a review from last week’s lesson: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/04/14/ielts-mindset-1-lesson-5-review/

Followed by a game. I shall show photos of five of my friends, along with some personality adjectives and occupations. The class simply have to guess my friends’ job and what kind of people they are … and justify their decisions.

A link to that blog may be accessed here: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2018/12/28/friends-men-teaching-sheet/

Moving on, a blog designed to help students expand their answers and form great introductions: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/28/ielts-please-allow-me-to-introduce-myself/

May be an image of 1 person
Take it easy ! See you next week.

Adult Speaking Class, level 2: Maintain radio silence.

1st March 2021

The Truth Is Out There - Poster Emporium

Tonight’s class will focus on the town of Green Bank, Virginia (which is a southern state in the USA). Green Bank is a very small town. The population in 2019, according to Wikipedia, was 182 yet it has become famous as the town without Wi-Fi. Wireless internet is banned and mobile phones (cell phones USA) are unable to make or receive calls, nor can they send texts. The reason …

Green Bank Telescope - Wikipedia
the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope

Telescopes can be used for light or for sound. The above picture shows the radio telescope, which is 485ft tall, at Green Bank. It listens out for sounds from space. You may hear electromagnetic radiation in the class video.

Light and sound travel in waves. A star will emit light waves but electromagnetic radiation can also travel by radio waves. Giant telescopes are situated in areas with low light pollution while radio telescopes need to be in areas without Wi-Fi or mobile telephone, which can cause interference. You may have experienced this on an airplane when you are told to switch off phones during take-off and landing.

If you wish to learn more about Green Bank, here’s a link to a lengthy article from the Washingtonian: https://www.washingtonian.com/2015/01/04/the-town-without-wi-fi/

Bilingual No Cell Phone Acrylic White Interior Sign | Etsy

And so to work … as a warm up, get a partner or a small group and ask each other the following questions. Remember to encourage each other to speak in longer sentences and give reasons.

Could you live in a town with no Wi-Fi ?

What would you miss most if you had no phone or Wi-Fi ?

How important is your mobile phone to you … why ?

How often do you use Facebook ? Is it essential or fun ?

Do you think you spend too much time on social media ?

If you are with friends and your phone rings, or you get an alert, do you ignore it or stop talking to your friends ?

How to build sentences: explain your answers … ‘because‘ // such as … //

Tell me your experience: ‘For me, mobiles phones are …’ // ‘I couldn’t live without Wi-Fi because …’ // ‘I rely on …’

New vocabulary: essential // imperative // convenient //

It would be like losing an arm // a vital part of my life // I control my Wi-Fi use, it doesn’t control me // prohibitively expensive // I would lose my mind !

Why a WiFi failure makes you angry?