“Because it’s my nature.”

2nd June 2022

The fable of the frog and the scorpion

One day a scorpion was out walking when it came to a river. The scorpion, who couldn’t swim, wanted to cross the river, and saw a frog resting on a stone.

“Hello, frog, can you carry me to the other side ? I can ride on your back.”

The frog refused.

“You are a scorpion. You will sting me.”

“Why would I do that ? We would both die,” asked the scorpion.

The frog thought, then agreed. The scorpion climbed onto the frog’s back.

However, half way across the river, the scorpion stung the frog. The frog, in pain, asked the scorpion,

“Why did you do that ? Now we will both die.”

“I know,” replied the scorpion, “I couldn’t help it because it’s my nature.”

A modern day tale

Classes of students who are undisciplined, disrespectful and physically or verbally abusive.

The centre makes rules. The students start each lesson reciting them.

Rules such as not saying, “No,” to a teacher when asked to do something, not calling a teacher by a disrespectful name, no running, no eating in class.

Yet, forty minutes later, masks are off and half the class are eating, running in the halls, shouting. Students say, “No,” to polite requests, and call teachers disrespectful names.

They have been told if they break these new rules, they will be sent home, and if the offense is repeated, they will be expelled. Still they continue.

Why … because it’s in their nature.

Mr Orson Welles in ‘Mr Arkadin’ 1955

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IELTS: Complex sentences – Practice and more practice

4th March 2021

Beautiful Asian Woman Playing Piano Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free  Image. Image 68225263.

The ability to use complex sentences, fluently and naturally, will greatly improve your IELTS score (in both speaking and writing). Therefore here’s a little exercise I used in last night’s class. Test your ability to speak in IELTS-style sentences.

Quite simply, take a basic subject and see how complex you can make it by adding information to every noun.

Show Don't Tell' -Providing the Power to Improve Student Writing

Good idea. Here is my friend Tony:

English Guy Stock Illustrations – 512 English Guy Stock Illustrations,  Vectors & Clipart - Dreamstime

Tony is from Liverpool. He is 32. He is a reporter. He works on ‘The Daily Talk’. This is shown on ICB network.

Remember, relative pronouns who / which / where / whose

Tony, who is 32, is from Liverpool, which is famous for football as well as The Beatles. He occupation (or profession) is reporter, working for ‘The Daily News’ which is a show broadcast on the ICB network, which is located in London, where Tony now lives.

You wouldn’t usually include so many clauses, but it is an exercise, similar to a musician practising scales. Ideally, in the speaking test, you will be able to use complex sentences at the drop of a hat.

NOW … YOUR TURN

Make a complex sentence about your hometown.

Sai Gon / Tp HCM

Travel to Ho Chi Minh City

Sai Gon: in southern Viet Nam / largest city in VN / population over nine million / many museums (such as History, War Remnants, Independence Palace) / traditional food (such as Phố) – what is Phố ? What is it served with ?

The Best Phở in Saigon - Vietnam Coracle - Independent Travel Guides to  Vietnam
Traditional Phố for my friend Silk Cords

Next, tell me about someone in your family.

Asian families dominate multi-holiday trend, survey says: Travel Weekly Asia

Who is that person ? What relation to you ? Where do they live, what is their profession ? Describe their physical appearance and personality and try to add an anecdote, to make your presentation more personal.

Finally, in last night’s listening practice, there was mention of the Hearst Castle in California:

Hearst Castle | San Simeon, CA 93452
William Randolph Hearst - Children, Quotes & Joseph Pulitzer - Biography


William Randolph Hearst, who was a very famous newspaper tycoon, lived in this castle, which is in California. Hearst was immortalised in the film ‘Citizen Kane’, a classic movie from 1941 by Orson Welles, who directed and starred in the film which is often cited as being the best film ever made.

New vocabulary and expressions:

Last night’s class produced these:

The weather is Sai Gon is sweltering and terribly humid

monotonous (mono = one) = very tedious

I don’t give a monkey’s = I really don’t care

occupation (better word for job) / profession = need to be qualified such as doctor, nurse, lawyer, pilot, chef etc

most notably = Orson Welles made many films, most notably ‘Citizen Kane’.