Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: Review game

11th March 2021

FIFA World Cup 1966 | England 66 | Football |

To review recent lessons, try these questions – answers at end of blog.

For teachers, you could add these into a computer game, assigning different points based on the difficulty of the question.

A) Name two famous artists

B) If you study hard, you will ______________ a qualification

C) Tell me two kitchen appliances that are useful but not essential

D) What kind of painting is this ?

Laughing Cavalier - Wikipedia
‘The Laughing Cavalier’ by Franz Hals

E) What two types of electromagnetic radiation can be found in a home ?

F) English Tests can make you (a negative adjective)

G) Give your view on this work of art:

Ý nghĩa đằng sau bức tranh "Persistence of Memory" - Salvador Dalí | Almond  Blossom
‘Persistence of Memory’ by Dali

H) Hyper means: i) more than average ii) average iii) less than average. Give two examples.

I) Which is correct i) She loves reading books ii) She loves to read books iii) Both

Premium Photo | A cute asian woman is sitting reading a book on the sofa or  a chair happy smiling at home during relax time

J) This young lady is in a coffee shop. Such shops are ________ in this city. What big word (low-frequency word) means ‘everywhere’ ?

K) What type of painting is this ?

Meadow with Two Large Trees by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Hand Painted  Oil Painting | Landscape paintings, Oil painting landscape, Landscape art
By the French artist Corot, and if you can’t appreciate the beauty of art, then I feel sorry for you.

L) A student who comes to English class and then refuses to speak English is i) wasting their time ii) wasting their money iii) normal in Vietnam iV) all of the above

M) One small town in Virginia, USA has banned … what … and why ?

N) A great adjective we use when we can’t describe something that we really like.

O) A word meaning ‘to light up’. Can you give an example from Viet Nam ?

Here are some helpful Hoi An travel tips, just for you!

P) Mark Zuckerberg growed up in New York, and drop down of Harvard University … correct the two phrasal verbs.

Q) Teaching unmotivated students is boring, t_______ & m_______.

R) A term for someone who wants to be a powerful decision-maker is a ___________________________

S) An idiom meaning one has no choice

T) What type of art is this ? Give two expressions to indicate that you don’t like it

Jackson Pollock: The face of abstract expressionism
by Jackson Pollack (USA)

U) How often does Thay Paul smile in class ?

V) A nurse will hold a patient’s wrist to check the _______

W) Say this:

The brother bit the sister so the mother beat the brother

X) Time to think and use your imagination. What feelings does this painting inspire in you ?

‘Nighthawks’ by Edward Hopper

Y) Why are you studying English ? Seriously … why ?

Z) What is the name of this effect ?

Lady Silhouette - Vector Etch

A) Picasso, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Renoit, Dali, Munch etc …

B) attain

C) blender, sieve, potato peeler, whisk, egg-timer, meat slicer etc

D) a portrait E) radio, microwave F) nervous, scared, anxious etc

G) start with ‘In my opinion …’ or ‘As far as I’m concerned …’ etc

H) i) more than: hyper-market, hyperinflation, hyper-sensitive

I) both are correct (check Cambridge Dictionary for confirmation)

J) ubiquitous K) a landscape L) all of the above

M) cell phones and WiFi as they interfere with the radio telescope.

N) ineffable O) illuminate, such as the lanterns in Hoi An.

P) grew up & dropped out of Q) tedious & monotonous

R) a mover and a shaker S) my hands are tied

T) not my cup of tea, I wouldn’t call that art, it leaves me cold, I don’t get it at all etc

U) in this class, NEVER (except at 9.00 pm)

V) pulse

X) [no irony intended … well, maybe a little] ‘Nighthawks’ is often interpreted as showing loneliness, sadness, depression, urban alienation. I could explain more, but nobody in this country gives a hoot about art.

Y) beats the hell out of me.

Z) silhouette

Adult Speaking Class, level 3: Dali, DaDa and Surrealism

23rd April 2020


EXERCISE: What do you think of this painting ? It is by Salvador Dali; what do you know about him ? Prepare a short presentation for next class 🙂

The Persistence of Memory 1931

How to ‘read’ a painting.

Firstly, as with a poem, the title, not to mention the time it was created, can supply us with vital clues and information.

Memory – how well can you remember what you did last night ? Maybe last week ? Last year ? How about what you did at junior school or even, what are your earliest memories ?

Our memories can be unreliable, a mixture of truth, half-truths and maybe fabrications. Therefore, Dali could be saying that the past, as we remember it, may not be the truth – it can be distorted, warped or mutated.

This can be shown by the main subjects: watches. The closed (protected ?) watch is overrun with ants. Could this mean that the ‘truth’ will never be revealed ?

The remaining watches appear to have melted. Have they stopped ? We can see that two of the watches show different times.

What do you associate with watches; time, naturally. Is Dali warning us about how fast time flies, or how we can so easily waste time ? Alternately, is the artist pointing out that human time is nothing compared to time in the universe, which is measured in millions of years and light years ?

How about the image in the centre ? This looks like a self-portrait, also distorted, of Dali himself:

A new Florida art installation reanimates Salvador Dalí - Axios

The ‘Dali’ portrait is covered by a distorted watch. Could Dali be telling us how he feels his own mortality – his time left on Earth – or is he being forced down by forces beyond his control – how we can’t escape time ?

Such possibilities show how we can interpret a work of art.

We can say anything we feel provided we can support our ideas.

This makes for some very interesting points of view; even if we don’t agree with the point, we can appreciate the argument.

Now let’s focus on the colour and background. Dali was born in the Catalonia region of Spain, and take a look at this photo of the coastline:

Catalonia Discovery - cycling & walking in Catalonia | Inntravel

Do you see, it is not entirely unlike the cliffs in the top right of the painting.

Additionally, we have what appears to be the natural realities of sea and sky.

This mixture of reality and distorted, dream-like images is termed Surrealism. It is not pure fantasy, nor is it strict reality, but a hybrid (mix) of the two.

How about the tree ? It looks dead, destroyed, more like a human skeleton. This could be a reference to the horrors of World War I (1914 – 1918), when vast areas of French forest were bombed and shelled into grotesque nightmares worlds:

Woods in Wartime - Trees on the Front Line - Picturing the Great ...
Photograph by Frank Hurley: ‘Chateau Wood 1917’

Interestingly, many of my young students now interpret the tree in environmental terms, how nature is being destroyed by deforestation, by pollution, by human encroachment on the land.

I find that to be a justification for the importance of art; we project our own concerns and issues, factors that affect our current lives onto art that may have been created hundreds of years ago. The art still speaks to us.

SIDE EXERCISE: Which do you prefer, the painting or the photo ? Or, develop your argument to state the positives of both.

Now, let’s move on to the colours. What do you associate, or what is the symbolism of bright blues and yellows ? Conversely, what do you think of when you see dark colours, deep browns and black ?

Finally, let’s focus on the ‘Dali’ image; it is placed at the centre of the painting, like a sun in a solar system about which, everything moves. We have a hybrid of reality (sky, sea, cliffs) and surreal images (the melted, disfigured watches) not forgetting the (war-scarred ?) tree, both real and surreal.

With Dali being the central image, is the painting saying that is a view of Dali’s imagination ? Maybe a dream (don’t dream have a surreal quality ?), maybe his statement on how the world is going ?

All things considered, how do you react now ? Is this optimistic or pessimistic ? Do you consider it realistic or fantastic or surreal ?

Now you try


Dada | Definition & History | Britannica

I previously mentioned World War I. For the first time, war was industrialised, soldiers died in incomprehensible numbers from heavy artillery, bombs, machine guns, gas, flame-throwers, airplane attacks, as well as hand to hand fighting.

Despite the huge loss of life the politicians and leaders persisted in fighting. As a reaction to this madness, a new art movement was formed in Switzerland, central Europe, and was named Dada.

The Dada artists wanted to attack all in modern life that had lead to, and was prolonging, the war.

In my home city, London, we have a great Museum with a significant Dada collection. If you’re interested, here’s a link:

What do you think of these ? Analyse them and DON’T BE AFRAID TO USE YOUR IMAGINATION

Man Ray, ‘Cadeau’ 1921, editioned replica 1972
Man Ray Cadeau 1921
Dada Movement Overview and Key Ideas | TheArtStory
Marcel Duchamp LHOOQ 1919
idesign dadaismphongtraonghethuatdada 07
George Grosz ‘The Pillars of Society’ 1926