Tuesday, 31 January 2012

My Dickens' Quote

Fawlty Towers: The sitcom

When you have watched the videos in order and answered all the comprehension questions from the presentation, you can check your progress using this answer key sheet.

News report

Read the news report below and guess the different structures used to express the future. Then, write a comment with the structures you have guessed and I'll let you know if you were right or wrong.

One of the most talked-about matches in the history of tennis is due to take place this evening in NY. Current world number one Jokovic is to face his long-term rival Rafa Nadal in what is going to be a long and tough struggle for the top spot, according to commentators. Their last match was a narrow defeat for Nadal. 'I have worked extremely hard to come this far, and this time I'm almost 100% sure I'm about to become the most highly-ranked player in the competition', Rafa commented in a pre-match press conference. When asked about his predictions for the match, Jokovic replied: ' I've never been on better form and I'm going to show Nadal who is the boss, who is Number One, just like last time'.
The match begins at six p.m. local time.

Adapted from New English File Teacher's Book. Advanced.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Another quote by Dickens

Charity begins at home, and justice begins next door.
By Charles Dickens.
From Life And Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit. 1843-1844

Does Dickens still have something to say today?

Listen to him on his 200th birthday and check for yourself how Mr Charles Dickens' universal viewpoints are still relevant to our world today.

'Well, well, well, here I am, back to chronicling society, the 21st century society, to celebrate my birthday.
And what have I discovered? Lots of odd issues; all predictable, though.
For instance, the rise and fall of Goldman Sachs.
Just as some of my wealthy characters in Little Dorrit lost their investments when the seemingly almighty institution Merdles Bank fails, so have thousands of clients lost theirs, due to Goldman Sachs failure.

And the crisis, oh, the world financial crisis ... I just wonder why my Micawber Principle in David Copperfield hasn't been applied more often.' 

Quite adamant, Mr Charles Dickens, isn’t he?

Why don’t you read some of his works and try to find other issues in them that are still relevant to your own world?
Please leave your comments, or, if you feel like it, become Charles Dickens yourself and create some more chronicles.

Sunday, 29 January 2012


If you are a B1 ESL learner, you might find this lesson interesting to get some further information about social customs and manners.

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Dickens and Elena

Dignity, and even holiness too, sometimes, are more questions of coat and waistcoat than some people imagine. By Charles Dickens.

From Oliver Twist. 1837

Merche's favourite quote by Dickens

Regrets are the natural property of grey hairs. By Charles Dickens.

From Life And Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit. 1843-1844

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Charles Dickens

"The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again"
By Charles Dickens
From Nicholas Nickleby


Watch the video clip below about the quarter of Trastevere, in the city of Rome.

Then, try to answer the comprehension questions:

Check your score.

Finally, get some speaking practice:

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Man of the year

Read the text below and answer the comprehension questions.

Then, check your score using this answer key sheet.

I wish I could go travelling again

Listen to the song once.

Decide on what travel-related problems the singer mentions.

Feeling tired after a long-haul flight
Rude waiters
Flight overbooking
Losing a suitcase
Being robbed
Almost missing a flight
Being irritated by a travelling companion
Disappointing food
Bad weather
Unsatisfactory accommodation
Crowded beaches

Listen again and find words in the song which mean:

1.       Sunglasses noun (informal)
2.       Drink, taking very small amounts each time verb
3.       A sheet of strong cloth that stretches out from above a door or window to keep off the sun or rain noun
4.       To become lost /stolen
5.       Not impressed, excited or worried about sth, because you have seen or experienced it many times before adj
6.       Go somewhere suddenly and quickly verb
7.       Not perfect; not working correctly adj
8.       Too expensive, costing more than it is worth adj
9.       ~ of sth, completely lacking in sth

Adapted from New English File Teacher’s Book Advanced.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Learning to Multitask: Simultaneous Reading and Writing

Read the following article and choose the best option for each of the comprehension questions.

When you are finished, do not forget to check your score.

Sunday, 22 January 2012


If you are an elementary A2 ESL student and would like to learn some vocabulary about fashion, clothes and different styles, you might care to do the activities proposed in this teaching unit.

In order to view it properly online, you need Java and the Malted Web 2.0 plugin.

Friday, 20 January 2012

My favourite quote by Charles Dickens

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. 

By Charles Dickens. 

From David Copperfield. 


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Ready to celebrate #Dickens2012?

Have you chosen your favourite quote yet?
Well, every minute counts, so choose, rehearse and get ready for 7 February!

Tips for writing a report

Key success factors:

  • Being clear and concise
  • Making sensible recommendations based on your observations

Other important tips when you are writing a report:

  • Look carefully at who the report is for and what they need to know. This will help you choose what information you have to include.
  • In the introduction state what the aim of the report is.
  • Decide what the subsections are going to be within the areas of the report and think of headings for them.
  • For each paragraph state the stiuation, both strengths and wekness, and then make a recommendation.
  • If in an exam you are given information on which to base your report, try not to use exactly the same words.
  • Try to use a variety of expressions for generalizing and making suggestions.
  • Use an appropriate professional style, avoiding very informal expressions.


DRAFT your report, using the headings and suggestions you worked on in the previous stage, that is, when planning.

EDIT the report, deciding if there is any information that should be left out and making sure the report is the right length.

CHECK the report for mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation and register.

Source: New English File Advanced. Student's Book. O. U. P.

Medical words and similes

How many medical words can you guess?
How many phrases and similes can you find?

Wordle: Medical words and similes

Can you make definitions for the words and phrases you have just guessed?

Try not to use any part of the word or phrase in your definition!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Golden Globes 2012

Medical vocabulary

Monday, 16 January 2012

Dickens' Quotes

Celebrating the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens

Click for a larger timelime.

Get ready for 7th February!
We will be reading some of Dickens' famous quotes aloud to celebrate the birthday of this great British novelist all together!

Rewriting: complex gerunds and infinitives

Right or wrong?: gerunds or infinitives?

An interview with Sam Tsui

Sam Tsui is an American boy who became the latest You Tube singing sensation after he and his friend Kurt Schneider uploaded to the Internet a video they had recorded. The video, which features five Sam Tsuis singing a famous Michael Jackson's hit, turned a huge success overnight.

While you are listening, try and answer these comprehension questions. When you are done, check your score.

Broke in New York

Listen to Kevin talking about financial matters.

Do the listening comprehension task. When you have completed all the questions, check how well it has gone; use this answer key sheet.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Cancer 'Caused By Obesity And Bad Diet'

Enda Brady, Sky News reporter

Read the text and choose the best option for the questions below.

More than 100,000 cancers - a third of all those diagnosed each year in this country - are caused by smoking, alcohol, unhealthy diets and obesity, research has revealed.
The most comprehensive review of cancer and lifestyles ever conducted in the UK showed 45% of all cancers in men could be prevented, compared with 40% of cancers in women.
Smoking is still the most important factor when it comes to causing cancer - responsible for 23% of cancers in men and 15.6% in women.
But the review also found a lack of fruit and vegetables is responsible for 6.1% of cancers in men, while being overweight causes 6.9% of cancers in women.
"Many people believe cancer is down to fate or 'in the genes' and that it is the luck of the draw whether they get it," said Professor Max Parkin, a cancer expert at Queen Mary, University of London.
"Looking at all the evidence, it is clear that around 40% of all cancers are caused by things we mostly have the power to change.
"We did not expect to find that eating fruit and vegetables would prove to be so important in protecting men against cancer".

"And, among women, we did not expect being overweight to have a greater effect than alcohol."
The work by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) found there were an estimated 314,250 cases of cancer across the country last year, with tobacco responsible for causing 60,837 of them.
Sara Hiom, from CRUK, said: "We know, especially during the Christmas party season, that it is hard to watch what you eat and limit alcohol and we do not want people to feel guilty about having a drink or indulging a bit more than usual.
"But it is very important for people to understand that long-term changes to their lifestyles can really reduce their cancer risk."
Cancer survivor Jackie Gledhill recalled how she changed her lifestyle after beating thyroid cancer.
"I started doing some exercise, just step by step until I got fitter," she told Sky News Online.
"I now watch what I eat and I only drink socially, which is not very much at all.
"Everyone can make changes and give themselves more of a chance.
"Little things help, even parking the car further away from the supermarket and walking that distance instead."
The full research has been published in the British Journal of Cancer.
Dr Harpal Kumar, the charity's chief executive, added: "Leading a healthy life does not guarantee that a person will not get cancer but this study shows that healthy habits can significantly stack the odds in our favour."
Text from http://news.sky.com/home/uk-news/article/16125158

1.    The research on cancer is regarded as … one

a voluminous

a worlwide
an exhaustive

2.    Almost … of smokers end up having cancer


a third

half the population

3.    … run a higher risk


Christmas party goers

Non-vegetable male eaters
Seasonal overweight females

4.    It is generally believed that getting cancer is …

an avoidable issue

just a question of chance
part of an individual’s will power

5.    Some of the results drawn by the research were …


already known

fully shocking

6.    Christmas is known as a time …


for guilt

to allow yourself some excess
when women go overweight

7.    Jackie Gledhill … cancer

changed her lifestyle abruptly after

never drank outdoors before
remembered her experience with

8.    The study has been printed …


but it’s not complete yet

for British journalists
in a medical magazine

9.    Dr. Kumar …


executes a charity

manages British charity
works for a non-profit organization

10.  Sound habits …


are a synonym of a cancer-free life

lead to favourable odds
minimize cancer risk factors

When you feel happy with your reading task, check your score with this answer key sheet.

Occupy Protesters Fan Out Across New York

Listen to this podcast and choose the best option for the questions below.

Podcast by Joel Rose. From National Public Radio

1.    Today, protesters are … into Wall Street …


demonstrating / like every two months

on procession / as a celebration
walking / to mark the occupation

2.    Police have …


blocked Zucotti Park

made large numbers of arrests
managed to discourage the occupiers

3.    Occupiers confronted the police …


around narrow quarters

in the Stock Exchange surroundings
with metal barricades

4.    Ray Louis has … today


become part of the demonstrators

joined the NY police forces
trespassed the blues

5.    The occupiers were ...


expelling Wall Street neighbours without ID

following a schedule
unable to bring the financial district to a full halt

6.    From this week onwards, the occupiers will ... the park


be rushing out of

have to clean
not be able to camp in

7.    As a consequence, they’re spreading the word to ...



fellow teachers
other peers

8.    According to the unemployed school teacher, the movement ...


is gone

is not over
will soon stop

9.    The occupy movement ...


consists of 99% of the world population

is against corporate America
will soon be evicted from all parks

10.  The final destination for today’s march was ...


Brooklyn Bridge

still undecided
the City Hall

When you feel happy with your result, dowload this audioscript and answer key sheet to see your score.