Friday, 22 November 2013

Success and the importance of failure - Advanced lesson

Success and the importance of failure 

Do we need to fail in order to succeed?  Is 'failure' a fundamental element of success? Could teaching our children, students, and employees, the importance of failure, increase their ability to succeed?

5 famous people that failed, before they succeeded:

1. Bill Gates' first company, was a failure.

2. Steven Spielberg was rejected three times from film school.

3. Walt Disney was fired for 'lacking ideas and creativity'.

4. Winston Churchill, failed miserably at school?

5. Oprah Winfrey got fired from her job as a TV reporter because she was 'unfit for TV'.

In this TED talk, Richard St John talks about his personal experience of success and failure:

Key expressions

  • Comfort zone: A situation or position in which a person feels secure.
  • To go downhill: To decline and grow worse and worse. 
  • Hot shot: A person who is highly successful and self-assured.
  • Living under a black cloud: Depressed or having a run of bad luck.
  • Floating along: To move or act without purpose.

Click to view video

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The Future with Going To - Intermediate lesson

Picture by Over the big moon

The Future Tense with Going To 

Intermediate lesson 

In spoken English we often use going to + the infinitive to talk about the future.  We use it to talk about our future plans, to make predictions and to give our opinion about what will happen in the future:

Look at the dark clouds in the sky; I think it's going to rain.
I think you're right. Are you going to take an umbrella, when you go out?
No, but I am going to wear my rain coat.
Where are you going?
I'm going to meet friends for lunch?
When and where are you going to meet them?
We're going to meet at 1.00 pm, at the new Italian restaurant in town.  Are you going to come with me?
I'm not sure yet, it depends on the weather.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

The world's 'English Mania' TED talk by Jay Walker: High intermediate video lesson

English crazy!

Why are so many people trying to learn English? Is it mania or is it a necessity?  Is the world obsessed with learning to speak English?


(noun) Extreme enthusiasm for something that is usually shared by many people.
(noun) Wild and noisy disorder or confusion.
(noun) A feeling of intense pleasure or joy.
(noun) A fit of crying.

This interesting TED talk by Jay Walker explores this issue:

Comprehension questions:

  1. What are the three types of mania that Jay Walker talks about at the beginning of the video?
  2. What are the three adjectives Jay Walker uses to describe Mania?
  3. What method is often used in China to learn English?
  4. According to Jay Walker, how many people are trying to learn English in the world?
  5. According to Jay Walker, what are some of the reasons that so many people are trying to learn English?
  6. What does Jay say, that you can do with English?
  7. Give two examples of global problems.
  8. According to Jay Walker, what is the language of science?
  9. According to Jay Walker, what is the language of emotions?
  10. According to Jay Walker, what is the language of problem solving?
  11. In conclusion, what does Jay Walker believe that English represents?
* Answers below

I agree with Jay Walker, I believe that a common language is the key to global communication.  Better communication will lead to improved problem solving and a better future for us all.  What do you think?

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Wishes and Regrets: Intermediate lesson

photo by girly-girl-graphics

Do you wish that you could speak better English?
With a little practice, that dream can become a reality.
"Never let go of your dreams"