Learning English outside the classroom – Part 3: How to learn English with YouTube – Espresso English

This is a guest post series by Alastair Budge, the founder of Leonardo English and the host of the podcast, a podcast for intermediate English learners and curious minds. The podcast comes with subtitles, a transcript, and key vocabulary, and is trusted by 100,000 students in 157 countries.

This is Part 3 of our series on learning English outside the classroom. Check out Part 1 – Learning English with Podcasts and Part 2 – Learning English with Netflix.

This is Part 3 of our series on learning English outside the classroom. Check out Part 1 – Learning English with Podcasts and Part 2 – Learning English with Netflix.

YouTube has boomed in recent years, and almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day.

, and I’m sure you use it already.

It is also full of videos about learning English, and there is a lot of great content that’s available for you.

It can be overwhelming though, as there is a lot to choose from. Here are our tips on how to use YouTube effectively to learn English.

Before you start

It has never been easier for anyone to start a YouTube channel. All you need is a smartphone and an internet connection.

This is great in terms of the amount of content that’s available, but it means that it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.

YouTube does a pretty good job of showing you the best content, but remember, unlike Netflix, you will often find some quite amateur videos. 

The good news about this is that if you come across something that you don’t like, or that you don’t think is valuable, just hit ‘back’ and find another video. 

How to use YouTube effectively

If you just search ‘’ on YouTube, you would be presented with a wall of hundreds of thousands of results. 

It can be overwhelming, and before you do that, you should think about your goals.

Are you looking for tips on vocabulary and grammar?

If so, then you should probably check out channels like the

These kinds of channels explain words, and phrases, and recreate a classroom-style environment – there is a teacher, and the teacher explains things to you that you can then put into practice.

This can be a great way to self-study. If there are particular areas that you find hard or things that you know you need to work on, then this is content that can be very helpful to you.

Pro tip: Use the ‘watch later’ button to save videos that you don’t have time to watch right now. You can create your own playlist, then watch videos when it suits you, whether that’s on the metro, on the sofa, or just killing time waiting for a friend.

But you shouldn’t limit yourself to just content that is aimed at English learners, especially if you’re at an Intermediate level or above.

From amazing nature series like to comedies like , from documentary channels like to , you could spend years just watching YouTube videos.

So don’t limit yourself to just content about learning English. Not only is it always good to have a change, much like Netflix, sometimes it’s good to have a bit of a break and watch something that’s a little bit lighter and is entertaining.

Pro tip: You can turn on subtitles on YouTube, but these are often ‘auto-generated’, so they aren’t 100% correct. , but can also be unhelpful if you’re actually trying to learn English. So we’d advise you to not do this unless you really can’t understand anything.

This content was originally published here.


An Easy Way To Learn Chinese That Works For People Bored By Mindless Repetition

Except for the threats, the sirens and the guys with guns … last night was amazing for my memory.

First, April got invited to make dumplings to celebrate the last day of Autumn and the first day of Winter on the Chinese calendar.

I love the Magnetic Memory Method because I was able to remember those words in Chinese …

秋天 qiūtiān (Autumn)

冬天 dōngtiān (Winter)

Crazy thing is … I’d only heard them once in my life and used an impromptu Memory Palace to memorize them.

Months later …

They Were All Still Intact!

As was this song that took really just a few minutes to memorize:

Sure, I had a bit of a pronunciation problem here and there, but that’s easily solved by developing muscle memory. It’s understandable that words you don’t use for months that you only heard once don’t exactly snap into place.

But what a GREAT feeling to be able to remember them! And all by doing something I really love:

Using my memory.

After that, we were shooting video and getting into more of the particulars about how all this works.

We Got Lost!

We wound up getting a bit lost and keeping warm inside the bank machine area of a building.

And that’s when the threats and guns appeared.

Turns out, that a guy didn’t like me having the camera on while April was teaching me how to say, “I’m lost” in Chinese.

Good thing the Magnetic Memory Method teaches relaxation as part of the memory technique …

You certainly need to be calm when a stranger starts telling you what you can and cannot do.

It’s hard managing your defensive instincts and memory at the same time.

(You’ll laugh when you see my reaction in the video and the guns that were there to keep us safe all along).

So yes, April and I survived.

Perfect Recall … Even Under Duress

And the coolest thing is that I was still able to memorize “I am lost” in Chinese.

I can still remember exactly how to say it this morning.

Not to mention a couple of other words and phrases.

Like, “Smells good!”

And “garbage can.”

Instantly Memorized!

No sweat.

No tears.

No index cards.

No software.

But as I was editing the video this morning … it occurred to me that not everyone learning Chinese has access to native speakers.

And in the video I was talking about some solutions. They’re all part of The Big Five of Language Learning.

But then I remembered something really special I’ve been following for awhile.

It’s a website called MandarinHQ.

And when they released a course on real spoken Chinese, I jumped at the chance yesterday to grab access to it.

It’s called The Real Spoken Chinese Vault.

Yes, I laid down some cash even though I have a Chinese native speaker in my family.


Partly because I like to support awesome people out on the Internet who do good work.

But also because I do memory research.

Lots of it.

And I also want to support  because what I’m about to tell you helps solve a huge problem for people learning Chinese.

It’s the “Can you please repeat that?” problem.

Chinese Native Speakers On Demand

Imagine having a video course where you get access to vocabulary and short phrases that lets you …

Instantly click a button …

… and then instantly hear that phrase again.

That would be cool, wouldn’t it?

Well, The Real Spoken Chinese Vault isn’t just about audio.

You Can Hear Them And See Them

The Real Spoken Chinese Vault also has video.

And you get strategically placed buttons so that you can see and hear 4-5 different native speakers repeat key phrases you’ll need to learn.

It’s the kind of button I wish I had in real life when learning a language.

For When You Can’t Put Life On Pause

Because, yes, I can memorize information in real time.

But sometimes it’s nice to be able to slow the world down and repeat things so I’m sure I’ve heard it right.

In fact, most of my memorization errors from real-time memory work come from now having heard it right.

What you’re about to learn about solves that problem.

Again, you get to SEE and HEAR native Chinese speakers.

A Lot In The Form Of Important
Questions And Answers

Just like you’ll need to know in every day speech.

But there’s more.

Not much more, but just enough more to make this powerful package a no-brainer:

Because the program really wants to help you learn Chinese without overwhelming you

Imagine a progression of exposure to the language in each lesson.

You start with seeing and hearing the speaker.

Progressive Exposure
Reduces Cognitive Overwhelm

You can repeat each one delivering the phrase as many times as you like.

Then, when you’re ready, you can see the pinyin.

Same principle applies.

Click that magic repeat button all that you like as you watch and listen.

And then move on to the next stage.

When You’re Ready …

Then, and only then will you see the Chinese characters on the screen.

Your magic repeat button is right there, ready for use.

This program truly is one of the only times I will support hard-repetition. It’s very smartly done.

It’s not boring.

It’s not painful.

And you learn in a way that doesn’t waste your language learning time.

I also like that each module ends in a quiz.

You Get To Test Yourself

So far, I’ve done really well and LOVE this program.

Here are some Basic Chinese examples with my own tailor-made (and Magnetic) Mandarin Mnemonics:

And you can get lifetime access now at a HUGE discount (time is running out, though!)

(Note: The following offer expired at 11:59 p.m., December 26th, 2016. To let me know that you’re interested in studying Chinese using memory techniques, please get in .)

Let me introduce you to my friend Angel to explain her “listening framework” in detail.

I’m going to do you even one better:

I’m going to make you a short video course of what I’m doing to memorize the material I need from the course using the Magnetic Memory Method.

But here’s the thing:

This bonus is only for people who take Angel’s course and keep it.

She’s being VERY generous with this discount for early adopters on LIFETIME ACCESS.

And I only want to reward people who take it for 30-days along with me.

So that means I’ll be sending you your access to the MMM Chinese Vault Supplemental 30-days after you grab The Real Spoken Chinese Vault before the deadline.

Can’t wait to share more of my Chinese memory journey with you soon!



P.S. Remember: This amazing opportunity for LIFETIME access to Angel’s The Real Chinese Vault with its unique listening and viewing framework closes soon. You should at least look it over.

P.P.S. You’re right. One bonus from me isn’t enough.

I’m also going to throw in a video I’ve already made about how that I quickly memorize Chinese poetry.

The poems are usually only 4 lines long, but I only need to hear them once. Recall is so strong that I am delighted by the response of native Chinese speakers.

Just check out this email I received after dinner the other night:

“Dear Anthony,

It was definitely happy time having dinner with you.

Especially, I checked out your website, that’s amazing. Those techniques, please forgive me that I call them techniques, help people memorize things. Actually, I was shocked that day, with your Mandarin.

As you know, not even all of real Chinese people speak 100% correct mandarin. And the way you were trying to memorize the few Chinese poems is cool. When I was trying to memorize the same poem at very young age, I don’t know what those words/characters mean. I just repeat it again and again. Those are ancient/classical Chinese words and very different from nowadays.”

​If you’d like to get emails like that yourself from native Chinese speakers, don’t miss out on my bonus. Scroll and click that link for The Real Chinese Vault now.

P.P.P.S. Oh, okay, yes after 30-days in The Real Chinese Vault, you can also get access to my Secret Chinese Vocabulary Facebook Group.

Unlike some of the other FB groups I run, this one isn’t free and the fun for language learners who use memory techniques is only getting started …​​​​

Scroll up, click the link and check out The Real Spoken Chinese Vault now.

Bonus Update For Action-Takers:
How To Use The Real Spoken Chinese Vault With The Magnetic Memory Method

If you joined us for the Chinese Vault special offer, here is your first bonus video:

Your password will have been delivered to you via email, so please be sure to check your spam and/or promotion folder if you haven’t received it.

Tone Control

The Ultimate Language Learning Secret

Also, be sure to have requested access to the Secret Facebook group for access to the 30-day Chinese Vault MMM Challenge. Can’t wait to share my mnemonic images with you! 🙂

This content was originally published here.


Spanish Lessons

Sitting at my Shabbes dinner table on a Friday night during the plague, I learned that Spanish had two words for assassin. The first was asesino and the second was sicario. According to the dictionary, sicario is more of a hitman, while asesino is an assassin. A distinction without a real difference. Our houseguest, Darwin Ramos used them interchangeably. A Honduran asylum seeker, he knew about assassins and hitmen from personal experience. Darwin was an environmental activist who fled Honduras, having to leave behind his wife and children, because his name was on a hit list. He was number eleven. (A police officer had shown him the list at a demonstration to intimidate him.) After nine of his friends and fellow activists were killed, he fled.

My Spanish was almost non-existent before Darwin came to live with us. I had a sprinkling of activist chant Spanish (Amazon escucha la la la en la lucha!) so our early conversations were conducted with the help of Google translate. Darwin had studied religion, and we spoke about religion and theology. He was very interested in belief in God, and Judaism, and whether I thought the Bible was literally true. These were topics about which he also had strong opinions (except Judaism, about which he was eager to learn and supplement the very superficial knowledge he had). I started to hear about what life had been for him in Honduras. On Shabbes, when we did not use electricity, and Darwin would join Andrea (my partner) and I for dinner, conversations were enabled by Andrea’s translations. Her Spanish is okay, though sometimes we fell back on charades. (Yes, we could have bought a dictionary.) Over time my Spanish has gone from nonexistent to poor. So, my ears perked up when Darwin, in the middle of telling his story used the word sicario. I knew I was not mistaken because he raised his two hands, as if firing a gun, when he said the word.

I am a Talmudist by training and have a basic reading knowledge of Greek. Sikarios in Greek, is a bandit. It is (mis)transliterated to the Hebrew of the Mishnah as sikrikon. Josephus speaks of the sikarios, the highwaymen,in the Galilee. The Mishnah’s memory of the Roman occupation of the Land of Israel led to the enactment of the law of sikrikon which governed whether or not a property bought from an agent of the Empire (soldier of other) was a valid purchase, and whether the original owner could sue the purchaser for restitution.

None of this, of course had anything to do with Honduras and the cartels and the narco-traffickers that, as Darwin said, had “big control” over every aspect of the government of Honduras. The way that language travels, however, brought me a little closer to the story that Darwin was telling us.

That story was almost unbelievable. Unbelievable yet excruciatingly true.

Darwin lived in a small village in southern Honduras called Catacamas. It is part of the Olancho Department which is more or less in the Western part of Honduras. He was part of an environmental movement which was trying to stop the clear cutting of the jungle which bordered Olancho. As he understood it at first, the clear cutting was done in order to sell the timber and to grow livestock illegally. One night when he and his comrades were out taking pictures of the clearcutting, a plane landed on what became clear was not a makeshift ranch but an improvised airstrip. The plane was loaded with cocaine bound for the US. When Darwin and his fellow activists reported this activity to the police, they fell into the web of the “big control.” The police were being paid by the narco-traffickers and they tipped them off. (pagar is payoff; mucho dinero is exactly that) Darwin and his friends were kidnapped and tortured (tortura) and forced to work offloading drugs from the planes.

When Darwin was released but continued to organize and demonstrate against the destruction of the jungle, the police came to the demonstrations (manifestaciónes), took pictures of the activists and gave them to the cartels (carteles). This is how Darwin came to the attention of the death squads (escuadrones de la muerte), and why he used the word sicario. Apparently, the carteles outsourced the assassinations to the mafia whose main job was killing people.

(I was having a bit of a moment at this point. When we took to the street in Los Angeles to demonstrate, the police often roughed people up, the police would take pictures of us and with the aid of face recognition software might want to make legal trouble for us. When Darwin and his fellow activists went to demonstrations, the police took pictures of them, made a list, and a hit squad assassinated them.)

This was when Darwin realized that he had to leave Honduras. He spent a bit of time in safe houses but then joined one of the caravans traveling north. He was one of the people that the President sent the army to the southern border to stop. Darwin, however, did not intend on going to the United States (Estados Unidos). He was going to seek asylum in Mexico.

Arriving in Tijuana, Darwin found a room in a hostel and started working in a restaurant. One afternoon, after he finished work, he noticed a van parked outside. As he was walking home, as if out of a bad B movie, the van started following him, and then the people in the van jumped out and tried to grab him. They tore his clothes off but he got away. They chased him through the streets. Running through back alleys and climbing fences and walls he made it to the hostel. In a hotel near where he was staying some human rights lawyers (abogados de derechos humanos) and activists (activistas) who were helping asylum seekers trying to get to United States, were staying. Luckily the lawyers and activists were at his hostel helping other asylum seekers. They saw him, found out was going on, jumped into a car and headed north for the border. They drove around all night so as not to be caught. Fortunately, an urgent call to a congressperson convinced the Border Patrol to open up a crossing and take Darwin into custody. He was greeted with open arms by officials of the United States Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Just kidding. I wish that were true. Actually he was detained. In two different states for nine months in execrable conditions before being released.

Like I said the story is unbelievable. Parts of it have been indirectly supported by indictments introduced in the Southern District of New York against the brother of the President of Honudras, known as El Tigre, or the tiger. He was, according to the allegations, as Chief of Police, in charge of the escuadrones de la muerte, the Death Squads. He is in custody on charges of narco-trafficking.

Darwin has been staying with us for eight months. When COVID hit, the courts closed and his hearing has been pushed off until December. The Trump administration keeps trying to close the door on asylum seekers. Darwin speaks to his family often. It is not good news. He still speaks out on environmental issues. We still have dinners together on Shabbes. We have finally bought a dictionary.

The post Spanish Lessons appeared first on Jewschool.

This content was originally published here.


How to Read Chinese Characters: A Beginner’s Guide

It will only take 11 minutes to read this post!

Learning to read Chinese characters is something that many students of Chinese, who often just begin learning to speak, are reluctant to show interest in. I was one of those ‘students’, if I can even call myself that, who started to learn Chinese out of necessity. Once I got over the idea that learning to read Chinese was impossible, I realised how much easier my life had become in China, and how liberating it was to be able to read even just a handful of Chinese characters.

Of course, no one’s suggesting it’s an ‘easy’ journey. There are plenty of avenues to go down before being able to read, and below are some of the ‘stages’ you might want to visit whilst learning to read Chinese characters.

Before starting to read, you need to decide whether you’ll learn to read simplified or traditional Chinese characters. Chances are that you’ll automatically choose to learn simplified characters since this is the written language used in the mainland of China, and they are after all, ‘simplified’. However, don’t forget to take a look at traditional characters, especially later down the line.



Let me take you back to 2011 when I first arrived in China.  I had no intention of learning to read Chinese characters because back then, written Chinese looked like this:

Zip to several (too many) years later, when I eventually allowed myself to be introduced to the idea of Chinese characters. Below, I’m going to outline a few ‘steps’ you can go through to start recognizing and reading Chinese characters. But for now, I’m going to establish some general ‘rules’ for reading a Chinese character.

  1. Chinese characters are pictures

On a very simple level, Chinese characters are made up of small pictures, some literal whilst others are quite abstract.

  1. Chinese characters can be ‘broken down’ into separate parts

As mentioned above, Chinese characters are made up of small pictures, that make a full character. These ‘separate parts’ each have their own meaning or pronunciation.

  1. The separate parts have their own meaning

In every character, there is at least one ‘part’ that suggests the ‘meaning’ of a character. Sometimes, there are more than one ‘part’ of a Chinese character that suggests meaning, and these are often part of a more complex and abstract idea.

  1. One ‘part’ provides pronunciation

At least one ‘part’ of a character helps the reader to know how to speak the character. This ‘part’ is often on the right-hand side of a character.

  1. Balance is important in a character

The balance in a character can help us to read, as it helps the ‘breakdown’ of a character.

These are just guidelines, and as you learn to read more Chinese characters, you’ll find many that don’t fit this rule.


When I was first started to learn to read Chinese characters, my teacher first introduced me to characters known as pictographs. These are characters that basically look like the name of the object, which makes them a. fun to learn, and b.easier to remember.

Pictographs or pictograms were the first Chinese characters that show objects in their most rudimentary form. Although some pictographs have changed from their original bone oracle characters, most are still related to the word they depict.

The following are examples of pictograph characters:

I suspect that at first glance, you may not make the connections, but once you learn their meanings, you’ll be face-palming with an ‘oh, yeah!’

What did I tell you?

Well, that’s the reaction I had anyway, and the realisation that Chinese characters had a meaning that I could actually understand was one of the reasons why I stuck with learning to read Chinese.

You can get started learning pictographs in ‘Learn to Read with these 20 Chinese Pictographs’.

The reason why I recommend learning pictographs first is that many of them are also radicals, which you also need to learn. Of course, you can learn radicals first, but pictographs are a good ‘unscary’ introduction to Chinese characters that served me well!


A really important step of learning to read Chinese character is to learn the radicals. No, not the revolutionary type, the ones that we like to call the ‘building-blocks’ of Chinese characters. The reason why learning radicals is probably the next best step is that after learning the pictographs, characters begin to get bigger and slightly more complex, but NOT impossible to learn!

There are approximately 214 radicals in Chinese, which may seem a lot, but once you have learned around one-quarter of these radicals, you might want to continue by learning the remainder simultaneously with the characters in the step below.

Radicals generally provide you with the ‘meaning’ of a character, or sometimes the pronunciation. When I say ‘meaning’, there are times when this will only be a mere hint, and the origins of these characters (depending on the person) may need to be studied in more detail in order to fully understand it. It often helps to look at the traditional version to see the origins of a character.

For example, the simplified character 东 (dōng) meaning ‘east’ doesn’t really help us to find a meaning, whereas looking at the traditional character, 東 will help you to do deduce meaning and create a story.

If you find the origins of characters interesting, I really recommend taking a look at the Fun with Chinese Character book series that breaks down characters, often considering Chinese culture and going back to the bone oracle where possible.

I don’t think that it’s necessarily imperative to look at the origins of a character to help you remember it. There are other methods you can use to help you read characters, such as this ‘story’ method.


Once you’ve learned some pictographs, you’ll soon be able to put some of them together (or break them apart) to learn more complex characters, known as 会意 (huì yì) combined Ideographs or ‘meeting of ideas’. These are characters that combine 2 or more pictographs or ideographs to make a new character.

These are the most enjoyable characters to learn, as there is often interesting (and sometimes entertaining) logic behind their creation.

This is also the most natural progression from pictographs and also to learn some of the more advanced radicals at the same time as this will help both along.

Build on the pictographs and radicals that you’re studying to learn these compound characters.

You can learn more about pictographs, combined ideographs and the other types of Chinese characters here.


As I mentioned in the five steps at the beginning of my post, a Chinese character also tells the reader how to pronounce the character, which is an essential part of learning to read.

Once you’ve built up a number of characters in your ‘bank’, you’ll soon be able to take a good stab at ‘guessing’ the pronunciation of a character.

Characters that combine pictographs and phonetics are known as 形声 (xíng shēng) or Determinative-Phonetic characters

You’ll probably find that there are some radicals that act mostly as the ‘determinative’ part of the character, such as 木 the tree radical, whereas others appear mostly for the pronunciation, like the (gōng) radical.

It’s fair to say there are some tricksters out there, that will only provide you with a ‘hint’ of how to pronounce the character.

For example, some characters have very similar pronunciation:

The pronunciation of 任 rèn is 壬 rén. The only difference is a slight change from the second tone to 4th tone (learn more about tones here).

However, there are examples such as 部 bù, that has the 阝 fù sound as its pronunciation.

Once you’ve started to read Chinese characters, remembering them all can become a challenge! There are several methods below that you can try in order to make reading and remembering characters a little easier!


As mentioned earlier, as Chinese characters are made up of small ‘pictures’, which makes it easier to create ‘stories’ around a character. You can be as creative or as literal as you want with these mnemonics, as they’re your personal method of remembering a character.

This reminds me of a game I used to play when I was teaching English, which involves the student rolling several dice that have tiny pictures on each face instead of numbers. The student then has to create a story based on these pictures.

Why not give it a go?


You might not have come across ‘bigrams’ before, but these are 2-character combinations that make up ‘words’ in Chinese. Although some words are single characters, a bigram offers more clarification to the meaning.

For example, (huì) has lots of meanings, including ‘can’, ‘to meet’ and ‘union’.

To clarify the meaning of 会 (huì), take a look at the bigrams that contain the character:

社会 (shè huì) society

不会 (bù huì) unlikely

会议 (huì yì) meeting

This makes learning bigrams more practical, AND easier, as you don’t need to struggle to understand the meaning behind a character that has little meaning!


If you’re just studying for fun, you may not want to choose a ‘path’ and just continue to study along the route you’re on now. However, studying a course or specific field of characters may provide you with more direction.


One of the more popular systems to follow is HSK. Beginning with HSK 1, you can study characters in chunks. HSK has been created for practical everyday usage, so you are likely to be learning characters that are common in everyday life.

You can see what the characters in HSK look like in the dictionary app. All the HSK vocabulary lists are free to study and review.

You can learn more about taking an HSK test in our article.

Most Common Characters  / Most Common Bigrams

An alternate method of study is to follow MIT’s list of most common Chinese characters found in print, which is great if you’re just learning to read.

Do you have a method for how to read Chinese characters? Share it with us below!

The post How to Read Chinese Characters: A Beginner’s Guide appeared first on Written Chinese.

This content was originally published here.


download app Learn English through short movies

ABA English .. Learn English through short movies
ABA English application is a valuable treasure for English learners on a smartphone! It is based on principles of the natural method that relies on learning through full immersion in the language, which makes it a complete educational system that simulates the same learning process that you will experience if you travel abroad to study English. The application contains 6 educational levels, from beginner to the language used for business, divided into 144 amazing free lessons in video clips that will help you to know everything you need about English!
The lessons are based on teaching English by watching short films that took place London and New York. First you will listen to what is said, understand it well, study the dialogues between the characters, and learn from them. After that, you start talking in order to play the role of one of the characters in the movie from the written script available in the application. All this will be done in a natural and spontaneous way that makes you feel like you are going through a realistic scenario. In the end of every lesson, a basic grammar will be studied in order to consolidate your knowledge with English grammar, with some practical exercise so you can understand grammars and gain new vocabulary and expressions gradually without feeling.


The app provides many unique features, such as:
– Progress feature; this enables you to easily measure your progress through the evaluation presented in the end of each level.
– Tutor feature – only for paid packages – that allows students to communicate with the tutors, so they help you reaching a better level in English by providing instructions and advice according to your progress pace.
– Certificates feature – only for paid packages -, which enables you to obtain an official certificate from the application once you complete your educational level.
The application has more than 35 million learners all over the world, as it suits both Android and Apple devices, the number of its users only on Android devices is more than 5 million users! The app got a total rating of 4.4 on the “Google Play” by nearly 94,000 users, while ranked 97th among the best educational applications on “App Store” with a rating of 4.6 by 4 thousand users.

For Android phone users, you can download the application from:

Apple phones users download of from:

Go to the application’s website from:

This content was originally published here.


How to Learn English the English Discoveries Way – Interactive Learning

English is a global language, familiar to people all over the world, regardless of where they live. Popular television programs from English-speaking countries that have been exported to every corner of the globe have familiarized audiences with English phrases, expressions and clever comments.
Songs with catchy tunes are heard in locations thousands of miles away from the studios where the songs were originally recorded. However, the English that might be heard at a party isn’t the same level of English that would be used when making a professional presentation in one’s field of employment. People hoping to learn English are often stumped by the dilemma of learning the appropriate styles of English to suit a variety of settings.

Edusoft, Ltd., a company that develops cutting-edge English learning solutions used by schools around the world, solves the problem of how to learn English for any occasion. Edusoft is a subsidiary of Educational Testing Services, (ETS), the developers of the TOFEL® and TOEIC® exams. Together, they make a winning team: the experience of Edusoft when it comes to English language learning plus the assessment leadership of ETS which is renowned worldwide, deliver the most effective English learning solutions that are available.

How to Learn English the English Discoveries Way

How to Learn English with an Effective Student- and Teacher-Centric Platform
Secondary and high school students are often uncertain when learning a new language, so the first step is to instill confidence in them.  That’s where Edusoft’s expertise makes the difference.

Edusoft’s flagship product,  has been selected by educational leaders all over the world who recognize its distinguished leadership and field-proven pedagogical approaches that are based upon the most current and comprehensive academic research. Boards of education, prestigious schools, and parent-teacher associations praise its thorough approach to the learning process.

What Makes English Discoveries So Different?
English Discoveries offers 10 CEFR-aligned general English courses to assist students in meeting standard, advanced, and elite-level requirements. The unique language reinforcement of the program’s state-of-the-art, video-based speaking and listening activities, which provide automated speech and writing feedback, optimizes learning outcomes. Students, who were once hesitant at the prospect of learning English, benefit from modern methods that transform their lessons into an interactive platform that helps them in their mastery of the English language.

Satisfied Clients Praise Edusoft Products
Thanks to Edusoft’s data-driven learning environment, educators are able to monitor the progress of the class as a whole and the individual student as well, maximizing effectiveness and ensuring student success. Real-time reports are generated that track the completion of the tasks, the test scores, and also the amount of time that the students spent on the tasks. These tools, and the Teacher Dashboard, allow customization so that instructors can create lessons from existing content with the option, if they choose, to develop and deliver their own content.

Winning results have made believers in both the corporate and academic fields. Is there any industry in today’s competitive market which is more global than travel, particularly the airlines? In order to provide service to all passengers, from seasoned, multilingual world travelers to inexperienced students making their way to a foreign country for the first time, airline employees must be able to communicate effectively.

When seeking to improve the English proficiency of its employees, COPA Airlines sought a reliable and practical program that answered the question of how to learn English. They found that solution in English Discoveries. In the words of Dominik Rus, Corporate Training Director for COPA, Edusoft’s customized blended learning solution has helped improve the English proficiency of COPA Airlines employees.” Rus goes on to note that, thanks to English Discoveries, COPA personnel, including pilots, mechanics, flight attendants , and administrative and passenger service employees were able to practice and improve their English-speaking skills using language functions that were related to their jobs.

Whether in flight or on the ground, Edusoft solves the dilemma of how to learn English.

This content was originally published here.


Gardez la date ! – Learn French in DC and Online

Bonjour tout le monde ! We are so excited to announce our online Zoom conference will be held August 15, 2020. We will talk with French teachers from all over the United States on how to teach remotely during school closures. We will also welcome Charlie and Maïa from Street French as our keynote speakers.

In addition, we will have a speaker on wellness and mindfulness, to help teachers manage stress brought on by these challenging times. There will also be a databank where teachers can share quizzes, tests, and any other resources they might find helpful. Several teachers will present on how to make teaching online easier, and will give useful tips on how to adjust to teaching languages remotely.

Please see our ad for more information and we hope to see you soon !

This content was originally published here.


Spanish Lessons on Central America – Spanish Playground

Forest Resener is the Communications and Operations Director for StoveTeam International, a nonprofit organization that has provided over 76,300 improved cookstoves in Central America. He created four free online lessons about Central America for Spanish levels 2 and up. He writes about the unit below.

When I created these Spanish lessons, my intention was to raise awareness of issues faced by people in Central America, including the problems caused by open cooking fires. Our organization StoveTeam International works to prevent the damage cooking fires cause. However, the unit has become something bigger. It’s helping students become global citizens, raising cultural awareness, and even helping students come together to take action and make a difference. 

Around the world, 3 billion people still cook over open fires, usually indoors, and the consequences are dire for women and children inhaling smoke all day long. Despite the extent of this problem, people in other countries often hear little about it. So, StoveTeam has set out to raise awareness.

Spanish Unit on Central America

These Spanish lessons use photos and stories collected by StoveTeam during our work in Central America, specifically in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The lessons contain a mix of beautiful photos, interactive exercises, videos, class discussions, quizzes and more.

Lesson 1

The first lesson explores Central America and begins to discuss what life is like for many families living with few resources. Students learn new vocabulary like “fuego abierto”, watch a video, take a quiz, and pair up for a creative exercise.

Lesson 2

The second lesson dives into specific problems related to the worldwide issue of open-fire cooking, which kills over 4 million people each year, mostly women and children. The lesson explores how StoveTeam has been able to help over half a million people, and what that means for these families. During this lesson, classes have the option to video chat with Alex Eaton, StoveTeam’s staff person living full time in Guatemala. We’d love to answer your class’s questions, so contact us for more info.

Lesson 3

The third lesson shares several true stories from people whose lives have been changed by receiving an improved cookstove, or finding a job building stoves in their community. 

Lesson 4

Lesson Four, called “Tomar Acción”, shows students that StoveTeam’s work is only possible thanks to the generosity of people who take action. The lesson lists several examples of campaigns that have raised awareness and money to provide stoves, including an 8th grade Spanish class that recently raised over $1,200!

Using the Spanish Lessons on Central America in Class

I’d love to hear from anyone thinking about using this unit in their class. This is a new venture so I’m open to any thoughts you might have, and I’m happy to answer any questions. The unit “Centroamérica y el aire que respiramos” is available free on StoveTeam’s website.

Forest Resener, StoveTeam International

During my frequent trips to Nicaragua over the course of several years, I saw the damage caused by open cooking fires. I believe the Spanish lessons about Central America from StoveTeam International could be an effective way to learn more about the region, both its tremendous strengths and the challenges it faces.

I was in Nicaragua doing education workshops. Read about a few activities from that work in Spanish Question Game: El Repollo and Simple Spanish Word Games: Nicaragua.

This content was originally published here.


Learning English outside the classroom – Part 2: How to learn English with Netflix – Espresso English

This is a guest post series by Alastair Budge, the founder of Leonardo English and the host of the podcast, a podcast for intermediate English learners and curious minds. The podcast comes with subtitles, a transcript, and key vocabulary, and is trusted by 100,000 students in 157 countries.

This is Part 2 of our series on learning English outside the classroom. Check out Part 1 – Learning English with Podcasts and Part 3 – Learning English with YouTube.

Netflix needs no introduction. 

It’s watched by hundreds of millions of people around the world and is a collection of some of the best TV shows and movies out there.

You may already watch it in your native language, but you have probably watched some English language films too. Perhaps you’ve watched them with subtitles, or maybe you’ve thrown yourself in at the deep end and watched them without subtitles.

Here’s how you can use Netflix to help you learn English outside the classroom.

Before you start

Watching films, for most people, is an enjoyable activity. We watch films for fun, and so you might think that you can just start watching films in English and it’ll count as your ‘learning English activity’.

So instead of spending an hour reading a book or listening to podcasts, you switch on .

This is one of the

Netflix and TV can be great, but they are very passive language learning activities. showed that your brain can actually be more active when you are asleep than when you watch TV. 

So don’t make the mistake of thinking that all of these activities are equal. Watching Netflix can be very enjoyable, but it shouldn’t replace the more ‘active’ learning activities that you do (such as listening actively to podcasts).

How to use Netflix effectively

For all the doom and gloom around watching Netflix being a passive learning activity, there certainly still is a place for it.

Firstly, it’s fun. You enjoy it, and this means that it’s easier to do larger amounts of it.

Learning English isn’t a sprint, and if you mix ‘intensive’ activities (such as shadowing a podcast) with lower stress activities (such as watching Netflix), this is an excellent way to keep yourself surrounded by English but to not burn out.

We can’t all learn at 100% all the time (Pat from is a great person to follow if you like this kind of philosophy), and language learning should be an enjoyable journey.

Here are a few tips that should help you get started with Netflix:

1. Use English subtitles

Unlike with podcasts, you have video to help you understand. There really isn’t any excuse to use subtitles in your native language, even if you are a beginner.

You will be able to understand a lot through context, even if it’s tough at the beginning.

When I was 18 I lived in Perugia, in Italy, while I was learning Italian. 

I lived with a German guy, who couldn’t speak English or Italian, and I couldn’t speak German.

We always used to watch the German soap operas . When I started, I couldn’t understand a word of it. But after a few weeks, I quickly picked things up. 

If you are an Intermediate or above speaker, and you still feel that you need the crutch of the subtitles, then at least try not to look at them. It can be tempting but keep your eyes on the top of the screen, and only look down at the subtitles if there’s something that you really didn’t understand. 

If you are always just reading the subtitles, then you aren’t forcing your brain to actually listen, and you’ll be disappointed with how slowly you progress.

2. Turn off the English subtitles

If you feel that you can understand 80% of what is going on in a film or TV series, then turn off the subtitles. 

It might make watching it just slightly less fun, but from a learning perspective, you will improve so much faster. You’ll force yourself to understand the meaning, and you won’t just default to reading the subtitles.

Note, for beginners, that allows you to have two subtitles at the same time – the English, and your native language. Although this might be tempting, it’s easy to get complacent when using it. 

If you’re really looking to improve your English, and you do need some form of subtitles, then we’d recommend just sticking to English. It might feel a little uncomfortable to start, but it will help you progress 10 times faster.

This content was originally published here.


Bastille Day Trifle with Chef Marc Sievers | Learn French Chicago

Let’s celebrate Bastille day with a fabulous trifle! Here is your ingredient list you can prepare ahead of time.

Stay tuned! Marc Sievers’ video and directions will be shared on Tuesday July 14th at 3 p.m.

Ingredients (serves 6 – 8)

If you would like to get a signed copy of Marc Siever’s cookbook, click here.

To find out what else is happening at the Alliance Francaise de Chicago for Bastille Day, click here.

Take part in the Bastille Day new membership exclusive! Make sure to check here for this deal on which will only last from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14.

This content was originally published here.