Elevate - learning English blog

Helping enterpreneurs enter new markets with English - interview with Edita Bandur. Image shows young woman in a red sweater holding an open laptop.

Helping entrepreneurs enter new markets with English - interview with Edita Bandur

Helping entrepreneurs enter new markets with English - interview with Edita Bandur

Don't say this in English say this - the worst social media posts

Don't say this in English, say thisIf you have ever been on social media you have probably seen posts about 'don't say this in English, say this' You know the ones... don't say small, say tiny. Don't say hello, say greetings! Don't say yes, say yeah.But here's the thing: they're nonsense.In English all words are valid, and it depends on the context why and when you should use or not use them.Let's look at some examples:Don't say very. Very is an over-used word. Sometimes it is good to replace it with another word - very small could be tiny or minuscule, or minute /maɪˈnjuːt/ or, weeny, teeny, wee, or smol. But sometimes it's completely the right word to emphasize just how big, small, hungry or tired you are. So feel free to use very.Don't say 'I don't know'. Oh this one really annoys me. It is very annoying to find out that a phrase you've probably said a hundred time is unacceptable. But it's not. It's completely fine to say I don't know. When alternatives are given: 'Search me,' 'beats me,' 'I have no idea' for example they could be too informal. If your teacher or a customer in your shop asks you a question and you reply: 'who knows?' that's not going to end well. 'I don't know' and if needed, adding a phrase like, 'I'll check' is wonderful English. Don't say handicapped. Actually this is true. Don't say handicapped. It's old-fashioned and now considered offensive. But the alternative that I've seen given: 'specially abled' is not correct, at all, ever. Say disabled or talk about the actual disability - for example an autistic person, a deaf person, or a person who uses a wheelchair. Here are 4 more reasons to ignore these 'don't say this in English' posts on social media...1. You should be clear.  Who are you speaking to? Will they understand that petrified is the same as very scared? If not, just use the simpler word. "Don't use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do." Mark TwainMark Twain, one of the most famous writers from the USA, tells us the shorter, simpler words are often better.2. Communicate! The point of speaking English is to communicate how you feel, how you see the world, and what you need. If you're not sure what to say because you're trying to level up your English words all the time then you're not communicating. 3. It's the right word. The words you know are right, so use them. These posts are not always correct, and as we saw with 'handicapped' are mixing correct and incorrect information in the same post.4. They knock your confidence. If someone is constantly telling you to stop doing something - how do you feel? Maybe annoyed, angry, rebellious? It can certainly make you feel less confident that your English skills are not good.Finally, I can think of one benefit of these 'don't say this in English' type of posts - they make great materials to discuss with your teacher in your English lessons!If you want to find an English teacher who can help you tell the good English from the bad, and feel confident in your English ability check out the Elevate Directory of English language teachers. -

Learning English the CALM way interview with Lisa Wood. image shows young woman holding a laptop, with red glasses, smiling with her thumb up,on a yellow background

Learning English the CALM way - interview with Lisa Wood

 Learning English the CALM way, an interview with Lisa Wood who is a member of the Elevate directory. Watch here, or read below

How to learn English efficiently this year

How to learn English efficiently this yearHow long have you been learning English? 1 year? 5 years? more than 10? Learning is a long process, so wouldn't it be great to know the techniques to learn English efficiently, with less effort and more impact. Here are 5 ways you can put to use to help you learn English efficiently starting this week 1. Pomodoro technique Do you know the pomodoro technique? This is a very simple effective technique to help you focus on your work, study, even housework. Set a timer for 25 minutes and do your task. Then take a break for 5 minutes. Then focus again for 25 minutes. You can repeat the work/break cycle as many times as you need. It's a great way to give yourself space to do the things you need. If you're using a computer you can use an app like Marinara which will show the timer, and breaks right on your screen.2. Spaced repetition systemLearning new words is hard because you need to see new words many times before you know the meaning and use instantly. If you want to learn new vocabulary you should use a spaced repetition system (SRS). This is a scientifically proven way to learn efficiently.  Lots of learning apps, like Anki, use SRS to help you learn more efficiently. In an SRS you'll learn a new word, then the system will show you the word again after 4 hours, then 8 hours then 2 days, 4 days and so on. If you get the word right the length of the repetition gets longer, if you get it wrong you'll see it again sooner.3. Make an appointmentLearning English is important so put it in your diary! Treat your English lessons, or even your own self-study sessions, as important - as important as a hospital appointment! Once something is written in your diary, put on your calendar or noted on your schedule - don't cancel or ignore it. Choose something to study beforehand and use it in your study time. 4. Find a buddy or twoWho do you speak English with? Having someone to chat with in English is vital to improve your skills. This might be a friend, a language exchange partner, your teacher, or even the friendly cafe staff in your local coffee shop. Take all the chance to speak English, with as many people as you can.5. Focus"Where attention goes, energy flows" James Redfield.I cannot emphasise how important your focus is. Whatever you are doing to study - lessons, apps, self-study, chatting with friends - focus on that! Pay attention to the conversation, to the book, teacher, video.  Put your energy into the thing you want to achieve and your focus must go to that. If you're using a mobile, apps like Forest, can mute other apps until you've finished your work If you're looking for a teacher to help you learn English efficiently, check out the Elevate directory of English language teachers for more than 25 independent teachers who can help you with your English today. -

help children learn English. image shows girls with long brown hair sitting at a desk, books and laptop in front of her, pumping her fists with orange background

Helping kids with the joy of reading - interview with Adrianne Tomatas

Adrianne Tomatas is an English teacher who helps children learn to read and write English with phonics. You're an English teacher. How long have you been teaching for? So, I've been teaching for five years and recently started tutoring as well about a year ago.Have you worked in schools or has it always been online? I worked in schools for five years. At the moment I'm still in and out of schools but then doing my tutoring after school hours.  Who are you teaching? I teach primary age children, so from the age of around four when they start school, so from reception all the way up to year six. You're in England. Are you teaching kids who are there with English as a second language? I do have one child, yes. So, most of the children are English native speakers, speakers, but I do have one who is from Hong Kong, who is learning English as a second language.  That's interesting. So what do you help them do? We start off with phonics, so really looking at the initial sounds, how to pronounce the sounds, how to read and write using the English letters and sounds and then we build on that so they become fluent and confident readers which helps them to become confident writers as well. Phonics is really sort of trendy at the moment and fashionable. I think a lot of people have heard of phonics but they don't really know what it means. Could you explain just a little bit? Absolutely, so I think phonics is the fundamentals and everything that underpins English, reading, writing, spelling and even the talking of English. So, it's the sounds that make up words. So, for example, in the word mat, it's m -a -t, mat. So, our lessons are very focused on talking, so speaking and listening because ideally you want to be confident having a conversation with somebody, especially if it isn't your native language. So they work really well in talking to each other because we have group lessons, so the children have a chance to talk to me, but also to speak to other children, which is really, really great. And while developing that spoken language, they're also developing their reading skills, written language skills. So quite a lot, really, that we focus on, but they all link together really nicely. Do you do online group lessons or is it one -to -one? So I offer a range. So online, I have a bit of a mixture, really, depending on the needs of the child. So some children cope really well in a small group. They're quite confident. They're pleased to talk to other people. So, small groups work really well for those. I do have a few other children who are maybe a little bit more reserved or some that have more specific learning needs that work really well, either one -to -one or even just with one other child, so in a pair. So, they're kind of getting the best of both with that.That's great. Yeah, with children, you need to be a bit flexible, don't you? Absolutely. And wherever they feel safe and comfortable is the best place for them to learn. So, finding the way that works best for them is really important. Is there something that you really love teaching that the kids really love taking part in the lessons? So I think just everything really. I love to teach and I love teaching reading and spelling in particular because it's just such a life skill and I think children who are confident readers can take that with t

How long does it take to learn English - older man holding a laptop and looking happily surprised on orange background

How long does it take to learn English in 2024?

How long does it take to learn English? Some say 3 months, 3 years, or even 30 years? Why are the answers so variable?  Here's a fun calculator to work how long it'll take to learn English, depending how many lessons you plan to take. The answer in the calculator is clear, but don't forget you're a human and humans aren't always so clear! So how long does it take to learn English? Let's talk about all the factors you'll come across in this journey. Why does it take so long to learn English?It does depend on your first language, or other languages you know already. English is 50% French, so French speakers find a lot of common words. But French sentence structure is very different!  If you speak Japanese or Korean you might find it difficult as they are completely opposite to English, then your learning journey might be longer too. English is big; there are a lot of words, but confusingly we can use the same words in many situations (for example get and run have multiple uses and meanings), there are tenses which might be different from your first language, articles like 'a' and 'the' which might not exist in your language, and tricky pronunciation too, not to mention the spelling! What does it mean to be fluent in English?Let's explore what it means to be fluent in English anyway. This will be different for different people. A fluent 7 year old speaks differently from a fluent 17 year old or 27 year old. This is true for any language. A doctor needs to use different words than a mother or a pottery artist. You might feel very fluent when speaking to your friends but hesitate when you have to give a presentation. Can you judge how fluent you are by the number of words you know? Not exactly because knowing is not the same as using or using correctly. So how long does it take to learn English and feel fluent will depend on you, your previous experience, and what you believe is fluent enough. How long does it take to improve your level in English?This is a little bit easier to calculate, especially if you're thinking about exams. For example if you want to take the IELTS exam, it's estimated that if you study around 4 hours a day for 3 months you could improve by half a point (ie band 4.5 to 5.0) but it also depends on a number of things - how you enjoy your study, the help and advice you receive, how anxious you feel, what your previous level was before. Read this for more information about leveling up your IELTS score.You can speak straight awayI'm always confused by apps and courses that say You can Speak English after 3 Weeks!  because you can speak English immediately. In fact, there are very few people who know zero English in the world, as it's often a school subject, and English words have been adopted into languages the world over. So you can speak right now. Don't wait for the perfect time, place or person to speak to. That will never happen. You can even start with an AI chatbot if speaking to a real person is not right for you. In this way learning English doesn't take very long. You can chat from day 1!Practice makes perfectThere's definitely no one who speaks perfect English. But plenty of people who think they do! There is no standard English that is defined by an Academy or Institute. What we think of as Standard English is different in the USA, the UK and Australia. So don't worry about being perfect in English. Practice does

Pokemon and gaming for English - interview with Jade Arthur

- Jade Arthur is an English teacher and member of Elevate. Let's meet her Where in the world are you?  I am in the United States. I live in the South in a state called Tennessee.  And is that where you're from? You were born there? No, I'm from Florida, even more south. And so, I grew up with, you know, the beach around me and yes, and we moved to Tennessee when I was about 12.  And so, how long have you been an English teacher? Well, I've taught ACT and SAT English, which is a college entry exam here in the U .S. I've taught that for three years. And I've just kind of finished a month or two ago, I finished my first year of teaching ESL online, and I absolutely love it. I've taught kids, I've taught adults, but I my passion is adults. And it's, it's something that has, you know, you know, builds upon my interests, evokes my creativity. And it's just so so much fun. I mean, I get excited to help my students. That was great, even with exams. Oh yeah, I love exams. Yes, exciting. What made you decide to focus on the ACT and the SAT and those things? Honestly, it was my first way into teaching. I was looking around for jobs that would be a good fit. I had a bachelor's degree in English, didn't know what to do with it. Originally, I wanted to become a writer and I knew how hard that was. So there was a new tutoring center that opened up where in the city where I live, it's called Murphysboro and they were hiring tutors and I decided to apply. To my surprise, I ended up getting the job even with really no formal teaching experience. And I have been there ever since. People have been great. And I've loved helping kids be able to improve their ACT scores. So you're online now. Who are the main people that you're helping? Is it adults with the exams or do you do more than that? So the ACT and the SAT are tests for high school students. I've been teaching them for three years. I've moved primarily online with them, but I still go to the center on occasion. As far as the adults I teach for English as a second language, those are really adults, business professionals, helping to improve their interview skills, their pronunciation, increase their vocabulary, among other things. And I'm also moving into a niche for gaming, marketing, and advertising. I'm a gamer. I grew up knowing a lot of the terminology. I would go, I would watch the E3 gaming conventions on television. I would follow IGN, which is a very popular gaming website. So I know a lot about gaming. I'm a humongous Pokemon fan. So if you, you know, whoever loves Pokemon here, awesome. And for me, I just want to bring education and recreation together and bring something special to the gaming market and help people, particularly Spain. In Spain, the gaming market is really growing. It's very exciting, but English language learning, there's not a lot of that there. And so the combination to me is a great way to help people market their games internationally, get higher up in their companies, and really move forward into learning as gamification, as something that could be fun, and also having great games that inspire us.  Yeah, I know so many people who have taken their English and like leveled up by gaming. And I think that's great. But do you think if you're gaming, you get a certain type of language, there's a certain type of language with gaming, which might not be the same with yo

Do you really need an English teacher? Image shows man with a beard smiling and holding a tablet with a bright yellow background

Do you really need an English teacher now?

Do you really need an English Teacher now?Do you always need an English teacher? With so many apps and websites available, and for free, why bother with a teacher? Now that AI is free and easy to use there is almost no need at all for teachers. Would you agree? If you’re thinking about your next English teacher, or wondering if you really need one, this post will help you decide.Sometimes you don’t need a teacherThere are a lot of apps, websites and books that will help you with vocabulary and grammar. To learn new words and phrases you need to repeat them many times. Perhaps you don’t need a teacher to help with this repetition. There’s a lot that you can do to learn words by yourself. For example you get interested in the phrase ‘would you rather…’ You can google this phrase and see what examples you find. Make a note of what words come before and after. Then make your own phrases. Finally you can check with your teacher to see if you’re correct.I can learn English with AISure, AI is amazing. But here are 3 words for you: Accuracy, bias and hallucinations. Hallucination - AI sometimes makes up stuff that is completely false. Not true at all, and a quick search will tell you it's not true. Bias - AI models have a lot of English input, and not so much from other languages, so translations might be wrong. The language which AI learns might also be biased (favouring one group or belief over others) because humans are biased, and sometimes it over compensates for this bias and provides information that is not true. All of this makes its accuracy questionable. As ChatGPTtold me: "Biases can be unintentionally introduced through the language patterns in the text I've been trained on, which primarily consists of internet text. It's important to critically evaluate the information I provide and consider multiple perspectives when forming opinions or making decisions."You still have to learn itIf you take English classes for 3 hours a day for a year, you’ll be fluent, right? No! Sitting in an English class will not improve your language skills. You still have to do the work to improve yourself. You have to speak, read, write and listen. You have to do it and your English teacher can’t do this for you! You have to practice. You, not your teacher, have to try to communicate!  It takes time and it certainly takes effort. It can be tiring and boring and repetitive. But no teacher can learn it for you.English Teachers are guidesEnglish is big. Really big. There is a lot to learn and it’s very easy to find yourself overwhelmed or going round in circles. A teacher can help you by guiding you through the essentials, to the parts that you really need, and the little flourishes that will help you express yourself. A teacher will also have inside knowledge that will save you from unnatural English that an auto-translator would spit out and give you real life English so you’ll be understood!Your English teacher is a speaking partnerWho do you speak English with? It can be hard to find someone to speak with, when we’re all busy people. Non-teachers don’t want to spend time trying to understand what you mean and then correcting youAn English teacher will be a safe place to practice. You can try out new phrases and words and ask for correction. Speaking English is vital to actually improve your skills so choose a teacher who will encourage you to speak. Tell your teacher&nbs