At EC London 30+ You’ll Never Get Bored!

  The wonderful and extremely talented Alessandra writes about her experience as an Intern at EC London 30+… Dear all, I’ve started many times to write this letter to you but every time I wasn’t able to transform my feelings into words. The experience I had with you at EC London 30+ has deeply changed me. At the beginning I was shy and without any work experience but thanks to your warm welcome, the passion and professionalism you put into your job and the friendly and funny atmosphere that always reigns in the school, I quickly got used to my new position at the Reception. Now that I’m back in Italy, I can clearly see the high value that this experience has given to me: I’ve found a sort of magical place where people work with enthusiasm, always trying to improve their capability in delivering a high quality service to the students and where you can really feel at home. At a professional level, this job has taught me the dynamic of a work environment, how to handle responsibilities and how to organize different tasks during the day, also in some very busy moments…what is sure, at EC London 30+ you’ll never get bored! Moreover I had a great possibility to improve my English. But what I really won’t forget of the time I spent at the school are the people. In a certain way I can say that I found a family there. People so willing of making my work experience as nice as possible, always ready to help me and who were every day in a good mood. I think that it’s a big fortune to work in an environment where everybody is able to be 100% committed to their job and, at the same time, to keep … Read more

Law in action: visiting a real criminal court by Ayan Ali

Our Advanced class were studying crime and law in their coursebook in October. To bring the topic to life, they met and interviewed a real magistrate, went to see real cases in court and became judges themselves in a virtual case online. First, the class learned vocabulary related to crime and law. Then they tried being a judge by following a ‘manslaughter’ case online using actors (this is different to ‘murder’ because there is no intention to kill). They experienced listening to evidence on both sides and debated how long the prison sentence should be. It is interactive and you can try it yourself on the government’s ‘You be the Judge’website: http://ybtj.justice.gov.uk/. To prepare for their court visit, the class interviewed a magistrate to learn about the criminal justice system which they said was “really interesting” and gave them “a lot of new information”. All criminal cases first appear before a panel of three magistrates who either hear the case there or refer it on to a higher court. Magistrates come from all walks of life so you don’t need to be a lawyer because you get special training.     The class sat in the public gallery in Westminster Magistrates’ Court which is open to everyone. It is a court in central London and there have been big cases involving famous people that you can read about here: http://www.independent.co.uk/topic/CityOfWestminsterMagistrates’Court. The class saw extradition and drug possession cases. Here’s how some students felt about visiting a court as part of their General English Course at EC Covent Garden: “It was a nice challenge to hear crime vocabulary in context and it was fun too.” Isabela “It was good to get out of the classroom and do something different. Hearing a case is an experience which you can’t have in Germany.” … Read more

Tips for learning English: vocabulary cards by Ayan Ali

When you’re studying English, you learn so many new words inside and outside the classroom, but what can you do to remember them? The key is to review and use the word many times and one good way is to use vocabulary cards. The advantage is that you can arrange the cards in different ways. It’s a good idea to take a photo of the different arrangements on your phone so you can study when you have a few minutes free e.g. when travelling by train. Little and often is a good approach! Below are some adjectives to describe people’s personalities from an upper intermediate class at EC Covent Garden 30+. Look at the cards in the picture. Can you guess how they have been arranged? (check below for the answer!)     Answer: they put the positive adjectives on the left and the negative adjectives on the right with two neutral words in the middle (reserved and eccentric). We call this the ‘connotation’ of a word. Maybe you disagree with their choices?   What other ways can you arrange personality adjectives? In opposites e.g. mature and immature. In groups with a similar meaning e.g. annoyed, upset, angry and furious. If you like, you can line them up in a row showing stronger/extreme words at the end (e.g. furious).   Vocabulary cards are creative and you can include lots of information on them. You could show the pronunciation by highlighting the stressed syllable in your style e.g. mature/maTURE/mature or write the sound in phonemics /məˈtʃʊə/. Click here to see the phonemic chart and hear the sounds. You can write the translation in your language on the back and test yourself by trying to remember the English word before checking the other side. What other information can you write on the … Read more

The Origin of Halloween

  As we all know Halloween is all about “trick or treat”, jack-o-lanterns, fancy dresses and parties, but it used to have a complete different meaning for the ancient Celtics. In fact Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (“sah-win”) which was the celebration of the end of the harvest season in the Gaelic culture and in this period the ancient pagans used to take stock of supplies for the winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on the 31st October the coundaries between the living’s world and the dead’s one overlapped and the dead would come back to life and cause chaos such as sickness or damaging crops. So now you’re ready to celebrate Halloween with a biit more of knowledge.   For more information about EC Covent Garden, please click on the link provided.

Understanding English money

A lot of our students have trouble figuring out the coins and notes in Britain. Check out the helpful language below and then try some of the questions at the bottom. The answers are at the bottom of the blog so you can check and see if you were right.   2 pounds                                                1 pound                                                 50p 20p                                          10p                                             2p                                         a penny   A few extra points: In British English, a pound can also be called a quid. In American English, a dollar is also known as a buck. For example £3 could be called 3 quid. N.B. quid is uncountable but pound is countable. A five pound note can be called five quid or a fiver. A ten pound note can be called ten quid or a tenner. A twenty pound note can be called twenty quid but NOT a twentier.   Practice Questions: 1) How much are the following coins worth?   2) And these?   3) What would you call the following? a) a tenner          b) Five bucks      c) a fiver               d) five quids   4) What would you call the following? a) a twentier      b) 20p                   c) 20 … Read more

Tips for learning English: an error correction diary

By Ayan Ali Since you’ve been studying English, your speaking and writing has probably been corrected many times by your teachers. But how many of those corrections do you remember later? Do you make changes or do you still find yourself repeating the same mistakes and getting frustrated? Errors are a normal part of learning English and it happens to absolutely everyone. It’s true that you have to take risks and make mistakes so you can learn. But you can help yourself improve faster by keeping an error correction diary and making notes whenever your teacher, host family, friends etc. correct you. Write down the following: What you said or wrote originally. The correct way to say or write it instead.(For higher level students, what you say might be correct but not very natural or efficient so you can still improve your English by finding a better way to say it.) Why it’s a mistake. It could be a grammar, vocabulary or pronunciation error. Here are some examples from one Spanish student who kindly allowed us to share some pages from her error correction diary. You can buy a special notebook just for errors like this student or use the back of your class notebook.           If you don’t have time, write what you can in the moment and leave space to complete all 3 steps later. Over time, you may notice a pattern in your errors e.g. the same sound or tense. Then you can do some targeted practice to improve this area (e.g. grammar exercises) or ask your teacher for help and advice. Try to self-correct whenever you notice yourself making this mistake in conversations and look for these specific mistakes when you edit or proofread your writing. It takes time and discipline, but … Read more

EC London 30+ celebrates World Teachers’ Day!

by Ayan Ali This year World Teachers’ Day fell on Sunday 5th October so we decided to celebrate a bit earlier on Friday instead.   Students at EC London 30+ were very thoughtful and wanted to thank their teachers for helping them learn English and making it fun too. There were some handmade gifts like beautiful origami paper cranes and the teachers enjoyed the edible treats like cupcakes with a traditional cup of English tea in the break. Having such great students made the teachers very happy as you can see in the photo below!  At the end of the day, David (our wonderful Academic Manager) surprised the teachers with drinks and nibbles. The teachers were touched and would like to thank David and the students for making it a special and memorable day. We love our jobs because of you guys!

Our favourite films at EC London 30+

  There are few questions that we can answer in our lives. Who are we? Where we are going? Why life is so hard? Does real love exist? What is your favourite movie? I asked the latter question to my colleagues around office and this is our EC London 30+ top movie list! Suzie – Gandhi (1982) “No man’s life can be encompassed in one telling. There is no way to give each year its allotted weight, to include each event, each person who helped to shape a lifetime. What can be done is to be faithful in spirit to the record and to try to find one’s way to the heart of the man” with these words, the director Richard Attenborough opens his biographical film on the life of Gandhi. The leader of India’s non-violent independence movement is skilfully played by Ben Kingsley. David – The Commitments (1991) Ireland is famous worldwide for its amazing green landscapes, Guinness, fishermen sweaters, awkward and challenging city names (Muckanaghederdauhaulia) and for its potato-based diet. Not for its soul music. This is a film about Irish soul music. The story begins in Dublin where few working class youths decide to give birth to a brand-new soul band. The life of the band will be endangered by a clash of egos that will involve its members. This movie is based on the homonym novel of Roddy Doyle. Sarah – Pulp Fiction (1994) The second film directed by Quentin Tarantino. After 20 years it is still a masterpiece and has rightfully entered in the hall of fame of the best movies ever. Seven episodes that kicked off a new age for the black comedy and crime film and became the milestone of neo-noir genre. Although the performances of John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson are probably … Read more

See inside our English school…

  You can now take a 360º virtual tour of our school! Use this link to look around our beautiful school: Covent Garden 30+ The interior images give you the feeling of being here, and the comfort of knowing what to expect when you arrive to start your course. We offer the best environment for effective learning and positive, informal interaction. Our schools are stylish, comfortable spaces, filled with natural light and the latest technology. Modern classrooms Student-centred, airy and filled with natural light, our classrooms are modern, stylish spaces, designed with learning in mind. State-of-the-art technology We invest in keeping our schools fully up-to-date with the latest learning technology, including interactive whiteboards. Library facilities Take advantage of our extra study resources and spend time browsing our well-stocked libraries after class. Stay connected Keep in touch with home, study online or browse the internet with free use of numerous internet-connected computers and Wi-Fi. Welcoming reception Warm and friendly staff are waiting to welcome you. Our professional team will always go the extra mile to offer their help and support. Step outside Take a step outside our school and find yourself in the heart of an exciting, vibrant city, with sights and attractions all around you.   If you would like to book an English course with EC Covent Garden, please click on the link.