Just north of San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge, is the Marine Mammal Center. This is their mission: “Our mission is to expand knowledge about marine mammals—their health and that of their ocean environment—and to inspire their global conservation. Our core work is the rescue and rehabilitation of sick and injured marine mammals, supported by state-of-the-art animal care and research facilities, a corps of dedicated volunteers, and an engaged community.” Recently a group of students, led by our teacher, Drew, had a great day visiting the Marine Mammal Center. Here are comments from one of our Student Ambassadors, Qi “It was a gorgeous day, our EC adventure team head out to The Marine Mammal Center on Saturday with teacher Drew and ambassadors Koki and Qi. We had such a good time there. Apparently, the most special moment was walking close to the feeding area to see the sea lions, elephant seals and otters, how lovely they are still babies. Meanwhile, it was a great chance to learn how to rescue and protect them. We love the day trip so much and definitely go back and visit again. Please check out our activity every week make sure you’ll never miss any one! ”
May 10th EC San Francisco will celebrate turning 3 with a student/staff international potluck. The last one was a great success (and really tasty to boot), and we look forward to this group of students sharing their cultures a bit more deeply through the communion of food. We are really proud of what has been done in 3 years, and the growth from a staff of four (two part-time) and a handful of students to the dynamic, multi-cultural and multi-leveled school we are now. With our new interactive-whiteboard technology, our supportive staff, and highly-qualified and experienced teachers, we are becoming THE place to study English in San Francisco.
Do you know one of the our fascinating activity, Coffee club?? Last time I led the coffee club, It was really nice. In general, we play some games along with drinking coffee, eating snacks. Coffee club, also to join activities are good chances to make new friend, to improve English. I strongly recommend joining activities. From next time, new ambassadors will lead our coffee clubs. If you have some ideas about games for coffee club and also about activities, feel free to ask us, we will make that activities. Some students asked me about San Francisco Giants baseball game, Kelly and I make that activity, I am going to lead it. We will let you know about it as soon as possible. Thank you for coming to the coffee club, and next coffee club’s chance is up to you, if you want to do it soon, let us know, we will make it soon. (For all at EC San Francisco.)
A couple weeks ago, our class walked to Hyatt Regency and Ferry Building. This is not too wondering for me, because I’ve been before. Although, the Hyatt Hotel was so big and luxury, I wanna stay there someday. After the Hyatt, I went with my Intermediate level English course, in San Francisco, of course, to Ferry Building. During walking, I felt so nice and comfortable, because the weather was so nice. Although a little windy, but the sunshine was wonderful. And I saw many seagulls – I thought, the seagulls in America are bigger than in Korea. In the Ferry Building, I ate a yogurt ice cream. It was supposed to be very excellent, but in my opinion it was just so-so. Except for the ice cream store, there are so many stores. If I had a lot of time, I would buy a lot of things like cheese, chocolates, and coffee, etc.. And I wanted to ride a bicycle around the Ferry Building and that area. When I come back with my boyfriend, we will do that, and ride in the sunshine. It was really cool walking with my class. Thank you, Karl, for the wonderful experience. R., Korea
The favored approach to learning in the U.S. these days is to gain an understanding of concepts. For language learning, this works well enough for things that are conceptual in nature, such as grammar. However, a lot of what you have to do along with the concepts is memorize the details. Understanding how simple past works will not bring you to knowing that the past of run is ran. For my Intermediate level English course in San Francisco, I recommend a totally unexciting, old-fashioned, wholly effective approach to personal memory drill – the 3 X 5 card (sometimes called index cards or file cards). As long as you don’t overuse the approach, it can be very useful, and not overly boring. The key is in doing the work in small doses (more on that in a minute). It’s really simple. Put the prompt information on one side (if, for example, you are working on irregular verbs, put the base verb on the front of the card). On the other side, put the information you need to learn (in our example, simple past and past participle of the verb you put on the front). I suggest a group of 10 cards. Now drill yourself. Look at the front. Say the word. Now try to remember the information on the back. Say it. Check. If you are right, say it again, and go on. If you are wrong, say the right information, and go on. Go through all 10 cards twice. Then stop. Total time, under 10 minutes. It works even better if you can do it with a partner. If you do this two times a day, you can almost certainly gain mastery of that information in under a week. There are two approaches to replacing the cards. In both, when …
Pongpanote Phongpanngam is taking an 8 week intermediate level English course in San Francisco. A technology teacher from Thailand, here is what Pong says about his time at EC. “Hi, I’m Pong from Thailand. I studied English for 15 years when I was a student in Primary school until university. It hard to understand grammar, so I didn’t have self confidence to use English with foreigners until now. I couldn’t speak with good accent, used the wrong tenses, sometimes incorrect vocabulary and always used broken English. I didn’t care, that was their problem, not mine (I thought) but it made me afraid every time I used English with anyone. Three weeks after studying English with EC San Francisco (with teacher Judith and Tim R), I can feel my English skills changing and seems all my problems are leaving. I am very happy to be here. All staff of EC are very kind and helpful. There is technology in all classrooms and so many students from around the world trust to learn here. They’re very friendly. I not only practice in class. I get more experiences by joining special activities such as “The Hood” (with teacher Gifford) for an in depth class that explains the history of different San Francisco neighborhoods. In addition I can practice speaking and sharing with friends in speaking class (with teacher Laura) and so on. Thank you EC School, no “broken English,” my self-confidence is coming back. I have a very good chance to learn here and this is the best thing in my life.”
Hi, I’m Karl, a Senior Teacher here at EC. In addition to currently teaching the Advanced class and the Cambridge FCE, I teach an Intermediate level English course in San Francisco (Intermediate Writing, here at EC San Francisco). I think it’s a great place to work and study, and I’ve been around. I started off as an actor. My wife and I had our own small theater for four years, and then spent over five years in Hollywood, where I acted in film and television (yes, I actually spoke!). When we moved back to San Francisco, we both took a course in how to teach English as a Foreign Language. Then I was hired by the same school to teach the course, as well as teaching English as a Second Language. Most of my work was training new teachers in how to teach. In a few years, I decided to become a public school teacher, In addition to teaching ESL, I also spent a lot of time training experienced teachers in how to become better teachers. When I returned to teaching adult ESL after ten years in public school, I once again was helping good teachers become better teachers. I recently finished a Master’s Degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from USC, where, frequently, students in the program with me would seek my advice and help because of my experience in putting theory into practice in real classrooms with real students. I was really delighted to find I was at the top of my class, and to have my fellow students honestly thank me for my contributions to our group. Now, at EC San Francisco, my knowledge and ideas are being shared with many other experienced teachers, who in turn share their best ideas with me. …
Last week, I went with my Intermediate level English class in San Francisco to get some ideas for writing, by visit the Hyatt Regency Hotel and the Ferry Building. All I knew about the Hyatt was it was it opened in 1973. And when I entered this building, a lot of shiny things appeared above us. It was so fantastic I couldn’t think of other things. I just concentrated on above, and it was beautiful. Inside of Hyatt building was like stairs, because roof looks like stairs. I thought Hyatt was very good to see, and that maybe the Hyatt is most luxury hotel in this city because of inside. Also, we went to Ferry Building. Is like a dock for trade and to visit San Francisco. In front of that, visitors can see the clock tower. I think it’s very gorgeous, and something classical. Inside of building is big market for food. If you go outside where you can see the sea, you can see the Bay Bridge closely. And you can catch trip to Sausalito or Angel Island, both of beautiful places. Both buildings are very different, but something in common is they are masterpieces of this city. Two buildings that are good to visit, but are still working and useful Flavio, Brasil
Once students have a basic grasp of the most common tenses in English, vocabulary tends to become the most commonly mentioned obstacle to communicative competence. Students working on vocabulary in an Intermediate level Engish course, in San Francisco or elsewhere, find that the organizational simplicity of early vocabulary study (colors, body parts, clothing, etc.) is missing. As a result, they lose coherence and focus in learning vocabulary. Often, they give up on any systematic study of vocabulary, just at the time when they most need it. The research on this is pretty clear – if you want to really learn a word, you have to do meaningful things with it, over several days, to make it stick in your brain. This is kind of a bore, and not as much fun as going out with your friends. However, there are a lot of simple exercises one can do to help with vocabulary development. If you set aside even a fraction of the time you spend on “regular” homework for the study of vocabulary, you will see some pleasing results. Our brains like order, and are searching for some sort of system. Effective vocabulary study thus depends on giving your brain something to organize around and with. This exercise, while somewhat time consuming, does just that. I wouldn’t use this for all vocab, but for concepts that you really need to retain (for a university course, for example), this is one of the best. WORD WEB connect the new word(s) to as many ideas as you can bland spicy mild even-tempered fiery high temperature hot cool calm hot-tempered sexy plain ordinary stolen trendy (i-phone) passe (Myspace) cool outmoded (VHS) (Note how “cool” is both the opposite of hot (temperature), and the same as hot (currently popular). Word …
For EC’s second annual Giving Back Day, EC San Francisco chose the San Francisco Food Bank for our volunteer activity. Ten teachers and staff members participated and we had a GREAT time. The Food Bank is very well organized, from the on-line sign up process for volunteers, to the quick, efficient and fun training provided by the staff. We all felt that we’d made a difference in a short time. We packed carrots and granola for distribution. And we all agreed that this volunteer activity would be perfect for our students. All English levels, but especially our students enrolled in our intermediate level English course in San Francisco will be able to practice listening and speaking in a very natural environment with native speakers. Other volunteers with us included other groups from different workplaces, high school students who volunteer as a school requirement, and many individuals you come regularly. Lot’s of great conversation!