Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Movember History


Hi everyone!

This is Movember! I like to send you a Movember video each year since I had a student who took part in it. He told me that he liked being asked about his new moustache, as it gave him the chance to talk about the reason behind it.

I won't tell you much about Movember, because the video explains what this grass roots movement is in great detail. The comprehension questions are easy enough (some collocations and an open question), but... the accent is Australian. Hehe. The open question is right at the end, so that you have time to get used to the accent before transcribing.

Before listening: there is a collocation that you must know, as it is key to comprehension, so check that you know it or look it up in the dictionary. What two things can you raise for a good cause?

Some collocations to complete while listening:

1. The month ________ known as November.
2. Everything comes back _____ _________.
3. The party ended with the _________ ________ bring back moustaches.
4. Becoming a Mo Sista is definitely a way to meet guys. Asking a guy about his moustache is the ultimate ____________ ___________.
5. _________ __________ November 2010... (this discourse marker is borrowed from cinema/TV jargon)

What's the firm belief he expresses at the end of the video?


Enjoy! Share your answers and thoughts in the comments section. Have you every participated in Movember? Would you consider doing so?


Thursday, 9 November 2017

Rumours

Hi there!

It's been a long time since I've featured a news video here. It used to be a staple (2nd meaning) in this blog, so I'll try to include one from time to time.

The one for today is a video that I have chosen for two reasons: one is the topic, rumours and the buzzword of the moment, fake news. The other reason is the use of an informal construction of the passive voice: the passive with "get".


So, one comprehension activity for each one of these elements:

1. Complete two sentences with the verb based on...

2. Find at least two examples of the passive voice with get


The video is in American English, so remember that the verb "get" will be get, got, gotten.


Some context:

During a press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer is asked to give an example of a "fake news" story. He gives one example from the G7 meeting, and an argument with the reporters ensues.

Enjoy!

Oh... and no, the key is not here yet... I'll wait to see some of your answers in the comments!


Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Learning Through Art

Hi everyone!

Back here! Finally! The hiatus was worth it, though, now I have a PhD under my arm, and a desire to make this blog active again with lots of comprehension challenges!

This first video has been watched by most of you through the mailing list, so I'm including it here for you to check your answers and to have a permanent link to it. Even if you've replied to it by email, you can still make comments, you know I love to see the comment section alive!

This is an introduction to the learning programme of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. I'm fascinated by the way in which cultural institutions develop or adapt curricula to encourage hands-on learning processes.  These are the comprehension questions I propose:

Watch the first minute of the video and reply to these questions:

1. What is the main question they want to investigate with the Learning Through Art Programme?

2. What does a student have to do to succeed in today's global society?

3. What skills need to be developed for this purpose?


Now watch the rest of the video and complete these sentences:

1. Habits of mind are the _____________ between the classroom and the museum.

2. Students are motivated by _____________  and learn best by _____________ .

3. The abilities strengthened by learning through original works of art are the application of knowledge in a real-world setting, a deeper understanding of content, and the ability to _____________ complex ideas.

4. To implement these ideas in your classroom, all you need is a _____________  rather than a background in Art History.


Key here, as usual, and please share your answers or any ideas in the comment section. What do you think of these educational programmes in museums?



Learning Through Art: Introduction from Museum of Fine Arts, Houston on Vimeo.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Behind the Painting

Hi there everyone!

Again, sorry for the long absences. As some of you already know, I'm working on a PhD and this is the most absorbing thing I've ever done, bar none. Well, maybe except having a newborn baby! But yesterday I was feeling kind of lazy so I looked for a nice video for you all.

This is from a series of videos provided by the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin, which give you a certain background on highlights of their collection. This one is about a very famous painting there, which has been dubbed "the best-loved painting in Ireland": The Meeting on the Turret Stairs. The story behind the scene in the painting is also really moving, if you want to take a look at it. It was inspired by a Danish ballad about an ill-fated love.

So, time for some work! Here I leave you activities in three steps:

1. Check pronunciation and meaning of this art-related vocabulary before you listen:

miniature (portraits)
watercolour
narrative genre scene
oil painting
a gilt frame
glazes


... and non-art-related vocabulary:

he started off as
it was highly regarded
it was snapped up by a dealer
to mistake sth for sth else
to make a pilgrimage


2. Complete these phrases with a maximum of three words.

He was ___________ of his career
He ___________  to copyright
Vulnerable to ___________ 
A balance over ___________  and ___________ 
This is the flexible approach that we've tried to ___________ 


3. Answer these questions:

What did writer George Eliot say about the theme of the painting? And about the knight?
What happened once Burton became director of the National Gallery in London?
Why is it important to protect this painting from light?


This time, I'm going to leave three days before I publish the key. Make sure you leave some comments! I'd love to kear from you and about your answers or doubts!

Enjoy the video and the Irish accent!





Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Fulfilment

Hi everyone!

Finding, choosing, or even stumbling upon a career path that turns out to be fulfilling is entirely different for each one of us. For some, it's a very natural thing: we have a vocation, a "calling" if you wish. And we still doubt very often. For others, it is the product of very careful reasoning and a journey of self-discovery. It is nothing less than a crisis, a turning point ("point" being quite an inaccurate term here, as it takes considerably longer than a moment). And the search for fulfilment can happen at any age, bringing with it different concerns about our finances or our family, relocation or housing.

Not easy, and yet, fascinating (at least to me, like everything that involves self-search). This is one video that I have found while reading and I want to share it with you... along with some questions, of course, and a wealth of interesting vocabulary, presented here in the form of lexical chunks (ready-to-use vocabulary, if you will).

You can use both the context and a dictionary for these. Check pronunciation. Apart from helping you identify the word...it's beautiful in many cases, particularly for unusual words.


to a greater or lesser extent
the quest for...
there are estimated to be..
we end up making no choice at all
fear is entirely normal
have a calling
a perilous position
puts us at the mercy of
catch a glimpse of
what we have to do is...
conundrum
unwittingly chosen
to surmise
non-irrevocable
to give it a go
feudalism (do check pronunciation to be able to catch this one!)


And some questions:

1. Where does "paralysis of choice" stem from?
2. Why is it important to park any concerns for money for some time?
3. What do you have to write down?
4. Why is it important to do something as well as thinking?


Language. Find examples of:

a) emphatic "do"
b) double negatives

I hope you like this one as much as I do, and I expect some comments and opinions in the comments section. Ask me any questions you may need, and don't forget to disable the CC (closed captions) on the video... Don't cheat!

Enjoy!






What do employers look for?

Hi everyone!

This video  is a short collection of interviews with HR managers who tell us about the qualities they look for in a candidate. I propose completing these sentences (listening for specific information).

I'm not going to make this one too difficult: I'll transcribe the sentences as they are uttered, with gaps. Do take a look at useful vocabulary before listening, as it helps comprehension more than you may think. Use the dictionary widget on your right.

traits
to make x out of y : to turn y into x. For example, "to make a drama out of the situation" means to turn the situation into a drama, that is, to exaggerate it. What is the use of this expression in the video and what does it mean?
to figure out a solution


Go for it!

As usual, any questions will be answered in the comments section, and key here. You're welcome!


1. I'm looking for proven track record; I'm looking for a proven ability to _________ and execute.

2. I'm always looking for people that are _________  learning and developing so that they can make a career out of this _________  a single job.

3. An aptitude to do any type of job, as employers aren't necessarily looking to lock somebody into _________ .

4. Traits to me are almost more important than skills. And you're looking for someone who can be a leader, that can be responsible, who can understand the task and get them _________ . But also someone who, who is obviously intelligent and hardworking and that is, those traits are more important than any _________  you can show me.

5. I'm looking for someone who is _________ , who has a desire to help others, someone who has an active _________  communication and complex thinking skills.

6. You have to be able to communicate well and work well with other people, because it's going to _________ all those problem-solving minds _________  to really be able to figure out the solution for the business.






Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Four-day working week... or three -day weekend?

Hi there!

Some of you have already seen this video, and now it's here for you to come back to it if you want to, together with some comprehension questions and some interesting vocabulary. And if you comment later on, you'll have learnt something, and I'll be happy replying. It's 
win-win!

A four-day working week as described in this video consists in working 10 hours from Monday to Thursday, so that Fridays are free. How would you like that arrangement in your own working or studying life?

To work with vocabulary (lexical chunks and idioms), I suggest that you try to find out these expressions in the video, and transcribe their context. What do they mean? Once you have tried approximating the meaning by context, you can use the dictionary.

is far from cheap
it takes getting used to = it requires getting used to (it)
make the switch
to get through the day
to be out and about
to wake up to sth = to have something suddenly, from one day to the next

For comprehension, answer these questions and then check with the video:

1. What happens to commuting costs when you implement a four-day working week?
2. What happens to commuting time?
3. How do we save energy with this measure?
4. What is the main disadvantage for the employee?

An additional comprehension exercise: transcribe the reporter's conclusion, which he introduces with the phrase "
bottom line" (short for "The bottom line is...").


There are closed captions available on this video (CC button). You can also write a comment to check your answers, I'll be happy to reply or solve your doubts!