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August 15, 2019
by bloomsbury
Comments Off on The secret to perfecting your grammar

The secret to perfecting your grammar

Lots of students dislike grammar. It can be confusing, tiresome and complicated. But nobody can deny it’s important. So here’s a list of tips to improve your grammar.

The secret to perfecting your grammar

1. Tackle one grammar point at a time

More often than not, I witness students trying to learn multiple grammar points in one sitting. It is certainly useful to contrast and highlight the differences and similarities, but if you’re not well versed in the basics, it can be overwhelming. Take it one step at a time so you have a strong foundation to start with.

Everyone has their own take on the best way to learn grammar but I don’t think it exists. There are many tried and tested methods but the key is to find a method and manner which suits you. The general formula to consolidating grammar is meaning, form and usage. I’d recommend investing in Grammar In Use by R. Murphy. It comes in elementary, intermediate and advanced and can be bought for as a little as a tenner on Amazon. This book is considered the EFL bible and if you peep inside our teacher staff room, you’ll find a shrine dedicated to the author.

2. Manage your expectations

Unfortunately, there is no short cut to learning grammar. It’s a long and at times, challenging journey. You need to set yourself realistic goals that you intend to achieve in a manageable time frame. For instance, if you plan to study for a week, don’t expect to master all the conditional structures!
First ask yourself why you’re learning, is it for university? For social/travel purposes? Work? From there, you can list what you expect to achieve.

Another thing to consider: It’s okay to make mistakes. In fact, it’s a fantastic thing! The more mistakes you make, the more you learn from them. I had a student who spent a lot of time writing her mistakes and the mistakes of others. At first, I found it quite strange. But after the lesson, she would ask me why those statements were grammatically incorrect. I’d explain and she’d go off and study the examples some more. She slowly began to correct her issues and as a result, she became a much more confident and fluid speaker. Of course when she progressed to the next level she made new mistakes but she was able to face the problem and work through it successfully.

3. Turn your bedroom wall into an art studio

Well, not exactly. This depends on your drawing skills really. When I was a student, I’d draw colourful spider diagrams and make bright flashcards. I’d have Shakespeare quotes all over my wall so whenever I woke up, I would review any new concepts and ideas that I’d been taught. My mum didn’t appreciate all the blu-tac marks I’d left, but it definitely helped me internalise what I’d been learning at lectures. If you aren’t great at drawing, just make simple posters or print them off from Google. Just type in what you’d like to memorize, e.g. phrases with get and print a coloured copy. Remember to keep one in the loo, quality reading material for those long ‘baths’.

Above all, consistency is key. Try to have daily contact with grammar by reading the free paper on the tube or investing in a graded reader. If you’re a visual learner, watch a British TV series and stick the subtitles on. Watch and enjoy!

August 1, 2019
by Bloomsbury International
Comments Off on Do Brits complain too much?

Do Brits complain too much?

In short- yes.

Generally speaking, The British tend to keep their concerns to themselves and try not to complain unless there is a big issue.  However, if you plan on staying in London for a while, you’ll need to know the 3 top things that the British love to complain about. You’ll be hearing them a lot!

  1. The Weather

In January, you’ll hear people constantly saying: ‘It’s bloody freezing, I wish it was summer!’

In August, you’ll hear people constantly saying: ‘It’s absolutely boiling, why don’t we have air con! I wish it was winter’

The truth is, the weather in the UK is changeable and unpredictable, a bit like your average Brit. We’re in the summer now and you’ll see people on the tube looking depressed or exhausted despite praying for warm weather most of the year. Don’t get me wrong, the heat is usually welcomed by most Brits. It’s a chance to get some much needed sun, do outdoor events without the fear of rain (although British summers can be quite wet) but also it’s the school break so families are eager to travel or spend time with one another. I guess the weather is a conversation starter for most, so we’re always checking the forecast so we have something to talk about on our travels or at work. It could also be a distraction from all the political unrest that The UK has been suffering from in recent years. Whatever the case, we always moan about the weather so if you want to adopt a British trait, moan about the weather.

  1. Work

I honestly don’t think I’ve come across a Brit who enjoys their job. Almost every Brit has something to complain about. Even if the job itself is fine, they will find something to moan about. I have a friend who works at a Primary School and she absolutely loves teaching kids and gets on really well with her colleagues. She’s been there for a while but recently I asked her how work was going and she said: Terrible. The kettle broke; I couldn’t make my morning coffee, so I’m thinking of relocating. Of course, there are probably other reasons as to why she’s relocating but you can see how Brits will let things build up inside them and then snap when something small happens. Maybe we’re just too pessimistic? I think that we shouldn’t allow our employment to define us and fill our free time with things that we enjoy.

  1. Queues

To be fair, queuing is annoying. We queue for everything, except perhaps the Central line. It’s very British to show your frustration through grunts, tuts or facial expressions but it’s considered rude to shout ‘Hurry up!’ unless of course you’re up North where they tend to vocalise their thoughts more than Londoners.

Queuing is the one thing we complain about after we’ve done it. You never complain whilst queuing, you stand there, whilst your legs cramp and only after you’ve left you call and moan about queuing. I guess the thing to learn from this is to be quick at the Sainsbury’s self-checkout, or else you’ll have 50 eyes staring at you in disgust.

 

Overall, we are a patient and polite nation when we aren’t moaning.

 

July 18, 2019
by Bloomsbury International
0 comments

What is Eid Al Adha?

Eid Al Adha

Oh yes, there’s another Eid coming up and British Muslims across the country will be having yet another array of feasts, parties and fun.

What is Eid Al Adha?

Eid Al Adha is the celebration of Abraham’s sacrifice. Muslims use this day to remember all that they’re thankful for and they show gratitude by giving to the poor or homeless. It’s tradition to buy a large amount of meat from an animal, (usually a cow, sheep or camel) cook it for several hours until the meat is tender, then serve it with salad and a selection of rice and pulses. This special meal is referred to as a Qurbani. The Qurbani is then packaged up and distributed in mosques, or given to those who are less fortunate and are on the streets. If you live next to or near Muslims, you’ll probably get a knock on the door too. You see, this day isn’t just for feeding the vulnerable and the poor, it is also a chance to welcome and encourage neighbourly ties with those in our immediate community, regardless of race, sex, gender and creed.

When is Eid Al Adha?

It varies year to year as Islamic holiday dates are determined by a lunar calendar. This year, it is set to start on Sunday 11 August and end on Thursday 15 August.

The festival traditionally lasts four days, with the first day marking the end of the yearly Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Islam’s holiest city.

Why is Eid Al Adha so important?

Well it’s celebrated by 1.6 billion people around the world, so for many it is a time for giving back to the community we serve. The idea of community and togetherness is important to many Muslims and this holiday is considered a tad more important than the first Eid- Eid Al Fitr. Whilst many won’t be able to relate to the first Eid, this Eid is considered a chance to engage with those society has forgotten about or neglected. It is a chance to help those who society has failed.

How is Eid Al Adha celebrated?

A typical day would begin at dawn with a special Eid prayer. Shortly after, the food starts being prepared (or ordered from the local butchers/restaurants) and everyone gets dressed in either their best clothes or new clothes which would have been bought in advance. After the morning prayers, people usually have a light breakfast and decorate their homes. Around 1pm, people head to the mosque and perform their daily prayer and the festivities begin. Some people go to park events which have rides and others visit their extended family. The Qurbani is usually handed out by volunteers at a centre or at the mosque.

What can we learn from Eid Al Adha?

For me, this holiday reminds me to be mindful of others and do what I can to alleviate their suffering. If I see someone begging for money in Holborn, I’ll buy them a sandwich or in this hot weather, a bottle of water. If I have some old clothes I want to toss out, I’ll take them down to the local charity shop. If I go to the park with my family, I’ll feed the birds (unless there’s a sign prohibiting me from doing so). The idea is that our world won’t change unless we take the necessary steps which starts with a collective but also an individual responsibility to make sure those around us are okay. I think in this fast paced society we lose sight of what’s important and this holiday just humbles and reminds me to think of the bigger picture.

Eid Mubarak or Happy Eid everyone!