Friday, February 23, 2007

Get to the library and READ!

What better advice? How often do you visit the CEC library? Do you even know where it is? Why not stop by there sometime before or after class and check out a book?

Take these tips into account when checking out a book:

1.Before reading a novel or a graded reader on your own, figure out as much as you can from the cover, and read the summary on the back. Make sure it’s interesting.

2. Read a little until you know who the main characters are. Write down everything you know about them (rich, beautiful, aggressive, smart, etc.). Then try and predict what will happen in the story based on what you think the characters will do. Read the book once quickly to check if you’re right. Don’t worry about vocabulary.

3. The second and third time you read, you can check the meaning of difficult words, but only the ones you think are important.

4. Ocassionally stop and guess what will happen next, or what a character will say. Draw pictures if it helps you understand better.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Music to your ears

Do you like to listen to music in English? Music is a great way to learn and practice another language. If you said yes to the question above, try these tips to build your vocabulary and listening skills.

1. Choose an English song you like. Listen to it 10 times and try and understand the lyrics (words). Then look them up on the internet.

2. Have you ever tried writing a song in English? If not, you should! Start slowly. Add music. Perform it for a friend or teacher.

3. Try and translate Shakira’s songs into English. Then listen to the English version. Are yours and hers the same?

We'd love to hear how YOU practice your English with music. What songs are good for English language learners? Leave us a comment!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Beware of those secret admirer emails!

Got a special message today from your loved one? How about something from a secret admirer? Be careful, though, if that "secret admirer" sends you a special greeting to your inbox. Some cyber scam artists are lurking out there, waiting to infect your computer with a message from a secret admirer. Read this article for more information about this scam. And, as for deciding whether or not to open an email from someone unidentified or unknown, follow this rule of thumb: "when in doubt, throw it out!" (delete it).

Happy Valentine's Day!

Every year we send cards, flowers, and chocolate to loved ones on February 14, also known as Valentine's Day. We do this in honor of the Saint Valentine. So who was Saint Valentine? Unfortunately, no one really knows.

One theory says that he was a priest in the third century who lived in Rome. Emperor Claudius II, who ruled in Rome at that time, decided that single men made better soldiers than married men and passed a law that did not permit young men to marry. According to legend, Saint Valentine didn't agree. He arranged for couples to get married secretly, putting love above war. Emperor Claudius found out and had Valentine killed.

Another legend says that Valentine was first sent to prison, where he fell in love with his jailor's daughter. He sent her a letter and signed it "Your Valentine", immortalizing those two words forever.

No one is really sure who Valentine was, or who the holiday is in honor of. Regardless, February will always be the month of love - a month where special things can happen!

Be sure to let "your Valentine" know how special he/she is to you. Send an electronic valentine to him/her today. Go here and here and here to see some examples. Or, better yet, send a gift of virtual flowers - cheap, easy, and they'll never wilt!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

More practice with Interchange, Third Edition

Students of Interchange, Third Edition will be happy to know that they can practice their English online using Cambridge University Press' web page for this book series. Go to the Interchange, Third Edition page and click on your level. From there you can choose the unit you want to practice, and work on your vocabulary, grammar, or listening skills. There are also fun activities, like word searches, that can be done online.

So next time you need to study for the test, or just want to have fun with English, why not check out this web site?

Friday, February 9, 2007

Creating an English Learning Journal

Have you ever heard of "keeping a journal"? Have you ever used a journal in your own language? What exactly is a journal?

A journal is a small book or notebook where you write down your thoughts, your favorite things, your dreams and goals. You can write anything in a journal. Journals can be kept private or shared with others.

Keeping a journal in English can help you see how your English is improving, as well as where you’re still having problems. Journals are good for practicing your writing and they’re a nice way of communicating privately with your teacher.

Here are some ideas
(called "prompts") for writing in your English learning journal . Complete these sentences every day in your journal to reflect on your progress.
  1. “Today I learned……………………………………………”
  2. “Today’s lesson was easy /difficult because………”
  3. “The most fun/boring part of today’s lesson was…….”
  4. “I like it when my teacher……………………………………….”
  5. “I don't like it when my teacher……………………………….”
  6. “I’m good at…………………………………………….……………”
  7. “I need to improve…………………………………………………”
  8. “To improve my English I want to do more…………………in class.”
  9. “To improve my English I want to do more…………………at home.”
Go back to your journal often and look at what you wrote yesterday, last week, or last month.

Buy yourself a nice notebook and a good pen, and use them only for your English learning journal.

Practice Your English with Students Around the World

Go here to record a message that will be heard around the world! Listen to messages that have been left by other English teachers and students.

Fun Fact of the Day

What is the country with the largest number of English speakers?

Did you guess the United States? About ten years ago, you would have been correct. But recently the country with the most English speakers is... India!

It is believed that about one-third of the population of India can speak English, which gives us about 350 million people using English as their first or second language in that country. That's more than the populations of the U.S. and Britain combined.

Not everyone agrees with this ranking. Some cite India as being the second- or third-largest English-speaking country. Regardless of where it stands exactly, India is full of people who use English on a daily basis - in school, at work, and at home.

Welcome CEC English Students

Welcome to English at CEC, EPN's blog for CEC English students and other English language learners around the globe. Visit us often for information about our English classes and the services we provide our students, as well as tips and tricks for improving your English, web sites for students learning English, information relevant to studying abroad, and much, much more. Stop by to learn more about CEC instructors and students, see what other classes are doing here at CEC, and leave us a comment or a voice message (in English!) to let us know what else you'd like to see on this blog.

So grab a cup of coffee, kick back, and enjoy all the things we have in store for you.