Essay Planning

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Perfect Essay Planning

Writing an essay takes a fair amount of effort – even for native speakers! When I write anything significant, it takes me the better part of a week to write and then I check it 2 or 3 times. Consider this when you are trying to put an essay together in an hour. Not even hardcore academics can do that, so please don’t. Essays are an important part of learning any language and if you do the due diligence, you will succeed. Read more

IELTS Writing Guide

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The Great IELTS Writing Guide

The Writing section of the IELTS test doesn’t have to be scary! With the information that we’re sharing with you here you can be confident of succeeding in this section of the test. We’re going to give you some expert advice as well as strategies on how to prepare and answer the different question types in the Writing test. Read more

Researching your TEFL course

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3 Key Tips to Choosing a TEFL Course

Teaching English is not as easy as it sounds. You are very often teaching people who don’t understand you and vice versa. That said, it is a richly rewarding profession. You ultimately play a role in your student’s future. So, it is your responsibility to invest in a course that offers you high quality instruction, helps you assess your teaching qualities, enriches your skills and helps you gain experience.

Here are the 3 most important things to consider when looking for a TEFL course: Read more

Pronunciation Clinic 2

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Pronunciation Clinic for Arabic Speakers

Getting English pronunciation right is always a challenge for people learning the language. We have seen how certain first languages can influence a student’s attempts at improving their pronunciation. If you speak Arabic you are going to find certain sounds in English difficult to reproduce. But with some guidance and a bit of practice you will soon start sounding much better! Read more

6 Secret Tricks to Improve your English

6 Secret Tricks to Improve your English

I have been helping students learn English for many years, and I have come across the same problems again and again. Here are some comments I took note of during the tutorials I recently did with some of my students. Read them and see if you can relate:

“I don’t read in English because I don’t have enough vocabulary.”

“I don’t watch English films because I don’t understand.”

“I don’t write because I don’t need to write in English.” Read more

5 Things You Can Do With a TEFL Certificate and No Degree

5 Things You Can Do With a TEFL Certificate and No Degree

Quite often the first question I am asked is: “Where can I teach and earn a decent salary without a degree?” It is a very difficult question to answer because, what exactly is a decent salary? It varies from person to person. That said, if you want to earn mega bucks you need to teach in the Middle East and for that you do need a degree.

But if you currently don’t hold a university degree, what are your options? Let’s take a look at some ideas of what you can do with a good quality TEFL Certificate and no degree: Read more

The Silent /h/

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Pronunciation of the Silent /h/

If you struggle with your English pronunciation don’t worry! There are times when pronunciation can be a problem for native speakers too! Just watch Justin Trudeau mispronounce “heir” while being sworn in as the Prime Minister of Canada. Yes, the Prime Minister of Canada making a mistake with English pronunciation!

Read more

The verb BE explained

The Mother of All Verbs:“BE”

When we are born we rely on our mothers for survival right? And when we start to learn English the verb “be” is super important. That’s why I like to call it the mother verb, because without it we can’t learn English.

It is very important that you understand the verb “be” and its functions, and that you are able to use it across all skills with accuracy and fluency. This is because the verb “be” is the foundation of English, and as we know, a house built on sand will eventually collapse because it needs a strong foundation in order for it to survive. Read more

10 things you are NOT told about TEFL

10 Things you are not told about TEFL

ONE – TEFL is a real job!  You have to prepare lessons, source interesting material and put together a lesson that will engage and challenge the students and not bore them to tears. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

TWO – You actually need to know the grammar too, so you have to study! Do you know what the Zero Conditional is or can you recognise a Relative Clause? Very often students know more than you so you need to know your stuff. You need to be an expert at what you are teaching in that moment, Think about it. If you pay to do a course, don’t you expect your teacher to know what he/she is talking about? Read more

Top 10 Tips for TEYLT

Teaching English to Young Learners and Teens

Top 10 TEYLT Tips

TEYLT is not an area of EFL I often touch on, but lately I have had a number of teachers ask me for advice on teaching younger learners.

Most new TEFL teachers land up teaching very young learners (2 – 4 years old or at primary schools) in Asia. Although the fundamentals of TEFL remain, teaching children is quite different from teaching adults and a fair amount of research is necessary. In my opinion, it’s an art. Read more

IELTS Survival Pack 5

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Self-Evaluation of IELTS General Writing Skills

If you are self-studying and preparing to take the IELTS exam, you will need to evaluate your own writing. Usually, this is done by a teacher. Students who can evaluate their own writing are better equipped to independently produce polished and successful pieces. Read more

IELTS Survival Pack 4

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Self-Evaluation of IELTS Academic Writing Skills

If you are self-studying and preparing to take the IELTS exam, you will need to evaluate your own writing. Usually, this is done by a teacher. Students who can evaluate their own writing are better equipped to independently produce polished and successful pieces.

IELTS Writing

IELTS Writing

Why Self-Evaluation?

Writing is such an important skill to develop, yet there are few writers in the world who write without also engaging in extensive revision and editing processes. Evaluating (or assessing and adjusting) your own writing creates awareness about errors and inconsistencies but also highlights your strengths! Self-evaluating is challenging. It forces you to: Read more

Don’t Eat Your Dictionary!

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How To Increase Your Vocabulary – Without Eating Your Dictionary

Eating a dictionary will inevitably lead to indigestion.  Learning words in isolation – without context – is simply a waste of your time. There is nothing authentic about it. You will find that one word may have many different uses and the grammar you need for each use changes too. Read more

Pronunciation Clinic 1

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Pronunciation Clinic for Portuguese Speakers

Getting English pronunciation right is not easy to do. What makes it more challenging for English students is that your first language influences how you pronounce English words. If you are a speaker of Portuguese, these are probably some of the pronunciation challenges you may be facing. No need to get frustrated. Just gain awareness and take it from there.

Read more

IELTS Survival Pack 3

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Improve your IELTS score NOW!

If you are here, you are either already studying towards taking the IELTS exam and doing some research on how to improve your score or you want to get started in your preparation.

I have been teaching IELTS preparation for a long time and the exam has been revised many times since then – exam rules have changed, the intensity has gone up, teachers are better equipped to teach but students’ initial perceptions of this exam remain the same – “It’s an English test, how hard could it be”. This is what ultimately puts a block on what really needs to be done to get the band needed.

Here is the real truth about succeeding in the IELTS test: Read more

5 Simple Ways to Improve Your English Pronunciation

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Here are 5 Simple ways to improve your English pronunciation

First of all you need to know that there are approximately 340 million English speakers on the planet – and a tiny portion speak like the Queen of England. The rest speak Global English, which means that 1 out of every 10 people you speak English to will probably be non-native speakers – now there is something to think about! Read more

IELTS Survival Pack 2

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How to turn Anxiety into a higher IELTS band

In order to prevent anxiety from throwing you off, you should know where on the test you are likely to start to feel anxious. What parts of the test trigger your anxiety and why?

For example, on the Reading test there are two situations that could provoke anxiety.

What should you do in these situations? Read more

Phrasal Verb Particles

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Pesky Phrasal Verb Particles

Firstly, what are particles?

Particles are the non-content words which are (among other uses) used in a variety of combinations with verbs to form Phrasal Verbs. They are also the reason we can’t translate a phrasal verbs’ meaning by separating the verb and the particle. In most cases the verb is more pertinent to the meaning of the phrasal verb, however, the choice of particle is never random and can often be responsible for how a phrasal verb is used in context. Read more

IELTS Survival Pack 1

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What is IELTS exactly?

IELTS is a rigorous examination that tests your English language proficiency across reading, writing, listening and speaking. Being a proficient or even native speaker may not be enough to get the band you need. Very specific strategies need to be employed when taking the exam in order to reach your aim.

It is not to be taken lightly – so get all your facts before you start and set a realistic objective.

This is what you need to know and do: Read more

Phrasal Verbs

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WHAT ARE PHRASAL VERBS?

Phrasal Verbs are Multi-word Verbs which are made up with verbs (come, put, get) and one or more particles. “Particles” are the adverbs and prepositions which complete it (up, with, off, on).

Verbs can combine with a number of particles to make up various phrasal verbs (get on, get on with, get back, get away)

The tricky thing about phrasal verbs is – yes, I know you are thinking it – the meaning of a Multi-word Verb is not the same as the independent meanings of the individual words. Read more

Hitting the Books

I was recently asked what was on my playlist and it occurred to me that I do not have one. I listen to what catches my fancy at that moment, pretty much like how I read. That said, when I am about to get some R&R I do compile a reading list.


So what is on my list for this year? Read more

5 Fun Ways to Maintain Your English

Here are five simple ways to help you maintain your English. And they are a lot of fun too!

1

If you are meeting people who speak your language, invite a few who don’t speak it. That way you will be forced to speak a common language… ENGLISH!

2 Read more

LEXIPLORING

Nicoletta’s LEXIPLORING*

Go on, I know you are curious now…

English is a fascinating language. Many words derive from other languages, where they’ve been adopted by the English language and adapted. Think of the word “alcohol” which is derived from Arabic “al-kuhul” . So, we can say that English is connected to many languages.

Let’s go LEXIPLORING… Read more