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Showing posts from 2018


Hey, guys! How is summer treating you? Wanna know what I'm reading right now? 

What is it about, you might be wondering? Well, quoting the writer: "as if a novel had to be about only one thing".
The background: When the novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was growing up in Nigeria she was not used to being identified by the color of her skin. That changed when she arrived in the United States for college. As a black African in America, Adichie was suddenly confronted with what it meant to be a person of color in the United States. Race as an idea became something that she had to navigate and learn.
'Americanah' Author Explains 'Learning' To Be Black In The U.S. (NPR podcast with transcript available).
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's third novel is a superb dissection of race in the UK and the USA (The Guardian, a review).
The thing is I've almost finished it by now and, believe it or not, I have absolutely no clue about what I want to read. So, I would really a…


How to Make This the Summer of Missing Out What’s happening? Who cares. Meet JOMO, FOMO’s benevolent younger cousin. The New York Times, July 12 2018


Survey on educational demands and preferences for those interested in studying at the EOI Alcalá de Henares.
A new curriculum is implemented for the academic year 2018-2019 at EEOOII (Official School of Languages) nationwide.
We would like to know the needs and preferences of students and citizens interested in learning languages ​​with us to try to adapt our resources to the demand of our area.
Your answers help us improve and it will only take a few minutes.
Thanks a bunch!!


FAQs: Calificaciones e incorporación al nuevo plan de estudios 2018/19

Nivel C1 (cursado en 2017/18) Curso al que accede a partir del curso 2018/19 Certificado C1 (60/100 puntos) C2.1 Puntuación prueba certificación C1 entre 50 y 59 puntos. (Puntuación mínima destrezas de 11 puntos) C2.1 Puntuación prueba certificación C1 menor de 50 puntos C1

Convocatoria ordinaria de mayo 2018:
1.He aprobado la prueba de certificación C1 con 60 puntos o más en la convocatoria ordinaria de mayo 2018. Enhorabuena. Ya tienes tu certificado de nivel C1 y puedes acceder al curso C2.1.
2.He sacado una puntuación entre 50 y 59 puntos en la convocatoria ordinaria de mayo. Tienes que presentarte a la convocatoria extraordinaria de junio a las destrezas que tengan una puntuación de menos de 15 puntos. Si no te presentas a esas destrezas suspensas en mayo, consta como “no presentado”.
3.He sacado una puntuación menor de 50 puntos en la convocatoria ordinaria de mayo. Tienes que presentarte a la convocatoria extraordinaria de junio a las destrezas que tengan una puntuació…


Fun cliffhangers: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.

A masterful memoir of his childhood in Ireland: Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt.

Quirky, irreverent humour: Matilda by Roald Dahl.

A critical snapshot of modern London: A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks.

A popular whodunit: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.

A beautifully crafted mystery: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

A dystopian novel everybody is talking about: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

Your teacher’s choice: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Out of curiosity: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.


Quick Fix - Essential phrases in 40 languages
A Guide to Languages - 10 facts, 20 key phrases and the alphabet
Your say - Don't try this abroad- Common language mistakes
Your say - Lost for words

Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father’ is definitely a show to add to your watch list. It follows Jack Whitehall as he embarks on the trip of a lifetime with his father, Michael. The two set off on a journey across South East Asia to partake in a series of adventures, mishaps and escapades with two very different perspectives.
6 Reasons To Watch "Travels With MyFather"

An now, a non-Madonna song (inside joke):


Aubrey de Grey, Ph.D., Vice President of New Technology Discovery at AgeX Therapeutics, discusses the “Methuselarity” — the point at which technology enables humans to live to more than 1,000 years of age.  Dr. de Grey believes this could happen within the coming decades and posits that some people born today may live to be 1,000 years of age.  He further states that people who are 30 years old today have a 50/50 chance to live to be 1,000 years old. 
Ending aging

GERUNDS AND INFINITIVES PRACTICE- Just what the doctor ordered

Hello boys and girls. Here are some links to practise with gerund vs infinitive exercises online.
If you don't have much time, try these three short 10-item exercises.
Or else, try this website with a three-part tutorial and loads of exercises (basic, intermediate and advanced) plus reference lists.

Here are the basics: Even though English grammar is thought to be easy, it gets a bit messy when it comes to verbs followed by infinitive or gerund.

The easy thing to say is that some verbs are followed by infinitive (promise to go)some verbs are followed by gerunds (can’t stand ironing).
But then we find that, some other verbs are followed by infinitive or gerund with no change of meaning (start to study/start studying)while some others are followed by infinitive and gerund with a change of meaning(stop to smoke/stop smoking)
And to add insult to injury, some verbs are followed by infinitive with to (offer to help)some others by infinitive without to ( ma…


READING: "Need a job? Learn to impress the robots" A-5 / B-2 / C-4 / D-1
READING: "Natural wonders" 1-B (that news of this had never reached me - parag. 2) 2-D (Above all, Australia doesn't misbehave. It is stable and peace and good - parag. 3) Above all = main reason 3-C (Australia was slightly more important to Americans in 1997 than bananas but not nearly as important as ice cream - parag. 4) 4-D (And it is old. For 60 million years, Australia has been all but silent geologically - parag. 5) 5-D (Just before this trip I went into my local library in New Hampshire ... - parag. 4)


"Think about your best languages teacher. What was so good about them? I’ll lay long odds against anyone answering this question with ‘They were a native speaker.’ We need teachers with personality, humanity and creativity. We need teachers who are qualified, understand methodology and have a strong work ethic. We need teachers who inspire. Linguistic proficiency is necessary of course, but you don’t need to be a NS to possess it and of course being proficient in a language isn’t the same as knowing how to teach it.

The conversation can also be taken to students and parents, many of whom it appears need their awareness raised on what good teaching is: how do you hold a school to account? Is it by asking where the teachers are from or is it by enquiring about the school’s teaching practice and asking about the results the students are achieving? It’s a fight that needs need to be taken up by all teachers: not only NNST. That letter the parents wrote made me cringe: I’d much rather …


Verb Tenses Mixed Exercises. Lots of verb tenses exercises here  (scroll down to the bottom of the page for advanced level)
English Tense Review for Advanced Level Learners: If you are an advanced student, this reading exercise will help remind you of the tenses and also point out any weaknesses or insecurity that you may have.
Let's round this tense review off by listening (and singing along) to this superb song! You can keep it on repeat, as I'm doing right now.

If only... posts about regrets. 
Be careful what you wish for, lest it come true. Or as The Dalai Lama said "Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck".

READING EXAM: Preparation is key to success

Rise up to the challenge!
Multiple choice reading: The Sahara Film Festival
Missing paragraphs: Renovating the Lymm Water Tower
Multiple choice cloze: How to have perfect posture Multiple choice cloze: Scotland Multiple choice cloze: The Microscope

EXTRA PRACTICE: C1 Easter Holiday Practice: LISTENING (from Martin's blog: On Our Way)


Everybody writes. Some read. Few proofread. Let's do something about that!

Proofreading and Editing (Error Correction) In addition to developing a better vocabulary, proofreading and editing are the two most essential skills you must learn when you are trying to improve your writing. Proofreading means looking for grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes in your writing. These could be verb tense mistakes, subject-verb agreement errors, sentence fragments, run-on sentences or comma splices, incorrect singular or plurals as well as many other types of errors. Editing simply means correcting the mistakes you have found.  (From
Common errors that crop up: - Run-on sentences - Subject-Verb agreement - Singular and plural nouns - Pronoun agreement - Articles (the social networks are ...) - Contractions - Capitalization (english instead of English) - Verb tense errors - Verb patterns (what pattern follows recommend and suggest, for instance?). -…


How to write a review
Revise language with these mini-reviews:
- Would you consider yourself a bookworm? - The right book that pulls you into its pages, doesn't let go andgets you hooked on reading. - Check out these 10 enthralling page-turners. - Stunningly detailed descriptions of all the characters and their relationships. - This book has everything you need: a hard look at the so-called American Dream, a touching love story and a stinging satirical tone. - This entertaining story will definitely grab you from the beginnning. - Get ready to sink into an enchanting magical world. - It's definitely a good read and worth checking out. - His adventures do really grab the reader. - One of the most thrilling stories written in recent years. -Cloud Atlasis no ordinary book that you can just skim through in one evening. - Now it's time to get your hands on one of these books and delve into the unbelievable world of reading.

Skyfall film revie…

STORY OF YOUR LIFE - A short story

Here is Ted Chiang‘s short story on which the movie Arrival is based: Story of Your Life (33 pdf pages).
Story of YourLife is a science fiction short story written by author Ted Chiang, which is a part of his Stories of Your Life and Others collection, originally published in 2002.
Alien lifeforms suddenly appear on Earth. When a linguist is brought in to help communicate with them and discern their intentions, her new knowledge of their language and its non-linear view of time (she remembers the future as well as the past)allows her to see future events and all the joy and pain they may bring.
Stories of Your Life and Others is the most entertaining and thought-provoking collection of science fiction stories I've read for a long time.

Read the first lines and pay attention to the time references: "Your dad and I will sell the first a couple of years after your arrival. I'll sell the second shortly after you departure."
So, very soon in the story, you'll find out what h…