30 Jan 2012

Podcast: Pulling a Sickie

Kara, our American teaching assistant, spoke about working conditions in the US the other day in class. Here we have an interesting podcast about people who skip work and how Britain has the highest number of false sick days in Europe. Listen to it and answer: Which European country pulls the fewest sickies?  Is it Latvia, Austria or Denmark?

After listening to it you can check the transcript and vocabulary.

Now confession time, have you ever pulled a sickie? Tell us!

27 Jan 2012

Black Eyed Peas

A great music band we can listen to nowadays is Black Eyed Peas. They achieved success in 2009 through constant innovation. They didn't follow contemporary trends in music, they created their own. They found a way to mix hip-hop with the rhythms and beats of house, electro and techno music and turned it into pop music.

They have many hit singles such as: I Gotta Feeling, Shut Up, Pump It or Let's Get It Started.

Today I want to show you the music video of Don't Phunk With My Heart.

As you already know musicians sometimes invent new slang words just for fun.

So tell me, what does phunk mean?

25 Jan 2012

Word of the week: "Third time lucky"

This week's expression is:

     Third time lucky      or     Third time is a charm

and it refers to the belief that the third time you try to do something you're more likely to succeed than the previous two attempts.

Our Spanish equivalent is 'a la tercera va la vencida'.

Have you ever achieved something on your third try? Tell us!

24 Jan 2012


Would you understand me if I say...
"Last Saturday Tom pulled an allnighter,
and he was so plastered
that he was busted by the police"?

Slang is an important part of spoken language.
If you listen to friends talking in the street,
they're probably using slang to communicate.

Kara Simmons showed you in class a very funny presentation about slang, so you can get an idea of what it's like using slang. If you missed it (because you played hooky) you can still view the presentation on the following link:

Here you can download Kara's documents on slang:

23 Jan 2012


Do you remember the other day in class we were talking about musicians and their riders? A rider is a specific request made by musicians in their contracts.

Check out this one by Barbara Streisand about security during shows.

“This tour requires metal detectors at all entrance doors, including backstage and all employee entrances. These must be actively controlled throughout the entirety of show day and the performance. Also, there will need to be a thorough inspection of the facility by a police
K9 prior to sound check."

Here's what you have to do:
Surf the Internet and find an interesting rider to share with your classmates. Write it in a comment!

Podcast: Poverty & Education

In this podcast Dan and Alice talk about a new report which examines how poverty can affect children and their education.

Remember to check the transcript after listening to this podcast for a couple of times. 

What do you think? Do you agree with them?

20 Jan 2012

Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys is one of those singers who can sing with such an amizing voice! She was born and bred in New York's Hell's Kitchen. She started studying music when she was seven. She was discovered by a manager at the age of fourteen and then she performed anywhere and everywhere from tiny clubs to street corners. She finally debuted in 2003. Her eclectic education and early life lessons inspired her musical hybrid of soul, hip-hop, jazz and classical.

There are many songs I like by Alicia Keys such as "Try sleeping with a broken heart", "Love is my disease" or "Doesn't it mean anything".

However, I want to show you her song Empire State of Mind, which she sings with Jay-Z, since the music video is really awesome, full of New York images!

You can check the lyrics on this doc (the rapper part is very difficult), but don't miss the video!

I was lucky enough to visit this wonderful city last summer and I must say I loved it. It's pretty much what you see in films. However, being there was absolutely amazing, especially seeing the lights at night.
If you're planning on visiting New York, I know a blog which can help you with your visit http://www.la5thconbleeckerst.com/ (It's in Spanish, I'm afraid).

Have you ever been to New York?
Would you like to go?

19 Jan 2012

Conjunctions: Wheel of Fortune Game

When communicating in a language we need to use conjunctions in order to link your ideas.

You already know words such as 'although', 'when', 'so', 'but', etc.
However, you need to practise linking phrases
in order to use them naturally.

On the following link you have a fun game you can use!

ESL Conjunctions Wheel of Fortune Game

Enjoy and learn English!

18 Jan 2012

Word of the week: "Picky"

This week's word is the adjective


which is used to referred to a person who only likes particular things or a person who is hard to please, especially talking about trivial things. In this way a "picky eater" would be someone who doesn't like many things and a "picky customer" would be a difficult customer.

Our Spanish equivalent would be 'quisquilloso' or 'maniatico'.

I have a very picky cat which only eats a particular brand of food.

Now it's your turn. Use the word in a comment.
Do you know anybody who's very picky?

17 Jan 2012


As you know English prepositions are difficult
since sometimes they are different from Spanish.

Do you remember we saw in class that
some adjectives are followed
by a particular preposition?

Here you have some quizzes to practise this content:

Adjectives Followed by Prepositions, ESL Grammar Quiz

16 Jan 2012

Podcast: Complaining

In this podcast Dan and Alice talk about complaining, and how British people may be getting better at it.

Remember here you can check the transcript after listening.

Do you often complain? What do you complain about?
Tell us in a comment!

14 Jan 2012

Common Irregular Verbs

Irregular Verbs are difficult in English.
You need to revise them quite often in order to
learn them forever!

Have a look at this webpage for a whole list
and do the test you'll find at the end.

13 Jan 2012

Bryan Adams

In this new year I want to talk to you about my favourite singer of all times: Bryan Adams. In fact, he's the reason I'm here today teaching English through this blog. Let me explain. When I was a teenager I wanted to learn English in order to understand his songs, and look at me today, here I am, an English teacher, thanks to him!

There are many songs I love from this singer. I can mention for example When you're Gone, Have you Ever Really Loved a Woman, All for Love, The Best of Me, Please Forgive Me, Cloud Number Nine, among many others.

The following video features Heaven, a very romantic song.

I saw him in concert in the Odyssey Arena (Belfast) in 2005 and I must confess it was an incredible experience. He was great, amazing, really involved with the audience. He continued singing after saying goodbye for a couple of times, just because the audience kept asking him for songs. I've been to many concerts, but none like this one. He's just a real artist!

If you had to choose only one singer, which one would it be?

12 Jan 2012

Common Expressions

When you're learning a language it's very important to familiarize with common expressions in that language in order to sound natural when you speak.

Watch this video to learn common easy expressions.

How many other expressions can you remember right now?
Write them in a comment to share them with other students!

11 Jan 2012

Word of the week: "Keep me posted"

This week's expression is

Keep someone posted

which means to make sure that someone always knows what is happening.

Keep me posted on anything that happens while I'm away.

A: Next week I can't come to class.
B: Don't worry I'll keep you posted on homework.

Write a comment using this expression.

10 Jan 2012

Pronunciation Video

I know, I know, English pronunciation is difficult! That's why you have to spend time listening to good examples and practising your pronunciation. As you already know, everyday  in class I try to teach you how to pronounce words, especially exceptions, common mistakes, vowels...

If you think you have a bad English pronunciaton, watch this video to cheer you up!

9 Jan 2012

Podcast: Stress in the Workplace

This podcast talks about how the number of people suffering from stress is increasing nowadays due to the economic crisis.

After listening for a couple of times, check the transcript.

Do you suffer from stress in your job?

6 Jan 2012

Russian Red

A band I've recently discovered is Russian Red, a Spanish artist who sings her songs in English with an exceptional voice. She started performing in small clubs in Madrid and quickly moved to theaters and clubs all around the world. Awards like "best album debut 2008", "best female voice 2009" or her 3 nominations to the national music awards certified her success.

She has a very relaxing style, which is perfect after the holidays. I enjoy listening to her while I'm doing other things, such as working. Besides, I like all her songs since they are very similar to each other.

I haven't found a video with the lyrics, so check them on this link: Lyrics

Do you have a music band you listen to while you do other things?

4 Jan 2012

Word of the week: "Catchy"

This week we have the adjective


which has different meanings.

A catchy song is one you easily remember.
A catchy idea is a very attractive or appealing one.
A catchy question is a tricky or difficult question.

This word obviously derives from the verb "to catch" and so it means easily retained (caught) in the memory, tending to catch the interest or attention (attractive, appealing), or a question which catches you because it's tricky or difficult.


The new slogan isn't as catchy as the old one.

The chorus of that song is so catchy. I can't get it out of my mind.

Now it's your turn. Write a comment with an example.

2 Jan 2012

Podcast: Royal Succession

In this podcast Rob and Stephen talk about ancient laws about succession in the British monarchy and new changes.

Remember to check the transcript after listening.

Do you agree on the changes about the monarchy?

1 Jan 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year 2012 from Elche, the city of the palm trees and fireworks!