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What Sheryl Crow gave her attention to: a conundrum for language teachers

Originally posted on Jeremy Harmer:

I was reading the Guardian yesterday and came across a short interview with the singer Sheryl Crow during which she responded to the question ‘what have you sacrificed for your art?’ with the answer “my love life. I think whatever you give your attention to is what thrives.” And this chimed in with a topic I’ve been working with for some time, namely what I have called ‘the force of focus’ (in contrast to multi-tasking, for example). And today, once again, I have been working with teachers in Antwerp (Belgium), trying to pin down what students should give their attention to and how to make sure it has an impact.

But before we go on, and in case you haven’t listened to Sheryl Crow before, here she is singing an old (but to my mind beautiful) song called ‘The first cut is the deepest’.

What you give your attention to…

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Anyone Fancy a Phrasal Verb?

Originally posted on Native Speaker in Rybnik:

Hands up! C’mon, who wants one?

Well, if you do, from now on I’m yer man. I’ll be dealing them here every two weeks from now on. Now that maybe makes me sound like a drug dealer, but the similarities between drugs and phrasal verbs won’t be lost on anyone who knows a Native Speaker. We are addicted to them.

Now, I’m being deliberately controversial here (you’ll never find the BBC, or any other respectable organisation making such a reference) but WE LOVE THEM! They are literally like a drug to Native Speakers. Obviously they don’t have the destructive qualities of actual drugs – but our behaviour and use of them is similar: we almost can’t exist or communicate without them. Our language is laced with phrasal verbs of all shapes and sizes and just to make things confusing some of them change their meanings depending on the context. Confused you will…

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FREE Printable Worksheet for English & ESL: Order of Adjectives in English 1

This is a free printable worksheet from Big Grammar Book 2 – which is the latest free printable book from EnglishBanana.com for teachers and students of English. To download your free copy, please visit: http://www.englishbanana.com/big-grammar-book-2/big-grammar-book-2-free-english-worksheets.html

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English Language Training (ESOL) in Derby: Is it Delivering for everyone?

Originally posted on Derby News:


In April 2014 the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), in conjunction with the Skills Funding Agency, issued a joint statement that introduced new rules regarding the assessment of English language skills for new claimants of Job Seekers Allowance (JSA). In brief:

“Those with English language speaking and listening skills below (ESOL) entry level 2 will be mandated to undertake learning. (Entry Level 2 is the expected ability of a 7-9 year old)”.

The DWP have confirmed that, non- attendance on the course is a reason for sanction, but failure to achieve the requisite skill level in any period of time, is not. I wonder how long they will remain patient with someone who has been studying for a considerable period of time but still cannot get a job because of poor language skills?

Given the high migrant population in Derby, then it was reported that additional funds would be…

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Yes or no? The Indy Ref for ESOL learners

Originally posted on hotel3001:



Anyone over the age of sixteen who is resident in Scotland can vote in September’s referendum on the future of their country.

Yet a couple of months ago, when I broached the subject with my ESOL learners, many of them were unaware they had the right to vote. Others knew they could vote, but were not planning to. Some felt there was “no point” or that, as foreign nationals, they did not have the right to “interfere” in such an important decision.

I disagree. I think that, as ESOL tutors, we should take every opportunity to gently encourage our learners to use their vote and voice in this referendum. As people who enrich our cultural and social life, contribute to our taxes and meet our nation’s skills shortages they have more than earned the right to shape the country’s future too.

If you’ve been following the debate you will…

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FREE Printable Worksheet for English & ESL – Family Words – Male or Female?

This is a free printable worksheet from EnglishBanana.com. To download 4,000+ free printable worksheets for English lessons, please visit: http://www.englishbanana.com/downloads.html

Big Grammar Book 2 is out now!

NEW FREE BOOK! Big Grammar Book 2: 101 Worksheets for English Lessons

Big Grammar Book 2 is the latest collection of free printable worksheets for teachers and students of English and ESL by Matt Purland, author of the original Big Grammar Book.

This book is in the public domain, so please feel free to use it for commercial and non-commercial purposes.

To download worksheets individually – as both pdf and docx files – please visit: http://www.englishbanana.com/big-grammar-book-2/big-grammar-book-2-free-english-worksheets.html

If you have any feedback about this free book, we would love to hear from you! Thanks for reading! :)


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