English Banana.com ESL Blog

The latest free material and news from English Banana.com

Free Language Club on EnglishBanana.com


Please join us for FREE live English classes on EnglishBanana.com!

Great news! At the end of August 2015 we will be launching our Free Language Club where you can join us for free online English classes. Find out more by checking out the video below – or click on the link:

EnglishBanana.com’s Free Language Club


Why do Polish students insist on writing I as if it’s a capital J?

This is part of some board work that we did today:

  

I know it is the convention for Polish students to write it like this, and that they are even taught to do this in primary school when they first learn how to write, but it puts me in an awkward position as an English teacher. It is not correct in English.

I asked this student to show me this unusual letter (as an I) in a book, either English or Polish, and of course he couldn’t. He said it was only like this for handwriting. But is this OK for English work or not? Look at the example at the bottom of this picture and you can see that the I is more like a number 3 or a question mark:

  

Maybe I have to go with the flow and accept this convention because I work in Poland. But I highlight other errors, so why not this one? What do you think?


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

Derby News

ESOLbannerbb

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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BBC News style guide now globally available

Sentence first

I do enjoy a good style guide: browsing the alphabetical entries, reading the general advice sections, learning how organisations handle sensitive subjects, and seeing how different publishers treat the same material. What usage fiend doesn’t find this stuff fascinating?

So I was very happy to learn today that the BBC News style guide is now fully and freely available online.  It went public about a year ago but didn’t appear to be accessible outside the UK, except for a PDF which, though generally excellent, dates to March 2003.

The online BBC style guide is searchable and easy to navigate. As well as the usual A–Z it has sections on names, numbers, military, and religion. Its page on grammar, spelling and punctuation offers useful tips on capitalisation, homophones, hyphens, US/UK differences, and timeworn bugbears (“By all means, split the infinitive…”), though it also unhelpfully upholds the dubious that/which

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All learning resources on EnglishBanana.com are now in the public domain! :)

Let’s compare two English Banana.com worksheets:

This is Worksheet A:

EnglishBanana.com Public Domain

EnglishBanana.com Public Domain

…and this is Worksheet B:

public-domain-3

EnglishBanana.com Public Domain

Did you notice the difference? Yes, they are the same worksheet, from the Big Grammar Book. But there is a crucial difference. The first one belongs to the past and the second to now and the future. The removal of the tiny copyright symbol makes a big difference to what you can now do with English Banana.com resources – all 4,000+ pages of them!

 

 


School in the Philippines uses English Banana’s Big Grammar Book for their free English Proficiency course

English Proficiency course at Cavite Southern Emerald Academy, Inc. - 2014

English Proficiency course at Cavite Southern Emerald Academy, Inc. – 2014

Meiji Geneta from Cavite Southern Emerald Academy in the Philippines emailed us recently to ask whether they could use English Banana material to run a free English course. We said yes – of course! – because all English Banana material is covered by our free licence to run courses – and all our free books are in the public domain.

Meiji wrote:

“I am from the Philippines and I have come across the English Banana website and I was very very amazed by the numerous worksheets that were made for students and teachers who are very much interested to widen their learning when it comes to the English Language. We have a school here in the Philippines and the name of the school is Cavite Southern Emerald Academy, Inc. It is a non-stock, non-profit school and we cater students in the Preschool and Elementary Department.

“Our school shares the same vision as you do because we also love to share the love for the English language. The Philippines is not a First English Country and being able to use your resources will be able help us teach the our students the english language better and in an organized manner. I believe that the resources you have put in your website are indeed very very helpful and will definitely help our students learn the very best the English Language can offer.

“We will be conducting a two week English Proficiency Class this May 19 to May 30, 2014. This will be offered to the students for free and they will be using the  1st Grammar Book of English Banana.com [Big Grammar Book]. We would like to inform the students and the parents that all resources used in this class came from English Banana.com and we would like to recognize you for this.

“Thank you so much sir for sharing with us the resources of English Banana.com to help teach children about the English Language. I am looking forward to have more English classes with our students soon and use English Banana’s resources.”

Their course was a resounding success (see pics below) and we were delighted that they chose English Banana’s Big Grammar Book for their course material. After all, why pay for expensive course books and ELT material when English Banana material is free to use?

English Proficiency course at Cavite Southern Emerald Academy, Inc. - 2014

English Proficiency course at Cavite Southern Emerald Academy, Inc. – 2014

English Proficiency course at Cavite Southern Emerald Academy, Inc. - 2014

English Proficiency course at Cavite Southern Emerald Academy, Inc. – 2014

 

 


This is a recording from a free live teacher training session on YouTube last night: Teaching Spelling and Sounds to ESL Students

You are welcome to join me for my next free live lesson on YouTube!

Click here to find out more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECj82eoY_ZU


Next Class in our Free Teacher Training Course for English Teachers

Dr. Muhammad Schmidt, IFTS, Nairobi, Kenya

Dr. Muhammad Schmidt, IFTS, Nairobi, Kenya

You are welcome to join us for the next class in our ongoing free teacher training course, which will be presented by Dr. Muhammad Schmidt of IFTS, Kenya.He will be speaking on the subject of: You Are The Course Book Method within the larger framework of communicative ESL Teaching.

This class will take place on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. CET on Skype. If you would like to participate, please contact Dr. Schmidt via Skype. His Skype ID is: turnoi

The class will last for around one hour and there is a free handout which you can download here.

You can join our free teacher training course here. There are already 126 course learners. We would be delighted if you wanted to get involved!


We’re giving away 20 FREE hard-copy books: Big Grammar Book & Talk a Lot Elementary Book 1!

Free Hard-Copy English Banana Books!

Free Hard-Copy English Banana Books!

PLEASE NOTE: THIS OFFER HAS NOW ENDED. THANKS TO EVERYBODY WHO EMAILED US!

We’ve got 20 FREE English Banana.com books to give away – with FREE postage and package – courtesy of the good people at English Banana Trust! Glyn Purland, who is Chair of English Banana Trust, writes:

“To mark the end of the 10th year online of English Banana.com, the English Banana Trust is offering a number of the two most popular English Banana books, one per person, free of charge including postage and package. We hope that this will help you in your teaching and learning of the English language.”

There are 10 free copies of Big Grammar Book and 10 free copies of Talk a Lot Elementary Book 1. These books are real, not digital – you can flick through them! You can put them in your bag or on your bookshelf at home! You can photocopy them!

All you have to do to get your FREE book is to send us a message with:

* Your full name

* Your mailing address

* WHICH book you would prefer to receive

* A few words to say WHY you would like to receive a free English Banana.com book

This offer is open to teachers and students of English, and is available on a first come, first served basis – one free book per person. If you are not lucky enough to receive a free hard-copy book, please remember that you can still download both books (and many more!) free from English Banana.com.


Looking for Specialised Targeted English Instruction?

Try Dr. Ray’s English Clinic!

Dr Ray's English Clinic

Dr Ray’s English Clinic

More about this service:

“Our study philosophy at Dr .Ray’s English clinic caters specifically to the student who is busy, and focused on RESULTS.

“We deliver targeted instruction aimed directly at what you need, and never waste your time on exercises or instruction designed to use up time for which you pay.

“STRAIGHT TO THE POINT – NO WASTED TIME – DIRECTED SELF-STUDY FOLLOWS EVERY LESSON.”

Why not find out more today, either via Facebook or through the dedicated website?

http://drraysenglishclinic.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Drraysenglish/498216636920718


New FREE Online Course for English Teachers – Starting Next Monday!

Free Teacher Training Course - Now Enrolling!

From next Monday 4th November 2013 Matt Purland will be running a free on-going teacher training course for teachers of English and ESL. Enrolment is now open so you can sign up from today! You can get all of the details here:

http://www.wiziq.com/course/36615-free-teacher-training-course-for-english-teachers

Title: Free Teacher Training Course for English Teachers

Goal: Learn how to teach English without a course book

Live classes: Mondays at 8.15pm CET & Thursdays at 10am CET

Main Benefits:

* FREE live classes twice a week

* Learn with an experienced English teacher and teacher trainer

* Professional development certificate when you attend 10 live classes

* Learn techniques that will help your students be more productive

* FREE access to recordings and group material (pdf, ppt, doc)

This is a course for English teachers; if you are studying to become a teacher, you are also welcome. This course is for teachers who want to learn and discuss ways of teaching English without formal material, e.g. a course book or handouts.

This course is on-going. You don’t need to attend every class – attend when you can; if you attend 10 live classes you will receive a FREE professional development certificate.

This course is based on You Are The Course Book Method. You can find out more about it and download the FREE material here: http://englishbanana.com/resources/free-books/teacher-training/

Hope to see you there!


100+ English Language Teachers Attended My Seminar at Language Show Live 2013

It was fantastic to be greeted by over a hundred English language teachers at my seminar at Language Show Live last weekend! They attended my seminar at Olympia, London, on how to teach English without a course book, and it was great to see so many people who were interested in trying something new in the classroom – rather than just the usual gap-fills, multiple-choice questions, and reading comprehensions provided by the usual uninspiring ELT course books.

Waiting to do my seminar at Language Show Live 2013. A Penguin Classic, a bottle of still water, and a quiet corner away from it all...!

Waiting to do my seminar at Language Show Live 2013. A Penguin Classic, a bottle of still water, and a quiet corner away from it all…!

You can download the PowerPoint presentation that we discussed here.

In the video below I’m discussing Slide 18 and complaining about how with the course book, the writer of the course book gets to be creative, while students are reduced to completing cloze activities or reading in silence. With YATCB Method students get to experience the buzz of creativity; they are able to have ideas and work on them with their partner or group.

Language Show Live 2013 (1)

Language Show Live 2013 (1)

At the end of the seminar there were many questions from the audience. We discussed using this method within a syllabus and with ILPs; assessment, and how to persuade Directors of Studies to let you deviate from doing the book. This seemed to be the most common problem for the teachers I encountered there. They said that they would like to be more free in what they do in class, but don’t have time to let their students be creative after completing the set course book pages – which they “have to” do. Frustrating! It was great to chat to so many of you face to face after the event. I felt encouraged that there are many teachers who, like me, desire a more creative and productive approach to teaching English. One delegate, Joanna Dudzinska, asked me for the origin of the name “English Banana” and then promptly presented me with a pair of fresh bananas that I could take home! Thanks, Joanna. You can see pictures and read her side of the story in her blog here. She commented:

“The highlight of today was The Language Show at Olympia in Kensington. It was the third and last day of the annual event related to languages: teaching, learning, interpreting, translating and also travelling!

“A friend had told me about the presentation for EFL teachers. It had an interesting title: YOU ARE YOUR OWN COURSEBOOK. I agree with Matt, the speaker. Coursebooks are boring and they do not allow free thinking often suppressing  creativity. I could elaborate more on that particular topic, but there is no time… However, I shall definitely be going back to Matt’s website…”

Language Show Live 2013 (2)

Language Show Live 2013 (2)

 
Language Show Live 2013 (3)

Language Show Live 2013 (3)

My heartfelt thanks go to Claire Shilling and the wonderful team who organised Language Show Live 2013, as well as the army of people who ensured that the event ran so well. I really enjoyed taking part – thanks for having me!

If you would like me to speak about You Are The Course Book Method at your organisation, or run a training session, please do get in touch!


News from More People Using English Banana Free Material

We often get emails from teachers and other individuals who want to use our free material either commercially or on a wider scale than just printing out a few worksheets. You don’t need to contact us to take advantage of our free licences, but if you do it is always lovely to hear from you! It’s great to know that you are able to use our free material. Here is some recent news from people who are using this material for various purposes. If you feel inspired to use English Banana material after reading this news, please go ahead! 🙂

 

Using the material as content for another publication:

Antananarivo, Madagascar

“I am an English teacher in Madagascar and I’m planning to write a book because of the lack of teaching materials in my country.”

Sapporo Gakuin University, Ebetsu, Hokkaido, Japan

“Thank you very much for offering the free license to your materials. A group of teachers here at Sapporo Gakuin University are making our own textbook for our students and will offer it free like your materials, including free Moodle quizzes and activities. Your model is an inspiration. We may also use some of your materials in it, so thank you again.”

 

Using the material to teach others for free, or as paid courses:

London, UK

“Firstly I’d like to thank you for the amazing material which is really helping  me on planning my lessons.

“I live in London, I’m Brazilian and I run a free English course on Mondays and Fridays 3 hours course each day, on a Brazilian Catholic Church to help people from my country it the basics so they can start communicating and finding a job. Thank you very much!”

Banten, Indonesia

“Finally I have a courage to open English course and use your EB materials. Actually not my own place, but [a local] kindergarten school.

“I ask her permit to allow me open an English course as beginning for a primary kids. I ask her permit again to use my own name ORANGE & BANANA. Orange represent me and Banana represent your EB. I thought it will be easy to set up my own materials, but still your EB materials really really help out. Wishing for your big support to encourage me start this new experience and still freaking me out. Hehehehe.”

Stepping Stone English – Bangkok, Thailand

“I am a native English man working in Thailand for a language school. I see the language schools as over priced compared to the local economic market as they are aimed are the high society of Thailand leaving the poorer public behind. Asean is coming in 2015 and I feel I want to help the less fortunate. If they don’t have the opportunity to learn English now then I’m afraid when Asean starts they are going to be in a devastating state. I think your material is wonderful and it is perfect for the students I am aiming to help. I would like a Certificate of Authorisation to progress my plans to help the community.

“I greatly appreciate the efforts you are doing and I would greatly appreciate your support in getting my project up and running. I’m starting out on a small scale due to funding. But with your material and support I can see great things for the future and hopefully for the public of Thailand. Thank you very much for your efforts in helping the world of education.”

Hoi An, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam

“I am not teaching at a school as such, but rather in my home to students and local people in my community as I live in rural Vietnam so I don’t have a school name. As I stated I will use your resources to teach local children, and some adults, they are just very average poor working people, some in this country can afford paid education, most can’t. It’s these people that I will target and try to assist them to improve their lives through the English language.”

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

“I live in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.  I run Bridges of Hope for Children and currently care for 12 children.  I run a Preschool from home and am busy registering an Independent School.  There is a desperate need for English classes for people from our neighbouring Township.  I’m hoping to be able to generate an income from these classes.”

Slovakia

“My main idea is to develop an English language course, based entirely on your materials; however, selecting them and compiling them together, which would entirely target speaking and general understanding.”

 

Using the material as content for an app or website:

Saudi Arabia

“I want to use your resources. Hi and thanks for this site. Now I’m doing programming Android app (free, without ads) for learning English language. Can I use your resources in my app?” [We replied: yes, of course you can!]

New York, USA

“Hey, you have a great website! I am working on making a website for people who want to learn another language. I was looking for free resources for my website and I found you! This will really help me a lot – thanks. I’ll be sure to add your website on mine. Thank you!”


Try Mega Mega English.com – an interactive new approach to listening practice!

There are lots of websites that have interactive quizzes for testing your English, but Mega Mega English is the first I have seen where you get to join in a conversation with an online character via listening. It’s ideal for practicing your listening and reading skills!

Webmaster Matthew Baxter told us:

“Mega Mega English is a great way to learn real English conversations skills.  Players interact with a variety of characters in places such as hotels, restaurants and shops. They must answer and ask questions.  The virtual characters then give unique responses.  Some choices are correct, some are wrong, and some will make you laugh!”

Why not check it out and let us know what you think?

http://www.megamegaenglish.com/

Screenshots from Mega Mega English.com:

Mega Mega English.com

Mega Mega English.com