BlogNews and views from EnglishClub with ideas, tips and latest pages
Jonathan Taylor is EnglishClub’s “Music Man” and this article about him recently appeared on Radio Bulgaria’s website.
When I asked Jonathan Taylor, a teacher of English in Bulgaria’s Sevlievo, if he liked Bulgaria, he replied: “I love it.” The Englishman has been living in the village of Krushevo since 2011 and says this country attracted him with its beauty and tranquillity. (more…)
For 2016 ExpertEditor.com has just published their list of best websites for ESL students. The list is conveniently split up into logical sections such as:
With 101 entries, ExpertEditor claims that this list “will blow your mind, and of course (more…)
Akademia Music Awards
EnglishClub’s music man, Jonathan Taylor Brittunculi, won a prestigious music award this month for his 9/11 tribute, The Falling Man (If Only). Jonathan’s song was chosen as Best Folk Song December 2015 in the Akademia Awards.
Odd Jonathan, whose stage name comes from his struggles with dyslexia, was inspired by the documentary ‘Voices from the Towers’. His award-winning song is also featured as part of the artist memorial gallery of the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York. The video below was created by Jonathan’s former English students.
All good things must come to an endSaying
Tara actually started contributing to EnglishClub way back in 2003, writing materials for the Young Learners section, English for Work and many other pages. In 2006 Tara started writing and recording Listen to News, a popular weekly news story with audio and exercises. Then in 2008 we launched MyEnglishClub as our social network. Tara was the first administrator of MyEnglishClub and has worked hard to help and support its thousands of members. Since 2008 Tara has continued adding new lessons and pages to EnglishClub and helping in the overall running of the site.
Hip Hip Hooray! Anyone can sing Happy Birthday!
A US federal judge has ruled that Happy Birthday To You, the most recognized song in the English language, is not protected by a valid copyright. This is great news for anyone who wants to use the song in a movie, advertisement, or other commercial production.
The publishing company Warner/Chappell has been collecting millions of dollars in royalties for use of the Happy Birthday song since 1988. This is the year Warner took over a publishing company that once claimed to have the copyright for Good Morning To You, a kindergarten song with the same tune as Happy Birthday. Good Morning To You, which has been out of copyright for years, was written by an American teacher named Patti Hill and her piano-playing sister Mildred. The judge ruled that no valid copyright for the combination of the sisters’ adapted lyrics (Happy Birthday To You) and tune exists.
This new ruling suggests that Warner/Chappell not only has no valid copyright, but that it may also have to pay back millions of dollars in royalties that it has collected over the years. Warner/Chappell will have a chance to appeal.
Some legal experts warn that this ruling doesn’t officially put the Happy Birthday song into the public domain. A valid copyright holder other than Warner/Chappel could still come forward.
Which video site do you use to watch English videos? Have you tried Daily Motion? This is an alternative to YouTube, and you can now view EnglishClub’s videos on our DM channel. All of our Music for Learning English videos are now available in a playlist. We will be adding more EnglishClub videos soon.
Follow EnglishClub on Daily Motion.
Do you enjoy using Vimeo to watch English videos? You can now view EnglishClub’s videos on Vimeo. All of our Music for Learning English videos are now available on Vimeo in one handy Collection. We will be adding more EnglishClub videos soon. You can contribute your own videos to Vimeo, too. See you there.
Follow EnglishClub on Vimeo.
Happy 50th Jonathan
EnglishClub’s music man Jonathan Taylor Brittunculi celebrated his upcoming 50th birthday in style at the first annual Krushevo Music Festival. Krushevo is a small village in north central Bulgaria where Jonathan lives with professional photographer Nicola Miller. Jonathan and Nicola organized the festival and invited musicians and music lovers to attend.
Several musical acts played throughout the day and into the night, including Vladimir Totev, a famous Bulgarian writer and his partner Dimi Dimitrova from the Russe Philharmonic Orchestra. Local bands Teen Dork and No Limits also hit the stage. Other acts included Mick Black and Matt Rider from England and Jamie McDonald from Ireland. Jonathan, himself, was also part of the show.(more…)
Are your students practising making predictions in English? On EnglishClub’s YouTube Channel, you will find a unique set of videos that can be used for a fun making predictions activity.
You Know What I’m Gonna Do?
EnglishClub’s video series “You Know What I’m Gonna Do?” features our Thai friend, Kid, using the informal contraction gonna. (She also asks her questions in an informal way: “You know …?” instead of “Do you know…?”). In each video Kid asks viewers what they think she is gonna do with the object that she has in her hands. (more…)
To teach is to learn twice. ~ Joseph Joubert
EnglishClub has a new reading and vocabulary resource all about Music. In this section, you will find in-depth articles and glossaries about many different music genres. If you’ve never tried using a jigsaw activity in the ELL classroom, now is a great chance to give it a try.
What is a Jigsaw Activity?
EnglishClub’s music man Jonathan Taylor has released a new song and it’s full of phrasal verbs. Every phrasal verb in Phrasal Verbs Rock starts with the letter ‘r’.
If you’re a teacher, you can use this song to introduce phrasal verbs. Your students will see that these are really just verbs that need to be remembered in context like other English words. (more…)
An eponym is a word that comes from a person’s name, such as boycott (from a selfish land agent) or petri dish (named after a German bacteriologist). Here are a few more eponyms that you will find in this section: (more…)
1. Choose a Greeting Card
Happy New Year! Are you looking for an interesting project idea to try with your English learners this year? Why not try a Timeline project?
Here are a few examples:
- world news timeline (e.g., for a birth year or the year that just passed)
- personal timeline of my life
- personal timeline in comparison to word news
- timeline of our class or school
- timeline of a famous person or event
- prediction timeline (e.g., What might happen this year.)
Are your classroom walls looking a little bare? EnglishClub’s NEW wall posters offer useful English vocabulary diagrams. These posters are FREE for anyone to download and print without modification. The following posters are now available.
- Parts of the head
- Parts of the body
- Parts of a car
- Parts of a car interior
- Parts of an airplane
How to download and print the posters
I want to be buried with a mobile phone just in case I’m not dead.
Do you use EnglishClub on your mobile device? The EnglishClub team is working on a new responsive website design that will make it easier for you to read, watch, and listen to EnglishClub resources on your smartphones and tablets. With responsive website design, the navigation, text and media should fit nicely on your mobile screen so you don’t have to resize the content manually. The layout of the screen changes automatically depending on the device you are using. This is known as an optimized viewing experience.
Converting EnglishClub into a user-friendly site across desktops, browsers, and multiple devices is our primary focus this year. The EC team is working section by section, so it will take a bit of time before every resource page is mobile friendly. In the meantime, you can check out the sections below on your mobile device to get a feel for how things are going to look. (more…)
Today’s technology allows journalists, webmasters, teachers, and a variety of contract workers to telecommute from all over the world. I’ve been working virtually with EnglishClub founder Josef Essberger for over 11 years.
In the past decade, Josef and I have worked remotely on a wide variety of EnglishClub projects and developments, including the Learning English Video Project, This Week in History, and Listen to News. We also developed and continue to maintain EC’s social network, MyEnglishClub, which has grown to 115,000 members in the past few years. We correspond daily via email, and have spoken on the phone just once. Occasionally we exchange packages and large files via snail mail. This week, we met in person in Toronto, Canada! (more…)
MyEnglishClub welcomed its 100,000th member today! Marco joined us from Italy. He is an intermediate English learner who likes Guns N’ Roses. His favourite English saying is Take it easy. If you are already a member, please leave a welcome message on Marco’s wall. If you’re not a member, join MyEC on this historic day in EnglishClub history.
It took five years for MyEC to reach this milestone. During this time, English learners and teachers have posted thousands of photos, videos, blog posts and discussion topics. This content allows our members to learn and teach English in interesting ways. Here are some of the most popular posts and uploads to date.
Blog Post: How many expressions can you find?
Forum Discussion: O.M.G
There is a party going on over on Gabriel’s blog. Let’s celebrate!
EnglishClub has a new section for English learners who want to practise their writing. Our weekly Writing Prompts are designed specially for English learners. Each writing prompt gives learners the chance to practise and review one aspect of written English. The prompts link to a handy resource page. Each prompt also includes a model example.
For Learners: You can respond to the prompts in your notebook at home or on your MyEC blog. If you don’t have a blog, set one up on MyEC. If you’re not on MyEC, join today! It’s free, and you will have an instant audience of learners and teachers for your blog. Use the tag #corrections if you want teachers or advanced learners to help you with your writing.
For Teachers: Print the writing prompts out to use in class, or assign them easily for homework by sharing the link. You could also set your students up on MyEC and have them share their blog posts with you.
We Have Good News!
Following the news is a good way to practise English. Many English learners read, listen to, or watch the news in order to learn new vocabulary and practise reading and listening skills. Having a little background information about the news in one’s own native language is very helpful when it comes to understanding the news in a foreign language.
While it’s great to stay informed, too much news can be depressing! The news is full of tragedies, disasters, and conflict. Staying connected to the world can even become addictive if you aren’t careful. A teacher who uses EnglishClub.com’s Weekly News in her classroom recently expressed concerns about the “negative news” on our podcast. (more…)
Just released! Another hit song for you to listen and learn by from EnglishClub: the Months of the Year Song — or It’s Been a Year (since you broke my heart). As usual, it comes with sub-titles so you can follow along more easily.
Months of the Year Song on EnglishClub
We think you’ll enjoy this fun song from Jonathan Taylor. It’s perfect for teachers too.
Jonathan Taylor’s latest song 7 Days a Week I Rock n’ Roll is now available for English learners. Not only will you learn the proper pronunciation of these important English words, you’ll never forget the order of them. Try learning English with music. “It’s good for the soul!”
Related Resources on EnglishClub
Have you had a chance to listen to the Be Verb Rock Star Song? Jonathan Taylor’s latest song for English learners is catchy and fun! The singer challenges English learners to listen carefully. Can you count the be verbs in his song? “Rock on!”
Related Resources on EnglishClub
Punctuation Blues, Jonathan Taylor’s latest song for English learners, is a fun way to introduce or reinforce the importance of using proper punctuation: “Punctuation baby, do ya’ love me?”
Related Resources on EnglishClub
Announcing a complete new section of 720 drag-and-drop games that learners can play to practise talking about TIME – past, present and future. These games, specially created for EnglishClub by Matt Errey, cover pretty well every way in which we talk about time in English, whether using tenses, special constructions like “going to” and “used to”, or modal auxiliary verbs like “must” and “would”.
The games are in sets of ten, with each set focussing on just one particular way of talking about the past, the present or the future. The first game in each set is the easiest, and the last game is the most difficult. In each game, the words in a sentence are mixed up or “jumbled”, and players try to put them back into their correct order.
For example, one of the sets focusses on using “going to” to talk about future plans or intentions. In a game in this set, players might have to make a sentence with the following words: “movie”, “to”, “I’m”, “tomorrow”, “a”, “see”, and “going”. Players can drag these words around, trying different combinations, until they come up with a sentence that they think is correct. If they come up with either “Tomorrow I’m going to see a movie” or “I’m going to see a movie tomorrow”, they earn the maximum score of 100%. Players can then click on “Next Game” to play another game about “going to”.
There are 720 games in 72 different sets, and learners who gradually work their way through the whole collection are sure to improve their understanding of the many ways in which we can talk about time in English.
Find and play these games at:
Are you ready to check out a new EnglishClub music video (with subtitles)? Rainbow Nation Colour Song, by Jonathan Taylor, is a catchy reggae tune about colours. Sing along as you watch and listen to the video. You can’t help but learn the colours!
Related on EnglishClub
This year, 2012, sees EnglishClub’s 15th anniversary. With support and encouragement from members and visitors worldwide, EnglishClub has matured into one of the longest standing, most dependable resource sites for English learners and teachers on the web. Since our 10th anniversary on 07/07/07, we’ve added the very popular My.EnglishClub social network hosting our members’ pages, blogs, photos, videos, music, discussions and chat; and it’s been exciting to see the highly original and interactive content created by learners and teachers. We’ve also produced the Learning English Video Project, a major 7-part video series about English learners on five continents. We continue to innovate and add new content from lessons and quizzes to (more…)
Are you a Twitter user? Twitter is a useful social media site for English learners. Set your language to English, and learn the language in small bites. One way to do this is to follow people who are using the #twinglish tag. Simply type the hashtag #twinglish into the search box. Then follow those people, or check out their tweets. Tweeters who use this hashtag are usually English learners or teachers.
Another useful hashtag on twitter is #vocabulary. Teachers and learning site managers often tweet words and expressions with a brief explanation. Sometimes there is a link to a more in-depth explanation. Dictionary sites also tweet new vocabulary definitions regularly. You will also notice mini quizzes and exercises in some #vocabulary tweets. (more…)
EnglishClub’s new release, The I Song by Jonathan Taylor, is a fun reminder about the importance of capitalizing the letter I when it stands on its own. Even if you’re chatting, texting, or writing a status update, it’s still a good idea to use capital letters properly. Take the time to use the shift key even in casual conversations. Then, when it’s time to write a business letter, exam, or essay, you won’t have bad habits.
Related on EnglishClub
EnglishClub has teamed up with singer, songwriter Jonathan Taylor to produce a new music video for English learners. The Alphabet Song for Rockers is now available on EnglishClub’s YouTube channel. Please share this video with your English language learning friends. If you’re an English language teacher, we hope you’ll practise this song with your students.
Stay tuned for more English language learning music videos by Jonathan Taylor (coming soon)!
After you listen to the report, try turning the audio down and reading the words as they come up on the screen. Can you read at the same pace? Which words do you stumble over? Listen again and keep practising until you feel confident with your pronunciation and pacing.
If you need help with the vocabulary, be sure to visit This Week in History on EnglishClub, where you can review the definitions for some of the more difficult words in each report. You can also download the audio, try a quick quiz, and see a historic image that goes with the story. A new story is featured every Monday. The archives are also available.
Here is an example of a This Week in History video from the EnglishClub YouTube channel:
Helping English Learners Find Listening Materials
EnglishClub recently received a question from an English learner about finding listening materials. We wrote back to this learner, but thought we’d expand a bit on our blog in case any of you have the same question.
Q: Where can I find audio practice in American English on EnglishClub?
A: You may have noticed that EnglishClub is written in British English. Our About page has the following explanation:
EnglishClub comes to you from England. It is written mainly in British English. But we have pages about other varieties of English such as American or Canadian. Don’t be surprised if you see a word that you think is wrongly spelled! Some words are spelled differently in British English and American English (more…)
Today sees the launch of a new Beta mobile version of MyEnglishClub for smartphones. Now MyEC members can browse MyEC on smartphones such as iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, easily viewing their own page as well as latest activity, blogs, photos, forums and other members. Blogs posts and forum replies can be added via mobile. It’s also still possible to go to the normal (more…)
The MyEC Video Gallery is full of useful videos that you can use to learn or teach English. The EC team is now in the process of categorizing the collection to make it easier for you to find useful videos for specific purposes. Many of the members on our site use music videos with lyrics to practise English. The new system will help our Karaoke Group members find suitable videos to practise with. Other categories include Grammar videos and Pronunciation videos. Click on the Videos tab to view all of the categories. All new videos that are uploaded by MyEC members will be categorized by admin before being approved. (more…)
Students worldwide unhappy
Fact checked by Dr Fasihpusih
CAMBRIDGE, UK (EnglishClub.com) Friday April 1, 2011 — Foreigners travelling to Southeast Asia to teach English may soon face strict screening procedures upon arrival.
The newly-proposed measures include grammar, spelling and IQ tests, hygiene and personal grooming assessments, as well as mandatory on-the-spot drug tests utilizing state-of-the-art urine-testing kits.
The measures, proposed by education department officials in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), are intended to prevent large numbers of unemployed foreigners from countries including the US, the UK and Australia from flooding the local job market in search of employment as “native English teachers”.
ASEAN is following up on its recently-announced single visa plans. Under proposed new arrangements, foreigners wishing to teach English will be thoroughly screened both before and after arrival, but once admitted will be able to teach in any of the ten ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam).
Under the scheme, TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) teachers from outside ASEAN will receive an Alien Teacher Fitness Certificate (ATFC).
Teacher representatives have reacted angrily to the ATFC process which starts with police background checks followed by on-the-spot tests at the airport that include basic English ability, drugs and personal hygiene. Brian Pullman of TEFLA (Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in Asia) called the procedure “degrading and racist”. (more…)
Anger over “inhuman” plans to vet student visa applications to UK with canines
Fact checked by Dr Collie Cent
Following a report in the EL Gazette and the recent introduction of tougher rules designed to stop abuse of the student visa system, the UK Government has completed a feasibility study to determine whether dogs could usefully contribute to the English ability assessment – an essential part of the new visa procedure – thus freeing up valuable man-hours and saving the British taxpayer up to £23,000,000 per year.
The possibility of using dogs to test language fluency was given credence in an article in the March 2010 issue of the EL Gazette (print-edition) headlined “Dog masters ESOL” (English for Speakers of Other Languages). According to the report, members of the RSPCA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) near Manchester, England had been “puzzled” [in September 2009] by a stray male border collie that would not respond to commands. After discovering that the dog had been brought to England from Poland, and did in fact understand Polish commands, the RSPCA staff started teaching it basic English commands, using a “reward-based” programme. Luke Johnson, one of the RSPCA animal care workers, described how the dog, known as Cent, became bilingual within 4 months. (more…)
Cambridge, UK – An independent UK film crew has set out to answer a series of questions about how and why so many people are learning English as a foreign language. The “Learning English Video Project” was shot in England, Morocco, Romania, Spain and the USA and is now in post-production. This is the first documentary series of its kind to touch on all of the main aspects of ESL (English as a Second Language) from the student’s perspective.
UK filmmaker Daniel Emmerson and his co-producer Joel Carr travelled with a list of questions including, “What is the most difficult aspect of learning English?” An experienced ESL teacher himself, Emmerson was inspired to create the series after noticing a large divide between students who take English for exam purposes and those who want to communicate in English in their daily life. Interviews were conducted in a case-study format, providing important insight into how ESL exams and current learning environments prepare students for work/life with native speakers. Emmerson calls the documentary series a collaborative affair that allowed him to “combine his passions” for film and language.
After visiting the college centre of Cambridge in England, Emmerson noted: “I found it almost inconceivable to find that one of the most diverse and international communities I have ever come across was to be found no further than 70 miles away from where I grew up!”
However, with so many students travelling to America to study English, the crew felt it was crucial to take the film beyond Europe. “New York is a metropolis of culture and language. I cannot think of a better destination for international students to study English and American culture,” said Emmerson. The filmmaker felt that capturing ideas and experiences from different parts of the globe was an essential aspect of the series and hopes to continue the project in Asia and South America in 2009.
The film’s sponsor, EnglishClub.com, will make the films available for free online viewing as a 6-part mini-series starting this Spring. Any organisation interested in posting the films on their site will have access to the embedding code. Downloadable and DVD versions will also be available for special purposes. Each film will be available both with and without subtitles, making for useful teaching aids. The series may also be used in conjunction with class project work based on free worksheets provided by EnglishClub.
EnglishClub, a free independent website that offers e-learning materials and interactive resources for ESL students and teachers, is the parent site of TEFL.net which sponsored Emmerson’s previous documentary film “Talking TEFL”, an exploration of Teaching English as a Foreign Language.
EnglishClub founder Josef Essberger commented: “Members and visitors have been following the film crew since the early stages of production via Daniel’s official film blog. Over 1,500 readers submitted comments to the blog during the production stage and the video blogs alone have accumulated thousands of views.”
Blog readers were invited to participate in the making of the film by offering suggestions and answering questions that pertained to the study.
The central audience of the “Learning English Video Project” is ESL students, especially those considering studies in a foreign country. “Being able to film on location meant we could capture a real essence of street life,” said Emmerson. This is something many ESL students do not have the privilege of doing before they register for a programme away from home. ESL schools and organizations will also be interested in showing this film as a learning aid and/or introductory video.
At 12:01am GMT on April 1st, 2008, EnglishClub published an article reporting that the United Nations planned to phase out all languages but one by the year 2049. Judging from some of the 300+ comments that this article received, not everyone realised that it was an April Fool’s Day hoax, despite the date of April 1st being clearly stated in the first line. The article, heavily laced with absurdities to add credibility, cited climate change, terrorism and multiple personality disorder as among the reasons to move to a single language. Many readers spotted the hoax and praised it highly; others took great exception to the UN plans and expressed their thoughts passionately; and a few vented their spleen on EnglishClub for having published in such “bad taste”.
Redundant languages blamed for adding to climate change, terrorism and cultural division
Fact checked by Dr Wong and Dr Wong
CAMBRIDGE, UK (EnglishClub.com) Tuesday April 1, 2008 — The United Nations is to hold its first debate on language redundancy amid warnings that the problem is “a major contributor” to climate change, a “massive threat” to international security and the cause of “rifts and divisions” within society.
Andrew Steiner, UNEP head:
“French causing damage”
Next week’s meeting is the result of an improbable coalition of interests, and follows sustained pressure from the US Administration, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Program.
“We’re reacting to two very sobering reports about the impact on climate change of the huge number of languages in use worldwide,” Andrew Steiner, head of the United Nations Environment Program, told Reuters news service. At the same time White House spokesman Gordon Stanzel revealed serious translation challenges for the CIA caused by “an abundance of languages.” Pointing to the fact that terrorists typically use non-English languages amongst themselves, he suggested that only by making English the world’s “unique” language could security be assured. Asked why the world’s “unique” language should be English and not, say, Chinese or Spanish, he replied that English was already so (more…)