Posted in Campaigns

Fundraising: Mental Health Friendly

A quick post to promote a really good cause; Shay Coyne is fundraising in order to set up a support group to help people with mental health problems access services such as English classes. Shay explains below, follow the link at the bottom to make a donation:

Mental Health Friendly

My Background:

I studied psychology as a double major, specialising in clinical psychology. I then changed careers and became passionate about education, gaining my Trinity CertTESOL, and MA in applied linguistics.
With my psychology background I became very interested in those students who were SEN but still marginalised from society. The majority are unable to attend a language academy or the EOI because their illness leaves them with memory challenges, behaviour challenges, for example one student freaks out when we do something new, I have to really break it down for them to feel confident in their learning. These students are a challenge to teach but they are my favourite group. I teach them voluntary in Gràcia every Thursday morning.
If anyone could make a donation, that would be amazing. If anyone could share the project with their contacts, that would be a great help.

The Project:

After 3 years working from home as a private English teacher, I am taking the next step to be more professional. I’m currently in the process of creating my own start-up business and have found a place for my work office to rent. Thanks to the location of this office, I would reduce travel time, which means I would have more free time for my end goal: I work as a volunteer for Salut Mental Catalunya, teaching English to people with mental health disorders in Barcelona, and from September I would like to open a new group in my city of Sabadell so that people with mental health problems have a space that is inclusive and allows them to access services, like English classes, to have the same opportunities to make use of these services. Any donation would be greatly appreciated, even if it’s 1€. I feel that this start-up will allow me to be part of more volunteer projects, and I’d love for you to help me if you can. Click on the link to find out more about the Mental Health Friendly project. If you are a teacher and would be interested in volunteering, send me a message and I can put you in contact with the person responsible for this project.

https://gogetfunding.com/shay-educational-consultant/

 

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Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Listening Classes

2 Ts in a Pod: Episode 4 – Scams!

2Ts_banner_2460x936

Image credit: Mark Wilding

Follow us on twitter @RobbioDobbio + @2tspod

Episode 4 of the podcast is now live on our Soundcloud page! Click the link below to listen, you can also download the teacher’s notes.

Teacher’s notes EP 4 Scams

SoundCloud Page

On this episode we were talking about crimes like pick pocketing and mugging as well as other types of scam. We interviewed several people about their experiences being the victims of crime in Barcelona and other parts of the world. Hope you enjoy the show!

2Ts in a Pod – Teacher’s Notes Episode 4: Scams

Running Order

  1. 00:00 – 03:14 – Intro chat
  2. 03:14 – 06:56 – Tim’s pickpocketing story
  3. 06:56 – 09:20 – Vox-pop with Vicky: Scams in Barcelona vs in Argentina
  4. 09:20 – 13:48 – Katy’s mugging story
  5. 13:48 – 17:06 – Five ways to say: Crime/scam expressions
  6. 17:06 – 20:54 – Vox-pop with Beranice: Barcelona robbery story
  7. 21:00 – 26:52 – I wanna be like you with Vicky
  8. 26:52 – 29:00 – Vox-pop with Lisa: Scam stories
  9. 29:00 – end – Thanks, credits, comment

Additional Materials

Five Ways to Say…

  • I totally fell for the scam. (I believed it, I was tricked)
  • I was taken in by the con man. (he convinced/tricked me)
  • This sandwich cost me €8! What a rip-off! (overpriced/too expensive)
  • I got ripped off by the mechanic when I took my car in for a service.
  • I felt like a right idiot/plonker/tit after they stole my bag. (feel stupid)

Discussion Questions

  • Have you ever been pickpocketed? Or even mugged?
    • What happened?
  • What advice would you give someone to help them avoid something similar happening to them?
  • Can you think of any other types of scam? Email scams? Phone scams? etc.
  • What do you think the punishment for these crimes should be?
  • Have you ever been ripped off when you bought something?
    • Where were you?
    • What did you buy?
  • When was the last time you felt like a right idiot/plonker/tit?
Posted in Conversation Classes, Proficiency, Reading Classes

C1/C2 Reading & Conversation: Barcelona Anti-Tourism March

Image result for barcelona anti tourism

Image credit: Smart Meetings

Article credit: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/29/barcelona-residents-protest-high-rents-fuelled-by-tourism

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan based around an article from the Guardian newspaper about an anti-tourism march that took place in Barcelona last year. Download the lesson plan, key and power point below:

warmer reading tourism

Barcelona tourism effect article + key

Procedure

Warmer: Predict text topic from key words

Project the power point and have students try to guess what the text they’re going to read is about by flashing up the picture and the keywords 2 at a time. Students continue predicting until all the key words are visible.

Article: Reading comprehension, vocab focus and discussion

Go through the activities on the hand out, answer key for comprehension questions is at the bottom.

Barcelona marches to curb negative effects of tourism boom

Community groups join forces to protest over soaring level of rents fuelled by a big rise in visitor numbers

Behind banners reading “Barcelona is not for sale” and “We will not be driven out”, some 2,000 people staged an “occupation” of the Rambla, the city’s famed boulevard, on Saturday.

The protest was organised by a coalition of more than 40 resident and community groups from all over the city, not just the neighbourhoods most directly affected by mass tourism.

Visitor numbers have grown exponentially in recent years. In 2016 an estimated 9 million people stayed in hotels and a further 9 million in holiday apartments. In addition, the city received around 12 million day-trippers arriving by car and train or on cruise ships.

Tourists looked on bemused as the banners were unfurled at the top of the Rambla, beside the Canaletes fountain.

“I don’t understand. What do they mean, Barcelona is not for sale?” asked Qais from Kuwait. “It’s not what we were expecting, but I can see their point,” he said when it had been explained to him. He added: “Things are really bad in the Middle East,” which put things in perspective. “Does it mean they don’t want us here?” his wife asked. Birgid from Denmark was less sympathetic. “Tourism brings in lots of money to the city, doesn’t it? I’m sure it’s changed the city, but that’s life, isn’t it?”

Roger from Wigan, here on his second visit, commented: “I can understand it, the place is very commercial. And if I understand what’s written on some of these placards, they are complaining that tourism is forcing their rents up. I can sympathise with that.”

This was one of the key issues behind the march, as the money to be made from holiday lets is forcing rents up and driving people out of the city.

Christine, an Englishwoman on the march who has lived in Barcelona for more than 20 years, said: “We’ve been renting our flat in the old town for 17 years. In that time I reckon we’ve paid around €150,000 in rent. Now they want to kick us out because they can make more money renting it out to tourists.”

The march coincides with a new law passed by Barcelona city council on Friday that, for the first time, seeks to curb tourism. The special urban plan for tourist accommodation aims to limit the number of beds on offer from hotels and apartments by imposing a moratorium on building new hotels. No new licences will be issued for tourist apartments.

There are currently 75,000 hotel beds in the city and around 100,000 beds in tourist flats, at least half of them unlicensed and illegal. The city is at loggerheads with Airbnb, the principal letting agency. Last year the council fined Airbnb and HomeAway €600,000 each for advertising unlicensed apartments.

Airbnb argues that the overwhelming majority of its clients in the city are people who are letting out rooms as a way of making ends meet during Spain’s prolonged financial crisis.

That may be true up to a point, but it masks the real problem, which is speculation,” says Daniel Pardo, a member of the Neighbourhood Assembly for Sustainable Tourism. Yet people are free to visit the city, so what’s to stop them?

One thing we could do is stop spending millions on promoting tourism,” says Pardo. “We’re subsidising tourism with public money, by exploiting workers in the service economy and exploiting the infrastructure of the city, which we citizens pay for. Furthermore, tourism is distorting the economy and there is little support for anyone who wants to establish non-tourist enterprises.”

The good-humoured march moved to the seaward end of the Rambla, where one of the organisers read out a manifesto calling for more local shops, more homes, rather than businesses, and control of the pollution caused by private cars and cruise ships. “It’s a great turnout,” one of the marchers quipped. “There are more people here than at Trump’s inauguration. The citizens have never been consulted about this, although they’re the ones who suffer the consequences and aren’t enjoying the benefits. [We’re asking for] the debate to be opened to everyone and that we reach some other resolution of the problem, instead of the present one based on continuous growth.”

Comprehension Questions

  1. Who organised the march?
  2. How many tourists did Barcelona receive in total last year?
  3. How did tourists feel about the march?
  4. What is the main detrimental effect that tourism is having on the city’s residents?
  5. How has the council responded to the rising number of tourists?
  6. How does airbnb defend itself?
  7. What suggestions does Daniel Pardo make?
  8. The march was very serious and angry true/false

Language Focus

Work with a partner, look at the underlined expressions in the text, what do you think they mean?

Now try to complete the expressions from memory:

  1. This was one of the k____ issues behind the march,
  2. The protest was organised by a c____________ of more than 40 resident and community groups.
  3. Visitor numbers have grown e_______________ in recent years.
  4. Now they want to k_______ us out because they can make more money renting it o_______ to tourists.”
  5. The money to be made from h_______ lets is f_______ rents up and d________ people out of the city.
  6. They are complaining that tourism is forcing their rents up. I can s________ with that.
  7. The city is at l____________ with Airbnb.
  8. A new law p_________ by Barcelona city council on Friday that, for the first time, s_________ to c___________ tourism.
  9. The special urban plan for tourist accommodation a______ to limit the number of beds ____ offer from hotels and apartments by i__________ a m__________ on building new hotels.
  10. Airbnb argues that the o___________ majority of its clients in the city are people who are l___________ out rooms as a way of m_______ ends m________ during Spain’s prolonged financial crisis.
  11. “That m_______ be true up to a p________, but it masks the real problem, which is speculation,”
  12. The citizens have never been c__________ about this, although they’re the ones who s_________ the consequences and aren’t e_________ the b___________.
  13. “It’s a great t____________,”

Language of opinion

Complete the sentences with one word to make expressions of opinion.

  1. F_____________ where I stand,
  2. In my h_____________ opinion,
  3. As f________ as I’m concerned,
  4. A_______ I see it,
  5. I don’t have very s___________ views on the matter but,…
  6. I t___________ to agree with people who say…
  7. If you a______ me, I’d say that…
  8. I’m co___________ that…
  9. From my p_______ of v__________,
  10. Speaking from p____________ ex______________,
  11. I’m a big s________________ of…
  12. I’m d_______ against…
  13. I’m a f__________ believer in….

Conversation

  1. What do you think of the march? Are you in agreement with their message?
  2. Would you consider protesting on the issue?
  3. What are the pros and cons of tourism in your city?
  4. How does tourism affect your neighbourhood?
  5. What experiences do you have of the downsides of tourism?
  6. Do you think you have enjoyed the benefits of tourism? In what way?
  7. Do you think tourism should be curbed in any way? If so, how?

Language Development

Look at the language from the text, in what other contexts could you use it?

  • The city’s famed boulevard – what other things could be famed?
  • Stage an occupation – what other things can you stage?
  • A coalition of resident and community groups – what other coalitions can you think of?
  • Visitor numbers have grown exponentially in recent years. – What other things can grow exponentially?
  • “Puts things in perspective” – In what other contexts could you use this expression?
  • Tourism brings in a lot of money. – What other things bring in money for a government/company?
  • “That’s life, isn’t it?” – In what other contexts could you use this expression?
  • A new law passed by the council seeks to curb – What other things would the government pass laws to curb?
  • Now they want to kick us out – what other things could you be kicked out of?
  • The plan aims to limit the number of beds on offer. – What other things could be limited?
  • A manifesto calling for more local shops – What other things could a manifesto or a protest call for?
  • They’re the ones who are suffering the consequences and not enjoying the benefits? – What other things could you suffer the consequences or enjoy the benefits of?

Comprehension Questions Key

  1. Who organised the march? A coalition of residents & community groups
  2. How many tourists did Barcelona receive in total last year? 9+9+12=30million
  3. How did tourists feel about the march? Mixed emotions, some understanding, some bemused
  4. What is the main detrimental effect that tourism is having on the city’s residents? Forcing rents up, driving people out
  5. How has the council responded to the rising number of tourists? Laws to curb tourism, limits on flats, moratorium on new hotels
  6. How does airbnb defend itself? Most hosts are just letting out spare rooms
  7. What suggestions does Daniel Pardo make? Stop subsidising tourism with public money, infrastructure of the city is being exploited by tourism
  8. The march was very serious and angry true/false. false, march was good-humoured
Posted in Recommended Websites

U-Speak: Calling Barcelona-based Autónomo English Teachers

uspeak
A quick shoutout to my friend Paul O’Brien from U-Speak who’s looking for professional, committed autónomo English teachers to get involved in this exciting new language centre.
  • Are you an autónomo English teacher?
  • Would you be interested in becoming part of a new English language centre?

At “U-Speak” we provide a comfortable and supportive environment where students can develop their English level through speaking.

We are looking for teachers with their own students who would like to have a comfortable and convenient location for their classes.

Facilities

  • Fiber optic broadband (ideal for Skype classes)
  • 5 classrooms for one-to-one classes and groups
  • Kitchen facilities
  • Waiting room
  • Printer
  • And much more

You can check out our location at: www.uspeak.eu

If you are an established teacher who would like to take their business to the next level, we would like to hear from you!

Contact

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Writing Classes

CPE Writing Part 1: Formal Essay

Just a quick note…

Before you use these materials… We’ve created a new podcast aimed at B2+ level English students and teachers alike. You can listen for free at our SoundCloud page below. We have released 5 episodes so far and you can download teacher’s notes to accompany them from our Facebook page or from this blog. All comments and feedback welcome! Give us a like and a share 😉

https://soundcloud.com/user-333804100
https://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast/

CPE Writing Part 1: Essay

This is a lesson plan to help prepare students for part 1 of the CPE writing exam, in which students are required to write a formal essay which summarises and evaluates two other texts.

Here is my step-by-step guide to approaching the task:

Download the class handout here:

CPE writing essay 2nd plan

Step 1 – Text analysis

  • Read both texts and decide if they are complementary or contrasting.
  • Underline the two key content points in each text.

Step 2 – Paraphrasing and summarising

  • Brainstorm different ways to paraphrase and summarise the key points.
  • What impressive structures can you use? Inversions, passives, collocations, expressions.

Step 3 – Evaluate and react

  • Decide which points you agree and disagree with.
  • Brainstorm your own thoughts and experiences on the subject.

Summarise, evaluate, react.

Introduction

Present the topic of discussion and ask questions the essay will answer.

Hardly a week goes by without another report of …………….. appearing in the media.

Over the past ten years or so the media have frequently carried reports of ……………

The trend nowadays is towards (gerund)

How has the public’s opinion on this issue shifted over the last few years?

Although most people would generally agree that …………… few would deny that …………….

This raises the issue of whether or not……………..

This issue strikes a chord with the vast majority of the general public.

What impact, if any, have these shifts/changes/developments had on the general public’s psyche?

How are we to gauge the effect of such shifts/changes/developments?

Finish your introduction with the following sentence:

Both (1) extracts (2) discuss the nature of these (3) notions, but from different (4) viewpoints.

synonyms for text – extract passage

discuss/evaluate/explore

notions/concepts/ideas

viewpoints/perspectives/points of view

Paragraph 1 – Text 1

The first (1)text (2)argues that………

(1)extract/passage

(2)suggests/puts forward the idea that/asserts

Try and sum up the first point neatly with an inversion:

Seldom does the airplane make the top 5, let alone the top spot when the lists of the so-called most influential inventions are drawn up.

Not since…. Only when….. Not until…. Not only…. But also, No sooner… than
Seldom/rarely…….. Barely/scarcely/hardly……… when

Paragraph structure:

Option 1
  • Introduce content point 1 (paraphrased)
  • Evaluate and react. (your opinion)
  • Introduce content point 2
  • Evaluate and react. (your opinion)

Option 2

  • Summarise both content points
  • Own evaluations and reaction.

Stating opinion

Stating your opinion

As I see it,

It seems to me that ………… I would also say that ….

I am convinced that ……………

I am inclined to believe that ………………

There is no doubt in my mind that ………………

One of the drawbacks of ……. is ……….

However, one of the benefits is that …………

EMPHASIZING

I would like to stress that the research is still at an early stage.

It should be noted that there are a number of alternative methods available.

It is worth bearing in mind that 90% of the scientists researching herbicides in the US are employed by chemical companies.

CAUSE

-lead to: The research could lead to a cure for many serious illnesses.

-result in: The fire resulted in damage to their property.

-be responsible for: He was responsible for the accident.

-bring about: The war brought about enormous social change.

-give rise to: Poor performance in exams can give rise to depression and even thoughts of suicide.

-trigger: to make something suddenly start to happen, especially a bad situation such as a crisis or a war, or a medical condition: Certain foods can trigger allergies.

-contribute to: Passive smoking could contribute to the development of respiratory diseases among nonsmokers.

-factor: Cost is often the deciding factor when choosing any product.

Describing causes

One factor which has led to ………… is …………..

One of the factors which has brought this about is ………

The problem often stems from ………………..

The situation has been exacerbated by …………….

………….. has only made the situation worse.

One consequence of ……………. is …………….

Concluding

All in all it seems to me that ………..

The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that …………………..

All things considered, ………….

On balance, I tend to believe that …………

The world would surely be a better place to live in if …………..

If people stopped ….ing, we would have/ we could look forward to a ……………

The prospects for the future will be bleak/grim unless ……………….

Posted in Recommended Websites

Great site for teaching resources

videoclass

 

Here is a link to some great resources from our friends at tefl-iberia.com:

Here you can find everything from class resources to job opportunities:

http://www.tefl-iberia.com/resources/

Whereas this section of the site is a particular favourite of mine as it contains loads of great lesson plans based around short video clips:

http://www.tefl-iberia.com/resources/video-activities/

Hope you like it!