Global English for students

Global English for Global Students

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New post! has very kindly posted my article: “Remembering a forgotten resource – Mother Tongues.”

You can access it with this link if you are interested:

Happy reading! I’d love to hear any comments you may have from your own experiences in English classes (or other languages for that matter).


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Motivation – Why are you studying English?

Do you want to know the secret to learning English?  The secret is to find your motivation…What’s motivation?  Motivation is the reason you are studying.  Your teacher can help you if you are motivated.  If you are not motivated, then God help you, because learning will become very challenging.

Students talk about lots of reasons for studying English:

  • travel
  • get a good job
  • meet people from different countries
  • go and live in an English-speaking countries.
These are good motivations.  But they are difficult to achieve because you are not sure what to start doing.

If you want to travel, you need to get familiar with accents.  If you don’t say where, you have many different accents to learn about.

If you want to get a good job, what is it?  A doctor?  Ok, you need to study medical English.  An engineer?  OK, study scientific and mathematical English.  A teacher, ok, learn more about grammar and how the language works.

So, perhaps you need a motivation which is more  specific.  For example, “I want to go to the U.K. next year for a holiday”.  With this motivation, you can focus on British English, and try to become familiar with the different accents in the U.K.

I promise you, if you find out what your specific motivation is, you will find learning English much more easy.

So, what’s your specific motivation?


Happy learning 😀


How can I learn new vocabulary and remember the meaning?

Thanks to Hend for this topic!  🙂  It’s a common concern for students of English.  After learning the basics of grammar, students change their focus to learning vocabulary.  But many feel that they can’t remember enough words.

First of all, to learn vocabulary effectively, you need to find out how YOU learn.  Think about the things that you learn easily, and try to think about why.  Find out how you learn other things (not English).


  1. Do you like to see pictures?  (V)
  2. Do you prefer to listen and not write anything? (A)
  3. Do you like to write things down? (R)
  4. Do you prefer to make things or do things with your hands? (K)

These questions might help you to find out your learning style.  We all have a different learning style, or one style that is stronger than others.

Look again at the questions above.  Did you answer yes or no?  This tells you:

  1. You are a visual learner.  You prefer to see things, and this makes it easier to remember things, like English vocabulary.
  2. You are an auditory learner.  You like to listen to remember things.
  3. You are a reading/writing learner.  You can remember if you read or write down vocabulary.
  4. You are a kinaesthetic learner.  You like to do things with your hands or move your body.

Don’t worry, some of these words are hard to remember, but look at the examples after.

  1. See
  2. Listen
  3. Read/Write
  4. Do something or move

When I learn a language, I need to see a word AND listen to its pronunciation.  Then I can remember it.  If I just listen to it, I will forget it.  If I just see it, I will forget it.  If I do both, usually I can remember it.

So, how can this help to learn vocabulary.  Well…

  1. See.  Write a word and draw a picture of it.  Put the picture somewhere where you can see it again and again.
  2. Listen.  Use an online dictionary like  You can listen to the pronunciation of the word by a native speaker.
  3. Read/Write.  Write the new vocabulary many times in a new sentence and read them again and again.
  4. Do something.  Use a computer program (often your English workbook has one).  With a computer program you can sometimes see new vocabulary and move it in a sentence or match it with the meaning.  (For an example, see ).  In my class I am using a new book called “English Unlimited”.  The self-study book has a CD which has hundreds of activities to help kinaesthetic learners.

So remember:


In the next post, I will talk about short-term and long-term memory.  This is another important cause of remembering or forgetting vocabulary.

Happy learning!!


How to improve writing – actually you should READ a lot! :)

If you want to improve your writing, you should read a lot.  Does that sound strange?
One of my students asked me to write this blog post.  So here it is!  My tips for improving your writing.
Think about these questions:
Can you write the letters (abc’s) well? 
Work on writing the letters first.  When you can write them, you can start writing words and then sentences.  Find some letters on a piece of paper and start copying them.  Make sure the capital letters are big (!) and the small letters are small but long in the correct places.
For example these letters have  a tail below the line:
p q y  
These letters are small, but they go up as well, like a capital letter:
b d f h k l
These letters are just small:
a e  i  o s t u v  x z     
Do you know how to write an easy English sentence?  
Sometimes, students try to write very long difficult sentences, but they forget the basic grammar.  The subject should be first, then the verb (or two of them, including prepositions) and then “something” after that.  For example:
I                   want        ice cream.
Subject      verb         “something”
I                want to             go                       home.
Subject      verb                verb              “something”
The subject can also be quite long, but the rules still apply.
My friends and I          want to          go        home.
Subject                              verb           verb    “something”
The boss of the company               wants to           have                     a meeting.
Subject                                                         verb               verb                    “something”
If you start with these kinds of sentences, you can add more information like adverbs and adjectives.
The boss of the company               really              wants to           have                     an important  meeting.
Subject                                                    adverb             verb               verb                                  adjective + “something”
What do you want to write?

Find some examples of the same style.  Read them!  If you read a lot, you will get  used to the English style of writing.  If you need to write essays for university, read some textbooks to get used to the formal writing style.  If you want to write to your friends, look at Facebook or some blogs with comments.  Look back at your old English coursebooks.  Maybe you have forgotten that they have some great examples of letters, emails etc.
Write on the internet!
You can start your own blog at – send links to your friends who are also learning.  They can comment.  This way you can find people who have the same interests as you, as well as improving your writing.
Write a journal and ask someone to correct it.
Use or another internet language website.
Livemocha has a writing section.  After you complete the lessons, you can write a paragraph and native speakers or other learners can check it for you online.  Save their corrections in another document (on your laptop).  Then you can remember what the problems were.  Write it again with the corrections so that you can remember them.
The most important thing is to read a lot about things that interest you.  You can read magazines, stories, subtitles on films, posters you see in the street.
Happy writing!!


Always, sometimes, never…

When we teach present simple in class, we tell you that you can use these words:


This is true.  But, did you know that you can use them with any of the tenses?

Here are some examples:

He is always coming late.     (Present progressive)

He always comes late.  (Present simple)

He has always been late.  (Present perfect)

He was always late to class.  (Past simple)

He was always coming late to class.  (Past progressive)

He’ll always come late to class.  (“Will” future)

He is always going to come late to class (“going to” future)

Why?  Well, in class we teach you that you can use “always, sometimes, never”, because it’s easy.

Outside the classroom (the most important place), people use these words to say “how often” something happens.  So, they can be used to talk about the past, present or the future.

So how can we learn them then?  Good question.  My advice is to learn the meaning of these words, and then think about how you can use them with different tenses (past, present and future).  They change the meaning slightly.

Can you think of any examples?  Post them in the comments below.

As I always say…happy learning!!


Getting to know you

So…let me introduce myself. You can comment and do the same! Cut and paste the sentences below and change your answers.

I’m from Australia.
At the weekends I relax and drink too much coffee.
For breakfast I usually eat cheese on toast.
When I’m older I think I’ll be pretty much the same.
Next week I’m going to try to sleep early
I listen to music when I surf the internet.
I’ve never been to China.
Learning English is never complete, but always fun.
The best day of the week is Wednesday, because my students have finally woken up.
I don’t really like Monday mornings.

How about you?