After failing to attend the first two English classes in April, I’ve gone today to my Intermediate 2 English class in Escuela Oficial de Idiomas of Santander. The class had already strarted the Unit 7, Education last week. This unit has three lessons with the following grammar, vocabulary and “can do” objectives:

Lesson 7.1 Learning from experience
Grammar: subject and object questions
Vocabulary: education
Can do: describe a learning experience

Lesson 7.2 Great Teachers
Grammar: used to/would
Vocabulary: teachers
Can do: describe a teacher from your past

Lesson 7.3 It’s never too late
Grammar: modals of ability, past and present
Vocabulary: old age
Can do: talk about abilities in the past and present

I guess they did the first three exercises of the Lead-in section last week (more on that later) Today we started with the Vocabulary exercise of Lesson 7.1:

3 Complete the phrases and expressions with the words and phrases from the box.

(here is a box :))

steep – by doing – heart – fast – perfect – strict – deep – up – bring

(end of the box)


1) a ___fast___ learner.
2) a ___strict__ teacher.


3) Practice makes ___perfect___.
4) It’s a ___steep___ learning curve.

Ways of learning

5) learning by ___heart___. (to memorize)
6) learn ___be doing___. (to learn from experience, as apprentice for example)
7) pick (something) ___up___. (to learn without effort)

Ways of teaching

8) throw someone in at the ___deep___ end. (to teach by brute force)
9) ___bring___ someone up to (do something) (to teach by explanation)

NOTE: Exercises 1 and 2 of the Listening section have been done last week.

Then we practice in pairs question/response, the “Can do” and “Grammar” of lesson 7.1, by doing the following exercise:

5 Think about a good (or bad) learning experience you have had.

(NOTE: The teacher asked us to think of a bad/good learning experience and then put questions bellow to our in-front-of-us partner; I thought of my peculiar English learning experience by hearing short wave radio stations with my old vintage and almost forgotten radio)

a Make questions from the prompts below.

1 What/learning? Why?
– What were you learning? Why?

2 Why/experience/good/bad?
– Why was the experience good/bad?

3 How/you/learn?
– How did you learn it?

4 Learn/in a group/on your own?
– Did you learn in a group or on your own?

5 Easy/difficult to learn?
– Was it (then) easy or difficult to learn?

6 How/you/make progress?
– How did you make progress?

7 You/learn/useful techniques?
– Did you learn useful techniques at the end?

bAnswer the questions. Take notes.

1 I decided to learn English on my own, because I had an old vintage radio in which I heard short wave radio stations from many countries and they spoke in a foreign language that I knew it was English most of the time and I didn’t understand a word! It became a good experience.

2 Because I managed to learn English almost on my own and felt the pleasure of learning something step by step by myself and most of all being able to understand what other people in other countries thought and talked about!

3 I started to hear short wave radio stations that I found almost by chance moving carefully the dial. At first most of the radio stations had a very noisy reception which made even more difficult to understand a word. But soon I learnt that at night the reception were better and I fixed some very interesting radio stations like Voice of America or BBC World which had special programs to learn English!

4 I learned on my own.

5 At first it was very difficult to learn anything because of the poor reception of the transmissions and my scarce knowledge of English.

6 I was able to record some of the radio programs y replay them many times until I understood more or less the meaning of the sentences of words the speaker said. Then a friend of my mother was an English teacher and some weekends I went to hers with my recordings and she help me to understand the most difficult sentences and words. But that resource was the last chance to understand the recordings. Most of the time I managed to decode all the messages in real time!

7 Of course! Once I found out that there were a language to represent phonetically the English words. And in English dictionaries, the words were written also in that language. So I learned to transcribe the words I heard in the radio to those letters and then I tried to find out a similar word in the dictionary. I learned a lot of useful word with that technique!


3 comentarios en “education

  1. After doing the question and answer exercise we did the Reading exercise about learning from mistakes.

    6 What do you think is the connection between light bulbs, crisps, bread ans post-it notes? Read the text to find out-

    Mistakes … that work …

    People who don’t make mistakes are unlikely to learn anything. The best way to learn something is to make mistakes first. Thomas Edison, who invented the light bulb, told his colleagues: ‘Of the 200 light bulbs that didn’t work, every failure told me something I was able to incorporate to the next attempt.’ Benjamin Franklin, the US statesman an scientist once said: ‘I haven’t failed, I have had 10,000 ideas that didn’t work.’

    Both these people understood that failures and false starts are the condition of success. In fact a surprising number of everyday objects had their beginnings in a mistake or misunderstanding. Post-it notes, packets of crisps and even bread are all unexpected inventions. In 2600 B.C., a tired Egyptian slave invented bread when the dough rose during his sleep. And crisps were first cooked by a chef in the USA when a customer complained that his fried potatoes were not thin enough.

    Successful businesspeople have often made big, expensive mistakes in their past. When an employee of IBM made a mistake that cost the company $600,000, Thomas Watson, the chairman, was asked if he would fire the man. ‘Of course not,’ he replied. ‘I have just spent $600,000 training him. I am not going to let another company benefit from his experience.’

    The important thing to remember is that you need to learn from your mistakes. If you don’t, then there is no sense in making them.

    The meaning of the word work in the header of the text is functioning. It is useful to tell the difference between mistake and error. The former happens when you know something but you say it wrong. The latter happens when you’ve learn something wrong and still you believe you are right. The right way to mention a person who do business as a way of get a life is businessperson or businesspeople and not businessman, businessmen or businesswoman.

    After reading the text, we made exercise number seven …

    7 Cover the text and try to complete the sentences.

    1 According to the article, the best way to learn something is to __make__ mistakes first.

    2 Thomas Edison invented the __light bulb__, but he first made a lot of __failures__.

    3 Post-it notes, bread and packets of crisps were all unexpected __inventions__.

    4 An Egyptian slave invented bread by going to __sleep__.

    5 Crisps were invented by an American chef because a __customer__ complained that his fried potatoes were not __thin__ enough.

    6 An employee of IBM made a mistake which __costed__ the company $600,000, However, his boss decided __not__ to fire him because he now had lots of __experience__.

    7 The important thing to remember is to __learn __ from your mistakes.

  2. In the second hour of class we started lesson 7.2 reading the excerpt from the book Matilda by Roald Dahl:

    After the usual business of going through all the names of the children, Miss Honey handed out brand-new exercise-book to each pupil.
    ‘You have all brought your own pencils, I hope,’ she said.
    ‘Yes, Miss Honey,’ they chanted.
    ‘Good. Now this is the very first day of school for each one of you. It is the beginning of at least eleven long years of schooling that all of you are going to have to go through. And six of those years will be spent right here at Crunchem Hall, where, as you know, your headmistress is Miss Trunchbull. Let me for your own good tell you something about Miss Trunchbull. She insists upon strict discipline throughout school, and if you take my advice you will do your very best to behave yourselves in her presence. Never argue with her. Never answer her back. Always do as she says. If you get on the wrong side of Miss Trunchbull she can liquidize you like a carrot in a kitchen blender. It’s nothing to laugh about, Lavender. Take that grin out of your face. All of you will be wise to remember that Miss Truchbull deals very severely with anyone who gets out of the line in this school. Have you got the message?’
    ‘Yes, Miss Honey,’ chirruped eighteen eager little voices.

    From Matilda by Roald Dahl

    After reading the text, we did exercises 3,4 and 5.

    3 Mark the statements true (T) or false (F)

    1 Miss Honey reads the names of all the children. (T)

    2 The school provides pencils for the children. (F)

    3 All the children are new to the school. (T)

    4 They will stay at the school for eleven years. (F)

    5 Miss Trunchbull is the class teacher. (F)

    6 Miss Honey tells the children how ti behave in front of the headmistress. (T)

    7 Miss Honey advises the children not to argue with each other. (F)

    8 The children are happy about being at school. (T)

    4 Look at the words/phrases from the text and __underline__ the correct definition.

    1 strict discipline: making people __obey rules__/have fun

    2 take my advice: __do what I suggest__/give me a suggestion

    3 behave yourselves: act like a __good__/bad child

    4 argue: agree/__disagree__ with someone by talking or shouting

    5 answer back: reply politelye/__rudely__ (especially for children)

    6 deals severely with: __punishes__/rewards

    7 gets out of line: behaves in the correct/__incorrect__ way

    5 Complete the sentences using some of the words/phrases in Ex 4.

    1 I didn’t __behave__ myself when I was at school.

    2 I believe that __strict discipline__ is important when you are bringing up children.

    3 I think you should __take__ your father’s __advise__. He is usually right.

    4 My brother and I __argued__ a lot, but we still get on well.

    5 My teacher __deals severely__ with anyone who arrives late at school.

  3. We finally did the Grammar exercise on Subject/object questions:

    Active Grammar

    Object questions

    Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.
    What did Thomas Edison invent?

    The light bulb is the __object__ of the question.

    When the Wh- question word refers to the object of the question, we use:

    Question word + auxiliary + subject + verb
    What did Benjamin Franklin say?

    Subject questions

    Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.
    Who invented the light bulb?

    Thomas Edison is the __subject__ of teh question.

    When a Wh- word refers to the subject in a question we do not use the auxiliary verb. The word order is the same as the affirmative.

    Subject + verb + object

    Who worte The Lord of the Rings?


    a. Work in pairs (A+B) Write questions for the statements in Quiz A and Quiz B.

    b. Student A: look at the answers to Quiz A on page 146. Student B: look at the answers to Quiz B on page 149. Give 1 point for each correct answer.

    NOTE: I was on the group Quiz A. Here is the Quiz A and the questions we made:

    Quiz A

    1 A famous artist painted Guernica in 1937 (Who?) [SUBJECT]

    Q: Who painted Guernica in 1937?
    A: Pablo Picasso.

    2 Mozart started composing music. (When?) [OBJECT]

    Q: When did Mozart start composing music?
    A: He started composing music at 4 years old.

    3 A scientist discovered penicillin in 1928. (Who?) [SUBJECT]

    Q: Who discovered penicillin in 1928?
    A: Alexander Fleming.

    4 One of the world’s greatest scientists lived from 1879 to 1955. (Which?) [SUBJECT]

    Q: Which one of the world’s greatest scientists lived from 1879 to 1955?
    A: Albert Einstein.

    5 A famous city is nicknamed The Big Apple. (Which?) [SUBJECT]

    Q: Which famous city is nicknamed The Big Apple?
    A: New York.

    6 Guglielmo Marconi is responsible for an invention. (What invention?) [OBJECT]

    Q: What invention did invent Marconi?
    A: The Radio.

    7 This is the largest desert in the world. (Which?) [SUBJECT]

    Q: Which is the largest desert in the world?
    A: Sahara.

    8 This man earned $34 million per day during the 1990s. (Who?) [SUBJECT]

    Q: Who earned $34 million per day during the 1990s?
    A: Bill Gates.

    9 This country is the oldest surviving republic in the world. (Which?) [SUBJECT]

    Q: Which country is the oldest surviving republic in the world?
    A: San Marino.

    10 Boris Becker became the youngest man ever to win the men’s singles at Wimbledon. (When?) [OBJECT]

    Q: When did Boris Becker become the youngest man ever to win Wimbledon?
    A: 1985.

    By the way, we did win! :)


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