consuming passions … in English


Today we’ve started with the first theme in Advanced Level (A.1) student’s book in English course at the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas from Santander. The first section (1A) is titled consuming passions, pp. 6-7. At first page (p. 6) we were introduced to leisure interests (SPEAKING & VOCABULARY activity) There were four photos at the heading named A to D, depicting several people dressing or doing some activity related to their hobbies or passions. There were also four texts with descriptions related to the photos and we had to match them to the photos. The descriptions had some highlighted words and phrases which expressed passion related issues.

Our teacher asked us to put them into three groups:

(a) Words that describe people who like something
(b) Words that refer to people’s interest
(c) Words that refer to the starting of an activity

These were the words and phrases and classification:

(a) supporter, fan, aficionado

(b) to be crazy about something, to be obsessed with something, to be keen on (something) and to be into (something)

(c) to get the (something) bug, to turn (something) into a passion, to give (something) a try, to take up (something) and to get a taste for (something)

Gemma (our English teacher) assigned us to do as homework a little writing about one of our hobby using the words of the three groups stated above.

After all those activities about leisure interests we read an article about CVs and how not to write them (READING activity) Well, the first thing we did was to skim the article an choose a title for it among these alternatives: (1) Great ways to lose your job; (2) The truth can be dangerous; (3) What not to put on your CV

People write such strange things on their CVs that it’s tempting to believe that they don’t want the job at all. What, for example, was going through the mind of the applicant who wrote that his previous contract had been terminated because ‘they insisted that we get to work by 8:45 every morning and I couldn’t work under those conditions’? Or the candidate who described himself as ‘married, eight children, would prefer frequent travel’. And let’s not forget the typos — people who are proud of their ‘rabid typing’ or who announce that they were responsible for ‘ruining their company’s sales department’.

But the most revealing part of the CV is often the ‘personal interests’ section. Job seekers need to make their application stand out, so there’s little point in saying that you’re into pop music, that you like going to the cinema or that you’ve been a supporter of your local football team for ten years. And if you’re thinking of putting down something more original, think carefully. The fact that you have a passion for rock climbing and have been training for the World Championship may be of central importance in your life, but prospective employers are more likely to think ‘Uh-oh, dangerous, injuries, absences …’ Most bosses would rather their employees didn’t risk their lives every weekend.

A recent survey has shown that one in four CVs contain a lie of some kind, but resist the temptation to invent an interesting background for yourself. If, at the interview, you are asked questions about your voluntary work with those with special needs, you could find yourself in deep water if you made it all up. Even the truth, however well-meaning, can be dangerous. One job applicant who was obviously trying to make good impression wrote that she had taken up blood donating (fourteen gallons so far!). Weird.

The simple rule to remember is that you are applying for a job, so only include personal interests that are relevant to the application. Do your research carefully and identify what personal qualities are being looked for. Only decide what to write when you have found out what the job involves. And if you can think of nothing relevant to say, just say nothing at all!

NOTES: the typos were: ‘rabid’ instead of ‘rapid’ and ‘ruining’ instead of ‘running’ (to be in charge of); ‘climbing’ is pronounced without the ‘b’ sound; an expression of preference: would rather + past simple; ‘to terminate a contract’ means to sack an employee (to be sacked or fired); ‘to stand out’ means to be noticed; ‘voluntary’ is pronounced without ‘u’ and almost without ‘a’; ‘to find oneself into deep water’ means to get into trouble; ‘to make it up’ means to invent;

After skimming, we chose the title number three as best title for the article. And then we delved into the exercise number two that make us to read again the article — this time carefully and to find examples of …

(1) an unfortunate typing mistake: ‘rabid typing’ and ‘ruining their company’s sales department’

(2) dishonest information: ‘to invent an interesting background’ and the ‘blood donating’ episode

(3) completely uninteresting information: ‘to be into pop music, to like going to the cinema, to be a football supporter’.

(4) information which says too much about the candidate’s personal life: the candidate who stated that he was ‘married, eight children, …’

(5) information which shows that the candidate is not a reliable employee: ‘to invent an interesting background’ , again.

(6) information which will worry an employer: ‘to have a passion for rock climbing’

2 comentarios en “consuming passions … in English

  1. Before the beginning of the class I skimmed the syllabus of A.1 level and learned the basic an advanced competences that we are supposed to get at the end of the term. At the end of the document there were some interesting web links to some online places where we could find more material on learning English. Among these places, the Australia Network was the one that caught my attention, not only because I’m keen on Australia myself but for finding out an outstanding place to learn English at some distant place in the world. This website has a remarkable Learning English section where you can browse a wealth of multimedia material.

    Beside Australia Network, there was another place that has become also a great resource: the elllo.org place. Here you can find a lot of audio and video material to improve your English language skills (listening mostly, but also reading)

    Finally there was the traditional British Council website (I think I’ve commented on this before) This institution is like our Instituto Cervantes. They have got a Learning English section we can browse.

    I found out another possibly interesting blog called English Study Material that despite of being cluttered with adverts has got interesting blog entries that could be useful as supporting material on learning English.

  2. We did yet another couple of exercises I didn’t mention yesterday. They were grammar exercises: verb forms review [GRAMMAR ACTIVITY]. First we looked for the underlined verb forms in the article about CVs and tried to classify them among one of the English verb tenses. Here you are the results:

    * had been terminated: (passive) past perfect [have + past participle]

    * described: (active) past simple

    * have been training: (active) present perfect continuous [be + verb + -ing]

    * are asked: (passive) present simple

    * was obviously trying: (active) past continuous

    * are being looked for: (passive) present continuous

    * have found out: (active) present perfect

    The second exercise consisted on completing the question tags with the following auxiliary verbs: [are (x2) – do – have – were – did] in the following phrases:

    (1) You don’t have any strange hobbies, __do__ you?

    (2) You’ve never been obsessed with anything, __have__ you?

    (3) You’re not thinking of taking up a new sport, __are__ you?

    (4) You’re not a football supporter, __are__ you?

    (5) As a child, you weren’t a fan of Britney Spears, __were__ you?

    (6) You never got into stamp collecting, __did__ you?

    And finally we did a LISTENING exercise, listening to three workmates (Dave, Jayne and Harry) discussing paintballing. There were introduced some interesting expressions like:

    * to be a dark house (meaning when directed to a person when he or she reveals some detail about herself/himself we’ve never known despite of knowing that person for some while);

    * let off steam (meaning to get rid of some of the stress accumulated during the week because of work by doing for example some leisure outdoor activity that require physical exercise);

    * to get carried away (meaning to loose control of oneself by strong emotions, on an argument for example)

    * ream-building weekend, outdoor activities carried out by a company to let the colleagues to know each other (socialise) and themselves and exercise some basic team work competences that will help the team mates at work.

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