Posts Tagged ‘British Council’

Reading medium size texts (English language)+ EXTRA: audio, easy reads

15 February 2020

twitter: @eugenio_fouz

[Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain]


Understand The News In English
Do you want to read the news in English? It’s a great way to get more news, from more points of view, as well as to get lots of English practice. However, it’s not always easy reading– or watching. Here’s a little help for understanding common news vocabulary and the way news is investigated and reported in English-speaking countries.

Near the bottom of this page there are links to more help to understand the news you read or watch (ESL or simple-English news sites).

Incidentally, did you notice that the word ‘news’ is treated as a singular, uncountable noun in English? So we say the news is good or bad, never ‘are’ or ‘were.’


go on reading:






Do you want to practise your reading and learn about global issues, special days and festivals?

In this section, read articles about a wide variety of topics. The articles are written for intermediate (CEFR level B1) and upper intermediate (CEFR level B2) learners.

You will improve your reading comprehension and develop your vocabulary on a diverse range of international events, celebrations and topics. Each article has interactive exercises to help you understand and use the language. 


go on reading:




Daily ESL (short readings with audios)

DAILY ESL dot com

This I believe


Black is beautiful



Community Language Learning via British Council

17 July 2015

twitter: @eugenio_fouz

2015-03-30 10.24.58

Here it is an extract of the methodology known as CLL or Community language learning. This approach to teaching languages was in the rage many years ago. Anyway, have a look at the link here:


Community language learning

28 June, 2004

Community language learning (CLL) was primarily designed for monolingual conversation classes where the teacher-counsellor would be able to speak the learners’ L1.

Community language learning – methodology article

The intention was that it would integrate translation so that the students would disassociate language learning with risk taking. It’s a method that is based on English for communication and is extremely learner-focused. Although each course is unique and student-dictated, there are certain criteria that should be applied to all CLL classrooms, namely a focus on fluency in the early stages, an undercurrent of accuracy throughout the course and learner empowerment as the main focus.

How it works in the classroom

In a typical CLL lesson I have five stages:

Stage 1- Reflection

I start with students sitting in a circle around a tape recorder to create a community atmosphere.

The students think in silence about what they’d like to talk about, while I remain outside the circle.

To avoid a lack of ideas students can brainstorm their ideas on the board before recording.

Stage 2 – Recorded conversation

Once they have chosen a subject the students tell me in their L1 what they’d like to say and I discreetly come up behind them and translate the language chunks into English.

With higher levels if the students feel comfortable enough they can say some of it directly in English and I give the full English sentence. When they feel ready to speak the students take the microphone and record their sentence.

It’s best if you can use a microphone as the sound quality is better and it’s easier to pick up and put down.

Here they’re working on pace and fluency. They immediately stop recording and then wait until another student wants to respond. This continues until a whole conversation has been recorded.

Stage 3 – Discussion

Next the students discuss how they think the conversation went. They can discuss how they felt about talking to a microphone and whether they felt more comfortable speaking aloud than they might do normally.

This part is not recorded.

Stage 4 – Transcription

Next they listen to the tape and transcribe their conversation. I only intervene when they ask for help.

The first few times you try this with a class they might try and rely on you a lot but aim to distance yourself from the whole process in terms of leading and push them to do it themselves.

Stage 5 – Language analysis

I sometimes get students to analyse the language the same lesson or sometimes in the next lesson. This involves looking at the form of tenses and vocabulary used and why certain ones were chosen, but it will depend on the language produced by the students.

In this way they are totally involved in the analysis process. The language is completely personalised and with higher levels they can themselves decide what parts of their conversation they would like to analyse, whether it be tenses, lexis or discourse.

With lower levels you can guide the analysis by choosing the most common problems you noted in the recording stages or by using the final transcription.

Length of stages

The timing will depend entirely on the class, how quickly they respond to CLL, how long you or they decide to spend on the language analysis stage and how long their recorded conversation is. Be careful however that the conversation isn’t too long as this will in turn make the transcription very long

For and against CLL


Learners appreciate the autonomy CLL offers them and thrive on analysing their own conversations.

CLL works especially well with lower levels who are struggling to produce spoken English.

The class often becomes a real community, not just when using CLL but all of the time. Students become much more aware of their peers, their strengths and weaknesses and want to work as a team.


In the beginning some learners find it difficult to speak on tape while others might find that the conversation lacks spontaneity.

We as teachers can find it strange to give our students so much freedom and tend to intervene too much.

In your efforts to let your students become independent learners you can neglect their need for guidance.



Although CLL is primarily meant as a ‘whole’ approach to teaching I have found it equally useful for an occasional lesson, especially with teenagers. It enables me to refocus on the learner while my students immediately react positively to working in a community. They take exceptionally well to peer-correction and by working together they overcome their fear of speaking. I have also found quieter students able to offer corrections to their peers and gladly contribute to the recording stage of the lesson. It’s a teaching method which encompasses all four skills while simultaneously revealing learners’ styles which are more or less analytical in their approach to language learning. All of which raises our awareness as a teacher and that of our students.

British Council listening audios and dropboxing

14 March 2013

twitter: @eugenio_fouz


Weeks ago a colleague of mine spoke wonderfully about the usefulness of a podcast series he fancied a lot. Francisco shared with me the link of the British Council Learning English series. Now I listen to the British Council podcasts too. Listening to genuine dialogues is fine. I would recommend these to anyone who wanted to learn English easily.

Take this link if you please:

On the other hand, this guy was the one who said lots of positive things about dropbox to me. Thanks to Hidalgo now I have a big box to store documents, images and projects.

Journalism As Literature

A graduate seminar at the University of Florida


Elements of True Gentlemen


Disentería literaria


El primer blog de Garrafón en habla hispana

A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Books. Reflections. Travel.


crear siempre, aprender y guardar la llama