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Try Something New

I have something new for you to try.

There is an organisation called TED, which stands for “Technology, Entertainment and Design”. You can find its website here. TED is interested in ideas – Ideas Worth Spreading. It organises a couple of conferences every year, but – much more important – it makes videos of most of the talks and presentations at its conferences, and puts them on the internet for everyone to see, or to download if they wish. The talks are no more than 20 minutes long, and many of them are much shorter. They cover all sorts of topics, from science to society; some are serious, some are funny; all of them are interesting. The page for finding these talks is here.

Now, here is the bit that makes these talks really useful for English learners. Most of the talks have subtitles in English, and many have subtitles in other languages too. There is a box below each video where you can select the subtitles. And on the right hand side of the webpage (on the TED site), most of the talks have a transcript as well as notes about the speaker, and a summary of the talk. So you can follow the talk in English, or in your own language, as you wish. You can even click on the transcript to restart the video from any point, so you can play a section several times if you find it difficult to understand.

i have chosen one short talk to give you an idea of what TED can offer. It is by Matt Cutts, and in three and a half minutes he tells us how to Try Something New for 30 Days. Have fun!


It's English Time, by Diana Tower

Sorry, I cannot find a player to play this file. But you can download it to your computer using the link below.

Watch the first video from Diana Tower’s new 20 video English course “Its English Time”...

English teacher Diana Tower has e-mailed to tell us about her latest venture, an English course called “It’s English Time”. It is based on videos about the life of Jerry, a 40 year-old bachelor whose life – in lots of little ways – is a bit harder than it ought to be. There are 20 units in the course. Each unit uses one of the videos to help students to learn new vocabulary, expressions, phrasal verbs and much more in 8 simple steps. Students will challenge their listening skills by watching the videos (with and without subtitles) and studying additional audio recorded by Diana herself. She has a really nice North American accent, so those of you who have told me that you want to know more about American English should listen to some of her mp3s.

You can find out more about the course by going to Diana’s website. The course costs 197EUR or 275USD, but if you are quick you can get it at a reduced price of 137EUR until 1 April 2011.

Diana has kindly agreed to put one of the videos on Listen to English – you can see it at the top of this posting. Also, you can download an introduction to the course here, and a pdf with exercises for the first unit here. And, even better, there are two audio files from Diana here and here.

I am visiting Northern Ireland later in the week; there will be a new podcast when I get back.


 Download MPEG-4 Video (16 MB | 4:19 min)

Download to your SmartPhone


Sorry, I cannot find a player to play this file. But you can download it to your computer using the link below.

Busuu.com is an online community of people who love learning languages. The busuu website contains materials for people learning English, French, German, Spanish, Portugese, Italian and Russian. There are interactive langauge courses and lessons, and opportunities to practice your language skills with other members of the busuu community. Click to play the You Tube video above, or on the “Get YouTube Video link below, to learn a bit more about what busuu.com offers. You can join busuu.com free.

And, best of all, Monika has sent me an e-mail to say that there is a special Listen to English group on busuu where you can discuss and write about the topics in Listen to English podcasts and other language material.


Are you a busy teacher?

Are you an English language teacher? A busy English language teacher? Do you often find that you often need teaching resources in a hurry – worksheets, quizzes, activities, audio material etc? The site busyteacher.org has a large collection of useful material which can be downloaded for free. It is an established community of 50.000+ ESL/EFL teachers who contribute teaching materials to the site, with new material available every day. Register with the site and find what it can do to help you and your students.


Download to your Smart Phone!

There is a new feature on Listen to English which allows you to download podcasts direct to your iPhone or other Smart Phone.

Below each podcast there is a link “Download to your SmartPhone”. Click the link to display a QR barcode. If your phone has a camera, an internet connection and a barcode reader, the phone will be able to read the barcode and download the podcast mp3.

This feature is still experimental. Please let me know if you find it useful, and if you find any problems with it.


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