Karaoke event on October 19th 2012

On October 6, 2012, in Events, by Colin

October 19 2012: Quieres cantar en ingles? Do you want to sing in English? Vamos al Live Canto Bar! Let’s go to Live Canto Bar! Nuestro primer evento el viernes 19 Octubre. The first of many events designed to give you the opportunity to pratice your English whilst singing and having a good time. Don’t worry about your English level, everyone is welcome.

Other activities and drinks promotions will be announced shortly. Invite your friends to join the club today!


Come to our Laraoke event


Come to the English Language Club for Cambridge CAE and CPE exam preparation courses at our offices at 983 Dr Odriozola with Boetner.
If you are taking advanced-level Cambridge exams in December, then ELC has native British teachers with years of experience preparing students for Cambridge exams. We have three course schedules to choose from, all of which include practice paper methodology, exam technique, personal revision schedules, a CD of materials and resources and work on key grammar, listening, reading, speaking and writing skills. For more details, please contact the English Language Club on 0981 885809, e-mail us on info@englishlanguageclub.org or chat on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EngLanguageClub. Course places are limited to a maximum of 7 students per class so please don’t delay.

Module 1 Start Monday 24 September – Friday 19 October
Module 2 Start Monday 22 October – Friday 16 November
12 sessions, 3 x 3 hours weekly
Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9am-12noon
400,000G per course (hourly rate 11,000G)

Module 1 Start Tuesday 25 September – Thursday 18 October
Module 2 Start Tuesday 23 October – Thursday 15 November
8 sessions, 2 x 2hours weekly
Tuesday and Thursday 7-9PM
250,000G per course (hourly rate 15,600G)

Module 1 Starts Saturday 29 September – Saturday 20 October
Module 2 Start Saturday 27 October – Saturday 17 November
4 sessions, 1 x 3 hours weekly
Saturday  9am-12noon
200,000G per course (hourly rate 16.600G)


Learning Online

On August 1, 2011, in Teaching, by Colin

When I was a teenager I learned to play the guitar a little. Back then, in order to do that I had to go and buy a guitar and then hire a teacher to teach me. Now you don’t even need to have a guitar to learn to play one. Admittedly, it would help but there are apps for smart phones that simulate musical instruments enabling people learn something about playing the guitar without even having one. If someone was going to take it a little more seriously and had invested in a guitar then thy certainly don’t need to have lessons all they need to do is search ‘learn guitar‘ into YouTube and lessons will appear, like this one.

I like cooking and couple of months ago I wanted to know how to de-bone a chicken. This is a complicated procedure where all of the bones are removed from a chicken leaving just one big piece of meat. It would be difficult to learn this from a book as it is essential to see how it is done. So I looked on YouTube and found this:

I think that this is how the majority of learning is done these days, not just in YouTube but by pursuing one’s interests through the vast amount of information that is available. It may not follow a set syllabus or meet our teaching aims or lead to a qualification but in terms of the transfer and acquisition of knowledge, learning online is highly effective.

A teacher and a classroom just can’t compete with what is out there and we shouldn’t even be trying. We should embrace and integrate the more effective mediums by removing ourselves from the learning process a little. I appreciate that that could be controversial and many teachers may feel threatened by it. So let me explain what I mean. I am not saying that we should just throw in the towel and tell students to stay at home and surf the internet rather that we should reinvent the classroom as a place to practice and reflect on what can be learned more effectively elsewhere instead of a place where we try to do that initial transfer of knowledge. As teachers, we would act more like guides and advisers asking students to tell us and the class what they have learned and found interesting by learning online. This style of learning and teaching needs to be led by the students interests. So as teachers we need to try to encourage our students to follow their interests and to make our classes relevant to them. Motivation is a precious thing and should be nurtured and treasured.


LABCI conference 2011

On July 17, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Colin

For the last three days I have been attending the (Latin American British Cultural Institutes’), LABCI conference 2011 here in Asuncion, Paraguay. It has been a great event and I feel really lucky that it was here in Paraguay this year as I am not sure I would have gone otherwise but I am glad I did. I am very grateful to Cathy, Ed, Lorna and rest of the team from the Anglo for organizing it.

My professional focus as a teacher is to try to find ways to use the skills I developed in my previous career as a film maker to enhance the processes of teaching and learning English as a foreign language. Much of the focus of the event was on using technology better or more specifically asking our students to do so. So I am really excited about bringing my work to the EFL world.

I think it is fair to say that in education most schools and institutions are several years behind the times when it comes to technology. This is not a criticism because there are good and unavoidable reasons for this. Education budgets are always tight so new technology need to be proved before they can be invested in. Then staff need to be trained to use it and this is sometimes difficult as many teachers are from a previous generation and it is more difficult for them to learn and also hard for them to see the real benefit.

However, I believe we are about to enter a period of radically redefining the classroom. As human beings we learn. We are learning machines, especially when we are young. But I think we will soon need to admit that traditional classrooms are not places where people can learn effectively compared to the other options that are available these days. So much of our training material is geared towards classrooms that it is difficult to see beyond them, but we can not fight against the way in which our world is changing if we don’t embrace this change we will continue to become increasingly irrelevant and useless. When classrooms and schools were invented the world was a different place so isn’t it time we reinvented the class room?


I just went to see the new Transformers movie, ‘Dark of the Moon’. I noticed that one of the things that characterizes the Transformer’s style of speech is their complete lack of contractions. At first it appears to add gravitas to what they are saying but when they do it all the time they just sound silly.

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Phonetic Symbols, interactive chart

On April 10, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Colin

Before I was EFL teacher I was a film maker. We made a lot of video for clients which were put on YouTube. So I am very familiar with the site and it recently occurred to me that there is a little used feature within YouTube could be used to great effect for teaching English, and that is the annotations. YouTube annotations allow you to select a certain part of the video screen to link to another place in YouTube when clicked. Most people use this to drive traffic to their main channel page or to their other videos but it is normally in the context of an advert and it always feels a little like spam when I see it.

The potential for this feature though is massive. With a little creativity it could be used create interactive exercises to help teach and practice English. So I plan to make some videos in this style over the next few weeks to see how they go.

My first attempt is an interactive phonetic chart. The plan was to make a video displaying all of the phonetic symbols and to put an annotation around each one so when it is clicked the user is taken to a part of the video where that sound can be heard. Hopefully it will be a useful tool for students studying English as they will be able to hear the correct pronunciation of words that they see written in the phonetic script as it is in some dictionaries and English teaching books.

Here is the chart.

Next I plan to make some videos that explain the verb ‘to be’ for beginner students, followed by interactive exercises.

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Tania, the receptionist and I have been working hard this week to get the place ready to start teaching English. I cant wait to start teaching at the English Language Club, I really think the courses are going to be great.

Tomorrow a painter is coming to paint the reception, lounge and the first classroom. Next week some builders are coming to make a few changes, they will pull down a wall and put in a gate, replace some windows and a carpenters is building the reception area. It should all be done by the end of next week then we can start receiving students and visitors.

In the meantime we will be busy continuing to prepare the classes and set up our administration.

If you are interested and want some more information about our courses have a look at the ‘Courses’ page that has just been updated. This will give you information about the structure of our courses as well as prices.

We also recently updated out ‘Contact’ page so why not check it out and send us a message!


Today was an important day for The English Language Club as the receptionist started working and we opened our office. Hopefully we will open some courses within a month. We don’t have a phone line yet hopefully we will get that in a week or so but in the mean time you can call my cell phone 0984 448141.

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This follows on from what I was saying about the need to practice English socially.

After we had been having our English social meetings for a few months one of our more dedicated members moved to Valencia, Spain. He said he missed the English Language club and wanted something similar in Valencia. So we created the Facebook group English Language Club, Spain, Valencia. They are having the same type of meetings that we have in Asuncion. In the future we plan to start more social groups in other cities all over the world.

If you would like us to open a group for your city get in touch via our contact page.

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This follows on from what I was saying (here) about starting to teach English.

So after a few months of teaching English I was really starting to enjoy it. Teaching English is very rewarding especially to adults who really value and appreciate the knowledge that you are sharing with them. However, most of the students tended to come to their English class, learn a little and then leave and not practice again until their next class, which was often not for another week! To truly learn English I think it is necessary to practice in a free way, expressing your real thoughts to other people not just going through controlled exercises in a class. So In November 2009 I started the first English Language Club facebook group. The aim was to create a social network of people in the local area of Asuncion who wanted more than just classes. Once we had a few members we started meeting regularly. It was pretty slow at first with only one person coming in to any of the meeting we did in 2009 but in 2010 it started to grow. We soon developed a core of dedicated members who have become good friends and practice English together regularly as well as having a handful of other members who attend occasionally and many who come when they can.  We have done many things together, mainly eating and drinking in bars but also Bowling, Karaoke and there is even talk about the possibility of doing a camp.

Next I will tell you about how we went international!

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