Author Archives: Anita Clementina

How did I ace my course? Successful time management strategies for myEnglish

Why do some students do better than the others on online courses? Most adult language learners lead a very busy life. It’s a struggle to find a work-life balance. Add to that the workload of an English course and you may suddenly feel overwhelmed! We spoke to three highly successful myEnglish students, who gave us tips on tackling online study.

Ishrat Ishrat Pirani is a student in Mumbai and myEnglish was her first experience of online learning.

Sayed

 

 

Sayed Faiz is an IT professional. He’s an online learning pro, having done multiple myEnglish courses.

 

1Pranav

 

 

Pranav Ingle works in the education sector. He learnt about the myEnglish course from his boss, who recommended it to him.

 

  1. Keep your goals in mind. Remind yourself why you’ve enrolled for the course. Your improvement and investment in the course can be your key motivators. This helps keep you focused.
  2. Do a little, but often. Don’t try to do all your coursework at one go. Log in whenever you have a few minutes to spare. This will make the workload more manageable.
  3. Keep the task in mind. myEnglish discussion forums and assignments give you the chance to use the language you’ve learnt each week while communicating with others. So try to make sure you’re using the target language. Look carefully at the task assigned to you and focus on answering the question closely.
  4. Organize. Keep notes of your coursework. You can use a word processing program like MS Word to organise any new language learnt. This will make writing revision less time consuming.
  5. Do make use of teacher feedback on your forum posts. You can ask your teacher any language question on the Language Help forum. Keep a list of questions you’d like to ask and post them once or twice a week. Remember to read your teacher’s response to each post. Take note of this feedback and as the weeks go by, you will find it easier to participate in discussions and make fewer errors.
  6. Improve your speaking skills by attending every Live Online Class. This is a wonderful platform to practice speaking and the language you have learnt on the course. Your teacher will also help you correct your mistakes. Regular and active participation in online classes will boost your confidence in speaking English.
  7. Enjoy learning.  Remember to have fun while learning. myEnglish allows you to participate in plenty of interesting discussions about real life topics and situations. Focus on topics that interest you. And remember to give yourself an occasional reward, like taking a short break from coursework or having a chocolate after completing an assignment. This will keep you motivated and the course will not feel like a chore.
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From erasing negativity to giving her positive energy – Jayanthi’s learning journey – #HumansOfBritishCouncil

jayanthiFrom erasing negativity to giving her positive energy – Jayanthi’s learning journey.

Hi, I am Jayanthi and I am 27 years old. My father is a farmer from Thiruvannamalai and I have been working as a staff nurse at a private hospital in Chennai since 7 years.

Before I joined the Impact course at the British Council, I was not able to communicate with others in English. I could not express what was in my mind, not even a single sentence. I used to hesitate while speaking to anyone in English. I used to think that grammar is difficult to learn but the way my teacher teaches in class with activities, group discussions, public speaking skills and extempore, it is very easy for me to understand. Nothing feels difficult.

After this course I felt very happy and proud of myself. This course is not only for learning language; it also developed my knowledge and erased my negative thoughts. Now I have positive energy to do anything.

British Council has taught me a lot and also helped me make new friends from different places. Through my course I got to know that I can learn English by watching English movies, reading books, watching podcasts and the various online learning resources by British Council.

I had heard about the British Council one year ago and planned to join a course. I worked hard and waited to join this course. Before I joined the course, the teachers spoke to me and suggested which course will be good for me. I finally joined the Impact pre-intermediate course and now I feel my dream has come true.

I wish to continue studying here and improve my language level more and more. I thank British Council for giving me a platform to introduce myself and tell the world who I am.

- Jayanthi, English Language student, Chennai

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Choose suitable resources, be honest and work hard – Ramchandra’s story of success – #HumansOfBritishCouncil

RamaChoose suitable resources, be honest and work hard – Ramchandra’s story of success

Being an engineer, I was under the impression that I could use English very well; at least better than the others! But this proved to be false when I interacted with some people who were really good at English. Additionally, the thing that I had to search for appropriate vocabulary and sentence patterns to use English other than technical one rang the bell for me to wake up.

At this point, I started to find out ways to learn ‘real English’. Prof. Ulhas Bapat from Pune suggested me with a few exams from Cambridge University. Meanwhile, I also came across an advertisement of ‘myEnglish course’ in the British Library, Pune. With Prof. Bapat’s consent and because of the authoritative brand name – British Council, I joined the course without any hesitation.

Starting the course at the intermediate level, I went on to complete one at upper Intermediate level as well. The course is a nice combination of traditional and modern methods of teaching. Apart from language learning, it develops unknowingly the skills of interaction, presentation and study with ethics. I am glad to say that at least I know the language used by the elite class.

My view of learning English really changed after completing the course in the sense of using collocations, subject specific vocabulary, sentence structures and technology to upload the assignments. My trainers Avinash, Anupama and Iti helped and encouraged me a lot to study even beyond the syllabus. I am very grateful to them. Moreover, I started looking at ‘English’ in a different perspective.

I would like to advise the one who wants to learn something new that choose suitable resources, be honest to the trainer and work hard. It definitely leads to success.

- Ramchandra Kulkarni, myEnglish student, Pune

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From being put on the spot to being in the spotlight – Kamaraj Mani’s Journey – #HumansOfBritishCouncil

KamarajFrom being put on the spot to being in the spotlight – Kamaraj Mani’s Journey.

Imagine a situation like this. You were in a business meeting with the top officials of your organisation and it was your turn to express your views. When you started presenting your views, you had noticed that everyone’s eyes were on you. Upon seeing them, your body was shaking uncontrollably and your tongue was rolling unnecessarily. Despite your preparation, your mind was keen on searching words. There was no proper mind and mouth coordination. Even in an air conditioned ambience, the fear had made you to sweat immensely. Have you ever experienced this?I, Kamaraj Mani Natarajan, work as a product manager for an IT firm that serves various technology solutions to the Indian healthcare industry. Being a product manager, I am responsible for providing innovative business solutions and IT product ideas for various customer needs. The situation that I have described above had occurred in most of the critical meetings. Every time, the spotlight of mine was stolen by somebody else. I hadn’t realised that I was being pushed to the back seats. While I was exploring the root cause, one of my friends who had also faced similar situations emphasized me that it was only because of lack of language and presentation skills. He was the one who introduced me to the British Council and its courses.When I approached the British Council, the highly qualified language trainers properly assessed my weaknesses and offered me the appropriate courses. The systematic design of the courses and the way in which it was taught really facilitated me to eradicate most of my weaknesses. They taught the best way to initiate any conversation to express my views in a structured way. Now I can proudly say that I can handle any business meeting. All the credits go to the teachers of the British Council.

Apart from language learning, the British Council helped me to build a good network with like minded business people and professionals, who had attended the courses along with me. Many of them are still doing courses with me. All of us meet every weekend and exchange the new things that we learned over the weekdays. My view on learning a language has completely changed after my time at the British Council.

I have found one thing that learning language is neither a single time nor a single course activity. To show your excellence in it, one should learn continuously and practice immensely.
My advice for those who are looking to learn something new is systematic approach and appropriate practice will make you to achieve your goals.

- Kamaraj Mani, English Language Student, Chennai

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Saba Moosa’s inspiring story and e-learning journey- #HumansOfBritishCouncil

#HOBC-1
Language is my centred and focused attention. My primary interest is in the English Language since I’ve graduated in English and I’ve also done a post graduate degree in English Literature. It’s where I developed interest in it. Literature is all about knowing fiction and stories. I understand there is a lot beyond stories and beyond poems; that is how you communicate. Therefore I developed an interest in learning language.

After I completed my post graduate degree, I joined the British Council course which gave me another brilliant opportunity to develop my language skills and learn a lot about communication, writing and varied styles of language. It helped me in terms of improving my vocabulary, speaking patterns and everything else.

Once I was done with literature, I tried my hands in doing some other things. I tried to explore myself, but what kept me intrigued is that the mode of reaching someone is just communication. That’s where I realised that you need to know your language perfectly; you need to have proper language skills and that is where I started searching for courses that could help me.

Obviously, the first and the best option was British Council and that’s the moment when I realised and it was really a good boon. In fact I can say that wherever I apply for interviews nowadays, like for content writing, as a subject matter expert, or content editing the interviewer sees my CV and the first question would be about “Oh! Have you done the British Council course?” So, it adds a lot of weightage to my Bio-data.

How I started:
Initially I would like to share that I was very hesitant to join the course when I came to know that it’s online learning. We are from a Literature background and we’re not much acquainted with technology, computers and stuff like that. Obviously, the whole fun is about taking up challenges, rather than just quitting and sitting back. I talked to many people from British Council and they were like “it’s easy, you can do it”. There was a lot of support and back up.

I took up this course and it was a different learning experience overall. Firstly, I got handy with the tools and technology. That is one of the major things which is very much needed in whatever areas you want to apply them, in terms of your job or maybe even in your everyday life.

What really attracted me were the different types of units, different types of topics and knowledge taught to us via the language. I learned a bit about Crime and Law, Health, Sports, and Media. This was something unique. Obviously when you learn a language there could have been simple topics that they could have given us to learn. But here everything was under one umbrella; the topics are unique, the way it was taught was unique.

The best thing was the ‘Coffee Shop’ area where you can discuss with your teammates. Without any WhatsApp, or any other way you’re still in contact with your teammates, with your tutor. So that was really an amazing and a different level experience altogether.

Before joining the course I was very scared. I had no ideas, really very clueless! I never thought that this course and the topics they will be teaching would comprise of various things. So, I got into the course. Then I learned about e-learning.

What I learnt:
We had these Thursday classes, Virtual Online classes, they were the most fun thing to do ever!

You know in this world, where there’s too much of WhatsApp talk, and there’s this Snapchat and Instagram. I discovered that there is communication beyond this. There is informal communication beyond this. You can build a kind of a friendly relationship where there is exchange of knowledge, infused with lot of fun. So virtual online classes helped me a lot.

There was a guideline given to us. How we should behave, or follow a structure when you have an online class. Mannerisms also came into it with language, which is definitely a thing a person can associate with learning a language. We could have discussions. The whole format of this Virtual Online Class was one of the best things that happened in the online classroom. You learn to take turns, talk, have a discussion. I never knew how to hold a discussion, how to start a conversation, or how to give your view points when there’s a topic given.

We used to have a breakout time; in Virtual Online classes for 5- 10 minutes and that was very helpful. Now, wherever I go for interviews, maybe I’m sitting in a team, discussing anything in a cafeteria, or in a coffee shop. So it helps me with the pattern that should be followed. This is not just about formal conversations; it is also about informal chats and everything else.

There is a lot of structure. The crux of a British Council course is the structure; the structure that they build; the platform that they give us to develop and imbibe those things. Perhaps, I can say that before this, my conversation had lot of gaps, but after the British Council course, the gaps are almost filled, and it helped me in all aspects of my life.

What changed after the course:
Now, if I go for an interview, I’m quite confident. Firstly there’s a CV which states a British Council course, so one part of that is sorted; that I’m approved in terms of knowing good language, Secondly I can have a good conversation which is all thanks to British Council. Thirdly, it gave me knowledge about various things. We had to write assignments on Sports, there were varied assignments like formal letters, and everything else. So in a way, apart from speaking, writing has improved a lot.

All of that I never came across before. It was a complete unique experience overall!

- Saba Moosa, myEnglish Student

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#MeetTheTeacher – Ananya Banerjee

For your Monday of #MeetTheTeacher, we have today Ananya Banerjee, Teacher of English at our Kolkata English language centre. Ananya also contributes to our English in India Facebook page, and you will see a lot more of her this September.

ananya

Here are five questions with Ananya to get to know her better!

Shivangi Gupta (SG): Why did you become a Teacher of English?

Ananya Banerjee (AB): I’ve always been fascinated with the English language and the impact it can have in a spoken or written conversation. My love for books have been instrumental in making me fall in love with the English language which eventually lead me to do the CELTA and become a teacher.

SG: What is one thing that you like most about your job? And what do you like least?

AB: I love the mix of students that I get each batch. My students have ranged from retired professionals to children as young as seven years. I’ve had students from across the country and even from outside India from all walks of life. Each of them is strongly motivated and their enthusiasm is contagious!

SG: What are students at the British Council like?

AB: They’re highly motivated learners and are goal oriented. They believe in the power of the English language and as a teacher, I learn from them as well!

SG: If there was one study tip that you could give to your students, what would it be? 

AB: Don’t be afraid of making mistakes! Making mistakes is part of the entire learning process and will only help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Also, read, read and read! The more widely you read, you will pick up the nuances of the language better.

SG: Complete the sentence, “If I wasn’t a teacher, I’d be…” 

AB: “…a writer or a journalist.”

So tell us about your favourite teacher this Monday on our English in India Facebook page using the hashtag #MeetTheTeacher!

 

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Four English apps you need to download today!

Are you vying for a promotion? Or you want to do well in your exams? Whatever your reason may be, if you want to learn English, your mobile phone can be your personal tutor! All you need to do is to download these British Council apps.

Mobile appsLearnEnglish Audio & Video Long commute to work or university? Podcasts are the perfect way to beat your commute blues as you learn. This British Council app features podcasts and videos on interesting topics such as famous stories and poems, UK food and culture as well as everyday life situations. A moving audio-script and pitch control in this app help you with listening and understanding the podcasts. These podcasts come with comprehension questions, a tape-script and glossary.

Johnny Grammar’s Word Challenge Are you super competitive? Then this app is for you! Beat the clock and answer as many spelling, vocabulary and grammar questions as you can in this 60-second quiz! Earn Grammar Guru, Word Wizard and Supreme Speller badges by completing all levels. Beat your score to earn the ultimate Johnny’s Gold badge!

LearnEnglish Sports World Have the Olympics hangover? Now you don’t have to wait four years for your next dose of sports! In this app you can learn hundreds of sports related words with this highly addictive hidden object and word game! Explore a beautifully illustrated sports scene to find 290 hidden sports objects. In addition to finding the objects, you will have to recognise and correctly spell them to earn medals!

LearnEnglish Grammar (UK Edition) This is our number one educational mobile app and is the best way to improve your English grammar at home, on the move, or just about anywhere! This app is designed for all learners, whether you’re a beginner or an expert! In this app you can answer over 1000 practice questions across 10 unique activity types, including fill-in-the-blanks, reordering words and labelling, to achieve better grammar accuracy.

Feeling app-tastic? Go download these apps today!

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5 common words that have different origins

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How international is English? Over the centuries the English language has assimilated words and phrases from a variety of other languages.

Here are 5 common words that have different origins.

Veranda/Verandah: A sheltered gallery or terrace attached to a house or some other building. The word began to appear in the English language early in the 18th century. In Hindi, the word varanda has a similar meaning. This is not the source of the word, however, as it is thought to derive from the Portuguese word varanda meaning a balcony.

Kudos: An ancient Greek word that means “glory” or “reknown”. In ancient Greek culture, glory was found on the battlefield, much like every other civilization. When a solider was refused his earned due, or kudos, it was considered a very serious insult. One of the most famous examples of kudos is in the Iliad when Agamemnon takes the maiden Briseis from the soldier Achilles as a gift of honor- kudos earned from his glory in battle.

Glitch: A word for “slip up”, glitch is believed to be a conglomeration of two words, both that meant to slip or slide, around 1962: “glitshen” (Yiddish) and “glitschen” (German). It was first used in English by American astronauts when there was a spike in an electrical current, and then broadened to other technical mishaps. (Image: GLITCH – Designing Imperfection.)

Assassin: The origins of this Arabic word date back to the ninth century, when an Islamic sect was led to overthrow the Suni Muslims.  Yemeni Shiite Hasan-I Sabbah was the founder of the group and set about his mission by targeting the enemies’ leaders. The group was given the name Hashshashin, meaning hashish-eaters, and was converted into English in 1603 as “assassin”.

Déjà vu: “I’m having déjà vu” has somehow secretly slipped into English to solely describe an inexplicable instance that may have never actually happened.

“Already seen,” is the English translation of the French phrase with which we associate that weird feeling of reliving the same past experience. In France you’ll hear this word on a daily basis, because it’s used to express “having re-seen” a person, place or things, not in another life or dimension. In other words, it’s a factual encounter.

The French do believe in the weird phenomenon, but have a different way of spelling it (with a hyphen), déjà-vu. There is no difference in pronunciation though, which is why context is always key!

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7 free ways to meet your #VocabGoals

#VocabGoals

#VocabGoals

What is your vocabulary score on this fun test? I got 3560/4000 on my first try!

Learning new words is a great way to improve your English. We come across new words every day and can easily add them to our repertoire. In case you are wondering, here is the meaning of repertoire!

Here are 7 free ways you can meet your #VocabGoals and get a better vocabulary score than mine!

Read. A lot. There is just no substitute for reading as an excellent way of acquiring new words. Underline any new words you come across while reading, unless it’s a book from the library! Guess what they could mean by reading the text and thinking of the context in which they have been used. Now see the dictionary. How off were you? Not much? Very good! Now note down the meaning of the word in your personal word journal.

Listen to podcasts. Don’t have time to read? Podcasts are your new BFF! What’s great about them is you can subscribe to the ones you like and can listen when you please; driving your car, riding the metro or even cooking! Do remember to write the new words you learn in your word journal. Don’t worry about finding podcasts, there are tons to good ones.

Download a vocab app. Learn on the go using any of the thousands of vocabulary apps which you can download on your phone. Try out activities, play games, rank on leader-boards. Learning was never this fun!

Play word games. Can you complete the daily crossword in less than 20 minutes? What about Pictionary? Word games are a great way to make things fun and challenge yourself. Once you are confident playing on your own, try some multi-player games. For now here are some good ones you can start with.

Use social media. Join an English language learning Facebook page like the British Council’s English in India page or the LearnEnglish British Council page.  These pages post a number of words, vocabulary learning tips and games every day. You can also participate in contests, interact with other learners and ask questions. Learn, with a little help from your (social media) friends!

Set a vocab goal. Nothing like a goal to work towards and motivate yourself. Set yourself a target to learn a certain number of words every week. How many weeks in a row can you learn 21 new words, three for each day of the week? Post your words of the day on your Facebook page to keep count. This way you can also share what you are learning with your friends. And don’t forget to reward yourself once you achieve your #VocabGoals.

Use new words. Practice makes perfect. Use the new words from your word journal while you are writing or speaking. Think of if they had the desired effect on your reader or listener. Did they make your communication better? Use them again, this time with more accuracy and confidence! Now they are part of your repertoire. See what I did there?

So, what are your waiting for? Go get your #VocabGoals!

Post by – Shivangi Gupta, Head Business Development English (Customers) India, English

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