Category Archives: myEnglish

My goal in life is to become an author – Kuhoo’s Learning Journey – #HumansofBritishCouncil

HUMANS OF BRITISH COUNCIL (4)

I am Kuhoo Mitra. I am presently thirteen years old. My hobbies mainly include reading storybooks, writing short stories and drawing. My aspiration is to travel around the world.

In reality, I do not currently have too many opportunities to travel the world. However, I have another option and that is through books. Books always transport me to a place far from reality to places I have only ever dreamed of going to and, of course, to places I shall never be able to go to since they exist only in the world of books and fiction. A girl of class eight, still in school, I usually am cheerful and joyous and as many put it, extremely talkative. Coming to my dislikes, I absolutely dread Maths! Apart from that, there are quite a few things that I don’t like such as holidays when I’m forced to stay at home and Chemistry lessons in school.

My goal in life is to become an author and that was the main reason I joined British Council.

I have forever loved English, both as a language and as a subject. As I’ve stated above, I want to be an author when I grow up. Though I could speak, read and write English fairly well I felt that I needed to improve to achieve my goal in life. That was when my thoughts turned to British Council. I have been a member of this library since when I was very small, maybe seven. Even then I would come to the library quite often for various workshops including those about art. It first struck me when I was in class six that I needed to improve my English. There was more to this language than the stories and poems I had learnt in my literature class in school. I wanted to go into the depth of this language, find out more about it. It took me one more year to realise that the perfect place for this was none other than British Council.

I have been a member of this library since when I was very small, maybe seven. Even then I would come to the library quite often for various workshops including those about art. It first struck me when I was in class six that I needed to improve my English. There was more to this language than the stories and poems I had learned in my literature class in school. I wanted to go into the depth of this language, find out more about it. It took me one more year to realise that the perfect place for this was none other than British Council.

I don’t quite remember my first time here or how I had found out about British Council. But I do remember how I found out about the classes. Since I regularly visit the British Council Library, I know almost everyone there. It was one of the administrators who had first mentioned these classes while talking to me and my mother. It was decided- I would take these classes. Thus, I appeared for my level test and joined the British Council classes for the first time.

I have been part of the British Council for so long that today it’s almost home to me. I cry when I hear I’ll have to miss a class and though I know that I’ll be leaving this place after the sixth module, it still seems unbelievable that I won’t come here every week- something that I’ve been doing for the past two years. So, I can’t state one thing that I’ll remember about this wonderful time. There are loads of memories from this time that I will treasure all my life. The very first one is counting down my days to the next Saturday, that feeling of excitement on a Friday evening, the happiness in the air on a Saturday morning and, of course, feeling sad when the class comes to an end.

British Council has not only taught me the English language. It has also taught me certain values of life such as friendship. All activities in British Council encourage pair work and teamwork. And as we all know pair work and teamwork help to build strong friendships because that’s when we help each other to succeed. There’s a quote which says- “Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success”. Because of this, I made several wonderful friends here in British Council and they are people I can never forget. But most of all the people whom I shall remember forever are the teachers who taught me. They stood by my side not only when I was in trouble but also during moments of happiness. They are teachers who are very friendly and the learning experience is fun all because of them. I will never forget them.

British Council has also completely changed my views about learning. Before, learning to me meant burying my head into big, fat textbooks and mugging up chapters. School taught me that learning is about understanding concepts and being able to do well in your exams. From others, I heard that learning is just another synonym of ‘studying’. But after joining British Council I realised that all these ideas were wrong. Learning is about increasing your knowledge. To learn, you don’t need to study from textbooks. Neither do you need to get full marks in your exams. All you need to do to learn is understand and remember. But learning isn’t complete without an element of fun in it because I feel that to learn you need to enjoy learning more and more. And British Council is a place that is full of fun and enjoyment.

My advice to a person looking to learn something new would be to join an institute which allows people to think on their own, where, like at British Council, ‘no answer is a wrong answer’, where people have lots of fun through learning itself. And if the person wants to learn or improve his/her English or wants to learn something new about the language then I would surely recommend that he/she joins the British Council.

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Pedagogy is an art and urgently needs to be implemented into our education system – Sayed’s Learning Journey – #HumansofBritishCouncil

Humans of British Council

I am Sayed Faiz Tanvir. I was born and brought up in New Delhi. Since 2010, I have been living in Bangalore and have been working in the IT industry in different capacities.

As a young student at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi), I could read and write pretty well, with a few grammatical mistakes. Speaking was a major impediment to me.

This year I read about the British Council in a national daily; most probably the Times of India and enrolled myself on a myEnglish course. The best part of the quality of education was that it was not a ‘learn by rote’ methodology. I learned many valuable things, had fun and always felt motivated. The teachers never put a dent on my morale.

And has my view on learning changed in any way after my time at the British Council? Yes, of course! I have stopped reading books on grammar; as I feel these are often too tedious and clumsy and even after hard work it’s difficult to grasp many grammatical rules. Instead, I visit the web portal advised by the British Council teachers and do exercises with more comfort and enjoyment.

Finally, I would like to say, try innovation. I think pedagogy is an art and urgently needs to be implemented into our education system. One should and must visit portals and learn online.

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From Learning English to Building Confidence – Benazir’s Learning Journey – #HumansofBritishCouncil

Benazir Roshni Imroz

 

Hi, I am Benazir Roshini Imroz, an undergraduate student in English Honours (3rd year), from A.J.C Bose College under Calcutta University. I want to become an English teacher or professor because I love teaching. After giving my first-year final exams, I thought about learning English. Though I wanted to become an English teacher, I also wanted to ensure that I made no mistakes in English. Hence, I got in touch with British Council.

Apart from learning the English language, I also learned manners, politeness, and discipline from two of my English teachers – Neha Bulsare and Maya Waldman during my CELTA classes. They might not know that I was also learning much more than just English from them, as it seems to come naturally from their side, but all these opportunities which I got, were only because of my teachers and the British Council.

I had always struggled with “tenses”. That too was cleared up during my classes and nowadays neither do I hesitate in writing any applications nor I hesitate while speaking. My advice to friends and learners is to play with words and sentences, as this will make their learning interesting and help to remember things for a long time as well as encourage you to learn more.

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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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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 myEnglish 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 myEnglish 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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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 myEnglish 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 myEnglish 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 myEnglish 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 myEnglish 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 myEnglish 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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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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myEnglish launches in Bengaluru and Mumbai

Students of English in Mumbai and Bengaluru now have a reason to celebrate. The British Council marked the launch of its pioneering blended learning programme in these cities on 12 January, 2016. myEnglish combines the latest education technology and student-centred classroom instruction to improve students’ language skills, and more. The courses also foster essential 21st century skills such as time management, independent learning and critical thinking. While the courses are now available to more students across two new cities, they have been running successfully in Pune since May 2015.

The formal launch event in Bengaluru was well-attended as several eminent panellists joined members of the press and public for a discussion on ‘Better English, Better Opportunities’. The panel comprised experts from the world of business, education and technology; including Arvind Katageri (Senior Manager, Centre for Behavioural Excellence – Talent Transformation, Wipro), Ashwani Sharma (Country Head, University Relations, Google India Pvt Ltd), Lalitha Murthy (Consultant, Business English, Tata Consultancy Services) and Nirupa Fernandez (Assistant Director, English, British Council).

The panellists discuss 'Better English, Better Opportunities' at the myEnglish launch event in Bengaluru

The panellists discuss ‘Better English, Better Opportunities’ at the myEnglish launch event in Bengaluru

A lively dialogue ensued as the panellists discussed the role of English in the world of business. Lalitha Murthy from Tata Consultancy Services pointed out that while many new recruits may be confident about their English skills, what they may lack is the communicative competence required in the business world. Another topic discussed was the role played by technology in education. As Ashwini Sharma from Google pointed out, “Even a pen is technology” and in the debate that followed the panellists concluded that technology had always been present in education and that teachers have a responsibility to keep up with developments.

The launch was also attended by two myEnglish students, Ramchandra Kulkarni and Vishal Chandegave, who spoke eloquently and positively about their experiences on the course and about how it has helped them be more confident in their professional and daily lives. Read more about their experiences in The Times of India and the Deccan Herald

The myEnglish launch event in Bangalore was accompanied by a simultaneous press release in Mumbai and has generated a lot of interest among the press in both cities, with coverage in major publications including the Times of India, the New Indian Express, the Deccan Chronicle and the Deccan Herald. Several news websites and regional publications also covered the event.

For more information on myEnglish, please visit our course page.

If you want to register for a course, please leave your details here and we will get back to you.

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