Friday 25 November 2016

Mannequin Challenge from LSI Portsmouth - We are the BEST ;-)

Are these not the BEST students in the world?
The Mannequin challenge filmed yesterday with some amazing students and Belle behind the camera.

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Portsmouth - Oh how we love you, all of you

At the last count, we came up with another 11 different places called Portsmouth.  Probably one of the more famous ones is the Portsmouth in New Hampshire.  Recently on Instagram, someone posted a video of Portsmouth, and when watching, it was very much a case of 'how lovely ... hold on a minute ... that's not...'.  It really is extraordinary how similar the two places are.  Check below and see if you agree.

Video from instagram by: @lilyhairullina

Video from instagram by: @LSIPortsmouth

So of course, video number 2 is the Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK, the top video is Portsmouth New Hampshire, USA.

In case you are interested here are the other 11 places called Portsmouth:

Other Portsmouths in UK:
Portsmouth - Calderdale

Places called Portsmouth in America.
Portsmouth - Virginia
Portsmouth - Rhode Island
Portsmouth - Ohio
Portsmouth - North Carolina
Portsmouth - New Hampshire
Portsmouth - Kentucky
Portsmouth - Iowa

Others in the world:
Portsmouth - Saint John, Dominica
Portsmouth - Ontario, Canada

Friday 18 November 2016

What Experts Are Saying About The IELTS Exam Preparation

IELTS Exam Preparation Material: The Dos and Don’ts

So, you need to pass IELTS, maybe for university, maybe to show employers in a job interview, or just for your own personal satisfaction.  How do you get the best IELTS exam preparation?

Well, it’s certainly possible to study by yourself, and there is lots of IELTS exam preparation material out there that you can use.  For instance, the Cambridge books of exam preparation material (there are 11 versions so far) are good for looking at past papers, and contain reading, listening, speaking and writing past exams from real tests, so you can test your level, and see where you are.  Especially for reading and listening, these books are great – when you’re doing any English exam preparation material, what you want is the real thing, and these tests are authentic past papers, which gives you an idea of what’s in the exam.

However, when it comes to speaking and writing, it’s hard to see beyond getting a teacher to help you out.  To pass IELTS writing, for example, with a high score, not only do you need to learn English to a high level, but also you need to learn the strategies of writing, the different writing types, and what IELTS examiners are looking for.  Many people who take the IELTS exam are not really aware of what the writing questions types are, and this can mean scoring badly in the exam, just because of a lack of exam preparation.

For task 1 writing, for example, there are a whole range of different types of questions, including graphs with a trend, graphs and charts and tables which ask you to compare data, maps, processes, and questions with a mix of question types (e.g. a line graph and a comparative pie chart in one question).  Without having specific IELTS exam preparation by an experienced and knowledgeable IELTS teacher, it will be very difficult to know how to answer all these different types of question.  Similarly, task 2 writing has very specific criteria – the examiner is looking for not only your level and range of grammar and vocabulary, but also how well your answer addresses the task, and how well your answer is constructed and organised.  This requires either a really good self-study writing book, which goes through the writing step-by-step (one recommended book here is ‘IELTS Advantage Writing Skills’, published by DELTA, 2011), and/or a teacher.

Here, though, are a few general tips for IELTS exam preparation:

  1. Familiarise yourself with the different types of reading questions, and try to formulate strategies for each one. Is it a type of reading question which requires general understanding (e.g. paragraph headings)? If so, practice skimming and extracting the general meaning of the paragraph quickly. Is it a type of question which requires detailed analysis of certain small parts of the text (e.g. True/False/Not Given)? If so, you’ll need to focus on the details, and identify the key words in each question on which the answer can turn. 
  2.  Practice your listening as much as possible, and make sure you are familiar with how each section works. Think about, for example, the distractors in part 1 of the listening, and read tape scripts to see exactly how they work. 
  3.  For speaking, remember that examiners value risk-taking and range of language as much as they do accuracy. As part of your IELTS exam preparation, try to expand your range of grammar, and try to work on trying out new vocabulary when you practice the speaking. 
  4. When you’re writing, remember it’s an academic test, so don’t write contractions, informal vocabulary, or spoken language. Look at model answers from IELTS books, and make a note of the key phrases and linkers used, and try to use them in your writing.

 So, make your IELTS exam preparation efficient by making note of these tips, getting hold of good books to work with, and if you can, find an experienced teacher who can make your preparation work effectively.

Good luck!

Friday 11 November 2016

6 Reasons Why Your Company Will No Longer Survive Without Outstanding English Business Communication

Learning English For Business Communication

Why learn English for business communication?

Well, if you do not, you will be at a serious competitive disadvantage in the international global market. For better or for worse, English language has become the global language for business and professional communications and the standards are changing. Today, small, medium and multi-national companies, educational establishments and even governments are investing heavily in increasing and accelerating their staff’s knowledge and communication skills in this area. It is a game-changer. Why? Because even if you are excellent in your work and offer products and services of the highest quality, it may not be enough! Experience shows that someone who is not as good as you but can communicate his or her message more effectively in business or professional English, has a greater chance of winning international business, defending a budget or perhaps even gaining promotion instead of you. 

Is it best to do this training in my own country or go to an English speaking country to do it?

Ideally both. Extensive training can happen in your own country through in-company or private lessons, telephone English classes and on-line learning. Then a visit to a specialist Business English training centre in an English speaking country is highly recommended. An intensive course for at least one week and, if possible, up to four weeks or more can facilitate a tangible increase in your levels of confidence and speaking, listening, reading and writing fluency and enable you to be much more effective in your work.

A specialist centre? So is English for business and professional communication training different from general English training then?

Yes, definitely. It is more intensive and tailored to your specific business and professional needs. Often teaching takes place on a one-to-one basis or a small group basis (or a mixture of both) and focuses not only on your specific language and work-related vocabulary requirements, but also soft skills, cultural awareness and situations relevant to your present and future work needs.

But how do I know what is the best business communications course or training centre for me?

Ask for recommendations from people you know who have done training like this before. Speak to agents or your HR department, look on-line, in the UK look at BEUK or EL Gazette recommendations. When you find a potential centre, look at the listed companies and clients they deal with and how long they have been teaching Business English courses, too.

Another key indicator to consider when looking at a specialist centre’s web-site is the actual training process. Is there a detailed needs audit? What types of courses do they offer? What is the experience of the teaching team, the course content, flexibility, range of nationalities in groups, ages of students, the resources & facilities available, the price and the after course service.

Is there anything else you should consider?

Yes, the location. Do you want to study in a large metropolis where there are many distractions, many people who may speak the same language as you? Would a quieter place, with a slower pace of life, a more relaxing environment perhaps by the sea or in the country be more suitable for your Business English studies?

In addition to this, hotel or executive host family accommodation, the cost of living, the centre’s after class social programme, places of historical and cultural interest, transportation links to airports and places of interest should also be considered carefully before making your decision.

If you had to summarise the importance of learning English for your professional communication needs in one sentence, what would you say?

In these increasingly challenging and globally competitive times, We’d say invest in your future; invest in learning English for Business and Professional Communications now.

Friday 4 November 2016

Magical Autumn - Portsmouth in all its Glory

Here in Portsmouth, we love Autumn, it is such a special time. The clocks go back at the end of October, the partying starts with Halloween, then Bonfire night and before you know it the early Christmas festivities will start. And nature starts to paint the day with an array of beauty, either from the leaves changing colour or from the stunning sunsets.  The days are getting colder, so boots and coats are coming out of hibernation, the heating has been turned on, soups and stews are being put on the menu to warm us up. This is Britain, this is what is wonderful about changing seasons. Autumn - Magic!