Wednesday 25 January 2017

8 Easy Ways To Improve English Speaking Without Even Thinking About It

How to Improve English Speaking

You are learning English, and you know it will help you in the future when you study or travel, possibly even if you plan to go to university or get a job. Many people however, do not realise how much effort is required to master a language.

It is not difficult to learn the basics of English quite quickly, but how to actually improve your English speaking does take some effort or at the very least some ingenuity.

Learning a language can either be a dull activity or a fun activity, and it isn’t always easy to know how to improve English speaking.

When you attend an English course to learn English in England, It is very easy just to go to school, come home and do your homework and then speak to your friends in your own language, you can put your ‘language learning’ away for the night. What you need are creative ideas which incorporate the language into your everyday life.

We asked our teachers for some ideas of how you could continue to improve your English speaking while you are studying in England or when you go back home. Of course the most obvious one is to use every opportunity you can find to speak English when you are at school; with your classmates, in class, during practices and during the breaks, but have a look at the following ideas and see if these can help you.

1. English conversation groups are always a great opportunity to practice your speaking. LSI Portsmouth runs a group every Tuesday after school in a local cafĂ©. But if your school doesn’t have a group, why not start one yourself? Or if you would prefer to go to one that is already established, have a look in shop windows for notices, or in the local library, they often advertise there. In your own country try and find some other people who are also trying to improve their English, and start your own little group. It really doesn’t matter about level that is the wonderful thing, everyone can join in.

2. Ted Talks are a great way of improving your listening skills. But not only that, because you can see the tape script, you can also practice repeating what the speaker says. We recommend you find a talk with a subject that interests you. Before you click the link, try and imagine the language that will come up. Click open the tape script tab. Look through for any new vocabulary, and then go back and listen to the talk. Another fun exercise is to then try and read aloud the script at the same speed and time as the speaker.

Matt the teacher recently did a little video explaining how to use TED talks to help with your English.
For more TED

(to see more tips from our teachers click this link )

3. Keep a diary. It is only for you, no-one else ever has to read it, but keep it in English. You will be amazed when you look back, many month from now, how much your English has improved. Try and record yourself reading from your diary (maybe on your phone) and see if your pronunciation is the same as you imagine.

4. Send Postcards. Try and make sure you have the address of some English speaking people. Your host family possibly, definitely the school you have been studying in, some of your classmates? When you leave make sure you send them postcards! Everyone sends emails now, or posts on Facebook, so it is quite unusual to receive a postcard. Maybe before you write your postcard, try saying aloud what you plan to write.

5. Shopping Lists. Shopping lists are always a good idea, they stop you spending money on things you hadn’t planned to buy ;-) Try writing your shopping lists in English, this will show you where some of your missing vocabulary is.

6. English Forums. There are so many places online that have forums. Try ‘Groups’ on Facebook. Find a subject that interests you and join the group and then try and post your opinions in English. Don’t be surprised if you have to start defending your idea, but that will help you build your argument – never a bad thing.

7. Leave Comments. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Instagram etc all of these are called ‘social’ media because you are supposed to interact with them. Try and leave an English comment somewhere at least once a day.

8. Watch films. Another great way to improve your English speaking; If you have Netflix or similar, you can turn on the subtitles. Why not try and be one of the characters, and read aloud their part, maybe get a friend to read another characters part? It is not easy and you have to be very fast, but it is fun and it will speed up your reading and speaking.

English speaking takes a lot of practice to get your mouth to move in the right way quick enough, so make sure you use some of these tips to give yourself the best chance of getting better.

Wednesday 18 January 2017

LSI Has a Heart - The Shoe Box Appeal

Shoe Box Appeal

Christmas is usually thought of us a special time spent with family and friends, however, for homeless people or those at risk of becoming homeless it can be particularly isolating and lonely.

This Christmas the staff at LSI Portsmouth decided to support The Society of St James’ Shoebox Appeal. LSI staff filled shoeboxes with small gifts such as warm clothing items, toiletries and food and wrapped them up to be given to homeless people across the city to show them love and support.

We managed to donate a total of 31 shoeboxes of gifts which were all gratefully received by the staff of the All Saints Hostel run by The Society of St James.

Thank you to everyone who donated!

Update May 2017.  LSI Portsmouth had a bake off last month (April) and managed to raise another £168 (because we are all greedy lol). Hopefully, there will be another one very soon. 

Thursday 12 January 2017

BRAND NEW - New Logo for 2017

LSI Portsmouth has decided to start the New Year with a new-look logo, just to refresh our brand image a little as we begin 2017.

So – why, you may ask, have we decided to do this? Well, firstly many of our students and also agency partners around the world having been telling us for some time that our old logo 
was old-fashioned and needed to change and that 3-dimensional logos are something rarely used these days if you want to appear modern. So, we wanted to appear as modern as we feel we are! Also, in the marketing world, experts often repeat the mantra that you should refresh your brand and image at least every 5 years or run the risk of not appearing current and up-to-date.

We realised we had two options if we were going to do this:

1. To get a totally new logo with no connection to our past in look or image

2. To base a new logo on the past logo, but change it in certain aspects

So we took advice from agencies and other schools and asked for tips and also contacts for who might be good at taking a fresh look at our logo. We were pointed towards a website where many designers would take your brief – what you were trying to achieve, who your business is, what the core values and ethos of the school is, etc. – and then create logos in competition with each other and the one you pick is paid once you’ve made your decision. Although there were many very nice designs, we didn’t feel that any of them was quite what we were looking for.

We then asked two companies who are already working with us and have done nice design work for us already to have a try and one of them came up with different colour versions of what would eventually become our new logo for 2017 – this one:

What we understood that we wanted to do through the process was to actually build on the past, not break with it, so this informed the final decision. LSI Portsmouth has a long and well-known history and also had a recognisable image, whether people liked the logo or not. So we wanted to keep that connection to the past, not say we are entirely different, but to show that we are evolving over time, modernising if you like, not rejecting the past entirely. I think it’s important to know not just where you want to go, but also where you’ve come from and to incorporate that thinking was the final inspiration for the decisions we took.

With a new logo and also a new website, which is coming soon in 2017, we hope to attract more potential students and clients to our website and to encourage more people to come and study at LSI Portsmouth. These days, in times of increased competition and tougher market conditions for attracting students to come and study in the UK, it’s not enough to be a great school, which I know we are, we have to get people to know about us and be attracted to finding out more about us in the first place. A rebrand and new website will, we hope, put many more students in touch with us, who will then want to book a course with us.

The new logo we have chosen will, we hope, connect those that have known us a long time with our long-standing reputation, but also show we are moving forward, not standing still. We retain that symbolic link in our logo with speech marks to encapsulate in essence what it is we do, which is facilitate better communication. At least – that’s what we hope we do, amongst many other things. We hope you like it! Please ‘like’ it below if you do J’

Best wishes to you all

Andrew and the team at LSI Portsmouth

Wednesday 4 January 2017

Come and Work with us in 2017 - New Teaching Positions available

It's 2017 and we are ready to hit the ground running.  We are looking for enthusiastic, experienced and qualified new teachers to join us for this new and exciting year.
More details here

We really want to hear from people with great organisational and communication skills, who love working in a team, who are flexible and good with time management.  They will also love social media and be keen to engage with and contribute to LSI Portsmouth's social media presence.  In return we offer opportunities for professional development in a brilliant environment on the south coast of England.