Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Festivals and Holidays - British Culture


Like any country, the UK has plenty of festivals and holidays, some national and others regional. Here are some of the more common/unusual ones.

Burns Night (25th January) – Scotland

This is a celebration of Scotland’s most famous poet, Robbie Burns. On this day throughout Scotland there are lots of events, many of which involve bagpipe playing, the singing of traditional songs, the eating of a classic Scottish dish, Haggis, as well as the drinking of a certain amount of whisky! To know more click here

Glastonbury (June) – England


By far and away the most famous music festival in the UK, Glastonbury has now been going since 1970. Over the years many of the world’s most famous groups and musicians have performed here such as the Rolling Stones, Adele, David Bowie and many others. In addition to the music, there is theatre, comedy, dance and many other forms of art. More information here

Victorious Festival (August) – Portsmouth

This is a two-day music festival held on Castle Field and Southsea Common. The 2017 Festival may be attended by as many as 200,000 people and will have acts such as Madness and Stereophonics. More information here

Goodwood Festival of Speed (June-July) – Goodwood (20 miles from Portsmouth)

If you like cars and racing then you are going to love Goodwood. Many of the latest sports and high-performance cars are on display or racing around, and numerous famous racing drivers are on hand for racing enthusiasts to talk to.

More information here.

Boxing Day (26th December) – UK wide

While in many countries the day after Christmas day is a return to work, that’s not the case in the UK. We have another day to recover from all we’ve eaten and drunk on the 25th! But why exactly is it called Boxing Day? Well, there are many theories but one of them is that in the 19th-century servants and others, who had to work on Christmas Day, were given the next day off as a holiday and in addition they were given a box by their employers which contained a small present. To know more click here

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Friday, 19 May 2017

What Is IELTS - An Overview - Part One

To continue with our IELTS blogs, over the next few months, we will be publishing a few more blogs on IELTS; what is IELTS? Why do you need it? Tips on how to pass it as well as other information.



In this first blog, we'll start with - What is IELTS? 

Noun [ U ]  UK & US pronunciation: /ˈaɪ.elts/

IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. It is a standardised test developed to assess the English language level of non-native speakers.

Standardised means that when someone is sitting down to do an IELTS test in Beijing, on the same day in Riyadh, a different student will be doing exactly the same test. Furthermore, if those two students performed in exactly the same way, they would receive exactly the same grade. IELTS examiners go through stringent preparatory courses and are monitored to ensure that they maintain the IELTS standard, worldwide.

The IELTS tests 4 skills – Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. For each of these parts an IELTS candidate will receive a ‘band score’. The band score ranges from 9 (maximum mark, representative of an expert user) to a 1 (minimum mark, non-user who can only use a few words) to a 0 (did not turn up to the exam).

In 2014, 2.5 million IELTS tests were taken in more than 140 countries. The highest scoring countries were:

The United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and Ireland.

These were the only four countries which scored average band scores of 7+. Of all those who took the IELTS in 2014, worldwide females scored on average higher than males, 6.0 versus 5.8.

There are two IELTS tests; an Academic test and a General test. Typically Academic IELTS is taken by those who need to prove their level of English is suitable to go to a University, the average mark required varies from University to University but is typically 6.5 or 7.

The General IELTS test is typically taken by those who need to prove their level of English for immigration purposes. Australia, for example, usually requires those wishing to enter the country to score a 7 for each of the four parts of the IELTS test.

Academic is usually more popular than General, with ¾ of all IELTS test takers choosing Academic IELTS.

It is important to note that the IELTS certificate is not a lifetime one, it lasts for 2 years and then ‘expires’. It is therefore important to time your IELTS test with any visa / university applications.

IELTS is the most popular language test for higher education and immigration, there are over 1,000 IELTS test centres in more than 140 countries worldwide. IELTS is accepted by over 9,000 organisations globally, with America being the fastest growing market for the test.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

How Learning English And Having Fun Can Go Hand In Hand


Our 30+ courses are proving incredibly popular and if you read teacher Neil's account below, you can see why.

How To Learn English Easily And Enjoy The Experience!


Mariko, Bruna and Lilli
 As part of the 30+ course we had a yoga class taken by one of our students, Bruna. Bruna is from Brazil, and is studying at LSI to improve her English before she starts a yoga teaching qualification in London. What better way to prepare, than teaching her first ever yoga class? The other students had never done yoga before, but were very keen to give it a go. So, we converted our classroom with a set of LSI yoga mats, and put on our gym clothes in excited anticipation for Bruna’s instruction.


What followed was beyond anything we could have imagined. Bruna led us through a set of beginner yoga positions like the cobra, the mountain pose and the down dog for an hour. As I had never done yoga before I was surprised at how difficult it was, and how inflexible I am. Despite this, I found it really positive for my mind and body. Also, it was the first time I had taught a class whilst laying on a mat, standing on one foot, or doing stomach crunches. This was also rewarding, as it meant we were learning language in a real life context, and we managed to improve our use of imperatives and prepositions.


 Neil Powney

“Being able to share something I love with my classmates and teacher made me incredibly happy, and very satisfied with LSI.” (Bruna, from Brazil)

“My knowledge of yoga was completely overturned after my first lesson. I thought yoga was to relax and to find your balance. In fact, it’s hard work. But I felt very well after that and it awakened an interest for yoga in me and just feeling your body. I like it!” (Mariko, from Japan)

I have done yoga for the last six years. Actually yoga is a good way to release your mind after working or studying a lot. During this class you learn a lot of vocabulary of the whole body, you relax your mind and have a stretching workout. I suggest that everyone tries yoga.” (Lisa, from Germany)


Our 30+ Courses:

Our 30+ General English courses are exclusively for adults aged 30 years or more.  Students can learn English with people of their own age in the lovely surroundings of the south of England in one of the UK’s top language schools. The course is very flexible as can be seen above. Students can study just in the morning if they wish and then enjoy visiting places of historic interest here in Portsmouth, or just wander along the sea, or go shopping at one of the shopping centres here. Of course afternoon classes are available also, it’s all about personal choice and preference.
To see more details please click here

Friday, 5 May 2017

British Culture - Queuing - Why do we do it?

Queuing and why we do it

Another in our series of articles about British Culture. This week we look at the art of Queuing - and why and how to do it properly.

If you were to ask people around the world what they think the British love doing, many would immediately think about queuing. The British are certainly experts on queuing and have a particular set of rules about how to do it properly!

So when in the UK this is what you need to do:

1. Never ‘jump’ the queue! (jump – go to the front of the queue) This is considered the biggest no-no of all and will result in everybody muttering loudly, though being British nobody will probably say anything directly to the queue jumper.

2. Try not to stand too close to the person in front of you. The British like a certain amount of personal space.

3. If a large gap opens up in front of the person who is in front of you, do not tell them to move forward. This is not considered to be polite.

4. On the whole people do not really talk much to each other when in a queue, though a casual remark about the weather is acceptable. Do not talk about Brexit!

5. Do not offer your place in a queue to another person. A ‘newcomer’ to the queue is always expected to go to the back (Unless you came together and will leave together – for example at the Supermarket).

6. In a supermarket it’s OK to ask someone to hold your place in the queue as long as a) you ask politely b) you are near the back of the queue and c) you come back quickly. Otherwise the others in the queue will start muttering again!

So are the British, in reality, actually good at queuing? On the whole they are, but then so are lots of other nationalities. It very much depends on where you are. In a bank, a supermarket or when buying tickets at the cinema, theatre etc. the British are pretty good at queuing. However, at bus stops or waiting to get on to a train or the Tube (the London Underground), the system starts to break down. It can collapse completely outside large stores on the first day of the Christmas sales. Seeing people shoving and shouting at each other, an observer might say: ‘This is just not cricket!’ before they themselves try to force their way into the store!