Category Archives: Listening

Normal service will resume shortly

This is going to be the last blog post for a while.

However, that doesn’t mean OISE Bristol is changing and you can read all about our courses for 2014 here (and 2013 if you wish to study this winter).

Also, please remember you can always contact the school if you have any questions or suggestions for future blog topics. We would love to hear from you. Plus, if you want to challenge yourself and test your English, you can try one of our quizzes.

Check back regularly to see any new developments and click on the picture below to listen to a song in English. Some see it as optimistic and others as pessimistic – doesn’t that sum people up quite well?

See you soon!


(photo credit the BBC test card)

Wake up and smell the coffee

Are you a full-blooded flat white or perhaps a little cortado?

How do you drink your coffee (if you drink it at all) and does that say anything about your personality?

Where would you place yourself on the chart below (from the excellent Mashable site)? Then click on it for a song.



Accents in English

When you speak in your own language, what judgements can people make about you?

Could they guess the same things when you are talking in English?

Will they be able to tell your social class perhaps or your level of education? Could they accurately predict where you are from or your approximate age?

How distinctive are the dialects and accents where you live?

Click on the image below to access a fascinating website that hosts an amazing audio collection of people from around the world speaking in English. Is your country represented?


They may forget what you said…

…but they will never forget how you made them feel.

What you say is important, but don’t underestimate how you say it as well.

It doesn’t matter if you know your subject inside out and can quote every fact and figure. If the goal is to engage people, provide them with knowledge and ensure they remember it, then simply telling them is insufficient. In fact, even if you are not providing key data and only speaking to them in quite broad terms, it is still not enough to just talk.

You have to think about your audience, think about your topic and then think about your delivery. If the message is sombre or sad, then adjust your voice and mannerisms accordingly, if the message is upbeat and happy, then raise your game to match the theme with your enthusiasm and passion.

Consider what you want to provide your audience with and what you want them to take away from the presentation or speech. That doesn’t just mean raw data – how do you want them to feel?

Click on the image below to watch someone speaking with passion. Did you smile?


Little things…

What price can you put on the feel good factor?

If what you do makes people feel positive and happy, does that not have a value in itself? Of course, if one of the effects of this is that people then buy your product or service, then that is probably even better.

It can be the little things that count, things that might not be essential, but just make life a tiny bit better.

Click on the image below to watch a video that went viral. It has been viewed around 47 million times (roughly the population of Spain).

How does it make you feel?

Little things

The future belongs to those who prepare for it today

The technology I watched as a child on science fiction programmes like Star Trek are starting to become reality. The predictions of Tomorrow’s World are beginning to take shape.

The ability to make any flat surface an interactive screen fascinates me. To have the opportunity to treat a sheet of glass as I would my iPad screen is what Captain Kirk could only have dreamed about. That moment has arrived.

Please click on the image below to learn more.


Ice Ice Baby

Northern Norway can be a cold place and for centuries a region that remained largely disconnected from much of the world. It had its own culture, customs and language.

However, in the modern world, nowhere now is remote and as English spreads, older languages are fighting to survive.

Click on the image below to listen to Nils Rune Utsi, a rapper from Maze, talking about his efforts to keep his language alive and relevant for future generations.

ice ice baby


Proper job

I consider myself fortunate to live in a very pleasant part of the UK and I am always very pleased when visitors to Bristol express how much they like the city. That is not to say that it is perfect – there are some quite ugly bits, but that all adds to the charm and the authenticity – a few scars can add character.

Here are 10 places to see while you are here and they are not in any particular order (click on the links to find out more). Would you include any others?

Clifton Suspension Bridge – an iconic symbol of the city and for me best seen at night from the Cumberland Basin

St Nicholas Market – a few minutes from the school and a great place to browse in

Park Street - recently nominated as Britain’s hippest street and stunning views from this hilly thoroughfare of boutiques and eateries

Gloucester Road – memories of the days when supermarkets and large chains didn’t dominate the retail landscape. It has the largest number of independent traders on any one street in the UK and a place where you can still find family businesses like the toy shop, the  fishmongers and the local baker.

Stokes Croft - The Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft, the Bear Pit, Turbo Island – pure class and an area that really couldn’t care less if you like it or not

Cabot Circus – ultramodern shopping and not to everyone’s taste, but so much better than the soulless shopping arcades of the 1970’s

Blaise Hamlet – Bristol’s answer to The Shire

Arnos Vale Cemetery – an atmospheric Victorian graveyard (with a cafe)

Christmas Steps - dating back to the 1600’s and now a vibrant arts quarter

Snuff Mills – a riverside walk with the chance to spot otters and kingfishers (I never have)

Where would you recommend visitors to your town or city go?

Click on the picture below (courtesy of VisitBristol) to see what Lonely Planet has to say.

Proper job

Meat & Two Veg

When you hear the name of a  country what food do you think of?

What images enter your head for Italy, India or Mexico, for example?

And do the images appear quite so quickly for Ecuador, Cambodia or Montenegro?

Here in the UK we have a number of famous dishes, but the three that spring to mind are; fish and chips, the cooked breakfast and the Sunday Roast.

What are some of the most famous examples from your country? Which would you recommend every visitor to try?

Click on the image below to watch a short video about one of the UK meals – have you tried this particular dish?

A Sunday roast consisting of roast beef, roast...
A Sunday roast consisting of roast beef, roast potatoes, vegetables, and yorkshire pudding (Photo credit: Wikipedia)