Category Archives: Students

We really were enlightened, and they really did make it quick!

Ignite Bristol

20 slides. 

15 seconds a slide.

Timed, so there’s no stopping.

Not quite a Pecha Kucha as we know it at school, but I experienced a great evening of funny, passionate, wacky and inspiring talks at Bristol Ignite yesterday.

From the intricacies of beer and coffee making to the rise and fall of British superheroes and low-cost travel from your armchair or into space, particularly inspiring was Jake Johnson’s presentation about his Bristol52 project in which Bristol is represented by one person at a time for each week of the year on one Twitter account.

First started in Sweden and since spread to a number of other countries, the idea of ‘rotation curation’ is to give a taste of the diverse cultures, attitudes and lifestyles that make up a city/country. Ingenious!

Click on the image below to find out more about how Twitter rotation curation works.


What do the words ‘chav’, ‘omnishambles’ and ‘selfie’ have in common?

……yes, that’s right. They’ve all been named ‘word of the year’ by Oxford Dictionaries at some point in time – ‘selfie’ or self-portrait photograph being awarded the accolade this year.

ImageThough the term has yet to be added to the Oxford English dictionary, its frequency is said to have increased by 17.000% in the last year so its move from mere social media tag to mainstream word doesn’t come as a surprise. What is interesting is the number of selfies that people are sharing on apps like Instragram – 23 million with the hashtag  #selfie and 51 million #me at the last count on this particular photo-sharing site!

So why is selfie-ism on the rise? Is it just that our smart phones/tablets now all come with forward-facing cameras so we can and very easily or is there some other allure?

Having quizzed some of our snap-happy students (and appearing unwittingly in some of their own selfies), the general consensus is that the self-taken cameraphone photo is ‘cool’ as it’s something that you’re in control of – you can re-pose, retake and edit as many times as you like.  Selfies can be silly, less-than-perfect or showy-off plus they allow us to commemorate the big and small events in our lives with the click of a button (or should that be touch of an icon..).

So what is the key to a perfect selfie?


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)

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?


1 in 24

October 19 will see a photographic blitz of Bristol with 1000 photographers given the opportunity and one hour out of the twenty-four available to take the best picture of Bristol.

What time of day do you think will be the perfect time to snap the winning photo? What about the weather – would that influence your choice of shot?

If you know Bristol, where would you go to take your winning picture? And what about your city, what would you take a photograph of to show the world?

Click on the picture below to learn more about 24 hours in Bristol (and enter if you like).


Animal adjectives

Describing someone as having feline grace would generally be thought of as a positive comment. Feline is an adjective meaning related to or characteristic of a cat. Therefore, we are saying that person moves with the agility and poise of a cat.

Another example could be calling someone’s facial expression bovine. Now bovine is an adjective meaning related to or characteristic of a cow. I would suggest this gives a less positive mental image.

These particular adjectives are quite colourful and descriptive and although based on animals, we can often use them to describe people and their personalities or appearance.

Click on the image below to try a quick quiz and see how many you get right.

Animal adjectives


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

Do you have social boldness?

How comfortable are you in social situations? Does the idea of speaking in front of a group of strangers fill you with fear or excitement?

Would others describe you as a team player or a lone wolf?

I was sent a link to a website that offers a range of interesting tests (the full range can be found on our quizzes page) that cover some fascinating areas such as leadership and resilience.

One particular area we work on with our students is that of interpersonal skills. These are people skills, including the ability to communicate effectively, work well with others, persuade, negotiate and make decisions.

The tests were created as a collaborative project between some  UK universities and occupational psychologists and they are straightforward to use, providing immediate feedback.

Enough chat! Click on the image below to see how you fare in the interpersonal skills test.

Social Boldness

Going cold turkey

I am on holiday from today until 09 September, but remember you can always contact the school if you need anything.

While I am away, my presence online is going to be extremely limited and that is deliberate. I think it does everyone good to have some time out and once online, it is too tempting to start checking my e-mails, posting updates and answering questions.

Do you manage to switch off when you go on holiday? Do you have the necessary self-control?

If you need help with this, you might want to consider going ‘cold turkey’ and not just for holidays. You can also use this to free up time in your working day if you worry about your productivity levels. The service is free, although you are welcome to make a contribution.

See you in September!

Cold Turkey