Category Archives: Sundry

Singing whilst you work

I really enjoy singing. I’ve recently joined a local community choir, and it not only makes you feel better about yourself, and more confident and generally happier but it also makes you feel very much part of a group and community and very valued.

I know that singing isn’t everybody’s favourite activity.Yours might be sport, dance or even walking a dog.You may prefer more individual free time leisure activities rather than being in a group. But the question is how do you feel after doing the activity? Do you feel happier and more positive about everything?

I’ve recently been watching a TV series on  BBC called The Choir (Singing in The workplace).If you haven’t watched it, the programme is about setting up different choirs in different workplace environments and then they compete with each other, with a final winner at the end. However, the aim of the programme isn’t about actually winning, but the process involved.How some of the participants found that singing was great for working morale, particularly if their jobs were insecure and being threatened.

Click on the image below and read an article about how singing at work helped the morale of workers at Birmingham City Council.

How did being part of a choir make the workers feel?

What were the positive benefits?

Why do they think that workers morale is so important?

Apostrophe Catastrophe

What do you notice about the apostrophe use in this sign? Do you think that it is referring to the day of one doctor i.e. a doctor’s day, or the day of many doctors i.e  our doctors’ day? If you look at the small print the whole sentence should actually read; Our doctors make a difference every day. The sign is an example of an apostrophe catastrophe, where the apostrophe has been used incorrectly.

Recently, a city council in England has decided to stop the use of punctuation (including apostrophes) on all its new signs in the city.This has been criticized by a government minister, who said we should leave the signs with their correct and original apostrophes.

There are many examples of apostrophe catastrophes on signs in Bristol.Click on the image below to read about some examples of misuse.Can you think of any more?

Queens Parade Bristol

To refresh the rules around correct usage of apostrophes, why not try out a quiz?

An Inspirational Journey

With the passing of the festive period and the days of 2014 rolling on by, it’s about the time of year that many of us start to feel the January blues.

But is there a need to feel down just because the weather is dull and grey? There are scores of people out there offering to help beat those January blues and plenty to feel positive about.

Perhaps we just need to think about what we believe in and seek inspiration from others. Click on the image below to read about someone who has inspired me recently with an epic journey to all 201 ‘countries’ without flying.

Graham Hughes from Liverpool in the Unit

Try something new for 30 days…

Happy New Year!

How do you feel about 2014? Do you feel excited and positive or cautious and anxious? In January, people often make New Years resolutions about themselves, something they may wish to change, or the desire to start a new hobby or course (You may wish to try a new course on or or perhaps give up a bad habit (smoking, watching rubbish TV, or even cutting down on facebook time)

Last week in project, our students gave great presentations on their hopes and predictions for the new year 2014.There were a diverse and very interesting range of topics from Electoral Referendum in Catalonia, Swiss unemployment, Climate Change, Social Media and Kuwait. Some students also spoke about their personal hopes and predictions for 2014.

Whatever you may wish for and are looking forward to for 2014,we hope you have a great year ahead.

Click on the image below and listen to a really interesting Ted Talk on about trying something new for 30 days.What will you try?

Road wars

This week’s debate in school as part of our weekly project, is about whether our roads in Bristol are becoming more dangerous due to the actions of cyclists or more dangerous due to the actions of motorists.It’s causing quite a stir, particularly living in a city like Bristol where we have very congested traffic along with a very active cycling population.I cycle to work every day and can see the arguments from both sides.What about you? What do you think?

Click on the image below to read an article about the arguments between motorists and cyclists

OISE Bristol opens its doors to the Chinese student community!!

Last week OISE Bristol hosted a very exciting event for the Chinese student community to introduce them to our school, our students and staff. The afternoon started with canapes in the student lounge so that the visitors and current OISE Bristol students could have a chance to speak with and mix with each other.

OISE Bristol students mixing with our Chinese friends
OISE Bristol students mixing with our Chinese friends

From there we had two talks from the academic manager Jo Lewis, and Tony Doyle, the senior teacher, to introduce what the school could do for them to help in both in their academic life and future working life in the UK.

Jo and Tony talk about what OISE can offer students
Jo and Tony talk about what OISE Bristol can offer students

Things we noticed from the surveys we carried out in the talks:

Less than 5% of students had ever studied pronunciation!

The majority of students had spent less than 10% of their time before coming to the UK actually speaking when studying English! 

All of the students said that they had taken either the IELTS or TOEFL exam, but only 2 people from a group of around 50 felt that the exam actually prepared them for life at university in the UK!

Some of the most frequent difficulties that new students had when entering the UK and using English were – understanding and talking to immigration staff at Heathrow, asking for things in the shops, speaking to housemates, explaining how they want their hair cut (!) and speaking to their tutors in university.

Many of them agreed that it wasn’t that they didn’t have the English, as that was there in their head, but it was actually having the confidence to use what they know in their daily lives.They felt that they had not had the chance to practise using the language enough before coming over here and that did tend to hold them back at the start.

Many agreed that the focus we have on interpersonal skills and building spoken confidence within our courses at OISE Bristol would really help them both in university and work life. 

Leadership, innovation, problem solving and intercultural awareness were some of the areas they felt were important for their future careers.

Do you feel the same when you think about your experiences studying English?

We also had two talks from two Chinese members of the UK business community on their experiences living and working over here. They provided invaluable insights for the listeners as it gave them a lot of useful information and advice for the future.


The day was very productive and we hope that both our university students and OISE Bristol students enjoyed it, as we know we did! We hope to see some of them again in the future!