Category Archives: Writing

Eight ways to think

The Beatles.

Think of some questions about The Beatles.

You may or may not create some great questions, but the chances are if you give this task to a group, that the questions will be relatively predictable.

In 1983, Howard Gardner put forward his theory of multiple intelligences and the notion of different learning styles.

Ian Gilbert produced a simplified version which you can read about here. To try it for yourself click here to download an octagonal planning wheel and then think of questions for The Beatles.

While you are thinking, listen to some music by clicking on the image below.

8 way

Writing from a cultural perspective

When you communicate in English, if English is not your first language, do you think your native culture and language has an impact? I don’t mean your level of English – assume you have an excellent level for these purposes. Will you communicate differently n English compared  to another person from a different culture?

The experiences you have had in life, the way you are used to dealing with levels of formality, your sense of humour, the way you were schooled, the food you grew up eating, the weather you are familiar with…these all have an influence on you, don’t they?

Click on the image below to read an article by Karen Lord and answer these questions:

What do American publishers do differently to British ones?

Why does she say stereotypes are dangerous?

What do you understand by the term ‘culture’ and are you different when using English?

Iridium fountain pen nib, macro.
Iridium fountain pen nib, macro. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The cat sat on the mat (or in the sink)

Sometimes it can be difficult to find the motivation to write, can’t it?

You are not always in the mood and there are always other things more ‘urgent’ to do first, as you procrastinate and find excuses not to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard). So what about a picture of a kitten every 100 words? Might that help?

Click on the image below, type in 100 words and see your first of many felines. Of course, if cats aren’t for you, you can always click here instead.

Writing

What the Dickens?

In the last 200 years nobody has added more words to the English language than Charles Dickens (although the phrase ‘ what the dickens’ is actually from Shakespeare).

Dickens played with the language creating verbs from nouns, making new adjectives and coining phrases that we still use today. His words created mental images of the tough, dirty lives many Victorian people had to endure.

These were difficult times for large numbers of the population and while some people prospered, there were others who struggled to survive. Click on the image below to see how Horrible Histories depicts this.

Dickens

To Interrobang & Beyond!

We all appreciate a well placed comma; a few enjoy a thoughtfully chosen semi-colon and even the occasional dashing hyphen – but for some people that is not enough.

Is the world ready for more punctuation? Does the world need more? Isn’t this just a highbrow version of emoticons?

Click on the image below to read more…

Interrobang‽
Interrobang‽ (Photo credit: madprime)

What’s the Magic Number?

Did you say 3?

If so, you’d be correct. Since Ancient Greece, people have understood that the rule of 3 enhances, improves and refines communications. Consider the French motto of  “liberty, equality,fraternity” or the American ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ – both use the rule of 3 to create memorable phrases.

Try to use this in your own writing and presentations if you can. It will have a positive impact – more fun, more memorable and more interesting (for example). You will be in good company as even Barack Obama uses this ‘trick’. Can you find examples that Mitt Romney has used?

Click here for a really good article on the power of three and click on the image below for a topical, toe tapping tune. Ready, Steady, Go…

On a whim

I am always saying that visuals are vital in this digital age (think Prezi, for example). Most people enjoy and remember more once images are incorporated.

This remains a fact – pictures are an essential part of communicating effectively and the online era we live in lends itself perfectly to this.

That doesn’t mean words have become obsolete though and despite the fact that some fonts come under attack, writing can still be a thing of beauty and remains an extremely effective means of communication.

Click on the verbal image I created below to learn more about ‘Whims‘. Is there any point to them? Probably not, but does everything have to have a purpose? What is the writer’s opinion do you think?

Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

Do you set yourself goals? If you don’t, how will you know if you are succeeding? These don’t always have to be life changing, paradigm shifting events. They can just be simple, personal goals like try to take a holiday somewhere you have never been before. However, they can also be larger ambitions, such as change your job and go to work in another country.

Futureme is a website that enables you to send an e-mail to your future self. This can be to set yourself targets and see if you reached them, or to allow you to reflect on your present (at the time of writing) and how it compares to your present (at the time of reading).

Click on the image below and send an e-mail to your future. Nobody else needs to see this, so be as honest as you like. How far into the future will you send your message?

Read another future themed blog post here.

http://oisebristol.me/2012/06/12/the-empires-of-the-future-will-be-empires-of-the-mind/

Sorry, you’re just not my type…

Should we feel sorry for Vincent Connare? This poor man was just trying to do his job and ended up inventing the comic sans font.

I have never known such dislike for a typeface. It even includes dedicated websites working to stop the use of this particular one.

This is not the only font that some people feel should be avoided.

Do you have a particular font that you use for e-mails or letter writing? Does the company you work for specify the one you use for communications?

Does this matter in your opinion and if so, why? How would you feel if you received an e-mail in a mixture of fonts, for example?

So, does comic sans deserve the negative press it receives? Click on the image below to see how it can be used.

Wham, Bam, Poetry Slam

We are delighted today to be welcoming The Poetry Slam to OISE Bristol for an afternoon with our students from Kuwait, France, Spain, Korea, China, the UAE, Russia and Turkey.

Although they already work with local schools and businesses, I believe this will be the first time they have worked with a language training centre and non-native speakers. One thing is for sure and that is it will be an interesting experience for everyone involved!

Have you ever tried Slam Poetry or attended a competitive event?

Click on the image below to access their website and find the answers to these 5 questions:

1. Who invented slamming?

2. Who wrote ‘The Water Couplets’?

3. How are the skills developed by writing and performing poetry valuable?

4. When did The Poetry Slam start in Bristol?

5. How many people are on the Poetry Slam Board?

Related articles