Tag 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

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


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)

Hello clouds, hello sky

And in Bristol we can now say ‘hello lamp post’ (not a new development for some people).

Here in the city there is the opportunity to speak to lamp posts, letter boxes, benches, etc. If it sounds strange, that’s because it is, but at the same time it is interesting and using technology in a way that has the ability to engage people.

Click on the image below to find out more and what question would you ask a rubbish bin? Perhaps our students will go out and talk to their environment while they are here to bring an international perspective to this project.

Hello Lamp Post

The art of the pratfall

Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.

Being perfect doesn’t work – in fact it is irritating. Indeed research suggests that showing you can make mistakes and admit to them will actually get a positive reaction. However, this does rely on you being a) likeable and b) the mistake not being too serious.

If you have those two elements, then admitting to an error can gain you supporters and make you even more popular. However, if you are not liked, then this admission will make you even less popular and obviously the faux pas or blunder should not be serious or bring into question your overall competence. Nobody wants to hear a surgeon saying how he always gets the first incision wrong, for example.

You can read more about how being less than perfect can even help in job interviews here.

Once you accept the fact that you’re not perfect, then you develop some confidence.  ~Rosalynn Carter

Finally today, click on the symbolic banana skin below to listen to an excerpt from a Yale lecture that talks about the pratfall. Do you have a personal pratfall to recount when people accuse you of being too perfect?


Lost and Found

Are you always losing your keys?

It seems like a lot of people do, because when innovative start-up Tile tried to raise $20,000, they ended up with over $1,150,000 (as at today).

This is a great example of crowdsourcing and shows that good ideas never go out of fashion. Do you think you’d find a Tile useful? Click on the image below to find out.