Number one for English language teachers

Diary 1: The eighties are back!

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  • Sunday 5th December

    Author: Saul Pope Type: Reference material

    If I tell you that the biggest news of the week is that Bananarama are coming to do a concert in St. Petersburg, part of an eighties throwback thing that is currently plaguing Russia, you'll get the idea that this has been a quiet week. The city hasn’t seen anything quite like it since the Pet Shop Boys were here in 1997 (I’m not including the vastly overpriced Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston concerts of last year), and it will probably be some time before the residents ...

  • Tuesday 7th December

    Author: Saul Pope Type: Reference material

    Two of my students are taking the CAE listening and speaking exams on Thursday – we did some practice today. Hopefully the advice I’ve given them is right and they’ll get on OK. These are the first students I’ve put in for the exam, so I’m a bit paranoid that I’ve missed something glaringly obvious; if this proves to be the case I’ll just have to frown authoritatively and tell them that the problem area must be a new part of the exam (before hurrying away to hide any similar practice papers I

  • Thursday 9th December

    Author: Saul Pope Type: Reference material

    I noticed a funny thing today, on reading a recent email that I’d sent to a friend. I’m starting to write like a student taking one of the Cambridge exams that I’m teaching. Gone is the cutting edge language and rapier wit of before, replaced by something blander with a good beginning, middle and end and rather clumsy usage of slang. I suppose my school and university teachers would rejoice that I’ve finally learnt to write properly, but to me it means only one thing ...

  • Sunday 12th December

    Author: Saul Pope Type: Reference material

    I suppose it doesn’t matter too much if the play bombs; the audience will be made up of around 300 schoolchildren who don’t speak much English, so the fluffing of lines or poor comic timing will be largely lost upon them. The most important things will be to look good and pretend to be confident, as is the case with most things in life. What’s perhaps more at risk if the performance is bad is our collective pride and morale, and I don’t want that to be dented with a long Russian winter ...

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