At EC Oxford Learning is a lifestyle

IELTS Score Success 2: The Reading Paper

IELTS is one of our most popular Oxford English courses here at EC Oxford. Last time in the IELTS Oxford Series we saw how to boost your IELTS Listening Score. Today, we’re looking at the Paper that students often score lowest in: Reading. First things first. It’s tempting to ignore our weakest areas, hoping they’ll improve by themselves. But almost always, they won’t! So if Reading is a difficulty for you, focus your attention on this area and work hard. The reward improving in this area will be massive and will give you a huge sense of achievement. And remember, this isn’t just about getting a high score in an exam. Being able to read longer, academic texts like you have in the IELTS Exam will be invaluable as you move into study or work. So how do you do it? 1. Get Reading!!! Be honest. How much do you read in English every week? 1 hour a day? 30 minutes sometimes? The three lines under an Instagram post? When improving IELTS Reading, we first of all need to get reading in English day by day. You can read a whole range of things: Magazines, news, blogs. For this stage, try to keep the topic linked to topics which come up in IELTS, but most of all find articles and websites which interest you and excite you. So why don’t you set a goal right now of how much you’ll read this week? One fantastic resource is news in levels. On this website, in Level 1, they write the news articles in the 1,000 most common words in English. In Level 2, they use the most common 2,000 words and Level 3 has the most common 3,000 words. This means that the words you read here will definitely come up in … Read more

EC Oxford Intern

Niclas’ review on his time at EC Oxford

Niclas looks back on his time at EC Oxford English Centre.   Three months at EC Oxford are almost over – time goes fast! But this time was invaluable. I have had lots of experiences and made many memories which will accompany me for the rest of my life. As a Student Services Intern, I got an insight into the duties in a language school which was very interesting. I allocated the students to host families and residences and prepared together with other members of staff the Social Programme for the students. But these are just two tasks of many I did in my time at EC. What was also very exciting about working at EC Oxford English Centre was to get in touch with the students, they are from different countries all over the world. This means that the school is multicultural which makes the time at EC very special; just in one little place in Oxford I could learn about so many different cultures. It’s amazing to note, that the atmosphere at the whole school and the association between the students is very positive, even if they have very different backgrounds – or perhaps exactly because of it. This experience is unique for everyone and we can keep this in our minds for our whole life. Furthermore, Oxford is a beautiful place to be. The city is full of history and myths. Because the city is compact, you can visit so many exciting spots and colleges just by walking around. That makes sightseeing very comfortable. However, the city offers much more than history and myths. I could enjoy food from many different countries, go ice-skating and bowling with the students and lots of other things. Another point, which made my time in England very special was the opportunity … Read more

English, UK, Oxford

By the way, who’s Saint Valentine?

  A wind of love and tenderness is blowing over EC Oxford. Today, February 14th, is Valentine’s Day. This is an opportunity to explore the history of this character, at the crossroads of Roman mythology and Christian tradition. A pagan celebration transformed into a Catholic one   Did you know that Valentine’s Day has not always been a lover’s day? Its origins remain rather unclear. Its meaning would have changed over the course of history. In the 3rd century, the Roman Emperor Claudius II, who had difficulty recruiting soldiers, considered that families could be the cause and decided to ban marriages. Nevertheless, the priest Valentine continued to celebrate the union of lovers. The sovereign, upon learning of this betrayal, sentenced Valentine to death. In prison, he still had time to fall madly in love with his guardian’s daughter, who was blind. Just before being beheaded, he restored her vision by slipping her a sweet note signed “Your Valentine”. It’s up to you to decide if the ending is a legend or not!   From the Middle Ages, the celebration of lovers became a custom In the Middle Ages, processions began to be organised to celebrate the day of the lovers. The young men who had to choose their riders for the processions were called the Valentines. Later, the “romantic” dimension of the celebration began to emerge by the end of the Middle Ages in England. The dreamy image of Valentine in love with the heart of his beautiful spreads through the delicate words of Captain Othon de Grandson, poet at the court of England. At the beginning of the 15th century, Charles d’Orléans, a captive of the English, also composed several ballads dedicated to love and Valentine’s Day, which spread throughout Europe. Pope Alexander VI, in 1496, gave the title … Read more

Butter Beer

Harry Potter Week at EC Oxford

Every week we ask our students to vote for which social programme theme they would like. We offer all kinds of themes, some academic, such as pronunciation, grammar and idioms week, and every month we also offer a less academic theme such as Food and Drink, British Culture or Sports week. Last week they voted for one of my personal favourites – Harry Potter week! For many of our students, Harry Potter is one of the reasons they chose to come to Oxford to learn English. It is well known that many of the scenes in the world famous films were shot right here in Oxford. For our students who weren’t familiar with the wonderful Wizarding world of Harry Potter, we gave them an opportunity to explore the city and participate in some unique activities. Monday Movie Club We kick-started the week with Monday Movie Club, which as the name suggests, involves watching a film in the student lounge, every Monday. The students decided on Harry Potter (no surprise there) so we hunkered down with some popcorn to watch the adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione. Homemade Butter Beer To really bring the books and films to life we offered our students homemade Butter Beer. This delicious beverage was so popular we completely sold out! Unfortunately the recipe is top secret and cannot be given to Muggles – so you’ll just have to wait until our next Harry Potter Week if you’d like to try it!   Harry Potter Clinic On Wednesday, our Assistant Director of Studies and Harry Potter look-a-like, Rob, offered a Harry Potter themed clinic in which students were sorted into one of the Hogwarts houses based on a completely reliable, Dumbledore approved, personality test. This gave them an opportunity to learn some new vocabulary, intonation, wrist flicking wand action and have … Read more

Candice Gregory, Centre Manager at EC Oxford English Centre

Candice’s February Editorial

Candice, our Director of Studies at our Oxford English Centre gives a summary about news of English lessons and social activities which have started this February.   For some February can be one of the hardest months to get through. It is mid-way through winter, far enough from the excitement of Christmas for us to forget what that season felt like and too far away still from spring to feel promising. Cold weekends like the one we have just experienced remind us that we are still in the grip of winter’s frosty hands. But there is no warmer place than EC. Not only do we have heating ? but our walls are bright orange and remind us that warmer days are always just around the corner. We are also implementing a few new ideas to help keep everyone cheerful. Starting 4th February, we will be giving 1 or 2 students who haven’t booked afternoon lessons a ‘Golden Ticket’ each week allowing them to attend 1 afternoon Special Focus Class at their level to see if they like it. This is to help them learn, reward good students and see if they are interested in extending their studies by 90 minutes each day to increase their learning potential. What better way to see if you want to do that than by trying a lesson yourself? The student who receives the Golden Ticket will attend Thursday’s class that same week and give the teacher the ticket as proof of their admission to the lesson. We hope it works well, motivates our learners and encourages them to continue working hard on their English. Also, starting the week of 4th February we are reintroducing ‘Movie Mondays’ in the student lounge from 3pm. It is our hope that those students with no need for homework club or … Read more

Oxford, Teacher, English

Farewell to our teacher, Adam!

I admit I had a rather large tear in my eye on Friday as the students and teaching team said good bye to one of our dearest teachers, Adam French. Adam came to see me for an interview just over 2 years ago and although he was relatively new to teaching, he possessed the right charisma, personality and charm necessary for the classroom. I offered him work without hesitation and he started immediately. From the beginning, he bonded with his students and the teachers offering ideas and imbuing us all with his energetic and never-ending enthusiasm.     Over his two years with us, Adam grew and developed professionally from a teacher with a lot of ideas to one who gained a much greater understanding of the pedagogical value of his ideas, allowing him to decide which ideas to retain and which to adapt to help his learners gain the most from his lessons. Who can forget his ‘Idiom of the Day’? The endless mornings I would stand in his classroom with Tobias puzzling out which idiom he was hoping to teach that day through his perfectly executed drawings.     Adam has a passion and enthusiasm for life so rarely seen in people and it was one of the reasons we all enjoyed working with him. It was very hard to not feel happy when he was bouncing around in front of you asking how you were, and with Adam, it was never a false question. When Adam asked how you were, it was with a genuine feeling of wanting to understand if you were happy or needed a friendly ear to talk to. I will never forget the genuine compassion he showed towards me and others he worked with or taught.     Sadly for us, (not him), … Read more