April Fool’s Day

  Next Sunday  is April Fool’s Day, traditionally known as All Fools’ Day.  It is one of the most light-hearted days of the year.   On April 1st, people play funny jokes and tricks on their family and friends.  The origin of April Fool’s Day is unknown. The most popular idea is that April Fool’s Day came from the changes to the Gregorian calendar in the 16th century. Before this time, the New Year was celebrated at the end of March, with parties ending on April 1st.  After the calendar changed, the New Year began on January 1st as it does now.  Back then, communication wasn’t as good as it is now.  Many people simply didn’t get the message – or if they did, refused to accept it.  They continued to celebrate the “old” new year, and they became known as “April Fools”.  Another theory is connected to the French term for April Fool: Poisson d’Avril which means “April Fish”.  During the spring – and especially during early April – many young fish would hatch in the French streams. These young fish were easy to catch with the simplest equipment and therefore became know as foolish April fish. The term later became used for any foolish person and led eventually to the playing of April Fool’s Day jokes.  Traditionally, in countries such as Canada, New Zealand, the UK, Australia, Cyprus, and South Africa, the jokes only last until noon.  Someone who plays a trick after noon is called an “April Fool”, so if you want to be called an April Fool, feel free to make jokes and play tricks all day!

Earth Hour 2012

The World Wildlife Federation’s (WWF) annual Earth Hour presents a challenge to save energy that more and more British Columbians are finding fun and creative ways to take on. BC Hydro’s numbers show participation is increasing each year, with the megawatt hours conserved during last year’s one-hour event nearly doubling, from 64 in 2010 to 117. That’s equivalent to 7.8 million 15-watt compact fluorescent bulbs all going dark at once. WHERE EARTH HOUR BEGAN In 2007, WWF-Australia inspired Sydney-siders to show their support for climate change action in the first ever Earth Hour event. It showed that everyone, from children to CEOs and politicians, has the power to change the world they live in. In Sydney, Australia, 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights out for one hour to take a stand against climate change.   In 2008, the plan was to take Earth Hour to the rest of Australia. But then the City of Toronto, Canada, signed up and it wasn’t long before 35 countries and almost 400 cities and towns were part of the event. It said something compelling to the world: that the climate challenges facing our planet are so significant that change needs to be global. With the invitation to ‘switch off’ extended to everyone, Earth Hour quickly became an annual global event. It’s scheduled on the last Saturday of every March – closely coinciding with the equinox to ensure most cities are in darkness as it rolled out around the Earth. In 2011, Earth Hour saw hundreds of millions of people across 135 countries switch off for an hour.  So, mark on your calendar: Earth Hour 2012, Saturday 31st March, 8:30p.m.

Say it quickly!

A tongue-twister is a phrase that is designed to be difficult to articulate properly, and can be used as a type of spoken word game. Some tongue-twisters produce results which are humorous when they are mispronounced, while others simply rely on the confusion and mistakes of the speaker for their amusement value. Some examples: She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore. The shells she sells are sea-shells, I’m sure. For if she sells sea-shells on the sea-shore Then I’m sure she sells sea-shore shells. Betty Botter bought a bit of butter. The butter Betty Botter bought was a bit bitter And made her batter bitter. But a bit of better butter makes better batter. So Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter Making Betty Botter’s bitter batter better Shep Schwab shopped at Scott’s Schnapps shop; One shot of Scott’s Schnapps stopped Schwab’s watch. Mr. See owned a saw. And Mr. Soar owned a seesaw. Now, See’s saw sawed Soar’s seesaw Before Soar saw See, Which made Soar sore. Had Soar seen See’s saw Before See sawed Soar’s seesaw, See’s saw would not have sawed Soar’s seesaw. So See’s saw sawed Soar’s seesaw. But it was sad to see Soar so sore just because See’s saw sawed Soar’s seesaw.  

Business Myths and Facts – by Sarah Finlayson Spalinger

LSC/EC Vancouver offers many business classes. We have International Business English (IBE) during AB class, Business English (BEC), Business in Action, Power Presentations during C class and Workplace Readiness and Hospitality and Tourism during CD class. Many students shy away from taking these classes because of incorrect assumptions.  Here is a list of common myths students have about these classes at LSC/EC Vancouver and the facts that disprove them.  1. Myth:  Students need to be advanced English speakers to take business classes.       Fact:   We provide business classes for almost all levels. We have four levels of IBE (pre-intermediate, intermediate, upper-intermediate and advanced). BEC, Business in Action and Power Presentations are for students in lower-intermediate and above. Students must be in intermediate to take Workplace Readiness and Hospitality and Tourism.   2. Myth: You need to have work experience to take business classes. You need to be a university student in a business program.      Fact:    Many students do have business experience. Many students study or have studied business at university.  Neither of these are requirements.   3. Myth: Students don’t learn any grammar in IBE and there is no speaking practice in business courses.       Fact:  IBE is an English course with a business focus. Students practice the speaking, listening, reading and writing and also work on grammar and pronunciation.  Classes are full of speaking activities    4. Myth: Business courses cost more.      Fact:     Business courses cost the same as general English.   5.  Myth:  Students need to wear business clothes in business classes.       Fact:    You can wear business clothes if you want, but this is not required.   6.   Myth:  Business courses are not useful for people who don’t want a career in business.        Fact:    Students work on practical activities such as using the phone and writing emails. These skills that can be applied to … Read more

One CAN Make A Difference.

CANstruction Vancouver is an annual design and build competitions that takes place in over 180 cities world wide. Teams of architects, engineers, designers and schools get together to construct fantastic, giant sized sculptures made entirely out of canned food. After the structures are built and the winners declared the creations go on view to the general public as giant art exhibits. At the close of the competitions 100% of the food used in the structures is donated to Greater Vancouver Food Banks. Since 2002, CANstruction Vancouver has raised 1,056,043 cans of food for the local community. The Greater Vancouver Food Bank uses donations raised by the event to buy fresh fruit, vegetables and other perishables to serve the 25,000 people who pass through food bank doors in Metro Vancouver each week. This year, CANstruction is expanding to five venues along four blocks of  Georgia St.  Twenty teams assembled from 31 companies, schools and associations will create sculptures on public display in lobbies for 11 days. It’s absolutely free to visit the sites, but donations are accepted.  

A student testimonial of the week – Tatiana Makino

“When I was in VancouverI lived in a homestay with the best host family I could have. I had a host mother, a host father, 2 sisters and 2 brothers. I have no words to describe them.  They gave me all the support to make me feel great. I felt very happy and comfortable all the time as if I was a real member of their family. I spent Christmas, New Years and my birthday there. It was the first time that I wasn’t with my family and I was a little bit afraid because of this, but fortunately I had an unforgettable time with my host family. My host mom Agostina always made sure that I was doing well and asked if I was enjoying her house. When I was at home I liked talking to her about my life and my future plans because she always gave me good advice, not only about Vancouver, but about everything. She used to say this phrase: “If you never try, you will never know, right?” I will never forget this.  I will carry this thought all my life. Also, when I was at home I spent my free time playing with my brothers. I used to play “Barbie game” with my cute youngest sister and I played video games with my brother. Sometimes, my brothers, my roommates and I used to watch a movie all together. If I had to choose the best moment with them, I would choose my birthday. My mom bought a cake and some sushi and my sister made a chocolate cream by herself, SO CUTE! After dinner, we played a lot with a big balloon and I felt like a child. Before going to bed, we watched a movie with some popcorn, pizza, and cake. Those … Read more

Cambridge course is starting today. Check out some tips from one of our teachers.

 Jim Moore has been helping students to prepare for their Cambridge exams at LSC/ EC Vancouver since 2006.   “In my experience, students sometimes enter exam preparation classes simply for the personal challenge involved, with the general goal of improving their English skills.  Such students say that they find motivation simply in the possibility of passing or failing an internationally recognized exam.   This is sometimes true.  However, our students more often have already identified a specific need for a Cambridge certificate.  For example, I’ve met primary school teachers who need the Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) in order to teach English to pupils in Switzerland.  Others need to earn the First Certificate in English (FCE) or CAE as part of their application to a particular academic institution or to improve their employment prospects.  Very strong students who require proof of an even higher level of proficiency prepare for the Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). When preparing for FCE, CAE or CPE, it is critical to make a commitment to improving your speaking, writing and listening skills, but, above all, your reading skills.  This final skill is essential not only to Cambridge Reading exams but also to Writing, Use of English, and Listening exams, which require strong reading comprehension if you wish to achieve your highest potential score.  Although your teacher can help you to avoid common pitfalls experienced by Cambridge exam takers, it is important to realize that there are no ways to bluff through these exams.    Thinking in English is necessary in order to process the information quickly enough to pass or, even better, excel.  For this reason, it is imperative to read as much and as widely as possible outside of class so that you can take full advantage of the exam skills that you will develop in your preparation classes.”

Saint Patrick’s Day

St Patrick’s Day is a famous Irish holiday celebrated all over the world. In Canada, it is a public  holiday in the province of Newfoundland. In other places, such as Toronto and Montreal, large parades are held to celebrate the day.  People who have an Irish background or enjoy Irish culture may hold Irish-themed parties where dressing up in colour green is encouraged. Another symbol of the holiday is the shamrock, which is the leaf from the clover plant and represents Holy Trinity.  But who exactly was Saint Patrick?  He was born in the year A.D. 387, somewhere near Scotland and England. When he was 16 years old, he was captured and taken to Ireland as a slave. During this period he became very religious.  After six years, he fled back to his family. Later in his life he became a missionary and converted the inhabitants of Ireland to Christianity. According to the legend Saint Patrick was also responsible for ridding the island of snakes. However, there is no evidence that there were snakes in Ireland in the past 10.000 years. The “snakes” he drove out of Ireland may represent a group of pagans.  St Patrick died on March 17th, 461  – the day of the official holiday.  

A visit to Queen Elizabeth Park

This Thursday,  March 15th, we are planning a tour around  Queen Elizabeth Park,  one of the most beautiful gardens in Vancouver.   Queen Elizabeth Park is also the second most visited park in Vancouver and holds within its perimeters some of the most beautiful public gardens anywhere. Its recreational offerings are diverse ranging from sporty to horticultural and include golf, tennis, lawn bowling, disc golf, an extensive outdoor arboretum and the indoor Bloedel Floral Conservatory. The seasonally changing and beautifully planted Quarry Gardens astound residents and tourists alike as viewed from the park’s upper reaches or from the bottom looking up. Expertly positioned, select ornamental trees and shrubs make this Vancouver’s horticultural jewel located practically city-centre. If you are interested in visiting the park,  please talk to our Activities team on the 2nd Floor. Date : March 15th Time: 4pm Meeting Point:  LSC Seymour Street Entrance.

Meet one of our teachers – Rob Davis

I have been teaching for 10 years and have taught in Korea, in Germany, and in Vancouver. For me, teaching at EC is a very rewarding job. I love having the opportunity to help learners achieve their goals, and I’ve met fantastic students from all over the world. Students can have a very unique experience as they improve their English skills. Having been born in Vancouver, I have seen a lot of changes in this city, but it’s the things that don’t change about this city that are the best.  Vancouver sits on the edge of the ocean surrounded by mountains. When I’m not working, that’s where I go. You can be in the city enjoying city living and 30 minutes later you can be in quiet, green, wilderness. I grew up skiing in Whistler and climbing the local mountains. All of this makes it very hard to leave, and many of the friends I’ve made from other cities are constantly drawn back to Vancouver. I’m sure you’ll feel the same.