A sheer pleasure to have YOU as a reader of my blog. At present my main teaching area is English so you will find that most of my posts are in English -my second language of communication. I promise to publish posts related to Spanish eventually; in the meantime, those of you interested in Spanish will find some interesting links regarding my native language. Truly hope you will visit my blog now and then; will try not to disappoint you!


Mi foto
GÄVLE, Sweden
I am an English/Spanish language trainer who thinks communication is a key issue in human interaction. Good sensible communication is needed whatever the language. On the personal side I strive for happiness by keeping love, respect and honesty as main ingredients. Last but not least, my smile is my trademark :O)

31 de marzo de 2009

Common European Framework of Reference: Learning, Teaching, Assessment

Marco Común Europeo de Referencia para las Lenguas: Aprendizaje, Enseñanza, Evaluación http://cvc.cervantes.es/OBREF/marco/cvc_mer.pdf (pp. 26-39)

Many times my students have asked me "what is my actual level of English?", and as simple as it should be for me to answer this question, I must admit one gets "out of words" when trying to satisfy this query. Students are so familiar with the traditional terms: beginners, elementary, intermediate (low- and upper-), advanced that to them the frontiers are rather blurred.

Yes, ok, there's certainly a difference between beginners and intermediate, but not that easy when finding the precise line between beginners and elementary, or between upper-intermediate and advanced.

To make matters worse, the two most valued institutions to learn English here in Spain: Escuela Oficial de Idiomas (Official Language School) and The British Institute organize the English route in different levels. I suggest clicking on both links if you want to find out more about it:



The Common European Framework of Reference is a document that "provides a basis for the mutual recognition of language qualifications, thus facilitating educational and occupational mobility. It is increasingly used in the reform of national curricula and by international consortia for the comparison of language certificates" (http://www.coe.int/T/DG4/Linguistic/CADRE_EN.asp)

The CEFR divides the learning process into six leves: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2

Basic User = A1 and A2

Independent User = B1 and B2

Proficient User = C1 and C2

If you would like to know how much English "you know" and where you should be aiming at, I recommend that you read the interesting word or pdf documents (depending on the your mother tongue) on the link below:


30 de marzo de 2009

New link under "Useful Links"

Just added a new link to which you can subscribe and get a copy via email:

Cuaderno de inglés

This is the introduction to the site:

En nuestro Cuaderno de inglés mensual encontrarás ejercicios de inglés, actividades, vocabulario, listenings en inglés, podcasts, programas gratuitos para descargar, libros completos gratuitos en inglés para descargar, gramática inglesa y muchos otros recursos para aprender inglés.Nuestro cuaderno gratuito de inglés se publica mensualmente y se remite por e-mail a todos nuestros suscriptores.En esta Web se recogen los cuadernos publicados anteriormente. Si quieres recibir puntualmente nuestro Cuaderno en tu propio email haz click para recibir mensualmente nuestro cuaderno de inglés gratuito.

A bit 4 everyone to practise English


I'm sure you will find some interesting activities to practise your English on the link above (courtesy of www.mansioningles.com).

Just browse the site and see for yourself!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!

Listen & read Obama's interview by Financial Times

Click on the following link and you can listen to Obama being interviewed by Financial Times:

Lionel Barber, Chrystia Freeland and Edward Luce of the Financial Times interviewed President Obama in Washington on March 27 2009. This is the transcript of the interview.

It's a 20-minute interview but worth your while. I suggest following these steps as a listening&reading task:

1. Read through the text and note down any words you don't know, then find the meaning by using an online dictionary, e.g. http://www.wordreference.com/
2. Listen to the interview without reading the text; I'm sure you will be able to follow a lot.
3. Listen and read at the same time.

It seems spring weather was a spell here in Madrid

Hard to believe we enjoyed temperatures above 20 dg here in Madrid last week. Now it's turned colder, windy and overcast..............so unpleasant!!! It's ok to bear this as long as nice warm weather is back at Easter. My kids are going camping with scout group from 3rd-6th April, so keeping my fingers crossed.

Here's today's "Spain papers review" for a quick read of main news.


29 de marzo de 2009

Tour of Hercules Lighthouse- A Coruña


Review of Spanish papers from Friday, 27th March

Hi, there!

Did you remember to move your clocks forward an hour last night??? you may be trying to make up for it now sleeping in a little bit more...........tough if you had plans for an early rise today, I know!!!! (http://tinyurl.com/cz4nmv)

Anyway, this is not the subject of my post............sorry to be drifting away ;o)

Click on the link for a review of the main news in the national Spanish newspapers:


28 de marzo de 2009

Learn vocabulary while reading....the story will surely make u smile :O)

Teenager paints 60ft phallus on roof of family home
A teenager got away with painting a 60ft phallus on the roof of his parents' home for a year before his parents found out.

Click on the link below to read the story and look at pic!


Phrasal verbs:

get away with >> not being punished for something wrong you've done
find out >> know about it
own up >> admit, confess
scrub something off >> clean thoroughly

have a joke >> tease, pull someone's leg, say something funny
take the prank >> accept the joke
April's Fool Day >> a day in the calendar "traditionally suitable" for playing jokes or tricks
on a gap year >> usually an academic year taken as a break from education before a student starts university

More words:
spot >> notice
enable >> make possible
zoom in >> camera getting closer
daub >> spread a thick substance on a surface
white spirit >> a colourless liquid used to remove paint

27 de marzo de 2009

Listening tips

Interesting link with tips for you to improve your listening skills:


Furthermore, you can read while you listen ;O)

22 de marzo de 2009

Last review of this site (Churchill House School...): FOR LEARNERS

The section http://www.churchillhouse.com/english/learners.html is addressed to learners and there you can find different interactive activities graded according to levels. These activities focus on grammar exercises so they only involve reading skills. On the other hand they do not imply lots of difficulty but for the fact that you may not know a certain grammar area being tested.

I also recommend that you have a look at the "Exam guide" section if you want to get more information on the different types of English exams.

First Certificate free software (courtesy of Churchill House School of English Language)

On the same site http://www.churchillhouse.com/english/downloads.html you can download a program with some activities to practise for the First Certificate exam (quantifiers, adverbs & prepositions, articles, pronouns, modals and other verb tenses, miscellaneous).

The program is very easy to download and work with, but doesn't go very far in its own aims: "The program is designed to give you special help with Paper 3 of the First Certificate exam, and in particular with the tricky Part 4 - error correction." , as you can read in the introduction.

The "help" button doesn't work so the only type of feedback you can get is whether you have answered the question right or wrong. On the other hand, the practice is dynamic and may help you spot some grammar mistakes you still keep making in these areas. If so, you will need to revise elsewhere.

Free downloads for English teachers (courtesy of Churchill House School of English)

Been neglecting my blog these past days. Doing some research on downloable material for English learners and teachers on the web.

The follwoing site: http://www.churchillhouse.com/english/downloads.html

can be useful for teachers who need (or want) something quick and ready to be used in class so as to break the routinous pace of a textbook. The activities are edited in PDF format files and there is a very handy and informative profile for a quick pre-look at the suitability of the activity. This is the list:

Phonetic crosswords

How to get a first Battleships

Classroom language

Could I borrow...?

Grammar words Irregular verbs

Reading - 10 generalisable techniques


Revision cards

What job ads really mean

The very bad Yorkshire joke

19 de marzo de 2009

Día de San José & Bank Holiday in most of Spain

Hope you're enjoying this festivity day in Madrid, and the best to those that have managed a trip away from the hustle & bustle of city life. Sorry about the long delays on main roads to those who got caught in them:


Staying in Madrid & enjoying the lovely spring temperatures; easy day ahead, going out for a stroll and just lazing around the house ;O))


For a summary of what's been published today in the nationally-read newspapers just click on the following link:



ps. Please take care on the road :o)

16 de marzo de 2009


I was reading this article http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1885451,00.html ,
mostly interested in the fact that these days' controversy concerning the Fine Arts medal awarded to F. Rivera this year should be featured in the Time magazine, when a single word "dashing" just made me scroll up the text to check whether the author was a man or a woman.

Somehow, I sensed it "had" to be a woman. Had the writer been a man, I just don't feel he would've used the word "dashing" to describe Rivera's brother's looks.

This is the entry in the Compact Oxford English Dictionary:

• adjective excitingly attractive and stylish.
— DERIVATIVES dashingly adverb.

Want to read about Spain but in English?

Just added a new item in the section Useful Links called typically Spanish.com with lots of information about Spain. For a review of what's being said in Spanish newspapers lately click on the following link:


14 de marzo de 2009

How does it sound in other languages?

Would you like to have a go at languages???!!!

  1. Click on the link "How does it sound in other languages?" in the Useful Links section.
  2. Enter a word, a phrase, a sentence...
  3. Choose a language and click on "Say it"


Feel like doing some English work this weekend?!


Two entries to focus on:

  1. (March 11) Text & narration on screen (with a twist)>> Interesting tips as well on how to upgrade a presentation; bit hard to read as the text scrolls up&down.

  2. (March 8) If you only had a minute to pitch your story>> Do you remember that job advert that said "The best job in the world"? If you can't, click here: http://www.boingboing.net/2009/01/14/best-job-in-the-worl.html for a reminder. Well, in this entry you will be able to watch some of the author's favourites. I think they grab you and the contestants have managed to "pitch their story", indeed.

Wondering what "pitch" means in this context???? The Compact Oxford English Dictionary says: "a form of words used to persuade or influence"

13 de marzo de 2009

New English File Activities

I have used this series as textbooks for a long time and I think they are fun to be used, very dynamic and easy to follow. I also think that their website offers a wide range of activities for the students, graded according to their level. This is what it says: "Learn more English here with interactive exercises, useful downloads, games, and weblinks. Practise your grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, listening, and reading, and have some fun too."

The levels are:
  1. Beginners
  2. Elementary
  3. Pre-intermediate
  4. Intermediate
  5. Upper-intermediate
I strongly recommend the Pronunciation section. If you want to practise your English on this website set yourself an activity to do daily from each of the sections. This way you will feel that you are truly practising. At times we tend to click "here&there" at random and, in the end, we fail to advance.


My intention is to keep this section updated as often as I can. I also intend to post useful info on how to get the best of the links shown in this section. In other words, what I want to avoid is listing out a batch of "useful links" and let you deal with them your own way. Of course, feel free to do so, but I know from experience that in the end one just gets discouraged by so much information, losing track of what they were really aiming at.

So, I will try and give you tips on what to find on a certain website and how to get the best of it on a regular basis.

Please, do post a comment stating your opinion -if you feel like it-, or a query whenever in doubt; I will try and help out the best way I can. This is precisely one of the purposes of this blog, to provide a common ground to those of you who like the English language.


It's known widely that the Web has changed the way we search or access information. Just by typing in the key words the screen shows different URL (Uniform Resource Locator) addresses for us to check and see if they contain the information we are looking for.

Users of Google, one of the most powerful and widely used search engine, have coined a new word "to google" meaning "find certain information on the web". So now people say "why don't you google it on the web?".

If you google "to google", Wikipedia shows this entry:

Google (verb)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The verb to google (also spelled to Google) refers to using the Google search engine to obtain information on the Web. A neologism arising from the popularity and dominance[1] of the eponymous search engine, the American Dialect Society chose it as the "most useful word of 2002." [2] It was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary on June 15, 2006,[3] and to the 11th edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary in July 2006.[4] The first recorded usage of google used as a verb was on July 8, 1998, by Larry Page himself, who wrote on a mailing list: "Have fun and keep googling!"[5]

12 de marzo de 2009

"When a man is tired of London...

This is LONDON -MY CITY-; a city full of life where it seems people feel at ease whatever they're up to. As Samuel Johnson says: "When a man is tired of London he is tired of life, for London has everything that life has to offer."
I took these pics back in Aug. 2005 on a Sunday morning. The 1st pic shows the house in Notting Hill, where I stayed for two weeks, sharing life with a very sweet & talkative old lady, Mrs MacMillan. Her house is two houses off the pub.
Next pic is a London street -sorry can't remember name :o(- coming from South Kensington on my way to Notting Hill.
The next two show the early morning in Kensington Park: the swans busy on their toilet ;O) and a man sleeping on the grass with a full disregard of anything that goes around.
Finally, the next two pics show London life at full length, the first in Covent Garden -as you may have guessed- and the last one is just past the London Eye, on the other side of the Embankment. Both Londoners and visitors wandering about in the late afternoon.

11 de marzo de 2009

Do you like cooking?

Why not practise English while reading about one of your favourite pastimes??

I'm sure you will learn a lot on this website:


Jamie Oliver is the new star in the kitchen and will teach you a lot of vocabulary related to cooking.

Don't miss his blog: http://www.jamieoliver.com/

"Reads" tasty, doesn't it???

(ps. I'm not that keen on cooking but I promise I will make an effort to improve ;O)

Why creating this blog?

I have decided to create this blog as a channel to keep in touch with all my students (past & present...........& future :O) and help them to keep up their English wherever they are, whatever they are engaged with. I intend to surf the Internet and see the different websites related to teaching/learning English and select those I feel they are worth the while.

I would also like this blog to be a "little English corner" for all of you to share, participate and enjoy.