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Step outside the class | Drawing Activity with Tim Currant
Saturday, March 2, 2019 from 10am to 12pm
“Learning never exhausts the mind” – Leonardo da Vinci

Remember that next Saturday, March 2nd is our first round table event of 2019 with Tim Currant. We will be sharing breakfast, coffee and an excellent opportunity to learn how to draw and relax, while improving your skills in conversational English.

Here’s Tim:
Are you dissatisfied with your drawing ability – or think “I can’t draw”?

Whatever level of drawing ability you may or may not have, this workshop shows you how to develop authentic drawing skills. I believe that everyone has the potential to draw, but just need to focus on three things:-

1. Change your thinking habits when you draw
2. Learn how to train your hands and eyes to work together.
3. Go and practice them. Practice makes perfect – before Leonardo da Vinci drew the final painting on the Cistine Chapel, he drew 140 pictures that did not work.

The workshop will be hands on and enjoyable and a chance to find out of you really can draw!

Please RSVP by Wednesday, March 27th

And don’t forget our future events!
Thursday, March 14, 2019, 19.00h-20.30h: PART I: “Eating your way through words” this is a two part series led by Caroline Bagnara (Learning food vocabulary)

Thursday, March 28, 2019, 19.00h-20.30h: “Cleaning up your act” led by Anna Bezubka (living a healthier more sustainable life)

Saturday, April 6, 2019, 10am-12.00h: “Meandering through art” led by Rosemary Grieve (Visiting a museum and practicing your English skills in description)

Thursday, April 26, 2019, 19.00h-20.30h: PART II: “Eating your way through words” led by Caroline Bagnara (Visiting Santa Catarina Market in English)

Thursday, May 9, 2019, 19.00-20.30h: “Setting yourself up for success” led by Heidi Schmidt (the importance of setting goals and challenges)

Start reserving your favorite activities and we will keep you informed! You can email us at hello@heidi-schmidt.com
Each course has a cost of 30€ per person and will include snacks and beverages



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Photo Source: Ryan Johnson for NPR

Last week we spoke about “Thin Slices of Joy” and living in the present. Have you tried it, yet?

And so in honor of Valentine’s day tomorrow and living in the present, I thought we would talk about a recent interview I heard on detoxing from Smartphones. I know, eye roll, and how trendy, right? Wrong. David Greenfield, a psychologist and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut found that hearing a notification from our phone is identical to the study Ivan Pavlov did over a century ago. Greenfield compares us to those dogs and warns us that high usage of our telephones can cause serious disorders and addiction. 

According to Greenfield, the average user checks their phone 50 to 300 times a day and compares it to gamblers on slot machines. In another study, Dr. Anna Lembke, a psychiatrist at Stanford University, considers this problem a “spectrum disorder” that can go from mild to extreme forms. She doesn’t think we should stop using our phones completely, that would be too much of an extreme, but does advise us to consider controlling our use of the phone and being more present.

Dr. Lembke suggests we spend less time on our phones to help increase our creativity, enjoyable time with family and friends and efficient time at work.

But before you decide to take on the challenge of detoxing from your phone, as this week’s exercise, I invite you to listen to this fascinating report:

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/02/12/584389201/smartphone-detox-how-to-power-down-in-a-wired-world

When you are done listening, I challenge you to turn off your phone for the next 24 hours and enjoy Valentine’s day without any interruptions or notifications and instead, soak in the pleasures of such a romantic day!

And in case you are curious, a little video on the history of Valentine’s day!



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The holidays are fast approaching and the smell of Christmas is in the air and we are very excited around here…As many of you already know, Oriol and I are happily expecting an addition to our family any time now and we could not be more excited! I could also have not asked for a better Christmas…But before I sign off to impatiently await this little member, I thought I would share a heartfelt (touching) video on learning English. Apparently, it has become the most watched commercial this last week and if you haven’t seen it yet, please do. Heat up some hot chocolate, pop some pop corn and bring out the tissue.

The Polish Christmas Ad

If there is anything I have learned these last few years is that every single one of you have a different and very personal reason for learning English and there is not a single reason that is better than another one. What does not cease (stop amazing) to amaze me though is the passion in which all of you want to learn and how you achieve your goals each and every time, be it small or large. This is what makes our job so amazing. And I think I can speak for all teachers, that we are fortunate to form part of your learning experience. Congratulations to every single one of you for wanting to learn something new and doing it.

Photo Source



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Today is the first day in a long time that the weather is cooler and we all seem to be walking just a little quicker. Did you know that summer is officially over next week? Get your light jackets out, September 22 is the first day of Autumn!

In ode to the summer and to all your brilliant summer tales this week, I thought I would share a very extraordinary story with you about a man, Gunther Holtorf, who decided to go on a 26 year holiday (177 countries and 884,000km (549,000 miles))! Talk about a very long summer.

Here’s a lovely photo-documentary by the photographer, David Lemke:

Gunther’s Travels

This article by the BBC gives you detailed information: http://www.bbc.com/news/special/2014/newsspec_8703/index.html

And before we check out for the weekend, how about an informative video on the differences between British and American English Pronunciation?British vs American | English Pronunciation Lesson

Can you tell the difference? Do you use one form of pronunciation more than the other? Or maybe you have a preference??

Photo Source: Philip Barlow



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This Friday, April 22nd is Earth day, a global day on which it aims to inspire awareness of and appreciation for Earth’s environment. As we all know, this planet we live on needs our love and attention, so I thought that we could dedicate this week’s post to all things Earth. Maybe this will inspire you to work on your garden, plant a tree or clean up a littered (dirty) beach. Do you recycle? Maybe now is a good time to start!

Here are some fun links from around the web to get you motivated and at the same time help you learn some new vocabulary;

Earth Day quiz from The Guardian

Some great videos and a quiz on what animal are you? from Google

Why Trees? A great explanation on why we need to plant more trees and a global map with events near you.

Animals that might not survive 2016 

One man’s goal to preserve nature’s sounds for future generations

And finally, if you loved these links, here is a whole page dedicated to videos and articles on Earth Day

Have a great week and stop to smell the flowers!

Photo Source: Bernard Chevalier



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“If we don’t make mistakes daily we are not pushing the boundaries and challenging the system enough.” Antonio J. Lucio

Happy Monday everyone! Before we begin with a very interesting topic on intelligence, we want to remind you that this week is our first edition of the Round Table Series so remember to sign up and join us on Thursday from 20.00h-21.00h. You can find more information hereWe really do hope to see you there!

So, this week’s blog is on how intelligent you think you are and why creativity is so important in both work and learning. More than once I have heard students tell me that it is impossible for them to learn a new language or that they were never really good at learning, or intelligent enough. To be honest, I disagree. Maybe we just need to find a different approach at learning.

I have always believed that we are all creative, every single one of us and luckily Sir Ken Robinson believes the same. Take a look below at this week’s links and see how you can become a more intelligent and creative learner.

Here are Five common mistakes when learning a foreign languageJust imagine, with a little more curiosity and less fear, you could easily go a long way

A very creative video on Ken Robinson speaking about How are you intelligent?

An easy video on Why do we need creativity?

A more advanced video by the author Elizabeth Gilbert on Your elusive (difficult) genius

And you can test your English (maybe you know more than you think you do?)

Finally, here’s a Quiz on commonly confused words in English.

Photo Source



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https://aeon.co/videos/how-a-massive-painting-project-is-transforming-a-haitian-slum-through-colour

This week we are making room for a very compelling (interesting) post from Madeleine!

Our last post was titled Blue Monday, and that got us thinking about colour, or a lack of (not much,) colour! Some parts of the world are not lucky enough to enjoy the Barcelona blue sky this time of year, and the sky is mostly grey and the light is dull, (lacking brightness.) If you live in these kind of countries, it is not surprising that people start to feel a little depressed.

So, in celebration of all things colourful we would like to share this video about a transformation of a hillside slum in Haiti. So beautifully simple and inspiring.

After watching the video, try to think of how many adjectives you can think of to describe colour? Yes, it’s pink or green or blue, but what kind of blue?

Here are some adjectives to help you, and remember that some of these words can also be used to describe other things too.

Intense

dull

pale

subtle

radiant

rich

light/dark

luminous

shiny/matt (Am. E.: Matte)

dusky

neutral

bold

cold/warm

deep

fresh

soft/hard

sober

vibrant

vivid

translucent

Descriptive language really helps you to communicate well in another language, so go on, don’t be afraid to use some adjectives!

Note: Did you notice the spelling of the word colour in this post? In British English the word is spelt with a ‘u’ and in American English, we drop the ‘u’. British English: colour American English: color

There is a story behind why the Americans spell some words differently from the British, but we’ll save that for another post!



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We are four days into 2016 and about to put our shoes out for those 3 wise men and their gifts. In the meantime, we have had enough time (and days off) to give some thought to what we want 2016 to look like…right? Or maybe some of you are more of the September resolution kind of person?

If January is your month to shake off the previous year and start fresh with new goals, this post is just for you! Have you ever wondered where the idea of New Year’s resolutions come from anyway? Find out from this short video:

New Year’s Global History

And this short article explains The History of New Year’s Resolutions

We have gathered some interesting links on New Year’s resolutions and what to expect for 2016 in regards to reading material and food:
50 New Year’s resolutions and how to achieve them

Top 10 healthiest New Year’s Resolutions

Vegetables likely to take over your plate in 2016!

What makes a good life, happy? VIDEO

What to expect in 2016 (according to The Wall Street Journal)

Books to Read this year (according to Brooklyn Magazine)

Top 10 Movies to watch out for in 2016

May it be a fun year for you all and full of health, happiness and accomplished resolutions!



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Wishing you all the best as the countdown begins for the holidays. If you are feeling curious and want some fun topics for the dinner table, check out this video on the History of Christmas

And if you are in the singing mood and want to impress your family with some Christmas Carols, take a look here

Finally, 20 bizarre Christmas traditions from around the world and 29 Heavenly Christmas foods from around the world.

Happy Holidays to all of you and may you be surrounded by your loved ones!



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Happy Friday Readers!

I don’t know about you, but I tend to be much more motivated in the Fall (Autumn) than any other season. I am usually excited about having an excuse to grab a great novel, make some hot chocolate and cover up. It is also a great time to pick up (start) a hobby or focus on learning something new and preparing to host (have/invite people to) dinners at home since it gets dark and cold so early!

So this post is about learning, listening and becoming just a little smarter.

Listening                                                             http://explore.brainpickings.org/

Want to know the benefits of knowing a second language? Watch this video: The benefits of a bilingual brain

Fascinating article from The Guardian on making ourselves more intelligent. Did you know we only use 15% of our neurons? Read this article: Can we make ourselves more intelligent?

and for fun, test yourself on how smart you are: Personality Test

And the director, Luc Besson speaks about his film last year on Lucy. Watch a video on him explaining his reasons for the movie: Luc Besson’s celebral sci-fi   

Finally, if you want to get into a great book, but prefer to listen to it. Try audio books. A great way to listen and even read at the same time: Audio Books 

Online Articles 

Or try my favorite, Podcasts. These two are on my top list: The Hidden Brain and Ted Radio Hour

Have a wonderful Autumn weekend!



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