Ok, let’s get down to business and skip the nonsense. More than once, in fact, countless times, I have been asked by students to work on emailing skills with them since it is one of the most frequent forms of contact they have with English and to make it worse, the most stressful since it is usually for work and/or important matters. So, I thought I would give you two very interesting websites that might help you through this tricky situation.

This British Council website gives you some great tips on improving your writing and exercises to go along with it. Maybe you can consider doing this over Winter break and see if you can add it to your list of resolutions?

And have you heard of grammarly.com?? It’s like the auto corrector on your WhatsApp, but better! It gives you a variety of words you can use (synonyms), corrects your grammar mistakes and helps you improve your writing skills. Best of all, you can get it for free on Chrome and have it on your desktop or laptop for those important emails you need to whip out for work in a dash.

You are running out of excuses to not have a properly written email.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! And thank you for being such great readers!!

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As we get closer to tying up loose ends and considering New Year Resolutions, I thought we could work on a fun professional quiz this week to see if you are working in the sector that is right for you. And when we say, “right for you”, we mean, what makes you happy.

According to this The Guardian article, John Lees quoted, Work isn’t the only thing that influences happiness, but it’s where you spend a big chunk of your waking life. Can it really make you happy? Many factors come into play – the role, the way you’re managed, the organisational culture, how much you like your colleagues – but work that matches your motivation and your interests is far more likely to keep you absorbed and reasonably contented.”

So, perhaps it is time to take a moment to answer these 10 simple questions, learn some new vocabulary and find out if you need to mind map your career…Have fun! https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/quiz-what-job-best-fits-your-life/

Photo Source Jerome Masi


This week we are going to focus on the topic of success. How to be successful at anything and Ralph Emerson’s poem on success. Before we dive into the subject, what does success mean to you? Do you consider yourself a successful person? Each culture has its own interpretation of what success means and how it identifies a person and quite honestly, I can never get enough of the topic.

Oliver Emberton has a fascinating explanation on how to be successful and it is as simple as limiting yourself to 3 objectives or aims. He claims that we tend to want to focus on too many things at the same time and that distracts us from our original goal. His article, “If you want to follow your dreams, you have to say no to all alternatives” is a colorful insight on how to stay focused and eventually reach our destination. Imagine your aims are bumblebees or in his words, “Our brains behave like a beach ball filled with bees. Hundreds of conflicting impulses, pushing us in different directions.” And so that means you move nowhere, unless you learn how to control those bees and allow just one to lead.Beachball-11

Read more here:  http://oliveremberton.com/2014/if-you-want-to-follow-your-dreams-you-have-to-say-no-to-all-the-alternatives/

And once your done reading the article, perhaps consider the fact that you are already successful. Take a look at Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem on success. And if you do not know who Ralph Waldo Emerson is, perhaps today is a good day to find out…https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/ralph-waldo-emerson

What is Success?

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed
easier because you have lived;

This is to have succeeded.



It has been well over 6 months since I have been able to share interesting posts with you and I am happy to announce we are back and extremely happy to be here once again. Since last Winter, much has changed and as I welcomed our baby boy to the world, I also welcomed new thoughts on how we work, learn and grow. I am conscious or aware that the seeds I plant now will be so essential for the future of our little one and the example I set as a working adult will be for him to follow as he grows. Therefore, as Spring came and went and we begin to quickly invite Summer I have given thought to who we are when we work, when we learn, age and evolve. I know,  a bit deep for coming back suddenly, but hey, why not?

This post is dedicated to making us think about the pleasures of being necessary and ourselves at the same time, making those weekends stretch longer and longer and being productive…

One of my all time favorite writers, Toni Morrison, recently wrote on defining the person you are and the work you do. Two separate entities which we sometimes forget. Especially in today’s age when our work weighs so much on us as well as on our identity and we can inevitably lose the definition of who we really are and as a result, that fine line of leaving work behind when we are done with work becomes blurry (not focused). After speaking with her father as a child about work and being unhappy, her father responded the following:

1. Whatever the work is, do it well—not for the boss but for yourself.

2. You make the job; it doesn’t make you.

3. Your real life is with us, your family.

4. You are not the work you do; you are the person you are.

Morrison ends the article with the following: “I have worked for all sorts of people since then, geniuses and morons, quick-witted and dull, bighearted and narrow. I’ve had many kinds of jobs, but since that conversation with my father I have never considered the level of labor to be the measure of myself, and I have never placed the security of a job above the value of home.”

If you want to read the full articlehttp://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/06/05/the-work-you-do-the-person-you-are

What do you think? Do you feel defined, confined or reassured by your work?

On a sweeter note, did you know you can make your weekend feel longer?? Yep, 48 hours can stretch just a little further…here is how (think new): http://nymag.com/scienceofus/article/how-to-make-the-weekend-last-longer.html

And finally, how to keep your sanity if you work alone…this is for all you freelancers or anyone who feels trapped in front of their computer on a daily basis! http://jkglei.com/freelance-sanity/

What are your thoughts? What do you do to make your working life happier?

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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.

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In our last post, we spoke about moving motivators and what puts us into action. This week I wanted to push the topic a little further and have you ask yourselves who you really are…What kind of worker are you? What kind of learner? Are you introverted or extroverted? Ambitious or relaxed about getting to your final objective? Or maybe you have never given it much thought…

Well, lucky for you, I found a fabulous personality test known as the Myers-Briggs test you can take in less than 15 minutes and find what kind of personality you have. Maybe you agree with the results, maybe not, either way that will make for an interesting discussion…So stop what you are doing and take this test now! https://www.16personalities.com/ 

If you are having problems understanding the questions, have your teacher help you out.

Not familiar with Myers-Briggs? Watch this 5 minute video on the history of Myers-Briggs and why 2.5 million people take this test annually.

It really is useful in becoming more aware of yourself and reaching a better you!

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champfrogs-moving-motivatorsLast week we had a wonderful round table session on motivators at work and on projects. Marina gave us some interesting information on how to analyze what motivates us most at work and what makes us lose interest. Did you know money is not everything? Do you agree?

Here is more information on moving motivators

She had us rate or scale our motivators above from 1 to 10. 1 being the most important and 10 the least important. It was fascinating to see what we each chose as important and non-important. She then explained what each of these motivators could mean in our professional world.

Afterwards, we related these motivators to Maslow’s human hierarchy of needs. Remember those?


We decided where each motivator fell within the triangle and how they were relevant…It really was a fabulous session.

So, how do your motivators rate? Are you currently motivated at work or do you need to restructure your own motivation?

Thank you Marina for an insightful session!

Maslow’s Photo Source


Let’s talk about eloquence on a rainy Tuesday afternoon in October. Sentence structure and sharing our ideas clearly is so important in any language, but we know how tricky it can be to get those words into the right order when studying a new language. There really is no exception to the rule when speaking about word order in English, so the good news is that once you learn the rule, you will not make mistakes!

In Jason Kottke’s article, inspired by Mark Forsyth’s book The Elements of Eloquence Jason states,…adjectives in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose Noun. So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife. But if you mess with that word order in the slightest you’ll sound like a maniac. It’s an odd thing that every English speaker uses that list, but almost none of us could write it out.”

While the Cambridge dictionary gives us a slightly different order: Opinion, Size, Quality, Shape, Age, Colour, Origin, Material, Type and Purpose, Noun. 

In other words, for a native speaker, this order is intuitive and learned. We know exactly how to construct the sentence, but we wouldn’t know how to tell you what order those words should be in. It’s the typical comment, “that’s just the way it is…” but in all truth, there is an actual order to it.

So, why don’t we try? Put the following words into the correct order:

1. table, a, square, wooden, big:

2. the,cup, tiny, plastic, blue, expensive

3. black, small, box, Turkish, old, a

Want more practice? Check out these links: 




And an exercise on word order in general: https://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar/word-order/exercises?02

Finally, a lovely poem on word order by Alexandra Teague:

That summer, she had a student who was obsessed 
with the order of adjectives. A soldier in the South 
Vietnamese army, he had been taken prisoner when 

Saigon fell. He wanted to know why the order 
could not be altered. The sweltering city streets shook
with rockets and helicopters. The city sweltering 

streets. On the dusty brown field of the chalkboard, 
she wrote: The mother took warm homemade bread 
from the oven. City is essential to streets as homemade 

is essential to bread . He copied this down, but 
he wanted to know if his brothers were lost  before 
older, if he worked security at a twenty-story modern

downtown bank or downtown twenty-story modern.
When he first arrived, he did not know enough English 
to order a sandwich. He asked her to explain each part 

of Lovely big rectangular old red English Catholic
leather Bible. Evaluation before size. Age before color. 
Nationality before religion. Time before length. Adding 

and, one could determine if two adjectives were equal. 
After Saigon fell, he had survived nine long years 
of torture. Nine and long. He knew no other way to say this.

From Mortal Geography by Alexandra Teague. Copyright © 2010 by Alexandra Teague. Used by permission of Persea Books.

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Post Insipired by: http://cupofjo.com/2016/09/grammar-rule/


We are honored to have our next round table session lead by Marina from Intermanagement next Thursday, October 27th from 19.00h-20.30h

She will be leading a fascinating discussion on motivation:

“We will see different theories on motivation, we will find out what motivates each of us attending the round table, we will play with our motivators and finally we will talk about how understanding these motivators can help us to set up our own goals and our team’s goals.”  Marina

If you or anyone you know is interested in this subject or you think this would be helpful in your own professional or personal life, contact us and reserve your space! All of us can always use a little motivating and positive coaching!

Brought to you by: 
Where: Espai 290 | Aragó 290 Principal, Barcelona 08009
When: Thursday, October 27 from 19.00-20.30h
How Much: 10€ per session (includes material, Gin & Tonics! and great company)
**Please RSVP at hello@heidi-schmidt.com

We hope to see you there!


Happy Monday and October to all of you…Today’s post comes from Los Angeles, California! Michelle Goodrich shares some very interesting perspectives on the importance of body language. How aware are you of your body language? Have you ever given it any thoughts?

image1-3Greetings from Los Angeles! I’m Michelle, a friend of Heidi’s and your guest blog writer. I’d like to introduce myself a little and then share an article about communication and our crazy presidential race here in the U.S. 

As a world traveler with a degree in Communications and 12 years as a professional English teacher, my life’s work has been to guide English learners through their own personal explorations of cross-cultural expression. There are, of course, the essential language skills: receptive skills (reading and listening) and productive skills (writing and speaking). If you’ve been studying for awhile, I’m sure you have thought about which are hardest and easiest for you. But what about your other communication skills?
At university, I learned that a large percentage of your message doesn’t actually involve the essential skills! Does this surprise you? Well, there is no doubt that without words, most of us would have a difficult time understanding or being understood. What I would like you to think about is non-verbal communication. What does your body “say” in a conversation or a presentation? To explore this question, I invite you to check out a New York Times article about this week’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. I hope it inspires you to focus a bit more attention on your own body language. I hope it does not inspire you to lose faith in politics!