Starting a new conversation class

Questioning cat

If you are anything like me, as both a teacher and a student, starting a new conversation class is terribly scary. Will the group work well together? What will we talk about? Will I have the confidence to talk, or be too scared about making … [Continue reading]

Why LearnedWords?

Typewriter monochrome

It all started with words, losing myself in piles of books from the time I started to read. I’d devour page after page, get lost in imaginary worlds, and chase down stories. I started writing my own stories in primary school, such terrible copies … [Continue reading]

Illness and treatments

Cat yoga

Most of us have been ill. We've all done things to 'fix' our illness, even if it's just the common cold. Most of use have been to a doctor or specialist, had tests, and been prescribed medications or therapies. Unfortunately, this also happens … [Continue reading]

An (un)welcome immersion in language

Strings of rainbow origami cranes at a shrine in Fukushima

Immersion really is key to fast language acquisition. But only when you keep using it afterwards! A recent (planned) week-long stay in hospital showed that I can, in general, function in German. I did study a bit harder leading up to this stay, as … [Continue reading]

Words rhyming with ‘ale’

I usually give these vocabulary building exercises to my conversation class students as homework, although completing them in class can result in a surprising amount of noise and talking! Download the PDF version, without answers: Word rhyme - … [Continue reading]

Bite-sized podcasts for English fluency

Podcasts are an excellent and enjoyable way to increase your listening fluency and pick up new words, in context. I've been using a few in German, and have noticed it's much easier for me to put together sentences - I'm soaking up grammar and new … [Continue reading]

What if you won a medieval village?

I've been running this mini 'project' in both my business and conversation classes. Each group's suggestions are completely different to all other groups and fascinating! It's a great chance to practice conjunctions, if-conditionals, modal … [Continue reading]

Professions crossword

Fountain pen

A number of my classes are deep in the jobs and professions topic area. Crosswords are a fun way of increasing vocabulary (both in the answers and in the questions!) Download:  Professions crossword (PDF) If you found this crossword useful, … [Continue reading]

Food crossword

Crosswords are a fun way to increase vocabulary, especially when students are challenged to understand the words in the questions too! Recommended level: upper-beginner to advanced Ingredients and food crossword (PDF) Highlight the hidden … [Continue reading]

15 Idioms from around the world

Into the fire

Idioms are a great way to increase enthusiasm and interest in learning a language. Instead of getting bogged down in memorizing vocabulary, they paint bold, clear pictures in students' minds, which are much more easily remembered than a boring … [Continue reading]