Learn useful vocabulary related to voting and the democratic process based on an article from the Guardian on the recent snap election in Spain.
George Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language" tells us a lot about what it really means to be an advanced English speaker. (Hint: Value precision over adornment.)
What does Steve Jobs learning calligraphy from a Trappist monk at university have to do with the creation of what is now the single most valuable company in the world? Listen to find out.
Research shows that reading from physical books, rather than on screens, significantly enhances our ability to understand, remember and reflect on the content. Worryingly, many universities are choosing to replace readings with video content in an en effort to engage with students.
Instead of focusing on overall fluency start defining the specific contexts in which you need English. The skills you need for a given context can be thought of as a microfluency and can be developed at a faster pace.
What is the impact of unlimited access to both trivial and transformative online content? Should we limit the information we take in and be more reflective learners? I also give informaiton on a free online event for English teachers on 27 May.
This week we look at articles from the Verge and Reuters on a proposed EU copyright law. Copyrighted text and images are being used to build generative AI platforms like ChatGPT through a process called scraping yet the owners of this intellectual property stand to gain nothing. What is the future for creators?
S2 E22 Media corruption - Fox's record-setting defamation lawsuit and the unmasking of Tucker Carlson
This week we look at articles from The Financial Times and The Economist on Fox News' record-breaking $787.5 million defamation lawsuit. Find out how corrupt journalists allowed conspiracy theories to become mainstream and the role played by former Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson in compromising media integrity.
I share insights from my coach training programme, specifically ideas taken from a talk by Marcus Buckingham called "9 Lies About Work" and how real progress depends on our ability to focus on our strengths and giving up on the fantasy of being well-rounded.
The word "stake" has a variety of metaphorical meanings. It can represent ownership, risk, investment, commitment - and even belonging and is used to talk about everything from territorial disputes to the health of the planet. When we explore the etymology and metaphors behind everyday expressions they become cognitively sticky and therefore easier to remember.
S2 E19 The overlooked skill you need to stand out in oral exams, job interviews and even on first dates
This week I share insights from Psychology Today and the book Nonviolent Communication that will help you communicate far more effectively in high-stakes situations like speaking exams, job interviews... and on your next date.
One of the greatest writers in our language only started learning English at the age of 21. This week I look at more compelling goals than sounding like a native-speaker.
Puffin Random House, publisher of Roald Dahl’s works, has hired a company to make the author’s books more politically correct by removing references to race, gender, body size and other potentially offensive content. I explore the history of bowdlerisation from Shakespeare in the 19th century to the more recent example of a revised version of Huckleberry Finn that removes the "n" word.
Many learners overlook everyday uses of inversion. This grammar structure is not limited to formal and literary English and should be part of your repertoire as a proficient English speaker. Learn a few of the most frequently used inversions, conveniently presented in sentence frames and chunks.
On average we're spending far less time with friends than we used to. More and more people - especially men - report having fewer or even no close friends. This week I explore psychological concepts like learned helplessness and mere exposure to help you reflect on how to make your own social life more rewarding.
The World Cup might be a distant memory but the political scandals linking Qatar to European lawmakers are far from over. This week find out about corruption in Brussels as well as the origin of the suffix -gate to refer to scandals.
Find out how a 22 year-old year old undergraduate has managed to create a tool that detects AI-generated text with a low margin of error. Is this a dream come true for educators?
Interested in changing your habits? Start with your beliefs! In this episode I share two books that helped me quit drinking and smoking and how my experience is relevant even if you don't have any bad habits to speak of!
In this week's show I talk about how ChatGPT and artificial intelligence more generally will affect language learning. I discuss articles from The Atlantic and The New York Times and explain the concept of neo-Luddites.
This week I'm going to teach you about the importance of alliteration. From advertising to journalism to fiction, alliteration is all over the place. Find out how perceiving sound patterns helps foster insightful learning.
In this episode I discuss my first year of podcasting why I'm happy that my early episodes make me cringe... and why they're still worth listening to!
This week I continue my exploration of adverb collocations and share with you two powerful (and free!) online writing tools to dramatically improve your writing.
Advanced English learners use adverbs in strikingly different ways. Research has shown that C2 English speakers use not only more adverbs but also a wider range of them. You'll learn key adverb + adjective collocations to help you make the shift from an intermediate to a truly advanced English learner.
This week I explore the deceptively simple insights of Zena Hitz on the true nature of genius. (Hint: think attitude not inborn trait). As a bonus I share one of my favourite websites for thought-provoking essays and articles.
This week I share with you an entertaining and very unintellectual newspaper column that will have you laughing out loud and ask whether you are as open-minded as you think. I discuss a fascinating New York Times video on the hypocrisy of the political left and how the concepts of belief perseverance and the backfire effect will have you rethinking how you argue with others.
In this week's show I remind you of the importance of resetting your attentional filter to notice key categories of vocabulary in English, including "empty" verbs and binomials. You'll be putting into practice my tips and I've even come up with a scavenger hunt for you to play while listening.
This week I explore key concepts from neuroscience in Daniel J. Levitin's book The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload and how they apply to language learning. Specifically, I explain the concept of the attentional filter as it relates to language learning.
What does the recent political and economic turmoil in the UK have to do with improving your English? Listen and find out how to avoid becoming an intellectual zombie.
Last week the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, thereby depriving women in many parts of the U.S. access to legal abortion. In this episode we look at key vocabulary related to the law as well as discuss the American Supreme Court and new evidence-based studies on abortion.
In this week's episode I discuss a recent court ruling in the United States on the safety of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the world's most widely-used pesticide and why this coming year is crucial for improving food safety and wildlife protection in the European Union.
What is eco-anxiety? How we can use art as a way of processing grief caused by climate change? I have a brief chat with the environmental scientist, policy maker - and award-winning mosaic artist - Julie Sperling about the therapeutic value of art and how we can use the principles of ikigai to find ways to do our part in the fight against climate change.
In this episode I look into the concept of ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) and rumination. I discuss three techniques for coping with self-criticism. As it turns out, speaking to ourselves in our second (or third/fourth/etc.) language can help us when dealing with emotionally charged situations
Learn key words and phrases to help you talk critically about a topic that is very common in speaking exams - learning English. I explore the importance of avoiding superficial answers and approaching questions with genuine curiosity and the dark side of imposing English at work and in universities. Specifically, is requiring fluency in English creating an uneven playing field?
In this episode we find out about binomials as well as some interesting facts about the British Empire, jingoism and why British civil servants are threatening to revolt agains the government's latest plans to deal with refugees.
The teacher, writer and podcaster Tim Warre joins me to discuss the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. We talk about ways in which language teachers and learners can benefit from this insightful book on habit formation.
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions" is a common saying in English. In short, having good intentions does not always lead to good outcomes. I discuss Slavoj Žižek, Aditya Chakrabortty, Naomi Klein, John Mearsheimer and Masha Gessen.
In this conversation with Iván, who's both a student and teacher of English, we talk about an issue of interest to him, namely economics and supply chain issues that have been affecting the world economy. We also exchange ideas on effective language learning approaches, and discuss things such as translation and the use of flashcards.
In this episode I discuss Valentine's Day and its Catalan equivalent Sant Jordi as well as delve into research on the hidden benefits of being single. What's more, I look into the concept of "greedy marriages" and why it's okay to want a relationship if you aren't in one.
What does it mean to be well-read? In this episode I talk about Pierre Bayard's book How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read and why book reviews are an underrated tool for your personal development.
In this episode I talk about embracing being a nerd and the expression "Seek and ye shall find" and how the Bible, specifically the King James translation, has provided English with a wealth of idioms still in use today.
In these challenging times our relationships are more precious than ever. Find out how Marshall McLuhan's media theory can vastly improve our friendships.
In this episode I talk about some counterintuitive yet helpful advice from one of my favourite columnists and address the issue of philistinism in ELT. Why does literature play such a small role in the teaching of English? Why are we so unambitious in our approach to writing?
In this week's episode I talk about my recent trip to Dubai. This year the emirate is hosting Expo, so I decided to explore a bit of the cultural impact of this international event throughout history. I come to the conclusion that the post-Covid world needs more catharsis-inducing art.
In lieu of the usual format, this week I’ve uploaded a YouTube interview with Gorka, an advanced English learner based in Bilbao. The video includes in-video captions so that you can learn key words and chunks from our conversation on a wide range of topics.
Wednesday 15 December: Reading is the keystone habit that will transform your English. Find out where to find high-quality, challenging reading materials to make you not just a better English speaker but also a better communicator and thinker.
Wednesday 8 December 2021: In this episode I talk about motivation and the concept of advent. You'll learn useful chunks for essay writing and speaking.
Wednesday 1 December 2021: Learn the difference between receptive and productive skills and why you, as an advanced English learner, need to shift your focus. Use the interactive transcript and Quizlet flashcards to become a more confident speaker and writer.