miércoles, 31 de julio de 2013

Talking point: Stories

This week's talking point deals with stories. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below, so that ideas flow more easily when you meet your friends and you can work out vocabulary issues beforehand.

What's the difference among the different types of stories below?
Can you think of an example of each one?
What makes a good story?
What makes a good story teller? Do you know anyone?
When did you last hear a good story? What was it about?
Do you prefer reading stories or listening to them?

Do you remember the tale Little Red Riding Hood?
What is the moral (or message) of the story?
Watch and read a new version of Little Red Riding Hood by Road Dahl.
[Remember that if you don't understand any vocabulary items you can easily look them up by double-clicking on the word you don't know.]
What is the moral (or message) of the modern story?
How does it differ from the original one?
Can you think of another traditional tale and devise a 'twist in the tail', an unexpected surprise ending?

Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf
(from Revolting Rhymes, by Roald Dahl, 1982)

As soon as Wolf began to feel
That he would like a decent meal,
He went and knocked on Grandma's door.
When Grandma opened it, she saw
The sharp white teeth, the horrid grin,
And Wolfie said, "May I come in?"
Poor Grandmamma was terrified,
"He's going to eat me up!" she cried.
And she was absolutely right.
He ate her up in one big bite.
But Grandmamma was small and tough,
And Wolfie wailed, "That's not enough!
I haven't yet begun to feel
That I have had a decent meal!"
He ran around the kitchen yelping,
"I've got to have a second helping!"

Then added with a frightful leer,
"I'm therefore going to wait right here
Till Little Miss Red Riding Hood
Comes home from walking in the wood."

He quickly put on Grandma's clothes,
(Of course he hadn't eaten those).
He dressed himself in coat and hat.
He put on shoes, and after that,
He even brushed and curled his hair,
Then sat himself in Grandma's chair.

In came the little girl in red.
She stopped. She stared. And then she said,
"What great big ears you have, Grandma."
"All the better to hear you with," the Wolf replied.
"What great big eyes you have, Grandma."
said Little Red Riding Hood.
"All the better to see you with," the Wolf replied.

He sat there watching her and smiled.
He thought, I'm going to eat this child.
Compared with her old Grandmamma,
She's going to taste like caviar.

Then Little Red Riding Hood said, “But Grandma,
what a lovely great big furry coat you have on."
"That's wrong!" cried Wolf. "Have you forgot
To tell me what BIG TEETH I've got?
Ah well, no matter what you say,
I'm going to eat you anyway."
The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers.
She whips a pistol from her knickers.
She aims it at the creature's head,
And bang bang bang, she shoots him dead.

A few weeks later, in the wood,
I came across Miss Riding Hood.
But what a change! No cloak of red,
No silly hood upon her head.
She said, "Hello, and do please note
My lovely furry WOLFSKIN COAT."

martes, 30 de julio de 2013

Speakout Advanced: Secrets

In this week's episode of our Speakout series, Pearson-Longman, we touch on the topic of secrets. These are the three questions passers-by answer:

Are you good at keeping secrets?
Is it ever a good thing to keep a secret from someone?
Do you have a secret talent that your friends or family don’t know about?

Listen to the different speakers and try to note down their answers.

Now it's over to you. Answer the questions above about yourself. Try to use some of the expressions and vocabulary you heard on the video.

You can read the transcript here.

lunes, 29 de julio de 2013

In China, a Staggering Migration

A few weeks ago, The New York Times published this video, which informs about the Chinese government's plans to move 250 million people from the country to cities over the next 12 to 15 years.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and complete the blanks in the transcript with the missing words.

The video is suitable for Básico 2 and Intermedio 1 students.

The Chinese government plans to move 250,000,000 people from farms to cities. It plans to do this over the next twelve to fifteen years. We are passing over some of the world’s largest (1) ... areas and if we combine the population of all of these cities, we’ll reach 250,000,000 people (2) ... .
The scale of China’s project is staggering. If it works, millions of (3) ... will move from their homes into newly built apartment blocks. Critics of the plan have called it warehousing.
These (4) ... American cities represent only a fraction of China’s (5) ... . We get closer to the total if we add some of Europe’s largest (1) ... areas.
If the Chinese government reaches its (5) ...s, (6) ... of its people will live in cities. The same transition took centuries in western countries.
At 85,000,000 we approach the number of Chinese (7) ... who’ve moved to cities since 2008. That past migration happened naturally. (3) ... found jobs in cities and moved. It was part of the transition that had been under way for decades. China’s (8) ... plan is far more deliberate, and will happen faster. (3) ... will now be forced to relocate.
Even with some of western (4) ... cities behind us, we’re not even (9) ... there. We need to add many of the largest (1) ... areas in the world. The government is hoping the farmers become (1) ... (10) ... . (7) ... typically grow their own food and (11) ... their own energy. If the (3) ... find work in these new cities, they will buy electricity and use public transportation, (12) ... televisions and washing machines and stoke the Chinese economy.
We are almost there now. Just add the population of Tokyo, the world’s largest (1) ... area, and we’ve made it, 250,000,000 people.

1 urban 2 eventually 3 farmers 4 major 5 goal 6 70% 7 villagers 8 current 9 half-way 10 consumers 11 provide 12 purchase

domingo, 28 de julio de 2013

Extensive listening: Debt, a great invention

This is a wonderful four-video lecture from the University of Groningen given by Dirk Bezemer.

He explains how debt and money systems developed over the years into the financial system we have today. All modern money is debt created by banks and this system has and can potentially bring us great wealth... or poverty.

Although the four fifteen-minute video clips do not have subtitles and you may be reluctant to watch a lecture for which some specialised knowledge is demanded, I strongly advise you to give professor Bezemer a chance. His English is really accessible and he presents all the economic concepts in a clear and pedagogical way.

episode 2: How bubbles grow
episode 3: Why crisis occur
episode 4: The post-bubble economy

sábado, 27 de julio de 2013

Most asked job interview questions and how to answer them

A few weeks ago, Larry Ferlazzo published a selection of the best infographics of the year so far. As he wisely points out, infographics present information visually, making it much more accessible for the reader.

This infographic about the most asked job interview questions and how to answer them can be used for English students to develop their oral abilities around the topic of work and personality. They can also be used by anyone who is looking for a job and would like to get some training.

viernes, 26 de julio de 2013

Whitstableman sells seaside lifestyle

Steve Graham, from Whitstable in Kent, is selling his ice-cream shop to start a new life.

Self-study activity:
Watch this BBC video clip by clicking on the link here or on the picture and answer the questions below.

The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

1 How long has Steve run the shop?
2 Why is this the best job in the world?
3 What two tragic moments does Steve talk about?
4 What exactly is Steve putting up for sale?
5 What does Steve say about the people in Whitstable?
6 What are Steve's plans after selling the shop?

You can check the answers by reading the transcript below.

I’ve lived in Whitstable for 12 years but been a fan of Whitstable since the 70’s when I first came here. I built Sundae Sundae 5  years ago, lying on the beach one day I had the idea for a, you know, … seaside shop, traditional ice-cream, old-fashioned toys and sweets, so I found the shop, opened it and from day one I’d scoop to the elbow, it’s been busy from day one.
It’s the best job I’ve ever had, no one’s ever unhappy. It’s not like going to the dentist where everyone is scared. Everyone wants to be happy. They walk in the shop, and you run through the flavours, everyone’s happy. They want a flake or they want a lolly or they want some sweets. No one walks into this shop and says , ‘I’d better have an ice-cream’, everyone is really happy.
I was married for sort of thirty-odd years. My wife tragically died, and I became ill at the same time, I nearly died myself from cancer, survived it and took a year to mourn my loss and get back to health. I feel it’s time for me to move on and sort of, you know, keep my memories, and sort of all the great things that happened in the past, but move on and so something new just for me now.
My lifestyle, which I’m offering for sale, is my little three-bedroom cottage which is two minutes from the sea, down to the shopping harvestry and just along the beach, we’ve got the beach shop. But I thought why split up something so nice that’s taken me years to put together which someone else can enjoy it, and I’ve done the ground work for them.
People who say I’m a..., if they’re cynical about it, they are probably stuck in a dull job somewhere, they’re not going to walk on the beach and kick peddles and lick a nice ice-cream particularly  enough when you have to pay for it when you own the shop.
The funny thing is… the living image that would really help is a small community and yeah very bad for eighteen months of my life, losing my wife, becoming ill, but the people round here all’ve been good friends, and sort of rally round, you know, they are like family round here. I’d never move away now, once they all get into your heart. It’s as close as you get. If I find something better, I’ll let you know.
So next to me will be a bit of time off, bit of walking, bit of thinking, and then lying on the beach somewhere or walking in the mountains and coming up with another idea. I’m a collector in life but I don’t keep anything. I’m not a holder. So if I’ve touched it and it’s got a little bit of my DNA, I’m happy to pass it on.

jueves, 25 de julio de 2013

Climbing sequoia trees to help mankind

Watch this New York Times video clip in which David Milarch tells us about his plan to use sequoias to deal with one of the most serious problems mankind is facing these days.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and say whether the statements below are true or false.

1 Sequoias may be the answer to fight climate change.
2 The workers are on a forest 18 miles south east of Fresno California.
3 The climbers feels sorry for the people who work in an office.
4 The higher the climbers get, the more quality the branches are.
5 They plan to grow three million sequoia trees in a year.

You can check the answers below and read the transcript here.

Giant sequoias  whisk in and breathe in CO2, faster, more effectively and start quicker than almost any species of tree on earth, and they might be just the answer that we were looking for, they really make a run at and help reverse climate change.
All clear...
We are here near the top of the Sierra of Nevada Range, 80 miles south east of Fresno California, we are on a private land. It’s an intact giant sequoia forest.
We got it over something, but it’s something we don’t want.
That branch, the branch they have been shooting for is taller than any tree on the east coast of the United States.
That’s a lower branch.
This is just an amazing project. We’re working with David Milarch, we’re out here getting some cuttings from some of the world’s largest giant sequoia trees, you know, just climbing in an amazing beautiful place that very few people have visited.
Archangel Ancient Trees is locating, propagating the largest oldest living things on earth, which of course is trees.
I’m guessing it’s over 250ft tall, and we will try to get to the top, we’re not trying to shoot our initial shot to the top.
This is the hardest part for the climbers, trying to get the fish line set over a branch which is safe.
We started out by going checking out some of these lower limbs. We are out here in sun to see if we can find some good cuttings.
This is the very top, near the echelon of big tree climbing in the world.
I feel bad for the people who have to go to an office, sit at the same desk every day, shuffle around the same papers, you know, this is the thing, this is our office out here, in the trees, every tree is different, you know, every day I different, every job is different.
Ok, just a regular walk in the park, going up, rising up to get a lot of small dough fir around us.
Look at the size of these lateral limbs, four five feet in diameter. This is just amazing.
They have an entire genetic history in their DNA. Over 4,000 years, uninterrupted change. What we need to do is build super growths. 5 acres to 5,000 acres of these growths of trees that do nothing more than offset thousands, in some cases, millions of tones of excess CO2.
Oh, here’s some. Look at that, right there. Stay clear! In coming!
The higher you go on these trees, two hundred feet to three hundred feet, the material just keeps getting better and better because there are different hormones in this material than in the lower branches. If this was a parallel to a male, I would say this is an eighty year old. Some of this stuff is fifty year old.
We gather about 700 cuttings from the Stagg as well as the waterfall giant sequoia, which are two of the healthiest largest sequoias on the planet. They are the champions of champions. We’re going to take those back for a propagation lab and we’re going to take those 750 cuttings of each of these trees, we’re going to turn them into a million trees in about a year for global reforestation every single year.
We would like to pick a dozen countries, give those countries the clones of these trees that we just did as models of carbon sequestering growths of super-trees, country by country, continent by continent. Really make a sincere run at reversing this nemesis that we all face called climate change.

1T 2F 3T 4T 5F

miércoles, 24 de julio de 2013

Talking point: Cinema

This week's talking point deals with cinema. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below to think about the topic and work out possible vocabulary issues.

Think of a film for each of the genres below.
What kind of genres are your favourite?
Which ones  do you dislike?

How often do you go to the cinema?
What was the last movie you saw? Would you recommend it to others?
What’s your all-time favourite movie? And what’s the scariest movie you’ve ever seen?
With foreign films, do you prefer dubbing or subtitles?
Do you prefer domestic movies, European ones or films made in US?
Have you ever walked out of the cinema before a movie ended? (Why?)
When movies get made from books, do you like to read the book first or viceversa?
Do you ever watch black and white movies?
Are you in favour or against subsidized cinema?
Are you in favour or against actors taking part in politics?
How are the Internet and the new technology in general influencing cinema?
If someone made a movie of your life, what major events should it include? Who should play the lead?

To illustrate the topic, watch the trailer of the 2010 film Conviction, starred by Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell, based on a true story on a miscarriage of justice.

Answer these questions about the trailer:
a) What genre of movie is it?
b) Who is the hero?
c) What problem or challenge are they facing?
d) What other characters do we see and how are they related to the hero?
e) What happens to the hero?
f) Do you care about the hero or not? (Why?)
g) How might the story end?
h) Do you want to see this movie? (Why/Why not?)

Watch the trailer again. Answer these questions now:
a) What’s the crime?
b) What’s the relationship between Hilary Swank and the criminal?
c) What was the sentence?
d) How long did the struggle to set him free last?
e) What lengths did she go to achieve that?
f) How many clients does she have when she becomes a lawyer?
g) What’s the one thing they haven’t tried after sixteen years?
h) What does Hilary threaten to do if he doesn’t co-operate?

This is the same trailer with Spanish subtitles. It will help you check your answers to the questions above.

I got the idea of using trailers for the English class -and the first batch of questions on the trailer of Conviction, which you can literally use with any trailer- from Vicki Hollett and her extraordinary Simple English Videos.

martes, 23 de julio de 2013

Speakout Advanced: Justice

In a new episode of our Speakout video podcasts, from Pearson Longman, we touch on the topic of justice today.

Passers-by answer the questions below:

Have you ever had reason to contact the police?
Have you ever broken the law?
What legal or social issues concern you the most?
If you could introduce a law in your country or community what would it be?

Now it's over to you. Answer the same questions about yourself. Try to use some of the expressions you heard on the video podcast.

You can read the transcript here.

lunes, 22 de julio de 2013

Athletes fail drug test

US sprinter Tyson Gay and Jamaica's Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson have failed drug tests.

Self-study activity:
Watch this short BBC news clip by clicking here or on the picture below and answer the questions about it.
The activity is suitable for Intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2 students.

1 How many Jamaican athletes are involved in the affair?
2 What did Sherone Simpson win at the Olympics in Athens? And at Beijing and London?
3 Why is Tyson Gay's record this year even more impressive?
4 What part of his career is Tyson Gay in?
5 How have Powell, Simpson and Gay reacted at the news?

You can check the answers by reading the transcript below.

Jamaica’s Asafa Powell has run one of the quickest times this season, but along with four other of the island’s athletes, he’s failed tests for banned substances. The small Caribbean nation that is a sprinting superpower has prided itself on being clean and drug-free, but now its reputation is on the line. Sherone Simpson, who won a gold in the 4x100 metres relay at the Olympics in Athens and silvers at Beijing and London, also tested positive.
The rivalry between Jamaica and the US is fierce, but they too had shocking news. The American Tyson Gay had recorded the fastest time over 100 metres this year, impressive after coming back from injury. But his positive test could see his preparation for the World Championships count for nothing after this result.
“Sometimes, when you get to that part of your career, the other second part of your career, maybe a hint of desperation comes in and you start looking for other things. Whether he has done it, as you said, out of his own volition or whether it’s been someone in his camp who’s sent him down that path, it is absolutely the wrong path to go down.”
Powell, Simpson and Gay have all issued statements admitting they’d unintentionally taken banned substances. Questions are being asked too about what these results mean to athletics and the world of sprinting.

domingo, 21 de julio de 2013

Extensive listening: The tube

The Tube, aired by the BBC in 2012, is a six-episode series which looks behind the scenes of the London underground as it goes through the biggest transformation in its history, focusing on key members of staff and some of the problems they face.

Here it is the fifth episode, Rush hour, which highlights the difficulties of coping with the ever-increasing numbers of passengers at specific moments during the week.

The other episodes focus on the problems passengers cause at weekends, the economic issues around the tube, emergencies, upgrading works, and the maintenance work.

You can read the transcript for the first ten minutes of the clip here.

sábado, 20 de julio de 2013

Online collection of protest songs

In late June Larry Ferlazzo introduced us to One.Agit8, a site created by Bono featuring protest songs. The site includes video clips of the songs, their lyrics and some background information about them.

The songs are also classified: Anti-apartheid, anti-war, civil rights, anti-poverty, women's rights.

To gain access to all the elements on the site, users have to sign in, but they can easily do so through their email or Facebook account.

viernes, 19 de julio de 2013

From LA to rural Scotland: The odyssey of a bookworm

The Realtime section of BBC's News Magazine has really interesting videoclips which tell us the life stories of their protagonists.

In February we found out about Jessica Fox, who told us in three and a half minutes about her journey from US to Scotland driven by her love of books.

Self-study activity:
Watch the clip by clicking on the picture below or on Jessica's link above and say whether the statements below are true or false.

The activity is suitable for (strong) intermediate students.

1 Jessica used to work a lot in the US.
2. She worked for NASA.
3. Life was almost perfect in California.
4. She suddenly thought that running a bookshop in Scotland was a good idea.
5. There are around 60 used bookshops in Wigtown.
6. The area around Wigtown is called Mini Scotland.
7. When she first visited Wigtown she made the decision to move there and then.
8. Moving to Scotland hasn't been really difficult.
9. She doesn't regret her decision.

There is a place in our lives for instinct and just a bit of mystery. I really do think that the assumptions we have about ourselves are really worth questioning.
My life was very un…imbalanced, and I was a workaholic, and I worked all the time. I also had a dream job. I was working for NASA and doing media direction for them but internally so basically I was as storage ...firm. I loved California for all the reasons because of the weather, and it was tough to make it to the Silverlake Hills, from there I could easily walk and get, like my vegan burrito or my, you know, go to my favourite clothing, hipster clothing style or the coffee shop.
For about a year a certain vision kept on coming back and that was a used bookshop by the sea in Scotland, and I could feel the air, I could see the bookshelves, and suddenly I saw there’s a woman behind the counter, and the woman looked up, and it was me.
So I sat down and I typed in ‘used bookshops Scotland’ to Google and Wigtown came up. And I felt like I had hit the jackpot, it was like 16 bookshops right by the sea in Scotland and I said of course it exists.
Some people call it Mini Scotland because what we have here is rolling beautiful farmland, you have the Highlands, you have ancient woodlands, which is really rare to get. Wigtown itself is built in a kind of oval shaped, beautiful old-stone houses that are connected in different colours. A lot of them are bookshops. So you couldn’t get a more romantic setting for a bookshop, you can get a variety of books and you only have,   one food store(s), you can see the priority that books, that books take here.
I stayed here about a month on my first visit, and then afterwards I went back to California, and it took me a while to realize I was craving to go back because I missed especially the bookshop owner who was in the town.
Romantic comedies have ruined me. I am a child of the cinema and it looks so easy that you have to win when you wanted to go foreign country and start a new life, you could do just a beautiful montage sequence and you’d be there. But in reality, it’s really hard. There are rules and there are visas you have to apply for, it takes money and time.
I’m an idealist and a romantic, and I thought people are people, no matter where in the world you are, people are people.
I was reading it at three o’clock this morning, I hardly put it down.
It’s true, but there’s also cultural sensitivities and I did barge in here sort of like the media from the US and I slowly had to kind of sensitise myself to really different rhythms and different way of life.
My sense of happy feet has sort of calmed down. Now that I have found the balanced my artistic life and my career writing and my relationships especially, has really flourished. I have a lot of trust in the role of instinct in our lives.

1T 2T 3T 4F 5F 6T 7F 8F 9T

jueves, 18 de julio de 2013

World's tallest climbing wall

Watch this short Geobeats video clip on the world's tallest climbing wall.

Self-study activity:
Complete the blanks in the transcript with the missing words.

The activity is suitable for Básico 2 and Intermediate 1 students.

The tower called 'The Excalibur' is the world's tallest climbing wall. Located in Groningen, The Netherlands, the vertical structure stands (1) ... feet high.

Climbing is a popular hobby among adrenaline (2) ... . The tower called 'The Excalibur' is the world's tallest climbing wall.

Located in Groningen, The Netherlands, the vertical structure stands (1) ... feet high. However, the most notable aspect is a bend in the (3) ... . From a distance, it appears as though the (4) ... is tipping over.

The curve tips (5) ... feet away from the base, serving as an overhang. That aspect replicates the grueling (6) ... of climbing a real (7) ... .

The free-standing Excalibur was built in 2004 at a (8) ...   ... . An employee at the facility stated "The wall offers a (9) ... experience for anyone interested in climbing and doesn't want to travel too far. The routes are of varying difficulty so beginners can climb on it too. But don't expect to (10) ... the top on your very first time!"

The outdoor (4)... is strategically set among the flat, (11) ... countryside, which means (12) ... seekers can take in the beautiful views while scaling the (13) ... .

1-121   2-junkies  3-design   4-tower   5-36  6-twists  7-peak   8-climb center   9-unique  10-reach  11-picturesque  12-adventure   13-structure

miércoles, 17 de julio de 2013

Talking point: Travel and holidays

This week's talking point revolves around travel and holidays. Students at all levels are quite familiar with the topic, so we have introduced some variations so that we can talk about a traditional conversation topic in the English class while giving it a novel slant.

Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below, so that ideas flow more easily and you don't get stuck with vocabulary issues when the talking session comes.

Talk about your last holiday with the members of your conversation group. Try to find three things your last holiday had in common.

Look at the different types of holidays below. Which would you most like to go on? Try to agree on three.
•    A sightseeing holiday
•    A walking or cycling holiday
•    Hitchhiking around Europe
•    A safari
•    An extreme sports holiday
•    Hiking in the mountains
•    InterRail around Europe
•    A cruise
•    A beach holiday

Imagine you both have a week's holiday together. Try to agree on what type of holiday you would go on, where you would go and what you would do.

Discuss your opinion about the controversial statements below, all of which are holiday-related.
  • Tourism has more cons than pros.
  • Eco-tourism is a politically correct way of destroying unspoilt areas.
  • Mega-events like the Olympics or universal exhibitions are not beneficial for a country / region in the long run.
  • Volunteer tourism is a cheap way of travelling round the world.
  • It is impossible for communities to maintain their heritage and move with the times.
  • Medical tourism is completely unacceptable.
  • Budget backpackers shouldn’t be allowed into any country.
 picture from ELTPics in Flickr

martes, 16 de julio de 2013

Speakout Advanced: Places

We are posting a new installment of the Speakout advanced video podcasts, from Pearson Longman. This week's video deals with the topic of places in a general.

Watch the video podcast and note down the answers the different speakers give to the questions below.

Do you have any holidays or trips planned?
Do you have a favourite place to go on holiday?
Do you have a regular haunt that you like to visit?

Now it's over to you. Answer the questions above about yourself. Try to use some of the expressions and vocabulary you could hear on the video.

You can read the transcript here.

lunes, 15 de julio de 2013

Is age an advantage for entrepreneurs?

This is a BBC video clip aired in early June which touches on the topic of unemployment in older workers and how older entrepreneurs can be the solution to the economic growth.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video clip and answer the questions below.

The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

Get Adobe Flash player

1 What age bracket and what kind of business are we likely to associate the word 'entrepreneur' with?
2 What does 'forty' refer to?
3 How old was Adam Shuter when he founded Exact Logistics?
4 Why is it more difficult to start a business at that age?
5 Why is it easier?
6 What made Tom Cullingford start his business Rubber4Roofs?
7 Where had he worked previously?
8 According to Tom Cullingford, what is the main reason why people change?

To check your answers, you can read the transcript below.

The word entrepreneur these days tends to conjure up an image of someone in their early twenties, running a software start-up and selling it to millions. But the average age of people starting high-growth business in America is increasing to forty, according to the Kauffman Foundation, a think-tank especialising in businesses. But what about for Europe, where economies are finding it tough to return to growth? Could old entrepreneurs be the answer? So if you’re an older entrepreneur, is it easier or more difficult to start a business? Well, I have come up here, to Exact Logistics in Rugby, to ask an entrepreneur who started this company.
Exact Logistics really was started because I was made redundant from my previous job and we had an opportunity to start a small business on our own, as I really just didn’t want to work for any other company ever again other than myself. I was 50 when I started the business.  And I think it makes it harder in some respects because perhaps you don’t have the same level of energy, but I think it makes easier in that you’ve got more experience, and I think bringing all that experience together definitely makes this a more successful business.
This is Rubber4Roofs up in Coventry, a business started by Tom Cullingford back in 2008, and he did it then precisely because he was an older entrepreneur, and he had commitments like a family and a mortgage to pay. Tom was a property developer who previously worked in the car industry, so when the bottom fell out of the mortgage market he saw a niche selling rubber to make water proof roofs on homes.
I suppose there are more entrepreneurs now in this country that have been born out of hard times than are out of good times. It’s often necessity that drives that change in what we do. As a slightly older entrepreneur who’s had those life experiences arguably it’s easier for me to see the pitfalls and ensure that the business is a success long-term.
So for countries looking to jump start their economies, it could be that older more risk-aware entrepreneurs provide a more stable return to future growth.
Philip Hampsheir, BBC News.

domingo, 14 de julio de 2013

Oprah Winfrey Harvard Commencement 2013 Speech

Oprah Winfrey, who has used her success as a talk show host and media entrepreneur to promote education, civic engagement, and charitable works, addresses graduates at Harvard's 362nd Commencement on May 30, 2013 at Tercentenary Theatre.

You can read the transcript here or here.

sábado, 13 de julio de 2013

The many reasons why we don't succeed in learning languages

This is the list Irish Benny Lewis, the person behind Fluent in 3 months, has compiled about the excuses learners come up with for not learning a language.

Drop by Fluent in 3 months, and read the reasons underlying each excuse and the way we can overcome each of them.

1. I’m too old to learn a language
2. I don’t have any time to learn a language
3. I can’t travel to the country
4. I can’t afford it!
5. I’ve got no language gene!
6. I haven’t found the right language learning technique for me yet!
7. I’m not ready to use it yet, and may not be for years
8. I don’t want to
9. This language is too hard
10. I’m not even sure which language I want to learn, or I want to learn several and can’t!
11. My memory is terrible for learning new words
12. I’m going to frustrate native speakers!
13. They only speak English with me when I try to use their language!
14. The entire world speaks English, so why bother?
15. I’m too shy to approach people for language practice!
16. I will never be able to learn that foreign pronunciation
17. I’ve tried X and it didn’t work, so I’m a bad language learner!
18. I still can’t decide which course to invest in
19. I have a particular problem with a specific aspect of this language
20. I did get somewhere, but am stuck at a plateau now
21. Fluency seems just so out of reach, and I’m so far away from it. Why even bother continuing?
22. I’m just not confident enough to use my language
23. I get sidetracked too easily with vaguely similar tasks every time I try to work on my language skills!
24. No one around me (friends/family/significant other) supports or encourages my language learning endeavours
25. I have a learning or physical disability others don’t have
26. I’m not sure how or where to start – if I start wrong, I’ll sabotage the entire project!
27. I’m too negative / lazy
28. I won’t understand people when they speak back to me!
29. What I am doing in the language is too boring, and I lose interest quickly
30. With technological advances, within a few years learning a language will be obsolete and automatic
31. When I compare myself to other learners, I feel too inadequate
32.I’ve been exposed to the language since I was a child and STILL don’t speak it!

Benny Lewis explains his attitude to language learning and his story as a language learner in this TED talk in Warsaw.

viernes, 12 de julio de 2013

Badger cull -video activity

At the end of May the BBC aired this video clip on the controversy in some areas of Britain over a badger cull which was about to start.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video clip by clicking on the picture below or the BBC link above, and say whether the statements are true or false.

The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

1 Badgers can infect cattle, but not the other way round.
2 Farmers object to the cull.
3 Cows marked with a cross are healthy.
4 Restrictions on British milk and meat have already been imposed by the European Union.
5 Environmentalists welcome the cull.
6 Vaccination seems to be a reliable alternative to the cull.

You can check your answers and read the transcript below.

Cattle and badgers, a toxic mix. Each can infect the other with bovine TB. Now thousands of badgers are to be shot in a bid to stop the spread  of the disease, a development welcomed by many farmers. We caught up with David Barton on his Gloucestershire farm last autumn. The vet was carrying out skin tests for bovine TB, and time and time again the news was bad.
22 to reactor.
A reactor means a positive test and a sprayed cross, dozens of his herd marked out to be killed within 24 hours, and still today bovine TB continues its impact on David’s herd. For him a cull of badgers is essential.
This is a pure bred … calf eight weeks old, her mother went as a TB reactor yesterday, so this is now an orphan. We can get rid of it in the cattle very quickly, you know, I can keep getting clear of TB and I can get reinfected, the badgers re-infect the herd. So without being able to control the badgers, we’re never going to get rid of TB and it’s a very necessary thing to do.
A long-term worry is that the health of the entire national herd could be compromise, with meat and milk subjected to European restrictions. But the badger cull is opposed by a majority of MP’s, groups including RSPA and those prepared to take direct action.
As soon as the first shot is fired, it will be the start of a bloody war, and I don’t think any farmers will get out of it unscathed.
What do you mean by that, it sounds like a threat?
No, it’s not a threat. I think the farming of the livestock industry is going headlong into a PR disaster.
There are growing cause for more of this, vaccination. Here they take issue with the government view that it is too difficult and expensive and the results, unreliable.
There’s never going to be one silver bullet to solve the terrible impact of bovine TB in cattle but we wanted to show that perhaps culling wasn’t the only way. There are other techniques that could be tested and could be used.
Few would argue that the bovine TB is a crisis but the response of culling thousands of badgers is exposing deep and bitter divisions, and scientific opinion, political opinion and public opinion, too.

1F 2F 3F 4F 5F 6F 

jueves, 11 de julio de 2013

Bradley Manning case -video activity

In early June, a court martial trial for Bradley Manning, accused of leaking thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks, started.

This BBC footage explains in 80 seconds all the story.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video by clicking on the picture below or the BBC link above and answer the questions about it.

The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

1 How old is Bradley Manning?
2 What job did he do in Iraq?
3 What was published on the internet in 2010?
4 How long has Bradley Manning spent in prison?
5 What does 'ten' refer to?
6 Why did Manning leak the material?
7 What might the sentence be if he's found guilty?

To check your answers you can read the transcript below.

Bradley Manning is a twenty-five-year-old private in the US Army. He works in Iraq in 2009 and 2010 analysing intelligence, and there he found a stash of secret material he wanted to share with the world. He gave it to the Wikileaks website and there had never been a leak like it. More than 700,000 confidential military and diplomatic documents were published on the internet in 2010. The Pentagon saw its confidential battle plans and footage released including a helicopter attack in Bagdhag that killed several civilians.

The Pentagon soon found the source of the leaks and Bradley Manning has now spent more than three years in military custody, much of it in solitary confinement. In March 2011 he was charged with 22 offences, and in February of this he pleaded guilty to ten of them. In court he said he had leaked the information in order to spark a debate about US foreign policy.

Manning supporters see him as a whistle-blowing hero and think he is being treated far too harshly. But the government wants to prosecute him for helping America’s enemies, a charge that could put him in prison for the rest of his life if he’s found guilty.

miércoles, 10 de julio de 2013

Talking point: Strangers Having Private Conversations in Public

This week's talking point, Strangers Having Private Conversations in Public, touches on the sensitive issue of privacy and using technology devices in public. It is taken from a Student Opinion question posed in the New York Times Learning Network in mid June.

Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below and read The New York Times article How not to be Alone.
  • How often do you get engaged in conversation with a complete stranger?
  • Have you ever helped out a complete stranger?
  • In what situations are we most likely to overhear private conversations?
  • Have you ever overheard a mobile phone conversation or seen someone’s screen when being in a public place? 
  • If so, could you explain the situation(s) and what the conversations were about?
  • Could you have found a way not to have listened to the conversation or not to have seen the screen?
  • Do you try to ignore people when they are in public but engaged with telephone conversations and social media interactions that are meant to be private?
  • If so, what strategies do you use?
  • Is your attitude shared by the majority?
  • Have you ever felt tempted to intervene when overhearing the conversation and help the person out?
  • Would you always ignore the people holding the conversation if you noticed they are going through a difficult time? Why (not)?
  • The statement “Technology celebrates connectedness, but encourages retreat.” is taken from the New York Times accompanying article to the topic. What does that statement mean to you?
  • What do you think are the unspoken“rules” about conducting –and observing– interactions using technology devices in public?

photo from ELTPics in Flickr

martes, 9 de julio de 2013

Speakout Advanced: Advice

In this week's video podcast from Speakout, the Pearson Longman textbook, passers-by answer some questions about advice:

Are you the kind of person who asks other people for advice?
What’s the best or worst advice you’ve ever been given?
What would be your best advice for living a happy life?

Watch the video and note down what each person says.

Now it's over to you. Answer the questions above about yourself. Try and use some of the vocabulary and expressions the people in the video used.

You can read the transcript here.

lunes, 8 de julio de 2013

Why do businesses open their stores next to competitors

Why do competitors open their stores next to one another? is a lesson created by Jac de Haan for TED and that Richard Byrne from Free Technology for Teachers brought to my attention some weeks ago.

This is the way the lesson is described on TED:
"Why are all the gas stations, cafes and restaurants in one crowded spot? As two competitive cousins vie for ice-cream-selling domination on one small beach, discover how game theory and the Nash Equilibrium inform these retail hotspots."

The listening activity around the video has been provided by Jac himself and consists of five multiple-choice questions and three open-ended questions you can find here.

You can also read the transcript below.

Why are gas stations always built right next to other gas stations? Why is it that I can drive for a mile without finding a coffee shop and then stumble across three on the same corner? Why do grocery stores, auto repair shops and restaurants always seem to exist in groups instead of being spread evenly throughout a community? While there are several factors that might go into deciding where to place your business, clusters of similar companies can be explained by a very simple story called Hotelling's Model of Spatial Competition.
Imagine that you sell ice cream at the beach. Your beach is one mile long and you have no competition.
Where would you place your cart in order to sell the most product? In the middle. The one-half-mile walk may be too far for some people at each end of the beach, but your cart serves as many people as possible.
One day you show up at work just as your cousin Teddy is arriving at the beach with his own ice cream cart. In fact, he's selling exactly the same type of ice cream as you are. You agree that you will split the beach in half. In order to insure that customer's don't have to walk too far you set up your cart a quarter mile south of the beach center, right in the middle of your territory. Teddy sets up a quarter mile north of the center, in the middle of Teddy territory. With this agreement, everyone south of you buys ice cream from you. Everyone north of Teddy buys from him, and the 50% of beachgoers in between walk to the closest cart. No one walks more than a quarter of a mile, and both vendors sell to half of the beachgoers.
Game theorists consider this a socially optimal solution. It minimizes the maximum number of steps any visitor must take in order to reach an ice cream cart.
The next day, when you arrive at work, Teddy has set up his cart in the middle of the beach. You return to your location a quarter mile south of center and get the 25% of customers to the south of you. Teddy still gets all of the customers north in Teddy territory, but now you split the 25% of people in between the two carts.
Day three of the ice cream wars, you get to the beach early, and set up right in the center of Teddy territory, assuming you'll serve the 75% of beachgoers to your south, leaving your cousin to sell to the 25% of customers to the north. When Teddy arrives, he sets up just south of you stealing all of the southerly customers, and leaving you with a small group of people to the north. Not to be outdone, you move 10 paces south of Teddy to regain your customers. When you take a mid-day break, Teddy shuffles 10 paces south of you, and again, steals back all the customers to the far end of the beach. Throughout the course of the day, both of you continue to periodically move south towards the bulk of the ice cream buyers, until both of you eventually end up at the center of the beach, back to back, each serving 50% of the ice-cream-hungry beachgoers. At this point, you and your competitive cousin have reached what game theorists call a Nash Equilibrium, the point where neither of you can improve your position by deviating from your current strategy.
Your original strategy, where you were each a quarter mile from the middle of the beach, didn't last, because it wasn't a Nash Equilibrium. Either of you could move your cart toward the other to sell more ice cream. With both of you now in the center of the beach, you can't reposition your cart closer to your furthest customers without making your current customers worse off. However, you no longer have a socially optimal solution, since customers at either end of the beach have to walk further than necessary to get a sweet treat.
Think about all the fast food chains, clothing boutiques, or mobile phone kiosks at the mall. Customers may be better served by distributing services throughout a community, but this leaves businesses vulnerable to aggressive competition. In the real world, customers come from more than one direction, and businesses are free to compete with marketing strategies, by differentiating their product line, and with price cuts, but at the heart of their strategy, companies like to keep their competition as close as possible.

domingo, 7 de julio de 2013

Extensive listening: Middle school moment

In our Sunday's extensive listening series we turn to the educational system in the US to watch a thirteen-minute clip from PBS's Frontline, Middle School Moment, which is part of an initiative to help local communities across America identify and implement solutions to address the dropout crisis.

This is the way PBS describes the documentary:
In this clip "Dr. Robert Balfanz reveals a series of indicators that he says can predict how likely a student is to drop out of high school: attendance, behavior and course performance, which he describes as the 'ABCs.' 
In high-poverty schools, if a sixth grade child attends less than 80 percent of the time, receives an unsatisfactory behavior grade in a core course, or fails math or English, there is a 75 percent chance that they will later drop out of high school — absent effective intervention.
Middle schools are generally designed to give younger kids a more intensive level of support.  If intervention doesn’t occur until high school, Balfanz says it becomes much harder to 'turn kids around and put them back on track.'

Why Middle School?
For most students, the process of dropping out begins in middle school, when Balfanz says the habits that predict whether or not a student graduates are formed, making it a critical 'make or break' period.
And for children in high-poverty areas, the stage can also bring significant new challenges: a 12-year-old girl might become the emergency day care for her family; the children of immigrants may be pulled out of school to be translators; with money tight, children might become involved in the family business. Meanwhile, at this stage adolescents become more vulnerable to gangs, criminal activity, drugs and substance abuse.
Despite it being a critical period, Balfanz says that the 'powerful learning time' that occurs in middle school has been neglected by recent reforms, such as President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind program, which targeted elementary schools, or other programs that have focused on high schools.

You can read about the US educational system here.

Watch Middle School Moment on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

You can read the transcript of the documentary here or activate the CC captions on the lower side of the screen.

sábado, 6 de julio de 2013

Best TV shows for learners of English

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of International House, EFL experts have  shared their favourite TV shows for learners of English.

I like television shows that are funny and which also kind of show what is like to be slightly an outsider in a different culture, and there’s a television show from the 1980’s I think which is called Third Rock from the Sun with John Lizco and is about aliens who arrive in an American town, and they look like Americans but just don’t understand a lot of what is going on and is very funny, this kind of cultural problems they have. So I think as a learner that could be kind of amusing, it’s not difficult.

I think the best, one really good, good idea for students who want to learn English in their own free time is to look at situation comedies or sit-coms. From the old classic like Friends to a newer version like for example Thirty Rock situation comedies, are really useful because they are cultural, they give some cultural ideas about, you know, the US or wherever the situation comedy is based, they are also current, contemporary and they are very good because they are quite evident, so it’s not so difficult, anybody with a level, for example, intermediate level upwards can understand the situation without having to understand all the words, plus they are good fun.

The thing that I would like to talk about is a TV series called The Office which I opened for myself very recently. This is a British comedy written and directed and played actually by Ricky Gervais, who is a very popular comedian at the moment, very controversial figure, but I’m not a native speaker, but for advanced learners I would highly recommend this because they are using the real language, lots of slang, lots of phrasal verbs, whatever it is very, very useful from the learners’ perspective.

Myself as a language learner in French I find watching the news the best thing for acquiring language. First of all, you probably watch the news in your own language, you know what’s going on, you can have known the information beforehand, maybe you have even watched the news in your own language and then to go and watch in English, for example on the BBC or any English language news channel, so you know, CNN if you want American English, it doesn’t matter, you can have known what they are talking about so the images in this case are helping you understand, they are not too distracting, you’ve got little snippets of information in the little subtitles that they use every now and again, and you can also watch it again of course if you go online. You can watch the news several times. So for me it’s the news. Every day.

If there’s a TV show you love and like, watch it. In the 1990’s or noughties there Friends was a huge show that people from all over the world watched in English, and why did they watch it and why did they learn English? Because they liked it, they got the jokes, and it was funny. People still watch a TV comedy series from the 1970’s or 80’s called Fawlty Towers because it’s still funny, even though it’s very old-fashioned and it’s easy to understand. It’s very difficult to say whatever is something that you want to watch, then you watch it and try to work out what I means, and if you can’t really understand what it means, go on the internet and find discussions what it is all about, and then watch it again, and then watch it again, and then watch it again.

viernes, 5 de julio de 2013

DNA video lesson

The BBC Explainer series is designed to intrigue and inform, encouraging those who discover the documentaries to further explore through links to additional information found on the BBC website.

Self-study activity:
The video below explains in three minutes what DNA is about. Go over the transcript below and complete the blanks with the missing words.

BBC Knowledge Explainer DNA from Territory on Vimeo.

You can find out more on DNA on the BBC Science site.

DNA is the instruction manual for how to build life. From (1) ... to plants to human beings, it defines us all. The complete set of instructions encoded in an organism DNA is called its genome, and it’s passed from parents to (2) ... during reproduction. Information is stored in DNA, using just four types of molecule which occur in pairs. There are billions of these pairs, organized in a double-hill structure which is both strong and compact. These pairs also allow each strand to act as a (3) ...  for the other, a remarkably efficient way to safeguard this precious genetic information.

DNA falls into pair-packages called chromosomes that are stored in the nucleus of the (4) ... . Different species have different numbers of chromosomes, human have 23 pairs. Chromosomes contain many (5) ... . A (6) ... is a section of DNA that holds the instructions for a protein. Proteins are essential for life and perform a huge variety of jobs, from controlling the function of a single cell to determining the shape of a whole organism. Within (7) ... each organism has very similar DNA. In human beings, the difference between a human person and another is a fraction of 1%. But it what makes us individuals, giving us different facial (8) ... , hair colour and height. The uniqueness of our DNA can be used like a fingerprint to identify us with an incredibly degree of (9) ...  . By reading DNA, scientists have discovered that we share sequences not just with our own species but with other living thing on earth. Chimpanzees, one of our closest living relatives share about 96% of our DNA, but we also we things in common with fish, plants and bacteria, powerful evidence that all life came from a single universal (10) ... billions of years ago.

We haven’t just learnt to read the instruction manual for life, we can rewrite it as well. People have been manipulating DNA since before we knew it existed, selectively (11) ... plants and animals to bring out desirable traits. Now genetic engineering allows us to directly alter DNA in a lab, creating new varieties of life, from plants that can resist (12) ... or drought to bacteria that can mass produce life-saving hormones.

But we don’t yet know what all that DNA does. (13) ... sequences make no proteins at all and have perhaps mistakenly been labelled junk. Some people are worried about these gaps in our knowledge and unforeseen problems they believe genetically modified organisms may cause. What is clear is that the instruction manual for life is more (14) ... , elegant and complex than we could have possibly imagined. DNA has revealed many of its secrets, but we still have much to learn.

H/T to New Technology for Teachers.

1 microbes 2 offspring 3 back-up 4 cell 5 genes 6 gene7 species8 features 9 accuracy 10 ancestor 11 breeding12 disease13 Lengthy14 subtle

jueves, 4 de julio de 2013

James Bond Inspired Summer Travel Destinations

Watch this GeoBeats video which features five travel destinations inspired in five Bond movies.

Self-study activity:
Watch the clip and say which film corresponds to the headings below. There is only one heading per film.

The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

A well-known pursuit was filmed here.
Already a popular destination in that part of the world
Ideal for those who enjoy water sports.
If you fancy going for a walk in picturesque places.
You can come across some famous people here.

You can check your answers and read the transcript below.

Want to vicariously live like James Bond? Then, check out these 5 summer travel destinations from the past Bond movies.
Number 5
Bond hunts down Mr. White in the final scene from Casino Royale which is set by the beautiful Lake Como, Italy. Vibrant blue water surrounded by lush green scenery leaves sightseers in awe. Get in touch with your inner Bond and check out the gorgeous villas. With ferry boat rides, cobbled street towns and plenty of shopping, days will certainly be full. This is also a favorite vacation spots for celebs like George Clooney.
Number 4
In The Man With the Golden Gun, Bond's action packed scenes occur around Koh Tapu , also called James Bond Island in Thailand. The massive rock formations sprouting from water are a feast for the eyes. With boat rentals, guided boat trips, sailing and kayaking, there's plenty of active fun to be had as well.
Number 3
Going back to the earlier days of James Bond, 1969 brought forth the action packed film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, featuring the Schilthorn summit in Switzerland. Surrounding by hundreds of staggering mountains, you can visit The Piz Gloria restaurant at the top and enjoy a stroll through the nearby mountain villages.
Number 2
Bond's infamous Thames River Boat Chase in London took place in the movie The World is Not Enough. The Thames is an iconic river with several scenic bridges hovering over like the Tower Bridge and London Bridge. London overall, is one of the greatest destinations with numerous historic building and world class museums.
Number 1
In the movie, Thunderball, Bond scuba dives in the reef laden waters of Nassau, Bahamas. The scenic beaches of Bahamas are also featured prominently. The islands of the Bahamas are consistently voted amongst the top Caribbean destinations.

You can come across some famous people here: Casino Royale
Ideal for those who enjoy water sports: The Man With the Golden Gun
If you fancy going for a walk in picturesque places: On Her Majesty's Secret Service
A well-known pursuit was filmed here: The World is Not Enough
Already a popular destination in that part of the world: Thunderball

miércoles, 3 de julio de 2013

Talking point: Drinking and driving

This week's talking point deals with the danger alcohol poses for drivers, especially if they are teenagers, and it is based on the topic Is Drinking and Driving Still a Problem for Teenagers?, which appeared in the Student Opinion section of the Learning Network of The New York Times at the end of May.

Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that you can deal with vocabulary problems beforehand and ideas flow more easily when you get together with your friends.
  • Do you have a driving licence?
  • When did you take the test?
  • Do you like driving? Why (not)?
  • How often do you drive?
  • What do you "do" while driving?
  • What car have you got now?
  • How is it different from the cars you've had before?
  • What do you hate most about other drivers?
  • Have you ever been involved in or witnessed an accident?
  • Do you ever commit traffic infractions?
  • Have you ever texted or talked on the phone while driving? 
  • Have you ever been given a ticket?
  • Do you think drinking and driving is a general problem? And for teenagers?
  • Do you know anyone who was injured or killed in a drunken driving accident?
  • Why do you think teenagers who are involved in accidents are more likely to have been drinking than other age groups?
  • What is your own policy about drinking and driving for you and your friends?
  • A number of expert boards are recommending that  the allowable blood alcohol limits for drivers should be reduced. Do you think authorities should get stricter with drunken driving?
 To gain some insight into the topic you can read the short The New York Times article For Young Drivers Drinking Is More Dangerous.

Photo: Associação Brasileira de Medicina de Tráfego

martes, 2 de julio de 2013

Speakout Advanced: Family history (origins)

During the next ten weeks will be posting on Tuesday the video podcasts corresponding to Speakout Advanced, Pearson Longman.

I know that the difficulty of the videos far exceeds the range of the intermediate level students this blog is aimed at. However, the quality of the Speakout video podcasts, together with the possibility of students coming face to face with native speakers talking about everyday topics are two very powerful reasons not to turn a blind eye on this extraordinary material.

The topic of this week's video podcast is family history. Passers-by answer the following questions:

Do you spend much time with your family?
Do you think you have inherited any family characteristics?
Do you know much about your family history?
Does your family history play a part in your sense of who you are?

Now it's over to you. Answer the questions above about yourself.

You can read the transcript here.

lunes, 1 de julio de 2013

Nadal's knee injury -video activity

This is an interesting video clip from The New York Times that explains the medical reasons for Nadal's knee injury. There's a lot of medical vocabulary in the two-minute video clip, but the terms are highlighted in the video clip, which makes comprehension easier.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and complete the blanks in the transcript with the missing words.

The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

(1) ..., extending, twisting, (2) ... , all also supporting the entire weight of the body. This is what makes the knee so vulnerable to athletic injury, especially when that knee belongs to Rafael Nadal.
Last year injuries to his patellar tendon in his left knee forced him to miss seven months of competition. His (3) ... back was slow, largely because of the impact and (4) ... of motion his knee would stand, as this sequence shows. In setting up for his backhand his left foot (5) ... the ground causing a brief hyper-extension of the knee and then an immediate bending.
To maintain balance, the anterior cruciate ligament and the medial meniscus (6) ... to stabilize the (7) ... . Here, on one leg, his left leg is bearing a (9) ... which could exceed a thousand pounds. With the quadriceps (8) ... working to keep the knee (7) ... stable, the patellar tendon is carrying that (9) ... from the (8) ... and pressing on the fat pad, an area of pain for Nadal.
Adding to the stress on the knee is that the tibia is now on a fixed position but the femur is still moving. Nadal’s two-handed back play places even more (6) ... on the left knee. It creates more (10) ... rotation than a one-handed back-hand, causing much more twisting in the knee (7) ... , twisting the patellar tendon and adding stress to the area of Nadal’s injury.
The constant (11) ... on Nadal’s knee will be intensified when he plays the French Open this week, his first Grand Slam event since returning from his injury.

1 Bending 2 turning 3 road 4 range 5 strikes 6 strain 7 joint 8 muscle 9 load 10 trunk 11 forces