Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Frog in the Throat

Hello, Sally here.  If you are at English International School today, you will notice that I have a sore throat and have lost my voice.  

It's very uncomfortable and I don't sound good at all!  

My difficulty to speak has reminded me of the English phrase: Frog in your throat


Temporary hoarseness caused by infection in the throat.


'A frog in the throat' is an American phrase that entered the language towards the end of the 19th century. The expression doesn't have a fanciful derivation but comes directly from the fact that a hoarse person sounds croaky - like a frog.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Australia Day

Tomorrow is Australia Day- the national day of Australia.  

The day marks the arrival of the first fleet of British ships to arrive at Sydney Cover in 1788.  

Today the Kids English groups will be studying all things Australia, including the names of some of these animals...  see if you know their names before looking at the answers at the end.

Answers:        1.  Koala        2.  Kangaroo      3. Possum     4. Kookaburra

Happy Australia Day!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Happy Burns Night

Tonight is the birthday of of Scotland's favourite son, Robert 'Rabbie' Burns.  

The Scottish traditionally celebrate the poet and lyricist on this night annually, with traditional Scottish food, such as; Arbroath Smokie (A wood-smoked haddock still produced in small family smoke-houses in the East coast fishing town of Arbroath), Haggis (made with sheep offal and oatmeal), Tatties and Neeps (potatoes and turnips mixed together), all washed down with some fine Scotch Whisky, of course!  

So tonight, the bagpipes will be playing and all good Scots will be wearing their family tartan, as they remember one of their finest creatives.  

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


Job Post - ENGLISH TEACHER REQUIRED - Modica, Sicily

Full-Time Position available for mother-tongue English Teacher. 

Starting February 2013

Dynamic teacher required to teach young learners, teenagers and adults.  Both individual and group classes; preparing students for Trinity and Cambridge exams.

We require the teacher to have a CELTA qualification.  

You must also have the right to work in Italy.  

Our school is an independent language school.  We are a small team with a good working atmosphere.  Our students are enthusiastic about English, many of them staying with the school for many years to improve their language skills.  

Modica is a historical town in the south-east of Sicily, with a good cultural base and is famous for it's chocolate.  The surrounding areas are very beautiful, a mixture of historic hill-towns, Sicilian traditions and fantastic beaches for the summer months.  Our closest airport is Catania and regular buses run between Modica and the airport.  

If you a newly qualified teacher, we will provide support in your first year.  For more experienced teachers, we would love to have your input to help develop our school.  

We are happy to provide details of salary and hours once we have received your application, please feel free to ask any further questions about the school or about the region. 
Please contact Catherine Ciancio, with a CV, qualifications and recent photo attachment to:


Monday, 21 January 2013

Friday, 18 January 2013

Advanced Learners chat to DJ, Writer and Music Lover, Dave Haslam

Yesterday our Cambridge Advanced Level (CAE) students took part in a video conference with British Author, Journalist and DJ, Dave Haslam.  

All advanced students are asked to read books in English to develop their reading and vocabulary skills.  Before Christmas, Cristina Gintoli read Dave's first book Manchester, England, which is the history of music in Manchester and an insight into why the city has had, and continues to have, so much cultural relevance.  

Having researched Dave's other work, the students asked Dave numerous questions about music, Manchester and working as a writer and journalist.  It was an excellent lesson in communication and was really insightful for the students.  

When we started talking, I was happy to see that he is a very nice person.  He is really interesting, as were his answers... I particularly liked when we asked how he would like to be known, as a DJ, a Journalist or a Writer and he answered he'd like to be known as "the man who does everything!"... when he talked I felt his passion for what he does and for Manchester too.  Christina

To speak with a mother-tongue person through Skype appeared a hard task, so we were nervous.  Rapidly, we relaxed because Dave was really friendly and nice.  The interview seemed to last only a few minutes because it was like a normal conversation with another person...  I had a good impression of Dave... he is a clever man, full of poetic answers.  Giuseppe

Speaking in English, with a famous English Writer, doesn't happen every day.  It was a new experience, different from the usual 'speaking' we do at school... I thought I would not have understood what he was going to say but it was quite easy...  He talked about living in Manchester and this impressed me... He said it's not a mistake to follow your dreams... I hope to do something like that.   Annalisa

One answer was really important for me, he said everyone who thinks about England, thinks about London but also Manchester is a great city and it is important too...  All in all, he seems like a complete person, who has no regrets... maybe for this reason, he loves doing all the things he does.  Denis

Dave thought the chat was lots of fun and complimented the students on their English.  

During the chat, Dave suggested a relatively new Manchester band for the students to listen to, so here they are, Everything Everything with their song Kemosabe:

For more information on Dave Haslam visit www.davehaslam.com 

Monday, 14 January 2013

Definite and IndefinIte Articles

Both Preliminary (PET) and First (FCE) students sometimes find it difficult to undestand when to use definite and indefinite articles in English, and also to recognise when an article is not required.   

Here are the rules for when to use "A, An or The":

  • a = indefinite article (not a specific object, one of a number of the same objects) with consonants
    She has a dog.
    I work in a factory.
  • an = indefinite article (not a specific object, one of a number of the same objects) with vowels (a,e,i,o,u)
    Can I have an apple?
    She is an English teacher.
  • the = definite article (a specific object that both the person speaking and the listener know)
    The car over there is fast.
    The teacher is very good, isn't he?
  • The first time you speak of something use "a or an", the next time you repeat that object use "the". 
    I live in a house. The house is quite old and has four bedrooms.
    I ate in a Chinese restaurant. The restaurant was very good.
  • DO NOT use an article with countries, states, counties or provinces, lakes and mountains except when the country is a collection of states such as "The United States".
    He lives in Washington near Mount Rainier.
    They live in northern British Columbia.
  • Use an article with bodies of water, oceans and seas - 
    My country borders on the Pacific Ocean
  • DO NOT use an article when you are speaking about things in general 
    I like Russian tea.
    She likes reading books.
  • DO NOT use an article when you are speaking about meals, places, and transport
    He has breakfast at home.
    I go to university.
    He comes to work by taxi.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Student of the Month - January

Name:   Morena Grimaldi

Level:    Upper-Intermediate

Course:  Cambridge First (FCE)

Our Student of the Month for January is Morena Grimaldi, who was one of the first students from Scicli to join us at English International School in Modica.   She has been at the school for several years and prefers to take individual lessons. She feels that by learning this way, she can get more personal attention and is able to choose her own pace and schedule.  

Having already achieved a number of qualifications at English International School, Morena is now studying towards the Cambridge First, which is the third level of the Cambridge English exams, it is at level B2 on the Council of Europe Common European Framework of Reference. The qualification is designed for people who need to prove that they can use English at a level suitable for working and studying in English-speaking environments or to live independently in an English-speaking country.  Globally recognised, this certificate is accepted by thousands of employers, government offices and universities around the world.  

As usual, we asked our Student of the Month a few questions about her experiences at the school:

How long have you been at English International School?

I have been at English International School for about eight years.

Tell us, what courses have you attended here?

I started with the Trinity programme and then I switched to Cambridge.  I’ve got the Key (formally KET) and the Preliminary (formally PET) certificates and now I’m studying for the First (formally FCE).

How has the school changed over the years?

Now the school is bigger than before, it is in a new location, there are two big classrooms and two smaller ones. First the school had only a white board in the classrooms but now it has a smartboard and the internet connection, and there are also more students and a new secretary.

Why have you decided to remain at the school for so long?

I decided to remain at the school for so long because it’s a good school and the teachers are fantastic, I feel comfortable when I come to the school.

What are your plans for the future?

In the future I’ll go to university and when I finish, I’d like to find a job abroad for example in the USA, this is why I decided to study English because it can help me in the future and because I like studying it.

Why have you chosen to have individual lessons rather than joining a group?

I tried to study in a group but I couldn’t follow the lessons and the programme so I decided to do individual lessons.

Morena is a bright student, who enjoys coming to her lessons and is always smiling and laughing.  She likes to work at her own pace and is very precise, a perfectionist really, which is why she is more comfortable working one-to-one rather than in a group.  When students have attended the school for a number of years, they really become part of the family, Morena is a great believer in this too and thoroughly enjoys her time at the school and has an excellent relationship with her teachers, particularly Catherine, who has taught her for most of the time she has been one of our students.  

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Happy New Year - 2013

We hope you all enjoyed the Christmas and New Year celebrations.  

School is open as usual from today, we are all looking forward to seeing our students back in the classroom soon.  

For those thinking of starting English lessons, January is the perfect time to enrol.  Why not call the school to arrange an appointment for us to discuss your needs.  

May 2013 be a fantastic year for all!