The team here at Lexis English | Byron Bay are very sad to say goodbye to some fantastic students this week!
Laura from Brazil, Eva Cristina from Spain, Ramona from Switzerland, Olaf from Germany, Victor from Spain, Elena from Italy, Fabian from Switzerland, Dora from Taiwan, Maria from Spain, Marianna from Italy and Daniel from Switzerland!
Here are Marie O Mara’s English class waving farewell to this week’s leavers!
For the majority of English language teachers starting out in the TESOL industry, there is one aspect of the job that scares the pants off us – teaching grammar. I’m not sure about you, but when I went through primary and secondary school, we weren’t taught English grammar, so when I first became an English language teacher in Hungary, notions such as subjects, objects, and past participles were, forgive the pun, foreign. Not speaking a lick of Hungarian at the time, knowing that I needed to eat (and therefore make this teaching thing work), compelled me to set about teaching myself English grammar before I taught it to my students.
This week, I would like to share with you the grammar books that helped me at the various stages of my career. I don’t claim they are the best, as there are a lot of good reference books out there, but these are the ones I have used and still do use and so I can vouch for.
English Grammar in Use by Raymond Murphy – Cambridge University Press
This is a great book for new teachers with little grammar knowledge. The middle book in the series, this self-study reference book is pitched at intermediate level students. It consists of 145 two-page chapters covering the language structures that an intermediate student would need.
Each chapter starts with a page of ‘accessible’ presentations about the meaning, usage and form of the structures. I say ‘accessible’ because it is written for students, and therefore we teachers have a shot at understanding the content. This is a great starting point for new teachers. On top of this, the second page in each chapter has exercises for practice! No silly, not for you the teacher, but they are very handy for homework for your students. All in all, I would say this is a great book to get you started on your grammar teaching path and you will be able to refer to it and use it for years to come.
Notable mention – The Good Grammar Book by Michael Swan – Oxford University Press
Practical English Usage by Michael Swan – Oxford University Press
This book delves a little deeper into the English Language, providing fairly detailed information on grammar, vocabulary, idiom, style, pronunciation and spelling. I found I didn’t really appreciate this book until I had a slight grasp of the workings of the language. Sure I had used it in CELTA assignments, but that was about it. I found (and sometimes still find) that I used this book a lot more when dealing with students’ questions that were outside of what I was teaching in class that day. This is a great book that you will get years of use out of and it can (sorry, but I can’t promise more than that) sometimes stop you from looking silly in front of your class.
Notable mention – Grammar for English Language Teachers by Martin Parrott – Cambridge University Press
About Language by Scott Thornbury – Cambridge University Press
This is the book you turn to just before DELTA, to help bring out your inner grammar geek. The book consists of 28 ‘task’ units covering various aspects of the English language and looks at them in a high level of detail. The tasks really make you think about how English is used, and I must confess, when I began working through the book I had to look at the key and commentary a couple of times first to understand what exactly was being asked in each task. That brings me to the other great thing about this book – the commentary. It is easy to follow and a real eye opener. The way the language is analysed and applied to everyday usage is brilliant. It leaves you wondering a) just how smart is this Scott Thornbury bloke and b) surely he has better things to do. This is a must-have book for DELTA or MA level courses and a great source of PD for experienced teachers.
Anyway, that’s it for this week. Three grammar books to take you through your EFL teaching career, they have worked for me and I have a feeling they’ll work for you too.
Dave Fox is an experienced teacher and teacher trainer who has worked in Australia, the UK, and Europe
Well what do you know, the weekend has come around again!!
Tonight, The Northern is throwing a retirement party for soon-to-be ex pro surfer Kieran Perrow, from 6pm! With special guest Tommy Franklin, DJs and prizes…
On Friday, Tom Richardson is playing at the Treehouse on Belongil – he has played most festivals in Australia and shared the stage with the likes of Cold Chisel and The Waifs whilst travelling the world, performing in over 14 countries!
Also on Friday – The Feramones are playing at The Beach Hotel, Wandering Eyes are playing at The Northern, Goodrich is playing at The Rails and UK dub act Zion Train Soundsystem are playing at the Brewery at 7pm
DJs HA!YES! and Ant On Leaf are playing at Frothing on Fridays at The Ginger Pig again this week – with free entry and $10 margaritas
If you’re one of our many students settled out at Suffolk Park – bohemian duo Dinkum Bohos are playing at Pizza Paradiso on Friday… If you haven’t sampled Pizza Paradiso yet, have the Carnivore pizza – it is bloody amazing!!!
Saturday sees more live music in Byron, with DJ Discrow at The Beachy, Chase City & Lunatics on Pogo Sticks at the Northern, and Kellie Knight and the Daze at The Rails
The Byron Bay Brewery are throwing a fashion cabaret in aid of Women’s Business on Saturday from 5.30pm, hosted by local comedian and writer Mandy Nolan
And if you can’t make it out to Earth Frequency Festival in QLD in a couple of weeks – the festival are presenting Harmonic Spaces at the Byron Community Centre on Saturday night from 6pm. Harmonic Spaces is a visionary art exhibtion and sacred sound concert with some amazing guest artists, and is definitely something a little different from your average Saturday night! Tickets are $23 pre-sale, and $33 on the door – https://www.facebook.com/HarmonicSpaces
The Byron markets return again this Sunday – with local, handmade jewellery, gifts, food and artefacts; and local band Romaniacs playing in the afternoon
Lisa Hunt also returns to the Beachy from 4pm this Sunday! Expect to see Selin Neuenschwander and myself dancing the arvo away!
Also on Sunday – King Parrot at the Northern, Hunter and Smoke at The Rails and Sunday Summer Sessions at the Poinciana Cafe in Mullumbimby from 2.30pm – with Dave Dogg and guests
Congratulations to Raphael from Switzerland, who scored an incredible 100% in his Face to Face Pre-Intermediate weekly test this week!!
Raphael has been studying with us here at Lexis English | Byron Bay for almost four weeks and is almost halfway through his General English course. He is excelling in Kathleen Barrett’s Pre-Intermediate class and his English skills are improving all the time.
As you can see, his classmates are as impressed as we are. Well done!!
“My name is Lara, and I am from New Caledonia – it’s really close to Australia, so I know this way of life with the beach close to the school. In New Caledonia we can’t surf as there are no waves, instead we take boats out onto the reef. I’d like to go home and encourage more people to try surfing!
I have been studying here at Lexis for three weeks and have been in the upper-intermediate General English class in the mornings and in the afternoons, my options class was movies and songs with Josie, which was really interesting.
When I arrived in Byron Bay, it was a Sunday night and everyone was outside and wearing lots of bright colours, which I love. I have even seen some people just wear their bikini to the supermarket!
I really enjoyed my time studying at Lexis and I especially enjoyed meeting new people. I have met Spanish people, Swiss people and lots more Nationalities, but even if I was with French speaking people we would speak in English only because then everyone could understand.
My teachers were Katherine and Claudia and they were both really cool. I also loved my homestay, Barbara, she was just perfect!
I want to stay here in Byron Bay and I know I will come back one day.”
Spent all your cash on Australia Day and need to replenish your funds?
Here are the jobs available in Byron Bay this week!
1 – Miss Margarita are looking for a Floor Manager with strong admin, organisational and leadership skills, and 3 years experience in a fast paced restaurant. Email CV to email@example.com
2 – Rae’s on Wategos are looking breakfast servers and hotel cleaners. Email your CV for the attention of Jody to firstname.lastname@example.org
3 – a few days work available for a painter and tiler on a Ewingsdale home renovation job – please call Anthony on 0432 731 133
4 – temporary admin assistant needed to work in the Bluesfest office – proficient in office software, and Excel experience essential. Good bookkeeping and communication skills, and own laptop – Mac preferred. Email CV to email@example.com
5 – a boutique Byron Bay guesthouse requires a live in housekeeper / caretaker – with meticulous attention to detail, computer literacy, able to work unsupervised and organised with lots of initiative! Please email CV to firstname.lastname@example.org
Good luck and remember that Job Club is on in Room 2 this Wednesday from 2.15pm!!
As a teacher, there are a couple of things we should never say or do to our students. For example, pointing at them and laughing when they make a mistake is often frowned upon and will most likely result in an upset student, poor classroom atmosphere, and a newly unemployed teacher. But this, in my opinion, isn’t the worst thing a teacher can say or do in the classroom. In my opinion, the worst thing a teacher can do happens regularly throughout the English language teaching industry and often goes unnoticed. It involves three simple words and is of absolutely no use to teacher or student – the question ‘Do you understand?’
In response to this question, nine times out of ten students will reply with a nodding of their heads, leading the inexperienced TESOL teacher to believe that they all ‘get it’. In actual fact, most students are reluctant to admit in front of a class that they do not understand something and so other methods must be used to check students’ understanding.
One useful method of doing this is through the use of Concept Checking Questions (CCQs). CCQs can be used to highlight the meaning of the target language item, be it vocabulary or a structure. They can be used to point students in the right direction when they are unsure and help teachers recognise whether or not their presentations have been effective.
To work out the CCQs for a particular piece of language, you first need to work out the concept for yourself. For example:
I managed to open the window
When breaking down this sentence into simple statements we can see that:
I opened the window
It was difficult.
So to create our CCQs, we simply turn these sentences into questions:
Did I open the window? (Yes)
Was it easy? (No)
But did I succeed? (Yes)
Seems simple enough, right? But there are a few other things to remember:
CCQs should be easy to understand – you’re not checking their comprehension of the questions themselves
They should not contain the word or structure being taught – how can you check understanding of something they don’t know by using the exact language they don’t know?
Dave Fox is an experienced teacher and teacher trainer who has worked in Australia, the UK, and Europe
A sad day today as we say goodbye to seven students!
Michael from Switzerland, Valerie from Germany, Lara from New Caledonia, Hazuki from Japan, Raul from Spain, Fredi from Switzerland and Steve who is also from Switzerland!
Raul is off to Perth, Hazuki will be living and working in Byron Bay for the next few months and Steve is embarking on an eight month round-the-world trip!
Also Valerie told us how much she loved staying in the student house in her graduation speech, as well as impressing us all with the fact that the English Only policy was even enforced behind closed doors!! Well done guys!
Marie O’Mara’s Business English class tried their hand at ‘Dragon’s Den’ this afternoon – where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to millionaire business tycoons who will invest their own cash!
Obviously our Lexis students are not millionaire tycoons (I would have married one of them by now if they were) – but they enjoyed an afternoon of playing with fake money and pitching innovative business ideas!
Today we had a Japanese cooking class in the student lounge, led by Lexis Byron Bay students Asami and Yurina! They had decided to demonstrate and cook Okonomiyaki – a delicious Japanese pancake recipe with bacon, egg and cabbage – YUM!
The other students crowded around to watch the girls whip up this tasty dish, and afterwards muscled in to sample some!
Here at Lexis English | Byron Bay, we have a grand total of 11 different nationalities in this week’s Upper Intermediate class!
We currently have Swiss, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Brazilian, Portuguese, Korean, Taiwanese, Russian, New Caledonian and German Upper Intermediate students – what a great opportunity for you guys to practise your English with people from all over the world!
Swiss student Daniel surprised his class today with a bevy of chocolate treats to say goodbye to his fellow Elementary students!
Grace Kelly and Juliana from Brazil, German David from Colombia, Didier from Belgium, Daniel, Julien and another Daniel from Switzerland, and of course our youngest current student – Takuto from Japan – enjoyed white chocolate and Toblerone – and most probably had to protect their bounty from hungry teacher Marie!
Queensland band Busby Marou are playing at the Northern tonight – their humour and freakish instrumental ability have cemented them as one of Australia’s most loved live bands of recent times!
Also tonight – Melbourne based neo-gypsy duo The Imprints are playing at the Rails – they have spent the last year touring the UK and Europe, playing festivals such as Glastonbury, Edinburgh Fringe, Beat Herder and Small World
Flickerfest short film festival kicks off on Friday and runs until Sunday at the A&I Hall in Bangalow – showing Australian and international short films such as Kanyekanye from South Africa, Australian shorts We Keep on Dancing and Tango Underpants, and French/Chinese collaboration Butter Lamp
An awesome new night starts this Friday at The Ginger Pig (in what used to be the Junction) – Frothing on Fridays is a collaboration between two Scottish DJs, HA!YES! and Ant On Leaf – playing funk, house, future soul, disco, afrobeat and much much more…$10 Margaritas and free entry!
Playing throughout Byron this Friday : Flap! at the Beach Hotel, A Little Province at the Northern, Chuparosa at the Rails, Matthew Armitage at Frankie Brown, and Boom Fyah Reggae Dancehall Soundsystem at the Byron Bay Brewery
The Australian Surf Movie Festival is taking place on Saturday at the Northern – an independent surf movie tour initiative that stops at 30 places along the coast – showing The Journey – featuring Kelly Slater, Alex Gray and Russ Bierke surfing Australia’s desert coast; and Encoded – part three of the Blackwater series about Teahupo’o
Playing in and around Byron on Saturday – Sapote at the Beach Hotel, Dillion James Band at the Rails, Bree Bullock at Frankie Browns, Bats vs Snakes at the Brewery, Juliette Meow at the Ginger Pig and Carlie and Yosi at the Treehouse
On Sunday drumming maestros Samba Blisstas are running a workshop from 4pm at the Rails if you fancy having a go
Also on Sunday – Treehouse on Belongil are holding a Sea Change fundraiser to raise money for the preservation of the Great Barrier Reef, with live music from 2pm!
A huge ‘Well Done’ from everyone at Lexis to Patric Wickli, who this week found out that he had scored an elusive “A” in the CAE exam.
Here Patric tells us about how he achieved it and his experience here at Lexis English | Byron Bay!
Amy: How did your teacher Ian help you to achieve your fantastic CAE result?
Patric: What most impressed me was his knowledge of English – I know he is an English teacher – but his knowledge was amazing, and really impressive. He was also a good help for me because I read a lot of books during my time here, and he was a huge help if I had any questions about the vocabulary.
Amy: Tell us about your experience studying here at Lexis Byron!
Patric: I had a really good time with all of the friends that I made here – I didn’t feel like I was in school – in Byron it was just like going to meet up with friends. Of course there is a school feel, and we all want to improve our English, but we are here because we want to be here, not because we have to be here.
Amy: What would your advice be for anyone else that wants to get an “A” in their CAE exam?
Patric: My advice would be to watch series instead of movies – because you keep hearing the same voices; and read a lot of books – I think it is important if you have a CAE level of English not to only read simplified books, because the real books teach you the real language.
Amy: Any other final words?!
Patric: Yes – Ian did an amazing job and really supported all of us. I think everyone in the class liked him. Big thank you to Ian!
And there you have it! Congratulations to Patric on his amazing result and all the best for the future!!
Last weekend Lisa, Amanda and I booked to go stand up paddle boarding with Maya at Backpackers World Travel!
Our guide Aaron picked us up for our private tour on the Brunswick River on a balmy Sunday afternoon. After some simple instructions, we pushed our NSP boards out into the glassy green water and clambered on – and after a few initial wobbles we were off!
The tide was particularly high, and apparently when it is slightly lower it is not uncommon to see stingrays swimming around and under your board.
Paddling down the river was easier than expected – although having said that we did take a few tumbles! Lisa was the first in, and took to punctuating the trip with repeated splashes!
I also fell in repeatedly for no apparent reason, all of a sudden losing my balance and heading face first into the clear water!
Aaron showed us tricks and tips to improve stability on the board and manoeuvre comfortably – from turning 360, to doing a headstand! Amanda showed us all up by perfecting the headstand, whilst I fell in after trying to face the opposite direction!!
We steered our boards into the ‘tunnel of trees’, weaving through underwater tree roots and stumps – underneath a canopy of green branches. It was, without a doubt, the most peaceful way I can imagine spending a Sunday afternoon – very relaxing and in beautiful surroundings.
After making it out of the tunnel of trees, we moored our boards and went for swim in the chilly water, before climbing back on and paddling back among the pelicans to the jetty. We followed it up with halloumi burgers at The Rails and a wander through the Byron markets – where Amanda bought a hula hoop and I stuffed my face with mini pancakes and chocolate sauce.
The next day all of us felt the burn in our arms, shoulders and stomachs – exercise without even realising that we were doing it!!
If you’re interested in your own river adventure, book a trip with Byron Stand Up Paddle through Maya downstairs in the student lounge =)
Waves are offshore, rain is watering the gardens and La La Land has burned to the ground. What to do in Byron Bay and surrounds when it’s raining and La La Land is smoking?! Here’s what’s on this weekend!!!
Farmers markets are on in Byron today – why not brave the rain to hunt down some fresh kale
If braving the rain is a favourite activity of yours – the Byron Bay Rodeo is taking place tonight from 7.30pm at the playing fields opposite Byron Bay High School. Watch professional bull riders try to hang on for 8 seconds, or get trampled, depending on their luck!
If watching bucking broncos isn’t your thing – Aussie favourite Ash Grunwald is playing a free gig at the Brunswick Hotel tonight!
Friday night at The Northern sees Aussie rock bands Kingswood and Calling All Cars play a high energy set… As well as Wandering Eyes playing at the Beach Hotel, The Soulshakers at The Rails, 9 piece Brazilian band Klezmerin at the Brewery and Kingdog & The Catz at the Ginger Pig
Friday night is also the opening night of the Byron Arts Classic – a collection of local art, sculpture and photography – with over 400 artworks being displayed over five days. All pieces are for sale, and the opening night is a chance to get a sneak peek before anyone else! Held at the Byron Community Centre, and tickets are $10
The Evolve Yoga Festival returns to Byron Bay this Saturday – tickets are $40 online or $55 on the door. An all day event – workshops include aerial yoga, 5rhythms ecstatic dance, healing sound therapy, chocolate yoga, ayurvedic thought and sex, yoga and the kundalini experience!
Palace Cinemas are showing the documentary Uncharted Waters on Sunday at 6.30pm – a feature length doco about legendary Australian surfer Wayne Lynch, who burst onto the surfing scene in the 1960s and rode a wave like no-one else
New Zealand new wave rock band Mi-Sex are playing at the Bangalow Bowlo on Sunday – the band had a huge impact in Australia which was sadly short-lived after frontman Steve Gilpin died tragically in a car crash in 1992. They have reformed with new frontman Steve Balbi (formerly of Noiseworks) and have been smashing it up ever since! Don’t miss this chance to see them!
And last but not least, Byron Bay’s queen of soul, Lisa Hunt, is back at the Beachy this Sunday afternoon from 4.30pm – a free gig that is guaranteed to get you up and dancing!!
Today we had an Italian pizza making workshop at Lexis English | Byron Bay!
Here is a well known fact about me. I am the worst cook in the entire world. Luckily enough, I had some students on hand to help by making some yummy pizzas – cooked with an Aussie twist on the barbie. Bloody oath!
Need some cash to book Maya at Backpackers World Travel’s awesome Fraser Island trip??? Here are the jobs in Byron Bay this week!!
1 – Belongil Bistro are looking for an experienced barista – email email@example.com or call 02 6680 9007
2 – Italian at the Pacific are looking for floor staff and experienced cocktail bar staff – must have RSA! Call 0406 647 236 between 12-2pm
3 – The Harvest Cafe are looking for a head barista – email CV to firstname.lastname@example.org
4 – Ilias the Greek are looking for a pastry assistant to pack and prep during the week and operate a market stall at the weekends – must have transport – call 02 6680 1558 or email CV to email@example.com
5 – qualified baker required for Byron Bay bakery – phone 0405 723 013
6 – The Northern are looking for a full time chef – available weekends and nights, and must have grill experience! Email CV to firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop in between 10am-2pm weekdays
7 – Gaia Retreat and Spa are looking for casual room attendants and a part time grounds person! Email CV to email@example.com
8 – Casual person with carpentry or building experience to help team at a Byron warehouse – with freight packaging and crate building. Email CV to firstname.lastname@example.org
9 – Santos Byron are looking for a full time assistant manager – managerial, sales and IT experience are a plus! Email CV to email@example.com
10 – Cleaner required for boutique cleaning agency – great people skills and own car – call between 10am and 2pm weekdays only – 0413 190 266