Lisa’s weekly tips provide answers to the most common student questions THIS WEEK – Am I ready for the next level?

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In the past, students have said to me, “I think my English is better than the other students in the class. Can I go up to the next level?”

The answer, in my experience, is not simple. It’s possible that you are ready for the next level, in which case your teacher can recommend you for promotion. However, it’s possible that you think you are better than the other students because you’re a confident speaker but really the other students may be much better at grammar or vocabulary or writing than you. When assessing students’ level teachers and Directors of Studies look at many different things; the list below might help you understand why you and your classmates have been placed together.

1. Fluency V Accuracy

Some students sound brilliant to their classmates because they always speak in class, they love participating in discussions and answering questions in front of the class. However, while they are fluent communicators, these students often are not speaking correct English but instead speaking in their own language using English words. They can still be understood but compare them to the other student who thinks carefully before he or she speaks. This second student rarely makes mistakes, they are focused on accuracy as much as communication. It takes them a long time to say what they want to say, but when they do it’s perfect. Who is the better speaker?

 

 2. Strengths and Weaknesses Likewise, you can’t just judge your classmates ability by their speaking alone. Some students are excellent at the receptive skills of listening and reading, but find the productive skills of speaking and writing more difficult. Some students find grammar really difficult but have a really wide range of vocabulary. And finally some students are easier to understand than others simply because of their pronunciation. Each student is unique and has his or her own strengths and weaknesses.

 

 3. Confidence and Commitment In my experience, it’s also important to consider a student’s personality. Some students are shy and don’t like to speak in front of others. In this case, it is usually better for the student to be placed in a class they are near the top of rather than near the bottom. Other students are very curious. They always try to see the bigger picture and ask intelligent questions about things they don’t understand. These students usually work much better in a class that is just a little difficult for them. And of course, commitment is important too. If a student is prepared to study outside of class, to look up things that they don’t understand or to go to GIL and ask the teacher there for extra help, then they can probably cope with a class a bit high for their level. On the other hand, if the student has to rush off to a job straight after class or only hangs out with friends who speak the same language their progress cannot be fast-tracked in the same way.

 

As teachers we all want our students to develop and progress as quickly as possible, but we also recognise the problems of students trying to run before they can walk. If you genuinely feel like you are not learning in the class you are in you should speak to your teacher or Director of Studies as soon as possible, but, generally speaking, when your teacher thinks that you are ready for the next level they will discuss it with you.

 

 

So to summarise this week’s Tip – Don’t automatically think that because you are the best speaker in the class you should be in a higher level. If you are still learning or getting better you are probably in the right class. However, you can (and should) always speak to you teacher or you Director of Studies if you don’t think your English is improving.

Graduation Day at Lexis English | Byron Bay!

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A sad graduation today at Lexis Byron, as we waved off some awesome students!

Takuto Miki – our youngest student at the moment – left to go back to Japan, whilst several other students said goodbye to go travelling!

Julia’s Intermediate class played Pharrell William’s ‘Happy’ and danced their farewells to us, and Sara told us that she has to hurry back to Switzerland as Byron Bay culture is making her lazy! I have my feet on the desk as I’m writing this 🙂

Good luck everyone and come back to say hi if you are in town!!

Memories of the sun from last Friday’s beach cricket game!

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So, you may have got a little bit soggy on the way to school today. I took the bus and still look like I swam across the Bay to get here.

But, here are some memories of the beautiful weather last Friday! Julia took a group of students down to Clarkes Beach to play beach cricket. I’d hazard a guess that today’s Beach Ultimate Frisbee will be cancelled but no worries if you brought your swimmers anyway, you might need them for the way home 🙂

Elementary Class Excursion to the Farmer’s Market!

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Yesterday Marie O’Mara took our elementary class to the Byron Bay Farmers Market – where they had a taste of some fresh local passionfruit – which as you can tell, had quite a mixed reception!

Class excursions with an educational focus are a valuable part of learning here at Lexis Englis | Byron Bay – from library visits to farmer’s market trips, barefoot bowls to learning to give directions around town!

Rosane from Brazil shares her Lexis Byron Bay experience with us

Which class are you in Rosane?

I started in April 2013 at Lexis Byron Bay with the General English course, now I am in the FCE class.

Why Byron?

The lifestyle is really similar to Brazil – there are so many beaches to choose from, you can surf and dive; and also it has a small village feel. Am I happy? Of course I’m happy!!
I have had lots of different teachers because I have been here for a long time – its good as they all teach in different ways and it gives me variety.

How did you find accommodation?

I found it really easy to find accommodation in Byron – there are a lot of options. I lived in the student house, and then a share house – after that I found a studio with my boyfriend, but now we live in a house together with some friends.

How did you find work in Byron Bay?

I work at Slice Pizzeria in Byron Bay – near the beach. I have plenty of hours – enough for my student visa! I wrote my CV and Katherine, my teacher at Lexis, helped me to correct it. The Lexis reception staff printed copies for me and I took them to all of the restaurants and cafes in the area.
I don’t have any friends in Byron Bay that don’t have a job – you just have to be persistent. I think that in Byron Bay it is a good thing to be dedicated – they like people who try hard!

What will you do after your course?

When I finish FCE I will stay and work in Byron for another two months, and then I will travel around Asia. After this I am going to volunteer in South Africa!

What are the experiences you will take away with you?

Living alone has meant that I know myself better – I think I have become a stronger person. Also I have met people from all over the world, we are at the school together so it is more intensive. I have learnt so much about different cultures. Also my job lets me practice my English and communicate with Australian people!

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Rosane Farah, Brazil

Thank you Rosane for sharing your experience with us, on behalf of the entire Lexis team, we wish you all the best in the future.

Working Hard in Byron Bay!

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Londy is our popular and cheerful student from Korea who always puts a smile on our faces in reception when he comes in to say hello!

Londy has been studying with us here at Lexis English | Byron Bay since June 2013! He took a short break to study on the Gold Coast, but then came back to Byron, as he missed it here 
He has been studying General English, and is in our Upper Intermediate class.

Londy, tell us why you chose Byron Bay:

I wanted to study with less Koreans! I want to practice English all the time. It is so free and quiet here – it’s such a beautiful town. My teachers here have been so helpful, and I go to GIL a lot to work on my homework.

Tell us about your job and how you found it:

I’m working as a cleaner at Aldi, and before that I worked for three months at a hotel on the Gold Coast. I found my job at Aldi through a friend, and had an interview with the manager. I had worked on my CV in GIL and the teachers helped me write it. It has helped my English as I’m hearing English instructions all the time. I have had some misunderstandings though – when I worked at a hotel on the Gold Coast I cleaned the wrong floor as I didn’t understand the instructions!

What have you learned here that you will take back to Korea with you?

It is a different Korean culture here – with parties, BBQs with friends and enjoying some beer. I think I will take that home!

Also next month I am going to Europe to visit Germany, Croatia and other Eastern European countries – I have met so many friends here that I can now to go and visit in Europe!

Thanks Londy – good luck – we will miss you!

What’s on this Weekend in Byron Bay!!

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It’s that time again folks!!

The weekend is upon us. I hope your beers are good to go in the fridge and that you’ve got a headstart on your homework so the weekend can be all about fun, fun and more fun!

On Friday night Calling All Cars, The Love Junkies and The Sinking Teeth are playing at the Beachy, In-cyde at the Northern, Kellie Knight and the Daze at the Rails and Luke Morris at Frankie Brown’s.

Also on Friday, Byron Bay’s local dancehall / reggae soundsystem night – Boom Faya – comes to Buddha Bar; amazing guitarist Luke Horsfield is playing at Aquarius; and Byron Community Centre are hosting Solitary Confinement – the brilliant Johnny Cash impersonator tour.

Plenty happening on Saturday – with Deadpixel playing at the Beachy; The Dark Hawks, Black Palms and Mary Gunn at the Northern, local band Wandering Eyes at the Rails, and Brazilian soulful acoustic guitarist Rodrigo Cassiano at the Aquarius bar.

Most importantly – Buddha Bar is hosting the Byron Vibes album launch – live music, interactive jam sessions, Funmaker silent disco, face painting, collaborative art canvases and market stalls – from 2pm until midnight.

The Beachy is the spot for a great Sunday session this week with Late for Woodstock playing from 4.30pm! These four musicians keep the spirit of the 1960s and 70s alive – covering Rolling Stones, The Doors, Santana, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and much more!

Devil’s Kiosk are playing at the Rails, DJ Bango at the Buddha Bar and Sunday afternoon DJs from 2.30pm at the Treehouse.

And finally, if you’re into electronic bass music – Dub FX and Opiou are playing at the Northern on Sunday night – supported by local DJs Luscious Deed and Baptist, with Green Thumb and Medusa – don’t miss it!

Have fun!!!! xo