Snowboarding, my passion by Sònia Vallès

Hace unos meses publicábamos el siguiente post de una de nuestras alumnas que están preparando el FCE: Student’s Review: ‘The Scorch Trials’ by Sònia Vallès 

Hoy Sònia Vallès quiere compartir una redacción más que ha escrito para practicar y preparar el apartado de writing.

12-2012-swanson-8“Have you ever tried doing any winter sports? If your answer is no, you should read this article.

Personally, I’m bad at sport, however I have balance and I am relatively fast, so snowboarding is my thing, but to snowboard you will also need patience, leg strength, and not to be nervous.

My dad taught me how to snowboard when I was five, what I first thought was: what type of sport is it? Now, I enjoy doing it a lot, but to get what I’ve achieved, I’ve had to come through a lot of falls and get over some aches and pains.

If you are thinking: what equipment do I need, I’ve got the answer. You will just need a helmet, an anorak, snow pants, gloves, and obviously, your board and boots. Luckily, you can rent it all, because they are all quite expensive to buy.

I can assure you that I will continue snowboarding until I get old, but how about you, will you try it?”

Sònia Vallès, Article to Sports World Monthly

Thanks Sònia!

Keep calm and write in English

En noviembre os hablábamos de la importancia de crear un SMART Study Plan para tus clases. Y en este artículo, también os dábamos algunos consejos para ser un mejor escritor ‘5 Steps to becoming a better writer in your second language’.

keep-calm-and-write-in-englishOtra vía alternativa es escribir reseñas. Reseñas de cualquier cosa: libros, películas, series, restaurantes, apps, webs, viajes… y entregárselas a tu profesor para que las corrija y te de feedback. Escribir este tipo de textos, no sólo te permite dar tu opinión y compartirla, también te da la oportunidad de mejorar tus habilidades de escritura y ampliar vocabulario para luego aplicarlo en otro tipo de redactados como informes para el trabajo o emails.

Al final, ¡cualquier excusa es buena para practicar el writing! Si te animas a escribir alguna review, nos encantaría leerla y poderla compartir en el blog con otros alumnos de inglés. ¿Qué te parece?

Aquí te dejamos algunos ejemplos recientes para que busques inspiración y nos envíes tu review:

¿Te animas a enviarnos tu review? Thanks!

5 Steps to becoming a better writer in your second language

In writing, like in speaking, it’s important to distinguish between fluency and accuracy. Usually the biggest problem that learners have with respect to writing skills is a lack of fluency, not accuracy. For example, writing a short semi-formal email can take hours because you’re just not used to writing. The problem is not so much the grammar and syntax, but the vocabulary and lack of experience writing.

Here are 5 easy steps that you can take to improve your writing fluency (and accuracy).

road_8_grandeStep 1: Create a written plan
If you really want to improve your writing, before you start you need to create a plan. And it’s very important to write down your plan. It can be something simple like “for the next 30 days I will write in my journal for at least five minutes per day.”

There’s a good article about setting objectives in Forbes magazine: Why you should be writing down your goals.

Step 2: Write in a journal every day
Practice every day (or almost every day). I recommend writing a daily journal. This can be done in a traditional paper journal or you can write your journal in a Word document on your computer or your tablet.

You should write for a minimum of 5 minutes each day, and not worry too much about grammar. The objective here is to build up writing fluency (=quantity), not writing accuracy (=quality). That’s not to say you shouldn’t try to write accurately, but the quantity should have priority over the quality, at least at first.

Step 3: Incorporate new vocabulary into your writing
Many times students spend time “learning” vocabulary, but they forget to incorporate these new words into their production (speaking and writing) so their vocabulary knowledge doesn’t actually increase. You should incorporate new words into your writing in any way possible; even if they are “crazy” ways. If you have fun with this, it will work better.

Read Use it or Lose it if you want to learn more tips about increasing your vocabulary knowledge

Step 4: Get your writing corrected
The above activities will improve writing fluency (=quantity), but you will also want to have your writing corrected from time to time; that way you will become aware of any serious errors that you might be making and be able to correct them in future journal entries.

If you are currently studying a foreign language formally, you should ask your teacher to correct some of your journal entries. Ask them to only correct the more serious errors. If you do not currently have access to a teacher, you might want to try the website Lang-8.It provides a platform for native speakers of different languages to correct non-native learners’ writing. Simply write something and post it on the platform and a native speaker will correct it for you.

What do you have to do in return? Correct someone else’s writing in your native language.

Step 5: Revise past writing
A great way to see your progress is to go back to journal entries you wrote one, two or three months ago. You will be able to perceive your improvement, which will further motivate you to continue to improve.

When you revise past entries, don’t be afraid to make corrections or changes. Writing is a process and going back and correcting/changing your work is a healthy way to improve and become aware of your weaknesses and strengths.

It’s time to put pen to paper! 🙂