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03

Sep 03, 2013 By Tags:, ,

Five Barriers to Break Through Online Lessons

online-lessons

Welcome to our guest article for TeachingEnglishOnline where we discuss the benefits of online lessons.

We (TurksLearnEnglish.com) launched a site dedicated to conversation classes for Turkish speakers in May 2013. So far, we’ve found that the online experience can actually be more powerful than the in-person traditional English lesson. For any students considering whether to try online English lessons, we present to you five barriers that are removed when learning online:

1:              Kill the commute: As urbanization grows across the world, the commutes in many of the world’s largest cities can be hellish. Many students learning English as a second language are also young professionals working long hours. If a young professional leaves work at 6:00 pm they may not arrive to a centrally located language school until 7:30pm. Three hours of class later and they are lucky to arrive home by midnight. This cycle is not sustainable. Taking online lessons in large cities removes hours of unnecessary travel time. In rural or remote areas, this may be your best chance to access professional, well run classes.

2:              Focus on conversation: Most adult students do not need another grammar lesson; they need communication confidence. As any online teacher knows, the virtual world is a great platform for developing language communication ability.  When a student pops on their headphones, they are able to focus with concentration that is rarely seen in a physical classroom. Better yet, the online classroom does not inhibit students in the way that a traditional classroom does. Fewer students and the webcam somehow boost a student’s willingness to take risks and make the mistakes every learner needs to advance in a language.

3:              Between classes: Video self-study lessons for outside of classroom reading and listening are extremely powerful. These video lessons can enrich your students’ experience and provide them with an additional way of connecting with you as a teacher. At TurksLearnEnglish.com we’ve created a series of videos called İngilizce Dersleri where we read current event articles related to Turkey and introduce new vocabulary. So far they are a big hit with our students.

4:              Location flexibility: Students likely travel. If they are working in a competitive field, sometimes they’ll have to travel without much notice. Even if they don’t travel, they often have to stay late at work and do not have time to get away to an 8pm class. Online lessons give students the ability to stay up to speed with their lessons even if they need to skip town for a week or work late.

5:              Additional tools: There are many things that can be done online that cannot be replicated in the real classroom. Running games and quizzes using pre-developed lesson plans and screen sharing is more natural online and can be great for motivation. Using the chat function to help students while conversing is also a great tool. Recording lessons can also be powerful. We’ve found that many of our students like to go back to lessons they found challenging and review them.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our story on online lessons. We would love to hear your thoughts!

James and Kris are co-founders of TurksLearnEnglish, a site dedicated to getting Turkish speakers to build communication confidence. For any online educators out there, feel free to take a look at and use our online-self study videos in our İngilizce Dersleri library. You can get in touch with them through the contact form on our site or email info@turkslearnenglish.com.

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01

Sep 01, 2013 By Tags:, ,

Adventures in Online ELT for Turks (part 2)

online-ELT-for-Turks

Merhaba, and welcome to the second part of our two-part guest article for ELT Jam. Here we give our readers, students and prospective students some insight into why we started TurksLearnEnglish to address online ELT for Turks.

Brief introduction to the Turkish online market

Before we describe our product (which is focused on online ELT for Turks), we should probably mention a couple points about the booming online market in Turkey. I will borrow some phenomenally interesting statistics from the co-founder of Markafoni, Sina Afra, which he wrote in his well-crafted article that you can find here:

  • Turkey has a large and young population of 80M people, with 36M Internet users (fifth biggest internet population in Europe)
  • Turkish Internet users have the third highest engagement in Europe (measured by average time spent online)
  • Turkey is country No.5 for Facebook and No. 8 for Twitter
  • Credit card penetration is approximately 60% (compared to a European average of 50%)
  • It is estimated that 6M to 9M o the 36M Internet users in Turkey have spent money online (an e-commerce penetration rate of between 17% and 25%) – in Germany and the UK the rate is closer to 60% meaning there is still huge potential for growth

Why focus solely on online ELT for Turks?

Several people have asked me this exact question to date. If you believe in your product, why limit it to Turkey? As we’ve already pointed out, the English language presents particular challenges to a native Turkish speaker. It makes sense for Turks to learn English online in a classroom with multiple Turkish students, rather than in a cross-cultural setting that you may find in a global online ELT service such as Live Mocha. Turks have a very strong sense of identity. Since motivation is a deciding factor in every education undertaking, a knowledge and appreciation of Turkish culture, and understanding what Turks find interesting, is all-important. We understood that our role was to provide good teaching and uplift motivation, within the bounds of a Turk’s experience, understanding and expectation.

With this in mind, we decided to launch TurksLearnEnglish.com, a site dedicated to providing communication confidence to unlock the dormant language resource that many Turks possess. We offer conversation classes for up to 6 adults at a time and staff our classes exclusively with native English speakers who have experience teaching in Turkey. We launched in May 2013 and have been learning ever since. As a supplement we have launched our İngilizce Dersleri series (video self study exercises) and our Türklere İngilizce series (language lessons that target areas of English that many of our Turkish students have problems with) for free.

Our concept: tap a dormant resource

Most of James’ adult Turkish students possessed something we defined as a “dormant resource”. Years of English classes at various points in their life meant that a strong knowledge base existed; yet, they still did not have the confidence to speak.  Our aim was to tap this dormant resource and address four main barriers to Turks not learning to speak effectively through the status quo private language institute experience:

1:              Kill the commute: The commutes in Turkey’s largest cities (Istanbul, Ankara) can be hellish and working hours are relatively long. If a young professional leaves work at 6:00 pm they may not arrive to a centrally located language school until 7:30pm. Three hours of class later and they are lucky to arrive home by midnight. This cycle is not sustainable. Offering online classes in a city like Istanbul, removes hours of unnecessary travel time.

2:              Focus on conversation: Most adult students in Turkey do not need another grammar lesson. They need to speak. As any online teacher knows, the virtual world is a great platform for developing language communication ability.  When a student pops on their headphones, they are able to focus with concentration that is rarely seen in a physical classroom. Better yet, the online classroom does not inhibit students in the way that a traditional classroom does. Fewer students and the webcam somehow boost a student’s willingness to take risks and make the mistakes every learner needs to advance in a language.

3:              Leverage Turkish themes: Turkish culture is strong. It’s very difficult for a Turkish student to relate to a grammar curriculum with subject matter based on Western themes. We’ve developed a curriculum (for both our conversation classes and our İngilizce Dersleri series) that is almost entirely based around Turkish themes. We try to use current events, history, culture, food, movies and other popular entertainment as much as possible.

4:              Keep it Turkish: Although we agree that complete immersion is best practice for developing language ability, we find there are benefits of having students from a common linguistic background. When we started researching our competition (global online ELT start-ups), we were very much impressed. But we did notice that having students in one classroom connected online from all over the world seemed bit disorganized and inefficient. So far we’ve seen our students correcting each other and learning from their mistakes. This happens a bit less in a multi-linguistic setting.

So there you have our manifesto. Despite the numerous challenges, successes, re-designs, re-re-designs and countless late nights since our launch, we believe we are on to something. It’s too early for a “lessons learned” story but we will be sure to update you once we celebrate our first anniversary!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our story. We would love to hear your thoughts!

James and Kris are co-founders of TurksLearnEnglish, a site dedicated to getting Turkish speakers to build communication confidence. For any online educators out there, feel free to take a look at and use our online-self study videos in our İngilizce Dersleri library. You can get in touch with them through the contact form on our site or email info@turkslearnenglish.com.

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13

Jul 13, 2013 By Tags:,

Deyim – Savaş ve Barış

Savaş ve Barış: Famous sayings and quotes about War and Peace, that offer some interesting vocabulary for our Turks learning English.

At TurksLearnEnglish.com we love using quotes to get our Turkish students excited about learning to express ideas in English. We frequently post quote content on our Facebook Page and provide Turkish to English translations. If you like this lesson, be sure to like us on our Facebook page to see more sayings and expressions in English, and to improve your vocabulary at the same time.

mapparium-stained-glass-globe-mary-baker-eddy-library-boston

Peace at home, peace in the world.’

– Mustafa Kemal Atatürk , as quoted in many sources including, Atatürk (1963) by Uluğ İğdemir

ergdoan

‘Knowledge has no enemy except an ignorant man.’

– George Puttenham (1589)

Now for some Turkish to English vocabulary review:

knowledge… bilgi

enemy… düşman

except… hariç

ignorance… cahil

 

bullets

‘Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.’

– President John F. Kennedy

And some more Turkish to English vocabulary review:

peaceful… barışsever/huzurlu

impossible… imkânsız

revolution… devrim

violent… öfkeli/şiddetli

inevitable… kaçınılmaz/beklenen

iguazu-falls-waterfall-island

‘There never was a good war, or a bad peace.’ In Turkish:

‘İyi bir savaş veya kötü bir barış hiç olmamıştır.’

– Benjamin Franklin (1783)

If there are any other expressions or concepts besides War and Peace / Savaş ve Barış that you would like us to cover, please let us know and we would be happy to examine it!

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An online thesaurus to improve your writing.

In this short post we look at how Turks learning English can benefit from using an online thesaurus to improve writing and increase general vocabulary.

The thesaurus, in Turkish ‘eşanlamlılar sözlüğü‘, is one of the best tools available to improve your writing. Not only that, it’s also an productive way to increase the number of words you use actively in your daily speech.

The thesaurus, ‘a dictionary of words grouped together with similar meaning’, is familiar to any English speaker who has spent time writing essays in high school and beyond. The most famous thesaurus in the English language was compiled by Peter Mark Roget and first published in 1852.

160 years later, the thesaurus has naturally found its way online. The Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus is one that I have used for some time, and I want to recommend it to Turkısh students of English.

One of the hardest tasks when writing is to use different and varied words. For example, ‘güzel’ in Turkish is almost always translated by English learners as ‘nice’. Unfortunately, ‘nice’ and ‘güzel’ are two words that are used so often that it actually becomes a little boring to see them in writing again and again.

With this online visual thesaurus, all you need to do is type in a word, and you will see a display of all similar words in the English language. The similar words (synonyms) are grouped together and make it easy to learn a few at a time.

Secondly, as you move your mouse over each word, the online thesaurus presents a definition of the selected term and an example or two of how it is used in everyday English.

Thirdly, the online thesaurus presents different choices of word functions. If you type in an adjective, you will see nouns, verbs and adverbs with a similar meaning. This is particularly helpful for Turks studying the English language because, for example, what might be expressed with a noun in English is more usually expressed as a verb in Turkish. For example, the verb ‘sinirlenmek’ ın Turkish has no real verb equivalent in English. You must use a verbal phrase like ‘become angry’, and the online thesaurus tells you that you can also become ‘infuriated, enraged, maddened, etc.’

When writing, it’s advisable to use a wide range of vocabulary. The thesaurus helps you to locate the exact word you need and to avoid repetition. A wider choice of words and phrases is essential to maintain the reader’s interest.

Finally, the online visual thesaurus is the perfect tool to increase your active English vocabulary, For example, when you type in the word mentioned above, ‘angry’, more than 30 English terms appear in the online thesaurus. When you see these words grouped together, it’s easier to memorize them.

The ThinkMap Visual Thesaurus also has a blog, a spelling bee and a ‘word of the day’, so there’s plenty to help you on your way to becoming a wordsmith!

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16

May 16, 2013 By Tags:, ,

How to express ‘izin almak’ and ‘izin vermek’ in English

izin almak

The concept of ‘izin’, often translated as ‘permission’ or ‘consent’ in English, is a word with a wide range of meanings in Turkish.

In this post, the second in our ‘In English, how to express… ‘ series, we’ll look at the most common ways in English to express the concepts of ‘izin almak’ and ‘izin vermek’.

If you prefer a video lesson, why not check out our Ingilizce Dersleri video library. We have a series of great lessons in a video format.

First, let’s look at a few ways to express ‘izin vermek’.

To allow

The verb ‘to allow’ makes it possible for someone to do or not to do something:

The boss allowed me to take the afternoon off to see the doctor.

The government would not allow him to enter the country.

You’re not allowed to speak during the exam (Note that ‘to be allowed’ is a commonly used in English).

The phrase ‘to give permission’ can be used in a similar way, though it is usually used for a specific time or event, and it is more formal than ‘to allow’:

The boss gave me permission me to take the afternoon off to see the doctor.

The school gave her permission to take the exam again.

The IT department would not give him permission to access the files.

The verb ‘to let’ is very common in English. It is used to allow something to happen by giving your permission’:

When I was young my parents wouldn’t let me stay up late.

My boss let me take the afternoon off to visit my father in hospital.

They let me take a 10-day vacation in August.

Can you let me in? (i.e. Can you open the door?)

Now let’s look at ‘izin almak’.

In English the simplest way to express this concept is with ‘to get permission’.

I couldn’t get permission to access those files.

He got permission to leave work early so he wouldn’t miss the plane.

We got permission to enter the building after we showed some personal ID.

Note: Don’t use ‘to take permission’. It’s Turklish and not natural English!

I took permission to leave early.

I got permission to leave early.

They allowed me to leave early.

They let me leave early.

They gave me permission to leave early.

Now it’s your turn!

For each situation below, form a sentence using each of the verbs.

For example:

You want to attend a conference on Friday. You ask your boss but he says that you have to work.

(to allow) He won’t allow me to attend the conference.

(to give permission) He didn’t give me permission to attend the conference.

(to let) He won’t let me attend the conference.

(to get permission) I didn’t get permission to attend the conference.

1. You made an appointment to see the doctor at 3pm tomorrow. Your boss agrees that you can leave work at 12pm.

2. You asked your mother if you could go to the cinema with your friends tonight. She said ‘no’ because your grandparents are coming to visit.

3. Your best friend arrives in town tomorrow afternoon. You haven’t seen him in three months so you ask your boss for a day off. She says ‘no’.

4. You want to borrow your dad’s car to drive to Ankara tomorrow. He say’s that it’s fine. as long as your drive safely.

As always, please let us know what you think and if there are any other topics you would like us to cover!

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11

May 11, 2013 By Tags:,

How to say ‘hoşlanmak’, ‘sevmek’, ‘nefret etmek’ in English.

love-hate in turkish

love-hate

For many of our students the concept of like, love, hate and can’t stand in English can be a bit tricky compared to ‘hoşlanmak’, ‘sevmek’, ‘nefret etmek’ in Turkish.

Most of our students know how to use ‘to love’ and ‘to like’.

In positive statements:

  • I like chocolate.
  • I love chocolate!
  • I like her very much.
  • I love that new video game.

In questions and negatives statement, ‘to like’ is more commonly used:

  • I don’t like my new teacher
  • Do you like shopping?
  • I don’t like carrots.
  • Do you like her new boyfriend?

For questions and negative statements, you can use ‘to love’ if you are talking about a person:

  • Don’t you love me?
  • I don’t love him anymore

However, if you are not talking about a person, don’t use ‘to love’. Instead, use ‘to like’.

  • I don’t love cleaning the house
  • I don’t like cleaning the house
  • I don’t love swimming
  • I don’t like swimming

Also, if you really don’t like something or someone, you can use the expression ‘can’t stand’ or ‘to hate’.

To hate should be used carefully. It is a strong verb and you should be careful when you use it to talk about your own opinions, and especially about people:

  • I hate chocolate…is generally acceptable
  • I hate studying… if ok too
  • I hate her… is a very strong and negative statement

Avoid using the verb to hate until you are a more advanced speaker.

Most English speakers use ‘can’t stand’

For example:

  • She can’t Istanbul traffic
  • I can’t stand her brother, Mehmet
  • He can’t stand the smell of kokoreç
  • I can’t stand cleaning the kitchen!

If you use ‘can’t stand’ with a verb, that verb has to take the +ing form (this is the same as to like, to love and to hate)

  • I can’t stand being here!
  • I can’t stand waiting any longer.
  • I can’t stand talking to him!

Keep in mind, that if you prefer video learning exercise we have a library of video learning exercises waiting for you in our Ingilizce Dersleri section! These videos are available to you at all times and are a great compliment to written exercises and live conversation classes.

Look at each of the following things and people.

Then, use each verb once to make a sentence.

For example:

Blue cheese (a thing)

1. (to love) My mother loves blue cheese.

2. (to like) I don’t like eating blue cheese.

3. (can’t stand) My sister cant’ stand blue cheese.

4. (to hate) Many people hate blue cheese.

The President (a person)

1. (to love) Many people love the President.

2. (to like) I like the President.

3. (can’t stand) The opposition parties can’t stand the President.

4. (to hate) Some voters hate the President.

Now try #1 to #7 below!

1. English grammar

2. İşkembe

3. His new wife

4. Tattoos

5. Erik

6. Galatasaray

7. My English teacher

 

Let us know what you think and whether this was helpful. As always, let us know if there are any topics you would like to see covered!

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03

May 03, 2013 By Tags:, ,

İngilizce Dersleri: Saying ‘tavsiye’ in English

İngilizce Dersleri: the fourth post in our series where we offer easy, everyday solutions to challenges that Turks have with the English language.

Recently in a TurksLearnEnglish.com lesson, a student was talking to me about a restaurant that he thought I should go to and said, ‘I advise you.’ This error is a a common mistake for Turks learning English. In Turkish ‘tavsiye etmek’ would be used in this situation.

In Turkish, tavsiye is used in situations where in English you would find both to recommend and to advise or even you should.

So, how do you express tavsiye in English? It depends on the formality of your situation. Generally speaking, there are three options.

1. Advise for very formal and very important information. Common in written English.

‘I strongly advise you to stop smoking.’

‘They advised her against coming alone at night.’

‘She advised him to take the 17h00 flight so he would arrive at the meeting on time.’

2. Recommend for formal but less important statements in spoken English.

‘It is recommended that you sleep at least seven hours each night.’

‘I don’t recommend that restaurant. The food was terrible.’

‘I recommend him highly.’ (my doctor, this candidate)

3. Should + verb is the least formal in spoken English. This is the form you will hear and use most.

‘You should eat some. It’s delicious!’ (the cake, the pie)

‘You should visit it!’ (that restaurant, the new art gallery)

‘You should see it.’ (that film, the new TV series)

‘You should come.’ (to Madrid with us next week, to the cinema tonight)

Your turn!

Keep in mind, that if you prefer video learning exercise we have a library of video learning exercises waiting for you in our Ingilizce Dersleri section! These videos are available to you at all times and are a great compliment to written exercises and live conversation classes.

Look at the examples below and try to think of a response for each one using the word in brackets. For each exercise, a. is the most formal, and c. the least formal situation.

Here’s an example (we’ve completed the responses for you in bold):

You have gained 10 kilograms during the last year.

a. Your doctor says ‘I advise you take change your diet and take regular exercise’

b. An article in the newspaper states, ‘Doctors recommend at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise each day if you want to lose weight’.

c. Your friends says, ‘Mate, you should lose some weight!’

Now, think of some responses for #1 to #3:

1. You are stressed, overworked and have not taken a holiday in three years.

a. What does your doctor tell you? (advise)

b. What does your colleague say to you? (recommend)

c. What do your friends suggest? (should)

2. The new James Bond film is released and it receives great reviews.

a. What does a movie critic write so that people go to see it? (advise)

b. How do you tell your boss to see it? (recommend)

c. How would tell a friend to watch it? (should)

3. Your mother eats a lot of sugary and unhealthy food.

a. What would a nutritionist tell her? (advise)

b. What would the salesperson in the health food shop tell her? (recommend)

c. What would her best friend tell her? (should)

Did you find this helpful? Let us know what other topics you would like us to cover!

 

 

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English Countries Flag
30

Top Four Ways to Practice Speaking English in Istanbul

Our Turkish students often complain that outside class, travel and work, they do not have enough opportunities to speak English.

For our students who want to practice speaking English, it does not help that the native English speaking population in Istanbul is quite spread out. Although there is a concentration of expats in Cihangir and Nişantaşı, the community is thinly spread across a vast area on both the European and Asian sides of the city.

For expats, this thin concentration can be the exact reason why moving to Istanbul is attractive – its easy to access that authentic foreign experience they search for. But for Turks looking to practice their everyday English with native speakers, opportunities might seem few and far between. For this reason we’ve assembled a list of great, and largely free, opportunities for Turks to practice their English right here in Istanbul – and hopefully have fun and make friends in the process too!

#4 – Offer a conversational practice exchange

Many expats in Istanbul are trying to learn Turkish. A great way of practicing your English is to offer an exchange. Find an expat you get along with, and meet up for çay once a week to practice speaking with each other. If you need inspiration for conversation, this can be achieved as easily as bringing along a local newspaper or magazine and discussing articles. There are a number of ways to find your co-student – to start you can try expat forums such as Expat Blog, Expat Forum or Merhaba Forums.

#3 – Join an expat club or meet-up group

There are a number of active expat organizations in Istanbul that organize meet-ups such as the very global InterNations. Signing up is easy, and they typically have multiple events per month. InterNations is certainly not exclusively for expats, and is a great forum for personal and professional networking.

#2 – Join an expat sports group

Not only is it a great way get fit and get outside – but joining a running group such as the Hash House Harriers is a great way to practice your English with like-minded athletes. The Hash House Harriers typically have some form of a social event (brunch or drinks) after runs. Most of these clubs have different levels of practice so don’t be intimidated if you didn’t have the opportunity to keep fit over the winter.

#1 – Attend a professional event / join a professional organization

Depending on your chosen profession, there may be a great opportunity to combine networking in your field with practicing your English. At a recent CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) event we noticed that there were several expats in attendance eager to chat with locals who could speak English. Of course, this depends on your field, and its level of expat participation – but it’s certainly worth looking into.

If joining an organization seems daunting, why not attend one event first? Most professional organizations allow participation by non-members if you send an email requesting permission. The best part? The English topics you will discuss are in line with the topics you want to practice for professional purposes.

Other ideas:

  • Yoga studios in Cihangir, Etilier and Nişantaşı are full of expats and visitors. Why not ask someone for a post-workout coffee?
  • Istanbul is quickly becoming a destination for international artists – galleries, openings, film festivals, concerts and more tend to be well attended by by expats
  • Expat theater
  • Check out the very informative Yabangee Blog for a full calendar of expat oriented events in Istanbul

Let us know your thoughts and if you have any ideas!

 

 

 

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