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Resources

Resources for adult learners

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The more time you spend practising English, the quicker you will learn!  Here are some great resources which can help you to improve your English.

Language learning apps

The videos and other resources produced by BBC Learning English are very popular with students.  You can download the app or follow the BBC on social media.  In particular, BBC 6 Minute English is widely used by beginners and intermediate students.  You can download a short podcast and listen to it while you are on the tram or when you are at home.  Transcripts are available if you can't quite understand everything.

 

Quizlet is an app that we regularly recommend to students.  Use it on your phone for 5 minute's practice when you are out and about.  

Books

Would you like to start reading in English?  It's a fantastic way to expand your vocabulary.  Try to find books that match your level.  Don't worry if you start with children's books - the pictures should help you to understand  them!  Try different authors until you find a favourite and then keep reading.   Audio books from the library are another great way to learn the language.

The Oxford Readers Collection is a useful resource if you want to read books that have been adapted for language learners.

Books that our students have enjoyed reading include:

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

  • Normal People by Sally Rooney

  • Lion: A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly

  • The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller

  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

  • About a Boy by Nick Hornby

  • Man and Boy by Tony Parsons

  • Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

  • The Olive Tree by Lucinda Riley

For the books that we have discussed in book club, see this blog post.

Dictionary

It's really important to use a good dictionary.  The Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary is available in book form, as an app, and as a free online version.  Don't worry that it is not a German-English dictionary, the definitions are clear and there is a lot of extra information.  It's definitely worth looking at!

Podcasts

Here are some sites with podcasts that we recommend to our students.

BBC (British English)
ABC (Australian English)
NPR (American English)

Television

Try to find programmes that you are interested in.  You will be much more motivated if you are watching something that you enjoy.   Documentaries and news programmes are quite easy to understand.  Comedies and dramas can be more challenging, especially if the actors speak quickly or have strong accents.

Our typical recommendations include:

  • BBC news

  • Match of the Day

  • The Great British Bake Off

  • The Great British Sewing Bee

  • Grand Designs

  • Planet Earth

  • Chat shows - such as Graham Norton

  • Dramas such as Broadchurch or Downton Abbey

  • Gogglebox (this is my personal favourite!)

Films and programmes that our students enjoy watching include:

  • Suits

  • The Ellen DeGeneres Show

  • Jimmy Fallon

  • Wonder Woman

  • Back to the Future

  • The Crown

  • Springwatch

Social Media

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok can all be used on a daily basis to help you improve your English.  Some of the sites and #hashtags my students follow:

  • British Council, BBC Learning English and Cambridge Assessment

  • #englischlernen #englishtips
     

TED talks
 
 
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Resources for young learners

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We offer help during the Gymnasium Probezeit to students who are learning English.  Below is a list of books and websites that are useful in teaching.  For more ideas about resources for young learners check out this blog post.

English grammar

To help your child to practice grammar, we suggest trying the excellent books by Raymond Murphy.  Your child may already have a copy as they are used in several local schools.

The red book, Essential Grammar in Use, should be sufficient for the Probezeit.  Older students and native speakers may prefer the blue book, English Grammar in Use.  Be sure to get the books with answers so that your child can study independently.

Online study materials

Many of the publishers of the textbooks used in schools offer additional material online which may be helpful in preparing for tests.

Phonemes

The Sounds App from Macmillan is a valuable resource to help your child learn phonetic symbols.

Quiz websites

The one I use the most is Sporcle - it's particularly good when your child needs to learn all the countries of the world!

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Resources for business learners

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Many of our students work for international firms and need to use English at work.  In the lessons we provide an insight into how English is used in the business world. Outside of the classroom, students are persuaded to deepen their knowledge of English by reading business newspapers, following companies on social media, and watching videos relevant to their work.  Here are some of the excellent  resources.

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Newspapers and social media

Consider following newspapers and other financial companies on social media or subscribe to their mail lists. 

 

Company websites

Check out the websites of large companies operating in your industry.  Many of them include videos announcing the financial results and press releases.

 

Television programmes

The following factual television programmes are business related:

  • Dragon's Den

  • BBC News

 

Some films and dramas also have a business focus and can be useful for learning about the business world:

  • Suits

  • Mad Men

  • The Good Wife

  • The Wolf of Wall Street

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Reading List

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Here are some of the books we have read in book club:

  • Normal People by Sally Rooney

  • The Beacon by Susan Hill

  • Animal Farm by George Orwell

  • If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

  • Q&A by Vikas Swarup

  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

  • The Children Act by Ian McEwan

  • Let me be like Water by S.K. Perry

  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

  • Black Faces, White Faces by Jane Gardam

  • The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller

  • A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin

  • Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro

  • The Thing around your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  • A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

  • Dear Life by Alice Munro

  • An Education by Nick Hornby