Posts

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Using English in the World of Information Technology

The world is changing at a very fast pace and the people working behind the scenes in the IT industry all around the world are making this possible.

When I started teaching, I was really surprised at the number of students I had that were software developers, programmers, project managers, etc… all in the bustling IT world.  As time went on, I learned more and more from my students about the industry and what their job responsibilities were.

The beauty of practicing Business English on Skype, is that I don’t have to know everything about YOUR job in order to have a conversation about it.  My responsibility is to get YOU talking about it and strengthen your vocabulary related to your job and general grammar structure.

Why do IT professionals need to know English?

I asked a few of my students to explain why it is important for them…

As a Software Developer you need to know English in order to keep up with cutting edge technologies: English is the “official” language for talks, conferences, summits, blogs, technical articles and documentation.

Nowadays, companies from around the world work together so you also need to know English to attend meetings and understand your colleagues. Finally, if you want to work for the best IT companies you might end up moving abroad to an English speaking country and then…you’d better speak English!   

Alberto Rodríguez de Lema

 

Having good English skills is very helpful for my daily work as an IT professional because most of the IT relevant books are only available in English. In my role as programmer it is also required from most of my customers to write the documentation of the program code in English. Many of my colleagues and customers are located in different countries and the common language for negotiating, chatting, training is also English.

Having English sessions on a regular basis with Jessica helps me a lot to stay fluent and to feel confident for my daily work as an IT professional.

Volker Tontsch

 

Being a software developer means learning something new everyday. Ability to speak English exposes you to the endless source of information and allows you to communicate to and exchange experience with professionals from all over the world.

Pavel Prokopenko

There you have it- The real deal from real life IT dudes.

 

Bustling  (verb) move in an energetic and busy manner
The Real Deal (idiom) The bare truth or facts of a matter.

*practice using these words in the comments section and I will check them and give you feedback*

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italki Instant Tutoring

Do you want to practice your English (or any other language) NOW?

Click here > Sign up to italki and once you are all logged in, you can find native speakers who are available to speak with you immediately, no scheduling in advance necessary.

You’ll see FIND A TEACHER on your top menu of your homepage.

italki instant tutor
There are different filters for you to select when searching for the right teacher.  The language you would like to practice is the first on you need to select and then there are some other optional filters such as where the teacher is originally from, what other languages the teacher speaks, price and tags (such as IELTS, TOEFL or business).

Another filter is Availability.  If you want to speak with someone NOW, click on Availability and select ‘Instant Tutoring Available Now’.

italki instant tutoring

You’ll see all of the teachers available at that time listed.  You can adjust the filters according to what you are looking for and then select the teacher for instant tutoring.  Perhaps you prefer to speak with someone from the UK who also speaks Spanish, you can enter that into the filter, but that particular combination may not be available at that exact time.  The instant tutor feature is something that teachers can turn on and off based on their schedule.

instant tutor

The request will be sent to the teacher and they have 10 minutes to accept it.

This feature is GREAT because it allows you to speak to a native speaker at your convenience.  So many of us have busy lives and scheduling in advance can be difficult.  Instant tutoring gives you the freedom to practice your speaking when YOU have time.

I’ve helped people prepare for job interviews, IELTS, TOEFL and even done some proof reading/editing while on ‘Instant Tutoring’.

Remember, the only way to improve your English is to use it, so go ahead, try it out!

 

 

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Around the World ‘Round Table’ Discussion

Round Table : a number of people gathered together for conference, discussion of some subject, etc., and often seated at a round table.

Round Table discussions are an excellent way for you to get a chance to practice speaking English with someone from another country and at the same time, learn a bit about their culture and everyday life!  You will be exposed to other accents and participate in a ‘real-life’ conversation with someone you have never met before in a comfortable, friendly environment.  The general topics are endless and if possible, we can even arrange for you to speak with someone who also works in your industry.

Sessions

I will serve as the ‘host’ making sure that the conversation keeps flowing and that everyone gets a chance to speak.

Generally we will speak in an order assigned at the beginning of the session. Person 1 gives their answer, 2, then 3 and then it is open for discussion as I see fit.  I will help keep the order by speaking directly to the student when they are to answer.  During the open discussion, participants must be courteous and not interrupt or speak over other people.  At any time, I reserve the right to remove someone from the call.

I will keep running notes of vocabulary, grammar issues and sentence structure in the Skype chat.

Scheduling

This options is only available to SkypEnglish4U clients (join today!) that are ‘pre-approved’ and have the appropriate level of English required to partake in one of these group exercises.

Each SE4U student will get one free 30min AWRT credit and will schedule it with me.  If a student wants to participate in more, they will pay a % out of their existing sessions based on the people participating in the call– If there are 2 students, for 30min, they each will spend 15min of their existing packages.  The maximum amount of students per call is 3.

You will see specific times labeled as ‘Round Table’ on my google calendar and you can select them just as you regularly schedule.  I will be very flexible with these sessions… if you want to do one at a certain time, please let me know and I will try to find another student.

Good news for all single students

According to a recent European Commission study, you are more likely to be able to improve your employment and career prospects by studying a foreign language. What is more, you are even more likely to get the job you desire if you have studied a foreign language such as English in England. The same applies for Spanish in Spain, German in Germany etc. The study examined the lives of more than 80,000 people who had participated in the Erasmus program and suggests that the experience of studying abroad has far reaching influences, such as giving people an international outlook. They also found that around 40% of people also went to live and work abroad. However it’s appreciated that it’s difficult to just drop everything and go to live and study abroad, so that’s why Skype lessons with a native speaker are the next best thing!
Studying via Skype is easy, fun and convenient. It fits with your time schedule, there are no travel requirements and you don’t need to take a break from work. What’s more, even if you do plan to visit foreign shores for language study purposes it’s a great way to prepare, then you can go and visit the UK and perhaps stay there for an extended time period in order to really start using your language skills.
You can read more about the impact of the Erasmus program and the opinions of the European commissioner for education & multilingualism Androulla Vassiliou on the BBC news website, but what really excited me about this story was the impact that learning a foreign language can apparently have on your love life!

Yes, it is true. According to the European Commission, statistics show that people who study a second language for any length of time are significantly more likely to settle down with a partner of a different nationality, around a third of Erasmus participants had met a long-term partner while abroad. Great news for all of my young, single students of whom there are many.


I can’t wait to share the good news with them that by learning English with me, they are also increasing their chances of finding love in the future.
I won’t hold my breath waiting for the wedding invitations to arrive though just yet.

 

Contact Rachel today > http://www.italki.com/teacher/1394345

Tips on making “small talk”

For the majority of my students, making “small talk,” or short conversation with strangers or co-workers, is the most difficult part about using their daily conversational English. Here are some tips that I have found useful when making small talk:

1) Talk about the weather.
This one seems to be common in most cultures. Some examples are,

  • “The weather today is beautiful, isn’t it?”
  • “I can’t believe how (hard it is raining/sunny it is/much snow is) outside!”
  • “What are they calling for* tomorrow?/They are calling for* (rain/snow/sunshine/clouds) tomorrow.”

*A main point you should remember is to use the phrase “calling for.” This is another way to say “to forecast,” or “to predict.” In American English, it is much more common to use “calling for” than “forecast” (“forecast” seems too professional or proper in some cases). Try using this next time you talk about the weather.

2) Talk about the latest news
Here are some ways to bring up a topic:

  • “Did you hear about….”
  • “I can’t believe the news about….”
  • “What do you think about….”(used often for discussing opinion)
  • “Did you see….” (used often for news stories on TV)

3) Talk about something you have in common.
If you are talking to your co-worker, this is a great chance to talk about things you have in common. Some examples are:

  • “What do you think about the new (item in the office)”
  • “I love your shoes! Where did you get them?”
  • “Did you watch the game last night? What did you think?” (for talking about sports)
  • “Have you eaten at any good restaurants lately?”

The list could go on and on! I’ll update it again soon, but for now, try to use these phrases next time you’re making small talk! You might even be surprised that you’re talking too much at work!

I’d be happy to answer any questions, and leave your own tips if you have them!

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Learning the eBay “Lingo”

Do you have trouble sometimes understanding when people talk about eBay? Don’t worry, some of the jargon is really obscure, and you can’t be expected to understand it until someone’s told you what it means. Here’s a little list of some of the most useful lingo to know, but you don’t need to memorise it – even the most common jargon is only used relatively rarely.

Words
Bid: telling eBay’s system the maximum price you are prepared to pay for an item.
Dutch: an auction where more than one of an item is available.
Feedback: positive or negative comments left about other users on eBay.
Mint: in perfect condition.
Non-paying bidder: a bidder who wins an auction but does not then go on to buy the item.
PayPal: an electronic payment method accepted by most sellers.
Rare: used and abused on eBay, now entirely meaningless.
Reserve: the minimum price the seller will accept for the item.
Shill bid: a fake bid placed by a seller trying to drive up their auction’s price.
Snail Mail: the post, which is obviously very slow compared to email.
Sniping: bidding at the last second to win the item before anyone else can outbid you.

http://www.ego4u.com/en/business-english/infos/ebay-slang

LINDA’S PROFILE

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I need English for work

Knowing English and having the vocabulary learned from a textbook is very important at some work places.  But what about the things that the textbooks don’t teach you?  Have you heard a phrase that totally confuses you and then you lose your train of thought and all of the sudden are totally lost?  Usually when this happens when the person that you are speaking with uses an idiom that you are not familiar with.  Native speakers can even be confused by idioms!  Especially when speaking with people from a different area.

someone’s TRAIN OF THOUGHT

Fig. someone’s pattern of thinking or sequence of ideas; what one was just thinking about.

If native speakers can be confused by these, how can an English learner even start to take on idioms?

TAKE ON

Phrasal verb a:  to begin to perform or deal with  b:  to contend with as an opponent

You MUST surround yourself with everyday English as much as possible. (click on this link, you won’t regret it)

You can follow the steps found in the link above and focus on your industry.  That is the best way to improve your business English and let’s not forget the power of Google!  If you work in a hotel, google ‘hotel idioms’.

Try this quiz and see how you do >

Business English Idioms: Idioms Test

 

I am always available to answer any questions you have about idioms 🙂   Comment on this blog post and I will reply!  

 

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I don’t know where to start for a job interview

Student: I don’t know where to start for a job interview in America because the system I use is only Russian.

Teacher:  Get comfortable with the terms in English so you can easily explain what you do in English.  This is going to require a lot of reading, both about the system itself  (in this case: 1C: Enterprise 8 )  and then general IT interview questions.

Interviews require a lot of research.   You need to know exactly what they are looking for and explain how you fit their needs.  You also need to know about the company and their practices.  In the IT industry the required skill set may be the same, but how the companies operate vary from one to the next.   You need to find out how they operate and make sure that your answers fit with how they do things.