Happy Holi…Meet-up and Change of Address to C-32, Sector 2. NOIDA

T.r.i.c.k.s Learn English Center Wishes you Happy Holi. May The festival add color to you Life... Play safe ad have a great weekend!
T.r.i.c.k.s Learn English Center Wishes you Happy Holi. May The festival add color to you Life… Play safe ad have a great weekend!H

An introduction of the tip™ GAME: time it perfect!

Learning and Fun go together

In the groups of 2-5, the tip™ learning GAME has been played for 2 hours or more by 470 people as on Nov. 2014. The players or learners are in the age-group of ‘14-47’ years with most learners in the age group of 20-30 (over 300). The median age is 26; over 200 learners are engineering graduates. The learners enrolled for Conversation in English program had some understanding English but were not able to form their sentences correctly while writing or took a lot of time before speaking in broken sentences. Most of them were from Hindi-medium back-ground and not very confident speakers. They were very well primed on the game with some grammar lessons where they understood parts-of-speech and the visual tense chart by Dr. Eli Hinkel was shown as well as explained to them. The trainers also used a slightly different tense-chart on the white-board and a professionally designed poster on 9 key tenses. The focus remained composition and usage instead of mere memorization of the grammar rules (even the tense chart was not given to them). Some quantifiable outcomes have been captured in the feedback forms (L1[i]), pre/post assessments (L2[ii]):

↗      Learning and understanding of Tenses becomes easier for almost everyone (close to 100% -as per learner’s feedback).

↗      Increased motivation and engagement in over 98% cases (checked before/after the game-session that lasted 30-45 min. the extensions to continue to play the game asked by the participants)

↗      Moderate competitive element enhanced effective learning as it kept learners interested in listening before speaking in all cases (~100%).

↗      Helped the learners to understand, learn, remember and apply grammar rules 2x better than the repetitive drilling practice and 3x better than translation sheets. (perception recorded at L1 level)

The qualitative advantages that we got -in over 85% of the cases- are listed herewith, in no particular order; some have been ticked by the 5 trainers/teachers who used this game in their classes:

↗     tip™ Game leads people to do spontaneous practice right after the theoretical overview -in the same session. (Monika, trainer is MA in English)

↗      Consolidation of grammar rules through the learner’s natural desire to apply what he already knows or mix and match the rules of grammar. (Manpreet, senior V&A trainer with British Telecom)

5 People playing Tense GAME and learning to Speak in English.

5 People playing Tense GAME and learning to Speak in English.

↗      Students who enjoy the challenge of participating in interactive games: tip™ makes them smarter and more confident as they hit the winning streak. (words picked/summarized from the feedback forms of some trainers observers)

↗      Among other abilities, the game helps develop students’ social capacities (81%), memory (86%), spontaneity (92%) and creativity (88%).

↗      Many usages of a particular verb form are understood and vocabulary of verbs is better applied in real-life situations. Over-usage of present continuous (a typical Indian-ism) is prevented to a very large extent. (Many students confirm this in their feedback)

↗      When offered at the same price point, the Game was preferred over a fully equipped Language Lab with computers and head-phones best in class and interactive content (Ms Ashima Rai – the center manager of T.r.i.c.k.s)

It is obvious that the use of games in a learning environment will not only change the dynamics of the class, but it will also rejuvenate students and help the brain to learn the rest of the material more effectively. Do we have the time and willingness to change for the better?

[i]  Level 1: Feedback is taken right after the training session or after every fifteen days within the training programs

[ii] Level 2: Is the difference between pre-post training and is captured through test of understanding
[iii] Most Commonly Used Verbs have been taken from varied sources and word-lists, the regular and irregular verbs are mixed-up well like veggies in a salad bowl.

I will learn good English; Whatever it takes…

In today’s post under our ‘Connect the Dots’ Series we have CTD #3: Let’s Learn the usage of  some words ending with ” -ever” these are: Whatever, Whenever, Whoever, Wherever, Whichever.

However, I continue to emphasize that after reading this post, You should make 2-3 sentences of your own in whatever situations you feel they can come in handy for your dialogue with others. They can be used in many situations.

Usage of Whatever, Whoever, Whenever; Whenever you need it!

We have all seen ” To Whomsoever it May Concern’ written on top of our character certificates and some legally written documents that are addressed to no one in particular. What it means is: it does not matter who reads it.

By now, you know the usage of what, when, who, where and which as question framing words and also as linking words.  Here is the meaning along with 2-2 examples of Whatever, whenever, wherever, whichever, whoever:

Whatever = anything or everything; regardless of what (thing)

  • Whatever you do, don’t forget your wife’s birthday.
  • Don’t get upset whatever your mother gives you an advice.

Whenever = every time; at any time; regardless of when (time)

  • Whenever we organize a picnic it rains.
  • Please don’t interrupt me whenever I start to speak.

Wherever = everywhere; no matter where; regardless of where (Location)

  • Wherever you go you’ll always find someone who speaks good English.
  • She’ll be happy wherever she decides to live.

Whichever = the person or thing which; no matter which; regardless of which (thing or person)

  • Wear whichever clothes are the most comfortable.
  • Take whichever tie you want.

Whoever = the person who; regardless of who (person)

  • Whoever comes with you to the center is welcome.
  • Whoever took the book from the library didn’t return it.

We understood that When we want to emphasize something does not matter we use ‘-ever’ at the end of certain words. Now take this quiz on BBC Learning English. Now, You make 2-3 sentences for each one of the above using examples as above or your own sentence structure. Bring them to me if you are doubtful; Speak-up if you are confident.

Remember, Your promise to yourself “I will learn good English, whatever it takes” !

Yes, it does take some practice before you write or speak with confidence and ease… please DO post your comments and questions on this post whatever they maybe; whenever you have time; wherever from you want to; for whichever ‘phrase’ you are unclear. I don’t mind whoever reads it.

PS: Usage of ‘However’ is done while comparing or contrasting… we will learn that in the Linking words class (if not done already)

Describe this Picture

Activity: Try to Describe this Picture: You have 1 min.

“Describe The Picture” or DTP is a useful activity for an English Learner at Basic/Intermediate Level. It is asked in many interviews. This easy to understand the natural speech and thinking of a person. Doing this as practice in the class helps you compose simple sentences on what you see and what you interpret. You should generally use ‘Simple present’ and ‘Present Continuous’ tenses… In this series I will post or invite suggestions for 10 pictures of varied nature – to give my students some variety. Here is DTP #1 for the class presentation. Think for 2-3 minutes before you speak!

Picture#1 for DTP

We have ‘Mr. Nicolus Parsons’ from Just-a-minute BBC Radio.

Milestone #2: Are you Knowing how good (or bad) is you Grammar? Basically!

The caption of this post may sound ‘okay’ (or passable at the least) to a novice in English, but there surely are some basic mistakes or Indianisms as some people often call them.

So, “What are the grammar mistakes YOU make?” or ‘Do you Know how good is your BASIC Grammar?”

You know them already, they are pretty basic and the same mistakes don’t come-up when you write. Great! To know the slippages you make with your Spoken English is your Milestone #2. You could start correcting them on your own or under the guidance of a Trainer, depends on your Learning Style.

On the other hand, if you really don’t know your mistakes but are ‘often misunderstood’ by others, have to repeat your sentences when speaking to native speakers of English -you may need to be told by a fluent speaker who knows his/her English.

The open letter from grammar may  sound sexy... but its true. A good trainer will tell you how much to use. Will point out the mistakes and help you with the essential corrections
The open letter from grammar may sound sexy… but its true. A good trainer will tell you how much to use. Will point out the mistakes and help you with the essential corrections

Who would listen to your speech and pick-out the major mistakes that are connected with Grammar (or for IT people the syntax of the language). A any good trainer would almost always suggest measures to bring you back to the ‘basic rule book of spoken English’, whenever it is required. For a person, who is already speaking in English, it must start  with identification of what are the problem areas and correcting the errors that can’t go with speaking the language with confidence & Ease.

Typical composition and usage problems I get in my conversation in English classes in INDIA:

I will call them limitations or lack of exposure to ‘right usage’ as they can be learned by speakers given the right environment to practice.  The brain needs time to migrate from Hindi Grammar platform to composition and usage in Spoken English. How much time is enough depends on the intensity of your practice and knowing what’s going wrong. Read on for 7 most common grammar limitation faced by us as Indians.

  1. Inability to form a sentence’ with a ‘new’ word when the meaning is also known. You may have picked this new word from a Movie or while reading the newspaper; you noted it and went on to look for the exact meaning … but can’t compose a sentence.
  2. Not knowing usage of certain Phases that are part of everyday English for example: Is it ‘Suppose to’ or ‘Supposed to’?… click to read this interesting post with some most common mistakes when you Speak-up. 17 PHRASES YOU’RE PROBABLY SAYING WRONG.
  3. I am stuck with my Indian-isms  as CNN Travel’s post points it out, read 10 classic Indian-isms: ‘Doing the needful’ and more in CNN Travel. It also gives some pointer on ‘How to fix grammatically in sane phrases found in common Indian English’.
  4. Improper or excessive usage of ‘some’ words where they don’t fit: – we cover them as filler words to avoid. At the same time, my students learn to use linking words in our Intermediate course ‘GET SELECTED’ – this makes them fluent and reasonably correct & confident speakers to clear communication rounds in an interview.
  5. Not knowing enough structures to form your sentences: the problem statement is all my sentences sound the same and its so boring for the lsitener that he/she switchs off like
    We correct what is a absolute must and give you the solution to the problem if that is persistent.
    We correct what is a absolute must and give you the solution to the problem if that is persistent.

    An essay on ‘My Cow’ when I am actually talking about ‘My Company’. Does this Sound familiar?  Do you know how to form a question when you are making a request? Learn to make sentences in many different ways.

  6.  Improper Application of tenses: I see ‘sentences made in present continuous or progressing tense when the speaker wants to convey  a habit, routine or like/dislike or ‘I’m going’ when he/she is actually seeking a permission. This is biggest mistake people make; I also did the same as in ‘Are you knowing…’ the caption for this Post . And yes I deliberately did it! Did you notice it?
  7. Wrong usage of articles, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections- I am sorry to sound like a grammar teacher or a Nerd. I not a Grammar Nazi or a Nerd (terms quite popular in the blogger’s world) but as a communication skills trainer, I can say that the basics of these have to be quite right (if not perfect) until you want to sound like a Newbie.

As long as you can understand Comics and relate with the humor its fine with me 🙂

In the end, I would like to thank Daniel D-Mello from CNN- Travel and Ms Sarah Brooks from ‘SHE KNOWS’ for helping me with this Post. Thanks! also to Peanuts one of my favorites.


Both for English and Hindi -the grammar (or rules of the game) sound similar but there are some marked differences. (Just like Cricket and Baseball). A person who plays good cricket can sure “hit the ball with a round bat” but first he must know that ‘there are No wickets” in baseball game. I will talk about the key differences between English and Hindi Grammar as well as the similarities we can ride-on in my next post… so that you don’t get out in any of the bat & ball games.