4 episodes

Improve your English vocabulary and listening skills through real-life stories from English teacher Joddle's life. For private Skype English lessons and transcripts www.joddle.co.uk

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    • Language Learning

Improve your English vocabulary and listening skills through real-life stories from English teacher Joddle's life. For private Skype English lessons and transcripts www.joddle.co.uk

    Practical Ways to Boost your Confidence Speaking English

    Practical Ways to Boost your Confidence Speaking English

    There are no listening questions today but you can view and print the full transcript here.
    Speaking a second language is not easy. No matter what your level of English is - whether you are a beginner or you have been speaking English for many years - you may have confidence problems when speaking English. That's because speaking a different language is difficult. You may also worry about saying the wrong thing and appearing stupid.

    For many people, their problem is not being able to express themselves with the same personality they have in their native language. For example, if you are somebody who likes to tell jokes in your language, you might not be able to think so quickly in English to say something funny. Many jokers, people who like to tell jokes, feel as if they have lost their personality when they speak English. They can't really tell good jokes in the English  language. They can only make physical, obvious jokes.

    Or, perhaps you're like me. You communicate in a very precise way. You think carefully about what you say. You choose your words carefully. I would say that compared to most people, I think about my language and my choice of words a lot. If you're anything like me, you're a perfectionist with your language. When you speak a different language you want to say everything perfectly, just like in your native language. Of course, this isn't possible. And it really is a problem. It's a problem because it can lead to confidence problems when you are speaking English.

    In my job as an English language coach on Skype, I help people become more confident when they speak English. Did you know that what you say isn't as important as how you say it? You may be surprised to know that in business or a job interview situation, the appearance of confidence is more important than the actual words you use while speaking. That's because communication isn't just about the words you say. Successful communication is about more than your speech, it's about your posture, the way you stand or sit, and also about the sound of your voice.

    If you lack confidence speaking English, other people will notice your lack of confidence. It shows in different ways. Some people try to avoid speaking English, especially around native speakers. For people who work in an English-speaking Environment, however, speaking English just cannot be avoided. A confidence problem speaking English in this situation is a big problem. I'm going to talk about some of the ways this confidence problem shows in your speech. And then, I'm going to explain some activities you can practise at home by yourself to increase your confidence.In today's show I talk about practical ways you can improve your confidence speaking English.

    See here for full transcript


    The Secret of Getting Good Grades at School

    The Secret of Getting Good Grades at School

    In today's show I talk about the secret to getting good grades at school. I give you some advice to make your years at school happier and more successful. Read the full transcript, questions, and answers here.


    Most people think that to be successful at school, to get the best grades, you have to be smart. The truth is that being clever is just a very small part of what makes somebody successful at school. In fact, do you realise that some people are just too clever to be successful at school? Let me explain what I mean. If you are somebody who struggles at school because your teachers don't like you, I have some advice for you.

    Being at school is difficult for many people because all day long you are controlled and told what to do. In English schools you are told what to wear - you have to wear a uniform. In a lot of schools you are not allowed to speak unless you raise your hand first. You put your hand up. You can only speak if your teacher allows you to speak. Every moment of the school day you are controlled. For people with a lot of energy - people who like to move around and do different things all the time - school is very difficult. School is also difficult for people who are naturally independent. Independent people are happiest when they are able to make their own decisions.

    Read more here


    • 8 min
    How to Get a First Class Degree

    How to Get a First Class Degree

    English listening practice about how to get a First Class degree from a UK university. For vocabulary, questions, and vocabulary notes see the PDF transcript.

    -------------------See the transcript for today's true or false statements about the talk

    • 11 min
    Change your thoughts, not your face

    Change your thoughts, not your face

    Today's English listening practice is about plastic surgery. I tell you about the plastic surgery culture of Dubai. For vocabulary, expressions, and idioms see the transcript and vocabulary list.

    Q1) What is unusual about the plastic surgery clinics in Dubai?
    Q2) What problem do I have wearing contact lenses in Dubai?
    Q3) In what way is my tooth similar to other people in my family?
    Q4) What important realisation did I have?

    (Answers are at the bottom of the page)

    Do you ever look in the mirror and dislike what you see? I can be very self-critical at times. I look in the mirror and  on some days I will search to find something to dislike about myself. I get really close to the mirror and I scrutinise my face, I look at it very closely until I find something I don't like in my reflection, in my face.

    Of course I know this is utter nonsense - this is a very stupid thing to do. It serves no purpose at all. The only thing it does is make me feel bad about the way I look. Sometimes I pick a spot on my face, I squeeze whatever pimples I can find, and then I will feel and look much worse. This is self-destructive behaviour. It's not a clever thing to do but it seems to me that most people are self-destructive sometimes. They might smoke, they might eat junk food, they might be too lazy to study... there are many ways a person can be self-destructive.

    When I moved to Dubai I immediately noticed that there are a lot of plastic surgery clinics here. It is easy to change the way you look - just visit one of the clinics.  The plastic surgery clinics are in houses. They don't look like hospitals, just regular houses. I wonder, does this make having surgery seem even more normal to people? Does it suggest that having plastic surgery is nothing serious... Does it suggest that to to go under the knife, to have surgery on your face or body, is no big deal? You don't even need to go to a proper hospital!

    Don't like the way you look? Get a trout pout - make your lips bigger. A trout is a river fish with a really big mouth.

    You don't feel sexy? Have a boob job - make your breasts bigger. Boobs is a slang word for breasts.

    Looking old and wrinkly? Get rid of your wrinkles, the lines on your face with some botox injections.

    The plastic surgery culture here must be catching. We say something is catching when it is infectious like a disease. I must have caught the plastic surgery bug, the plastic surgery infection.

    My first idea was to have laser eye surgery. I told myself it was necessary because wearing contact lenses is a hassle, it's annoying, here. My contact lenses get very dirty from the sand in the air. They are not as comfortable to wear as they were in London. Also, the sunlight is very bright here. It is much better to be able to wear sunglasses, to protect my eyes from the sun. Laser eye surgery is essential, if you live here, it really is.

    My second idea was to get laser surgery on my skin. I have so many horrible spots on my face. I also have ugly large pores on my skin. Skin pores are very small holes on the surface of the skin, everybody has them but mine are much bigger and uglier. If I were to laser my face, I wouldn't have these horrid holes anymore. And obviously, my life would be better.

    And then I decided to look into getting braces for my teeth. I was going to see how much it would cost to straighten my teeth. I’d already had braces when I was fourteen years old. They were painful, food got stuck in my teeth, and I constantly had mouth ulcers - mouth ulcers are cuts inside your mouth. After the train tracks - that's a slang word for braces - were removed I had perfect teeth for a couple of years. I was often complimented. People told me I had amazing teeth. That was nice food for my ego.

    Then, slowly, imperceptibly - so slowly that the change was not noticed, my teeth returned to exactly the

    • 11 min

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