IELTS Listening: Episode 002 – Labeling a Map

Sometimes, a map completion task asks you to identify an area on a map then choose an answer from a list. For this type of question, you need to familiarize yourself with both the list of options and the features on the map before you start.

Test tip: Before you listen, read the option several times so that you become familiar with the information you need to listen for. Don’t cross out any options unless you are sure they are wrong. If you can’t decide between two answers, write both down and decide later.

Follow me on this YouTube link at the 10:00 mark.

Here’s the photo of the map and answers.

Podcast

YouTube

Tune into my live video on my facebook page.

Stephen Covey: The 7 Low-Trust Organizational Taxes – Politics & Disengagement

In an organization, “politics” is defined as the use of tactics and strategy to gain power. Office politics divide a culture against itself by creating conflict with what author Lawrence MacGregor Serven calls the “enemy within” instead of the enemy without.

Office politics generate behaviors such as withholding information, infighting, trying to “read the tea leaves,” operating with hidden agendas, behaviors result in all kinds of wasted time, talent, energy, and money. In addition, they poison company cultures, derail strategies, and sabotage initiatives, relationships, and careers. The indirect costs related to office politics are estimated at 100 billion per year; some observers put them substantially higher.

Stephen Covey

Remember the story I had told you guys about a colleague by the name of Hubert? Yeah, met him for the first time, worked alongside him, and then I was bit by him, the venomous snake. Why would I call him a snake? Simply because he was the one who stopped taking a taxi with me to a company (lightyears away) so he can cut costs for himself. This was infuriating beyond belief, and I told my boss about his insidious agenda and to never allow him to come inside “this” language center. Of course, I was ignored, he came in and wreaked havoc for several months, creating division and gossip around the office. He finally had quit after trying to get me fired because I had podcasts that called out teachers that “fit the profile,” but this type of malice should’ve never stepped foot inside. Give a man one foot, he’ll soon push the door open and let himself in.

Disengagement

Disengagement is what happens when people continue to work at a company, but have effectively quit (commonly referred to as “quit and stay”). They put in what effort they must to get their paycheck and not get fired, but they’re not giving their talent, creativity, energy, or passion. Their bodies are there, but not their hearts or their minds. There are many reasons for disengagement, but one of the biggest reasons is that people simply don’t feel trusted.

Following the end of my teaching career at a particular place that I had been working at for 3.5 years, I lost my energy, passion, and everything for the job. I would say things to my students that would get me in trouble in the long term. I would shrug my shoulders and not do the mundane tasks. It’s almost as if I put a bullseye on my back everyday and wanted them to take me out, and they did. I had been disengaged from teaching at that place for months (since the dawn of the New Years) and I shouldn’t have stayed past 2016 (always leave when you’re at the peak — which sounds crazy). However, I did….and when one of our best salespeople left, along with a forcible firing of a great head teacher, cancer began spreading rapidly throughout the office and forced the best teachers out….to the most amazing journeys of life.

Podcast

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 61 – Smart Reading

Why is it important to read actively? Well, when you’re reading an academic text, you’re trying to hurry to find the answer, points, ideas, assumptions, etc. If you’re reading a novel, you would want to close read rather than read actively. When I read personal development books, I read for the overall gist and definition rather than the mini-stories. So, here are some things about reading actively that you can check.

Read Interactively

1. Do I question what I’m reading?

2. Do I look for answers to my questions?

3. Do I make notes of the important points, and ideas triggers by what I read?

4. Do I challenge the assumptions of the writer, the logic of the arguments, and the validity of the conclusions?

5. Do I map out ideas so that I can see how everything fits together?

Now, let’s go through this text and point out the key figures.

How is it, that if you drop a cigarette in a wet forest it starts a fire by accident, but when you’re camping and trying to set a fire on purpose, with dry wood and plenty of matches, you can’t do it?

Personal fire-making skills aside, the causes of wildfires — defined as a large, rapidly spreading fires especially in rural areas — are worth understanding. If we know what causes fires, we can work to prepare for them, and hopefully, prevent them.

Wildfires are both destructive and costly — and they’re getting worse. Over the past few years, the number of wildfires has increased around the world, especially in countries with large forests such as Russia and Canada. One country, in particular that is facing wildfire problems is the USA. In fact, every state in the western United States has seen an increase in the number of wildfires. They occur up to five times more often than 10-20 years ago. The fires burn for longer, too, and last nearly five times as long, and cover six times as much land. In 2015, more than ten million acres of land burned — an area about the size of the entire country of Switzerland. The amount of money spent to put out these fires is climbing to two billion dollars a year.

What’s causing this? Fires have to be started by a trigger — that is, something that begins a fire. This can be by humans, either on purpose or by accident, or something natural, such as by lightning. But events like these have always happened. Why are they leading to more fires now?

The main answer is global warming (debatable, in my opinion), a gradual heating of the planet. This affects forests in several ways. First of all, a warmer climate means a drier climate because more water evaporates. Snow in mountain areas melts earlier, so the ground is drier for a longer period of time. Together, these factors increase the risk of a chance spark growing into a wildfire. Furthermore, when fires start, because the ground is drier, they burn hotter, spread faster, and last longer. and they’re more difficult to contain or extinguish. Wildfires in large forests can burn for several months.

Climate change affects fires in other ways, too. When the balance of nature in a forest changes, trees become weak or sick. Insects and other animals damage the weakened trees, which can die, and dead trees become a fuel source for fires. Lightning strikes the earth more than 100,000 times a day, and 10-20% of these events are capable of starting a fire. It’s clear that steps need to be taken to reduce this risk.

However, about 90% of all wildfires are started by humans. In theory, it should be easier to reduce this number than the number of lightning strikes. Let’s take a closer look at some of the causes.

The fifth most common cause of wildfires started by humans is backyard burning — fires that people set to burn garden waste of trash. These fires may be set following local laws, but then grow too large, are spread by wind, or are not put out correctly. Local laws need to be clarified and properly enforced to reduce risky behavior.

The fourth most common cause is sparks from equipment such as cars, trucks, or famy machinery. Proper maintenance is essential to stop machines from starting a fire.

Cigarettes are the third leading cause of wildfires. Education campaigns that teach fire safety are a good way to address this problem.

Second is unsupervised activities, such as children playing with matches or people setting off fireworks. Education is important but not sufficient in the case of young children. they need to be supervised at all times by parents or other adults and kept away from fuel and things that start fires.

And first? The main cause of human-caused wildfires is campfires that are either not in a safe area, get out of control, or aren’t put out properly. Campers and outdoor enthusiasts need to learn where and when it is safe to build a campfire and how to make sure the fire is completely out before they leave the area.

Is it true that some fires in wilderness areas can have beneficial effects too, such as helping new trees and plants to grow. However, because recent wildfires burn hotter and longer, these effects don’t always occur. Instead, we lose land, animal and plant life, and a lot of money. As the earth grows warmer, we need to work harder to protect forests from wildfires.

Podcast

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 59 – Pronunciation – Correcting Information

We’re back with some more pronunciation and today we’re going over the correction of information. I’m going to use the word “actually, “which is a softener. It’s useful when you are correcting a previous statement. If you introduce your response with actually, you will sound more polite.

Here are some sentences you can complete with friends.

  1. Mark Twain wrote the book The Lord of the Rings.
  2. Mt. Fuji is in Thailand.
  3. Australia is the biggest country in the world.
  4. The mini-mart is over there.
  5. Kyoto is the capital of Japan.
  6. Lunch is at twelve thirty.

Podcast

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 58 – Developing Writing + Vocabulary – A For & Against Essay

We’re back into ESSAY writing! However, make sure you’re tuning into my Patreon so you can see me break down an essay. In this podcast, I will go over the writing bank and vocabulary.

On my patreon you will see an essay and me breaking down the paragraph, so make sure you’re tuned in over there!

Writing Banks

Useful expression in for-and-against essays

  1. First and foremost
  2. secondly
  3. lastly
  • moreover
  • furthermore,
  • what is more
  • in addition
  • not only…..but also
  • a further advantage of
  1. On the one hand
  2. on the other hand
  3. in contrast
  4. in spite of (+ noun/)
  5. Despite the fact
  • However/nevertheless
  • Conversely
  • by the contrast
  1. Therefore
  2. and so
  3. as a result
  4. as a consequence
  5. consequently
  • In my opinion
  • personally, I believe that
  • My own view is that
  • As far as I’m concerned
  • it is said that
  1. In conclusion
  2. Last but not east
  3. All in all
  4. To summarize

Vocabulary – Causes, reasons, and results

Choose the correct alternative.

  1. The news has given rise/risen to a fierce debate.
  2. People are afraid of some scientific research since/as they don’t know what effects it might have.
  3. There is always a risk of accidental infection which could on its way/in turn, lead to a general pandemic.
  4. We still cannot know the full repercussions/all the negative consequences of artificially creating viruses.
  5. The second/side effects of some vaccines are still unknown.
  6. We must be careful because playing with nature could have disastrous/catastrophic results.
  7. The research could bring about/lead to changes in the way governments prepare.
  8. The news about the experiment sparked off/stemmed from a lot of criticism.
  9. I believe the research will prompt the government change/to change the law.
  10. Some experiments are risky due to/owing to the lack of proper precautions.

How to Effect Organizational Change — Checklist

What symbols exist in your organization? What do they communicate over to everyone else? Do they create trust? What are the results?

  • Does my organization have Integrity? Do we know what we stand for? Do our structures and systems reflect a basic paradigm of respect and trust? Do we have a culture of honesty? Of humility? Do we listen to one another’s ideas? Can we make and admit mistakes? Do we have the courage to engage the tough issues? Do our systems and structure encourage ethical behavior?
  • Does my organization have good intent? Do we have culture of caring — for one another? For our work? Customers? Do we genuinely want everyone to win? Are the systems set up to reward competition or cooperation? Does the system encourage people to share ideas and information freely — or does it encourage people to withhold?
  • What are the capabilities of my organization? Do we have means to deliver value? Do we attract and retain the Talents, Attitudes, Skills, Knowledge and Style (TASKS) we need to compete in today’s market? Do we have the right people in the right seats on the bus? Are we continuously improving and innovating? Do we reinvent ourselves, if needed?
  • Does my organization get results? Do we deliver what we promise? Do we deliver results that inspires trust? Do we have a track record that promotes confidence.

Podcast

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: IELTS Listening Skills – Following a Conversation

Woohoo! This is the first of its kind! I’m super excited to debut this, and I’m even more excited that this will be in YouTube, podcast, and Facebook live form. Now, you guys will get this on Facebook live before anything else. The podcast will debut Friday and the YouTube video will debut shortly after the Facebook live. So, today we’re going over the basics!

Cooking ClassFocusOther information
The Food Studiohow to (1) ________
and cook with
seasonal products
– small clases
– also offers (2)_________
classes
– clients who return get
a (3)_______ discount
Bond’s Cookery Schoolfood that is
(4)___________
– includes recipes to
strengthen your
(5)_______.
– they have a free
(6)______
every Thursday.
The (7) _________ Centremainly
(8)_________ food
– located near the
(9)_________.
– a special course in
skills with a (10)
________ is
sometimes available.

Podcast

YouTube

Wheel of Life: May 2019 Edition – Weathering the STORM

Perhaps the storm of the century? After being stopped, for whatever reason it may have been (of course — it’s Thailand) at immigration, it threw my life into a whirlwind. I was scrambling to set up what should’ve been done last year. If it had fallen through, my time in Thailand would’ve been up. With determination and the willingness to get things done, I’m on the verge of finally solidifying myself on a visa needed to stay in the country and now I’m onto the next juncture in my life.

Nonetheless, this was the most emotionally exhausting few weeks since living here in Thailand (and certainly since 2014-2015). Take some steps back, reassess the situation, and execute if possible.

For those of you tuning in for the first time, the wheel of life cycle is a way of assessing my life over the last month in eight categories: personal development, physical environment, health, wealth, career, fun and hobbies, family and friends, and romantic relationships.

Wealth – 3

I’m going to cover just the ones that might be of importance for a lot of you. Some of you might be going through the same problems as me, yet you don’t know the solutions for getting over it. So, thi sone is especially for you all.

When everything began falling apart about a week ago, I had to take a step back and ask myself, “how can I make more money?” Robert Kiyosaki says if you say a statement, there’s nothing else you can do. It’s like quicksand that turn into cement.

Following that was a series of different occurrences. A lady, who I hadn’t spoken to in almost a year, called me out-of-the-blue. A few days later, I met with her an she offered me permanent, part-time work that enables me to get a decent, fall-back salary every month in case I don’t get work from my main job.

Ahhh, yes, the main job! On the verge of getting a visa and every salary this year has been head-scratching, to abhorrent. I cannot wait around and believe that people are going to fill my pockets. I had to go out and take, and that’s exactly what I did.

Family & Friends – 3

So, friends are gone. Yes, I met a friend while out there in Singapore, but after I came back, it’s been downhill. I must say that it’s quite funny when people try getting in touch with me again after x amount of weeks. A girl, who I had blocked because she was basically idolizing white men, sent me a message to my Facebook group. My content writer showed me the photo and I laughed. “Why come back now?” Unless it’s pure desperation, I won’t even think about messaging her back because there’s nothing to that friendship. It’s dead, history, archived.

Then, there was the weird situation where I met a samaritan from America at the base of my condo. After a few days, there was a message sent by him that was very…..peculiar. It was odd beyond belief. I didn’t quite understand it….to the point that I blocked him. That was so odd to the point that I was like, “whoa, how am I supposed to respond to a weird rant like that?”

Guys, dump those losers. Honestly, if they’re not feeding your roots or watering your plant, they’re looking for takeaway. When they get it, they’re going to leave anyway, so you might as well drop them from the beginning.

All in All

Let’s just say hypothetically speaking that everything goes the way it should. Now, living here in Thailand, nothing is perfect….but if all goes well today, and then all goes well next Thursday; 99% of my nervousness, anxiousness, and degree of worry will be expunged and done away with. When this happens, I’ll be able to refocus and reaffirm what’s really important in life.

Podcast

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 57 – Developing Speaking/Writing – Talking About Statistics (IELTS)

Yes! Talking about statistics! This one is going to be great for writing, too. The speaking bank, which will be provided down below, will help you in terms of your IELTS Writing. I will also put this on FB live and upload the podcast form on Tuesday. Excited about providing you guys with more content, and remember, I’m not creating an IELTS badge that will be much cheaper than 1 on 1 coaching. That will be available soon!

  1. Bar chart
  2. Pie chart
  3. Table
  4. Line graph
  5. Map
  6. Process

Speaking Bank

Useful words and expressions to talk about statistics

Numbers and proportions

– a half/third/quarter/fifth/sixth, etc
– one in two/three/five/ten, etc.
– 5/10/15 percent
– the majority/minority
– just under/over
– approximately/roughly
– twice/three/four/five times as many/big as
– slightly/considerably more/fewer
– a large/small/considerable number/proportion of (+ countable noun)
– a large/small/considerable amount/quantity of (+ uncountable noun)
– the (second/third/fourth) largest/biggest/highest
– in comparison with

Trends

rise/increase/grow/double/treble/rocket
fall/decrease/drop/decline/half/plunge/plummet
stay the same/change/level off/stabilize
fluctuate
reach a high/low
slow(ly)/gradual(ly)/slight(ly), stead(steadily)
(adj/adv
significant/sharp/dramatic — significantly/sharply/dramatically

Practice Makes Perfect

Write down some sentences using the expressions above about the photos down below.

Podcast

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: International Guest Speaker – Adil of Tanzania

Man, this man Adil is FASCINATING! I brought him on my Motivational Mentors podcast and saw that he was just a hustler like no other. Copywriting freak that has an astounding reputation. I then messaged him about details on finding people to come on my international guest speaking podcast, and he told me he was from Tanzania. In awe, I brought him on, and here’s a fascinating conversation with an amazing soul.

Get in touch with Adil from Tanzania, a linguist, an international speaker.

Links:

Things we discussed:

  • Introduction
  • The mix of cultures: Indian, Arabic and Tanzanian.
  • How to influence people based on languages.
  • The power of language and what it does to your mind.
  • Acclimating to languages in different regions.
  • The official language of Swahili and other languages he speaks.
  • How did he adapt to the UK when he moved there?
  • Did the guest suffer from any racism and ostracisation in his new environment?
  • How to overcome bullying.
  • Popular culture and fitting in.
  • How does he continue to learn the languages and just be fresh.
  • How do you learn a language?
  • Diversity in the cultures.

Podcast

Thank you for listening!

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