Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Season 5 Episode 150 | Listening | Understanding Non-standard Accents

English is spoken by millions of people worldwide, sometimes as a first language and often as a learned second or third language. As users of English in today’s world, we need to be prepared to deal with different accents and interact with different varieties of English.

Gain exposure to different accents through listening to and watching programs from media channels around the world. As well as exposing you to different accents, this will also provide you with different perspectives on the world.

When listening to different accents, practice identifying the key features of the accent. If you are going to a context where one accent is dominant, spend time familiarizing yourself with the accent before you arrive. Remember, varieties of English can also differ in the specific vocabulary used. Research differences and ask for clarification.

Task 1 in Podcast – Decide if the sentences down below are true or false.

  1. Chris argues that though a system works now, it might not in the future. T/F
  2. Hailey agrees that clients are no longer interested in face-to-face meetings. T/F
  3. Chris suggests that recording meetings may be a negative action. T/F
  4. Rashid mentions a colleague who would have worked effectively in this situation. T/F
  5. Chandini explains the strength of her views on this issue. T/F
  6. Rashid is concerned about competitors accessing confidential information. T/F
  7. Chris explains that an outside company will be totally responsible for all levels of security. T/F
  8. Hailey suggests that even top-level organizations face issues with security. T/F
  9. Chandini knows about working on tablets from her domestic situations. T/F
  10. Rashid agrees Chris’s final point is a good idea. T/F

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Season 5 Episode 149 | Study Skills | Checking your Reading Speed

Welcome back to another podcast and today we’re going to talk about reading speed. Now, I do think this is completely irrelevant because if you don’t pick up what you’re actually reading, the speed doesn’t matter. However, smart reading is more like it. So let’s go over some techniques that can help you.

  • Find something familiar to read.
  • Set the alarm for ten minutes.
  • Read for ten minutes at a speed that allows you to understand what you ready.
  • Count how many words you read.
  • Divide this number by ten, to find out how many words you read in one minute.
  • Do this using different texts. If you read fewer than 200-250 words per minute, even with material that is clear and interesting, it is worth trying to increase your speed.

Tips for improving your reading speed.

  • Keep your eyes moving forward to avoid re-reading parts of the text
  • Avoid moving your mouth or using your fingers to follow the lines.
  • Read with a clear purpose to keep you motivated and on track.
  • Practice reading academic material more often.
  • Actively improve your reading speed through practice.
  • Change your reading speed according to what you are reading. Slow down for sections with unknown technical words and speed up for sections with more familiar language.

Podcast

Study Skills – Reading Speed

STEPHEN COVEY’S 8TH HABIT | SEASON 6 – EPISODE 2 | The Pain

We’re here with the first episode! Well, technically the second, but let’s talk about PAIN. Let’s be honest! TELL ME YOUR PAIN! You don’t? Let me give you a list of what you might feel.

“I’m stuck, in a rut.”
“I have no life. I’m burned out—exhausted.”
“No one really values or appreciates me. My boss doesn’t have a clue of all I’m capable of.”
“I don’t feel especially needed—not at work, not by my teenage and grown children, not by my neighbors and community, not by my spouse—except to pay the bills.”
“I’m frustrated and discouraged.”
“I’m just not making enough to make ends meet. I never seem to get ahead.”
“Maybe I just don’t have what it takes.”
“I’m not making a difference.”
“I feel empty inside. My life lacks meaning; something’s missing.”
“I’m angry. I’m scared. I can’t afford to lose my job.”
“I’m lonely.”
“I’m stressed out; everything’s urgent.”
“I’m micromanaged and suffocating.”
“I’m sick of all the backstabbing politics and kissing up.”
“I’m bored—just putting in my time. Most of my satisfactions come off the job.”
“I’m beat up to get the numbers. The pressure to produce is unbelievable. I simply don’t have the time or resources to do it all.”
“With a spouse who doesn’t understand and kids who don’t listen or obey, home is no better than work.”
“I can’t change things.”

Excerpt From: Stephen R. Covey. “The 8th Habit.”

Come on, do you fit the description? Be honest with yourself. I mean, how many times have I felt this? Loneliness? Australia and Chanthaburi circa 2011-2013. Stressed out? The dawn of COVID. Micromanaged? 2016 and quit that part time job. I’m frustrated and discouraged? NOW!

“THESE ARE THE VOICES of people at work and at home—voices of literally millions of parents, laborers, service providers, managers, professionals and executives all over the world who are fighting to make it in the new reality. The pain is personal, and it’s deep. You may relate with many of the statements yourself. ” – Stephen Covey

IELTS | Reading | Cambridge 14 | T4 – P1 – The Secret of Staying Young

Welcome back to a breakdown of reading passage 1 on the Cambridge IELTS test 4! This is a first of its kind, and what I’ll be doing is breaking down T/F/NG and fill in the blank. The most difficult part about IELTS reading is finding where the key words are (far more difficult than TOEFL)….so watch how I do this.

Pheidole dentata, a native ant of the south-eastern U.S., isn’t immortal. But scientists have found that it doesn’t seem to show any signs of aging. Old worker ants can do everything just as well as the youngsters, and their brains appear just as sharp. ‘We get a picture that these ants really don’t decline,’ says Ysabel Giraldo, who studied the ants for her doctoral thesis at Boston University.

Such age-defying feats are rare in the animal kingdom. Naked mole rats can live for almost 30 years and stay fit for nearly their entire lives. They can still reproduce even when old, and they never get cancer. But the vast majority of animals deteriorate with age just like people do. Like the naked mole rat, ants are social creatures that usually live in highly organized colonies. ‘It’s this social complexity that makes P. dentata useful for studying aging in people,’ says Giraldo, now at the California Institute of Technology. Humans are also highly social, a train that has been connected to healthier aging. By contrast, most animal studies of aging use mice, worms or fruit flies, which all lead much more isolated lives.

In the lab, P. dentata worker ants typically live for around 140 days. Giraldo focused on ants at four age ranges: 20 to 22 days, 45 to 47 days, 95 to 97 days and 120 to 122 days. Unlike all previous studies, which only estimated how old the ants were, her work tracked the ants from the time the pupae became adults, so she knew their exact ages. Then she put them through a range of tests.

Giraldo watched how well the ants took care of the young of the colony, recording how often each ant attended to, carried and fed them. She compared how well 20-day-old and 95-day-old ants followed the telltale scent that the insects usually leave to mark a trail to food. She tested how ants responded to light and also measured how active they were by counting how often ants in a small dish walked across a line. And she experimented with how ants react to live prey: a tethered fruit fly. Giraldo expected the older ants to perform poorly in all these tasks. But the elderly insects were all good caretakers and trail-followers — the 95-day-old ants could track the scent even longer than their younger counterparts. They all responded to light well, and the older ants were more active. And when it came to reacting to prey, the older ants attacked the poor fruit fly just as aggressively as the young ones did, flaring their mandibles or pulling at the fly’s legs.

Then Giraldo compared the brains of 20-day-old and 95-day old ants, identifying any cells that were close to death. She saw no major differences with age, nor was there any difference in the location of the dying cells, showing that age didn’t seem to affect specific brain functions. Ants and other insects have structures in their brains called mushroom bodies, which are important for processing information, learning and memory. She also wanted to see if aging affects the density of synaptic complexes within these structures — regions where neurons come together. Again, the answer was no. What was more, the old ants didn’t experience any drop in the levels of either serotonin or dopamine — brain chemicals whose decline often coincides with aging. In humans, for example, a decrease in serotonin has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

‘This is the first time anyone has looked at both behavioral and neural changes in these ants so thoroughly,’ says Giraldo, who recently published the findings in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Scientists have looked at some similar aspects in bees, but the results of recent bee studies were mixed — some studies showed age-related declines, which biologists call senescence, and others didn’t. ‘For now, the study raises more questions than it answers,’ Giraldo says, ‘including how P. dentat stays in such good shape.’

Also, if the ants don’t deteriorate with age, why do they die at all? Out in the wild, the ants probably don’t live for a full 140 days thanks to predators, disease and just being in an environment that’s much harsher than the comforts of the lab. ‘The lucky ants that do live into old age may suffer a steep decline just before dying,’ Giraldo says, but she can’t say for sure because her study wasn’t designed to follow an ant’s final moments.

‘It will be important to extend these findings to other species of social insects,’ says Gene E. Robinson, an entomologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This ant might be unique, or it might represent a broader pattern among other social bugs with possible clues to the science of aging in larger animals. Either way, it seems that for these ants, age really doesn’t matter.

Cambridge IELTS 14 Test 4 Passage 1

Choose one word only from the passage for each answer.

Focus on a total of 1 ___________ different age groups of ants, analysing

Behaviour:

– how well ants looked after their 2 ______________

– their ability to locate 3 ____________ using a scent trail

– the effect that 4 _____________ had on them

– how 5 ______________ they attacked prey

Brains:

– comparison between age and the 6 _____________ of dying cells in the brains of ants

– condition of synaptic complexes (areas in which 7 _____________ meet) in the brain’s ‘mushroom bodies’

– level of two 8 ______________ in the brain associated with ageing

Questions 1-8

Second phase

  • True: if the statement agrees with the information
  • False: if the statement contradicts the information
  • NG: If there is no information on this

9. Pheidole dentata ants are the only known animals which remain active for their whole lives.

10. Ysabel Giraldo was the first person to study Pheidole dentata ants using precise data about the insects’ ages.

11. The ants in Giraldo’s experiments behaved as she had predicted that they would.

12. The recent studies of bees used different methods of measuring age-related decline.

13. Pheidole dentata ants kept in laboratory conditions tend to live longer lives.

Tips & Tricks

  • If the question asks you to write two words and/or a number, this means the answer may be: one word, one word + a number, two words, two words + a number

Remember that even if a number is written as a word, it counts as a number (e.g., twenty five trees = one word and a number). You do not need to write full sentences or join words together.

Podcast

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Season 5 Episode 148 | Reading | Adapt or Die

We’re back with another reading today! Adapting or dying. This comes at a time where industrial-aged workers are at a loss of what to do next, due to the pandemic. We have to scale back and see what’s working and what’s not working. If you listen to my personal development podcast, this will coincide with it, as well as the interview I did this last March with a real-estate / teacher from San Diego (coming tomorrow). So, make sure you listen to the podcast and answer some of these question down below!

Six sentences have been removed from the article. In the listening, you will hear a “beep,” and this is where you’re going to place the sentences down below. Listen closely because I will only write four paragraphs down below, forcing you to listen to the podcast for the additional four sentences. 😉

a. Its main rival on the other hand, decided to take an alternative approach

b. The brand’s outlook was further darkened by the credit crunch.

c. However, in retrospect, this was too little, too late.

d. This challenging situation was not taken lightly by senior management.

e. In fact, this was likely a convenient tale used to explain the business model.

f. Yet despite this success, the company has had its fair share of failure.

g. It had also successful expanded into several international markets.

International Guest Speaker | Paz of Chile | Her English Language Learning Journey & NGO

Such an amazing conversation I had with Paz.  At the dawn of her teenage years, she began watching American hit TV shows like Friends and others, creating not just an intrinsic motivation to learn English, but loved it. She echoed the accents in TV shows and just had such a great enthusiasm to learn. However, when it comes to public schools and private schools, there are a number of things that need to be dealt with, and that’s why she’s further developing and pursuing a life-passion NGO that will aim to make education not only affordable but also for everyone.  Here’s the podcast!

Her link

Podcast

TOEFL iTP | Grammar | Structure & Written Expression | Parallel Structure Sentence Break Downs

We’re back with the sentence break downs of parallel structures! This is the follow up from ______________.

  1. Frozen orange juice must be packed, _______________, and stored when the fruit is ripe.
  • be frozen
  • must be frozen
  • frozen
  • it must be frozen

2. Sioux is a North American Indian language that is spoken not only ______________ Sioux but also by the Crow and Osage tribes.

  • by the
  • the
  • do the
  • and the

3. In 1900 electrically powered cars were more popular than gasoline powered cars because they were quiet, operated smoothly, and ________________.

  • handled easily
  • easy of handling
  • handling easily
  • easy to handle

4. Roger Williams was a clergyman, _______________ the colony of Rhode Island, and an outspoken advocate of religious and political freedom.

  • founded
  • the founder of
  • was the founder of
  • he founded

5. Paint can be applied to a surface with rollers, _____________, or spray guns.

  • brushes
  • brushes can be used
  • with brushes
  • by brush

6. The use of labor-saving devices in homes, _____________, and factories added to the amount of leisure time people had.

  • at an office
  • used in offices
  • offices
  • in offices

7. A dulcimer can be played by either striking its string with a hammer or ______________.

  • to pluck them with the fingers
  • fingers are used to pluck them
  • they are plucked with the fingers
  • plucking them with the fingers

8. Throughout history, trade routes have increased contact between people, _______________, and greatly affected the growth of civilization.

  • have resulted in an exchange of ideas
  • an exchange of ideas has resulted
  • resulted in an exchange of ideas
  • resulting in an exchange of ideas

9. Walt Disney made many technical advances in the use of sound, color, and ______________ in animated films.

  • photographing
  • using photography
  • photography
  • use of photographs

10. Artist Paul Kane traveled throughout Northwest Canada on foot, by canoe, and _______________ to sketch Native Canadians going about their ordinary lives.

  • on horseback
  • riding a horse
  • horseback
  • by a horse

11. Barbara Jordan was the first woman in the South to win an election to the House of Representatives, _________ as Congresswoman from Texas from 1973 to 1979.

  • to serve
  • served
  • serving
  • has served

12. Photographers’ choice of a camera depends on what kind of pictures they want to take, how much control they want over exposure, and ___________ they want to spend.

  • the amount of money
  • what money
  • how much money
  • so much money that

13. Atlanta is the commercial, financial, and ______________ of Georgia.

  • center of administration
  • administrative center
  • center for administering
  • administering center

14. Even after the Revolutionary War, American importers obtained merchandise from Britain because British merchants understood American tastes, offered attractive prices, and _____________.

  • easy credit was provided
  • because of easy credit
  • easy credit
  • provided easy credit.

TOEFL Podcast

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Season 5 Episode 147 | Developing Vocabulary | Expressions & Phrases with Self

Here’s another developing vocabulary! Long, beautiful rant — given by me! Here are the words and the podcast in terms of what I’ll be discussing today.

  • self-doubt
  • self-expression
  • self-indulgence
  • self-serving
  • self-preservation
  • self-deprecating
  1. being excessively modest, or undervaluing oneself
  2. how one shows their feelings, thoughts or ideas, especially through music, art and writing
  3. the instinctive protection of oneself from harm, danger
  4. a lack of confidence in oneself and abilities
  5. having concern only for one’s own interests
  6. behavior in which a person does exactly what they want, often for the purpose of pleasure or through laziness

Complete the sentences with the phrases above

  1. feeling tired and stressed? Come to Happy Spa for a weekend of ___________ and relaxation.
  2. In some extreme cases, when comments have become very vicious, people have deleted their social media accounts as a means of __________.
  3. Many teenagers go through periods of ________________, and wonder who they are and how they fit in.
  4. I prefer people who make ______________ comments to people who take themselves too seriously.
  5. John says his haircut is a form of ________________, and no one should criticize her for it.
  6. Everything that Liam does is completely ________________– he just manipulates people to get what he wants.

Speaking

  • If friends make self-deprecating comments, how do you respond? Is it a good thing to frequently make these kinds of comments?
  • What forms of self-expression can you think of? How do you express yourself?
  • To what extent do you think people are self-serving?

Podcast

IELTS | Listening | Cambridge 15 | Test 1 – Bankside Recruitment Agency

Welcome to a comprehensive Part 1 breakdown of the IELTS test! Cambridge 15 has made its debut, and I found a perfect website that has all the tests available. So, before we get into the test, we need to establish some things.

But even BEFORE THAT, make sure you tune into the podcast to get my breakdown, answers, techniques, etc.

Technique 1 – Predicting Notes

Here are some examples of the different type of information you’re going to need to fill in part one. Try to quickly identify the situation from the notes and from the introduction on the recording. You should then spend the time before the dialogue starts thinking about the situation and predicting the type of language you might here.

  • a price
  • a measurement
  • a reference number
  • a number
  • a month
  • a name
  • a color
  • a time
  • a place
  • a telephone number

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Season 5 Episode 146 | Reading | Charity Matters

We’re back with a HUGE listening in terms of charity. Most of you already know how I feel about these “charities” that actually profit from the poor (pencils of promise), but it’s time to dive into it even deeper. So, we have two parts: the listening, which you’ll have the A-G paragraphs to it down below. So, listen to the podcast player for the full audio, and when you hear the beep, know that one of the paragraphs down below (or on the blog) must be matched to it (1-6).

A) It is true that real-time updates and live feeds allow you to view people’s tragic situations in far-flung countries as never before. And the images, taken not just by photo journalists but by anyone with a recording device, have become far more intimate.

B) The situation turns out not to be as straightforward as it seems. In order to do so, your own needs must come second to the needs of others. According to psychologists, this is easier said than done.

C) Certainly it can help people to feel part of a global caring community. However, this is illusory in terms of creating impactful change, and it may also lead them to overlook the most practical thing in a critical situation.

D) Scientists and psychologists have been debating the nature and evolutionary origins of altruistic behavior ever since. It has also been suggested that altruism doesn’t really exist.

E) Then consider a slightly different situation in which the potential recipient of your goodwill is more familiar to you. This happened to a friend only recently; her contribution to a collaborative project was far more significant in terms of time, effort and ideas than her classmates.

F) Vague notions of tending to the sick, or helping to rebuild the infrastructure had begun to form. As with many other willing volunteers, the relinquishing of home comforts for a few months seemed to him a small sacrifice to make.

G) This, according to relief agencies, is not a unique case. In the haste to assist the needy, many would-be volunteers rush in without weighing up what they can realistically contribute against how much they might actually binder relief efforts.

Gateway C1

Podcast