Newsletter August 2014

The Conlan School Course Guide

The Conlan School Course Guide demonstrates the broad range of study programmes we can offer you and your students. Through our ever growing network of contacts in the business and educational community, our aim is to provide experiences that will expand knowledge and increase confidence within the culture of Wales and the UK. We hope that during your time with us you and your students can progress personally and positively in every aspect of life!

Please, click here to download "The Conlan School Course Guide"!

Our students visit Techniquest Glyndwr

We have just waved goodbye to a small group of Italians who were here to study English and take part in visits to local places of interest. As some of the group are technical students, we decided to send them all to take part in two workshops at Techniquest Glyndwr, a Discovery Centre that provides educational experiences in a fun and interesting way for students of all ages. Two of their workshops designed for 16 – 18 year-old students are on the subjects of Solar Panels and NXT Lego Programming. The visit was a big hit with all the students. Students had to programme a robot vehicle to stop before it ran over a lego man! The group leader was impressed with the visit. She commented that “All of the students were involved in every activity” and a student of the group said that “The lego activity was really interesting” when asked to choose a favourite of the whole programme. As we live in a society that increasingly values environmentally-friendly schemes and ways of generating power, the Solar Power workshop was also relevant and interesting to the age group. Thanks to the Italians for their enthusiasm and to Techniquest for your fascinating workshops!

Book Review: Teamwork and Role Plays for Today by Jason Anderson

Over a busy summer of teaching, two books have stood out above all others when teachers have been looking for activities to get students in the English groove: Teamwork and Role Plays for Today by Jason Anderson. The activities in these books are designed to motivate students to speak in class and are very successful at doing this. One Conlan teacher, Laura Taylor, used two activities for her higher ability group – “Mystery Movie Star” and “Meeting old friends” and commented that the material was engaging and worked well with students of that age group (16 – 18) because it was fun and focused on topics and vocabulary that younger students are keen to learn and use such as film vocabulary. She also said that she was looking forward to using more of the lessons from these books. Role Plays is aimed at Elementary to Intermediate, while Teamwork activities are aimed a little higher and encourage discussion, creativity and spontaneity. Interestingly, Laura also commented that using activities from this book also helped with classroom management. When students are interested, they try harder to do well and focus their energies into achieving good results in the classroom. Each activity provides target language and teacher’s notes too, so busy teachers can quickly find an activity that suits their students and be confident that the result will be a buzzing classroom of students speaking and enjoying English. These books are highly recommended for any English Language staff room.

CONWY RIVER FESTIVAL – August 9th - 17th 2014

The Conwy River Festival (CRF) started in 1993 as a celebration of the relationship between the historic town of Conwy and its majestic river estuary. Over the years the Festival has grown and developed to reflect many different aspects of that relationship, both ancient and modern.
The Conwy River Festival is the premier yachting festival serving the whole of the Irish Sea and the North West of the UK. Now in it's 23rd year the Conwy River Festival continues to grow year on year with record number of boats taking part each day of this unique eight-day festival of sailing. The relaxed atmosphere surrounding the Conwy River Festival has been a major factor of our success. There really is something for everyone in Conwy, from performance racing, cruiser racing, one-design classes as well as for classic yachts and tan sailed traditional working boats. The Conwy River Festival is as much about taking part and enjoying the magnificent spectacle as it is about winning prizes. The sight 200 yachts in the bay is something unique and attracts ever more attention from significant sponsors as well as television and press coverage throughout the whole of the festival and beyond. Conwy Quay Day is the opportunity for all of the family to enjoy the fun and excitement on shore as well as in the water. Watch as locals and visitors join hands to participate in skill tests and rowing competitions right in front of the beautiful 13th century Conwy castle and town walls. With live music and entertainment, RAF and Lifeboat displays, exhibitions and sponsors stands as well as a very popular torch-lit procession for children.

Phrase of the month: “A grain/pinch of salt”

You've probably heard this English idiom multiple times. If you haven't, taking something with a grain of salt means that you aren't supposed to trust that what you're hearing is true. For example, you could use it as such: It's interesting to read the reports in the newspapers, but I tend to take them with a grain of salt. This means that you don't necessarily believe that the reports are completely true and you doubt that they're impartial or completely truthful. The phrase comes from an ancient Roman belief. The Latin phrase is addito salis grano, meaning add a grain of salt. Pliny the Elder, a natural philosopher, translated an ancient antidote for poison with the words 'be taken fasting, plus a grain of salt'. Pliny’s Naturalis Historia, 77 A.D. translates thus: “After the defeat of that mighty monarch, Mithridates, Gnaeus Pompeius found in his private cabinet a recipe for an antidote in his own handwriting; it was to the following effect: Take two dried walnuts, two figs, and twenty leaves of rue; pound them all together, with the addition of a grain of salt; if a person takes this mixture fasting, he will be proof against all poisons for that day.” Romans thought that adding a grain of salt would protect you from being poisoned! In the metaphorical sense, if you add a grain of salt to whatever you hear / read, you'll be protected from being poisoned by lies. The first use of this phrase in the English language comes from 1647 in John Trapp's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments: "This is to be taken with a grain of salt." The 'pinch of salt' variant is more recent. The earliest printed citation that can be found for it is Frank Richard Cowell's Cicero & the Roman Republic, 1948:"A more critical spirit slowly developed, so that Cicero and his friends took more than the proverbial pinch of salt before swallowing everything written by these earlier authors."