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December 31, 2015

Anger after flood-damaged homes in York

York residents express anger as they return to flood-damaged homes. Listen to this video from and try to answer what these people are complaining about:
  • Did they ever think this could happen?
  • How does the blonde lady feel about it?
  • Why wasn't the man at home?
  • Is he happy about the job of the firemen and army?
  • What's his complaint about politicians?

December 30, 2015

Today's headlines

US-UK forces in Afghanistan
Cancer not just 'bad luck'
Athletics boss steps down
LingoHack Transcript

December 29, 2015

Christmas kindness

For many children, Christmas is the most exciting time of the year when they look forward to all the presents Santa Claus will bring. But for families who struggle to buy food they can’t afford presents for Christmas day. Neil and Alice discuss how some charities are helping these families in need.

Source: 6 minute English

This week's question

In the famous classic story A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, what does Ebenezer Scrooge buy the Cratchit family for Christmas dinner? Is it…

a) a goose?
b) a turkey?
c) a chicken?

You can hear the right answer at the end of the programme.

December 28, 2015

I'm game

Are you game? What does this expression mean? Can you tell with your own words what "being game" means?
Neil is dying for a game of squash but Li is not game. Find out why...

The English we Speak 

Download MP3  

December 26, 2015

The Rabbit who wants to fall asleep

After all the Christmas exciting moments, you may want to read your child to sleep using this story. Mind you don't fall asleep ahead of them!

December 23, 2015


by Robert Polito 
Listen to this poem at Soundcloud


I’m always running ahead of my life,
The way when we walk you are always
Three, fifteen, forty steps behind
Taking a picture, or inspecting
A bottlebrush tree, a cornice, the sea
As it breaks white on the striated rock,
As though I can’t dare look, and
I’m always running away from myself
The way when we walk you are always
Asking me to slow down, and what will happen
When one of us dies, and, if it’s me first,
There’s no one’s back in our photos anymore.

December 21, 2015

Spain needs broad consensus to go forward after messy election result

Fractured parliament is as much an opportunity as a challenge. It all depends on the calibre of those elected

Spaniards wanted change, and at Sunday’s elections they got it. The two discredited parties that have run the country for three decades sank to historic lows while bright newcomers stormed their way into parliament. The upturned two-party system was tired and prone to cronyism, but it had one major advantage: much like Britain, it almost always produced stable governments. Sunday’s vote created an unprecedented mess, with the next government needing the support of up to five different parties.

The Guardian, Owen Jones on the campaign trail with Podemos

Happy festive season

December 19, 2015

Where Are We?

For today, a joke. Could you retell this joke below to someone? Take your time for it, practice, try to change voices.

Location of Louisiana in the US
A husband and wife were driving through Louisiana. When they were close to a town called Natchitoches, they started arguing about the pronunciation of the town.
After a while of arguing, they decided to go to a local restaurant and have lunch. The husband could not wait to know the correct pronunciation, so he asked the blond waitress at the cash desk.
“Before we order, could you please pronounce where we are very slowly?”

“Burrrr-gerrrr Kiiing.”

Source: Jokes in levels Level 3 

December 18, 2015

Today's headlines

Today's Headlines:
A new solar superpower
A first for South Africa's navy
Historic hospital demolished

December 17, 2015

How to use acronyms

Do you know what an "acronym" is? I'm sure you already use a few. Tell us how many more you learnt after listening to this podcast.

December 15, 2015

Christmas in the UK

London Christmas Eye
Photo credit: waldopepper / / CC BY-NC

Source: Oxford Culture Mania

December 7, 2015 By Mark

December 14, 2015

World Approves historic Paris agreement to address climate change

Negotiators from nearly 200 countries reached an agreement Saturday on what they say signifies the most important international pact to address climate change since the issue first emerged as a political priority decades ago.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who headed up the United Nations conference, commonly known as COP 21, said the final deal successfully resolved points of contention that had taken negotiations into overtime and called the agreement “the best possible text.” “We have come to a defining moment on a long journey that dates back decades,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon before passage of the agreement. “The document with which you have just presented us is historic. It promises to set the world on a new path to a low emissions, climate-resilient future.”


December 13, 2015

December 12, 2015

Today's headlines

Listen to the headlines and learn some new vocabulary:
ceasefire: agreement to stop fighting
ringleader: leader of a criminal group
allegations: statements that haven't been confirmed.

Source:  BBC Learning English Lingohack

December 11, 2015

Pierre Bonnard

I suggest visiting Pierre Bonnard's exhibition at Maphre Exhibition Hall on Recoletos. It would be nice to get an audioguide in English and practice some English as well.

Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) was a key figure in the birth of modern art and at the same time an artist whose profoundly individual work is difficult to categorise. A founder member of the Nabis, his output can be located between a type of symbolism and an overt enthusiasm for decoration and the splendour of colour. Influenced by Gauguin’s painting and by Japanese prints, Bonnard evolved a unique, dynamic and profoundly original style in which the everyday fuses with the dreamlike in a natural manner.

December 09, 2015

Man on the Moon

Watch the new John Lewis Christmas TV advert with The Man on The Moon.

This is the story of a young girl called Lily. Looking at the moon through her family telescope one night, she is amazed at what she finds, a man on the moon. Lily watches on as our man goes about his chores, all alone up there. She becomes determined to get something to the moon, to send him a message and show him that someone down here is thinking of him. The music is ‘Half the World Away’ performed by Aurora, the original song was by Oasis.

December 08, 2015


Billy Collins, former US Poet Laureate and one of America's best-selling poets, reads his poem "Forgetfulness" with animation by Julian Grey of Headgear.

December 05, 2015

Nature is speaking

Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford, Kevin Spacey, Edward Norton, Penélope Cruz, Robert Redford and Ian Somerhalder all join forces to give nature a voice. Watch the films and take action at

Thrive: to grow or develop successfully; to flourish or succeed

December 04, 2015

Shakespeare festival

Schools in Madrid are invited to special performances by Young Shakespeare Company.   The shows are suitable for pupils from 4º Primaria to 3º ESO .  If you are interested in booking free places for your school please contact Silvia Prado.  

December 03, 2015

Today Dec 3rd is ...

Disability Day, or the International Day of People with Disability, is a day that has been promoted by the United Nations since 1992. The aim of Disability Day is to encourage a better understanding of people affected by a disability, together with helping to make people more aware of the rights, dignity and welfare of disabled people, as well as raise awareness about the benefits of integrating disabled persons into every aspect of life, from economic, to political, to social and cultural. Disability Day is not concerned exclusively with either mental or physical disabilities, but rather encompasses all known disabilities, from Autism to Down Syndrome to Multiple Sclerosis.

To improve our listening skills, how about listening to the most stupid questions not to ask to a disabled person. Can you list them?

The best inventions of 2015

Every year, Time picks the 25 best inventions of the year. Here are five of them. To see the full list of the 25 Best Inventions of 2015, click here. How about you? Which one is your favourite?


December 01, 2015


As today Dec 1st is the World's AIDS Day, let's listen to a story of frustration, but also of understanding.

Roger and Christine Bessey were married for 27 years and the parents of six children when they were both diagnosed with AIDS in 1988. Two of their children, Claudia Anton and Diana Keough, came to StoryCorps to remember what it was like to lose both of their parents to the disease in the early 1990s.

November 27, 2015

BBC 6 Minute English – 100 Women (listen & read)

100 Women 2015

The schoolgirl who changed 'sexist' music syllabus
25 November 2015 Last updated at 10:31 GMT
A UK student who lobbied to change the A-level music syllabus after spotting it featured no female composers has spoken to the BBC's 100 Women about her campaign.
Jessy McCabe, 17, says Edexcel, one of Britain's biggest exam boards, contacted her to apologise and pledged to change its course for next year.
"They gave me no clear reason why there was an omission of women," says Jessy, who is one of the BBC's 100 Women 2015.
"Yes - there were fewer female composers but it doesn't mean to say there weren't any," she tells the BBC's Joe Inwood.

November 26, 2015

Pilgrims in America

As today Thanksgiving is celebrated in the USA, let's go back to how it all started. The first Pilgrims in America were nearly defeated by the harsh conditions they faced when they arrived in New England.

November 25, 2015

Exploring English: Magna Carta

Improve your English language skills while exploring the Magna Carta - the 800-year-old "great charter" that shaped the world.

November 22, 2015



Feifei and Finn are going to present a programme – but before they begin, Feifei wants Finn to pass her the… thingy. What does she mean? Listen to the programme to find out.


Source: BBC Learning English, The English we speak

November 21, 2015

An Autumn Reverie by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Through all the weary, hot midsummer time,
My heart has struggled with its awful grief.
And I have waited for these autumn days,
Thinking the cooling winds would bring relief.
For I remembered how I loved them once,
When all my life was full of melody.
And I have looked and longed for their return,
Nor thought but they would seem the same, to me.

The fiery summer burned itself away,
And from the hills, the golden autumn time
Looks down and smiles. The fields are tinged with brown—
The birds are talking of another clime.
The forest trees are dyed in gorgeous hues,
And weary ones have sought an earthy tomb.
But still the pain tugs fiercely at my heart—
And still my life is wrapped in awful gloom.

The winds I thought would cool my fevered brow,
Are bleak, and dreary; and they bear no balm.
The sounds I thought would soothe my throbbing brain,
Are grating discords; and they can not calm
This inward tempest. Still it rages on.
My soul is tost upon a troubled sea,
I find no pleasure in the olden joys—
The autumn is not as it used to be.

I hear the children shouting at their play!
Their hearts are happy, and they know not pain.
To them the day brings sunlight, and no shade.
And yet I would not be a child again.
For surely as the night succeeds the day,
So surely will their mirth turn into tears.
And I would not return to happy hours,
If I must live again these weary years.

I would walk on, and leave it all behind:
will walk on; and when my feet grow sore,
The boatman waits—his sails are all unfurled—
He waits to row me to a fairer shore.
My tired limbs shall rest on beds of down,
My tears shall all be wiped by Jesus’ hand;
My soul shall know the peace it long hath sought --
A peace too wonderful to understand.

What does autumn mean for the writer?

November 20, 2015

Trends and graphs

Let's learn some new vocabulary on graphs and trends. Fill in the blanks by listening to this doc.
Source: Hot English Magazine

November 19, 2015

The teenage brain

How does a young person's brain affect what they do?
We look inside the teenage brain and find out what's going. Neil and Rob discuss how this important organ affects the way young people behave and there'll be some brain-related vocabulary to learn. 

This week's question

What part of the brain is connected with basic emotions? Is it the…
a) prefrontal cortex?
b) cerebral cortex?
c) limbic sytem?

Source: BBC 6 minute English

November 18, 2015

Opera for schools in Spain!

If you are a teacher interested in taking your students to the opera...

Opera for schools in Spain!  
The Nutcracker, La Traviata, Giselle and Frankenstein are coming to cinemas near your school.  If you want to sign your class up for a unique cinematic experience you can do so here.

Eponyms as nouns and verbs

Do you know what an eponym is? Find out by listening to this great podcast.

Source: BBC Radio, 6 Minute Vocabulary

November 16, 2015


Let's sing along this John Lennon's  beautiful song for only peace will defeat terrorism.

November 11, 2015

Socialising in English

Learn idiomatic expressions to socialise, listen to it as well.

Source: Hot English Magazine


November 08, 2015

Out of juice

Helen and Neil are in the studio when Helen's phone rings. But when she picks up there's no sound. What's gone wrong? Find out and learn a useful phrase in the programme "The English we speak"

After listening to the program, what does "out of juice" mean?

November 07, 2015

Here’s What Happens When You Put More Women in Government

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made headlines Wednesday when he announced that half of his Cabinet ministers are female, a decision he justified with the simple explanation that “it’s 2015.” The move won him international praise and more than a few swoons.
Canada isn’t the first country to take steps to increase women’s representation in government. The countries with the most female lawmakers have made major strides on issues such as education, labor force participation, and paid leave. Each of the countries below has either a parliament or a ministry that is at least 50% female, while women make up only 19% of the U.S. Congress and only four of Obama’s 15 cabinet members.
“We know that companies with more gender balanced leadership teams significantly outperform companies with only men at the helm,” says Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, CEO of Twenty first, a consulting company that focuses in building gender-balanced businesses. “Why wouldn’t this be even more true at a country level?” Here are a few examples of countries with lots of women in government who are outperforming the U.S. on various levels:


November 05, 2015


What are phrasal verbs? Which ones did you learn in this video? Where can you place the object in phrasals? What if it is a pronoun?

November 03, 2015

Who was Confucius?

Most people recognize his name and know that he is famous for having said something, but considering the long-lasting impact his teachings have had on the world, very few people know who Confucius really was, what he really said... and why.
Bryan W. Van Norden reveals the man behind the mystery. TED ed


1 Why did Confucius grow up in poverty?
2 What best describes the political situation in China during the life of Confucius?
3 What did Confucius think was the most important role of the ruler?
4 Why did Confucius resign his position as an official in his home state of Lu?
5 According to Confucius, how should a virtuous person avoid becoming frustrated or bitter in the face of adversity?
6 Describe Confucius's views on the importance of the family.
7 What advice would you have given to rulers during the era of Confucius?
8 People in Confucius's time disagreed about the value of studying literature and history. Is this similar to current debates over the value of an education in the humanities and liberal arts?

October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!! 

Practice some English while learning some new expressions of fear. Listen to the creeps and read it as you listen, text
Source: Learnenglish Teens at the British Council

October 28, 2015

What to know about Meat and Cancer

A World Health Organization (WHO) group declared on Monday that processed meat, such as hot dogs and bacon, causes cancer and red meat may as well. The determination was made by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is the arm of the WHO that gives recommendations based on cancer risk. The group, which included 22 scientists from 10 countries, evaluated the carcinogenicity of red and processed meat based on available research. Read More: The Science Behind How Bacon Causes Cancer The group classified processed meat as carcinogenic to humans “based on sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer,” the agency said in a statement.

They classified red meat as “probably” carcinogenic to humans due to limited evidence it causes cancer, and strong evidence that it supports a “carcinogenic effect.” The findings were published in the journal The Lancet Oncology. Here’s what you should know about the news. What’s the link between eating meat and cancer? The IARC looked at more than 800 studies on the link between red and processed meat and cancer risk and determined that every 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.

The agency is not the first to reach the determination that processed meat, and possibly red meat, increases the risk of colorectal cancer—which is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund have also concluded that eating even small amounts of processed meats on a regular basis can increase colorectal cancer risk.
Source: Time.com

October 26, 2015

how to give good news

Perhaps you're a boss and you want to tell an employee they've been given a promotion. Or maybe you're a teacher and you want to tell a student they've passed their exams.

In this video you can read and listen to the text at the same time. It would be a good idea if you wrote those expressions used in English to give good news and memorize them.

October 23, 2015

Adele's Hello

Adele’s Hello isn’t the kind you really want to hear.
Certainly not if you’re someone who’s recently dumped a partner. It’s the “Hello” that says: “Yeah, I’m fine. Just wanted a chat. Oh, and who’s that I saw going into your flat on Thursday night? No, I wasn’t outside. My friend saw you. OK, I was just walking past. My friend, er, lives on your street. Yeah, I’ve moved back. Why? Does that bother you? Does it matter that it’s 11 years since we split? Didn’t I matter to you AT ALL? You know I’ve been on Sertraline since you left me, don’t you?”


October 21, 2015


In this video you will see what it takes to make a democracy work and why it gives its people so many freedoms and protections.            

Take a look at What is Democracy? to learn about the main elements and principles of a democratic government. Also don't forget to understand democracy through the lens of history which will provide more context for its present day form. Start with democracy in Ancient Greece, then The Magna Carta and its importance to democracy. Lastly, consider reading about Rousseau's idea of the General Will of the people.

Source: TED Talks

October 02, 2015

abbreviations, acronyms

How well do you know your FAQs from your BPMs? Would you know when to RSVP? Don’t worry if these strings of letters seem baffling to you. Today we’re taking a look at 50 of the most useful English abbreviations and acronyms to help you navigate everything from official documents and friendly invitations to casual conversations in a nightclub.

Source: Pearson ELT Learning Journeys

September 28, 2015

September 26, 2015

European Day of Languages

This video was made by the Official School of Languages in Pamplona.

September 25, 2015

An Inspector calls

Would you like to go to the theater in English? This is a show by "Madrid Players"
Adults: 12 Euros
Groups/children: 10 Euros
Madrid Players members: 6 Euros

September 24, 2015

Questions about the life of Junípero Serra

The canonization of 18th-century Spanish missionary Father Junípero Serra, who was made a saint by Pope Francis in Washington on Wednesday, represents a strategic move by the Catholic Church in the United States. During a conference in May, Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gómez called Serra the “first Mexican immigrant” because “he lived and worked more than a dozen years in Mexico before coming to California.”

The Mallorca-born missionary, who lived from 1713 to 1784, traveled with Spanish expeditions to help convert the Native American communities living in what is now California to Christianity. At age 56, he arrived in the unexplored Spanish territory and later set up nine missions between San Diego and San Francisco; these missions today are preserved as important historic sites. Although he is not well-known in Spain, Father Serra is a monumental figure in California history. His biography is studied in schools and the story of the American West cannot be told without mentioning Serra’s name.

European Day of Languages

To celebrate the European Day of Languages on Sept 26th, here is an infographic about the English Language.

September 22, 2015

In the Heart of New Orleans

You may like to train your ear by listening to this document about New Orleans and the 10th anniversary from Hurricane Katrina.
Listen and write T (true) or F (false) beside these statements.
1) The French Quarter is the oldest part of New Orleans.
2) New Orleans was founded in 1780.
3) The architecture of the French Quarter is typically French.
4) Most of the tourist spots are in the French Quarter.
5) Over a thousand people were killed when Hurricane Katrina struck ten years ago.
6) Only a few of the neighbourhoods have recovered from the disaster.