All posts by Keith Halstead

About Keith Halstead

Hi, I'm Keith and I have been an ESL teacher for almost 20 years. I'm currently working in Plovdiv in Bulgaria and in the past have worked in the UK, Turkey and Vietnam. In addition to teaching, I am also the founder of VideomapBulgaria, which is pretty much what it says on the box and is a project which has taken me the length and breadth of Bulgaria in my mission to complete the map. I also write and make videos which you can find on YouTube if you search for Keithwhu. And that username is also a clue to my other big love which is the mighty West Ham United FC!

Useful communication phrases in English

So far, in these blog posts, we have looked at ways to improve your English listening, reading, and vocabulary. All of these skills are aimed at improving one thing, which I believe is the whole purpose of language learning, and that is having the ability to communicate (in English in this case). You have something which you want to share with another person or you want to understand what the other person is sharing with you. This is the goal of everybody who is learning a language.

Useful communication phrases in English
“Useful communication phrases in English” post  will help you fill in the bubbles with meaningful English phrases when you talk to people.

So, this raises the questions: “What makes successful communication?” and “What are the barriers to successful communication?” Continue reading Useful communication phrases in English

Improve your English essays with linkers

English linkers 1

What do you think is the biggest problem I see with my students’ English essays? Well, if you have read the title of this blog post you will have guessed that it is incorrect use, or lack of use of linking words and phrases.

Using linkers correctly is the biggest single thing that most English learners can do to vastly improve their essay writing, so let’s take a look at some of these linkers and at how we should be using them when writing in English.

Continue reading Improve your English essays with linkers

Learn English using a daily study plan

Do you find that your English study is haphazard and lacks any kind of focus or organisation and that as a result, you are not making the progress which you had expected? If so, you should think about making a clearly defined study plan…..and sticking to it.

Everyone has different needs and different amounts of time to devote to study, so it will be impossible to make a plan which will be suitable for everyone, but what I would like to do here is to give you some ideas which you can adapt to your needs and circumstances.

Continue reading Learn English using a daily study plan

Learn English through reading

So you want to improve your English but, for one reason or another, you cannot enroll on an English course….what can you do?

Well, first of all you can read our earlier post about improving your listening skills outside the classroom.

But maybe, ‘reading’ is your thing and you want to focus on improving your English through reading. Well fortunately, as with listening, there are many sources of fantastic reading material that is often free to access, and can help with your English, and in this blog post, we are going to take a look at a few of them.

Continue reading Learn English through reading

Read English Texts Fast

For the English learner, the main reason why you may want to read texts faster is that you have a reading exam to complete. For the purpose of this blog post, we are going to focus on the IELTS exam, but the strategies we will discuss are equally applicable for Cambridge Exams – Cambridge First, Cambridge Advanced, Cambridge Proficiency, and the TOEFL Test.

I meet many students who complain to me that they just “don’t have enough time to read the whole text and answer the questions”. So, how can you improve the speed of your reading and give yourself the best chance of answering all the questions and obtaining the grade that you need?

Let’s look at some useful strategies.

Continue reading Read English Texts Fast

3 ways to practice listening in English out of the classroom

We have all probably experienced learning something that we have been told to learn and have no interest in, and learning something that we enjoy. For the former, time seems to drag and there seems to be no way to get the information to stick in your head whilst for the latter, time flies and you don’t even feel like you are learning….you are having fun.

This latter is how all learning should be and for all you English learners out there, it is how it could be.

Improve your English while listening to music
Listening to songs in English not only gets a smile out of you but it helps you improve your English skills.

Continue reading 3 ways to practice listening in English out of the classroom

Use synonymous to make your spoken or written English better

Synonymous make your English colourful

Use synonymous to make your spoken or written English better

Do you prefer to watch a movie in colour or in black and white? Most of us would prefer a movie in colour I think, because colours make the pictures more interesting, lively and lifelike…and also possibly, more beautiful.
So, when you speak or write in English, do you do it in black and white or in colour?

Many people get into a groove of only speaking in black and white. Compare for example:

We had a nice day.
We had an absolutely amazing day! Continue reading Use synonymous to make your spoken or written English better

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