Showing posts from April, 2017

The phone that transformed the way I work

I used to be very old-school. I used to own phones that could only make calls and send messages. I used to think that smartphones were just toys. That was until January 2017, when I got a new phone - a smartphone, which has completely transformed the way I work. Please give it up for my current phone - BlackBerry PRIV!

What has changed?

First and foremost, PRIV comes with a physical keyboard, thanks to which I have started writing consistently. The physical keyboard, which is a full QWERTY keyboard, is so convenient that I can easily type long texts. I have never written so much in my entire life, even though I have a blog which dates back to May 2013. Writing used to require a lot of discipline because I had to sit in front of the computer and focus. I now enjoy the freedom of writing in any place and at any time - on the metro (sitting at off-peak times or standing in the rush hour), at an airport (killing time waiting for my flight), on the plane (when there is absolutely nothing …

Proudly presenting my student’s essay

Remember last week I wrote a post about how I tried walking in my student’s shoes and wrote an essay I gave him for homework? Well, the student did his homework (which I didn’t have a shadow of a doubt he would). In this post, I want to share it with you.

First, let me introduce the student. His name is Nikita Videnkov, he is a 21-year old engineering student, who has been having one-to-one classes with me for about 3-4 years. His primary purpose is to improve his language skills, but he is also thinking of taking IELTS, so we do IELTS-format tasks on a regular basis.

Second, to those of you who aren’t my students I have to explain that my homework worded “write an essay” is usually followed by homework worded “rewrite your essay.” I believe that writing is 90% rewriting and make my students rewrite their work.

Third, let me give you some context. We were discussing the article called “Phoney war” (New Scientist, 25 January 2017), which deals with end-to-end encryption and its i…

I try walking in my student’s shoes and write an essay I gave him for homework

I have a question to all the teachers out there - how often do you write essays in English? I mean essays in IELTS / TOEFL / GRE or any similar format. (Please message me - I’d love some kind of statistics). I have to confess, I don’t*. But I make my students write a lot. Which might be a little unfair, don’t you think?

That’s what I thought when I was on a bus from my home town back to St Petersburg yesterday (a 4-hour journey). I had nothing to do, so my mind began to wander until suddenly it stumbled upon the essay topic I gave my student on Thursday.

We were discussing the article called “Phoney War” (New Scientist, 25 January 2017). The article deals with the questions of end-to-end encryption and its importance in the ‘privacy of communications vs. public security’ debate. As a follow-up task, I came up with an essay topic for my student (a very diligent, Advanced level student who is going to take IELTS in the future).

Anyway, my mind stumbled upon this topic and started workin…