DESCRIBE AN AUCTION

This is a two minute talk for IELTS or TOEFL to talk about an Auction.

The keywords of the talk are highlighted in bold.

An auction is a great place to go and hunt for a bargain.

You can buy anything and everything at an auction and often at a very cheap price.

Unlike a shop, there is no fixed price and things are sold by a bidding process.

The Auction is conducted by an auctioneer.

Every item for sale has a Lot Number and Lots can be previewed beforehand.

To bid for something you want to buy, you should either raise your hand or use a paddle with a specific number given to you prior to the auction starting.

An auction is competitive and many other people will be bidding for the Lot just like you.

Quite often, there is a reserve price on the item being sold, so if that reserved price is notr reached, the item will be withdrawn from the sale.

The price usually goes higher and the item is sold to the highest bidder when the auctioneer says ‘final offer’ and ‘going going gone’.

Paintings, old furniture, televisions, mobile household ornaments, bric-a-brac, books, records and even a love letter collection from a famous person can be sold at an auction.

I once bought a 1927 nokia cellphone for next to nothing.  Can you believe that?

The rule of thumb is that something is considered antique if it is more than one hundred years old but these days, anything from yesteryear might be considered antique.

There are also auctions for vintage cars, second hand cars, houses and land.

Don’t forget to raise your hand if you want to bid for something and don’t raise your hand (or paddle) if you don’t intend to bid for something.

Otherwise, the auctioneer might accept your bid and it will be ‘going going gone’

Keep an eye out for things which are valuable and collectable but be careful not to buy something which might not be the genuine article and is completely worthless.

You do not want to waste your money!

Good luck!

MICHELLE SELLS SEASHELLS

This is an adapted and revised version of a famous English Tongue Twister.

Practice it slow, medium an fast to improve your English speaking fluency.

 

Michelle sells seashells by the seashore,

The shells Michelle sells are the cells of the seas

Surely only Michelle sees

So if Michelle sells shells

She sees by the seashore

I’m sure Michelle sells seashore shells

 

It is important to understand the following word spelling and pronunciation

Sea                  See

Sure                 Shore               Saw

Sell                  Shell

Sell                  Cell

Shell                Michelle

 

A good English speaker knows how to ‘chunk’ his word and phrases.

Practice ‘chunking’ the tongue twister.

Like this.  There will be a short pause between each word or phrase

 

Michelle sells seashells

(pause) By the seashore

(pause) The shells

(pause) Michelle sells

(pause) are the cells of the seas

(pause) surely

(pause) only Michelle sees

(pause) So

(pause) if Michelle sells shells

(pause) she sees by the seashore

(pause) I’m sure

(pause) Michelle sells

(pause) seashore shells

 

Some further comments about the tongue twister.

The word ‘saw’ does not appear but the tongue twister could be rewritten again to include the line:

‘I’m sure I saw Michelle on the seashore’

The phrase ‘sea-saw’ is common in nursery rhyme English but has nothing to do with shells on the seashore.

The tongue twister could be adapted even more.

Hyphenation.

Most people would put a hyphen between sea and saw to make ‘sea-saw’.  ‘Sea-Saw;, when spoken, could easily be mistaken for ‘sea-shore’

So is it seashore without a hyphen or sea-shore with a hyphen?

Look it up and you decide!

Finally, I have used the phrase ‘cells of the seas’ in the tongue twister.

‘cell’ has the same sound as ‘sell’ and can mean a jail or what is in our body as a science form or in our mobile phones.

In this context, ‘cell’ is taken to mean the life form (the shells) which exists in the oceans of the world Michelle finds on the shores of the seas.

I hope you understand.

 

Enjoy the Tongue Twister and good luck with improving your English speaking fluency.

PORTRAIT PAINTING OR INSTANT PHOTO

This is an essay which takes a reflective look at the transition to digital photography from portrait painting.

We must first pose the question – has the instant photo replaced the portrait painting forever?

The keywords of the lesson are highlighted.

The modern trend of taking a selfie brings into sharp focus how much we all enjoy taking photos and capturing memories to share with others.

The digital camera is part of all our lives in the modern world and instant photos are taken at the press of a button.

They are then immediately transmitted to friends and family by social media, smartphone apps, stored in digital photo albums or in remote clouds.

Very few are printed and displayed around our home.  We try to be selective of the best ones taken.

Long before photography was ever invented, people had to be content with portrait paintings comissioned from professional artists.

The subject of the portrait would be expected to sit for long periods of time while the artist made sketches or painted directly onto canvass.  This all took time.

The invention of the first camera prototype by Frenchman Louis Daguerre in 1837 was the first step in the eventual transition away from portrait painting to photography.

Significantly, not only was the concept available to the public masses but it was affordable.

We would all come, in time, to know how to use the zoom lens, shutter, flash and tripod with relative ease.

Our grattitude is extended in American George Eastman who founded his Kodak company and heralded a new era in photography.

We must also be thankful to Englishman Edward Muybridge who conducted a galloping horse experiment with pictures that captured the simple stride of a horse in twelve sequential moments.

The world was about to embrace moving pictures as a concept or movies as we call them today and my dear Mum (my Grandmother too in fact) would talk of a night out at the Picture House.

Remarkably perhaps, this modern era of the instant photo has not killed the portrait painting stone-dead but rather given us the opportunity to reproduce imagery with new skills developed in photo-editing software with a sense of surrealism and novelty.

Not only that but we have come to respect and value the capture of an image by an artist of a subject either in cartoon lampooning or in caricature.

Hands up who has not contemplated or had a sketch done by a street artist or looked for the personal touch of a ‘togetherness’ picture for your wedding day to be hung in the hallway for guests to see?

The old saying that a picture paints a thousand words is never more true than today.

The ultimate irony is that we are using the technology of today to create the memories of yesteryear and also of the future.

Photography moves with the times.

As we move with the times, there is a place for the commissioned portrait painting to exist alongside the instant digital photo in the capture of a memory.

MOTHER HEN AND THE UNWASHED EGG

I had never considered until the other day whether eggs were or should be washed or not.

So i decided to consult Mother Hen who I thought would know best.

It amazed me to learn that America, Japan and Australia wash their eggs while the rest of the world (which includes Europe, Great Britain and the asian countries) do not.

It creates a sort of trade embargo where British eggs cannot be sold or eaten in America and likewise American eggs cannot be sold or eaten in Britain.

How utterly bizarre is that!

According to Mother Hen, it is all down to animal husbandry.

We are all educated folk and know  that the salmonella virus can be contracted from eating eggs.

We are not sure how salmonella gets there in the first place.

Mother Hen curtly points out that the issue of salmonella is a fairly recent thing.

We tend to forget of days gone by when people were less health-conscious, health-aware and refrigerators did not come into being until that well known genius Albert Einstein came up with the idea in the 1920s.

What we fail to understand, says Mother Hen, is that eggs are more resistant than you think to bacterial contamination.

Eggs have this invisible coating or safety jacket called a cutible which blesses every egg shell and makes them very strong.

Mother Hen is adamant that eggs which are washed of this coating make them damaged and susceptible to contamination.

Washing the eggs in a special chemical way merely deludes public thinking that salmonella cannot be contracted..

Quite the contrary in fact as it becomes the breeding ground for it.

So there is every reason to suppose that a washed egg could become tainted.

While not refrigerating eggs at the outset when Mother Hen lays them and not washing them, there is actually less likelihood that anyone will get sick.

Mother Hen boasts that eggs are one of the healthiest kinds of food humans can eat.

Eggs are the ultimate fat-fighters and it is nonesense to suggest they raise your cholesterol level.

The wisdom of Mother Hen is undeniable.

She realizes she could be a salmonella carrier even before she lays an egg, so she is all for the idea of anti-salmonella vaccination.

She does concede that as she gets older, the eggs she lays have poorer cuticle coverage and the risk of contamination, although small, is still there.

Mother Hen thinks the public are confused about the selection process for eggs and what to do with eggs once we have bought them.

The best place to buy the eggs is at the farm shop but few people get that opportunity, so we usually buy them at the grocery store or the supermarket.

The eggs might be cooled or chilled but they are rarely refrigerated and more often than not, they are kept at room temperature.

Keeping the purchased eggs at room temperature when we get them home is the logical thing to do.

Their shelf life for consumption may be shorter than if they were refrigerated but the shorter duration will provide a more healthier egg to eat.

What happens to a cold egg then, I asked Mother Hen, if it is then introduced to room temperature?

It will sweat and possibly be open to breed bacteria.

Mother Hen sees the modern day refrigerator as the enemy in the quest to preserve the glory of the beautiful egg.

Every one of us will surely admit that we buy our eggs, perhaps by the dozen, in the carton and then place them later at home in the special slot inside the refrigerator.

It indeed preserves the shelf life, so to speak, for cooking and eating the egg but it also reduces the natural taste the egg has to offer.

The ultimate message of Mother Hen is not to underestimate the power of the egg, to respect the aesthetics of the egg and not exaggerate human health and safety out of ignorance.

I want to thank Mother Hen for her time in giving this somewhat unusual interview.

Do not forget to read this article again and refresh many of the useful phrases which I have highlighted.

HENRI DUNANT – THE RED CROSS MAN

Henri Dunant is a very famous person indeed but hardly anyone knows who he is today.

He is the mentor behind the creation of the Red Cross.

He is probably and literally the fourth most famous Swiss national after William Tell, Henri Nestle and Roger Federer.

When as a thirty one year old journeyman he passed by the Battle of Solferino in northern Italy in 1859, he knew something had to be done to address the barbarity of warfare.

He wanted to set up a humanitarian movement which could and would protect human life and health, ensure respect for all human beings and also prevent as well as alleviate human suffering.

It was only a few years after the Crimean War fought by Britain, France and Turkey against Russia which was significant to bringing public attention the need for non-combatant trained medics to be available at the field of battle, the most famous of whom was, of course, Florence Nightingale.

Within the space of four short years, his vision came to fruition and the Red Cross institution was formed in Geneva Switzerland in 1863.

Its adopted symbol of a red cross on a white background is an exact reversal of a white cross on a red background for the Swiss nationaL flag.

Henri Dunant received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901 for his important contribution to mankind and yet he suffered greatly in his life as a direct result of this due to poverty, ill-health and personal bankruptcy.

When he died an old man in 1910, he was an obscure rather than a notorious figure for history to record.

But the Red Cross plays an important part in times of war and world crisis today with no little thanks paid to Henri Dunant.

FOR MORE THAN JUST A WHILE

  • I want to stop being blind

And start being kind

To the one woman who’s always on my mind.

 

I want to show her my deepest love

With a huff and a bluff and a puff.

I’m so sorry if that is not enough.

 

I want with her to share

Everything.  Everytime.  Everywhere

And I want her to know I really care.

 

I want to be her closest friend

And never have to pretend

Our relationship can ever end.

 

I want to kiss her lips

And play with her tits

And hold her hand a little bit.

 

I want to look into her eyes

And see her surprise

When how much I truly love her she doth  realize.

 

I want her to know I’m here

And my feelings are heartfelt and sincere

For this and every year.

 

I want to make her smile

With satisfaction, splendour and style

For more than just a while.

 

I want to tell her things which are funny

And call her my honeybunny

When she asks for the housekeeping money.

 

I have written this poem especially for her

With all the meaning that it can infer

And I will never expect an answer.

 

But I absolutely want her to know

I never want to let her go

Because I love her so.

 

(I don’t believe, she says, with a tear in her eye

I’m not Rihanna.  So Why?

Because I don’t love the way you lie)

 

If only that were true,

Then my heart would surely bleed.

I do honestly and truly love you,

You are the one I want and need.

 

You are worth every conceivable sacrifice

A simple man can make.

Delicious, delectable, adorable, as sweet as spice

Even if your devilishness I beg to forsake.

 

Mighty men can have their jewels

But I know I have captured mine

A friend, a folly, a foe who stands no fools,

My bright and everlasting good morning sunshine.

CHANGE HOW WE EDUCATE OUR CHILDREN

My name is Paul David and I am a native English teacher.

I am an educator and I want to talk to you today about ways in which we can change how we educate our children.

The scandinavian country of Finland is an example to the world as to how education should go forward in the future.

Let’s take a look at their model.

First of all, let’s stop treating kids as robots and respect their individual learning needs.

We must cut the class size to a maximum of twelve.

Quite simply, big classes do not work and they are not needed.

We must develop the teacher-student relationship and encourage effective interaction which will involve the parents as well.

Not only that but we must eradicate the concept of the large classroom and reliance on text books.

Greater emphasis must be placed on the training of teachers through college and university and the application of teaching methods.

Technology should be embraced such as I-pads, interactive whiteboards and other visual aids but not to the extent thatr a student feels he does not need to attend class or indeed need a teacher.

What’s more, let’s minimize practical tests and examination and give more importance to assessment and evaluation.

And let’s kick out the grind and stress caused by homework.

There is no evidence anywhere to say that homework serves a purpose.

If this revised strategy is applied, it will make for a brighter future for all children of the world.

Give education an opportunity to flourish and benefit the student.

Give the student a platform to feel motivated to learn rather than just scored to meet the pride of the parent.

Finland may well be a fairly low populated country of under six million people and that perhaps makes it easier for the educational model I have talked about to work.

But whether in Indonesia or the United States, Hong Kong or Cameroon, the methods of education must change.  And change for the better.  Thank you.

I shall be recording a version of this text and posting it on You Tube under my handle paul.cibubur.