The Terrace Pau

This blog is about teaching and learning English

Writing for a purpose….. March 22, 2013

Writing is one of the key skills in learning a language, and often teachers have to really motivate students to get them to write in a meaningful and satisfying way. In the next few blog entries, I’m going to post pieces of excellent writing by some of our students of English which demonstrate what can be achieved. I have kept correction to the minimum to improve meaning without interfering too much with the original text.

Welcome to Madrid!!!

I’m going to try to do a little guide about “What you can do in Madrid in three days…”. It’s only a guide because the best it’s walking in the city and let yourself be surprised…



A good plan for Sunday could be getting up and going to the Rastro. El Rastro is one of the most famous flea market in Madrid. And then, you can do one of the most popular tradition in Madrid on Sunday which is “tomar el aperitivo”, it means “go to the bars and have beer or wine with a tapa”, for example around la Latina… And after, the best is to take a siesta…

In your case, I recommend you when you arrive at your apartment in Madrid (C/Santa Isabel (A)) don’t be lazy and you take advantage of Sunday afternoon walking in the city


 …A good option could be walking in Lavapies (B)


Lavapies (B) is one of the most picturesque “villages” (neighborhoods) in Madrid.

In the Middle Ages it was the Arab and Jewish neighborhood outside the city walls.

This neighborhood was made fashionable in the 80s by artists and young people. Then began a renovation process that continues today. Nowadays, it’s an up-and-coming neighborhood.

Currently, Lavapiés is a very popular and charismatic. Many immigrants live here. Besides its bohemian character is the multicultural neighborhood of Madrid.

In Lavapies there are a lot of bars and cafes, very affordable restaurants with ethnic cuisines like Indian, Pakistani, Cuban or Argentina. There are also many shops typical of many countries ..You can even see the celebration of the Chinese New Year or Ramadan.

Walking around its streets and enjoying its atmosphere is the best thing you can do there.



After, you can continue with your walk going to La Latina (C)


La Latina is one of the neighborhoods of Madrid that has best preserved its tradition and appearance, and today boasts of its vintage and atmosphere. It’s one of the quintessential areas for tapas and drinks.

La Latina neighborhood is in the Central District which bounded to the north by Segovia Street, west on Bailen street, on the East Toledo Street and finally to the South by Plaza de la Cebada (Barley Square) and Carrera de San Francisco

The streets of the neighborhood still remember the various trades that settled in the neighborhood: tinsmiths, cutlers, blacksmiths, locksmiths … As in Lavapies, the names of the streets and buildings are steeped in Madrid’s history.

The nineteenth century brought the decline of the local palaces and demolition of them.




2nd trip down ESOL lane March 7, 2013

Filed under: Language Training — The Terrace Pau @ 8:20 pm

What happened to this blog? Our apologies, after our first two blogs we opened our Casa Rural business and suddenly this  virtually took over all else in our lives, and the thought of keeping up a regular blog went out the window. Now we have time to breathe and we promise to try and keep this blog alive.

Apologies over – here is the second part of my experiences completing a full time CELTA course at International House. The pressure we were going to have to endure over this one month course became apparent in the first two days. Day one we were told that we would need to prepare a 20 minute teaching session to be carried out the next day. This was a bomb shell as I had never done a teaching session let alone one where I was to be observed not only by one of my lecturers but also some of my peers. I mean, I thought that was what I was here to learn -how to put a teaching session together not be thrown to the lions withing 48 hours. Apparently not; this was how they did it – sink or swim. If you were lucky they might provide you with a couple of arm bands.

Our main group was divided up into four smaller tutorial groups. Mine consisted of two young Americans, soon to be married, one Tunisian women, a young Brit and me the oldest by far but that didn’t seem to matter. Our first teaching session would be held the next day so preparation had to start immediately. I’m not exactly a shrinking violet but this was different. I was completely out of my comfort zone. I had one big advantage, I had a wife who had been doing this for a number of years so at least she could vet my first attempt. I prepared everything for the next day but was not expecting to be given our first assignment to be handed out with a four day completion date. The teaching practice session began with an introduction to our class. There were almost 18 students coming from all parts of the world. They knew we were practising on them and for this they paid very little to attend. My time came and went very quickly, much quicker than I had expected but in this short time I knew I loved it – being in the limelight that is! Whether I was any good as a teacher I would soon find out.

This first session was not assessed. It was just for the lecturers to find out how well or not we could perform the task. We all got a pass in my group but the one thing that stuck in my mind from this feedback was that I should not forget that I was there to teach English not applying for a role with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Next time I would tone it down – a little.

Something else became apparent at the beginning of our second week. If we didn’t pass our written assignments we would have to rewrite it and still have to hand in our next assignment on time. This would really hit hard when at one point I had two rewrites and a new one to finish over a three day period as well as preparing the almost daily teaching sessions. The pressure was really building up a head of steam. The main issue now was getting enough sleep to complete the course before exhaustion set in.


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