Tips on Finding an Apartment in Toronto and Vancouver

ILAC Teacher Erin Casper offers some great advice on how to find a place to live in Canada.

One of the most exciting and stressful times is finding a new apartment. Whether you are a first time renter or have been living away from your parents for a while, finding the right apartment, in the right location, at the right price, can be a tedious and time-consuming process. I’ve just had the pleasure of finding an apartment for the first time. Although the process was long, it was quite rewarding when I was able to find a lovely apartment at the right price. I learned a lot about my experience and I thought I could help you navigate through this process a little more easily with some advice.

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ILAC’s Language Doctor Helps You Get Your Tenses Right!

students reading

The Three Elements of Story-Telling

- Josh Pirie (The Language Doctor)

Here’s a quick and easy exercise you can do to tell a better story.  I do this exercise with my TOEFL class so they can practice using different tenses when they tell a story. A story is a very effective way of supporting a statement that you make, a statement with which people will ultimately agree or disagree.  For this reason, stories are a very important part of TOEFL!

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STICKING WITH IT When Studying a Foreign Language

- Paul Grieve (ILAC Teacher)

Learning a new language can be difficult, especially when the language is English; inconsistent grammar, ridiculous spellings, strange combinations of sounds, synonyms, homonyms and enough idioms to sink a battleship. Sometimes, it might seem that in spite of the hours spent in class, diligent completion of homework, frustrating attempts to understand the voices on the radio and the actors on television, you’re just not making progress.  Sure, you’re learning words and expressions and your ability to recognize those words in reading and listening materials is improving, but merely identifying words and phrases is small consolation when you can’t figure out the meaning.

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AT ALL COSTS – One ILAC Student’s Story of Success

Student writing

- Paul Grieve (ILAC Teacher)

Two years ago I taught Advanced Business English and had the pleasure of teaching a very hard-working student from the Czech Republic.  This student was remarkable in many ways, but stood out in one way in particular; she was deaf.

On her first day, Eva came to me to explain her situation, expressing concern that her hearing impairment may affect her ability to participate fully in class.  I asked her a few questions to assess her listening skills, which were actually quite strong.  When I mentioned this, she told me she relied heavily on her ability to read lips.  When I asked how comfortable she felt in telephone conversations, either in English or Czech, she replied that phone conversations were challenging, but not impossible as long as her hearing aid was working.

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Free Grammar Lesson for ESL Students – Negation in English

- Josh Pirie (The Language Doctor)

Negation is a strange beast in English.  Have you ever met people who say “no” and those who say “not” in what seems to be the same sentences?  Here are two examples:

  • Your drawing is no better than mine.
  • Your drawing is not better than mine.

Generally, we say that “no” is a quantifier, a “grammar adjective” we use when there isn’t any of a particular thing.  We use it when we want to show absence: “There are no cookies left in this jar!”  We also say, generally, that “not” is an adverb, and goes nicely with verbs when we want to negate a whole sentence: “This is not what I asked you to do.”  But these do not explain the use of the two examples above.  What’s going on here?

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An Amazing Story of One ILAC English Student

This is a story begun in hardship, difficulty and poverty but through perseverance, fortitude and belief, grew into a story of success, joy and accomplishment. This is the story of a young boy from the city of Chita (Чита́), Russia, located in the far eastern region of Central Russia, where the nation dips its belly along the northern border of China (Mongolia), who dreamed of living in the West though most of the people around him thought it simply impossible. And while I have been to Russia a few times and know much about the nation and its history and culture, Chita had been a city unknown to me until the day Dima entered my life. I remember it as if it were yesterday.

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