Category Archives: Listening

Fruity friday stand up comedy: What does ‘ass’ mean?

Finnish comedian Isso,  explains some of the challenges that we face when we are learning a new language.  Isso explains the difficulty of getting his around the word: ass.

So, what did I learn from watching this video? Well, I learnt: If you don´t get this video, then you are a dumbass.  And, on the reverse, if you do get this video, then you are a badass.  Perfect, I get this video, so I am a badass.


The plastic bank

A good job stimulates the brain, challenges preconceptions, nurtures curiosity and encourages ambition and excellence.  Luckily for me, I have this.  Clients at Inglés Málaga are a talent bank; they come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and represent a broad variety of professions, trades and sectors.  However, they have two things in common, the first is that they are improving their English level; the second is that they teach me something every day.

Last week Paco, a high school maths teacher, (and an amazing illustrator) taught me the idea of monetising plastic waste.  He explained this complex idea really well, and I was over the moon with his use of advanced level English to persuade me of the merits to this idea. But after his class I thought: ‘’OK, but how would it work practically?’’ So, I started checking it out on the Internet and came across an organisation called The Plastic Bank which does this already. So, why not improve your English and stimulate your brain by listening to the CEO and founder of The Plastic Bank on his Ted Talks presentation: What if you could change plastic trash into cash?

The presentation is in English, and you can use the English transcript to improve word recognition and listening comprehension.   In addition, if you are a teacher, you could easily use this organisation in your classes to teach children mathematical concepts and economic theory.

You could also be inspired by two teenage girls who set up a campaign to ban plastic bags from the beautiful Indonesian island of Bali if you listen to their Ted Talks presentation: ”Our campaign to ban plastic bags from Bali”

So Paco, thank you; you have successfully challenged my preconceptions about recycling and plastic waste, and, demonstrated a level of English that many native English speakers would be envious of, well done! I´m also going to change the way I recycle, and ban plastic bags from my personal shopping.  You are a change maker!

And now my mind is on The Regional Government of Andalusia: I wonder, how can we encourage them to buy the cities´ plastic waste and convert it into credit for education, training and professional development? Come on La Junta, it´s time to put your tick box lists down the toilet, sack all the sycophantic bureaucrats, and start to really listen to the talent bank that you have walking on the streets of Málaga every day.  Furthermore, which one of you ego-centric government officials doesn´t want a legacy; go on, stand out from the crowd and do something inspirational.

Why journalists have an obligation to challenge power

”You can kick Jorge Ramos out of your press conference (as Donald Trump infamously did in 2015), but you can never silence him.

A reporter for more than 30 years, Ramos believes that a journalist’s responsibility is to question and challenge those in power. In this compelling talk — which earned him a standing ovation midway through — Ramos explains why, in certain circumstances, he believes journalists must take sides.” (In Spanish with English subtitles)


To understand autism, don´t look the other way.

”Carina Morillo knew almost nothing about autism when her son Ivan was diagnosed — only that he didn’t speak or respond to words, and that she had to find other ways to connect with him. She shares how she learned to help her son thrive by being curious along with him.”(In Spanish with English subtitles)


Be inspired: Why women stay silent after sexual assault

Be inspired, be curious, be open-minded.  It´s easy to feel inspired when you surround yourself with inspirational people.  Listen to Ted Talks presentations to improve your English vocabulary, open your mind to different points of view, and to strengthen your ability to listen, think, analyse and debate.

Inés Hercovich talks about why so many women don´t report sexual assault. Spanish with English subtitles.


How Argentina´s blind soccer team became champions



With warmth and respect, Gonzalo Vilariño tells the captivating story of Argentina’s blind soccer team — and how a sincere belief in themselves and their capabilities transformed the players from humble beginnings into two-time World Champions. “You have to get out there and play every game in this beautiful tournament that we call life,” Vilariño says. (In Spanish with English subtitles)


New Year: Open your mind – love to read – love Ted!

As a bookworm, I am mad about reading. Books are educational, informative and entertaining.  They give you the opportunity to experience countries and cultures that you have never been to.  They give you the opportunity to think about things in completely different ways.



Furthermore, reading in English, will quickly help you to improve your language skills and reinforce useful structures, phrases and ideas in context.  In light of this, why not listen to a Ted talks presentation by Lisa Bu who gives us her thoughts about the magic of books? Books can open your mind!


Yemen: On the brink of starvation

Millions of men, women and children are starving in Yemen. Hunger is the Yemen´s silent killer. Food is unaffordable, unavailable, and humanitarian aid is hindered or blocked by a country devastated by war and genocide.  What? Where? Why? Improve your listening skills by watching this video report.  At the same time, ask yourself why this video has only had 3,350 views, while a video on how many girls Justin Bieber has dated has received over 1.7 million hits.

Disgustingly, the British and the USA governments directly support the war in the Yemen by capitalising on the sale of weapons, arms and bombs.

It´s time for us all to stop looking the other way.  Donating money might help in the short term, but using your voice to lobby governments and hold them accountable for their actions is bound to have a longer lasting effect.

Don´t let governments use your tax to sell weapons. Don´t let your governments justify this heinous action in the name of national economic prosperity. Don´t let the childish behaviour of politicians distract you from the ‘real’ issues.  Don´t let the lawyers and academics cloud your sense of moral and ethical justice with legal and intellectual debate.  Perhaps, I don´t know, or don´t have the intellectual capabilities to truly understand all the issues.  And, quite frankly, I don´t care; selling arms for economic and political gain is just wrong.


What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life?

Robert Woldinger answers: What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it’s fame and money, you’re not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you’re mistaken. As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.

Listen to Robert´s thoughts on Ted Talks


The unexpected benefit of celebrating failure!

Astro Teller, Entrepreneur, inventor, author

“Great dreams aren’t just visions,” says Astro Teller, “They’re visions coupled to strategies for making them real.” The head of X (formerly Google X), Teller takes us inside the “moonshot factory,” as it’s called, where his team seeks to solve the world’s biggest problems through experimental projects like balloon-powered Internet and wind turbines that sail through the air. Find out X’s secret to creating an organization where people feel comfortable working on big, risky projects and exploring audacious ideas.

Listen to his thoughts on Ted Talks