Neil McLaren

Neil McLaren

I live and work in Bratislava and have been teaching for more than twenty-five years. I’m the Social Community Manager in charge of the British Council’s global social media channels for learners.

Location Bratislava, Slovakia

Activity

  • Glad you liked it @robertatomasi ! You're right - adding the yogurt from the marinade to the sauce is just as good as using cream, and healthier! The only thing of course is, since it had raw chicken in it, you need to make sure you cook it thoroughly if you add it to the sauce. whereas the cream is just added at the end.

  • Good question @LyudmylaTkachenko . The reason I do it that way is because I don't have grill pan with a rack to put it on. You can't cook it in a baking tray etc. because the juice coming out of the chicken will mean it cooks in the liquid instead and it won't get that slightly charred, barbecue taste that real chicken tikka has. Real chicken tikka is cooked...

  • Yes @VeraA I love my TARDIS teapot too - it was a present from my daughter :-)

  • Yes Roberta, you can easily mix them yourself if you can't find them ready-made: https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/garam-masala-recipe-garam-masala-powder/

  • Exactly @HendAbuKrayem all the spices in it shouldbe available, like black and white pepper, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, coriander seeds, anise etc. Then you can mix it yourself the way you like it.

  • They're convenient @LauraWilhelm , and spices definitely, but sauces and pastes don't taste quite the same! Honestly, try this recipe - it's delicious! :-)

  • To be honest, @ShreyaSreedharan , the Andrew Scott version is one of my favourites of the bunch because it seems so fresh and natural and as these reviews from the Guardian and Time Out point out, really gives the impression that he is wrestling with these thoughts and articulating them for the first time aloud:
    'With “To be or not to be”, you feel Scott is...

  • Hi @TeresaHolmes , sorry about the delay, it's there now!

  • Apparently it was Elizabeth Bishop (quoted in this book of letters: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/125225.One_Art) who said that 'The best line of iambic pentameter is not in classical poetry but in W. C. Handy’s ‘St. Louis Blues,'. But Auden undoubtedly agreed, and was heavily influenced by blues traditions, as in Refugee Blues:...

  • Roald Dahl, who features in our Exploring English: Language and Culture course (https://bit.ly/EELanguageCulture) invented more than 500 words in his books @BrianHolborow , and while they may not have entered everyday use like Shakespeare's, there are certainly millions of people who grew up with words like 'scrumdiddlyumptious'!...

  • Good guess, but I'm afraid that's not it @AlvaroSolis ! I'm talking to everyone with both.

  • I'm sorry about that @ZacharyJones ! All the videos on this course were done by the educators at home during Covid restrictions, and none of us are professionals - it's what we cook at home! It's still delicious though!

  • That's right @TaleLady ! :-)

  • I agree @MuhammadJunaidAnwar ! I was concentrating on the filming so much I skipped any garnish! Green chillies would be great, or maybe some coriander leaves!

  • Hi @ShreyaSreedharan , I checked the links and there was a problem with the No Fear Shakespeare one, which I have fixed now. I couldn't find any problem with the Biography link though, and it opened fine for me, so maybe there is some geographical restriction. Try these resources instead:...

  • For anyone who hasn't seen it yet, @ShreyaSreedharan and @TatianaZaitseva , this clip is a good introduction and a great tie-in to what we've been looking at this week! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8M8qTclbho

  • Yes, it's not for everyone @GillMcKenzie , and I've seen a few comments from people who were unimpressed! But when I first saw it, it made me laugh out loud - which is rare! I think it's great that you can take something as undeniably dark and deeply serious as Hamlet, retain just the skeleton of the key plot points and transform it into an original black...

  • It's there now @MarianKaram !

  • This one @ElisabethWatkins : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q3EnDtbg8w
    And there is another version coming out next month from the Coen brothers, starring Denzel Washington: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDGvPEOxKpg

  • I have to say, I love the music and the way that one is filmed too - it creates a great atmosphere.

  • Hi Shreya, it IS also on YouTube - you can join here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oD9pnnALF3Q

  • Hi @RamMaghenthar , as I've menioned to a few people, you don't need to remember much in these tasks. You write the answers down at the same time as you listen or you make notes if you're not sure of something. The questions themselves also help. So it''s not like you listen to the recording and then have to remember eveything to answer the questions.

  • Don't worry @HarshitAgrawal - you don't need to remember them. You will write your answers down as you listen.

  • It's not really necessary to remember in the test itself @EuniceMarindany - you will answer the questions as you listen and the questions themselves will help you keep track.

  • Exactly @SantiagoOrdonez - it's all about practice.

  • Hi @astridA and @DaniNascimento , no I'm afraid not! As you enter the answers directly while you listen there is no need to transfer them, so the time at the end is shorter.

  • Don't worry @AnthonyS - although you may meet a range of accents in IELTS, none of them are particularly strong and all the speakers use standard English. So while there is some variation in the way some sounds and words are pronounced, it should not cause any problems.

  • Luckily IELTS uses more formal situations @CarolineLopes - business telephone calls, lectures, discussions between students on academic topics etc. so slang is not something you will have to worry about.

  • That's certainly true @HarshitAgrawal and why this course is so important to develop the skils and techniques that will make it easier for you to focus and concentrate on active listening.

  • That's right @YulyMak - these tips apply to all four of the Understanding IELTS courses - and really to all FutureLearn courses!

  • Claire is sadly not an educator on this course @MaggieHannan , but I'll pass on your message!

  • These Understanding IELTS courses are perfect for that @ArseniiTrofimov - from a teacher's point of view they really break down the skills required and how to approach and develop them systematically. So more than just helping you with the test format, they give you a very clear idea of what you need to focus on in class, and activities that you can use to do...

  • Perfec timing @SepidehJodeyri ! I hope you can set aside enough time to work through all the content this month - it will help you a lot, I'm sure.

  • It was @AndrzejMiller !

  • This is a good, clear introduction @ArtChannel , although I think you could problably make it a little shorter and clearer by redrafting the opening sentence.

  • This is a good first attempt @BeatrizEna . There are a couple of small grammar points to check, like your article at the start and a few spelling/typos. One other thing to be careful of is consistent style - 'mates' is very informal English and should not be used in this type of essay. But apart from those things, you have clearly given the context,...

  • Careful about your use of past tense in the opening sentence @RenelitoTangkay . You start out well, but do not mention your own position, which the task asks for. So I'd suggest hat after you have set the context, as you have done here, then you should think of a different way to continue the introduction.

  • Hi @BENSHI I think you have unfortunately done the same thing that we warned against in the article - that is, you have jumped straight in wih your opinion without providing context or outlining the problem. You can include your points here in your introduction, but you need to help the reader understand what you are talking about and why first.

  • Good sentence @ArtChannel , although perhaps another word than 'in' might be better?

  • This is a good start @sarahabbouchi , but be careful of tense!

  • You've done well with parts of these, especially with changing the parts of speech and selecting appropriate vocabulary, which is our focus here. However in terms of grammar I'd recommend looking at them a little more closely. 'Which are more affordable nowadays' is additional detail, which means it is a non-defining relative clause. What changes do you need...

  • There are several good parts in your sentences @CarlosCalagua , bu alsoa few things to consider. The first part of sentence 1 is good, but try again with the time expression from 'since' onwards. In your third sentence everything is good until the very end 'contact from one another' - can you try and say what you mean a little differently?

  • Well spotted @MariaMadalenaBatim , that is indeed true.

  • That's cerainly an important part of it @PeichaoMi

  • Absolutely @DaryaDobreykina

  • Thanks for sharing @LujainEzou . I also like this one: https://www.wordhippo.com/

  • If it works for you, that's great @LuisaMancilla ! But maybe for IELTS, you might want to cut back a little on chaos! :-)

  • Yes @PeichaoMi , it's good to focus, but rather than only reading shorter articles, I'd suggest starting by breaking up longer articles into smaller parts. Don't feel you have to read them in one step. Read part, make notes, choose some useful vocabulary, then put the article away and come back to it a bit later. Use your notes from the earlier section to...

  • Exactly @MariaMadalenaBatim ! They are all topics that anyone who follows news and current affairs will know something about.

  • Well, to be fair @robertatomasi , questipns on technoolgy very often focus on the social or economic effects of that technology, so it might not be so far as you think.

  • That's good to hear @FranciscoCoelho .

  • Yes @PeichaoMi , the resources we share on this course will help you with that. You're right that the secret is in making that step from reading about the topics and thinking about them in general terms to then thinking about the type of questions you might be asked about them, and how you would answer. Thinking about them in that way will also help you...

  • It certainly is @JoseLuisOlaGarcia !

  • The Economist is good for all the reasons you mention @DaryaDobreykina , and it's also useful for the Reading tests because the level of language and the style they use is quite similar to the type of articles you meet there.

  • Absolutely @YhonnyPorrasAnzola , and your speaking too.

  • Yes, I've been watching Explained too @AnastasiaCuliciu and it's definitely useful.

  • 7.0 David - make sure you select 'Academic' in the calculator, as the required scores are different.

  • The order does not matter in this type of question @AngelicaBorbon - only that you include the correct three letters. You can do it in any order.

  • Yes, these are all valuable lessons to learn @AngelicaBorbon - you'd be surprised how many people lose points for exactly these things.

  • I think you might have selected General rather than Academic in the calculator @AnastasiaCuliciu . @ArtChannel is right - 35/40 is 8.0 in the Academic test (bt 7.0 in General) https://www.ieltspractice.com/ielts-score-calculator.php

  • That's an excellent score @PriyaRafferty

  • That's still a good score @BouchraESSADDOUQUIESSLIMANI . But yes, the difference between False and Not Given is the one to be careful of!

  • 32/40 would be 7.0 @DaniNascimento, which is a very good score - you can check here: https://www.ieltspractice.com/ielts-score-calculator.php
    I'm glad to hear the course has helped, and if you keep practising with the resources we've shared I'm sure you'll be even more confident by the time you take your test!

  • That's an excellent result @ArtChannel !

  • You can check what band score you would get in Listening and Reading here: https://www.ieltspractice.com/ielts-score-calculator.php

  • That's certainly not a bad score @ThuNguyen ! It's equivalent to 6.5, which is the score most universities ask for, so I'd say you are definitely on track!

  • Great! I hope you get on well.

  • That's a good point @YelyzavetaZavadetska and it certainly does happen.

  • I'm afraid that depends on the situation in each test centre @robertatomasi . Many test centres us wireless headphones now, but not all.

  • You can try both while you're practising @GentilPessoal and see how you feel then.

  • I think that's probably true for many people @CinthiaAibar . The last 18 months or so has really changed a lot of people's relationship with technology.

  • Oh no @LucasQueiroz ! That was not our aim - we wanted to make you feel more relaxed by seeing exactly what to expect! Don't worry!

  • Good to hear @UdokaKafor !

  • Yes, you are provided with everything you need @VitóriaPellizzari .

  • That's great to hear @MadonnaSpencer - that's the result we were hoping for!

  • Good luck @SofiaSciacovelli ! I know you've worked hard and commented all the way hroigh the course so well done! I hope it has helped you a lot, and as you say I hope you and everyone on the course will get the results they need!

  • No, none at all @NandiniBhattacharya . The format, content and assessment are exactly the same.

  • Good luck @PaulChakafa ! I hope all our advice has helped.

  • I'm afraid you will @VenturaJacquelineAstorgaCerda ! If reading is not part of your daily life then it's essential that you start practising it as soon as possible.