Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason

I began my English teaching career in China 14 years ago. On my return to the UK I completed my MA TESOL and have since then specialised in teaching EAP as well as writing course materials.

Location I live in the beautiful Lake District in the north of England. It is famous for its mountains (including England's highest mountain) and lakes. I enjoy hiking and wild swimming.


  • Looking forward to working through the final week with you so you can complete your presentation.

  • I look forward to your contributions. :-)

  • Definitely. And what you will use it for. For example if you are using the text as evidence for an essay you will need to read it very carefully.

  • Hope you found the tips helpful.

  • Hope you find this useful. :-)

  • That's a great point Pieter. Art tells us lots about how life used to be. It's a great source of information. For example, the Dutch masters used objects as symbolism to tell us about the subjects of their paintings. The Arnolfini marriage is a great example.

  • Yes they are. Abstracts really help you to get an overview of an article to decide if you it is useful.

  • Great ideas. :-) Google scholar is also a really useful sources as it narrows down the search to academic sources.

  • I did!

  • Great choice of painting. I really liked the style and the colours. You started your description well by giving factual information about the painting. I can see you've done your research. You might also mention where you found the information. Just a few small grammar/pronunciation mistakes. E.g. nostalgia (don't emphasise 'i') and 'according to her own...

  • Thanks Maria. I'll have a listen now. ☺

  • Do you think you'll be able to have a go at using some of the key phrases?

  • Poor bull indeed! It's a powerful sculpture isn't it?

  • They are interesting words! And do you think they are used to discuss facts or opinions?

  • Would you like to choose one of the artworks and explain it in more detail using the questions?

  • Yes, that's true. So, facts are not easy to argue with whereas opinions are more subjective.

  • Welcome to week 4. Keep up the good work Maria. It seems to be just you and me at the moment! Hopefully others will be brave enough to join in. I am happy to be joining you on your learning journey. Your feedback from this first presentation of the course will be very valuable. :-)

  • Great plan Maria. :-)
    So, you've started with factual information then you share a painting and describe it. This works well. You might make a clearer link to the fact about her being a 'notorious feminist' and her paintings (are they particularly political?). That would be interesting if you can fins something out about that.

  • Good question Maria. I might answer 'colours are also used to evoke emotion. So, more subdued moody colours may potray a more sombre mood'.

  • Would you suggest that the slides should not be too colourful and 'busy' as as not to distract?

  • I think mind maps are not always so easy to understand if you didn't produce them yourself! The table is certainly clearer to read.

  • Is Frida Kahlo an artist you particularly admire?

  • That's true. So presenters might have to use various strategies to take into consideration audience diversity. e.g. explain any terminology/acronyms that might be difficult to understand, include time for questions throughout the presentation etc.

  • What do you think makes a presentation visually attractive Maria?

  • I'm looking forward to working through this week with you. :-)
    I think the terminology will be easier to understand this week bit if any art terms come up that you don't know just ask me or have a look at this website:

  • Yes it might be easier with science subjects.

  • Do you think Spanish uses more stress and intonation that English?

  • It really helps doesn't it? This is worth remembering for when you have to present talks of your own.

  • Well done Pieter. Do you need any of these points explaining further?

  • That's true. Which words did you find difficult?

  • The terminology does take a bit of getting used to. Can I help you with any of the words?

  • There are common symbols so those meanings can be shared. You won't be able to share meanings of your own symbols but they will still be useful to you.

  • Which type of visual do you prefer? I like mind maps but they are not everyone's first choice! Note making methods are very personal.

  • Is that the method you usually use or do you prefer a different one?

  • Good question. Some pictures (e.g. trees) might include two of the terms?

  • Well done! You were first past the post. ;-)

  • Great. Glad these were helpful Maria. There will be another course starting in March looking specifically at essay writing which you might find useful.

  • Remember you can use whatever software you like to record your talk. There's no need to send ages on it. It's just to help you remember what you've learnt and to practice recording a talk which will help for later in the course. ☺

  • Good point Maria. It is possible to admire a work of art but not actually like it personally. When I studied art history I found this happened quite a bit. I ended up finding out about lots of works of art that I would never usually have encountered.

  • The flags are great aren't they? Speak colourful. He explains the history well u think. He brings it to life. E.g. what you have to imagine is...

  • Glad you liked it! ☺

  • Do you find that the more varied the lecture is (e.g. informative and entertaining) the more engaging it is?

  • Me too.

  • I use a thesaurus when writing essays (and I'm a native speaker!). I find it really helps withe paraphrasing, especially when I'm tired and finding it hard to think! ☺

  • Definitely! You have an advantage. ☺

  • Have you used quizlet before? I find it helpful as you can add pictures to help you remember things. The academic word list is also really helpful as it will help you improve your reading as well as your writing.

  • Yes it would.

  • What's your particular field of study Pieter?

  • Synthesis is a good one. Can anyone have a go at putting this word in a sentence of their own?

  • Great start. What do you think of her work?

  • It definitely helps to know the words related to your discipline. Even as a native speaker I had to learn the words related to my discipline (art history) so I could use them confidently. I kept a notebook for new concepts and words related to my discipline to help me. I still remember the feeling of relief when (in my 2nd year) I finally read an academic...

  • I look forward to hearing which words were new/useful. ☺

  • You sound to have a very interesting job Isabel. Do you and your colleagles collaborate much? Have you found some similarities/dinferences between the different artists forms? .

  • A very succinct and clear definition.

  • Aah. I see. So comic books are popular in Argentina? Are they seen as an art form?

  • Thanks Maria. ☺ are comic books a particular interest of yours? I agree the illustrations on them can be wonderful. We have a comic arts festival in my home town (kendal, cumbria) each year that is very popular so clearly it's a growing art form.

  • And a warm welcome from me too! Like Anna I am an Open University tutor specialising in Lunguistics and Academic English. I've been teaching EFL for 13 years along with materials writing and training TEFL teachers. Anna and I will be very happy to help you with any questions you might have as you work through the course materials.

  • Well done for your hard work Oksana. You've included lots of key points. Just one small point: your last sentence should be 'problem with drinking water will be solved'.

  • Great idea. What would be a good way to raise awareness do you think?

  • Thanks Nadal. You make some great points. Just one minor point: we are all responsible for solving....(for + verb +ing) . ☺

  • Good point Rabab. Feedback always needs to include good points too.

  • It can be really hard to decide what to leave out. Editing academic assignments is a painful process! I suggest starting at sentence level. Can your sentences be more concise? Have you repeated any information? Also look at your paragraphs. Could you summarise the evidence so you can shorten it? Good that helps.

  • Well done for including statistics and referencing.

  • Good use of evidence Luz. Now you've got your idea to gather you can think about how to group them into paragraphs.

  • Very clear Mary. I like the way you've used bullet points to make it clearer. ☺

  • Very detailed. Well done.

  • Great plan. Just remember to add a bit of background information about the topic at the beginning before youthe aims and outline.

  • A detailed plan. Well done Luz

  • Thanks for your comment Mary. Conclusions in English tend to be fairly brief. Sum up main points, answer question directly, speculate as to what may happen in the future etc. We don't tend to include evidence or new infornation so they are not that long.

  • That's interesting Eva. Do you find that sentences in English tend to be shorter and more concise?

  • How do you think that law might work? Doespecially saying have any similar laws in their country? For example I think in Australia people are advised not to take a shower longer than 5 mins

  • Thanks Fatima. Do you mean the goverment should 'educate' people...?

  • I agree that this is a good way to solve the water problems Mohamed. By the way 'solution' is a noun so it is better to say 'I think we can solve'.

  • Good point Victoria.

  • Glad you found it useful. ☺

  • Very comprehensive notes Viviana.

  • Hmm. Did anyone else have this problem?

  • Have you used the interactive transcript in Ted? This is really useful.

  • Great idea. Listening to the radio/Ted talks etc round the house also works well. BBC Radio 4 is a good one to listen to as it has lots of talking!

  • I agree Abdullah. You'll need to a well permission but this is a great way to consolidate your learning. Reading about the topic to prepare yourself for any difficult vocabulary also helps.

  • Preparing well is definitely a good idea Zahid. What do you (or others) do to prepare for lectures?

  • Good use of tenses Fatima. It can be tricky deciding what tense to choose when describing graphs. You've used the present simple to describe the topic 'the graph shows' and then the present perfect tense for the figures 'has increased' as this started in the past but is still happening. Just one thing: a more formal word for 'big' is significant/considerable.

  • Well done Zhongqun. You've started with a general statement to introduce the topic then added figures to support your claims. Just a small point. Rather than 'on the other side' you can say 'on the other hand'.

  • Thanks for sharing everyone. You've found some excellent sources here and I'm sure you've found it useful to see what other students have found.

    Keep the ideas coming.


  • Great reasons for reliability Jorge. You've focused on the organisation, year and their motivation. Well done. :-)

  • To get around the problem with Wikipedia's reliability you can scroll to the bottom of a page and find the original article the information came from. Then you can search for that and read the original using that as your reference. Hope that helps!

  • Thanks for the great links Eva! :-)

  • Do any of you use Google scholar?
    This is a good way to make sure that the information you search for is a bit more trustworthy and academic.

  • Can you add a bit more detail Dina? Is this the same for all of China?

  • I really like the way you've added evidence in the middle of your paragraph to support your point Margarita. :-)

  • We will pop in and give feedback on some of the paragraphs (unfortunately there isn't time to look at all of them).
    Hopefully you will find it useful to read feedback on others' paragraphs too.

    If you have any specific questions please don't hesitate to post them.


  • Hi Yadanar,

    Where do you live? Perhaps you could develop the paragraph by giving more local details? Also, make sure sentences are complete. e.g. 'In a rural would be useful to have a more consistent water supply'. Including 'where' means you need to include a extra clause/part to the sentence.

    Thanks again for your response! :-)

  • It's wonderful to see that so many of you have had a go at paraphrasing.
    Paraphrasing is a difficult skill for non-native speakers (and native speakers!) as it requires a wide vocabulary and a good understanding of the text. However, it is a skill that gets better with practice. Here are some tips that might help:
    Get used to paraphrasing by making notes...

  • Yes, learning Academic vocabulary is really important as this will be of great use when you start reading for university. It will also help your essays and reports to sound more formal and professional. also has some great vocabulary activities based on the Academic word list.

  • Great ideas everyone!
    I'm pleased so many of you find Quizlet useful. I use this for teaching and I think the games are great (especially 'scatter'). I've also found memrise useful for my own learning. I did a Mandarin course with the OU and used Memrise alongside it to force me to review vocabulary!
    It is great that we can use technology to our advantage....

  • My home town also got hit by floods. It was much the same as yours. Lack of investment in flood defences was a major cause.
    Here is a video:

    It was devastating for local people, especially old people and families who were out of their...

  • Your comments are very thought-provoking. Lots of you rightly say that water is life. This is true but water can also be destructive can't it? Have any of you been affected by flooding for example? Maybe you can discuss how water needs to be managed so that we can make the best use of it?
    Any comments much appreciated. :-)

  • Welcome everyone! It's great to see so many of you have already posted an introduction to yourself. I am one of the moderators on the course and I look forward to working with you. If you have any questions as you get started please don't hesitate to ask. Enjoy the course! :-)

  • Hi Javad.
    I don't think there is space to post your whole report but if you post a section of it (choose a section that you want help with) we are happy to give you some feedback. You might like to post it in the previous Step. I'll keep a look out for it. :-)

  • It's great that so many of you have given and received feedback on your report. It looks like you found this a really useful part of the course. :-)