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by Aziz Obidov -

Happy International Women's Day! Let's celebrate some of the brilliant female pioneers, leaders and creators driving change, from conservation to gender equality.

The sea is a ‘white space’, said Zandile Ndhlovu, the founder of Black Mermaid Foundation and the country’s first black African freediving instructor. In addition to a systemic cultural fear of the sea, she explains that barriers stem from the inherited “historical trauma of the transatlantic slave trade” and apartheid when black South Africans were “forcibly removed from their ocean-facing homes”. Her workshops inspire children from Soweto to become ocean guardians.

Silvia Dan, Romanian folk singer, 80, has released her debut album, Interbeing, to help regenerate the landscape that inspired her grandmother to write this traditional music. She lives in the remote village of Nucsoara, surrounded by forests inhabited by lynx, wolves and bears. But this ‘Amazon of Europe’ is threatened by illegal logging. Album sales fund a project called Forests without Frontiers that plants native trees that are protected by law. “It has been devastating to see the destruction, and this project gives me hope,” said Dan. 

While studying industrial design and technology at London’s Brunel University, Solveiga Pakštaitė, created a way to reduce food waste by updating the expiry date system and creating Bump (first called Mimica Touch) which is a plant-based gel incorporated into a bottle cap or product label that changes to a bumpy texture when food spoils. She has developed labels for red meat and dairy, seafood, juice and smoothies. “The fact this came from a university project and we’ve got a waiting list of customers in the food industry makes me incredibly proud,” said Pakštaitė. Trials show that the Bump Cap enabled 97 per cent of households to use orange juice for up to six days longer than they would have with current guidance.

Joeli Brearley, Pregnant and Screwed. Being sacked the day after she told her boss she was pregnant inspired Joeli Brearley to highlight the discrimination of working mums and campaign for women’s rights. She launched her charity Pregnant Then Screwed on International Women’s Day in 2015, and provides help and support to thousands of women through a free advice hotline, useful resources, a mentor scheme and workshops. Brearley, who published her book The Motherhood Penalty last year, believes women need support to access the justice they deserve as much as they need help “to recover from the mental health impact of discrimination”.

What is language to you?

by Aziz Obidov -

Language, unlike breathing or eating, is not biologically inherent; it is not instinctively present. 

The infant must learn the power and uses of language; he must gain it by conscious effort and by discipline. Sound by sound, word by word, the child acquires this wondrous vehicle for making his or her wants known, for expressing feelings and thoughts, for understanding what others wish him to know or do. And, constantly expanding and improving command of language as the baby grows into an adult, develops the capacity for critical thought and effective communication on the most abstract and sophisticated planes. Language, as a social convention, thus becomes one of the prime characteristics of an individual rising above a simple animal existence.

In human language is to be found the true mirror of the individual's true character. If one's eye is a mirror to a person's Soul, then one's lexicon is an index to a person's ideas and passions, inventions and achievements, history and hopes. As individuals extend the horizon of their knowledge, they extend simultaneously the range of their language by devising new words, new meanings, new symbols.

By learning the English Language you, too, can simultaneously expand the horizon of your existing knowledge, and become more articulate at expressing your wants, feelings and thoughts.

Adopted from RHDEL.

Best learning methods to learn English fast

by Aziz Obidov -

Based on my personal experience, the best way to learn English, or any language for that matter, is by listening to songs or words with melodies in English. There is something about harmonious music that makes learning more natural or organic. 

Here is what I'd suggest: 

  1. pick a song in English, 
  2. listen to it without lyrics, then 
  3. read and translate the lyrics without listening to the song, 
  4. listen to the song again and read the lyrics along with the song, 
  5. listen to the song without reading the lyrics again,
  6. listen to the song and read the lyrics along again,
  7. listen to song and try to sing along.

Congratulations! You have just learned to speak English in one song. Try a different song, learn new words, sing along, mimic the pronunciation, keep practicing. Right about 50-70 songs later, you will have developed proper audio sensitivity to recognize certain words by sound - this is super important! This is how babies learn to speak - by learning to sound out words and recognize sound patterns. Then babies (and you should too) start associating sound patterns with objects based on commands and reactions received from English speakers.

Best regards,

Aziz Obidov, Teacher @ www.ELL.School