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Donegal English Language School
Learn the Language, Live the Adventure
Learn the Language, Live the Adventure


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DELS scooped the award for “Best Established Business of the Year 2015” at the Enterprising Donegal Business Awards. The award was presented by Bobby Kerr of Insomnia. The Enterprising Business Awards which are run by the Donegal Enterprise Board recognise and celebrate the achievements of Donegal businesses and the vital contribution they make to the Irish economy.

“We were up against some exceptional companies in our category, so it’s a huge achievement for us to have taken home this award. I would like to say a big thank you to our entire team for their commitment to excellence and a special thank you to all of our international clients who choose us for their language learning experience” Gina Witherow, Director DELS.
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Master The Art Of Progressing In English With These 5 Tips

Learning a language is like going on a journey. At the beginning we make good time, as we know where we are going. We follow the directions and the instructions and make progress. We become more confident and are surer of ourselves and can put what we have learned into practice without too much difficulty. But, as with any life journey, the way gets more difficult and we may feel that we are getting nowhere fast. We find it harder to pass to the next level and we start to doubt whether or not we will ever be able to reach our goals. Don’t despair…this happens to most of us. The trick is to keep going forward, no matter how hard it seems to be. If you persevere, you will succeed and the end of your language learning journey will become a very achievable goal.
Here are some things you might find helpful if you feel you are stuck in a language learning rut.

1. Put what you have learned into practice on a daily basis. Don’t just practise in the classroom, if you don’t use it, you will lose it.

2. Question everything. Don’t be put off by something you don’t understand. Make “why” and “how” your favourite words. Ask your teachers, your colleagues and your friends to explain things to you.

3. Challenge yourself. Don’t just sit there and say “I can’t do this”. Remember, when it comes to achieving anything in life, there’s no such word as can’t. Make your new mantra “Can I do this? Yes, I can”, and keep pushing yourself on.

4. Try to put what you are learning into a real-life context. Use the resources around you. Once you see how something is used in an everyday situation, it makes it easier to remember and use it appropriately.

5. If at first you don’t succeed, keep on trying. Don’t give up. With work and perseverance you will eventually see the light at the end of the tunnel and your language learning journey will be back on track.
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Writing In English Doesn't Have To Be Hard. Read These 8 Tips

Writing is hard, especially if the language is not your mother tongue. It is always difficult when we want to put our thoughts down on paper, or when we have to write an essay for an exam or a formal letter. We feel self-conscious and over-anxious when it comes to putting pen to paper, but when you think about it… most of us write every day. We write emails, we post things on Facebook, some of us may have to write reports for work or for academic purposes. The skill of writing in English is no different to writing in your own language, it’s just a matter of practice.
When it comes to writing in English, you might find some of these tips helpful.

1. Identify the format you want to write in. this will help you to choose the appropriate layout, vocabulary, structures and style. 

2. Familiarise yourself with the differences between formal and informal English. This will be a big help when it comes to exams and/or writing reports, letters and emails.

3. Vocabulary, vocabulary, vocabulary!! The more words you have at your disposal, the easier it is to express yourself.

4. Make sure you are familiar with the tools you need to write successfully.  There are standard phrases, techniques and functional devices which will help you produce a clear, cohesive piece of writing, no matter what the style. Learn them. Your teacher will be able to help you with this.

5. Planning is key. Always give yourself time to plan out what you are going to write. A mind map is a very useful tool, as it helps you to keep your thoughts in order which enables you to write more cohesively and it stops you from going off the point.

6. Don’t over-complicate what you are trying to say. This can lead to confusion on the part of the reader.  A simple, clear statement can get your meaning across just as effectively as a more complex one.

7. Learn how to produce the types of writing that are most common in real-life situations, formal and informal emails, letters of application etc., official forms in which you may have to produce a short paragraph related to your personal situation, reports for work or articles connected to your studies. These are all things that we have to produce on a regular basis. Once you know how to produce them effectively, it will be much easier to express yourself clearly and cohesively.

8. Practice makes perfect. Write as much as you can - write a diary or a blog, email everyone you know, write an article or a report. Put what you have learned into practice.            
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                          How 5 Things Will Change The Way You Approach Listening In English.

Listening and understanding is probably one of the most difficult things to come to grips with when you start learning a language. There are so many things that have to be taken into consideration, the speaker’s accent, the speed at which they speak and of course, vocabulary.

We all know what it’s like; sometimes it just feels like we are being hit by a solid wall of noise. We all know how frustrating it is when, by the time we’ve figured out what’s being said, we realise that the conversation has moved on to something completely different. I can’t count how many times I’ve looked blankly at people, or just nodded in, hopefully, the appropriate places during a conversation, but, trust me, it really does get easier.

Here are my top 5 things to think about when it comes to improving your listening.

1. Never feel self-conscious about asking someone to repeat what they have said, or to speak more slowly. They would probably have to do the same in your language.

 2. Listen out for key words in the conversation. This will make it easier to follow the gist of what is being said.

3. When we are talking to someone, it isn’t an option to look up words we don’t know all the time. If you hear something you don’t understand, either ask the person speaking to explain, or make a mental note of it and ask your teacher in your next class.

4. Build that vocabulary list. Words are our friends. The more vocabulary we have, the easier it will be to follow what is being said. Try to add at least one new word to your list every day.

5. Don’t restrict listening to class time. Be pro-active. Put yourself out there, talk to as many people as you can, in as many different situations as you can. Listen to music or watch DVDs with the subtitles in English. Watch TV. This might be a little more difficult at first, but it will get easier. Remember, practice makes perfect!!
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Presentation disasters – a thing of the past.
Presentations can be quite daunting, particularly in another language.
Speaking in public does not have to be a disaster. If you put time and effort into planning it and choose your topic carefully, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t carry it off successfully. Making a presentation does not mean that you will automatically forget everything you thought you knew, it gives you the opportunity to put everything you know into practice.

Here are my top ten tips that can help us make presentation disasters a thing of the past.

1.Choose a topic that you know about and that you feel confident talking about.

2.Preparation is vital. Make sure you are familiar with the vocabulary and structures you need to do the job well.

3.When you are preparing your presentation ask for help or input from friends, colleagues or your teacher. Sometimes an outside perspective can help you keep on track.

4.Don’t over-complicate what you are trying to say. Keep your presentation clear and to the point. Use language you are comfortable with and, where appropriate, use personal anecdotes or examples to get your point across.

5.Practice makes perfect. Present your talk to some friends and ask for their feedback. Take on board what they say, after all, they represent the people who will be listening to the real thing.

6.You are not a parrot! There is absolutely no need to memorise every single word. If you recite your presentation from memory, you sound stiff and unnatural when you speak. Use cue cards to help you remember the most important points and don’t worry about making a mistake, even the most seasoned public speakers make mistakes.

7.Be careful of repetition. Sometimes we can, without realising it, say the same word or phrase over and over again. This really can be counter-productive as people will focus on that word or phrase and not on what you are actually saying.

8.Be aware of how you say things. Word stress, sentence stress and intonation not only make what you are saying more interesting, they are also useful for getting your point across.

9.Make a connection with your audience. Make them feel they are being talked to and not at. A personal connection really helps, use examples and/or anecdotes that they can relate to. It makes them feel involved and consequently, they will be much more receptive to what you are saying.

10.Relax and be confident. You know what you are talking about. If you are enjoying your presentation, your audience will enjoy it too.

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Top 5 Pronunciation Tips
Pronunciation is probably one of the most difficult things to master for English language learners, phonetic symbols, silent letters, words that look the same but sound completely different and words that look different but sound the same. Why can’t we just say what we see?
Unfortunately, we can’t. English is not a phonetic language so we have to learn how to say things correctly if we want people to understand us when we speak. That doesn’t mean we want you to lose your accent when you speak English. Good pronunciation will enable you to be understood no matter what accent you have, you don’t have to adopt a “standard BBC accent”.
Here are some things I’ve found helpful when it comes to pronunciation.
1.Tongue twisters are a fun way of dealing with problematic sounds. They enable you to practise in a relaxed fashion, which helps you to become more confident with the sound or sounds in question.

2.The phonetic alphabet is a very useful tool. Once you are familiar with it, the problems that are created by silent letters etc are greatly reduced and there are a lot of fun activities that can be used to practise.

3.Sometimes I use transcription for pronunciation. I ask students to record themselves reading a short paragraph and then I ask them to play it back and write down exactly what they hear .This can be a very useful exercise as you can then compare it to the original written paragraph. It really helps you to realise the importance of pronunciation and helps you to be proactive in your improvement.

4.I often use games and activities when teaching pronunciation, for example, one of my favourites is getting students to write code messages using phonetic symbols and getting their partner to decipher them. It’s fun and a good way of enabling you to practise what you have learned.

5.Try to listen to as many different accents as you can, watching TV can help you there. This allows you to see that an accent isn’t an issue if words are being pronounced properly and reduces the temptation to speak in an unnatural and stilted fashion.
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