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  • A boy wearing headphones smiling listening to music
    • Just for fun
    • Language learning

    11 great English language song lyrics

    By Pearson Languages

    What is it about music that helps boost your English skills, confidence and pronunciation? A song can provide an emotional connection between the music and the listener, providing learners with new ways to express their feelings. Music and rhythm have also been shown to benefit memorization, which is a key component of learning.

    Here are some of our favorite lyrics to some of our favorite songs:

    1. The Beatles – Blackbird

    The Beatles are the best band to help you learn English. There are many Beatles songs with catchy melodies and simple lyrics, but Blackbird captures the Fab Four at their most poetic:

    Blackbird singing in the dead of night
    Take these broken wings and learn to fly
    All your life
    You were only waiting for this moment to arise

    2. The Cure – Friday I’m In Love

    This song is a great way to help learn the days of the week (that may be obvious). Love is also a very popular English word, so this one is for all the romantics out there.

    Always take a big bite
    It’s such a gorgeous sight
    To see you eat in the middle of the night

    3. Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud

    Another one for the lovers, Ed’s heartfelt lyrics are huge in the mainstream pop charts. Here, he tells the sweet story of long-time love in this ballad and he’s becoming one of the world’s most sought-after songwriters.

    Take me into your loving arms
    Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
    Place your head on my beating heart

    4. The Smiths – How Soon Is Now?

    This classic from Morrissey and co was voted runner-up in VH1’s Top Lyrics poll, for the lyrics: So you go and you stand on your own, and you leave on your own, and you go home and you cry and you want to die’ but it’s the opening lines of the song that are the most intriguing. Firstly, they’re adapted from George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch and include some rather clever double meanings – namely ‘son’ (sun) and ‘heir’ (air).

    I am the son
    And the heir
    Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar

    5. Neil Young – Heart of Gold

    This was Neil Young’s only number-one hit single from 1972’s Harvest album. He uses simple lyrics and melodies to tell his story of searching for true love.

    I’ve been in my mind
    It’s such a fine line
    That keeps me searchin’ for a heart of gold
    And I’m gettin’ old

    6. U2 – City of Blinding Lights

    U2 is the second-best band to help you learn English and frontman Bono is the second-best male artist to help you learn (edged out by Justin Timberlake). The chorus was inspired by a moment during a performance in New York City, when Bono saw the audience lit up and shouted, “Oh, you look so beautiful tonight!”

    And I miss you when you’re not around
    I’m getting ready to leave the ground
    Oh you look so beautiful tonight
    In the city of blinding lights

    7. The Police – Every Breath You Take

    These lyrics are a good use of repetition and rhyme, which is excellent for helping memorization. Most people consider this a love song, but that’s a common mistake. In 1983, Sting was interviewed for New Musical Express and explained: “I think it’s a nasty little song, really rather evil. It’s about jealousy and surveillance and ownership.”

    Every move you make and every vow you break
    Every smile you fake, every claim you stake, I’ll be watching you
    Every move you make, every step you take, I’ll be watching you

    8. Bob Dylan – Mr Tambourine Man

    Dylan’s whimsical, poetic lyrics might be difficult for an English language learner to interpret, but that doesn’t mean they’re not a pleasure to listen and sing along to.

    Hey! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
    I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
    Hey! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
    In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

    9. Madness – Our House

    This song takes you through the daily goings-on in a typical household in the 80s. This song has been around for a while now but is a story that most people can still connect with. This is an excellent song for understanding the concept of nostalgia!

    I remember way back then when
    everything was true and when
    we would have such a very good time
    such a fine time

    10. Otis Reading – (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay

    Sadly, Otis Redding lost his life in a plane crash shortly after this song was recorded, and it was released after his death. His lyrics are quite reflective, provoking both contentment and sadness. You can really imagine yourself sitting on the dock with his simple yet descriptive words.

    Sittin’ in the morning sun
    I’ll be sittin’ when the evening comes
    Watching the ships roll in
    Then I watch them roll away again

    11. Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows

    No list of standout turns of phrase would be complete without Leonard Cohen, a man whose songwriting process is so painstaking he’ll often spend years on the same song. When quizzed on his process, Cohen once said it often took so long because, “After a while, if you stick with the song long enough it will yield.” It’s interesting to note then that, even for a master of the English language, the words don’t always come easily. Everybody Knows remains a firm favorite among fans, with the majority of lines starting with the words ‘Everybody knows…’ It’s a lengthy song, but for the sheer beauty of its words and phrasing, the opening lines are a highlight:

    Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
    Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
    Everybody knows that the war is over
    Everybody knows that the good guys lost

  • A group of Young adult students in a library, looking in front of them smiling, some with their hands raised
    • English for work and migration

    10 things you need to know about studying in Canada

    By Pearson Languages

    Have you considered studying abroad? Moving to Canada to study? With more than 100 world-class universities across the country, there’s good reason to. From coast to coast to coast, it offers many international students a safe and supportive learning environment and the opportunity to work after graduation.

    Want to learn more? In this guide, we cover ten things you should know about studying in Canada:


  • Three business people walking through a hallway smilng
    • Business and employability

    The value of language skills in the workplace

    By Pearson Languages

    Language skills have become increasingly important in the workplace as the world becomes more globalized and connected. Having the ability to communicate effectively in more than one language is very valuable, and with English being a leading lingua franca for businesses across the world, language skills sit at the heart of business success.

    Here we highlight four top reasons why language skills are so valuable in the workplace.

    Enhanced communication

    Effective communication is the number one soft skill that employers look for, according to LinkedIn. Having strong language skills enables better communication with clients and colleagues, and also helps to work effectively with people from different cultures. It builds solid relationships and reduces frustration where customers or colleagues may otherwise feel that they are not understood or listened to.

    Career opportunities

    Having different languages on your CV can really help to stand out among other candidates. For some industries it is essential, such as tourism, where it is necessary to serve clients from different countries, and this is also true where companies serve clients in international markets.

    Where businesses are increasingly moving to hybrid working practices that can include teams spread across different countries and timezones, it is also becoming more of an expectation and advantage to be able to connect through a central language, such as English.

    Furthermore, having English language skills can provide employees with better networking opportunities, in particular through conferences, trade shows and social media platforms such as LinkedIn.

    Cultural awareness

    Learning a language opens you up to understanding more about other countries and cultures and being able to sensitively apply this in your interactions with others. This is critical in today’s diverse workplaces and is also a central part of the DE&I agenda of many companies.

    Personal growth

    Learning a new language can be a very enriching experience that enhances personal growth and skills development. Language learning doesn't just impact communication skills; it's also been noted that learning a language helps the brain process and remember information more efficiently[1], as well as developing new cognitive and problem-solving skills.

    Learning a new language requires discipline, dedication, and patience, which are qualities that can be applied to other areas of work and life.

    To summarise, language skills are highly valuable in the workplace and can open up new career opportunities for employees, as well as adding tangible benefits to businesses. Investing in language skills can increase an employee's value, and this can help them succeed in today's ever-evolving work landscape.

  • A woman sat outdoors reading a booklet
    • Teaching trends and techniques
    • Language teaching

    Seven ways to develop independent learners

    By Pearson Languages

    What is independent learning?

    Students who are actively involved in deciding what and how they learn are typically more engaged and motivated.

    That’s not surprising, because independent learners are extremely focused on their personal learning objectives.

    According to Philip Candy, independent learning is “a process, a method and a philosophy of education whereby a learner acquires knowledge by his or her own efforts and develops the ability for inquiry and critical evaluation."


  • A group of students in a classroom sat at their desks, smiling and looking towards their teacher at the front
    • Teaching trends and techniques
    • Inclusivity and wellbeing

    How can we encourage our learners to feel self-confident?

    By Jeanne Perrett

    Encouraging learners to feel more confident in the classroom is a problem often faced by teachers. Below are five simple things you can adopt in your classroom to encourage learners to feel self-confident.

    The small things

    Let’s start with the physical comfort of our students. Having the room adequately heated or cooled, asking if they would like the window open, making sure everyone has had some water or checking to see if anyone needs to go to the bathroom or wash their hands only takes a minute at the beginning of the lesson. It helps our children to know that their welfare is our concern.

    Then, make sure that everyone has their books and praise them for being organized or having their pencils sharpened and ready. These things seem trivial, but they count. They count because we are acknowledging the fact that it isn’t always easy to get up and ready for school every morning, day after day and that just managing that well is an achievement.

    So, starting by checking the small things helps to give our students a feeling of well-being before the lesson has even begun.

    Clarity and familiarity

    Be clear. Be clear about what you are all going to do and why you are going to do it. There is no such thing as ‘the obvious’ when it comes to learning. For example, you know that English is spoken internationally, but primary-aged students may have no concept of what ‘internationally’ means.

    They may never have considered the concept of language itself. So, we must state the ‘obvious’ and do it in ways which are meaningful to the children, through videos, pictures and relatable examples. This goes for everything; what a verb is, how we form negative statements, what question marks indicate and what today’s lesson aims are.

    Whatever they need to know, we need to state it clearly and when they have forgotten, we tell them again without ever making them feel that they ‘should’ have remembered. They forget – we remind. That’s our job.

    Then there is the familiarity of a routine. Apart from making us feel reassured that we know what is happening, routines also feed into the innate need for repetition. Young children want their favorite bedtime stories told to them exactly the same way each night and will pop their heads up to correct us if we do something differently. That repetition is part of practice; doing, saying or hearing something repeatedly until we are completely sure we know it.

    Most teachers don’t need reminding of this, but it might be helpful to remember that within that routine, one can also have surprises.

    A five-minute ‘something different’ slot could be built into your routine. This could be a fun quiz, game or song and dance. A straightforward way of managing this is to write the names of different ‘surprise activities’ on pieces of card, put them into a pot and let a different student pick a card each day.

    Room to maneuver

    We all feel more confident if we know that we are free to experiment and, within that experimentation, to make mistakes. It can’t be stated often enough that we will only ever learn something by doing it wrong, often many times, before we do it right.

    This message may be even more important nowadays when we see and hear perfect versions of whatever has been created - music, cookery and writing to name but a few - especially on social media.

    The learning process is not brought to our attention as often as the result, and the results are often digitally altered to look more impressive. We need to remind our children of this and make them feel good about their efforts, however small and halting.

    Peer pressure often contributes to a lack of self-confidence; you only need one mocking ‘friend’ to put you off. So, we must be vigilant in noticing little glances or whispered asides and praise the majority of the students who are quietly accepting or encouraging.

    Space to flourish

    Finally, confidence in our language learning abilities will soar when we know we can make the language our own and use it however we want.

    This goes beyond personalizing activities, which can be done at any level ("What’s your favorite food?" "Do you like tomatoes?") and is dependent on the teacher noticing and accepting what individual children are really interested in. So, for example, if we continue with the example of food, a sporty child might be interested in what famous sports people have for breakfast or which foods give us stamina.

    A child who is interested in nature might want to know what birds and animals eat. For this to happen, first we need to notice their interests, show enthusiasm for what they are finding out and encourage them to share what they have learnt with the class.

  • A girl holding a pile of books smiling in a room with large sheves of books.
    • Language teaching
    • Teaching trends and techniques

    How to bring Shakespeare to life in the classroom

    By Jeanne Perrett

    The 23rd of April marks the birth (and death) of William Shakespeare: poet, playwright and pre-eminent dramatist. His poems and plays have been translated into 80 languages, even Esperanto and Klingon.

    It is remarkable how Shakespeare’s iconic body of work has withstood the test of time. More than four centuries on, his reflections on the human condition have lost none of their relevance. Contemporary artists and writers continue to draw on his language, imagery and drama for inspiration.

    But, despite the breadth and longevity of his appeal, getting students excited about Shakespeare is not always straightforward. The language is challenging, the characters may be unfamiliar and the plots can seem far removed from modern life.

    However, with the right methods and resources, there is plenty for teenagers and young adults to engage with. After all, love, desperation, jealousy and anger are feelings we can all relate to, regardless of the age group, culture or century we belong to!
    So, how can you bring classic Shakespearean dramas like Hamlet, Othello and Macbeth to life?

    There are many ways for your learners to connect with Shakespeare and get excited by his works. Here we’ll show you three classroom activities to do with your students and some indispensable resources to ensure that reading Shakespeare is as accessible and enjoyable as possible!


  • A young girl meditating outside in a green space
    • Inclusivity and wellbeing

    Does mindfulness really work? And can it help your students?

    By Amy Malloy

    What is mindfulness?

    The term mindfulness refers to a state of awareness. This is arrived at by paying conscious attention to the present moment and observing it without judgment, with curiosity and compassion.

    It is often confused with meditation, but really they’re not the same thing at all. Meditating and focusing on the breath is just one of the ways we can consciously pay attention and become more aware of ourselves and the present moment. 

    You might be conscious that mindfulness has grown enormously in popularity over the last decade. As with anything trendy, it can be easy to build preconceptions and dismiss it before trying it yourself. So let’s break it down together and start with the basics.

    Why is mindfulness important?

    Have you ever been driving somewhere in the car and noticed that you’ve arrived at your destination without really noticing the journey at all? All your thoughts on the way were elsewhere.

    This is called being on automatic pilot. It’s a symptom of our mind and body’s brilliant way of turning our everyday processes into a routine. It means we don’t need to think about it every time we need our body to move, speak or function.

    Just as the scenery can pass us by on a journey, so too can our thoughts and reactions to the things happening around us. They happen in our minds and bodies without us noticing. Our conscious mind is focused on something in the future, the past, or in our imaginations instead.

    Being on automatic pilot is often very helpful. But it also comes with a significant downside. Without us even realizing, negative thought cycles can build up under the surface. They can make us feel stressed and anxious.

    When this happens our minds conclude that there is a threat and sounds the fight or flight alarm. This stress negatively affects our memories, ability to process new information, and ability to learn.

    This is where mindfulness comes in.

    Mindfulness helps us catch these habitual thought cycles in their tracks, allowing us to consciously notice negative thoughts. Rather than panicking, we become aware of how we are feeling – and why. We can therefore shift our relationship with our thoughts and emotions so that they don’t seem so challenging anymore.

    In a school setting, this can help students regulate the stress surrounding exam pressure. Students can also learn to sit more comfortably with the impermanent emotions of adolescence, which seemed all-consuming and everlasting at the time.

    What can our students learn from mindfulness?

    Over the past decade, neuroscientific research has discovered that our brains are immensely malleable. Every interaction we have in our day-to-day lives builds connections that affect how our brains and thoughts function. Just like building muscle through exercise, our brain forms new matter in the areas we use most.

    In short, we can either continue to cement the habits we’ve already formed or build brain matter in areas that encourage healthier, more positive functioning.

    Studies have demonstrated in many contexts that the brains of those who regularly practice mindfulness use different pathways to those who don’t: pathways which allow self-regulation of adrenaline and the stress responses and make it easier to experience external events without the accompanying narrative of critical thought.

    Even ten minutes of practicing mindful awareness a day has been demonstrated to strengthen these healthier pathways in the brain. Mindfulness has also been shown to improve concentration and focus, resilience, emotional regulation and sleep quality in children, teens and adults alike.

    How can we begin to practice mindfulness?

    We start by learning to focus attention on a physical anchor. This may be focusing on the body, the breath, or even using the senses to observe sounds, sights, tastes, touch etc. in our external environment. We then build the length of time we can focus, and grow accustomed to the mind wandering and returning to the point of focus.

    Then we learn to be curious about what we notice in the present moment and that we can observe without judging or forming an opinion.

    In time, it can be possible to learn to observe our relationship with the thoughts that come in and out of our minds. We can then find ways to accept difficult feelings and allow them to pass over without panicking or instinctively reacting.

  • Four business people sat at a desk, one is on a laptop and another is pointing at whats in front of them
    • Business and employability
    • Tips for careers using English 

    5 ways to politely say no in business English

    By Pearson Languages

    Knowing how to say no politely and professionally is important in the business world. Whether you're declining a job offer, rejecting a sales pitch, or turning down a project, saying no can be difficult. Especially if English is not your native language and you're new to learning business English.

    However, using the right phrases can make all the difference in maintaining positive relationships and avoiding misunderstandings. This blog post will explore five phrases to say no in business English politely.


  • A teacher sat in a classroom pointing and smiling,  surrounded by children sat on the floor
    • Language teaching

    5 ways to keep students attention in class

    By Pearson Languages

    Do you ever find it hard to keep students focused and on task? Young learners get easily distracted and it can be hard to find ways to keep them engaged.

    So what can we do to get, and more importantly, keep our students’ attention? Here are our five top tips.

    1. Plan a range of activities

    Young learners have relatively short attention spans. In the classroom, it is rare to have the whole class fully engaged in something for a long time, since the children will have different interests and levels, so it is essential to plan a number of activities for each lesson.

    The more variety you can include in the activities and tasks you plan, the easier it is to provide something enjoyable and relevant for each child. Choose short tasks and try to have a couple of extra activities up your sleeve if something you planned doesn’t work well. However, don’t worry if you don’t have time to do them all – you can always save them for a future lesson.

    2. Vary the dynamics and pay attention to the mood

    Another way of keeping students engaged is to mix up the classroom dynamics, having a combination of individual heads-down work, pair work, group work, and whole class discussions or games. When planning your lesson, consider how your students might feel at each stage. After doing some reading or quiet work, students may start to become restless, and this is the ideal time to get them up and moving about.

    While you are in class, pay close attention to the mood of the class. When you sense that students are becoming distracted or bored, change the dynamics of the activity.

    3. Use brain breaks

    Ever notice that students become lethargic and show a lack of interest? Why not try introducing brain breaks at strategic points in your lessons? Brain breaks are short physical activities or games designed to get the blood flowing and to re-energize students to help them get ready for learning. They range from short activities that last a couple of minutes, to longer breaks that may be suitable if your lessons last more than an hour.

    4. Peer teaching

    We can vary different aspects of the lesson using the previous strategies, but one thing that rarely changes is the role of the teacher! One way of keeping students involved is by giving them more responsibility and allowing them to take a more active role in their learning.

    Peer teaching completely changes the classroom dynamic and has students teach their peers while you take a step back. For primary classes, ask one or two students to take charge of a ready-made activity, e.g. one from your course book. They should give instructions, demonstrate, monitor as necessary, and check answers.

    When students are used to doing this, you can start to have them work in pairs or small groups to plan their own activities to use in class.

    5. Useful classroom management strategies

    Of course, nobody is perfect and there will be times when you lose students’ attention and they are not on task. For these occasions, you can use a wealth of classroom management strategies to regain the class's attention. Here are a few techniques:

    • Walk around the classroom as students are working. They are less likely to go off-task if you are available and watching.
    • Stand next to or behind individuals who are not paying attention, or move your position to a strategic point in the classroom where everyone, particularly those who are not listening, can see and hear you clearly.
    • Have a code word. Choose a word before the lesson and display it on the board. Tell students that you will sometimes call out this word during the lesson and they need to pay special attention. You could ask students to do an action e.g. stand up and turn around, and give points to the first student who does so.
    • Silence. An old but effective trick is to stand in silence at the front of the class and wait for everyone to stop talking.

    Your enthusiasm is key

    Finally, if we want our students to be motivated and engaged in our lessons, we must show enthusiasm for what we are teaching. The more lively and animated you are about the lesson, the more the students will want to join you and learn.