Using Mindfulness in Language Learning

Using Mindfulness in Language Learning

17, June, 2024

Episode 216: Using Mindfulness in Language Learning

In this podcast, we’ll explore how incorporating mindfulness practices can deepen your connection to the English language, foster greater fluency, and cultivate a sense of presence and clarity in your learning process.

Join us as we delve into practical mindfulness techniques that can be seamlessly integrated into your language learning routine. From mindful listening exercises that enhance your comprehension skills to improving your confidence.


But mindfulness is more than just a language learning hack – it’s a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. We’ll explore how mindfulness can help you overcome language learning challenges, navigate cultural nuances, and develop a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you.

Whether you’re a beginner embarking on your English language learning journey or an advanced learner looking to refine your skills, this podcast is for you.

Recap & Takeaways

By cultivating mindfulness in your language learning practice, you’ll not only enhance your linguistic abilities but also cultivate greater presence, resilience, and compassion in all aspects of your life.

So, grab your headphones, find a quiet space, and join us on this transformative journey to mindful English fluency.

Subscribe now and let’s embark on this empowering adventure together!

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What are the advantages of using music to work on grammar

What are the advantages of using music to work on grammar

What are the advantages of using music to work on grammar?

1. Enhanced Memory Retention: Research suggests that music can aid in memory retention by creating strong neural connections. When grammar rules are set to music, learners may find it easier to recall and apply them in real-life language situations.

2. Increased Engagement: Music has the power to captivate learners’ attention and create an immersive learning experience. By incorporating music into grammar lessons, educators can boost student engagement and motivation, leading to more effective learning outcomes.

3. Improved Pronunciation: Music often emphasizes rhythm and melody, which can help learners improve their pronunciation and intonation. By singing along to grammatically correct lyrics, students can practice proper pronunciation patterns in a natural and enjoyable way.

4. Enhanced Vocabulary Acquisition: Many songs feature rich and varied vocabulary, providing learners with exposure to new words and expressions. By listening to and analyzing song lyrics, students can expand their vocabulary and deepen their understanding of grammatical structures in context.

5. Cultural Understanding: Music is deeply intertwined with culture, offering learners valuable insights into the customs, traditions, and values of English-speaking communities. By exploring music from different genres and time periods, students can develop a richer appreciation for the cultural nuances of the English language.

6. Positive Emotional Association: Music has the ability to evoke emotions and create positive associations with learning experiences. By incorporating music into grammar lessons, educators can create a supportive and enjoyable learning environment that encourages risk-taking and experimentation.

7. Increased Fluency: Singing along to songs can help improve fluency by promoting natural rhythm and flow in language production. Through repeated exposure to grammatically correct lyrics, learners can develop a greater sense of fluency and confidence in their speaking and writing abilities.

8. Cross-Cultural Connections: Music is a universal language that transcends cultural boundaries. By exploring English-language music from different cultures and regions, learners can develop a deeper understanding of global perspectives and forge connections with speakers of English around the world.

9. Personalized Learning: Music offers learners the opportunity to engage with language in a personalized and self-directed manner. By selecting songs that resonate with their interests and preferences, students can take ownership of their learning and tailor their study materials to suit their individual needs.

10. Long-Term Retention: Studies have shown that information learned through music tends to be retained for longer periods compared to traditional learning methods. By integrating music into grammar instruction, educators can help students build a solid foundation of language skills that will endure over time.

In summary, scientific evidence supports the use of music as a valuable tool for working on grammar for learners of English. By harnessing the power of music, educators can create engaging and effective learning experiences that enhance memory retention, increase engagement, improve pronunciation, and foster cultural understanding and fluency.

Could you pass the French Citizenship Test ?

Could you pass the French Citizenship Test ?

More than 100,000 people are granted French nationality every year.  This represents around 2.5% of foreigners living in the country and is well above the number in Germany (1,5 %) and Italy (2 %), but way under the UK (4,2 %) and Spain (5,2 %).

Since the Brexit referendum in 2016 many Brits living in France have applied for French nationality.

Before 2015, 386 British residents in France applied for French nationality. The year after the number rose to 1,363 and in 2018 it was 3173.

Why would they do this ? What are the benefits compared to permanent resident status ?

Well, having voting rights is a very important difference, as is the freedom to travel freely in the European Union. Other people have also mentioned being able to avoid long queues at airports and a greater sense of stability.

But it’s a long road to achieving nationality:

Firstly, getting a slot for the interview is difficult as the interviews are limited. Then you have to wait at least a year for the actual interview. In the meantime you have to gather together many financial and personal  documents getting copies and translations.

During the actual interview the documents will be scruperously checked, you’ll be asked questions about your motivation and some questions about France…. some easy, some not so easy.  

So how much do you know about France ? Enough to pass the citizenship test ? Try this quiz to find out !

Could you pass the test to gain French nationality?

These 40 questions cover just some of the possible questions in the Gaining French Nationality booklet. 

This quiz starts with the most frequently asked questions which most people could answer, and then it gets progressively more difficult with questions which people who have read the citizenship booklet should be able to answer,  and  then it finishes up with some really tricky questions that will really stump you ..... Bonne chance !!

For extra great questions, try these other fun quizzes too.

Ayurveda the science of life

Ayurveda the science of life

Ayurveda the science of life is an medicine system with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent.

Ayurveda is heavily practiced in India and Nepal, where around 80% of the population report using it.

Ayurveda therapies have varied and evolved over more than two millennia.

Therapies include medicines, special diets, meditation, yoga, massage, laxatives, enemas, and medical oils.

Medicines are typically based on complex herbal compounds, minerals, and metal substances (perhaps under the influence of early Indian alchemy or rasa shastra).

Ancient Ayurveda texts also taught surgical techniques, including rhinoplasty, kidney stone extractions, sutures, and the extraction of foreign objects.

The main classical Ayurveda texts begin with accounts of the transmission of medical knowledge from the gods to sages, and then to human physicians.

In Sushruta Samhita (Sushruta’s Compendium), Sushruta wrote that Dhanvantari, Hindu god of Ayurveda, incarnated himself as a king of Varanasi and taught medicine to a group of physicians, including Sushruta.

 Ayurveda has been adapted for Western consumption, notably by Baba Hari Dass in the 1970s and Maharishi Ayurveda in the 1980s.

Some scholars assert that Ayurveda originated in prehistoric times, and that some of the concepts of Ayurveda have existed from the time of the Indus Valley Civilization or even earlier.

Ayurveda developed significantly during the Vedic period and later some of the non-Vedic systems such as Buddhism and Jainism also developed medical concepts and practices that appear in the classical Ayurveda texts.

In Ayurveda texts, Doṣa balance is emphasized, and suppressing natural urges is considered unhealthy and claimed to lead to illness.

Ayurveda treatises describe three elemental doṣas viz. vāta, pitta and kapha, and state that balance (Skt. sāmyatva) of the doṣas results in health, while imbalance (viṣamatva) results in disease. Ayurveda treatises divide medicine into eight canonical components.

Ayurveda practitioners had developed various medicinal preparations and surgical procedures from at least the beginning of the common era.

Listen to Renu, an Ayurveda practioner in north India talk about Ayurveda.

Using a SWOT to enhance personal learning

Using a SWOT to enhance personal learning

Using a SWOT to enhance personal learning

One of the hardest things to do alone is to effectively carry out a skills self-evaluation before setting up clear objectives towards a Personal Learning Plan (PLP).

Knowing where one is at a given time is not an easy task due to a variety of reasons, one being the difficulty in being objective with oneself – the ability to take a step back and see things as they are, without being overshadowed by emotive aspects.

It also depends a lot on how we are as a person:

A confident person and a person with lower self-esteem, will have diametrically opposed difficulties in evaluating themselves both realistically and objectively.

Embarking on this task, alone is quite a challenging undertaking.

Using a SWOT to enhance personal learning – SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis can really help in gaining clarity and setting realistic objectives and is a simple tool that can be used alone, but which can be further exploited with the help of a coach.

The SWOT analysis is a simple matrix as shown below:

Strengths Weaknesses
Opportunities Threats

The idea is to start out by looking at where you are now in terms of your goals, aims and objectives and to discover where effort needs to be focued in order to reach your goals.

The process is reflective and involves a certain degree of metacognition (thinking about your own thinking) in order to be able to effectively accomplish the task.

In order to demonstrate the concept, let’s take Claire, a working mum, who wants to progress in her job – this is just to illustrate an example – it could be any subject and a SWOT can also be used in other contexts.

Using a SWOT to enhance personal learning is great for strategic planning and project feasibility studies as the focus is largely a 360° approach and very analytical, but one which entails action steps and change as a consequence.

Claire has a strong desire to progress in her job, but she has never really been able to succeed due to many barriers which systematically get in the way, and which she cannot seem to surmount, at least on her own.

She has never really been obsessively nor aggressively ambitious and has always put her family before herself, but now wants to move to a more interesting job with more responsibility.

When embarking on a SWOT, it is easy to fall into the trap of being able to fill the Weaknesses section easily and then be short of Strengths – it is sometimes dialectic, in as much as a Weakness can also be an Opportunity as a Threat can also become a Strength.

She has decided to start work with a coach to be able to get things moving as she has never quite got there alone and feels that this is a good opportunity for her, both in her life and in her career.

Her coach has asked her to fill in the SWOT matrix, which she does before they meet again.

STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES are known as Internal elements that either create or reduce value, whilst OPPORTUNITIES and THREATS are known as External elements that can form barriers to learning but that are often not fully controlled by the learner.

The questions to ask are: What am I good at / what qualities or skills do I possess?


What are the qualities / skills that I need to develop that I am aware of ?


How can I use my STRENGTHS to overcome my weaknesses, to move into new areas of learning?


What hinders or prevents me from reaching my goals?



Communication, Punctual, Telephone manner, Organised, Conscientious, Experience in the company, Motivated


IT Skills, Foreign Language skills, Time Management, Management skills, Lack of experience of team management Gets easily stressed, Lack of self-confidence


More responsibilities, Variety in new job, Learn new skills, Higher salary, Company car, be part of the decision making process


Lives far from work, Difficulty to travel, Family commitments, Age, etc.

Coaching a person through a SWOT analysis is both a negotiated and an awareness process, predominately made up of questioning, but essentially, it must be free of judgement or preconceived ideas.

The coach decides to use another tool to complement the SWOT process, a Confrontation Matrix, which is used to offset the Strengths with Opportunities and Threat, and the Weaknesses with the same, as shown below:


In the SWOT matrix, the coach helps the learner to offset STRENGTHS with OPPORTUNITIES / STRENGTHS with THREATS and consequently, WEAKNESSES with OPPORTUNITIES / WEAKNESSES with THREATS in order to produce a set of action steps or a PLP to help the learner progress to the next step, which, in this case, will be a set of decisions and plans to move into the new job.

The value of a SWOT is that it is a way of seeing where a learner is at a given point in time and where they need to be in the future.

It can help build a clear Learning Action Plan with specific goals, timescales and measurement variables built in.

If you intend using a SWOT analysis there are some do’s and don’ts to be aware of in order to guarantee the success of the process:

  1. Don’t expect people to be able to fill in the matrix without a clear briefing of how it will be used and the type of elements that it should include.
  2. Ensure that there is adequate thought and process time to be able to complete the matrix.
  3. Understand that the SWOT is ephemeral. That it could be filled-in today and change tomorrow. People, contexts and situations are constantly in a state of flux.
  4. Ensure that there are clear guidelines and boundaries on confidentiality. The only sharing is done by the learner – who can invite the coach/mentor to be present if they want to debrief their managers on the process and outcomes.
  5. Be aware that people with low self-esteem will naturally include more weaknesses than strengths – they will need help evoking their qualities, skills and qualities more than confident people.
  6. The process should be viewed as a positive and fun process, with benefits clearly set-out for the learner.
  7. Remember that the coach will learn a great deal from the process, which can be used as another building-block in the coach’s development.
  8. There needs to be a bond of trust between learner and coach/mentor, built before embarking on a SWOT
Effective Presentation Skills Tips episode 1

Effective Presentation Skills Tips episode 1

Effective Presentation Skills Tips episode 1

Effective Presentation Skills Tips episode 1

Effective Presentation Skills Tips episode 1 is part of a series of podcasts aimed at helping people to be more effective when presenting in front of an audience.

Sue and Chris talk about some of the pitfalls in presentations, including managing stress, information overload and why people deliver presentations.

Presenting information clearly and effectively is one of the key soft skills, if not the most important soft skill for life, and especially in business.

Getting your message or opinion across is essential, and, today, presentation skills are required in almost every field of professional life.

If you are a manager, a technician, an engineer, a student, business owner or whatever, you may very well be asked to make a presentation at some point.

This can be something that not all of us relish.

This series of podcasts are meant to help you avoid some of the common mistakes that some presenters make, so that you can get your message across effectively and engage with your audience..

Everything that Sue and Chris talk about is about common sense skills that can be applied by anyone in a presentation, there are no miracle answers, just pragmatic tips that actually work.

After all, there is no point being the best student, manager, technician or engineer in your organisation if you cannot effectively communicate what you know and convince others.

Preparation is the most important part of a successful presentation and is a part that is often neglected by speakers.

This is the crucial foundation and there are no short-cuts to excellence.

If you suffer from glossophobia, then this series of podcasts may help you a lot.

Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking.

The word glossophobia comes from the Greek γλῶσσα glōssa, meaning tongue, and φόβος phobos, fear or dread.

Find more at:

The worst invention to be pitched on Dragon’s Den

Stress gets to a presenter on Dragon’s Den

Even Steve Jobs couldn’t convince the Dragons

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