Covid-19 series part 5 : the “new” workplace, a dream or a nightmare?

Covid-19 series part 5 : the “new” workplace, a dream or a nightmare?

The lockdown is now being partially lifted in many countries and we are all adapting to the “new normal”. It’s not only office based jobs that have had to adapt to home working but also jobs which are traditionally more “people” based. It seems that overnight there has been a major attitude shift as a huge quantity of work tasks have been transferred on-line. But how easy is it to re-organise the working day to these new  Covid-19 conditions? Is working from home a dream or a nightmare for you ?

Listen to these 5 people talk about the ups and downs of home/remote working.

Stephen has had to adapt his car showroom to new Covid-19 guidelines. What does he say about the new regulations regarding test driving a prestige car ? 

Anne is a lawyer, who is conducting her legal work on-line. What does she say about assessing the body language of witnesses in a trial?

Philippe as a doctor is doing consultations on the phone. What does he say about his patients’ attitude to remote consultations? 

Victoria as a primary school teacher is having to find creative ways to engage her young students. What does she mean when she says her experience has been a “mixed bag”?

Cyann as a high school student is not a huge fan of on-line lessons. What reasons does she give ?

Before you listen take a look at some of these points that several business studies have identified as the biggest struggle people have with remote working. What is your experience?

Unplugging after work


Communication with colleagues

Distractions at home

Being in a different timezone to colleagues

Staying motivated

Finding reliable wi-fi

Do you have other reasons ?

Learn English with Emmanuel Macron

Learn English with Emmanuel Macron

Learn English with Emmanuel Macron

Learn English with Emmanuel Macron can be seen in two ways : as a parody of Emmanuel Macron speaking English, or the way that it was intended, that is to help people get over their fear of speaking English.

We hear lots of people who are afraid of speaking English as they make mistakes and have a strong accent.

Well, we say, so what! If you do not dare to speak English because of this, you are missing out on so much – including not improving your English skills.

As you can see, Emmanuel Macron makes mistakes and he also has a strong French accent, but this does not stop him communicating well and getting his message across.

I cannot think of another French president who communicates so well in English – so Well Done M. Macron – we hope you inspire others to forget the small errors they make, go over the fact that they have an accent and just start communicating, and most of all, enjoying speaking English.

And remember – If you are not making mistakes, you are not learning!

London Tube or Paris Metro which is best?

London Tube or Paris Metro which is best?

London Tube or Paris Metro which is best?

In this podcast Chris and Sue compare their favourite underground systems; London and Paris. Sue loves the London underground whereas Chris is a fan of the Paris metro. Why, Why, Why ???

Listen as they attempt to prove which one is the best with the most interesting facts Google could provide ! Be ready for the challenge of numbers, numbers, numbers as Chris and Sue try to show off their knowledge of the underground systems and try to catch each other out with tricky questions!

Before listening take this opportunity to review how we compare facts.

LongLonger thanThe longest
EasyEasier thanThe easiest
ComfortableMore comfortable thanThe most comfortable

You will also hear the comparatives/superlatives of these adjectives: old – fast – expensive – deep – short – far – complicated

Also listen out for the adjectives and the nouns used in this conversation especially when Chris and Sue ask each other questions:

LongThe length
DeepThe depth
HighThe height
WideThe width

How long is the system? How many stations are there ? How deep is the deepest tunnel? How far is the station? How long does it take to travel through the entire system? How old is the metro?

What is the depth of the deepest station? What is the length of the distance between….

Here are some more facts on the London Tube and The Paris Métro


Which is best - The London Tube or The Paris Métro?

The Paris Métro
2 Vote
The London Tube
1 Vote


Susan in lockdown

Susan in lockdown

Susan in Lockdown

Susan talks about positive & negative experiences of the lockdown in France

France in lockdown

France put its 67 million people under lockdown on Tuesday 17 March 2020, in an unprecedented act during peacetime, and said it was ready to nationalise big companies suffering financial turmoil created by the deepening coronavirus crisis.

In the cities and towns police patrol quiet streets, stopping drivers and pedestrians and demanding that they present an interior ministry document justifying their movement. The form can be downloaded on the ministry website and citizens can present an electronic version on their smartphones.

Susan talks about the effects of the lockdown and how it has affected her daily life and habits.

Covid-19 series part 3: History of Eyam Plague Village

Covid-19 series part 3: History of Eyam Plague Village

In this podcast Chris and Sue talk about a lockdown situation that took place in the 17th century in a village called Eyam which is located in north Derbyshire.

Back then the situation was very serious and the majority of the villagers lost their lives to the plague. Of course we are absolutely not living through a plague situation but some of the social distancing measures that the villagers undertook may seem familiar today.

What did you understand from the conversation?

Where is Eyam?

When was the outbreak of the plague?

How did it start ?

What did the villagers do?

Who encouraged them in to stay put and not leave the village?

How did the villagers get food?

How did they “sanitize” their money?

What other “social distancing measures” did they have ?

What were the symptoms of the plague?

What is the village like now ?

What numbers did you pick up ? What do they refer to?

Vocabulary check: listen out for these unfamiliar words :

fleas – cloth – boils – cysts – vicar – burials – grave digger – contagious disease – quirky – quaint – picturesque 

These pictures will help you to visualize the story.


Covid-19 series part 2: Australia and France, different lockdown situations

Covid-19 series part 2: Australia and France, different lockdown situations

The virus COVID-19  is a pandemic which means that it is affecting countries all across the globe, but are they all responding in the same way ?

To find out we connected via Zoom with Laura who lives in Australia and Pierre who lives in France.

Listen to how Laura, who is living in Sydney, describes her “semi-lockdown” as compared to that in France.

Listen to Pierre, who describes his company’s policy to home working and working on site.

They both agree that the rules in both countries all seem a bit unclear.

As a learner you might find the clip a bit long, but remember that you can break it down into manageable sections (working from home, lockdown in Australia, what do you miss? What are the positives ?)

During the video you will see some questions which pop up regarding vocabulary and comprehension, you’ll find the answers  (and more questions) in this quiz.

COVID-19 lockdown in Australia and France.

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