There is never a better place to start a new year, than with a story of hope, and if you are interested in Cornwall, there is no better story than one that contains not only hope, but buccaneers and mining – a true blend of culture, language and adventure!
So, our first blog story will be the story of the hope that is within Lithium for Cornwall, and how our Vocational English Courses (taught in a CLIL/TVET style) can be closely focused on the type of language that is relevant to their desired professional field.
Lithium & Hope
The best way to travel to Cornwall. Choose from trains, planes or automobiles
Travel to Cornwall by Plane
If time is the most important thing for you, then the quickest way to get to Cornwall is to fly to Newquay.
There are direct flights to Newquay from international destinations including Alicante in Spain and Düsseldorf in Germany.
If you are not arriving from one of those places, then the next option is to fly to London Heathrow (LHR).
There are several direct flights per day from London Heathrow (LHR) to Newquay (NQY). The flight takes just one hour.
Click here to go to the Newquay Airport website to get all the latest information about their flights.
When you arrive at Newquay Airport, we will meet you and take you to your accommodation or directly to the school.
Newquay is just 20 minutes from our school in the centre of Truro.
Travel to Cornwall by Train
Our favourite way to travel to Cornwall is by train. I know we are probably biased but we think it is one of the most beautiful and relaxing ways to travel to Cornwall.
There are several direct trains every day from central London (Paddington Station) and the journey takes around 4 1/2 hours.
If you arrive in the UK at London Heathrow, it is actually easier and quicker to take a shuttle bus to Reading station from the airport and join the train at Reading station. From Reading, it takes about 4 hours to get to Cornwall.
Click here to find out more about all the trains to Cornwall on the Great Western Railway website.
If you have the time to enjoy the journey and enjoy the experience, you will not regret it. We can book the train tickets for you so we know you will have a comfortable seat by the window (and on the right side of the train so you can enjoy the part of the journey when the train goes along the coast between Exeter and Plymouth).
Slow tourism is an important development in how we take our holidays now and this train journey provides a really perfect way for you to soak up the English atmosphere: enjoy a cup of tea looking out of the window watching the green hills of the English countryside pass by. Along the journey you will stop in various beautiful train stations all designed by the famous industrial architect Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
For the final part of the journey, you get to cross the Tamar Bridge - one of the world's first suspension bridges - and then you are in Cornwall winding through the lush countryside for the last hour of your journey.
We will be there to greet you off the train at Truro and take you directly to the school or your accommodation.
Arrive in Cornwall on the ferry
For those of you who wish to drive from your country there are various good options to arrive in the UK by ferry.
We welcome some of our school groups by coach. This can be a really cost effective way to travel to the UK from Europe. If you travel to Cornwall by coach, we can organise convenient and secure coach parking near the school.
There are lots of options to cross from Europe to the UK arriving in Dover, Folkestone or Harwich. It is then about a six hour drive to Cornwall.
However, if you are joining us from the north of France or the north of Spain you might like to consider the Brittany Ferries crossings from Roscoff and Santander. These ferries arrive in Plymouth and you are just one hour's drive from Language Tree in Truro.
Click here to find out more about Brittany Ferries and the different options for travelling to the UK by ferry with Brittany Ferries.
If you travel as foot passengers, we would be happy to come and meet you from the ferry in Plymouth and bring you to Cornwall.
If you travel with Brittany Ferries, we would strongly recommend booking a cabin to make the most of the crossing. It is such a wonderful way to travel, looking at the ocean out of your cabin window as you go to sleep.
Drive to Cornwall by car
Coming to Cornwall by car can be a really good way to give yourselves the freedom to explore all the remote parts of Cornwall when you are here.
If you are bringing a car to the UK from overseas, it will be important to ensure you have all the correct documentation and insurance for driving in the UK.
Click here for some useful information about the rules for driving in the UK from the UK government website.
It is also important to remember we drive on the 'wrong' side of the road here in the UK too and so it can feel strange driving a European car in the UK.
The other option is to hire a car in the UK. It is very easy to hire a car in the UK. You can pick up a car at the airport when you arrive or there are lots of hire options in Cornwall too. It is relatively easy to hire a small car for less than £50 per day. The RentalCars website is a good website to browse car hire options in the UK. However, there are many different car hire companies and so it is worth having a good browse online to find the best deal for your needs.
If you do have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
We are always happy to chat through the different travel options with you so you can decide which option will be the best for you.
We provide airport transfers to Newquay, Exeter, Bristol, London Heathrow and London Gatwick. We will come and collect you in an executive car (or minibus for groups) and take you directly to your accommodation.
Call: +44 (0)7957 497937
We look forward to welcoming you to Cornwall one day soon!
Blended learning at Language Tree - integrating online tools into our teaching
What a year it has been!
It really shows, you just never know what is around the corner. It's crazy to think just how different everyone's outlook was this time last year.
While this year has been a massive challenge to our school, we feel really proud to still be here and we believe we have actually learned some new, invaluable skills we never even knew we needed.
In February 2020, we were a Zoom Zero school; we barely knew it existed. Our complete focus was on offering face to face courses and welcoming students to Cornwall.
While of course we still love doing that, it has been essential to find new ways to keep things going this year. In fact, since March 2020, we have been fully immersed in discovering the delights of Zoom (while also joyfully avoiding all the perils of Teams!!).
And now, as we approach the end of this rollercoaster year, we have an amazing teaching team of Zoom Heroes!
As the year has progressed, Zoom has begun to form a really integral part of our teaching. Beyond teaching, it has also provided a brilliant way to meet new prospective students from around the world.
So now as we begin to look back on the year, I cannot believe that introducing online learning as part of our provision at Language Tree would have been such a positive experience. Nevertheless, it undoubtedly has been and it is definitely something we will continue to build on as part of our new normal!
One particularly unexpected benefit has been how we can communicate with student enquiries from around the world. Zoom has provided a brilliant, easy way to meet them and also easily show them documents and pictures related to the school.
Not only that, it has also acted as a virtual stepping stone for students thinking about joining one of our courses in Cornwall.
In fact, in the new year, we are planning to receive our first students who have found us online during lockdown and are now planning to join us for a face to face course in January 2021.
One of the wonderful things about the online course they have been doing with us is that amazingly, when they arrive, they will have already met some of the other students in their class through our online classes.
It is going to be interesting to see, but we feel sure this is going to provide a really reassuring way for students to feel more at ease travelling and will also help them to feel immediately integrated in their class groups when they are here.
We’ll be back to let you know how it goes…
Best websites for online language learning - our top websites for language learning outside the classroom
Practise your Speaking & listening at home
This is always one of the hardest things to practise when you're not in the classroom. However, with the wonders of modern technology, there are now some very clever ways for you to work on your speaking with your computer and to get some feedback on how clearly you are speaking!
Try this amazing website where you can watch videoclips and then you have to imitate the video clip and you get feedback on how clear your speaking is. There are quite a few free clips, but then to access everything there is a monthly subscription fee:
If you like learning from authentic media but want to avoid paying a subscription, there is this nice YouTube channel:
It is not as structured as English Central, but is a great way to practise listening and improve your comprehension skills. Try out the Harry Potter clip on the home page of the channel:
Another brilliant YouTube channel is:
They have chosen some inspiring speeches and added clear and accurate subtitles to help you follow the speech. Just to get you started, this one from Steve Jobs is a brilliant, inspirational video...
If you are keen to focus on listening activities which also include comprehension activities, then ELLLO is a fantastic library of free graded listening activities for you to listen to and complete linked activities. A really nice aspect of this site is the fact that they use speakers from all over the world so you really get to hear a wide range of accents which is an important aspect to work on to improve your listening skills:
If you prefer watching more authentic video clips, then TED Talks are a must. There are so many great websites out there in the world but TED must rank up there as one of the best for the amount of valuable information it shares with the world.
One of the truly fantastic things about the TED website is firstly, the quality of the speakers and the speeches they have uploaded. And then, secondly, the surrounding content that supports the speeches. Many of the speeches have been translated into multiple languages and often with a range of educational activities to support a particular speech. This is a must subscribe website.
Here is one of my favourite videos to get you started.
It seems particularly apt in our current situation... (best viewed on this link on the TED website)
And so, lastly in this section of the blog on Speaking & Listening, let's get back to a couple more ways to develop and improve your speaking skills online.
A great website to hear examples of natural speaking by students preparing for the Cambridge or IELTS exams is on the Splendid Speaking website.
This website has been created by Cambridge examiners to give lots of examples of natural speaking with tips and techniques for the Cambridge & IELTS exams. This page in particular gives you lots of examples for different style of speaking for different parts of the speaking exam:
The top 10 places to visit in Cornwall.
Well I'm sure there could be a few disagreements here but I guess that only goes to show that there are so many great things to do in Cornwall that it can be hard to choose a top 10!
Anyway, we thought we would have a go...
Please feel free to write in the comments any different places you would choose.
10. The Camel Trail
The Camel Trail (www.cameltrailcyclehire.co.uk) is always a popular thing to do with our students. The amazing view as the Camel Estuary opens up along the route is so beautiful and relaxing.
Then there is the fun of all the other cyclists along the route which creates such a lovely atmosphere of bimbling through the Cornish countryside.
While cycle routes like this can be quite common in other countries they are unfortunately rare in the UK which makes them just a little bit more special.
The only downside is that it is not a little longer before we arrive in Padstow for a wander through this picture postcard seaside town with some of Rick Stein's famous fish'n'chips on the harbour wall.
Learn English at Language Tree in Cornwall - An exciting mix of language, culture and adventure!
For our first blog post, we thought it would be interesting to explain a little why we think you should join one of our courses.
Firstly, when a student or a school or college group chooses to study with us our aim, above all others, is to give each and every student one of the best learning experiences they have ever had.
We want their memories of Cornwall to last a lifetime.
From our point of view, that starts from when you make your first enquiry about coming to study with us.
We will take our time to get to know you and your group and we will discuss with you the types of excursions and activities that your group would enjoy and which would complement their courses at home.
Of course, first and foremost, our courses start in the classroom. We have an amazing team of highly qualified and experienced teachers who are used to teaching students of all levels and we make sure we know the levels of your students before they even arrive in the UK.
We will send you tests to complete and return to us (or you can direct the students to do these tests online). This means before the students arrive, we will have all our materials ready and no time is lost with testing and putting students in groups at the beginning of the course.
From the first day of classes, the students will be taught in small groups with other students of a similar level to them. Our teachers will make sure the materials in the lessons are engaging with just the right amount of challenge to push forward their English language skills.