Archive | March 2013

WEP 210313


Click on the image to download this week’s Weekly English Practice from English Coaching Projects.

WEP 210313 Cover

Three parents for one baby?

A new technique would create a baby with genetic information from three people

Adapted from:

Look at this vocabulary first:

debilitating: to make a person infirm, ill or weak

disease: an illness such as malaria, cancer, AIDS

to raise concerns: to bring to attention

tiny: a very small quantity

faulty: to have defects, to not work correctly

weakness: weak is the opposite of strong

blindness: if you are blind you can’t see

mild: not strong 

to switch: to change position with another object

You can listen to the text at two different speeds – normal and 20% slower. The slower one is first.

The UK could move a step closer to allowing the creation of babies from two women and one man. The three-person IVF (in vitro fertilization) technique could be used to prevent debilitating and fatal “mitochondrial” diseases.

But some groups have raised ethical and safety concerns about creating babies with DNA from three people. The babies would have DNA from two parents and a tiny amount from a third person.

In some families baby after baby die due to faulty mitochondria. These are the tiny biological power stations that give energy to every cell of the body.

Defects can leave the body without the required energy, resulting in muscle weakness, blindness, heart failure and death in the most extreme cases. About one in 200 children are born with some degree of defective mitochondria, although the symptoms are usually mild.

The cigar-shaped mitochondria are passed only from mother to child. A father does not pass on his mitochondria through his sperm.

Scientists have devised techniques that allow them to take the genetic information from the mother and place it into the egg of a donor with healthy mitochondria. It is like taking two fried eggs and switching the yolks.

However, this would create a baby with genetic information from three people, as mitochondria have their own genes in their own DNA.

The implications are not just for the couple and the child. Dr David King, the director of Human Genetics Alert, said: “Just as Frankenstein’s creation was produced by sticking together bits from many different bodies, it seems that there is no grotesquery, no violation of the norms of nature or human culture which scientists and their bioethical helpers will ignore.”

Something to chat about:

Why are scientists working on this technique?

How many children have this problem?

What is your opinion about this technique?

What do you think the limits of medical science are?

iLook, iThink, iSpeak – express yourself better

(Click on the image to download it)

WEP 210313 iLook iThink iSpeak


Look at these different pictures. What is the common theme?

Each picture shows a different stage of a child’s life: birth, being a baby at home, going to school, finishing education and become an adult. Chat about your memories of each stage.

Look at the captions in each picture and think about what message it is trying to convey. Do you agree? How has this idea affected you in your life?

Think about a child that will be born in your town tomorrow. What will his/her life be like at each of these stages in the future? Think about possible economic, social and technological changes and how they will affect that child.

Finally, write it all in an email to your ECP coach (and record your voice!).

WEP 140313

Click on the image to download this week’s Weekly English Practice from English Coaching Projects.

WEP 140313 Cover

Elena Arzak opens in London

The Arzak family open ‘Ametsa’ in the UK capital.

Adapted from:–elena-arzaks-ametsa-restaurant-opens-london/  and and

Look at this vocabulary first:

fulfill: to complete a dream or objective

boil: when the temperature of a liquid is so hign it changes to vapour

fussy: to be difficult to please, to be obsessed about the details

dish: one part of a meal, food on a plate

unforgettable: difficult to forget, a very strong memory

Elena Arzak, daughter to prestigious Basque chef Juan Mari Arzak, won the ‘World’s Best Female Chef’ award in 2012. This month she has fulfilled another dream: opening a restaurant in London. ‘Ametsa’, the Basque word for “dream”, is the first Arzak family restaurant outside Spain.

“Do you have something you eat that brings back instant memories?”

When I have txangurro, a Basque crab dish, I remember when I first went into the restaurant kitchen where I saw them boiling in pans. And arroz con leche, rice milk pudding, we used to have at home and I still eat it today.

In a culinary world practically dominated by men, how does a woman earn respect in the kitchens?

Well, the Basque Country has always been a matriarchy, so there were always a lot of women here. Almost all of us at Arzak are women; there are 6 female chefs de partie in the kitchen. It’s always been something natural and normal for me; I’ve never thought about the question of being a man or a woman so I’ve never had any problems in this respect. But it’s true that it’s difficult for women, and I’d like all women to be able to have the same situation that I’ve always had.

Were you ever a fussy eater?

In general I will eat everything, though I don’t like cucumber and celery. Since the most important thing in our family is food, it’s unconsciously contagious.

What do you think of British food?

In 1989, I spent six months working at Le Gavroche in London. It was unforgettable, and I admire British food. In Britain, there are many fantastic chefs as well as a multicultural focus, and I’m happy there are so many celebrity female chefs.

Do you have an exercise regime?

Not at the moment, the restaurant and my two small children take up the whole day.

What would you choose for your last meal?

Grilled hake, and grilled squid with poached onion and marmalade.

And now… Something to chat about:

What award did Elena Arzak win in 2012?

What dishes remind her of her childhood? 

Do you think it is difficult for women to be successful in the catering industry? 

And in other sectors of the economy?  

Why are men paid more than women?

“ilook, ithink, ispeak” – express yourself better

Commemorating, protesting and celebrating.

WEP 140313 iLook iThink iSpeak

(Click on the image to download it.)

Look at these different pictures. Compare and contrast them.

Discuss which ones are: celebrating ‘World Juggling Day’, protesting against a nuclear power plant, commemorating a historic battle.

Discuss the reasons why these people are participating.

Decide if you would take part in any of these events.

Finally, write it all in an email to your ECP coach (and record your voice!).

WEP 070313

Click on the images to download the e-card and this week’s Weekly English Practice  from English Coaching Projects.

ECP ecard Look in the mirror

WEP 070313 Cover

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Weekly English Practice

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