Questions & Answers about Energising Through English.

Q & A

Q: So we discover ourselves in the mornings and Ireland in the afternoons?

 

                         

                                                              Wicklow, the Garden of Ireland 

A: That's it in a nutshell! Of course, our adventure includes expanding your knowledge of English and how to use it! In ancient Ireland, during the Golden Age, the monks called it imrama, which is an old Irish language word for 'paddling about'; they would get into a currach (a west of Ireland boat) and discover things, while at the same time, discover themselves. But the journey was more important than the destination!

Q: Who are these Courses for?

                      

                                                                    Bluefeather Friends 

A: Anybody and everybody who has a passion for discovery! Of course, it's also designed to help you expand your knowledge of English and enhance your accuracy when you use it. It will be of particular interest to businessmen and women, professional people such as doctors and teachers, etc. and university or third-level students, but in fact, it is a course which is ideally suited to all mature students of English who are looking for a more original, exciting, investigative and dynamic approach to improving their English, but which also enables them to develop their own self-awareness and aspiration to a more joyful, successful and fulfilling life.

Q: What about young adults?

A: We would be delighted to organise a special course for a closed group of young adults with their teachers / leaders on demand. We would be happy to negotiate the details and costs to suit their budget!

 

                     

                                                               Belfast Peace Wall

Q: So, are you and your team experts in life-coaching and energising?

A: No, we are not. As language teachers, we simply provide the conditions for all of us to 'paddle about' and discover. The whole Course is based on the spirit of inquiry, of wonder, of personal development and the discovery and development of inner skills. Teachers and students ask questions and attempt to understand the answers. In doing so, the student is improving his or her English all the time, but we all benefit from the interaction and the flow of ideas. We like the idea of Beginner's Mind. To quote the Zen master Shunryu Suzuki, "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."

                      

                                                                     Cliffs of Moher 

Q: You mentioned the term 'Mindfulness' in your Course headings. What do yo mean by Mindfulness?

A: This is a fashionable term for simply being present and aware, moment by moment, irrespective of distractions and external circumstances. A few years ago, The WEF - the World Economic Forum- discussed Mindfulness at their conference for the first time ever. Companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Apple, as well as the more traditional companies in the car and energy sectors, state-owned enterprises in China, UN organizations, governments, the World Bank...they all incorporate Mindfulness into their business or working models. We prefer to call it Presence, as the world-renowned spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, does.Why? What's it all about? What good is it? These questions will comprise the first engaging topic for discussion on our Course. You could also call Presence experiential awareness, awareness as you experience life from moment to moment. By the way, we would also welcome any suggestions from a company or organisation of any kind interested in team-building or trust-building and, of course, brushing up their English at the same time! We'd be glad to organise a special Course for them!

   

                     

                                                                       Glendalough 

Q: Can you tell us how you actually present the Courses?

A: Certainly. Bluefeather OM has created and tailor-made these courses to optimise the learning experience and make it as interesting and enjoyable as possible. The Energising Through English Course and the Irish Culture Course have the same approach; participants begin by listening to the material in question. They are are then asked to paraphrase it, bit by bit, if possible, applying some of the phrases used in the materials. This helps enhance listening skills, long-term memory and language fluency. Then we look at the text on the screen and read it together. We then mine the text to understand how it was put together and we look over the vocabulary used, the syntax, the grammar, and so on. You might describe it as a kind of retro-engineering! Then we look at it again and check out a YouTube video or anything of interest relating to the text. After that, we follow up with Q's & A's about the text, helping the participants to form questions and answer them. For homework, participants write an e-mail or an article based on the material discussed in the session. So throughout a single session, we are looking the materials from different angles, reiterating and consolidating vocabulary and grammar structures and using it all effectively within the group. This deeper approach to language learning ensures that the participant learns with extra focus - extra Mindfulness!- and retains it in long-term memory. Whether it's the Energising Through English Course or the Irish Culture Course, the depth of learning is not only in the language, but in the content as well. As an interlude, we also have fun picking a quotation from our wide selection of sources and throwing it open for discussion. Not only do participants enjoy learning and discovery, they leave with a deeper understanding of language and of content. This feeling of accomplishment is more rewarding, more inspiring and more fulfilling than completing a longer language course at a traditional language school.  A conventional language school may not provide the conditions for the same depth of understanding of the language and its application, understanding of the subject and its relevance to our lives, and, indeed, understanding of one's self.

                  

                                                         Newgrange, c. 3200 BCE 


Q: So we stay in a host-family?

A: Ireland is one of the few countries in the world about which we can proudly say that the host-family accommodation facility for students of English is second to none! Host-families in Ireland are not only warm and welcoming but also highly experienced and really professional. You enjoy your privacy as well as the company of the host-family hosts. You are provided with a breakfast and evening meal each day and also with the unique opportunity of being able to enjoy a seamless continuation of your language practice in an easy-going, friendly atmosphere. Participants can stay at a hotel, of course - we give them the relevant discount, deducting the host-family fee - but people from abroad who stay with a host-family really do benefit in so many other ways!

 

                      

                                                                     G.P.O. Dublin 

 

Q: You say there's a maximum of 15 participants per Course. What is the minimum number?

A: There's no minimum! So, if you book a course with us, the course will always go ahead! Naturally, we have to make some modifications; if there are fewer than 4 participants, i.e. 1,2 or 3, the Course would be mornings only, Energising Through English. However, the Irish Cultural experience would still be available to the students who are invited to the social/cultural events two evenings a week and, of course, we would also have our Saturday excursion into the countryside. Obviously, the benefit involved for those 1, 2 or 3 participants is that they receive even more personalised, VIP treatment in their tiny group while they're with us!

                     

                                                                         What's up?

Q: Is it for people at all levels of English?

A: No. Students would have to have reached Level B1, or Intermediate Level, first. The courses are designed for students at that level and above that level. If any student is unsure about his or her level, we e-mail them a little test. Ideally, however, we ask the prospective student to arrange a little Skype chat with us so that we can confirm the level of English required. Students at higher levels will probably benefit more from the one-week Course because they're usually more talkative!

Q: I am interested in the self-development aspect of your Course but I really need to improve my English in as short a time as possible. Will this work for me?

A: In its capacity as the Bluefeather School of Languages and, latterly, Bluefeather OM, thousands of adults and young adults from all over the world have come to us on short courses. We were appointed by Siemens as their sole representative in Ireland to offer short intensive courses to executives at our school in Monkstown and at the Siemens Training Centre in Dublin from 1987 to 2006. Not only people from the business world, but from all professions and backgrounds, came to us on intensive refresher courses. And students have not forgotten us; even after thirty years, we hear from them and their families! From the beginning our student-centred approach, placing people before profit, was unique. The name, Bluefeather, derives from the emblem of the blue feather which, according to legend, originated in the lost continent of Mu as a symbol of truth and reappeared at the height of the ancient Egyptian culture. At the language school, our slogan was A school is its teachers; if the teachers were happy, everybody was happy!  This resonated with the students and contributed to their enjoyment, their progress and the overall success of our school. Furthermore, we have always felt that our work was more than just teaching a language; the fascinating cultural exchange involved in interacting with our students was always part of our life-long learning process as teachers. Energising Through English will work for you because we know how to optimise the conditions to enable you to make it work!

 

        

                                    'I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore...'

Q: How often do your courses run? 

A: Course 1 begins on the first Monday of each month;  Course 2 begins on the second Monday of each month.  You can book a one-week or a two-week Course.


 

                          

                               Imrama!...  This golden toy boat was made by the ancient Celts.

 

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

 

                                                                                    (T.S.Eliot)