Thomas Brock, our resident travelling English teacher has a small announcement to make this week. He has been working hard recently on creating his very first course and he is going to tell you all about it. Read, learn some new vocabulary, and practise English!

Vocabulary List

Significant : important or noticeable.

Fond of : to like someone or something very much.

Present : to introduce a television or radio show.

Poetry : A kind of literature that is short, expressive and has rhythm.

Literature : written artistic works, especially those with a high and lasting artistic value.

Occasionally : sometimes but not often.

Expression : the act of saying what you think or showing how you feel using words.

Conclusion : the opinion you have after considering all the information about something.

Accessible : able to be reached or easily obtained or understood.

Engaging : drawing your attention, interesting.

Fascinating :extremely interesting.

Conduct : to organise and perform a particular activity.

Dull : not interesting or exciting in any way.

Course :a set of classes or a plan of study on a particular subject.

Optimal : best; most likely to bring success or advantage.

Insightful :showing a clear and usually original understanding of a complicated problem or situation.

Satisfaction : a pleasant feeling that you get when you receive something you wanted, or when you have done something you wanted to do.

Appreciating : to recognize how good someone or something is and to value them or it.

This person is presenting to an audience. Photo from 祝 鹤槐 on
These people are taking a course. Photo from Ketut Subiyanto on

I recently bought a book.

That doesn’t sound like significant news, but let me tell you about this book. The book is titled ‘The Ode Less Travelled’ and is Written by one of my favourite writers, Stephen Fry. Not only is Stephen Fry one of my favourite writers, but I also am very fond of just about all of his work. I love his comedy, I’ll happily watch anything he presents, and I have read all of his autobiographies. He is a very interesting human being.

Today, however, I want to focus on this book. I found out about this book years ago and have been meaning to pick it up ever since, and yet, it was only recently that I ordered it online, second hand of course.

The book is about poetry.

It is a beginner’s guide to poetry, covering some basics of this type of literature, but more importantly, it is a handy guide on how to produce your own. I have very occasionally written poetry, and read poetry only slightly less occasionally, but when I do read it I enjoy it, and when I write it, I find it deeply challenging.

Here is my copy of the book!

I enjoy writing, and poetry is something that offers a great opportunity for expression, to anyone who wants to write, but writing my own poetry is not what I want to talk about today. What I do want to talk about is reading poetry.

As I began to read this book I remembered how enjoyable reading poetry is, and it got me thinking about how I could use this idea in my work. This led me to a conclusion. I want to make poetry more accessible for English learners. I actually want to make all literature more accessible to English learners. As an English teacher and a lover of literature, this seems natural to me.

I have, in the past, helped individual students to work their way through English texts. As engaging and fascinating as this always is, I would like to conduct this kind of learning in groups, so that together we can form interesting discussions about language, style, and the themes that we often find in poetry. I want to do this in my own way, and not to make it dull or over-technical, but to simply help my students to read and enjoy poetry.

So how can I do this?

Well, over the last few months, I have been planning and creating something new. A course. This is an English literature course, more specifically it is my English Poetry Course. Whilst I would like to do more courses in the future focusing on different aspects of English literature, I have found that poetry is actually the perfect format for this type of learning.

Read more about the course on my website.

What will this course look like?

The course will take place over 6 weeks, with weekly sessions on Wednesdays at 6pm GMT (London) – Starting on Wednesday the 29th of March, and finishing on Wednesday the 3rd of May. The course has only 5 places available – a small group for optimal discussions.

The first session will be a lesson delivered by me, introducing the course, introducing the 5 poems, and introducing poetic devices. The remaining 5 sessions will be seminars, based on group discussion to share our thoughts and ideas about a single poem at a time.

At the end of the course, you will have learnt some new advanced vocabulary, read and discussed 5 British poems, shared your thoughts and feelings on these poems, and have access to shared materials, notes, and recordings from the course.

And that is it. Simple but insightful.

Book now, or find out more information on my website!

Places are limited!

If you are interested in this course, but can’t make the dates, then register your interest here and I will let you know when new dates will be available!

If you are a Patreon member then look out for a discount code!

I am very excited to be able to deliver this course, I really believe in its value, not only as a new way for English learners to develop their skills in reading, speaking, and writing, but more importantly this is an opportunity for English learners to use their language skills to unlock a new experience.

There are many great reasons to learn a language, and literature is one of them.

I remember my experience at university, studying Latin in much the same way as my course is designed. In our small group of just 5 students, we would read through a few pages of Virgil’s Eclogues or Ovid’s Metamorphoses and then bring our translations together and discuss with our professor the detailed use of language.

Whilst my Latin was not, and never has been, great, I remember the satisfaction of reading those lines and appreciating the style, the themes and the language. This is something I want to help English learners to experience as well.

My course is designed to be accessible. It is made for intermediate and advanced English learners. If you can read this article then you can take the course.

Find more onformation about my course on my website!

Have you ever read an English Poem?

Do you read poetry in your native language?

What other things would you like to use your English level for?

Do you have recommendations for future courses on different topics?

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By Thomas Brock

Hi I'm Thomas and I'm an English language teacher and editor. I teach English to adults from all over the world. I focus on written English and on conversational English. I also edit written English in a number of different fields and areas. When I'm not teaching I'm travelling as much as I can, cooking new dishes, and trying hard to play and watch sports.

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