New York English Academy Rookie blog

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington is often called “America’s Attic” because it contains a treasury of artifacts from before the origins of the USA up to the present day.

The National Museum of the American Indian in New York City is a branch of the Smithsonian housed in a former Customs House.  There are many programs offered by the museum to illustrate the long history and the ongoing traditions of the original people of North and South America.

The cultures of the people that we mistakenly call “Indians” are presented in exhibits of artifacts and clothing, music and video, and often live presentations of dance.

Level 2 classes have been studying and discussing endangered cultures and languages.  Do you know that there are more than 6000 languages in existence today?  And that a number of them are disappearing year by year?

In the United States and in many other countries, elders in various native communities attempt to keep their traditions and languages alive by instructing young people in their ways of life.  All too often, however, children and teens want to stay “Americanized” and resist the efforts of older people to persuade them to maintain ancient customs.

PC TECH: English Language School in New York City


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On Monday, January 21, Americans will honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the most inspiring leader of the civil rights movement in this country and one of the greatest orators in US history.

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Today a number of PC TECH students visited the “125 Icons” exhibit at the Manhattan campus of the Pratt Institute.  This world famous college of art, architecture, and design  is hosting an exhibition focusing on the works of many of the alumni and faculty over the last 125 years that the school has been in existence.

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Level 4 students have learned a number of popular American expressions used in idioms, for example:

My new job is really tough.  [difficult]

That she made that dinner all by herself is a little hard to swallow!  [difficult to believe]

I can’t quit my job; someone has to put bread on the table.  [earn money]

That new restaurant is really a hit!  [very popular]

There’s trouble brewing in my office.  [problems are developing]

That conversation really left a bad taste in my mouth.  [negative feeling]

That news item was interesting.  It gave me food for thought.  [something to think about]

PC TECH: English Language School in New York City

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English Verbal Phrases January 16, 2013

Verbal phrases are an important addition to a student’s vocabulary.  Do you know how to use call with around, back, off, on, up?

Practice with these examples with call:

We had to call around to find a doctor.  [phoned many people]

Please call me back tomorrow.  [return a phone call]

Why did they call their wedding off?  [canceled]

The teacher called on many students in the class.  [asked for an answer or opinion]

I will call on my friend tomorrow.  [British: visit someone]

I have called her up many times.  [made phone calls]

Cut can be used in many verbal phrases

We have to cut back on all the sugar in our diet.  [consume less]

That old tree has to be cut down before it falls.  [make something fall to the ground]

I was dancing when my friend cut in on me.  [interrupt]

The driver cut in on me as I was trying to make a turn.  [pulled in too closely]

The heater cuts in when it gets too cold in my apartment.  [starts to operate]

You must pay your bill or the phone company will cut your service off.  [stop providing]

They cut the onions up into small pieces.

Come to New York and study English and you will be able to talk and write well using these and many other verbal phrases.

PC TECH: English Language School in New York City

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This Week at PC TECH January 11, 2013

The New York Public Library is located on Fifth Avenue, only a short walk up 42nd Street from PC TECH.

From time to time we visit this beautiful building on our class field trips because there are a number of interesting exhibitions there to be enjoyed throughout the year.  Students are reminded that they can read, study, and use the free WiFi after class every day until 6:00 PM and also on weekends.

Of course, a library is not an appropriate place to practice conversation!


Students in the Level 5 class were recently discussing the movie “Forks over Knives” with its theme of healthy eating: all “vegan” and no animal-based and processed foods.  This led to a lively conversation about the effects on health of certain restricted diets in contrast to the adventure and enjoyment to be found in sampling a wide variety of foods from many cultures.

Many American English speakers pronounce certain modal verbs in a manner that can confuse visitors to the United States; for example, “hafta” for have to, “oughta” for ought to, “should” for should have.”  These and similar expressions are practiced in PC TECH classes so that English learners might be able to listen in on a subway conversation or know what is going on in a TV show or movie.

                                    PC TECH: English Language School in New York City


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Do you get angry easily when you drive a car, or are you a safe driver?   “Road rage” and related issues make lively topics of discussion in Level 1.  Students are also  learning to complete a story about driving practices using the simple past or past progressive tense.

Healthy and unhealthy lifestyles are currently being compared and contrasted in Level  2 discussions:   What is “junk food”?   What is meant by “side effects” of certain medicines?  What kinds of food are fattening?

In Level 3 English learners have been using various quantifiers with count and non-count nouns:  some, enough, a lot of, (a) few, several, many, much, (a) little, a great deal.  These expressions are useful in discussing topics such as simplicity in life, consumption habits, urban homesteading, fossil fuels.

Parents with school-age children often struggle to get their kids to do homework.  The Level 4 class has been chatting about the history of homework in the United States and how family life can be affected.

What do you think about when “privacy” is brought up in a discussion?  Do expressions like “snooping”, “confidential”, “wiretapping” make you a bit concerned about your use of computer technology, especially in social media?   Level 5 students talk about these important issues in their lives.

PC TECH: English Language School in New York City

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Winter Warmth at PC TECH January 4, 2013

The new year has gotten underway and winter is growing colder, but students have a warm place at PC TECH to improve their English skills and make new friends.

Our Level 1 class has been discussing the theme of family: large and small families, the advantages and disadvantages of being an only child, a family with septuplets.  With added vocabulary they are creating sentences with “will” and “be going to”, which many American English speakers pronounce as “gonna.”

In Level 2, travel and vacations formed the topic of conversation this week.  New vocabulary about weather and climate change was introduced.  Students will prepare to write a dialogue between two people who are planning a trip.

New York City has a number of “urban homesteaders”, people who take up a simple lifestyle in inner-city neighborhoods.  Level 3 students compare this way of life to their own manner of living, increasing their lifestyle vocabulary.

In many American families, the sit-down meal has become an event of the past, while in many other cultures, there remains the tradition of having the main meal of the day with all the family members present.  Conversation and writing in Level 4 contrasts these two very different practices.

PC TECH: English Language School in New York City

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Happy New Year 2013! January 2, 2013


The staff and students of PC TECH wish everyone peace and happiness in this New Year!

Some people think that 13 is an unlucky number, but we hope that 2013 will be a good year for all of you.

Level  1 students were discussing the statement that 2013 will be the best year ever to study English as a Second Language.  So we invite people from all over the world to visit New York City and study at PC TECH where you will meet people from many countries on five continents.  All of our levels encourage a lot of conversation to use the vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation learned at our school.

Level 2 students had a number of questions about words and idioms they often hear on the street, subway, TV, movies, and from other sources.  For example, there are several words that can be used when it is difficult to name a device or object:  whatchamacallit, thingamabob, doohickey, gizmo.  These are nonsense words which are used in an informal, joking way.

There was more discussion about the way Americans pronounce “can” and “can’t.”  The context of a can/can’t question will determine the correct response:  “Yes, I can.”  “No, I can’t.”  We can also say “No, I cannot” but that sounds a little strong.


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