New / Nouveau: Emploi-Québec certified trainer / Formatrice agréé Emploi-Québec

Le château Frontenac –Vieux-Québec / Old Quebe...

Are you an employer whose annual revenue touches the million dollar mark? Did you know that you could invest at least 1% of your profit in training by declaring the latter to Revenue Québec?

What advantage does that give an employee who wishes to improve his or her English?

If your company makes at least a million dollars in profit a year, that means that you are allowed to invest 1% of your company’s profit in training without incurring any extra cost!

Interested in giving your employees the opportunity to improve their English?

Contact me!

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Je suis maintenant reconnue comme étant une formatrice agréé par Emploi-Québec!

Vous êtes un employeur dont la masse salariale annuelle est de plus d’un million de dollars? En vertu de la Loi favorisant le développement et la reconnaissance des compétences de la main-d’œuvre, communément appelée loi sur les compétences, vous devez :

investir, au cours d’une même année civile, l’équivalent d’au moins 1 % de cette masse salariale dans la réalisation d’activités de formation qui visent le développement des compétences de votre personnel,
déclarer le montant investi au ministère du Revenu du Québec.

Sinon, vous devez verser au Fonds de développement et de reconnaissance des compétences de la main-d’œuvre le montant que vous n’avez pas investi. Ce fonds sert à financer certaines activités liées à la formation.

Vos employés bénéficieraient à apprendre l’anglais? Vous aimeriez offrir une formation en anglais à vos employés?


Who gets banned from Tim Horton’s?


There’s nothing I like more than finding a good news story to use in class which gets the students talking. One story that never disappoints is the one about a man in St-Andrews who got banned from Tim Horton’s for complaining about the coffee.

To see the news footage of the story I like to use in my classes to spark a discussion, just click on the picture below.


I’m also including the lesson plan I use to go with this video which was created by one of my ex colleagues, Ray O’Connell.

Lifetime ban

A. Pre-listening

  1. Do you enjoy drinking coffee? Do you enjoy Tim Horton’s coffee?
  2. Have you ever complained about the service or the coffee you’ve gotten from a Tim Horton’s?
  3. If you were to get a bad cup of coffee, would you complain?

B. Vocabulary

to make a scene                       lukewarm                    enforceable                  outlet

___________ (adj) (often disapproving) ~ (about sb/sth) not interested or enthusiastic

___________ a loud, angry argument, especially one that happens in public and is embarrassing

___________ (n) (business) a shop/store or an organization that sells goods made by a particular company or of a particular type

___________ (adj) to make sure that people obey a particular law or rule

C. Listening

1) Jimmy Craig got tired of ________________________________________________.

2) One customer has had issues with _________________________________________.

3) Jimmy Craig has no intention of __________________________________________.

D. Post-listening

  1. The community where Jimmy lives supports him.  T / F
  2. The owner of the Tim Horton’s restaurant issued a statement saying that Mr. Craig was acting in an angry way toward the staff.  T / F
  3. Mr. Craig is surprised by the letter he got from Tim Horton’s.  T / F
  4. Mr. Craig admits that he had an argument with the staff at the restaurant.  T / F
  5. Mr. Craig is not allowed in the restaurant under any circumstances.  T / F
  6. Mr. Craig doesn’t think the ban is legal.  T / F

E. Discussion

  1. If you were Mr. Craig, what would you do?
  2. If you had been the manager of the Tim Horton’s, what would you have done differently?

and here’s the CTV article which accompanies the video:

ARTICLE: (pictures, video and article taken from website) News Staff
Published Tuesday, February 9, 2010 9:04PM EST

It’s one of the most unspeakable punishments any Canadian can imagine — a lifetime ban from the local Tim Hortons – and one a New Brunswick man is fighting back against.

Jimmy Craig, a New Brunswick paramedic, says he was banned from two local Tim Hortons’ stores because he complained about the decaf, but the company says it was because he was aggressive towards staff.

“I made a complaint to the store manager in 2008 and things changed for a while and the coffee got better and then, in 2009, it went back to the same thing — getting burnt coffee all of the time,” he told The Canadian Press.


Jimmy Craig, a New Brunswick paramedic, says he was banned from two local Tim Hortons' stores because he complained about the decaf.

Jimmy Craig, a New Brunswick paramedic, says he was banned from two local Tim Hortons’ stores because he complained about the decaf.

After filing two complaints the company's corporate office, and meeting with a store manager, Jimmy Craig was given a letter informing him of the ban.

After filing two complaints the company’s corporate office, and meeting with a store manager, Jimmy Craig was given a letter informing him of the ban.

Tim Hortons' says that Jimmy Craig was banned from two local Tim Hortons' stores because he was aggressive towards staff.

Tim Hortons’ says that Jimmy Craig was banned from two local Tim Hortons’ stores because he was aggressive towards staff.

“There comes a point when you get tired of going back to the store to get it replaced. And it adds up when you drink three or four a day to throw almost $2 coffee away.”

But after filing two complaints the company’s corporate office, and meeting with a store manager, Craig was given a letter informing him of the ban.

Company spokesperson David Morelli said the staff at the St. Andrews, N.B. store could not please Craig, no matter what they did.

“He became increasingly aggressive with store staff and was impacting their ability to serve other customers,” Morelli said. “Our staff work long and hard to please each customer every day, but at some point we have to respectfully agree to disagree.”

Craig strongly denied he did anything aggressive to staff.

“I never broke any rules, that’s why it baffles me so much, I could see if I made a scene or something, but I didn’t,” he told CTV Atlantic.

“Some people asked me ‘Why do you go back?’ – well, I went back because it was convenient, it’s the only coffee shop open in town 24 hours,” he added. “It wasn’t bad all the time, but I was tired of burnt coffee.”

Craig said he plans to talk to a lawyer to see if the ban is enforceable. He says he doesn’t plan to buy his coffee at Tim Hortons anymore, but instead brew his own at home.

As a paramedic, however, he will be allowed to enter the stores to save a life -– but he won’t be able to get a coffee for his troubles.

With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron

Read more:


Cours d’anglais en ligne / Online English classes

Cours en ligne via WebEx

Cours en ligne via WebEx

Aimeriez-vous en apprendre plus sur les cours d’anglais en ligne?

Je vous invite à jeter un coup d’oeil à ma présentation PPT afin d’en apprendre plus sur le matériel requis ainsi que les avantages de suivre une telle formation.


PPT Cours d’anglais en ligne

Simple Present vs Present Continuous

simple present vs present continuous

In English, there are two forms of the present compared to French which only uses one form of the present.

Below is one example:

Let’s take a look at the two sentences below to try and better understand the difference between both.

1) It snows often during winter. (Simple Present)

2) It is snowing outside! (Present Continuous)

The 1st sentence is a fact whereas the 2nd sentence describes an action which is taking place at the moment of speaking.

In the 2nd sentence, the person speaking is describing what he or she is seeing at the exact moment of speaking.

Test your knowledge of the simple present vs the present continuous!

State whether the following sentences are written in the simple present or in the present continuous tense.

1) He is driving his car.
2) I am talking to Syndia on the phone.
3) I am walking to work.
4) He walks to work everyday.
5) He smokes cigars.
6) He drinks so much coffee.
7) He likes listening to music.
8) She is watching tv.
9) The sun sets every day.
10) Sasha is a good father to his 2 children.

Sentences 4,5,6,7,9 and 10 are in the simple present tense.

Sentences 1,2,3, and 8 are in the present continuous tense.

Find the answers to the following questions:

1) How do we form the simple present tense?

2) How do we form the present continuous tense?

3) What keywords do we use with the simple present?

4) What keywords do we use with the present continuous?

Fun text-to speech demo to practice pronunciation

text to speech

Here’s a really fun way to practice pronunciation. has a really neat text-to-speech demo which includes a talking avatar and a variety of different voices to choose from (male and female). The different accents included in the demo are US, UK, Australian and South African.The text-to-speech quality is excellent and best of all, it’s free!

Simple Past: ED endings







Here is a great link to understand how to pronounce ed endings in English:

Once you’re done reading the lesson, I’ve attached some worksheets for extra practice….




Pronouncing ed endings practice

Top 5 hurdles for adults learning English as a Second Language

Bicycle Confidence Workshop





Learning a second language is not like learning how to ride a bicycle and unfortunately the expression ”If you don’t use it, you lose it” is very true when it comes to learning English.

Here are the top 5 hurdles adults are faced with when learning English and tips on how to avoid these pitfalls.


English: Cartoon image of a nervous man.

          1. Fear




Fear is probably the number one obstacle preventing someone from learning a second language… Fear of being judged, ridiculed, not understanding or not being understood, making mistakes etc. are some of the biggest hurdles most people encounter.

Tips on getting past the fear:

I think therefore I am….. Tell yourself that you can do it….

– Fake it to make it…. confidence that is. Those who are more confident and believe that they can are the ones who see results.

– You’re not alone…. Most second language learners are faced with the same difficulties and issues.

– Shut out the negative chatter in your head… it’s distracting. Acknowledge the fear, accept it and it will go away.

The only way to get rid of the fear is to confront it.


Motivation by fear

          2. Motivation



Get motivated… Find what works for you and stick to it!


– Find a learning buddy, it’s always more fun to learn with someone than alone.

– Think of all the benefits that come with learning…. New job opportunities, meeting new people, perhaps a raise?

– Join an English class

– One good turn deserves another.  Help an English colleague or a web pal learn your first language and ask them to help you practice speaking  English in exchange.

– Immerse yourself in English. Read a book, watch a movie, go online… Technology makes it so much easier and interesting to learn.- Learning a language doesn’t have to be boring…. Learn about things that interest you.


Study Time

          3. Discipline with a capital D



Yes, learning a second language can be hard but the harder we work at it, the easier it becomes.


– Don’t make excuses

– Find the time to study and practice

– Set aside some time every day

– Make learning English part of your daily routine

and again, the most important tip…. Don’t make excuses


English: lonely, unhappiness sp: tristeza, des...

          4. High Expectations


Learning a language won’t happen overnight, the more pressure we put upon ourselves, the more disappointed and discouraged we get.

– Learning a language is not a race…. you get to where you want to be when you’re ready to get there.

– People who have no expectations are never disappointed.

– Be kind and gentle with yourself, you will make mistakes… that’s part of the learning process. It’s by learning from our mistakes that we improve.

Stay positive and tell yourself that you can do it. Focus on the progress and always acknowledge the successes whether they are big or small.


English: Multiple Intelligences

              5. Methods of Learning






What helps you to learn in the best way possible?

Is it sitting close to the teacher?

Looking at Power Point presentations or documents with lots of colour and pictures?

Do you need to hear the information to learn?

Do not be afraid to let your teacher know what works for you…

It’s important for you to get the most out of your learning experience and that’s what your teacher is there to help you with.


Apprendre du Nouveau Vocabulaire / Learning New Vocabulary

17/02: Languages

Looking up words in the dictionary is a simple but effective way to learn new vocabulary.








I got called in to replace for a full-time group last week and I noticed that the students were using their dictionary to look up new words during group discussions and noting new vocabulary along with the meaning for future reference which I believe is a great way to pick up and use new vocabulary.

This made me think of my ex-colleague Heather Belbin who had created a very simple yet effective worksheet to motivate students to write down new vocabulary along with the meaning. Feel free to visit her interesting and useful blog for ESL learners by clicking on the link: English at Work

Seeing as imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I am including my own version of Heather’s new vocabulary worksheet to this blog post for beginner and advanced students.

New vocabulary worksheet for beginners

New vocabulary worksheet advanced


Quelques pistes pour vous aider à obtenir votre niveau C sur le test de langue orale de la fonction publique / Tips to increase your chances of getting a C level on the federal government language oral test

Speech Practice

Performance Test








Plusieurs élèves me demandent pourquoi ils ne réussissent pas à obtenir leurs niveaux C à l’oral, et ce même à plusieurs reprises…

Voici quelques pistes afin de vous aider à obtenir votre niveau C…

– Vous devez parler de votre emploi donc il est important de connaître les termes utilisés qui englobent les fonctions de votre poste. Il est beaucoup plus facile de parler de choses générales, c’est pourquoi il est plus difficile d’obtenir le niveau C, car on vous demande de parler de choses plus complexes reliées au travail et aux interactions que vous avez avec vos collègues et employeurs au bureau.

-Essayez de répondre aux questions sans déroger du sujet et en donnant le plus de détails possible.

-Imaginez que vous êtes en entrevue et répondez en conséquence.

-N’ayez pas peur de poser des questions à l’évaluateur si nécessaire… il est mieux d’être certain de ce que vous répondez que de penser que vous donnez probablement la bonne réponse.

Finalement, étant donné que le rôle de l’évaluateur ressemble beaucoup à celui d’un employeur, il ne faut pas se sentir intimidé si l’évaluateur n’échange pas beaucoup avec vous, surtout étant donné que le test est axé sur votre performance.

Si jamais vous ne réussissez pas à obtenir votre niveau C, ne vous découragez pas et n’hésitez pas à réessayer. N’oubliez pas, nous n’apprenons rien si nous n’échouons pas.

Bonne chance!



Many students ask me why they cannot seem to obtain their C level even when they redo the test more than once.

Here are some tips in order to help you obtain your C level…

-You must talk about your position, everything surrounding your tasks and your work interactions therefore it is important to know the precise terms related to your job. Getting a C level is more challenging because you need to talk about complex issues related to your work.

-Answer questions using as much detail as possible and stick to the topic at hand. Imagine that you are being interviewed for a job and answer consequently.

-Do not hesitate to ask the evaluator questions if necessary… It is much better to be sure that you are answering a question correctly rather than think you are giving the right answer.

Finally, the role of the evaluator is very similar to that of an employer, do not be intimidated or surprised if the evaluator is not very talkative especially seeing as this is a performance test.

If ever you do not succeed in obtaining your C level, do not hesitate to redo the test. Remember, those who never fail, never learn.

Good luck!