The English Learners' Blog

A blog for English learners and their teachers everywhere, initiated in 2010 with the contribution of students from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. More about me on the On-line Profile below. Welcome!

Read and Rate: Role Models

Have you ever felt inspired by someone? Who was it and why?

Read what my young and talented Kliny English Course students wrote about their role models.

Rate the three compositions below and share your own role model with other English learners by leaving a comment with your view on the topic. Have fun!


 I have decided to write about

my grandfather

who is my role model because of his charismatic personality.

 He is the funniest and the most easy-going person that I know. With his jokes and amazing stories from his life he always makes a nice atmosphere  so that everyone around him feels good. My grandfather is a  painter, so he is really creative and imaginative too. Now a former teacher, he  knows  how to be patient, and when I want to talk with him about my troubles, he  listens to me carefully and always gives me good  advice.

 I think that I am really lucky because I have got the best grandfather in the world!


My role-model I decided to write here about

my sister.

She has got very long hair which I would like to have as well, because long hair is

funny. She is very obedient, never rude and I want to be like her because parents buy presents to obedient children. She is very moody and I’m going to be just like that, because moody people have lots of friends. She is very ambitious and determined and I hope I will be too one day, because people who are ambitious and determined usually have good grades. She is very social too, and maybe I will be as social as she is, because I will get on well with my friends. However, I don’t like her very much and this makes it all rather difficult.


My role model is

my mom.

She’s really responsible and ambitious because she has own dressmaking company. Of course sometimes she is really as stubborn as I am, and sometimes we argue, but I love her.  And what I like best about her is that I think she’s sensitive. I don’t know why she is the way she is, but I know that I want be like my mom in the future. The End 🙂

Filed under: 1►TO DO, 2►READ, 6▼ Questionnaires

Goodies of all Sorts and Sizes

Filed under: 6▼ Questionnaires, ■ Food & Travel, ■ GOOP

Strong Marks & Tough Characters in the Wild

How do you leave your mark on

the world surrounding you?



There are a lot of  signatures in the wild, many more than on paper. That is because animals can sign on wood, earth, even  underground, through air or water, in a nutshell, by channels that may involve any of and all the senses.

The wildlife surrounding us is extraordinary! That’s why I’d like to thank my biology students for the great presentations they had this semester.

This post was inspired by an Animal Planet documentary on the smelliest animals on Earth. Have fun reading it!

Here are some photos of ten of the most odiferous animals. Take a look & choose the top three that can leave the strongest smelliest signatures ever known.

ALASKA ZOO Musk-ox Calf

The musk ox is a large hoofed mammal with up-turned horns, a massive body and a short tail. They live in social groups, where the adults work together to defend and nurture the young. When threatened by a polar bear or wolf, the adults form a protective circle around the younger members of the herd.


Beluga whales are often found around the Arctic seas, and migrate when the sea freezes over. They often travel in groups, also known as pods, and live mainly in shallow waters which sometimes are barely deep enough to completely cover them.

Beluga whales are almost forty percent blubber which insulates them in the cold Arctic waters. This blubber also helps to streamline their body which enables them to move more quickly through the water. Also, when Beluga whales dive, their blood circulation decreases, allowing them to conserve body heat.

Beluga whales are also known as “sea canaries” because they are very vocal. They make sounds that range from clicks and high pitched whistles to bell-like sounds. These sounds can be heard above water.

Red Fox Cubs

Adult red foxes usually live alone except during the mating season in January and February and when raising young.
Instead of sleeping in a den, an adult fox usually curls up with its fluffy tail over its nose and feet to protect itself from the cold. In the winter, sometimes the snow will cover them in a blanket which insulates them from the wind and cold weather.


Wolverines are fierce and entirely under-estimated predators. Read more on these animals on Deleene’ blog, Wild Muse. I was pleased to discover that this blog was a finalist in the run for the Research Blogging awards 2010, so it’s worth checking if you’re a wild life fan. 🙂


The North Pacific is home to five species of salmon and steelhead, a migratory form of trout. Each kind of salmon is known by different names: Chinook (king), sockeye (red), coho (silver), chum (dog), and pink (humpback). All are commercially valuable, but the Chinook were the prize of the Columbia River system. On the Water is the site where you can read more about the Columbia river salmon.


Stink bugs have 5-segmented antennae and shield-shaped bodies.

Some stink bugs are pests of cultivated plants, and their feeding not only damages the plants, it also damages or disfigures fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds and helps spread plant diseases.

Stink bugs get their name because if handled or otherwise disturbed, a stink bug will release a stinky odor from glands on its thorax.


Skunks are legendary for their powerful predator-deterrent — a hard-to-remove, horrible-smelling spray. A skunk’s spray is an oily liquid produced by glands under its large tail. To employ this scent bomb, a skunk turns around and blasts its foe with a foul mist that can travel as far as ten feet (three meters).

Skunk spray causes no real damage to its victims, but it sure makes them uncomfortable. It can linger for many days and defy attempts to remove it. As a defensive technique, the spray is very effective. Predators typically give skunks a wide berth unless little other food is available. (Info taken from the National Geographic site)

American Beaver

Beavers are more than intriguing animals with flat tails and lustrous fur. American Indians called the beaver the “sacred center” of the land because this species creates rich habitats for other mammals, fish, turtles, frogs, birds and ducks. Since beavers prefer to dam streams in shallow valleys, much of the flooded area becomes wetlands. Such wetlands are cradles of life with biodiversity that can rival tropical rain forests.

Besides being a keystone species, beavers reliably and economically maintain wetlands that can sponge up floodwaters (the several dams built by each colony also slows the flow of floodwaters), prevent erosion, raise the water table and act as the “earth’s kidneys” to purify water. The latter occurs because several feet of silt collect upstream of older beaver dams, and toxics, such as pesticides, are broken down in the wetlands that beavers create. Thus, water downstream of dams is cleaner and requires less treatment.

Tasmanian Devil

As comical as it is, the familiar Looney Tunes portrayal of a Tasmanian devil as a seething, snarling, insatiable lunatic is, at times, not all that far from the truth.

Tasmanian devils have a notoriously cantankerous disposition and will fly into a maniacal rage when threatened by a predator, fighting for a mate, or defending a meal. Early European settlers dubbed it a “devil” after witnessing such displays, which include teeth-baring, lunging, and an array of spine-chilling guttural growls.


Many animals come away from a porcupine encounter with quills protruding from their own snouts or bodies. Quills have sharp tips and overlapping scales or barbs that make them difficult to remove once they are stuck in another animal’s skin. Porcupines grow new quills to replace the ones they lose.

Hyena Pup

Wherever you go on safari in Africa, don’t be lulled into thinking these animals are like domestic dogs! If you stick your arm out your vehicle window, a hyena is capable of snapping it off with one bite. They have powerful jaws and teeth specially adapted to splintering and crushing bones.

While a lion or leopard is unlikely to enter your safari tent, hyenas have been known to take a bite out of sleeping tourists.

Every living creature can find itself in situations in which it can leave strong marks in its environment.

Choose the strongest olfactory marks the animals above are known to leave.

And last, but not least, what are the strengths that make you noticed?

Filed under: 6►THEME CHEST, 6▼ Questionnaires, ■ Biology, ■ Perfumes

Vocabulary Quizz

Took the poll already? Click here for the answer!

Filed under: 1►TO DO, 6▼ Questionnaires

Spring Cleaning

Spring Time

It’s time to welcome spring with other than sneezes and allergy pills.

How about some spring cleaning? Some mental organising of thoughts or agendas,

and maybe planning for the future – even if this means something as common as choosing a new summer holiday destination?

The poll below was inspired by my student, Aleksandra Romanowska,

who, after watching in class the video of a business English presentation

on marketing strategies for a brewery,

said to me that she found in it, strange as it may sound,

a very good motivation source for spring cleaning,

for putting her thoughts into perspective.

Try to answer the question she asked herself.

It is quite fun to consider! 🙂

The question is quoted verbatim.

The answer choices, on the other hand, have been reconstructed from memory. Feel free to add answers of your own.

Filed under: 6▼ Questionnaires, ■ Spring Cleaning

Week of Mourning: Day 4

Presented with the opportunity, what questions would you like a sociologist to answer about the possible consequences of the tragic event last weekend on Poland and the European society at large?

Here are some questions already formulated by some of you at our classes this week. Some are very general, others more specific. If you would like to add more questions to this list, you are invited to do so by leaving comments to this post. I will use a selection of these questions for an upcoming interview for my radio show, “Cultural me, Cultural you,” so if you would like to get an answer to a particular question you have, let it be known!

  • How will the Polish society react to the tragic event on April, 10?
  • How will the radio, television and other media present the tragedy and the atmosphere of the upcoming days?
  • Are we going to witness any significant changes in Polish people’s attitudes?
  • Will the mourning unite the Poles? If so, for how long?
  • Are we, the Poles, a country that can be united only in times of crisis?
  • When something so terrible and shocking happens all countries seem to react and manifest their feelings in the same way. These last few days we could observe a unity of attitude in most people. Is it possible to say that we are evolving towards a “world society,” in which similar behavioural patterns imprinted in everyone’s subconscious influence our actions in a similar way?
  • Could you compare last Saturday’s catastrophe with the death of Pope John Paul II, 5 years ago?
  • Do you believe that more people will become interested in politics and its mechanisms?
  • Will the Polish political culture improve after the tragedy?
  • Will the Polish economy and the zloty be affected by the event?
  • How will the gambling community work without Zbigniew Wasserman?
  • In what way is this tragic event going to influence the relations between Poland and Russia?
  • Will both Poland and Russia be able to put the past behind them?
  • Will the Russian attitude toward the Katyn events change?
  • Is this catastrophe going to raise the awareness of people from other countries on the tragic events in Katyn, in 1940?

Filed under: 6▼ Questionnaires, ■ Poland, ■ Week of Mourning 2010

Read & Be the Judge

Read the two writing samples on the topic of travelling and answer the poll:

Text 1

Not Quite An Obscure Atlas


Magdalena Gunska

Have you wondered how to find places worth visiting during your holidays?

Some of you may already know where he or she is going, but is in need of information about sights worth seeing there. Others may be keen, let’s say, on certain kinds of animals while others are searching for places connected to other subjects of interest. All of these people should pay a visit to the Atlas Obscura website.

This website is a sort of online catalogue of interesting but relatively unknown places from around the world. Anyone can contribute articles to Atlas Obscura. The articles can be browsed by regions or by categories, the latter including “Fascinating Fauna”, “Martian Landscapes”, “Outsider Art”, “Retro-Tech”, “Odd Accommodations” or “Curious Places of Worship,” to list a few examples. Each article contains a short description of the place, as well as useful information such as the address, opening hours, admission cost and location on the map.

From this atlas you can learn about many places you would like to see but couldn’t find information about elsewhere. Of course some could be too far away or expensive to visit, like the Blood Falls in Antarctica. However, you can discover similarly unusual places quite close to where you live! Did you know about the Gliwice Radio Tower which is probably the tallest wooden structure in the world? Or the Dental Museum in Racibórz?

In my opinion, Atlas Obscura can be very helpful if you’re planning a trip that has to be memorable. Everyone can find something suitable for them here; I already did.

Does anyone feel like going with me to the Alchemy Museum in Kutna Hora, the Czech Republic?

Text 2

Travel Today


Radosław Strzałka

We understand travelling nowadays mainly as taking a journey to faraway countries, to other continents. It is to be expected that less known cultures, like the Chinese, are always interesting. Travelling is also easier now because of the globalisation and all of its consequences. Money and political restrictions are not a problem, either, for the most part.

However, I would like to say a few words about travelling in connection with the exploration of nearby areas. Once I took a bicycle trip to Ogrodzieniec with my sister – about 15 km from my home. The ruins of a medieval castle built by king Kazimierz Wielki are still visible there. Although we knew this castle well, we had never chosen that bicycle route for cyclists. When we left the forest, we found a huge sunflower plantation on a hill. It was a field of many hectares, I guess. All plants were turned towards the setting sun. That was an amazing view. The photo I attached, taken with a mobile phone, only partially shows the beauty of it. I didn’t know that there was such a surprising place near my home.

After this trip I remembered my girlfriend’s story about her adventure in Provence. She told me about an identical situation, where instead of a sunflower field there was a lavender plantation. It was the most beautiful place in the world to her. The moral of my story is simple: you don’t have to go abroad to have such beautiful experiences. The variety of landscapes also appears in our “small homelands” and the saying: “cudze chwalicie – swego nie znacie” always stays true.

You may leave your comment below to explain your answer to the poll and post your own writing sample.

Filed under: 5►On-line Assignments, 6▼ Questionnaires, ■ Travel, ■ Writing Samples

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Filed under: 6▼ Questionnaires

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