Activity Ideas

Here you will find ideas for students who wish to self study and for teachers who are looking for some inspiration. If you would like to see a special topic included then let us know and we will try to find something for you.

Freeform Online Courses

posted Nov 13, 2016, 7:40 AM by Graham William Hendrey   [ updated Nov 13, 2016, 10:06 AM ]

Over the last seven years the private holistic language school known as Native Speakers Academy has had a mission to reach out and connect with and assist as many people as possible. Our vision to improve the quality of life for thousands of individuals and empower them with the ability to brighten their own future has been a success. Learning a language has allowed many individuals to follow their dreams and travel, or work and study in a foreign country or just simply improve their quality of life at home.

On the way we have over come many obstacles and crossed many bridges and as a result we have grown. One example of this growth is our constant presence and influence through social media. On our You Tube page you will find a wide variety of Freeform Courses that the school has created to help students, not just learn English but also understand the world around them. These courses, with their audio and video content, are now free online and can be accessed by anyone. There are no study notes or term limits … you go at your own pace through the materials and take or leave whatever interests you.

So in case you missed them, here are links to the first episodes of some of the series. I find it very interesting to see how they progressed and developed: There are now over 600 educational videos and hope that they will serve as a guide to how far the school has come.

Language Coaching Samples: 
Learn through real life situations, conversations & problems

YouTube Video

Student Perspectives:
A series on how students see their own education

YouTube Video

All Actions & All Results:
Real entrepreneur business meetings to discuss common problems

YouTube Video

An audio podcast to explore whatever comes to mind

YouTube Video

The John Taylor Gatto Series:
A study of the history & psychology of education

YouTube Video

Simple Lessons:
Short and sweet presentations on things we should never forget

YouTube Video

Random Thoughts:
Ideas to help you gain clarity on your own experiences

YouTube Video

Wanderlust Of Thought:
An attempt to codify our common experiences Into clear and conscious ideas

YouTube Video

Conversations With Neo:
An in depth study of the world around us and why it is how It is

YouTube Video

Useful Stuff:
A look At some information which we can use in our everyday life

YouTube Video

Special Presentation Series:
All about education and how we can improve it worldwide

YouTube Video

Ten Minute English:
A supplementary series for upper intermadiate Students of English

YouTube Video

The Stefan Molyneux Series:
Personal growth through understanding psychology & philosophy:

YouTube Video

Underground Education:
A series that looks at different aspects of learning

YouTube Video

If you find something that resonates with you then use the You Tube search box to find more of the same series or topic. And of course that is not all … you will also, if you search, find other interesting videos such as Great Speeches, Facebook Live Sessions, Excursions, Bible Study Courses, Motivation Audio, School Promotional Videos, Student & Teacher Interviews, Specialised Topic Presentations, The Education News Show, and a few odd early experiments. With each series i have tried to improve the quality of the production and the clarity of the content.

The plain truth is that i did not make these for my students, other teachers or even myself. I made all of these videos for my children so that if anything were to ever happen to me then they would still have some guidance from me in their life ... if they wish. In truth i think we guide each other.

Feel free to give me some feedback on any of the videos.


The Student Perspective On Education

posted Jan 28, 2016, 1:35 PM by Graham William Hendrey   [ updated Jan 30, 2016, 4:53 AM ]

In December 2015 I took time out to discuss with some of my Slovak students about how they felt about the education system and whether they were satisfied with it. Their open responses were wonderfully candid and enlightening and were, with their permission, recorded.

As Students are the customers and parents the clients of all state education systems it was of interest to me how they were being served by their schools at this time. The result was a series of interviews that opened my eyes to some new perspectives. You can click on the 8 links below to watch our discussions in full.

A Student's Perspective On Education - 001 – Susan

YouTube Video

A Student's Perspective On Education - 002 – Daniel

YouTube Video

A Student's Perspective On Education - 003 - Barbora

YouTube Video

A Student's Perspective On Education - 004 - Kristian

YouTube Video

A Student's Perspective On Education - 005 - Alex

YouTube Video

A Student's Perspective On Education - 006 - Daniela

YouTube Video

A Student's Perspective On Education - 007 - Richard

YouTube Video

A Student's Perspective On Education - 008 - Adam

YouTube Video

Please note that none of these young students have English as a first language and so the fact that they agreed to be interviewed in a foreign language is to be greatly respected. Anyway, I hope you find the result as interesting as i did.

Feel free to let me know if you enjoyed any of them.


If you have then time why not explore some of our other video projects:

Or try this short sample session from our SIMPLE LESSONS project:

YouTube Video

And don't forget to give us some feedback ... (G)

The Project: 'Wanderlust Of Thought'

posted Sep 29, 2015, 5:27 AM by Graham William Hendrey   [ updated Oct 28, 2015, 6:18 AM ]

When I was sixteen I began to make notes on pieces of paper that soon grew into stream of consciousness poems which years later I collected together in a one volume self published book called 'The Trees That Became Men'. Similar to journals, these words I return to from time to time, for advice and to understand how I have grown. While for a long time over the last few years I was always tied up with office work and family related activities and I have always searched for a way to return to those processes which allowed some of my creative skills to flow. Finally, after a few false starts yet still following that key to success, namely: ''Never Give Up … Ever'', I have this fantastic opportunity again.

Being a home-school father has taught me to be more patient and that there is a time and a place for everything if it really matters to you. It has moreover taught me that faith will get you so far but there is no substitute to the grind that you must endure from time to time. To help us get through the difficult days as parents we must continually grow which is a welcome unconditional obligation that we owe to our children. We must continually be one step ahead, ready and willing to step in with expert advice, financial support, and keen observations wherever and whenever they need it. Even to understand that this may be when they think that they need it the least.

There is no confident substitute for experience in life. That is why successful businessmen always search for mentors to guide them through the pitfalls and traps of the business and financial world. We all need a guide to lead us in the right way, to be the welcome light at the end of a dark day. To become a parent is to take on that responsibility as a guide and that means 25 hours a day and 8 days a week. The fun just never ends! But it is hard, in the modern world, to be there all of the time at the right time but with the advantages and benefits of technology we can be where we are not and this can make all the difference.

This is why I have created my new video series: ''The Wanderlust of Thought''. An outpouring of understandings and inferences that the gray matter of mind has, often unconsciously, collected. Some ideas you will find pertinent and valid and others invalid and without foundation. While many of them are not new there is still a lot we can learn about who we are and why we are here when we externally vocalise our inner world. Logically, It may even verge on a form of personal therapy that allows me to clean out the dusty corners of my mind and move forward. However you take it please accept that it is open, honest and from the heart … which I feel is always the right way to start any process.

May these words (see below) guide teachers, students, colleagues, friends, enemies and family through at least some of the mists and fogs that cloud life.

Graham W. Hendrey
Native Speakers Academy

September 2015

Why not watch a few of these stream of consciousness online video episodes:

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

For all of the "Wanderlust' videos: Click Here ...

Online Language Sessions

posted Mar 19, 2015, 4:46 AM by Graham William Hendrey   [ updated Mar 19, 2015, 5:12 AM ]

One of the goals of this school has always been to provide added value to clients who have attended the school for longer periods of time. Most recently it was suggested by some students that with the recent availability of free online open source technology more flexible group lessons could be organised online. The initial result of this has been the production of a new series of special free weekly supplemental lessons for upper-intermediate and advanced level students.

The short daily sessions entitled 'NSA: 10 Minute English' are designed to expand student's vocabulary and to give them more direct contact with real English as it is presented by native speakers. These videos present highlighted texts with additional content which includes videos and graphics from recent news stories that have hit the headlines.

Although it is a work in progress and some of the technological elements still need to be ironed out it has so far received positive feedback from current students of the school. These sessions also provide a philosophical commentary on the society around us, various ways to interpret it and how we can overcome certain social problems.

The videos are hosted on our official 'NSA: You Tube Channel' and daily links are posted through our social media sites. We believe that these free online sessions offer a unique perspective on the world that we live in and we hope they will open your eyes to new possibilities. They will also increase each student's contact with a language which lives and breathes.

Check your level from the chart below.
(Click to Enlarge)

So, why don't you take this opportunity to explore the world with us.
(Just click on the links below to view our video lists)

NSA: You Tube Page
NSA: 10 Minute English Sessions
NSA: Special Presentations

Or sample and explore more directly by clicking on the videos below:

10 Minute English:

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

Special Presentations:

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

In addition there are an amazing number of other education sites offering daily and weekly free sessions online. From the many available I can recommend the following:

X- Breaking News English
X- Words in The News
X- Listen a Minute
X- Simple English News
X- VOA. Learning English
X- British Council

I hope that you will find something of real interest in the above links. Feel free to suggest any other sites to me and will add them to our little list.

With '10 Minutes English' you should be able to keep in daily contact with your second language and at least maintain the skills that you have worked so hard to develop.

G. Hendrey
Native Speakers Academy

Follow Us On Pinterest

posted Dec 3, 2014, 1:52 PM by Graham William Hendrey   [ updated Dec 3, 2014, 10:59 PM ]

Pinterest is a free website, which requires just a simple registration to use. Users can then upload, save, sort, and manage images, known as pins, and other media content (e.g., videos and images) through collections known as pinboards. Pinterest acts as a personalized media platform. Users can browse the content of others on the main page. Users can then save individual pins to one of their own boards using the "Pin It" button, with Pinboards typically organized by a central topic or theme. Users can personalize their experience with Pinterest by pinning items, creating boards, and interacting with other members.

It is a must for creative types and so is widely used by teachers all over the world to share ideas, plans and support. At NSA we have found the resource to be invaluable for personal development and global skills appreciation. So why don't you check out our educational pinterest collections. Just click on any of the images below to enter a world of fantastic content.

Famliy Resources

Material for The Experienced Professional

Critical Thinking Strategies

A Host of Inspiring Visual Ideas

For more information on PINTEREST and its usefulness ... try these links:

Pinterest 101: 
Tips To Get You Started

Tips for Using Pinterest Well

Pinterest Tips and Tricks You Might Not Have Discovered

All The Native Speakers Academy Boards

Please share this information with friends if you have found it useful.


Documentaries About Modern Education

posted Sep 3, 2014, 1:50 AM by Graham William Hendrey   [ updated Dec 3, 2014, 1:20 PM ]

This page lists and links to all kinds of documentary films about education, within different cultures, from all over the world. It provides a broad spectrum of personal perspectives on the effect that education is having on youth culture. It highlights the great advances as well as the deep failures that underlie the culture of schooling that now exist in every corner of the world.

New links will be posted on a daily basis until no more examples can be found ... so if you have some ideas for me then feel free to send me a link.

The list begins here:

Note: These links are external and may cease to function at anytime

1. Schooling the World: The White Man's Last Burden

YouTube Video

2. Race to Nowhere: Theatrical Trailer (Original)

YouTube Video

3. Waiting For Superman: Trailer #1

YouTube Video

4. The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman

YouTube Video

5. The College Conspiracy: Full Documentary 

YouTube Video

6. Two Million Minutes: Trailer

YouTube Video

7.  Living the Legacy: The Untold Story of Milton Hershey School 

YouTube Video

8. Please Vote For Me: Democracy in a Chinese School

YouTube Video

9. Spellbound - Movie Trailer

YouTube Video

10. Mad Hot Ballroom: Trailer

YouTube Video

11. Children Full of Life: School Life in Tokyo

YouTube Video

12. The Lottery: Official Trailer

YouTube Video

13. The Cartel - Trailer

YouTube Video

14. American Teacher: Documentary Trailer

YouTube Video

15. Teached: Trailer

YouTube Video

16. Teach: Who Wants to be a Teacher?

YouTube Video

17. Tough Young Teachers: BBC Documentary Series

YouTube Video

18. Ten9Eight : Shoot for the Moon - Official Trailer

YouTube Video

19. A Class Divided: An Experiment in Prejudice (PBS Frontline)

YouTube Video

20. Educating Essex: UK Channel 4 TV Series

YouTube Video

21. Educating Yorkshire: UK Channel 4 TV Series

YouTube Video

22. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Full)

YouTube Video

23. Arthur Morgan School: Documentary

YouTube Video

24. Classrooms of the Heart: John Taylor Gatto

YouTube Video

25. The Ultimate History Lesson: A Weekend with John Taylor Gatto (Part 1)

YouTube Video

26. Corridor of Shame: The Neglect of South Carolina's Rural Schools

YouTube Video

27. A National Disgrace: A pivotal year and a half in the Detroit Public Schools

YouTube Video

28. The School of The Americas: Short Documentary

YouTube Video

29. Harrow: A Very British School

YouTube Video

30. Cutting Edge: Too Poor for a Posh School

YouTube Video

31. A Very British Education: Documentary

YouTube Video

32. The Sleeping Children Awake: Residential Systems

YouTube Video

33. Louder Than a Bomb: Trailer

YouTube Video

34. No Child Left Behind: NYC Documentary

YouTube Video

35. Rock School: Tailer

YouTube Video

36. Scholarslip: A Documentary

YouTube Video

37. The Forbidden Education: Documentary

YouTube Video

38. Teachers: A Documentary & Interview

YouTube Video

39. Chicano! PBS Documentary: Taking Back The Schools

YouTube Video

40. The Learning: Documentary Film About 4 Teachers

YouTube Video

41. Kids Recovering from Addiction: Educational Documentary

YouTube Video

42. We Are The People We Have Been Waiting For: Trailer

YouTube Video

43. A Year In A Medical School: Documentary

YouTube Video

44. Blackboard Wars: Sneek Peek Trailer

YouTube Video

45. 180 Days: A Year in a High School (Sneek Peek Trailer)

YouTube Video

46. "Blackboards" Directed by 'Samira Makhmalbaf'

YouTube Video

47. The Boys of Baraka: Trailer - POV | PBS

YouTube Video

48. The Classroom Experiment: (Episode 1)

YouTube Video

49. Gareth Malone's Extraordinary School For Boys

YouTube Video

50. More Than Just a Classroom: Kids Build a School

YouTube Video

51. Building Hope: Mahiga Hope High School (Trailer)

YouTube Video

More links will be added soon.

Essential Links That You Should Check:

(A) Education Documentaries You Don’t Want to Miss

(B) Wiki: Documentary Films About Education

Jackanory: ''Tell Us a Story''

posted Sep 2, 2014, 12:54 AM by Graham William Hendrey   [ updated May 27, 2015, 4:40 AM ]

This is a classic long-running BBC children's television series that was designed to stimulate an interest in reading. The show was first transmitted on 13 December 1965, the first story being the fairy-tale Cap-o'-Rushes read by Lee Montague. Jackanory continued to be broadcast until 1996, clocking up around 3,500 episodes in its 30-year run. The final story, The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne, was read by Alan Bennett and broadcast on 24 March 1996. The show returned on 27 November 2006 for two one-off stories.

The show's format, which varied little over the decades, involved an actor reading from children's novels or folk tales, usually while seated in an armchair. From time to time the scene being read would be illustrated by a specially commissioned still drawing, often by Quentin Blake. Usually a single book would occupy five daily fifteen-minute episodes, from Monday to Friday.

A spin off series was Jackanory Playhouse (1972–85) which were a series of thirty-minute dramatisations. These included a dramatisation by Philip Glassborow of the comical A. A. Milne story "The Princess Who Couldn't Laugh".

Read more: 

Further Essential Information:

1. BFI Screen Online: Jackanory

2. Happy Birthday CBBC

3. Jackanory for Adults: Dark & Nasty

4. Doctors Prescribe Books to Heal the Mind

5. Websites For Reading Children's Stories

6. How to Encourage Reading

7. Free books: 100 legal sites to download literature 

8. 600 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices

9. Free e-books - Project Gutenberg

10. The Internet Archive

Some Videos Online: (These links may only be temporary)

The Gruffalo

YouTube Video

Harold The Duck

YouTube Video

Jackanory: Night Stories

YouTube Video

A host of other sites also contain interesting educational videos ... see below

Liberty's Kids: The Story of The American Revolution

Mythic Warriors

Stories From The Bible

And here is one of my personal favourites ...

Library Lion read by Mindy Sterling

YouTube Video

Additional Sites with Book Readings:

Read Story Books:

Kids Stories For You:

Ram Kids:

Story Time (CA):

Storytime Children's Library:

Storytime: Shy Mom

Alina Celeste:

Adult Book Themes:

You might also wish to search online for Jackanory Junior Videos or just type 'Children's Stories' into the You Tube search box.


Weekly Education Newsletters

posted Jul 2, 2014, 5:18 AM by Graham William Hendrey   [ updated Jul 2, 2014, 5:20 AM ]

Education News & Resources for Free: 
This has been created to empower all educators everywhere ...

This newsletter is designed to give you the tools you need to take control of your own education. It provides weekly links to vital news, tools, advice and hardcore information to allow you to improve your present personal skills and also give you a broader understanding of the world around you.

Usually issued every week here are some of the last few issues:

Issue 39:

Issue 38:

There are articles, research, videos and so much more. If you want to subscribe then click on the link at the top right of the newsletter page.

I hope you find it useful ... and it's free.


I also recommend the weekly newsletters from A-HA Parenting which has lots of practical ideas and educational psychology.

Here is a link to their website:

Open & Closed Questions

posted Jan 28, 2014, 5:30 AM by Graham William Hendrey   [ updated Feb 27, 2014, 5:37 AM ]

In a conversation, when completing a research survey, being interviewed for a job or working on a homework assignment, you might find yourself presented with a series of closed-ended or open-ended questions. Close-ended questions are those which can be answered by a simple "yes" or "no," while open-ended questions are those which require more thought and more than a simple one-word answer.

Close-Ended Questions

If you can answer a question with only a "yes" or "no" response, then you are answering a close-ended type of question.

Examples of close-ended questions are:
Are you feeling better today?
May I use the bathroom?
Is the prime rib a special tonight?
Should I date him?
Will you please do me a favor?
Have you already completed your homework?
Is that your final answer?
Were you planning on becoming a fireman?
Should I call her and sort things out?
Is it wrong to want to live on my own at this age?
Shall we make dinner together tonight?
Could I possibly be a messier house guest?
Might I be of service to you ladies this evening?
Did that man walk by the house before?
Can I help you with that?
May I please have a bite of that pie?
Would you like to go to the movies tonight?
Is math your favorite subject?
Does four plus four equal eight?
Is that haunted house really scary?
Will you be going to Grandmother's house for Christmas?
Did Dad make the cake today?
Is there a Mass being held at noon?
Are you pregnant?
Are you happy?
Is he dead?

Close-ended questions should not always be thought of as simple questions that anyone can quickly answer merely because they require a yes or no answer. Close-ended questions can also be very complicated. For example, "Is 1 in binary equal to 1 in counting numbers?" is a close-ended question that not everyone would be able to quickly answer.

Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions are ones that require more than one word answers. The answers could come in the form of a list, a few sentences or something longer such as a speech, paragraph or essay.

Here are some examples of open-ended questions:
What were the most important wars fought in the history of the United States?
What are you planning to buy today at the supermarket?
How exactly did the fight between the two of you start?
What is your favorite memory from childhood?
How will you help the company if you are hired to work for us?
What do you plan to do immediately following graduation from college?
What types of decorations do you plan to have for your friend's birthday party?
What was your high school experience like?
How did you and your best friend meet?
What sites do you expect to see on your vacation?
How do you go about booking tickets for a flight?
What were the major effects of World War II for the United States?
How do you go about purchasing a home?
What is it like to live in the capital of Morocco?
What is the quickest way to get to the pet store in town?
Why is it that every time I talk with you, you seem irritated?
In what way do you feel I should present myself?
How do you manage to raise those children alone?
What is the matter with the people in that class?
Where are you going to find the time to write all those letters?
Why can't I come along with you?
What makes the leaves change color?
How exactly does one replace the screen to a cellular phone?

Although open-ended questions require lengthier responses than do close-ended questions, open-ended questions are not always more complicated. For example, asking "What are you planning to buy today at the supermarket?" may simply require the respondent to read off of a list.

Read more here:

Essential Additional Information:

100 Open-Ended Questions for Groups and Classrooms

Closed-Ended Question

Open and Closed Questions

Open-Ended Questions

BC: Asking Questions

Questioning Techniques

What are 20 examples of open ended questions?

MBA: Masters in Bullshit Admin.

posted Nov 26, 2013, 11:03 PM by Graham William Hendrey   [ updated Dec 6, 2013, 6:29 AM ]

If Josh Kaufman had gone to business school, he probably would have graduated this year with an MBA from Harvard or Stanford. But Kaufman, a 28-year-old entrepreneur who had worked as an assistant brand manager for Procter & Gamble, thinks business school is pretty much a waste of time and money.

MBA programs, he says firmly, have become so expensive that students “must effectively mortgage their lives” and take on “a crippling burden of debt” to get what is “mostly a worthless piece of paper.” Kaufman believes that MBA programs “teach many worthless, outdated, even outright damaging concepts and practices.” And if that’s not bad enough, he insists that an MBA won’t guarantee anyone a high-paying job, let alone turn a person into a skilled manager or leader.

“Business schools don’t create successful people,” insists Kaufman. “They simply accept them, then take credit for their success. With heavy debt loads and questionable returns, MBA programs simply aren’t a good investment—they’re a trap for the unwary.”

Founder of and the author of the forthcoming “The Personal MBA,” Kaufman is a passionate advocate for what he calls self-education. Instead of paying up to $350,000 in tuition and forgone earnings to go to Harvard, Stanford or Wharton, Kaufman says a better way to learn business is to open the pages of classic business texts and learn on your own.

Through the economic meltdown, of course, MBA bashing reached new heights. Eager to find a scapegoat, critics happily assigned blame to business schools for teaching MBAs the merits of financial manipulation that led to a global financial crisis.


Much of Josh Kaufman’s argument rests on a study published eight years ago by Stanford Business School professor Jeffrey Pfeffer of Stanford University and Christina T. Fong of the University of Washington. The pair analyzed 40 years of data and studies and came up with a provocative and startling conclusion: “There is scant evidence that the MBA credential, particularly from non-elite schools, or the grades earned in business courses are related to either salary or the attainment of higher level positions in organizations.”

As Kaufman quotes the study, he is almost giddy. “It’s the first and only systematic study I’ve seen,” he says. “They crunched 40 years of data on job rates, positions, and salaries. They asked whether getting an MBA provides benefits or not. Their answer was no. It does effectively nothing. It had no impact.”

“There’s the general impression that getting an MBA puts you on a pedestal in terms of your knowledge and experience and what you’re able to contribute to a business. But I was able to walk into a boardroom and hold my own [having been self-taught] with people who had graduated from Stanford and Wharton. It was very exciting.”

Text Origin:
Business Insider

Read more here:

Read more here: 

Essential Supporting Material:

If MBAs are useless ... we’re all in big trouble

The MBA Debt Burden

A Smart Investor Would Skip the M.B.A.

Has The MBA Become A Worthless Degree?

There Are Officially Too Many MBAs
Grueling Hours on the Job: Stressful, Dangerous, Useless

7 Reasons why MBA’s suck for entrepreneurs

Lot of Useless M.B.A.’s

The Economist Suggests MBA’s Are Worthless

Are MBA Programs wasting our time?

The end of the affair or Falling out of love with business

The Great MBA Bubble

Confessions of an MBA Student

Hey Entrepreneur – Please Don’t Get an MBA

If you can't get into a top 5 MBA program, don't even bother

M.B.A. = Master of Bullshit Administration

MBA Degree Branded as Baloney by Economist; Search Thrives

The New Finance Bill: A Mountain of Legislative Paper, a Molehill of Reform
How to use SWOT analysis in MBA Application

End of Evidence.

'At the end of the day it is more important who you know than what you know' (G)

1-10 of 125