Basil plant at Blue Noun Language Hub

Live Language Learning | About Our Motto

This blog answers the question: Why is Live Language Learning our motto?

Today I showed my student a basil plant.

I got it the day she arrived (a coincidence, I get my organic veggie box every Friday – and this one included this live basil plant).

As it’s M-L’s last day learning with me here in Scotland, we first reviewed all the grammar she has learned (and yes, she can use Present Perfect now).

Then we spent a couple of hours chatting about how she can get English practice regularly into her life back home. We used lots of ‘going to’ for intentions – (previously, she only used ‘will’).

Oh, and I’ll send her all those web links I showed her once she gets home (along with my best accountability tips for keeping on track).

tea break at Blue Noun language hub

Tea break Blue Noun Language Hub

Tea Break Chats

I showed her the basil plant when we were on one of our frequent tea breaks.

I was boiling the kettle when I noticed that in her two weeks, it had much more than doubled in size.

Although still a young plant, it’s obviously strong and healthy. It even has leaves I can use right away, and more will grow in their place.

In other words, it’s thriving!

“Just like your English!” I said.

Plants in the Classroom

This is possibly a corny thing to say, but it is true. Two weeks ago it was so much smaller and fragile. Now it is strong and ready to be used!

 (Artist Adam J. Kurtz has a lot to say in favour of risking being corny by being sincere in his You Are Here – For Now podcast). 


Live Language Learning with Plants and Gardens

It’s actually not odd to be talking about plants with her.

Firstly, we’ve talked about almost everything over the last couple of weeks. As she’s been welcomed into my world in Scotland, she has also encountered my family life. We’ve covered a lot!


live language learning - Blue Noun Language School plants

This amazing plant was given to me by a student (Tania).

Love Your Classroom

Secondly, I have living plants all around Blue Noun Language Hub. I sometimes even post on Insta about our little garden space. Our plants are part of being here. They bring joy. 

Living plants bring calm and relaxation to a space – much needed in any learning space.

Lastly, although M-L and I have focused quite a lot on the technical language she needs for her work, she told me via our Whatsapp chat that she had an interest in herbalism and plants, so I had some plant-themed adventures lined up for her time in Scotland.

live language learning - herb garden at stirling castle

‘Medieval’ herb garden at Stirling Castle (detail)

English Excursions in Outdoor Scotland

For example, we’ve visited a private growing garden producing market flowers for florists (heavenly), as well as Drummond Castle Gardens – and Stirling Castle’s medicinal herb garden (as well as exploring Stirling Castle itself).

We’ve also taken a couple of private nature walks with local herbalist Claire Mullan, who shared history, folklore and herbal tips about local plants (including how the lowly nettle is useful in each season – and one reason why yew trees might have been planted in cemeteries).

At one point we three even sat in the sun sketching flowers.


live language learning screenshot - sketching at drummond castle gardens

Screenshot from Instagram

What!! Not Talking? 

Nope, sitting and drawing.

English immersion holidays should not constantly be talking and ‘cramming’. They are as much about learning who you are – and can be – in a new culture, as learning tangible language skills.

Companionable silence speaks volumes.

This was three people sharing a memorable moment, transcending the need for the spoken word.

This is a solid foundation for a lifetime of English language learning.

That’s what language immersion can truly offer best.

Visiting the bluebells at Strowan Cemetery

Strowan Woodland Cemetery, Perthshire 

Bespoke English Language Holidays

For M-L, the afternoons spent walking together in woodlands and gardens were the perfect compliment to her English learning – providing the peaceful environment she needed to supplement the intense language learning.

For my next learner(s), their English immersion week will have a different language emphasis and/or activities based on their jobs, language weaknesses and language goals – as well as their hobbies, travel interests and personalities.

Every immersion holiday is shaped around just what each learner needs to grow.

(We talk before you book –  just to make sure that we are a good fit for working together!)


“For my next learner(s), their English immersion week will have a different language emphasis and/or activities based on their jobs, language weaknesses and language goals – as well as their hobbies, travel interests and personalities”.

Ruth, 2023

A Parting Gift

I wish I could give her this very basil plant to keep, but that’s too complicated for Easyjet. (I’m driving her back to Edinburgh Airport tomorrow.

(I already know that she’s loaded up with souvenirs). 

live language learning - plants at Blue Noun Language school Scotland

Pots of English

Instead, she (and all my immersion week learners) receive a little hand-made ceramic plant pot made by Perthshire artist Ceri White.



  • they are beautiful.
  • and each is unique
  • and they are imperfect.

(Their beauty is in not needing to be perfect).


  • because they will remind my learners of being here at Bue Noun (we use them around our teaching space for plants and pens) – and in Perthhsire (we visit artists in their studios).
  • And lastly, because I think mass-printed ‘certificates’ for groups of adult language learners are meaningless. Why would you want that?


We literally send folks home with “Pots of English” instead. (Technically we post them out – no one needs more stuff to carry).

When she gets home M-L can find her very own English plant – and watch it grow.

Live language learning!

live language learning - plants at Blue Noun Language school Scotland

Further Information

Blue Noun Language Hub

Want to learn more about our English language Immersion Holidays? See here.

External links

Listen to the Adam J. Kurtz You are Here (for Now) podcast here.

Find out more about Drummond Castle Gardens here.

Visit the amazing Ceri White here.

Learn about Eco burials at Strowan Woodland Cemetery here.