Feedback Jan Writing Assig.: Descriptive Texts (Reviews, Travel Guides, Articles)

Based on work done by Marina, Dessi, Clara, Marta, Lucía, Lorena, Sergio, Karen, Gema, Encarni, Germán.

Out of a lack of time, I’ll focus in mistakes, OK? So please, read this with a constructive spirit! 🙂 Use what you need, I mean. If it’s not about what you do, simply read it for consolidation. ❤

LoM-Methodological Approach to Tasks. Walking in the Readers’ Shoes

  • Some people are still not allowing the reader to get all the relevant factual information on the assignment at the beginning of the text: full name, date, group, task description including word number. I think this should change.
  • It’s hard to write down corrections when there is no space between lines or no margins. Please, keep this in mind. Teachers always complain about it, but it’s like women’s invisibilization as human beings in patriarchy, consistently, people forget! 😀 (I couldn’t stop myself from introducing a cross-curricular point with Education for Equality! 😀 )

Reviews: Writing Methology Affecting Structure

Some people chose /chous/ to write a review (using a brochure format or in regular writing), but – excuse me for saying this – I wondered if they had read /red/ about writing reviews AND if they had actually read /red/ a few reviews before setting down to write one. Or supposing they did, it seemed they had missed the point of Why We Do that — what we need to pay attention to.

So here the mistake I’m particularly critical of is that you might not be using the month to prepare Before Writing working sessions (see Writing File here: all the texts are announced from the beginning of the course and you are always welcome to ask; when I post about them it’s just to arrange the date for a deadline or when there are changes in the plans) for a particular kind of text. This includes finding resources to write it well, and to use the assignment to learn MORE, to improve your structure and language range and accuracy. I suggest – if you know you did not do this – you review (bare infinitive for subjunctive with “suggest”) my video on How to work on your Monthly Writing Assignments. What I teach there will allow you to learn on your own once you stop having a teacher.

So — When you do research, consider my notes, I always post them when you ask, or old textbooks, or reliable websites, and consider jotting down things on structure (ingredientes for an outline in good order) and language items, and then put it into practice, I can give you the feedback of whether that worked or didn’t, apart from correcting the grammar and so on.

What’s a Descriptive Text, e.g. a Review? (Consolidation)

A review is a descriptive text that includes a recommendation. When we start it off, we have descriptive info for the title (e.g., the title of the work (obra) or place) and then basic factual information about it (no “Introduction” heading because it’s really shor and it’s obvious from the text).

Then comes the plot (for books and movies) in the present tense, to make the telling more vivid, or the description of the place (e.g., if it’s a restaurant, an exhibition).

Next comes an analysis of your own, that does not need to have expressions like “I like”. It needs rich descriptive language. I’ll develop this below.

Finally, a recommendation, including the closing line, of course (something that sounds like the ending of the article if it’s an article).

Articles and Novels include descriptive texts (descriptions of people, objects, places), not only narratives (actions), so training in this kind of texts allows you to improve a great deal of other kinds of texts! ❤

More on Language Range for Descriptions

Reviews/Travel Guides/Brochures…, articles including descriptions, mostly need lots of rich vocabulary and expressions for descriptions, so we really need to find different kinds of modifiers, as I mentioned:

  • adjectives like “it is enticing” or “uninteresting”, “dull” or “reliable”; adjectives modified by some other word: “somewhat tedious” “extraordinarily fast-paced” or noun phrases like “her parents’ home”, “a fast-paced thriller/narrative/evolution” which can also include prepositional phrases like “the woman in red” in “the times before the draught”…
  • relative clauses with or without ending prepositions, like “[didn’t expect] the girl WHO would be waiting for her”, “[had found dead] the person they were talking to”
  • present (-ing) or past particles clauses, particularly good for merging two simple sentences together and showing you understand transitions, like “Ushered into the L.M.A. Laboratory in 1935 to shoulder the burden of number cruchngin, they acted…” or “Growing up in H., V., in the 19702, Shetterly lived” from Luz’s homework on The True Story of Hidden Figures). Another example, consider this: “Pay It Forward was written by C.R.H. who is an American novelist with notable success. Her novels have won many awards and some have been bestsellers. / Pay It Forward was published in 1999 and is the extraordinary story of a perfect idea.” How can we improve this text?. Can you please post how you would improve it here? For instance, can we avoid starting the two paragrahps with the exact same structure/words: “PIF was…”? (Answer this one, OK?) Then, can we merge things?: “PIF (it’s good for the opening line to clearly state the topic of the text, yes!), written by CRH, an American novelist…, is the extraordinary story of a perfect idea”. Can you see what I did? What do you think? Can you come up with your own improvement?

Noticing collocations in reviews is really useful (collecting this kind of Useful Language), but for this we need to read quite a few reviews, to see which are typical collocations, like “breathtaking scenery”, “soaring mountains”, “outstanding performance”).

In the part where you analyze the work (and this part in the review is similar to reasoned opinions, or argumentative texts, of course, the difference is reviews use lots of modifiers, i.e., descriptive language), instead of saying you like this or that, in that way, you could explain reasons for using certain words to express you like/dislike the subject matter, to explain how interesting / funny / unsettling something was. Let me illustrate, as a follow-up on my point above: in the analysis in our review we usually point out what we liked and didn’t, but we’re advanced students and saying “I liked this because of that” is rather simply worded. If you read reviews, noticing language and its meaning, you’ll probably improve a great deal in this: instead of saying “I really like the actors. They were great” you would probably look for more sophisticated wording, “Most performances in this intriguing movie were outstanding”. Am I not saying that I liked it? But here my language range is richer.

Titles: all words are capitalized except prepositions and articles: Pay It Forward, Orange Is the New Black, Hidden Figures, Visiting Fuengirola, the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel…

Reference & Paragraphing: watch your use of pronouns, particularly at the beginning of paragraphs (something to avoid, because a paragraph needs to state the topic explicitly — it’s called the topic sentence, which can come first or second but needs to be at the very beginning), sometimes the referece is confusing, unclear, or simply wrong.

About Writing Articles

As I explained we have two kinds of articles:

Informative articles, like Travel Guides (descriptive articles) require HEADINGS, so if you are going to write about Fuengirola, for instance, for tourists, you need to visually sort out your topics by using a heading. This is better than bulleting. Just notice articles in magazines, OK? Bulleting is used for listings, not for sorting out topic sections.

Balance in topic presentation is key. You cannot write about Bioparc for more than 2/3 of the text and then mention some other topic, briefly. You have been writing minisagas and 100-word reasoned opinions to train in managing to fit things to a specific number of words.

I’m running out of time, and I’ve still got the LANGUAGE POINTS to go. But I want to give you your work back today, so I might have to ask you all to please prepare your LoM for after the holiday and please share your language points in class, for everybody to learn from them. Is it on? (That’d be C-Day, Composition Day, OK?)

Historias de micromachismos

Cuando acabé mi segunda carrera fui a pedir información sobre Oposiciones a una oficina de la Administración. El funcionario me dijo que con mis rasgos exóticos, para qué quería preparar oposiciones. Que abriera un salón de masajes. A mí también me ha pasado.


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Video: Catherine, on Scotland (Guest Speaker)

At last, I made it! Here’s a precious talk by a Scottish woman who we had the chance to meet thanks to Cristina! I hope you can find the time to watch the video, excuse the recording and editing mistakes, and enjoy all the learning this talk brings! ❤

Scotland & Scottish English, by Catherine (Guest Speaker)
Catherine, from Edinburgh, kindly accepted Cristina’s invitation (C1, 2016-17) to come to our School as a guest speaker and speak about her country, Scotland, allowing us to learn about its people and culture as well as to listen to the Scottish variety of English so we can get acquainted with its accent. We feel privileged to be able to offer this video to our community. Thanks so much, Catherine, and Cristina, for this precious gift! The video includes her about 15-min talk and then questions by students. We hope you all enjoy Catherine’s talk !

Evaluación al Profesorado

I totally forgot about this: I need you all to fill in a questionnaire about my work with you all. The School does this every year, and it’s anonymous. I don’t even have a look after students hand it in. I just get the “results” from DOFEI, the Department that collects this info and send us our report.

So PLEASE, next day help me remember!! It’ll take you 3 minutes, I think. ❤

Diary for Mon Jan 20 & Some activities!

Today we did some rearrangin’! 😀

I explained why I’d rather keep your checked work today — because I’d like to post some comments for your LoM’s, based on my corrections.

I announced an item to include in your work next week. I’ll post about it.

Then Germán finished his part of the OP, which included comparing the movie version to the original novel and questions on how to say things, whose answers were in the handout he had given out with useful language from the High Fidely novel.

We moved the Marigold OP to next Wednesday, and its members said I could bring my video camera, in case they eventually decided I was allowed to publish their work! Next day we’ll also have another amazing OP: one by Marta and Isabel, on Orange is the New Black.

Next we did a listening activity, took a dictation down. I’ll paste my notes for this and the key for Lorena and anyone who might have missed our listening activity on Mars:

Key to News on Mars: MARS. 1C, 2A, 3B, 4A, 5A, 6C, 7A


Students Seek To Recreate Ancient Beer Recipe Discovered In Pottery Vessels (1’49”)

Read the summary of this piece of news (about 30 words)

Archaeologists discovered a 5,000-year-old beer recipe by studying the residue of pottery vessels found in an excavated site in northeast China. Now Stanford University students are recreating the recipe.

Now listen to the news once, and then take it down as a dictation until “femented punch” (50 seconds, about 140 words). Leave gaps when you are lost, so you can just fill the gap out/in in the next listening.


Use US American spelling, and jot down the words pronounced in US American English.

As I presented the Dictation I explained how I use self-dictations (or doing transcriptions) to improve my English, the guiding star being use the same material several times in various ways, for different purposes. Repetition will do the rest! (including using our mouths and ears!)

Some worksheets: A note on this: about containers, in case you’re interested, I have a reading activity:  packaging and foodsyoucaneatafter. I created these activities so students could learn to speak about supermarkets and related issues.

Then we had Romina and Sergio, courageous peacelings, taking the dictation down on the whiteboard, and as we checked their very few mistakes (if any), we reviewed some interesting language items that led me to decide we could use this text in class, like the structure “have + sb + DO sth” (cf. “make + sb + DO sth”).

We reviewed the communicative spelling method (I have a podcast episode on this, when I present the ABC and talk about family names in different countries).

There were 15 mins left, so we decided to play the Speak-for-1-exact-minute game! It was great! We had Karen speaking about laughter, Luz speaking about kitchens, Sergio speaking about “orange” and Lucía speaking about magic wands! (I hope I didn’t forget anyone! ❤ )

Aventureras! – Have you visited this exhibition?


Today I finally made it to the exhibition! I really enjoyed it. Numerous women artists (but I think there weren’t 23 works, were there?) dedicated one of their works to a woman who had explored some field, in life or in her work. I couldn’t find the catalog(ue), María José. I wanted to post on our innovative blog called Developing a Femin

ist Intelligence, the name of the artist and the woman she had chosen. And I wanted to ask you, María José, as one of the artists and as a contact person for the group, if you would be interested in sending a pic of the works and the texts accompanying them to our DIF blog “Historia de Ellas”, supposing you didn’t have a catalog(ue)!

Apart from that, this is also to invite you to visit the Centro cultural Mijas, which closes at 22.00 hours

. You’ll find artistic photos, two sculptures, a little installation, some paintings (ink, watercolo(u)r…) showing us the artist’s vision of women that did not made it to patriarchal history but who have been rescued since the 20th century. It’s well worth a visit! ❤

We haven’t missed women in history, and we need to learn to miss them, and to appreciate their contributions! ❤

Diary for Wed Feb 15 – Elva’s Iceland & High Fidelity

Today we had a wonderful lesson, with Elva and her two daughters, from Iceland, and Juan’s Avanzado adorable group, who also joined in when we had Warren speaking on Cambodia.

Elva, as someone who was brought up in a culture where community is more positively developed than in Spain, did not feel intimidated by the audience of eager listeners. She seemed to be at ease with us all, as if we were people, and not “the enemy” or “a threat”, as Juan pointed out. We hope students can learn from this, for their public speaking. Elva’s approach to her presentation was also different: she invited people to make questions. ❤ And people had lots of interesting questions to make! At the end, Clara taught us how to say thank you (Takk) and drew an elf, and Greta (?) drew the face of an elf and we took pictures.

We have a beautiful video to share with everybody, so I hope to find the time to edit it asap! I’ll keep you posted!

After Elva left we had a cozy session, exchanging impressions on different topics. Personally, I enjoyed it very much. ❤

Once our adorable guests had left, we had a wonderful Oral Presentation on the novel High Fidelity, by Dolores and Germán. I found it really well built, with bits of everything: author’s bio, plot or story, fav scenes, fav descriptions, useful language for improving your vocabulary range in terms of phrasals and for improving your accuracy with prepositions… The students’ Englishes were really good, in accuracy and language range. Unfortunately, we ran out of time, so we’ll devote some time to that next day. (Lesson learned: people, when you work out how long your OPs will be, consider people’s interruptions, this is, participation, hahahah.)

Finally, I asked whether there were OPs for next week, people thought I was telling them off, but it was just a question, hahahah, and then I said that I’d bring stuff and people were welcome to bring stuff, and that whatever we brought, it’d be for having conversations around it or for retelling, too.

Dessi and Germán stayed a bit longer and we had a very interesting conversation about prejudices in politics, and how ideas can be best expressed when we are critical of something, without saying authoritarian ideas that do not match democratic ideals. We talked about the Repúblicas, the Civil War, the Francoist dictatorship, the Transition to democracy and the attempts to heal this deep wound that does not allow our democratic culture to develop more positively. As it was 10!!, Germán suggested we go some day for a drink and a chat! And this lead us to our Hidden Treasures outing. Dessi was so surprised I had suggested going out for a drink when I had been insisting in my refusal to go out with students for a drink! 😀 True, true! But it was a special day: the movie was a school activity (Coeducación + English), but it was so wonderful and the company was so interesting that I couldn’t part that easily! 😀 I even had a bite!!, which is something I hardly ever do because I’m so nervous (or energetic) when I’m with people.

Well, night night! Use your English! Have an amazing bilingual week! ❤

Diary for Mon Jan 13 & Tips on Reading & Listening

I was predicting people were not doing much listening of the news or to radio program(me)s, and because being good at taking listening and reading tests at the advanced level requires having listened and read quite a bit, on a diversity of topics, and in order to encourage you all to keep a listening diary, this is, to make sure you listen to some radio program or other a few times every week (hearing one or two several times is crucial on a weekly basis: you see, you need to KNOW that the second and third times you do understand more, or much more), I started designing exercises, so we wouldn’t use up the real C1 tests, which you will take in March.

Daily listening work: So please, I’m asking you to listen to the news and radio programs every day. Work out your weekly listening plan, you can fit in 3 mins here, 6 mins there. I suggest you use some of the materials I post, too. There are some on the C1 Materials blog, and on this blog, too. Here is a radio book review on “This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein (7 min). Next week I’ll bring some more listening exercises, including a dictation and identifying the outline (topic structure) of another radio book review.

Speaking: We started off with some students talking about the movie we watched last week. It was great because they gave their opinion, mentioned some scenes, talked about the people in the movie, too. I paraphrased some sentences they said for practice on fluency and accuracy. And we talked a bit about a few related topics. Then…*

Reading: And then went on to do my Reading follow-up activity on Hidden Figures. We had a little gapped activity as a warm-up, too. Homework: And I asked students to identify the present and past participle clauses in the article for next Monday (and I’ll probably forget about it, in case you can kindly remind us of this!) c1reading_hiddenfigures (2 Word pages). I also gave out a wikipedia entry for the Civil Rights movement, for further reading. But I do recommend Rosa Parks autobio. She was not a feminist because that was not possible at the time, but she does realize things as a feminist, and in spite of all the terrible pressure for the invisibilization of sexism.

Listening: We did a listening activity I designed, on Mars. I was insecure, thought it might be far too easy, but fortunately it was not! that’s why I always say that if you survive this course you’ll find the exam easy or relatively easy, hahahah… It included practice on self-assessment. People did well: most marks were 4/7, then 3/7 I think, well, that’d be a pass mark, right? Of course, you should reach for the moon! listeningonmars (1 Word page)

Well, congratulations, dear students, for surviving another lesson! 😀 Keep your work up! ❤

And please, remember it’d be great if there were people in class by 7.10, when Elva arrives! We’ll have guests, perhaps, and when we are back alone, we’ll listen to Dolores and Germán! ❤

*The mini-disquisition (it could’ve been never-ending! 😀 ) ! I also shared a couple of ideas which I think are good to reflect upon by us all: one is that our affections and interests are conditioned by culture. We tend to think it’s all about our freedom, our Self, but culture — intentional, non-intentional — determines we develop a greater interest in what men do, and little interest towards what women do, particularly in the areas they have always been banned from. The other idea I shared was about invisibility, too: how we tend to only see violence and struggle in specific events and how we fail to see violence and struggle in other events. And here’s the fact, in my view: as violence and struggle are things HUMANS do every day, but culture determines the how’s, we don’t see conceptual violence (we’re improving, though, now many people understand that women or black people or poor people are not less intelligent, or the like; or that a ruler has no right to rape, and murder, and enslave people), the verbal violence (e.g., invisibilization, misperceptions too and how we word that, e.g., the left-handed people and everyone else, piropos that actually terrorize women when uttered by unknown men in the street, or by an aggressive boss), which everyone of us uses and has to bear. We mostly see and only are aware of physical violence, and don’t allow it in women (we fear them even more than men when they use it, as if they were evil, much worse than the men who use it), culturally speaking — incidentally, that might explain why they can be so good at verbal violence. We identify struggle with the “necessary” or “justified” use of violence, but fail to see how we use nonviolent struggle in our everyday lives, and of course, the great development women have given this kind of struggle precisely because they were banned from the use of physical violence. (And Hidden Figures offers some great examples, and I hope people who did not come to see the movie, finally go.) Finally, I posed the question we all crave for: how we contribute to making people’s lives better and we don’t actually know, or can’t see it most of the times. This relates to our culture of violence and self-destruction, I believe. But we are human, and we can do amazingly good things. I wish they were seen, appreciated, acknowledged by more people because this would generate relevant change for the better in human cultures (but see the resistance to acknowledge women’s humanity, to mention just the largest human group subject to such terrible concepts as that of Woman in patriarchal culture), but there are people who do so. And how we tend to even make up the harm we do, or our lacks. When I realized this, as a middle-aged woman, I decided to quit what I call the network of gossip, which is not only done by women, but by men too. But the price of this is you don’t have certain information which is good to have! (not the vicious opinion sharing but other kinds, like someone is ill or the like). Well, dear all, I’m sorry about all this rambling. My intention isn’t to convince you of anything because I don’t believe in that, at least not the way that is understood. I’m trying to communicate, mostly! See if my points are understood by other people, what you all think. As you know, I’m trying to write about all this (and I’ve finally got A Room of My Own!), but never find the time!

About Next Wednesday: Iceland & High Fidelity

As Elva is coming at 7.10 to start her talk, and people in Spain are rarely punctual, I’d like to request students to try to be in class by 7.10 (“by” means “at the latest), please, or to pretend the talk is at 7.00. I’ll be in class at 7.00 sharp.

Also, I’ll ask you this evening, but… I think we should invite other groups, too. What do you think?

Elva’s talk would be from 7.10 to 8.10 (I think it could take up to 8.30 or even 8.45, where I’m setting the limit so we can listen to the High Fidelity OP by Germán and Dolores, OK?)

OPs (videos) by Students

I just created a page above, on our course navbar, so that you can find your videos on TP

This includes SSB’s page for her OP on Corpora! Part 1, for Part 2 is not ready yet!

Reposted with Update (Guest Speaker from Iceland: Elva in February)

Update of Feb 9: Elva says, “the 15th is better for me from 7:10-8:10”, so this means the High Fidelity OP would start at 8.30 or 8.45. Would that be OK with Dolores and Germán?

Elva asks when would you like her to come. Her two possible dates are the 15th of Febuary and the 22nd. She’ll bring maps of her city and thinks the activity would take about an hour (without counting our questions?).

As a reminder, in case it helps you decide, these are our lesson plans for those days:

  • OP DATE FEB 15. Dolores and Germán, High Fidelity.
  • OP DATE: FEB 22. Isabel and Marta, Orange Is the New Black.

Please, post here your preferrences or tell me in class tomorrow!


Outing: Hidden Figures, a must watch!

Today we went to the cinema to watch this fantastic film that Lucía recommended. Thanks, Lucía! It was a beautiful experience! ❤

We all wanted to do some follow-up work on this film, so I’d like to invite students who’ve watched Hidden Figures to post here their thoughts and proposals. If you actually post, tick Movies/Films in CATEGORIES (on your right) and type “Hidden Figures” in the slot for TAGS. (I’ll do some posting like this, to share my contributions.)

In any case, remember to write down your thoughts or whatever, because one day we can share them in class. We need to tell the others about it all! You can send me an email with your plan and I’ll arrange things, if you like. Luz has the movie, so we thought about showing some fav scenes in class…

After the movie, some of us left, some of us went for a drink and something to eat. We shared stories and thoughts, and it was wonderful! ❤

As we took a photograph, to remember this day, I felt like it was a historic moment!, that we would keep growing and doing important contributions to a better world with our small lives. Great contributions! ❤ Because we’re walking r-evoLutions! The impact of who we are in life has always been relevant, in spite of all the bad ideas that have taught us women are not as intelligent, as courageous, as strong as Man, in spite of all the verbal violence, all the physical abuse…

More acknowledgements: Karen offered her mobile for the pic, someone found a young man who took the pic and then Karen sent the pics! Emilia invited us all for the drinks and the food! And Marta paid my ticket! Thanks so much, dear wimmin! ❤ And thanks to all the students who made this outing possible, too!  Oh, and thanks for allowing the School to include this picture on its website. I’ll paste the movie poster next to it and send it to our adorable Head of Studies! (see below!)16508160_10154855225240449_957483625114130161_n


Today! & pending checked work

Today sts arranged to meet at Miramar Mall, where the movie theater is, by seven. I’ll be there at that time, too.

Yesterday I finished checking the work you people handed in in paper. (Everything is in the cardboard box.) But I haven’t finished checking the work I was sent by email, so my apologies for that. I’ll solve that this week for sure, so if you see that you did not get my reply at the end of this week, please, remind me by email, or bring that work to class. Thanks!

The head of studies asked me to please ask you if you would be so kind as to take a pic tonight and send it to her, for the website, to illustrate we do interesting stuff, like go to Hidden Figures! 😀 We’ve got a new school website and they are requesting that to everybody. If you don’t want to appear on a pic, I suggest you pose looking at the movie poster, so that nobody’s face is shown. But I suppose you’ll be OK about it, because these days people simply take pics and post them everywhere, right? 😀 Well, I’ll be too shy to ask, but I’ll do my best, this evening! Help me if you can! 🙂 ❤


About Heat Wave, I’m not posting Marilyn’s, but this other one! Enjoy!

Marilyn Monroe’s Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, which I adapted to Causes Are… for an international pacifist meeting but — sorry, I made a mistake — it was not in Berlin when the wall came down. It was in Liege, Belgium. (Checked it here.) Hey, I didn’t do the sexy stuff, really. Too shy and feminist! 🙂 Lyrics below, sing along! 😀

The French are glad to die for love / They delight in fighting duels / but I prefer a cause that lives, succeeds and gives me… FUEL! / A kiss of the hand may be quite Continental / But Causes are a girl’s best friend! / A kiss may be grand but it won’t pay the rental / on your humble flat or make you nice when you’re a brat! / Find rich bores, affiliate ’em to your cause, / work all day and forget ’bout your debts / Your life will be sweet then / so high and so deep then / Causes are a girl’s best friend! / … / There may come a time when a lass needs a lawyer / but causes are a girl’s best friend. / There may come a time when you can’t bear not smoking / Think you’re awfully nice and rush outside and have a drag! / Time goes on and youth is gone / but causes’re always there when you care. / So join in, ‘vrybody, and bring lots of money!!! / Causes are a girl’s best friend!

(I should record this for the TP podcast! Demented laughter!)

About the Feb Writing Assg

About the February Writing Assignment, please, check the C1 Resource Pack on Exams Formats for the number of words, and the page here Writing File for info on the article you need to write. The difference between an informative article and an argumentatitve writing is that the first is simpler in some ways, with informative heading on particular topics, and the second is about in-depth analysis, an argumentative text. Informative texts are not about opinions, thought most writing includes opinions! But keep them impersonal mostly. Argumentative texts can be passionate and persuasive, or a more balanced in the presentation of ideas and info and views, but should include a personal assessment of some sort. Both need an intro, a development and an ending (informative) or a conclusion (argumentative).

This presentation is for secondary, and we could word things differently but it might be of help so you understand the difference.

In the C1 Resource Pack (and on my podcast) you’ll find some oral and written language for the language function of persuasion, in case some of it is useful for your assignment. But I believe that the best persuasive wording is that which reasons out things, because in my view expressing arguments is about allowing people to understand an analysis, a viewpoint, not necessarily convincing them to support it like you do. Good arguments might not change your views, but they do make your thinking, your knowledge richer, and therefore make a great difference.

Deadline? Well, I suspect most of you will want to hand it in after Semana Blanca, the last week in February. Let me know next Monday!

Diary for Mon Feb 6, Events & Feb Writing Assg.

Today we did lots of things! Elva can come any day, but Lorena would rather have her on Feb 13. Everybody wanted to go to the movies next Wednesday, and students will be meeting at the Miramar Movie Theater by seven. I’ll get there at 7.05 and if I’m not there then, Marta will leave the ticket for me at the ticket office.

Wed is the deadline for the January writing assignment, and people not coming to the cinema can leave it with Ana, the janitor.

Feb Assg in next post.

We re-arranged the Lesson Plans, deciding to leave the lesson on Rational Discussions, scheduled for next Wed., for further on, which means the lesson we scheduled for Monday is still on.

Some Reading Groups gave me their work for fellow students on their OP to check and prepare copies.

First we heard Part 1 & 2 of the Climate Change radio program(me), so sts could take notes for retelling. Then we did Part 3, as a fill-in-the-gap activity. We checked it and had some comments on language questions (register, useful language, cleft sentences for emphasis, ending prepositions). Next we checked the cloze test on Environmental Issues, too. Finally, people worked in pairs or groups of three to see what they had learned in terms of language and ideas to develop monologues on the topic. So now sts should try to find some time for an outline and speaking practice on a timed exercise, for a final version for their Speaking Files. You are all welcome to do this final exercise in class, or send it in for feedback.

Sts’ OPs: Germán spoke on Violence & Sports, and sts took notes. I gave some tips on Speaking Tests and topics of violence.

And mentioned that March would be about Exam Format Training.

Important! “Hidden Figures” – outing next Wed?

Dear all,

I know I posted our lesson plans for next week but…

Next Wednesday at 19.15, for 4 euros 40 cents, we could buy a ticket for Hidden Figures (read about the women the movie talks about), the movie Lucía recommended, and watch it all together.

But I wouldn’t want to do this if few people want to come, because the lesson is for everybody who plans to come! (I’m very “apretá” for things like this, sorry!) So my question is — can you discuss it on whatsapp and tell me on Monday if you’d like to go to the cinema? Thanks!

If we did, I think we should decide to do some follow-up activity, like talk about the movie while having a drink, after the movie! But if that were not convenient for you, please, think about what we could do, based on this movie, so we go ahead and do it! ❤

Lesson Plans for Next Week

Monday Feb 6

Listening: Part 3 of the Climate Change radio program(me).

Speaking: After this, you need to make a summary of the whole program, together, and then you need to listen to each member make a summary or give their opinion on the topic.

Reading: checking the cloze test on Climate Change in small groups.

OPs by Students (nobody booked, but you are welcome to do one). In 1-4 min, give your opinion about any of the documentaries or readings we’ve done; share your written work reading it out; speak about a relevant experience in your life, tell us about a favo(u)rite something (book, movie…)

Questions & Proposals: on language, resources, plans…

Wednesday Feb 8

Deadline for January Writing Assignment

Reading aloud at Plenary: The workshop for rational discussions.

Speaking: small groups discuss the information, and adapt the theory to hold a small group discussion on climate change at Plenary, so other groups can listen and learn. Pay attention to turn-taking, and practice taking notes with key words instead of interrupting other person’s turn. If there is no time for the actual discussion to learn from, we would do it the following Monday.

Contingency Plan: OPs by students. If nobody volunteers, we’ll do the 1-min speaking activity.

Monday Feb 13

Writing File: Jan Assignments back to you for follow-up work on LoM and sending clean copies for publication if you like. Decisions on Feb assignment.

Reading activity: We’ll read an article at Plenary, and then small groups will summarize it or reconstruct it together, list highlights in terms of language and idea (UL, lists of ideas), and give their (oral) personal opinions. I’ll give you a handout to fill in/out.

Listening activity – to use later for retelling

Contingency plan: OPs ?- same

Oral Presentations on the Reading Projects

Here is our latest info on Reading Groups and the dates they booked to present their work in class. More info on this project on our Reading Projects !! page above.


  • OP DATE FEB 15. Dolores and Germán will work on High Fidelity. There is a screenplay and a movie too.
  • OP DATE: FEB 20. Karen, Lucía and Sergio will work on the screenplay The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – the can also use the movie/film in their project.
  • OP DATE: FEB 22. Isabel and Marta will work on Orange Is the New Black. My work on this in case it helps in some way!
  • OP DATE: MARCH 6. Clara, Mª José (pending), Marina, Emilia, Dessi, Cristina B, Soluna (pending) will work on Pay It Forward. The movie is different in some ways to the novel, and can also be used in the project.
  • OP DATE: MARCH 15: Sonia, Gema, Encarni, Luz and Lorena with the Alexie Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. I have Smoke Signals, a related movie for this project and the screenplay in book format.

Diary for Wed Feb 1 – Small Groups & How to Work with our Edited Videos

Yesterday, before the class split up in small groups, considering I had just published a new edited video (on the EOI Teacher Sharing C1 Work Vimeo Channel, not the EFL LEARNERS SPEAKING ENGLISH YouTube Channel (EOI Fuengirola), which includes many more, on the C1 playlist – make sure you have a look!) I explained how you could be working with the video I edit for students. Here is a summary:

Watching videos where ANY student speaks and the teacher has included written corrections on the mistakes this person makes, is a very POSITIVE exercise you can do because:

  • We learn to monitor our production by monitoring other people’s production, in other words, we learn to listen to ourselves as we speak (in order to fix the mistakes we know we made) by listening to other people and noticing their mistakes. Like everything in life, learning this is a process that requires training. Learning to listen to yourself allows you to fix mistakes you might make which you can recognize, and this chance allows you to be more confident when you are nervous and you have to speak in public (at work, in any social situation, in exams).
  • This exercise helps you to understand how to work positively with mistakes, and informs your list, as mistakes are not only made by the person giving the presentation, but shared by most students.
  • It also gives you ideas on how to address different topics, and can help you put together lists of Useful Language for those topics.
  • Oftentimes, it helps you understand how important structure is, to allow people to follow what you say. How repeating things in other words is very natural and important. All that kind of stuff.

I reminded people about the posts on this blog, and listed the latest. About indirect speech, and indirect questions, here is what I have on the TP podcast, 3 wonderful episodes that will improve or consolidate your fluency and accuracy while helping you review one of the most important language functions.

For about half an hour or a bit more small groups checked the collocation worksheets: some people checked both worksheets, some checked one. I wonder if people shared their favorites, or selected UL to master the use of some of those collocations! I hope you can all tell me in class! If you didn’t do it, do it now. Select a few, visualize a context where to use them, and say them out loud every now and then! Then share in class! You can even record them for your Speaking File.

I would like to ask you, Have you found the Key to these exercises on the internet? Or should I copy the key of these two on the blog? Or can we have a plenary just to double-check your work?

Next, small groups worked on their Reading Project. I’ll update this page to include the dates they booked. If someone’s info is missing, please, send it to me by email if you cannot make it to class, OK? I’m including Marta and Isabel today too.

Fire Drill: I explained what might happen next week, so students know how to behave in a fire emergency and how we should evacuate the building. If you’re coming to class next week and you missed this lesson please, ask in your whatsapp group!

Work Back to You: Some people got their checked work from the cardboard box and some people handed in their January Writing.

And Marta borrowed Orange Is the New Black. Borrowers, remember I don’t keep a list, so it’s important things come back to me at some point, OK? No rush, but please, don’t forget!

Some homework: watch & learn!

Better late than never! Here is Gema’s work with my language notes. Please, use it to work on your Lists of Mistakes, but also in your UL to improve your language range! Thanks, Gema!

Oh, remember that when you work on listening and speaking, you are also working on improving your writing!

Feminist humor/humour


How would you translate it? I can’t. “Fed up with having to do all the work and being invisible”. We were called “revolting bitches” but I don’t see why we should have been insulted. It’s very funny! It’s a pun and the stick to turn the masculine “o” into a feminine “a” is a CLEAN tampon, so — why would it be revolting? (Demented laughter)

More humor in feminist political action: Elöne, German artist / artivist


And this humor is admirable — for all the violence women get in this planet.

Have you ever read this classic text by Gloria Steinem? It was based on things that were learned in the 20th century in philosophy and other areas of knowledge, really! “If Men Could Menstruate“. Can you feel how belittling and humiliating it is to be bombed all day with the messages patriarchal minds send women?

Antifeminist people say women also use violence when they make fun of men, or use psychological violence, or verbal violence. (We all use verbal violence — words as physical blows and conceptual violence every day.) As if women were not human or men did not use apart from physical violence all the other kinds, including, traditionally, deciding over women’s lives, locking them up to serve them, mostly, or exploiting their work as if women were machines. But about violence — this is what I want to write about — let me say: the fact that men are allowed and encouraged in patriarchal societies to use physical violence AND the fact that women are not allowed to use it (a woman who kills is perceived as more evil than a man who kills; we fear her more), both show that using violence is educational, cultural. Because any human being is capable of using any kind of violence, or use their conscience and intelligence and not use violence on a daily basis. The patriarchal idea of physical strength is rather misleading.

So — Why are feminists obsessed with the period? Perhaps because it’s nowhere to be seen in History. Perhaps because all women’s issues have traditionally been irrelevant or disgusting? (Have you seen a true picture of what giving birth looks like? Lots of feminists had to posts messages in support of a woman artist, Ana Álvarez-Errecalde, who wanted to be taken a picture with her newborn for all the violence she was getting in social networks. She looks so absolutely happy! Why are women’s moments like these disgusting to see?)

Why isn’t feminist humor understood, or women who are feminists when they make a joke? And what they say is taken as if they say it seriously, so the reaction is so wild, ridiculizing them as thinkers, when the fact is they are making a joke? A political joke most of the times. Often an admirable joke. And when women reason, they aren’t listened to or red, because people in patriarchy can’t accept, can’t take it that they reason (we would have to get really upset about having made it so hard for them to help organize the world and solve problems), they can’t say anything which is worth it for us all — not as valuable as what a man can say, in any case. This is what history has told us. This is what we’ve been told for centuries everywhere. Women are bad at heart, particularly when they don’t do what patriarchy expects from them, like wanting to study, wear the clothes she likes, have sex with people she also chooses, drive, play football, have or not have bay bees, travel the world, write books, fight violence…

But women have always been here, not only patriarchal-minded women, also women-persons, or differently-abled-women! ( 😀 ) — like men who refused to become patriarchal men, or couldn’t — , and if we hadn’t had to fight so hard, we could’ve contributed more and in more varied ways, and mostly: we could’ve had a life of our own, for ourselves too, not only to help our community or family!


Humor has a role in feminism, particularly in Nonviolent Direct Action, but also just because feminists are human beings, too, and humor helps us survive! ❤





Assessing our time together

Dear students,

As you can see, time flies. This part of the course is more intense, in that you need to intensify your work at home. Still, I hope you enjoy it, thanks to what we did before: develop or reinforce the habit of using the language and enjoying the language. In this part of the course you need to get organized, to make sure you work as I explain in your Resource Pack. Ask me for support and keep me informed, if you like.

The more you use English, and the more you enjoy learning to learn to become a lifelong learner, like myself!, the more you’ll learn and the more time you’ll find for it.

Ask, share, make proposals, we can adapt. In spite of the fact that we’ll always be short of time! Being short of time is positive: it means we have lots of thing to share. Then, I’m sorry we can’t listen to everybody every day. That’s the bad thing about public education. But you CAN practice speaking at home, and then record final versions for your Speaking File and for my feedback, OK?

It is likely we part after June, and then you need to be prepared to BE a lifelong learner. You need to have had developed the habit of using your English not only in some natural ways, but also as independent learners, because this is the only way to keep your level up, and to learn more, too.

So focus, make time for this course. It won’t last much more! 🙂 ❤

Adverbs & Adverbials

There are things some students need to review at home, when they are below the upper intermediate level, and you all have textbooks and materials, I’m sure. But anyway, I’ll share with you here some of my notes:


  • You cannot say “DO SOMETHING very good/bad” (adjective) but “DO sth very WELL/BADLY” (adverbs): e.g. He cleans very well.
  • You can say “I feel GOOD/BAD” and “I am GOOD/BAD at this or that” (adjective)

From Functional Grammar at TP, but there’s more in the C1 Resource Pack

Adverb order: How-where-when

Adjective or adverb

A worksheet we could read in class, if you like, is this:

Theory: Adverbs and adverbials (2 pages) – You can do this as follow-up: Practice with adverbials (2 pages, with key)

My post where you can spot the adverbs or the adverbials was this: Teacher’s UL on documentary

Feel free to post your questions, and remember: use your listening work to practice reviewing grammar, visualize the grammar as you listen!

Diary for Mon Jan 30 – Guest Speaker from Scotland! & Lesson Plans for Feb 1

Today, after some confusion, we had a wonderful lesson. We managed to do Part II of the listening activity on climate change, and people had amazing results. Now your follow-up work should include listening again and retelling (click to hear). Please, do the cloze test at the end of the pack, in case we can fit it in some day. We’ll do Part III whenever we can, too. Does anybody remember how long it took us today to do Part II? Thanks.

Then Cristina R and Catherine, from Scotland, gave us the wonderful present of a talk in Scottish English! Scottish English is hard to understand JUST BECAUSE we hardly ever get the chance to hear it! So now we’ll be able to get used to it, because apart from today’s talk, Catherine allowed us to videoshoot. Our guest speaker told us about her country, her hometown, what it’s like, what university is like, too. And answered quite a lot of questions by students! She’s looking for a language exchange English-Spanish, so if you are interested or know of anybody who might be, I’ve got the contact info.

Next Wednesday we agreed to do this: Devote the first 45 or 60 mins to small groups checking the Collocations Worksheets (one at least). I’d like to ask you to share with your group which Useful Language you chose from that work. Remember that you need to say those sentences out loud to count on your ear and mouth memories too! Then, the rest of the lesson would be for Reading Projects. Please, don’t let your group members down! I posted here some of the questions I need answers too, so please read! ❤

The deadline for your January Writing is next Feb 8, but today some people already handed in their work. Next week you should ask me about the February assignment if you have questions.


LoMs. Remember you should be good at knowing which your weak points are in terms of mistakes, so work on your LoM with feedback and corrections to oral and written work.

Listening to radio program(me)s. News and interviews. There are lots of podcasts you can download, to select one every now and then and listen to it again and again to improve your comprehension, fluency and accuracy. Now it’s the time, and until the end of course.

Weekly Learning Plans. Not to hand in, but to maximize your learning time! OK?

Today Dolores told me she had finished reading the C1 Resource Pack and that she found it helpful for her learning. She said she had arranged different groups of cards, to meet her needs. Thanks so much! Feedback on this is precious for me, so I can improve things, or at least know what’s most useful to students. I’d like to remind you all that the version which is now for a free download on TP (link above) is not the same as the one you have. And — I know I wrote it, but — I think you should buy the paper copy, because it’s only 12 euros and it’s a very special thing that might go out of print for lack of resources in public/state-run education! (There are only a hundred and something copies, and that’ll be sold in not that long!)

Finally, I’m getting orals people have been working on (retellings of Story of Stuff, Redesign My Brain…). Well done! I’ll reply with my feedback asap, and if you don’t hear from me, please, remind me of that. Video editing and preparing articles and listening exercises is taking up a great deal of my time these days!

Uine, uidit, uincit! – not quite!

Today Charo, another English teacher, and I were designing more stuff for the English Departament’s video channel while uploading new videos by her Básico 2 students and suddenly it was eight pm and we weren’t ready to leave, but we managed to at around 8.15, so I rushed to María José’s exhibition, “Aventureras”, and I actually got there at 8.35, in spite of not knowing the shortcut, all sweaty and excited, and…

I went, I couldn’t see, so I left!

The exhibition room was absolutely PACKED! You could actually smell people! SO–

CONGRATULATIONS TO MJ and all the women artists whose work has created the exhibition “Aventureras”. I’m sure to visiti the gallery again, but — hopefully — when there’s actual physical space to see their works! 😀 We’ve got a month for that so, people, make sure you check this out. Here’s more info on the event.

For Cristina B on the use & omission of “the”

Here are my notes to help you with the use and omission of “the”, which you need to improve. I’m posting it here because more people might want to check on this.

Hope it’s useful!

About speaking in public

I’d like to share with you some insight on speaking in public, as a teacher and a researcher on the topic, in case it can help you re-consider any trouble you might have with this issue.

Most people suffer a lot when they have to speak in public. However, most of us speak in public very often in the day — teachers, particularly, as part of the demands in their job.

So the question is: why do we consider ourselves unable to do it at times?

Overcoming fears and complexes are all efforts that, when successful, make us braver, more courageous. When we consider that people in class are unthreatening, our equals, nice people who will not harm us, it’s much easier to speak to them all in class, and this training allows us to control our fear when we need to speak in public in examinations or in particularly threatening work situations.

There’s also this other issue: we need to assess how private or emotional it is what we are saying. If it’s just an exercise, where our intimate world is not presented, we should really find enough strength to control our fear.

But perhaps the fear comes from being told we’ve made mistakes. In this case, we need to rationalize the situation and understand that mistakes are opportunities for learning, not something that belittles us, or humiliates us.

Sometimes we feel bad about our mistakes for transfer reasons: we transfer the feeling of guilt, or the shame, or the uneasiness we feel for having made certain mistakes in life that relate to our relationships or inner life, to other fields which would not have triggered that shame or uneasiness. It’s like in dreams: sometimes we change the image of the person the dream is about, because we cannot cope with that being the person we’re actually dreaming of. When we realize this is so, we liberate the burden on this other arena, and open up the opportunity to do something about the mistake we made that really hurt.

Guilt has never been a good resource in problem solving, because it freezes us. We don’t do anything about it because we’re overwhelmed, we feel so bad! In contrast, acknowledging mistakes encourages us to work more positively to avoid them the next time that could happen. In this way, it makes us better, more human, more intelligent.

donotfearmistakes_milesdavisWe need to learn to be confident and humble at the same time. We need to stop putting this pressure on mistakes. Researchers, artists, creative people in all walks of life KNOW mistakes are crucial for learning and discovery and exploration and making progress!

Learning to learn, to perceive others as equals, to use mistakes positively, all of this works to our advantage in every way, in every realm of our life.

We should transfer our ability to speak in public in certain scenarios, to other scenarios which we feel are threatening. And above all, we need to learn to trust others. If we refuse to learn all the violence our culture teaches us, our being together can simply be a gift, a possibility to keep each other company the time we spend together, making the most of it all!

Change your viewpoint, your approach — you may discover things are way easier than you thought, that your skills and knowledge are greater than you thought, that people are nicer than you thought, that life is sweeter when we help!

On Elva, the Icelandic Guest Speaker!

Dear all, Elva just wrote. She’s brought maps from Iceland! She’s asking when you would like her to come, and what you would like her to speak about. I sent her the links to all the posts here with the word “Iceland” and said you were adorable and would ask her questions, but that you would probably prefer she chose the topic. Still, please, let me know next week WHEN at least, and if you have questions or suggestions for topics she can talk about. Perhaps we could also invite the Avanzado group?
The links here I sent her:

About your talk, well, we prefer you choose what you want to tell us about your country.
They’ve been reading these articles on Iceland:
And here are more posts where Iceland comes up: (a student’s post)
And a documentary we haven’t watched, but that I suggested:
It’s awesome you brought maps!
Perhaps you can design, or we can do it in class together, an activity based on the maps!
Feel free to do whatever because the group is adorable!
Oh, this post was after we spoke last:
When can you come?
Not next week, because we’ll have someone from Scotland, and they want to finish some of the things we should’ve already done!
When then? After that, whenever, till the end of May. Whenever suits you best. Lessons are on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 7.10 pm to 9.15 pm. You can use as much time as you need, or as little!
I can make copies of whatever you like, if you need them, for all. If you send it to me beforehand.
Any questions or help, please, let me know!
Thanks so much!!

We have a little pressie for you. Olive oil from local producers in Coín!
Hey, just thought of it: I’ll ask them on the blog. If I’m not back to you by the end of next week, it’s that they prefer you choose, ok?
Night night

(Edited) Tips for your work. Overview of Lesson Plans by month

I’d like to ask people who make grammar mistakes (word order, morphology) or don’t listen enough to English, or who can’t follow this course well (= are not doing almost any of the activities they could be doing), to please use my podcast, or any podcast to practice Listen-n-Repeat with Useful Language.

Then, if you haven’t… Learn a poem by ear, practice retelling, re-using the audios we’ve already worked on, please! Repetition might be boring, but not if you focus on learning as many sentences as you can! So please, give it a try if you haven’t. Your English will improve a great deal in about a month.

Finally, one reason why we don’t use more classroom time for small groups is because whenever this is going to happen, people don’t seem to make it to class. Please, remember February 1 is for your Reading Projects, teamwork. On this day, you could also check one of the collocations handouts in teams, or we could do Part II of our listening activity on climate change.

The other reason why I ask you to speak at plenary individually is because if you do that in small groups, I can’t listen to you and give you feedback or at least know how you are doing. But if people are feeling they cannot speak in class because they’d rather do it in small groups, we can do that. No problem. Let’s do it!

On the second February week, we’ll be doing the same: small groups will check the second collocation worksheet and I HOPE YOU CAN ALL share in your small group the retelling of something you worked on with an audio, or a poem. Then we’ll finish the listening on climate change, and then people will train at home in the retelling of this radio programme.

If you need more classroom time for your Reading Project, please, ask! Don’t suffer in silence!

I’ll bring a reading exercise, too. Because in this part of the course, I’ll always be bringing reading and listening exercises for us to do in class. But this needs to be combined with YOUR SPEAKING AND TALKING ACTIVITIES. (Block letters for emphasis, not intended as shouting.) So please, let us know what you are ready to share in class.

Remember February includes your teamwork OPs. Next Feb 1 you need to work out when you’ll do your OP (last two weeks in Feb, but you can also book in March if you are not ready before that).

March will be Exam Format Training Month. (And pending OPs)

April: it depends on your needs. If there are not requests, I’ll come up with things. I’ve got tons of ideas! But I’d rather you suggested things or shared your work.

May will be Focus on Interactions, intensive practice in timed dialogues based on previous speaking tests.

Tutorías: please, book a counselling session if you are lost, feel down, or simply to talk to me.

Diary for Wed Jan 25 – Guest Speaker

warrenToday we had the great luck to listen to a very knowledgeable speaker on the topic of Visiting Cambodia, for he is a tour manager who lived in Cambodia for years. Previously, I had asked students to watch these videos as a warm-up.

As not many C1 students made it to class today, I rushed upstairs and — sorry about that — forgetting to ask them first, I invited Avanzado students in Juan’s class to join us. And that was great! Suddenly the room was full of life! There was such an atmosphere! (I wish this were so each single time we organize events!)

I was wearing my super girly-girly dress and after doing the catwalk (well, my “pintillas” version of that, after a 30-second tutorial on how to spot a feminist when in a girly disguise), I acknowledged María José a<3 s the person who made this event possible, and invited her to tell everybody about the exhibition she’s also on, “Aventureras”, whose opening is this Friday at 20.00 near Glorieta Ford. (More info here.) Incidentally, she gave me a poster I put up on the door and for just me an autographed bookmark (well, I had to beg her to sign it for me! 😀 ). 😛 Ana, the janitor, while Juan’s group moved to the first floor, wrapped up a bottle Lola, one of the French teachers in our school, bought this week from local producers in Coín with school money. It was our little present for Warren because he was not going to charge us (a fee) for his talk.

Warren Garber, who allowed me to videoshoot his talk, introduced himself (a Londoner) and started off by telling us about his relationship to Cambodia and Andalucía. Then he moved onto the topic of Cambodia. He had prepared a wonderful power point presentation, which offered visual support to the topics he spoke about, and this made things easier for the audience to follow. I particularly loved the way he explained things, because he often paraphrased things so that people could follow better, as if he knew which words might pose trouble to students. And because he knew well what he was speaking about, and easily related things to his own thoughts and experiences. On top of that, he knew where the audience came from, too, I mean, that he was speaking about Cambodia to us, people living in Costa del Sol.

Students and Juan the teacher were wonderful because whenever they had a question or comment, they posed it, so the talk had very interactive moments!

Warren told us about the country’s location, what it’s called, what its weather is like, what people’s lives are like in terms of everyday details (TVs powered by car engines in huts; mobile ringtones heard in rice plantations) and also general occupations (women workers, mostly, in fields or sweat workshops), including the gender problems that patriarchal society has. He gave information on health concerns and transport/transportion. He showed us bits of landscape and key tourist sites… He gave us some key hints on history, and international relations in Asia and with international superpowers. And ended the talk bringing up the issue of food, this BIG cultural question. (By the way, I would have wanted to ask him why British people find eating squid repulsive, well, if that’s right.)

We had fun, too, because Warren has a great sense of humor/humour!

And my right hand was totally numb midway, so if I manage to edit the video (chop it up in different video clips by topic, like this one we did on Trinidad and Tobago! It’s 8 in all) you’ll see the image’s rather wobbly (unsteady) at times! Sigh!

After Warren left, Juan’s group left, cheerfully thanking us for the invitation. And those of us who were left reviewed the issue of word order in questions. I suggested people collected questions and did some oral drilling to improve their accuracy and fluency. More on this on my next post. Please read.

Last, I told students I could publish their human rights letters on our brand-new multilingual Human Rights blog.

Well, thanks to everybody for today! Life is much more interesting when we work together! ❤

(edited) Documentaries. Where to Invade Next

Michael Moore’s 2015 documentary has a somewhat misleading title (the title is good, of course, but if you don’t know what it is about, you think it’s about a different issue!). I’ve just watched it and I think you would be really grateful to this course just for this, supposing you haven’t watched it before. 😀

I’ll try to get a copy, but the truth is, it’s two hours. Our lessons are a bit over two hours or perhaps we could watch it in two day: the first day the first hour, which is on amazing things we have in Europe, like the Finnish Education system or free university for all (it’s the case of Slovenia, but in Spain we’ve got that too), or our prison systems being against the death penalty (Portugal/Norway). Or perhaps each of you could find their own way to the documentary. Or if any of you has a copy, you might want to meet at somebody’s house for a group viewing, which is always more fun! ❤

Here’s a clip of when he went to Iceland

Diary for Jan 23!

Today we had a very productive and communicative lesson! It was fun, too, because we had some time to speak. (People, I’m watching Michael Moore’s latest documentary and it’s just on the bit on Education in Finland, and how I wish we had that! Do you know Fuengirola has one of those schools? If we could only find someone there who spoke English and wanted to come as a guest speaker.)

We started off by recording 4 articles of the human rights declaration. (I might have to ask for more volunteers if the French teacher who is now ill isn’t back next Monday, OK?)

Then María José told us about her upcoming exhibition. Check this out.

Then I told people about our Coeducación work and our need to attend things we organize because attendance is so terribly low most of the time! So here, how can you not attend these upcoming events? Read on

We talked about fundraising: online platforms like teaming and crowdfunding projects, and then Cristina asked about public schools and their own fundraising to make up for all the underfunding. I suggested a classic: when we are told that something cannot be done (as civil servants) I always ask where that is said. People might interpret this as me troublemaking, but the truth is we need to know what the law says because public schools are all subject to law in all they do.

Last we moved onto language questions and checked page 3 of the Redesign My Brain worksheet.

Oh, and in case someone is interested, here are my notes and exercises on the Saxon Genitive (opens a word doc).

UPCOMING PLANS. We forgot to establish a deadline for your January writing but considering some people have already handed it in, I’d say February 1, the day you all need to gather in small groups for your Reading Projects. I suppose you already know but Cristina B won’t be making it to class till April. Still, she intends to audio record her work on that.

NEXT DAY. We’re priviledged to have a British man who lived in Cambodia and is married to a Cambodian espouse. I don’t know how long things will be, so just as a contingency plan, bring your worksheets on collocations. Depending on how long he plans to speak for, or your questions (please, interact, OK? ❤ ), we might be into checking one of the worksheets with him!! ❤ ❤ ❤ I’ll also bring small-but-strong video camera in case he allows us to shoot!

Outing to the movies?: “Hidden Figures”, Don’t miss it!!! (Lucía’s proposal)

Today Lucía told me about this movie. She was deeply impressed. ANd I replied that if people knew about Women’s History, or Herstory, they would all be feminists, for sure! Gerda Lerner, who studied both these topics, says so, too, in her book “The Creation of Patriarchy”. I’m reading it in English, and it’s on our wish list for the Feminist Library we’re trying to put together. Anyway, here’s the info Lucía also sent me for you all:

“Hidden Figures” takes us back to 1961, when racial segregation and
workplace sexism were widely accepted facts of life and the word “computer”
referred to a person, not a machine. Though a gigantic IBM mainframe does
appear in the movie — big enough to fill a room and probably less powerful
than the phone in your pocket — the most important computers are three
African-American women who work at NASA headquarters in Hampton, Va.
Assigned to data entry jobs and denied recognition or promotion, they would
go on to play crucial roles in the American space program.

Info on the movie at Miramar Cinesur – wonder if it’s OV

USA: News on Manning’s & Peltier’s Cases

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning will be set free on May 17, after Obama reduced her sentence from 35 years to seven.

❤ Well done, Obama!

President Barack Obama has denied clemency to Native American activist Leonard Peltier, dashing what may be his final hopes to ever see freedom again. Edward Snowden was not granted pardon.

Shame on you, Obama

Collage. Reblogging 2 pages

Dear all, I’ve sent these blog pages to the editors of Collage 25 years, the multimedia magazine our School will publish at the end of this year to celebrate our 25 anniversary. This is the contribution called “Women Writers” and your page here dedicated to Ngozi is included. If you learn or read poems by women writers, we can include that too, later on.

Reading for Before Writing (Jan Assign.)


People, if you have too much work (reading project, listening, retelling… this writing assign.), we can extend the deadline of the January assignment to mid Feb. I can rearrange plans for Wr. Assign. later on.

Diary for Wed Jan 18

Today checking your answers to the two first pages of the Worksheet for Redesign my Brain took up the whole lesson because we also talked about techniques and the language items I had selected for the questions.

We have arranged the following plans for next week:


  • Finish page 3 of the Redesign My Brain activity
  • Do Part 2 of the Climate Change listening activity
  • Small groups to check the collocations handouts (8, 10)
  • We should also agree on a deadline for the January writing assignment. Considering it’s a book review, a travel guide entry or a travel brochure, or a brochure like the one I gave you on Women in Black, you might need the deadline to be in February? Just let me know what you think next Monday.


We’ll have the pleasure to welcome an acquaintance of María José’s, who is British but has lived in Cambodia. So he will be talking about whatever he likes in connection to his country or Cambodia. I’d like to ask you all to think of questions on these two countries, or language questions, too, the kind a someone who is not a teacher can answer. It seems he’s a tour operator, so this would connect really nicely with descriptive texts and brochures, and travel guides!

I’ve asked for a gift vochure for Teseo or olive oil for our Guest Speakers, considering we cannot pay them if they don’t have a CIF number or something I don’t understand they need to have to get paid.

I’m asking students to please prepare questions for our speakers, OK?