Month: October 2016

Why Iceland is the best place in the world to be a woman

This news popped up last week in my mobile Play Newsstand app, rart_iceland-hot-pool-420x0eally I don’t know much about Iceland, apart from some “lively” volcano(e)s. So the news surprises me. I don’t think I would move to Iceland for this reason, I rather prefer our lovely Mediterranean climate, but perhaps we can learn something from them, click here if you want to know more, The Guardian’s article.



Improving Teamwork

Next week you’ll be working in small groups. I have some feedback for you all, based on the info I gathered after the second part of the feminist workshops, when small groups reported back to plenary on what they had been working on.

I think you can and should improve the process. Teams need to learn to monitor time and move on to meet the task requirements.

First of all, team members need to start off by wording what the task is, so that everybody knows what you need to be doing. Questions, proposals on how to do it should follow. Consider who does what when, for how long. It doesn’t have to be mathematical, but turn-taking is crucial practice for dialogue (and speaking exams). For instance, you can organize two rounds: in the first people speak with no interruptions, for a certain amount of time. Only clarification questions allowed. And the second round can be for suggesting discussions, topics to discuss, and/or present one’s reactions to things heard.

The other day when small groups reported to plenary, a few mentioned the materials were “old-fashioned” but none explained or illustrated what they meant. I actually thought you meant that the feminist ideas in cards were old-fashioned, till I realized no group had said anything about the definitions of what a woman is, according to Men of Knowledge in patriarchal cultures. And today I realized your “old-fashioned” comment might have been about those brutal misconceptions on women. In a nutshell, you need to improve your reports to plenary, because people at plenary have not been following your discussions and what you think is obvious might not be obvious for listeners.

Good tip for communication: never take for granted what listeners know. Explain things. Offer basic info, before sharing your insight.

Whatever you do in small groups: sharing info, discuss, please, pay attention (even discuss) how you are going to report back to plenary! 🙂

News (& topics to address!): urbanization, housing, sustainable development

An important conference is taking place now on urbanization in Quito, Ecuador. Here is a link to info on the event. Writing an article on this could be an option for the November writing assignment, if you’d rather integrate reasoned opinions and descriptions into a more complex kind of text. (People with a greater fear to write, can follow my initial proposal, anyway!) We’ll talk about it in class next week, after you work in small groups sharing your individual work collecting Useful Language.

Find news you can listen to on this Urbanization conference! And post the links here, if you like!

Volunteering Translations!

We’re preparing a post on how to prevent rape for Nov 25, the international day against violence against women, a concept we call “gender violence” in Spain — in spite of the fact that the law just acknowledges as gender violence cases where a man in the family (namely the husband or ex husband) murders the woman he was supposed to love.

I read /red/ this article and I was wondering, Would anybody volunteer its translation, so we can publish it in Spanish?

To everybody, do you think the article is useful in any way?

Why It’s Dangerous to Tell Men to Be Persistent to Get Women to Sleep with Them

Trouble with the present & the past in narratives?

A strange exercise that can help (if you don’t get obsessed and just do it inaccurately!!): visualize/visualise colo(u)rs: red for the present, blue for the past, and listen to yourself while you use these colors when you use these tenses. Tell us what happened.

First exercise you can do:

One based on The Mentalist:

Here is another exercise you can do or adapt to your own texts (OP work at home: Lorena, I encourage you to prepare your OP on patriarchy for a recording for your Speaking File, and then you can send it to me for feedback): (Avanzado 2 in Madrid is 6th year and we learned/learnt at the C1 level, though they just certified a B2)

Diary for Wed Oct 26 – 1st Dramatized Reading + Homework & Lesson Plans

Today I was fearing people would miss the lesson due to the approaching holiday and due to the fact that when adults have communication problems they feel discouraged and rather quit trying, but most people made it to class: thanks so much! ❤ And it was a wonderful lesson, too!

We welcomed Isabel, who comes from a different school, and will just join us on Mondays, unless her rota of teachers on duty is convenient. (For people gathering Useful Language for teachers: any other alternative to “profes de guardia”?)

People asked more language questions on the Friends 1×1 script and then, volunteered for roles and we had a wonderful Dramatized Reading of the whole episode! People’s performance was outstanding, so congratulations!We had Lourdes as Narrator, Marta playing the role of Chandler, Sergio as Paul the Wine Guy, Cristina R as Ross, Karen as Rachel, Lucía as Mónica, Germán as Joey, Clara as Phoebe, and Cristina B filling in for some smaller parts.

In the upcoming month, when you plan your week, find time to watch episode 2 at least once a week, to prepare for our next session! Underline your language questions and your fav lines! I hope we can have new volunteers then — but of course, anyone volunteering on the spot is welcome! Remember to print the copy I created (shrinking tens of pages into 4!) Path: It’s on – Enter – Scripts.

I hope in the future, some day, we can record sts doing this amazing teamwork exercise! ❤ In this way, others might get the chance to read the script some other day, too. Just let me know if you decide to do this, or want to! 🙂

The other project of this kind is that you all form groups around a movie (preparing a scene or something). That’s on our C1 Materials blog, and Lucía has been having a look at that. We can talk about it next week, too.

Feedback on Romina’s OP

see next post next day – can’t finish it today!

Cristina R. gave Romina some feedback + best wishes (I’m sure you’ll succeed) and made a question: mass lay-offs = ere.

NOW, WHAT’S FOR NOW & NEXT WEEK? We have several things in store:

  • 3-4 minute OPs by you are always welcome. Actually, if everybody is going to speak once a month, we should be having two in every lesson? (I’m bad at maths!)
  • individual Useful Language projects, to share next week when you find out who’s worked on what;
  • checking the handouts on collocations (but I can post the answers, too);
  • reading out the Rational Discussion workshop, to mull over how we can improve discussions on controversial topics.
  • C-Day…

But just one lesson next week due to the Monday hol.

MORE AT HOME. You also need to post your minisagas, if you like, read posts here and comment, watch videos here and re-tell… It’s your pick! If you feel you want to improve your grammar, I recommend you use my podcast and do some Listen and Repeat with the Useful Language episodes. They will also inspire you for your Useful Language projects.

Dear all, come to class today!

I know we all felt a bit unsettled the other day, but we’re all adorable people and can do amazing things together. We need each other!

I’ll start the lesson with a story on trust, and trusting people.

Then we’ll do the dramatized reading and if possible listen to people telling us about what makes them a man or a woman, and a human. It’s a listening exercise for those not speaking, OK? Learning to listen is as important as learning to speak! ❤

Remember to bring your October Writing, and if you can’t, remember you can leave it in Conserjería tomorrow too, and Friday morning.

What’s “Tutoría”?

The “Tutoría” service is about individual learning matters that would benefit from teacher’s advice, or about giving private information to the teacher.

It’s students who book for a Tutoría session whenever they see they need it, but sometimes teachers may approach students to make this proposal.

Tutoría is not a private lesson, in any case. Every year we clarify this. It’s a session where teacher and student exchange info and views so as to support the student’s learning.

The most common cases for us are students who don’t seem to find the minimum time to work on their English. The teacher helps them establish priorities and learn to plan things and which methodological procedures can benefit their learning.

My tutorías for you all (all of my groups) are Mondays and Tuesdays from 9.15 to 9.45. But people need to book first. When the day is free, I usually tell the student to come at 9.25, so that I can take a little break after a whole afternoon teaching with just a 10 minute break in between 2h.15′ lessons!

School Council: The C1 Resource Pack is getting published!

Last night we had our School Council meeting. It ended at 23.30 but it was great! My highlight was this: people decided they wanted to have the School publish our pack. So I’ll be getting the “fichas” printed, the School will try to get an orange folder to put them in, and then we’ll get started! The head suggested we (should) send a free copy to all the Andalucian EOIs, which is a great idea! Now let’s cross our fingers! Let’s hope money or other material obstacles don’t come our way!

The version you have has undergone some changes. I removed the cards on women writers, for copyright fears — heirs are really aggressive and don’t understand anymore the relevance of Fair Use for culture — but included one with some beginnings and endings of works in I’m still trying to cross out text in the cards where I had to make the font smaller. I included “Agradecimientos” in Spanish to people I worked with, and a dedication to my mum, because women’s invisibility as positive beings contributing valuable thoughts, lifestyles, works for positive social change (that kind of radical violence, so denigrating and negative for humankind)  is still an issue in our society. So here is what I wrote for that purpose. (Her birthday would have been in October, so I always do something symbolic to remember her.)


A mi madre, a quien gritaban “puta” por la calle en el Madrid de los sesenta y setenta porque llevaba vaqueros, y tuvo el valor de seguir su criterio, no dejándose intimidar por las personas violentas. A ella a quien llamaron “mala madre” porque de pequeña me trataba como si yo fuera una persona también. A los 10 años me propuso viajar un año al extranjero para aprender inglés, y buscó a una amiga en Australia para que me recibiera, mientras yo, profundamente emocionada por la gran aventura que iba a vivir, apretaba los ojos fuerte para desear que la amiga viviera junto a una comunidad aborigen.

“Siempre podrás ganarte la vida”, me dijo, cuando volví bilingüe y capaz de estirarme sola para alcanzar la luna. Siempre tan generosa, valiente y lúcida.

A mi madre, por pertenecer a la saga de personas anónimas cuyas vidas han tenido un profundo impacto en lo mejor que tenemos las sociedades hoy, que hizo la vida de quienes la encontraron más amable, divertida, interesante, buena, mientras abría brechas de luz a la tenebrosa y cruel dictadura, caminos por donde pasaríamos luego tanta y tanta gente.

LoM for yesterday’s speaking activity

The Origins of Patriarchy, by Lorena

The outline was very clear, and I invite Lorena or anyone to post here a copy. The way our speaker presented the points orally and her use of the whiteboard were very good. The content was very well organized, particularly considering the complexities of speaking about the question. She simplified things to manage to allow people to remember a few key ideas that can allow us to reflect further on.


the society – omission of “the”. Complex topic. I have a handout on this, in case people want to have a look and work on it in small groups. Let me know.

What does this mean? – Perfect! Fluent and accurate, but then…

This meanS – missing “s”

Some missing “ed”s, too, particularly of the kind that also need a vowel support: protected (but no mistake in hunted, so it was not systematic).

When do we add a vowel support when forming the plural? /iz/ as in  villages, differences. Can somebody explain in class?

Tenses: there was a general problem. Sometimes the presentation was in the present, and other times it was in the past. I suggest Lorena (should) record her work (structures with suggest to review?) to train in learning to monitor this.

A question for you all: “I forget” is not an option in the context we used it. One should say “I’m forgetting” or “I forgot”. Why?

Improving the wording in key questions, to make them more accurate: What happened? — What changes took place?

Syntax & Morphology: how different HUNTING WAS (the mistake: how diff were hunting); COULD HUNT (mistake: can hunted, non-systematic)

Self-correction in: HAVE-HAS. Good. But then one mistake with the past form. Everybody, watch out for your HAVE verb forms!

Useful Vocabulary: hunting, gathering, settlements, decision-making, magic/magical (can you find examples of their use? Can we say: It’s magic! It’s magical!), egalitarian/equalitarian, a one-day thing. But more useful than this is to set these words in context. Feel free to post examples here! Thanks!

Checked assignments in our cardboard box

Just remind Karen and Emilia that their checked R.T and minisaga are in the cardboard box, OK? Remember to pick them up next day!

The minisagas I got yesterday are also now in the cardboard box.

About reviews, I’ll try to have that too for tomorrow.

But the October Writing Assignments won’t be in the box, because I would like to get them all next day before proceeding! 🙂


Diary for Oct 24 – a Topic OP (Patriachy), Friends & Reminders

Today we started with questions and reminders, as usual. I reminded people about keeping written track of their work, and encouraged them to show me some of that now, for feedback, for November is the official month when I’ll collect it all. I highlighted listening logs and learning plans or logs. Please, read the pages above on this, in Course and Evaluation, but remember this “control” is just to help you learn and get organized. I cannot give you an official mark for your work, but something more precious: feedback all the way! 🙂

(See previous posts where I remind, clarify, sigh…! 😀 One, another)

I collected the October Writing Assignments that were handed in, and reminded people of how the deadline week works. A student asked why should you write in the 3rd person the Story of My Life, I said it was a requirement. On the previous lesson I had explained why. Tasks are designed for learning purposes. So I’ll ask you all about the experience. You’ll see why.

We had a very special gift today: Lorena, a History teacher, gave an informed talk on the Origins of Patriarchy. Please, consider what you learned/learnt from this OP, and practice re-telling. Then decide if you wish to record or write a reasoned opinion about the topic. Btw, did anybody take a picture of her outline? Or can you post your notes here? Thanks!

Here are the questions around the origins of patriarchy which I remember we started addressing:

  • When/Why were gender roles created? (the lecture addressed this)
  • Are gender roles based on biology, culture, both?
  • Should we prevent men and women from doing or not doing things the other gender role is supposed to do or not do in their culture? Why?

The session was interrupted by a complaint — here is my post on this: Problem-solving proposal.

We moved on to Questions of the 1×1 Friends script and discussed a few language questions. Can you post your notes on this here? Thanks! ❤

Next day we agreed we would finish the Questions and do a Dramatized Reading. But I also hope we can have a speaking round on what I suggest in Problem-solving Proposal (the exercise on gender identity and human identity). You’ll hand in your October W.A. and I’ll ask you to print Workshop for Rational Discussions. If you bring Ngozi quotes or something we could finish the posters! If someone writes out this plan next day, I’ll bring candy! 😀

The following week: Monday is a holiday. And on Wednesday we’ll check the two handouts on collocations (spares on bulletin board in class) and then SMALL GROUPS by USEFUL LANGUAGE Project. Contingency plan: read the workshop on rational discussions.

Problem-solving Proposal: Discussing Controversial Topics,

Or Learning to Exchange Views on Sensitive Topics

Today somebody felt bad about an activity we were doing, and expressed it as a strong complaint. We welcome feedback, but in my view, it could have been presented as ordinary feedback after the activity, or as a polite interruption reminding us of our time limits. Fortunately, some people helped overcome the tension by not feeling discouraged to speak. But others felt discouraged to speak. So I am asking students coming to class next day to consider the questions I posed around gender identity and human identity. (It could also be of use when you have to write a reasoned opinion on gender issues) I hope we can listen to everybody. Considering the criticism was focused on time, I suggest we agree at the beginning of the lesson a maximum amount of time for each speaker, say 1-3 minutes.

Here are the questions so you can put together a description or a reasoned opinion:

  • What makes you a MAN/WOMAN? Which are the traits that construct your FEMINITY/MASCULINITY?
  • What makes you HUMAN? Which are the traits that construct our identity as human beings?

Today’s activity was a lecture by a History teacher on the origins of patriarchy and that deserved a follow-up exercise, like any lecture we attend to. Moreover, topic OPs have the aim of encouraging follow-up in-depth discussions, so that people can practice their English, exchanging views in complex ways, through argumentation, learning vocabulary and ideas about a topic. Today’s OP was not training in exam format, but I gift we got because we were lucky to have an expert on a topic which is key to learn to analyze many of the gender issues.

Our school is public. We teach languages while encouraging the development of democratic values, that people open their minds to different cultures, lifestyles, views, we encourage coexistence. As Spanish educational laws establish we address all the social matters that need addressing for the construction of a democratic society, where tolerance and diversity are allowed in the construction of identity, where people are able to coexist regardless their identity or believes. As a public school we also protect freedom of expression, and try to educate along the lines of helping adults be able to hold rational discussions also on sensitive topics, precisely because we work for a nonviolent world.

At the advanced level, students need to be able to analyze topics, not only manage in everyday life. Argumentative texts, oral and written, involve students need to learn to construct argumentations, explaining their views in complex ways, analyzing ideas and their experiences and wording things in nonviolent ways, avoiding treating people with different opinions as aggressors, and just learning to explain why they think a certain idea is bad.

As a reminder, your speaking exam cards include topics you might not know anything about, or you might not want to speak about, and they always ask you to express your views, too. As it’s a language exercise, if you feel bad in some way, simply practice saying something about why, or if you prefer not to express your true ideas or experiences, you can simply make them up. Actually, you can even defend an opinion you don’t share. It’s a wonderful exercise!

Writing Reminders & Posting your checked work

Minisagas can be posted here (Page above): just enter and post it in a comment.

October Writing Assignment can be posted here, if you like, once you get it back with corrections. But you need to ask me to send you an invitation, OK?

Remember in November we’ll hold C-Day, which means that after getting your checked work you need to work on your mistakes (LoM) and bring them to class, to tell us about them and what your plans are, or what work you did to overcome them. Then we can listen to people reading out their work, because it helps us learn a lot! Finally, send it in for publication if you like!

Writing File Project: your WF should include first the final copy (handwritten or typewritten), with all the info on the top right corner including Task Description (type of text, no. of words…), next the OUTLINE you used to write it, then the rest: the LoM, the other work you did in the Before Writing section (gathering ideas, useful language) and your checked piece.

Last Week of Oct. Handing in Info/Work

This week you need to hand in your October writing assignment. You shouldn’t do that in November, if you want to allow us to respect deadlines, OK?

I would also like to see copies of your Weekly Learning Plans and Listening Logs, to gather info and give you feedback if relevant. This was scheduled for November, along with the list of the orals or other work you shared, but I’m not sure people are clear about this habit you need to develop, so I’d like to encourage you to pay attention to this issue.

(All the info is in your C1 Resource Pack AND here in Course Info & Eval. But remember you don’t get grades -notas- till the June exam, the only moment when you are officially evaluated. Feedback, however, is given throughout the year.)

The general idea is you show me records of your work outside the classroom, because we don’t use a textbook, so I don’t know what you are working on. I only know about what you share in class.

See you! 🙂

My Apologies: Bob Dylan IS a Poet, & Other Stories! (edited)

Due to my ignorance, I was surprised Dylan had been awarded the Nobel Literature Prize because I thought he had not written literature, but he has. My partner has a poetry book Dylan wrote in the 60s: Tarantula, experimental prose poetry, which is a merit (I have a prose poetry short story if you want to read it, and see how dangerous it is to write) And it’s hard for poets to get prizes.

I would have given him the Peace Nobel instead, really, because his songs were key for the peace movement (the so-called hippies), and to spread ideas, not violence, but well — I take back my words in class the other day. I have nothing to say about his getting the Literature Nobel Prize. Well —

I think of Joan Baez… She would have been a good candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, as good as Bob Dylan, in any case. And both probably better than other people who were awarded this prize! Were Baez’s lyrics poems? Dylan’s were. Actually, he said of some of those that he didn’t intend to write a protest song (Blowing in the Wind). A great many people in the 60s, who loved literature and the arts, acknowledged Dylan as a talented writer. It’s true that the 60s were full of patriarchal ideology, in spite of feminism being at full blast (as compared with other times, in the USA at least, an extremely patriarchal country, full of patriarchal ideology, this is, violent ideas of superiority-inferiority). Just watch the movie “Hair” if you have a developing feminist intelligence and see what I mean. Women were invisible most of the time, in spite of it all. It was the time when you were considered “estrecha” (not that kind of girl) if you decided to choose who you had sex with, and rejected a proposal. (Include women, and the history of humankind is slightly different.)

And then —

It’s telling that the 10 nominees were men. Not a single woman. But I don’t want to say now that it would have been great if women writers had been considered because I didn’t say that in previous cases where traditionally-minded men were awarded a prize.

I’m glad progressist-minded people are taken into account, because progressist ideas are what have helped us humanize our violent cultural upbringings. That’s my view. People always have questions about whether progressist people DESERVE the (few) awards they get, but I’m critical of this, obviously. (You can disagree with me, anyway — I’m into freedom of expression and find that dialogue is positive for everybody! 🙂 )

Now listen to these people. Bob Dylan IS actually considered a talented poet.

At the same time, I always regret women are nowhere to be seen. Still, there’s no stopping a feminist, there’s no stopping social change for the better, also because quite a lot of women are managing to keep alive and free — particularly, provided people start considering ideas instead of fueling the defamation/slander and misinterpretation of kind people, instead of demonizing  those who care about human beings.

And here is a very telling (significativo, que significa cosas) poem by Anne Sexton, who like Hemingway, committed suicide, but who, unlike Hemingway, instead of being considered a Hero (in the anti-hero version, like he was), was considered a bad mother for abandoning her children, something men writers who committed suicide never were — as if suicide were a frivolity when done by women.

Her Kind –

Incidentally, I’d like to invite you all to learn a poem by ear by heart! ❤ ❤ ❤ I recommend Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver. But this poem may also keep you company, at times. Here are videos with students who learned a poem in our C1 course, in previous years: songs & poems playlist.

Snowden movie!

Listen, one of your topics this year is Surveillance! And on Sunday they’re showing the Snowden movie at the Miramar Mall at about 6 and at about 9 and because it’s original version not many people are attending. Also, next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday cinemas in Spain will cost 3 euros I think, so you might want to consider doing an outing together! There’s also a Bridget Jones movie, I think.

OPs: Learning to speak from Outlines

Germán shared with us his work on the assignment: Oral Book Review, on the Ngozi essay we read in class. It was timed, to fit the speaking exam format called “monologue”. As you can see in the photo of what he wrote on the whiteboard, he had an outline to speak from, which is a very valuable exercise I hope all students do regularly this year, so they can feel more confident in June, and so they learn a relevant skill for everyday life — how to speak in public from an outline.

As you can see, he started out with factual information on the essay and the author. In his intro to the book, he assessed the kind of reading it was and its value, and moved on to sustain these ideas by sharing with us the anecdotes and ideas the author shared, his highlights. He also paid attention to the language he learned/learnt. What’s missing on the whiteboard is the final recommendation, which he actually did, anyway.

A final outline could have been:

Book Review

  • author, title: factual info
  • intro: feminist approach, entertaining, own experience
  • body: analysis – highlights sustaining intro:
  • anecdotes + misconceptions – show value of feminist analysis (bulleted points possible within this point)
  • language highlights
  • Final comment + Recommendation

I also add key words to outline points, to remind me of the particular ideas I want to mention, e.g. misconceptions (feminists hate…)


Germán, remember to record your work, for your Speaking File, so you can review it later and remember/consolidate.

I hope this great example helps you all to undertake your work at home on monologues. Remember you can watch my video here on Speaking File, and Lucía’s upcoming video!

Women need to be seen and heard at conferences

In line with this week debate, I’ve found an interesting and very “scientific” editorial about women’s (in)visibility in science. It was published in the prestigious journal Nature on October 19th. You can read it by clicking  here –> nature_look_harder.

(Nature 538, 290 (20 October 2016) doi:10.1038/538290b)

Have a nice weekend!!

Minisaga. My dearest daughter

On the day you were born I realised that the sparkle in your eyes was my guiding light and your smile my life’s purpose. I love you, you motivated me to be an awesome mum. With you around, I am never sad. Never stop believing in yourself.



Posted on this page, too:

Diary for Oct 19. Two more OPs & Upcoming Lesson Plans!

Today some people came back to class, which was good news.

Some people wrote the lesson plan on the whiteboard, and when I got back from my break I completed it. I loved this experience, so I hope we can do this in every lesson, OK? Feel free to jot down stuff when you get to class!

We started with people voting for the group reps. Karen and Lucía volunteered and got their classmates’ support! ❤

Then Lucía did her OP on How to work on your monologues at home, and it was very interesting and she also allowed me to videoshoot! Please, watch the video, you all, when I manage to publish it, OK? It’ll be good for taking notes on the topic, and working on Lists of Mistakes. I would like to see some work of yours on that towards the end of November (use the C1 Resource Pack for reading a bit about it).

Germán gave an OP on the oral book review I suggested you prepared (the Ngozi essay), and it was very well put together. I hope he can record it for his speaking file taking into consideration the feedback I gave thim. Lucía took a pic of this outline and we’ll be publising it because it’s a great example of how to speak from outlines in timed OPs.

LoMs: some language questions came up, and Sergio contributed a good example for us to discuss “worth”, “worthy”, “worth it”.

I misunderstood a language question, but fortunately other students realized where I was making the mistake and helped clarify! Thanks!

Finally we watched 1×1 of Friends, and people agreed to read the transcript at home (download it following the links on “Handouts” here) and come to class with language questions. After that session, we’ll do a dramatized reading. We’ll see in what way!

We have lots of plans for next week, but you need to help me out of this. The priority will always be listening to people who have prepared 3, 4-min OPs, OK? I reminded people they should practice this format once a month, in class, for feedback, provided they worked on the piece as I indicate in my video and the resource pack.

Romina couldn’t make it to class today either. So I deeply regret having postponed her OP the other day! Romina, whenever you come back you can do it!!! 🙂 ❤

We have Lorena who will be offering a longer OP (a project OP, really) on Patriarchy or the Origin of patriachal societies. I have to say that this is a true precious talk and hope everybody will take notes and comment or ask questions after her performance.

AND — consider that after October-Feminist-Workshop-Month, you should be able to speak and write about gender issues and social change including awareness of the role feminism as a social struggle has played in the very different lifestyles some of us lead today. You could write a reasoned opinion in 100 words answering a question of your choice, for instance, for the November Writing Assignment which involves two brief writings.

Then we’ll work on language used in Friends 1×1, and the following day we’ll do dramatized readings of the script. It’d be great that some group allowed videoshooting, but if you don’t want to, even if it’s just one person, please, don’t feel obliged.

What’s for the first week in September? The collocations handouts (pinned on the board in class if you don’t have a copy) and the Useful Language project to share in class.

For the overview of what we did, remember to check out my previous post on this!

Proud to be old – About growing old

Today this topic came up, and I mentioned Leonora Carrington’s reply to some young people who told her — to flatter her — “You’re young at heart”. Check it out here, and if you like, listen to and read her short story The Debutante, which we can talk about in class — it’s an example of Surrealist literature.

I’m also attaching the chapter in the True Story I wrote this summer, where the little girl and the old woman speak about age. But that’s in Spanish, sorry!


23_1_serjovenservieja 23_2_serjovenservieja

On the Useful Language Project Agreed in Class This Week

The other day we talked a bit about lists of Useful Language, and I asked students to find the examples and explanations I included in our C1 Resource Pack (Section “Understanding Language Learning”).

We agreed on this:

Each student* will gather a collection of sentences they* use or need to use every day (so to speak) [in their professional fields or areas of expertise] and bring them to class, with a threefold purpose:

  • find out if other students share the same field, so you can read out your sentences and put together a more comprehensive List of UL for that field (but small group can be eclectic!)
  • learn English from other students
  • check that your sentences are correct, and that your pronunciation and intonation are good.

In two weeks you should have put together something, a few sentences at least, so you can work with your classmates, OK? If I forget, please, remind me of this! I understand we can schedule it for the first week of September.

Then we might be able to create new podcast episodes for the Talking People Podcast “Useful Language” segment!

Diary for October 17, Women Writers’ Day! and second OP! (edited)

Today we had a very tight lesson plan, but universal balance had a say, and we managed to do what we could actually do in the allotted time, except for the Students’ Reps elections! (next day).

Minisagas kept coming in, which is great. Remember to post your final work, if you like, on the page here for that!

OPs: I explained what I expected you could all do in terms of OPs. And Lucía will bring the issue up again next day, based on the video on Speaking File here and on her own research!!

Handouts. Collocations. I gave out the first two handouts for you to work on, to improve your vocabulary. They’re handouts 57 and 58. Spares are on the bulletin board in class, OK? Do it for the first week of September, and please, remind me we need to check this. If we have lots of OPs, I can always post the results, and we can save time in this way — class just for particular questions.

Soluna did a 5-minute OP on How to Work on your Monthly Writing Assignments, based on my video here on the Writing File, but processed very personally! And she gave us a lovely present: she allowed me to videoshoot (I need to give her the form so she can do that in black and white), so you will be able to watch her as soon as I manage time to edit the video! Then because the other two OPs were cancelled, we had time to hear questions on your writing assignments and ways of working on that, which was superb! We analyzed the October task and agreed on a deadline everybody committed to respect! (I explained why that was so important for me). I’ll write the deadline on the page Writing File as soon as I find the scrap of paper I scribbled it on! (Or you post it here! 😀 )

We had the second part of the Feminist Workshop, with small groups reading out quotes or statements and talking about them. We didn’t get the chance to hear one of the groups, but the rest agreed the ideas were a bit old, which was good news because it shows how much society has changed, how fast in the last decade! Just to acknowledge all the feminist people who posed those ideas, and had to pay a price in their personal lives for doing so, wish that society will also realize some day all the good things feminist activists have brought to everybody’s lives. There were no comments about depictions of women’s minds in patriarchal culture, but when I got to offer an overview of the gender problem, people understood very well what I meant — and this indicates, once again, how things have changed in very few decades (in evolutionary terms — fortunately Lorena will tell us about when patriarchal societies begun, so we realize the implications of a great deal of factors around the Gender Question). People also talked about language they had learned: education vs child rearing, or bringing up children, abased and belittled (“She must live and die with this secret self-knowledge which abased her, gnawing at the heart”, The Butterfly HouseMary E. Wilkins Freeman; “Women ‘belittled, underappreciated and underpaid’ in tech industry” – proposal: find time to work on this article and let’s comment in class what you learned/learnt!), dyke (when to use it or not, or who uses it and what for, like other sensitive terms, e.g. nigger)… – complete when I go downstairs for my notes?! 😀 

I’m going to post on what I said about GENDER later on, because I think it can be of use for people in exam time. You see, to my knowledge, gender questions have kept being speaking exam topics for the past 10 years (but some years ago I was working in Madrid).

Finally, some people remembered and brought quotes — or wrote them down — for our posters for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Women Writers’ Day. when people left, I glued the bits and I’ll show you next day. Please, if you wish to take part (we’ve got more pieces of cardboard paper) remember for next day, because after our next lesson together I’ll put the posters up. If you like and people agree, perhaps you want to appear on a picture next to the posters!

Next day, we might have two OPs: Lucía’s and Romina’s. The Elections, too. And bring the script of episode 1×1 of Friends, for whatever it is we do with it (today we considered the options, but it will depend on who comes to class next day!).

Please, if I forgot something, do feel free to comment! Thanks! 🙂

HELP! Does anybody know…? / Can you think about this?

Does anybody know how to create a calendar we can all edit, so we can add or delete lesson plans?

In this way, you would be able to book for your OPs, and I would be able to draft lessons, and we would all be able to know when what would happen! 😀

Please, could you consider this? If we don’t listen to 2, 3 people every day doing a 4 min. OP for speaking exam training (longer OPs count as one a month, it’s just they’re longer), would you be OK about not getting that training (speaking in public with a time limit and using an outline)? I’m just mentioning this because so far only two people have done this kind of exercise. It’s OK with me, but think about what you are willing to contribute in terms of OPs, OK?

Remember that the only mark you get is in June. That what we do in class is not for passing, but for learning, practicing and training! 🙂

Toot Thielmans has passed away! (On Music)

Today I learned Toot Thielemans (I always thought it was Tut Stilmans! 😀 )  died last August — 94 years old of whistling and playing his harmonica! He was BelgiAN, from BelgiUM, where you can find the best beer and chocolate in the world!!

This piece of news brings me that kind of emptiness the death of people whose work you have enjoyed brings. He was and IS a musician who played an instrument almost nobody plays, the harmonica. Actually, when I was a little girl and even when I was a teenager I remember people sang (particularly mothers while doing the housework) and there was always someone bringing a guitar or harmonica to gatherings. Perhaps people keep doing it today, but I haven’t seen that for years. I have the feeling industry has sucked music out of people’s everyday lives! But I’m old and might be just in a different stage of life! Anyway, in case you never heard this musician, here goes a tune he actually composed. You might have heard him in movies like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, or well, he played versions of all kinds of jazz and blues songs and tunes.

I heard him for the first time on the radio, in the wee hours of the night, in an attic with no electricity, no water, no kitchen, no toilet! (there was a toilet in the corridor, comunal it was). I couldn’t sleep because it was always freezing cold! So I listened to the radio, jazz program(me)s mainly. In spite of poverty, I loved these moments. I had left my mum’s house and found a job teaching English, so I could earn a living. I was also trying to keep up with courses at college/university. In those days, people didn’t leave their parents house either, at least not my generation, so it felt like having a lot of freedom! And music and freedom sort of reinforce each other to give you great happiness. So here goes this memory to hono(u)r Toot Thielemans life and work! ❤

Oral Presentation by Students: Science to Help. Parts 1-3 (2014-15)

In course 2014-15, our first year of giving a C1 course, people prepared Oral Presentations based on their listening work on the news (or documentaries), and the flocked up in groups, so it was teamwork, too. This group was called “C1 Going Viral”! ❤ And they were the only group that allowed me videoshoot, which is something to celebrate. Just watch and see why! I hope you like it!

I also created a webpage on Talking People to upload the handouts they brought for their classmates, and that’s here:

Tricky word pairs!

The other day in class (btw, when Sonia read the other day she was well aware of this: “the” is pronounced “i” when the following word begins with a vowel, remember?) I mixed up “moral” and “morale”, as I tend to do because I have issues with “morals”! 😀 (Notice the pun, because “morals” has two meanings on its part: “lessons” we learn from stories and standards of behavio(u)r that in my view tend to be more based on tradition than on ethics and a love for coexistence! 😀 ) Well… going back to our topic here!

Can you find examples that will allow us to remember the word(s) better?


Education for Equality: about the linching of a girl by a group of boys

October 11, Day for Girls. We posted this… in case you can help us spread the analysis! Thanks! ❤ (Also, of course, if you think the message could be improved in some way… We’ll be listening! Feel free to post your thoughts, over there in Spanish or here in English!)

6-8 min Radio Book Reviews (for your Listening Log & other work)

Pick one and work on it. Then tell us about it (some day!)

“The Faraway Nearby” by Rebecca Solnit 

March 26, 2014
Guest reviewer Pat Leach looks at writer Rebecca Solnit’s memoir of her mother’s decline and her own health scare, wrapped in reflections about the power of story in “The Faraway Nearby”.

March 7, 2013
Guest reviewer Pat Stephen looks at, “The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap” a memoir of opening a used bookstore in a small, West Virginia town. Also reviewed, a fast-moving thriller about ex-Nazis set in Ireland entitled, “Ratlines”.
April 29, 2015
Guest reviewer Susan Stephen looks at a book that argues it’s capitalism rather than carbon that threatens the planet. “This Changes Everything: Capitalism and the Climate” by Naomi Klein
June 5, 2014
Books introduce us to new characters, perspectives and even worlds. And rarely, an extraordinary book can change the way we see our own world. Clay Naff found a book that helped him see people in a new light.

A Poster for Chimamanda Ngozi (Oct 17)

In my posts below I tell you about this idea of us creating a poster to celebrate Ngozi’s existence on Oct 17, the day for celebrating Women Writers!

Select pics, quotes, whatever, write a minisaga, a poem, whatever inspired on her work! And let’s stick it all on a piece of cardboard I’ll bring.

As I’ll bring my videocamara in case someone allows me to videoshoot, if you would, prepare reading out a quote of hers or whatever, and we can also create a video to celebrate this day.

Here Iare the two posters I did on my own the year before last! I translated some of the poems into Spanish.

I hope this year we can do something together for this wonderful writer! Thanks! ❤

Lesson Plans for Mon Oct 17 and Wed Oct 19!

What an amazing plan! Here goes:

  • Soluna will explain how students should work on their monthly Writing Assignments
  • Lucía will explain how students should be working on their monolog(ue)s at home
  • And Romina will give an OP on How to Set Up a Business!

This day is Women Writers Day, so I will bring a piece of cardboard paper so you can all paste something about Chimamando Ngozi Adichie: select a quote by her, or cut out a picture of hers, or write her a minisaga, or BRING SOMETHING PLEASE! (And in case you forget, I’ll bring something too).And we’ll listen to some oral reviews on Chimamanda’s essay. I’ll bring my video camera in case any of you allows me to videoshoot, OK? For our impressive C1 playlist here.

Finally, if time allows, we’ll split up in small groups, and you’ll enjoy the second part of the Feminist Workshops, discussing feminist ideas and what patriarchal history has recorded about women (which explains why they have always been excluded from the world of art and thought and the like).

The following Wednesday we can do this and then the Dramatized Reading of Friends, so prepare your paper copies of the script. And if anybody else wants to do their montly OP, book! Thanks!

Diary for Mon Oct 10 – Reading an essay + Hmwk (oral book reviews)

(Links in bold; highlights in color) Today our lesson was very productive, also in terms of putting together a wonderful lesson for next Monday! (I’ll post about this latter /látr/ point separately!)

Fighting absentism (I’m sorry, the spellchecker says “absenteeism” but I keep resisting!): today we had good news about Mario by Cristina, and he actually made it to class! Then I was able to talk to Sergio after class. Why am I mentioning all of this? It turns out they had no plan of dropping out, but I fight hard absentism, and try to prevent it, OK? 🙂 So when I think there might be a possibility there, I take action! Please, before ever dropping out, book a meeting with me, so we can talk. I could be of help, OK? 😀

I gave out another three minisagas (notice my use of “another” here. Can someone explain in class next day?). I’m really happy with your pieces, and hope you can share them over here. Remember I can post them for you if you want them to be anonymous.

Diagnosis B2 Reading Test. I read out the answers, and people told me their results. Remember that if you take the test at home and you check it, I can register your results. I’ll be putting up an Overview of the work you share on our bulletin board, so you can complete it in case I miss something. People’s results were quite good. You shouldn’t worry about the particular result. What counts is “pass” or “fail mark”, OK?

Three students told us they had prepared an OP! This is impressive and it fills me with hope!! Two will be on learning methodology and one on a how-to you’ll probably be happy to learn about.

DEAR CHIMAMANDA, WE’RE LISTENING! ❤ Teamwork: students read Ngozi’s essay “We Should All Be Feminists“: Dolores, Sergio, Marta N., Soluna, Cristina R., Mariajosé, Lucía, Sonia, Germán, Luz, Mario, Laura, (we missed Karen, for she had to leave before her turn), and Romina. Here is a list of words you should all pronounce correctly, OK? Please, double check you know how to pronounce them and stress them!

  • inclUsion, pUshed
  • assUmption, hUsband, sUpport,
  • greatest childhood /gréitest cháildhud/
  • liked the /laikt-the/
  • laugh /laaf/
  • bristling half-baked /beikT/
  • looked at /luk TAT/
  • likes it / laik SIT/
  • culture /ka…/, cultural
  • course /kóors/
  • own room /oUn rum/
  • /patról/ (verb)
  • pólitics / politician / policies
  • necessary /nésesari/
  • Nigeria /naigéria/
  • Lagos /léigez/
  • cafés
  • metropolis / metrópolis/
  • money /mÁni/
  • occupied /ókiupaid/ – the occupy movement (like 15M, Arab spring: 99% is associated to the occupy movement; asambleas to the 15M but they all relate to occupying squares to fight for meaningful democracies)
  • occur
  • knowledgeable
  • creative /kriéitiv/
  • forgery
  • actually – /ák-CHuali/
  • son /sAn/ = like “sun”
  • /iz/ ending: changes, marriages, priviledges, experiences, silences, uses,
  • /id/ ending: hated /heitId/
  • colleagues /kolígz/

Useful language (please, write the ones you selec in context, I didn’t have the time! It can be your own examples, or from the essay. You can post yours on the page for UL above): to deliver (give) a talk, a big deal, how stereotypes limita dn shape our thinking, unsolicited advice, they don’t intend harm, put it simply, spots available (to park), a well-meaning person, At some point, the word is so heavy with baggage, I saw realization dawn on his face (cf. suddenly it dawned on me / Friends: suddenlty it hit me), a go-getter, What struck me, prescribe how we should be, pretence / pretend, be apologetic about, love = partnership or ownership, emasculate (cf. belittle), mindset (frame of mind), deprived of, tap another person’s power, evil omen, What’s the point of culture?, to close a conversation, to speak out, It would be a way to / of … Western (occidental), Anyway (to change topics, or go back to the topic).

I gave some tips on constructive approaches to gender issues, explaining a hard-to-find idea: the difference between Patriarchal Reason (Razón patriarcal) and Empathetic Rationality (what we strive for). I also suggested students to consider their identity and gender, how gender expectations in our society, by the people we love, condition the development of our identity — parting from the acknowledgement of the fact that we are all, culturally speaking, children of patriarchal ideology, and therefore justify the patriarchal gender-sex system in conscious and unconscious ways. So some ideas are related to intellectual dignity and also to the connection of learning languages and learning about ourselves and others.

HOMEWORK. An oral book review on this essay. 3, 4 mins. Include: factual info, what the book is about, your highlights or personal insight (on language, ideas, anecdotes; passages, quotes), a recommendation. Remember to introduce your exercise and signal the end of it, too.

I’ll post a radio book review so you can practice note-taking and add stuff to your listening log! 🙂

Hurricane Matthew Lashing the Bahamas


65 ° Washington, DC

Hurricane Matthew Lashing the Bahamas
Posted: Oct 6 2016 12:00 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 6 2016 01:39 PM EDT
Meteorologist Danielle Banks gives us the latest update as Hurricane Matthew moves through the Bahamas and towards the U.S.

About the C1 Resource Pack

Dear students,

Yesterday I learned/learnt the School won’t be able to publish this pack of resource cards because there is not enough money — cards are far more expensive than paper. (Apart from that, all of the possibilities I’ve been told about, like presenting this work to contests and things like that involve losing the right over the work in this precise sense: I would never accept not sharing my work for free on the internet. This is out of the question for me.) Fortunately, you already have the pilot version. Just remember that’s not the version for publication, and that I need to publish the final version, OK? But this does not affect your work. You can use the pilot version this year, if it helps you learn. It’s extra support.

This said, publication will happen (“will” for prediction) as soon as I ask for the compatibility permission we civil servant teachers need to request when we want to publish our own materials (and at least recover the money spent). Actually, I think this present outcome is going to be positive in the end, for the truth is I have a wealth of resources to share after so many years working so hard in the struggle of showing the world public/state-run education offers quality teaching and learning processes, and I do prefer to protect my independence, so as to have an 100% say on what I produce. In our world it seems that when your work can generate money, you lose your say in things. (And this explains why I am a writer without books! For me, losing a say is not an option! 🙂 )

Once I’ve requested “compatibility”, I’ll publish the resource pack as an indie writer, for a fee that covers production costs, postage and shipping — all of the things involved in distribution, too, I mean! 🙂 And perhaps a few extra euros to give to an unemployed younger relative of mine, who has dire prospects of finding a job in the career he has trained for and actually loves! At the same time, I’ll publish the pack online as a free download, because I believe in the construction of a Knowledge Society. I believe that sharing our knowledge and skills instead of saying self-destructive things and gossiping or fighting — the kind of things most people do every day at all times — can reduce violence in the world significantly. (People should spend more time learning and less time keeping busy with negative thoughts and words!)

There is great support for this project, so I’ll do this last effort, but I’d like to complain here, because busy people seem to be busier and busier all the time!: it’s funny (=strange) how women in general, and any independent person, find it so terribly difficult to do things that seem to be simple and easy, when the hardest part is actually writing outstanding work (and all of the other editorial tasks which I can do because I’ve worked with publishing houses and often edited all kinds of things independently, and anonymously)! I’ve written a valuable resource for advanced lifelong language learning — not original in the sense that we’ve been developing this approach since the 1980s (at least me as a teacher and a lifelong learner), but original in the sense that unfortunately obstacles for transformative, meaningful, communicative teaching and learning, on the part of learners, teachers, and education systems seem to be insurmountable most of the times — and if I didn’t have a job now (and money to save), it’s clear this would have been the end to it.

But the reality of cuts in public/state-run education in the past decade is a fact, and of course it had to affect this project of ours at our school.

Diary for Wed. Oct 5 – 1st OP!

WRITING. Today I gave out the checked minisagas I had, and explained I had made some suggestions to some students and expected them to work on them and hand me the resulting piece next week. (I think someone who was late, did not get hers! I hope next Monday people remind me of this, OK? I have a cardboard box where I leave your checked work so that you all can simply have a look. I’ll show it to you.) I mentioned there were two minisagas with a strong literary flavo(u)r, and I mentioned that some other minisagas needed more work on modifiers, to make the story more compelling or expressive. Three more people gave me their minisaga.

I created a page here so you can post your final minisaga. And if you want it to be Anonymous, just send it to me and I’ll do that for you.

QUESTIONS. In the round of questions, someone asked about the Learning Diary and I replied it was optional and explained how I would do it. We also reviewed where the listening log, the reading log and the example of a weekly learning plan were (here) now under Course Basics & Materials.

OVERVIEW OF WORK SHARED IN CLASS. I showed people a table where we will tick your work shared in class and writing assignments. I’ll pin it on the bulletin board, so you can complete it whenever, or jot down what I miss!

We had a round of “How have you been using your English these days”? as initially there were few people. Fortunately, more people came, so the round was a bit long but I didn’t want to interrupt it because I was gathering info for some future feedback I’ll give you all on mistakes I heard, so we can introduce the session on How to work with your LoMs (any volunteer to explain this some day?). Apart from that, I think it’s wonderful to listen to you all also because in this way we get to know each other better.

In that round Sergio asked me about the riots in the USA in connection to the issue of police officers shooting black people, but I couldn’t answer just then, so perhaps some other day. I’ll try to find some audio or audiovisual on this, so people learn some of the most common vocabulary on the news, because it turned out most people did not know the word “riot” (I think we can always hear it on the news).

We decided not to check the Reading Test, considering many people were missing. So I’ll post the key here so you can check it over the weekend, and tell me your results, and prepare your questions for next Monday or perhaps for the following week as…

Next Wednesday is a holiday. A sad celebration, where we should have just a conmemoration which also included acknowledging genocide. Anyway, this helps us get to the next point.

YOUR MONS. Germán gave an OP on Christopher Columbus. It was very informed. He managed to tell us about the times, the man, and about the controversies around him (was he a killer or a hero?), around colonization or the European invasions, and about the October 12 celebration. Not only this, he also included a final personal assessment. This monologue was a great example of wonderful textual structure, so I’d like to congratulate Germán for that.

About his accuracy and language range I have to say it was fairly good! The vocabulary was rich and correctly used, the wording (how to put things) was not the result of literal translation. Germán might have translated from Spanish, but he included wording that was English-minded. He made few grammar mistakes.”ar(m)s” (weapons), an agreement and tense mistake with “have” (The Portuguese …), mispronunciation of “Mediterranean” “savagery” (?), great items like using “was supposed to” correctly!, as well as tenses in general, and comparatives (much further than he had calculated), sometimes mispronunciation in the “-ed” ending, using well hard items like “as slaves” (cf. “like slaves), using “the” correctly (the British) and also its omission! (though there was a mistake in “the Colombus Day”). “A way of rememberING”, OK? We can also use “conmemorate” (I’ll post Reconsider Columbus Day next week, a video Germán also watched backed in 2013, I think!).

About a very personal insight on the topic, I feel Germán can improve the wording so that it glows. Not “We think depending on…” See if you find alternatives, OK?

Where I believe you can improve is in the speed (although controlling shyness with determination! I have the impression that being nervous about speaking in public made you/him speak a bit too fast, which along with some misplacing of stress, made it hard to follow at times. I could surely not keep up taking notes! So — as I told you/him, you/he can improve the “music” of the language and a good exercise for this is doing Listen-n-Repeat, and practice reading aloud at home, after listening to stories with a transcript. Thank you, Germán, for breaking the ice with students’ monthly monologues in class!

About “a big disagreement”, the stress was misplaced, so I couldn’t understand. Then a question for you all to mull over! What collocates better with “disagreement” for this context?: “a major disagreement” or “wide disagreement” would be better I think. Have a look here: collocations. “Big” is too ordinary here, it almost sound childlike. Jod down “big” in your List of informal language to avoid in semiformal and formal texts (register), OK? I’ll create a Page for this. At times presents or pasts were used instead of pasts or presents. Not often, and I may have made a mistake (they sometimes forgot/forget). There was a mistake of the kind: forgetting about passives (History are (oops mistake, right?) writing > History is written)

YOUR MONTHLY MONS IN CLASS. Which leads me to remind you all that I expect each of you to give a 3-4 min mon in class every month, which you should select from your weekly work on monologues at home, which is an activity for the exploitation of your audio and audiovisual work. I mean, we “recycle” efforts done in other skills to use the same materials again for practicing other skills or connecting skills. See what I mean?

And we watched Ngozi’s TED Talk on the book we’ll read in class next Monday (link).

Next Monday: Reading Aloud! & a Question for you all – Looking for Volunteers!

I’ve thought out a plan, to make sure you all know how you should be working on your Monologues at home and on your monthly Writing Assignment.

I’d like to ask you, dear Authors, can you volunteer to explain next Monday How to Work on your Mons (my video on the Speaking File page), and How to Work on your Writing Assignments (my video on the Writing File page)? Post your willingness, if so, and we can hold this conversation here through posting our comments, OK? Let’s organize it! Don’t be shy and volunteer! If we have more than 2 for each explanation, I can find other tasks for the following week, so it’d be all right! ❤

Next Monday we will read Ngozi’s book. Today we watched that same talk on TED.

Tomorrow I’ll post a follow-up listening and translation exercise in case you want to do it over the weekend. I’d like to know, if possible, how many of you are coming to class next Monday.

Sergio, if you’re reading this, can you send me an email? Thanks! 🙂

Lourdes, Lorena, I forgot to give you your Student’s Card!!! (Asociación Estudiantes)

We Should… on the C1 Materials blog (link)

On Events: DACE, Coeducación & Toastmasters in Málaga

Dear all, some info about activities happening or about to happen…

On the second floor, on the DACE Announcement board, you have all the info about events we’re organizing/organising or that are happening in our town. So remember to have a look every now and then. That bulletin board is next to the Coeducación Announcement Board, too, where we have just published the first visual newsletter, which you can download at our Inteligencia Feminista blog (link).

This year the English Department is organizing Toastmasters sessions on Fridays. As we, C1’s, don’t have a Friday lesson, you are free to go when they start! The sessions will be conducted by a man, and people of different courses or levels from Intermediate on will be welcome. It’s free. The aim is to practice speaking in public and learn some tricks for that! If you attend, remember to tell us about it in class, OK?

On Fridays, la Asociación de Estudiantes will also organize conversation groups, and you can follow the news on that checking out their Announcement Board on the second floor, next to the Library, or opposite the English Departament bulletin board. Remember three people have their affiliation cards in class, waiting for them!

As you probably already heard by word-of-mouth, EOI Málaga is hosting a contest of orators (one in Spanish in the morning and one in English in the afternoon) on Oct 15. To attend you need to register and pay a fee. Here is all the info, from the DACE webpage on the EOI Málaga website! If you wish to attend, you can say so in class this evening, in case you can organize an outing together. I understand the reasons people are giving, including teachers: it’s in a different city, and it’s rather expensive for the kind of activity it is — the cheapest possibility is 19 euros (I mean, people here have trouble going to activities we organize, like theater outings, for 8 euros), but people attending will probably learn a few things about speaking in public, and possibly enjoy it all too — coffee break included.


A Note on Lifelong Learning, Crucial for Our Happiness & Bonding / Solidarity

As a critical thinker, which in my mind means, as someone who cares about love and loving, oneself and other people, life, the human world, I’d like to share my approach to learning with you all.

Learning is not (or not only) about status, elites, getting better jobs, and all of the things a narrow scope on learning (education as we see it), have always taught us.

Learning is one of the most positive things we humans can do in various countless positive ways — an a r-evolution-ary thing, too! It changes our body chemistry without harming us, like orgasms! When we feel we are learning, things happen inside! Positive things. And we get extra energy for life, too. So I’m not referring only neural connections, which make us develop our intelligence in amazing ways.

Learning involves courage to confront all the fears and complexes we have been brought up in, as patriarchal societies which trust violence better than empathy. But everyday we can witness the great things we feel-think and are capable of, and they relate more to empathy, including self-respect, empathy towards ourselves, knowing how to open up a space for what we need to grow, giving the best human qualities a chance. Here is the key to our happiness, individually speaking, and to evolving into less violent and unfair societies.

Learning involves generosity towards ourselves and others, too, because it’s about sharing the best parts of ourselves, and growing together.

Learning involves effort, but not the kind of effort that undermines our identity. It is time-consuming, but then — we spend time doing something that makes us grow.

A vital approach to learning, understanding what learning brings about in our lives, is something we need to learn to do. Learning as an activity that rescues and enhances our humanity. That’s why I find that learning, in many ways, is a vital question for us all.

So allow yourselves the time to learn! ❤

NavBar: Updated on Oct 4

If you look at our navbar on this blog (the Pages above), you’ll see I have rearranged it and created new sections.

If you find an arrow pointing downwards, this means that there is content both on the name of the section you can see, and also on the other Pages appearing below the arrow when you move your mouse over it or something!

Feel free to post your comments or work wherever, as this is an interactive “textbook”, so to put it! 🙂 ❤ And please, don’t be shy if you encounter navigation problems or whatever — just let us know!

Signing up as Authors here

From the 22 people who asked for and got the invitation to become authors on/in this blog 🙂 , 20 have already accepted. It’s wonderful. Thank you.

As Emilia and KnittingWords showed us, with their posts “HELLO” and on negative prefixes, being an author means you can post new messages, not only comments to existing posts. I wonder if you can also create Pages (above, navbar). I’m going to create the Mini-saga Page now so you can post your final version, but perhaps in the future students can create the Pages you all need… For instance, I was wondering if you’d like to have a Page here where you can share your audio and video links, like I did with the series “Story-telling” (I have more for you!), but then instead of doing it in posts (which you can, and it’s great), you would have it all by clicking on the navbar. Do you see what I mean?

Tips for posting

Please, remember that if you create a post, it’s very helpful to choose one or more Categories and write out one or more tags before pressing “Publish”, so that later we can retrieve your post by browsing the widgets on the right-hand column “Categories” and “Tags”. Those words should be key words that allow people to find that post.

Remember you can EDIT your posts, too. This means that if you post and then realize you made a mistake, you can “go in” again and fix it! (including adding categories and tags!) 😀

Happy posting! And thanks! ❤