Month: December 2016

(Edited) Holiday Work! Starting Now!

😀 ❤

Tip: planning is crucial: draft your learning weeks because time flies! (the time you can devote to what when) Then adjust as you go.

It is fundamental that you listen to English every day, as much as you can, but also that you exploit those audios to further your learning in terms of understanding, speaking, and improving your language range and grammar or accuracy. At the same time listening allows you to expand your world, learn about the world, and all that. My proposal is you work with two documentaries we have already worked on, as follow-up work, and that you combine this with a new documentary we will watch in class in January. So check out the 3 new pages above: Docus: SoS, Docus: BH, and Docus: RMB

Apart from this focused listening work, it’s always important to listen to the news (on the radio, or on screens), to radio program(me)s where you have interviews or panels of people discussing matters, and your course TV series, the one you are following. You could also learn the poem Wild Geese, or a poem! Even a story. I have some good ones on Literature on TP or the TP Podcast.

  • Keep track of this work in your listening log.
  • Listening work always involves speaking work because you should listen-n-repeat to your selections, or listen and retell with an outline.

About writing, well, if you didn’t hand in your December Writing Assignment (a formal letter, requesting sb’s release for human rights reasons), it’s OK because the deadline is January 9. Check out Writing File here.

About reading, you’ve got your book and over a month to read it. Check out Reading Projects. And this blog, of course! ❤

Last, I almost forgot, some particular language awareness work: you have the two collocations worksheets, in case you want to do them.

I hope this homework is interesting enough to get you going, to help you find time for your English! ❤

The pack in in our School!

Last 2016 Lesson! Sharing Stuff!

Today we had our Goodbye 2016 lesson and it was a journey of discovery! (Demented laughter).

Karen, Lucía and MªJosé brought yummy things to eat and drink, and as usual, I totally freaked out because I’m so shy, but these students took the initiative and we all had this lovely snack together, as we talked about all kinds of stuff!

I gave out the humongous listening activity I prepared once on the neuroscience documentary I hope you’ll work on the following week. (See above, “Holiday Work” to download the doc and watch the documentary) and two Christmas songs I love: White Christmas and my favo(u)rite, Let It Snow! Here are the lyrics I prepared for Básico 1 (with my translation and a karaoke video).

I asked if anyone had learned/learnt this amazing poem, Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver, which I’m always asking students to learn, and NO, nobody had! What a bunch of chickens, really! 😀 BUT — people brought stories to class. I hope I can remember everything. Here goes…

Karen shared a preaching on Jesus she really loved, after telling us why she had thought of this, and we reviewed some language points. She’ll be posting it because it’s full of adverbs modifying adjectives, superlatives, interesting collocations…

Germán shared the link to the BH documentary – To Belong (it’s not scenes, it’s all in scenes! See page above in a few days, “Holiday Work”), made a language question (to be to) and was going to read a minisaga, but we kind of got lost in some complex conversation, as usual! (People, you can help me, you know, hahahah — help me shut up, I mean! 😀 ).

ringdoveMarina shared one of her minisagas, and told us how she had come up with the idea. It was a very good example of story-telling, in 50 exact words! It was so interesting because it started as if she were talking about a human baby but then it was a bird, and the human in the story was herself!

Mª José gave us the recipe to the cake she brought! And I can say it was lovely! Here it is:


  • 3 eggs
  • a glass with yoghurt
  • an envelope of baking powder
  • 3 glasses of flour
  • 2 of sugar
  • 1 of olive oil

Mix the eggs and the sugar, add the yoghurt and the oil, then the flour and the baking powder. When it’s all blended, rub butter into a baking pan, pour and put in the oven at 150 degrees for 30-35 minutes. She also added chocolate and nuts.

Sergio told us a story about a seagull and a word he mislearned! 😀 And people asked him questions about it.

Cristina brought a very old poem, the Beautiful Dreamer, and we found its song on youtube and then she played the audio were the poem was read by probably someone from India. But it could be someone from Africa. I would need to listen to it again. As I had trouble understanding the poem — while trying to strangle Cristina for picking poems I could not understand and not learning those I prepare for you all (demented laughter) — I kindly requested assistance, and Cristina told us what she interpreted it meant, and Karen did too, and then Mª José gave what was my favourite interpretation! 😛 ❤ But if you click the link above, it does seems there was some dead person or other!


I talked a bit about rhymes, too. But more on this in February or March.

To compensate Cristina for my teasing about this poem, here is a little present:

Audio “The Dreamer”

Laura read her minisaga on magic, and she told us why she had written it, and what she usually does when she wants to give presents to friends.

This triggered a conversation about tales, and patriarchal authors like Perault and the Grimm Brothers distorting tales from the oral tradition that had very different message (check this out). We also talked about motherhood and I mentioned “Room” by Emma Donoghue, the movie version, I watched last night, how impressed I was with how different the message and the movie was in terms of depicting women, women’s courage, intelligence, strength, and how just with a question by a journalist it made such a good point on how patriarchal ideology cannot see the strength, courage and intelligence in what women do, better said, the movie shows women do this. It’s a feminist vision, in a movie about love and resilience and life when all the odds are against us. How life grows in spite of it all. About 5 students had read the novel when Marta was their teacher. They said it was hard, and now I hope that my words help also to enhance the beauty of the story-telling, because that is precisely what we are trained not to do. But life is full of hardship, suffering and terrible horrifying things, and what this story tells us is that in spite of this, we can create life, establish relationships. This is obvious in countries at war, for instance. The hurt is the hurt, the damage the damage, and that is why war is a crime against humanity, but life and our human minds are amazing, they resist, persist, exist!

partridge_in_a_pear_tree_m-61_105Lucía brought this song, Twelve Days of Christmas, and it made me laugh to listen to the lyrics because as I didn’t know what they meant, they sounded so surreal to me! So Lucía helped and explained what she thought they meant! This connects again with the issue of rhymes we’ll come back to some day. (Provided I don’t absolutely forget about it.)

Please, feel free to correct me or complete this!

Jueves Concurso Gastronómico

  • El alumnado podrá venir de 4 a 8.
  • Recepción de platos. Los platos deberán ser entregados antes de las 4.45.
  • Reunión del jurado a las 5. Si quieres ser jurado, estáte a las 4.45 en la segunda planta para juntarte con tu grupo!
  • La cata se realizará de 5 a 6.
  • Fallo del jurado: a las 6 aproximadamente.

  • Marisa organizará actividades de canciones, etc… Cualquier ayuda o contribución es más que bienvenida.

Update: Collage 25 años – Aprender en la EOI Fuengirola

Os escribo en español porque esto es un proyecto en español. Buscamos colaboraciones para la revista online que sacaremos este año entrante para celebrar 25 años de esta Escuela. Aunque mucha gente se apuntó, sólo he recibido 4 colaboraciones. Son mujeres de Básico e Intermedio de Inglés por lo que a no ser que otras y otros profes hayan pillado más, nos quedamos sin opiniones de Avanzado y C1, o de varios idiomas. Os lo cuento por si queréis escribir unas líneas EN ESPAÑOL (o en inglés) sobre esto para que haya algo de C1 (sin mencionar profes, claro, sólo algo general de si la EOI os ha aportado algo bueno).

Yo estoy preparando el pack de contributions para enviar al comité editor ahora en enero. Envíos para este deadline a mi email.

My Proposal for Last 2016 Lesson

OK, just to make sure everyone brings something: people coming next Wednesday should bring some story (fictional or actual, anecdote, whatever), a song, a poem, something to share through language. OK? You can read it, play it, say it. You can explain how to do something, tell us about your plans for the hols, whatever!

I’ll bring the videocamera in case someone doesn’t mind sharing later on on the internet!

About Today’s Lesson & BH Key

Today we had few people, some important questions and a lovely activity around BH – To Belong.

Reading Projects: people wrote their names and projects and I’ll be creating a Page above for you all to complete the info, and with info on the projects, too. Ideas and the schedule we agreed on.

Winter Hol work: I’ll post about this this week, OK? But working on listening is a priority, and I’ll post on two documentaries.

Language item: acquaintances and friends, to be acquainted with something/someone, to get acquainted with something/somebody. To be familiar with. The more acquainted you are with a documentary the better your outline becomes. For instance, my first outline of BH – To Belong was with key words on experiments, mostly, but have a look at my latest outline:

My second outline (much more about the points, not so much about the experiments — evolution to a deeper understanding!)



BH – To Belong:

Key (though pops next day we could go through it, in case there are some interesting items): belong / a sense of self / seeing – off / attachment / hooked up / naked / mirrors / monitored / grow up / price / crawling / consoled / unhealthy / is about to / engage / subside / initiat / engrossed / Research’s shown / fades / receive / encourages / how / emerge / fit in / milestone / as a / examine / solve / preventing – from / further / it’s the mat’s fault / she is standing / roll up / concluded.

We reviewed the work we did the other day, for newbies to this activity. Then we watched twice.

Then people spoke and talked. Although they were initially reluctant, they finally did so and I’m very grateful for this! 🙂 ❤ : Germán and Sonia made a great summary, and together! — without having planned it beforehand! Karen and Maria José, Dolores and Sergio discussed their highlights, which included childhood memories, thoughts on learning processes, education and mistakes, and bonding in the family. (Please, feel free to post your comments below, because it was all really interesting. It was a very C1 thing to relate the input to one’s own world, with that depth.)

Here’s the cartoon Karen mentioned (good for this post, too):

I mentioned how strange some mainstream connections are, such as if you ask somebody to do you a favo(u)r, without allowing a natural yes or no, this is, expecting the person just to say yes, because if the person says no that means (and here is the strange connection, some consistently taught in society) the person does not love you. The kind of connections that lead us all to lie and justify lying.

Clara borrowed Baby Human, Sonia borrowed Sherman Alexie’s novel, and Sergio the printing of a screenplay for his reading project.

I asked about our last lesson together this year, and Germán suggested we did nothing! 😀 Lucía will bring a song, and I will bring a story. NOW THAT I THINK OF IT, IT’S THE DAY FOR YOUR POEMS!!! SHIT! I FORGOT!

Oh well. We’ll see if a kind soul tells us a poem! ❤

Remember all to check out this blog for info on our plans for the hols! 🙂 ❤

Friday Visit & a Book on Our Intelligence

Today (I hope she will forgive me for telling you all), Mónica, an old student here, who I had the joy to meet in Avanzado 2, and then at our C1 course, dropped by for a visit!

Why am I telling you? Because she asked me about a book I recommended when she was a student, and considering it’s the end-of-year celebrations (Christmass for Christian believers), some of you might feel like getting a copy of it for yourselves or to give away. Prices go from 4 US American dollars to 100 euros, so make sure you compare prices. I usually shop books online, at Amazon (Britain, Germany or Spain, depending on prices) and at Iberlibro, a network of bookshops (make sure you compare shipping prices).

This is the book: Teaching and Learning Through Multiple Intelligences (3rd Edition) by the Campbells and Dickinson.

multipleintelligenceI bought an extra copy, although the book is expensive, because I tend to lend books and sometimes people forget to give them back. But now my extra copy is somewhere in Jaén, I think, as someone borrowed it some months ago. In any case, if you wish to have a look I can bring my copy to class, and you can also borrow it! (Demented laughter!) I can even read a beautiful story it has, on kinesthetic intelligence!

This book is an application of Gardner’s work as applied to primary, but I found a great deal of inspiration for the course I designed for you all, and for my methodological approach.

Here’s a list of the 8 kinds of intelligence the authors address, based on Gardner’s work:

Dec 22: World Food. Cooking Contest!

Jornada gastronómica de fin de trimestre:

Me acaban de comunicar que habrá concurso! La jornada es de 4 a 7 u 8, pero a las 5.00pm el Jurado catará los platos, y a las 6.00 emitirá su veredicto!! Así que si traéis platos, anotaos las horas!

Si no traéis plato estáis invitadas e invitados, anyway!

See you!

PS: The other day I gave you inaccurate info! Ana, the janitor, is not coming these days for a different reason to the one I gave! Sorry!

Testing, the unimaginative version of Evaluation

I am not against evaluation or feedback. Every learning attempt and process needs to be interactive in different ways, and we all need feedback from all kinds of sources. But “exams” are an unimaginative, anti-learning answer to the issue of evaluation.

Limiting all this universe to what we know as “Exams” is negative and we have enough information about this. Courses should be exam free at least till the end (when passing them would be a logical consequence of having learned during the learning year) because we would need to be developing learning and this requires all the energy and work term “exams” suck out of us, weakening us, making us even hate what we are meant to want to learn. Oftentimes, people find time for exams and no time for joyful learning, and this is all wrong.

It’s funny now we’re back to this obsession, because when I was at university most teachers gave us assignments, projects, not exams. And we learned much more, for sure!, including how to work with other people, in teams.

We need to find ways to fight this anachronic procedure, to favor the development of a society of knowledge, a civilized society that loves learning, and collaborates for learning purposes. ❤

The Baby Human Lesson

Becoming Happy Social Beings

Well, today not many people came to class, but we finally managed to start with one of my favo(u)rite lessons. I gave out a worksheet for exploiting To Belong (BH) and we watched the first 20 minutes twice. First we worked on textual structure (identifying the outline the documentary follows) and then sts did the fill-in-the-gap activity. Fortunately, they decided they were happy with watching it a third time next Monday, to gather more info to put together an oral summary of the experiments and the whole. So people who didn’t come today will have the chance to watch it at least once (note-taking for identifying the outline).

You can borrow a copy of this series from me, if you like. And if you did find it on the internet, please, let me know. I’ve only found certain scenes.

I have decided to give you all a documentary mission for the holidays (apart from Story of Stuff), because some people really need to listen to more English and learn to learn English from listening, because everybody at the C1 level needs to listen to lots of English and documentaries are amazing, and because it’s fun homework, at least you learn interesting things about topics people don’t usually discuss. So I’ll be giving out some paper copies next week, and I’ll explain it all here. It’ll be a documentary you can watch online, too. So next day we can relax, finish with this activity, with small groups retelling, and then have the Reading Groups talk about their reading projects. Today that was impossible because there were so many people missing.

Next Tuesday, at 6.00 pm, there’ll be an amazing talk on jazz on the second floor. I’ll be attending (until 7.00) and you are all welcome. It’ll be in English and it’s been organized by Juan. Try to make it there, if possible!

I pinned on the bulletin board your “notas” but as you know these don’t count for your Certificate Test. I gave a pass mark to people who I think or know are following the course. The important thing is the feedback I’m giving you on your English. As you have probably noticed, there is no one from last year, because just one student who followed the course failed. The exam results were extremely good, in spite of the fact that most people did not have a consolidated C1 level. But they worked very hard, and we worked very hard, and I worked very hard last year. I’m saying this because in my view some people would probably need two years here to reach a consolidated C1 level, but now it’s too soon to know, and it mostly depends on your use of English and the work you can put into learning this year. So I encourage you to work hard, joyfully better than because you have to, and if you need extra support or want me to assess your situation, supposing you’ve given me info on your English (work you handed in or shared in class), feel free to ask.

Just perhaps explain why three people who have not been coming to class have an Apto: I consider their English is at a good level, and I know they use it quite a lot, I can feel it when I listened to them in this first term. If I don’t get any more info, they’ll get a No Apto in this fake thing of “notas” trimestrales, but that won’t mean a thing. The only pass mark you can get is in June and September. So these Seneca notas are just a way of saying who’s following the course, and this info is irrelevant for evaluation in June and September.

Lesson Today

If we manage to overcome technical problems (I’m bringing an external DVD player), today we’ll focus on two things while watching a neuroscience documentary:

  • learning about textual structure in science documentaries
  • learning about the development of human intelligence

Then, groups can talk about their reading plans.

If things go wrong, we’ll watch another neuroscience documentary, but without a worksheet. But I’ll post the link to the documentary here plus the worksheet so you can use it at home for follow-up work.

Celebrating and Making Questions about the HR Declaration

Today the reading aloud of the HR declaration took up the whole lesson, and we didn’t even get to the end. I hope you can all finish reading it and comment next day, if you like. You can also feel free to exploit this activity as you like. You could also practice/practise speaking at home to put together a personal opinion of the document or the activity. If you record it in the mp3 audio format, you could send it to me for feedback.

I really enjoyed us talking a bit about some of the articles. I love reading in groups, and just talking, because lots of things come up that allow me to expand my world! I hope the activity was useful for you all, too, in this way. Remember to collect some useful language typically used in this kind of legal texts. And thanks so much for celebrating human rights today! ❤

The plan for today included watching a one-hour documentary. Considering the plan for next day is this:

Wednesday Dec 14

Last week: Please, feel free to make requests or proposals!

… next day we’ll start with the documentary, adjusting to just note-taking instead of doing the listening activity, and depending on the time Reading Groups need, we’ll do or not do the listening activity, OK?

Check the overview of our upcoming lessons to express your preferences next day, OK?

I published your Aptos on the announcement board in class, and if you have any questions about feedback on your English please let me know. These Aptos are just saying you are following the course in some way. What’s important for assessment is the feedback I give you, the feedback you get from classmates when you communicate, and your own assessment.


  • To ask any questions about the December writing assignment in class or here, under the post for that.
  • To publish your mini sagas or other writings here, if you like.
  • To listen to English every day and try retelling or listen-n-repeat. This is very important, OK?
  • There are checked writings in our cardboard box in class.
  • And to check out the Story of Stuff page above during the time we won’t have lessons!

The Story of Stuff Project – from Nov to Jan

Here is the plan, after events in class. Make it your key mission over the hols! 😀 ❤

Timed OPs: Balanced Diets, by Cristina B

Dear all,

I just finished / I’ve just finished recording Cristina’s work. We hope it’s useful. Find this and other OPs by students here:

Talking People is chaotic, there are also OPs (teamwork, mostly) here:

On this page I included both links, to remind me of the need to merge these pages or something:

So I really need to spend time tidying up the site! But I never find the time!!! Sigh! Any ideas will be welcome!

Anyhow, bear with me! 🙂 ❤

Chelsea Manning, a whistle blower whose life is now at risk

She’s in solitary confinement, and has attempted hunger strikes in her struggle and suicide as a result of all of her experience in prison. Her crime, she released information so that Western democracies could stop abuses Western democracies were meant to be interested in stopping.

Here’s the petition in case anyone reading this wishes to sign it. You just need a name, an email and then to confirm your support by clicking on an email you would get. 89,000/100,000 signatures collected so far.

writetochelseamanning Last August there was a Write to Chelsea campaign and she said, the letters were helping her a lot. Lifting her spirit. For people in prison, a little hello there has a precious value!

A “Just-in-case” Note

Or as we say in Spanish, a “for the flies” note! 😀

Dear all,

I’m writing this because the winter holidays are approaching, aka Christmas, and most people tend to engage in two kinds of symbolic activities: going out for a drink and giving presents.

I would like to say that as a teacher I have a rule: I never go out with students until they have passed their finals, this is, until our professional relationship is over.

About presents, this is a truly sensitive matter for me. Although I know that when students give presents to their teachers it’s all a matter of affection, presents trouble me, personally. I mean, I’m not against them. When other teachers get presents I’m not critical. I celebrate it with them. I’m happy for them. But I personally don’t feel comfortable getting presents. I’m shy, and I feel very bad when I’m the center of attention, particularly when given something (not when people are paying attention to what I’m saying as a teacher! 😀 😀 ). I stopped celebrating my birthday when I was 20, I think! 😀

The kind of present I do welcome. However, there is something that I always welcome and makes me happy and fills me with energy to keep loving my job and to keep fighting for a better world, and that is people’s positive response to positive meaningful learning, people working in positive ways, feeling involved in what they do, collaborating, enjoying this amazing process. In spite of how hard language learning is, and how hard this particular course is, you are already doing that!! So thanks!! 😀 ❤ ❤ ❤

— And this is as mushy as I can get!! 😀 ❤

About the power of human language

Human language is what makes us human, in my view. It’s what shows the amazing power of our human minds to create, not only imagined worlds, but above all, realities. The 20th century, with its astounding development of human knowledge thanks to the development of a more observant and empathetic way to see the world (in social and natural sciences, in art — which started to look inwards and outwards in new ways –, in social movements, that flourished as a result of grasping the idea of human rights) gave us the precious idea that language is intimately connected to thought (we can’t think fully without words)  and to human relationships (society). However, we still connect violence to specific realizations of violence, and continue to be blind about the power of language in the construction of nonviolent answers to problems and about the role of language in the construction of violence in our human worlds. This does not mean we are actually incapable of seeing all of this — we do, when we look, and meditate, when we communicate, too, at times.

Identity is a key issue for humans, and the world we have created is always judging and condemning identities, creating exaggerated images of the identity we support (myths, heroes, martyrs), which leads us away from a more realistic human world. We learn that people whose identity is different are a threat and not a source of curiosity, communication and negociation. It is as if we were not able to build our identity without comparing everything to another identity group and making it clear we are better, we are right, and others are wrong. As if life were that simple! In this way, “the Other” is a threat, and the less violent action we undertake is not a true nonviolent answer: we choose to ignore all about that group, we refuse to know and learn, to communicate and negociate. Violent answers take less time.

So we have to do a lot of thinking, a lot of learning about how we use violence through language in our everyday lives.

The other day stand-up comedians came up, and I mentioned Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues (and how she managed to bring up a taboo topic which unleashed a universe of topics that were silenced just because they related to women’s experiences and in patriarchy women’s issues are second-class interest topic for knowledge, politics, history!) and Lenny Bruce’s monologue on the viciousness of words. Here is the link to that monologue. The audio is just of the first part. Unfortunately we can’t listen to him saying the final part, which is — in my view — very powerful, deeply moving. See what you think.

How can we word our views to facilitate communication with people who have different views? And coexistence! Why and when do people feel offended and justified to exert which kind of violence in “self-defence”? When people’s reaction is a problem people have with listening to different views and when is it because our wording is violent? Why refuting somebody’s ideas is felt as violence? Is there a difference between refuting ideas and using verbal violence, or conceptual violence? How can we be violent in our use of language and how can we solve problems through a nonviolent use of language? Why don’t we pay attention to the positive power of language in our everyday lives and in how we organize coexisten, society, and allow instead the negative power of language to operate at all times (but we seldom want to see/realize that)?

If you wish to explore this topic, The Power of Language, you could attempt a reasoned opinion, if you like! ❤

Last, my position against what the Real Academia de la Lengua’s role (a prescriptivist institution) in our society parts from my criticism to its cruelty — a terrible kind of cruelty because it tells people something cruel and inaccurate about language and their language, which is to say, their identity, their status in society — because traditionally it has used language in classist ways, which is not something Modern Linguistics sets to do, in contrast! That’s why I included in the pack some notions about What’s correct, functional translation and functional grammar, all of which comes from Modern Linguistics, not RAE, of course.

An interesting book to read, by linguists, and perhaps you could choose a chapter/topic, is Language Myths. Check it out (I even recorded one of its chapters) and if you want to read one of its chapters, let us know. Perhaps we can design an activity.

Lesson Plans for December 2016

Edited to include links to related Pages and Posts

Timed OPs and reciting poems (videos with poemsor reading out your writing assignments, please, all welcome, particularly retelling the Story of Stuff documentary, or any oral work based on listening work. Please, book in advance if possible.

Please, let me know about any pending matters!!

Monday Dec 5

  • Collocations: postive feelings and situations (pending: post key)
  • Friends 2×1: watching, language questions

Wednesday Dec 7
(Your Reasoned Opinions back to you. When to talk about them? When you finish working on them and we can then hold a plenary. I need you to tell me.)

  • Friends 2×1: small groups collect UL + lang. Questions (pending: groups sending in their work)
  • Dramatized Reading
  • Story of Stuff follow-up: small groups collect UL + retelling (pending: groups sending in their work)

Monday Dec 12

  • Reading the Human Rights Declaration: fixing sexist language?
  • Questions about the December Writing Assignment – letter writings , joining teachers’ Project?
  • Watching a neuroscience documentary – 1 hour – (note-taking) – Baby Human. Geniuses in Diapers (episode on how we learn to be social)

Wednesday Dec 14

Last week: Please, feel free to make requests or proposals!

Monday Dec 19

Wednesday Dec 21
(Tons of ideas, like Poem Day or teaching us how to do things, from silly to whatever! Videoshoots, too! But I’d rather you picked)

Thursday Dec 22: everybody at this School is invited: World Food Party on the second floor starting at 16.00 till 19.00 or 20.00 I guess.

The Question of Violence against Women and Human Violence

Dear all,

In Coeducación (Education for Equality) we have been visited by a group of men (contra la violencia doméstica) who have posed questions which were ill-founded, placing feminists in positions they do not have. You can read that discussion on our Like Page on Facebook (check out the group’s side post, with an external link) and also in comments to some of the latest posts we have on our blog Desarrollando inteligencia feminista.

I’ve tried to write something to see if this could help people control our culturally-learned antifeminism, to make some progress in the question of how we understand we are addressing violence in the cases where this understanding requires some development of a feminist intelligence. I welcome any kind of comments, provided they don’t intend to hurt me personally or defame adorable people who could be wrong, but then they would just need to know why! 🙂 ❤ I can also adapt this text to collaborative writing, so feel free to analyze, too, if you like!

Human Rights and the Overcoming of the Patriarchal Sex-Gender System

The Question of Violence against Women and Human Violence

What we now call “gender violence” or “gender-based violence” is one of ways in which humans inflict violence. Violence among humans is justified and persecuted in different ways. With the feminist notion of “gender violence” we have come to understand that there is a kind of violence in patriarchal societies that women’s promotion to the status of human being has made us think is unacceptable: the violence men have been encouraged and justified to use against women to make them serve them,, obey them, or simply to use their bodies as objects.

Although Spanish laws are groundbreaking for there is a law addressing the social problem of gender violence, the feminist notion has been distorted to only include the cases in the sphere of domestic violence and personal relationships. The result of this is people’s general confusion about terms and concepts, and considering we have all been brought up in century-old patriarchal societies, the verbal lynching of people with a developed feminist intelligence, who try to clarify the situation. Feminists are mainly told, in rather violent ways, that women also kill and murder.

Because this is just a pedagogical text trying to clarify some of the key concepts, I will not discuss when killing or murdering people is justified or not. I will focus now in clarifying the following:

Gender violence is the violence patriarchal societies have told Man he can inflict upon women, as the master and leader of the group. In other words, gender violence is learned and relates to who has a say in human affairs, who leads their organization, and determines things that affect the group.

Domestic violence includes all the kinds of violence happening in the home, in the place where people who love each other are meant to share. This means domestic violence relates to gender violence (most cases are actually gender violence), but also the violence inflicted by a woman towards a man or a child, by a child or teenager towards an adult or elderly, and viceversa…

Violence against a person by another person who is not allowed to use violence (a citizen, for example) has always been punished by law. So the contention that gender violence should include the violence of women towards men is simply an antifeminist stance full of irrationality and hostility. If women kill, they go to court and if guilty, are sentenced for murder.

The fact we need laws addressing specific kinds of violence results from identified social problems: our society today perceives that gender violence, the violence of men towards women (at least in the domestic setting), is unacceptable AND a social problem. Our society today also finds we need specific laws to address other problems from violence: racist motivated violence, violence against children and teenagers.

But the existence of these more specific laws is not unfair to other groups, because violence by anyone [by people not allowed to use it in the scenarios our society allows (mostly by men, for women in the military are not allowed to work in “combat positions”)] is punished in our law system: we punish people killing other people, regardless their sex, gender, ideology, age, cultural identity… The fact that we need to reinforce these laws with others addressing certain kinds of motives or situations cannot possibly be considered unfair towards any human group, certainly not the group Man in patriarchy, who does not get almost any physical violence from women (the question that women are human and therefore capable of using all kinds of violence too, particularly if allowed, like Man in patriarchy, cannot be addressed here. Simply say that how women have developed the ability to inflict violence through words and attitudes is relevant information for an analysis of human and patriarchal violence). It is a questioning of the patriarchal gender system, and that is initially we reject it, but this challenge is consistent with us having finally understood the idea of Human Rights in the 20th century, this is, for a POSITIVE REASON — we’re trying now to help our society make progress towards a kind of social organization that respects everybody’s human rights, and this means abandoning the patriarchal sex-gender system which established a superiority and an inferiority in terms of two perceived genders and which ignored the diversity in human identities.

Just as a note to help people control antifeminist reactions in favo(u)r and to encourage the use of rationality and empathy: overcoming the patriarchal sex-gender system does not mean abolishing human identities. A man can feel he is a man beyond what patriarchy defines as a man. The same applies to women. Today we know not everybody has or feels their sex or gender identity as what patriarchy defines as being a man or being a woman. We are all kinds of things: men in different ways, women in different ways, humans in all kinds of ways, and we should stop feeling we can force people to BE the kind of identity we understand or have. Everybody deserves respect, unless their identity is built in torturing or murdering other people. Then we need to intervene, but not for reasons of making a certain identity compulsory, but for reasons of not allowing violence.

About tomorrow’s lesson!

Tomorrow we can focus on gathering Useful Language in Small Groups: First on the Friends script. You can share it, discuss it and ask language questions.

And then on Story of Stuff — I forgot about this one when I wrote the diary yesterday. (So that’s why I’m posting this reminder now, oK?

Tomorrow, if any of you wants to give a (tops 5 min) OP or share the poem, you’re welcome. I’ve also got the video camera in class, to shoot whatever you are willing to shoot! 😀

Remember you would send me your teamwork UL lists by email, so I can check and publish, right? And I was thinking that we could contribute some of these to the EOI 25 Years Magazine! Some old Básico 1 students are putting together a list of Andalusian words and explaining them in standard Spanish, and I have volunteered to translate them into English! Just letting you know in case whatever! 😀

Useful Language for Ob/gyns & Eve Ensler

So here is the follow-up on “ob/gyn” in episode 2, season 1 of Friends.

Even Ensler was a stand-up comedian who decided to put together a monologue for a show on “vaginas” because that was a taboo word. She started asking women about the topic, and none wanted to speak. Initially. But once they got started, they couldn’t stop. So Eve went on and on, interviewing women, and from all of those interviews she did not create a monologue, but lots of them. I’ve got the book she published with them all in class, in case you want to borrow it. But I’ve got a better proposal. Considering many of the monologues are — just imagine the unnamed cruelty women have had to face around their vaginas, it’s still taboo to name because the engine of the violence is Man — well, hard to read (in many ways, not only in one way), I suggest you read one that is really funny, and great to learn to name things at the ob/gyn, “My Angry Vagina”. On Talking People you can download it and also watch a few performers (black and white) doing it. Enjoy!! ❤

Oh, Eve Ensler ended up triggering a world movement. Check out what it’s all become, V-Day (Vagina Day) and the city of joy, against violence against women and girls.

Diary for Dec 5 – Collocations & Friends

Hi there!

Today we started off talking about “biased” /báiest/ and how “politics” is changing in meaning to include not only the politics by political parties but also politics as citizens’ participation in the construction of society, that kind of politics second-wave feminism allowed us to think, when they coined the phrase “The personal is political”, meaning for instance, if a husband beats up his wife, this is no “private affair”, like the police and society would reply, but a social problem. Today we show we learned from this when we all speak against gender violence, but unfortunately, far too many people don’t credit feminism for this vital change in our frames of mind. We also had “being let down by party politics” and about “taking a mid-way stand”, I’ll be posting later.

Small groups worked on Positive feelings and situations (collocations), but that was for about 45 minutes, I think, so we didn’t have a plenary on that. I’ll post the key, my favs, for your Useful Language, in case it helps, and then you can post your comments and questions, or ask in class.

Next we watched Friends, episode 2, season 1. And we had a half hour for language questions. But I’d like to exploit the script further, so next day please bring your copies. We’ll also do the dramatized reading.

People gave me all kinds of things, including summaries of their work! So I’m really grateful for that!

And Sergio got the prize! He took the roast chicken Martha, an Elementary student, brought for this group, too, today!

People, do prepare timed monologues if you like. This month we’ll be watching documentaries. We’ll continue next week with this!

I’ll be posting separately about politics and the viciousness of words, and also on Eve Ensler. Now, I’m starving! So I’m gonna make some soup, for a change!

Night night!

Useful language to end(ing) OPs


Dear All,

This is the compilation, or at least the one OPs_cartoon.gifthat I made, about the “brainstorming” exercise we did on Monday 28th in class, do you remember? The issue was that ending the OPs seemed to be a tough task for more of us, so we were thinking together useful sentences or tips for ending the OPs, in order to give a “decourous” closing to our talks. Please, feel free to add or comment on anything I would have missed or got wrongly. (Note to the teacher, I’m not sure if the ellipsis can include the auxiliary (have), i.e. I would have missed or (have) got wrongly, thanks)

Here it is what I wrote:

  1. Thank you for listening (to me). If you have any questions I’ll be glad to answer them/don’t hesitate to ask.
  2. That’s all. Would you like to pose a question? Would you like to ask something  anything? (polite)
  3. To sum up (after this you have to summarize what you have said, i.e. to give the audience a summary)
  4. To conclude/finish/to end my presentation I’d like to mention/add/share with you  my personal opinion
  5. All things considered, I’d say that [home-schooling] is a very interesting topic.
  6. I’m running out of time, so just let me say this final words….
  7. My thoughts on this topic are…..
  8. I think that’s just about it.
  9. That’s all I have in mind about this topic/issue.
  10. I’m sorry I’m not an expert on this topic (I think this is very honest, but I don’t like it very much because it makes you feel less confident).
  11. I hope you have enjoyed my presentation/talk, please do not hesitate to ask any question or doubt you have
  12. With this story/thought/quote I finish my presentation

Evaluation & Exams: Why We Should Fight Exam Culture, & Some Practical Info!

Hi, dear students! I’ve been mulling over the obstacles to gathering info about your work outside the classroom. Although I agree people have far too much on and our lives are complicated, I think that if our ideology were not that of Exam Cultures I would have gotten more info on what I requested at the end of November. So just in case this helps to improve that, I’m writing this post, OK? I hope it’s useful in some way! Just let me know what you think – with no fear!

One of the things we need to do to change the world and make it better is change our approach to learning, our awareness, the things we do and the things we don’t do. In Exam Culture systems and societies, learning is associated to pressure and fear, to a self-destructive way of relating to knowledge and the development of our skills. But learning should be related to passion, enjoyment, curiosity, to a positive construction of the individual and social self, to a source of self-confidence and a love to lifelong learning.

In spite of all we’ve learned/learnt from the second half of the 20th century on, in spite of relevant progress made at times in classrooms and education laws (always harmed by a true political will to allow that to become a reality because in politics priorities for money-spending never include education – anti-human rights and anti-planet ideologies and millionaire businesses are not into allowing the construction of wise societies), we are still blind, and just trusting what we know – the old system of fear and destruction of knowledge. We even praise it, mostly because, yes, we’ve survived it and learned. What we don’t want to imagine is how much more we would have learned in a different system. Of course we can learn with everything against us, the malleability of our human mind is astounding! But we need to develop our intelligence and wisdom much more if we want to overcome the patriarchal organization of society, with all of its systems of violence, starting from the violence imposed on human identities, the foundation of all. Humans are diverse, humans are intelligent, and if we could respect this instead of always creating systems where some humans, mostly the ones with less scruples to use violence, any kind of violence, get all the support and credit, then we could evolve along the lines of the precious idea of human rights (that seed we planted recently).

Evaluation is not about testing, giving and taking exams whose aim is to quantify our knowledge and skills to determine how much we know: pass or fail? In education, this is done at times, but evaluation is far more complex and diverse, is done all the time, and it doesn’t need to quantify a level because most of the time we need to be doing a great many different things to facilitate learning, not only testing. Evaluation also refers to self-evaluation, co-evaluation (among peers, with teachers), and has different aims: collect information so as to design action is one of the most important, to help individuals, to facilitate group dynamics. Information can be collected without giving an untimely test, and that can even include the results learners get from taking the test at home, without fear, timing themselves to practice an exam format!

The reality we face when students are free from “objective marks/grades” telling them, like an oracle, if they know or don’t know — if they are valid or not, really, to construct their learning is habits. And the habit of just doing work before “Exams” is more dramatic than we understand. Lifelong and positive learning is related to doing things that sustain in, and should not be related to fear, at least not so often! 😀

I have a very different experience with my Básicos. Although on my first years doing this few people finished the course, I have witnessed how people developing the habit of listening to English every day did and are doing much better in their learning. My “exam” in Básico 1 is never to offer the oracle mark/grade: people hand in their listening logs at the end of the month, and during the month I do check they are doing just that because we do orals every week, orals they prepare by listening-listening-listening + listen-n-repeat (as many times as they like) + listen-n-read (to check they got it all, and to learn to read) + listen-n-speak! We start with the Writing File in spring! And they do it on their own. Their English is much better than people who start writing when they can’t say a word in the language, of course, because things (grammar) sounds right or wrong thanks to all their listening work throughout the year. (And in class we read the textbook of course, we listen (I read) and repeat (they repeat).) That’s a strategy for Elementary. Last night I posted an exam for them, in case they want to do it and tell me about it. But I’ve already given them pass marks in the four skills, as I’m forced to do in the system. Because they handed in their listening logs and I know they’re learning well because I’ve heard them do the orals they’ve done. In spring I teach them about exam formats, and although I give them an exam and Evaluación continua people don’t have to pass it, they pass it with flying colours (this is British English, right?).

Traditionally, at EEOOII (our schools of public/state-run adult language education), we never gave traditional exams, like they never do in private language schools: when people trained in exam format, they simply worked on doing the exam, they didn’t do it for a pass mark. The only exam happened at the end of a cheerful and hard-working learning year, logically. The nightmare of exams of this destructive kind every two or three months was unimaginable. But it’s here now. And I’m resisting. But I can’t do it if the pressure is people will only find time for destructive things! 😀 It’s teamwork, right? This said, just remind you that I’m extremely happy this year, because you come to class, and do good work, and you share it — even if it is not regularly, you are not quitting, you’re trying to do your best. And this is precisely the kind of attitude that contributes to changing the system! So yes, you’re already doing something to change Exam Culture. Now we can improve a little task that is very valuable for me as a teacher and coordinator of this course! That’s all!

I have been collecting all the info you shared in class and am really grateful for your work. ❤ Without that info I could certainly go on and give My Course, but as I told you this is an interactive course, and I’d rather stick to that idea: to meeting your learning needs, and helping out there. You don’t need to tell me which they are in the sense that I can diagnose (of course you are welcome to, yes, if you like). I’m just asking, How have you been using your English outside class-time? If you only used it to do “homework”, well, that’s OK, but tell me what you did, how you worked, if possible, OK?


Consequently – I’m extending the suggested deadline of November to our last lesson together before we part for the winter holidays ( 😀 , aha! this was the point!) in case you can share with me information about your work with English outside the classroom, OK? I need to know what you’ve been listening to (topics, kinds of texts), and if that is what we did in class, but you kept working on it at home, great. No problem. This is not to give you an evaluation mark. It’s just to facilitate our and your learning.


War Horse. Michael Morpurgo

In the old school they use now for the Village Hall, below the clock that has stood always at one minute past ten, hangs a small dusty painting of a horse. He stands, a splendid red bay with a remarkable white cross emblazoned on his forehead and with four perfectly matched white socks. He looks wistfully out of the picture, his ears pricked forward, his head turned as if he has just noticed us standing there.

To many who glance up at it casually, as they might do when the hall is opened up for Parish meetings, for harvest suppers or evening socials, it is merely a tarnished old oil painting of some unknown horse by a competent but anonymous artist. To them the picture is so familiar that it commands little attention. But those who look more closely will see, written in fading black copperplate writing across the bottom of the bronze frame:

Image result for Joey. Painted by Captain James Nicholls, autumn 1914.

Joey. Painted by Captain James Nicholls, autumn 1914.

Some in the village, only a very few now and fewer as each year goes by, remember Joey as he was. His story is written so that neither he nor those who knew him, nor the war they lived and died in, will be forgotten.

Dec Writing Assignment

Deadline: I said today that you might want to hand this assignment in on Jan 9, but if you want to hand it in before the holidays, you’re welcome, too.
Word limit: the word limit can be the short taks: 125-200 words.

  • Write for Rights – Amnesty International – Find cases (Snowden, albino people, indigenous rights…) also in case you want to send it after correction. Find this guideline I’m attaching here anyway: act1051512016english (11 pdf pages, each with a letter, like these two:

In 100 words (like two minisagas!)

Dear President Obama,
I urge you to grant a Presidential Pardon to Edward Snowden as a whistleblower who spoke out to defend our human rights.
When he shared US intelligence documents with journalists, Edward revealed how governments were scooping up our personal data, including phone calls, emails and much more. His actions sparked a global debate which changed laws and protected our privacy. Yet he’s forced to live in exile and faces decades in prison.
President Obama, you yourself have said that the debate he triggered on surveillance “will make us stronger”. Edward Snowden is a human rights hero. Please treat him like one.
Yours sincerely,

Case: Annie Alfred/People with albinism – MALAWI
President of the Republic of Malawi

Your Excellency,
I urge you to protect people with albinism from murder. Attacks on them have risen steeply in Malawi since November 2014.
Annie Alfred is one of many people with albinism in the country. Along with others like her, she is under threat from those who believe that killing her for her body parts will make them rich. Prove them wrong.
Please show them that far from riches, crimes against people like Annie are met with the full weight of the law.

  • uan_guide (12 pdf pages) – Amnesty International USA – Guidelines for Letter Writing.

The Human Rights Project