Month: April 2017

Who owns your data?

Hi everyone!!! I would like to share with all of you a video I found on Youtube today about our online data. I think it’s really interesting to know this issue, that’s becoming a real one, better. Moreover, it has useful vocabulary and expressions about internet, digital world, digital data, big companies, apps, cookies…

Hope you enjoy it!!!!

Advertisements

PS: on How to use the Oral Exam Assignment

When you get your Speaking Test card (Modelo ___ [un número], Candidata/o ___ [A, B, C]) the idea is that for a week you listen and read on the topic, to gather knowledge, useful language, and expand, thus, your knowledge…

Then, sit and prepare the mon one day, using an outline to complement your speaking test card (you can use both things in the actual exam), and practice speaking while timing yourself. Adjust ideas, wording. Make your range richer. DON’T WRITE DOWN YOUR MONOLOGUE PLEASE! You can only jot down Useful language, not the actual monologue.

For the dialogue, please, consider language functions. Check out my cards where that is explained. Check out my card on Structure in Dialogues, and use my podcast episodes on Communication Strategies too. To expand your knowledge, and train in speaking (being accurate and fluent).

Each speaking test lasts about 15 minutes: two mons + dial. So when you book, we can have 4 groups per lesson, and then a discussion or other activities for the second hour.

By the way, if someone wishes to buy the C1 Resource Pack remember to do so before you leave the School!

Downloadable pack here: https://www.facebook.com/c1resourcepack/

My podcast episodes that can help: Useful Language (Comm. Strats is 3 episodes and way at the back – older posts)

http://www.talkingpeople.net/tppodcast/category/usefullanguage/

In “Categories”, you also have the segment: Everyday Language at

and the segment Travel Phrasebook

Diary for April 26. Fighting Exam Culture, Preparing Oral Exams

Today we started the lesson with me sharing some notions on teacher’s intervention when detecting problematic group dynamics, or people panicking and that panic mounting, which is typical and real when finals approach. You are fortunate to have me as a teacher, because although everybody says it’s useless, I always believe it can help. It can help to use our intelligence to control fears and destroy habits and behaviors that are destructive in terms of making us wiser, freer and all that! 😀

I also spoke about an issue I’ve been observing throughout my life because I’m a pacifist researcher on questions connected to violence. For many years and because I’m a critical thinker, I’ve found how hostile we are, culturally speaking, to questions: we don’t trust questions are just questions, and interpret them as sources of negative things we should avoid. That is why as a thinker I write in favor of people learning to be innocent, i.e., learning to clean their gaze! We have to learn to avoid judging and interpreting, and ask instead, pose clarification questions. Actually, people who have experience on internet communication always recommend that when you find a message that “sounds hostile” or is hostile, you simply take it as a non-hostile message and ask for clarification. Sometimes you realize the person had no bad intention and sometimes your question, your innocent question, which is to say your question refusing taking part in a violent exchange, brings out the best in the receiver, and the reader decides to take a different way, the way of dialogue. Nonviolent communication is a field of study, and by using our intelligence, learning to trust people, learning to know we all might make mistakes, and also that we are all capable of changing our opinions, our believes, and of course, learning to protect ourselves, but in a nonviolent way, not violently, not through that kind of violence we exert with prejudice, with doubting people’s intentions and all that, we can make the world or at least our personal lives a better experience.

So I hope you understand that my words here are not about particular messages we shared, but a long-life kind of analysis by an activist and a teacher.

Don’t be chickens with this absurd thing of exams that do not threaten anything important in your lives. Be loving towards yourself and others. We can change this old-time dynamics.

In case it helps, two practical cases. I told Marina I thought she would learn more if she continued working this year, and took this course again, because I have the feeling that if she could spend more time doing this kind of course, she would enjoy it and improve her English a lot. Of course, I will be happy to see her pass in June if that’s what she wants. Surprisingly, because her level is already advanced, Dessi is considering taking this course again, because she wanted to spend more time discovering things, working on things, developing projects, and this course is that open. Well, I would love to see her again next year, of course, but she’ll mull over this a bit more and finally decide freely. I’m just mentioning this in case it helps you all to take some more pressure off your backs. My frame of mind on this matter would be similar to Dessi’s, because it’s true that reaching a consolidated advanced level takes many years of use of the language and also because it’s hard to find courses offering so much freedom to explore the world and oneself through language. ❤

Finally, if you all pass I’ll be happy. If you all decide to take the course again, I’ll be happy too! (though the authorities will think I’m a hopeless teacher, of course! 😀 )

Well, today we did the C1 listening exercise on friendship, agreed on plans for next day (doing the 2015 June C1 Listening Test after listening to two different OPs and giving these people some feedback) and went through pending things we need to finish so we can work on in class (news extracts and functional translation).

We also devoted some time to your Writing Tests, and I highlighted some ideas for your Proofreading work and LoMs, like working on organizing ideas Before Writing (brainstorming, selecting and ordering ideas, outline), for the sake of textual structure, and checking subjects & verbs first including tenses, and all kinds of agreement (S-V, aux-V, adj-n, including this/these + n, that/those + n.).

A language question that came up was trustworthy / to be worth it / dependable / dependent / dependant.

I have a few other activities for whenever you are ready. Please, let me know. I do hope we can also watch a documentary called How Art Made the World, the episode on how we’ve represented the human body, which is an extraordinary episode. Or a neuroscience documentary on memory.

Finally, I gave out one test for Emilia and María José, and one for Karen, Lucía and Sergio, along with a copy of the test instructions for “parejas and tríos” (Mª José and Emilia, Karen has your copies). Other people need to talk about whether they want to find their partner or me to decide that, so don’t worry if you have no partner.

In the second half of May all of those of you who are sure to come to the Speaking Test in June, will register for this oral. This means, they’ll register in pairs or groups of three, and then I’ll assign a time for whichever date the Head of Studies establishes for the C1 Orals. People who are unsure of wanting to take this exam, shouldn’t register because if they failed to come, that would cause havoc! They won’t lose their right to come to the exam on the date of the oral. It’s just they’ll come at the time non-registered people are summoned (“convocatoria única”, it’s called), usually some time before the registered orals begin. In that moment, if other people come, we’ll form the groups and assign a time, probably after the registered students, or on another day. Another option for the examining board is to add each of the convocatoria única examinees to one of the registered pairs of students, forming groups of three in this way. This would happen if we could not use a second day for orals because our maximum time is four hours of oral exam giving a day (the law establishes we examiners have a half hour break after two hours).

NEXT FRIDAY: At 16.00 Toastmaster, at 18.00 the workshop on Emotional Intelligence. About your E.I. questionnaires: you can give it to Ana, the janitor, if you are not attending the workshop. You can also ask her for the Register for Book Adoptions (1 euro donation).

NEXT MONDAY is a holiday.

Work as hard as you can, and as joyfully as you can, and see you on Friday or next Wednesday! ❤

About yesterday’s talk: I felt priviledged to have the chance to attend a talk by Eulàlia Lledó tailored to what we had suggested.

  • I was really happy to see some of you there. Please, feel free to post about the talk, whatever it is you thought, of course!
  • For those of you who couldn’t make it to this talk, don’t worry! We have the video!
  • For those of you — if anyone is in this case — who did not come probably for being unaware of having an antifeminist prejudice, or a patriarchal heart, which dictates many of our likes and dislikes, and conditions our curiosity, I hope you can watch the video, too, when it’s published! You won’t regret it! 🙂 ❤
  • Some teachers told me how happy they were about my work in Coeducación because they were realizing they were actually developing a feminist intelligence! ❤ ❤ ❤ I couldn’t believe my ears! 😀 So I’m extremely happy because the world needs us all to be feminists, like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote, right? 🙂 ❤

And as I’m on a roll, to celebrate all the good feminism is bringing to the world I’d like to share with you one of my favorite DNVAs (Direct Nonviolent Action), by a German feminist, two years ago on an 8 of March, the Sanitary Pad Street Action…

adnv_pads

(edited) Fighting Pressure: A Rational Approach to Exam Taking

What’s the pressure with the Certificate Exam? Why did you sign up for an advanced course? Do you enjoy learning English? What does this language bring to your life? Can you be kind to yourself? Can you work with your community in mutual support? Are you willing to experience what it is to fight Exam Culture by developing a courageous or constructive approach to the red tape of exams? 🙂

Exams cannot evaluate your knowledge and skills, really. They’re just an exercise we do on a particular moment, and a lot of variables are involved, including concentration and luck. But here are the facts:

Supposing you failed one, two, three or the four parts of the test, what’s the big deal? You’ve got another chance more than two months later, months when you can use your English to keep learning.

Then, supposing you failed some part in September, and you needed the certificate, there are private schools that give these tests for a fee, which means you could take the test somewhere else, a few months later, too. Apart from being able to enjoy another almost-free year of learning in this course.

Consolidating an advanced level takes time and a great deal of effort. What you have before you are OPPORTUNITIES TO IMPROVE, not a nightmare.

Post your fears, if you like. I’ll try to do my best to help you out! ❤

Please, work to take off pressure, not to pile up pressure and suffer for something that with a bit of rationality can be prevented. ❤

Please read: Social responsibility & Self-destructiveness

I’d like to call you to your senses, not to follow the path of panic whose outburst made you think that taking exams in class was a far better option than teamwork designing listening and reading exams, or that what you need to be doing daily: listening/reading and retelling in class! It’s such an uninformed and destructive idea, I haven’t been able to sleep well tonight. And then people say it’s the school system. Well, it seems we help. Turning our back to constructive approaches to learning is not what we want to do in our course/school.

I’m asking people interested in taking exams, with little free time and who in my view underestimate the power of meaningful learning and communicative methodology (because they don’t believe that is as effective) to please stay home and do all the exams they like. Teachers in our School (who, incidentally, offer information people simply don’t read), have put together a page full of links — in case the reason for asking this teacher to give more exams in class is you don’t know how to find exams on the web. The path is eoifuengirola.es – Certificaciones, and here is the link: http://eoifuengirola.es/certificaciones-1 I hope you make good use of it.

Still, I don’t recommend you get obsessed with this. I never recommend taking lots of exams, that’s why exam format training is done in a month. If you do, have a look at the tests but controlling your fear because taking tests gets us nervous and panicky (because we still believe tests are monsters, it’s a trauma, an irrational event in our minds) and we don’t learn English then, we just learn to be victims. If you’ve done what we did in class, you’ll be OK. Put your effort in keeping calm and enjoying your use of English. Consider we are always training too for exams, even if it doesn’t look like it! 🙂

Whatever you do — but please, I appeal to your social responsibility: don’t hurt the group by showing how nervous you are, bby spreading panicky ideas, feelings, etc. — be certain this will not influence my profesional skills when evaluating your work in June or September. I evaluate absentists as I evaluate people who followed the course, because I’m a profesional and my task in PUCs is to determine whether the State can certify that somebody’s exercise has reached an advanced level. The exercise and my evaluation remains filed for everybody’s supervision, so coming to class, doing homework, making progress or a big effort are things I can’t consider when evaluating your performance in PUC exams. Those things are good to help you learn, of course, but not something that counts in the Evaluation Sheets we use to evaluate your performance.

For us, your passing is a consequence of having the level in that particular excercise, not of how much effort you put into it, because this is adult education and we are the public system certifying a level. And I am very scientific in my professional work. You should know. Exams in Avanzado 1 or Básico have nothing to do with this because they are not PUCs, they don’t give people certificates. There teachers can design their own evaluation systems, as I do with my Básico 1’s, and we don’t have exams, we have listening diaries and orals every week. And we have a wonderful Writing File and the Celebration of Learning Orals in May. And we do train in exam format in spring, just for the kicks, not to pass or fail.

When we decide to consider information not in your PUC is only for positive reasons. So I mean, there is no “manía” or negative attitude in examiners when it comes to PUCs because these are certification exams.

It’s April, and we’re having a group panic here, which threatens to destroy all the work we’ve been doing. So please, control your fear, and stop this now, if it is not because you understand learning in this course, be it because you don’t want to harm your classmates, OK? Don’t use the excuse of exams to make up for the work you couldn’t do, because it doesn’t make up for it and you simply harm yourself and others.

As I warned you before, whatsapp groups are not a good to place when adorable students become soldiers of Exam Culture waging a war. They spread panicky feelings. Just remember our mirror neurones. Of course we can fight that with our rationality and empathy. But if you’ve started panicking in April, imagine the whole month of May of panic and destructive approaches to learning! You’ll be worn out before you take your exam. (The good thing of being exhausted is that self-destructive mechanisms don’t work as well!)

As I know well from experience, and from theory, this course prepares people to go to their finals with a positive approach, with resources to control their fear and be confident on their skills. But if you doubt or refuse to do this, please, stay home and do what you consider best. There are zillions of textbooks, with exercises, test books, websites…

If you wish to come to your senses and follow this course, and you want to intensify your use of English, please, do more of what I suggest, don’t feel that taking exams is doing something crucial for your English because it is not. For example, designing a listening exam entails listening to a lot of audios, and then working intensively in some. You cannot design a listening test out of a transcript, even if you use a transcript in the project. Designing a Reading test takes a lot of reading and thinking in English. This Project is not only about you creating an exam: its development involves the use of English in many different levels, and helps you spend more time using your English. Remember the format of the listening of Pets? Or that of part 2 of the PUC we did? Well, teamwork to design that would mean lots of people listening and listening, and lots of exercises designed, out of a same effort.

But we don’t even have to do that Project. If you simply did what I’ve been asking you to do all the way, listen and retell and share in class, read and retell and share in class, along with OPs and (overdue) monthly writing assignments, you would be doing far more for your English than spending time in class taking exams and then me reading out the key and you “failing” or “passing”.

Exam Format training in this course is perfectly enough for allowing people to pass a PUC exam if they have the level. And as I told you, we still have one more Reading and Listening test (apart from the exercise next day), we have to continue training in timed orals and focus on interactions (next day we could form the first speaking test teams), and you’ve got a full C1 PUC on the Junta’s website, to do at home when the exam draws near.

I’m going to have breakfast and stop of feeling so bad. I hope you understand what I mean and feel free to comment, of course. When I say I’m open to feedback or proposals I mean it. But I will certainly contest what I see as unfair feedback (as I did when a 40% of the class evaluated that I didn’t prepare my class that well) or proposals that work against the kind of teaching and learning we pursue in this course in the School.

Tomorrow, at 18.00, at IES Fuengirola number 1!!!

MF's Blog for Elementary (Básico 1, EOI)

Join us! It’s a precious talk!

Yo no saldré de nuestro centro porque tengo que estar a las 5.30 en la sala para probar equipo! Nos vemos allí!

Veníos, recordar! Es una charla valiosa, que puede ayudar a mucha gente a comprender el valor del lenguaje en la construcción de un mundo mejor, el desarrollo de nuestra inteligencia y modos de relación, en fin! ❤ ❤ ❤  Es una oportunidad de lujo para escuchar cosas importantes que no se suelen escuchar!

Presentaré yo, y Juan, del DACE o yo, contaremos algo del resto de celebraciones, porque VA A HABER UNA CENA EN UN SITIO CHULÍSIMO! ❤

View original post

Important: psychological training and plan for Wed

Dear students, please, trust your English, trust your work, trust this course, trust your life knowledge and common sense. Common sense is great when we read exam instructions! ❤ Exams are small matters we amplify absurdly. The important thing is learning, becoming independent and resourceful, enjoying our language life, which is precious.

The idea of doing exams in class for the rest of the course is cowardly and absurd. You can do that at home, if you can’t control your fear. Exam formats don’t need much time to learn. The thing is learning English at the advanced level. Now it’s no time to panic and fret, but to intensify our use of English and make the most of the little time we have together. After that, you’ll be on your own, and if you don’t use your English and keep learning, your level will drop. Don’t underestimate our work together, or the C1 Resource Pack and all of the resources we’ve offered you. They’re precious for your learning. Watch the videos, listen to the radio, listen and repeat for fluency and accuracy, read articles, notice language.

I’ve just come from meeting Eulàlia. I can tell you lots of amazing stories but we don’t have much time. Anyway, I hope you can make it to her talk tomorrow. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! The train is passing by, jump on it! ❤

Next day we can do the listening exercise and you can bring your Writing File and we can continue with that and please your questions and comments on mistakes in your Writing Test or other assignments!

And bring one euro, if you can spare that! I’ll bring the LIBRO DE DONATIVOS for our amazing feminist library. You can go to the second floor and see the exhibition of the books you can be adopting!

Night night

Sleep tight

Don’t let the Exam Culture bite!

Writing File

Today people had to bring their LoMs and questions on their Writing Test, and all of their Writing Work this year, and related resources, so they could share what they learned/learnt and review useful info about writing different kinds of texts. As it seemed far too many people were lost, I printed out examples from my own notes, but people who have been handing in their montly writing assignments also used different (old) textbooks and websites explaining how to write the kind of text they had to put together.

The list of texts we worked on is here on the page called Writing File.

My intro went as follows:

I listed the types of texts that are studied at the advanced level, and Germán noted that the PUC exams are mostly about “essays”, which mostly means “articles” depending on the accompanying tast description.

  • Online forms (notice the difference in structure between a complaint online form, filling out/in boxes sticking to the topic of the box, and a complaint letter or email)
  • Online texts like forum posts (no structure really, because structure is so open: you can simply reply to the previous post, or the opening post, or you can include greetings and jokes and stuff! It all depends on the kind of forum you’re posting on)
  • Articles: in your tests, these are also called “essay”. You need to notice what comes in the task description: is it for a local newspaper? Then it’s an article, right? Use common sense, and your knowledge of the world. We have different kinds of articles. Articles always have a title, and it tries to be gripping, catchy, interesting, or at least descriptive of the topic. Informative articles are usually pieces with headings, too. They’re common in magazine, like women’s mags, and they are typical in travel guides, too. The headings help you visualize the structure and allow you to choose the bits you are interested in reading. Then you have articles of analysis. The analysis can be presented as an essay, like if you are an expert in Science and you write about a topic. They tend to include the present simple tense for general truths, but not only of course. Then you have argumentative texts/essays, where the writer analyzes the topic by examining pros and cons, or different approaches to the matter. The C1 Resource Pack has ideas on different structures for this, and you should consider if your personal viewpoint comes at the end, or if it is everywhere or what. Endings are interesting, they can be final comments pointing to the future, summaries, conclusions… Register should be consistent. I always recommend semiformal language if you are free to choose, but it all depends on the task and what you can do with it!
  • Reviews – I gave out notes on the typical structure of this, because some people had not done this assignment.
  • Letter-writing:
    • You might have to write a letter requesting info or as we did this year, requesting the release of a prisoner of conscience, replying to an ad (here it’s crucial you use the info in the ad in your letter, even as an outline), job or grant-application letters (in response to an ad or unsolicited), making a complaint (I gave out notes on this), you could be writing a Letter to the Editor (I have notes on talkingpeople.net). I also printed some great notes I wrote for business emails and gave them out.
  • I offered an overview on Proposals and Reports, what they share in common (title, headings, structure) and what makes them different at times (proposals tend to be about the present and the future and reports tends to be about the past, but not always, it all depends on the task description). Useful language for these kinds includes things like: This report/proposal is intended to address… I gave out an example of my notes on proposals. There’s more on TP, reports for the police on an accident, for instance.

Last, I mentioned what people should do if given a statement. We don’t use it in our PUCs as an exam or essay question. We use it as an idea on the topic, which means that you need a title if the statement is connected to writing an essay for a magazine. You can use it or not, but it has to be integrated in your text. So — it’s not like an exam question. If it were so, they wouldn’t add “for a local newspaper”. So be careful. Notice what it is connected to. Statements are just intended to help you brainstorm on the topic.

I reviewed what your Writing Files should include:

  • Task descriptions of what we did: type of text, word limit, topic. Your final piece.
  • Notes on how to write that type of text (and attach your sources if you like)
  • Notes on Useful language, particularly for formal and semiformal letter because they have so many fixed expressions in different parts of the structure, like “Looking forward to seeing you”.
  • Then your LoM, so you can review your weaknesses and avoid them!

People told me they had discussed they did not want to design exams, but to take them. I said we have spent the last month doing that (Exam Training is about taking one or two tests to get acquainted with the format — I described , and that they have still two more practice tests to do (another C1 Reading and Listening, and the one they’ll do at home before their own PUC, on the Junta’s website), and that the internet is full of exams. We really need to move on to oral interactions. I consider that you are already aware of the kind of exercises we can be given  in the PUC and that we need to continue learning English, being aware of how much we have improved, and simply continue with our plans for writing and oral training.

 

Romina has booked for a 15-min OP for next Wednesday, May 3, on storytelling. Sergio has booked for the same day to give an OP on the language in the news. Both would take max. 15 mins. and allow me to videoshoot.

World Book Day!

MF's Blog for Elementary (Básico 1, EOI)

Next Week: Donations of 1 euro for our Feminist School Library! ❤

Remember: Choose a book and write your name to adopt it for one euro! ❤

You can see the books on the second floor, in the corridor, or in the Register Book where you write your name and “1€” for each book you want to adopt!

View original post

PUCs. Preparing Oral Work for May & La Guía 2016-17

I made a copy of all the Speaking tests given two years ago (because you’ve got the 2016 speaking tests on the Junta’s website) and I have a table ready for pairs and groups of 3 book a date for their perfomance. I’ll give out the tests next Wednesday to the pairs or groups of three (we need at least one group of three), after you tell me about pairs or teams and dates for your performances in May (so talk about this, please!).

There are 4 people who are not coming to class (ever), and these people could join us in June because absentists don’t lose their right to take the PUC in June and September. If you know any of them, who came at the beginning of he course, Mario and Lourdes, but I don’t know the other two. My guess is that Mario and Lourdes will come in June, but not the other two. It’d be good to know, so if you know them, please, ask! The remaining other two people who dropped out fortunately cancelled their registration, so they won’t be wasting the exam opportunities this year (no les correrá convocatoria, por tanto).

Last, the Guía para PUCs 2016-17 was published two days ago, I think. You should read it all, and ask me any questions you might have before lessons end at the end of May.

At last! Wonderful Presentation on Orange Is the New Black & On Prisons and Learning

This presentation is a great example of what an advanced learner is capable of. I want to thank students who, like Marta and Isabel, have allowed us to record their work because it is truly precious for everybody’s learning! ❤

Although our speakers make some mistakes, it is obvious their relationship to the language is very natural, at the advanced level, too, that they are able to analyze their experience with it, in complex ways. I mean, apart from the interesting points they make, apart from bringing in their worlds to the analysis (this indicates they understood what they were reading beyond “the language problem”), they can explain it all, complex ideas, in a natural way, and when they can’t find the words, they manage to find a way to make their point anyway.*

Use this to learn to listen to yourselves as you speak, so you can fix the mistakes you make which you can actually fix! And enjoy! It’s very enjoyable!

  • (except with one word Isabel utters very quickly and probably makes up! 😀 😀 😛

I’d also like to invite you to listen to some writing by Angela Davis, one of the most brilliant and honest thinkers I have read, socially committed, too, because this philosopher is an expert in the prison system, and also an activist fighting it, to humanize our world.

  • Are Prisons Obsolete? – a collection of essays on the topic. Here is one of the essays
  • Chapter 1 of OITNB, which I recorded, in case you want to see how the memoir starts
  • Also, here is a page where I share my work on language when I read this work by Piper Kerman, and some resource material I created for a workshop on “Crime and Punishment”, one of the topics in C1 tests

Finally, I believe the topic should be called “Crime and Justice”, really, but this is the world we have: we think that if we don’t use violent words or behave violently that means we are not doing anything against violence — a very patriarchal piece of thinking, in my view! Fighting violence and crime is rooted in VALUES and when the values a certain culture chooses are violent, then it’s all about nurturing the same problem. The only “punishment” a prison should offer is privation of freedom, and only for certain crimes, crimes against people (not so much property — if people were not subject to poverty, the only criminals we would have in prison are those corrupt people who steal and never get to prison), not all the other humiliating and terrible things it involves. While preventing those criminals to harm other people, prisons would be places to learn good things, to learn. But then, here and now, many of us would want to go there because of unemployment! 😀

Anyway… I hope some year we can have this workshop in this course. The kind of education based on not seeking becoming independent and resourceful, and absentism* have terrible impact every year, because we cannot count on people’s initiative, work, participation and collaboration. Teamwork is always utopia and there’s like no hope because it’s so justified we don’t have the time to work with others.

*(I do wonder why people think that you can tell people in one course you signed for that you cannot join them because you have to attend another course. I know I get to learn about this reason for them not coming to class only from people who appreciate me and respect my work, but it always hurts to see how anything is more important than learning in a course you wanted to do, right? I mean, if you have enrolled in a course, and don’t find time to follow it, why would you find time to follow another course? It’s funny how we find the most positive things for our learning, the least interesting to pursue, really. It’s like when we learn without suffering: people truly believe in practice that they learn more when they suffer in the process. Well, excuse my sharing this insight. Feel free to disagree! It could bring us hope! 😀

Today and Plans for Monday

Today lots of people came!! And people had done their homework, so it was great. They were able to work in small groups on the gapped tenses exercise and then we had a plenary to doublecheck and answer questions. Keep working on the articles that follow, doing the exercises I suggest, and bring them to class. Use them for retelling, too!

We developed our language awareness on tenses, and modals.

Then we did the B2 listening ex. and discussed some language questions. And left the C1 exercise for next week.

We spent the last minutes talking about telling lies, lying. And Emilia told us a great story on this. And Cristina gave us a key idea about not being able to lie and social skills! I suggested people think (subjunctive, a remain, typical in US English) / people should think (UK) about the issue and put together a 3-min OP, to share in class next week.

Plans for Monday:

  • Small groups will share their transcriptions of the news extracts. Then we’ll have a plenary to answer questions and comment the activity. Was it useful?
  • People should bring their Writing File (all the writing they did, with their work before writing, on type of text and useful language). The idea is that in small groups or at plenary we review the list of writing assignments here, to make sure you know what to keep in mind if you have to write them.
  • We should also review your Writing Test, and it’d be good if you all brought your list of mistakes and notes on how to improve your language range, to keep in mind when you brainstorm on language you can use in a particular assignment.

More things to do next week if you like:

  • Designing Exams. Marta has been looking for materials and wondered if other people had. If anyone wants to take part in this project, please, feel free to discuss it in your whatsapp group, if you like, and present a proposal in class. I can also organize in class with you all. Or just design whatever with Marta! 😀
  • Telling the teacher who is your partner for the Speaking Test Project. We can do this as I call your names when checking the roll.
  • Doing the C1 listening exercise on friendship
  • Checking the gapped text for the Pets listening activity?
  • Listening to people telling stories in the past
  • Listening to people speaking about lies and lying or holding a conversation on this
  • Checking the Functional Translation exercise

UPCOMING VIDEO: I’m still fighting to upload the video on Marta and Isabel’s OP on Orange Is the New Black. You see, I had to empty my computer, clean it, install everything again, and the programs changed, and I’ve been spending a great deal of time on this, not managing to find my way yet! But I will!

DEADLINES. The Writing contest deadline is next Friday. Sergio needs to know which is the word limit, because it didn’t say on the paper I stuck on the door!

BOOKS. Today I got amazing books I bought, and if you want to read more, I’ve got proposals. I cannot donate these last ones to our school because I’ve already donated 300 euros! (12 books). Help me get this money back by taking part in next week’s activities in support of the feminist library we’re putting together. Your contribution could be 1 euro for a book you “adopt”, and your signature in our book on who adopted which book! I’ll post on this next Friday.

(Edited to fix mistakes!) Coordinating efforts. Homework, Lesson Plans & More Stuff!

Today we did some work in language awareness around the use of tenses.

We agreed on the following:

For next day: people will try to solve the gapped text, so that next day you can all work in small groups and reach agreements, and also develop awareness on choices. We will also do the two pending listening texts, on the back of the worksheet for the Richard Burton listening we did last. Then it’d be great to check your work on the Listening on Pets — please, search “pets” here and get the key, but I’d like to listen to you all on this gapped exercise. And we could also check some of the sentences I gave for translation, and/or to listen to people narrating stories in past, where they can use the different tenses and modals in the past!

For next Monday: people agreed they would transcribe the news items we worked on the listening exercise before the spring hols. In this way, you would practice real communication and all that.

About more pending work, it’s up to you what we do in class. It all depends on what you manage to do. If time has passed, perhaps you could agree on your whatsapp group what you want to check the following day and then just send me an email so I know. I’m open to proposals. If there are no proposals, don’t worry, I’ll keep on as usual! Bombing you with activities you could be doing! 😀

I explained that the reason why we have pending stuff is because as I am shy to ask — because I always fear people did not do their homework, which is actually the case most of the time, or at least, nobody tells us in class, Hey, let’s check this or that — then I simply design more activities. But if we did half of what I’ve designed for you (I really need to stop working so hard at home, it’s mostly your turn now), it’d be great and enough, considering I work every week for you but never get to exploit that effort getting your work back! Of course, I’m generalizing, so if you do your homework, please, don’t take it personal.

For the rest of our time together my plans are:

  • Language awareness (doing the Lexical Creativity workshop, too) + Writing feedback and your LoMs or questions or sharing your work on how you worked to overcome fossilized mistakes!
  • Reading some more articles (crowdfunding, the internet, … )
  • Doing another C1 Reading and Listening test (not the one on the Junta’s website, so you can do it in May or June, just before your exams)
  • and Orals: you’ll work in pairs on an exam, and then come to class, do the monologues and the dialogues and getting feedback. I’ll asign a test for each pair. You decide who your partner is. And then we’ll book dates for sharing that work. If anyone had the time to coordinate all this, I could just print the tests and give them to that person. If no one has the time, it’s OK, of course! ❤ Listening to your partners will probably be as valuable as doing the exercise. We learn a lot from watching other perform! then, if any pair is willing to be videoshot, that’d be great for other students! Thanks!

Some tips are: if you feel you are not in the advanced level, now is not the moment to quit or fret. Just keep working, it’ll be good for your English and it’ll increase your chances to pass in June, or in June and September. In my view, to speak a language well takes having developed habits of using the language in various ways, on different kinds of topics. If you have managed to learn to learn, then if you pass and I think you haven’t reached the level, I wouldn’t feel bad, because I’d be sure you would keep the effort up and develop your command over the language. Of course, what I feel is immaterial, I just mean to say that the key to be a competent user of the language is a love for using the language and learning it, and not so much reaching a level. Levels change a lot throughout time depending on this, on use! ❤

And here is Querer a una feminista, in case you are interested! ❤
http://www.mujerpalabra.net/quereraunafeminista/index.html

Talk next Tuesday, April 25: on the importance of naming women too

Dear students,

Considering a high percentage in this C1 group this year has a well development understanding of the importance of developing a feminist intelligence to reduce injustice and violence in the world, and considering we live in a town where both foreigners and locals seem to miss the human rights points, I’d like to request your active support in the task of spreading the word about this conference by Eulàlia Lledó Cunill, a linguist, a researcher, a teacher (+ educator for equality as well) and a feminist. Language is a tool we have at hand to change the world for the better because it is key for enabling us to think and key in helping us relate to people. All teachers should be truly interested in this talk, particularly all language teachers, but as language determines what we can actually think and how we relate, thinking about this huge topic is always healthy for everybody!

At EOIs, as people gradually drop out as a result of zillions of things (finding temporary jobs, not finding time for true language learning, not being able to bear the tension of finals), typical in adults’ lives, when spring comes, groups in general have decreased in size.

In my case, my groups next Tuesday are a semiprencial and because it’s semi, they only come to class on Thursday (from  60, 70 people enrolled, we just have 10 following the course! and just one came to Coral Herrera Gómez’s talk!!). And in my next group, 1ºC, health and work-related problems have taken a toll in an extraordinary group, really: just 6 or 8 people are following the course now. (Knowing who’s following the course is easier at lower levels because they depend more on us for their learning.) So we need you!

If you can spread the word or put up our poster somewhere (we can make a color copy for you — let me know!), we would be grateful! ❤

Here’s the link you can send out or post:

Work in class tomorrow – Exam Training Work + Language Awareness

In case you can print the first 4 pages. Don’t look at the two last ones!

I prepared this language awareness workshop to review the use of tenses for your speaking and writing work and so you can be aware of the mistakes you make and overcome them (remember this needs oral drilling and finding examples in use, sentences, we can repeat out loud, because theory is not enough, you need to automatize accurate production and that’s why we work with lists of useful language too). I hope it’s useful.

We’ll read it out loud at plenary and you’ll discuss the examples and do the language awareness work in small groups, so you can also practice real communication for learning purposes.

C1spring_tenses01_reading (6 word pages)

If people have prepared oral work, they’re welcome to share it in class.

I’ll also bring your Writing Assignments, but my priority is we review these questions before handing them back to you. Then, we we move on to analyzing this work, we’ll continue reviewing language questions you need to master. But tenses comes first.

Diary for April 5 – lots of training!

Then I read out people’s marks for the term. Well, this symbolic thing we do. Without having no one in mind, my guess is that most people will pass, but some might need June and September. In any case, don’t forget to be positive about learning and your learning this year: if you don’t have enough time for your English, don’t evaluate your results as if you had had, OK? It just spoils all the fun! 🙂 ❤ (your relationship to English and to learning). Our guiding star is learning English at the advanced level, not passing exams, right? Becoming competent lifelong learners who love using their English! ❤

  • Today we checked the Ciclo Superior Reading Test 2006 and results were good!

Then I gave out two handouts with exercises:

  • Listening “News Extracts” – we did it and the homework is you try to get the transcription of at least one news item. The audio is here.
  • On the back you have two language exercises. Functional Translation and narratives in the past, I think.
  • Listening. Profiency gapped listening exercise. Richard Burton (list of some of the languages he spoke). We did this one. And I forgot to finish jotting down all the marks, I think!
  • On the back there are two exercises: an FCE (B2) exercise and a Proficiency (C1) exercise, which we will do after the spring hols!

There are spare copies in class, in case any of you wants to drop by to get them: tomorrow I’m there all afternoon, from 4.30 to 9.45 (you can just walk in and take them from the bulletin board) and on Friday plans changed so I’ll be in class from 16.00 to 20.00 checking your writing tests. My ambition is to start and finish (I just read them all) + take notes for language questions. Wish me the best! (The group that wanted to take the missed listening test will have to come on April 28 I think, because after the hols our teachers’ meeting has been moved to the previous Friday.)

If you want to pick up some common vocabulary in the news, check out this BBC website, Words in the News (some are articles, others audio or video)

Listening work – what I say on the TP website

A pacifist Belgian friend of mine (some of you listened to the story I wrote about her and me meeting one day in Madrid, “Dishwashers”) just send me news of a new antiwar network, World Beyond War, have a look at this: debunking myths justifying wars.

I’ll post more tomorrow or on Friday, so you get more ideas about working on your English. I hope you do find the time to do so, while enjoying it, of course!

Nightie night!

Diary for Mon April 3

Previous news: rearranging lesson plans – postponing Writing Sessions for the week after the spring hol, and postponing checking your Reading Test till next Wednesday.

Today we welcomed Cristina B. back,

From here we moved to volunteering projects, too.

Then I was sad to see so few people had read something, or listened to something, so I rearranged the plan and had people just practice talking in pairs, not at plenary so we could all enjoy their stories or retellings and they could get some feedback.

The sunny side of this was that well, we had time for more things, so I explaining the Designing Exams Project and we did two listening exercises, which I hope you can all use:

  • to take them down as dictations
  • and to practice retelling

Here are the links. There are spare paper copies in class.

Lucía talked to me about the Skeleton of Meaning technique, at first I misunderstood, but then I understood: she understood precisely why it can be so helpful, precisely when we don’t understand an particular accent, or when we don’t follow what’s being said well. Yes, precisely. when all is lost, or that’s what it seems, it’s a great resource. And then in matching exercises.

Designing Exams – A teamwork project

Today I presented this new workshop. The class will split up in two groups. Each group will design a minimum of 1 Reading or Listening Task, chosing the format of one of the tasks in your C1 Test.

Everybody should listen to audios and read articles, and then pick one to bring to class on April 24th. Bring the transcript of the few selected audios and the paper copy of the articles, but also remember to keep at hand the links that people could use to check those items.

Groups will gather and after assessing what you have, we’ll have a plenary to make this decision:

Can each group design different tasks, so that we can get a final complete Reading Test and Listening Test? If both groups just want to do the multiple choice format, then it’s OK, but it’d be grand to have a complete test designed by you all.

You would be the first generation of C1’s here to design C1 Exams for future use by other students!

Why design tests?

  • Because walkin in your “enemy’s” shoes is a great source of information.
  • Because this is a great excuse to use your English more at home, because you really need to increase your time with English from now on.
  • Because teamwork is fun and its results are always amazing!
  • Because it’ll be fun to take the test the other half of the group gives you! 😀 Then you can tell me whose is harder: the ones we give or the ones your classmates design!! 😀

To end this first session, groups will decide among of all their materials, agreeing to work on one audio and written text, and what to bring for the second session.

Post your info on team members and your questions here, please. I’ll make it a sticky post!