FAQ / Do’s & Don’ts

Attendance/Absences. Can you come to class if you are not following the course? Yes, you can. People are always welcome. Of course, what you all should do is come to class regularly, or as often as you can. And if you miss lessons, you can actually still follow the course thanks to all the online support and electronic communication we actually have.

Can you come to class in February (Oral Presentation Month) or March (Exam Format Training Month), if you haven’t followed the course before? Yes, you can. Although when students miss more than the 30% of the lessons are people not following the course, after having signed up for it, as a teacher I will not veto your attendance. Ideologically, however, I’m critical of this when it indicates the person supports the Exam Culture instead of meaningful learning.

Cancellation. If you are enrolled in this course and you realize you cannot attend, you could cancel registration. Ask in the School Office (I think the deadline is April).

Emails to me: use a descriptive line in every email to me (change the subject if the subject changes) so that I can see what the email IS ABOUT. Subject lines are part of what I will evaluate in terms of your learning about netiquette. Don’t use BLOCK LETTERS unless you want to shout at me!

Speaking File. Can you volunteer for any kind of speaking activity? Yes, you can. Imagination to power! ❤

Writing File. Can you hand in writings that you do without following the course requirements? You need to ask first, because I am meant to assist work done within the course requirements, and sometimes this feels as you are using the teacher, but not appreciating her work.

Can you email your written work? No, you can’t. You need to handwrite it, for all-year-round exam writing practice, and I need the paper to read and write on. Exceptionally, if previously asked, I could allow that.

How can you give me your written work if you can’t email it to me and can’t come to class? Leaving it with Ana, the janitor, on the second floor. The School is open every day from 15.00 to at least 21.00 (except some Fridays, when it closes in the evening, I think – check out the School’s timetable).

Can you send me emails unrelated to our professional relationship? No, please. Don’t include my email address in your group emails, and please don’t give my email address to people who are not in this course. (Consider netiquette.)

Contributions. Can you send me your contributions? Yes, of course! Thank you! Once I’ve checked your writing assignment, you can type it as a final clean copy for your Writing File, and that’s when you can send it in for publication! Thanks so much for sharing your work!

Can you send me links and other materials you find interesting for the course? Yes, thank you! Just remember to send it just to me, not exposing my address among other addresses of people I don’t know.

Can you be creative? Yes, you can! This is very much welcome. ❤ Being creative involves initiative, and this is encouraged.

Can you be critical? Yes, please! Critical thinking involves practicing how to explain your views, and this is very much welcome at the advanced level. Remember that we live in a democracy and that in our certificate exams we never evaluate ideology, just your use of the language.

Can I make proposals? Yes, of all kinds! Initiative is welcome!

Commitment. You are expected to commit not only to your own learning and this course methodology but also to your classmates, to teamwork, to group work.

Booking for sharing. If you say you’ll do some activity, and particularly if you book a date to do it, please, be kind: cancel it beforehand if you realize/realise you won’t make it to class that day, e.g., “Sorry, I won’t be able to do that”, or apologize/apologise or express some sort of regret for having to cancel it, e.g., “Sorry I failed to come when I booked”. That is enough. It just feels loveless when people book and then totally ignore the left their classmates and teacher standing.

Your needs vs course syllabus. If your level is below the B2 level you need to do what it takes for you to be able to follow the course, including using Tutoría (electronic or face-to-face) to get some counselling or feedback and ideas of what it is you need to do to catch up; or even taking private lessons, if that is what you would do if you were paying the commercial price of an advanced course. “Repasos”, reviewing items you already learned/learnt to use in previous levels, are possible provided you have been going through that yourself. This means, you(r) asking questions about WHATEVER is always welcome and I will do whatever it takes to help, like explain in my own words language issues you wish to understand better, but this should not equal changing the nature of this course. That’s the limit.

Deadlines. Can I hand in my work / do my presentation after the deadline? No, you can’t if the deadline is known since the beginning of the course. Exceptionally, I can accept handing in work the lesson following the deadline.

Can you as a group invite the teacher to join you in an outings? (e.g. going for a drink in December). No, thank you. I do appreciate, but I have a rule: never go out with students until our professional relationship is over. (And when I do, I don’t speak about teacher-student topics.)

Can you ask me questions about exams privately? No, please. Ask in class. I just answer exam questions in due time, and in class. If you have individual questions, you can send them by email, so I post the answer on the blog, or ask in class. I make sure that EVERYONE gets the same information on exams.