About this course

Outing to celebrate your achievement & Recalling Generation 1 & 2

Today quite a few people dropped by to say hello or have a look at their exam, and then we went out for dinner together. We missed the people who did not make it to this outing, so let me send them a big hug from us all. We hope you have a wonderful bilingual summer! 😀 ❤ It’s been a pleasure to meet you all, and have the chance to work with you. This third generation has had amazing results, really. So thanks for that! It will also be inspiring for newcomers!

I’d like to dedicate this post to you three generations of C1’s here because each and every year has been intense and fruitful in many ways.

The First Generation, where less people followed the course, was full of people who loved learning English with freedom, so perhaps that explains why they felt at ease with the methodology and made the most of it. I’d like to share here the videos I was allowed to shoot:

The first C1 video was by Rocío, a journalist, and she gave us this precious present:

Paco’s was the second video-donor! 😀 His English was amazing anyway, and he loved music and is a talented DJ. In case it helps other people, he failed the listening test in June but of course passed it in September. Here, he’s reading his favorite chapter of the Alexie Diary… because I asked people to read this book and share their highlights.

This year, small groups worked on an OP based on work listening to the news, for December. We have the video recording of an OP on Science, and I’m sure you will be surprised, interested and enjoy it a lot!

Miguel, a most passionate learner, allowed us to publish two of his amazing OPs:

Paqui, who loves books, prepared this power point presentation she used in class to celebrate World Book Day.

Paqui, Noelia, Marisol and María del Mar learned a poem for one of our assignments.

The Second Generation had a majority who had a lot of pressure to get their certificate for work reasons or because it was their second year taking the course, and this put a lot of pressure in replicating the methodology of Exam Culture. But we all worked really hard and people contributed amazing work. Here are the OPs we recorded.

Poetry: Silvia read a powerful poem by Ghada Al Atrash, “Imagine”, which I also posted on our blog English Women Writers…

And Natalia, also a music teacher in secondary, learned a complex poem, putting together this amazing OP: The Owl and the Pussy-cat.

Andrés, another secondary teacher, helped us conmemorate November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women.

Yolanda H, whose English was really good already, and in spite of that kept following the course, shared with us one of the assignments I suggested based on listening work on the news:

And here is an unprecendente project: the second generation of C1’s worked on Herstory and Feminist Analysis. Their research and analysis was impressive, I did suffer lots editing their video work for zillions of hours, to try and help many of them with fossilized mistakes and grammar mistakes. In any case, they all got their certificates except one who unfortunately decided not to take the September writing test, and that was mostly for their very hard work that year.

The other two feminist intelligence OPs were very interesting, too. I’m sure you will enjoy them:

They contributed more work: audios and writings you’ll find on Talking People.

What about yours? I need to finish some pending videos. And then I’ll post about you all! 🙂

So if you hear people say public language education is no good, remember these people and your own experience. The fact is language learning never ends, and that’s why this course makes the point of helping people broaden their resourcefulness on how to learn, how to use your English in various ways with all kinds of materials! Language learning depends an 80% on the learner. No teacher or course can teach, really. Language is very complex. But teachers and courses can offer some precious support, provided the person does love using the language and learning of course!

Hope you enjoy your summer! ❤

 

Advertisements

Exam Results

Well, tomorrow your results will be published. I already told you what I thought about your levels, and you must surely have a feel of what your level is, considering my opinion and your own and what you know about our work together and how people speak English.

I think the results are good. You know I don’t believe in the exam system as a reliable source to learn about people’s achievement and abilities, but I’m OK with the results. I wish people published their statistics, so we could learn about results elsewhere, but I would say that we are above average. About half of the group has passed the tests on the four skills in June, and 6 people have to do a resit for one of the skills, which is actually good news, because it gives them the chance to grow stronger in that skill this summer. The other overall fail marks are very few people with just two skills to resit in September. So there’ll be more vacancies for more people to sign up for this course. There are 97 applications and we register up to 27 students each year, but well, my prediction was that half of the people could be taking this course again next year (yes, I was exaggerating, but I prefer to be cautious) and that won’t be the case. I think we might have a maximum of three + 1 absentist staying for the new course.

Well, I hope no one gets an unpleasant surprise!

See you in “Revisión” if you failed any of the parts and/or at the dinner you all organized. And/Or have a lovely summer! Don’t forget to keep you level up and also to keep learning!

http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/ra/c1/eval/statistics.htm

Today and why I kept mixing up Luz’s name

Well, today was a very intense lesson. Fortunately, we had tons of work to do, to avoid getting sad about what will probably be a good-bye for most. ❤

We did not manage to read from the amazing book I brought, but we’re used to that by now, hahaha… tons of things to do every day, and doing what we can. That’s life — about doing what we can, with all our heart-mind!

Well, at the end of the lesson I understood Karen’s concern. I couldn’t at first, but there was a plan!!

So suddenly Ana appeared with bags and I was totally lost. I thought pops the people who behaved badly with me were trying to say they were sorry, in a weird and inappropiate way! 😀 But that was not the case, of course. It was you all, dear students! ❤ I try to discourage people from giving me presents, because I’m very shy for this kind of thing, but your love was so beautiful and strong. I do appreciate ❤

So I’d like to share with you my thoughts on why I kept mixing up Luz’s name with Lucía.

Sometimes the reason why we make mistakes is that we feel insecure. In my case here, I didn’t want to hurt Luz, because she said she hated being called a different name. So I was afraid of making the mistake. Very much afraid. And of course, when we fear, it’s more likely we don’t perform as well as when we don’t feel fear. So when we fear, we keep making the same mistake, and that leads to you making the mistake more often than not making, which means, consolidating the production of the mistake, which leads to fossilization. I have to say I fought fossilization at least, because I got it right quite a few times. I didn’t keep statistics, of course, but I’d say I said “Luz” more times than “Lucía”, but I did not manage not to make the mistake, like today (mentally very tired), because I feared so much making it. When I was not fearing, I got it right. That I know, I’ve observed it. Our self is a great source of information to learn about mental processes!

Fear, like guilt, are no good company. When we feel like that, decisions should be avoided. And then, it’s always good to fight patriarchal values, and find the true valuable things in life, our true interests in life, against all odds. Constructive thoughts, ideas, attitudes. Being constructive is a most revolutionary tool to change the world for the better.

Understanding mistakes is like a universe. Mistakes have their place, we need to learn from them, use them for positive things, and keep them in their place, a not-that-important place in terms of how much we allow them to make us suffer.

So well, as an expert in making mistakes, hahaha, I would like to encourage you to fight them constructively, and keep them in their pigeonhole. Not to let the fear of making mistakes spoil your ability to be curious about things, to experience and do things with confidence, joyfully! Life is short, we’re very lucky to lead the lives we lead, considering the world, and we have an ethical duty, I believe, to make the most of life, to reach for the moon from our small lives in this crazy violent human world.

Thanks so much for this year. Plus, it’s amazing 22 people are coming in June. I hope you enjoy the tests, and well, don’t worry about the results. It’s not the time to think about that. It’s the time to focus on the tasks!

Fuck exams! (Demented laughter!)

Nueva info publicada en webs

En la web de la EOI Fuengirola – Novedades (link debajo de foto de portada), toda la info de exámenes en junio.

http://eoifuengirola.es/

En la web de Coeducación, un cuestionario por si queréis rellenarlo y entregarlo en algún momento antes del fin del curso. Nos ayudaría mucho!

https://coeducacioninteligenciafeminista.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/cuestionario-coeducacion-donde-estamos/

Diary for May 15, International CO Day! (nothing to do, though!)

Today it felt really good to have some time to get a feel of your psychological emotional state in the face of the end of course and exam month. Thanks! I’m so happy the Lorena-alarm was not our Lorena! ❤ Phew! My mind was blown to pieces! I couldn’t understand a thing! This comes from students not informing of their level or group! So now I’ll try to solve the other crisis! My adorable other Lorena must be wondering who Soluna is! 😀

We reviewed what June 8 will be like, and I could see the group is offering mutual support, so I hope everybody can feel confident on what is to come and on our performance! I reminded students of some key things they should bear in mind while doing the Reading, Listening and Writing test. We can talk some about this as you find your questions and also your suggestions.

So we couldn’t do Functional Translation and unfortunately Soluna left and I hadn’t realized, so we had to move her and Lorena’s performance to some other day.

I was very happy to learn that you had all considered coming to our dinner party. Now I can tell teachers C1’s did consider, but decided not to join us because it was a bit too dear! See? I suppose it was a coincidence but my Básicos are not coming either so it’s like I had not told my groups or something! 😀 Not that anything would happen to me, really. My colleagues are adorable! But because I’m so anti-socializing people could consider I had a role there! 😀 AnywayS!

We had a speaking test practice session with Luz and Germán and it was really good. I gave them a souvenir too.

I recommended EM-PHANATICALLY (lexical creativity) total exposure to the language from now on, diversifying the kinds of oral texts, and also some time every day to listen to my Useful Language episodes at the Talking People Podcast (another path is to go to TP – enter – Useful Language, where the transcripts are), so you can improve your fluency and accuracy, particularly for conversations!

I asked people to consider allowing me to videoshoot their performance, particularly the conversations, because we have no sample of that and it would be helpful for other students.

People booked for their performances, and also registered for the June oral. Unregistered people can also do this next Wednesday. Then, I hope I can give the Head of Studies the summonings on Friday, instead of waiting till next day.

I suspect the HoS will be publishing dates tomorrow. In any case, if your Written part is on Juen 8 (right?), the oral would be on the following Monday, but she needs to confirm this first, so this info is not official yet.

Plans for next day are: first oral practice (we have some people there) and then Functional Translation, but I’d also like to read the intro to the lexical creativity workshop so that the following week you can start creating words (Monday) in small groups. I’d also like to do Maria José’s listening activity, but I suppose that needs to move to next week now. I’m sorry! ❤

Finally, please, keep in touch with worries and joys, because I need that kind of communication to avoid worrying when I get panicky emails, OK?

We also talked about going out for a drink, Publicación de Notas y Revisión, and about next Friday, the climax of our celebrations around our 25th anniversary. I hope you can join us before the dinner party, at our School. There’ll be so many things going on! You can take part in any of them.

And help me with the lesson plans, because this month your needs are a priority.

Romina, here is the link to some examples of how I learn vocabulary when I read (the C1 Resource Pack has examples too).

From this page: https://c1coursebymf.wordpress.com/read-n-watch-prisons/This doc: Chapter 1 (Resource): How to work on the vocabulary of the first three chapters: OITNB_chapter 01 (4 pdf pages)

When I find some time, I’ll include that on this blog I created precisely for that kind of work: learning language from reading: https://languagelearningfromreading.wordpress.com/

I welcome contributions, for once you’re in outspace without a teacher! 😀

Last, some LANGUAGE IN THE NEWS, in case you are listening to the news, but don’t forget to listen to panels, interviews, on the radio:

https://c1coursebymf.wordpress.com/language-in-the-news-writing-essays/

Sobre las PUCs

A ver si podéis postear el link a este post en vuestro grupo whatsapp porque hay gente muy perdida, y a ver si podéis preguntar en clase o en este blog y no individualmente,  porque la info exámenes la doy a todo el mundo por igual.

Primero: tenemos una página aquí con info de fechas de escrito y link a Guía, ademas del diario de toda la práctica que hemos hecho para examen. Está arriba en EXAM TRAINING.

  • CERTIFICAR EN JUNIO. El C1 tiene una prueba terminal de certificación (PUC) en junio, con la posibilidad de recuperar destrezas sueltas que se pudieran haber suspendido en junio en septiembre, tras los meses de verano.
  • El C1 además ofrece la posibilidad de repetir curso una vez.
  • OTRAS POSIBILIDADES DE CERTIFICAR. Y suponiendo que no se quiera o pueda, el certificado de C1 se puede conseguir en la enseñanza privada que celebra exámenes trimestrales de nivel para certificar.

PUCS NO ES EVALUACIÓN EN CURSO C1. Las autoridades publican una Guía para las pruebas, que quien pudo leyó en marzo aunque era la Guía del curso anterior, porque en marzo iniciamos nuestro mes de EXAM TRAINING, que no fue poneros yo exámenes (“evaluación” no significa sólo poner exámenes trimestrales; siempre os he dicho que las notas que me decíais eran sólo para saber, no servían para promocionar o certificar; está en nuestra programación, lo he explicado en clase, y está en la web donde os podíais descargar el C1 Pack y la programación: http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/ra/c1/eval.htm), porque las notas trimestrales que metemos en Séneca (2ªeval está aún en la pared al fondo de la clase) no son notas que sirvan para nada porque en los cursos de certificación la única NOTA es el Apto o No Apto de las pruebas de junio y septiembre y porque para saber si vais bien, tenéis mis correcciones y comentarios en el día a día, es decir, la Evaluación Continua que yo practico en este curso es a lo largo de todo el curso en función del trabajo que compartís o entregáis y no os sirve para certificar, y no influye: el Tribunal evalúa el ejercicio que hagáis ese día, como es lógico en este sistema.

El link a la Guía PUC está en la página que hemos ido haciendo de arriba llamada EXAM TRAINING, como la lista de todo lo que hemos hecho para entrenar en formato exámenes de avanzado.

Respecto a ORALES de ahora, los que estáis preparando por parejas no son examen, como expliqué en todos los espacios, físico y online. Son excusas para aprender más, ampliar vocabulario, reforzar estructuras, y demás. Son una práctica en tiempo real con compañía como la que tendréis en el oral.

A los ORALES PUC DE EXAMEN EN JUNIO se convoca en una fecha a todo el mundo (“convocatoria única”) y se forman las parejas en situ, se asigna hora y se hacen los orales. Sin embargo, como he explicado, el Departamento de Inglés de este centro ha determinado organizar los orales de presencial de una forma que ayude a que no se produzcan largas esperas en los pasillos, con el consecuente daño a quien espera y a la gente que está trabajando (tomando o dando exámenes) pues todo el mundo se ponía a hablar en los pasillos impidiendo la buena audición en las aulas.

Y por eso EN MAYO hacemos una lista con la gente que se va a presentar, puesta en parejas o tríos, y con una hora fija asignada, y luego a quienes no están listadas o listados, se les convoca en “convocatoria única” antes de estos orales, para ubicarlas en los espacios que haya, y si no hay espacio de tiempo, sumarlos a algunas parejas con hora ya. Por tanto, REGISTRO A ORAL de JUNIO es algo que haremos esta semana y hasta el lunes de la siguiente (EN TRES CLASES) (y no tiene nada que ver con las prácticas de ejercicio oral en formato examen que estáis haciendo), y es sólo que quien vaya a hacer el oral en junio me lo dice, y apunto a la persona para formar yo las parejas y asignarles hora, información que se publicará 15 días antes del oral, como establece la ley. Que consideremos vuestras preferencias de pareja o a veces de hora, no es una obligación, y sí es un apoyo para tranquilizaros. Cualquiera que se haya mirado la tabla de fechas de exámenes (escritos) que pegué además en nuestra página de arriba en MARZO (porque tanto la web del centro como yo hemos ido informando en blogs/webs también de toda la info según salía publicada) y se haya leído el asterisco, sabrá que los orales se pueden convocar antes o después del escrito pero que esa información la publica el centro, jefatura de estudios, en los tiempos que marca la ley.

Si tenéis preguntas o dudas, por favor, formuladmelas a mí, NO INDIVIDUALMENTE SINO EN CLASE O EN ESTE BLOG, por favor, y preferiblemente sin meter comentarios o juicios de valor autodestructivos (practicando el apoyo mutuo y autorespeto).

La irracionalidad agobia, ciertamente, porque estamos educadas y educados a ser autodestructivas por los valores imperantes en la sociedad. Así que os animo a conversar y racionalizar las cosas desde la empatía y el respeto a una misma/o y el resto. En realidad, esta PUC no tendría por qué agobiar porque son opciones que tenemos la suerte de tener, y que enriquecen nuestras vidas, y no condenas u obligaciones de la esclavitud, y nuestra sociedad nos ofrece vías múltiples además para perseguir ese interés como he mencionado arriba. Los nervios hasta cierto punto son normales. De lo que soy crítica es de que en lugar de controlarlos y apoyarse, dejéis que os y nos arrastren a la irracionalidad.

Repito lo de que las fechas de orales se sabrán cuando las publique en Tablón (y aviso en web) Jefatura de Estudios. Y obviamente, nos enteraremos todo el mundo y yo las postearé aquí también. Así pues, seguimos ayudándonos con información útil y relevante. Podéis confiar en que el profesorado del centro y su directiva tiene el proceso muy bien organizado y medido.

La fecha del escrito lleva publicada desde que salieron publicadas hace tiempo ya, y la tenéis arriba aquí, además, en foto del BOJAN y todo. Y la guía describe todo lo que necesitáis saber del examen (para el caso de que no vengáis a clase, o vuestra profe no explique bien las cosas), porque hay gente que se presenta por libre también, y en la pública se respeta que todo el mundo tiene derecho a información, la gente de presencial no tiene más derechos en este sentido, es sólo que recibe un curso que no realizan las personas que se presentan por libre. Por eso las autoridades publican ejemplos de exámenes pasados, también.

Espero que este post sirva para ayudar a que planteéis preguntas con libertad y para que podáis controlar el miedo irracional destructivo! 😀

Announcements

Please, find some time to read my global assessment of levels and let me know what you think, if you kindly can.

Next week you will register for the June Orals. I’ll consider your preferences in terms of who with and do my best to make you all happy. The oral will be after the Written Exam and if Jefatura accepts our proposal, the info of the date will be published next Monday, and then when we finish our Registration to Oral sheet next week, they’ll publish the summoning times.

Mario will be summoned in “Convocatoria única” along with other absenteests/absentists unless he comes to class to register for the oral. I can’t accept registrations of people who do not come to me to register.

Remember to bring the Lexical Creativity workshop and the Functional Translation work next week, at least. Your LoM or “In class” list of items would be good for fitting comments here and there at plenary.

Remember to read the Guía before we part, to pose questions in class because I’m a more reliable source for answers than whatsapp groups, particularly if they panic. Don’t feel bad if I mention things like these because they occur. That’s why I mention them! 😀

About the adaptation for the listening exam, Karen, you will be doing your listening test at the same time as your classmates but in a different room, so we make sure have the perfect situation to take your test.

Please, keep practicing mutual support as you do, to help control fear, and overcome this terrible growth-preventer which is Exam Culture. Did you see the news today? About something our methodology works on? About the fact that the future (and this present time) is all about knowing how to learn? I suggested my School to get some of these books to have a look: http://www.arcix.net/tienda In case you’re interested. If you find articles on this topic, please, share.

Remember the C1 Materials blog has articles and stuff, too, posted and on the pages. If you feel insecure with vocabulary in reading materials, use this blogs or any source of articles to do tons of reading (not tons of looking up words, although you can look up some; but find a balance in training for global understanding too)

Next Friday 19 the School will be open and offering all kinds of activities in the different classrooms. When the program is published, please, have a look in case you find any of those interesting. I do hpe that you can have a look at our 25 Anniversary Multimedia Magazine, which will be presented this day or possibly later on. The evening of May 19 we’ll also go out for dinner. I think none of you is coming, but if you were interested, you would have to bring 29 euros on Monday and give them to Ana.

Well, in general, make sure you check out Novedades on the School’s website hereon! There’s tons of info coming!

Have a wonderful ever-learning weekend! ❤

Will you share with 2017-18 learners?

Dear all, I’m exploring here. I thought you might want to share something about your experience this year with new students next year. Have a look at this, and tell me what you think. I can change it or delete it, of course, and any posting on your part would be precious, I believe! ❤ If you are interested, if you like, you could post once you finish your exams, but also now, of course. Whatever!

My idea is if you can post things that could help other learners to make the most of this course and their learning year as a whole.

https://c1coursebymf2017.wordpress.com/words-by-2016-17-learners/

Diary for Mon May 8 – wow!

Well, today it was amazing to see everybody in class, almost! It’s true all of the people coming have been following this course this year, some more regularly, some as they managed to fit it into their lives, but I haven’t seen all of you together since the beginning of the course! So thanks for coming! So there might be hope some day. Perhaps some day we’ll manage to have most people coming every day, regular work being fundamental for small groups and workshops and stuff.

So thanks for this present!

Today I finished giving out all the Speaking Tests of that year. And two groups have already booked dates for their performance. Come to me to book, after the lesson. We can have 4 groups every day.

We learned/learnt Mario will join us, and I reminded people we’ll be creating the pairs and groups of three next weekish, I believe, for final registration to the June orals.

When I asked, just 5 people had worked on transcriptions of the news extracts, so we had to make do and exploit the activity some other way. We did the oral transcription of the example (financial crisis) and reviewed some language questions, mostly to make our range richer and consider register.

Then we tackled the functional translation exercise and managed to do quite a few, with language work too as above.

Finally, I BEGGED people to transcribe a news item so that next day small groups can work together and interact on top of everything. After that lesson I’ll publish my transcription of all of the news items, OK?

And we agreed we would HAVE Romina’s OP at about 8.50 next day and Sergio’s would be before that.

I also gave back tons of written checked work and people handed in more work. Remember to check the tray next day.

I also asked for donations for our library, but I think people forgot, so please, remind me next day. I can bring the piggy bank and register next day for you all.

I reminded people to read this year’s Guía, because you would rather ask me than start up panicky messaging on your whatsapp group once the course is over! 😀

In case I forget, if you’ve read my notes on Dialogues, I’d like to do a listening/speaking activity on complaints for dialogues. I’ve got 19 copies, but I’ll risk it. 😀

Oh, I also borrowed Dessi’s mobile phone to take a picture of you all, well, a few, but then 3 more people arrived so we might try again next day. I recommend the two OPs we have, because one is on the language used in the news and the other on storytelling! ❤

See you soon!

For Dessi, Lucía & anyone interested!

What a spectacular day today! 🙂 ❤ I keep forgetting to tell you this, so here goes.

If you are wanting to keep in touch with some kind of activity that allows you to use your English in different ways, keeping your level up and furthering your learning, and you know that it’s unlikely you can attend a course regularly, I have two ideas that you might be interested in.

As the School has a Sts’ Association, you could create a C1 Working Group where you would agree on monthly projects (reading club, film club, TV series, documentaries…) and you would meet for instance once a month after having worked on the project, like collecting useful language from a movie, and then when gathering also discussing the movie and whatever! It would be like what we’re trying to do here, but free from pressure!

Then, I need help with Talking People and everything, really. You could also consider doing something like that but with me, for Talking People. I’d need people who could browse a section on the site and tell me what to delete or modify or add, and we could communicate by email and then meet every now and then to design plans. I’m considering developing more projects, publishing more stuff (I published Stories from my Teacher as an ebook) or getting published stuff (with the School, though now I want to take a break and come back to my world because I’ve worked far too many extra hours for this School and I really need to stop that), so it’s a universe!

And we could connect both, too! 😀 (orgasmic!)

Then of course, we could organize the amazing project of Guest Speakers: you could prepare an OP every year to bring to our C1 Course and that could be an excuse to teamwork or stuff.

Then, supposing you wanted to use any of the materials I would interested in exploiting in class, you could be in a project designing listening, reading exercises for C1 students. I mean for free, like I do too, I mean, just for keeping in touch with English and learning!

If you think you would be interested in doing any of this, then my proposal is you take your tests, and if you pass, you’ll always have this! 😀 ❤ A way of keeping learning but independently and keeping in touch with a kind of progressist academic world where the most important thing is actually learning, expanding your world, learning about our world, and using your English in various ways!

This is the 2017-18 blog I’m drafting these days to remember things I need to improve and stuff!

https://c1coursebymf2017.wordpress.com/

If you have any comments or suggestions feel free to post!

Draft on our work on Exam Training – Is this what we did / are doing?

Exam Training Workshops (1 word page)

I haven’t been contacted for the possibility of me playing some past listening exercises in class for people who missed them, so I understand it won’t be today.

Anyway, I’ll be working in the classroom, tons to check and stuff. But if anyone is interested in this and drops by, perhaps we can establish what you want to do, so I can prepare it for another Friday? Or let me know in class next week, OK? Check out the page above!

(Edited) Diary for Wed May 3, C1 Pack Blues, homework & lesson plans

Today people kindly did a questionnaire on the Mediateque for the Head and because the two OPs were postponed, we also gave out some more Speaking Tests, and I explained how we will proceed in mid-May with registration for the Orals. I wonder if somebody knows whether the people not coming will be joining us in June, just for facilitating organization. But don’t worry because it’s OK if people come by surprise. It’s just to save copies and work out the orals (creating groups of three or not).

Then we did the June 2016 Listening test and I gave people the corresponding Reading and Writing Tests. (By the way, this Friday I’ll be in class from 4 to 8, so if people are interested in taking a listening test, you could come. Now, I’d have to look for stuff, or you could drop me a line with the info, cause I can’t remember what you wanted to do.) I thought people would want to evaluate their level, so I said they could do it timing themselves. For people more interested in using these tests for furthering their learning, I suggest the proceed like with the Speaking Tests you are preparing: have a look at the questions, read and listen on those topics, expand your vocabulary, review the theory on those kinds of writing tasks, gather ideas, knowledge, and then take the tests timing yourselves, too. Practice doing outlines too, and proofreading!, the before and after writing.

I forgot to ask you if you had passed this test, so please, let me know next day.

I also forgot to ask if anyone would like to donate 1€ and adopt a book! Incidentally, here is the brochure we’re presenting next Friday morning at the Education Fair (Expoeduca) in Málaga (Port 2, or something!) coed_diptico2017_conemail (4 A5 pages, to be printed in an A4 piece of paper so it looks like a leaflet, “díptico” in Spanish) It’s in Spanish because Coeducación uses this language to address the whole of our community and the general public. If you wish to translate it into English, that’ll be welcome! But first get in touch, because we could be changing the text, as I wrote this one for this ExpoEduca, a one-time thingy.

Last, I mentioned I was surprised by the fact that only 3 people in this course bought a copy of the C1 Resource Pack. I was told you had printed it. Well… I already knew, yes. You did so at the beginning of the course. Anyway, we’re in no economic trouble. So don’t worry.

For next week, we agreed our plans would be the following:

  • People bring their Functional Translation exercise and their transcription of the News Extracts, so that small groups can practice communicating for real purposes.
  • People bring their checked work to voice the “In class” notes I included, so we can review common mistakes to avoid.
  • We’ll have Romina’s and Sergio’s OP, if possible.

And on Wednesday…

  • we would work on morphology: using the Wordformation and Lexical Creativity workshop. Here is the page where you can download for free this amazing workshop: https://c1coursebymf.wordpress.com/creating-words/ Not as amazing as the work you’ll do in small groups. You’ll be surprised of how magical it is to create words together!
  • More on mistakes people made, if Gema and Encarni can make it to class, too. Or any other person’s, of course!
  • I would also like to watch an audiovisual, too, for subsequent discussion, and it could be something you suggested.

Homework:

  • Listen to radio program(me)s and use my podcast to improve your fluency and accuracy in useful language for speaking. I recommend the Communicative Strategies 1-3 episodes and generally speaking all the audios I have for advanced students.
  • Read the C1 Resource Pack, the cards on textual structure in dialogues and all of those on tests.
  • Consider the Writing File and whether you have questions on types of texts.
  • You should also read at some point the Guía PUC for students, the one they just published.

Lesson Plans Today & Your Pending Language Work

  • Two OPs that will be videoshot: Romina, on feminist fairy tales and Sergio (welcome to our blog! Better late than never! 😀 ❤ ) on language in the news
  • People adopting a book in support of our Education for Equality library (1 euro) – voluntary, obviously!
  • Listening PUC exam June 2016 + reading and writing tests too for further practice at home.
  • (After lesson) Pairs or groups of three come to get their Speaking Tests, if they like. I’m moving it here but we could do it in class if time allowed today. Otherwise, we can do it next week.

ABOUT MY CORRECTIONS AND YOUR UL WORK. I have language and textual comments to bring up in class from the pieces I checked this week, so if today we don’t have the time for that, I’m asking people with “In class” scribbled in their work to bring it to class next week. The problem here is when people miss the lesson, so I’d ask them to please post my “In class” points on this blog, so we can all learn about them. For instance, as so many people misused “due to” I suggested they gather useful language on the use of “due to” and related connectors and share that in class or on the blog, moment when I would give a final comment, to help you fix that in your mind, too. At the advanced level it’s best to have students do some work before the teacher repeats the theory, so that is why my work is dependent on your work, OK? But as it is complicated to have people do this (I really need to improve this for next year), I’ll tell you now about this item, but just the theory won’t help you overcome the fossilized mistake, but anyway!: “due to” CANNOT be followed by a Subject and a Verb, only noun phrases and -ing forms: “Due to strong winds” (because of strong winds, “because of” = cause), “Due to underfunding”. Most often, people making this mistake mean “because” (reason, not “because of”), as in “Because the winds were strong”, “Because the sector is underfunded”). Yes, you can say “Due to THE FACT THAT”. Actually, THE FACT THAT is what allows us to add a S + V (“that” introducing a clause with a personal form of the verb).

I thought you would arrange a date for bringing your Language Work of this kind? Well, feel free to do so. I can give you some time for sharing in small groups and listing things, and then we can have a plenary. Please, let me know so I can announce the lesson plan for that, OK? People who know how to use items other people misuse could also practice explaining that, and offering their examples. The more you use your English for different purposes, the better your English will get! 🙂 ❤

 

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

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.

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!

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.

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:

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!

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!

Lesson Plans March 27 (cloze), L/R 2006, Writing workshop

You know about today. Today it’s you all speaking about your work and all that, considering tests, of course, about your reading and listening work, and we can check Multiculturalism, my cloze without key.

— We checked the multiculturalism cloze test, and people got a copy of Orwell’s.

About the second lesson this week, we’ll continue with Reading and Listening Advanced Tests.

This time we’ll do a Ciclo Superior (advanced) test that was given in Madrid, before the reform, so learn about other kinds of exercise formats. We’ll do the listening test in class, correct it and possibly listen again to check things, and you’ll take a copy of the reading test home.

The following is moved to the week after the spring hols:

Writing Workshops

Next Monday you’ll get your writings back and we’ll hold a session on Writing, strategies, and Language Mistakes. You’ll also bring your Ciclo Superior Reading Test, so we can check it.

Next Wednesday you need to bring your LoM so we can have questions and comments, and start working on a List for Brainstorming on Language Range. You should work on this checklist in your spring hols, and after those, I’ll bring mine. You should work on Reading and Listening exercises during your spring hols, using the materials I posted here and on the C1 Materials blog. Include retelling, so you practice speaking! And then do it in class, too! We’re interested!

Comments & Questions – PUC workshops

Evaluation Sheet Exercises are not about you evaluating a classmate’s exercise. They’re about you getting acquainted with our evaluation criteria and tools, OK? Imagine your classmate’s exercise is your own. Don’t get distracted with what mark you’ll give the person. You’re not doing this for that. I’ll give them the mark. Just evaluate as if it were your own work and you’re just learning about evaluation.

About Dolores’s question on mistakes below level. The reason why there are no general lists by levels of mistakes that would mean someone has not achieved a certain level is that so far we cannot establish that. The mistakes I list in our pack are just examples, but they need a context, for instance, complementary info on how many mistakes, what kind of mistakes, how rich the language range is… Fossilized mistakes are those that are systematic, for instance, or mostly systematic, but we can say little more about them.

Examples. We can tell when people do not listen enough to English from certain mistakes, for instance, transfer mistakes in flawed structures coming from literal translation. Or when people forget their present simple 3rd person s’s. However, someone at the advanced level knows that native speakers can drop this suffix when speaking slang, like you hear in songs “she don’t love me anymore” and we use this kind of language in humo(u)r for instance! But this is also true: they would not be using this kind of language in an exam oral presentation, right?

So it’s not so much about not making mistakes. Or saying, If you make this particular mistake you fail. There’s room for mistakes, but you need to work during the learning year to make the least mistakes you can, and we have an excellent methodology for that. Here’re some examples:

  • It’s of paramount importance you learn to listen to your English to monitor your production and fix your mistakes on the spot. This is important both for exams and real life, because mistakes can hamper communication and all that. And that’s why I spend so many hours editing videos, so you watch them (anybody’s not just yours) and learn to do this because this resource helps you a great deal, mostly unconsciously, but also consciously when it comes to taking notes on what you learn and for your LoM. (And who offers English learners this resource? In private education this resource would make the course much more expensive for sure!)
  • It’s very important you learn to be good proofreaders of your written work because that gives you the chance to fix your mistakes on the spot, too, apart from giving you the chance to improve your language range. That’s why we have one assignment a month: so you do Before Writing work, and you develop the habit of proofreading after sitting to write the piece. This is, the During Writing and After Writing come in one same sitting. However, people tend to prefer to make clean copies of their work instead of learning how to be good proofreaders. Proficient proofreading involves reading the piece at least three times noticing different kinds of things in each. When you proofread your work you can also take notes for your LoM.
  • LoM’s are not about jotting down stuff, they are also about oral drilling. That’s yet another resource we have to work on overcoming fossilized mistakes and avoiding mistakes. When you know you make a mistake, that it’s fossilized, you need to do lots of listen-n-repeat so that your mouth, your ear, too, automatize accurate production. Because they have a memory and you have made that mistake zillions of time. (So I always wonder why people don’t devote some time a week to listen and repeat, really. It’s so easy and so efficient! And you don’t need to suffer, you can even be dead tired, or dead drunk! We’re so obsessed that only suffering indicates learning, that learning happens with that kind of effort, we forget that learning happens in all kinds of ways, including positive joyful ways!) And this also relates to gathering Useful Language. It’s all connected! It’s like this kind of maps.

Related image

OK, I think now I’m lost in outer space!! 😀 Please, feel free to ask or comment! Night night!

Some feedback. February Writing Assignment (& Language Wkshp 4 April)

Please, whenever you have the time, supposing you are not following this blog regularly, list what’s in the posts that you need to work on, and bring to class, or ask your classmates, and remind me! The language workshops depend on your initiative mostly.

Language Workshop to put together!

(Do you have enough info from learning from your mistakes, or the work you did in your assignments to make requests or share what you learned/learnt?) I’d like to hold some language workshops in April, OK? So give this some thought, please!

DUE TO: For the language workshops, we need people to gather examples of their use of “due to” and bring to class so we can hold a language workshop on this and related connectors.

There are more and more destinations that are now being classified as ecotourist DUE TO their biodiversity (NOUN PHRASE) and BECAUSE they implement (S + V) sustainable development policies.
(Original: due to their activities and biodiversity)

Useful Language for topics like employment, tourism, economy…

To qualify as an eco-destination / as an eco-friendly location, a certain place should consider sustainable development, in terms of environmentally-friendly measures but also encouraging respect for the local population and its culture and lifestyles.
(Original: To be considered as ecotourism,)

Obviously, Spain is undergoing a severe economic crisis and regular and quality jobs are hard to find, or even non-existing! In any case, the questions would be, Is employment under substandard conditions better than nothing? / Is working in substandard conditions better than nothing?
(Original: It is obvious that Spain is in crisis and there are not many chances to get a job in no substandard condition. In any case, is this kind of employment better than nothing?)

Temporary low-paid jobs
Season work – high season / peak tourist season, low-season, off-seasons, off-season periods, timing your trip to avoid…,

Reading Articles (informative, magazines)

Please, read and work on this article (useful language):
https://thesavvybackpacker.com/choosing-when-to-travel-high-low-and-shoulder-season-in-europe/

LoMs
Your LoMs should have a section for grammar mistakes you really need to overcome and avoid, like misplacing words like “still”, “also”, “usually”, “always”, or confusing “used to (do sth)” with “usually (do sth)”
You should also have notes on textual matters, like how to end a piece, depending on the kind of format. Can you brainstorm on this and list a few examples and bring to class or post here? e.g. I suggested Sonia end her piece (US) / should end her piece (UK) on Ecotourism with a question that would connect the topic she developed to where she lives. Her article is informative, with headings. She presents a definition and the benefits of this kind of tourism in general and then tackles the question of the principles underlying this activity to end her piece with an example of countries who are good eco-destinations. There is something missing. A true ending. If one cannot include a new paragraph to assess the information presented before, one can certainly include a question pointing to subsequent reflections, and it is always helpful to use our own reality to make that connection, e.g. Will Costa del Sol manage to face the challenge?

Reminder next Monday / next week

Dear all,

I hope you’re enjoying your use of English!

This is just to remind you that next week we’ll just have the Monday lesson, for I’ll be going on strike on March 8, to join the International Women’s Strike. The Monday lesson is important because it’s our intro to Exam Format Training month, so I hope you can all make it to class if you want to learn about this issue.

What you need to do/bring:

  • Please, read the last diary or the Guía because next Monday you can pose your questions on that Guía PUC. (See post below on this.) We’ll check the Junta’s website and the School’s website as part of resources with info on exams, and go through how Announcement Boards operate in June!
  • Bring the “Some Extras” section of the C1 Resource Pack, because we will have a look at the materials it contains about the PUC exams, to prepare our Exam Format Training this month, which will be focused on taking Reading and Listening C1 tests not so much to test your level as to get acquainted with formats and test if you are good at the skills (techniques and strategies) you’ve been working on as you followed this course. (The C1 Resource Pack this month will be a valuable resource, too.)

This month we will also consider some Speaking and Writing points addressed throughout this course, as revision, and I’ll introduce dialogues and you’ll practice the theory (but it’s all in the Pack, too and Focused Dialogue Practice comes in our last month together).

Because we’ll be taking sample tests all the time, you will be freer to decide what your work will be like at home, so consider this:

You need to work out a learning plan to be clear about what you wish to suggest and ask, make sure you know what you want to work on and that you find the time you need to do so. Ingredients: audios on news and interviews, tidying up your Speaking File and Writing File, to review things you learned/learnt, list your reading and useful language work, consider your List of Mistakes and what support you need for overcoming them.

Last, about your work outside the classroom and sharing your work, in class or on this blog, I’ll try and explain why we have a course blog, too, in case it helps. But if you’ve been following this blog there won’t be much new! 🙂

Have a lovely weekend and see you (on) Monday!

(Edited Worksheet 2) For your homework on Questions

Based on people’s mistakes, I asked students to improve their spontaneity, accuracy and fluency in questions, but I got no news anyone was doing any work on this, we’re always so busy in class!, so to encourage you all to do so, just in case, because it’s an issue you should be good at, here is a worksheet.

The ideal thing is you go throught this worksheet together in small groups and then tell me what you reviewed and all that because I might have the role of clarifying points or expanding your knowledge or understanding of the whys, too.

Remember you have the Talking People Podcast for listening and repeating different kinds of structures, including indirect questions. It’s the segment called Useful Language.

Questionnaire assessing teacher’s work (dedicated to the 40%)

I had a glance (because I took home the batch of papers by mistake), and felt happy to read your Evaluación al profesorado. As I kept reading, I found something that upset me. Let me share the journey!

But first of all, what’s most important:

Thanks for your Evaluation, everybody’s. ❤ It’s quite encouraging! And a relief, for its one of the things we teachers look forward to and fear (considering that this kind of thing in public education does not threaten our employment, meaning, it’s just simply for our information). About feedback on improvable things, thanks. I’ll take it into account.

(But don’t forget the main problem here is the student’s lack of time, not so much the lack of effort on the part of the teacher. In any case, we’re always eager to help.) Just remember what I always say: if you want to do something, just do it, or let me know, or ask us in class.

Refuting a point in Evaluación al profesorado. A little mistaken perception, in my view, or simply unfair or uninformed, is the following: should I really devote more time to “preparing the lessons”? Isn’t my work on this good enough? How can that be improved? How would you know that I need to prepare lessons more or better? I am interested in all the answers to these questions, or other comments, so you can leave it with Ana and it can be anonymous, of course.

Considering I work really hard for the C1 course (it seems it’s really hard to understand that women know well how to do their jobs when they don’t obey the Exam Culture mandate), this piece of criticism really hurt because it’s a 40% that believes that — 6 people/15 (And within this, a 20%, 2 of these people, believes I really need to prepare my lessons better. It shocks me — how can they feel they can assess this point in such way?

Let me explain: teachers are paid to devote 10 hours a week to working at home, that add to the hours they have to spend at school. Well, I devote much more to preparing and managing learning in C1 courses and lessons. I’m not that incompetent. I spent the summer writing out how you should be learning this year, to put a related example. You’re lucky because you’ve got it all written down, and if you miss lessons, you can still learn to learn in this course. This blog is totally out of my timetable, too. It’s Must material for this course, too. And it’s extra support to your two weekly lessons, it helps you if you miss lessons, helps peole keep in touch. Just imagine you only had our actual lessons. In this course you’re getting extra support all the time thanks to the internet. That’s related to preparation of the lessons. And it’s a precious present. Here I word our shared experiences, I keep a diary!! Do you know how many hours that takes, and mental effort? And how crucial it is to preparing lessons? Perhaps the problem is you are not doing your part and that I have to intervene far too much. This blog is full of info and resources (tons of hours behind that, to prepare that) people saying I don’t prepare my lessons well or enough obviously don’t appreciate or use.

Doesn’t it show I spend ZILLIONS OF HOURS preparing your lessons? Teachers laughed when I told them this morning why I was upset. All teachers know that teaching without a textbook takes much longer in preparation than using a textbook, that’s why it’s not common to find this kind of courses! They laughed because it was unbelievable!

Hours trying to figure out how to move on considering all the work people can’t do, and that I have to make up for? Because this course is about you doing, sharing things in class, and working together.

I thought I had managed to explain the attitude in independent and resourceful lifelong learning in the C1 Resource Pack. This course is about learning that. If people want to do reading comprehension exercises, that kind of work, there are tons of textbooks, websites, with exercises including exams. That’s not the aim of this course: we have one year to do what is supposed to be done in two, and the effort needs to last. You are not appreciating I prepare my lessons because your idea about what class should be about is traditional, and unfitting to what we’re doing here. Isn’t it obvious that I’m offering quality teaching and learning spaces and experiences? As a teacher I’m a facilitator of learning, not someone who improvises senselessley, undiscernenly. When I improvise, it’s all within a framework I have actually laid out before your eyes in various places, including class.

Have you read the C1 Resource Pack? Not even marketing works with women authors! The Pack systematizes — makes a very practical guide — 28 years of communicative teaching experience — in the setting of a country obsessed with a very narrow interpretation of evaluation and learning, that of “Exams” and Exam Culture (the murderer of curiosity and self-confidence, of teamwork, of community, as some people mentioned in our talk on Iceland). You are lucky to have this Resource Pack (and for free!).

So what’s your understanding of your role as a learner in interactive courses where we don’t have a textbook so you can choose topics and materials and share your world? Don’t I suggest sources, give guidelines for learning, try to coordinate your participation, encourage you to bring your world to class, to teamwork, don’t I design activities for you, based on what’s going on outside the classroom, in the world? Don’t I adapt to you, all the time, and follow the plans I annouce?

If you can’t see this, it’s OK, but you are wrong. I suggest you open your mind to this kind of learning, because it’s meaningful, communicative, and very rich and effective, long-lasting, at least it lasts more than exam training.

Do you know how many hours it takes a teacher to prepare courses and lesson that are FLEXIBLE and allow students’ freedom to select topics and offer contributions? If you want to do exercises, the internet is full of that. Training in exam format is included in this course, as you should know, in the month of March, because training in exam format just takes doing a few exercises in that format. If you want to believe private courses that charge you 100-300 euros a month for 6-8 months of exam training, well… the fact is exam training just takes doing few exercises, and that’s something you can do on your own, too. The harder thing is LEARNING ENGLISH at the advanced level. It’s funny how people tend to agree when it comes to criticizing the education system but then how very few people consider alternatives and are capable of enjoying them, of using them to further their knowledge and sharpen their skills.

Dear students in the 40% who believe I don’t prepare my lessons well or enough, please, reconsider. What you tell us teachers is not accurate in this point.

The May 68 movement expressed it very clearly: We have the systems we generate, meaning, what most people believe rules. I’m very fortunate to have a precious 60% thinking I do prepare my lessons well, very lucky to have a 60% understanding this, because it’s not a kind of understanding that prevails in society, so good at harming good things and considering bad things inevitable.

If someone did not fill out/in the Evaluación al profesorado, you can ask me for the sheet next day, because DOFEI has extended the deadline. I promise I won’t have a look! 😀 DOFEI will analyze all the sheets and hand me the final report.

Well, for a good rest now! I refuse to prepare anything else for you this week! 😀 I hope the 60% will also make the most of what is probably proper learning for the 40% who can’t see how hard their teacher works for them: Exam Training Month next March! 😀

Enjoy your free time and your English! ❤

Radio interviews: TreTalk “podcast”

In case you want to listen to radio interviews.

Remember I suggest reading and listening materials at C1 Materials, so you are free to pick the topics you are more interested in, supposing you don’t have time to do all the listening and reading I do to prepare lessons for this course!

About the February Writing Assignment

Please, don’t forget to bring it after Semana Blanca, if you want to write that kind of text. (But if you don’t find enough time to work on your English, I’d suggest you not leave out listening to the news and interviews!)

And then, think about your preferences for the March, April and May assignments, OK? (while considering the Guía PUC, as I mentioned below, and the info I gathered on exams in my C1 Resource Pack — though we’ll go through that together, the “Some Extras” part, in March in our Exam Training Month). So we all know what each of you is going to write, and so I can select resources to help you learn about that kind of text (and I hope this time, the people who did not have a look at the resources I share to help you learn to write, find some time to do that, please. It’ll help you improve!)

See posts below for more info!

Oral Presentations on the Reading Projects

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

LIST OF WORKING GROUPS AND DATES THEY BOOKED FOR THEIR ORAL PRESENTATION

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

Feminist humor/humour

272759549742

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

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

imagine-revolting

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

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

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

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

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

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

1973november_feministhumor

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

feministhumor_sex

guerrilla-girls

rapewontbelieve

wecandoithomem-feministagranddaughters

Assessing our time together

Dear students,

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

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

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

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

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

About speaking in public

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

Remember

  • 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!

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: http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/skills/speaking/oralperformances/listofperformances.htm

Talking People is chaotic, there are also OPs (teamwork, mostly) here: http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/yourstuff/texts/oralpresentations/index.html

On this page I included both links, to remind me of the need to merge these pages or something: http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/skills/speaking/oralpresentations.htm

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! 🙂 ❤

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.

Updates on Talking People

Dear students,

I just updated / I’ve just updated your In class page on talkingpeople.net, which is this one:

http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/ra/c1/index.htm

Path: talkingpeople.net – Enter – In class – C1 Course

Some things need revision but I think the basics for this course are there, including the School’s syllabus. In any case, if you find mistakes, or have proposals, please, let me know.

Teacher’s Diary

Today Karen told me something beautiful, that she was starting to consider language from a different point of view! ❤ Learning is about discovery, so that’s one of the most beautiful things that can happen! And how it does when we simply put our heart-mind into learning! ❤

The other thing I wanted to share with you is that I’ve been working like a maniac on the final version of the C1 Resource Pack. I wanted to express my deepest gratitude to you all who worked on the Gender Worksheet. You see, as a pacifist and a feminist, I’m in a very good position to do what I’ve been endeavoring to do all my life: find common ground so that people with different ideals, ideologies, lifestyles, passions, can agree on something that will enable us to move to a better stage of development, in terms of avoiding violence and injustice. So reading your work is allowing me to clarify what I need to be explaining in the pack on gender. Of course, there’s more to this: your English and finding out all the follow-up work we can do. And I found something that will help you start doing that at an individual level. On the C1 Materials blog, where I collected all the gender work we’re doing, I included an article with interviews to trans people, transgendered people, who are in an extremely insightful position to speak about gender, gender in patriarchy, and how gender feels. I hope you can find some time to read it. ❤

Apart from pulling my shit together on gender, for the pack, I’ve also done something which looks easy but has taken me many years. Because going simple is the hardest, like learning to see what’s there! I’m attaching the card, my very-much-loved ficha because I can’t wait to show you!

vernacularlanguagesinspain