C1 Resource Pack

100% OF PEOPLE TAKING THE EXAM PASSED!

Dear all,

Class of 2017 will be remembered for a smashing result at Certificate Exams. In the C1 half, there were 15 students registered, and 14 followed the course and took the exam, and passed in June or in the September resit! The one who failed never came to class or took the exams. In the C1 CAL half, the 10 students in our list followed the course and also took the exams and passed. I wanted to congratulate you all and celebrate it here! Thanks so much for your work. Hopefully, the people who just reached the level this year (considering an advanced level requires two years of hard and joyful work, mostly developing the habit of using English in different ways, with original materials) should try to keep up their good work now, as resourceful and independent lifelong learners of English! ❤

You’re welcome to use all of our materials and volunteer OPs in class or contributions for talkingpeople.net!

Remember to re-read the C1 Resource Pack, for you may find it even more useful now! 🙂

Have a lovely bilingual life! ❤

2017-18 course blog: https://c1coursebymf2017.wordpress.com/

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

 

 

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Comparing Novels and Movies

In about an hour, you’ll be able to watch this very useful video, with Desi’s performance, comparing Pay It Forward, the novel, to the movie version. I included five cards at the end with tips on how to do this kind of assignment, but the example you can learn most of is Desi’s work, really! Notice how well she uses relative clauses, to include background info on things she mentions. And the other points I comment. ❤

About today

Today we reviewed some language points, and I said I’d post examples on “suggest” and check “recommend”, “advice”… I will. Soon-ish!

We had to rearrange plans, as Dolores told us her classmates were not coming. So we moved that performance for our last lesson together, when after listening to them, and giving them feedback, we’ll celebrate the end of the course read each of us a story from an amazing book I just bought online. I’ll also give you a brochure of our courageous proyect Desarrollando inteligencia feminista.

So today we listened to Lucía, Karen & Sergio, who did really well! ❤ And there were very funny parts too! Next day I’ll comment mistakes so you all see what we notice most. They would probably pass, the three of them, but Lucía and Karen made some mistakes I think they could avoid next time!

Then we listened to Soluna and Lorena, who made interesting mistakes now they will probably avoid when taking the exam, which is good news! ❤ Soluna would probably pass, but she needs to be more aware of balance in the amount of language each of them offers, and Lorena could pass but she needs to speak more, finish her sentences, and avoid mistakes.

Avoiding mistakes takes lots of monitoring one’s production, so I recommend you practice listening to yourselves, and use my edited videos, because they will help you develop this skill. As you watch the videos and read my notes on mistakes, jot down whatever is useful for your own monitoring.

Speaking Exam Summonings: I reviewed my draft document, trying to find a solution to the situation of us having more people come in June to the oral. Just now, I’ve written to Lourdes, to see if she’s coming. And I’ll send an email to Mario, too. But the idea is to have Sergio and Mario together. The thing is I can’t put them together because Mario has not registered for the oral and I need to see if he comes in “Convocatoria única” to assign him a time and a partner.

Last, we did not manage to read the intro to the lexical creativity workshop, so please, read it, print it all and have a look. If we don’t manage to read it in class, anyway, I’d like you all to create words in English next Monday. So work on this this week. It’ll help you with wordformation, which is interesting for whenever we don’t understand a word, for instance.

I gave some writings back, and there are more to go. You can’t hand in writings next week, so keep this in mind! If I don’t manage to finish (today I need to write out my defence for the sanctions for going on a strike last March 8 because tomorrow is my deadline! And I have so much work to do I’m not sure I’ll manage it all for Wed), you’ll all get your work back next Monday for sure.

Please, read the C1 Resource Pack on Speaking, to consolidate things we’re considering these days: not speaking Spanish or explaining what it means, balanced turn-taking, balanced production (as balanced as possible), having an intro and an ending, asking, making comments, follow-up language…

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/

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!

(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! 🙂 ❤

 

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!

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

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!

Lesson Plans – PUC Workshops: Round 1!

You can also use the C1 Resource Pack, the PUC cards, to check this information.

Reading and Listening Tests: June 2015

  • Listening Test: 60 min. On therapies (health) and on a referendum (politics)
  • Reading Test: 75 min. A film/movie review (politics) and on a festival

Writing Test: September 2015

  • Writing Tests: 120 min. An online request form and an argumentative essay

Lesson Plans

On Wednesday, March 15:

  • OP on The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
  • Listening Test.
  • Teachers reads out the answers and people share their results. But I have a request for this day: We need people to be very punctual, so we can do this, and even comment on techniques and strategies people used. If there were no time for this, we would have to do it some other day…

On Monday, March 20:

  • Reading Test
  • Small Groups work on their answers and discuss the texts
  • Teacher reads out the answers & Sts share their results
  • Questions and Comments on language and techniques & strategies people used

On Wednesday, March 22:

  • Writing Test
  • Teacher gives out the Evaluation Sheets and students exchange exams, for peer correction (you’ll find the Eval Sheet in La Guía, in case you want to get acquainted with its concepts)
    • On Monday March 27 students hand in their checked tests to teacher so she can evaluate everybody’s exam. Please, read this in Proyecto Educativo (page 30, ACLARACIONES SOBRE LOS DIFERENTES TIPOS DE EVALUACIÓN – particularly page 31 “Evaluación de la Prueba Unificada de Certificación y la Evaluación en Clase”), so you understand evaluating your writings is not checking them as I do during the course.

Pending (please, let us all think about this, too) When you take the Writing Test, we should rearrange the info on the Writing File here. I would like to do that in class with you all. You can start posting your preferences once you take the writing test.

March 27 & 29: we’ll take another listening and reading test, following the same lesson routine. I’ll announce it like I just did.

Diary for Mon May 6 – PUC Workshops + OP + Some Homework

Today it was sweet to have a little conversation on what this course is about and why we’re here and why we use the methodology we use. Dolores had a brilliant comment to share, to encourage people to face Exam Training Month positively. ❤ And as I totally agree with what she said, actually, that’s precisely what I wanted to speak about today, I’d like to ask her to post it on this blog, if possible! ❤ Perhaps we can use and re-use her words year after year!

I did explain you are underusing this blog, but that I didn’t want to put pressure on you. But that I think you should use it to share your questions, work, etc. You are authors! And although we use every minute in class for hard work, there’re always things we never find time to finish. This blog can help us there!

Exam Format Training Month. My presentation of this training month was about considering we need to keep fighting the Exam Culture by trusting our work, our learning, and protecting our relationship to English. I encouraged students not to use the tests we’ll take as level testers (but I know they’ll offer you info on this, yes, but you’ll have April and May to do some more work, so don’t take it as final), but as ground for putting into practice what we’ve been learning about being resourceful when working on the language. To use their curiosity, which is to say, to control their fear and complexes in a postive way, being this resourceful: knowing nothing is at stake, really. Meaningful learning gives us much more than certificates, and passing exams becomes a logical consequence.

Our conversation brought about a few things you need to mull over and write about for the end of this month, and as we make progress in our training:

SELF-EVALUATION. Deadline: end of month. Your strengths and weaknesses, in your own perception, allowing me later to give you feedback on this self-evaluation. Soluna suggested brainstorming using this framework: SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats. Do this work in layers, in different moments, like working on a draft.

LEARNING AWARENESS. I asked students to be aware of all the work we’ve done (materials and developing our resourcefulness in terms of techniques and strategiest to do different kinds of tasks), what they’ve learned, so they can use it when we take exams this month:

  • underlining what when in which different ways in listening and reading tests and note-taking, arrows, writing outside the boxes or spaces for answers until doublechecking;
  • outlines and brainstorming on language (I’ll create a page so that you can all add items you would think of for this) before writing or speaking;
  • considering the useful language you gathered from listening activities, speaking and writing activities we’ve done, and all the reading, too (blog included);
  • considering what you learned on mistakes (and oral drilling to automatize accurate production) in terms of grammar, and textual structure and format, also communicative strategies. Practice your proofreading skills, which you have probably developed unawares!

EVALUATION QUESTIONNAIRE: we talked about what I mentioned above and Emilia made some interesting questions I answered. Then I explained that I always give students a questionnaire of my own in May, for feedback to design future courses, improve things, or find new ideas, and as I listened to people an idea came up: I’ve asked you all to tell me which questions you would like to be asked in a questionnaire assessing your learning in a certain course, particularly this one! So I’ll create a page here for that, but to protect your privacy, if you like, you can all send me your questions to my email in mid-April and I can just paste the question here, and then I can improve my questionnaire with your feedback.

OP on Pay It Forward, by Catherine Ryan Hyde: Marina, Emilia, Clara, Dessi and Soluna told us about this novel, its author and the movie, and shared a reflection on the question of stereotypes that we need to pick up later on. They also brought a fill-in-the gap activity and someone inthe group will be posting the answers because we won’t be meeting next Wednesday!

I’ll post an LoM in a separate post, OK?

I asked the group to send their work for publication on Talking People (other groups are also invited to do this, of course! I might have forgotten to tell them!), so we can also add Cristina’s work (which she sent as an audio from the UK!) and also so we can develop the topic of stereotypes by publishing your thoughts on that.

STEREOTYPES. Deadline: End of this month? (We can negociate this one.) As you think about it, remember to read and listen to materials on this, to pick up some useful languge. Then write (about 100 words is OK) or record something on this topic (1-4 mins is OK) and post it here or send it by email. Remember to tell me if you want to have your name (and which!) or a nickname or something.

Homework this month: plan your listening week! Apart from whatever it is you are doing, and considering future work, I’d like to ask you to include in your listening work (news, interviews minimum) my TP Podcast segment Useful Language, particularly episodes focused on Language Functions, because dialogues, conversations, discussions require you are good at those we need in conversations. And you will be working on your grammar, too (for speaking and writing). You might have already done this, then move on, there’s much more, but here is the start:

Part 1 external link listen Read here the sentences:
bullet Asking for Clarification & Getting More Info,
bullet Checking for Comprehension

Part 2 external link listen Read here the sentences:
bullet Inviting People to Speak
bullet Agreeing
bullet
Sitting on the Fence
bullet Showing You Follow & Making Comments

Part 3 external link listen Read here the sentences:
bullet Defending a Position
bullet Disagreeing & Challenging a Position
bullet Problem-solving, Reaching an Agreement, Recapitulating, Moving On

bullet Making Suggestions & Proposals
bullet Asking for and Giving Advice
bullet Giving Feedback

And if you collect more UL and you want me to record it, we can publish it as a podcast episode. Perhaps you could do it in small groups. Or you can start a post on that so other people contribute… Whatever suits you best!

Look! I also have episodes called Sentences for your Grammar! based on oral drilling I would do when making a certain mistake:

If you consider your mistakes and list sentences to overcome them, I can also record it as an episode.

Last, I did this for Intermedio, but you might find it a good consolidation tool and useful for brainstorming on language items for your speaking and writing work:

  • The passive and tenses

 

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!

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! ❤

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!

Some homework: watch & learn!

Better late than never! Here is Gema’s work with my language notes. Please, use it to work on your Lists of Mistakes, but also in your UL to improve your language range! Thanks, Gema!

Oh, remember that when you work on listening and speaking, you are also working on improving your writing!

Diary for Mon Jan 30 – Guest Speaker from Scotland! & Lesson Plans for Feb 1

Today, after some confusion, we had a wonderful lesson. We managed to do Part II of the listening activity on climate change, and people had amazing results. Now your follow-up work should include listening again and retelling (click to hear). Please, do the cloze test at the end of the pack, in case we can fit it in some day. We’ll do Part III whenever we can, too. Does anybody remember how long it took us today to do Part II? Thanks.

Then Cristina R and Catherine, from Scotland, gave us the wonderful present of a talk in Scottish English! Scottish English is hard to understand JUST BECAUSE we hardly ever get the chance to hear it! So now we’ll be able to get used to it, because apart from today’s talk, Catherine allowed us to videoshoot. Our guest speaker told us about her country, her hometown, what it’s like, what university is like, too. And answered quite a lot of questions by students! She’s looking for a language exchange English-Spanish, so if you are interested or know of anybody who might be, I’ve got the contact info.

Next Wednesday we agreed to do this: Devote the first 45 or 60 mins to small groups checking the Collocations Worksheets (one at least). I’d like to ask you to share with your group which Useful Language you chose from that work. Remember that you need to say those sentences out loud to count on your ear and mouth memories too! Then, the rest of the lesson would be for Reading Projects. Please, don’t let your group members down! I posted here some of the questions I need answers too, so please read! ❤

The deadline for your January Writing is next Feb 8, but today some people already handed in their work. Next week you should ask me about the February assignment if you have questions.

REMINDERS

LoMs. Remember you should be good at knowing which your weak points are in terms of mistakes, so work on your LoM with feedback and corrections to oral and written work.

Listening to radio program(me)s. News and interviews. There are lots of podcasts you can download, to select one every now and then and listen to it again and again to improve your comprehension, fluency and accuracy. Now it’s the time, and until the end of course.

Weekly Learning Plans. Not to hand in, but to maximize your learning time! OK?

Today Dolores told me she had finished reading the C1 Resource Pack and that she found it helpful for her learning. She said she had arranged different groups of cards, to meet her needs. Thanks so much! Feedback on this is precious for me, so I can improve things, or at least know what’s most useful to students. I’d like to remind you all that the version which is now for a free download on TP (link above) is not the same as the one you have. And — I know I wrote it, but — I think you should buy the paper copy, because it’s only 12 euros and it’s a very special thing that might go out of print for lack of resources in public/state-run education! (There are only a hundred and something copies, and that’ll be sold in not that long!)

Finally, I’m getting orals people have been working on (retellings of Story of Stuff, Redesign My Brain…). Well done! I’ll reply with my feedback asap, and if you don’t hear from me, please, remind me of that. Video editing and preparing articles and listening exercises is taking up a great deal of my time these days!

For Cristina B on the use & omission of “the”

Here are my notes to help you with the use and omission of “the”, which you need to improve. I’m posting it here because more people might want to check on this.

Hope it’s useful!

http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/func_gram/gramwebs/article_the.html

(Edited) Holiday Work! Starting Now!

😀 ❤

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The pack in in our School!
http://talkingpeople.net/tp/ra/c1/c1resourcepack/c1pack.htm

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.

Diary for Wed Nov 30 – Blog updates, projects, an OP!

Today it was meant to be the last day I would be collecting your reports on your work in the past two months, you rascalls! But only Marina handed in something, her wonderful listening log. Laura has been sending me info on this too — by email. Anyway, I don’t want to make you feel bad! I promise! It’s just I’m afraid people won’t be giving me info on their work at home, and I’d rather get some info on that, to design more lessons taking that into account! So please, try to hand in some info next week, OK?

The lesson plan was far too ambitious, so we have actually split it into two different lessons.

I started sharing info on blog updates, which was good to remind people of possibilities, both to read and listen, and post. I also mentioned the multimedia online magazine we’ll be publishing this year (it’s our 25th anniversary), and that I’d love to send in some of your work for sharing there. And I explained two things related to human rights: I asked students to print out these four pages for next week, so we can read out the declaration of human rights (legal and administrative texts), and I explained the project. I also told people about a project we teachers have (where we would welcome your contributions). I mentioned you could use your December writing assignment, a formal letter (to hand in in Jan 9), to join a letter-writing campaign of your choice, and that I could share links on Amnesty International’s or Prisoners for Peace by War Resisters’ International (people imprisoned for religious or political pacifism, meaning Jehova Witnesses or people like myself, but in prison for Direct Nonviolent Action, for instance). I mentioned cases as famous as Chelsea Manning’s (the soldier who shared info on abuse in wars with Wikileaks) and Leonard Peltier’s, an American Indian. I told people they could send me emails or post or just let me know about their preferences whichever way suited them best. Finally, I mentioned you might all find this audio useful if you plan to prepare your individual contribution this week for next week’s teamwork project on gathering UL from Story of Stuff.

By the way, I just got the final version of the C1 Resource Pack from the printer’s (it’ll be orange) and will be sending it back to them tonight, after revision, which means we might get the 200 copies before the hols. If you are interested in getting a copy, let me know, so I can ask for them.

Today we managed to check the collocations worksheet on negative feelings. We did so at Plenary, so that always means longer time spent in the activity because I’m such a story-teller and I keep interrupting processes to tell stories and comment language items! Anyway, the stories were related to Housing, evictions and the Spanish citizens’ movement PAH, against evictions, that Ada Colau and her amazing team started off, the controversial question of escraches. Are they nonviolent direct action, or violent?, a Travolta movie, smells, Pulp Fiction.

And Sergio did a brilliant OP on politics: building everything on historical information, he expressed his views on why Russia poses a threat to the world. His English was great to introduce people into some of the language we hear on the news. This also gave us the chance to review the ideas that Conclusions cannot include new points / ideas or examples.

What’s for next week? (so you can work this work at home) – see next post!

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.

(edited) Diary for Nov 23 – Sharing Stories & a documentary

Edited: I corrected some mistakes!

Today was the deadline for the November writing, a reasoned opinion. Next week when we deal with the workshop on rational discussions, I’ll comment why reasoned opinions are a very important exercise.

We had two students doing a 3-4 minute OP, Dolores, with an OP on Marie Curie, and Sonia, with an OP on Language & Communication. Both were very well put together (structure, language range, register; pronunciation too) and I hope they can record their final versions for their Speaking File.

We enjoyed a session where most students read out their October writing assignment. Thanks for making this possible! ❤

We watched Story of Stuff, took notes, and then talked a bit about it. I gave some tips on how people can use it to learn more English and gather ideas to address topics.

A student found the documentary oversimplified at times, particularly when comparing our level of happiness or leisure time to leisure in the Middle Ages. I had never thought of that! It could be the case, certainly. It’s hard to compare today to such a distant past.

About the info in the documentary, checking the sources is always good advice — and  the information given on political/economic decisions can be checked, it’s not an opinion the presenter has. Also the figures we’re given on consumption. So about possible biased views, I doubt this documentary is biased. I find examples of what it states everywhere around me, and I have also checked what she says about obsolescence — about the fact it was planned. It’s like Low Intensity Warfare. When you find out how our leaders plan life on earth, or how much money some hyper millionaires has, you really wonder why people trust them so much and mistrust people informing of this so much! Then, we need to consider this documentary created a world movement of people who are working to protect people’s lives (our production system does not respect everybody’s human rights) and protect the planet (our production system is resulting in the deplention of natural resources). If its views were biased, the question would be, Who wins? Just consider what people are working on, their projects: protecting people’s health and human rights, labo(u)r rights, developing projects on sustainable development, or sources of energy… But if you find where it is biased, I’ll be grateful to learn about it!

It would be great everybody spoke a bit on this documentary in class. Retelling or giving a reasoned opinion on what’s told.

Handouts to bring to class next week: Friends (episode 2, season 1), my workshop on rational discussions, and your collocations worksheets (positive and negative feelings).

Today people not coming to class the other day took their new set of collocations, which was pinned on the bulletin board.

Finally, Sergio booked for next Wednesday and Marina might speak on Monday, or Wednesday too. Please, feel free to book from now on.

REMINDER: Next week I hope I can collect your info on your work outside class since you started the course!

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

Diary for Nov 21 – C-Day!

Today we had our first C-Day, and I went through the list of feedback on your October Writings. It’s here.

This took up all of our time!! But we managed to listen to Lorena and Clara, reading out their pieces.

I gave out two new handouts on collocations, based on things you need to learn: intensifiers and mitigators, and one on speak, talk, tell, say. If people do it before the winter hols, we might check it in class, but we might not, and then do it in January. In any case, I’d post the key here.

I also reminded people I’m expecting info on your work at home by the end of this month: LoMs (with request for language workshops, if you like), listening logs, learning diaries, whatever it is you worked on and want to tell me about. List your orals at home, and in class. And your writings so far, too. Also your reading work, if you like. I’m particularly interested in knowing if the C1 Resource Pack has helped you in any way (areas) and if you follow this blog and if it helps.

Next day: we’ll listen to people reading out their work, and then watch Story of Stuff for note-taking and retelling. Then if we manage it, we will check your questions around the collocation worksheets on positive and negative feelings. There might be one or two OPs too. Ambitious! ❤ Reaching for the moon! ❤

Excuse my not replying yet to your emails. I’ll be on that soon!

Remember next day is the deadline for your reasoned opinions, and for posting your descriptions — though for descriptions you can post them throughout this week.

Dinner’s ready and it’s “gambas al ajillo”!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ Yummy!!!!

Diary for Nov 16 – HOW TO not do a single thing we planned!! (& a poem)

Language tip: It’s “how not to do” (to be or not to be), but because there are “how-to’s”, it is also frequent to do this in this context: “How to + not do”

😀 Well, today lots of people came to class, and brought work they’d done (minisagas, November writing, Gender handout) and all, and we were all ready for C-Day, but —

I congratulated Cristina B for her in-depth analysis on the Gender questions and she agreed to share it when I give it back on this blog. I’m thinking of including a card on that, because I think feminism has done amazing analysis on this question and it seems that few people know about it, which is a pity, because knowing about it does not equal being brainwashed or anything, it’s just considering informed insight. Again, the problem is not disagreeing, the problem is — I believe — feeling threatened or attacked by viewpoints which are different. This hampers dialogue, and we should all fight hard to help people develop the ability to share their worlds respecting diversity and even realizing that diversity makes everybody’s life richer, more interesting.

For some reason I cannot recall, we started the lesson talking about the future, the ways English has to approach naming future events, and well, it’s one of the most amazing issues in grammar, along with the use of modals, so I sort of took people on a journey which included reviewing what they had learned about “the future” (on Functional Grammar at talkingpeople.net, there are some notes on this in case you want to have a look, “Expressing the future“) and reflections to understand why that happened, in the English-speaking mind (likelihood of occurrence; how different tenses and verbal and prepositional phrases are used to express different degrees of likelihood of occurrence). Two C1 items to master this year in connection to this language point are the “to be to-” structure, for announcing future events, and the future continuous for announcing plans we have kind of scheduled. Well, check this out in your possibly innumerable grammar notes everywhere! I’m trying to forget it all! 😀 Anyway, this led to modals, too, and we reviewed some uses of “will” as a modal, which is a universe, really, and some of “can” (mostly for requests) and “could” and “will” and “would” (for hypothetical). Well, have a look at “The Amazing World of Modals“, too, in case you find some proposal for work in class.

We agreed on the following (future projects: Language Workshops): people will pay attention to how futures are expressed in English and collect those examples, so one day we can hold a workshop on that, or develop a project for publication, like we did with our first session on Useful Language. You could do the same with modals, and in general with tenses.

Then Karen reminded us we hadn’t dealt with sharing our reading plans, so we did that, and 7 people are going to read PIF (they may place an online order for the books; groups organize themselves as they like), I’m so sorry! I can’t remember names now! And about 4 the Sherman Alexie Diary (Lorena will join in because she already read it/she’s already read it), same apology. Two plan to read High Fidelity, Germán and Dolores, I think. Cristina might join Romina, because Romina took the Feminist Stories, which Cristina read, or she might do a project on her own on a book she’s reading, unless she invites people to join her. Cristina R., you need to tell them about the book! (It’s certainly immaterial if I’ve read it or not, so please, your reading likes are the priority — feel free to read what you like!). I think Sergio took Orange Is the New Black, but I may be wrong, though he hasn’t decided yet. Please, people post about your groups or plans, if possible.

Germán reminded us we had to check the collocations worksheets.

When we were about to watch the documentary Story of Stuff, we remembered the Poem project, and well, I ended up playing Wild Geese and we ended up learning it by ear by heart on the spot (well, the first step!). I was somehow overwhelmed, because one cannot improvise reading poems in class. That needs getting ready for public reading, because poetry is so powerful it can move you deeply and that’s just what happened! Not that I cried, but visualizing all that beauty and being lulled by the music in the poem and its message, plus all the life experiences I connected to the poem was like an orange tree in spring! 😀 ❤

POSTING ON BLOG. We had a look at how you can all post as authors, but I think we’ve got some mysteries to solve, once everybody tries to post (not only comments, but posts). I wrote about this in some previous post here.

Anyway, we decided on plans for next week, and

  • I extended the deadline for the November writing to next Wednesday (descriptions to post here, and writing an-about-100-word reasoned opinion on a controversial topic, any, from deep and hypersensitive, like Is being a woman/man something cultural or biological?, to Are you for or against plastic shopping bags?).
  • On Monday we’ll do what we planned to do today: C-Day (my feedback, your LoMs, your sharing your work / reading aloud) + screening the documentary Story of Stuff, which, incidentally, you can all watch over the weekend if you like. I know some of you won’t be able to wait for so long! 😀 So you get acquainted with using the C1 Materials blog, the link is in “Other Audio & Video” (and then you’ll have the chance to see which other documentaries we’ll be watching).
  • On Wednesday we’ll listen to Sonia and Dolores, giving a 3-4 min oral presentation, and give them feedback. If somebody else has never given an OP in class, PLEASE, volunteer for this lesson. Book next Monday so we know how many of you we can fit into that lesson!. We’ll check the collocations handouts. And then whatever else you wish to do! Let me know on Monday!

LAST. I’m very grateful to your work, your questions and reminders in class, because you are helping us to do things we planned to do! Please, keep this up! I’m so flexible in class I can totally forget about other things we wanted to do! By the way, Cristina R., although I told you I would not number my fichas-fitzcherald, thanks to your proposal I realized I had to explain why, so I included a note in the card with the table of contents! ❤ I have also reflected on your gender worksheets to try to improve some of the things I explain in the C1 Pack when sharing my feminist intelligence. So thanks for that.

Diary for Nov 14 – OPs and Lesson Plan for Wednesday

Today I gave your checked writings back and reminded people of how to work with my corrections and suggestions today/tomorrow, and what to bring to class next day, so we can hold C-Day with my feedback (posted below) and your LoMs. Remember we can publish your work on talkingpeople.net – Your Stuff – Writing! And be grateful! ❤

We went through the ticks to the work you handed in or shared in class (Sept., Oct.) and people handed in the Gender Worksheet (here on Handouts, in case you want to do it), or a minisaga. Remember they’re not for evaluation, just as a reminder of what you worked on.

We had five wonderful OPs with feedback on language points.

Emilia spoke about unemployment, which allowed us to review useful language on the topic.

Karen spoke about mixed cultural backgrounds, and that was very interesting!

Image result for irish ringLucía gave a talk on an Irish ring in a true storytelling mode, with great work on language. I’d like to send you all of our support for your upcoming mission! ❤ ❤ ❤

Germán spoke on consumerism and happiness, and this triggered a new lesson plan for Wednesday: after the C-Day session, we will watch a 20-minute documentary which was key to educating everybody around how our economies and societies work in terms of production and human wellbeing.

And Dessi spoke about how to work to improve our listening comprehension performance in listening tests, based on the C1 Resource Pack and on another source I can’t mention because I didn’t catch its name! So we talked a bit about this crucial issue and I reminded people that to fulfill our learning plan, in these first months it’s crucial you listen to English every day for as long as you can, and practice re-telling. I forgot to give Dessi some feedback on her English: it was really good, so now I’m not worried about her not being able to make it to class as often as she’d like to.

By the way, she asked if she would be allowed to post things, so I’m telling you all: OF COURSE, you’re AUTHORS!!! Please, post away! ❤

Finally I updated people on the C1 Resource Pack. I really need to find time to finish its revision this week, to send in for publication! Wish me luck! 😀 ❤

Lesson Plan for next Wednesday

I’ll word the feedback I posted below, and you can add to that, ask, explain.

Then we’ll listen to people reading their piece.

We’ll watch Story of Stuff, a documentary, and then, depending on time available, you’ll reconstruct what you learned in small groups or we’ll do that at plenary. We’ll need volunteers as note-takers on the whiteboard!

Some people will hand in their Gender Worksheet or minisaga. Some groups will send in their pending Useful Language project. No rush but don’t forget to share! Optional writing: a review on the Ngozi essay.

Remember next Monday is the deadline for the November Writing Assignment. You should avoid making the same mistakes you made in the October piece. Next week we’ll watch our first neuroscience documentary, too, for note-taking and re-telling, but if you like, I could bring a listening activity I designed based on it. We also need people to book to do an OP next week. Please, people who have not done it should try to volunteer so that everybody has done at least a timed speaking exercise by the end of November!! If they don’t, other people are surely welcome!

Diary for Nov 7 + lots of stuff! + hmwk & plans

The impact of students listening to teachers should never ever be underestimated. It’s so inspiring and positive it simply makes the world a better place, just like that!

Soluna brought candy, and that is surely not to be underestimated!!! One of the pack was that kind of vitamin C soft center, you know? Yummy!

I gave out the handout I published today on our page here: Handouts, which is homework for next Monday, OK? Please write your name. I forgot to leave a space for that! I would like you to be absolutely articulate when addressing any kind of text on gender issues! 😀 ❤

800px-mileva_maricToday we had two wonderful OPs: on a mathematician, Milena Marich (who married Einstein /ain-stain/, by Luz, and on Teaching, by María José. I asked both students to record their final version after the feedback they got in class, for their Speaking File, and to send me that final version for doublechecking. I also invited them to exploit this good work in a written exercise of their choice. We should publish Luz’s on the Herstory blog! As both students used audio material to learn to improve their English (Luz a documentary and MJosé a TED Talk), I would like to ask them to post it on this blog, so other students can also have some follow-up on what we learned/learnt today from their talks in class.

We reviewed a great many how-to’s, too.

The importance of monologue structure, including signalling beginning and ending, and the power of endings.

I explained how to work on LoMs. Perhaps people who have not posted yet would like to post here what I said about this!

Another question was Communicative Strategies in Speaking exercises in tests and in life (e.g., clarifying, rephrasing, asking). You are all invited to post on what we said! I’d like to link here to an example of what I explained on brainstorming on scenarios.

A language point we tackled was around making your language range richer in terms of sentence structure: using noun phrases and participle clauses as I do here with a proposal for Lucía (previous post).

Collocations and synonyms came up: listing synonyms is not enough. Browse their collocations. Use online dictionaries and select those you might be more likely to use or remember.

Syntax. I explained how hierarchical word order is in English, to encourage people to notice the importance of the S-V-O heart of the matter! There’s always a love story going on here, so don’t break their heart! 😀 Place the other stuff before or after!

I introduced the idea that you all need to work on improving your use of modals, too. This including the telling of an anecdote. The pack has two cards with a table that can be improved for sure! I have about two weeks to brush it up, so if you have any ideas, please, post away here, or create a post called Feedback for the Pack!

I also mentioned how boring indeterminate “they” subjects are and how they offer you a chance to show you know how to use passives! Direct and indirect objects in the active can be subjects in the passive. Indirect objects are a fav in English because they often relate to people, and people are interesting as subject matter! Cf. They arrested me – I was arrested / I was given a beautiful raincoat.

We reviewed the doubling of ending consonants, and the pronunciation of -ed endings with dentals and of -es endings after sibilants. And practiced pronouncing words we need to master and the linking of words. (ai lav dit)

The use of “the” and mostly its omission was reviewed, too, introducing the subjective approach of when we say: People in this class are really nice – The people in this class are really nice. Never: the society (in general).

Comment adverbials. I encouraged the use of “Apparently,” to complement passives like “It is said/believed”.

Plans for November!

Reading. We just managed to mention that next day you should all tell me which book you would like to read, from the blog C1 Materials. I’m open to other possibilities, of course, but I’d like several people to be reading the same book so that you can help each other with ideas and language. Karen is reading the screenplay of the Marigold Hotel, which is an annotated script I worked on one summer! — meaning, you can also pick that! I recommended Pay It Forward for people who need to improve their accuracy, although it’s great too for people interested in descriptions and everyday language, and I recommended Orange Is the New Black for people interested in Law, Crime, Prison… (And you can download essays by Angela Davis on prisons!). Of course, I also recommend any of those. You can ask me next day.

Writing. I explained why this year my suggested assignment for November is not a format your Writing Tests ask you to use. You see, doing it will help you improve in two kinds of texts you should master: story-telling (descriptions) and argumentative texts (reasoned opinions). People agreed on this plan:

  1. Everybody looks for a description (a paragraph, a few lines) or a collection of sentences describing a person, a place and an object, and then you post it here. For persons, use literature — writers language range is impressive. For places, use travel guides. And for objects, you can use shopping websites or the like.
  2. Then people write a (more or less) 100-word reasoned opinion on a controversial topic. But remember — it’s YOUR opinion, not the presentation of the sides involved in the controversy.
  3. Optional. If you feel confident, try to write a description based on your work on 1. (Please, check out my ficha on Learning to Write from Reading Novels. It’s based on Pay It Forward, if I remember correctly.)

Deadline: Monday Nov 21. Please, remember the requirements!

Next day we have two OPs, and people have booked for Monday next week. Make sure you book as soon as possible if you have not done the 3-4 min OP. We need you to find excuses to learn more!

I’ll try my hardest to give you your October writings back, so you can work on your LoM over the weekend. And start off your Writing File.

NEXT DAY WE NEED TO MENTION I NEED YOUR RECORDS OF YOUR WORK TILL THEN SO THAT I CAN ASSESS A GREAT MANY THINGS FOR SUBSEQUENT LESSON PLANNING, OK? (sorry for the block letters. It’s just emphasis, shouting not intended).


Would you like to do a very active exercise on how to do outlines? If you are interested — it’s like a game — we could do it soon!

News on the C1 Resource Pack

Dear all,

Last Friday Ana, the janitor, Marianela, the head of studies and I drove to our printer (printing business) to check materials and sort out how to proceed next.

I hope you can all finish reading the pilot edition I sent you, because it’s full of ideas on how to organize yourselves and how to work this year. And I hope you can explain what you learn from the pack in a timed OP, and/or ask questions in class whenever.

Here is the cover I designed today. I’m totally overwhelmed with work, but have had a migraine these days (my neighbours have spent the last month making horrible noise early in the morning including weekends! and I’m reluctant to taking drugs, so I’m exhausted, really! Not a single day’s rest!!), so I haven’t finished checking your October writing assignments. I’ll try to have that ready for next Wednesday, so we can have C-Day the following week!

So do you like the outside of the box? How can I improve it?

c1portada

Diary for Wed. Nov 2 – Small Groups & Getting Organized!

Today people had the chance to work together!

First they dealt with sharing their work on Useful Language, and we agreed they would send their contributions to a team member, that this member would organize/organise them as a whole and then send it to me for corrections and publication on a page here: Lists of Useful Language by Sts. Lourdes’s team maximized their time and effort, for they did all that as they shared work! Bravo!

Then people checked the Collocations worksheets, here is the Key with comments, and I gave out two more, because I’ll be giving out two every month. Bring it to class in three weeks or so. After two weeks you can suggest when!

PACK. I reminded people everybody needs to read the C1 Resource Pack, at least the cards that speak about how to learn this year. And we agreed people would make sure the had done this by the end of this month. Meanwhile you can always ask in class.

COPIES. I know you have to do some printing, but this course gives you a lot of things for free, and you can always count on asking me for copies if you can’t afford it. Do so, if you need me to do that! Ask in advance, OK? In any case, I’ll always try to bring COPIES FOR USE IN THE CLASSROOM.

UL. I reviewed why we work with lists of Useful Language, too. But the pack makes all this clear, I think, I hope! You need to tell me!

ORALS. I undertook a persuasive approach this time, and managed to find 4 volunteers for next week. This means two people per lesson. Please, let’s do something: if you realize you’ll miss a lesson where you would be giving a presentation, tell your classmates so someone else can prepare work for that day! ❤ I reminded people that each lesson without students doing timed OPs is a lesson lost in this valuable sense of you getting the chance to get feedback on timed speaking test formats. You see, if this were private education, you would be doing this once a week. Because we’re twenty-lots, and there are from 5 to 8 lessons a month… I’m not good at maths but, counting on not everybody volunteering, this means we should be listening to 3 people in every lesson for you to do ONE timed mon a month in class. Of course, at home you can do more, and practice the one you share many times, so that when you come to speak in public you feel more confident, and so you practice speaking at home. So please, watch my video on how to work on monologues at home, watch Lucía’s OP, too, read the part on the Speaking File in the Resource Pack. In any case, everybody should have done a timed OP in this first term, please! And in any case, remember that you can use part of your listening work to practice retelling! This would be a minimum if you want to improve your English.

REMEMBER I need to collect info on your weekly work at the end of this month, OK? As important is that you tell us about it in class, and ask questions, and make requests.

HOMEWORK: The importance of planning should not be underestimated, particularly if you don’t find the time for this course!

Your weekly learning plans should include reading blog posts & pages (the once-a-month shared reading of articles: see here), and watching our edited videos. Then the listening log is key (our videos, podcasts, radio, TV, movies…), to support your learning and speaking work at home, weekly. Finally, monthly writing assignments would be your writing minimum. If you didn’t manage to do the October Writing Assignment, make sure you don’t miss out on the next! Be patient, do what you can, and never quit!

POSTING ON THIS BLOG. I encouraged people to use the blog as Authors. You can post work, resources, questions. You can make comments, hold “conversations”, and you’ll get a free correction!! 😀 ❤ It’s great support for your learning outside classroom time!

Next week… Lots of decisions to make. Bring your ideas!

New Video: How to Improve your Writing – learning about the writing process!

Here is M’s outstanding work, explaining how you should all proceed with your monthly writing assignments. Feel free to post your feedback for her here or on our youtube channel! ❤ I hope it inspires you!! ❤ Use this video to work on your language awareness and LoM, too! Gather Useful Language for Explaining Things (language function), notice how she uses the strategy of Recapitulating on what she previously explained, to check the main points are clear!

 

 

 

School Council: The C1 Resource Pack is getting published!

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

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

Dedicatoria

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

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

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

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

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

I also created a webpage on Talking People to upload the handouts they brought for their classmates, and that’s here: http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/yourstuff/youractivities/OPsbysts/2014_GoingViralNewsOP.htm

About the C1 Resource Pack

Dear students,

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

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

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

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

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