Two pending things

One is for Cristina R, and it seems other people might be interested. I bought the Bedtime stories here. It’s got a 50% discount now. With shipping it’d be about 15 euros, without it’s 9 pounds, about 10 euros.

This one is for Romina and Desi, but you might be interested. It’s a poem I wrote when the heirs of June Jordan’s told me I could not share my translation of one of her poems and articles on mujerpalabra.net unless I paid them some money. I had written to them to offer them what I thought was a present, because the author is amazing and she’s not been translated into Spanish. When I explained why I thought they should not do that, they told me I was barking up the wrong tree, so I wrote this:

Mr Wrong Tree (copyright repression)


Mr Wrong Tree,

I’m not barking
I’m communicating
It’s called ‘dialog’
It comes from caring
It’s wholly human
Sorry it’s so disturbing

Human, not like the money
you’re asking for: Ugly,
for all the rights it kills
for all the love it denies
for all the crimes it makes up

Hope you earn a living using her words
Your rights more vital than her work
for humanity — after all, you’re still alive

Still, we’ll mourn the silence you impose
and cry against it — and hope she survives
your suffocating love and protection
Your murderous enforcement of law & order, Mr Wrong

Outing to celebrate your achievement & Recalling Generation 1 & 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope you enjoy your summer! ❤


Today and why I kept mixing up Luz’s name

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fuck exams! (Demented laughter!)


Well, today we just had two people doing the Speaking Test Practice, Desi and Romina, and they did great, and Maria José kindly videoshot them, so now we have a video example of a real speaking test (in terms of format). Thanks!

We started the lesson with María José’s Listening activity on Who Owns our Data, which was a challenge, but people did quite well. It was interesting too, and we had some comments by students.

I read out the summonings to orals, and thought they had been published on the second floor but it turns out not yet! I suppose it’ll happen soon. I stuck my copy on the entrance door, inside, for your information, anyway.

At the beginning of the lesson we also talked a bit about wordformation in English, and Lucía showed us her work gathering examples of what she had read! If next day people fail to come to do their oral practice, we might scratch some time off for this!

Next day is our last lesson together. We’ll read stories if we manage it, and I’ll invite you to join me in an end-of-month informal meeting in June, to see if you would like to volunteer some time for Education to Equality! I’ll give everybody our Coeducación brochure, anyway. I’m also interested in your contributions to English projects, once you pass and leave!


About our last lesson together!

Just finished my plan. Have a look! My plan had been to devote the whole lesson to this, but then we had to move speaking performances to Wednesday, so you all will probably just get to read one of your stories, but it’s OK. Unless people booking for Wed. can come the previous Mon. and do it, so we get more time for this! ❤

c1_project_readingGNSFRG (1 Word page)

Today’s lesson & Plans for next week (the last!)

Today we had to rearrange plans, but we’re experts in that, so it was OK!

I gave some feedback, based on writing I checked, on the differences between B2 and C1 sentence structure or wording, thanks to work by Encarni, Gema and Marina. I forgot to ask Luz to show you all her Writing File, which is great!

We just had one exam practice performance, by Marina and Sonia. I really congratulate Marina for the progress she’s made this year! You did good work with the task, and you did not make many mistakes. You need to be more confident, less hesistant, but that’ll come if you keep working, strengthening your connection to the language. Sonia also did great work with her assignment, and she would certainly pass a C1 test. Still, keep the good work up!

I gave Karen, Lucía and Sergio my pending feedback. But I can’t tell you about it now, because I’m so tired and I’ve got so much to do! Excuse me!

I addressed the questions Soluna posed, and we analyzed a bit what happened in Soluna & Lorena’s performance, and it felt weird because none of you, dear women, came to class today. So — we considered what we can do when our role is mostly ask and the other person’s role is mostly to explain. I wonder if any of you can post ideas we mentioned or that you have as comments to this post! We mentioned: recaps at the end to allow the person speaking less to balance the amount of language offered, expaning points in questions by making personal comments or telling anecdotes (travel agency: questions, long answers, final explanation by customer on how happy she is because she booked that package holiday, for she loves the country, she’s read so much about it and … and they were saving for this for years! and so on).

Ideas for scenarios you could encounter while taking a speaking test: http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/skills/speaking/commstratsindex.html

Particularly the following pages:

bullet Check out Useful Language for Conversations/Interactions + Communicative Strategies with audios
bullet Developing Communicative Strategies for various scenarios: Questions to help you find scenarios to develop useful language to overcome problems while communicating.
bullet Communicative Strategies: What’s the word for…?
bullet Beginning Dialogues
bullet Oral Textual Awareness & Communicative Strategies + Tips for Speaking Tests (madrid)

Orals: Karen and Lucía explained why they were sad I was taking Sergio away, so I suggested Romina take her oral with Mario. This means Dessi and Isabel would be together without Romina. I really think they’ll enjoy it. But — next Monday I’ll confirm things.

I’d like to comment something I told Germán, because I’ve witnessed his progress since 2013-14, when we met in NI (Intermediate). His work in this course has been extraordinary and his progress since we met, too. Now I know better because when we met in 2013 as he was so silent but did exercises so well, including speaking, of course (we used a textbook), I thought perhaps he already had a good level. Now I think you’ve made the most of your time with us. You’ve always worked really hard at home. I’ve seen traces of what I teach in your work throughout this year. Once you get your certificate, I think you’ll be free to make a more intimate emotional connection and enjoy the language even more! Well, I could be wrong, perhaps you already have it! It’s just an impression.

Some homework:

Read my Lexical Creativity workshop so that we can create words next Monday! https://c1coursebymf.wordpress.com/creating-words/

Read Fundraising – Crowdfunding before Wednesday next week, please. It’s here: https://c1materials.wordpress.com/articles/

I mentioned I thought you underused my materials, too.

Plans for next week – updated!!


  • I’ll bring the summonings to orals that will be published on the Department’s Board and in class. That’ll be it!
  • We’ll do a listening activity Maria José designed.
  • We’ll have two oral exam practice performances: Cristina and Clara and Dessi and Romina.
  • We’ll make up words! So please, read my lexical creativy workshop, all of it. And then small groups in class will use the affixes worksheets to review morphology and make up words. You can also use other wordformation resources to create words. This is such a beautiful workshop! I hope you can read it and read the work students did some years ago. And of course, if we manage to devote some time to this, I’d like you all to post here the words you created. I’d copy them some day on talkingpeople.net.


  • We’ll have three speaking test practice performances: Dolores, Marta and Cristina R.; Isabel and Germán; Gema and Encarni.
  • And then… I’ll speak about this book and each person will read one of the one-page stories! Then I’ll give away 4 books. I’ll present the book and then you can write a name on a piece of paper so that person gets it! I’ll see who has more votes and then we’ll give it to him or her.

Image result for good night stories for rebel girls
Image result for good night stories for rebel girlsImage result for good night stories for rebel girls

I’d be grateful if some of you allowed me to videoshoot your reading aloud. If you encountered a word you did not know how to pronounce, it would be OK to ask and I’d say it and then you could simply read the sentence again with the word. I also think we should try to take photos next week for the photo collage for this banner. But perhaps you could do that later. Whatever! But remember to send me the pics!

This book costs 20 euros, and I’ll be buying it with next year’s budget for our school. I want to buy three copies in English and one in Spanish, the languages the book is in. I’m telling you this in case you wish to collect 1 euro from different people and buy one, which you could all sign for our Biblioteca Desarrollando Inteligencia Feminista! but please, don’t feel obliged! I’m just asking in case you want to do that! 😀


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…

Functional Translation Exercise

Post your questions or comments!

14. Look what bag I made. I made it myself. I’m really/very proud of myself.

15. Look what bag I made (for) myself.

Note: by myself, on my own, alone = physicall alone

16. How do you do that? (thinking in terms of a general truth)  or How can you do that? (thinking in terms of ability)

Note: You = impersonal; How is that made? = only if it’s not an action, but something you create, so to speak.

17. One never knows. (You never know)

18. He was arrested

Note: when “they” is uninteresting, obvious (boring, like here), unknown, in English the passive is a most likely option.

19. We were told you were away

20. We’re not on speaking terms / We don’t talk to each other / We don’t talk to one another any more

21. There used to be a cinema / movie theater over here

22. It’s close / It’s nearby / It’s near here

23. Probably, she won’t agree / She’ll probably disagree / She’s likely not to agree / It’s likely that she won’t agree

24. Instead (of that), hand me the stapler, please / Instead, pass me the stapler, please

25 Let’s hail/stop/get a taxi. Otherwise, we’ll never get there

Note: call a taxi (phone, or in/on the street)


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:


Sobre las PUCs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a wonderful ever-learning weekend! ❤

On the Tray with your checked work

Today I found C1 checked assignments in the tray for Básico checked assignments, and it seems people or somebody put them there by mistake, but I also presume the students might have understood they had to give it back to me, which is not the case. It’s for you, OK? When I asked you all to bring your “In class” notes I meant, to say out loud in class for plenary commentary, OK? Please, remember the trays are just for me handing you your work back, and that any new work should be left on my desk, not on the tray. Thanks! 🙂

(Edited) Drunk teacher evaluating students! (Demented laughter)

Nobody asked, I know. But a lovely dinner with the one you love and some wine has catapulted me to unknown territories, so I’m about to risk making everybody feel I said too little, or I did not say much, or anything useful, or new. It should not sound new to you, for certain. After all, I’ve been giving you feedback all the way, haven’t I?

Tipsy as I am, let me make a very global assessment of where I think you all stand at the moment. Remember that the truth is that levels can go up and down in amazing ways, all depending on how much we use the language and the range of different kinds of oral and written texts we use. If you feel I should change or delete something, feel free to tell me!

My Evaluation of your English

In my view there’re some people who are clearly in the consolidated C1 level at the speaking level, which is key for me: Dessi, Lucía, Karen, Marta, Sonia, Soluna, Romina, Mario, Cristina R, Isabel. Lucía & Karen, you have made great progress from what I know from your English. Karen I think you learned a lot about academic matters, like textual structure. Keep it up! And thanks for all the work you did to keep us in shape! Lucía has been key for me in the hardest part of the course, when she shared all her love for the language and Ireland, and lighted up our classroom. Isabel you make mistakes at times, but your fluency and relationship to English is so positive and wonderful. Marta, Soluna, Romina, Cristina R speak amazing English and I’m very grateful to the work Soluna, Romina, Sonia and Marta shared with us and particularly touched and encouraged by the fact they found some use in our course here. ❤ Germán’s work throughout the course has been impressive. What I think you can improve is flying, walking those fields you might feel more uncomfortable or insecure in. I think you would grow even more. But it might not be a good idea. I’m not pushing for that, OK? People are a mystery to me! Sergio’s English is amazing, his way of approaching subjects is thorough in different ways. Silences are an area you could work in, though! Because we live in this kind of world. But on the other hand, why should you? It’s nice to hear silence when people speak. And it would be nicer if we were not thinking about time limits! 😀 ❤ Emilia and Lorena are there, too. Emilia you can learn more and more and I’m sure you will. Listen and repeat to useful language so you are more resourceful in conversations. You are! You are! But sometimes you can’t find the words for very everyday messages, and that can be fixed by watching TV series, for instance. I love your pace, and tranquility, your very positive relationship to learning and English. How no exam is going to have an impact on your relationship to English. ❤ Lorena needs to work — and has, and has made progress — on avoiding fossilized mistakes, or pay more attention to grammar in her weak points as she listens, to make her production more regular, because your fluency and resourcefullness is amazing, really. Dolores and María José are there too. Dolores you have made amazing English-speaking progress in your English, you’ve made good progress on structural matters too, you’ve balanced your level in the four skills. You’re so sensitive to noticing language, like Sonia, and your work has been relevant so you’re reaping the fruits now. Maria José has lots of vocabulary and great resourcefulness too. But your risk is too much translating from Spanish at times, which results in not sounding as natural in their use of language. I think you would profit from “copying” English from natives (useful language, so to put it) because your spontaneity and confidence would bloom. Cristina B, you’re there too. I wouldn’t mind having you next year. I think you would love it and learn much more. Because it’s all very recent and if you don’t keep it up you will fall back to the B2 level fast. But I think if you pass, you will keep your level up, because you have experienced the progress your good work help you make, alongside the trip.

Clara hopefully will be passing her tests, but your speaking needs more work to match the quality of her astounding writing. Your work has been wonderful and I hope to find the time to publish what you sent because lots of people will find it useful.

By the way, if you all send me stuff for publication, or better still, post it here, I hope to be publishing it on TP at some point.

I think that Gema, Encarni, Luz and Marina need another year to learn some things I think they can learn and use for making their English much better. But Gema and Luz have good chances to pass and hopefully will. I’m just saying this because your progress is too fresh and as I mentioned above when I spoke to Cristina B, if you don’t continue working, in a different way, too, you could stagnate in a kind of academic approach that would prevent you from learning all you can actually learn. So when you pass, remember you need to work with your English more in the lines I describe in the C1 Resource Pack and not so much doing textbook exercises. Move beyond their learning style and work to enter the arena this course encourages, that allows people to make their use of the language a more natural occurrence, where it’s more important what we learn that the language itself, and draws you away from the “exercise” kind of approach (where the exercise is more important that actual communication), that moves most people at the advanced level away from consolidating their love for the language. In any case, I think you can pass the tests, and Luz you have certainly made progress in your writing! I’m looking forward to hearing you speak!

I don’t know much about Encarni, right? But I think what I say to Gema and Luz might be of use.

And about Marina, well, I’ve already mentioned it in class. I think you’ve learned a lot. You could learn much more, and enjoy your use of English longer, because your approach is evolving and very positive, and you have some more to discover. But again, if you pass, I won’t be any kind of obstacle in your way! 😀

Now — has all this got anything to do with who will pass? Mostly not. Exam taking in societies where people still trust more Exam culture than Lifelong learning is a very destructive thing, like an oracle. You never know what will happen. I’ve seen people with a consolidated advanced level having to come in September to take one part of the exam they failed because they could not control their fear, mostly due to severe traumas at school. And I’ve seen people who did not have an advanced level yet, not a consolidated one, I mean, but who worked really hard, pass with flying colours. When the head of studies asked me what’s your estimate of how many people will take the course again next year? I said 1/3 in C1 and 1/2 in C1 CAL (2 absentists/absenteests, hahaha, in each group), because the statistics in Euskadi, the only ones we have from other schools, say a 17% pass but in our school they’re better, which is not to say anything about anyone because I don’t believe in the exam system, but which explains I have given an estimate which might be totally wrong, because you might all pass, like people last year (between now and September). Last year, from the people following the course, only 1 person failed, and that was because she decided not to take some of the tests.

Well, let me know what you think about this post. Do you think it was a bad idea?

Diary for Wed May 10, & two amazing OPs!

Today more people booked for the speaking test practice:

  • Mon May 15: Germán & Luz (2), Lorena & Soluna (6).
  • Wed May 17: Emilia & Mariajosé (1).
  • Mon May 22: Sergio, Lucía & Karen (8); Marta, Dolores & Cristina (9).

I ran out of tests and Isabel came, so she will be selecting a test on the Junta’s website and next Monday I’ll be asking you all if somebody would like to do it with her. You can also contact her and talk about it. Particularly if you’re someone who wants to practice twice this kind of format.

Transcriptions. We worked on News Extracts #3 and #7. And reviewed some language items. Sonia and Germán kindly took it all down on the whiteboard. Cristina and Marina shared their mistakes. I hope that when you’re lifelong learners you practice this kind of training, to consolidate your level and expand your knowledge of the language. I do it every year. I’ll post my transcript of all next week, in case people want to practice some more. (If I forget let me know.)

OPs. Well, I have to say I was very impressed with Romina’s and Sergio’s work. How wonderful it is when people are not afraid of language, but curious about it! I’m also grateful I was allowed to videoshoot, so we can show the world and share good work.

Here I’d like to do something I never do because students never ask. I always say that when I have enough info on people’s work, I am able to say whether they are in the C1 fringe or not yet, or what kind of consolidation stage they’re in. I’m considering saying it now, because I trust you all. It’s been a wonderful learning year. I know we always feel we could’ve done more, but the truth most of the times, when we care, or love what we choose to do, we do what we can, and as Audre Lorde says, “What else can you ask?” It’s precious. I’m very happy with people’s learning in spite of us all wanting to reach for the moon. One year is far too little, in my view. If we could only spend two years together, what difference it’d make in our learning and lives, and in the transformation of learning patterns! But we must make do. Life’s that way. The most important thing is we don’t waste our lives in negative things, developing, consolidating negative patters; we learn to respect ourselves because this is key to respect others. It’s important to learn to respect learning processes, to learn to grow in positive ways, not destructively, as mainstream society teaches. From my feminist viewpoint, I can’t imagine I would have had greater chances of working on all of this before my time, or in many other places of the world, because women have been locked up with and without their consent, and undervalued & underestimated. Not that men’s lives have been much better, particularly good men. But for women’s case, the oppression has been taken for granted, considered natural, logical, all of that bullshit, and we’re starting to challenge all that from within. To illustrate I know I’m valuable as a thinker, as a teacher, as an activist, but keep considering I’m good for nothing — though time plays in my favor, in our favor. As you grow older you are less easily tricked, even by your own culturally learned traps. I’m saying this because I understand what we tend to feel in the face of exams. But I’m asking you to control your fear and be loyal to a love of learning, to protecting your curiosity and good work. What you learned this year should be evaluated in complex ways, not by an exam mark. And you should protect it and not betray it. Interactive courses are about sharing and communicating, not so much about getting good marks in exercises. Interaction changes our world view and our views of who we are, who people are, and how we can relate. I hope you understand what I mean, and feel free to comment freely. I know I’ve got a strong character and a kind of teacher’s pride that may seem threatening at times, but I’m an extraordinary listener, and treasure what people bring to my life.

In this sense I’d like to comment Romina’s performance. I don’t like the word, but I’m very respectful to the concept, not the religious concept, the human idea of “being humble”. I think we can all learn from this kind of being humble because it’s so constructive, so not typical. It’s the kind of being humble that I have found in life among people I considered very intelligent: empathy and rationality, a love for what one is doing, an interest in it, with some regret but where that regret cannot overshadow the love for learning.

Overshadow is the kind of word we will be considering in our Lexical Creativity workshop next Monday and Wednesday, so please, print the notes if you can.

I just lost my thread. Anyway, I’m kind of tipsy because my sweet love made an Empanada Gallega, a kind of savory pastry from Galicia, and my all-time favs, gambas al ajillo, something like praws with a slight garlic taste, and I had some white wine to go along, so I’m perhaps more than tipsy right now —

Well, I’m happy and proud of the work you did, and the work you shared, and this includes all of you and I’m not lying or exaggerating.

And I’m very grateful for the videos. For me, that’s like the best present I can ever get. I’m shy for other kinds of expressions of affection, or gratitude. Videos are my thing, really! 😀 I think the videos we’re sharing are full of all kinds of things that can help a wide variety of people learn. If we could videoshoot some speaking test practice performances, that’d really be orgasmic, and groundbreaking, I think, because I haven’t found this kind of thing for EEOOII (Spanish public language schools for adults), only for Cambridge tests. And our format and requirements are somewhat different, more demanding in terms of textual structure and, true, we need to change this, grammar accuracy.

You might enjoy watching performances for different levels in Europe and tell me what you think, as compared to the feedback we give you on the same kind of exercise. Here: http://eoifuengirola.es/certificaciones-1. Path: scroll down till you see this text: “Para  consultar vídeos de producciones orales en diferentes idiomas de los niveles del Marco Común de Referencia Europeo: aquí”.


My Evaluation of your English next

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!

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

Exam Training Workshops (1 word page)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And on Wednesday…

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


  • 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.

Who owns your data?

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

Hope you enjoy it!!!!

PS: on How to use the Oral Exam Assignment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

and the segment Travel Phrasebook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT MONDAY is a holiday.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please read: Social responsibility & Self-destructiveness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Important: psychological training and plan for Wed

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

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

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

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

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

Night night

Sleep tight

Don’t let the Exam Culture bite!

Writing File

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

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

My intro went as follows:

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

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

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

I reviewed what your Writing Files should include:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Today and Plans for Monday

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

We developed our language awareness on tenses, and modals.

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

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

Plans for Monday:

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

More things to do next week if you like:

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

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

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

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

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

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

We agreed on the following:

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

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

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

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

For the rest of our time together my plans are:

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

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

And here is Querer a una feminista, in case you are interested! ❤

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

Dear students,

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

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

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

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

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

Diary for April 5 – lots of training!

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

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

Then I gave out two handouts with exercises:

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

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

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

Listening work – what I say on the TP website

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

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

Nightie night!

Designing Exams – A teamwork project

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

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

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

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

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

Why design tests?

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

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

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

Proud about this project!

Marianela, the head of studies, put together this video we contributed to! Enjoy!
We are the only ones who re-worded the declaration as it will or should be worded asap!, including women! ❤

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!

Poetry Day

Education for Equality has just published a post and a dossier on Rosario Castellanos, in Spanish, for people interested in helping us redirect human knowledge and culture to less unfair situations, such as the one we’ve had to bear for centuries. Links to more resources are included (Lorena, also to a publication by Milenta)

Feel free to spread the word!


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

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

Language Workshop to put together!

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

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

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

Useful Language for topics like employment, tourism, economy…

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

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

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

Reading Articles (informative, magazines)

Please, read and work on this article (useful language):

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

Today’s Talk

Thanks for coming!

I thought nobody was going to come, and that would have been such a sad thing to do to  school projects like this, really. Also, we should really pay attention to constructive analysis that allow us to improve our living together, right? And it was our Grand Opening, you know, as people who have a groundbreaking feminist Coeducación project with followers in so many different places ( ❤ ), not only the beginning of our celebration of the 25th anniversary. Our second celebration will be on the 25th of April, same time, same place, but this time with Eulàlia Lledó Cunill, one of the most knowledgable people in this country when it comes to language and the r-evoLution feminism is bringing about on this planet! Love and language, as our Head of Studies pointed out in her intro. Two BIG topics where every single person can contribute to positive change. Empowering subjects, because they allow us to feel we can achieve change, as we exist and use our very lives for that, not weapons or destructive ideas, attitudes, words, actions.

So a big relief to find that almost 100 people attended. The head counted you all! And we were surprised to see so many adult men coming, too (not because they were accompanying a woman they loved, I mean! 😀 ) ❤

Any thoughts to share? ❤

Reminder! PUCs, 25th Anniversary Events & a Movie!

OMG! They’re showing The Fifth Element, one of fav movies! 😀 ❤ Have you seen it? Remember the scene when she starts learning about war on this planet?

Well, I hope what I posted announcing our exam practice encourages you to do tons of listening to things and gathering useful language!

I also hope you can make it to our amazing talk on love next Monday!

Enjoy your English! ❤

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
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


(Edited Worksheet 2) For your homework on Questions

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

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

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

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

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

But first of all, what’s most important:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy your free time and your English! ❤

Radio interviews: TreTalk “podcast”

In case you want to listen to radio interviews.

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

About the February Writing Assignment

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

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

See posts below for more info!

Evaluación al Profesorado

I totally forgot about this: I need you all to fill in a questionnaire about my work with you all. The School does this every year, and it’s anonymous. I don’t even have a look after students hand it in. I just get the “results” from DOFEI, the Department that collects this info and send us our report.

So PLEASE, next day help me remember!! It’ll take you 3 minutes, I think. ❤

Diary for Mon Jan 20 & Some activities!

Today we did some rearrangin’! 😀

I explained why I’d rather keep your checked work today — because I’d like to post some comments for your LoM’s, based on my corrections.

I announced an item to include in your work next week. I’ll post about it.

Then Germán finished his part of the OP, which included comparing the movie version to the original novel and questions on how to say things, whose answers were in the handout he had given out with useful language from the High Fidely novel.

We moved the Marigold OP to next Wednesday, and its members said I could bring my video camera, in case they eventually decided I was allowed to publish their work! Next day we’ll also have another amazing OP: one by Marta and Isabel, on Orange is the New Black.

Next we did a listening activity, took a dictation down. I’ll paste my notes for this and the key for Lorena and anyone who might have missed our listening activity on Mars:

Key to News on Mars: MARS. 1C, 2A, 3B, 4A, 5A, 6C, 7A


Students Seek To Recreate Ancient Beer Recipe Discovered In Pottery Vessels (1’49”)

Read the summary of this piece of news (about 30 words)

Archaeologists discovered a 5,000-year-old beer recipe by studying the residue of pottery vessels found in an excavated site in northeast China. Now Stanford University students are recreating the recipe.

Now listen to the news once, and then take it down as a dictation until “femented punch” (50 seconds, about 140 words). Leave gaps when you are lost, so you can just fill the gap out/in in the next listening.

Audio: http://www.npr.org/2017/02/09/514365570/students-seek-to-recreate-ancient-beer-recipe-discovered-in-pottery-vessels

Use US American spelling, and jot down the words pronounced in US American English.

As I presented the Dictation I explained how I use self-dictations (or doing transcriptions) to improve my English, the guiding star being use the same material several times in various ways, for different purposes. Repetition will do the rest! (including using our mouths and ears!)

Some worksheets: A note on this: about containers, in case you’re interested, I have a reading activity:  packaging and foodsyoucaneatafter. I created these activities so students could learn to speak about supermarkets and related issues.

Then we had Romina and Sergio, courageous peacelings, taking the dictation down on the whiteboard, and as we checked their very few mistakes (if any), we reviewed some interesting language items that led me to decide we could use this text in class, like the structure “have + sb + DO sth” (cf. “make + sb + DO sth”).

We reviewed the communicative spelling method (I have a podcast episode on this, when I present the ABC and talk about family names in different countries).

There were 15 mins left, so we decided to play the Speak-for-1-exact-minute game! It was great! We had Karen speaking about laughter, Luz speaking about kitchens, Sergio speaking about “orange” and Lucía speaking about magic wands! (I hope I didn’t forget anyone! ❤ )