Language Awareness

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! ❤

 

(edited) Speaking/Listening Practice

Some pronunciation/listening tips

Notice step 3. You can also do that for recapitulation, or when you have not interacted much because you cannot come up with comments or questions to what your classmate said.

Make sure you make questions, follow-up questions, or “need-more-info” questions. Show you care about what the person is saying, that you are following.

This one’s easy, but THINK as you listen.

Practice language you need for interactions. Remember you’ve also got my podcast (the Useful Language segment).

This one’s fun! But avoid “screwed” and “fucked” in exams, even if it’s an informal interaction. Well, it’s just an idea!

Notice transitions & signal words, how they organize their text, how they introduce questions to allow us to follow, not only the vocabulary on travel, I mean!

Openings, then beginning a point and ending it. Always clear: but you need to see the structure in your outline, of course, that’s what the outline is for. Extras: transitions for moving on: connecting previous to subsequent.

Enjoy your weekend, listening and repeating and imagining scenarios for interactions, and speaking about topics. Practice introducing topics/points “About my second point, …” (it’s like how we start paragraphs)

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!)

Comparing Novels and Movies

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

Talk on language

If you missed Eulàlia’s conference, now you can enjoy it! It will probably be a transformative inner experience. If you are lucky, something inside will click and your view on language will become wiser, this is, it will help you trash lots of common misconceptions and unconscious prejudice!

https://coeducacioninteligenciafeminista.wordpress.com/nombrar-a-las-mujeres-por-que-el-lenguaje-importa-conferencia/

A Proposal

Perhaps next Monday we can play exams in this way:

to tackle the problem mentioned today by Soluna, about interactions being unbalancing, really, when one role is that of having to explain things and the other of making questions.

My idea is: why don’t some of you prepare a situation of that kind and on Monday you give me the role of the one that needs to ask, or answer, when the other needs to give explanations? I’d like to show you how we can try and balance the amount of language each can offer.

Perhaps Soluna could play today’s role and I could take Lorena’s, or any of you could make a different proposal. Whatever!

Some resources!

The word docs will not open here. check your downloads!

bullet Verbs for Essays 01 Text doc (1 page)
bullet Verbs for Essays 02 Text doc (1 page)

bullet Inversions after negative adverbials Text doc (1 page)

Here are some of the verbs we talked about today:
bullet Infinitive or Gerund? 4 Text doc (1 page)

Subjunctive: Suggest (1)

https://projects4englishlearners.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/subjunctive-1-suggest/

https://c1coursebymf.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/suggest-the-subjunctive/

https://c1coursebymf.wordpress.com/2015/04/16/ps-about-suggest-and-language-change/

Suggest, advice and recommend:

https://www.englishpractice.com/words/recommend-suggest-advise/

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:

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

Diary for Mon May 8 – wow!

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

So thanks for this present!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you soon!

Lesson Plans Today & Your Pending Language Work

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

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

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

 

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)

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

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

and the segment Travel Phrasebook

Today and Plans for Monday

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

We developed our language awareness on tenses, and modals.

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

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

Plans for Monday:

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

More things to do next week if you like:

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

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

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

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

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

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

We agreed on the following:

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

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

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

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

For the rest of our time together my plans are:

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

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

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

Work in class tomorrow – Exam Training Work + Language Awareness

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

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

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

C1spring_tenses01_reading (6 word pages)

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

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

Lesson Plans for Monday

Dear all,

Just confirm that, yes, I won’t be able to bring your evaluated work + my collection of mistakes you all made for the Monday lesson. I’m doubtful I’ll manage to have it all ready for Wednesday, actually, so it’s likely we hold this Writing Test Workshop after the spring hol, after all!

So — what’s still on is:

Everybody speaks about a piece of news (or analysis) they read or listened to, to practice retelling and also interactions, if we are lucky and people have questions, comments or start up conversations on that news item.

After this, which will take up at least an hour, I suppose, probably more, we’ll do one of the listening tests I designed.

Then on Wednesday we’ll continue with past official exams given here or in other communities.

Remember to listen to English, work on your list of mistakes, your lists of useful language, your writing file, your speaking file, any of the wonderful how-to’s we have to use our English for conscious learning too!

Have a lovely bilingual weekend! ❤

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!

Reading & Audio Materials to work on

On the C1 Materials blog I have been posting interesting stuff throughout the year, in case you wanted to use it. I’ll repost a few of those materials, but let me know suggest some other reading and listening work.

This article is interesting because it’s about someone getting awards of late, and connects politics (the dramatic situation of democratic people in the USA today, with Trump’s election), to the role of art (critical thinking, solidarity) and gender issues (women’s status in society), the media /mi-die/ and TV series. It’s far too short, just 300 words, but there is a link to a long interview with the writer. Link: Margaret Atwood Cautions America “Against Dictators of Any Kind”. Notice that titles in English capitalize all the letters except articles and prepositions. This title, however, could also be considered a quote from the text, but as you will see the Huff Post treats it as a title. (Gather UL with “as” and “like”, for the April Language Workshops! ❤ )

Here is a radio program/programme you can listen to. Don’t read the transcript, if possible! It’s about a 2007 book she got published then, which people are talking about today. 5 mins. Take it down as a dictation! ❤

Last, here is a 2-page Reading Comprehension activity I prepared on Multiculturalism. I can post the answers when you are done, just let me know. We can also read it aloud in class, so we are sure you know how to pronounce all the words, and check it, of course! Enjoy!

This video is about something Coral talked about when she mentioned the role of the media in this bombing on what men and women are, the patriarchal stereotypes — and links to multiculturalism. Have a look


Politics

In case you want to be able to explain something about Brexit, here are some Questions and Answers (reading)

Remember what our Scottish speaker said about it? Watch her video, if you haven’t. And get used to the Scottish accent!

Read Brexit causes more stress to young, well-educated Scottish women. Brexit caused more stress to women, young people, better educated people, Scots and Londoners, according to The Physiological Society.

I certainly feel the UK have made a terrible mistake… But this is what you get when you mistrust progressist people and think conservatives are safer. Truly irrational.

Read How might Brexit affect the touring industry?

Audio: Scottish independence after Brexit (8 min)

If you prepare a 3-4 min OP on any of this, let me know, so we can find some time in class to do that! Enjoy!

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

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

Language Workshop to put together!

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

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

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

Useful Language for topics like employment, tourism, economy…

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

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

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

Reading Articles (informative, magazines)

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

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

The SWOT analysis task

Dear all, as I brought up the SWOT analysis issue, I think this worksheet could help us to organize our ideas regarding our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats related to English. SWOT_worksheetSWOT-analysis

 This analysis is nowadays commonly applied to business or marketing studies, and it serves to audit the present situation of a company or business, recognizing the internal factors (Strengths and weaknesses) and the external ones (Opportunities and threats). Here you can find more information about SWOT analysis. Hope it helps!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • The passive and tenses

 

(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.

Participle Clauses

Past Participle

  • Ushered into the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in 1935 [….], they acted as human computers.
  • Called the West Computers, after the area to which they were relegated, they helped blaze a trail for mathematicians and engineers of all races and genders to follow.
  • Built in 1917, this research complex was the headquarters for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)…
  • Surrounded by the West Computers and other academics, it took decades for Shetterly to realize the magnitude of the women’s work.

 

Present Participle

  • Growing up in Hampton, Virgina, in the 1970s, Shetterly lived just miles away from Langley.

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!

Feedback Jan Writing Assig.: Descriptive Texts (Reviews, Travel Guides, Articles)

Based on work done by Marina, Dessi, Clara, Marta, Lucía, Lorena, Sergio, Karen, Gema, Encarni, Germán.

Out of a lack of time, I’ll focus in mistakes, OK? So please, read this with a constructive spirit! 🙂 Use what you need, I mean. If it’s not about what you do, simply read it for consolidation. ❤

LoM-Methodological Approach to Tasks. Walking in the Readers’ Shoes

  • Some people are still not allowing the reader to get all the relevant factual information on the assignment at the beginning of the text: full name, date, group, task description including word number. I think this should change.
  • It’s hard to write down corrections when there is no space between lines or no margins. Please, keep this in mind. Teachers always complain about it, but it’s like women’s invisibilization as human beings in patriarchy, consistently, people forget! 😀 (I couldn’t stop myself from introducing a cross-curricular point with Education for Equality! 😀 )

Reviews: Writing Methology Affecting Structure

Some people chose /chous/ to write a review (using a brochure format or in regular writing), but – excuse me for saying this – I wondered if they had read /red/ about writing reviews AND if they had actually read /red/ a few reviews before setting down to write one. Or supposing they did, it seemed they had missed the point of Why We Do that — what we need to pay attention to.

So here the mistake I’m particularly critical of is that you might not be using the month to prepare Before Writing working sessions (see Writing File here: all the texts are announced from the beginning of the course and you are always welcome to ask; when I post about them it’s just to arrange the date for a deadline or when there are changes in the plans) for a particular kind of text. This includes finding resources to write it well, and to use the assignment to learn MORE, to improve your structure and language range and accuracy. I suggest – if you know you did not do this – you review (bare infinitive for subjunctive with “suggest”) my video on How to work on your Monthly Writing Assignments. What I teach there will allow you to learn on your own once you stop having a teacher.

So — When you do research, consider my notes, I always post them when you ask, or old textbooks, or reliable websites, and consider jotting down things on structure (ingredientes for an outline in good order) and language items, and then put it into practice, I can give you the feedback of whether that worked or didn’t, apart from correcting the grammar and so on.

What’s a Descriptive Text, e.g. a Review? (Consolidation)

A review is a descriptive text that includes a recommendation. When we start it off, we have descriptive info for the title (e.g., the title of the work (obra) or place) and then basic factual information about it (no “Introduction” heading because it’s really shor and it’s obvious from the text).

Then comes the plot (for books and movies) in the present tense, to make the telling more vivid, or the description of the place (e.g., if it’s a restaurant, an exhibition).

Next comes an analysis of your own, that does not need to have expressions like “I like”. It needs rich descriptive language. I’ll develop this below.

Finally, a recommendation, including the closing line, of course (something that sounds like the ending of the article if it’s an article).

Articles and Novels include descriptive texts (descriptions of people, objects, places), not only narratives (actions), so training in this kind of texts allows you to improve a great deal of other kinds of texts! ❤

More on Language Range for Descriptions

Reviews/Travel Guides/Brochures…, articles including descriptions, mostly need lots of rich vocabulary and expressions for descriptions, so we really need to find different kinds of modifiers, as I mentioned:

  • adjectives like “it is enticing” or “uninteresting”, “dull” or “reliable”; adjectives modified by some other word: “somewhat tedious” “extraordinarily fast-paced” or noun phrases like “her parents’ home”, “a fast-paced thriller/narrative/evolution” which can also include prepositional phrases like “the woman in red” in “the times before the draught”…
  • relative clauses with or without ending prepositions, like “[didn’t expect] the girl WHO would be waiting for her”, “[had found dead] the person they were talking to”
  • present (-ing) or past particles clauses, particularly good for merging two simple sentences together and showing you understand transitions, like “Ushered into the L.M.A. Laboratory in 1935 to shoulder the burden of number cruchngin, they acted…” or “Growing up in H., V., in the 19702, Shetterly lived” from Luz’s homework on The True Story of Hidden Figures). Another example, consider this: “Pay It Forward was written by C.R.H. who is an American novelist with notable success. Her novels have won many awards and some have been bestsellers. / Pay It Forward was published in 1999 and is the extraordinary story of a perfect idea.” How can we improve this text?. Can you please post how you would improve it here? For instance, can we avoid starting the two paragrahps with the exact same structure/words: “PIF was…”? (Answer this one, OK?) Then, can we merge things?: “PIF (it’s good for the opening line to clearly state the topic of the text, yes!), written by CRH, an American novelist…, is the extraordinary story of a perfect idea”. Can you see what I did? What do you think? Can you come up with your own improvement?

Noticing collocations in reviews is really useful (collecting this kind of Useful Language), but for this we need to read quite a few reviews, to see which are typical collocations, like “breathtaking scenery”, “soaring mountains”, “outstanding performance”).

In the part where you analyze the work (and this part in the review is similar to reasoned opinions, or argumentative texts, of course, the difference is reviews use lots of modifiers, i.e., descriptive language), instead of saying you like this or that, in that way, you could explain reasons for using certain words to express you like/dislike the subject matter, to explain how interesting / funny / unsettling something was. Let me illustrate, as a follow-up on my point above: in the analysis in our review we usually point out what we liked and didn’t, but we’re advanced students and saying “I liked this because of that” is rather simply worded. If you read reviews, noticing language and its meaning, you’ll probably improve a great deal in this: instead of saying “I really like the actors. They were great” you would probably look for more sophisticated wording, “Most performances in this intriguing movie were outstanding”. Am I not saying that I liked it? But here my language range is richer.


Titles: all words are capitalized except prepositions and articles: Pay It Forward, Orange Is the New Black, Hidden Figures, Visiting Fuengirola, the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel…

Reference & Paragraphing: watch your use of pronouns, particularly at the beginning of paragraphs (something to avoid, because a paragraph needs to state the topic explicitly — it’s called the topic sentence, which can come first or second but needs to be at the very beginning), sometimes the referece is confusing, unclear, or simply wrong.


About Writing Articles

As I explained we have two kinds of articles:

Informative articles, like Travel Guides (descriptive articles) require HEADINGS, so if you are going to write about Fuengirola, for instance, for tourists, you need to visually sort out your topics by using a heading. This is better than bulleting. Just notice articles in magazines, OK? Bulleting is used for listings, not for sorting out topic sections.

Balance in topic presentation is key. You cannot write about Bioparc for more than 2/3 of the text and then mention some other topic, briefly. You have been writing minisagas and 100-word reasoned opinions to train in managing to fit things to a specific number of words.


I’m running out of time, and I’ve still got the LANGUAGE POINTS to go. But I want to give you your work back today, so I might have to ask you all to please prepare your LoM for after the holiday and please share your language points in class, for everybody to learn from them. Is it on? (That’d be C-Day, Composition Day, OK?)

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

DICTATIONS

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! ❤ )

Diary for Mon Jan 13 & Tips on Reading & Listening

I was predicting people were not doing much listening of the news or to radio program(me)s, and because being good at taking listening and reading tests at the advanced level requires having listened and read quite a bit, on a diversity of topics, and in order to encourage you all to keep a listening diary, this is, to make sure you listen to some radio program or other a few times every week (hearing one or two several times is crucial on a weekly basis: you see, you need to KNOW that the second and third times you do understand more, or much more), I started designing exercises, so we wouldn’t use up the real C1 tests, which you will take in March.

Daily listening work: So please, I’m asking you to listen to the news and radio programs every day. Work out your weekly listening plan, you can fit in 3 mins here, 6 mins there. I suggest you use some of the materials I post, too. There are some on the C1 Materials blog, and on this blog, too. Here is a radio book review on “This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein (7 min). Next week I’ll bring some more listening exercises, including a dictation and identifying the outline (topic structure) of another radio book review.

Speaking: We started off with some students talking about the movie we watched last week. It was great because they gave their opinion, mentioned some scenes, talked about the people in the movie, too. I paraphrased some sentences they said for practice on fluency and accuracy. And we talked a bit about a few related topics. Then…*

Reading: And then went on to do my Reading follow-up activity on Hidden Figures. We had a little gapped activity as a warm-up, too. Homework: And I asked students to identify the present and past participle clauses in the article for next Monday (and I’ll probably forget about it, in case you can kindly remind us of this!) c1reading_hiddenfigures (2 Word pages). I also gave out a wikipedia entry for the Civil Rights movement, for further reading. But I do recommend Rosa Parks autobio. She was not a feminist because that was not possible at the time, but she does realize things as a feminist, and in spite of all the terrible pressure for the invisibilization of sexism.

Listening: We did a listening activity I designed, on Mars. I was insecure, thought it might be far too easy, but fortunately it was not! that’s why I always say that if you survive this course you’ll find the exam easy or relatively easy, hahahah… It included practice on self-assessment. People did well: most marks were 4/7, then 3/7 I think, well, that’d be a pass mark, right? Of course, you should reach for the moon! listeningonmars (1 Word page)

Well, congratulations, dear students, for surviving another lesson! 😀 Keep your work up! ❤

And please, remember it’d be great if there were people in class by 7.10, when Elva arrives! We’ll have guests, perhaps, and when we are back alone, we’ll listen to Dolores and Germán! ❤


*The mini-disquisition (it could’ve been never-ending! 😀 ) ! I also shared a couple of ideas which I think are good to reflect upon by us all: one is that our affections and interests are conditioned by culture. We tend to think it’s all about our freedom, our Self, but culture — intentional, non-intentional — determines we develop a greater interest in what men do, and little interest towards what women do, particularly in the areas they have always been banned from. The other idea I shared was about invisibility, too: how we tend to only see violence and struggle in specific events and how we fail to see violence and struggle in other events. And here’s the fact, in my view: as violence and struggle are things HUMANS do every day, but culture determines the how’s, we don’t see conceptual violence (we’re improving, though, now many people understand that women or black people or poor people are not less intelligent, or the like; or that a ruler has no right to rape, and murder, and enslave people), the verbal violence (e.g., invisibilization, misperceptions too and how we word that, e.g., the left-handed people and everyone else, piropos that actually terrorize women when uttered by unknown men in the street, or by an aggressive boss), which everyone of us uses and has to bear. We mostly see and only are aware of physical violence, and don’t allow it in women (we fear them even more than men when they use it, as if they were evil, much worse than the men who use it), culturally speaking — incidentally, that might explain why they can be so good at verbal violence. We identify struggle with the “necessary” or “justified” use of violence, but fail to see how we use nonviolent struggle in our everyday lives, and of course, the great development women have given this kind of struggle precisely because they were banned from the use of physical violence. (And Hidden Figures offers some great examples, and I hope people who did not come to see the movie, finally go.) Finally, I posed the question we all crave for: how we contribute to making people’s lives better and we don’t actually know, or can’t see it most of the times. This relates to our culture of violence and self-destruction, I believe. But we are human, and we can do amazingly good things. I wish they were seen, appreciated, acknowledged by more people because this would generate relevant change for the better in human cultures (but see the resistance to acknowledge women’s humanity, to mention just the largest human group subject to such terrible concepts as that of Woman in patriarchal culture), but there are people who do so. And how we tend to even make up the harm we do, or our lacks. When I realized this, as a middle-aged woman, I decided to quit what I call the network of gossip, which is not only done by women, but by men too. But the price of this is you don’t have certain information which is good to have! (not the vicious opinion sharing but other kinds, like someone is ill or the like). Well, dear all, I’m sorry about all this rambling. My intention isn’t to convince you of anything because I don’t believe in that, at least not the way that is understood. I’m trying to communicate, mostly! See if my points are understood by other people, what you all think. As you know, I’m trying to write about all this (and I’ve finally got A Room of My Own!), but never find the time!

OPs (videos) by Students

I just created a page above, on our course navbar, so that you can find your videos on TP

https://c1coursebymf2016.wordpress.com/ops-by-students-videos-more/

This includes SSB’s page for her OP on Corpora! Part 1, for Part 2 is not ready yet!

http://talkingpeople.net/tp/yourstuff/youractivities/OPsbysts/2017_Corpora.htm

Diary for Mon Feb 6, Events & Feb Writing Assg.

Today we did lots of things! Elva can come any day, but Lorena would rather have her on Feb 13. Everybody wanted to go to the movies next Wednesday, and students will be meeting at the Miramar Movie Theater by seven. I’ll get there at 7.05 and if I’m not there then, Marta will leave the ticket for me at the ticket office.

Wed is the deadline for the January writing assignment, and people not coming to the cinema can leave it with Ana, the janitor.

Feb Assg in next post.

We re-arranged the Lesson Plans, deciding to leave the lesson on Rational Discussions, scheduled for next Wed., for further on, which means the lesson we scheduled for Monday is still on.

Some Reading Groups gave me their work for fellow students on their OP to check and prepare copies.

First we heard Part 1 & 2 of the Climate Change radio program(me), so sts could take notes for retelling. Then we did Part 3, as a fill-in-the-gap activity. We checked it and had some comments on language questions (register, useful language, cleft sentences for emphasis, ending prepositions). Next we checked the cloze test on Environmental Issues, too. Finally, people worked in pairs or groups of three to see what they had learned in terms of language and ideas to develop monologues on the topic. So now sts should try to find some time for an outline and speaking practice on a timed exercise, for a final version for their Speaking Files. You are all welcome to do this final exercise in class, or send it in for feedback.

Sts’ OPs: Germán spoke on Violence & Sports, and sts took notes. I gave some tips on Speaking Tests and topics of violence.

And mentioned that March would be about Exam Format Training.

Some homework: watch & learn!

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

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

Adverbs & Adverbials

There are things some students need to review at home, when they are below the upper intermediate level, and you all have textbooks and materials, I’m sure. But anyway, I’ll share with you here some of my notes:

LOMs

  • You cannot say “DO SOMETHING very good/bad” (adjective) but “DO sth very WELL/BADLY” (adverbs): e.g. He cleans very well.
  • You can say “I feel GOOD/BAD” and “I am GOOD/BAD at this or that” (adjective)

From Functional Grammar at TP, but there’s more in the C1 Resource Pack

Adverb order: How-where-when

Adjective or adverb

A worksheet we could read in class, if you like, is this:

Theory: Adverbs and adverbials (2 pages) – You can do this as follow-up: Practice with adverbials (2 pages, with key)

My post where you can spot the adverbs or the adverbials was this: Teacher’s UL on documentary

Feel free to post your questions, and remember: use your listening work to practice reviewing grammar, visualize the grammar as you listen!

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

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

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

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

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

REMINDERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope it’s useful!

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

About speaking in public

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips for your work. Overview of Lesson Plans by month

I’d like to ask people who make grammar mistakes (word order, morphology) or don’t listen enough to English, or who can’t follow this course well (= are not doing almost any of the activities they could be doing), to please use my podcast, or any podcast to practice Listen-n-Repeat with Useful Language.

Then, if you haven’t… Learn a poem by ear, practice retelling, re-using the audios we’ve already worked on, please! Repetition might be boring, but not if you focus on learning as many sentences as you can! So please, give it a try if you haven’t. Your English will improve a great deal in about a month.

Finally, one reason why we don’t use more classroom time for small groups is because whenever this is going to happen, people don’t seem to make it to class. Please, remember February 1 is for your Reading Projects, teamwork. On this day, you could also check one of the collocations handouts in teams, or we could do Part II of our listening activity on climate change.

The other reason why I ask you to speak at plenary individually is because if you do that in small groups, I can’t listen to you and give you feedback or at least know how you are doing. But if people are feeling they cannot speak in class because they’d rather do it in small groups, we can do that. No problem. Let’s do it!

On the second February week, we’ll be doing the same: small groups will check the second collocation worksheet and I HOPE YOU CAN ALL share in your small group the retelling of something you worked on with an audio, or a poem. Then we’ll finish the listening on climate change, and then people will train at home in the retelling of this radio programme.

If you need more classroom time for your Reading Project, please, ask! Don’t suffer in silence!

I’ll bring a reading exercise, too. Because in this part of the course, I’ll always be bringing reading and listening exercises for us to do in class. But this needs to be combined with YOUR SPEAKING AND TALKING ACTIVITIES. (Block letters for emphasis, not intended as shouting.) So please, let us know what you are ready to share in class.

Remember February includes your teamwork OPs. Next Feb 1 you need to work out when you’ll do your OP (last two weeks in Feb, but you can also book in March if you are not ready before that).

March will be Exam Format Training Month. (And pending OPs)

April: it depends on your needs. If there are not requests, I’ll come up with things. I’ve got tons of ideas! But I’d rather you suggested things or shared your work.

May will be Focus on Interactions, intensive practice in timed dialogues based on previous speaking tests.

Tutorías: please, book a counselling session if you are lost, feel down, or simply to talk to me.

Diary for Wed Jan 25 – Guest Speaker

warrenToday we had the great luck to listen to a very knowledgeable speaker on the topic of Visiting Cambodia, for he is a tour manager who lived in Cambodia for years. Previously, I had asked students to watch these videos as a warm-up.

As not many C1 students made it to class today, I rushed upstairs and — sorry about that — forgetting to ask them first, I invited Avanzado students in Juan’s class to join us. And that was great! Suddenly the room was full of life! There was such an atmosphere! (I wish this were so each single time we organize events!)

I was wearing my super girly-girly dress and after doing the catwalk (well, my “pintillas” version of that, after a 30-second tutorial on how to spot a feminist when in a girly disguise), I acknowledged María José a<3 s the person who made this event possible, and invited her to tell everybody about the exhibition she’s also on, “Aventureras”, whose opening is this Friday at 20.00 near Glorieta Ford. (More info here.) Incidentally, she gave me a poster I put up on the door and for just me an autographed bookmark (well, I had to beg her to sign it for me! 😀 ). 😛 Ana, the janitor, while Juan’s group moved to the first floor, wrapped up a bottle Lola, one of the French teachers in our school, bought this week from local producers in Coín with school money. It was our little present for Warren because he was not going to charge us (a fee) for his talk.

Warren Garber, who allowed me to videoshoot his talk, introduced himself (a Londoner) and started off by telling us about his relationship to Cambodia and Andalucía. Then he moved onto the topic of Cambodia. He had prepared a wonderful power point presentation, which offered visual support to the topics he spoke about, and this made things easier for the audience to follow. I particularly loved the way he explained things, because he often paraphrased things so that people could follow better, as if he knew which words might pose trouble to students. And because he knew well what he was speaking about, and easily related things to his own thoughts and experiences. On top of that, he knew where the audience came from, too, I mean, that he was speaking about Cambodia to us, people living in Costa del Sol.

Students and Juan the teacher were wonderful because whenever they had a question or comment, they posed it, so the talk had very interactive moments!

Warren told us about the country’s location, what it’s called, what its weather is like, what people’s lives are like in terms of everyday details (TVs powered by car engines in huts; mobile ringtones heard in rice plantations) and also general occupations (women workers, mostly, in fields or sweat workshops), including the gender problems that patriarchal society has. He gave information on health concerns and transport/transportion. He showed us bits of landscape and key tourist sites… He gave us some key hints on history, and international relations in Asia and with international superpowers. And ended the talk bringing up the issue of food, this BIG cultural question. (By the way, I would have wanted to ask him why British people find eating squid repulsive, well, if that’s right.)

We had fun, too, because Warren has a great sense of humor/humour!

And my right hand was totally numb midway, so if I manage to edit the video (chop it up in different video clips by topic, like this one we did on Trinidad and Tobago! It’s 8 in all) you’ll see the image’s rather wobbly (unsteady) at times! Sigh!

After Warren left, Juan’s group left, cheerfully thanking us for the invitation. And those of us who were left reviewed the issue of word order in questions. I suggested people collected questions and did some oral drilling to improve their accuracy and fluency. More on this on my next post. Please read.

Last, I told students I could publish their human rights letters on our brand-new multilingual Human Rights blog.

Well, thanks to everybody for today! Life is much more interesting when we work together! ❤

Diary for Jan 23!

Today we had a very productive and communicative lesson! It was fun, too, because we had some time to speak. (People, I’m watching Michael Moore’s latest documentary and it’s just on the bit on Education in Finland, and how I wish we had that! Do you know Fuengirola has one of those schools? If we could only find someone there who spoke English and wanted to come as a guest speaker.)

We started off by recording 4 articles of the human rights declaration. (I might have to ask for more volunteers if the French teacher who is now ill isn’t back next Monday, OK?)

Then María José told us about her upcoming exhibition. Check this out.

Then I told people about our Coeducación work and our need to attend things we organize because attendance is so terribly low most of the time! So here, how can you not attend these upcoming events? Read on

We talked about fundraising: online platforms like teaming and crowdfunding projects, and then Cristina asked about public schools and their own fundraising to make up for all the underfunding. I suggested a classic: when we are told that something cannot be done (as civil servants) I always ask where that is said. People might interpret this as me troublemaking, but the truth is we need to know what the law says because public schools are all subject to law in all they do.

Last we moved onto language questions and checked page 3 of the Redesign My Brain worksheet.

Oh, and in case someone is interested, here are my notes and exercises on the Saxon Genitive (opens a word doc).

UPCOMING PLANS. We forgot to establish a deadline for your January writing but considering some people have already handed it in, I’d say February 1, the day you all need to gather in small groups for your Reading Projects. I suppose you already know but Cristina B won’t be making it to class till April. Still, she intends to audio record her work on that.

NEXT DAY. We’re priviledged to have a British man who lived in Cambodia and is married to a Cambodian espouse. I don’t know how long things will be, so just as a contingency plan, bring your worksheets on collocations. Depending on how long he plans to speak for, or your questions (please, interact, OK? ❤ ), we might be into checking one of the worksheets with him!! ❤ ❤ ❤ I’ll also bring small-but-strong video camera in case he allows us to shoot!

Teacher’s UL on episode 1, Redesign My Brain

Why did I jot down most of the sentences below? Yes! It’s more expressive language! Intense, expressive of emotions! Can you say these sentences spontaneously and accurately? Watch again and practice!

  • to win or draw
  • holding moves in his mind
  • a remarkable achievement
  • I’m on a quest for a better brain!
  • I’ll be pushed to my limits!
  • I’ll try to expand my mind power!
  • I’ll try to turbocharge my brain / to turboboost it!
  • Strap yourself in!
  • Down to work!
  • … how you operate at your limit
  • Brain training
  • The more practice the better you get
  • The better you get, the harder it’ll get
  • juggling – increasing thinking speed
  • Balls look more achievable (than knives!)
  • If you say it, it’s easier!
  • I seem to be getting the hang/feel of this!!
  • Practice is the key
  • Aiming your eyes at something doesn’t mean we see it
  • There’s room for (significant) improvement
  • It’s been years since we lost anybody!
  • They can even get away with magical murder!
  • Sneaky magicians!!
  • Multitasking is a phallacy
  • You’re walking through the world with blinders on
  • We see with our brains!
  • You can improve peripheral vision and also get better at what you see
  • the food in front of them
  • What kind of name is that?!
  • Rumour has it that you actually memorized two whole decks!
  • this is the person-action-object technique
  • It’s easier to recall a strong visual scene than numbers…
  • This is really doing my head in!!
  • To be honest, I’m slightly (:D) stunned! – oxymoron
  • I’m completely shocked!
  • The thing I’m most amazed at is —
  • You worked really hard at this to get this advancements!
  • I’m feeling so anxious!!
  • mental athletes
  • This is a collection of some of the most interesting people I’ve ever seen!!!
  • Look at them! You can see the mental toll this seems to take on people
  • No admittance (reminds me of No attendance – No pude asistir a clase)
  • I’m absolutely thrilled!
  • It’s been amazing for me to do this
  • He experienced it first hand – a first hand experience
  • I feel so energetic!
  • Even my sleep has gotten better!

Improving your vocabulary range (edited – adv)

Other ways to say… high frequency used words!

You may be finding them as you read your book/screenplay, so pay attention to jot down and repeat them in context as you find examples of their use! ❤

otherwaystosay_c1

A different model with a same intention!

http://www.instantdisplay.co.uk/shadessynonyms.pdf

(6 pdf pages)

I’m adding these collocated adverbs, so you also gather useful language like this for your Vocabulary section or in your collected sentences. Remember that an adverb is to the verb what the adjective is to the noun, so we say “I’m a good girl” (!) good modifies girl, a noun, but “I behave well”, well modifies behave, a verb. He cleans very well. I’m slow (I = slow). I eat slowly (eat = slowly).

adverbs-of-manner

Feedback on Formal Letters of Request. Human Rights Project

In December, people had a formal letter of request (announced on Writing File above) and we decided to write a letter requesting or demanding somebody’s release from prison for human rights reasons.

December Writing Assignment – with resources

Next week I’ll be giving you your work back. You have one week to re-write it, if necessary or to type out your final copy to send in for publication! And after that, it would be good people who made mistakes told us about those, so we can check we are all OK with that or making good progress!

Contributions

Considering this Writing Assignment was so special, because it was based on real cases and on fighting for a respect for human rights, I’d like to ask all of you to send your pieces for publication. But please, feel free to say no. No problem.

My Feedback

  • After reading and correcting your work, I’m very happy you worked on your Before Writing stage. I can see you read various letters, because most people have used the “useful language” you collected correctly. Also, your selection of language was appropriate and well used in every other sense. So congratulations!
  • Some people had trouble with the structure, and you could see they hadn’t worked on a previous outline. Outlines are crucial to organize the info, also in paragraphs.
  • Some people did not do a good job proofreading their work, this is, in the After Writing stage.
  • About language mistakes, most people did not make many, and a few people had mistakes below the level. Mistakes in verbal phrases, for instance, including passives. Another area of mistakes was reference: be careful when you use your pronouns, because at times the noun it refers to is further back than some other noun, and that creates great confusion. One particular mistake: Meanwhile is not While, it stands on its own, so you cannot use it in sentences like this: “WHILE the legal procedure carries on…”
  • Most language ranges were very good, and a few were a bit more like a B2 or upper intermediate level, which is OK because we’re doing a C1 course now.

Outlines for Polite Letters of Request/Demand! / Human Rights Letters

  1. Address someone
  2. To-the-point beginning: Why you are writing: ask for somebody’s release/protection.
  3. Describe/Explain the case
  4. Pressure 1: Reminder of laws / commitments
  5. Pressure 2: your request again, considering previous paragraph
  6. Thanks/Goodbye

6 paragraphs, or more, but with this structure.

Addresses

A just-in-case note: We never include addresses in exams with a word limit. But read the instructions carefully because you should if there is a space for that or it is requested.

Useful Language

Prepositions

  • instigation to delinquency
  • accused of (a crime / sth: taking part in a peaceful demonstration)
  • charged with (doing sth)
  • sentenced to (a sentence)
  • put in isolation
  • held in solitary confinement
  • subject to an unfair trial
  • (sb) is opposed to violence / the use of violence
  • based on this evidence / events
  • commit to your promise/pledge
  • comply with art. … of … / respect art. …
  • was transferred to

Adverbs

Opening lined after the salutation (Your Excellency, Dear President …)

  • I am writing to request your assistance concerning (sb’s case) …
  • I am writing to request protection for (sb)…
  • I am writing to express my disapproval of the police misconduct in a demonstration for public education which was legally organized last Friday Jan 2 by the 15M citizens platform.

Firmer language (more pissed off!/wound up!):

  • I call on you to immediately and unconditionally release(full name) imprisoned solely for his/her peaceful political expression.
  • I urge you to immediately free prisoner of conscience (full names) imprisoned in … for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression / speech.
  • I urge you to free (full names) without delay.
  • I urge you to release (sb) immediately and unconditionally with all charges against him/her dropped.
  • I call on you to immediately halt the construction of a hydroelectric dam in…
  • Your country is known worldwide for the appalling treatment of albino people…

(Edited) Holiday Work! Starting Now!

😀 ❤

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lesson Today

If we manage to overcome technical problems (I’m bringing an external DVD player), today we’ll focus on two things while watching a neuroscience documentary:

  • learning about textual structure in science documentaries
  • learning about the development of human intelligence

Then, groups can talk about their reading plans.

If things go wrong, we’ll watch another neuroscience documentary, but without a worksheet. But I’ll post the link to the documentary here plus the worksheet so you can use it at home for follow-up work.