Planning

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. ❤

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Particularly the following pages:

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

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

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

Some homework:

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

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

I mentioned I thought you underused my materials, too.


Plans for next week – updated!!

Monday

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

Wednesday

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

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

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

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

https://www.iberlibro.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=22307994244&searchurl=kn%3DGood%2BNight%2BStories%2Bfor%2BRebel%2BGirls%26sortby%3D17

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/

For Dessi, Lucía & anyone interested!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://c1coursebymf2017.wordpress.com/

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

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! 🙂 ❤

 

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

At last! Wonderful Presentation on Orange Is the New Black & On Prisons and Learning

This presentation is a great example of what an advanced learner is capable of. I want to thank students who, like Marta and Isabel, have allowed us to record their work because it is truly precious for everybody’s learning! ❤

Although our speakers make some mistakes, it is obvious their relationship to the language is very natural, at the advanced level, too, that they are able to analyze their experience with it, in complex ways. I mean, apart from the interesting points they make, apart from bringing in their worlds to the analysis (this indicates they understood what they were reading beyond “the language problem”), they can explain it all, complex ideas, in a natural way, and when they can’t find the words, they manage to find a way to make their point anyway.*

Use this to learn to listen to yourselves as you speak, so you can fix the mistakes you make which you can actually fix! And enjoy! It’s very enjoyable!

  • (except with one word Isabel utters very quickly and probably makes up! 😀 😀 😛

I’d also like to invite you to listen to some writing by Angela Davis, one of the most brilliant and honest thinkers I have read, socially committed, too, because this philosopher is an expert in the prison system, and also an activist fighting it, to humanize our world.

  • Are Prisons Obsolete? – a collection of essays on the topic. Here is one of the essays
  • Chapter 1 of OITNB, which I recorded, in case you want to see how the memoir starts
  • Also, here is a page where I share my work on language when I read this work by Piper Kerman, and some resource material I created for a workshop on “Crime and Punishment”, one of the topics in C1 tests

Finally, I believe the topic should be called “Crime and Justice”, really, but this is the world we have: we think that if we don’t use violent words or behave violently that means we are not doing anything against violence — a very patriarchal piece of thinking, in my view! Fighting violence and crime is rooted in VALUES and when the values a certain culture chooses are violent, then it’s all about nurturing the same problem. The only “punishment” a prison should offer is privation of freedom, and only for certain crimes, crimes against people (not so much property — if people were not subject to poverty, the only criminals we would have in prison are those corrupt people who steal and never get to prison), not all the other humiliating and terrible things it involves. While preventing those criminals to harm other people, prisons would be places to learn good things, to learn. But then, here and now, many of us would want to go there because of unemployment! 😀

Anyway… I hope some year we can have this workshop in this course. The kind of education based on not seeking becoming independent and resourceful, and absentism* have terrible impact every year, because we cannot count on people’s initiative, work, participation and collaboration. Teamwork is always utopia and there’s like no hope because it’s so justified we don’t have the time to work with others.

*(I do wonder why people think that you can tell people in one course you signed for that you cannot join them because you have to attend another course. I know I get to learn about this reason for them not coming to class only from people who appreciate me and respect my work, but it always hurts to see how anything is more important than learning in a course you wanted to do, right? I mean, if you have enrolled in a course, and don’t find time to follow it, why would you find time to follow another course? It’s funny how we find the most positive things for our learning, the least interesting to pursue, really. It’s like when we learn without suffering: people truly believe in practice that they learn more when they suffer in the process. Well, excuse my sharing this insight. Feel free to disagree! It could bring us hope! 😀

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

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! ❤

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

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

Language Workshop to put together!

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

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

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

Useful Language for topics like employment, tourism, economy…

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

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

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

Reading Articles (informative, magazines)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy your English! ❤

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 2 external link listen Read here the sentences:
bullet Inviting People to Speak
bullet Agreeing
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

 

Lesson Plans for Mon March 6

  • The PUC Workshops. Presentation of the Training in Exam Format workshop and agreeing on joint work we’ll do – Reading & Listening Tests mostly, but then revision of what you learned or worked on for your Speaking & Writing Files. I’m considering you could take a true written test in class (2 parts) to make up for the February Writing Assignment most of you didn’t do (today you still have the chance to hand it in as I announced).
  • 1 hour? – The Pay It Forward Oral Presentation: Clara, Mª José (pending), Marina, Emilia, Dessi, Cristina B, Soluna (pending).
  • If time allows or later discussion with you all on this blog: Why was part of the course becoming “Authors” in the blog? About the use of this blog: posting your work for written interaction and feedback here (also with peers) – two kinds of work: joint exercises I gave and things you found or used that you’d like to share. I’ll ask you to post your learning diaries so you remember which bits you want to share and get feedback for.

cartel3webReminder: Next week all of our school will attend the first celebration of our 25 anniversary, which is a talk on love by an expert on the matter, held at IES Fuengirola nº1 at six. We need to arrange where to meet and make sure everybody’s going because it’s part of what the school offers this year in every course, OK? Considering people drop out whenever we organize amazing things like this event, you might want to bring someone along! 😀

Reminder next Monday / next week

Dear all,

I hope you’re enjoying your use of English!

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

What you need to do/bring:

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Edited Worksheet 2) For your homework on Questions

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

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

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

About the February Writing Assignment

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

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

See posts below for more info!

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?)

About Next Wednesday: Iceland & High Fidelity

As Elva is coming at 7.10 to start her talk, and people in Spain are rarely punctual, I’d like to request students to try to be in class by 7.10 (“by” means “at the latest), please, or to pretend the talk is at 7.00. I’ll be in class at 7.00 sharp.

Also, I’ll ask you this evening, but… I think we should invite other groups, too. What do you think?

Elva’s talk would be from 7.10 to 8.10 (I think it could take up to 8.30 or even 8.45, where I’m setting the limit so we can listen to the High Fidelity OP by Germán and Dolores, OK?)

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.

Oral Presentations on the Reading Projects

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

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

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

Diary for Wed Feb 1 – Small Groups & How to Work with our Edited Videos

Yesterday, before the class split up in small groups, considering I had just published a new edited video (on the EOI Teacher Sharing C1 Work Vimeo Channel, not the EFL LEARNERS SPEAKING ENGLISH YouTube Channel (EOI Fuengirola), which includes many more, on the C1 playlist – make sure you have a look!) I explained how you could be working with the video I edit for students. Here is a summary:

Watching videos where ANY student speaks and the teacher has included written corrections on the mistakes this person makes, is a very POSITIVE exercise you can do because:

  • We learn to monitor our production by monitoring other people’s production, in other words, we learn to listen to ourselves as we speak (in order to fix the mistakes we know we made) by listening to other people and noticing their mistakes. Like everything in life, learning this is a process that requires training. Learning to listen to yourself allows you to fix mistakes you might make which you can recognize, and this chance allows you to be more confident when you are nervous and you have to speak in public (at work, in any social situation, in exams).
  • This exercise helps you to understand how to work positively with mistakes, and informs your list, as mistakes are not only made by the person giving the presentation, but shared by most students.
  • It also gives you ideas on how to address different topics, and can help you put together lists of Useful Language for those topics.
  • Oftentimes, it helps you understand how important structure is, to allow people to follow what you say. How repeating things in other words is very natural and important. All that kind of stuff.

I reminded people about the posts on this blog, and listed the latest. About indirect speech, and indirect questions, here is what I have on the TP podcast, 3 wonderful episodes that will improve or consolidate your fluency and accuracy while helping you review one of the most important language functions.

For about half an hour or a bit more small groups checked the collocation worksheets: some people checked both worksheets, some checked one. I wonder if people shared their favorites, or selected UL to master the use of some of those collocations! I hope you can all tell me in class! If you didn’t do it, do it now. Select a few, visualize a context where to use them, and say them out loud every now and then! Then share in class! You can even record them for your Speaking File.

I would like to ask you, Have you found the Key to these exercises on the internet? Or should I copy the key of these two on the blog? Or can we have a plenary just to double-check your work?

Next, small groups worked on their Reading Project. I’ll update this page to include the dates they booked. If someone’s info is missing, please, send it to me by email if you cannot make it to class, OK? I’m including Marta and Isabel today too.

Fire Drill: I explained what might happen next week, so students know how to behave in a fire emergency and how we should evacuate the building. If you’re coming to class next week and you missed this lesson please, ask in your whatsapp group!

Work Back to You: Some people got their checked work from the cardboard box and some people handed in their January Writing.

And Marta borrowed Orange Is the New Black. Borrowers, remember I don’t keep a list, so it’s important things come back to me at some point, OK? No rush, but please, don’t forget!

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!

March 8. International Women’s Strike! <3

8marzoparoMore and more women in the world, individually and in groups and network, with some men joining in, too, like those supporting women in a hunger strike in Sol, Madrid, are growing in numbres. So far it’s 48 countries!

parointernacional48paises

Old news: The Confederación intersindical changed its mind and they are not calling for the strike anymore, that is, trade unions are not joining in the 24-hour strike. They’re expressing their solidarity by doing what everybody can do everywhere: 10-minute, 2-hour strikes.

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!

Diary for Wed Jan 18

Today checking your answers to the two first pages of the Worksheet for Redesign my Brain took up the whole lesson because we also talked about techniques and the language items I had selected for the questions.

We have arranged the following plans for next week:

Monday

  • Finish page 3 of the Redesign My Brain activity
  • Do Part 2 of the Climate Change listening activity
  • Small groups to check the collocations handouts (8, 10)
  • We should also agree on a deadline for the January writing assignment. Considering it’s a book review, a travel guide entry or a travel brochure, or a brochure like the one I gave you on Women in Black, you might need the deadline to be in February? Just let me know what you think next Monday.

Wednesday

We’ll have the pleasure to welcome an acquaintance of María José’s, who is British but has lived in Cambodia. So he will be talking about whatever he likes in connection to his country or Cambodia. I’d like to ask you all to think of questions on these two countries, or language questions, too, the kind a someone who is not a teacher can answer. It seems he’s a tour operator, so this would connect really nicely with descriptive texts and brochures, and travel guides!

I’ve asked for a gift vochure for Teseo or olive oil for our Guest Speakers, considering we cannot pay them if they don’t have a CIF number or something I don’t understand they need to have to get paid.

I’m asking students to please prepare questions for our speakers, OK?

(Updated Jan 20) The Human Rights Declaration!

LATESTS NEWS: C1 English students can just choose now between: art. 24, 27, 28. If any of you is interested, please, let me know which you want to do next Monday!

Listen, people, this is what we have, in French and German (by students): preamble, 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 29.

Updated Jan 18: + Dessi, art. 10
Friday Jan 20: New volunteer!!! Mónica is recording art. 30!!!
News Jan 20: French students: art. 2, 3, 5; 19, 21, 23, 24, 25

Would you C1s pick an article and post here the info, so others know what’s left? You could record it with my recording machine in class, by reading it out loud, after having practiced at home. As soon as possible (I can work on the video next Friday, or on Fridays, or a bit on this or that day), but if you’d do it, I’d wait, of course!

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…

Diary for Wed Jan 11 – Reading Projects & Listening + Lesson Plans Next Week 1

Today we had an hour of work in small groups, on the reading projects. I forgot to collect (here “gather” is not an option, or at least I wouldn’t use it here) the group info from each group! But at least I updated group members on the page above called Reading Projects! We did agree on this: next February 1 we will hold the second session for Working Groups to finish up their OP. So on that date you should bring your contribution for the OP, to coordinate with the team. Then you will alll book a date for your OP and inform me about whether I can videoshoot someone or not.

Thanks, Karen, for your precious work contacting the three students we had questions for! ❤ And for the pics of the posters! I’ll be sending our Chimamanda Ngozi page and those pics as contributions for the multimedia magazine we’ll be publishing in the last months of the school year! Thanks to all, and if you wish to send something for this page, you can do so until Sunday this week.

Then we did our first listening in our Listening Techniques and Strategies workshop. I gave some tips, and people did well. There’s room for improvement, of course, but it was a good start. See this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Because people will be wanting to practice retelling of what can be learned/learnt from this Part 1 of the radio program(me), I’m posting the link to the mp3 audio. If you know where that is, hahaha, please, remember: don’t listen to part 2 and part 3 because those will be listenings to do in class in upcoming lessons, whenever we want to fit them in, OK? (probably, next Wednesday, when we check the Redesign My Brain worksheet and discuss the documentary, as Monday will be for an OP on Corpora and watching the documentary).

(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

The Baby Human Lesson

Becoming Happy Social Beings

Well, today not many people came to class, but we finally managed to start with one of my favo(u)rite lessons. I gave out a worksheet for exploiting To Belong (BH) and we watched the first 20 minutes twice. First we worked on textual structure (identifying the outline the documentary follows) and then sts did the fill-in-the-gap activity. Fortunately, they decided they were happy with watching it a third time next Monday, to gather more info to put together an oral summary of the experiments and the whole. So people who didn’t come today will have the chance to watch it at least once (note-taking for identifying the outline).

You can borrow a copy of this series from me, if you like. And if you did find it on the internet, please, let me know. I’ve only found certain scenes.

I have decided to give you all a documentary mission for the holidays (apart from Story of Stuff), because some people really need to listen to more English and learn to learn English from listening, because everybody at the C1 level needs to listen to lots of English and documentaries are amazing, and because it’s fun homework, at least you learn interesting things about topics people don’t usually discuss. So I’ll be giving out some paper copies next week, and I’ll explain it all here. It’ll be a documentary you can watch online, too. So next day we can relax, finish with this activity, with small groups retelling, and then have the Reading Groups talk about their reading projects. Today that was impossible because there were so many people missing.

Next Tuesday, at 6.00 pm, there’ll be an amazing talk on jazz on the second floor. I’ll be attending (until 7.00) and you are all welcome. It’ll be in English and it’s been organized by Juan. Try to make it there, if possible!

I pinned on the bulletin board your “notas” but as you know these don’t count for your Certificate Test. I gave a pass mark to people who I think or know are following the course. The important thing is the feedback I’m giving you on your English. As you have probably noticed, there is no one from last year, because just one student who followed the course failed. The exam results were extremely good, in spite of the fact that most people did not have a consolidated C1 level. But they worked very hard, and we worked very hard, and I worked very hard last year. I’m saying this because in my view some people would probably need two years here to reach a consolidated C1 level, but now it’s too soon to know, and it mostly depends on your use of English and the work you can put into learning this year. So I encourage you to work hard, joyfully better than because you have to, and if you need extra support or want me to assess your situation, supposing you’ve given me info on your English (work you handed in or shared in class), feel free to ask.

Just perhaps explain why three people who have not been coming to class have an Apto: I consider their English is at a good level, and I know they use it quite a lot, I can feel it when I listened to them in this first term. If I don’t get any more info, they’ll get a No Apto in this fake thing of “notas” trimestrales, but that won’t mean a thing. The only pass mark you can get is in June and September. So these Seneca notas are just a way of saying who’s following the course, and this info is irrelevant for evaluation in June and September.

Celebrating and Making Questions about the HR Declaration

Today the reading aloud of the HR declaration took up the whole lesson, and we didn’t even get to the end. I hope you can all finish reading it and comment next day, if you like. You can also feel free to exploit this activity as you like. You could also practice/practise speaking at home to put together a personal opinion of the document or the activity. If you record it in the mp3 audio format, you could send it to me for feedback.

I really enjoyed us talking a bit about some of the articles. I love reading in groups, and just talking, because lots of things come up that allow me to expand my world! I hope the activity was useful for you all, too, in this way. Remember to collect some useful language typically used in this kind of legal texts. And thanks so much for celebrating human rights today! ❤

The plan for today included watching a one-hour documentary. Considering the plan for next day is this:

Wednesday Dec 14

Last week: Please, feel free to make requests or proposals!

… next day we’ll start with the documentary, adjusting to just note-taking instead of doing the listening activity, and depending on the time Reading Groups need, we’ll do or not do the listening activity, OK?

Check the overview of our upcoming lessons to express your preferences next day, OK?

I published your Aptos on the announcement board in class, and if you have any questions about feedback on your English please let me know. These Aptos are just saying you are following the course in some way. What’s important for assessment is the feedback I give you, the feedback you get from classmates when you communicate, and your own assessment.

Remember

  • To ask any questions about the December writing assignment in class or here, under the post for that.
  • To publish your mini sagas or other writings here, if you like.
  • To listen to English every day and try retelling or listen-n-repeat. This is very important, OK?
  • There are checked writings in our cardboard box in class.
  • And to check out the Story of Stuff page above during the time we won’t have lessons!

The Story of Stuff Project – from Nov to Jan

Here is the plan, after events in class. Make it your key mission over the hols! 😀 ❤
https://c1coursebymf2016.wordpress.com/the-story-of-stuff-project/

Diary for Dec 5 – Collocations & Friends

Hi there!

Today we started off talking about “biased” /báiest/ and how “politics” is changing in meaning to include not only the politics by political parties but also politics as citizens’ participation in the construction of society, that kind of politics second-wave feminism allowed us to think, when they coined the phrase “The personal is political”, meaning for instance, if a husband beats up his wife, this is no “private affair”, like the police and society would reply, but a social problem. Today we show we learned from this when we all speak against gender violence, but unfortunately, far too many people don’t credit feminism for this vital change in our frames of mind. We also had “being let down by party politics” and about “taking a mid-way stand”, I’ll be posting later.

Small groups worked on Positive feelings and situations (collocations), but that was for about 45 minutes, I think, so we didn’t have a plenary on that. I’ll post the key, my favs, for your Useful Language, in case it helps, and then you can post your comments and questions, or ask in class.

Next we watched Friends, episode 2, season 1. And we had a half hour for language questions. But I’d like to exploit the script further, so next day please bring your copies. We’ll also do the dramatized reading.

People gave me all kinds of things, including summaries of their work! So I’m really grateful for that!

And Sergio got the prize! He took the roast chicken Martha, an Elementary student, brought for this group, too, today!

People, do prepare timed monologues if you like. This month we’ll be watching documentaries. We’ll continue next week with this!

I’ll be posting separately about politics and the viciousness of words, and also on Eve Ensler. Now, I’m starving! So I’m gonna make some soup, for a change!

Night night!

Evaluation & Exams: Why We Should Fight Exam Culture, & Some Practical Info!

Hi, dear students! I’ve been mulling over the obstacles to gathering info about your work outside the classroom. Although I agree people have far too much on and our lives are complicated, I think that if our ideology were not that of Exam Cultures I would have gotten more info on what I requested at the end of November. So just in case this helps to improve that, I’m writing this post, OK? I hope it’s useful in some way! Just let me know what you think – with no fear!

One of the things we need to do to change the world and make it better is change our approach to learning, our awareness, the things we do and the things we don’t do. In Exam Culture systems and societies, learning is associated to pressure and fear, to a self-destructive way of relating to knowledge and the development of our skills. But learning should be related to passion, enjoyment, curiosity, to a positive construction of the individual and social self, to a source of self-confidence and a love to lifelong learning.

In spite of all we’ve learned/learnt from the second half of the 20th century on, in spite of relevant progress made at times in classrooms and education laws (always harmed by a true political will to allow that to become a reality because in politics priorities for money-spending never include education – anti-human rights and anti-planet ideologies and millionaire businesses are not into allowing the construction of wise societies), we are still blind, and just trusting what we know – the old system of fear and destruction of knowledge. We even praise it, mostly because, yes, we’ve survived it and learned. What we don’t want to imagine is how much more we would have learned in a different system. Of course we can learn with everything against us, the malleability of our human mind is astounding! But we need to develop our intelligence and wisdom much more if we want to overcome the patriarchal organization of society, with all of its systems of violence, starting from the violence imposed on human identities, the foundation of all. Humans are diverse, humans are intelligent, and if we could respect this instead of always creating systems where some humans, mostly the ones with less scruples to use violence, any kind of violence, get all the support and credit, then we could evolve along the lines of the precious idea of human rights (that seed we planted recently).

Evaluation is not about testing, giving and taking exams whose aim is to quantify our knowledge and skills to determine how much we know: pass or fail? In education, this is done at times, but evaluation is far more complex and diverse, is done all the time, and it doesn’t need to quantify a level because most of the time we need to be doing a great many different things to facilitate learning, not only testing. Evaluation also refers to self-evaluation, co-evaluation (among peers, with teachers), and has different aims: collect information so as to design action is one of the most important, to help individuals, to facilitate group dynamics. Information can be collected without giving an untimely test, and that can even include the results learners get from taking the test at home, without fear, timing themselves to practice an exam format!

The reality we face when students are free from “objective marks/grades” telling them, like an oracle, if they know or don’t know — if they are valid or not, really, to construct their learning is habits. And the habit of just doing work before “Exams” is more dramatic than we understand. Lifelong and positive learning is related to doing things that sustain in, and should not be related to fear, at least not so often! 😀

I have a very different experience with my Básicos. Although on my first years doing this few people finished the course, I have witnessed how people developing the habit of listening to English every day did and are doing much better in their learning. My “exam” in Básico 1 is never to offer the oracle mark/grade: people hand in their listening logs at the end of the month, and during the month I do check they are doing just that because we do orals every week, orals they prepare by listening-listening-listening + listen-n-repeat (as many times as they like) + listen-n-read (to check they got it all, and to learn to read) + listen-n-speak! We start with the Writing File in spring! And they do it on their own. Their English is much better than people who start writing when they can’t say a word in the language, of course, because things (grammar) sounds right or wrong thanks to all their listening work throughout the year. (And in class we read the textbook of course, we listen (I read) and repeat (they repeat).) That’s a strategy for Elementary. Last night I posted an exam for them, in case they want to do it and tell me about it. But I’ve already given them pass marks in the four skills, as I’m forced to do in the system. Because they handed in their listening logs and I know they’re learning well because I’ve heard them do the orals they’ve done. In spring I teach them about exam formats, and although I give them an exam and Evaluación continua people don’t have to pass it, they pass it with flying colours (this is British English, right?).

Traditionally, at EEOOII (our schools of public/state-run adult language education), we never gave traditional exams, like they never do in private language schools: when people trained in exam format, they simply worked on doing the exam, they didn’t do it for a pass mark. The only exam happened at the end of a cheerful and hard-working learning year, logically. The nightmare of exams of this destructive kind every two or three months was unimaginable. But it’s here now. And I’m resisting. But I can’t do it if the pressure is people will only find time for destructive things! 😀 It’s teamwork, right? This said, just remind you that I’m extremely happy this year, because you come to class, and do good work, and you share it — even if it is not regularly, you are not quitting, you’re trying to do your best. And this is precisely the kind of attitude that contributes to changing the system! So yes, you’re already doing something to change Exam Culture. Now we can improve a little task that is very valuable for me as a teacher and coordinator of this course! That’s all!

I have been collecting all the info you shared in class and am really grateful for your work. ❤ Without that info I could certainly go on and give My Course, but as I told you this is an interactive course, and I’d rather stick to that idea: to meeting your learning needs, and helping out there. You don’t need to tell me which they are in the sense that I can diagnose (of course you are welcome to, yes, if you like). I’m just asking, How have you been using your English outside class-time? If you only used it to do “homework”, well, that’s OK, but tell me what you did, how you worked, if possible, OK?

 

Consequently – I’m extending the suggested deadline of November to our last lesson together before we part for the winter holidays ( 😀 , aha! this was the point!) in case you can share with me information about your work with English outside the classroom, OK? I need to know what you’ve been listening to (topics, kinds of texts), and if that is what we did in class, but you kept working on it at home, great. No problem. This is not to give you an evaluation mark. It’s just to facilitate our and your learning.

About your work this week for next week

Here is a list of things you could be doing:

  • Print the human rights declaration I prepared for you, to bring to class
  • Bring your collocations worksheet on positive feelings
  • Bring your copy of Friends episode 2 season 1
  • Listen to me reading the handout I gave you to expand on Story of Stuff (things we can do) as you read the handout. Listen twice: once to underline things you would’ve pronounced differently, and the other to collect UL for your teamwork next week on Story of Stuff.
  • Post your descriptions if you didn’t
  • Post minisagas
  • Gather info for me, about your work outside class in the past two months: list your mons, writings, listening log…
  • Read blog posts and Pages (notice Our Work in class by Month)
  • Listen to English: news, radio program(me)s; TV
  • Prepare a timed OP

Next week our lesson plan for Monday is:

  • correct collocations worksheet + Questions on Friends, and then watch + dramatized reading

Then, small groups on Story of Stuff, watching a neuroscience documentary in two days, one for note-taking and another to do a fill-in the gap activity. And… let me know what. Just now I simply can’t keep thinking on this! 😀 But we’ll be reading the human rights declaration and discuss issues.

PS: Before we part, you need to tell us the poem Wild Geese, too. I forgot!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Human Rights Project (celebrating Dec 10)

human-rights-dayHere is a project you might be interested in. Let me know this week (in class or by email), in case we can use time in class for it.

human-rights-declaration-project (4 Word pages for you to print – if we read it in class and comment, I’ll have a few classroom copies)

FYI:

Teachers at our school are planning to create a multilingual video where each will voice an article in this declaration in Spanish, English, French and German. Because they are 11 or so, they’ll probably welcome other people joining in, students, I mean! 😉

Mujer Palabra (an independent website) has sent the United Nations a request for updating the language in the Declaration of Human Rights in Spanish, to replace terms in the masculine singular with less excluding naming in terms of gender discrimination. If you wish to take part in this action, check out their Like page on Fb, where you’ll find a link to the UN email account in the post called “Acción derechos humanos”.


December Writing Assignment: Letter-writing

Diary for Mon Nov 28 – The Story of Stuff Projects

Today we had an OP by Marina, on home education, which was great and allowed us to pay attention to the issue of how important it is to work on structure and transitions that help us change subjects and settings. We also talked a bit about this concept, new for most of us in Spain, and about how different the situation of home education is in the US as compared to Britain or what we could have of this in Spain.

Next day it’s Sergio‘s turn, if I remember correctly. And then anyone is welcome to speak!

Soluna suggested our listing useful language for ending OPs, and we did so. She’ll be posting on our work on that! Thanks so much!

We held our second viewing of Story of Stuff, so that small groups could work in reconstructing its information. That was meant to be 10 minutes, but people had so much to share that they worked on this for 20 minutes. I gave out a handout on Points of Intervention, the What Can We Do? part of what I’m suggesting you include in your individual OP project on Story of Stuff.

I also suggested the outline for this 3-5 min OP everybody should work on at home this week:

Story of Stuff – use key words to explain what you learned/learnt + illustrate with an example + remember the first part is a summary, not a personal analysis. This would come in the final block.

The Materials Economy

  • Intro:
  • Extraction:
  • Production:
  • Distribution:
  • Consumption:
  • Disposal:

What can we do? / Points of intervention – include your highlights in the handout or from the documentary

  • Your selection

Personal Opinion

How are we going to proceed?

Individual projects. We agreed people would work on speaking at home, following their final outline. People will also read the handout this week, underlining useful language, keeping in mind we can exploit all of this language for different reading/listening/writing/speaking topics: economic crisis, environmental issues, human rights issues, democracies, employment, consumerism, health, education, social movements…

Teamwork. Then, next week small groups will listen to each of its members doing this timed speaking practice, and give them feedback. They will also share their UL work to send me the final copy for publication on this blog.

Small Groups (that will “adopt” people not coming today to class, max. 2 per group): Soluna, María José, Luz, Lorena; Lucía Dessi, EMilia, Laura; Marina, Germán, Clara, Cristina B)

Questions for Plenary later on.

Individual Project & Sharing. Finally, each student will record at home a final piece on this documentary, for your Speaking File. This Onion Approach we are developing will have helped you use the same material over and over again, to ease the path of learning how to present info on various topics with relevant vocabulary work.

Students will send me their recorded work, for feedback, and if you like, for publication on our Vimeo channel, which is where I collect examples of timed speaking performances for our exams.

Language Tip: Soluna mentioned “consumption” used to be the way “tuberculosis” was called! Today it’s called TB, and that is why it’s crucial you get your V right in “TV”!!

I’m posting our Lesson Plans separately now.

Last, about handing in your reports on your work at home in the past two months. I can start collecting them next Wednesday and give you a complete week to hand in this work, OK?

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

Edited: I corrected some mistakes!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the Page above for Ngozi Adichie

Dear all,

As you have probably noticed, I created a Page (on the navbar above) dedicated to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I’m publishing there the final versions of work you did around what we learned/learnt in our crosscurricular feminist month of October!

Today I just published Lucía’s review on Ngozi’s essay!

I wanted to tell you all that when I publish your work I use your first name, and that if you want me to include your family/surname too, you need to let me know some way, so I can fix it or do like I did today, publish your full name (Lucía’s).

About the gender worksheets, don’t expect me to give them back this week, OK? I haven’t finished reading them all and I need to take notes, and there’s more work to do first, so please, bear with me! ❤

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Germán reminded us we had to check the collocations worksheets.

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

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

Anyway, we decided on plans for next week, and

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

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

News about our prospective Guest Speaker from Iceland!

Dear all,

I just called / I’ve just called Elva, a woman from Iceland who I wanted to invite to class, as a guest speaker, so we can learn about the people in this country first hand! And she just told me / she’s just told me that she’s leaving for Iceland again in a week / in a week’s time, but that she would be delighted to come to class in January. We arranged we would get in touch then to arrange for a date and the kind of lesson we would have that day!

I had the pleasure of listening to Elva’s English last June, when she registered for the Avanzado Certificate Test. I was part of her speaking test examining board. Her English was consolidated at the advanced level, so a B2 certificate less than she could have actually certified. But as you know, it’s not possible to take the C1 Certificate Test as a freelance student (Libre). Yet (let’s cross fingers!). Anyway, although we don’t evaluate ideology, or ideas, just the language and textual and communicative matters, I was deeply impressed and moved by her monolog(ue), which was about refugees. So after the tests, I asked her about this idea of visiting our School to talk about Iceland. And she was generous in her reply! She’s even brought us some maps, already!

As you know, you have a reading assignment, which is two articles on Iceland which I posted here (Reading Articles, a Course Project). You should read them for January and work on ideas and language for your productive work (speaking, writing), which will also be positive for your reading tests!

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

Today people had the chance to work together!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reminders: Lesson Plans for Today & Planning November

  1. Who speaks next week? – booking a date
  2. Small Groups: creating groups (with similar occupations or heterogeneous) and sharing your individual work on Useful Language.
  3. Small Groups: checking your answers to the two worksheets on collocations (spares on bulletin board) – today I’ll give you another two.
  4. Plenaries for reporting on your work and questions

Plans for November (to discuss next week) – Getting Organized (bring your weekly learning plans!)

  • Your timed OPs (book) – retelling with a time limit or putting together your own OP
  • C-Day on the second lesson in the second Nov week (on the first you’ll get your checked writing so you can work on your LoM) + Agreeing on what for the Nov Writing
  • (pending: Wkshop on Rational Discussions – print it, please)
  • Check things: Who is reading what? (C1 Materials), anyone for the Movie/Film Project?
  • Documentary
  • Friends 1×2: Dramatized Reading (print it, please)
  • New collocations worksheets
  • (At home: listening/speaking, planning, reading blog posts+materials, training with course videos, minimum if you want to actually follow the course!)

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

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

 

 

 

Improving Teamwork

Next week you’ll be working in small groups. I have some feedback for you all, based on the info I gathered after the second part of the feminist workshops, when small groups reported back to plenary on what they had been working on.

I think you can and should improve the process. Teams need to learn to monitor time and move on to meet the task requirements.

First of all, team members need to start off by wording what the task is, so that everybody knows what you need to be doing. Questions, proposals on how to do it should follow. Consider who does what when, for how long. It doesn’t have to be mathematical, but turn-taking is crucial practice for dialogue (and speaking exams). For instance, you can organize two rounds: in the first people speak with no interruptions, for a certain amount of time. Only clarification questions allowed. And the second round can be for suggesting discussions, topics to discuss, and/or present one’s reactions to things heard.

The other day when small groups reported to plenary, a few mentioned the materials were “old-fashioned” but none explained or illustrated what they meant. I actually thought you meant that the feminist ideas in cards were old-fashioned, till I realized no group had said anything about the definitions of what a woman is, according to Men of Knowledge in patriarchal cultures. And today I realized your “old-fashioned” comment might have been about those brutal misconceptions on women. In a nutshell, you need to improve your reports to plenary, because people at plenary have not been following your discussions and what you think is obvious might not be obvious for listeners.

Good tip for communication: never take for granted what listeners know. Explain things. Offer basic info, before sharing your insight.

Whatever you do in small groups: sharing info, discuss, please, pay attention (even discuss) how you are going to report back to plenary! 🙂

Diary for Wed Oct 26 – 1st Dramatized Reading + Homework & Lesson Plans

Today I was fearing people would miss the lesson due to the approaching holiday and due to the fact that when adults have communication problems they feel discouraged and rather quit trying, but most people made it to class: thanks so much! ❤ And it was a wonderful lesson, too!

We welcomed Isabel, who comes from a different school, and will just join us on Mondays, unless her rota of teachers on duty is convenient. (For people gathering Useful Language for teachers: any other alternative to “profes de guardia”?)

People asked more language questions on the Friends 1×1 script and then, volunteered for roles and we had a wonderful Dramatized Reading of the whole episode! People’s performance was outstanding, so congratulations!We had Lourdes as Narrator, Marta playing the role of Chandler, Sergio as Paul the Wine Guy, Cristina R as Ross, Karen as Rachel, Lucía as Mónica, Germán as Joey, Clara as Phoebe, and Cristina B filling in for some smaller parts.

In the upcoming month, when you plan your week, find time to watch episode 2 at least once a week, to prepare for our next session! Underline your language questions and your fav lines! I hope we can have new volunteers then — but of course, anyone volunteering on the spot is welcome! Remember to print the copy I created (shrinking tens of pages into 4!) Path: It’s on talkingpeople.net – Enter – Scripts.

I hope in the future, some day, we can record sts doing this amazing teamwork exercise! ❤ In this way, others might get the chance to read the script some other day, too. Just let me know if you decide to do this, or want to! 🙂

The other project of this kind is that you all form groups around a movie (preparing a scene or something). That’s on our C1 Materials blog, and Lucía has been having a look at that. We can talk about it next week, too.

Feedback on Romina’s OP

see next post next day – can’t finish it today!

Cristina R. gave Romina some feedback + best wishes (I’m sure you’ll succeed) and made a question: mass lay-offs = ere.

NOW, WHAT’S FOR NOW & NEXT WEEK? We have several things in store:

  • 3-4 minute OPs by you are always welcome. Actually, if everybody is going to speak once a month, we should be having two in every lesson? (I’m bad at maths!)
  • individual Useful Language projects, to share next week when you find out who’s worked on what;
  • checking the handouts on collocations (but I can post the answers, too);
  • reading out the Rational Discussion workshop, to mull over how we can improve discussions on controversial topics.
  • C-Day…

But just one lesson next week due to the Monday hol.

MORE AT HOME. You also need to post your minisagas, if you like, read posts here and comment, watch videos here and re-tell… It’s your pick! If you feel you want to improve your grammar, I recommend you use my podcast and do some Listen and Repeat with the Useful Language episodes. They will also inspire you for your Useful Language projects.