Hi, everyone!! How is it going? I watched yesterday a really interesting documentary about internet, technology and its impact in our future as human beings. I couldn’t make it to find the hole one, so I’m posting the trailer.
It would be great if anyone could find the complete version and post it here, in the blog.
Hope you enjoy it and find it as interesting as I found it.
Related to the video “Who owns your data?” I posted yesterday (see Who owns your data?), here you have a pic of some of the using terms of the app Instagram. Please take a look at it. Maybe if we read the terms before accepting them, we won’t use the app!!
It’s got interesting vocabulary about contracts, terms, conditions… as well.
Which one do you think is the less acceptable?
When you get your Speaking Test card (Modelo ___ [un número], Candidata/o ___ [A, B, C]) the idea is that for a week you listen and read on the topic, to gather knowledge, useful language, and expand, thus, your knowledge…
Then, sit and prepare the mon one day, using an outline to complement your speaking test card (you can use both things in the actual exam), and practice speaking while timing yourself. Adjust ideas, wording. Make your range richer. DON’T WRITE DOWN YOUR MONOLOGUE PLEASE! You can only jot down Useful language, not the actual monologue.
For the dialogue, please, consider language functions. Check out my cards where that is explained. Check out my card on Structure in Dialogues, and use my podcast episodes on Communication Strategies too. To expand your knowledge, and train in speaking (being accurate and fluent).
Each speaking test lasts about 15 minutes: two mons + dial. So when you book, we can have 4 groups per lesson, and then a discussion or other activities for the second hour.
By the way, if someone wishes to buy the C1 Resource Pack remember to do so before you leave the School!
Downloadable pack here: https://www.facebook.com/c1resourcepack/
My podcast episodes that can help: Useful Language (Comm. Strats is 3 episodes and way at the back – older posts)
In “Categories”, you also have the segment: Everyday Language at
and the segment Travel Phrasebook
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 I presented this new workshop. The class will split up in two groups. Each group will design a minimum of 1 Reading or Listening Task, chosing the format of one of the tasks in your C1 Test.
Everybody should listen to audios and read articles, and then pick one to bring to class on April 24th. Bring the transcript of the few selected audios and the paper copy of the articles, but also remember to keep at hand the links that people could use to check those items.
Groups will gather and after assessing what you have, we’ll have a plenary to make this decision:
Can each group design different tasks, so that we can get a final complete Reading Test and Listening Test? If both groups just want to do the multiple choice format, then it’s OK, but it’d be grand to have a complete test designed by you all.
You would be the first generation of C1’s here to design C1 Exams for future use by other students!
Why design tests?
- Because walkin in your “enemy’s” shoes is a great source of information.
- Because this is a great excuse to use your English more at home, because you really need to increase your time with English from now on.
- Because teamwork is fun and its results are always amazing!
- Because it’ll be fun to take the test the other half of the group gives you! 😀 Then you can tell me whose is harder: the ones we give or the ones your classmates design!! 😀
To end this first session, groups will decide among of all their materials, agreeing to work on one audio and written text, and what to bring for the second session.
Post your info on team members and your questions here, please. I’ll make it a sticky post!
On the C1 Materials blog I have been posting interesting stuff throughout the year, in case you wanted to use it. I’ll repost a few of those materials, but let me know suggest some other reading and listening work.
This article is interesting because it’s about someone getting awards of late, and connects politics (the dramatic situation of democratic people in the USA today, with Trump’s election), to the role of art (critical thinking, solidarity) and gender issues (women’s status in society), the media /mi-die/ and TV series. It’s far too short, just 300 words, but there is a link to a long interview with the writer. Link: Margaret Atwood Cautions America “Against Dictators of Any Kind”. Notice that titles in English capitalize all the letters except articles and prepositions. This title, however, could also be considered a quote from the text, but as you will see the Huff Post treats it as a title. (Gather UL with “as” and “like”, for the April Language Workshops! ❤ )
Here is a radio program/programme you can listen to. Don’t read the transcript, if possible! It’s about a 2007 book she got published then, which people are talking about today. 5 mins. Take it down as a dictation! ❤
Last, here is a 2-page Reading Comprehension activity I prepared on Multiculturalism. I can post the answers when you are done, just let me know. We can also read it aloud in class, so we are sure you know how to pronounce all the words, and check it, of course! Enjoy!
- RC_Multiculturalism_withoutkey (2 Word pages)
This video is about something Coral talked about when she mentioned the role of the media in this bombing on what men and women are, the patriarchal stereotypes — and links to multiculturalism. Have a look
In case you want to be able to explain something about Brexit, here are some Questions and Answers (reading)
Remember what our Scottish speaker said about it? Watch her video, if you haven’t. And get used to the Scottish accent!
Read Brexit causes more stress to young, well-educated Scottish women. Brexit caused more stress to women, young people, better educated people, Scots and Londoners, according to The Physiological Society.
I certainly feel the UK have made a terrible mistake… But this is what you get when you mistrust progressist people and think conservatives are safer. Truly irrational.
Audio: Scottish independence after Brexit (8 min)
If you prepare a 3-4 min OP on any of this, let me know, so we can find some time in class to do that! Enjoy!
Dear all, as I brought up the SWOT analysis issue, I think this worksheet could help us to organize our ideas regarding our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats related to English. SWOT_worksheet
This analysis is nowadays commonly applied to business or marketing studies, and it serves to audit the present situation of a company or business, recognizing the internal factors (Strengths and weaknesses) and the external ones (Opportunities and threats). Here you can find more information about SWOT analysis. Hope it helps!
- 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.
Reminder: 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! 😀
“Breaking the (patriarchal) Male Code”, Eve Ensler (V-Day, One Billion Rising), and 5 other guests (2 hours)
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!
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?)
At last, I made it! Here’s a precious talk by a Scottish woman who we had the chance to meet thanks to Cristina! I hope you can find the time to watch the video, excuse the recording and editing mistakes, and enjoy all the learning this talk brings! ❤
Scotland & Scottish English, by Catherine (Guest Speaker)
Catherine, from Edinburgh, kindly accepted Cristina’s invitation (C1, 2016-17) to come to our School as a guest speaker and speak about her country, Scotland, allowing us to learn about its people and culture as well as to listen to the Scottish variety of English so we can get acquainted with its accent. We feel privileged to be able to offer this video to our community. Thanks so much, Catherine, and Cristina, for this precious gift! The video includes her about 15-min talk and then questions by students. We hope you all enjoy Catherine’s talk !
I just created a page above, on our course navbar, so that you can find your videos on TP
This includes SSB’s page for her OP on Corpora! Part 1, for Part 2 is not ready yet!
About the February Writing Assignment, please, check the C1 Resource Pack on Exams Formats for the number of words, and the page here Writing File for info on the article you need to write. The difference between an informative article and an argumentatitve writing is that the first is simpler in some ways, with informative heading on particular topics, and the second is about in-depth analysis, an argumentative text. Informative texts are not about opinions, thought most writing includes opinions! But keep them impersonal mostly. Argumentative texts can be passionate and persuasive, or a more balanced in the presentation of ideas and info and views, but should include a personal assessment of some sort. Both need an intro, a development and an ending (informative) or a conclusion (argumentative).
This presentation is for secondary, and we could word things differently but it might be of help so you understand the difference.
In the C1 Resource Pack (and on my podcast) you’ll find some oral and written language for the language function of persuasion, in case some of it is useful for your assignment. But I believe that the best persuasive wording is that which reasons out things, because in my view expressing arguments is about allowing people to understand an analysis, a viewpoint, not necessarily convincing them to support it like you do. Good arguments might not change your views, but they do make your thinking, your knowledge richer, and therefore make a great difference.
Deadline? Well, I suspect most of you will want to hand it in after Semana Blanca, the last week in February. Let me know next Monday!
There are things some students need to review at home, when they are below the upper intermediate level, and you all have textbooks and materials, I’m sure. But anyway, I’ll share with you here some of my notes:
- You cannot say “DO SOMETHING very good/bad” (adjective) but “DO sth very WELL/BADLY” (adverbs): e.g. He cleans very well.
- You can say “I feel GOOD/BAD” and “I am GOOD/BAD at this or that” (adjective)
From Functional Grammar at TP, but there’s more in the C1 Resource Pack
Adverb order: How-where-when
A worksheet we could read in class, if you like, is this:
My post where you can spot the adverbs or the adverbials was this: Teacher’s UL on documentary
Feel free to post your questions, and remember: use your listening work to practice reviewing grammar, visualize the grammar as you listen!
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.
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!
I’d like to share with you some insight on speaking in public, as a teacher and a researcher on the topic, in case it can help you re-consider any trouble you might have with this issue.
Most people suffer a lot when they have to speak in public. However, most of us speak in public very often in the day — teachers, particularly, as part of the demands in their job.
So the question is: why do we consider ourselves unable to do it at times?
Overcoming fears and complexes are all efforts that, when successful, make us braver, more courageous. When we consider that people in class are unthreatening, our equals, nice people who will not harm us, it’s much easier to speak to them all in class, and this training allows us to control our fear when we need to speak in public in examinations or in particularly threatening work situations.
There’s also this other issue: we need to assess how private or emotional it is what we are saying. If it’s just an exercise, where our intimate world is not presented, we should really find enough strength to control our fear.
But perhaps the fear comes from being told we’ve made mistakes. In this case, we need to rationalize the situation and understand that mistakes are opportunities for learning, not something that belittles us, or humiliates us.
Sometimes we feel bad about our mistakes for transfer reasons: we transfer the feeling of guilt, or the shame, or the uneasiness we feel for having made certain mistakes in life that relate to our relationships or inner life, to other fields which would not have triggered that shame or uneasiness. It’s like in dreams: sometimes we change the image of the person the dream is about, because we cannot cope with that being the person we’re actually dreaming of. When we realize this is so, we liberate the burden on this other arena, and open up the opportunity to do something about the mistake we made that really hurt.
Guilt has never been a good resource in problem solving, because it freezes us. We don’t do anything about it because we’re overwhelmed, we feel so bad! In contrast, acknowledging mistakes encourages us to work more positively to avoid them the next time that could happen. In this way, it makes us better, more human, more intelligent.
We need to learn to be confident and humble at the same time. We need to stop putting this pressure on mistakes. Researchers, artists, creative people in all walks of life KNOW mistakes are crucial for learning and discovery and exploration and making progress!
Learning to learn, to perceive others as equals, to use mistakes positively, all of this works to our advantage in every way, in every realm of our life.
We should transfer our ability to speak in public in certain scenarios, to other scenarios which we feel are threatening. And above all, we need to learn to trust others. If we refuse to learn all the violence our culture teaches us, our being together can simply be a gift, a possibility to keep each other company the time we spend together, making the most of it all!
Change your viewpoint, your approach — you may discover things are way easier than you thought, that your skills and knowledge are greater than you thought, that people are nicer than you thought, that life is sweeter when we help!
Dear all, I’ve sent these blog pages to the editors of Collage 25 years, the multimedia magazine our School will publish at the end of this year to celebrate our 25 anniversary. This is the contribution called “Women Writers” and your page here dedicated to Ngozi is included. If you learn or read poems by women writers, we can include that too, later on.
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.
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!
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.
- 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
- Address someone
- To-the-point beginning: Why you are writing: ask for somebody’s release/protection.
- Describe/Explain the case
- Pressure 1: Reminder of laws / commitments
- Pressure 2: your request again, considering previous paragraph
6 paragraphs, or more, but with this structure.
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.
- 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
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…
Tomorrow at some point in the afternoon, Solprint will send the 200 copies of our C1 Resource Pack. It’ll cost 12 euros, in case anyone wants to get one.
Here is the plan, after events in class. Make it your key mission over the hols! 😀 ❤
So here is the follow-up on “ob/gyn” in episode 2, season 1 of Friends.
Even Ensler was a stand-up comedian who decided to put together a monologue for a show on “vaginas” because that was a taboo word. She started asking women about the topic, and none wanted to speak. Initially. But once they got started, they couldn’t stop. So Eve went on and on, interviewing women, and from all of those interviews she did not create a monologue, but lots of them. I’ve got the book she published with them all in class, in case you want to borrow it. But I’ve got a better proposal. Considering many of the monologues are — just imagine the unnamed cruelty women have had to face around their vaginas, it’s still taboo to name because the engine of the violence is Man — well, hard to read (in many ways, not only in one way), I suggest you read one that is really funny, and great to learn to name things at the ob/gyn, “My Angry Vagina”. On Talking People you can download it and also watch a few performers (black and white) doing it. Enjoy!! ❤
Oh, Eve Ensler ended up triggering a world movement. Check out what it’s all become, V-Day (Vagina Day) and the city of joy, against violence against women and girls.
As you know, Lucía told us about the Claddagh ring the other day in class. But now, she’s put together a beautiful video I hope you find time to watch!
Deadline: I said today that you might want to hand this assignment in on Jan 9, but if you want to hand it in before the holidays, you’re welcome, too.
Word limit: the word limit can be the short taks: 125-200 words.
- Write for Rights – Amnesty International – Find cases (Snowden, albino people, indigenous rights…) also in case you want to send it after correction. Find this guideline I’m attaching here anyway: act1051512016english (11 pdf pages, each with a letter, like these two:
In 100 words (like two minisagas!)
Dear President Obama,
I urge you to grant a Presidential Pardon to Edward Snowden as a whistleblower who spoke out to defend our human rights.
When he shared US intelligence documents with journalists, Edward revealed how governments were scooping up our personal data, including phone calls, emails and much more. His actions sparked a global debate which changed laws and protected our privacy. Yet he’s forced to live in exile and faces decades in prison.
President Obama, you yourself have said that the debate he triggered on surveillance “will make us stronger”. Edward Snowden is a human rights hero. Please treat him like one.
Case: Annie Alfred/People with albinism – MALAWI
President of the Republic of Malawi
I urge you to protect people with albinism from murder. Attacks on them have risen steeply in Malawi since November 2014.
Annie Alfred is one of many people with albinism in the country. Along with others like her, she is under threat from those who believe that killing her for her body parts will make them rich. Prove them wrong.
Please show them that far from riches, crimes against people like Annie are met with the full weight of the law.
- uan_guide (12 pdf pages) – Amnesty International USA – Guidelines for Letter Writing.
Here 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)
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”.
I just recorded / I’ve just recorded the handout I gave you today, from the essay Story of Stuff, so you can practice listening to English and learn to pronounce the words you don’t know how to pronounce. I recommend you listen to me, then read while you listen, and underline the words you would have pronounced differently!
Let me know which!
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
What can we do? / Points of intervention – include your highlights in the handout or from the documentary
- Your selection
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?
I just updated / I’ve just updated your In class page on talkingpeople.net, which is this one:
Path: talkingpeople.net – Enter – In class – C1 Course
Some things need revision but I think the basics for this course are there, including the School’s syllabus. In any case, if you find mistakes, or have proposals, please, let me know.
In case you want to continue meditating!
Feel free to ask or share or make proposals in class.
In case you didn’t see the post at our Coeducación blog “Desarrollando inteligencia feminista!” There are no board games like this one anywhere, I think!!
Hi, mates! Here you have the TED Talk video I worked on for my OP (monologue), just in case anyone is interested. It is short (8 minutes) and really interesting. Hope you enjoy!
Last Friday Ana, the janitor, Marianela, the head of studies and I drove to our printer (printing business) to check materials and sort out how to proceed next.
I hope you can all finish reading the pilot edition I sent you, because it’s full of ideas on how to organize yourselves and how to work this year. And I hope you can explain what you learn from the pack in a timed OP, and/or ask questions in class whenever.
Here is the cover I designed today. I’m totally overwhelmed with work, but have had a migraine these days (my neighbours have spent the last month making horrible noise early in the morning including weekends! and I’m reluctant to taking drugs, so I’m exhausted, really! Not a single day’s rest!!), so I haven’t finished checking your October writing assignments. I’ll try to have that ready for next Wednesday, so we can have C-Day the following week!
So do you like the outside of the box? How can I improve it?
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!
Minisagas can be posted here (Page above): just enter and post it in a comment.
October Writing Assignment can be posted here, if you like, once you get it back with corrections. But you need to ask me to send you an invitation, OK?
Remember in November we’ll hold C-Day, which means that after getting your checked work you need to work on your mistakes (LoM) and bring them to class, to tell us about them and what your plans are, or what work you did to overcome them. Then we can listen to people reading out their work, because it helps us learn a lot! Finally, send it in for publication if you like!
Writing File Project: your WF should include first the final copy (handwritten or typewritten), with all the info on the top right corner including Task Description (type of text, no. of words…), next the OUTLINE you used to write it, then the rest: the LoM, the other work you did in the Before Writing section (gathering ideas, useful language) and your checked piece.
Germán shared with us his work on the assignment: Oral Book Review, on the Ngozi essay we read in class. It was timed, to fit the speaking exam format called “monologue”. As you can see in the photo of what he wrote on the whiteboard, he had an outline to speak from, which is a very valuable exercise I hope all students do regularly this year, so they can feel more confident in June, and so they learn a relevant skill for everyday life — how to speak in public from an outline.
As you can see, he started out with factual information on the essay and the author. In his intro to the book, he assessed the kind of reading it was and its value, and moved on to sustain these ideas by sharing with us the anecdotes and ideas the author shared, his highlights. He also paid attention to the language he learned/learnt. What’s missing on the whiteboard is the final recommendation, which he actually did, anyway.
A final outline could have been:
- author, title: factual info
- intro: feminist approach, entertaining, own experience
- body: analysis – highlights sustaining intro:
- anecdotes + misconceptions – show value of feminist analysis (bulleted points possible within this point)
- language highlights
- Final comment + Recommendation
I also add key words to outline points, to remind me of the particular ideas I want to mention, e.g. misconceptions (feminists hate…)
Germán, remember to record your work, for your Speaking File, so you can review it later and remember/consolidate.
I hope this great example helps you all to undertake your work at home on monologues. Remember you can watch my video here on Speaking File, and Lucía’s upcoming video!
Today this topic came up, and I mentioned Leonora Carrington’s reply to some young people who told her — to flatter her — “You’re young at heart”. Check it out here, and if you like, listen to and read her short story The Debutante, which we can talk about in class — it’s an example of Surrealist literature.
I’m also attaching the chapter in the True Story I wrote this summer, where the little girl and the old woman speak about age. But that’s in Spanish, sorry!
The other day we talked a bit about lists of Useful Language, and I asked students to find the examples and explanations I included in our C1 Resource Pack (Section “Understanding Language Learning”).
We agreed on this:
Each student* will gather a collection of sentences they* use or need to use every day (so to speak) [in their professional fields or areas of expertise] and bring them to class, with a threefold purpose:
- find out if other students share the same field, so you can read out your sentences and put together a more comprehensive List of UL for that field (but small group can be eclectic!)
- learn English from other students
- check that your sentences are correct, and that your pronunciation and intonation are good.
In two weeks you should have put together something, a few sentences at least, so you can work with your classmates, OK? If I forget, please, remind me of this! I understand we can schedule it for the first week of September.
Then we might be able to create new podcast episodes for the Talking People Podcast “Useful Language” segment!