Social change and gender in India. Movie industry
“Breaking the (patriarchal) Male Code”, Eve Ensler (V-Day, One Billion Rising), and 5 other guests (2 hours)
I was predicting people were not doing much listening of the news or to radio program(me)s, and because being good at taking listening and reading tests at the advanced level requires having listened and read quite a bit, on a diversity of topics, and in order to encourage you all to keep a listening diary, this is, to make sure you listen to some radio program or other a few times every week (hearing one or two several times is crucial on a weekly basis: you see, you need to KNOW that the second and third times you do understand more, or much more), I started designing exercises, so we wouldn’t use up the real C1 tests, which you will take in March.
Daily listening work: So please, I’m asking you to listen to the news and radio programs every day. Work out your weekly listening plan, you can fit in 3 mins here, 6 mins there. I suggest you use some of the materials I post, too. There are some on the C1 Materials blog, and on this blog, too. Here is a radio book review on “This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein (7 min). Next week I’ll bring some more listening exercises, including a dictation and identifying the outline (topic structure) of another radio book review.
Speaking: We started off with some students talking about the movie we watched last week. It was great because they gave their opinion, mentioned some scenes, talked about the people in the movie, too. I paraphrased some sentences they said for practice on fluency and accuracy. And we talked a bit about a few related topics. Then…*
Reading: And then went on to do my Reading follow-up activity on Hidden Figures. We had a little gapped activity as a warm-up, too. Homework: And I asked students to identify the present and past participle clauses in the article for next Monday (and I’ll probably forget about it, in case you can kindly remind us of this!) c1reading_hiddenfigures (2 Word pages). I also gave out a wikipedia entry for the Civil Rights movement, for further reading. But I do recommend Rosa Parks autobio. She was not a feminist because that was not possible at the time, but she does realize things as a feminist, and in spite of all the terrible pressure for the invisibilization of sexism.
Listening: We did a listening activity I designed, on Mars. I was insecure, thought it might be far too easy, but fortunately it was not! that’s why I always say that if you survive this course you’ll find the exam easy or relatively easy, hahahah… It included practice on self-assessment. People did well: most marks were 4/7, then 3/7 I think, well, that’d be a pass mark, right? Of course, you should reach for the moon! listeningonmars (1 Word page)
Well, congratulations, dear students, for surviving another lesson! 😀 Keep your work up! ❤
And please, remember it’d be great if there were people in class by 7.10, when Elva arrives! We’ll have guests, perhaps, and when we are back alone, we’ll listen to Dolores and Germán! ❤
*The mini-disquisition (it could’ve been never-ending! 😀 ) ! I also shared a couple of ideas which I think are good to reflect upon by us all: one is that our affections and interests are conditioned by culture. We tend to think it’s all about our freedom, our Self, but culture — intentional, non-intentional — determines we develop a greater interest in what men do, and little interest towards what women do, particularly in the areas they have always been banned from. The other idea I shared was about invisibility, too: how we tend to only see violence and struggle in specific events and how we fail to see violence and struggle in other events. And here’s the fact, in my view: as violence and struggle are things HUMANS do every day, but culture determines the how’s, we don’t see conceptual violence (we’re improving, though, now many people understand that women or black people or poor people are not less intelligent, or the like; or that a ruler has no right to rape, and murder, and enslave people), the verbal violence (e.g., invisibilization, misperceptions too and how we word that, e.g., the left-handed people and everyone else, piropos that actually terrorize women when uttered by unknown men in the street, or by an aggressive boss), which everyone of us uses and has to bear. We mostly see and only are aware of physical violence, and don’t allow it in women (we fear them even more than men when they use it, as if they were evil, much worse than the men who use it), culturally speaking — incidentally, that might explain why they can be so good at verbal violence. We identify struggle with the “necessary” or “justified” use of violence, but fail to see how we use nonviolent struggle in our everyday lives, and of course, the great development women have given this kind of struggle precisely because they were banned from the use of physical violence. (And Hidden Figures offers some great examples, and I hope people who did not come to see the movie, finally go.) Finally, I posed the question we all crave for: how we contribute to making people’s lives better and we don’t actually know, or can’t see it most of the times. This relates to our culture of violence and self-destruction, I believe. But we are human, and we can do amazingly good things. I wish they were seen, appreciated, acknowledged by more people because this would generate relevant change for the better in human cultures (but see the resistance to acknowledge women’s humanity, to mention just the largest human group subject to such terrible concepts as that of Woman in patriarchal culture), but there are people who do so. And how we tend to even make up the harm we do, or our lacks. When I realized this, as a middle-aged woman, I decided to quit what I call the network of gossip, which is not only done by women, but by men too. But the price of this is you don’t have certain information which is good to have! (not the vicious opinion sharing but other kinds, like someone is ill or the like). Well, dear all, I’m sorry about all this rambling. My intention isn’t to convince you of anything because I don’t believe in that, at least not the way that is understood. I’m trying to communicate, mostly! See if my points are understood by other people, what you all think. As you know, I’m trying to write about all this (and I’ve finally got A Room of My Own!), but never find the time!
Today Lucía told me about this movie. She was deeply impressed. ANd I replied that if people knew about Women’s History, or Herstory, they would all be feminists, for sure! Gerda Lerner, who studied both these topics, says so, too, in her book “The Creation of Patriarchy”. I’m reading it in English, and it’s on our wish list for the Feminist Library we’re trying to put together. Anyway, here’s the info Lucía also sent me for you all:
“Hidden Figures” takes us back to 1961, when racial segregation and
workplace sexism were widely accepted facts of life and the word “computer”
referred to a person, not a machine. Though a gigantic IBM mainframe does
appear in the movie — big enough to fill a room and probably less powerful
than the phone in your pocket — the most important computers are three
African-American women who work at NASA headquarters in Hampton, Va.
Assigned to data entry jobs and denied recognition or promotion, they would
go on to play crucial roles in the American space program.
Info on the movie at Miramar Cinesur – wonder if it’s OV
In case you want to continue meditating!
Feel free to ask or share or make proposals in class.
Here is the idea: it includes an article suggested by Knitting Words and another one I found interesting too, on the same topic. I have underlined interesting language for you to learn, and included a Task Description on page 4. Please, print it and read the Task Description. Then it’s up to you all if we work on it in class, OK?
I recommend reading articles to people who don’t generally do! Because it takes a long time to get acquainted with the kind of language in the news, in press articles, in analysis magazines, and articles are always part of your Certificate Reading Tests.
So if you are not considering reading a book or more of those I suggest on C1 Materials, do consider reading articles at least! 🙂
news_iceland_genderrevolution (4 pages) – Connecting Skills: the language and info/ideas here will help you write and speak about gender issues, the construction of democracy, grassroots and social change, laws, employment, equalitarian societies… Consider how you can use what you learn from reading, for instance, in other kinds of exercises. Consider using other kinds of sources, here audio sources, for instance, (e.g., google news on gender issues) to check your progress and expand your knowledge.
As you can see, with one item or task we can build a whole unit, so to put it.
Or Learning to Exchange Views on Sensitive Topics
Today somebody felt bad about an activity we were doing, and expressed it as a strong complaint. We welcome feedback, but in my view, it could have been presented as ordinary feedback after the activity, or as a polite interruption reminding us of our time limits. Fortunately, some people helped overcome the tension by not feeling discouraged to speak. But others felt discouraged to speak. So I am asking students coming to class next day to consider the questions I posed around gender identity and human identity. (It could also be of use when you have to write a reasoned opinion on gender issues) I hope we can listen to everybody. Considering the criticism was focused on time, I suggest we agree at the beginning of the lesson a maximum amount of time for each speaker, say 1-3 minutes.
Here are the questions so you can put together a description or a reasoned opinion:
- What makes you a MAN/WOMAN? Which are the traits that construct your FEMINITY/MASCULINITY?
- What makes you HUMAN? Which are the traits that construct our identity as human beings?
Today’s activity was a lecture by a History teacher on the origins of patriarchy and that deserved a follow-up exercise, like any lecture we attend to. Moreover, topic OPs have the aim of encouraging follow-up in-depth discussions, so that people can practice their English, exchanging views in complex ways, through argumentation, learning vocabulary and ideas about a topic. Today’s OP was not training in exam format, but I gift we got because we were lucky to have an expert on a topic which is key to learn to analyze many of the gender issues.
Our school is public. We teach languages while encouraging the development of democratic values, that people open their minds to different cultures, lifestyles, views, we encourage coexistence. As Spanish educational laws establish we address all the social matters that need addressing for the construction of a democratic society, where tolerance and diversity are allowed in the construction of identity, where people are able to coexist regardless their identity or believes. As a public school we also protect freedom of expression, and try to educate along the lines of helping adults be able to hold rational discussions also on sensitive topics, precisely because we work for a nonviolent world.
At the advanced level, students need to be able to analyze topics, not only manage in everyday life. Argumentative texts, oral and written, involve students need to learn to construct argumentations, explaining their views in complex ways, analyzing ideas and their experiences and wording things in nonviolent ways, avoiding treating people with different opinions as aggressors, and just learning to explain why they think a certain idea is bad.
As a reminder, your speaking exam cards include topics you might not know anything about, or you might not want to speak about, and they always ask you to express your views, too. As it’s a language exercise, if you feel bad in some way, simply practice saying something about why, or if you prefer not to express your true ideas or experiences, you can simply make them up. Actually, you can even defend an opinion you don’t share. It’s a wonderful exercise!
October 11, Day for Girls. We posted this… in case you can help us spread the analysis! Thanks! ❤ (Also, of course, if you think the message could be improved in some way… We’ll be listening! Feel free to post your thoughts, over there in Spanish or here in English!)
I’ve thought out a plan, to make sure you all know how you should be working on your Monologues at home and on your monthly Writing Assignment.
I’d like to ask you, dear Authors, can you volunteer to explain next Monday How to Work on your Mons (my video on the Speaking File page), and How to Work on your Writing Assignments (my video on the Writing File page)? Post your willingness, if so, and we can hold this conversation here through posting our comments, OK? Let’s organize it! Don’t be shy and volunteer! If we have more than 2 for each explanation, I can find other tasks for the following week, so it’d be all right! ❤
Next Monday we will read Ngozi’s book. Today we watched that same talk on TED.
Tomorrow I’ll post a follow-up listening and translation exercise in case you want to do it over the weekend. I’d like to know, if possible, how many of you are coming to class next Monday.
Sergio, if you’re reading this, can you send me an email? Thanks! 🙂
Lourdes, Lorena, I forgot to give you your Student’s Card!!! (Asociación Estudiantes)
Today I told a personal story. I didn’t mean to, but it just came out when Lorena mentioned Peggy, a star in the Muppet Show. I sang a bit of the tune “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady” Peggy used to sing in the show, and said — oops — that that was one of the songs we sang when we were arrested! 😀 It’s inaccurate. We sang this song once, in a very risky action! The song we USED TO sing while waiting to be processed was “I Will Survive”! 😀
Well, the story goes like this:
From 1989 to 1992 I was on and off at camp, meaning at Blue Gate, in Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, in the west of London, at about half an hour by bus, if I remember correctly. We practiced nonviolent direct action (NVDA, ADNV in Spanish), wrote newsletters on a wheel under the rain, and got arrested for all kinds of actions, mainly trespassing but also blocking convoys so they couldn’t carry weapons on conventional roads and stuff. In England, you can defend yourself at court, so we would prepare our court cases by the fire, out in the open, and by going to the Newbury library, Newbury being a town near camp. I learned a lot about zillions of things. And enjoyed it, too!
I remember an action which was really scary because we climbed a building but going down was simply terrifying, so we asked the MODs (ministry of defence police) to bring a helicopter to take us back to earh! 😀 Or “Simon” (but we were far too high), the crane. Anyway, they wouldn’t. They decided to climb the steel ladder running along the wall and carry us on their shoulders! And we feared we could be dropped! So we were refusing to be carried down. So we sat on the floor, in a line, drawing a circle: each of us had her legs around the woman in front, as well as our arms, holding really tight. The MODs were trying to separate us, but didn’t manage to. And well, it was hours like this, so we sang all the whole repertoir of the Muppet Show, including Lydia, of course!
When I came back to Spain, I tried to create a webpage for all this at mujerpalabra.net but failed. Women’s herstory is of no interest to “the general public”. And I suspect it’s always been so, which is to say, I believe a lot of adorable people have done amazingly good things for humanity, that the best things we have today come from this saga of anonymous people, and that we don’t know about it, or don’t care to find out because patriarchal culture tells us it’s not a good idea. Funny all the nonviolent strugge doesn’t ever make it to history and how people doing it are perceived as dangerous, as if war, corruption, discrimination, etc. were not violence because they are so natural. Nonviolence is natural too, and harms much less! (Here you have another topic to mull over and discuss!) So this is why the site is half-way through and it’s been so for over 15 years, I think (?) Anyway, here’s the link. If you have spare time, you can read. But do so in English! Actually, I didn’t manage to translate that much, anyway.