gender issues

Outing to the movies?: “Hidden Figures”, Don’t miss it!!! (Lucía’s proposal)

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

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! 😀 ❤

We forgot something! + Feedback on Romina’s OP

I’m very forgetful of late! I just saw this text I’m pasting with the feedback I wrote the other day for Romina. I think it is unfinished, but as she sent the audio and I’ll be putting together a video for our vimeo channel, I’ll just post it now so as not to keep her waiting.

Hey, we forgot to do the speaking exercise on why I am a woman / a man and a human being and nobody remembered!! Does this mean nobody wants to do it? Well, it’s OK, of course. But if you want to do it, just let me know! If you are shy, I can create a page here so you can post away!

As Romina came back to class, after having been ill for over a week now, we decided to give people more time to prepare the 1, 2, 3 min speaking exercise on gender identity (start volunteering whenever we meet, as usual with 3-4-min OPs, OK? Everybody needs to share one of these a month in class), and listen to her instead. And it was great. Her OP was How to Set Up a Business, and it was not in the timed speaking test format. She will be sending me the audio so I can prepare it for publication on our EOI Teacher Sharing C1 Work, which is where I publish audios in video format. (Our School’s YouTube Channel has videos by students, which I encourage you to watch, particularly if you wish to work on your LoM, Lists of Mistakes.)

Her language range was really rich, and natural, fluent. Her use of the past was consolidated at the advanced level, for instance, and she could change from past to present and viceversa accurately. She also included varied tenses in the passive too, e.g., “I was going to be told what to do” (future in the past in the passive), showed a consolidated use of verbal structures like “I was used to working on my own”, “half of what I was earning” (partitive + indirect question + “earn” + past cont. for a descriptive mood, instead of past simple for factual completed past), connectors (comment adverbials) such as “Obviously, I have bills to pay”, “non-refundable funds” (lower level indicators: ), “It’s really funny” (correctly used!).

When she encountered a language problem (on 3 occassions, in a highly fluent and accurante 11-minute presentation), she managed to make her points. This is a crucial indicator of a command of the language at the advanced level. So make sure you all practice re-telling this year (with the audios your work on at home and record in your listening log) and also communicative strategies (“I mean”, “How can I say this?”, “What’s the word for this? Well,”.

Romina’s outline / content structure was consistent. She spoke from experience, so she started offering the setting: she spoke about her previous job and the circumstance of her finding herself out of work, but she also reflected upon it all so as to lead us into understanding some of the strengths that played to her advantage when having to become an entrepreneur (e.g. being used to making decisions and working on her own). She also shared the feelings involved in all of that (e.g. the hurtful feeling of humiliation we get when being sacked and offered jobs that do not fulfill our career expectations). She was describing facts and assessing them all the way. Then she described the transitional situation she’s in at the moment and her present job. And how the law has changed, which was a precious tip for people in her position. She moved on to offer more info and tips on where to begin, where to go and it was really interesting because that included local projects (the Andalucía Lab, a subsized project where people help each other (at this point I started having a mild migraine so people, feel free to correct or complete my description), or the benefits offered or more precisely the cuts on benefits (economic assistance). Finally, she addressed the marketing issue and all the resources one needs to have on the internet. Her final block was great, too: she described the point she was in now, in terms of work, and her future plans and ambitions. I have to say that her content development was very much at the advanced level: so train in this, combining factual info with assessment, but organize the whole in blocks that make sense. So her structure and transitions were very logical and natural (cohesion, coherence).

About her mistakes: She started off making a mistake you should all avoid, “The first (THING) I want to say” and “take this decision” — but later on she used “made this decision” so this means it was not systematic. Once she didn’t say “ON () the internet”, or “looking at” instead of “for” or the other way round. Considering she did not make mistakes like this later on, and that these mistakes were very few, the interpretation is that she was nervous. Oftentimes people say they did badly because they were nervous, but everybody is nervous when speaking in public, and students who enjoy the chance of practicing throughout the year should take advantage of this opportunity to train and become more resourceful and confident. What is clear to me is that, yes, when we are nervous we make some mistakes we wouldn’t when relaxed, but the quantity and nature of those mistakes can indicate our advanced level is not there, so make sure you all practice your weekly timed monologue at home, learning to listen to yourselves, and learning to fix your mistakes. To learn to do this, it is precious to watch the videos where I have included written corrections to people’s presentations. (Our youtube channel).

So as you can see, there’s not much on mistakes. But I do have comments on how she can improve some wordings, or simply some alternatives to make your language range richer. You need to find these alternatives in use in what you read and listen to!

the situation that I was living – the situation that I was experiencing / going through / undergoing

Her video:

Reading Articles (1), a Course Project

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.

Why Iceland is the best place in the world to be a woman

This news popped up last week in my mobile Play Newsstand app, rart_iceland-hot-pool-420x0eally I don’t know much about Iceland, apart from some “lively” volcano(e)s. So the news surprises me. I don’t think I would move to Iceland for this reason, I rather prefer our lovely Mediterranean climate, but perhaps we can learn something from them, click here if you want to know more, The Guardian’s article.


Problem-solving Proposal: Discussing Controversial Topics,

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!