Archive for the ‘Books’ Category


Another suggested reading for this coming learning year…

September 1, 2013

OneCrazySummerOne Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia, three girls travel to meet their mother and deal successfully with complex questions related to love, individual and collective.

One Crazy Summer at, with info on a 2011 documentary by a Norwegian director, on Black Power in the 60s & 70s.

Chapter 1 Kind of Glossary


Books. Rosa Parks: My Story (edited)

August 31, 2013

rosaparksmystoryIn our next 2013-14 school year one of my Reading proposals (in state-run adult language learning) will be this autobiography by Rosa Parks, the US American Civil Rights activist. I hope you can relate this to the 15M movement and all the (pragmatic, meaning nonreligious) nonviolent struggle happening today in the world. I have created three webpages on for this book.

  1. The first one includes links to the other two and a listening activity, where you will hear Rosa Parks’s voice, and find a little thought about nonviolence and violence, among other things. I should include links to a few places and some videos, and I will. Check the homepage out.
  2. Then I have selected some excerpts so students get a feel of the English used in the book, and the stories told in it! But I have also written an introduction aimed at helping students notice things they might miss. Please, let me know what you think. As you know, I’m very much into dialog and critical thinking! 🙂 Check out the excerpts.
  3. The third webpage is a Glossary of Legal Terms in Context: English/Spanish. Check the Glossary out.  I have to say I have just brainstormed a bit for the other Glossary I would like to include (see page 1), which is one on social/nonviolent struggle, perhaps even beyond the historic events depicted in this book.

Anyway, here are the links. Hope it’s useful and enjoyable!


A very special book

July 3, 2013

Now that I’m kinda tipsy (celebrating the hols!) I’m going to show you something special!

What’s this? A 1938 Hogarth Press edition of Virginia Woof’s “Three Guineas”. The Hogarth Press was the publishing house Virginia and her compañero Leonard set up!

I got it in a little bookshop at Brick Lane Street Market in 1989. I’m still wondering why the book seller sold it for 10 quid (or less) to a foreigner just passing by. Oh, the pics are too small. Sorry! Anyway!





July 2, 2013


Asun (2 stories so far), Rosa, Ana, and Helena are intending to write stories as Guest Teachers for this little ebook project! So their names will be on the cover. We would be publishing it in October 2013. If any English-speaker wants to help with the proofreading, let us know!

One of Asun’s stories



Putting together my first e-book of stories as an English teacher!!

I’m collecting (selecting, writing down, proofreading…) stories and idea-stories I’ve been telling people in class in these last year! Thanks to the eCampus I had till this last year!, where I wrote follow-up stuff on things that came up in class!

(From this year, I have Language Misperceptions, Don’t Buy Exams, So here’s a story about love, and The Casino Story... I’ll review these and see if I remember more… If you do, let me know! Oh, I’m improving these days Cruelty to Animals, too)

It would be downloadable for free but also with the request that if people like it they bought it for one euro.

I’ve designed the cover! Do you like it? 🙂


Turkey – people are doing stuff whether reported or not

June 7, 2013

Let’s protect the internet! It’s the only place reporting what they seldom report on the media
Repression is still going on – as usual, against the people who demand a better world.
Gezi’de her yer kütüphane.
Bus turned into library by resisters on Taksim Square (from Fb Diren Gezi Parkı)


What the fuck is “forbid”?



A listening for Avanzado 2’s

June 6, 2013

ON self-publishing. NPR –


How books can open your mind (TED Talk)

June 4, 2013



May 31, 2013

There’s a site for indie writers called Smashwords, and I’m reading the guides because I think I might put together a collection of stories based on stories I tell in class… I was thinking it might be called “Stories our teacher tells us!” 😀

The three I’ve actually written so far are: Asking Questions in Church, Dishwashers, and The Casino Story. But for publication I might work on them a bit more.

Then, I was wondering if I should have a second second for “Talks & Discussions” because in this way I might be able to include some of the Speeches I give every now and then! 😀 I’m thinking of pieces on love and living, sex (Having Orgasms is Good for People!), death, attitudes to learning, exams… and language matters, like the recent piece — I would have to review — on The language problem in monolingual communities

Well, it’s all an idea I had two days ago!!! 😀 And far too busy now to work on it!


Improved version of the World Book Day video!

May 22, 2013

Please, spread the word. The more visits the video gets, the more people will want to see it, and the more we’ll be spreading good ideas for the classroom experience, linking academic learning with LiFE!! I included the pics of Cake Days!

If anyone appearing in the pics did not sign the permission, and doesn’t want to appear, I will downloaded and blur his or her face, OK? No problem!


A video on World Book Day (Av 2&co)

May 17, 2013

Our second 5-minute video on the School’s YouTube channel!

I learned so much!!! I’ve learned to edit videos with iMovie!!!

If anyone wants any changes, I can download it and fix things, so just let me know.


Books banned, guns allowed!

May 3, 2013

This is not about being politically correct. Political correctness relates to respecting somebody’s human rights. This is an example of the madness in patriarchal societies.

Moms demand action: One child’s holding something that has been banned in the USA to protect them. What is it?


12 books banned in the USA (so you see why Red Riding Hood was banned)


Next week: Celebrating World Book Day

May 1, 2013

Next May 6 and 7, after this week’s 3-day holiday, we’ll celebrate World Book Day. Here is all the info on the raffle: May 6 & 7 Raffle (2 pdf pages)

I’ll bring varied podcast episodes / the episode “To belong” of the Baby Human Geniuses in Diapers documentary, for the first half of the lesson, for we’re done with unit 6, right?

Avanzado 2 Martes englishlings!, please remind me of giving you the stapled paper copies! Remember I’ll be on a strike on May 9!

Have a lovely 3-day holiday! 🙂
(In Spanish we call them “puentes”, “bridges”, when they connect with the weekend, but if you say “I’m on a bridge” English-speakers will never ever guess what you mean! :D)

Mentioned before…


The Beauty Myth – audio excerpt + transcript

April 19, 2013

The Beauty Myth. How Images of Beauty Are Used against Women, by Naomi Wolf (1990). Here is an two-page excerpt from one of the books we will have on the raffle in class on May 6 & 7, World Book Day! Advanced level, C1.


Lesson Plans! Getting ready for an orgasmic end of course!

April 19, 2013

Hiya! Just now I updated the Pages here for Avanzado, Intermedio, Learn2Learn and Topics, but I might’ve forgotten to link some posts. You can post them there if you like!

We have next week and two days of the following week to finish UNIT 6, OK? Select what you are most interested in! We won’t be able to do it all in class. I will also pick some exercises. freebooksThen, there’s a holiday (May 1, 2) and when we’re back it’ll be May 6 and 7. We’ll use these lessons to finish up UNIT 6 and raffle the books we have in class, because… May 7 is World Book Day, a very special date!! You are all welcome to bring books (in English) to give away! Reading is like travel(l)ing and like space voyaging! In Avanzado 2 we’ll take our Practice C1 Test in May 8 and 9. We’ll do the listening in the second part of the lesson so that people who are always late can get the chance to do those, but we need to take the break a bit earlier.

Over THIS WEEKEND you could try to do the unit writing assignment and practice speaking on the topics we worked on. And then if you love English and want to do some more, do all you think we’ll probably skip in class of UNIT 6! We’ll only have two weeks for unit 7!!bearebelCome on! Cheer up! Enjoy your English! You’re LEARNING something complex and amazing! Have a pleasurable weekend! Hurray for orgasms! 😀


Oral & Writing Assignments by students

April 9, 2013

EOI (state-run adult language schools in Spain) students at the Intermedio 2 level take a B2 level Certificate Examination in June but use a B2 level textbook, which is crazy, yes, but that’s how things are! Similarly, EOI Avanzado 2 students take a B2 level exam but use a C1 level textbook!

Some students have kindly shared their work so anyone interested can learn from it. Throughout this evening I’ll be adding links to this post as I publish their pieces. Enjoy!

Thanks for the digs — good it’s useful for more people! 🙂


Book to give away!

April 1, 2013

Hiya! I’ve finally decided not to donate the book I bought for the library, An Optimist’s Tour of the Future by Mark Stevenson. I don’t like the book and I don’t think it’s useful for what I thought it would be useful for — the construction of a better world! But — there might be people interested in reading it, so I’m giving away the copy!

My personal assessment is that it’s surprising Redes (a popular science TV program) invited the author, especially if we think the kind of people that have been interviewed there. But then Redes might have its limitations from a socially transformative point of view. I might pose the question to them. In my view, true optimists are easily found in the social movement. It would be good we realized they exist, and stop giving credit on such topics to people who aren’t. The social movement is the safest place to find true optimists because over there people work because they are altruists! They just work out of kindness, courage and intelligence — and often times just getting insult from the people who benefit from their work, which is creepy! So I think people in the mass media should interview social activists if they want to learn about optimism, say all the people in Africa fighting undescribably-cruel rape, or genital mutilation, for instance, or people in technologic-industrial societies fighting patriarchal mentality so that we can liberate our intelligence, make it more capable of intelligent thinking (rational empathy replacing patriarchal reason), and build societies where human beings are able to live together and without destroying life on the planet! Or researchers interested in how scientific research can help build a better world, like the very much respected Cordelia Fine. Anyway,

To my students, if you want a copy, just let me know. I’ll give it to the first who asks (by email or in class)! 🙂 Then you might write a book review for practice, and we can publish it on the website! Come on!


BACK!!!! (bye bye spring hols! ♥)

March 31, 2013

Hiya, dear all! Just back from being locked up in nature due to non-stop rain! I couldn’t even go for a quick stroll!!!

ghoststoriesmarujamalloshirleymanginiBUT — I’ve been reading a bit: ghost stories by women writers (I’ll bring a few copies of this one for the end-of-course goodbye raffle! because they are GREAT and the weeny presentations of the authors are like pebbles shining in crystal clear river waters! 😀 !) and about the Spanish painter and revolutionary (!) Maruja Mallo and the Avant Garde in Spain (you’ve got to get a copy of her bio by this US American woman. In Spanish it’s published by Circe but it costs about 30 euros!! It’s originally in English, yes! BUT IT COSTS 70 EUROS!!!). Then I’ve done a bit of translating for social activism: on Feminist Curiosity (bits of the intro) by Cynthia Enloe (it’ll get published on Mujer Palabra, in Activismo – Pacifismo feminista). Finally, I’ve been doing some writing (a poem on friendship lost, which turned out to be feminist as an accident, 😀 , well, when you develop a feminist intelligence it’s like when you understand something: you cannot stop using that understanding!) and a new feminist postcard (you can color it: 1 pdf page: cartel_colorear. I’ll do it in English soon-ish) which I think will help humanity to overcome all the hurt patriarchal values have done to human intelligence!).

Yes! Yes! And done a bit of work for you! I’ve written 1,000 words on Mainstream or Alternative Medicine so that Avanzado 2 people can listen to an example of a monolog on that (I need to record the audio now).  Then, I’ve prepared two special speaking activities. (Btw, remember to bring the handout with Three Proposals.) Here’s one: Next Tuesday, when we’re back to school (eek!!!!!!!!) I’ll order 50 copies of this one-page handout for a Timed Speaking Activitiy in the Avanzado 2 groups! I’ll give it to people in our first lesson together and you’ll do the looking up stuff before the lesson when you’ll actually “improvise the interaction.”

I hope you’ll enjoy it, and I also FUCKING HOPE YOU WILL FOLLOW MY INSTRUCTIONS!!! 😀

TIMEDSPEAKINGACTIVITYFORAVANZADO2  (FIXED LINK) – traveling to Greece ♥, Iceland ♥♥ or Cyprus

Hope you all enjoy your Sunday and hope it’s not a Rainday! Next Monday I’ll try to send my feedback on the recordings I did not manage to finish working on last week!


Language is powerful! (audio)

March 18, 2013

Listen to this at Talking People Podcast episode

Here is the transcript


Language is powerful! Metaphors we live by: Argument is war

March 17, 2013

Listen to this at Talking People Podcast episode

Feminists are people who have been able to question their own conceptual system, the language they use to express it and the way they relate to their own selves and other people. We have actually noticed how our minds liberated and expanded as we realized for instance the importance of language in conditioning our understanding. On top of that, many of us have read and listened to people doing all kinds of research, more theoretical research but essential for human knowledge. Still, the value of feminist work on language is astounding. Unfortunately, most people, unaware of how their own conceptual systems are built and how language works to construct culture — mostly tradition — being unable to develop any feminist curiosity or feminist intelligence, feel entitled to despise and criticize what they are totally ignorant of.

I’m excerpting some thinking by a non-feminist around language, which offers the same rich ground of thought and action feminists offer when we analyze language. I find these ideas really interesting and they bring about the resources of feminism and nonviolent struggle, too — sources we should all be exploring to learn to build a better world.

EFL students will also find value in these ideas for improving their oral work at speaking tests and their ability to hold rational discussions. (You can read my notes on Holding Rational Discussions on the Speaking – Discussions section on Defending a position just means explaining your reasons to say something. Not agreeing should not mean fighting and repeating the same things over and over again. Agreeing on something is not One Winning The Other Losing, but both finding some constructive joint future action. If you collaborate, if you work together in your interaction or conversation, you will all win, so to say! If you don’t, you might all lose, to keep using this kind of violent language that has made us so violent when holding discussions!

It was not violence, but collaboration that developed the best in humanity in PreThemstory!

Metaphors We Live By, by George Lakoff & Mark Johnson (The University of Chicago Press, 1980)

Concepts We Live By. Chapter 1. Pages 3, 4, 5 [With my underlinings and comments]

Metaphor is for most people a device of the poetic imagination … a matter of extraordinary rather than ordinary language. Moreover, metaphor is typically viewed as characteristic of language alone, a matter of words rather than thought or action. For this reason, most people think they can get along perfectly well without metaphor. We have found, on the contrary, that metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but in thought and action. Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature.

The concepts that govern our thought are not just matters of the intellect. They also govern our everyday functioning, down to the most mundane details. Our concepts structure what we perceive, how we get around in the world, and how we relate to other people. Our conceptual system thus plays a central role in defining our everyday realities. If we are right in suggesting that our conceptual system is largely metaphorical, then the way we think, what we experience, and what we do every day is very much a matter of metaphor.

But our conceptual system is not something we are normally aware of. In most of the little things we do every day, we simply think and act more or less automatically along certain lines. Just what these lines are is by no means obvious. One way to find out is by looking at language. Since communication is based on the same conceptual system that we use in thinking and acting, language is an important source of evidence for what the system is like.

Primarily on the basis of linguistic evidence, we have found that most of our ordinary conceptual system is metaphorical in nature. And we have found a way to begin to identify in detail just what the metaphors are that structure how we perceive, how we think, and what we do.

To give some idea of what it could mean for a concept to be metaphorical and for such a concept to structure an everyday activity, let us start with the concept ARGUMENT and the conceptual metaphor ARGUMENT IS WAR. This metaphor is reflected in our everyday language by a wide variety of expresssions:


[Notice how language has always used the masculine. Why was that? Women were banned from thinking and education. Traditionally, they’ve been considered unfit for rational thinking. Of course, this is not true. We should all be unfit now for exerting patriarchal reasoning and we should all be finding ways to think beyond the patriarchal frame of mind, so solidly based on violence and misogyny (considering women inferior in everything). We’re developing Empathetic Rationality, reasoning which includes love or solidarity, a concern for life, and this is kinder, wiser, and better for our living together!]

Your claims are indefensible.He attacked every weak point in my argument.His  criticisms were right on target.I demolished his argument.I’ve never won an argument with him.You disagree? OK, shoot!If you use that strategy, he’ll wipe you out.He shot down all of my arguments.

It is important to see that we do not just talk about arguments in terms of war. We can actually win or lose arguments. We see the person we are arguying with as an opponent. We attack his [sic] positions and defend our own. We gain and lose ground. We plan and use strategies. If we find a position indefensible, we can abandon it and take a new line of attack. Many of the things we DO in arguying are partially structured by the concept of war. Though there is no physical battle, there is a verbal battle, and the structure of an argument — attack, defend, counterattack, etc. — reflects this. It is in this sense that the ARGUMENT IS WAR metaphor is one that we live by in this culture; it structures the actions we perform in arguying.

Try to imagine a culture were arguments are not viewed in terms of war [but in terms of collaborating in joint thinking, or to learn, to know, to solve problems], where no one wins or loses [but everybody learns a bit more about itself, people and/or the world], where there is no sense of attacking or defending, gaining or losing ground [but a sense of contributing ideas for joint analyses, and contributing experience for joint reflection]. …

Chapter 3. Page 10

… in the midst of a heated argument, when we are intent on attacking our opponent’s position and defending our own, we may lose sight of the cooperative aspects of arguing. Someone who is arguing with you can be viewed as giving you his [sic] time, a valued commodity, in an effort at mutual understanding [or joint pursuing of more knowledge and wisdom, or at problem-solving]. But when we are preoccupied with the battle aspects, we often lose sight of the cooperativeaspects [& knowledge building, problem-solving].

Well, I hope that you mull over all of these ideas, because we should really improve our way of viewing and performing discussions! In the same way we should learn to stop connecting love to obligation, for the latter degrades and distorts love!


Books people should read…

March 16, 2013


This book is a must read.

She’s brilliant (and funny), knowledgeable of neuroscientific research and of where we come from, in terms of scientific research before the 20th century. She has done thorough research on all the scam of neurosexism and all the attention its gets from the press. She also draws from her experiences as a mother. So this book is great for people relating to children, and adults who are interested in learning to sort out when scientific research is ill-interpreted. Briefly, neuroscience is not “proving there is a male and female brain”, but it’s striking how many people are saying that. (In Spanish, in case you want to give it as a present: Cuestión de sexos)

More interesting stuff, especially if you have daughters or are in contact with girls and young women: Living Dolls. The Return of Sexism, by Natasha Walter,  Cinderella Ate My Daughter, by Peggy Orenstein (check out Riley, a 4-year-old thinker), The Beauty Myth. How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women, by Naomi Wolf.



The Guy’s Guide to Feminism

March 16, 2013

guys_guide_cover_medA book to get!

Read on

On Facebook


Prueba documental! :D

March 13, 2013

sabiondoSo here’s the picture of the page I was told I had misquoted. It’s page 22. This was my misquote (which is what it says): “when he’s fifty [meaning Bostrom, quoted just above in the indented paragraph] … he will no doubt have … [now he imagines B’s future], proved a number of the unsolved problems of mathematics, built a robot wife and published several successful cookbooks.”

I circled “wife” in my copy and wrote “gender biased”. My notes say: You can build a robot for doing the housework. Why should you build a robot WIFE? A “wife” is a human being, after all! 😀

Anyway, we can find more examples. In all kinds of places. Because this gender bias is a classic, including men who consider themselves feminists like the author of this book — who seems to believe it’s like a degree, that there is an end to developing a feminist intelligence! 😀 –, especially if the person naively beliefs that our minds are neutral when they confront the world. Traditionally, everywhere you read it’s men defining what women are or should be. The problem nowadays is how little aware people are of how very deeply their intelligence of the world is patriarchal, this is, distorted. That’s why we need to develop a feminist intelligence. 

If you’re interested in reflecting further, read page 24. Today in Avanzado 2 Martes I was talking about this view and then offering a healthier one (and more informed one for sure — just look around you!), I believe, thanks to tons of thinking by using the tool of feminist analyses of violence. But I’ll write about this some other day, in case you want to post your views, people!

I’m posting this closer to the first post on this book, which means, changing the posting time, because I’ve posted much more interesting stuff since, and the author’s reaction is somewhat boring. So far “Part 1: MAN [sic]. Chapter 1: The World’s Most Dangerous Idea” is not exciting or inspiring. It’s about “transhumanism” (which does not have anything to do with transgressing the patriarchal gender-system) or work on not dying. However, the frame of mind perpetuates the same gendered world we have, as if they were unable to think beyond that. As if genitals determined it all of what a human being can be! totally ignoring all the good thinking around the human mind. Well, I’ll stop here! Another example came to my mind and I’ve got tons of other things to do! Nightie night!


An Optimist’s Tour of the Future by Mark Stevenson

March 13, 2013

In Redes, they’re showing today an interview with Mark Stevenson, the author of An Optimist’s Tour of the Future.

I have ordered two copies, one for the School in case people want to borrow it and one for myself. As I listen, he says some things that many people in social activism share — starting with a love to the scientific method, I mean, true research, not the kind of Science we had in the past, always used to show women’s inferiority and the like, to back up what religious leaders said of women. Still, there is something that makes me deeply sad – he totally ignores the existence of women on the planet. How can anyone explain all the positive change in the planet ignoring women’s participation? WE WOMEN ARE FUCKING CHANGING THE WORLD THROUGH NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION! We are not “helping men to do so”, we’re part of this on our own initiative! With no need of religious dogmas or political party ideologies! (meaning, in the name of human rights for all, and not in the name of God, the Fatherland, or any Political Party!)

If we had the time, we would apply a LANGUAGE NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION to the translation at Mujer Palabra! Yes, it’s been translated, and most probably by someone who had no issues wording the world for all in the masculine.

Anyway, there are things to learn from this book. And hopefully, I’ll be wrong about his men-only frame of mind! 🙂

Prueba documental – so you can see for yourselves if I’m misquoting


George Eliot – 3 quotes, food for thought

March 12, 2013

NPG 669, George Eliot (Mary Ann Cross (nÈe Evans)), by Sir Frederic William BurtonFrom wikiquote:

“Those who trust us educate us” (1876)

Wow. It blows my mind! Will it mean what I interpret?

“The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

We’ve been victims of the Omission War, obliterating vital parts of our Stories. (“History” hurts, really!) So did she also think about this?! About how many valuable people we’ve killed and ignored?

“My own experience and development deepen everyday my conviction that our moral progress may be measured by the degree in which we sympathize with individual suffering and individual joy.” Letter to Charles Bray (15 November 1857)

Politics should follow this guiding star thought.


Intro to Feminism (in Spanish) & More for Curious Happy Creatures!

February 14, 2013

feminism-is-the-radical-notion-that-women-are-people-cheris-kramarae-and-paula-treichlerAfter our celebration of One Billion Rising, and our discussions, I would like to recommend a book in Spanish which I read last year. It includes some of the Herstory we’ve always been denied: the History of the women, particularly of the women /wímin/ that opened the way for what is today known as Feminism. Of women who worked for women’s human rights — risking their lives, most of the times; actually, French “revolutionaries” guillotined the women who demanded the Declaration of Men’s Rights included women, because it didn’t, in spite of the fact that there were philosophers supporting them like Mary Wollstonecraft, and many more! (Well, Wollstonecraft was English, but she moved to Paris at the time, to support the French Revolution.) It also makes a good present/gift. It’s “Introducción al feminismo,” by Nuria Varela. And on this webpage in her website, she has some posts tackling some of the issues she includes in “Introducción…”, in case you want to read a bit before getting a copy!: Feminismo para tod@s.

Yesterday I also recommended Eulàlia Lledó Cunill‘s books on language, from a feminist linguist’s perspective. If you love language, if you are aware of the amazing power of language to affect reality, I particularly recommend you read feminist analyses of language. At Mujer Palabra, guess: we have a lot of resources on the importance and the power of language! Here are our postcards!

Last, a book debunking neurosexism, to clear the way for healthy notions coming from neuroscience, that will enlighten you if you haven’t grasped so far how deeply the gender roles condition our choices. Cordelia Fine, Delusions of Gender. In Spanish (great gift, too): Cuestión de sexos.

  • floresdestructivasMost people have never missed women in the books they read — “he” being enough to represent the species, and the “she” experience being too unimportant to deserve books or even a name.
    (Bansky’s graffiti on romantic love.)
  • I know most people have never wondered why the only books about women we read /red/ were written by men.
  • Fortunately, in the 1990s in Madrid, we finally managed to have quite a few women being published. However, we’re far behind books by women if we compare our case to the USA or Britain.
  • Women have to find their voice, word their thoughts and experiences, and ANY human being should be curious about listening to, reading what they say. Why is there so little curiosity? Why is it so common people immediately feel threatened when women do so? (Patriarchy, as a system, is a terrible idea. Analyzing the construction of the patriarchal gender roles is liberating for all, and much more consistent with the notion of human rights!)
  • I committed to reading women writers in 1989, when I found Feminism in the society that surrounded me — I was living in London at the time. And I was appalled: how could it be that I hadn’t realized women had no voice, no authority as thinkers and artists in my mind-world?! How could it be that I hadn’t missed listening to women thinkers and artists and activists? I felt so ashamed, and so angry! I realized how very destructive the weapon of OMISSION is. My proposal is you commit to reading at least a book a year by a woman. And please, saying “a woman” is just saying, a human being who has been denied the right to study and get involved in public life and all because she has been categorized in culture as inferior, psychologically, intellectually, emotionally, spirituality. There are all kinds of women-persons, but they all share having been considered the dark / evil side of the gender coin.
  • The 20th centuries are beginning to change that (though, if you read the book, you will see how we said this same thing centuries ago!), and we women are voicing our thoughts and experiences in public. We should. It matters. It’s a matter of great importance. Because we have not been allowed to have a voice in culture — we have just been allowed to transmit patriarchal culture. That was the closest we were of any connection to an intellectual life.

I think it would be worth listening to women, too.


Self-publishig! + On talent and hard work!

February 8, 2013

Come on, people! Write away! 😀

Self-publishing with Amazon


About the quote: this includes language learning. Talented language users have always worked hard at learning. This doesn’t mean having a hard time. But it does mean working hard.

PS for Avanzado 2 Martes (today): let me pose this question: Do you think native speakers would get a 5/5 in today’s listening?



Next week: Feb 13, 14 – Taking a break to open a space!

February 5, 2013

iamrisingA teacher (public/state-run adult language education) kindly scanned the stories we will read in class on Feb 13 and 14, because we will be rising to strive for a better world, without all that “invisible” violence against women. People who have the book or the script “I am an emotional creature” are welcome to bring it to class. The cut-n-paste work here comes from copies of the book. I will take 15 classroom copies (you cannot keep them, because I’ll be using them with the 4 groups) so that two people can share one, in case people don’t have their own copies. It’s 10 pages in all (5 sheets of paper if they’re printed on both sides).

EC1 + EC2 + EC3 + EC4 + EC5 + EC6 + EC7 + EC8 + EC9 + EC10

It seems Val, an English teacher who was a student of mine years ago, will visit the Intermedio 2 group on the 14th I think, to present One Billion Rising. This means we might have a guest speaker who won’t be charging anything for her contribution!


Girls’ & women’s issues are not “side issues”

February 4, 2013

EmotionalCreaturepicWe’re over half of the population on the planet! One Billion Rising! (Mil Millones en Pie de Paz!) – Getting Ready for Feb 14! Print the poster OBR-POSTER_8.5x11pink and put it up wherever you work or study! Next week we’ll be uploading the pack we’ll use in class so you can print it for our lesson (public education has no money for copies for this, either 😦 ), which is three stories from I Am an Emotional Creature.  (Read A Teenage Girl’s Guide to Surviving Sexual Slavery. Get more info here.


Stories for Feb 14: A Teenage Girl’s Guide to Surviving Sex Slavery (in 2 pages)

February 3, 2013

Foto 132Here is one of the stories in I Am an Emotional Creature, inspired in girls in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And this is one of the stories we can read in class on Feb 13 & 14. In case you are afraid to read it, please consider this: we need to listen to the people who know about violence and are never listened to, not only to the people who tell about “the victims” (and keep in mind this book is informed by girls). The difference is clear: when you listen to people who were subject to violence, you not only learn about violence — you learn how to survive violence, and with this lesson you become more human, so to say, and you also become more aware of what to do about it all.

The minimum respect people who have always been ignored by HiStory is to listen to the direct source, and here is a 2-page story, a good chance!

A Teenage Girl’s Guide to Surviving Sex Slavery, 2 Word pages: LessonPlan14Feb2013


Language items for Descriptions (book / movie reviews)

January 20, 2013

her-fearful-symmetryangelcartersbookoffairytalesWhen you are asked [I’m making YOU the protagonist of the sentence, so I need to use the passive here] to write a REVIEW, you are being asked to write a DESCRIPTIVE text.

In terms of language range, this means we expect you will use all kinds of modifiers, for instance,

  • modifiers used BEFORE the noun they modify: the middle-aged woman, the 14-year-old boy, the angry young man, the beautiful small ring, the frightening event, this dangerous action; which includes, yes!, -ed/-ing adjectives: The acting performances are outstanding. The story is gripping
  • modifiers used AFTER the noun they modify: the man in a dark green coat, the children with pony tails, the woman in red. PLUS: relative (adjectival) clauses. With “who”, “which” or “that”, e.g., The farm, which lies in a valley, …; He gives it to the woman he met on the train; and also omitting this relative pronoun, e.g. The gas station the main character works in.
  • Other pronouns in relative clauses (where-, when-, why-, whereby; whoever, whatever, whichever), e.g. The gas station where he works…, The reason why she is calling on him that afternoon is because…; The period of time when they lived together…; possessive: The main actor, whose acting is outstanding, is R. L… … there is a village, whose name I don’t recall, where
  • Participle clauses: past participles (-ed, or 3rd column), present participles (-ing) and (passive) “being -ed”, e.g. Hearing a loud crash outside, the little girl runs out of the house and into the street…; The man wearing a blue overcoat is my brother; Feeling very tired Leaving behind all of her possessions, the young woman closes the door behind her; Putting on a serious face, he walks to his father and…; Book reviews published last week were encouraging; Set in the 19th century, the story portrays the lives of different middle-class people who…; Being chosen as the best feature film, “Whatever whatever” tells the story of… Yes, as you can see, we can replace some of these with a relative clause. More: with “have” (perfect): Having completed the journey, the family…; Having been invited to the party (AWESOME!: perfect, and passive!), the family…
  • smokesignals_bookAll kinds of comparatives (including superlatives):
    1. the same as the other; hotter than, more intelligent than, funnier, warmer, less handsome than, the most perfect, the least boring, the least intoxicating. Exclamations such as: They were SO angry!, They felt SUCH anger!
    2. SO/SUCH clauses: It was SO funny that I wet my pants! It was SUCH A funny movie that I wet my pants! There were SO MANY people that we couldn’t move. The place was SO crowded that we couldn’t even move.
    3. The more they try, the harder it gets, so they decide to… The harder they try, the less oxygen they have…
  • Degree adverbs: very/really, too, extremely, quite, not enough…, very much (She likes WHATEVER very much – V + O + “very much”)
  • Connectors like: In contrast, the first part was more exciting. About the screenplay, … In the end (an ending to the story), they found the treasure. At the end of the trip/movie, we… However, … Surprisingly, … Instead (of doing that), they decide to…, All in all (assessment)… Personally, I enjoyed… Unbelievably, in the end they marry.
  • Time clauses are handy to narrate the plot: After they marry, they return to England. Before they married, they were living in Canada. Once they marry, they return to England.
  • Conditional sentence for stating who would like the book or movie you are recommending (but this is not compulsory, you can recommend by using other wording): If you enjoy this kind of action, this novel is a must. / If you enjoyed Titanic, you will certainly enjoy this romantic story (yes, this mixture of tenses is not what comes in the textbook).

Oh my! Long, right? Also for me!!! Time flies! Gotta have din-din!!! 😀 😀 I was just brainstorming, so please, feel free to add some more, or tell me about possible mistakes. Nightie night!


Tyger, tyger, burning bright / in the forests of the night

January 10, 2013

The_Tyger_BM_a_1794Today Laura was asking about books (unabridged books, originals) to read.

There’s a modern ghost story that I enjoyed a couple of summers ago. I bought it because of its title — because the title is a modified version of one of the lines in William Blake’s Tyger (“his fearful symmetry):

Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger (Vintage, 2010 – book written in 2009): 485 p., about 8€. Here is a ghost story set in a haunted house next to Highgate Cementery in London. But it is a modern ghost story. The title is a modified line from one of the most beautiful poems/etchings ever! “The Tyger,” by William Blake.

For years, I’ve been thinking of doing a little webita on TP for Blake and this poem, but I never seem to find the time! Shucks! 😀 Anyway, it’s a beautiful poem, and you should learn it by heart (by ear). I’ll record it, possibly, tomorrow! (I don’t like the audio versions I find online). I shouldn’t keep wanting to do this and never doing it!!

Tyger, tyger, burning bright
in the forests of the night

OK, now — once I found this amazing version of Tyger. Make sure you watch it. We could comment it in class!


About Her Fearful Symmetry (Oh! How I LOVE this title!!)

I just remembered I wrote a VERY LONG piece on my facebook profile for teachers and students. I should publish it on Talking People – Literature, so here’s the link so I won’t forget! (You can befriend me, if you like, but I have to say I don’t use it much.)

Here’s the beginning of my review of this book:

This 485-page novel is about a few individuals, and their bonding to other people — about feelings of love and loss, about feelings of being trapped, about how complex we are when we feel and act, and how we make choices all the time.

These people live in a three-floor house close to Highgate Cementery in London, and the house is haunted by the ghost of the woman who lived on the second floor, who leaves her apartment to her two US American mirror twin nieces.

Puedo seguir escribiendo como una poseídaaaaaa, Albertoooo (demented laughter)

But I’ll stop here. I’m kinda hungry!


How will you rise? (Getting ready for February)

January 7, 2013


On February 14, the Vagina Warriors or V-Day activists — I am a member of this global network to end violence against women — are calling us all to join an international action called “One Billion Rising” (Mil millones en pie de paz, in my own translation). Check out their site to learn more about this: One Billion Rising!


I joined this particular action at the beginning of the learning year in 2012 by helping spread the news, this is, helping people learn about this event — from on social networks mainly.

As a teacher in adult state-run/public language education in Spain I will devote a lesson, on Feb 13 (Wednesday) for the Monday groups and on Feb 14 (Thursday) for the Tuesday groups, to learning about this movement and their activists — we might read a Vagina Monologue (TP website) and/or something from I Am an Emotional Creature (pdf file), or watch a video, or do a listening activity on the issue of violence against women on this planet plus, hopefully, something on students’ part — questions, a discussion, sharing info, dramatized reading of some part. It’ll depend on their initiatives.

vaginamonsTo my students, yes, I know that’s Exam Practice Week. I decided not to join the international strike and stay in class with you. Instead, I’ll be contributing to this hard and loving struggle doing something special in class: working on ideas that are helpful for the struggle against violence against women and respect towards their activists! So, don’t worry — we’ll do the first part of the Practice Exam on the first lesson that week (the Exam Practice Week), and then move the second part to the following week, its first lesson. No problem! The aim of Exam Practice week is for you to learn about exam format, not for you to pass an exam and get official marks! You’ll do that in June, not in February. February is just to learn about exam format and exam strategies and also to see if the techniques you’ve been practicing/practising are actually useful for your tests (For super extra mega preparation, I will publish here a Guide I wrote, so don’t fret — just be patient!) You can jot down your results, of course, and also tell me about them. But this is useless/pointless in terms of certificates, because in our system, the only mark that allows you or not to get your level certificate is the mark you get in June, when Certificate Exams are held.


FAQ on EOI exams: This is not how exams work in the first years of a level — in your cases, Intermedio 1 and Avanzado 1. In those first years you had real exams now that could help you out if you failed any of the parts in the final exam. Those exams, unlike Certificate exams, are designed by teachers in your school and just allow you to pass to the second year of your level. In contrast, Certificate exams are designed by the local authorities and held every year for the second learning year in each level – as you know, we only have three levels: A2 (in Básico 2), B1 (in Intermedio 2) and B2 (in Avanzado 2). The exam is the same for all the schools in the Autonomous Community of Madrid and is therefore held the same day at the same time in all of the EOI schools.

Last, if you wish to contribute any kind of effort to this global event, you can count on me for info on materials (for instance, you can borrow one of the books and prepare the presentation of an activity!). But start by clicking on the images here and reading a bit, so you get the picture! 🙂


Gifts and best wishes!

January 4, 2013

thethreewisewomenDuring the winter holidays, aka Christmas, in Spain the two most popular Gift celebrations are on Dec 24 and Jan 6. The most popular traditional day for giving presents is the 6th of January, inspired on the biblical story of the Three Magi or the Three Wise Men or the Three Kings, three guys that followed a guiding star to where Jesuschrist was born, in Beit-lahm (Arabic) or Bethlehem (English) in Palestine. (Cultural tip: Jesús is an ordinary male name in Spanish, so for the religious leader we use “Jesuschrist.” In English no man is ever called Jesus because that name is just for Jesuschrist.) Then there’s also the celebration of Nordic Santa Claus, from Lapland. Well, that’s on December 24th. Kids tend to get presents from the 4 men if the adults in their lives can afford it.

So to make up for all of this, and throw some light in the mysterious ways of non-believers, I’d like to make two points: one is graphic, a little reminder of the fact that women also exist on this planet! My second point is another emotional-rational thought: no tradition has ever been kind to loads of people. I bet we are able to establish holidays in every season, like people in France, right? This would be a wiser way to distribute the learning/academic years, too. We could also give and get presents then, believers would also be able to celebrate their traditions, and us non-believers, well, as we tend to celebrate tons of things, we would be able to focus our efforts in 4 specific moments in the year!

What’s certain for me is this — we should not impose any religion or religious celebrations now that we are free not to believe in paradise or hell. What’s wrong with respecting everybody? Why can’t believers celebrate their religion while agreeing others may not share the same beliefs?

Anyway, considering I’m following the kind proposal by social movements of not spending or spending the least you can, I decided to buy gouache paints and white glue and a watercolor heavy paper, and do some book markers to give away as presents. They’re certainly not very royal. They’re not magical, or amazing. They have no secret meanings. And they’ll get no one anywhere, but the people I love are really nice earthlings and easily contented! Most importantly, they READ books! 🙂 MY BEST WISHES FOR YOUR 2013!



Toni Morrison – thinker, artist and activist

January 3, 2013

😉 😀 😀

Yesterday I was really lucky. I found an interview to Toni Morrison on TV! I’ve been googling to find it, and just got to this: a little video on a much longer interview and then an article. I’d like to say that I consider Toni Morrison one of the most intelligent earthlings I’ve ever listened to. Just in case you were going to skip this post and I’ve managed to make you curious about it! 😀

This one’s a must, people! Thanks to Google I’ve found a wonderful video to watch: Angela Davis and Toni Morrison, having a truly good time together (unlike in the interview above).

Once, I lent Miguel, an Advanced student I met in the first state-run language school I worked in, “Playing in the Dark”, a very think/brief essay, full of interesting ideas. It was hard for Miguel, but he managed to work on some of it. On the little webita on Toni Morrison at Talking People, you’ll find that link too:

And this is a link to Toni Morrison on Mujer Palabra. In Spanish, so sorry about that. I started a little series called “Recensiones raras feministas” (Odd & Feminist Book Reviews).


At last! – A little present! CO Women / Objetoras

December 28, 2012

Today I got wonderful news from London! My translation of CO Women is finally downloadable in a pdf file — check out the link to the wri-irg website (War Resisters’ International – Internacional de Resistentes a la Guerra). Before you could just read it online.

Of course, my adorable students should read it in English (just click “English”) — not in Spanish! 😀 Anyway, we appreciate you spread the word on the existence of this book, because it’s probably the only book devoted and dedicated to CO Women!!! Isn’t it sad? And we had so very much trouble getting it published!!! (plus — considering we all worked for free! Who said volunteers get paid? Whereabouts is that Where?!)

Whenever we get a bit for building our Herstory, so Mankind can become Humankind, I always sing this beautiful song by Drexler included in a movie on Che Guevara’s youth, when he journeyed with a fellow university student all over America (latin, indigenous) on a motorbike… 🙂 Hope you like it!


Handmade books of trees

December 22, 2012


Interesting: stories selected by Angela Carter

December 20, 2012

angelcartersbookoffairytalesI bought two copies of this book, because I couldn’t believe its price. Such a good book, such a good present to give someone. So I’ve got one to give as a present!

Such an interesting writer, such an interesting person, and so little known. I haven’t read any of her works yet. I just discovered her while looking for Fairy Tales that did not condemn girls and boys to the roles the patriarchal system imposes on boys and girls through stories!

Angela Carter selected these stories — fairy tales which do not portray women as passive pretty princesses — or finished putting together this collection of fairy tales while she was at hospital — dying of cancer. Working for literature till the very end!

It’s a very interesting book for people with a feminist curiosity, and for people who like stories. Here’s the link to the book on the Virago website (Virago is a British publishing house).

Angela Carter at the British Library (radio 3)

An interview with Angela Carter on the British Library website (audio – for Advanced students)


Cartoonists: Ellen Forney

December 18, 2012

Click image



More on American Indians and related issues

December 17, 2012

Here’s a Coyote story, “Coyote Kills a Giant.” Coyote appears in Native Indian stories and I’ve got a picture of him in a matriarchal tarot I bought in London — Coyote, the Trickster, it’s called.

Here are two poems by Indian women who I later found on the Internet!

  • The Housing Poem, by Dian Million and
  • Strange Fruit, by Joy Harjo – in this recording I try to explain why this poem is so poetical, meaning so powerful, so free — not that I’m happy with my words, really. I love poetry so much I simply hate to speak about poetry. It’s really hard for me! All I say about it sounds worse than keeping my mouth shut, so that’s why I seldom speak about poems, or poetry! 😀

The book that triggered all of this Native Indian reading I got into was this one: Reinventing the Enemy’s Language. Contemporary Native Women’s Writing of North America. The link I have on Talking People is broken, so that’s why I’m posting it here — eventually I’ll get into fixing that and working a bit more on the web page devoted to American Indians.

But anyway, on Talking People, the Native American section in (top right-hand side) in The World – People & Culture
Direct link

I know that talking about First nations in the world feels bad, because they’ve been abused. But today, more and more people are networking, getting in touch, wanting to learn from each other and live together respecting the fact we are all different, too, and this is positive. I mean, we should not look away when we have the chance to learn from other people, even if we belong to the culture that is responsible for all the harm done to other groups of people.

I’m not only thinking of North American Indians, or the indigenous population in Central and South Americas (watch Vía Campesina). I’m also thinking of Romas, in Spain called gypsies — people who were nomadic many years ago and came from India. Gypsie people nowadays are gypsies but lead sedentary lives like ours, have assimilated the alien culture (white’s) but keep being gypsies. I wonder if you would have some time to check all I say here is correct! If you find mistakes or improvable explanations, please, send me an email so I can fix it!)

In Australia, the government had the decency and the dignity to express an apology to the aboriginesSame news in The New York TimesLearning Activity based on this news. Words matter. Apologizing is something that more people should be free to do. Obviously, those words should only be used when we are willing to stop the abuse and when we are also willing to give the necessary support.

SORRY THIS BIT WAS MISPLACED!! THIS IS ITS PLACE: Apologizing to gypsies would be a good idea. However, in Spain, we haven’t even considered necessary to bury all the dead that the Franquist dictatoship refused to bury — something that had never been done in Western Europe, because after every war, the dead, regardless their ideology, were all buried!

David Harrison, in a book I recommended here some time ago (see post), posed the question of how sad it is for languages to go extinct considering they are knowledge systems. He mentions some First Nations or native peoples who have a unique knowledge of nature. A kind of knowledge technological consumerist societies do not have. Many indian languages in the USA have gone extinct, and now people are trying to preserve some of the surviving languages. In Spain we also know about language revitalization policies, because during the dictatorship various peoples who were also Spanish were persecuted, their languages were banned, and when we managed to start building a democracy we had to implement revitalization policies. Fortunately, some of those languages, like Catalan and Euskera (Basque) have been recovered. Euskera was in peril of becoming extinct years ago, but is now in good health. Apparently, it’s the only Iberian language that has survived!! All the languages around here belong to the IndoEuropean Language Family except Euskera! It’s so interesting! Strangely enough, in the Autonomous Community of Madrid it’s very difficult to learn any of the other languages spoken in Spain, for political reasons! That’s really sad, and I do hope some day this won’t be the case! We need a plurilingual world — through language we can build a more civilized society!


Interview to Sherman Alexie, by The Poetry Foundation

December 14, 2012

Next Monday and Tuesday, the Avanzado 2 groups are welcome to share the language they learned/learnt from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, what they learned about Indians in the USA, about reservations, about life, about humour/humor, about friendship, about family, about identity, about finding one’s way in spite of hardship…

There are a few interviews to Alexie on the Net. In this one, if you have read the novel, you’ll recognize some of his main themes as a person and as a writer, of course! If you haven’t read the book and you can spare the time this weekend, I’ll let you know I read it in a very cold and very cozy homey weekend. But I love reading books in one or two sittings, because the reading experience kind of transports you to other worlds!

About the movie, Smoke Signals, if you all like we can watch it in February, to take a break from Exam Practice activities! 🙂 If you are into movies, I recommend you get a copy of the screenplay. It’s got a lovely intro.

In spite of things — I wrote to his agent and got a huge NO about publishing one of Alexie’s stories for people to read. “Search Engine” is the title and it is included in his collection of stories entitled Ten Little Indians. Considering I’ve been asking four generations of students to get his novel, I must admit it felt bad, because I couldn’t show people his other kind of writing. I wonder where the Fair Use policy went. Quo vadis, Fair Use? Anyway, there’s always Free Culture and Civil Disobedience — I might type it and share it somewhere.


Activities scheduled for our last December week together!

December 4, 2012

Dear people,

here is a one-page pdf file so you can have a look at what I’m scheduling. If you have any feedback for changes in this, please, let me know by December 10 or 11. Then I would edit this plan, and post the final version. If I haven’t posted anything by December 12, then that means this plan is on! Make sure you collect Useful Language from your materials, to share in class in these lessons.

December_Last_Week (1 page, pdf file)


Click on the photos to get somewhere

Alexie's novelhimym-copia-150x150Friends


Delusions of Gender, by Cordelia Fine

November 29, 2012

Delusions of Gender. I have given this book as a present to a few people, and they were all interested in it, as they read. The translation into Spanish was published last year and it’s called “Cuestión de sexos. Ni los hombres son de Marte ni las mujeres de Venus.” The book is meticulous and very funny at times. She doesn’t use scientific jargon, but you need to have an Upper Intermediate level, or perhaps an Advanced level. Check! 😉  (you can borrow mine – got it in both languages)…

You should read it…

  • if you are a parent wondering why girls are so much into pink and boys into superheroes (watch Riley’s video here. She’s a 4-year-old girl analyzing market in connection to gender)
  • If you are a teacher
  • If you are someone interested in the human mind
  • or in why gender is a topic addresses by innumerable thinkers, artists and activists.

She won’t be giving you any conclusive evidence because neuroscience started developing at the end of the 20th century (the “science” we had before, saying that women’s brain was smaller and all that, was not Science). She will be showing you where they cheat (both mass media, never spreading accurate research) and how society puts pressure on gender roles.

If you don’t get a copy of the book, do please listen to her here (45 minutes): ABC is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. You’ll have a laugh and learn a lot of where we come from! and where it’d be nice to head to! Are sexual differences hardwired in the human brain? We have a habit of seeing danger in all the wrong places. … In the late 19th century, when women were pestering to have access to higher education, Edward Clark, of the Harvard Medical School argued that when adolescent girls and women think too hard energy rushes dangerously from ovaries to brain. His best-selling book, Sex & Education, which was subtitled … Or a fair chance for girls (!), is an absolutely terrifying catalog of the psychological and physical ills that can befall women … [because of this] competition between the female reproductive system and the female brain.” ! She moves on to the early 20th century, and quoting another eminent doctor, “Due to their more delicate nervous systems, if women achieve the feministic ideal and live as men do, they will incur in the risk of 25% more insanity than they have now,” which I think you’ll agree is admirably precise. In his view, policy makers should take seriously the distinct possibility that ...

Well, it’s too funny, and too outrageous: Why have they taken such pains to demonstrate women’s inferiority century after century? Why haven’t we missed women in History, why don’t we visualize them when we think of Prehistoric art? Why should we pretend none of this has happened, just because now some of us are able to choose who we want to love and have sex with, what we want to wear, our occupation, what lifestyle we want to follow…?

If you want to spread the word among people who do not speak English, here is info on this essay Mujer Palabra. And here is a video of her at TED Talks (with subtitles in Spanish)


June Jordan – a quote and a poem

November 26, 2012

I just finished “His Own Where”, by this amazing writer. This is a book I can’t recommend English learners to read, unless they have a consolidated Advanced level. It’s full of music and poetry. Which is to say, it’s full of life.

The book’s worth the effort to reach that level! So cheer up and work!

For the time being, here is a quote of hers we published on the Talking People Podcast and you’ll find a video with one of her most famous poems read by a young woman. Enjoy:


Books should be free!

November 21, 2012

Juan Carlos, from the Intermedio 2 Tuesday group, has sent a link to a beautiful website, “Books Should Be Free” (click). Thanks! So now you all can 1) borrow a book + audio from the School Library, 2) pick a story or a few stories from the Talking People Podcast (but check with me, because not all stories are recommended for your level; here is a story I wrote on the topic “Childhood Memories”, in case you want to have a laugh), 3) use “Books Should Be Free” or the Literature section on Talking People! Remember your priority is to listen to English, so you should use your reading activity to listen to the language too, so that you develop your awareness of the adorable pair “Spelling – Pronunciation” apart from practicing reading out loud. 🙂

We need food, healthcare and shelter for all because… Why should we not care for people? The well-being of other people relates to our own well-being. But we need more. As animals with an amazing mind, capable of imagining and also of creating language, we need culture like a fish needs water. It’s the first time in human history that we all, women included at last, have access to information and culture. We should occupy all the spaces we can with culture. We should be walking bits of culture (trocitos andantes de cultura). Hello, Ms Bit of Walking Culture? How’re you doing? 🙂



Booking a date for the Dec OP’s

November 18, 2012

To Michelle’s students – Dear all,

You should start thinking about what you want to share with us in class, in terms of the language you picked up while watching TV series (the listening exercise, not a reading exercise!) and your thoughts, useful language learned/learnt, fav passages, a book review to read out or research on the Sherman Alexie novel. You should also consider talking to other people in class, in case you want to do some teamwork on any of these two projects. I’m very open to the kinds of things you can do — the most important thing is that you learn English and about English-speakers or their cultures, on your own or in the good company of other people in class!

If you want to do some work on your own, think of 5 minutes, though we can negociate for more time. Teamwork could get 15-20 minutes depending on needs. You can post your ideas here, if you like.

Here are some examples of activities by Avanzado 2 students:

Considering working on the textbook takes so much time, you can also record your Useful language and/or send me your selected sentences so we can put together a podcast episode. In previous courses, people sent me their selected language and I created a new segment on the Talking People Podcast called “Everyday Language” (Incidentally, “every day” as an adverbial (time phrase, complemento circunstancial de tiempo) is in two words; and “everyday” in one word operates like adjectives (it’s a modifier that goes before the modified word). We got to episode 4.

I need to know who needs how much time when because 1) I need to plan the lessons allowing time for that, 2) because if nobody is going to do anything then I’ll try to book ONE only lesson where you can just put up your hands and share your weeny bits! 😛 If nobody says anything in class or by email, I’ll understand we should just stick to the textbook, OK?

Have a lovely week!

PS: Browse below! There are some amazing audios / audiovisuals!


OPs by Intermedio 2 people!!

October 30, 2012

Today in the Tuesday Intermedio 2 group I got amazing news! I’m really happy about this! Apart from using their textbook audios, they’ve been listening to podcast episodes and/or watching their weekly episode of a TV series! YOU’RE GOING TO LEARN TO SPEAK!!

Please, post here if I forgot someone or got something wrong…

Esther has been watching Friends, and picking up lots of language! She did what I asked you to do: she didn’t use the subtitles; instead, she watched the same episode three times, and felt quite confident of having understood the story! Congratualtions. Well done! (Eva, it might be boring, ok, I do understand, but consider you are learning one of the most demanding things we can learn, intellectually speaking, a language!, and that you are able to do that by using enjoyable materials. Plus, repetition brings automatization in our production). So we talked about having some time in class, so that people can find other people interested in working in the same TV series. We’ll do that next week, then.
Eva has been watching quite a few episodes of Adorable Little Liar! (Did I get that right?) and she and Laura came to tell me that they might be putting together an OP for December!
Ana is watching Desperate Housewives! And jotting down language desperately!! (Don’t worry about jotting things down, Ana, people, we want to hear you saying the sentences, not reading them!)
And the three adorable teenagers in the back row (Eva, Marta and Laura – did I get your name right? Please, tell me I did!! Pleeeeease!) and Irene and Beatriz up front want to read the Alexie novel (which Avanzado 2 is reading). This means I might be ordering a few more books (though, people, Avanzado 2 students have donated two copies to the School Library, so if you like, in November you’ll be able to borrow it), so if you think you want a copy (it’s €5.50, well, the order for Avanzado 2 had 50 books, so they didn’t charge me the shipping cost, just the VAT, which was 0.30). These readers will do this just for the kicks, but they are welcome to prepare an OP for March or April, if they like.
Then, I don’t know if I got this right: Roberto and Juan Carlos (anyone else?) are using the Dialogs in the ESL Podcast, and they might prepare a few to act out in class! Some have even given a try to the English Café (but as you know, I recommend this segment to Avanzado 2 people).

THAT’S THE SPIRIT, people! Keep it up! Language learning is hard work, but it’s also enjoyable! And you will get amazing rewards when you see that you can actually communicate naturally, spontaneously, and that people can understand what you say!


50 copies! Phew!

October 22, 2012

Yes, dear Avanzado 2’s, I ordered 50 copies, so there’ll be enough, I think. There are 22 names in the Tues. group list, 2 teachers, 17 people who got on the list today, in the Mon. group, so that is 41 copies, which means that people not in the lists will probably be able to get one, too, if they like (9 in the Mon. group and 7 in the Tues. group). Bring €5.50 (book + VAT tax = about 0.20) After everybody’s got/gotten their copies, if there are extras, you might want to get one to give away! It’s a lovely present! 🙂


December Oral Presentations (OPs) for Avanzado 2

October 19, 2012

Materials: the Sherman Alexie novel and your TV series episodes.

Mission for the novel (delivery of books scheduled for November 1): I recommend you read it a couple of times — the first with your heart (emotional reading), this is, without stopping to look up words in the dictionary, and the second focusing on language, this is 1) looking up the most important words, 2) underlining Useful Language (for your own personal use), 3) selecting passages you love, and/or passages that are good material as Useful Language. In December, you will share your “Useful Language” and your passages in small groups and/or at Plenary. Here are two links to work by Avanzado 2 students on this novel:

Mission based on the episodes of a TV series you picked: find people in class who have chosen the same TV series. Ask me for 20 minutes of time in class to get together with them in November and see if you can form a team to prepare an OP based on that TV series. You can do whatever you like, the “minimum” being that you share some Useful Language you were able to understand (without doing any reading!!). Here is an example, at the Talking People Podcast: Everyday Language 1, (there are up to 4). Over here, on this blog, there are ideas about how to work with TV series (first paragraph on this page: At the Students’ Corner of EOI Getafe you will find examples of OPs by students, too. Here’s the link: Some are videos and some are texts they prepared. Actually, a group of students who liked theater decided to give their OP the format of acting out three scenes in one of the episodes of Big Bang! You must watch it! It’s fun.


Online Shopping – News on the Alexie novel

October 17, 2012

Dear Avanzado 2 students: today the Tuesday group passed a piece of paper around so that people who wanted to order this novel could be counted. There are about 20 on the list. And I suppose there must be people in the Monday group who would also be interested in getting a copy of it. The idea is I order it and I ask for the box to be sent to our EOI.
As it turns out, the book is on offer now. It costs about €5.00 (possibly a bit less) and… the machine says I’m eligible for free delivery which means you would not have to split the shipping cost!
SO — I’m going to risk it and order 40 copies of the book tomorrow evening. The estimate date of arrival if I ordered today would be next Saturday, so I’ll wait till tomorrow. Books generally take from 3 to 7 days to get to us. Still, it seems there are pdf copies on the Net, which might be an option for people who can’t afford it. Ask people in class.

Here’s some info I posted last week:


Greenham Common Wimmin’s Peace Camp

October 16, 2012

Today in the Avanzado 2 Tuesday group I was trying to explain that in order to be good listeners — to develop your aural skill — we need to work in different ways, and that not being a gifted listener does not imply one can never be a good one. I said I was not a gifted listener myself, and found a good contrast mentioning Nathalie’s case. Nathalie is a francophone Canadian friend (or “sister”, she’s an activist and we met in an activist location) who I met at camp (Greenham Common’s). This peace camp was in England, I was a bilingual Spanish/English, Nathalie’s English was not great, but from the start, she managed to understand all the very many different accents other women had (England is full of different accents!!, just England, not to say Britain!) and I simply couldn’t! Well, suddenly my topic was shifting to Greenham because people had never heard of this peace camp and were interested. But I realized that if I started to explain, we wouldn’t be able to meet the day’s lesson plan, so I promised that if students organized an OP (Oral Presentation) for December, I could do one myself, on Greenham.

I’d like to clarify what I clarified in class because society’s mainstream ideas about social activists are kind of wrong. I’m a pacifist, and this does not mean I despise people in the military. Actually, I believe some people in the military join this body because they want to protect people. And this we share, I mean, pacifists also want to protect people. The thing is we do so using totally opposing means — the military believes in the use of violence and pacifists believe in the use of nonviolence.

Going back to my little story, now, on second thoughts, I don’t think we would have the time for an OP on Greenham. I can speak about things I’ve been involved in for hours!! But we need to do one textbook unit a month, and the textbook is full of activities and/plus I would like people to do oral activities in the Exam Area (mons & dials, or OPs on your TV series), and also discuss our first book, Sherman Alexie’s novel, and read “useful language” and passages, and perhaps watch one of the documentaries I think people would enjoy — all of this before January!!

SO — here is a link to a project I’m involved in. Bringing life at Blue Gate (Greenham Common Wimmin’s Peace Camp) to the Internet for this last period at camp is not very documented. For the past 10 years wenever seem to get time to work on it (finish it)! BUT — it’d be also helpful for us to know what you think. I mean, you could read about Greenham in your free time, and tell me if the site is clear or confusing!! 😀 OR… YOU could prepare an OP on Greenham for December! 😀

Just a little tip: if you read the books that are recommended on this site what you will learn about Greenham is not the exactly the same as what Greenham was in its last years — for one thing, numbers dropped dramatically in terms of the actual number of women living there, and not in terms of the total number of people supporting the project and also visiting camp.

If you like, post your comments here, so we don’t have to use time in class to talk about this! 🙂

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