Archive for the ‘News’ Category


Dear Intermedio 2’s!

June 12, 2013

Well, it’s over! Congratulations for coming to the exam, and surviving the experience! 🙂 Fortunately, it was not too hot!! I was dreading that!

Let’s hope you get the results you expect to get. I’m also hoping the people I believe are ready for a new course pass, of course! I have my own little professional opinion! 😀 (It’s most of you, of course!)

Anyway, the exam is like a mined field. How I hate it!

I’m sorry I couldn’t be talkative and friendly. We’re exhausted, and this week is going to be my worst.

PUBLICACIÓN NOTAS ESCRITO + REVISIÓN. Remember I’ll publish the marks of the Written Part (Reading, Listening and Writing) at 19:30 (or later on in the evening, depending on the oral exams I have to give before!!! So please wait in class or in silence in the corridor if I’m late, OK?) on June 18. (BUT I’ll probably type in those marks on the private area of the school’s website the night before. This is not announced because I’m not sure I will be able to do that and as you know I have no legal duty to do that at this point, OK?) If you had failed any of the parts you would have to come to Revisión at 20.00. I’ll be in our classroom.

Then the orals are on the 20th, 21st, and 24th. You don’t have to come if you have failed any of the other parts, because the new law says you have to take the four-part exam again in September.

Please, prepare your oral well even if you think you might not pass the Written part. You’re here to learn English to communicate in life, not just to study a certain set of days “to pass an exam”. (I know this sounds crazy, but it’s a typical misperception among Spanish language students!) Total exposure to listening to English + listen & repeat (textbook audios, podcasts) + practice timed speaking. And practice fixing your mistakes as you speak, or better still, not making them! 😉 Think about scenarios where you might have communication problems and prepare sentences to fix them, too.

Hugs to all, congratulations again, and hopefully… see you soon! For those of you I won’t be seeing again (like wonderful Alba, who can’t make it to the oral anyway, or Felipe, who is on his end-of-course school trip), best of luck in life, tons of loving and solidarity!


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”?




June 3, 2013

Got a very bad back, but hopefully my PT will put me in shape again. The earn-a-living-week is about to start and I need my body!!!!

From our adult language school in public education, got still a few Writings to publish and a few videos to edit, with Students’ work, but it’s Exam Month, and we’re all day at the School wasting time (and me hurting my back with all the not-possible-to-lie-down-a-bit every 5 hours) and doing the most horrible thing on the planet (in the educational context) which is Murdering a Love of Learning, sorry, I mean, giving and checking exams.

Away from paid work…

My friend Hilal from Turkey is here, so I’ve videoshot an interview to her on her activism (feminist antimilitarist) and events in Turkey. It’s about 100 minutes! So I might not be able to edit it as fast as I’d like to. This week I’m also interviewing Howard, the chairperson at War Resisters’ International, in English, too. I’ll be able to use this video in my future English courses, so it’s exciting. Once I videoshot a (pragmatic) pacifist friend of mine from London, and here is what we came up to! He came to my groups at the state-run school where I worked to tell adult learners about this all:

More… it’s spring. People are popping up everywhere, like mushrooms after the rain.

I’m also in touch these days with old friends from Blue Gate (the only anarchist-working social place I’ve ever been in, and I tell you, it was all about nonviolence, freedom, respect and cooperation) in Greenham Common Wimmin’s Peace Camp. We’re working on this project:
(to leave a track of its existence, because History is full of omission of good things we humans did, and very especially women)
Apparently, the peace movement is being “colonized” or “infiltrated” by “spiritual/religious” people who have the mission to spread the word that feminism is evil and we should stop raising issues because everything is all right. The bad thing about this is not that they think so. It’s that they try to defame, hurt adorable nonviolent critical thinkers like feminists, who have never in their lives tortured, killed or abused anyone, but just posed their criticism, and decided to live the life they wanted to live.

As a species we’ve always been into ignoring or murdering people with great ideas for us all, so it’s not new. But since the 20th century we’ve realized we can be much better, and that our past gods were far too violent to follow. Anyway,

Will they wipe us out as usual, or will rational empathy survive and turn us into the cooperative peoples we should be, instead of the violent peoples the exploiters push us into being for their own benefit? It’s scary. Why can’t people keep living their own chosen lifestyle and allow the rest of us to lead our own? Why are those believers so hostile and aggressive to non-believers? Supposing they’re right, they’ve just got it all on their side to win and we to burn in hell for not not believing…? I really think that if there is a god of some kind, it can’t possibly be this cruel.


New video!: What Leads to Success?

May 30, 2013

A wonderful presentation by Juancar, who in spite of being an Intermedio 2 student (B1), shows an Upper Intermediate or B2 level in this outstanding exercise! You will learn or clarify some key concepts that lead to a good life! Come on, listen to him! And if you like it, remember to send the link to more English learners! The exercise of listening and reading corrected mistakes helps you develop the skill of listening to yourself and fixing your mistakes as you speak.Thanks, Juancar, impressive work!

Btw, I posted a note under the video, on the correction included about the phrasal.

PS: I’m not sure I’ll manage to edit the videos I videoshot in the Avanzado 2 group… 😦 But I’ll try my hardest. I’ll keep you posted, don’t worry!


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!


Watching Old Movies!!

May 13, 2013

Alberto (Avanzado 2) has sent us this email, with the info that they’ll be showing Old Movies in Original Version here:

Buenas, van a echar en cines algunas películas antiguas los martes y jueves de aquí hasta Agosto. Michelle estaría totalmente en contra porque están subtituladas 😛 pero bueno… es lo que hay…es una oportunidad de poder ver en pantalla grande algunas películas muy buenas o de las que tengáis nostalgia por ver en cine. 
Para quien le pueda interesar: saludo !
It’s true I don’t recommend watching movies with subtitles, even when these are in English, in this context: when you need to develop your listening skill, because when you read, you are reading, and your ear is not exposed in the same way to the language. It doesn’t develop half of the intelligence it could! 🙂
I use subtitles in English when I want to learn new words and expressions, for instance. (Same case as that of Avanzado students.) I also use subtitles in English when the sound is not that good (To Kill a Mokingbird) or when different ways of speaking (e.g., characters that speak inarticulately) or the language they use (e.g., police slang), or cultural information (historic period, crazy political plots that I never understand!! – oh how I hate spy movies for this!) won’t allow me to enjoy the movie AND I know I won’t be able to watch it again.
Thanks, Alberto!

Shame on the “authorities”! 0_0

May 9, 2013

The ethically unauthorized “authorities” lie in terms of how many people have followed the strike. But there’s a turn of the screw: because of what they’re doing thousands of teachers have been left out of work because of all the changes they’ve introduced in public schools from primary to university, so of course, the “authorities” won’t be counting them — they were at the demos too!

“Los sindicatos han calificado de éxito el paro y la Plataforma Estatal por la Escuela Pública ha cifrado el seguimiento medio entre docentes y personal administrativo en un 72%. El Sindicato de Estudiantes asegura que el seguimiento ha sido de un 90%. Por el contrario, el Ministerio de Educación ha informado de que menos de un 20% ha secundado la huelga.”

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LATEST NEWS!!!! The Government says they’ll postpone taking the law to Parliament for approval. HOW CAN THAT BE IF ONLY A 20% OF THE PEOPLE FOLLOWED THE STRIKE? Let’s keep our efforts up!! People’s solidarity and pressure are achieving quite a few things of late!

For the connection between crises and privatization, see The Shock Doctrine



May 9, 2013



9 de Mayo: Huelga General de estudiantes, profes, madres y padres contra la LOMCE y los recortes (y todo el cúmulo de cosas pendientes, precarias, que razones, ¡nos sobran!)


Marea Verde Madrid

Texto del Sindicato de Estudiantes, que sirve a todo el mundo:
9mayo“La Comunidad Educativa (profesoras y profesores, padres y madres, estudiantes, personal de servicios y administración, Movimientos de Renovación Pedagógica) de todo el Estado, desde la Educación Infantil hasta la Universidad, estamos en HUELGA GENERAL el día 9 de mayo, y te llamamos a apoyarla, como ciudadan@ y vecin@.

Nos manifestaremos por la tarde, a las 18,30h desde Neptuno al MEC, en Madrid, para decir a este gobierno que no le va a ser fácil sacar este engendro de ley adelante.”

No nos mires, ¡únete!, que los derechos conseguidos por la lucha social, si no se defienden, ¡nos los quitan!


Where Your Income Tax Money Goes

May 7, 2013



So how was your 3- or 5-day hol?

May 6, 2013

I wonder. Did you get a holiday? Did you manage to have a good rest and enjoy yourselves? If unemployed, did you fight depression and made the most of the May Holiday?

I traveled/travelled to the Mujer Palabra planet: locked up in a room I worked like a maniac  in the good company of my adorable cyberfriends. We were getting people’s work published on the site. It’s been really intense, and tiring, but also exciting and interesting. We managed to collect some good ideas for analyses on our “Cuaderno de ideas”, on very tricky issues like feminist NVDA (nonviolent direct actions, like those by Femen), and the “accusations of islamophobia” around the support to Amina, and on how to defend social struggle from ill-focused or distorting ideas that seem to spread like wildfire. But we got more stuff done. Have a look if you like:

We’re way behind in terms of publishing pending materials, but at least we managed a 5-day workload this time, which was good for a change. If only we could win the lottery or something!! Then we would be able to quit our bread-winning jobs and devote all our time and efforts to trying to spread ideas that can make the world a safer, less violent, juster, kinder, more interesting and enjoyable place!

Anyway, back to teaching and learning at the School. Just two months to go. The bad thing is that the whole of June is Exam Month and I do HATE exams with all my might!!

Next Friday we’ll have a Teachers’ Meeting and I’ll find out when the lessons end, exactly. I don’t know if we teachers need to assist the Level 1 exams in the last week of May. But hey people, I’m new in this School. You might know better than me!


About May 9 – for Avanzado 2

April 30, 2013

Last week I found out in class that trade unions are calling for a strike on May 9. For the past 15 years I’ve supported them all, but the other day in class, because we had scheduled taking a C1 Practice Test on that day and it’s my last strike in Madrid, I thought I might just forget about it.

But I can’t. It’s my last chance to formally protest, and I should stick to that! I wish I could take it differently. I did try. But I can’t.


Tomorrow I’ll tell the people coming to class. The good news: I’ve found a way for Avanzado 2 Martes students to take the test on that day anyway! Can you guess?!


About EOI & Cambridge language exams in Madrid (Autonomous Community)

April 27, 2013

The EOI Intermedio exam is equivalent to the Cambridge PET exam. They’re both testing a B1 (CEFR) level exam. Scenario in June: If you failed your exams at EOI after having followed the school learning year and after having used a B2 level textbook, the problem is obviously the EOI exam, so you might want to try taking the equivalent Cambridge exam if you NEED the certificate. Some people in class have taken it recently and passed it! 🙂
The EOI Avanzado exam is equivalent to the Cambridge FCE exam. They’re both testing a B2 (CEFR) level. Scenario in June: If you failed your exams at EOI after having followed the school learning year and after having used a C1!! level textbook, the problem is obviously the EOI exam, so you might want to try taking the equivalent Cambridge exam if you NEED the certificate. I mean, don’t quit!

Why am I saying this? Because since 2009 EOI legislation and rules are upsetting all the system, presumably because the political intention is to close down EOI schools, to profit private language teaching schools. Certificate Exams have been targeted, of course: the four tests used to be evaluated individually and you had to get a 60% of correct answers to pass each. If you did pass the four, you got your certificate. If you failed one, or two… you could take the test of that part again in September. Considering the complete tests in June last two days, this was a relief, and fair. Nowadays failing one part in June involves having to take the four parts again in September. However, the new regulations impose, against all informed criteria, a very negative thing: The percentage of correct answers you need to have in each individual part is the same, a 60%, not less (not a 30 or 40%, which would be understandable, to make sure the person had a mininum skill in each of the 4 skills), which means examinees are subject to a DOUBLE evaluation system which no educational body ever requires or imposes. Let me illustrate with a typical case: Say you have a total of 78/100, a 78%. Well, if you have a 14/25 in one of the four parts, instead of a 15/25 (the 60%), which is the pass mark, you will fail even if your total is between 60 and 99/100!! Consequently, you’ll have to take the complete exam in September!!! Does that 1 point out of 100 mean the person has not achieved the tested level? No way. We could even consider a 10 point margin. Some schools do not publish the marks people get in their Written Part (Reading, Listening, Writing Tests) just in case they can avoid these cases: the case where the person has one 14/25 or two, or one 13/25, and could get a good mark in the Speaking Test, provided, of course the total is above the 60%. Because flunking people in this case would pose an ethical problem, and in terms of respecting the law, this measure can be defended, for very obviously they wouldn’t be giving a certificate to someone who does not deserve it.

The question is, How can a student feel when after learning he or she can’t pass an exam which is even under his or her actual level considering Intermedio 2, Avanzado 2 students use higher level textbooks because a B2 can be achieved in 4 years and 6 is far too many? Why don’t the authorities improve this situation? It’d be enough to ask for a min. 30% in each one of the four parts and a 60% in the four together. Well, informed analyses point to the fact that free adult language education in Spain is bound to extinction. Spain is the only EC country offering this amazing service, so for the past 10 years, politicians have been meddling with the law to prepare things for future privatization. A clear event hinting as this is that EOI language teachers are not called EOI language teachers anymore in recent legislation, but just “language teachers”. The idea is that when EOI close, if the authorities manage it, they’ll transfer these civil servants in secondary schools.

EOI = Escuela Oficial de Idiomas, State-run Adult Language Education in Spain


*ECUS Educational Development
*International House Madrid
British Council Madrid
Cambridge Schools Centre Madrid
Centro de Idiomas Universidad Carlos III  sólo estudiantes
Centro Superior de Idiomas Modernos Universidad Complutense sólo estudiantes
CESMA Business School

2013 DATES for EXAMS given by the BRITISH COUNCIL in MADRID: For PET (B1), for FCE (B2), for CAE (C1). Remember other places above also give them, and that you can also take online exams.

NOTICE that TAKING those EXAMS COSTS between 200-300 euros, approx., and that nowadays, what used to be free language course at EOIs cost 300 euros.

REMEMBER SOMETHING IMPORTANT FOR ANY TEST TAKEN ANYWHERE: You cannot bring your phone or any other electronic devices to your desk in the exam. Your centre will tell you where to put them during the exam.

At the end of each paper (e.g. the Writing paper, the Reading paper, etc.), the invigilator will tell you to stop writing. You must stop immediately.


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! 😀


The sequester’s defense cuts aren’t that scary

March 9, 2013

Why use “sequester” instead of “cuts”? You’re welcome to post! Thanks!



Dear Green Light, Red Light Group!

February 26, 2013

Today, the Avanzado 2 Martes group felt like a community!

yummyinmytummyÁngeles baked a cake for us all! I couldn’t believe my eyes! And then — it smelled just like a cake I used to have in my childhood! That’s a lovely experience, too, right? — experiencing a childhood smell! And well, we shared it at the end of the lesson, which included lots of (gastronomic) pleasure for us all, and Ana, Manuel and Alberto taking pictures of the group! Ángeles, I hope I can make enough money when I set up my little language school, to be able to have you as a guest teacher! You could conduct a cooking workshop in English!! My partner is enjoying the cake now! He says thanks!

Josemaría came back from Portugal. Hopefully, he’ll tell us a bit about this amazing country and its very civilized people! (And it was I who got the pressie! 😀 )

Oh, and Rubén wondered why should anyone want to quit being a civil servant, right? For me, being a teacher in public education was my life ambition and when I got the position in 2006 it was Happiness for me! Now I could work forever in my dream job! Yes!, although my life tries to follow the anarchist ideal of freedom and solidarity, I actually concluded that the best job for me was public education, because this system was paid by us all when we pay our taxes (people should pay their taxes and demand the rich paid more, because it’s them the problem! Why the hell do they need to amass such fortunes!! They are responsible for the crisis! Such demented egotism!! We’re a species on a planet, forgoodnesssake! Use your intelligence!!), and it included academic freedom, and it was free and for all, for every person who wanted to learn! But policies (against public education) continue to burden teachers with pointless / destructive issues: cutbacks in their academic freedom — it seems the authorities are following the model in the USA in non-university education — to turn them into tools voicing textbooks, increasing pointless paperwork and not allowing teachers anymore to do all the work they did in their own homes, making them do that in the schools, were we don’t have our materials and equipment, and certainly not enough hours!, and subjecting adult learners and teachers to a series of pointless exams (nowhere to be seen in quality adult education), following the worst possible interpretation of what evaluation is. (We used to be free to evaluate during the course, this is, to give feedback on skills, and we used to organize OPs for that, for instance, and nice activities like that.) Or perhaps the reason is simply that I’m tired of trying to give my best as a teacher and this costing me even more time and effort.

And well, we spent the lesson with people practicing the monologs on The Elderly, and The Beauty Myth, and then coming to the Exam Area to get my feedback. People were really good. I bet that if you found more time for your English, you would manage to reach a C1 or Advanced level in General English!

Next day it’ll be more on monologs and also practicing the interaction on The Economic Crisis and Volunteering, for next week performances.

Remember you need to send me an email with “av 2 martes mon” on the subject line, so I can send you the recording. And then, when you record it again at home, for a final improved version, remember to send it to me with “doublechecking” in the content box, so we make sure you can use it in May to gain confidence for your final Speaking Test. Create a folder called “monologs” so you can keep your final monologs! You could do something like that with your final Writings, too, so you have a selection of well-written samples of different kinds of texts.


Lesson Plans (all our work) – this week & next week

February 25, 2013

Speaking Tasks. This week it’ll be intensive speaking practice in class, and coming to Exam Area for a monologue, in pairs. More work, in case you finish this: Try to practice the interactions too. Also, there’s the speaking tasks in unit 5 for Avanzado 2 and if you are in Intermedio 2, you have the March speaking tasks (units 1-5, book a date if you didn’t). More?: if you worked on cloze tests, you could use those to put together a monologue on the topic: Smart Phones, Burning Calories (Intermedio 2), Climate Change (Avanzado 2) + use the news extracts (2009, with my transcript, remember?) to learn to tell about those pieces of news!

I’ve finished checking the Intermedio and Avanzado writings I was given in class. So this week I’ll start with those which were sent to me by email.

Oral recordings: today I started recording people. I’m giving them feedback on the spot, but if they send me an email (Group, Day, mon) I can forward their recording. And if I squeeze some time, I’ll try to do that with some more feedback. The thing is, you should all try to create a SPEAKING TASK file, where you could keep a FINAL version of your speaking activities (mons.), to listen to them again in May. If you send me this FINAL version, write this on the subject line: Group, Day, + mon – doublechecking.

New Podcast episodes for… we could use some of your speaking tasks as podcast episodes, if I get the time to create a podcast episode with each. Of course, I won’t do that without people’s permission.

About me checking some translations unrelated to this course: A couple of students kindly requested I give them feedback on a translation each did. I’ll try to do this next week. Bear with me — even though people think that checking a translation is something we can do in a few minutes, this is not so. It takes some more time! But I’ll do my best, as I said when the request was put forward! For me, this is the same case as when people send me their CVs/resumes, and grant applications. I do it, as you know — happy to put my English into extra support uses — because I care about your learning, but I wonder if I should do it, really. Anyway, so far this year this kind of favors are still under 10 people, so well… But considering it would be good to publish people’s work on the podcast I’m afraid I should start saying I can’t, because I can’t squeeze more time out of my very squeezed time!! 😀

Next week you can request time for practicing the Interactions or dialogues in class, but even if we start unit 6 (or Your questions on unit 5), you should come to Exam Area to do the Interaction with a classmate that is close to your list number.

Deadline for your Sample Exam Writing – Task 1 (from Educamadrid): 2nd week of March.

YOUR MARKS – for people who did not take the tests last week. Please, remember to give me the marks of your Reading and Listening Educamadrid tests


Feb 23: Marea Ciudadana! (People flooding the streets!)

February 23, 2013

Edited for updating: 23,19:33

23F represented till today the date of the (failed) coup d’État we had in Spain just after 3 years of Democracy after the dictator’s death.

Today, 23F means to us it’s PEOPLE RECLAIMING DEMOCRACY.

In Spain, demonstrations happening in recent years have been called “mareas”, “tides (of people)” and have had people wearing different colors: green for education, white for healthcare, black wore by civil servants defending a service to society vs total support to private enterprises, orange to protect social servicesviolet for LGBTI and feminist movements (cutbacks in social advancements of this sort, including the right to have a abortion — it’s funny, even if violet appears on the news, they don’t mention the color! Ugh!), and yellow to defend true Justice… Recently, this has also included people attending places where people were going to be evicted from their homes, so… red to stop evictions. (They actually collected 1.5 million signatures which forces the Spanish Parliament to consider their proposal to solve this horrible problem.)

Reclaim democracy!

Saturday demonstrations in Madrid (Spain) in defence of public services (healthcare, education, justice), fighting for a truly participatory democracy, social and environmental justice (inc. civil disobedience against evictions!), and for transparency & honesty in economy and politics (no cutbacks! wrong debtors!):

23feb4 departure points — meet there and start march at 16:30h to Neptuno:

  • #23F Salida ruta Sol – Neptuno
  • #23F Salida ruta Colón – Neptuno
  • #23F Salida ruta Embajadores – Neptuno
  • #23F Puente Vallecas – Neptuno

Ay mi mare!!! Fixed! (On Speaking of Pets)

February 4, 2013


Avanzado 2 Tuesdays, tomorrow you’ll get the paper copy, so ignore this message today! 🙂

About an hour before fixing things: Dear all, Rushed home, just got here, sat to do the listening again and… it’s all wrong!!! This audio is not for the Worksheet I gave you!!! No wonder we couldn’t work it out! It was not that it was difficult. It’s true I have designed stuff at a C1 level. This, however, was simply a mix-up! So I’m going to try to find the correct episodes… Sorry for that. Thank god I did the task as you did it, instead of reading out results! It would’ve been a traumatic experience! So — don’t discard the Skeleton of Meaning technique, please! I suppose it worked perfectly well in the second listening task, right?


Your Listening Activities on Talking People

December 15, 2012

Hiya there!

I just finished / I’ve just finished putting together a new section in Your Stuff! at Talking People thanks to Edu’s work (Avanzado 2 Lunes). He designed a listening activity based on a TED Talk. Thanks, Edu! and, people, enjoy! 🙂

PS: Recordings If you have a recording pending of my feedback, and you haven’t sent me an email (with your group on the Subject line), you should be sending me one asap, for I only do this kind of work once I have the person’s email, OK? I’m trying to finish them all this weekend, but as I should also take some time off to have a rest, I might not make it! (lograrlo) Answers I don’t remember what people ask for in class, so please, if you have requests for me to post the answer to any of your textbook exercises, please, post your request here (on the correponding Page). Ta!

Have a nice weekend!


News for all

December 4, 2012


Absent Marks: I just typed in your November absent marks on the School’s Website, so please, don’t forget to check the site out for possible mistakes — this week! By the way, I don’t use the email I have over there, mostly because I don’t know how to use that platform, but also because I just check it out at the beginning of the month, when I have to type in your absent marks.

Message for Beatriz H (Intermedio 2 Lunes): I have your audio file + my written feedback saved on October 30. I thought I had sent it to you. I have searched the forlder in my email account but I can’t find your email — sorry about that. Can you send me an email, with your Group Code (or this “Int 2 – Lunes”) on the Subject Line (título) and your name, Bea H, plus a note about what it’s for (e.g. my Oct audio), so I can send you both files?

For People following this blog: First of all, thanks for subscribing. If you are not students of mine, double thanks! I’m not sure what you might expect from this little blog — I understand it might have to do with activism or with learning about people in Spain! Anyway, I have good news for you all. Clicking here and there I failed to find the list of who is following this blog 😦 but I managed to set this blog to send out just one message a day, a message which would include the things I posted in the last 24 hours. This also means you won’t get the info in real time, but it’ll be daily. It’s set to send the message out at 4.00 am (Spain).

Feedback. Considering I’m an explorer (meaning I improvise a lot) and multi-chaotic (meaning I improvise a lot), if you find anything here which you find useful or like, it’d be great if you digged it (for my students, “I dig it” means “I like it”) and/or even posted a comment. Don’t feel obliged (no os sintáis en un compromiso), in any case — I am using the widget “Top Posts…”, which helps in this way.

Designing the Avanzado 2 course Together: Although people didn’t comment in class the proposal I posted a few weeks ago, I think, today, in Avanzado 2 Lunes, we’ve talked a bit about it. People will be thinking about the two possibilities I think we have, and we’ll talk about it again next Monday.

The favo(u)red option, it seems, is: you students work with the textbook at home every week (a weekly learning plan would help you lots!), doing one unit a month. (There’s no way we manage that in class.) The textbook is a very good resource, and then you can have our time together to interact and exploit me on language questions, and techniques and stuff. As you would be getting the same input at a similar pace, you would be free to ask questions in class, including making the proposal of checking together some of the exercises. But you would be responsible for learning from the textbook and selecting what to do in class, or asking questions on that.

Then I’d pick the speaking activities and the most important listening activities, and we’d do that in class, plus me checking your writings and oral work.

This would allow us — people working in overcrowded groups — to spend the lessons interacting — while putting into practice what you learned/learnt in the textbook –. And then we would also have more time to listen to selected podcast episodes I’d bring (news, interviews), documentaries, or other. Of course, I’d tell you about language, and culture, and other stories.

Now we’re trying to do it all, but it’s not practical. It’d be amazing for your English if you could find more time to devote to your learning at the advanced level.

In any case, I’m scheduling December to include a lesson on the Alexie novel (I’ll bring a listening, you bring the novel and your willingness to speak about it and share stuff), another on TV series (including dramatized reading), and perhaps… ? another based on viewing a documentary.

Otherwise. You see, if we don’t agree on something, what will happen is this (the other option): we won’t be able to finish unit 3 in December (we’ve got so few lessons together!), and it would take us January too. We’d start unit 4 in February, but — I’d like you to practice exercises in the exam format, esp. listening and reading exercises… Considering they don’t allow us to use previous exams, just the June 2009 example (!), I’m designing some more exercises. And I’d also like to show you at least one of the Ciclo Elemental and Ciclo Superior (old system) exams, to see what you think about the level tested in each kind. So we’d finish unit 4 in, say, mid March, and then we’d have a month for unit 5… Then there’s the spring holiday, right? And then — I think our last month together should be devoted to intense speaking activities (timed monologs, timed dialogs)– which also might include listening (documentaries for discussion in small groups and at plenary).

So — you see? Please, don’t take me wrong: I’m an experienced teacher, a professional, I mean. I can organize all of this on my own. But I believe in teamwork and also in human communication! 🙂 I think what we do together is kind of amazing, as compared to what we can do on our own. I can certainly assist you in your final year with a teacher, I can also help you to become independent and resourceful lifelong learners, to understand the importance of language and languages and how culture is connected to individuals and groups. But in the end it’s all about you and your English. 🙂


About the Talking People Podcast

December 1, 2012

I’ve been trying to see what was wrong, because some people told me they couldn’t subscribe. It seems the top right icon is for a feed, which I don’t know what it is. But it’s not the subscribe button the podcast used to have… Fortunately, I managed to add a text – top of right-hand column – with a link. If you click that, you’re meant to get a menu where you can pick how to subscribe. I subscribed using iTunes and I got the total 88 episodes the podcast has. Give it a try and let me know what happens!

The Talking People Podcast

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Joni Mitchell for a thank you!

November 30, 2012

joni_mitchell-hejira♥ A big thank you to the people who generously offered to read my little workshop (30 pages!!) on Language and Culture, and give me feedback. Your comments are precious to me, and I hope to find some time some day (!) to put together the final version — the latest would be next summer! 😀 (Tons of work loading up just now!)

Thanks again! I’m posting a link to a Joni Mitchell song I love. But there’s no personal message in it. I’m just posting it because I love the music and how she sings! Hope you like it too!


News from Spain in English

November 30, 2012

Diagonal has an edition in English. In case you want to practice speaking about things happening in Spain…


Your recordings + My feedback

November 19, 2012

Dear students,

I’m finally back to working on your recordings (yes! I finally checked everybody’s Writing 1!). Today I’ll be working on Irene’s (Int2 Tues) because she’s donating her work to the Talking People Podcast, so to say! 🙂 This means we’ll be publishing a new podcast episode with an Intermedio 2 student’s speaking activity (Speak about someone you love). Here is the new section on the Talking People website — it’s called “Oral activities by learners with feedback from their teacher“. (Yes, you are all welcome to offer your oral work for this project! 😉 )

Then, not for the TP Pod but for students’ private use, I have Lara’s monologue and a little interaction she did with Isabel (both in Int2 Mon) and Isabel’s monologue, too (if you send me an email!!!).

And then — here’s where I’m kind of confused: I have audios by other people, but they haven’t sent me an email, which means I can’t be working on that till they do! I don’t mind working for you all, but I hate to work for nothing, and when people don’t comply with this little and adorable requirement of: “Please, send me an email with your Group in the subject line and your name in the message box” I refuse to do that work for them. I hope you understand what I mean. 🙂 IF you did send me an email and you are not mentioned here, my apologies!!! Will you send me an email again? Thanks so much!


Students’ Reps!

November 14, 2012

There are only 2 candidates to become students’ rep in the School Council!!! And the deadline for saying you wouldn’t mind becoming one is next Friday. So please, if you think you could manage representing students at the Consejo Escolar (it meets 3 times a year, I think), please, go to the School Office. Their role is described in Spanish on a Page of this blog.



News – re: your Writings and Audios

November 11, 2012

Hiya! Just a note to tell you that I hope to finish correcting all Writings next week, not this week. You see, I use your Writings and Audios to identify Common Mistakes (see the previous post, where I started adding some of the mistakes people have made in the Writings I’ve checked so far), and that is why I only give you back your work when I’m done with everybody’s.

Consequently, the Monday-Wednesday groups will get theirs in a week’s time (for they’ll only have tomorrow’s lesson this week), and the Tuesday-Thursday groups will get theirs next Thursday, I suppose! 🙂

Once I finish your Writings, I’ll continue editing your audios to create podcast episodes or sen them back to you with feedback.


Fernandooooo, I heard it, I heard it! :D

November 10, 2012

In a TV series just now! “I was grounded”, yes! 😀 Your association was perfect. It’s in the same semantic field as “to be told off”.

  • “I was told off”, Me regañaron.
  • “I was grounded”, Me castigaron. (Although it’s a very specific form of punished — read below, people)

I’m really happy to learn this word. Thanks! You might have kind of unearthed it in your memory bank, have you? Now I wonder if it’s just used in the USA… Anyway, people, looking it up I just found this interesting explanation: Grounding (punishment), on the wikipedia.


School News – edited! (read PS in Spanish)

November 9, 2012

Dear students,

Please, consider becoming a Students’ Rep(resentative) at the School Council. Candidates can request information or register at the School’s Office/Head of Studies. Read about it on the School’s Bulletin Board in the entry hall.

The School’s Library cannot open yet, but it will. You will also get your EOI cards this month. It seems they’ll be given to us, the teachers, so that we give them out in class one day. (To Avanzado 2: You have donated two copies of Alexie’s novel, and I have donate the Alexie screenplay and the audiovisual of Smoke Signals in case you want to borrow it once the library opens.)

I suppose the Group/Class Reps (2 people) will also be elected in class this month, but we need to wait for news on this.

Please, consider becoming a Student Rep (a group student rep, or a Council student rep!)

See what happened to us teachers in the 1990s?: because we teachers didn’t want to be part of the Managament Team (Principal, Head of Studies, & Secretary), school communities ended losing their right to elect their School Board! About students, in one EOI I worked, students did not elect any group rep, and when the group wanted to complain about something that happened, they had to do it individually as citizens, this is, losing their strength as a group and without profiting from the right to be heard and file complaints Students’ Reps have in schools.

When we don’t use the tools democracy puts at hand, we lose rights! A nightmare!!


PS: De Jefatura de Estudios, sobre cuántas clases son el 30% de faltas que se pueden llegar a tener en enseñanza presencial.

Número de días de clase: L y X 59 días (147,5 horas) pérdida de oficialidad más de 18 días (17,7 días en realidad); M y J 60 días (150 horas) pérdida de oficialidad más de 18 días. Las faltas las podéis ver en el Área privada.



One Never Knows…

November 8, 2012

Dear students, a big warm thank you for your patience with my forgetfulness and distraction! I’m hopeful that I’ll focus eventually, and stop being concerned about issues which are not relevant, or even important, for learning like finishing textbooks!

Although I have always believed that succeeding in the Learning Enterprise depends on three key factors — on the teacher, on individual work at home by students and on collective collaborative work in class –, I have to say that I’m half the teacher I should or can be. I’ve realized that this week. And I’ve also realized why: it is because of my anger and disappointment (which I was trying to ignore or hide) with the harm education policies have done to public education in the past two decades. At a more personal level, technically speaking, I’m recovering from exhaustion — because I have worked so hard in the past 15 years to get this job (Teachers’ State Exams) while doing my best to contribute to the defense of Quality Education for All — that’s what Public Education in Spain stands for, in my view — while fighting teachers’ and students’ technophobia by developing projects on the exploitation of the Internet for teaching and learning purposes (against all odds!) — all of this precious effort to get to the point where I feel I cannot keep teaching in or fighting for public education because it’s exhausting, the policies harmful, irrational, absurd, ill-focused, lacking love and respect for people, culture, and knowledge… The policies closing on teachers, suffocating them!

These days people are saying the rate of suicides has increased because of the crisis (mostly, because of evictions). Well, I feel quite certain that teachers are not in that group, but I wonder how many are using antidepressants and tranquilizers, how many have ended up in one of the worst illnesses, depression, and how very many are having a hard time to scratch some energy and enthusiasm to succeed in conducting a learning situation. Being a teacher is not being a tool to voice a textbook. Teachers are always learning. They spend zillions of hours a year away from their workplaces working for students and for their school. It’s one of the most complex jobs I know of. It’s complex, and it’s hard but it’s also beautiful. Plus, you can wear whatever you like! 😀 And in my experience — and I’ve met many teachers — teachers feel good when students succeed in learning. That’s the most important reward, in terms of them getting enough energy to be teachers!

Anyway! — it’s true that people help people. When you feel low, doing things with people helps! Working together in the safe space of a classroom makes hardship bearable, and life more cheerful, interesting, lovable and exciting! This week I’ve had the joy to see a few students coming to the Speaking Test Area (especially in Intermedio 2) — love bubbles — and this is giving me the energy to put together some podcast episodes, which I hope will help you all! Then I have the feeling most of you are very interested in your learning, and eager to work with people in class. I’m also surprised and delighted because many of you have managed to do your Writing Assignments… 🙂 So this is food for a teacher! A most nutritious meal! And I’m hopeful I’ll manage to focus and inspire you and assist you in your learning, so that passing an exam becomes a very little thing as compared to all you have been able to learn and experience in this Peace Zone classrooms are!

Life is full of surprises, really. You think you know yourself, and then you just know part of what you are capable of doing! You think you know things, and life is always there, giving you big and small surprises!

And I think something is burning in the kitchen!!


Obama wins (Phew!) – edited (fixing typos and rewording some bits)

November 8, 2012

Fortunately, Obama has won the elections. Women had a clear idea of why he was the best option. Young men and women (mostly Hispanic), too. And there you have it — this is one of the reasons why he’s now won. Not that I am much into party politics, but I’m clearly relieved by this piece of news, because the other option was terrifyingly frightening. This is also why I vote, in spite of my anarchist ideals. I’m as pragmatic as Spanish anarchists were when they supported La República asking their people to vote for it. They didn’t form a political party for obvious reasons, but they accepted sending reps to the Republicano Parliament. After all, anarchism’s proposal is direct democracy (assemblies) and in my view direct democracy has much more to do with representative democracy than right-wing policies. Ideals should always be pursued, they should be our guiding star, but we should never forget where we are, what is happening, we should never lose touch with what occurs around us. (This is something we can also learn from what happened then.) Reality keeps testing our problem-solving skills and it’s never easy to deal with, less so if you care about everybody’s human rights being respected.

Obama, congratulations for getting people’s support. I’m really moved by the fact that women have voted you massively, exerting a right — and why should we ever renounce rights? (If I cannot exert the rights so many people fought for, that’s not my revolution! – to paraphrase Emma Goldman! 🙂

Obama, I know how very scary previous USA Administrations have been to their own population and abroad, and you’re certainly the safest option.
Actually, I think you’re the bravest president the USA has ever had. I do believe you care about justice, and wish with all my might that you keep working hard at justice-related issues, not forgetting women, in a country which is a Western Democracy but allows forcing them to unwanted pregnancies and unwanted mothering (that’s not protecting life, precisely), a country that also allows people to suffer and even die of preventable diseases because there is no public healthcare system (why don’t you take a bit of the galactic military budget the USA has and use it to allow everybody to have access to healthcare!), a country that is the only Democracy that has not abolished the death penalty, and a country that has frightening foreign policies designed to secure material gains knowing this is based on abusing other people’s human rights. And well, the strangest of all, a country that does not separate politics from religion. To my knowledge, no other Western Democracy blesses people in political speeches or has “God” in paper money. Freedom of religion should not mean imposing religion. Spiritual matters are private matters, that believers should simply share in their private world, and not impose to all via the State.

Sweet dreams of a better world for all of us!

PS: When Obama won the elections for the first time, in my Avanzado 2 groups we worked a bit on this issue. Here’s that. That year, the Reading Proposal included Obama’s autobio. I just read the first 100 pages or so, on his childhood and before he got into politics. I still recommend the book, of course. You can read 4 typed pages I copied here.


This is how terrifying it is…

November 8, 2012

When I hear people calling out for us not to vote, I always think, Why should I renounce a right? Why should I ignore the fact that a lot of brave, generous, kind, intelligent people risked their lives their happiness and well-being (and lost them) to find less brutal options for the construction of societies, options respecting human rights for all.

Some people think it’s naïve to have ideals. What is truly naïve, in my view, is to believe that the brutal world we’ve had for centuries is not there. The world of rights we have (after more than 20 centuries of minorities probably trying and trying) is our New World — women know or should know this very well — and this New World is nonviolent, it is not based in killing and abusing, exploiting anyone, but in trying to find ways to live together, by using our intelligence instead of our violence in problem-solving.

Just winning a little election would have put these men in even more powerful positions. Degrees matter.


On the Language Situation in Spain & Endangered Languages

November 6, 2012

Today, in class, with the Avanzado 2 group, suddenly, I can’t remember why, Lyons came to my mind (the linguist, the author of Introductions to Theoretical Linguistics, a book I read when I was at university, ages ago!!), and his blues on how speakers of a language feel no curiosity, no need to listen to what linguists can say about their language. It was the same kind of complaint Cynthia Enloe, for instance, a feminist, posed coining the notion “feminist curiosity,” hers a blues on how little feminist curiosity people had in spite of centuries of evidence on what life was(is) like for women on the planet. And well, suddenly I found myself speaking about the language situation in Spain from a linguist’s point of view. When I realized, I apologized, for we had used up the time to do one of the textbook activities. But people were really nice and said it had been interesting, that it was OK. So I got all excited and of course, tried to make the moment last longer! 😀 I continued with my blues on why considering the fact that our country includes various cultures with their own language and that we Madrilians moved to other Autonomous Communities on holidays, it was so hard to learn any of those languages in the Autonomous Community of Madrid.

Why can’t we learn any of the languages in Spain in Madrid, when our democracy (our Constitution) has acknowledged their existence and — obviously — protects them? (as compared to what the previous dictatorship did to those that weren’t Spanish). Why, if we live somewhere where 14 languages are spoken, are we monolingual in the Autonomous Community of Madrid? How much richer would our life be if we managed to be bilingual* and trilingual* as most of the population on this planet is?

*with 2, 3 mother languages to start off!

I hope the Occupy Movement, called 15M in Spain, manages to pick up this topic, and manages to move beyond the nationalistic standpoints that have made us feel people speaking a different language are not worth our curiosity, our willingness to learn. The most dangerous and beautiful and relevant thing this movement has done for us is precisely that — break the taboo and start discussing politics, because it concerns us all.

From my very insignificant place in my society, in the same constructive spirit as 15M, I’d recommend the exercise of listening to people who were not allowed to speak their mother language, to develop the ability to feel some curiosity that will allow one to listen to those people, or read about the subject. People who have not been subject to this cannot really imagine what it is like. I think this exercise could help the population to move on, approach the topic with better insight, a greater sensitivity. At least it would help us (as a group) to know that banning languages in dictatorships has nothing to do with intense language revitalization policies in democracies, that recovering a language (policies voted in Parliaments and validated by a Constitution) is not the same thing as trying to eliminate a language (acculturation war – part of modern Low Intensity Warfare).

One of the saddest things for me is how little we seem to remember what “dictatorship” means. I hear so often today! Let me pick up again the topic Dictatorships & Languages/Cultures. Do we know what it felt like for people to have their mother language banned? However, nowadays people speak about language policies as “a dictatorship.” We should be more accurate when we speak. We should love and respect words more. They mean things. We should develop a curiosity, a love for being more accurate. We shouldn’t use “dictatorship” even as a metaphor because it contributes to maintain unfounded perceptions and because metaphors are a source of great discovery in poetry, in literature, but a tool connected to ideological manipulation — whether intended, for the case of politicians, or unintended, for the case of ordinary citizens –when used to analyze political issues. And with these reflections I’m not thinking of we today in class, but on the wider picture of social pressure in Madrid, the region where I live.

Here is a little workshop On The Importance of Languages, in case you want to read David Harrison, a linguist! And if you want to listen to him, and get some very interesting information about languages in this planet and their rate of becoming extinct, listen to the National Geographic “Endangered Languages“.

Well, if people in the discussion wish to post their insight, you are certainly welcome. We do live in a democracy and this shows when people are able to speak about any kind of issues!


About the unit 1 tests…

November 6, 2012

Hiya! I was going to publish the KEY yesterday evening, but I had a very dear visit and did not get that work done! Sorry! 🙂 I’ll do it tonight, so you can find it there tomorrow.

This is my friend’s website. She’s an artist and an activist. She was just back from Belgium, where they held a 7-day-workshop on nonviolence — nonviolent strategies.


A few important reminders for Michelle’s students

November 4, 2012

YOUR TEXTBOOK AUDIOS: If you want to learn to understand and speak — spontaneously or without translating, fluently, with a good grammar — you have to listen to your audios every day! and you have to use them (listen to them) many times, and in different ways, so that certain language sticks to your brain! You should always learn from your textbooka audios a collection of sentences and expressions that will help you improve your English. If you have no time, you shouldn’t be doing this course. If you have little time… Get organized!

GETTING ORGANIZED. If you don’t have enough time for your English, get organized. In this way you’ll maximize your time, you’ll get the most of your time for that. I know most people don’t believe this, but it’s true. As you know, you can also show/send me your Weekly Learning Schedule for feedback.

PUZZLING. Walk in my shoes. If I ask you not to use subtitles until you’ve watched the episode quite a few times, why should you watch the episode once and then use subtitles and tell me about it? Can’t you trust me a little? Don’t you think I might have reasons to ask you to do this? If I ask you to practice speaking out a monologue at home every week without writing it down (till you perform it in class so I give you some feedback), why should you write it down and ask me to correct it?! Please, if you don’t understand why I’m asking you to do this or that, just ask in class, at Plenary and not simply discard what I’m saying. I’ll be happy to explain the hows and whys. OK?

SENDING ME EMAILS: If you send me an email, please, write in the subject line your group code, or at least this: In2 Mon, In2 Tues, Av2 Mon, Av2 Tues + first name (nombre de pila usado en class). Then write your full name in the message. I do organize myself — because I always have a lot of things to do, precisely! –, so I have to maximize the time I’ve got! (You see, I have folders for the different groups, and I cannot move your message to its corresponding folder if I don’t know what group you’re in.) Likewise, if you send me an audio, please, give the file a name that allows us both to know whose it is, e.g. NI2Mon_Pepito (for “nivel intermedio 2 + día + nombre de clase)

Finally, enjoy your English. Working hard doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy language learning. You cannot learn a language without working hard on it. You cannot learn a language without listening zillions of hours to it. Last, your learning will be more effective, the more you enjoy sitting down to work on your English — making the personal connection of enjoying the time you spend in touch with the language.


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!


Re-scheduling Lesson Plans – Avanzado 2

October 30, 2012

Dear students, I just moved / I’ve just moved the Writing Assignment to this week, so people can work on it at the weekend, as it is then when they have more time. I’ve also arranged things for us to finish unit 1. The Plans are on the Avanzado 2 Webita here.

And remember… A “listening” a day keeps your English in shape! 😛


Announcement for Intermedios 2

October 29, 2012

Dear all,

I’m re-scheduling the lesson plans so that we can catch up a bit this week and another bit next week. I’ll publish that on your Page here later on in the night. So please, remember to check it out tomorrow!

Thanks for reading!

You could learn or design dialogs like these:




Watching the 2012 PoA Awards

October 26, 2012

One of the most hideous crimes of dictatorships is to eliminate and strangle Education & Culture, to divide people in opposing parties where one always hates with extreme violence the nonviolent party.

One of the most loving and intelligent events in democratic ways of social organization is Education for all and Culture by everybody, and the creation of networks of solidarity so that everybody cares for everybody.

  • Congratulations, dear Martha Nussbaum! – of course it is possible! if we develop the best we are capable of, and stop developing what we are told!
  • Congratulations, people from the Food Bank!
  • Congratulations, Philip Roth

The Príncipe de Asturias awards: it’s in English, and you can listen to it, too (scroll down, on your left)


Audio recordings – Sticky

October 25, 2012

UPDATED ON NOV 2: I have finished sending out the mp3 file of your Speaking Activity + the text file with my feedback. If you don’t have this, that’s because you haven’t sent me an email to my account at (use my first name before this) with YOUR GROUP CODE in the SUBJECT LINE, and your full name IN the MESSAGE. PLEASE, it’s very helpful for me that you jot down your correct group code, because I can file that email in its right place! Don’t write your full name in the subject line, just your group code, OK?

OCTOBER 25: Message to the people whose Speaking exercise was recorded… last week?

Please, send me an email, so I can send you the written feedback, and try to send you also the mp3 file. I’ve got the Questionnaires in the classroom!

Have a nice day!


African Cinema

October 18, 2012

Film festival on Africa in Córdoba (Andalucía, Spain)


Today in Avanzado 2 Tues/Thurs

October 18, 2012

Today we only had time for listening to two students doing a mon. at Plenary. A warm thank you to those generous students! Thanks to the mistakes they made, among a few other things (related to language and to exam strategies) students had the chance to become more aware of the importance of using modals in English correctly. But the bell rang, and we had to leave, so next week (please, remind me if I forget, both Avanzado 2 groups!) we’ll have a special lesson on Modal Awareness! 😀 😀

In case you cannot get to sleep out of curiosity, 😀 you can start reading my notes on that over here:

Click on “The Amazing World of Modal Auxiliaries“!!!

One more thing / Something else: Sandra has suggested a topic for a lesson on Grammar in Use. It’s about word families — words with the same root but belonging to different word types. She’ll bring me her materials, so (that) I can design a lesson on this, on morphology or word formation.

When I was teaching without a textbook, I designed a workshop precisely for this: to help students learn about word formation. It’s called “Lexical Creativity Workshop” and it’s on the Functional Grammar page at Talking People. You might want to have a look at it, supposing you have plenty of time for your English! 😀 (Still, your priority now is to use your textbook audios and your TV series episodes, OK?, and second, to do as much of the textbook as you can, so that you all can check your results in small groups.) I just remembered I have another workshop on that, but I think it’s not on Talking People. I’ll try to remember where it is!!


80% of students on strike today! Defending public/state-run education – primary, secondary, university, adult language schools

October 18, 2012

Educational strike in Spain brings hundreds of thousands to the streets – news in a video

Photos: Students Strike Against Education Cuts in Spain

Thousands of angry students take to the streets across Spain (video, today, Madrid)

Students hold banners and shout slogans during a protest on the second day of a three-day nationwide student strike against education cuts, in Madrid October 17, 2012. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

Teachers’ and students’ strikes against education cuts

POST more links, if you like!


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:

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