Archive for the ‘Speaking activities’ Category


C1 Resource Pack!!

January 10, 2017

I just published / I’ve just published my notes to help advanced students learn to learn to become independent and resourcesful lifelong learners!

Check it all out on!

Direct link


Beginning of the learning year – some tips for learning English

September 3, 2013

A two-page document I’ve written for my students




June 14, 2013

These days, total exposure to English (listenings) and as much LISTEN & REPEAT AS YOU CAN. IT’ll help you a lot!

The most important thing: avoid making mistakes you know you can avoid making! And if you make them, yes, relax, it’s ok if you… FIX THEM! Practice Useful language for that, in case you make a mistake. “Sorry, I mean…” (corrected version)

Communicative Strategies: Useful language
audios to listen & repeat – do Part 1 Part 2 and Part 3
Listen to the audios for Interactions, too

Learning to monitor your production as you speak
Watch the videos with my corrections, and repeat out loud the corrected sentence. By watching videos os this kind, you’ll learn unconsciously to fix your mistakes when you make them as you speak. Here are some audios too with corrections on the webpage:
Here, I didn’t do the Intermedios, but I did the Básicos and Avanzados (click on their Reproduction List and watch the ones with my comments)

More, here: including a mon on bullfighting for Avanzado (by me) and some ideas for potential problems during the interaction, so you can prepare useful language to be fluent and accurate (grammatically) while doing something to fix the problem!


This has been the first year when the Avanzado 2 Reading and Listening Tests were at the B2 level, with no C1 questions. As people did their Writing test some teachers corrected the Reading and Listening of one of my groups (because I don’t have enough days to do all the work I have this week – even though I’ll be spending this weekend checking Writing Tests), and everybody has passed those two parts (Avanzado 2 Tuesday).

Anyway, when people see their marks, if they have failed some part, they should come to revisión. Check the time and the date for that, and come, if you fail any part. I could be late for Revisión because I’ll be part of an Oral Examining Board the hours before, so wait for me keeping quiet if you are in the corridor.


Screenplay to work on your English!

June 13, 2013

best_exotic_marigold_hotel_ver2At last!!! Finished preparing the screenplay of the movie called The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel!

It’s taken me two months because I did it whenever I had some free time!

I’ve prepared this screenplay for me to use in class next year with Upper Intermediate and Advanced students. Teachers are welcome to use it, of course. And if you are a lifelong learner, you might want to use at home to work on your English.

the-best-exotic-marigold-hotel-bk13 (44 pdf pages – the two last are ideas for activities!)


In support of Turkish people. In your language!

June 10, 2013

Spread the word!



Speaking Tests (B2): Brainstorming on Topics and Language Functions

June 8, 2013

When you have to speak about a topic, it is generally expected you fulfill certain communicative aims and you perform certain language functions, too. Have a look at this and see what I mean:

You will find more ideas for working on your Speaking here:

But remember: listening to English is key. When you listen to English, you learn to speak, you consequently learn “grammar”, and you get used to understanding people, while developing comprehension strategies unconsciously too!


Shipping and Transport, an Intermedio 2 interactive presentation!

June 6, 2013

Thanks, Roberto, and thanks to the students in his group, for taking part!


Interactions (dialog, Intermedio 2). Again! But they did so well!

June 5, 2013

I’m surprised I didn’t include more “Well done!”‘s  and “Awesome”‘s!

(At the moment I’m finishing Roberto’s interactive presentation, which I hope to upload in a couple of days.)


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!


Useful Language (+audios)

May 29, 2013

Some with audios to listen and repeat


An interaction (a friend’ll visit Madrid) with teacher’s comments!

May 28, 2013

With all my love, as usual, and hoping you’ll all enjoy it. If you find it useful for learning English, remember to share the link. In this way, people will see that it is possible to learn languages in public/state-run adult language schools! In defense of public education!

* defense or defense?


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!


Activities you might’ve missed! (Listening / Speaking, Reading)

May 21, 2013

Audio Listen & Repeat based on a Speaking activity – Spain on holidays (Today in Intermedio I said I hadn’t recorded this audio, but I did!! It’s the paper classroom copies I’m giving away)

Timed Scanning – Reading Comprehension Test – On London digs and transport


Timed Speaking Activities

May 20, 2013

this week in class, at Plenary. You can do any of the activities we worked on throughout the course, both in the oral presentation (monolog) or interaction (dialog) format. You can also do the ones I designed for you. These two will be announced on the whiteboard, both for Avanzado and Intermedio students:

1. Two English-speaking friends of yours are coming to Madrid for a visit. Draft a plan for their one-week stay. Mention:

  • things you can do together
  • food and drinks
  • souvenirs or things to take back to remember the trip

2. Your (adult language) School is going to publish the end-of-course issue of its English magazine. Plan what needs to be in it. Mention:

  • Events, stories… to include (things happening in the School, in the city/town, abroad)
  • Sections (and fundraising, if relevant)
  • Contributors (people who could write the pieces)

Avanzado 2 Interaction: Banning pets in city centres?!!!

May 15, 2013

I’m sorry about delays publishing people’s work. I’ve decided just to jot down SOME corrections. Otherwise, it takes me many hours!!!

Here is Ainhoa, Laura and Pablo trying to tackle the card-activiy on banning things


Our first contribution to the School’s YouTube channel!

May 15, 2013


Thanks, Juancar!! I hope it’s useful for you too. I corrected all the minor mistakes. There were no major mistakes. I’ll bring a copy of this AUTORIZACIÓN PARA SUBIDA DE VÍDEOS! 🙂

This post also occurred because of Juancar: how to read Einstein’s equation


Photos of World Book Day (at the EOI where I earn my living)

May 14, 2013

worldbookday2013On World Book Day there were two groups where we took pics: one Intermedio 2 and one Avanzado 2 group. The quality is not good — they’re pixeled and blurry. But I’ve sent out the bunch to a group of people in each group, hoping they’ll forward them to more people.

Here’s my question: if I distort them further, by turning them into watercolors, do you think we could send them to the School’s website and so that I could post them here and publish them on

World Book Day

A HUGE THANK YOU TO JUANCAR EINSTEIN WHO TODAY GAVE A TALK ON EINSTEIN AND ALLOWED US TO VIDEOSHOOT IT!!! The School where we meet has created this year a YouTube channel and it’s almost empty, so this is a great present for us all!

IF ANYONE WERE WILLING TO ALLOW US TO VIDEOSHOOT, PLEASE, TELL ME. So far, I’ve arranged to bring the video recorder next Tuesday, but I can bring it any other day. Just let me know!


Telling a (true/fictional) story (audios, tips)

May 14, 2013


Two mons. on The Internet

May 9, 2013

by Intermedio 2 students (scroll down a bit, please!)


5-min mon. on The Elderly

May 9, 2013

by an Avanzado 2 student, who practiced the monologue three times, avoiding the mistakes he had made previously, and who did not write it down, as I keep asking students! (because practicing Speaking is not practicing WRITING!! eek!)


Monologue on sb you love & admire

May 9, 2013

Mónica got this year her first job as a sports journalist, and she’s a journalist because of her grandma, she explains, so here goes an affectionate homage to this amazing woman who the people who loved her miss so much today.


Felicia’s mon on The Elderly

April 29, 2013

Avanzado 2. Listen to her 5-minute February Exam Practice exercise! Thanks, Felicia!


Interaction by Avanzado 2 students: Free parking space at weekends

April 29, 2013

Thanks to Sara, Alberto and Fernando!


Monica’s monolog on her grandma (Intermediate, B1)

April 29, 2013

Well, I was waiting for pics and the transcript, but Mónica found a job as a journalist!!! So I’m publishing her wonderful two-minute monologue so that you can all enjoy it! It’s inspiring!!

A little tip: if you have to say (when you’re talking to people) “continue (doING something)” say “KEEP (doING something)” — it’s more natural!


How to read Einstein’s Equation

April 25, 2013

To answer Juan Carlos’s question! It includes the short (e equals m c square) and the complete forms.


Speaking Activity – Spain on holidays – Audio

April 24, 2013

We recorded the Listen & Repeat of useful language at the Intermedio 2 group, so you can practice sentences about planning a holiday in Madrid, Spain for English-speaking people.


Speaking Activity (visiting Madrid, Spain)

April 22, 2013

In class, we’ll only have classroom copies (15! to share in pairs), so you can print it if you want to have your own copy! Thanks! And sorry about that. Cuts are getting inbelievable!

speaking-activity-Spain (2 pages)

Remember that English-speaking friends can come from different countries! Canada / Canadians (French Canadians / English-speaking Canadians), US Americans, Hawaians, people from Trinidad & Tobago /tobeigo/, Australians (Aussies) and New Zealanders (Kiwis), Irish people, British people (Scottish, from Wales, English), Indian people, South Africans…

If you think it’d be useful, I can record a Listen & Repeat episode.


Phrasals – audio to L&R

April 18, 2013

Here is a listen & repeat exercise so you can learn a few phrasals in context! (language in use). This web page is located in the Useful Language section on — Sentences for your Grammar!

A warm thank you to the Intermedio 2 students who allowed us to record this lesson.

Irene, “But CAN WE USE…?” 🙂 (not “We can use…?”)


Cruelty to Animals – read, listen, speak!

April 17, 2013

Our societies are incapable of living together with other animals, of respecting animal rights. Although I am an omnivore (and do not feel guilty or ashamed for that) I believe that vegans are raising very important issues we should all consider, meditate, discuss. It’s true it’s annoying when they resort to guilt-tripping, like religious leaders did in the past to keep people obedient and quiet. Vegans shouldn’t resort to that because their reasoned points are powerful. On the other hand, I think “ordinary citizens”, this is, the majority that understands things in the exact same way, should stop insulting and making fun of vegans — they’re fighting for a world where the rest of the animals are on an equal footing with humans, they’re not fighting to abuse anyone(I’m not linking to the most famous animal right group in the USA because in my view their campaigns do not respect women’s rights and they refuse to overcome their sexism. I would like to see the men in those groups playing the part the women in those groups play in their poster campaigns. They — the men — are animals, too.)

Some vocabulary:

  • I’m a vegetarian: I don’t eat any kind of meat (beef, chicken, fish, seafood…, jamón serrano or Spanish ham). I have dairy products (vegetarian cheese, milk, butter), honey, this is, food coming from animals that remain alive, and then all the things a vegan eats.
  • I’m a vegan /vígn/: I don’t eat anything from animals, whether dead or alive. Furthermore, I don’t use products that have been tested on animals, I don’t use clothing and footwear made from animals. I consider myself an animal, like the rest of the animals on the planet, so I don’t feel I have the right to mistreat them, exploit them, or kill them.

What do vegetarians and vegans eat?

  • I’m an omnivore: I eat anything, everything. Still, I don’t agree with cruelty against animals, and our food production system is extremely cruel to animals. To make matters worse, we kill to throw away, and this is immoral towards animals and other human beings who are starving in the world. The meat industry is also a main cause of damage to the environment.
  • And what’s a ‘freegan‘?!

More informed definitions: What do ‘vegetarian’ and ‘vegan’ mean?

A blog with informative articles on Animal Topics

Animal rights vegans raise important issues in society, about our relationship to (other) animals:



Assessment Templates for Avanzado 2

April 17, 2013

Dear students (Javier’s and Michelle’s), here is a copy of the Assessment Templates that examiners use when evaluating the Avanzado 2 Writing and Speaking Tests. (Intermedio 2 Templates are very similar.) A minimum of two teachers fill in/out their own Template, and then they have to agree on the final mark. When they do so, they fill in/out the Exam Results Booklet. This Booklet is the only document you have the right to see on the day of “Revisión” if you have failed — not the individual Assessment Templates by each teacher. But here is a copy of those because you should know what they look like, what it is we consider to give you a mark.

These templates should be published on the Educamadrid EOI site, but so far they haven’t done so… Let’s hope they do so soon!!


Oral tasks by students

April 17, 2013

with teacher’s feedback:

I’ve almost finished, just 2 recordings more by Avanzado 2 students and 1 by Lara, I think.

If you did a recording in class and want to see it published on Talking People, send me an email to get the recording, then take it down as a dictation, send it back to me with the transcript and I’ll work with the transcript and publish it on the web. You see, the doctor says I have to cut down on the amount of hours I work at home! 🙂


More audios (L&R)

April 17, 2013

Learn while you’re lying on a couch or bed! 😀

In case you missed this audio!
Useful Language for Speaking Interactions


Indirect Questions – audios – L&R

April 17, 2013

Listen and repeat while visualizing the grammar of these indirect questions. You will improve your fluency and accuracy with this kind of structures!


Example Brainstorming for Language (Unit 7, C1) – Productive Skills

April 14, 2013

When learning a language, you should collect useful language based on the language items you are learning. I did this with the language items in the Grammar Bank of Unit 7 (New English File Advanced – the textbook being used by Avanzado 2 students) to show you what I mean. The “brainstorming” part comes in when you pick the sentence which will remind you of the structure. So, yes, it’s not a true brainstorming exercise — words just do what they can! 🙂 Most of the times, it’s useless to jot down words in isolation equalled to a single word in your own language. Useless and misleading and unreal. You should write down the word in English you want to learn, and then look for sentences where it is used and you understand its use (underline the word so it stands out). You should not depend on dictionaries for this, for in real life (and in exams) you cannot use them, and you have to have developed enough skills to work things out in spite of unknown words, at least for many of the times.

When students have to do a writing assignment or when they have a few minutes to think about what they are going to say on a given topic what I recommend they do is that they brainstorm for language: what tenses can I use?, what kind of clauses? (if– clauses, because, although, time clauses: before + –ing, while past cont. then past simple, relative clauses without the relative pronoun…), infinitive / gerund / participle structures, what about modals? A little Saxon Genitive here, other possessives, –ing/-ed adjectives, comparatives, superlatives, “It” subjects, indirect questions preceded by “I don’t know”, “I can’t remember”… Of course, then you have expressions, vocabulary, to make your range rich, but you should also consider morphosyntaxis = grammar.

Two Intermedio 2 students who did this very well in an oral performance are Laura and Isabel, so check out their work! And adapt it to your level! More oral performances by students + videos by Avanzado 2 students with teacher’s written feedback. More videos by Avanzado 2 students: Pedimos el C1

So here’s the example of Brainstorming for Language at a C1 or Advanced level with the items learned in a unit. Once you know how to pronounce it well, you could record it saying each sentence twice, so that you automatize production and achieve fluency and accuracy!

Unit7_Brainstormingforlanguageitems_c1 (1 Word page)


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! 🙂


Talking about the crisis

April 9, 2013

EFL students should not say

The main responsible for the crisis is the government

The responsible is…

Also the responsible are business people / multinationals / the wealthy (“the wealthy” is correct, yes)

This is WRONG in English

What can we say?

Post freely! We’ll appreciate! 🙂 And you could also be helping us improve this section on Talking People. Thanks!

Apart from this I have a question:  There’s widespread corruption among politicians, apparently. Well, that should be fixed, and we should fight to get that fixed. And get the money back. Then the political system needs relevant improvements. Consequently, we should put pressure so that this happens. But if we discard Politics as our way of organizing societies, which are the options? Should we go back to the military organizing our society (dictatorships)? Or further back to having religious leaders organizing society (they still have too much a say considering we are meant to respect women’s human rights. Anyway)?


Prepositions of Place & Movement (C1)

April 9, 2013

This is a listening and repeat exercise recorded in class and dedicated to Pablo, who wanted to avoid consolidating fossilized mistakes. The best way to avoid this is to create a section in your notebook where you can collect phrases where prepositions are used, or even complete sentences, like in this exercise. You can fish those from your audio transcripts in the textbooks. In this way, you will also have the chance to listen and repeat or consolidate.

Path: Talking People – Useful Language – Sentences for your Grammar – Prepositions of Place & Movement (1)


Speaking – Collecting info over the weekend

April 7, 2013

Last week I gave out this handout for an activity this week. People are meant to have found some info on these three countries, to share in class.


In case you didn’t do your homework, some links, with info on tourism and info on their news.

Greece in crisis  – Is Greek tourism riding out the crisis?

Iceland on The Guardian (travel news, and then latest news)

Cyprus (see travel, and news)


Chufings! (chú fings)

April 5, 2013

I have just typed in people’s absent marks for March. Next the Head of Studies will issue the lists of people who would lose their Old Student status if they had missed over a 30% of the lessons (pérdida de la oficialidad). I know you know, but just in case — In no case do people lose their right to take the exam, so don’t panic.

List of Mistakes. I can’t remember if I shared this with you. I wrote it in the English Department while talking to my colleagues, and getting their feedback. It includes Politeness issues, too. List of Mistakes (2 Word pages)


Listen to a bio, to practice your pasts!

April 2, 2013

It’s for Pre-intermediate students, but Intermedio 2 students might be interested:


A 5-min monolog on Mainstream Medicine & Alternative Treatments

April 2, 2013

for learners taking tests at the B2 and C1 levels – Upper Intermediate and Advanced. With final comments on how to work on your speaking tasks at home.


New episode to help Intermediate/Advanced students in conversations!

April 1, 2013

Just recorded a little episode (listen & repeat) which will be particularly useful to English learners who may have to take part in (timed or real) conversations with any of these communicative aims: Organizing Events, Helping People, and Pros & Cons on Options. I have to say I kind of improvised the collection of sentences. Any English learner out there, if you want me to record whatever, you can post your own collection! 🙂

dowhatyouwantThis episode is found on the Talking People website, too. If you ENTER and then click USEFUL LANGUAGE and then USEFUL LANGUAGE FOR CONVERSATIONS, there you’ll be!

If you have any ideas on how I can tidy up the site, they’ll be welcome, too. The site wasn’t thought out but built as my own work as an EFL teacher developed, this is, all inspired in students’ needs! Hopefully, when I move south I’ll have more free time!


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!


How Art Made the World! (updated)

March 14, 2013

March 13: Laura and Juanma told us about finding the documentary on YouTube! The complete episode 1! So people, use it to learn more, and see if you can prepare a re-telling of what you learned. Also, if you missed these lessons, print the worksheet below and do it while you watch it a couple of times. Next week we’ll correct the second page. Today we only had time for correcting the first, after watching it a second time.

March 4, 2013: This week we’ll be have pairs and groups of three doing their oral interaction at Plenary, but in our second lesson this week, in its second half (the break will be a bit earlier, I presume), we’ll be watching the first episode of this amazing BBC documentary on Art.

How_Art_Made_the_World (2 Word pages)

The documentary is about how we humans depict the human body. This episode starts in prehistory with the venuses /vínusis/ — and it’s a pre-HIStory, yes — you’ll see why you never visualize women artists, which does not make any sense, really! Then it highlights the fact that Egyptians depicted the human body in the same way for … how many years?! And attempts to explain why. The most impressive part is when we get to Ancient Greece! So don’t miss the lesson! We’ll watch it once this week and again next week, for discussions in small groups and at plenary.

Here is a video where you can listen to Sara, an Avanzado 2 student I once had. She volunteered to do an Oral Presentation on the fourth, I think, episode, which is about how Politics has used Images to make people do and believe things! Enjoy!


Finished monologs! + Lesson Plans

March 10, 2013

I finally finished sending out recordings and feedback on your monologs (intermedio 2 and avanzado 2). To my knowledge, now I just have to work on the requested interactions.

Next week: bring textbook. We’ll check your work on unit 5 and every day listen to 2-6 people!


Monolog about stereotypes (flamenco, siesta)

March 10, 2013

by an adorable Intermedio 2 (B1, Intermediate) student!


Yeepee! Airport Experiences! 2 minutes, really funny!

March 7, 2013

I found a way of getting your work published without it being such a big amount of work for me — which means, I can publish more, too!

Instead of publishing your work on the Talking People Podcast, I can simply upload the audio you send me (please, try to export it or save it as an mp3 file), paste the transcript, add my corrections on that, link to the audio and voilá!

And here’s Laura’s hilarious airport experience! Don’t read the transcript till you have heard it once. Then, the transcript includes my corrections and comments in block letters or highlighted in pink.

Thanks, Laura, and enjoy you bunch!


Help! Transcripts of your work!

March 6, 2013

Dear students,

Your speaking tasks are great, and one can see how you improve your fluency and accuracy as you use the Onion Approach! (doing the same task once and again, considering my feedback and to file a final version) SO — congratulations!!

As I have quite a few recording to publish on Talking People, I would like to ask you to give me a hand:

Can you send me the transcript? In this way, I would just typeover in block letters any corrections the task might need!

If you can’t I’ll have to do it myself, so, I mean, I would still publish your work.

Just as a reminder, this is the section where your work would be:


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