Posts Tagged ‘Africa’


African proverb

March 25, 2013



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

February 3, 2013

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

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

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


Canadian Report: A Girl’s Right to Learn Without Fear

December 19, 2012

Between 500 million and 1.5 billion children experience violence every year, many in the institutions that we trust most to protect and nurture our children: schools.


Dear all, dear all, time flies, don’t stop!

December 18, 2012

IF I have a recording of yours, please remember to send me an email (per recording)!! (email: michelle + what you know!)

If you send me writings for double-checking (final versions) or your final monologues (after having practiced a bit on your own) I might reply during the holiday. Don’t worry about me. I’ll take care of myself. Just send it to me if you have done that work. But please, write the name of your group (level, day) in the subject line!

Tomorrow and next day we’ll have our last lesson together before the new year (TV series, dramatized readings: scripts).

Please, don’t stop learning English. For language learning there are no holidays. It’s non-stop partying! 😀 It could be your habit. Your body might need a dose of that every day!! Don’t interrupt your learning because it takes lots of effort and time to catch a learning rhythm and if you lose it, you’ll need more time to get back to the dance! LISTEN TO ENGLISH EVERY DAY. You know how to exploit your audios and audiovisuals in different ways. And you know where to find audios to help you learn to understand and learn to speak: those of your textbook and various podcasts, including the Talking People Podcast.

PRACTICE BEING a resourceful and independent lifelong learner! This expands your mind!

Remember also that if you have the plan of sitting for a couple of hours a week to do your textbook exercises you’ll be making sure you learn all the amazing things in your textbook. In class, because we interact, there’s not enough time to do it all. A UNIT A MONTH means that you should finish unit 3 this month. I can post the answers at your request (here on the blog: Key intermedio 2, Key avanzado 2, or if you send me an email to “michelle” and then you know what — then I’ll post them here for everybody to see). Remember also that when we meet again we’ll be in the second week of January, so if you can do the Readings, Grammar and Vocabulary in unit 4, we’ll be able to finish unit 4 at the end of January. In February we’ll have two weeks for exam format practice, so you’ll also have to work on unit 5 at home, more than usual. You should use our time in class, to make all your questions. I can clarify all kinds of things, so don’t be shy. If you manage to keep the plan of a unit a month, we could be free in May to practice Listening and Speaking intensively.

Yes, I’m giving you the big picture so you can see the forest too!

Possibly, we’ll meet again in a brand-new year, 2013! It sounds sweet! Liberating. Inspiring! Reaching out for the moon!

The 20th century has done so much for us all! Hopefully, we’ll continue learning to listen. Communicating. Working the world out. Together.


It always seems impossible until it’s done

December 15, 2012



Don Delillo and June Jordan

December 12, 2012

Yesterday I mentioned that I thought these two authors should be read once people have consolidated an advanced level. I would like to explain why. But just remember that what we can or cannot actually do depends above all in our resolution to embark on that! I do support people reach out for the moon.

I read White Noise and was so fascinated by it that I wrote a paper on it, “Dissenters Are Never Superheroes.” I also typed a couple of examples from the novel, on supermarkets — if I remember correctly. Bits that I thought students could understand better. Here is the link to that, in case you are interested: Don DeLillo at Talking People.

soldierAbout June Jordan, I’m reading Soldier. A Poet’s Childhood at the moment, and its true that you would be able to understand a lot of the passages. But there are other bits where Black English (or should we say Ebonics?) is used. Also, she’s extremely poetic. She writes narrative granting it the power of words in poetry. And I know appreciating poetry is not a priority in people’s lives, so that’s why I’m reluctant to recommending her books at this B2/C1 level. But if you had a consolidated C1 level, I think you should read her! 😀 Here is an excerpt (pages 133-6), but don’t imitate her paragraphing here, at least not in exams (yes, she often creates a new paragraph with one sentence, and she also arranges some bits of sentence as if it were a poem. This is literature, not an academic exercise! 🙂 :

In a way, fighting was a huge relief. So I didn’t mind it too much.
Way more than maybe getting beat up, I hated being afraid of anything.
That was creepy in the extreme: Walking around scared.
And I felt that a lot,
because I never knew when my mother or
my father was going to hit me, or why.
I suppose I came home from school at very different times after three.
It depended on what kind of a sight lasted how long.
Even if you were not the one targeted for the main fight that day, you couldn’t just sidestep the big action of your peers.
You were supposed to stay there, shoving and yelling, and also improving your own fighter abilities by observation. Plus, every single fight changed somebody’s status.
And you had to catch that news as it went down.
Your own reputation would suffer or plummet if you didn’t know, day by day, the winners.
But besides all this, I got into fights at school about once a week at least. And whenever I went outside the house to play for an allotted hour, or an hour and a half, that meant I’d be fighting:
Another little girl, or a group of other little girls, would insult or jump me, and pretty quick I’d be banging away with my fists and keeping my chin tucked down. If and when I actually got hurt, I’d suddenly go ballistic. Around where I lived, people said I had “a terrible temper” and that I was “crazy” if you got me mad.
At any rate, I seldom came home from school right away.
Maybe that’s why they beat me.
I never had a wristwatch, so I seldom came home exactly after an allotted hour or an hour and a half.
Maybe that’s why they beat me.
I don’t know.
But I’d ring the bell sticking out of the brownstone beside the iron gate door to our house.
And I’d wait.
Then my mother would shuffle toward
the gate and click it open.
I’d step down to enter the house.
And sometimes, just as I’d be
coming in right past my mother, she’d
just knowck me down. And I’d
cringe there on the concrete, waiting for the next blow.
But with my mother, there was never
a second or third attack.
I was down.
It was over.
And I never knew why about the whole thing.
I never hit her back. She was my mother.
And she was like a girl.
But with my father, the beating turned into a fight between us.
He’d start with a series of fake questions, and what I’d understand, basically, was that there was nothing I could say to derail his furious sarcasm and his gathering rage.
It seemed he needed to frighten me first with his words and his voice.
Then he’d rush at me, either by himself or with something he’d pick up as he lunged.
And he’d tell me I was being disrespectful if I didn’t just sit or stand in place and make myself take it “like a man.”
I was consistently disrespectful.
I ran. I ducked. I threw things back. I tried to escape.
Once I ran out of the house for several blocks in my pyjamas. And he chased after me and, at last, caught me and beat me–in public.
And he said now I should be ashamed.
But I thought he should be ashamed.
That was my opinion.
I did not like being picked on or
beat up.
I did not like things happening
to me out of the blue.


An end-of-course monolog on a charity sale (Ethiopia)

December 3, 2012

In solidarity with Ethiopia (2010) – Asociación ABAY – We collected money in class for the construction of a hospital for mums and bay bees…


On lovable people

November 19, 2012

(A Teacher’s Diary) Today in Intermedio 2 Monday when we were talking about clothing & footwear and culture, we pointed out how much pressure there is in Madrid for people to wear alien clothes at social events and at work, meaning suits for men and high heels and stockings and hair down for women (eek!!!), Víctor told us two stories: one about one of the two Facebook founders, who found himself surrounded by Spanish people dressed in suits at a conference he was invited to give at a college!! The Fb man was wearing casual clothes — jeans and a T-shirt. Why was he the only one?! The other story was about a surgeon who attended a very important event where he was going to address the audience wearing an African shirt he was given — while volunteering operations in Africa! (love bubbles!!! Pompitas de amor!!!) I can’t remember if he was going to be given an award or if he was going to give a talk on a kind of surgery he has succeeded in, but people were all dressed up for the event (in Madrid) — and this man too! 😉

So — he’s my no. 1 Platonic Love!! — not lover, though, like Marilyn Monroe I have specialized (meaning I’m in a monogamous relationship)! (The link takes you to the song and if you scroll down a bit you can sing along, because it’s got the lyrics!)

NB: I made a terrible language mistake! I don’t look like a transexual person when I’m in high heels and all made up! (not that I ever am!) I look like a transvestite! Sorry for that. I support transexuals, as so does the GLBTI movement (gay-lesbian-bisexual-trans-intersexual people). Actually, one of my friends is trans and she’s one of the bravest, kindest, most intelligent and most generous persons I’ve ever met. If you want to learn a bit about trans people — well, this is more for an Advanced level, really — you might enjoy this amazing video, where a woman (trans) talks about Bad Questions to Ask a Transsexual. And note this, she talks about a terribly painful topic using humo(u)r.


African Cinema

October 18, 2012

Film festival on Africa in Córdoba (Andalucía, Spain)


Take 3 simple actions to help a child get a nutritious meal

October 17, 2012

Happy World Food Day – Learn about Molly, a 13-year-old girl in Kenya

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