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New course blog (under construction)

Getting Started (September, with you as Guest Speakers if you will) and October (reading two books in class; well, just starting one of them- lessons open to old C1 students)


Ver “I Semana Cultural Feminista (1): Nuestras invitadas” en YouTube

Gender & Feminist Approaches. Por qué Coeducación – The Talking People Podcast


Next Tuesday!

The new C1 course starts, at the same time as last year in the same room!

In case you wish to drop by after the lesson to talk about your September OP or your coming to any of the October lessons! You can also contact me at the same email address.


September exam results and Vacancies for the new year

As you know, exam results will be published on Sept. 10, and Revisión is that day, too. You need to check the time on the Departament’s Bulletin Board.

Results. Ten people in the pic above have succeeded in achieving a C1 certificate/level this year, to our knowledge, out of 25 who enrolled last year. One of those persons did not follow our course, but the rest did. Attendance during the learning year was of about half of the 25 students (for some did come at the beginning but then dropped out after the winter hols), or a bit more, though irregular for about 5 of them, so we can say that the fact that 10 passed is a good result for the School. Thank you and congratulations for that. I can say these people did work hard and mostly regularly, although most didn’t work on all they wanted!

About half of those 10 adorable lifelong learners of English need to continue working hard this year, in my professional opinion. Otherwise, they’ll go back to having a B2 level, because their C1 level is not consolidated and needs more work. I’m sure they will do so, in my view because during the course I could see they had developed a passion, or restored their passion for the language, and, in my view, the course supported them in expanding their knowledge of how they can work on a daily basis.

Vacancies. There will be a minimum of 10 vacancies, then. Considering absenteeism last year, I would like to pose the following idea: if you registered last year and couldn’t follow the course properly, please, consider if that situation is bound to happen again. You need to enrol in this course again now, and if you don’t, those vacancies can be added to the 10 we already have. If you enrol and not follow the course, you will risk your last two Certificate Exams to get the certificate, but if you don’t enrol, you would keep those opportunities for later on, for whenever your life allows you to devote time to language learning at the C1 level.

In any case, I can imagine there will be absentees this year too, because you cannot take a C1 test as a freelance student (Libre). But I believe that if people have the chance to get a very expensive quality course for free, they should try their best — or beyond their best — to follow this course, and as you know, we offer a great deal of support for work outside the classroom and supposing people cannot make it every day to class, they can still follow the course.

This course is very special for its interactivity, because it’s required STUDENTS share their work at home in class, and at the same time this involves getting personalized feedback, from the student’s own developing assessment skills, from the teacher, from the student’s classmates and other team members. If students have no time for their English, the course won’t work for them. There are no chances that just by coming to class (4 hours 30 min a week) or just by working on a project or a few months people can pass the C1 test, unless they already have a C1 level, which is strange because when you do have it, it’s because you use your English every day for different kinds of things!

For all this, I’m asking people to think through whether they are willing to enrol in a C1 course. A C1 course is just for people who need to use the language every day at an advanced level, this need being passion or occupations or both!

Developing passions for learning can and will change the world! Hope we can all do that! ❤

PS: Thanks, Yoli, for returning the books. ❤ I love Cordelia Fine!! And glad I’ll be able to work with you this year! ❤

Aclaración Notas sept. y certificar niveles (editado)

Quisiera aclarar algo, en prevención a que se puedan difundir ideas erróneas.

Como sabéis, las notas se publican el 10 de septiembre, día de Revisión también, y toda persona con derecho a realizar el examen tiene derecho a realizar las CUATRO partes del mismo. (Si no se realiza alguna parte de examen, obviamente no se puede titular, como si se suspende alguna. Para titular hace falta aprobar las 4 destrezas.)

Este año se han presentado 5, 6 personas en septiembre en C1, porque más de la mitad no siguieron el curso adecuadamente, y luego estaba la gente absentista absoluta, que se planteaba también repetir desde el inicio del año pasado. 4 tenían Escrito y Oral. Como el Escrito fue una semana antes, me pidieron si podría informar en privado DE SI LO HABÍAN APROBADO PORQUE -dijeron- SI NO LO HUBIERAN APROBADO PREFERIRÍAN NO PASAR POR LA TENSIÓN DEL ORAL. Yo respondí que los escritos se corregían en Tribunal, y que tendría que esperar a ver qué resultaba de la corrección colegiada, pero que si se me enviaba un EMAIL PARA ESO, intentaría responderlo, y que eso ocurriría el día antes del oral (ha ocurrido en el finde porque como veis he estado pendiente del email para que lo supierais cuanto antes). Dar esa información no es ni ilegal ni alegal, pero el profesorado NO TENEMOS QUE HACERLO, porque esa información se da al PUBLICAR LAS NOTAS, y si lo hacemos (como en las comunidades donde el escrito es antes que el oral y hay tiempo material para corregir porque se entra en el aula en octubre) es porque había pocas personas, no podemos hacerlo en junio, por ejemplo, y no lo haríamos nunca con unas personas y con otras no (aclaro esto por si acaso).

Respecto a ver si se tiene el nivel en el examen y aprender de los errores cometidos, ya sabéis lo que opino. Las PUCs son exámenes de certificación, no exámenes para aprender inglés (para eso está el curso, que al margen de lo que guste o no, es de calidad) y el centro tiene en la web una ACLARACIÓN SOBRE DISTINTOS TIPOS DE EVALUACIÓN, además de que en Revisión se da un documento de apoyo basado en lo que pone la Guía del Alumnado, sobre cómo se interpretan las tablas de evaluación, que es lo que un examen de certificación ofrece al alumnado como justificación documental a la nota.

Salvo a la gente absentista, que se apuntó al curso y no lo siguió, la gente que ha seguido este curso siempre ha tenido información sobre mi evaluación de su nivel por el trabajo entregado. Asimismo saben que no es el esfuerzo lo que determina el aprobado, sino el nivel de competencia en el idioma. Siempre he dicho también que dado que lograr el nivel es un proceso, no teniendo el nivel consolidado se puede tener un buen día en el examen y sacarlo, pero que eso no cambiaría la situación de no haber consolidado el nivel, claro. Si el examen ha confirmado mi valoración de que no se llega aún al nivel C1, yo creo que lo debe hacerse es plantearse lo que es necesario hacer al nivel c1, que no es rellenar huecos en libros de texto o hacer muchos exámenes de práctica, sino aprender la lengua a ese nivel, porque se usa la lengua a ese nivel. Saber hablar y escribir a nivel B2 es un requisito para ENTRAR en el C1, no es algo que pueda justificar certificar en C1.

Espero haber aclarado todo. Si hay alguna duda más, por favor postearla aquí. Gracias!

September resits!

Dear all,

  • One person came to the Reading Test and passed it. My own mark was 21/30, but I must say I did try but not put my soul into it! 🙂 especially because I knew a 15/30 would do! 😉 And I simply couldn’t put all my curiosity to work! ❤
  • Three people attended the Listening Test and passed it. Paco and I just about passed it, I must say! A bare 8/16 I think.
  • Five people came to the Writing Test. This, along with the Speaking Test is evaluated by an Examing Board, and as you know the results will be published on Sept. 10. However, considering the Speaking Test is the 8th (right?), and the fact that some people would not take it if they had failed the Writing, I will try to let you know by the 7th. Send me an email on the 6th or so. But I’m not making a promise here. In other communities, it is an option for teachers to publish the marks of the Written part for this purpose, but now, when timetables force us all to place Speaking Tests also before the Written part at times… See? That’s the why! It always comes down to uninformed decisions from “above”.

About the Speaking Test, considering who came today and who just failed this test, my guess is that the following people would be taking the Speaking Test: Mar, María del Mar, Cristina, Mayte, Marisol. Four of these students had the Writing Test, too, and if any fail, they might not come to the Oral. If everybody comes to the oral, we’ll have to have a pair and a group of three, so train in threes, in any case! Consider turn-taking and politeness = listening to people to comment or respond to what they say.

Audios. Intro of bell hook’s “Feminism Is for Everybody”

New podcast episode!


On Language and Movies

Another 10 expressions: http://www.fluentland.com/groups/learn-english/forum/topic/commonly-used-american-slang-part-ii/

Check this out, too: 50+ films that will change the way you see the world

Education and Prostitution

In English. http://prostitutionresearch.com/pub_author/melissa-farley/

In Spanish from French. France and Abolition: http://traductorasparaaboliciondelaprostitucion.weebly.com/blog/abolicion-una-victoria-arduamente-obtenida

I Grew Up in a Polyamorous Household, by Benedict Smith


Benedict Smith


GRACIAS GRECIA. AÑADIENDO comentario de Vero Pca: Gracias, GRECIA, por HIPATIA DE ALEJANDRIA, por SAFO, por ASPASIA DE MILETO, por DIOTIMA DE MANTINEA, por TEANO DE CROTONA, por HIPARQUIA DE MARONEA y tantas otras griegas filósofas, astrónomas, matemáticas, políticas, poetisas de la Antigüedad, cuyos nombres se han perdido en el olvido.

por profesorado y estudiantes de secundaria

Let’s flood the net, and include women, too! ❤

Lovely seeing you!

Dear all,

It was lovely seeing you! (Compare: Nice to meet you = hello; Nice meeting you = goodbye; a C1 classic!) And I was happy to learn about your resolutions for the summer and September! Go for it! Being a C1 level learner entails the responsibility of enjoying your English every day in some way!

I hope to see you in September, then.

We also came up with an orgasmic idea: I’m asking all of you who are interested in this, to prepare an individual or teamwork OP for the fourth week in September. The idea is that you share your thoughts on your experience as a C1 learner, or anything you think might help the new and old C1 students. Because I’m demanding and certainly a bitch, I would like to hear you first, so I make sure you are not making the kind of mistakes I would strangle you for (demented laughter), so I would be requesting you sent me the audio of your talk, as you say it following an outline. Tips, then: practice it with an outline, don’t write it all out. Trust me, it’s better. Then walk in the audience’s shoes. Finally, imagination to power, but keep in mind what people love the most is spending time communicating with people, listening to their stories. In our first week of class, I’ll spend the first two lessons (Sept 15 on) listening to people talking about their English. I realized this year an essay on what you expected from the course was not enough. I would also like people to keep a Learning Diary and a Listening Log, and recommend you do so too, starting NOW — supposing you are not doing it! 🙂

Gotta go! Feliz noche del guapito juan! 😀 ❤

A book you might want to read this summer!

It shows you relevant ideas – like why we shouldn’t kill mockingbirds! ❤

I also recommend the movie, of course. It’s very true to the spirit of this literary masterpiece.

Amazing writer, amazing person

I always keep deep inside this that she said: http://www.talkingpeople.net/tppodcast/2010/03/11/quotes-june-jordan/

Well, I found a video where she speaks (and laughs)

A poem she wrote read by her

Done with the written test!

Now for the Oral!

Keep focused on the task and just do it! ❤ Don’t waste time and energy in guessing how you did! It’s done! And we can always meet again in September for the pending part(s) if there are any! 🙂 ❤

Pages for texts

Thanks so much, Miguel, for posting your outstanding work for the Story of My Life and the Herstory project. I haven’t doublechecked your texts yet, but I will as soon as I manage that!
I’ve just created two Pages to link to this work of yours.

Herstory: Valerie Plame

Valerie Plame was born in Anchorage –Alaska-, which is the largest and most populated city in Alaska.

She was reared in a military family.Consequently, she was imbued with a sense of public duty.Her father was a lieutenant colonel workin for the United States Air Force.
The first years of her life were happy, living in the freezing Alaskan city of Anchorage. She got used to seeing international traders, many military men and women from the Navy, the Air Force and the Army.

Nobody could foretell that a nice, adorable girl living in Alaska was going to become one of the best female CIA agents that the federal agency had ever had.However, as many experts highlight, when the name of a secret agent is revealed, that means bad news. Let´s go on with Valerie Plame´s story.

It turned out that her father was moved to Philadelphia.It is very common for soldiers to be moved from one city to another.Valerie had to say farewell to her beloved Alaska, wave her goodbye to her friends and start a new life.

She made new friends and got acquainted with her neighbors and new friends very fast.
Her father began to work for the National Security Agency.Although her father was not allowed to tell her what his job was, he was completely certain that his daughter was going to make career in the American administration. “ To serve and to protect “, “ Duty before self”,” the few,the proud “ there were mottos she used to hear.There was no doubt that her fate was going to be close to the Armed Forces and Espionnage.

She was a good student, she graduated in advertising and got two masters´s degrees.Besides, she learnt French ,German and Greek.This fact is utterly relevant, as in order to be a a secret agent, a true asset for the CIA, an outstanding undercover agent..speaking foreign languages fluently is extremely useful.

After College, she started working at a clothing store.She was determined to work for a federal agency and to serve her country.She had always been proud of being American, she nurtured patriotism from her childhood.. and she was reluctant to have an ordinary life as a civilian.

Therefore, she applied for a job in the Center Intelligence Agency.If asked about her job, she would say she was a civil servant.That was not false, as spies are public servants who work for the government by gathering information.

In order to avoid being kidnapped , murdered or blackmailed by other secret agencies or terrorist groups, all agents have to keep a low profile.Valerie was aware that she might be a heroine keeping the Stars and Stripes safe from terrorist groups… but her name was never going to be even known.

She might be awarded for her services, but she was not going to be allowed to publicize her heroic actions.In addition, she knew that, if she were killed in action or held hostage beyond enemy lines, the U.S government would disavow any knowledge of her.On the other hand, if she failed, the failure would become well known, the agency would be attacked and she would be sent to an isolated federal office as a clerk for the rest of her life.

Success in the CIA is hidden, just failures get publicized.She knew t.Nevertheless, she dared.She followed the British SAS motto: “ who dares, wins” and she was accepted.
Fortunately, Espionnage has changed.In the past, women were supposed to lye in bed with diplomats, army officers… working as hookers making important men fall in the “ honey trap”.

In the 1980s, men were used to set up women, overall in Europe.They would flirt and have sex with women who had been promoted to high level civil servants in NATO countries.After having sex with them, whey would blackmail them with the recorded videos.
Today, in the modern world, men and women do not have specific roles in secret agencies.They both can become field agents, translators, hitmen, security officers, embassy agents….

Because Valerie was a secret agent,there is still too much information we do not know about her life.When a secret agent works beyond enemy lines, all documents and intelligence gathered is classified and kept secret.

We need 50 years´ time to ask the U.S government to disclassify secret files.Even if we fulfill this requirement, the government can deny sharing the information because of National Security.

We assume she was sent to “the Farm” in the Pennsyulvanian city of Williamsburg, where future CIA officers follow strict training.It is official that she became a CIA officer in 2002 and she was assigned to Brussels and Greece.

We scarcely know about her missions.Valerie was not allowed to reveal the missions she participated in.Furthermore, it is said she gathered valuable information before the Second Gulf War , working on mass destruction weapons.Due to the fact she can speak French fluently, she is supposed to have worked on “ Niger´s Uranium File”.

At that times, Saddam Husssein was trying to import Uranium from Niger.The U.S Administration threatened the Francophone African country with an economic embargo.Valerie had access to all issues in relation to Niger, uranium and mass destruction weapons.

What is more, it is well known that she worked in Brussels, where NATO has its headquarters.France and Germany were against a military offensive in Iraq.U.K and Poland supported the U.S.A. Discussions and meetings were held for weeks… and there she was:
Valerie , she did gather intel for the country, being loyal to her government and working for her ideals.She could have been a great officer, become chief of a CIA Station, a Deputy Chief, even in the first female DCI – Director of Central Intelligence-.
“Keep your foes close, your friends closer “.She will never forget hit motto, as she didn´t manage to have an outstanding career in the CIA because of her comrades.

What foreign terrorists couldn´t do – there are many officers whose careers fail because of foreign secret services blackmailing them, or terrorist organizations kidnapping and reveililng their identity-, her own country did betray her.
She couldn´t expect this, it was unbeliable what happened to her.

In politics this is called “ collateral damages”.It turns out that Valerie married a U.S diplomat.This diplomat whose surname is Wilson – this is the reason why she is also known as Valerie Plame Wilson – didn ´t agree with the official version of the U.S government:

Wilson doubted that the real reason why American troops were deployed in Iraq waging the Second Gulf War was not about mass destruction weapons.Because it was publicized, high officials decided to hurt him publishing on the Washington Post that his wife, Valerie Plame was a CIA officer.

All of a sudden, Valerie had to cancel all her meetings, trips and missions.She was in danger, she and her partners.She had been betrayed by the government to whom she had sworn loyalty.Such treason was unforgivable.This case became “The Plame Gate “ Case.

The person responsible for the leak was convicted for obstruction to justice for revealing a secret agent´s identity among other charges.Nevertheless, Palme´s career was over.It wasn´t her fault but.. “ sometimes shit does happen”.Many experts in espionage are convinced that if the awkward diplomat had been a woman and her husband a CIA spy, nobody would have revealed his identity.There would have been other ways.

Valerie Plame was a victim.As in a chess game, she was the weakenest piece to be sacrificed.A pawn is over but the match continues.

Valerie is now an activist warning about nuclear weapons.She has become a writer whose books have become best-sellers.Also, there is a movie based on her story: “ Hunst the Spy “.

In response to the question of taking revenge against whose who made her career fail, she always answers that she is not interested.She focus on living and feeling good with herself, that is the best way.

Story of my Life: To Hell and Back

Chapter Ten:

Mike´s heart is full of sadness. Although he remains a wealthy man, he feels frustrated. A worldwide economic crisis is approaching , he doesn´t have to worry about. Nevertheless, he suffers from seeing humble people who are evicted from their houses , wages reduced, international trade sales plummeting, the Welfare State is bound to vanish… It makes him crazy that innocent people go on supporting their executioners when polls are held.

There is no doubt that the world is crowded with ignorant people. Mike stares at a shop window and chuckles .He doesn´t realize he has become a sensitive man. It ´s time for him to start a new and definite life wiping out any traces of his past.

He moves to the maple leaf country, he settles in the largest and richest Canadian province where he founds a Corporation intended to give a chance to many unemployed people.
He purchases a 500 hundred acre property where he lives peacefully. The Albertan government gratefully acknowledges his contribution to the Province taking a stand for a fair society.

Mike strongly believes in Fate. Therefore,, before he gets older, he decides to have lots of lovers living in his huge mansion. He is aware of the economic problems, elderly people scarcely can receive their retirement payments because of low natality. Mike is volunteering to solve this problem by introducing his life seeds in everyone who wants to contribute to solve the birth rate problem.

In his courtyard leaning against a robust oak and holding a mature Scotch whiskey, he chuckles and giggles: Life is a game, it is worth playing it.

Story of my Life: To Hell and Back

Chapter Nine:

Mike is eager to be a mole , an infiltrated agent beyond enemy lines, implementing black op missions eliminating targets, disposing of corpses, crawling places while undetected… Nevertheless, he has to be trained. He is sent to the Virginian city of Williamsburg. He needs to be proficient in foreign languages.

It turns out that Mike is bad at learning languages. Fortunately, a patient lovely teacher is in charge of teaching Mike so that he can speak fluently, understand all he hears, no matter which the accent is and so on.

Her adorable teacher encourages him to listen to French, German, and Russian podcasts every day .Also, she suggests he be motivated and active, giving oral presentations to her, focusing on the target and not worrying about the damned exams. She wants him to learn .Wherever and whenever he is in the future, he ought to be self taught learner, always improving his skills.

He is expected to be an asset. In spite of his teacher´s effort, he is reluctant to follow her advice .After nine long months, he fails to pass. It seems he intends to pass, he boosts himself, he is full of endurance , stamina, and self-determination.

He considers he outwits everybody. Unfortunately, he does fail, he doesn´t achieve his aims, he doesn´t manage to reach his goal. Because of his stubbornness, he doesn´t comply with he is commanded.

Therefore, he retakes the course. By the time he finishes, there will be an office awaiting for him, from where he will change the world. Two weeks before he concludes his course while a huge military budget cut is approved. It grieves her teacher to say it, but Mike cannot become an asset. He is licensed and fired.

Story of my Life: To Hell and Back

Chapter Eight:

Mike´s joyful life vanishes. He must face the incoming dangers. Twisted and warped by events, he refuses to drop out. Lured by the idea of becoming rich and glorious, he breaths in deeply, elated and thrilled , he glances at a distant farm, then moves towards it escaping from his pursuers.

He gathers moss green leaves to blend his uniform with the African landscape where he is trying to survive. As soon as he arrives at the farm, he vaults over a tangerine orange verandah, alighting squarely on his heavy footed boots. There, an elderly white man wearing a turquoise blue suit welcomes him to the South-African CIA station. From now on, he will work for the American Center of Intelligence Agency. It is the only way not to be convicted for his crimes. All his sins will be forgiven. Mike has no escape, so he accepts. He is moved to a safe house where he signs a contract.

Hereinafter, he does solemnly declare that he will serve and protect the star-and-striped flag country. Some of his new partners start whining but the 1947-founded agency is determined to benefit from a wealthy man who draws the attention wherever he goes.

Shit does happen, Mike knows it. What is done is done , and nobody can undo it. This situation reminds him of a female hero, who was recruited by a secret agency and trained to accomplish impossible missions. Mike loves imitating his TV heroes and now it ´s time for him to initiate a new life. A freckled beautiful agent awaits him leaning against the rotten wooden entrance door. They both walk away towards a secret airfield.

Story of my Life: To Hell and Back

Chapter Seven:

Mike is wearing a honeydew green uniform. He is also carrying a stainless steel knife, a black semi-automatic short gun and a long deadly sniper rifle. His tactic platoon is ready to ambush the presidential convoy in which the awarded Nobel prize Namibian president is journeying.

Mike settles in a high undercover position behind moss green bushes. All of a sudden, he hears helicopter blades whirring and police sirens blaring.

He realizes he has been set up – his team betrayed. Mike and his team may be beginners, even rookies, but they are reluctant to be caught and sent to jail being convicted to a life sentence. They are aware of the fact that they will be accused of subversive actions and prosecuted for major offenses against the former British overseas territory.

Mike exhales, starts breathing sharply and starts shooting. The helicopter is reached and falls like a bird without wings. There is a huge struggle in the muddy path and after a long heavy combat, presidential troops outnumber Mike’s platoon. Mike can’t bare thinking about lying below a heavy stone grave. The best option is to escape going across the thick green bushes. He manages to escape hiding in a dark cave. It’s time for him to rest. He wishes he were in his peaceful villa. He curses his luck.

Story of my Life: To Hell and Back

Chapter Six:

Mike is a wealthy man. Ain’t no mountain high enough . Ain’t no country he can travel to. Ain’t no aim he can’t achieve. He buys a villa in an isolated Greek island. He purchases a yacht and becomes a skipper.

He invites to his house corrupt politicians, ambitious police officers, dangerous drug dealers, former proud army officers who decided to become private contractors and so on.

All of them go to his unique luxurious villa. Despite this, his heart is full of sadness. Even though he is surrounded by many people he does feel lonely. Although he earns a lot of money investing in public debt, lending money to drug dealers, helping politicians to launder money… He is not satisfied. He is keen on drinking alcoholic imported drinks, and having parties at week-ends.

Sodom and Gomorrah would be British Victorian religious cities in comparison with his private island. Tall blonde blue-eyed girls give blowjobs to European ministers. He records the wild scenes and then he blackmails them, becoming richer and richer.

One day, a white South-African weapon dealer suggests he give a coup
d’etat in Namibia. Reckless mercenaries are willing to combat, European leaders are eager to take profit of diamonds and oil and Mike needs to become an action man.
No matter who suffers, Mike is an adorable kind polite man no longer.

Story of my Life: To Hell and Back

Chapter five:

Mike, following his dream and believing in Fate, dares to settle down roots in Canada and apply for a well-paid job as an officer in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He succeeds in becoming a soldier – as Mounties ,French gendarmes and Spanish Civil guards are considered soldiers instead of police officers because of the military statues they have-, wearing a golden-star on his shoulder.

He proudly shows his rank wherever he goes. He salutes his superior officers, he commands on his privates making them fall in, fall out, march, dismiss, and so on.

Mike is tireless, his perseverance and determination leads him to get promoted from Lieutenant to Captain, and from Captain to Major. Besides, his deep knowledge in foreign languages makes him become a high rank officer in NATO Headquarters in Brussels. He does feel fulfilled.

Achievements come in one after the other and Mike is not an exception. The goddess Fortune makes him win a jackpot of 147 million euro in a draw that is held on Thanksgiving Day. In spite of the fact that he lives in Europe after being transferred because of his worthy merits, he goes on celebrating this day as his fellows in Canada had instilled on him.

When Mike sees his numbers, which he always chooses at random in the nearest retailer, he can’t believe it. Mike is a wealthy man! Salty tears drop off his eyes, he sobs for minutes, he kneels down in his bedroom and tries to wake up. He realizes that it is real – Mike is a millionaire. Nobody can stop him from doing whatever he wants.

Story of my Life: To Hell and Back

Chapter four:

After the incident, Mike decides to finish his university studies in the Maple-Leaf country. It is suitable to be away from danger and to forget the unpleasant events he has suffered from.

Mike settles in the largest Canadian Province and finishes his studies successfully. His francophone classmates encourage him to put down roots in the second largest country in the world, where he can make career and achieve all his goals.

Mike is reluctant, as he can’t bare living in a freezing city where birds scarcely chirp. His heart is full of grief and sorrow. Nevertheless, he admires the Welfare State par excellence. A country where everybody can succeed. No matter who you are, you can work hard and achieve whatever you want, as the state helps you.

Mike would like to return to his country and see the Union Jack flag waving. However, it grieves him to see how the British Welfare state is being destroyed by merciless Conservatives who win every poll that is held.

Mike cannot understand why the victims support their executioners. Anyway, he begins thinking about his future – to return to the nest or to stay in the New World where his ancestors shed tears and blood to build the Dominion of Canada, enlarging thus the British Empire.

One night, after returning home from playing skittles, he dreams about wearing a military badge upon his chest. Afterwards, he wises up for the requirements to become a Canadian citizen and to enlist with the Canadian Armed Forces.

Story of my Life: To Hell and Back

Chapter three:

Mike starts sobbing, he feels betrayed. The Russian woman vanishes from the hall. A bald ugly man enters. He stares at Mike. Mike blinks and smiles when the unexpected husband groans and jumps onto him.

Mike grunts and they struggle. Mike manages to escape from the furious man and runs away. He can hear tires squealing, the furious man is determined to take cold self-served revenge. Mike starts crossing the roads without second thoughts. His behavior makes the neighbors call the police. Mike gasps and tries to reach the leafy forest.

The furious and hatred-hearted husband pulls the trigger shooting bullets. Mike achieves the goal to arrive at the forest and hides.

Mike is in real danger. If only he hadn’t found the damned money! Police sirens begin wailing. Mike feels safe. Also, he hears helicopter blades whirring. Sirens continue blaring and coming closer. He stands up and realizes that a black cold 45 is aiming at him. He stutters and starts praying. He wants God to forgive all his sins before going to Heaven.

Fortunately, highly trained police officers outnumber the man holding the damned gun. The Russian curses all Brits and intends to shoot, when a beardless officer cocks his jagged weapon and shoots. The perpetrator falls down and for the time being Mike is safe.

Story of my Life: To Hell and Back

Chapter two:

Mike grows up. It is time for him to go to University. He decides to study foreign languages as he loves hitting on foreign girls visiting London. Besides, he strongly believes that languages are the most powerful way to find a job in the globalised and complicated world we live in.

Mike never plays hooky. He is entirely responsible. He becomes an outstanding boy as he is granted a huge amount of British Pounds so that he can afford his studies.
He is keen on wandering in the surrounding gardens next to the university. One day, he finds a wad of purple 500-euro bills.

Attached to the sheaf there is a foreign identity card. Its owner must be a Slavic woman as her name is a long Cyrillic name. Mike decides to give it back to her as he considers himself a good citizen.

When he arrives to the house where the Russian woman lives, he knocks at her door with his knuckles. A tall blond green-eyed girl appears. She invites Mike to come in and thanks him by giving him a long kiss with her red strawberry lips that contrast with his pale cheeks.

Killing two birds with one stone, he accepts drinking spicy drinks and practising his Russian. All of a sudden, the Russian woman takes off her long black suit. He feels a cold hand in his private parts. He feels his lungs widening and he starts moaning.
The unknown woman pants, they are both hooked.

While she wildly rides him, he peeks around with his innocent eyes. She whimpers and finishes sighing. Mike is whacked, completely exhausted and realizes that best things happen when you don’t expect them. Suddenly they hear a soft whistle. She asks him to rush out, her husband is about to enter the room.

Story of my Life: To Hell and Back

Chapter One:

Michael is born in a bucolic village in England, located 5 miles from Wales.The area is full of life, joy and peace. Birds usually chirp all day long, villagers are keen on wandering in the dale, painters get inspired in the greeness of the forest…

In his childhood, little Mike runs about the village, plays with lamb, sheep, goats and learns to ride horses, donkeys and mules.

When winter arrives, Mike is always ready and willing to play snow battles. He leads the game, he seems tireless, he brims with joy, happiness and enthusiasm.

In summer, he adores climbing pines, beech trees, poplars and cypresses where he stares at swallows, blackbirds and sparrows flying high in the light blue sky.

Mike dreams about being a farmer, breeding pigeons, doves, pigs, goats and driving a John-Deer tractor.

When his father goes to farming fields, Mike runs along with him, jumping along the path gasping, never giving up.

One day, his old brother decides to enlist with the army. Mike likes putting his brother’s uniform on when he returns home at week-end. Besides he hoists an old faded coat when the sun sets and rises imitating his brother in the base.

His beloved brother loves hugging him and teaches him how to fall in and salute. The whole family have fun watching this tiny, mischievous kid who everybody is proud of.

However, his brother sets on edge when Mike spies him. He can´t stand Mike glacing at him while he is kissing his girlfriend, a blond blue-eyed girl brought up in cosmopolitan London. His brother gets angry, but Mike chuckles and giggles.

at your disposal vs for your perusal

Rocío used “a vehicle at your disposal” and when I read it I laughed and crossed it out and wrote “for your perusal”. I had related “disposal” to ‘throwing away,’ ‘trashing,’ ‘chucking.’  But it’s true — so, Rocío, I shouldn’t have crossed it out, you were right — “at your disposal” is used by many speakers/writers. Rocío had checked it on word reference, where this meaning of “available for your use” is registered. I believe I’m reticent to using (learning) this phrase because of “at your disposal”, ‘a que órdenes;’ the expression has always sounded servile to me, as if you offered youself to be used and chucked, and this idea must have weighed any other down! !! The most important point, however, is that in my English-speaking mind, this is not a common phrase. Then, about “a vehicle for your perusal”, actually, it would be generally considered a mistake, because “peruse” is mostly related to reading, so my correction was wrong. However, there is a language change fact here: the meaning has been changing and metaphorical extensions are taking place. So here I can think of a hypothesis: teachers, for instance, use “For your perusal” or “FYP” in sticky notes when leaving materials for other colleagues to go through or read, and from here, the meaning of “so you can use it for whatever you like” is easy to develop. So here is a good example of how our feelings and ideas play a role in the language we manage to learn, and how use is key to “know” words, for when you don’t use them, you simply forget their meaning! Has this ever happened to you in your mother language? I think, after this, I will never forget about this phrase!, “at your disposal” 😀 Thanks! Now at least I can relate it to what I learned/learnt from an adorable student! ❤

Diary for March 28 (last lesson)

Today four people came to class, and I had the opportunity to answer Miguel’s, Rocio’s and Marisol’s language questions, and it was great to see they had quite a few. M. mentioned sometimes I crossed out things that were right, and I know I joke about that, 😀 , just for the kicks, but the truth is when I scribble over something whether I manage to explain it well or not, it’s for a reason. I can certainly make mistakes, but I can count on you to let me know! 🙂

About the exam, I told people they should relax, and do their best, ❤ and above all enjoy it, ❤ ❤ ❤ (though let me tell you, I can design really exciting tests! I would volunteer if we were not asked to move around and attend meetings! :D) because the exam, as compared to this course we’ve shared, in not a big deal! 😀 😀 😀 The listening tasks are heard three times, and that is a very positive thing. The writing is never as demanding as my assignments are, not in terms of structure for sure — still, do your best because I’m one of the examiners! 😀 About reading, you’ve read tons! And you’ve read things with plenty of words you did not understand, and I suppose you managed anyway. That’s why I chose a book I knew had a great deal of vocabulary you could not understand! You’ve been training in a few things!

Keep listening to the news, radio programs/programmes better than watching TV now, though any listening activity will be good help and it will help you not only in the listening test, also in terms of grammar, vocabulary, and therefore speaking and writing — the productive skills.

Then Gema shared with us a handout on OITNB, where she gathered wonderful materials. ❤ I hope, Gema, you can send it in for publication! ❤

Finally, people were abducted by someone interested in creating conversation groups and I rushed to meet my Básicos, for an end-of-course drink!

Best of luck in your exam! ❤

Diary for March 26

Today, our one before last lesson, I reminded people of proofreading techniques, so they make sure not to skip this very important After Writing stage. We focused on grammar mistakes you should avoid (morphology and syntax). Nothing we haven’t mentioned during the course. So bring out your LoM’s or devote some time to thinking of your weak points, and the consider agreement – time and tense, number, gender.

I forgot to remind you of going through (lightly, don’t start now working on this if you never did before, just make the most of a light reading) the Reading Comprehension Skimming and Scanning technique. You don’t need to use it as described, but make sure you understand the importance of skimming before you start working on scanning and/or your answers, and of underlining certain things to spot info faster.

I told people I was guessing 8 to 10 people would pass, but the truth is I’m a bitch, I mean, it seems I’m harder than exams when it comes to my understanding of people’s level! I also told people you should certaintly, undoubtedly ENJOY THE EXAM. Take it like this, and you will! Promise! 😀 ❤ And be humble at the same time. Read it all on all the pages! Read the instructions carefully, underlining key words. Look at the examples until you are very clear about your mission, and always double check your answers. Don’t forget to keep an eye on time.

In the speaking test consider the info we give on the Announcement Board: there is no excuse about partners, we are professionals — the Examining Board. Students need to show that they can confront communication problems and not become violent hostile beasts! Work together, never against each other! Make the most of your time together! ❤

If I were you, these days I would be listening to English as much as I could (all day long?! 😀 ) and practicing explaining things I had listened to for a little while every day. You can also practice useful sentences for dialogues.

We also agreed — I think — next day we would:

  • Listen to Miguel’s amazing bio on a spy, for the Herstory project.
  • Listen to people sharing on OITNB
  • Audio (or video) record people making statements on the course about what you worked on, what you learned, what you enjoyed (the) most, what you missed or would’ve loved doing, what you would have organized or done differently… People also have the option of recording that at home and email it to me.

I’ll work on the video with your audios and whatever you wish to send me. I’ll also try to publish people’s writings this week and next week. I’m also open to your video messages if you wish to do that! Whatever!

Because they day of Publicación de notas, your session of Revisión is the last, if you like and if you are around, we could meet after that in the terraza (sidewalk terrances/cafés) downstairs for a drink! Please, do not feel obliged. I’m OK having a drink on my own, too ( 😀 promise!), and hey, will I be into that after surviving the whole fucking Exam Month!! 😀

Key for the listening activity: How Art Made the World, episode 1

Here is the link to posts on this: Listening Activity: Advanced (Diary, documentary, handout)

And here is the key: howartmadetheworld_episode1_key (1 Word page)

Post your results and questions!

Dear C1 Learners, a final request

I’d like to put together a video with the pics we took and an audio of any of you who wish to record it saying what you learned or did this year with your English. You could audio recorded in brief bits, so I can combine them all, instead of having one student speaking for a long time in the video and then another. You could name the bits with a key word. What do you think? I’ll bring the audio recorder in case you want to record in class, and so I have it. If you do it at home, try to save it as an mp3 if possible!