Sunday, 4 July 2010

Americanisms The British Hate

'Nowadays, people have no idea where American ends and English begins. And that's a disaster for our national self-esteem. We are in danger of subordinating our language to someone else's - and with it large aspects of British life.'

Hace poco salieron publicados unos interesantes artículos por Matthew Engel en el Mail On Sunday sobre cómo Americanisms está invadiendo la manera británica de hablar, para el horror de muchos.

No sólo se queja del spelling sino también de las nuevas palabras que se adoptan o de cómo se pronuncian.

Les dejo la lista de las frases y/ o palabras más odiadas por él y por sus readers que le mandaron más.

(Tengan en cuenta que las explicaciones o definiciones que se dan están expresadas en forma muy sarcástica!)

Hospitalise (or worse still, hospitalize): It's bad enough going to hospital, without being accompanied by this hideous word.

Faze: It doesn't faze me (even when it's spelt 'phase') especially as it's useful in Scrabble. It's just downright irritating.
Movies: Can we please watch a film? Or go to the pictures? Or the flicks?

Truck: It deserves to get run over by a lorry.

A Hike: Is a nice walk in the country, not a wage, price or tax rise.

The Finger: If I cut you up on the motorway, would you mind showing your finger by sticking up two fingers, the British way? Thank you.

(Esto es porque aquí la gente cuando quiere insultar a otro, no muestra generalmente el dedo mayor como los americanos. Hacen una V con los dos dedos pero no del lado de la palma de la mano, o sea, hacen el signo V de la paz o al victoria al revés, palma de la mano apuntando para nuestro lado.)

Do The Math: No, do the maths, for Heaven's sake.

Rookies: In Britain, they are big birdies, not newcomers.

Outage: An American power cut, now in use in a newspaper near you. I always read it as 'outrage'.

Monkey Wrench: An adjustable spanner, if you please.


The U.S.-dominated computer industry, with its 'licenses', 'colors' and 'favorites' is one culprit. That ties in with mobile phones that keep 'dialing' numbers that are always 'busy'.

I accept that estate agents find it easier to sell fancy apartments rather than boring old flats. And it's right that our few non-passenger trains should carry freight not goods, because that's a more accurate description of the contents.

Ask any lawyer and they will explain: witnesses in British courts do not testify, they give evidence; nor do they 'take the stand' to do this, they go into the witness box.

It also used to be understood that, while American politicians 'ran' for office, British politicians always 'stood'. I liked that: it implied a pleasing reticence. Now in Britain both words are used interchangeably and in this month's General Election candidates stood and ran at the same time.

Del segundo artículo:

Top of the long hate-list was probably ‘Can I get a coffee?’ (and these days it probably would be an overpriced, overmarketed American coffee rather than a nice cup of tea).

It was closely followed by ‘I’m good’ as opposed to ‘I’m very well, thank you’. This phrase is even more infuriating when used as an alternative to ‘No, thanks’, in declining a second helping.

Other leading hates include ‘snuck’ as the past tense of ‘sneak’ and ‘dove’ as the past tense of ‘dive’;

driver’s license
instead of driving licence;

rather than over;

for post-mortem;

burglarized instead of burgled;

filling out forms instead of filling them in;

for chips;

for crisps; and food to go as opposed to take away.

There is also period instead of full stop; and of course ‘Hi, guys’, guys in this case being of either sex.

(...) Martin Levin of London E4, says he keeps emailing Radio 2 to remind them there is no k in ‘schedule’ (...)

It includes airplane for aeroplane, pharmacist for chemist, advisory for warning (...)

The land is also full of ‘gotten’ haters – understandable because it is an extremely ugly word. This is a complex area, though, in that it was formerly used in Scotland and can be found in the works of Sir Walter Scott.

And there is widespread loathing of the verbalisation of nouns: incentivizing and all that rot.

In sport, Bob Carr winces when his team suffer an American ‘loss’ far more than when they go down to an English defeat.

Wayne Bryant says that, if he were still playing competitive sport and was told ‘you’re ON the team ON the weekend’, he would refuse to turn up. Gordon Spalding adds ‘Can we touch base?’ to the collection of ludicrous baseball metaphors.

Los artículos completos aquí y aquí. Si leen los comentarios al final de cada artículo, van a ver LA CANTIDAD que aportaron los lectores!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

FIFA World Cup English Activities

Llega ese momento, cada 4 años, en que todo el mundo anda medio loco y/o agitado: los alumnos que no hablan de otra cosa que de fútbol (al igual que los adultos, por supuesto) y las teachers que no saben qué inventar para enseñar o reciclar temas a través de este deporte, a ver si los chicos se interesan...

Y sí que se interesan si las actividades que ofrecemos son variadas, entretenidas, divertidas... y enseñan!

Les propongo visitar algunos sitios que ofrecen printables y lesson plans que cubren todos los niveles.

Suerte, que les sea leve y que gane el mejor! Y que todos aprendan!

Si quisiéramos empezar a organizarnos con cómo idear diferentes lesson plans a lo largo del campeonato, podríamos basarnos en esta página que, a pesar de que fue hecha para el campeonato 2006 y las actividades no están on line (no nos servirían), sí se encuentran ideas de qué actividades crear, las copio aquí:

Day One:

Activity 1: Introduction to the World Cup
Pupils find out the location of the 32 countries participating in the World Cup final.

Activity 2: World cup quiz
A quiz to stimulate interest in the countries which will be under the World Cup spotlight.

Activity 3: Country research (introduction)
Project work for the week. Groups of pupils do research on some of the lesser-known countries participating in the World Cup finals.

Day Two:

Activity 1: We play football
Pupils compare two photos of children playing football, one taken in (an African country) and one in the UK (or your own country). They discuss them, then learn about life in a shanty town in the suburbs of Nairobi.

Activity 2: A game of empowerment
Do competitive games help poor people with the problems they face?

Activity 3: Country research (part 2)
Continued project work about countries participating in the World Cup.

Day Three:

Activity 1: My ideal school playtime
A writing activity to help pupils think about their leisure time at school.

Activity 2: Recreation at school
What problems can occur during playtime at school? This thinking skills activity helps pupils to determine issues and identify possible solutions.

Activity 3: Presentation of country research
Pupils present posters displaying the results of their research.

Day Four:

Activity 1: From shopper to worker
Developing a concept map of the way sportswear gets from factories in the developing world to consumers in the richer countries.

Activity 2: Write to clothing companies
Pupils write letters to clothing companies asking how they know that workers producing their clothes are fairly treated.

Activity 3: Design a logo
An art activity in which pupils design a logo which would show that workers had worked reasonable hours.

Day 5:

Activity 1: Good competition, bad competition
Brainstorming the good and bad points about competition.

Activity 2: The great debate
A formal debate: ‘This house believes that competition should be banned'.
Adobe PDF file

Activity 3: Evaluation: what have we learned this week?
Assessing the week’s activities.

Para niveles intermedios y más altos, aquí hay una lista de diferentes actividades (vocab, fill in the gaps, etc) basadas en noticias reales.

English Soccer Boss in World Cup Scandal (17th May, 2010)

Baboons a 2010 Soccer World Cup Problem (5th May, 2010)

Visiten este sitio seguido porque constantemente están subiendo noticias con actividades.

Para los chiquititos, aquí encontrarán una lista de crafts.

Este quiz está muy interesante, pueden adaptarlo según el nivel e incluso hasta les va a ayudar a crear vuestras propias preguntas.

Este sitio tiene listening activities y su correspondiente handout.

Y por último, 5 printable activities con wordsearch, vocabulary, crosswords, etc.

Aprovecho este post para invitarlos a ver el post del año pasado sobre el Día del Padre.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Contracts Jargon

Quería compartir con ustedes parte de un contrato que firmé con una agencia que a su vez me recomendará para dar clases de ESOL en diferentes colleges.

Espero que les resulte interesante leer esto, es muy distinto a lo que uno por ahí firma en otros lados, particularmente el tener que decir de qué raza es uno (en realidad, esto prácticamente lo tenés que aclarar en todos lados, hasta para cuando te querés asociar a la biblioteca! -aunque puede ser opcional) y las secciones de cómo tratar a los alumnos, evitando en lo posible, toda clase de physical contact y cómo proceder si se van a usar las computadoras del colegio. (ICT class)

Equal Opportunity and General Information Questions:

The following questions and relating answers are necessary for entering your details onto COMPANY'S NAME's candidate database to ensure the effective monitoring of our equal opportunities policy. They will at all times be kept confidential.

• Martial Status: Married Single Other

• Do you consider yourself to have a disability: Yes No

• Nationality: ________________________

• Ethnic Origin: Please indicate from the list below (optional)

• Black African
• Black British
• Black Caribbean
• Bangladeshi
• Black Other
• Chinese
• Indian
• Mixed White/Black African
• Mixed White/Black Caribbean
• Mixed Race
• Any Other Ethnic Group
• Any Other Asian Group
• Any Other Black Group
• Pakistani
• White



It is now a regular and frequent requirement upon supply staff to utilise the college’s ICT equipment as part of their teaching and learning responsibilities. This is a perfectly reasonable expectation of colleges and candidates should seek to utilise such resources to maximise their impact on students’ learning.

Some simple rules…

When utilising ICT equipment in colleges, candidates should follow some simple rules:

1. Acquaint yourself with the college’s policy and procedure on the use of ICT equipment. As with all college policies, you are expected to adhere and abide to such rules when you are working in that college. So try and establish what the rules are.

2. Try and organise yourself access to the college’s network with your own user name and password. Try and avoid using another person’s ‘log-in’.

3. Do not use the college’s computers for personal use. It reflects badly on you and COMPANY'S NAME if you are observed undertaking such activities.

4. If you are using the internet (for research or teaching purposes) ensure that the sites you visit are always relevant and appropriate. If you inadvertently visit a site that has inappropriate material displayed, immediately close down the site and report the circumstances to a senior member of staff.

5. Do not let students or other staff use your ‘log in’ details and always ‘log off’ if your computer is going to be left unattended at any time.

6. If you suspect students (or another member of staff) has used a computer with your log in credentials, report the details to a senior member of staff immediately.

7. If you discover evidence that college computers may have been used to access inappropriate web sites or download inappropriate material, report this to a senior member of staff immediately.

8. If you have access to the college’s email system, do not use it for sending personal emails. If you receive joke emails do not forward these on in any circumstances.

9. If you have reason to send emails, ensure that the language you use is always appropriate. Check what you are writing to make sure that it could not be misconstrued.

10. Never enter into over-familiar correspondence with students. Remember that you are in a position of trust. Do not give your facebook/bebo/my space or any such social networking account details to any students and if requested as a friend do not accept them. This will only blur the boundaries between student and teacher and will certainly put your motives in question.

11. If you receive any email correspondence from a student that concerns you please report this to a senior member of staff immediately.

12. Never give a student your mobile phone number. Similarly, do not ask for (or receive) the mobile telephone number of a student. There are no valid reasons why this should be necessary and to do so will create suspicion and place you in a vulnerable position.

13. Don`t have your mobile phone in view during lessons and never try to take photographs or videos of students on your phone. If, as part of the learning experience you need to photograph or video students, get clear permission from the college beforehand.



Physical contact with students in college is a very sensitive subject. As a member of supply staff, you have the same rights and obligations as permanent members of staff. However, as a member of supply staff (who may not be familiar to students) you may be susceptible to people misinterpreting your actions and/or students making unfounded or mischievous allegations. Be aware of this potential and always follow this guidance which is offered to assist you.

The general rule is to avoid student contact wherever possible. In that way your actions can never be misconstrued. However, there are situations where physical contact is necessary and there may be other situations where you cannot avoid physical contact.

The Law

The Education and Inspections Act 2006 has given new statutory powers to members of staff in colleges. This allows them to “use such force as is reasonable” to prevent a student from:

• Committing an offence
• Causing personal injury to others (or themselves) or damage to property
• Prejudicing the maintenance of good order and discipline at the college

More detailed guidance on the application of this new power is set out in the DfES Circular 10/98 – “The use of force to control or restrain students”. This can be found at

Situations when physical contact might be appropriate

Some physical contact may be proper or necessary (e.g. to demonstrate exercises during a PE lesson or to administer first aid).

Young children and children with special educational needs may need staff to provide physical prompts and help. Equally, when young children are in distress it may be appropriate to offer comforting. In such situations these are judgement calls that have to be made at the time. However you must be aware that for some children touching may be particularly unwelcome for cultural or personal reasons. You must be sensitive to such situations. You should also ensure that you do not touch or hold a student in a way that might be considered indecent.

Intervention and the use of reasonable force

Inevitably, there will be situations when it is necessary to intervene either to protect yourself, the student or others. There is no legal definition of ‘reasonable force’ but there are two relevant considerations to guide you:

1. Do the circumstances warrant it? If a student is only committing a minor misdemeanour or the situation could be resolved without the use of force, then force would not be warranted.
2. The degree of force has to be in proportion to the circumstances. The use of force has to be the minimum needed to achieve the desired result.

In all circumstances you should not act in a way that might be expected to cause injury, e.g.

• Holding a Student by the neck or collar
• Slapping punching or kicking a Student
• Twisting or forcing limbs against a joint
• Tripping up a Student
• Holding or pulling a Student by the hair or ear
• Holding a student face down on the ground

Some simple rules to guide you…

1. Acquaint yourself with the college’s behaviour management policy. If an incident is developing know from where you can summon assistance.

2. Try to avoid situations where you are alone with a student.

3. Have strategies ready to diffuse potential conflict situations.

4. In the event of an incident, summon assistance as soon as is practicable.

5. Ensure you report all such incidents to college staff and your consultant at COMPANY'S NAME.

6. If you have inadvertent physical contact with a student, report this immediately (explaining the circumstances in which this occurred).

7. If you have been injured in an incident seek medical attention immediately and ensure that the incident is properly reported to the college and your consultant at COMPANY'S NAME.

8. Whilst it is fresh in your memory write a record of the incident. Give as much detail as you can (including the names of any witnesses).

9. Remember that when you are in a college you are an ambassador for COMPANY'S NAME, so avoid any sort of behaviour that could be criticised or misinterpreted.

Qué les parece!?!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Teaching Citizenship

Citizenship es una materia que se enseña en los colegios aquí, en todos los niveles. No se trata de, como leí por aquí, enseñarles a los chicos a ser respetuosos o cómo recaudar fondos para hacer caridad, etc, sino de explorar una serie de conceptos y procesos sobre justicia, democracia, derechos y responsabilidades. Les recomiendo el ARCHIVE de este sitio donde encontrarán temas y resources para explorar y adaptar. Hay generalmente tres que son gratis, listos para imprimir y a los demás se accede si uno es miembro.

Este sitio que también les recomiendo ver, contiene Citizenship activities según el nivel de los chicos (nivel en colegio de aquí). Cuando hacen click, encontrarán links a diferentes resources.

Este otro sitio está genial! Me encanta! Cuando hagan click en un tema en particular, verán unos pocos renglones. Miren a la izquierda y ahí encontrarán, en un costado, Introduction, Task 1, Task 2, etc. Haciendo click ahí entonces verán las actividades paso a paso.

Y este otro es Citizenship activities para GCSE.

Y este otro está muy bueno también, del sitio de la BBC. Tiene photostories, quizzes, etc.

Pero mi preferido absoluto es este, que usé yo para dar clases aquí y es bárbaro! Se lo pueden bajar todo o por capítulos. Este es muy bueno porque el lenguaje es sencillo y se aprende un montón!

Aprovecho para desearles a muchos profes, feliz comienzo de clases y recordarles un post que escribí hace tiempo, sobre qué hacer el primer día de clase.

Toda la suerte en este nuevo año académico!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Beautiful London

Les sugiero pasar por aquí y ver unas hermosas fotos de Londres sacadas a la noche y desde arriba.

Enjoy! Felices vacaciones para el hemisferio sur!
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