Category Archives: World

Reflections on a Course: Post 5 (Week 6)-On Engagement and Innovation

This week’s post has a slightly different approach: I wanted to talk about engagement, as it derives from the tasks we’ve being taking up this week, but due to the news that are constantly pouring out about the world situation and the scope things are taking, I am morally forced to give this post a layer of criticism embedded into a wrapping of sadness.

I was planning to talk about the importance of engagement in the dynamics of a class. New resources, new approaches and new methodologies are extremely relevant for a better teaching performance. But the real element that drives our students’ commitment and engagement is seeing the person in front of them truly believing in what he or she is doing. As I have mentioned in a comment in one of my posts, one of my best remembered teachers was an old literature teacher who would have us stuck into our chairs as he talked about the Spanish authors and their works. Just word and chalk!

If we really believe in what we do, in those projects we want to enrol our students, in those interchanges with schools across the world, in those plays and those sketches… our students will perceive our enthusiasm and they will get quickly engaged.

Moreover, we are the lucky ones to have this huge array of elements that help us “decorate” that passion we feel for our job (thanks, Luisa!). They will bridge the gap between us and those students eagerly looking for engagement in interesting things to fill their life most of the time so full of stimuli but so void of commitment.

In the end, I talked about what I was planning to talk, but I can’t escape a very worrying fact that is teasing me these days.

This week I got to watch the video you can watch below:


As I was watching it, I realised that all this innovation might come to nothing very easily if things don’t change dramatically. We have spent the last years talking about innovation and the incorporation of cutting edge technology in education. Nowadays, budgets are being dramatically reduced, and families are quickly losing their purchasing power. Who will be able to support them if we want to introduce the use of elements such as mobile devices or powerful hardware in education. Will the state subsidise… the states are broke! Will families be able to take in extra expenses for hardware… I’m pretty sure most will not. I’m afraid that innovation might turn into a grand experience for a dwindling minority, and that makes me sad.

But I still feel passionate for what I do!!

Have a nice summer!!

Posting will become scarce in the following weeks… summetime has come!
Here’s my last post, just to show you that we still must work really hard if we want this country of ours to show some reasonable level in the use of English… and still harder if we want it to show some style and good taste!!
Bon estiu!!




Dipity is a very good timeline creator if you want your students to work with time, tenses or describing events or someone’s life. Catchy interface that allows you to create your own timelines and add images, video, audio and Internet links.
The working area is really user-friendly, and element integration is really easy. We can later share it through our usual social network.


The Path of Protest (The Conflict of Middle East)

The Guardian have produced an interactive timeline showing the most relevant milestones which have arisen in the Middle East uprisings. A good tool to work time in English, and, of course, to foster oral skills… students can describe the “path” followed by events in these countries where people have risen against dictatorships in the last months.


You can navigate through time and see the different relevant events by country and category: People’s protests, political moves, regime changes and international responses.
Use it in class, or pass it to social science teachers who want to use English in their lessons.

Simple English Wikipedia


For students who only need simple texts, with brief (sometimes scarce) information and simple language, here’s a useful Wikipedia version: Simple English Wikipedia

The very same interface as an ordinary Wikipedia, but with simpler language. Short articles which can be easily read by ESO students. Not much to comment, just browse through the site. Maybe a good idea would be to ask students to enrich articles with more complex sentences or descriptions.

Tales of 20th Century London


Sit down and relax… this webpage is a gift for all English teachers!

Tales of 20th Century London puts right in front of you 100 years of London history.  You can travel back to four different periods of 20th century London and learn how young people lived.

First of all, once you have selected the period you want to travel to, you will learn about life, leisure, food, clothes and history.

londontales2You will experience what life was like…

and questions will be asked where you will have to make choices related to that kind of life in thet period.

Learn about life in the period of WWI and WWII, life in the 50’s and the crazy 60’s and londontales3finally life in the last 20 years of the century.

Another nice activity you can do with students: Have a look at some districts in London… you will be shown a picture of that area in the past… go to the WWW and find a picture of that same area now, and post it!! Good for describing and comparing.

A very catchy website, colourful and easy to follow. Be sure your students will love it!


The Story of Stuff

If you think we must use our classrooms to spread the idea of a different approach towards our environment, have a look at this site


 The Story of Stuff is basically a 20-minute videoclip where Annie Leonard shows how we are deteriorating our planet. Clear animations and a very good narrative for a cross-curricular approach. The only drawback is the absence of transcript. It shows the process of overuse of our natural resources, their transformation into products and their latter change into pure rubbish which increasingly fills our planet. Specially adequate for advanced/Batxillerat students.

The Joy of Dance

Let’s forget this is an ELT blog for a while. This video from Matt Harding shows us the plain truth: The world is full of good people who are always ready to start dancing when they hear the simple beating of a rythm. Dance is in our souls, and when we take out our inner child and start moving, jumping and swinging to the rythm of music, we take the best of ourselves. This is just a tribute from a simple language teacher, to all those teachers of the most important language across boundaries: Dance

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Still, there’s room for ELT, as usual!

Visit Matt’s webpage Where the hell is Matt? This website offers different possibilities for us teachers. It is worth reading the section “About Matt” after you have watched the video with your students. It tells Matt’s story… really interesting, and easy to read. In the section “Journal”, a blog shows different articles concerning Matt’s project… his travels, his meetings…


Use this website to talk about values, about friendship, peace, music, dance, life… I knew we would end up saying we could use it in our lessons!