High-Tech High

3 Mar

The high school where I work is siempre más hi-tech. They’ve recently installed SMART Boards in many of the classrooms. Some teachers, including me, still don’t know how to make use of the electronic and interactive whiteboards, but others have ingeniously incorporated the new technology in their lessons. In my Social Science class with 1ESO, the professor always plans an activity using the school laptops which she demonstrates on the whiteboard. The students are instructed to access her blog, Arxisocial’s Weblog, and complete the activity of the day. They are currently learning about Prehistory, so last week they played games on a educational website maintained by the Generalitat de Catalunya. I got to try them out as well and found I probably would have starved if I had lived in the Prehistoric era. The games, a bit reminiscent of The Oregon Trail and with an outstanding musical accompaniment, can be found here: No badis!, under La prehistòria in the Cicle Superior column. Click on Poblat 1 and try your hand at La Recol·lecció. You can also fish for the pueblo in Poblat 2, get initiated into adulthood in Poblat 3, and barter chickens for goats in Poblat 4. The page is in Catalan; it’s a good way to get more familiar with the language and learn vocabulary to impress your amics.


Monkey Sí, Monkey Du

2 Mar

“…and they’re not in too many zoos because of their sexual behavior. Their sexual behavior is too human-like for most of us to be comfortable with.”   This quote is taken from the beginning of a lecture by Susan Savage-Rumbaugh on the vast parallels between the bonobo and man; (the talk is hilarious and can be seen HERE) one is which being this species’ remarkable capacity to understand human speech, which is seemingly better than some of my homo sapien English students. Regarding language acquisition,  Savage-Rumbaugh and her researchers have concluded that “…the most important thing for permitting bonobos to learn language is not teach them, it’s simply to use language around them because the driving force in language acquisition is to understand what others that are important to you are saying to you. Once you have that capacity, the ability to produce language comes rather naturally and rather freely.” To me this suggests two things: 1) We cannot force somebody to learn something. The successful absorption of knowledge must be willful or originate from the students’ sincere curiosity. 2) As language teachers, we must keep in mind the significance of speaking exclusively in English, especially in a manner replete with emotion and gesticulation. Although many may not see our profession in this light, we are essentially entertainers who generate the biproduct of intelect. I think bearing this is mind we can help deconstruct the classic dichotomy between student and teacher and gain our pupils’ respect, making them genuinely intent on understanding us when speaking our native tounge.

If you haven’t Heard…

24 Feb

Interested in tasting local wine, seeing a contemporary art gallery, and screening the first movie filmed in Mallorca? The Sifoneria is a stone that simultaneously murders these three birds. This hole in the wall is situated in the barrio antiguo (C/ Santa Clara, 4, Hours : Tues-Sat. 13:00-21:30) and upon entering one experiences the sensation of life in the days of Mallorcan yore, not to mention that the cost of a bottle of wine is absurdly low. If you’re not yet convinced, below is a  photo tour.

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Anarchy in the BI

23 Feb

There has been some recent unrest amongst the faculty of the Instituto Son Pacs over one José Ramón Bauzá. If the PP wins the next election, which many see as likely, Bauzá will become the next president of the Balearic Islands. According to my co-workers, Bauzá does not regard Mallorquin as a dialect of Catalan and also considers Spanish to be more significant. If you all remember our orientation, and I know sometimes it’s difficult to recollect extremely invigorating events, we learnt that in the Balearic Islands it is mandatory that all public education must be taught at least 51% in Catalan. Supposedly A Bauzá in office means this will change.

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Hittin’ the Books

21 Feb

Upon a recent visit to our dear director and friend Ricardo, I was told that the blog had a lot of potential but should present more subject matter concerning the classroom directly. I think R has got a very valid point, and as such I’ve started compiling a list of online resources to help vosotros come up with English activities.

http://www.usingenglish.com/handouts/ – This página de web has
brazilians of worksheets that cover all the verb tenses in printable
handouts that mostly seem to be in exam format. This would be ideal if
you wanted to pull a pop quiz on your youngsters, or simply just
sequence and review afore-taught subject matter.

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Thought Your Job was Difficult?

17 Feb

Personally, I think that being an Auxiliar is the greatest job in the world. We  get paid 14.58€ to assist in English courses. I’ve made less scrilla planning, purchasing supplies, and teaching classes by myself back in the new world, not to mention all my co-workers here treat me like a genius just because I can speak my own language. To put things in perspective, HERE is a story of a 23-year-old American who went to Tunisia to teach English. I assure you it’s not half as cushy as being surrounded by beaches in a country with the 12th highest gross domestic product on the planet.

Feliz Día de Valentino

16 Feb

Unfortunately globalization has yet to permeate the month of February in Mallorca with the consumer-driven eros we’ve come to except as granted in the States. The little attention this day seems to outwardly evoke appears to be strictly reserved for adult situations in this fair country of España, so I decided to teach my pupils that behind every great farce there’s a host of creative activities to be derived.

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