Sunday, April 29, 2007

Class Update

Last class we started dealing with Lesson 1 (Factual and Negative Factual Questions) in the Guide to Reading section. This lesson features three short articles you have to scan in order to find specific information. We worked on the first passage (on Dentistry) in class and the other two were assigned as homework for Wednesday.

Apart from learning about the unusual origins of dentistry and its early fearsome methods, we had a look at some modern dental procedures such as scaling and root canals. In addition, we read some real stories written by people suffering from phobia of dentists or dental phobia and discussed its causes as well as some possible ways both dental professionals and patients can cope with this problem.

By the way, I found this wacky website about Unusual Phobias and was surprised to see the weird (completely illogical) phobia I suffer from is actually one of the most popular ones. Can you guess which one it is? ;)

Next Monday, we are going to start working on the Grammar Tutorial in your books. You are supposed to do the exercises on pages 706-708 for homework.

See you in class!

An early bird...

Mariano has sent me an e-mail to let me know he’s already signed up for the TOEFL. He’s also posted an entry on his blog: New development on the road to happiness where he wrote some nice words about our group and the time we spent together. He’s planning to drop by on Monday to tell us about it. I really hope we can keep in touch and share all the exciting experiences he’ll have along the road.
Thanks, Mariano, for your enthusiasm and contribution to our class.
Best wishes,

Monday, April 23, 2007


Are they necessary?
Feel free to comment.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Last class we discussed the layout and organization of essays based on independent writing prompts. We also analyzed sample responses trying to see how language mastery, use of sophisticated vocabulary and a wide variety of structures accounted for a high level of achievement.

Just as we need to write more, noticing how other texts are organized and how language is used to convey meaning is equally important to develop good writing skills.

Here's an online activity on paragraph development you can try: Constructing the Paragraph .
I'd like to thank Dr. Elizabeth Hanson-Smith for granting us permission to use this activity.
More resources:

About Language Learning and Identity

"It's like learning a language; you can't speak a language fluently until you find out who you are in that language, and that has as much to do with your body as it does with vocabulary and grammar." Fred Frith

Much has been said about the different intonation, tone of voice, pose or attitudes we have when speaking a foreign language. It’s not uncommon to see people who are reluctant to utter a single word in a foreign language or that just can’t learn it either because they harbor a negative attitude towards that language or culture or just because they are not connected to it in any way. Even when it doesn’t mean that we embrace or completely agree with every aspect of the target culture, if we’ve gotten so far, there must be something- a place, an idea, an image - we feel identified with, something we wish to achieve or we want to recover when we speak English.

In my case, I first went to the States when I was a little girl and even attended kindergarten there for some time. I remember I cried every single day at school. I cried when I waved my mom good-bye, when we sang the anthem, when other kids wouldn’t play with me. Every morning, the teacher would ask “Is everybody here?” and I simply cried because I couldn’t understand. I got the noise, the sounds of the language, but I couldn’t figure out the meaning of those words until, suddenly, one morning, it just happened: “everybody” referred to “all of us”, all the students in the class. An insight. Sheer epiphany. A moment of discovery. That’s how I picked up the language and made sense of the world around me at the time.

Many years have passed by; years of formal language instruction at ARICANA, at school, at teacher training college, and some things have remained instinctive, playfully accurate, awkwardly natural. I think I am still that little girl trying to find her way back home, to discover the wwworld around her, and to invite others to explore it with her.

Now, the big question arises:
Who are you when you speak another language?

Saturday, April 14, 2007


I want to share these images as a reminder of the passage we studied about the Statues from Easter Island. I could find the uncommon one with white coral eyes!!.

Also, I selected another that best describes The Hanau Eepe's proper characteristic: the heavy earrings to extend the legnth of their ears.

Can you see it very clearly in the photo?

If you want more information, please visit the following Internet sites:

Friday, April 13, 2007


There has been a slight change in the class schedule. On Mondays, you’ll have Computer Lab Sessions from 8.30 to 9 p.m. and classes from 9 to 10 p.m. On Wednesdays, we’ll have classes from 8 to 10 p.m.

By the way, I wanted to congratulate you all on your wonderful performance last Wednesday. You all managed to record your speaking tasks successfully and the jig-saw listening activity proved both interesting and appropriate to your level. I think relating TOEFL tasks to different types of authentic material can help us see the relevance of the skills we are learning in everyday communication. I’m also pleased to see some of you have gone beyond the tasks and tried to find out more information about the topics we discuss in class. It’s a pleasure to teach such a group of motivated and self-directed students!

Keep up the good work!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Dear all,

I've just been informed that we'll have no classes today.
Let's reflect on the terrible events that have taken place in Neuquén.

Pegarle a un maestro por Mex Urtizberea (La Nación)

See you on Wednesday,