My Promotional Slideshow

Hey guys,

So far you have had the opportunity to read a variety of articles on my website, on a variety of topics. Too much theory, ain’t it. This time I have prepared a slideshow where you can see me at work and how I do it when curriculum allows. Hopefully, you will be able to see a real video, watching me teaching.Till then……..C ya. Hugs and kisses.


plagiarismPlagiarism in many instances should be shunned and punished; at the same time, it has been at the heart of cultural life for centuries, bringing much good and much pleasure. The great plagiarists have committed no crime. And there is the “added value” argument, which many find persuasive. But there is a further question to raise, and in many ways it is the most interesting.

The word plagiarism comes from the Latin for kidnapping, literally “going out with a net.” It was used first in something like its modern sense in AD 1 by the Roman poet Martial. A plagiarius was, in his view, someone who stole someone else’s slave or enslaved a free person. In epigram No. 32, he applies the term metaphorically to another poet, whom he accuses of having claimed authorship of verses Martial had written. Later, in epigram No. 53, he uses not plagiarius but the word for thief (fur) to apply to someone whom we would call a plagiarist. As Martial was to put it, a plagiarist doesn’t just steal a person’s body; he kidnaps his person, her inner life.

This develops into an altogether different literary theft. For both the memoirist and the novelist are inevitably inspired by the people they have met, and will make use of them to suit their purposes. This may not strictly be plagiarism, but it is similar territory. “Writing is an act of thievery,” admits Khalid Hosseini, author of the autobiographical novel The Kite Runner. “You adapt experiences and anecdotes for your own purposes.” John Cheever put it more gently: “Fiction is a force of memory improperly understood.”


Both the memoirist and the novelist are inevitably inspired by the people they have met, and will make use of them to suit their purposes.


It can also cut close to nonfiction, and the lines of demarcation become blurred. In a recent essay, Alexander Stille, himself a memoirist, has written: “Within this kind of work there is inherent conflict. The characters in a memoir are not real people, but inevitably feed on the blood of the living like vampires. And so it is entirely natural for those real people to defend their identities as if they were fighting for their lives.”

Such “kidnappings” can cause as much pain as, if not more than, someone whose work is plagiarized may feel. During the mid-1960s, Michael Holroyd was researching his two-volume biography of Lytton Strachey when he took time out to complete a short novel, his first and, as it turned out, his only. “It would be some fifty thousand words long and cover the happenings of a family over twenty-four hours,” wrote Holroyd many years later. The book was accepted for publication by Heinemann in Britain and by Holt, Rinehart in the United States. “During the long wait for publication I had given the typescript to my father to read—and he was horrified. For him the book was not a novel at all but a hostile caricature of the family. ‘You go out of your way to avoid any redeeming features in anyone’s characters,’ he wrote. . . . ‘The formula is evident. Take the weakest side of each character—the skeleton in every cupboard—& magnify these out of proportion so as they appear to become the whole and not only part of the picture. Please understand the whole family are together in their dislike of this distorted picture you have drawn of them.’”

The family had not in fact read the book, but Holroyd’s father’s reaction was enough. In a special introduction to the novel, finally reissued in 2014 after years out of print, Holroyd explains how he in turn felt. “I was nonplussed by this awful reaction. I had borrowed certain traits, gestures, tricks of speech and various mannerisms from members of the family, but had fixed them on to characters with very different careers and past lives.”

Whatever his son’s motives, Holroyd the father was determined to stop publication. There may have been breaches of trust, but none of copyright, and certainly no plagiarism of an actionable kind, so instead he threatened to sue for libel. In Britain, where libel laws are strict, Heinemann was concerned, but Holroyd was aghast. “The intensity of his grief and anger . . . shocked me. So I withdrew the novel and returned my advance.” Holt, however, having taken legal advice, went ahead, and the book was published in the United States in 1969. “No copies reached my family and I was able to help my father, who was sliding towards bankruptcy, with my advance.”

Something very different happened over the publication of Salman Rushdie’s novel Midnight’s Children. When his father first read the book, in 1980, he was convinced that Ahmed Sinai, the novel’s drunken patriarch, was a satirical portrait based on him. He was furious. Salman Rushdie did not deny that the character was a fictionalized version of his parent—“In my young, pissed-off way,” he later explained, “I responded that I’d left all the nasty stuff out”—but he objected to his father’s wounded reaction, which he thought betrayed a crude understanding of how novels worked. “My father had studied literature at Cambridge so I expected him to have a sophisticated response to the book.” But in Rushdie’s case he never rescinded his “kidnapping.”

This making use of—even making off with—someone else’s life seems to me to be what a plagiarius does. But it is, simply, what writers do. In an endnote essay in The New York Times Book Review the novelist and playwright Roger Rosenblatt put this well:

For the wolf of a writer, the family is a crowd of sitting ducks. There they assemble at the Thanksgiving table, poor dears—blithering uncles, drugged-out siblings, warring couples—posing for a painting, though they do not know it.

The objects of a writer’s scrutiny may be entirely blameless, but the writer will infuse his family with whatever characteristics suit his purpose, because “defects make for better reading than virtues.”

Literature is littered with stories of how novelists have taken the lives of people they have met and used them for their fictions. The family is just the nearest ammunition to hand. Friends and enemies, lovers and ex-lovers, all are grist to the artist’s mill. The celebrated society hostess Lady Ottoline Morrell (1873-1938) was the inspiration for Mrs. Bidlake in Aldous Huxley’s Point Counter Point, for Hermione Roddice in D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love, for Lady Caroline Bury in Graham Greene’s It’s a Battlefield, and for Lady Sybilline Quarrell in Alan Bennett’s Forty Years On. (In the first two instances at least, she felt betrayed by authors she regarded as friends.) Zelda Fitzgerald complained of her husband that in The Beautiful and Damned she could “recognize a portion of an old diary of mine which mysteriously disappeared shortly after my marriage, and also scraps of letters which sound vaguely familiar. Mr. Fitzgerald seems to believe that plagiarism begins at home.” A novelist I edited wrote of a main character whose father had murdered her mother—a situation taken from real life by the novelist from the pillow talk of a onetime lover, whose own family had experienced exactly that tragedy. Only when the book was in proof did he show it to her, and she was outraged. Chastened, he rewrote the novel. Many writers do not behave as well—or, if they do, not as late.

In 1872 a neighbor of Tolstoy’s cast off his mistress, Anna Pirogova. The railroad had recently been extended into the province, and in her despair Anna rushed down to the tracks and threw herself under a train. The corpse was taken to a nearby engine shed, and Tolstoy, hearing of the tragedy, rode over to view the remains, even though he had never known the woman. We do not object when we learn that he used Anna Pirogova as the inspiration for Anna Karenina, or when an otherwise anonymous Madame Delphine Delamare, after numerous adulteries as the wife of an inattentive country doctor, in 1850 poisons herself and becomes the model for Emma Bovary. When, in The Magic Mountain, Thomas Mann, for his portrait of Mynheer Peeperkorn, borrowed some of the features of Gerhart Hauptmann, at that time Germany’s foremost dramatist, a scandal ensued, and Mann was forced to appeal to Hauptmann directly: “I have sinned against you. I was in need, was led into temptation, and yielded to it. The need was artistic.” And there the matter rested. These are just three examples, when in truth hardly any imaginative writer doesn’t borrow from people they know. Even so, when the instances come closer to home, we may justifiably feel that our person has been kidnapped.*

Most writers acknowledge the destructive, even self-destructive element in their chosen profession. “As a younger man,” admitted Peter Carey, “if anything was worth stealing I would steal it.” Whether it is in fiction or nonfiction, most writers take that “right” for granted. “The novelist destroys the house of his life and uses its stones to build the house of his novel,” Milan Kundera wrote in Art of the Novel, not as apology but as a description of the way things are.


Most writers acknowledge the destructive, even
self-destructive element in their chosen profession.


John Updike confessed that fiction is “a dirty business.” His art had “a shabby side. . . . The artist who works in words and anecdotes, images and facts wants to share with us nothing less than his digested life.” In his book Self-Consciousness, he exempts himself from “normal intra-familial courtesy,” adding that “the nearer and dearer they are the more mercilessly they are served up.” Interviewed for a 1982 TV documentary, he bluntly states: “My duty as a writer is to make the best record I can of life as I understand it, and that duty takes precedence for me over all these other considerations.” After Updike and his first wife told their children they planned to divorce, he composed a story about the episode (“Separating”) a mere two weeks later, a “way of hiding,” he put it in a 1968 interview, “of too instantly transforming pain into honey.”

The Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard, whose six-part memoir/novel My Struggle is extremely revealing about his close relatives, has said that the question of whether a writer ought to use his family as material is like asking: Would you save the cat or the Rembrandt from a burning house? His answer is that we must save the cat, choosing life over art—but he portrays his own family in intimate, hurtful detail.

Graham Greene has famously written about the “ice chip in the heart” that allows novelists to plagiarize the lives of friends—an image he took from Hans Anderson’s The Snow Queen, in which a sliver of glass from a shattered magic mirror lodges in the heart of a young boy, Kai. For Greene, that chip of ice is essential equipment. Nearly all writers have to ask whether they possess such a splinter, and to what degree.


* This leaves plenty of room for error. Around 1999, a woman librarian brought a case against Joe Klein and Random House since she believed that she was the model for a character who has an affair with the Clintonesque presidential candidate in Klein’s Primary Colors and was thus defamed. It was said that the woman cited as evidence the description of her character’s shapely legs in the novel being an exact description of her own. In fact, Klein had used as inspiration the legs of his literary agent, Kathy Robbins (my wife). When Kathy was required to make a formal deposition, she made sure she wore a short skirt and high heels. The claim duly failed, a New York court ruling that a depiction “must be so closely akin” to the real person claiming to be defamed that “a reader of the book, knowing the real person, would have no difficulty linking the two.”

In an extreme case, David Graham Phillips, early hailed by H. L. Mencken as “the leading American novelist” of his day, was fatally shot in 1911 by a man overcome by rage at what he believed was the depiction of his family in one of Phillips’s fictions. The author, on his way to the hospital, said that he had no knowledge of his assailant or his family. See Peter Duffy, “Character Assassination,” The New York Times Book Review, January 16, 2011, p. 23.

By Richard Cohen, Via Random House

Want to Learn English with an Experienced teacher?


West Yorkshire, UK

Hi all,

Long time no see. Missed me? Well, to tell the truth, I have been spending a lot of time working offline. There are times when you  just need to get away from the virtual world and go back to the old-fashioned one. However, I am back with some good news.

VocabIn the modern world where, whether we like it or not, English has become a universal language of communication, it is of immense importance to master the standard language skills. This will help you communicate with the individuals worldwide being it professionally or privately. During my 18 years of teaching experience and attending a variety of seminars, conferences, round tables and workshops, I have learned that the key to success is the communication. Why? The right choice of words carry the power and vibration that open up the way up. Do not bereave, deprive,rob or take away from yourselves  this opportunity. 🙂

Having this in mind, I have devised a plan to use my website and social network to start giving lessons online (translations and proof-reading included) in order to teach and help my candidates as much as I can to reach their goals and fulfill their dreams.

Anyone interested in learning English from the Beginners’ to the Advanced level or need some the above mentioned professional services, can contact me via my website, Linked in or my Facebook account. As for the details of the courses studied, in case you are interested, you can just drop a message using one of those domains and I will answer back ASAP. (Please, take into account the time differences 🙂 ). All I can say is that the success is ensured.

Besides those, I also do proof-reading, translating from Serbian into English and vice versa and create lesson plans according to your professional teaching needs. Therefore, do not hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes,


P.S. Did I mention that there are some bonuses for those who are interested in long-term learning? Well, there are. And they are just a message away.

In the end, to illustrate the possible approach to learning English I am posting a link Mary J. Blige, U2 “One”, a song that comprises loads of grammar points. Enjoy!


Do You Do Your Homework Properly?

images“Have you done your homework, girl?”. The teacher asked.

“No, I haven’t, Sir”. – replied the girl in the back row, scribbling something on a piece of paper.

“Why not?”- the teacher asked again.

?There was nothing to inspire me.”- she replied boldly and continued.-“I want to write about nice things, happy people,I mean truly happy who have found the life worth living. They all think it’s about money,careers and fame and moving around. It’s not. It is about the heart.There aren’t many true hearts around here.Though they may seem to have a heart, they are wrong. They are just manipulating people to get what they want, impersonating people with hearts. But they do not have a heart. Heart is something else.”

“What is a heart?”- the teacher continued, now intrigued by the girls answer.

“I do not know. I have never met one”.- the girl replied leaving the teacher confused.”Have you?” – another question followed. .

After her story, the question in particular, the teacher was not sure what to answer. Although he was a middle-aged man, married with two successful children, let’s say a man with some heart experience, he did not know the answer to the question. Do you think he had done his homework properly?

People say, who had known him rather well, that, since then, he had been looking at people in a different way,analysing them, trying to see if they have a heart, and if they have, what kind of heart it was. A true or a false one. He died years later, leaving only a piece of paper with a single sentence: “I am not sure.”

She was only 8 when this conversation took place.Now she is much older, educated, knowledgeable about many things. She can write about whatever she wants to. She has got analytical mind so it is not a problem for her to spot things and details. The only thing she has to do for her editor and the magazine she works for, is to put it all on the paper, give it a structure and fill the gapped column in a page.Oh, yes, she is old-fashioned, when it comes to writing. She loves getting stained by the ink, still scrabbling on the margins of her notebook, while she is thinking what the  story of the heart  is all about.

For a while she has been spending days at home, searching the web, reading some boring articles, looking at pictures, images that made some impression on her, yet nothing so strong to push her to grab a pen and a paper and write passionately about the most beautiful things in life. She is sensual and intuitive by nature. She could have imagined the amazing places, stories, people,events, colours in her mind. She was dreaming about it all. Nevertheless, everything was empty. She was empty. Her articles are empty, although nobody notices, thank God. She is good, though, at giving her articles a special tone that would make her story juicy and at moments flashy. But, is there a heart in her stories? No. And she is not the only one who earns her money that way. Cheaters! Cheaters cheat the readers to read the cheats.

And that’s how she lives. And, you know what, she is not alone. That’s how we all live, though we prefer not to admit it. We  prefer illusions. It’s easier to get by.

Anyway, it seems she is still looking to find a heart and to learn what it is. That’s the only homework she hasn’t done  properly.

Is there a teacher to teach her how to find a heart? A heart teacher? Anyone?

Let me know. 😉

The Characteristics Of A Good School

The Characteristics Of A Good School

by Terry Heick

For professional development around this idea or others you read about on TeachThought, contact us.

When a society changes, so then must its tools.

Definitions of purpose and quality must also be revised continuously. What should a school “do”? Be? How can we tell a good school from a bad one?

This really starts at the human level, but that’s a broader issue. For now, let’s consider that schools are simply pieces of larger ecologies. The most immediate ecologies they participate in are human and cultural. As pieces in (human) ecologies, when one thing changes, everything else does as well. When it rains, the streams flood, the meadows are damp, the clovers bloom, and the bees bustle. When there’s drought, things are dry, and stale, and still.

When technology changes, it impacts the kinds of things we want and need. Updates to technology change what we desire; as we desire new things, technology changes to seek to provide them. The same goes for–or should go for–education. Consider a few of the key ideas in progressive education. Mobile learning, digital citizenship, design thinking, collaboration, creativity, and on a larger scale, digital literacy,1:1, and more are skills and content bits that every student would benefit from exposure to and mastery of. As these force their way into schools and classrooms and assignments and the design thinking of teachers, this is at the cost of “the way tings were.”

When these “things” are forced in with little adjustment elsewhere, the authenticity of everything dies. The ecology itself is at risk.

The Purpose Of School In An Era Of Change

What should schools teach, and how? And how do we know if we’re doing it well? These are astoundingly important questions–ones that must be answered with social needs, teacher gifts, and technology access in mind. Now, we take the opposite approach. Here’s what all students should know, now let’s figure out how we can use what we have to teach it. If we don’t see the issue in its full context, we’re settling for glimpses.

How schools are designed and what students learn–and why–must be reviewed, scrutinized, and refined as closely and with as much enthusiasm as we do the gas mileage of our cars, the downloads speeds of our phones and tablets, or the operating systems of our watches. Most modern academic standards take a body-of-knowledge approach to education. This, to me, seems to be a dated approach to learning that continues to hamper our attempts to innovate.

Why can’t education, as a system, refashion itself as aggressively as the digital technology that is causing it so much angst? The fluidity of a given curriculum should at least match the fluidity of relevant modern knowledge demands. Maybe a first step in pursuit of an innovative and modern approach to teaching and learning might be to rethink the idea of curriculum as the core of learning models?

Less is more is one way to look at it, but that’s not new–power standards have been around for years. In fact, in this era of information access, smart clouds, and worsening socioeconomic disparity, we may want to consider whether we should be teaching content at all, or rather teaching students to think, design their own learning pathways, and create and do extraordinary things that are valuable to them in their place?

Previously we’ve assumed that would be the effect–that if students could read and write and do arithmetic and compose arguments and extract the main idea and otherwise master a (now nationalized) body of knowledge, that they’d learn to think and play with complex ideas and create incredible things and understand themselves in the process. That the more sound and full their knowledge background was, the greater the likelihood that they’ll create healthy self-identities and be tolerant of divergent thinking and do good work and act locally and think globally and create a better world.

A curriculum-first school design is based on the underlying assumption that if they know this and can do this, that this will be the result. This hasn’t been the case. We tend to celebrate school success instead of people success. We create “good schools” that graduate scores of students with very little hope for the future. How can that possibly be? How can a school call itself “good” when it produces students that don’t know themselves, the world, or their place in it?

So then, here’s one take on a new definition for a “good school.”

The Characteristics Of A Good School

A good school will improve the community it is embedded within and serves.

A good school can adapt quickly to human needs and technology change.

A good school produces students that not only read and write, but choose to.

A good school sees itself.

A good school has diverse and compelling measures of success–measures that families and communities understand and value.

A good school is full of students that don’t just understand “much,” but rather know what’s worth understanding.

A good school knows it can’t do it all, so seeks to do what’s necessary exceptionally well.

A good school improves other schools and cultural organizations it’s connected with.

A good school is always on and never closed. (It is not a factory.)

A good school makes certain that every single student and family feels welcome and understood on equal terms.

A good school is full of students that not only ask great questions, but do so with great frequency and ferocity.

A good school changes students; students change great schools.

A good school understands the difference between broken thinking and broken implementation.

A good school speaks the language of its students.

A good school doesn’t make empty promises, create noble-but-misleading mission statements, or mislead parents and community-members with edu-jargon. It is authentic and transparent.

A good school values its teachers and administrators and parents as agents of student success.

A good school favors personalized learning over differentiated learning.

A good school teaches thought, not content.

A good school makes technology, curriculum, policies, and its other “pieces” invisible. (Ever go to a ballet and see focus on individual movements?)


A good school is disruptive of bad cultural practices. These include intolerance based on race, income, faith, and sexual preference, aliteracy, and apathy toward the environment.

A good school produces students that know themselves in their own context, one that they know and choose. This includes culture, community, language, and profession.

A good school produces students that have personal and specific hope for the future that they can articulate and believe in and share with others.

A good school produces students that can empathize, critique, protect, love, inspire, make, design, restore, and understand almost anything–and then do so as a matter of habit.

A good school will erode the societal tendency towards greed, consumerism, and hording of resources we all need.

A good school is more concerned with cultural practices than pedagogical practices–students and families than other schools or the educational status quo.

A good school helps student separate trivial knowledge from vocational knowledge from academic knowledge from applied knowledge from knowledge-as-wisdom.

A good school will experience disruption in its own patterns and practices and values because its students are creative, empowered, and connected, and cause unpredictable change themselves.

A good school will produce students that can think critically–about issues of human interest, curiosity, artistry, craft, legacy, husbandry, agriculture, and more–and then do so.

A good school will help students see themselves in terms of their historical framing, familial legacy, social context, and global connectivity.

When a Spark Becomes an Enlightening Flame

Aimages few months ago I promised my pupils I would organize a poetry lesson. Time has passed, I was following the curriculum, getting tired of it, and during one of the moments of solitude and reflection a flash ran through my mind: Lord Byron – “When We Two Parted”. There is something powerful in those flashes of inspiration you can create something different, something that will make an impact greater than a regular lesson plan. During this flash, it took me only  a few seconds to plan my next lesson. I didn’t even need to right it down. Every detail was firmly rooted  in my head. From the beginning till the end. So, instead of writing those structured lesson plan forms, I will tell you a story of the class flow. I strongly believe that the best method to be used when teaching poetry, especially romantic one is Suggestopedia. Not only does it allow practising all the language skill but it also affects the students’ emotions, subconscious and unconscious, which is the primary goal of the method, to cut the whole story short.

Now, let me get back to the story. I was aware of the fact that I needed to presume a role of a unnoticable actor, which means I needed to tune myself to a totally different role. I entered the classroom slowly, not saying a word, asked the students to put the curtains on, turn on some light, relaxing music, sat on the desk and using a mild voice told my students that we would be doing poetry. I started by introducing Lord Byron as a poet, a controversial person, his family background and some aspects of his life. The class was silent and relaxed, looking at me straight in the eyes as the story was flowing. I had their full attention. Than I asked them to close their eyes, sit back and relax and focus on my voice. I started reading the poem the way I felt it, with empathy and sadness, stressing out some important lines and words just to inspire the variety of emotions that the poem carries within itself.Upon finishing the reading, I asked the students to tell me what feelings and emotions they recognized in the poem. On the whiteboard I wrote down a long list: sadness, grief, loneliness, anger, despair, depression, disappointment,shame, shyness. I can’t even remember them all right now. Yet, after only one reading, they made an impressive list, I decided to read the Serbian translation of the same poem. My students listened carefully and attentively. I must admit, the translation was not that good. By the way, I don’t believe that some poems cannot be translated in such a way to pass onto the reader the same kind of tone and intonation, music as the original poem can. So, after I had read the translation I asked the students what they thought. Quote: “The original version is better”. Later, when I reflected on the class I thought that maybe I should have read the translation first and than the original. Nevertheless, I still believe that the answer would be the same.

When the reading session was over, I had just explained to my students the rhyming pattern ABABCDCD. I handed out the copies of the poem printed as one stanza and asked them to recognize the patterns and rearrange the poem into 4 or 8 stanzas. Of course, there was no problem there. To finish the class, I invited 4 students to read the poem the way they felt it. And guess what, they all read it differently. One was angry, the other empathic, the third sad, the fourth rebellious. My mission was completed. I managed to have my students identify with the writer and the poem itself, to feel it in their own way and pass the feeling over to the rest of the class.

Of course,  the homework followed. They were supposed to write to ABABCDCD stanzas on whatever topic they choose. When I assigned the homework I knew that they are still young, 16 years of age, and that I should not expect much. How wrong I was. Instead, they were writing in their poems, the problems, the troubles that troubled them, in full depth. I was surprised yet proud. Therefore:

I am posting: A tiny collection of poems “What Will Thy Verse Be”, designed, waiting to be published.


When you are confronted with such creative potential, something pushes you to go further. So, we decided to make a short movie, in which the authors recite their own poems. The technical quality of the film itself is superb, yet due to the lack of finances on the part of the school, the scenery, the improvisations and the environment is not the best choice. Yet, I will kindly ask you to disregard those imperfection and focus on the students themselves.

To encourage the students/authors, I am kindly inviting you to view, post a comment and like their own work. Thank you!



11062097_10206336070060962_5468189836415076036_nDear Dr. Nada Radenković,

We are reaching you because of your article entitled, ‘A PRESENTATION OF THE WEBSITES ‘LEARNING SHOULD BE FUN’’, which was published in Journal of Teaching English for Specific and Academic Purposes, Vol. 3, No 1, 2015, and was very impressed at its scope and contents. I know you are an expert in your research area.

I am the Editorial Assistant of ‘World Journal of English Language’, a peer-review journal, published by Sciedu Press. It is devoted to publishing original articles in various aspects, fields and scope of the English Language, such as but not limited to English literature, linguistics, teaching and learning English as a Second Language (ESL), as an Additional Language (EAL) or as a Foreign Language(TEFL).

It is my honor to invite you to submit your new manuscripts to us as one of the ‘Authors’ in our next publication.

For manuscripts submission, please visit:

We would appreciate if you could share this information with your colleagues and associates who might be interested in joining us as a ‘Reviewer’ or submit their manuscripts to us as ‘Authors’.

Thank you and we hope to hear from you and/or your colleagues and associates soon.


Sara M. Lee

Editorial Assistant, World Journal of English Language

Sciedu Press


Mailing Add: 1120 Finch Avenue West, Suite 701-309, Toronto, ON., M3J 3H7, Canada

Tel: 1-416-479-0028 ext. 218

Fax: 1-416-642-8548



Romanticism and Rock

Love this guy! Good luck Jason. My favourite period.

James Rovira

I’m thinking about developing a course about Rock and Roll and Romanticism for the Spring 2016 semester, so I asked my colleagues on the NASSR list for music recommendations that pair well with Romantic-era poetry and prose. They responded generously with numerous suggestions both for pairings between rock and roll and Romantic texts and for the course in general. I’ve posted a list below.

Why rock and roll and Romanticism? “Romanticism” as a literary movement has traditionally been defined both thematically and as a period, with periodization usually taking priority. As a periodized trans-European phenomenon, Romanticism starts with either Rousseau’s writings of the 1760s-1780s, Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther in 1774, or the fall of the Bastille in 1789, and it lasts until about 1850, at least in England. By this date Wordsworth, Mary Shelly, and most other first and second-generation Romantic poets had died.

Thematically, Romantic literature tends…

View original post 1,130 more words

Need a Proofreader? We Are Here For You!

Editing and Proofreading Agency is exactly what you need in order to make your papers, speeches, official writing look and sound professional and accurate.


To my knowledge the market is not really packed with proofreaders. And, yet, it is craving for ones. Recently I have had the opportunity to proofread some conference papers. It was a demanding work, for sure, as you need to be focused on both the content and the language if you wish to be professional. I can only imagine how demanding it might be for those of you who are struggling with the English, whatever the occasion you are writing for may be., Not only do you have to be content itself. There is the language: the grammar, the spelling, let alone the reading or speaking about the paper. Especially when the conferences,meetings, seminars are in question.Should I mention the presentations? Better not. I am sure how burdening it can be, especially if you are burdened by other duties and commitments.


This revelation helped me to come up with an idea to create an “Online Editing and Proofreading Agency”, hoping that the clients who need to have their papers proofread and are pressed with time, can hire a professional proofreader to do the job for them. On the other hand the proofreader benefits not just financially but professionally as well, by getting a chance to expand on the ESP vocabulary, improving and keep developing their language skills, as well.What  is more, learn the skill of proofreading. I will not take up this opportunity to write about this professional aspect. I am just inviting to visit out site and get to know us.

The agency is here for you 24/7. We are your support. Contact us! Leave a message and in less than a day you will get a full and detailed answer to your inquiry.Just leave a message in comment below.Thank you.

We are waiting for you! 🙂

Best wishes

Editing and Proofreading Team


images (3)You may be surprised by the title and ask yourselves what the conferences have to do with marathons. Well, they have so much in common.

Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to attend  various teachers’ professionals gatherings: trainings, panels, courses, conferences and seminars. And regardless of the content, which inevitably varies and is more or less interesting (it depends on personal preferences and inclinations in my opinion), they function on the same principal. Running from one presentation to another,spending hours in the morning and afternoons, listening to numerous speeches, watching presentations, listening to discussions, asking and answering questions. Ok. don’t let me be unfair, there are a few breaks in between the sessions and even a lunch break. Yet, when you come to think about it, the breaks are 4 or 5 time shorter than the rest of the programme.

I know, the teams that organise professional events of this sort would say: “It’s the budget”. and they are probably right.Without any doubt I am sure that they are trying to squeeze everything in within the budget they have at disposal.Yet, I am convinced that those professional events need re-organizing so that the visitors, presenters and guests could have some more free time to put themselves together .and be fresh for each session, workshop, roundtable or panel discussion. After all,the quantity does not ensure the quality. The number of participants from worldwide, the number of presentation does not ensure the success of any professional event. Less is more, as the saying goes. On the other hand, most of the people are eager to meet their colleagues. With large number of people who meet once or even never again, the connections and networks between colleagues can hardly be established. You can get connected with a few of them but not all of them. So, what is the point of organizing megalomania and omnipotent events? None.


Is it really necessary to answer this question? Ok, let me put it this way. Imagine how would you feel if you were running a marathon. If you were well trained and a pro, you will reach the finish. Still, the question remains: How would you feel? Dead tired, I am positive. Now, imagine those who are not professionals and still want to participate in the marathon. They will finish it after, more or less, 500m, I am sure.

The same goes with the conferences. Therefore, no wonder that some of the sessions, workshops or panel discussions are not attended in large number of participants, missing this way some, maybe, great presentations or speakers. Not to mention meeting them in person for informal chit-chat. People just need some rest from an enormous amount of information they receive (in case they are listening 😀 ) Isn’t that a pitty, putting it all together? And as for the rules of presenting and the presentation timing or contents of the presentation. Well, that is currently a different issue that I might right about some other time.

Besides those, imagine all the participants who need travel to other countries even continents, change flights, try to find their own feet in a totally new country where they need to look constantly into the map to find their hotel that they had to book in advance and pay for it. It means, dear participants, arrive on the scene two days order to get used to the new environment, get to know the surrounding and the city, ask the passers-by for the directions ( if you are lucky enough to come across the locals who speak English decently well, with all due respect) so that you could get to the conference on time. Did I leave something out? If I did, do add. Oh, yes, all those costs are on you, unless you have a sponsor.

What can be done?

Dear hard-working teams, I know that you are doing your best to make everything function perfectly, professionally and worldly, yet consider these suggestions as well.

Cut down on the number of presentations that run around the same topic. Choose the most interesting ones and the one that focus more on practice than theory. We can all read the theory,that’s what the papers are for.

Instead of working on increasing the number of participants, that will, more or less talk about and run around the same issues, give the participants more free time to socialize and get to know each other better and in person. That is the best way to get to know somebody better, not only professionally but personally as well. Thus the firmer connections will be established. That seems to be a forgotten rule. It is a common knowledge that we are living in the age of technology and that most of the communication is run via different social network, yet I am a firm believer that personal contact is more effective. You can look people in the eyes, watch their body language, be more relaxed in communications, get even better feedback without saying a word. We already are professionals yet we are humans as well, who need to wind down, be ourselves and present as such.

Also,instead of giving people instructions how to reach to your town, organise a team that  will meet the participants at the bus stations or airports, so that they can truly feel welcomed into your images (4)country. Let them feel at home from the moment they step onto your country’s ground, After all, empathy is half the success if not more.

To finish off, these are the ideas that I have come up with upon reflecting on the numerous events I have attended, as I have already mentioned earlier.In case you have any additional suggestions considering conference marathons, feel free to add.


PPT CONFERENCE PRESENTATION NADA RADENKOVIC The conference being over just yesterday, it’s time to reflect upon the last three days of intensive events and presentations.Lots of thing were going on, lots of people, lots of topics, lots of information, lots of food and fun lots of lots……….Time to take time for myself. Write soon! Cheeeeerrss!

Teachers CAN and DO Write International Conference Papers! Just Give Them a Chance!

'Bora Stankovic

‘Bora Stankovic” – Grammar School, Niš, Serbia

In the spirit of excitement and exhilaration of the latest event that has contributed to my career development, I simply feel the need to share a few thoughts with you. None of the thoughts shared are to be taken personally. They are only a result of my personal observation while networking. The event being the paper that has been published in an ESP journal. And the paper is a sort of unintended response, though it was written 2 months ago, yet, in a way fits perfectly into the overall position of the teachers worldwide.

Although some may find the paper ordinary and not up to the academic standards. or the title/ the content even style do not suit someone’s  taste, teachers DO  write for all kinds of purposes regardless of the opinions of others. Their primary concern is to pass  the right messages right, onto the younger generations in order to improve or change what the elders have messed up. The message is their mission.

In this respect,I am proud to announce that my paper ‘THE PRESENTATION OF TWO WEBSITES’, subtitled ” LEARNING SHOULD BE FUN” has been published by “The Journal of Teaching for the Academic and Specific Purposes”, Faculty of Electronics, Niš, Serbia, just a few hours ago.. Unlike some papers that are a pure  result of theoretical study, this paper combines both theoretical and empirical study and applied knowledge. And that is exactly what makes the teachers and their papers unique and original.

Therefore, I believe, that in the times to come the doors for EFL/ESL teachers will be open not only for specific purposes conferences but for all kinds of conferences, offering a holistic approach to language study, as the majority of the teachers do not specialize in only one area of expertise but are obliged to be open-minded to all kinds of study and all-life learning in order to be in touch with the latest trends with the aim to help students become informed, up-to- date with the English study concepts. What is more important, to help them grow into complete human beings. To quote Sir Ken Robinson: “Education is not a preparation for life, Education is life itself.”  With this message in mind, I feel free to invite, on behalf of the ESP team, teachers worldwide to take part in the up-coming events. To keep updated of the next conference events and agendas, please, visit the following link:

Dear colleagues, write, keep up with the latest reasonable trending, start networking, get informed, publish and share your thoughts and ideas through theory and practice in order to spread the word of equity in every field of human interest.

In the end,I wish to express my gratitude to Prof. Ass. Nadežda Stojković and her assistant Jelena Cvetkovic for putting up with all mu questions considering the paper writing, conference participation, and letting me be a part of the ESP team.

Thank you! Cheers!

The Conference Paper


Sleep well, B.B. King


James Rovira

I was lucky enough to see B.B. King in Morristown, NJ in the early 2000s, sometime before 2004. Yes, it was a great show, and he was a great performer and guitarist, but what impressed me the most at the time was that whatever he’d been all his life (I just don’t know), he’d become a gentleman in all of the best senses of the word. He seemed to me like someone to emulate. We lost a truly great person today. Sleep well, B.B. King.

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What Will Thy Verse Be?- A Collection of Poems

Lord Byron (

Lord Byron

I am proud to announce that “Bora Stankovic’ – Grammar School is about to publish a collection of poems, written by 16 years old students. The collection is a result of a lecture on Lord Byron’s poem WHEN WE TWO PARTED. Currently you have the opportunity to see the first draft of this tiny collection, As soon as it gets its visual design and is published (including a video in which the students recite their own poem) the complete version will be found on this website..  Please, for the time being, disregard any imperfections and I am kindly asking you to focus on the poems themselves.The whole lesson plan will be published on this website as soon as the collection is completed and published and the video recorded.

Thank you

Nada Radenkovic



Downloadable draft of the collection


This Father’s Response To School About Kids’ Absence Is The Best Reply Ever

Dear Madam Principle,what would thy response be?

This month, Mike Rossi, a Philadelphia father, pulled his two kids out of school for a couple days so they could watch him run the Boston Marathon. The school had different thoughts though. They called it an “inexcusable absence,” apparently thinking that they get to have the final say in family vacations. Above is picture of the letter they received.


Naturally, Mike had some things to say. This was his response:

Dear Madam Principal,

While I appreciate your concern for our children’s education, I can promise you they learned as much in the five days we were in Boston as they would in an entire year in school.

Our children had a once-in-a-lifetime experience, one that can’t be duplicated in a classroom or read in a book.

In the 3 days of school they missed (which consisted of standardized testing that they could take any time) they learned about dedication, commitment, love, perseverance, overcoming adversity, civic pride, patriotism, American history culinary arts and physical education.

They watched their father overcome, injury, bad weather, the death of a loved one and many other obstacles to achieve an important personal goal.

They also experienced first-hand the love and support of thousands of others cheering on people with a common goal.

At the marathon, they watched blind runners, runners with prosthetic limbs and debilitating diseases and people running to raise money for great causes run in the most prestigious and historic marathon in the world.

They also paid tribute to the victims of a senseless act of terrorism and learned that no matter what evil may occur, terrorists can not deter the American spirit.

These are things they won’t ever truly learn in the classroom.

In addition our children walked the Freedom Trail, visited the site of the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre and the graves of several signers of the Declaration of Independence.

These are things they WILL learn in school a year or more from now. So in actuality our children are ahead of the game.

They also visited an aquarium, sampled great cuisine and spent many hours of physical activity walking and swimming.

We appreciate the efforts of the wonderful teachers and staff and cherish the education they are receiving at Rydal Elementary School. We truly love our school.

But I wouldn’t hesitate to pull them out of school again for an experience like the one they had this past week.
Thank you for your time.


Michael Rossi


via higher perspective

Can we define scientifically a “Desired Classroom Discipline” ? ( If yes, how? )

download (3)Just a few hours ago, while surfing through the LinkedIn, I came across, in one of the groups, the above typed headline. I found it an eye-catching and interesting so I decided to open the page and hopefully read the post as it is one of the topics that bothers most of the teachers, if not all of them. To my surprise, as I opened it I found a blank page. To make the things worse I posted I comment indicating laughter. Soon after I got a reply: ” Is that your answer?……..hahhahahah”. Only then did I realize that the question was posted by a young teacher, who has, in my opinion recently started to work as a teacher and found himself in a classroom full of students lacking basic manners and behavior. I tried to apologize trying to explain that I wasn’t laughing at him but at myself. To be precise, since I was a child I have always had the need to open up things and look what’s inside. My mother would ask me: “Why did you do that?” and I would answer:”To see what’s inside.”Apparently, the character trait stayed with me for the next 45 years. As a consequence, I paid the cost of it by getting the feedback that resonated with desperation and disappointment. So there is no excuse for what I had done.

The question was posted twice, 27 days ago. To my astonishment, the young man did not get a single answer. So, although it’s 2.45 am, and it’s raining, with the fresh air coming through my window, feeling the coldness of the night, and exchanging the thoughts with Thiago Veigga , I decided to give the issue some thought and do some research.

When I look back into the past when I was a student, I can’t recall that anyone ever taught us anything about ‘the scientific definition of the desired classroom discipline’. When I started my career, I asked the colleagues the same question. The only answer I got was: “It all depends on you!” End of story. Of course I didn’t understand what they meant by it. All I know is that is took me about 17 years of experience to learn how to develop the skill of managing the classroom, keeping a nice and relaxed atmosphere, still maintaining the position of a teacher first, then a partner and finally a friend. So, my dear young man, Mahdi Najar, again accept my apology and take my advice:

1. Think of what kind of relationship and atmosphere you want to create in the classroom.

2. Try to engage the students as much as you can through a variety of activities. Diana Larsen Freeman is a good source for teaching techniques and principles. Also, there are loads of websites and blogs where you can find wonderful teaching material.

3. Try to avoid any conflicting situations with the students or parents. If you find yourself in some of them, you should better turn to professionals or even school principal for help. The system worldwide is supporting the students rather than protecting the teacher. So, be careful.

4. And finally, keep in mind that you are also a human being primarily and then a teacher, yet do your best to be a pro.

As for the scientific definitions of the classroom management, here are some links that you can refer to for starters:

1. The Classroom Management according to wikipedia

2. Effective Classroom management

3. Ten Tips for Classroom Management

So, that would be all from me for now. If anybody else has something to add and help the young man, please do so. We need to help each other and be humane.

Nada Radenkovic

Why Educators Have to Blog

Educators are quick to tell students about the benefits of blogging, but slow to embrace them personally. Part of this is simply the immense work load educators take on these days but part of it is also the rut in which many educators find themselves in regards to approaching their work – and their students. Many educators understand that blogging can help nurture relationships with fellow education professionals and reach out to students academically but too many think the benefits stop there.
Blogging – Why It Matters to Educators?
Educators have always come together to exchange ideas, learn about new approaches in education and, of course, to simply vent their frustrations.  While this has traditionally been done through user groups, informal social networks and both online and print journals, blogging has added a new element as well as new responsibilities. 
First, blogging forces educators to return to their roots by organizing their thoughts in order to write and post their opinions, observations and findings.  Returning to the basics this way helps professionals organize their thoughts more effectively and puts them in a better position to help students who struggle with some of the same issues.  An educator who blogs regularly can help students more effectively when it comes to organizing their essay structure, finding reliable resources and simply making the time to sit down and write. 
Blogging has become the best and most effective way to share and discuss new approaches in education and how to meet the challenges of the 21st Century classroom.  For some students that means finding the ways to draw their attention back to education (and away from Angry Birds) while for others it means finding ways to integrate personal electronics, social media and memes into their curriculum.
Reaching Out to Students 
Students today are much more relaxed, confident and at home when sitting behind a keyboard.  The same student who never says a word in class can prove to be the voice of a generation once they get home and are settled in behind their laptop, keyboard or tablet.  Involving students in blogging not only encourages them to open up and respond to posts, it also gives them more insight into your own methods and the  world of education in general.  
Students who have a clearer idea of why teachers do the things they do are more likely 
to have mature and motivated attitude to the education. They get the opportunity to see the things from an entirely different perspective and helps them to understand why education is important for their skills development and future opportunities. Teachers thus turn from ‘enemies’ and ‘punishers’ into mature friends, advisors, people who have experience and can be referred to with questions. 
Finally, it reinforces the idea that education isn’t just a phase in someone’s life – it’s a lifelong journey. Once they see that educators and professionals from every industry turn to blogging in order to connect with each other and encourage innovation, they’ll see the skills you’re trying so hard to teach them really do have a place outside your classroom.
Best Practices of Education Blogging
Of course, finding the right blog is all about knowing your audience and so teachers wrangling little kids will have different needs from those trying to help university students.  But no matter where you fall on the academic spectrum, there’s a blog for you. 
With cute colors and bubbly graphics, it’s clear the Chalk Talk team is dedicated to their smaller students. But don’t let their cutie-pie approach throw you off – these teachers are serious about education and the content drives that home. Recent posts have focused on heavy topics like phonological awareness and how to encourage writing skills in preschool children.  
Essay Universe 
 a site on academic writing created by college university instructor Tracy Collins. The author aims to provide students with tips, hints and guides to help them hone their writing skills and fall in love with writing process. She researches different methods of teaching writing and plans to share them with her colleagues and students in interactive way. 
Elementary age students need the right foundation in order to excel as they get older and blogs such as 4 the Love of Teaching combine observation with research to tell other educators about new classroom techniques, age appropriate books and even products and tricks teachers can use to stretch their supplies and budget without going broke … or insane.
As kids approach middle school the challenges can increase with attention grabbing devices adding to the traditional mix of after-school activities and surging hormones making it difficult for kids to focus in class.  The 2 Peas and a Dog blog focuses on this crucial age to help educators find ways to cut through the noise and distractions and reach students.  It also offers a pretty comprehensive listing of related blogs for students from kindergarten through high school.
 Blogger Krystal Mills offers up plenty of help when it comes to technology and education.  While her focus is on middle school students, the issues she raises can easily translate to lower high school students, particularly freshman who often feel as though they have one foot in middle school and the other in high school.
If ever there was an academic phase that embraces insanity, it’s high school.  he students are more diverse and so are is the pressure on teachers.  Education is a central topic on this blog but the focus is also on arming students with skills they’ll need throughout their academic career and checking out new technologies that can help students and educators alike.
Run as a part of the Inside Higher Ed website, the University of Venus encompasses a wealth of ideas and theories when it comes to education.  It’s the perfect blog for teachers who want to expand their own techniques and find ways to deal with the politics of education within their curriculum.  It offers practical advice such as dealing with student assessments as well as serious issues that affect educators directly such as the recent adjunct crisis.
 The Thinking Stick offers a bit of everything and appeals to educators at every level.  If you’re teaching little kids, posts on clever ways to use Google Maps in the classroom can turn a simple geography lesson into something more engaging.  Teachers educating older students will find plenty of help with reading strategies in the digital age.  
Writer Lisa Nielsen covers everything from how to incorporate social media in the classroom to how best to set up a classroom in order to help students pay attention and learn more effectively.  Her approach is simple and clear-cut making her blog easy to read, search and put into practice. 
Following the best practice of educational blogging will help any teacher built stronger relations with their students and fellow educators and make valuable input into education development. Who knows – maybe soon we won’t use any textbooks and blogging will be the only source of relevant information.
via:  educators technology

Equity without myths or stereotypes by Michael Griffin


TEFL Equity Advocates

On 20th May James Taylor published a post on this blog entitled: Why I wish I was a non-native speaker of English, which caused quite a stir and a very enthusiastic response. I really encourage you to read both James’ post and the comments below it, before (or after) reading this post by Michael Griffin.

In a nutshell, James exposed the problem of discrimination against NNESTs in TEFL and showed that it is based on illogical prejudices:

“As someone from the UK who teaches English as a foreign language, the country of my birth is a huge advantage to me. As has been well documented on this blog, I am much more likely to get a job than someone from Japan, Algeria or Brazil, no matter how qualified or experienced they are. For some students, having a native speaker teacher has a certain cachet, as in most countries…

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When Leaving Becomes Arriving: Poet and Philosopher David Whyte on Ending Relationships

“Sometimes everything has to be inscribed across the heavens so you can find the one line already written inside you.”

“To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love,” the great Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh cautioned in his illuminating treatise on love. But even when this incremental laceration finally becomes an irreparable rupture, leaving love behind is never easy, for it also asks that we leave behind the part of ourselves that did the loving. And yet for all but the very fortunate and the very foolish, this difficult transition is an inevitable part of the human experience, of the ceaseless learning journey that is life — because, after all, anything worth pursuing is worth failing at, and fail we do as we pursue.

The delicate duality of that experience is what English poet and philosopherDavid Whyte, a man of immense wisdom on life’s complexities, addresses with bestirring beauty in “The Journey,” found in his altogether exquisite third book of poetry, The House of Belonging (public library) — a poem he wrote for a friend undertaking that immensely harrowing yet hopeful act of leaving a wounding relationship and rewriting what was once a shared future into a solitary turn toward the greater possibilities of the unknown.

David Whyte ‘Journey” 

A clip from speaker David Whyte, a renowned poet and author, speaking at the 2009 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium

One of the difficulties of leaving a relationship is not so much, at the end, leaving the person themselves — because, by that time, you’re ready to go; what’s difficult is leaving the dreams that you shared together. And you know that somehow — no matter who you meet in your life in the future, and no matter what species of happiness you would share with them — you will never, ever share those particular dreams again, with that particular tonality and coloration. And so there’s a lovely and powerful form of grief there that is the ultimate of giving away but making space for another form of reimagination.


Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again

Painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

first, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.

You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.

The poem calls to mind Mary Oliver’s equally but very differently emboldeningmasterwork of the same title. In fact, perhaps unsurprisingly, Whyte is among the millions moved by the Oliver classic, which derives its magic from how open-endedly yet pointedly it speaks to multiple dimensions of the human experience, unified by the urgency of reaching for a greater life that is possible.

Whyte’s reading of the beloved poem — the way he gasps “finally” and chants “Mend my life!” and teases out that courageous grasp for a greater life — only amplifies its resonance in the realm of love.

David Whyte on Mary Oliver’s The Journey

Poetry Party with GINGER listening to David Whyte talk Mary Oliver’s The Journey.

Complement The House of Belonging, which is a tremendous read in its totality, with Whyte on another aspect of the art of relationship — the three “marriages” of work, self, and love.

by Maria Popova




Dear friends and colleagues,

It is my utmost pleasure, as a proofreader, a part of the team and a contributor to the Journal of the English Language for Academic and Specific Purposes, to introduce you and help you get acquainted with the international journal that covers a variety of topics, issues and ideas concerning all the aspects of the English language study.

In addition, it is my honor, on behalf of my team, to invite all the colleagues worldwide, who are interested in presenting their work, having their work published in the internationally acknowledged journal and participating in the conferences organized and hosted by our team, Faculty of Electronics, Niš and the University of Niš, to visit our website where you can find all the necessary information about the previous conferences, upcoming events, gallery and  the latest news,  including the introductory letter of welcome by our Editor-in-Chief, PhD Nadežda Stojković.


BA, Nada Radenković. ESL, EFL teacher

Nada Radenkovic

Nada Radenkovic

Please, fell free to follow the links below:

Journal website

Conference website

Girls, Finding a Good Mentor Ensures Becoming a Good Mentor

Leyla Seka, APRIL 21, 2015

Advice on how to be successful as a woman in the business world almost always includes finding a mentor. Many women treat this mission like a checklist item (Mentor? Check!), but being thoughtful and strategic about mentoring can be life-changing. Without the feedback that I’ve gotten from my own mentors, I wouldn’t be running today. And it’s not just mentoring

Image credit: Shutterstock

Image credit: Shutterstock

can help you. Being a mentor to someone else can also be incredibly meaningful to your career. I’ve mentored a lot of people — both men and women — and they’ve helped me back in immeasurable ways. Here are six steps for getting the most out of both sides of the mentoring equation:

Related: Five Steps for Finding an Ideal Mentor

1. Make room in your calendar.

Mentee: This is the single most valuable thing you can do for your career, so you absolutely must make room in your calendar for mentoring sessions. And, let’s face it: Most mentors only have the bandwidth to meet with you once a month anyway. Surely it is worth an hour of your time and the price of a latte. As I’ve already said, mentoring has made all the difference in my own career.

Mentor: The time constraint can be overwhelming for busy people. How can they make time for something that doesn’t directly benefit them? The reality is that being a mentor makes you a better leader. It grounds you in reality and gives you a fresh perspective. And, frankly, in an environment that’s sometimes difficult for women, we need to help one other out. If nothing else, do it for the good karma.

2. Be open to feedback.

Mentee: The point of a mentor is to gain perspective on your career, ideally from someone not in your reporting chain. There’s no point in asking for input, though, if you aren’t open to receiving it. I’ve been told things that weren’t easy to hear (like needing to improve my presentation skills and wardrobe), but hearing them made a big difference in my career.

Mentor: Both the mentor and mentee can benefit by engaging on professional development. As the mentor and often the more senior person in the situation, you can benefit from the feedback about things happening in your company that you may have missed. Not to mention that mentoring helps you build an army of people that will have your back. Many of the amazing people on my team at are people I mentored in the past.

Related: How to Find the Right Mentor for Your Startup

3. Find the right people.

Mentee: A common misconception is that you need to find one mentor who can advise you on every aspect of your career. But you may need more than one. Take a hard look at the problem you want a mentor to help you solve, or at your desired professional growth area. Is it a career change? A promotion? The need to better adapt to the company culture? The most experienced mentor might be a man or a woman, outside your company or industry, younger or older. The mentor you choose should be the person or people who can best help you answer your pressing questions.

Mentor: Most senior leaders receive a lot of requests for mentoring and don’t have the ability to say yes every time. As a rule, invest time and energy in the people who have the potential to grow and will help you yourself grow into a better leader. Choose people you want in your “army” of supporters. Career coaching should be an ongoing activity as part of the normal performance review process, so don’t mentor people who work for you. Send employees to an outside mentor to gain diverse perspectives.

4. Be clear about what you want (and can give).

Mentee: Don’t just ask someone, “Will you be my mentor?” Be precise about the problem you need help with and what you want from a mentor. For example, you might ask someone to meet with you an hour each month to help improve your presentation skills. Or you might ask to have coffee once a month to help you research a career change. Mentors who know what the expectation is can be realistic about their ability to help.

Mentor: My own free time is incredibly valuable to me. I have a husband, two school-age kids and aging parents I want to spend time with. I’m a big supporter of mentoring, but I’ve learned that the quality of time you spend is more important than the quantity. Be upfront with people about the time you can commit — whether that means weekly, monthly or quarterly coffee dates. If your prospective mentee has questions outside your area of expertise, the best help is to connect him or her with someone in your network.

5. Make every meeting count.

Mentee: If you’re asking someone to give up free time, be sure to use it wisely. Come to every conversation with objectives and a list of questions you hope to cover. You might even share these in advance so your mentor has time to prepare. Even more important is following up on the advice your mentor took the time to give you.

Mentor: This is supposed to be a two-way street, so have objectives going into every meeting. What do you need unbiased, outside opinions about? Why not show your mentee your product road map or your new campaign. The meeting is also a great opportunity to get perspective on what’s happening in the world, as seen by someone who may have a different point of view.

6. Know when to end it.

Mentee: Like any relationship, the one that you have with your mentor will someday run its course. Sometimes you “grow out” of your mentor. Or you become co-workers. Or your relationship evolves into friendship. If you approach your mentorship with a specific problem, it will end when the problem is solved. You’ll know when it’s time to move on. Just always be sure to thank your mentor for the expertise.

Mentor: If you are mentoring someone who joins your team, you’ll be serving as a mentor in a management capacity, but your mentee needs to start getting outside perspective. Other times, your mentorship will end because it’s time for your mentee to grow in new ways. Suggest new mentors that can offer a fresh perspective on where the mentee needs to go next.

A recent study from DDI World revealed that 63 percent of women surveyed had never had a formal mentor, but 67 percent of women rated mentor-ship as extremely important to advance their own careers We need to change this now. It’s everyone’s responsibility to create a better workplace, and mentor-ship is a big piece of the puzzle. Both mentors and mentees need to prioritize these relationships. As women, we can help one another build successful, satisfying careers and foster growth; frankly, it’s something that we all need to be doing more of.


10 Top Tips for Presentations: EAP vs. BE

In Case You are Embarking on a Conference Presentations Career Cruiser.

My Elt Rambles

Under the umbrella of English for Specific Purposes you will find Business English and Academic English. In both contexts, students are asked to give presentations. Have you ever wondered if there is a difference between presentation skills for English for Academic Purposes and Business English? If you teach in both contexts, should you emphasize the same things? In this blog post you will find 10 top tips to give your students when presenting in an academic or a Business English context. Two teachers collaborate. I will give you my top 10 tips for presentation skills (EAP), and Philip Saxon will give his top 10 (BE). Will our tips overlap? Let’s see. What do we tell our students?

English for academic purposes

Often in university students give presentations about their research. This is the advice I give to students who are preparing to give a presentation in an academic context.


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‘We Can Do Better’: Dr. Seuss on Writing

Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991) with a copy of his book The Cat in the Hat.  (Gene Lester/Getty Images)

Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991) with a copy of his book The Cat in the Hat. (Gene Lester/Getty Images)

In this article, we’ve gathered some grownup advice on writing from Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to children and adults as Dr. Seuss.

It has often been said
there’s so much to be read,
you never can cram
all those words in your head.

So the writer who breeds
more words than he needs
is making a chore
for the reader who reads.

That’s why my belief is
the briefer the brief is,
the greater the sigh
of the reader’s relief is.

In the spring of 1984, Ted Geisel was startled to find out that he’d been awarded a Pulitzer Prize. “It comes right out of left field, particularly after all these years,” the then 80-year-old author said. “I’m a writer who has to eat with the children before the adults eat” (quoted in Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel: A Biography, by Judith and Neil Morgan. Da Capo Press, 1996).

Known to readers everywhere as Dr. Seuss, Geisel hadn’t always been a writer of children’s stories. Early in his career he published satirical articles, wrote advertising copy, and drew political cartoons. But even after gaining fame with books about Horton, the Grinch, and other comic characters, he kept his older readers in mind as well. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (1990) may have a reading level of ages four to eight, but it’s most popular as a graduation gift for high school and college students.

Geisel’s thoughts on writing may also be more appropriate for grownups than for kids. After all, the key to good writin

once said, is “meticulosity”–a peculiarly Seussian quality that takes years to learn.

Winnow Out and Write Tight!

You can fool an adult into thinking he’s reading profundities by sprinkling your prose with purple passages. But with a kid you can’t get away with that. Two sentences in a children’s book is the equivalent of two chapters in an adult book.

For a 60-page book I’ll probably write 500 pages. I think that’s why it works. I winnow out.
(quoted in “Dr. Seuss’s Green-Eggs-and-Ham World,” by Judith Frutig. The Christian Science Monitor, May 12, 1978)

Keep It Alive!

We throw in as many fresh words as we can get away with. Simple, short sentences don’t always work. You have to do tricks with pacing, alternate long sentences with short, to keep it alive and vital. Virtually every page is a cliff-hanger–you’ve got to force them to turn it.
(quoted in A Writer Teaches Writing, by Donald Murray. Houghton Mifflin, 1984)

Learn by Yourself!

You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room.
(“On Becoming a Writer.” The New York Times, May 21, 1986)


I tend to basically exaggerate in life, and in writing, it’s fine to exaggerate. I really enjoy overstating for the purpose of getting a laugh. It’s very flattering, that laugh, and at the same time it gives pleasure to the audience and accomplishes more than writing very serious things. For another thing, writing is easier than digging ditches. Well, actually that’s an exaggeration. It isn’t.
(interview in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, 1976)

Do Better!

In late 1990, Ted’s biographers asked if, after all that he had said in his books, there was anything left unsaid. Several days later, Ted handed them a sheet of paper on which he had written: “Any message or slogan? Whenever things go a bit sour in a job I’m doing, I always tell myself, ‘You can do better than this.’

“The best slogan I can think of to leave with the U.S.A. would be: ‘We can . . . and we’ve got to . . . do better than this.'”
(Melissa Kaplan, “Theodor Seuss Geisel: Author Study.” Sonoma State University, 1995)


3 Questions to Ask Your Child Every Night

Night-QuestionsI had an adorable conversation with my three year old right before he went to sleep tonight. In fact, I have a pretty adorable conversation with my three year old almost every night before he’s off to bed, so I thought I’d share what we talk about. In addition to warming my heart, these conversations, I believer, are paving the way for future communication.

As part of our bedtime routine, I ask Charbel three questions each night:

  • What is something that made you smile today?
  • What is something that made you cry today?
  • What is something that you learned today?

With these three questions, our little son opens his heart to me each evening, and starts smiling and laughing all over again as he remember what he enjoyed that day, gets more serious as he talks about something that made him sad, and feels proud when tells me what he learned.

Although this is a very simple conversation, it serves several purposes:

It is helping our sons learn how to communicate. Our two year old is just starting to participate in this discussion as well, and has already been learning about communication by listening to Charbel and I talking together. Sharing is something normal in our family. I want our kids to feel comfortable coming to us later on in their life when they find something challenging, need a shoulder to lean on or just want to share a success. That won’t come out of nowhere. Teaching our children when they are very young that sharing as a family is something good and normal builds a sense of security and trust that will help keep communication pathways open later on.

It shows me, as a mother, how my son viewed the day. Sometimes he brings things up that I wouldn’t have expected, or tells me something about how he felt that surprised me. It helps me, as a parent, to know him better, and to enjoy and share even in moments I might not have been present for. It also tips me off if something my husband or I said/did was misinterpreted.

It’s one more way of helping my child become a life long learner by reflecting each day, albeit briefly, about something he learned that day. This also gives me the opportunity to teach him that even the “negative experiences” (things that made him cry) don’t have to end negatively. Mistakes are normal, and the lessons we learn from them are valuable.

It’s helping my child learn how to pray spontaneously. After he shares about things that made him happy or sad, we take a moment to thank God for the happy things and ask him to help us or forgive us for the tough moments.

It helps Charbel practice expressing his thoughts and emotions verbally.

Finally, it’s something we both love that involves laughter, snuggles and growth, and brings us closer together each night. On his own last night, after answering the questions, Charbel looked at me and said “Your turn, Mommy! What made you happy today?”. So it goes both ways now!

If you don’t already have a similar routine, I highly suggest incorporating these questions into bedtime prep. This conversation with my kids is one of my favorite times of the day because it lets us really CONNECT and helps my sons go to bed happily and peacefully.

by Ellen Mady


Should an Education Fair be Stiff or Relaxed? – My Personal Impressions

Today I had an opportunity to visit The Education Fair. A Fair that was supposed to promote different educational institutions, mostly secondary schools and universities (from Serbia and abroad, Greece, Bulgaria, DAAD Germany, TESOL Institute, Belgrade) and only one private school “Foreign Language Institute Andreja” .

Maybe my expectations  were too high (Charles Dickens, ain’t it) or maybe I was eager to see what is going on in other schools and countries, maybe I was too curious. Whatever the reason I found only a few of them that I, personally, found most attractive. To name just a few: Metropolitan University, The Secondary School of Cooking, Foreign Language Institute Andreja and the Secondary school of Trade and Marketing. When I came home, I reflected a bit on the whole event and this is what I came up with.

When promoting an institution, it is not enough and sufficient to supply a necessary number of fliers and leaflets, a few book editions, or to give and oral presentation of what the institution has to offer. Those stands were the least visited. Why? Simply because they had nothing practical and useful to offer to see, to let the visitors see how the whole concept of a particular educational institution functions. Thus, apart from supplying the  promotional material and a few question and answer conversation, there were no other sorts of presentations.

Luckily, there were a few of them that really put their heart into their presentations and managed to attract the audiences’ attention. And they really deserve to be mentioned and presented through a number of photographs. Please, do not pay attention to the numbered order of the institutions because it is really difficult for me to say which one of them excelled themselves. Each was different and unique. Here is the list:

  1. Metropolitan University, a private university, department for the graphic design that, right on the spot made portraits in literally 15 min, wrote your names using calligraphy. Also, which was even more interesting and fascinating, was the team of young students who did it all, including the explanations of how the university works, sharing their own experience with the audience, (there are even some FREE courses in drawing and maths every Saturday. I got really interested myself.)
  2. Foreign Language Institute Andreja, that presented language games they use while working with students of different ages, a video of how it all functions in the classrooms, with the light music in the background. Did I mention how kind and helpful they were and cute, offering each visitor a candy (I had a few, strawberry my favourite flavor).
  3. The Secondary School of Cooking. You really should have been there to see how those young students, still learning the  cooking skills make beautiful decorations out of apples, carrots,reddishes,oranges and lemon. How devoted they were and patient. True art. A pleasure for the eye. Did I get hungry? Don’t ask.
  4. The Secondary School of Trade and Marketing that made their own shop window with a doll whose skirt was decorated with plastic cups. Looked really different. A real Haute Couture.
  5. The last but not the least, ‘Bora Stanković’, Grammar School, probably the only school in the country and wordwide that has published the school newspapers in both English and Serbian, “We Did It Our Way” and “Boropoliten”. Let alone the students of the same school who eagerly talked about a variety of activities that are being carried out throughout the school, apart from regular curriculum: famous writers giving speeches, fancy dress parties, humanitarian concerts, projects and many many more.

In the end my message to everyone who takes part in such an event. Forget about being too formal and distant. You are NOT at the business meeting. Be more personal, creative, natural, interesting and heart-warming, since your goal is to attract your audience and future potential clients meaning students. It’s a fair not an exam.Therefore, make your presentation in such a way that it pleases all the senses. See you next year, hopefully with the attitude changed. 😉

A Room of One’s Own

Virginia Wolf on Why the Best Mind is an Androgynous Mind

by Maria Popova

In each of us two powers preside, one male, one female… The androgynous mind is resonant and porous… naturally creative, incandescent and undivided.”

In addition to being one of the greatest writers and most expansive minds humanity ever produced, Virginia Woolf (January 25, 1882–March 28, 1941) was also a woman of exceptional wisdom on such complexities of living as consciousness and creativity, the consolations of aging, how one should read a book, and the artist’s eternal dance with self-doubt.

So incisive was her insight into the human experience that, many decades before scientists demonstrated why “psychological androgyny” is essential to creativity, Woolf articulated this idea in a beautiful passage from her classic 1929 book-length essay A Room of One’s Own (public library).

A year after she subverted censorship and revolutionized the politics of gender identity with her novel Orlando, Woolf writes:

The mind is certainly a very mysterious organ … about which nothing whatever is known, though we depend upon it so completely. Why do I feel that there are severances and oppositions in the mind, as there are strains from obvious causes on the body? What does one mean by “the unity of the mind”? … Clearly the mind has so great a power of concentrating at any point at any moment that it seems to have no single state of being. It can separate itself from the people in the street, for example, and think of itself as apart from them, at an upper window looking down on them. Or it can think with other people spontaneously, as, for instance, in a crowd waiting to hear some piece of news read out.

Long before cognitive scientists were able to tell us exactly how the mind does this, Woolf concludes:

Clearly the mind is always altering its focus, and bringing the world into different perspectives.

Illustration from ‘I’m Glad I’m a Boy!: I’m Glad I’m a Girl!,’ a 1970 picture-book satirizing limiting gender norms. Click image for details.

Since male and female are the very first categories of experience into which we are placed as newborns and which continue to shape society’s expectations of us throughout our lives, the perspectives attached to each gendered experience are among the most profound and persistent sources of difference in human culture. But Woolf argues that the most fertile mental and spiritual landscape is one where there is ample cross-pollination between the two:

When I saw the couple get into the taxicab the mind felt as if, after being divided, it had come together again in a natural fusion. The obvious reason would be that it is natural for the sexes to co-operate. One has a profound, if irrational, instinct in favour of the theory that the union of man and woman makes for the greatest satisfaction, the most complete happiness. But the sight of the two people getting into the taxi and the satisfaction it gave me made me also ask whether there are two sexes in the mind corresponding to the two sexes in the body, and whether they also require to be united in order to get complete satisfaction and happiness? And I went on amateurishly to sketch a plan of the soul so that in each of us two powers preside, one male, one female; and in the man’s brain the man predominates over the woman, and in the woman’s brain the woman predominates over the man. The normal and comfortable state of being is that when the two live in harmony together, spiritually co-operating. If one is a man, still the woman part of his brain must have effect; and a woman also must have intercourse with the man in her.

Illustration by Yang Liu from ‘Man Meets Woman,’ a pictogram critique of gender stereotypes. Click image for details.

Turning to Samuel Taylor Coleridge for ratification — “The truth is,” the celebrated poet and philosopher wrote in 1832, “a great mind must be androgynous.” — she adds:

Coleridge perhaps meant this when he said that a great mind is androgynous. It is when this fusion takes place that the mind is fully fertilized and uses all its faculties. Perhaps a mind that is purely masculine cannot create, any more than a mind that is purely feminine, I thought. But it would be well to test what one meant by man-womanly, and conversely by woman-manly, by pausing and looking at a book or two.

Coleridge … meant, perhaps, that the androgynous mind is resonant and porous; that it transmits emotion without impediment; that it is naturally creative, incandescent and undivided. In fact one goes back to Shakespeare’s mind as the type of the androgynous, of the man-womanly mind… And if it be true that it is one of the tokens of the fully developed mind that it does not think specially or separately of sex, how much harder it is to attain that condition now than ever before… No age can ever have been as stridently sex-conscious as our own…

A Room of One’s Own remains one of the most rewarding and rereadable books ever written. Complement this particular point of genius with Ursula K. Le Guin’s spectacular essay on being a man and the contemporary cognitive science of psychological androgyny, then revisit Woolf on the creative benefits of keeping a diary, the malady of middlebrow, her little-known children’s book, and the only surviving recording of her voice.


Apparently, The Common Core will Fail!

download (3)Speaker Bio — Dr. Duke Pesta

Dr. Duke Pesta received his M.A. in Renaissance literature from John Carroll University and his Ph.D. in Shakespeare and Renaissance literature from Purdue University.

He has taught at major research institutions and small liberal arts colleges, and his been active in education reform, developing and implementing an elective Bible course that is currently available for public high school students in Texas. He is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh and the Academic Director of FreedomProject Education. – In the comment below you can find a clip in which he explains why the Common Core should not be accepted.

My Resignation Letter, Letter 2 – Pauline Hawkins

Dear Administrators, Superintendent, et al.:

This is my official resignation letter from my English teaching position.

I’m sad to be leaving a place that has meant so much to me. This was my first teaching job. For eleven years I taught in these classrooms, I walked these halls, and I befriended colleagues, students, and parents alike. This school became part of my family, and I will be forever connected to this community for that reason.

I am grateful for having had the opportunity to serve my community as a teacher. I met the most incredible people here. I am forever changed by my brilliant and compassionate colleagues and the incredible students I’ve had the pleasure of teaching.

I know I have made a difference in the lives of my students, just as they have irrevocably changed mine. Teaching is the most rewarding job I have ever had. That is why I am sad to leave the profession I love.

Even though I am primarily leaving to be closer to my family, if my family were in Colorado, I would not be able to continue teaching here. As a newly single mom, I cannot live in this community on the salary I make as a teacher. With the effects of the pay freeze still lingering and Colorado having one of the lowest yearly teaching salaries in the nation, it has become financially impossible for me to teach in this state.

Along with the salary issue, ethically, I can no longer work in an educational system that is spiraling downwards while it purports to improve the education of our children.

I began my career just as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was gaining momentum. The difference between my students then and now is unmistakable. Regardless of grades or test scores, my students from five to eleven years ago still had a sense of pride in whom they were and a self-confidence in whom they would become someday. Sadly, that type of student is rare now. Every year I have seen a decline in student morale; every year I have more and more wounded students sitting in my classroom, more and more students participating in self-harm and bullying. These children are lost and in pain.

It is no coincidence that the students I have now coincide with the NCLB movement twelve years ago–and it’s only getting worse with the new legislation around Race to the Top.

I have sweet, incredible, intelligent children sitting in my classroom who are giving up on their lives already. They feel that they only have failure in their futures because they’ve been told they aren’t good enough by a standardized test; they’ve been told that they can’t be successful because they aren’t jumping through the right hoops on their educational paths. I have spent so much time trying to reverse those thoughts, trying to help them see that education is not punitive; education is the only way they can improve their lives. But the truth is, the current educational system is punishing them for their inadequacies, rather than helping them discover their unique talents; our educational system is failing our children because it is not meeting their needs.

I can no longer be a part of a system that continues to do the exact opposite of what I am supposed to do as a teacher–I am supposed to help them think for themselves, help them find solutions to problems, help them become productive members of society. Instead, the emphasis on Common Core Standards and high-stakes testing is creating a teach-to-the-test mentality for our teachers and stress and anxiety for our students. Students have increasingly become hesitant to think for themselves because they have been programmed to believe that there is one right answer that they may or may not have been given yet. That is what school has become: A place where teachers must give students “right” answers, so students can prove (on tests riddled with problems, by the way) that teachers have taught students what the standards have deemed to be a proper education.

As unique as my personal situation might be, I know I am not the only teacher feeling this way. Instead of weeding out the “bad” teachers, this evaluation system will continue to frustrate the teachers who are doing everything they can to ensure their students are graduating with the skills necessary to become civic minded individuals. We feel defeated and helpless: If we speak out, we are reprimanded for not being team players; if we do as we are told, we are supporting a broken system.

Since I’ve worked here, we have always asked the question of every situation: “Is this good for kids?” My answer to this new legislation is, “No. This is absolutely not good for kids.” I cannot stand by and watch this happen to our precious children–our future. The irony is I cannot fight for their rights while I am working in the system. Therefore, I will not apply for another teaching job anywhere in this country while our government continues to ruin public education. Instead, I will do my best to be an advocate for change. I will continue to fight for our children’s rights for a free and proper education because their very lives depend upon it.

My final plea as a district employee is that the principals and superintendent ask themselves the same questions I have asked myself: “Is this good for kids? Is the state money being spent wisely to keep and attract good teachers? Can the district do a better job of advocating for our children and become leaders in this educational system rather than followers?” With my resignation, I hope to inspire change in the district I have come to love. As Benjamin Franklin once said: “All mankind is divided into three classes: Those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.” I want to be someone who moves and makes things happen. Which one do you want to be?


Pauline Hawkins

What are the actual results of the Common Core – Letter 1

Teacher’s resignation letter: ‘My profession … no longer exists’

by Valerie Strauss


i-quitIncreasingly teachers are speaking out against school reforms that they believe are demeaning their profession, and some are simply quitting because they have had enough.

Here is one resignation letter from a veteran teacher, Gerald J. Conti, a social studies teacher at Westhill High School in Syracuse, N.Y.:

Mr. Casey Barduhn, Superintendent
Westhill Central School District
400 Walberta Park Road
Syracuse, New York 13219

Dear Mr. Barduhn and Board of Education Members:

It is with the deepest regret that I must retire at the close of this school year, ending my more than twenty-seven years of service at Westhill on June 30, under the provisions of the 2012-15 contract. I assume that I will be eligible for any local or state incentives that may be offered prior to my date of actual retirement and I trust that I may return to the high school at some point as a substitute teacher.

As with Lincoln and Springfield, I have grown from a young to an old man here; my brother died while we were both employed here; my daughter was educated here, and I have been touched by and hope that I have touched hundreds of lives in my time here. I know that I have been fortunate to work with a small core of some of the finest students and educators on the planet.

I came to teaching forty years ago this month and have been lucky enough to work at a small liberal arts college, a major university and this superior secondary school. To me, history has been so very much more than a mere job, it has truly been my life, always driving my travel, guiding all of my reading and even dictating my television and movie viewing. Rarely have I engaged in any of these activities without an eye to my classroom and what I might employ in a lesson, a lecture or a presentation. With regard to my profession, I have truly attempted to live John Dewey’s famous quotation (now likely cliché with me, I’ve used it so very often) that  “Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself.” This type of total immersion is what I have always referred to as teaching “heavy,” working hard, spending time, researching, attending to details and never feeling satisfied that I knew enough on any topic. I now find that this approach to my profession is not only devalued, but denigrated and perhaps, in some quarters despised. STEM rules the day and “data driven” education seeks only conformity, standardization, testing and a zombie-like adherence to the shallow and generic Common Core, along with a lockstep of oversimplified so-called Essential Learnings. Creativity, academic freedom, teacher autonomy, experimentation and innovation are being stifled in a misguided effort to fix what is not broken in our system of public education and particularly not at Westhill.

A long train of failures has brought us to this unfortunate pass. In their pursuit of Federal tax dollars, our legislators have failed us by selling children out to private industries such as Pearson Education. The New York State United Teachers union has let down its membership by failing to mount a much more effective and vigorous campaign against this same costly and dangerous debacle. Finally, it is with sad reluctance that I say our own administration has been both uncommunicative and unresponsive to the concerns and needs of our staff and students by establishing testing and evaluation systems that are Byzantine at best and at worst, draconian. This situation has been exacerbated by other actions of the administration, in either refusing to call open forum meetings to discuss these pressing issues, or by so constraining the time limits of such meetings that little more than a conveying of information could take place. This lack of leadership at every level has only served to produce confusion, a loss of confidence and a dramatic and rapid decaying of morale. The repercussions of these ill-conceived policies will be telling and shall resound to the detriment of education for years to come. The analogy that this process is like building the airplane while we are flying would strike terror in the heart of anyone should it be applied to an actual airplane flight, a medical procedure, or even a home repair. Why should it be acceptable in our careers and in the education of our children?

My profession is being demeaned by a pervasive atmosphere of distrust, dictating that teachers cannot be permitted to develop and administer their own quizzes and tests (now titled as generic “assessments”) or grade their own students’ examinations. The development of plans, choice of lessons and the materials to be employed are increasingly expected to be common to all teachers in a given subject. This approach not only strangles creativity, it smothers the development of critical thinking in our students and assumes a one-size-fits-all mentality more appropriate to the assembly line than to the classroom. Teacher planning time has also now been so greatly eroded by a constant need to “prove up” our worth to the tyranny of APPR (through the submission of plans, materials and “artifacts” from our teaching) that there is little time for us to carefully critique student work, engage in informal intellectual discussions with our students and colleagues, or conduct research and seek personal improvement through independent study. We have become increasingly evaluation and not knowledge driven. Process has become our most important product, to twist a phrase from corporate America, which seems doubly appropriate to this case.

After writing all of this I realize that I am not leaving my profession, in truth, it has left me. It no longer exists. I feel as though I have played some game halfway through its fourth quarter, a timeout has been called, my teammates’ hands have all been tied, the goal posts moved, all previously scored points and honors expunged and all of the rules altered.

For the last decade or so, I have had two signs hanging above the blackboard at the front of my classroom, they read, “Words Matter” and “Ideas Matter”. While I still believe these simple statements to be true, I don’t feel that those currently driving public education have any inkling of what they mean.

Sincerely and with regret,

Gerald J. Conti
Social Studies Department Leader

Cc: Doreen Bronchetti, Lee Roscoe
My little Zu.

Theory vs. Practice – Common Core

Colbert’s ‘Common Core Confusion’

download (2)Stephen Colbert took on the Common Core State Standards on his “Colbert Report”, and it was hilarious.Here’s partial transcript:

It is no secret that President Barack Obama wants to indoctrinate our students with his Socialist agenda. I’ve even heard some disturbing rumors that kindergartners are being forced to share. That’s why I’ve long opposed his Common Core curriculum, which sets uniform education standards across all 50 states. No way mister. Different states have different values. I don’t want my kids ending up in Colorado’s drug education course which classifies weed as a condiment.

But folks, as much as I didn’t expect it, I may be coming around to the Common Core because it turns out that Common Core testing prepares our students for what they will face as adults, pointless stress and confusion.

[Then he shows some clips of news shows talking about how much stress Common Core testing is producing and says:]

Oh come on! Tests are supposed to be stressful. That’s why its called a blood pressure test which, by the way, I aced with a perfect 1600….

There’s hard proof that  the Common Core has already opened up our children’s minds to new ways of thinking. Just look at this actual answer [to a Common Core question] given by a California second grader:

Mike saw 17 blue cars and 25 green cars at the toy store. How many cars did he see? Write a number sentence with a [ ] for the missing number. Explain how the number sentence shows the problem.

17+25= [42] I got the answer by talking in my brain and I agree of the answer that my brain got.images (2)

Introducing Sir Ken Robinson

Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education

Although I haven’t had the opportunity to read any of Sir Ken Robins’ books, I am a devoted follower of his FB profile and webpage, where he posts a variety of articles concerning the necessity for the educational system change.

Maybe many of you have heard about him, his work and his mission. If not, here is a short summary of his work and endeavor in the field of education.

Creative Schools

Creative Schools

‘A revolutionary reappraisal of how to educate our children and young people by the New York Times bestselling author of The Element and Finding Your Element.

Ken Robinson is one of the world’s most influential voices in education, and his 2006 TED Talk on the subject is the most viewed in the organization’s history. Now, the internationally recognized leader on creativity and human potential focuses on one of the most critical issues of our time: how to transform the nation’s troubled educational system. At a time when standardized testing businesses are raking in huge profits, when many schools are struggling, and students and educators everywhere are suffering under the strain, Robinson points the way forward. He argues for an end to our outmoded industrial educational system and proposes a highly personalized, organic approach that draws on today’s unprecedented technological and professional resources to engage all students, develop their love of learning, and enable them to face the real challenges of the twenty-first century. Filled with anecdotes, observations and recommendations from professionals on the front line of transformative education, case histories, and groundbreaking research—and written with Robinson’s trademark wit and engaging style—Creative Schools will inspire teachers, parents, and policy makers alike to rethink the real nature and purpose of education.’

The Element

The Element

Source:Sir Ken Robins website

Why Readers, Scientifically, Are The Best People To Fall In Love With

Photo Courtesy: We Hear it

Photo Courtesy: We Hear it

Ever finished a book? I mean, truly finished one? Cover to cover. Closed the spine with that slow awakening that comes with reentering consciousness?

You take a breath, deep from the bottom of your lungs and sit there. Book in both hands, your head staring down at the cover, back page or wall in front of you.

You’re grateful, thoughtful, pensive. You feel like a piece of you was just gained and lost. You’ve just experienced something deep, something intimate. (Maybe, erotic?) You just had an intense and somewhat transient metamorphosis.

Like falling in love with a stranger you will never see again, you ache with the yearning and sadness of an ended affair, but at the same time, feel satisfied. Full from the experience, the connection, the richness that comes after digesting another soul. You feel fed, if only for a little while.

This type of reading, according to TIME magazine’s Annie Murphy Paul, is called “deep reading,” a practice that is soon to be extinct now that people are skimming more and reading less.

Readers, like voicemail leavers and card writers, are now a dying breed, their numbers decreasing with every GIF list and online tabloid.

The worst part about this looming extinction is that readers are proven to be nicer and smarter than the average human, and maybe the only people worth falling in love with on this shallow hell on earth.

According to both 2006 and 2009 studies published by Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada, and Keith Oatley, a professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, those who read fiction are capable of the most empathy and “theory of mind,” which is the ability to hold opinions, beliefs and interests apart from their own.

They can entertain other ideas, without rejecting them and still retain their own. While this is supposed to be an innate trait in all humans, it requires varying levels of social experiences to bring into fruition and probably the reason your last partner was such a narcissist.

Did you ever see your ex with a book? Did you ever talk about books? If you didn’t, maybe you should think about changing your type.

It’s no surprise that readers are better people. Having experienced someone else’s life through abstract eyes, they’ve learned what it’s like to leave their bodies and see the world through other frames of reference.

They have access to hundreds of souls, and the collected wisdom of all them. They have seen things you’ll never understand and have experienced deaths of people you’ll never know.

They’ve learned what it’s like to be a woman, and a man. They know what it’s like to watch someone suffer. They are wise beyond their years.

Another 2010 study by Mar reinforces this idea with results that prove the more stories children have read to them, the keener their “theory of mind.” So while everyone thinks their kids are the best, the ones who read have the edge as they truly are the wiser, more adaptable and understanding children.

Because reading is something that molds you and adds to your character. Each triumph, lesson and pivotal moment of the protagonist becomes your own.

Every ache, pain and harsh truth becomes yours to bear. You’ve traveled with authors and experienced the pain, sorrow and anguish they suffered while writing through it. You’ve lived a thousand lives and come back to learn from each of them.

If you’re still looking for someone to complete you, to fill the void of your singly-healed heart, look for the breed that’s dying out. You will find them in coffee shops, parks and subways.

You will see them with backpacks, shoulder bags and suitcases. They will be inquisitive and soulful, and you will know by the first few minutes of talking to them.

They Won’t Talk To You… They’ll Speak To You

They will write you letters and texts in verse. They are verbose, but not in the obnoxious way. They do not merely answer questions and give statements, but counter with deep thoughts and profound theories. They will enrapture you with their knowledge of words and ideas.

According to the study, “What Reading Does For The Mind” by Anne E. Cunningham of the University of California, Berkeley, reading provides a vocabulary lesson that children could never attain by schooling.

According to Cunningham, “the bulk of vocabulary growth during a child’s lifetime occurs indirectly through language exposure rather than through direct teaching.”

Do yourself a favor and date someone who really knows how to use their tongue.

They Don’t Just Get You… They Understand You

You should only fall in love with someone who can see your soul. It should be someone who has reached inside you and holds those innermost parts of you no one could find before. It should be someone who doesn’t just know you, but wholly and completely understands you.

According to Psychologist David Comer Kidd, at the New School for Social Research, “What great writers do is to turn you into the writer. In literary fiction, the incompleteness of the characters turns your mind to trying to understand the minds of others.”

This is proved over and over again, the more people take to reading. Their ability to connect with characters they haven’t met makes their understanding of the people around them much easier.

They have the capacity for empathy. They may not always agree with you, but they will try to see things from your point of view.

They’re Not Just Smart… They’re Wise

Being overly smart is obnoxious, being wise is a turn on. There’s something irresistible about someone you can learn from. The need for banter and witty conversation is more imperative than you may believe, and falling in love with a reader will enhance not just the conversation, but the level of it.

According to Cunningham, readers are more intelligent, due to their increased vocabulary and memory skills, along with their ability to spot patterns. They have higher cognitive functions than the average non-reader and can communicate more thoroughly and effectively.

Finding someone who reads is like dating a thousand souls. It’s gaining the experience they’ve gained from everything they’ve ever read and the wisdom that comes with those experiences. It’s like dating a professor, a romantic and an explorer.

If you date someone who reads, then you, too, will live a thousand different lives.

by Lauren Martin


Happy Easter Everyone

Spinach Chicken Salad

Spinach Chicken Salad

We should all know by now what the story behind Easter is, so I wouldn’t like to post  anything of the kind. So, instead of posting something about the origin of the holiday, customs (which vary from country to country) or post a picture postcard, I have decided to be more practical, useful and hopefully open up the appetites for the majority of viewers.

For this occasion my choice is a recipe, Italian style. It’s healthy, rich enough in nutritious ingredients. Even if there are more calories than recommended, well, what the hack, it’s Easter, the time of family gathering, laughter, joy, fun and love. A good excuse NOT to think about the calories.

In addition, if you are teaching cooking course you can make your students busy by making this salad for the class, allowing them to use their imagination and alter the recipe. When the class is over, serve it around the school.

I am certain that everyone will be dazzled by this crunchy salad. This hearty plateful makes a satisfying entry. Bon apetite!

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + chilling
MAKES: 8-10 servings


  • 5 cups cubed cooked chicken (about 3 whole breasts)
  • 2 cups green grape halves
  • 1 cup snow peas
  • 2 cups packed torn spinach
  • 2-1/2 cups sliced celery
  • 7 ounces spiral pasta or elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 1 jar (6 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1/2 large cucumber, sliced
  • 3 green onions with tops, sliced
  • Large spinach leaves, optional
  • Oranges slices, optional
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


  1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, grapes, peas, spinach, celery, pasta, artichoke hearts, cucumber and green onions. Cover and refrigerate. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. Just before serving, whisk dressing and pour over salad; toss to coat. If desired, serve on a spinach leaf and garnish with oranges. Yield: 8-10 servings.



Fictitious Dishes Elegant and Imaginative Photographs from Famous Literature


From James Joyce to Maurice Sendak, by way of weep-worthy jelly and gifted chickens.

Food and literature have a long and arduous relationship, from the Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook to Jane Austen reimagined in recipes to Alice B. Toklas’s literary memoir disguised as a cookbook to those delicious dishes inspired by Alice in Wonderland. But nowhere does that relationship come alive more vividly and enchantingly than in Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature’s Most Memorable Meals (public library | IndieBound) — an ingenious project by designer and writer Dinah Fried, who cooks, art-directs, and photographs meals from nearly two centuries of famous fiction. Each photograph is accompanied by the particular passage in which the recipe appeared, as well as a few quick and curious factlets about the respective author, novel, or food.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, 1963

‘Then I tackled the avocado and crabmeat salad…Every Sunday my grandfather used to bring me an avocado pear hidden at the bottom of his briefcase under six soiled shirts and the Sunday comic.’

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, 1951

‘When I’m out somewhere, I generally just eat a Swiss cheese sandwich and a malted milk. It isn’t much, but you get quite a lot of vitamins in the malted milk. H. V. Caulfield. Holden Vitamin Caulfield.’

The project began as a modest design exercise while Fried was attending the Rhode Island School of Design a couple of years ago, but the concept quickly gripped her with greater allure that transcended her original short-term deadline. As she continued to read and cook, a different sort of self-transcendence took place (after all, isn’t that the greatest gift of literature?): A near-vegetarian, she found herself wrestling with pig kidney for Ulysses and cooking bananas eleven ways for Gravity’s Rainbow.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, 1865

‘Have some wine,’ the March Hare said in an encouraging tone. Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea.’

On the Road by Jack Kerouac, 1957

‘But I had to get going and stop moaning, so I picked up my bag, said so long to the old hotelkeeper sitting by his spittoon, and went to eat. I ate apple pie and ice cream — it was getting better as I got deeper into Iowa, the pie bigger, the ice cream richer.’

The book begins with a beautiful quote from Ray Bradbury’s 1953 classicFahrenheit 451:

I ate them like salad, books were my sandwich for lunch, my tiffin and dinner and midnight munch. I tore out the pages, ate them with salt, doused them with relish, gnawed on the bindings, turned the chapters with my tongue! Books by the dozen, the score and the billion. I carried so many home I was hunchbacked for years. Philosophy, art history, politics, social science, the poem, the essay, the grandiose play, you name ’em, I ate ’em.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925

‘On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors-d’oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold.’

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1910-1911

‘Roasted eggs were a previously unknown luxury and very hot potatoes with salt and fresh butter in them were fit for a woodland king—besides being deliciously satisfying.’

Fried, whom I had the pleasure of advising briefly during her graduate thesis at RISD, reflects on her long-term love affair with the culinary details of famous fiction, which possess a unique multi-sensory capacity to transport the reader into a specific world and thus grant the singular gift of exceptionally vivid memories:

Many of my most vivid memories from books are of the meals the characters eat. I read Heidi more than twenty years ago, but I can still taste the golden, cheesy toast that her grandfather serves her, and I can still feel the anticipation and comfort she experiences as she watches him prepare it over the open fire. I remember some meals for the moment they signify within a story: the minty cupcakes that Melissa gives to Chip in The Corrections — a marker of their love affair, which causes Chip’s professional downfall and general unraveling. Other meals have stayed with me for the atmosphere they help convey. Recently, a friend told me that after reading Lolita, he began to drink gin and pineapple juice, a favorite combination of the novel’s narrator, Humbert Humbert. I read Lolita when I was barely older than Lolita herself and was amazed that my friend’s description of the cocktail catapulted me back to the distinct world that Nabokov had created: a sticky New England summer when an intoxicated, lust-lorn Humbert Humbert mows the unruly lawn in the hot sun, pining for Dolores, who is away at camp. Likewise, Melville’s description of steaming chowder in Moby-Dick evokes a vision of Ishmael’s seafaring life: salty, damp ocean air on a dark evening; finding solace in a cozy, warmly lit inn with a toasty dining room filled with good cheer and the rich smell of fresh seafood.

All of Fried’s photographs are immensely thoughtful (Ishmael’s austere dinner from Moby-Dick is not only a nautically appropriate serving of clam chowder, but also appears lit by candlelight), and some bear a distinct undertone of cultural meta-satire (representing A Confederacy of Dunces is the ultimate edible Americana, a hot dog on a classic All-American diner tablecloth).

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, 1980

‘Stopping before the narrow garage, he sniffed the fumes from Paradise with great sensory pleasure, the protruding hairs in his nostrils analyzing, cataloging, categorizing, and classifying the distinct odors of the hot dog, mustard, and lubricant.’

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, 1851

‘Our appetites being sharpened by the frosty voyage, and in particular, Queequeg seeing his favorite fishing food before him, and the chowder being surpassingly excellent, we despatched it with great expedition…’

In a sentiment reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s parallel between food and intellectual consumption, Fried writes:

Reading and eating are natural companions, and they’ve got a lot in common. Reading is consumption. Eating is consumption. Both are comforting, nourishing, restorative, relaxing, and mostly enjoyable. They can energize you or put you to sleep. Heavy books and heavy meals both require a period of intense digestion. Just as reading great novels can transport you to another time and place, meals — good and bad ones alike — can conjure scenes very far away from your kitchen table. Some of my favorite meals convey stories of origin and tradition; as a voracious reader, I devour my favorite books.

Heidi by Joanna Spyri, 1880

‘The kettle soon began to boil, and meanwhile the old man held a large piece of cheese on a long iron fork over the fire, turning it round and round till it was toasted a nice golden yellow color on each side. Heidi watched all that was going on with eager curiosity.’

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, 1915

‘There were old, half-rotten vegetables; bones from the evening meal, covered in white sauce that had gone hard; a few raisins and almonds; some cheese that Gregor had declared inedible two days before; a dry roll and some bread spread with butter and salt….’

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson, 1971

”You goddamn honkies are all the same.’ By this time he’d opened a new bottle of tequila and was quaffing it down….He sliced the grapefruit into quarters…then into eighths…then sixteenths…then he began slashing aimlessly at the residue.’

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, 1837

‘Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose from the table; and advancing to the master, basin and spoon in hand, said: somewhat alarmed at his own temerity: ‘Please, sir, I want some more.’’

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, 1960

”Gracious alive, Cal, what’s all this?’ He was staring at his breakfast plate. Calpurnia said, ‘Tom Robinson’s daddy sent you along this chicken this morning. I fixed it.’ ‘You tell him I’m proud to get it — bet they don’t have chicken for breakfast at the White House.’’

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, 2005

‘She improvised bandages and covered the wound with a makeshift compress. Then she poured the coffee and handed him a sandwich. ‘I’m really not hungry,’ he said. ‘I don’t give a damn if you’re hungry. Just eat,’ Salander commanded, taking a big bite of her own cheese sandwich.’

Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust, 1913

‘One day in winter, as I came home, my mother, seeing that I was cold, suggested that, contrary to my habit, I have a little tea. I refused at first and then, I do not know why, changed my mind. She sent for one of those squat, plump cakes called petites madeleines…’

But as a hopeless admirer of Maurice Sendak, this is my indisputable favorite:

‘Chicken Soup with Rice’ by Maurice Sendak, 1962

The final pages of Fictitious Dishes, which is an absolute delight in its entirety, also feature one of the loveliest dedications I’ve ever laid heart on:

Thank you and love to my father, for teaching me to read carefully, and to my mother, for teaching me to look closely.

For a side order of literary deliciousness, see Alexandre Dumas’s rules of dining etiquette and some scrumptious recipes inspired by Jane Austen’s novels.

All photographs courtesy of Dinah Fried


32 hilarious kids’ test answers that are too brilliant to be wrong.

School tests are stressful. We have all been there! And we all likely have had our fair share of wrong answers during our scholastic career.

But no matter how wrong your answers were, I seriously doubt they could top the ones you are about to see.

These are so bad they are good and it has me thinking some of these kids are just plain brilliantly ironic! Or maybe they just made some mistakes under stress. Either way they have treated us with a few minutes of hilarious for sure!

If you like this post, don’t be selfish, share it with your friends on Facebook!


































































Brits have the world’s sexiest accents, survey finds

Trafalgar Square, London, A couple MAGE: MATT DUNHAM/ASSOCIATED PRES

Trafalgar Square, London, A couple

The British Empire may no longer be the biggest on Earth, but the world still thinks their accents are the sexiest. A British accent is the world’s most attractive accent, according to a recent Time Out dating survey. A whopping 27% of 11,000 survey participants in 24 cities across the globe believe British accents easily outpace any other accent.

The United States placed second, with 8.7% of respondents voting that American was their favorite accent. Irish and Australian accents came in at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, meaning English-speaking languages rounded out the top four spots. Here’s the full list:

  1. British
  2. American
  3. Irish
  4. Australian
  5. French
  6. Italian
  7. Spanish
  8. Scottish
  9. Latin American
  10. Scandinavian

French, the language of love, placed a measly fifth; however, Frenchmen might prefer to cite the findings of a survey from 2013, which found that French was the world’s sexiest language. In 2009, Irish topped the list as world’s sexiest accent in a poll of 5,000 women; French placed fourth while British finished at No. 6. For now, though, the British accent can enjoy its reign. Cheers. Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. Source:

If William Shakespeare Had Written Star Wars


“In time so long ago begins our play / In star-crossed galaxy far, far away.”

Though William Shakespeare regularly dominates surveys of the greatest literature of all time, he remains a surprisingly controversial figure of literary history — while some believe The Bard profoundly changed modern life, others question whether he wrote anything at all. Doubts of authorship aside, one thing Shakespeare most certainly didn’t write is the cult-classic Star Wars — but he, as Ian Doescher brilliantly imagines, could have: Behold William Shakespeare’s Star Wars (public library), a masterwork of literary parody on par with the household tips of famous writers andEdgar Allan Poe as an Amazon reviewer.

Accompanying Doescher’s sonnets are ominously beautiful illustrations by Paris-based artist Nicolas Delort.

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars is delightful in its entirety and the best thing since Star Wars reimagined as a Muppets comic.


Speaking a second language may change how you see the world

EYEEM/ISTOCKPHOTO German speakers are likely to imagine where this woman is going and English speakers to focus on her journey, but bilinguals may be able to have it both ways.

German speakers are likely to imagine where this woman is going and English speakers to focus on her journey, but bilinguals may be able to have it both ways.

Where did the thief go? You might get a more accurate answer if you ask the question in German. How did she get away? Now you might want to switch to English. Speakers of the two languages put different emphasis on actions and their consequences, influencing the way they think about the world, according to a new study. The work also finds that bilinguals may get the best of both worldviews, as their thinking can be more flexible.

Cognitive scientists have debated whether your native language shapes how you think since the 1940s. The idea has seen a revival in recent decades, as a growing number of studies suggested that language can prompt speakers to pay attention to certain features of the world. Russian speakers are faster to distinguish shades of blue than English speakers, for example. And Japanese speakers tend to group objects by material rather than shape, whereas Koreans focus on how tightly objects fit together. Still, skeptics argue that such results are laboratory artifacts, or at best reflect cultural differences between speakers that are unrelated to language.

In the new study, researchers turned to people who speak multiple languages. By studying bilinguals, “we’re taking that classic debate and turning it on its head,” says psycholinguist Panos Athanasopoulos of Lancaster University in the United Kingdom. Rather than ask whether speakers of different languages have different minds, he says, “we ask, ‘Can two different minds exist within one person?’ ”

Athanasopoulos and colleagues were interested in a particular difference in how English and German speakers treat events. English has a grammatical toolkit for situating actions in time: “I was sailing to Bermuda and I saw Elvis” is different from “I sailed to Bermuda and I saw Elvis.” German doesn’t have this feature. As a result, German speakers tend to specify the beginnings, middles, and ends of events, but English speakers often leave out the endpoints and focus in on the action. Looking at the same scene, for example, German speakers might say, “A man leaves the house and walks to the store,” whereas an English speaker would just say, “A man is walking.”

This linguistic difference seems to influence how speakers of the two languages view events, according to the new study. Athanasopoulos and colleagues asked 15 native speakers of each language to watch a series of video clips that showed people walking, biking, running, or driving. In each set of three videos, the researchers asked subjects to decide whether a scene with an ambiguous goal (a woman walks down a road toward a parked car) was more similar to a clearly goal-oriented scene (a woman walks into a building) or a scene with no goal (a woman walks down a country lane). German speakers matched ambiguous scenes with goal-oriented scenes about 40% of the time on average, compared with 25% among English speakers. This difference implies that German speakers are more likely to focus on possible outcomes of people’s actions, but English speakers pay more attention to the action itself.

Bilingual speakers, meanwhile, seemed to switch between these perspectives based on the language most active in their minds. The researchers found that 15 Germans fluent in English were just as goal-focused as any other native speaker when tested in German in their home country. But a similar group of 15 German-English bilinguals tested in English in the United Kingdom were just as action-focused as native English speakers. This change could also be seen as an effect of culture, but a second experiment showed that bilinguals can also switch perspectives as fast as they can switch languages.

In another group of 30 German-English bilinguals, the researchers kept one language busy during the video-matching task by making participants repeat strings of numbers out loud in either English or German. Distracting one language seemed to automatically bring the influence of the other language to the fore. When researchers “blocked” English, subjects acted like typical Germans and saw ambiguous videos as more goal-oriented. With German blocked, bilingual subjects acted like English speakers and matched ambiguous and open-ended scenes. When the researchers surprised subjects by switching the language of the distracting numbers halfway through the experiment, the subjects’ focus on goals versus process switched right along with it.

The results suggest that a second language can play an important unconscious role in framing perception, the authors conclude online this month in Psychological Science. “By having another language, you have an alternative vision of the world,” Athanasopoulos says. “You can listen to music from only one speaker, or you can listen in stereo … It’s the same with language.”

“This is an important advance,” says cognitive scientist Phillip Wolff of Emory University in Atlanta who wasn’t connected to the study. “If you’re a bilingual speaker, you’re able to entertain different perspectives and go back and forth,” he says. “That really hasn’t been shown before.”

But researchers who doubt that language plays a central role in thinking are likely to remain skeptical. The artificial laboratory setting may make people rely on language more than they normally would, says cognitive psychologist Barbara Malt of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. “In a real-world situation, I could find reasons to pay attention to the continuity of an action and other reasons where I would pay attention to the endpoint,” she says. “Nothing says I have to be a bilingual to do that … It doesn’t mean language is the lens through which I see the world.”

by Nicholas Wieler


31 Outstanding Quotes from Nikola Tesla

There aerahaetare many great scientists, but certainly one of the greatest is Nikola Tesla, who is often referred to as “the man who invented the 20th century”. He is less famous than Albert Einstein or Thomas Edison, but his contribution to mankind is simply immeasurable.

Tesla was quiet and modest inventor, a genius who lived and suffered for his inventions and who did not receive the majority of recognition for his work. This mysterious man brought to the world a system of alternating current (what powers every home on the planet), radar, radio, x-rays, transistor, and many more things that we are using in the present. However, as the years pass the significance of Tesla’s inventions are increasingly gaining in importance.

Read on for some of the most wisdom quotes from a man who was and always will be ahead of his time.

1. The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.Radio Power Will Revolutionize the World in Modern Mechanics and Inventions (July 1934)

2. I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success… such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.In Cleveland Moffitt, “A Talk With Tesla”, Atlanta Constitution (7 Jun 1896)

3. The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.Unknown source

4. Today’s scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.Radio Power Will Revolutionize the World in Modern Mechanics and Inventions (July 1934)

5. The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter — for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way. He lives and labors and hopes.The Problem of Increasing Human Energy (The Century Magazine, June, 1900)

6. Throughout space there is energy. Is this energy static or kinetic! If static our hopes are in vain; if kinetic — and this we know it is, for certain — then it is a mere question of time when men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheelwork of nature.Experiments With Alternate Currents Of High Potential And High Frequency (February 1892)

7. Every living being is an engine geared to the wheelwork of the universe. Though seemingly affected only by its immediate surrounding, the sphere of external influence extends to infinite distance.(Did the War Cause the Italian Earthquake) New York American, February 7, 1915

8. This planet, with all its appalling immensity, is to electric currents virtually no more than a small metal ball.The Transmission of Electrical Energy Without Wires (Electrical World & Engineer, March 5, 1904)

9. Though free to think and act, we are held together, like the stars in the firmament, with ties inseparable. These ties cannot be seen, but we can feel them.The Problem of Increasing Human Energy in Century Illustrated Magazine (June 1900)

10. In the twenty-first century, the robot will take the place which slave labor occupied in ancient civilization.A Machine to End War, Liberty, February, 1937

11. The spread of civilization may be likened to a fire; first, a feeble spark, next a flickering flame, then a mighty blaze, ever increasing in speed and power.What Science May Achieve This Year, Denver Rocky Mountain News, January 16th, 1910

12. Our senses enable us to perceive only a minute portion of the outside world.The Transmission of Electrical Energy Without Wires as a Means for Furthering Peace in Electrical World and Engineer (January 7, 1905)

13. Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more.The Problem of Increasing Human Energy, in Century Illustrated Magazine (June 1900)

14. I don’t care that they stole my idea… I care that they don’t have any of their own.Unknown source

15. Money does not represent such a value as men have placed upon it. All my money has been invested into experiments with which I have made new discoveries enabling mankind to have a little easier life.A Visit to Nikola Tesla, by Dragislav L. Petkoviæ in Politika (April 1927)

16. Of all the frictional resistances, the one that most retards human movement is ignorance, what Buddha called ‘the greatest evil in the world’.The Problem of Increasing Human Energy, in Century Illustrated Magazine (June 1900)

17. Instinct is something which transcends knowledge. We have, undoubtedly, certain finer fibers that enable us to perceive truths when logical deduction, or any other willful effort of the brain, is futile.My Inventions, in Electrical Experimenter magazine (1919)

18. It is paradoxical, yet true, to say, that the more we know, the more ignorant we become in the absolute sense, for it is only through enlightenment that we become conscious of our limitations. Precisely one of the most gratifying results of intellectual evolution is the continuous opening up of new and greater prospects.The Wonder World To Be Created By Electricity, Manufacturer’s Record, September 9, 1915

19. The individual is ephemeral, races and nations come and pass away, but man remains. Therein lies the profound difference between the individual and the whole.The Problem of Increasing Human Energy, in Century Illustrated Magazine (June 1900)

20. Invention is the most important product of man’s creative brain. The ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of human nature to human needs.My Inventions, in Electrical Experimenter magazine (1919)

21. The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention.My Inventions, in Electrical Experimenter magazine (1919)

22. Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.American Genesis: A Century of Invention and Technological Enthusiasm, 1870-1970 by Thomas P. Hughes (2004)

23. Life is and will ever remain an equation incapable of solution, but it contains certain known factors.A Machine to End War, Liberty, February, 1937

24. The desire that guides me in all I do is the desire to harness the forces of nature to the service of mankind.Radio Power Will Revolutionize the World (Modern Mechanix & Inventions, July, 1934)

25. Peace can only come as a natural consequence of universal enlightenment.My Inventions, in Electrical Experimenter magazine (1919)

26. Fights between individuals, as well as governments and nations, invariably result from misunderstandings in the broadest interpretation of this term. Misunderstandings are always caused by the inability of appreciating one another’s point of view. The Transmission of Electrical Energy Without Wires as a Means for Furthering Peace, in Electrical World and Engineer (January 7, 1905)

27. Three possible solutions of the great problem of increasing human energy are answered by the three words: food, peace, work.The Problem of Increasing Human Energy, in Century Illustrated Magazine (June 1900)

28. What one man calls God, another calls the laws of physics.Unknown source

29. The last 29 days of the month are the toughest!My Inventions, in Electrical Experimenter magazine (1919)

30. We crave for new sensations but soon become indifferent to them. The wonders of yesterday are today common occurrences.My Inventions, in Electrical Experimenter magazine (1919)

31. Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine.A Visit to Nikola Tesla, by Dragislav L. Petkoviæ in Politika (April 1927)

What are your favorite quotes from Nikola Tesla?

You tube video:

31 Nikola Tesla’s Quotes




Digital Familiarity Word-Cloud

The terms Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants were coined back in 2001 by Marc Prensky. This idea has been around for 14 years and the term still appears in blogs, websites, books and presentations.  Are digital natives real, or are they are myth?

Let’s look at three different articles that explore how people relate to technology.

Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants

Marc Prensky wrote ‘Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants‘ in 2001 in which he argues that technology has changed how students think and teachers need to adapt their methodology to teach them.

Digital Natives are described as being…

“…“native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet”

Whereas Digital Immigrants are described as an older generation who find technology more difficult to adjust to. They rely more on the way they were taught.

Some people agree and others disagree.  I agree that technology has had a big impact on the world, and agree with adapting methodologies to incorporate all available resources, but I disagree with the terminology. Prensky says:

“As Digital Immigrants learn – like all immigrants, some better than others – to adapt to their environment, they always retain, to some degree, their “accent,” that is, their foot in the past.”

I felt that this was quite demotivating. I felt as if I was being told what I could never be. I had to remind myself though that this was written 14 years, back when people were using LiveJournal. Social media didn’t really exist and it was two years before MySpace, three years before the launch of Facebook and five years before Twitter.

It was also six years before the first iPhone, which really began the mass adoption of the smartphone. Now, more are more people live a life that is integrated with technology. Regardless of their age.

Digital Residents – Digital Visitors

David S. White and Alison Le Cornu (2011) commented in ‘Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement‘ that this idea of Digital Natives and Digital immigrants has…

“…provoked a sense of panic among ‘Immigrant educators’ who now perceive themselves wrong–footed and unable to step up to the plate.”

Creating a sense of self-doubt that you are unable to relate to your students because you are not a digital native.

In their article they choose the terms Digital Resident and Digital Visitor and they argue that “tools, places and spaces” are more important. When they discuss digital residents, they state:

“A proportion of their lives is actually lived out online where the distinction between online and off–line is increasingly blurred.”

Age has become less of a factor than how integrated their lives have become with technology. Also, there is no stark contrast betweendigital visitor and digital resident. It’s more of a line where you could place yourself anywhere along it.

The biggest thing that I took away from this article is that the internet can be regarded as a space, a place to interact, and place to gather and organize information and a place to be part of learning communities. It is a melting pot of different interactions.

The Digital Melting Pot

Sharon Stroeger wrote an article in 2009 called ‘The digital melting pot: Bridging the digital native-immigrant divide.‘ This is possibly my favorite description about how people relate to technology.

“The metaphor of a “melting pot” brings to mind a less divided and disconnected vision. Here, the term digital melting pot refers to the blending of individuals who speak with different technology tongues”

People aren’t one thing or another, but they can be a community of people who can come together and learn from each other’s strengths. I can show you how to do X if you show me how to do Y.

Stroeger also says:

“Just because students can open up Google in their Web browser does not mean that they know how to find quality information resources.”

In any single class, you will have students with a range of capabilities with technology and differences in how they interact with it. We shouldn’t assume that because of their age they will all be aware of the potential of technology. 

I think each of these articles have their merits. Marc Prensky article talks about finding ways to relate to students and to make the learning experience more fun and less linear. White and Le Cornu talk about how we interact with technology and the world, while Stroeger reminds us that people have different abilities and can learn from each other.

What each of these articles are really discussing is Digital Familiarity. How well students and teachers make use of the digital resources that surround them.

Digital Familiarity

I couldn’t think of another phrase that expressed my opinion, so for better or worse, I have chosen digital familiarity.

Technology is such a broad area that people naturally have different strengths and weaknesses. It is a melting pot. Not everyone has access to the same technologies and if you are surrounded by an abundance of technology it is difficult to be familiar with them all. You might not have used them because you didn’t need to use them.

However, just because you haven’t used a tool, doesn’t mean you can’t learn to use it, learn to use it well, or learn to use to a level where you can teach it as a skill to others.  

This is why I think the digital native is a myth, because anyone can develop and explore new skills if they have the motivation to do so. Younger people may at times seem to be more familiar with technology, but that is because they are at an age when they are asking questions, exploring the world and interacting with it using the resources available to them. That’s how we gain experience.

As we get older there is a danger that we stop finding new ways to explore and interact with the world. We get to an age when the catalyst for change is need rather than curiosity or play, but age is not an excuse for letting go of our curiosity.

Which is why you find that younger people who aren’t interested in technology are less tech savvy than someone from the generation before them who are still helping to develop new technologies.Curiosity.

Am I familiar with…?

We shouldn’t feel demotivated because we are not ‘digital natives,’ and we shouldn’t think that we don’t have less to offer (about technology) to our students because they are the digital residents. All we have to do is identify want we want to learn and motivate ourselves to find a little time to learn it.

I’m familiar with PowerPoint but I’m less familiar with the finer points of Prezi. So, I will try to find a bit of time to learn more about Prezi and develop some more skills without a ‘digital immigrant’s accent.’

What do you think about Digital Natives? What are you familiar with? What are you interested in learning about?

Leave a comment and let me know. What do you want to become more familiar with?

I will try to feature some of the responses on this site.

Alternatively you can send me a message on myFacebook page or Twitter.

Take Care!

If you are not sure what you want to learn about, try these websites or Facebook pages to look for ideas.

Leave a comment if you have any links you would like to share:


How to Geek

EdTech Magazine

EdTech Times

There are a lot of websites that deal with technology and EdTech on the internet. Here are three large ones, but there are also hundreds of smaller blogs (like mine).


A random selection of Facebook pages that discuss EdTech. There is a large community and some software packages will have a Facebook page as well.

Teacher Training Videos

Technology in English Language Teaching

Free Technology for Teachers

Education Technology

Source used:

Featured Image made using a photo taken from @grahamstanley, used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial license,

Happy Mother’s Day


VIntage Mother’s Day Card

You filled my days with rainbow lights,
Fairytales and sweet dream nights,
A kiss to wipe away my tears,
Gingerbread to ease my fears.
You gave the gift of life to me
And then in love, you set me free.
I thank you for your tender care,
For deep warm hugs and being there.
I hope that when you think of me
A part of you
You’ll always see.
Author Unknown

You tube: Il Divo, “Mama”

Past and present: Historic London merges with modern-day capital in series of impressive photographs

These astonishing images blend London’s past and present, marking a continuity in one of the world’s fastest changing cities.

From Tower Bridge to the London bus, the Mall to gutsy swimmers in the Serpentine, they merge black and white pictures of times past with shots of a modern capital.

London’s most iconic bridge is split the middle. On the right is Tower Bridge as it looks today – on the left it is under construction circa 1893. When Sir Horace Jones’s vision was completed in 1894 its colour scheme was a blue-ish green. Today it is red, white and blue, after being repainted ahead of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.

Another product of the Victorian era is captured in the composite shot of the Serpentine Swimming Club going for a dip in the Hyde Park lake. In one part, members take a chilly plunge for their Christmas Day race, which has taken place every year since 1864. Above, some apparently more sensible club members prepare for a refreshing summer dive.

More than a simple attempt at cropping has gone into the so-called “merged composite” images. Some impressive Photoshop wizardry allows a modern-day Tube at St Paul’s to appear to whizz through an early 20th century Bounds Green Underground station, with the train superimposed from the left-hand side of shot in its original image to the right-hand side in its new one.

Although in some of the pictures a seamless blend is harder to achieve. Cars shooting up the Mall in 1929 pass winter trees shed of their leaves, as they make their way towards a modern-day Buckingham Palace flanked by summer in full bloom.

The Museum of London’s head of history collections Alex Werner said: “They are interesting images. They capture the past and the present and they give us a sense of the continuity of the city – an example being something like commuter routes, with the picture of the escalators on the Tube.

“It shows we are a city with a past – which is something that creates problems because of our older infrastructure – but it also gives us the landmarks and the character that other cities don’t have.”

He added the gallery also highlighted London’s longstanding ability to show itself off.

“The picture of the London Eye and the wheel at Earls Court show us London’s always been quite good at creating spectacular ways of looking at the city,” he said.

Sebbastian Mann

Photos by Gareth Richmann

Source used


How Did It End Up Like This?

And how can We Change it?

Image-for-my-essay-900x603At Escape the City we are challenging the status quo, and questioning what it means to spend our entire lives doing something we don’t enjoy. As it turns out, there is an entire tribe of people — all over the world — who agree life is too short to do work that doesn’t matter to you.

This isn’t just an idea, this is a movement; a way forward, a complete shift in approach to work and life.

Every day people look to escape their boring corporate jobs to find something more meaningful. By facilitating workshops, courses, opportunities and Tribes we are trying to help. This problem is incredibly real and incredibly consequential, but our solution is not enough.

If we are really serious about shifting our attitudes towards more meaningful work, then we need to do more; we need to address the root causes of this problem and completely eradicate it from the ground, up.

And this takes us all the way back to our five-year-old selves…


You may or may not be familiar with the factory model of our education system. Before the 19th century there were no real systems of public education, thus the idea is that they came together to meet the needs of industrialism.

In other words,the back door of the school led to the front door of the factory”, and students were only taught the essential skills required to become a successful factory worker.

100 years later and our schools are still operating this way. Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer ofNew Classrooms Innovation Partners, Joel Rose discusses how little this system has changed in over ten decades.

“Some predicted that the demand for better schools, coupled with the supply of computers and new software, would soon revolutionise our nation’s classrooms. It didn’t quite happen.”

Joel suggests that the reason schools have not seen the same positive impact of tech that the rest of society has seen, is due to the fact that all educational tools – technology related or not – are still being used within the same outdated structure of the 19th century education model.

If we are to see real change, we have to change the entire system.

And trust me, we want change.

Research carried out by the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion, found that 178,100 British 16- to 18-year-olds failed to complete post 16 qualifications they had embarked upon in 2012–2013.

A report by Civic Enterprises in association with Peter D. Hart Research Associates for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, found that 47% of young dropouts reported being bored and disengaged from high school, and 69% of respondents said they were not motivated or inspired to work hard.

This is not just a case of blaming our high schools though, as 45% of young dropouts felt they were poorly prepared by their earlier schooling.

And it doesn’t stop with lower education either. In 2013, more than 26,000 British students dropped out of university because they felt disconnected and demotivated with the course they had chosen to study.

I’m going to be very blunt here; the way we are doing things is not working. Primary school isn’t working. High school isn’t working. University isn’t really working. It’s no wonder we’re all finding ourselves stuck in corporate jobs we don’t like — our entire education system sets us up for inevitable disappointment.

It’s sadly unsurprising.

So how do we change?

Author and educator, Sir Ken Robinson shares brilliant knowledge in his TED talk, ‘How schools kill creativity’ – I insist you watch it.


Three quarters of the way through, Robinson addresses the way industrialism shaped the hierarchal design of public education. He claims that there are two main ideas that determined the hierarchy of subjects that we still see in schools today; maths, science and languages at the top, humanities in the middle and arts at the bottom.

  • The first idea is that the most useful subjects for work, had to be at the top: you were probably steered away from the subjects you really liked doing as a child on the basis that they wouldn’t get you a job when you finished.
  • And the second idea is focused on academic ability: which is a complete domination of our understanding of intelligence.

Robinson argues that the ‘whole system of public education around the world is a protracted process of university entrants, and that the consequence is that many highly talented, brilliant, creative people think they’re not.’

So what should we do instead? We need to allow creativity not only to occur, but to flourish.

A little six year old girl was in a drawing lesson. The teacher said this little girl hardly ever paid any attention — but in this drawing lesson, she was sitting at the back, drawing. The teacher was fascinated and went over to her and said, ‘what are you drawing?’ And the little girl responded, ‘I’m drawing a picture of God’. The teacher took a step back and said, ‘but nobody knows what God looks like.’ And the little girl said, ‘they will in a minute’.

Robinson shares this wonderfully childish story to show the way children take chances. If they don’t know something, they’ll have a go anyway — they are not afraid of being wrong.

“We are now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. The result is we are educating people out of their creative capacities.”

Robinson shares three things we know about intelligence,

  1. It’s diverse: we think about the world in all the ways that we experience it.
  2. It’s dynamic: The brain isn’t divided into compartments, in fact creativity more often than not comes about through the interaction of different disciplinary ways of seeing things.
  3. It’s distinct: it stands out and urges to express itself.

For us to get the most out of our children, it is crucial that we provide an environment where they can play and experiment, and create in all the ways that allow their intelligence to shine. Whether that’s dancing, or building or acting or singing — the sooner we see creativity as of the same importance that we see literacy, maths, science and language, we can start to build a better education system for our children.

But how?

Remember how I said there is an entire tribe of people in the world trying to do something different? Well it really is true – there are people all over the globe, from India, to Brazil to Australia, who truly believe in the same movement.

In India, a wonderful woman, designer, educationist, and social entrepreneur, Kiran Sethi challenges children every day to ‘take charge’. She too believed that the way we are trying to educate people isn’t working and decided to explore possible solutions. From her research she found that if learning is embedded in real world context — that is, if you blur the boundaries between school and life — children go through a remarkable journey of becoming…

1. Aware: they can see the change.

2. Enabled: they can be changed.

3. Empowered: they can lead the change.

This attitude of ‘I can’ directly correlates with increased levels of student wellbeing, and actually positively impacts all areas of their learning.

In 2009 Kiran Sethi challenged 100, 000 children of India to say, I can. She asked them to decide one idea (anything that bothers them), and in one week change one billion lives.

And what happened? “When you say ‘you can’, they will.”

All over India children were solving numerous issues, from loneliness, to filling pot holes in the streets, to alcoholism, to 32 children who put a stop to 16 child marriages. When children feel empowered, not only do they do well – they do absolutely remarkable things.

In Brazil, CEO and entrepreneur, Ricardo Semler designed and built his own public school, named Lumiar, which has since been chosen as one of the 12 most innovative schools in the world (a survey by Unesco, Stanford University and Microsoft). There are a number of reasons why Lumiar is a very special place to learn, but here are the top five that stood out to me.

  1. The educators are organised into two groups: the tutor, whose job it is to look after the wellbeing of the child, supporting them with issues inside of school, and issues outside of school. And the master, whose role it is to plan and coordinate learning projects.
  2. They have 10 great threads for areas of learning from ages 2–17, that cover things like: How do we measure ourselves? (A place for maths and physics etc). How do we express ourselves? (A place for music and literacy etc). And ‘we have things which everyone has forgotten — probably the most important things in life, the very important things in life we know nothing about. We know nothing about love, we know nothing about death, we know nothing about why we’re here. So we need a thread in school that talks about everything we don’t know.
  3. Students choose which thread they want to study based on their interests in that moment in time, alongside all others who share that interest, regardless of age.
  4. They focus on reconnecting children’s knowledge with real projects, such as ‘how to build a bicycle’. Ricardo says, ‘try to build a bicycle without knowing pie equals 3.1416? You can’t.’ Try to use 3.1416 on it’s own? You can’t really do this either.
  5. The children decide the repercussions for when they fail to do the work that they have said they would do.

Ricardo believes that we should not wait until we are old and retired, and have accumulated lots of money to start to ‘giving back’ to the world. “If you are giving back, you took too much. Share as you go.”

And lastly, in Australia, children’s author John Marsden also set up an alternative education system that is proving, year after year, just how effective a creative and autonomous education system is on children’s learning. You can listen to a radio interview with him below.

Radio talk with John Marsden and Richard Stubbs: .

What I have found most remarkable is not how poorly the old system is working, nor how desperately we need change, but that there are examples upon examples of those who have actually made a difference.

Liz Coleman, president of Bennington College, acknowledges in her TED talk, A Call to Reinvent Liberal Arts Education, the courage it takes to challenge something we have always known and done. But she concludes that ‘being overwhelmed is the first step if you are serious about trying to get at things that really matter on a scale that makes a difference.’

I truly hope you feel overwhelmed. I hope you feel so overwhelmed that you ask but what can I do? How can I help?

Well you have two things; you have a mind and you have people. Start with those and change the world.

— Liz Coleman.

Sourse used: www.

All The World’s a Stage: 10 Interesting Facts and Figures About the Globe Theatre in London



It is perhaps the most famous stage in the world, the place where many of literature’s best-known plays were first presented. It was built for the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, William Shakespeare’s acting company, in 1599 and stood until destroyed by fire in 1613. Another was built the following year and remained until 1642, when it was closed by the Puritans and pulled down in 1644. But the third one stayed up! The newest incarnation of the Globe was built in 1997 to recreate the glory days of Shakespearean theatre and is still used today. So what interesting facts can we gleam from this eight-sided structure in all its manifestations?

Moving Theatre

The first and second Globes were built along Southwark. Theatre was actually banned in the City of London for religious reasons, so most theatres and acting companies set up shop on the other side of the River Thames where the city had no authority. The third Globe built in the 90s is approximately 750 feet from the location of the first two and was built based on academic approximations of the original.


The Globe had at least three levels of seating that were mostly reserved for the middle and upper classes. The stage level, known as “the pit” was most reserved for the working classes (also called “the groundlings”) and cost one penny to get in. The first gallery cost two pennies, the second three, and the third cost four pennies. You put the first in a box as you entered and each subsequent penny in a box at the stairs as you ascended. The boxes were then put into the “box office” once the play started, hence the term.


The part of the stage that thrusts out into the audience was referred to as the “apron stage”.

Do You Have a Flag?

Different coloured flags were used at the Globe to advertise what type of play the actors were performing that day. A red flag was used for history plays, a white flag was for comedies, and a black flag was for tragedies.

Deadly Makeup

It is fairly well-known that women were not permitted to perform in theatre during Shakespeare’s time, so many of the female roles were played by men. To get into character, many of them wore heavy amounts of makeup, which unfortunately also caused the early deaths for the actors due to the high lead content of said makeup. Presently, all the female roles at the Globe are played by women and the makeup is much healthier for the actors.

The Black Death

The bubonic plague was responsible for at least three closures of the Globe Theatre as a preventative measure to keep people from getting sick.

Only Open for the Summer

Due to the outdoor nature of the Globe, plays were only held in the warmer months as there was no heating. In fall and winter as temperatures cooled, Shakespeare’s plays were moved indoors to locations such as the Blackfriars Theatre.


The Globe had a capacity for 1,500 attendees, but would often pack the house at around 3,000 people. Theatres were so popular that in 1591 (eight years before the Globe opened), a law was passed that the theatres would be closed on Thursdays so that the bull and bear-baiting industries would not be neglected.

Burning Down the House

The reason for the fire that destroyed the original Globe in 1613 was due to a special effects malfunction. A canon used for Henry VIII accidentally caused the thatched roof to catch fire. It reportedly took less than two hours to burn down completely.


Not just for a cameo in Doctor Who, Queen Elizabeth I was a regular attendee at Shakespeare’s performances. Following her death in 1603, King James I became a patron of the company and they were redubbed “The King’s Men”. The play Macbeth is written in his honour as Banquo, Thane of Lochaber, was an ancestor of James.

Mar 6, 2015 By

Source: www.

You tube: ” SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE” theme

The Beautiful Art of Book Binding


The Old Art of Book of Binding

In this age of mass produced paperbacks and e-readers we can often take our reading material for granted. Pages glued to their covers in what printers refer to as perfect bind, shiny covers designed to catch the eye, all uniformly produced to stack neatly on the shelves. In the early days of the ‘cheap’ paperback people were known to tear out a page as they read it and throw it away. That is not to say we don’t treasure our books, we are bibliophiles after all. Every now and then I see a beautifully designed book that I just want to hold, but I can’t help thinking that maybe something has been lost.

William Blake famously used to produce his own books, from making his own ink, to printing the pages, he even got Mrs Blake to sew on the covers. I have often wondered why he went to so much effort. I think this video has answered that question.

If you’ve ever wondered how books were produced before the age of digital print, then watch this short film, as it takes you through the process of how books are printed, paged, and bound. It is an absolute joy to watch the art form that is bookbinding.

The video:, Kath’s Blog



The true meaning of this story is so unique and original that it can only be passed on in words. The story is about a teacher’s wise idea who managed not only to teach the students sitting in the last rows, but he also helped the students understand the immeasurable importance and necessity of education. It was the first day of school year.The teacher decided not to start with a boring lecture but to explain the important lesson in life. Therefore, he turned his lecture into an interactive exercise.  The only material he used for this purpose was a squeezed paper ball (for each student) and a garbage bin, placed in the front part of the classroom. Then, he explained the rules of the game:

  • ‘Imagine that you are not a class, but the citizens of this country. Each one of you got a chance to get rich. However, in order to get into the higher-class society, you need to throw your paper balls into the bin, without moving from your chair.’

The results were, of course, predictable. Most of the students from the front rows hit the bin, yet, the students from the back rows could not handle the task. The teacher explained it this way:

The closer you are to your goal, the greater the chances for its accomplishments are. It’s called privilege that you need to be able to use properly. If you find yourselves too far from your goal, you start looking for excuses; blame others for inadequate conditions, see many obstacles on the way.. Yet, the one, who was closer to the goal, can easily focus on its accomplishment, without thinking about the irrelevant thing, including his own privilege. As a matter of fact, people who enjoy the privilege, become an obstacle for those who have never enjoyed it.”

Still, not until the teacher had completed his lecture, had the students been able to understand the message passed on. He concluded wisely:

“Let me put it this way, it is important for each one of you to understand that you all have this privilege to become better and more successful people. The privilege is called – EDUCATION. Do now whatever it takes in this  journey so that in the future you could use its fruits for accomplishing whatever you want, skillfully, and quickly going  round-about the ones who have decided to remain in the last rows,  still searching for excuses and putting blame on the others.”

Naturally, the education and the up-bringing of each individual child does not end here, yet the foundation is of highly importance. Help your children to understand this truth, if you wish, and you will be proud to see them grow into successful and well rounded persons. Keep this story for yourselves, share it with others and do not lose or forget this simple yet empowering thought and lecture!

The original article written by Natalija Laketić

The article translated from Serbian into English by Nada Radenković

The Tea Lounge

Free-Shipping-PVC-Home-Theme-English-Quote-Removeable-Wall-StickerDear all.

Upon a kind request of one of my colleagues and a dear friend, I have decided to post yet another blog that contains a link to another website of mine that I am working on simultaneously with this one. Unlike the one that you are currently visiting, which focuses more on the theory of education and on the UK culture as a whole, the other one offers the insight into the practical work and its results. Although, in some posts and pages, the two sites overlap, there are many variations and differences in the concept, including languages. The one you are currently visiting is in English, whereas, the other one is bilingual English/Serbian,However, I will not theorize about it any further. I’d rather let you explore , comment or ask questions , if you wish. I will be more than happy to answer.

Here is the link:

Best Regards,


Want to Learn English with an Experienced teacher?

Nada Radenković


Hi all,

Long time no see. Missed me? Well, to tell the truth, I have been spending a lot of time working offline. There are times when you  just need to get away from the virtual world and go back to the old-fashioned one.

However, I am back with some good news. I have devised a plan to use my website and social network to start giving lessons online. Anyone interested in learning English from the Beginners’ to the Advanced level can contact me via my website or my Facebook account. As for the details of the courses studied, in case you are interested, you can just drop a message using one of those domains and I will answer back ASAP. (Please, take into account the time differences 🙂 ).

Can hardly wait for my first candidate.

Best wishes,


P.S. Did I mention that there are…

View original post 41 more words

Phonemic chart review game: Connect 3 (or 4)

Lizzie Pinard

As part of the Sheffield University 10 week pre-sessional programme, I have been teaching a Social English class 3 afternoons a week at 1h30 a pop. Last week on Thursday, I introduced them to the phonemic chart, using Adrian Underhill’s method. Today (Monday) I wanted a fun way to review the sounds with my learners, and so Connect 3 (or 4), using the phonemic chart, came about…


None! (Excellent…)


  • A phonemic chart projected onto a whiteboard (failing that, an A3 print-out would work equally well)
  • a board pen (more than one would be even better – see my comments at the end of the post)


  • Put learners into 2 teams (or 3 if you have a big class) of 4-6 players.
  • Each team has a symbol. With my learners today, Bing were suns and Bong were stars. (They are always Bing and Bong: borrowed…

View original post 606 more words