Page 1

FR

EE

3 FOREIGN LANGUAGES DEPARTMENT, UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE COLOMBIA B OGOTĂ D.C. , C OLOMBIA - 13 TH MAY 2003

New Image of the Department The building of the Department of Foreign Languages underwent a nice transformation after a year of intense work. The white twowinged structure preserves its original look by respecting the height and the facade of its construction, necessary requirements for a building considered Historic National Wealth of the city. Glasses and white walls combine to welcome the academic community that was dispersed for a year. Once again all the branches that make up the Department are under the same roof.

ACADEMIC ISSUES

Index

Pages Editorial ...................................... Academic Issues ......................... Music .......................................... New Writing in Progress .............. Alex - Institutional Program ......... Alex - Experiences ...................... Guest Columnists ........................ Teaching Page ............................. Teacher's Corner .......................... Miscelaneous Bag ........................ Latest Events ............................... Contests ..................................... Upcoming Events ........................

2 3-4 5 5 6 7 8-9 9 10 10 - 11 11 12 12

Our main section in this issue revolves around the concept of Philology and Languages. Here we ask what the purpose of Philology is and how it can find a place in the globalized society we are immersed in. Besides, this issue uncovers students’ opinions on the major of Philology and Languages and questions about the field of study the major of Philology of Languages at Universidad Nacional de Colombia really fits in.

FOREIGN LANGUAGES DEPARTMENT


Page 2

CAPITAL LETTER

EDITORIAL Head of Human Sciences Faculty: Professor Carlos Miguel Ortiz Sarmiento Director of Vicedecanatura de Bienestar: Professor Neyla Graciela Pardo Abril Director of Cultural Spreading: Professor José David Lozano Head of the Foreign Languages Department: Professor Norma Chavarro Casas

The world is changing and we are witnesses of this process. Difficult times seem to come in order to transform human life in the whole planet and we cannot avoid to be affected by them. Our country, our cities, and of course our university are suffering changes. Economic and political issues, social aspects, and violence are some of the causes and the effects of this global change. By the time this editorial was written, the Universidad Nacional was beginning to be the target of some of those changes: A new principal has assumed as the head of the institution; a new administration started to rule; an academic organization is being implemented; and one remarkable aspect is happening: the students are realizing that if they are united there is nothing impossible to do.

Editorial Co-ordination:

Director: Professor M. Claudia Nieto Editor: Juan Carlos Soto Graphic Designer: Carlos Alberto Aldana

The role of the university in the society is going to be transformed. Our image, the image that the Colombian people have of this alma mater is a responsibility all the students must face. It is the turn to show them what we really are, students who are learning how to improve this city, this country, this world.

The Writing Staff: Professor Sonia Delgado de Valencia Professor Cesar Augusto Contreras (Manizales) Professor M. Claudia Nieto Professor Magda Rodríguez Professor Raquel Sanmiguel (San Andrés) Professor Lucía Helena Estrada (Medellín) Jalver Uyabán Carlos Alberto Aldana Bruno Lovo Adriana Norato Juan Carlos Soto Leonardo Solórzano Lina Rodriguez Victoria Eugenia Londoño Judy Villanueva Sonia Gamboa John Alexander Oyuela Also collaborated: Professor Melba Libia Cárdenas Edwin Martinez Giovany Sánchez Carolina Segura María Elena Medina

Capital Letter has been created for being a channel of communication among all the academic community. We want to evidence the importance of the development of different student movements and their academic participation in order to build a better society. Now the question is if we are willing to build a better university. This is an invitation to think about what we as students are doing through our activities to reach this purpose. It is necessary to evaluate the role we have in this process.

GREETINGS The effort of people from Capital Letter continues in order to improve our mission as a channel of communication in this third edition. For that reason, it is important to remark the co-operation of many people who have participated in many ways- the staff of the Foreign Languages Department as such, English teachers, and English students. We also want to thank the co-operation of people from Divulgación Cultural and Bienestar Universitario, whose help has been very important in our wish to continue writing this publication.

Front Page: snapshot of the refurbished building of the Foreign Languages Department. Pictures taken by María Elena Medina.

The contribution of the students with their articles has been important; without them, Capital Letter could not be what it is and could not remain as a way of communication, which is our main purpose.

CAPITAL LETTER Mission: to be a channel of communication among the members that make up the academic community of the Foreign Languages Department. Vision: to grow as a publication, as individuals, as a group, and as members of the academic community. The articles and texts do not reflect Capital Letter´s opinion.

2


CAPITAL LETTER

Page 3

ACADEMIC ISSUES PHILOLOGY IN DAYS OF GLOBALIZATION by Jalver Uyabán Did we say Philology? Is it that antique art that grasps the spirits inhabiting the written texts? Is it a mysterious discipline that studies the anatomy of a culture by dissecting its literary works? Or is it that strange word used by the ancient Greeks referring to the love of learning through the language? Yes, we are talking about Philology and its role in the "light" of the global fashion. It may become another piece of memory in the global museum of the forgotten human sciences. In the future, there will be neither purpose nor place for the study of languages and cultures, since the neo liberal globalization longs for a universal language English -a unified channel - audio-visual - and only one culture: an homogeneous and shapeless mixture named Globalized Culture. This is very similar to fast food, it means, it is light, easy to produce, find, and eat, and it fits for all kind of hunger. The globalized culture does not need to be explained or studied, it only needs to be consumed. Then, in that context, what the purpose of philology could be? By now, the globalization project needs distributors for its cultural useless products. This is the reason why neo-liberalism is invading schools and universities running advertisements with inscriptions like "Teachers (read instructors) are wanted" or "students (read consumers) here is your place to learn". Instructors know how to teach and what to teach, meanwhile philologists can also explain why to teach and the most important, why to learn: because all the peoples in the planet need to preserve and develop their cultures. Besides, the philological why is too complete, too rich and too human to be put in a box of take away knowledge. This knowledge is not a piece of merchandise in the “ supermarket of knowledge”* and that is why we may expect actions to put philology out of the market. A deep criticism must be done on the role and the relevance of philology, taking into account that our studies should help us to preserve the culture from the overwhelming shadows of the globalization.

*La educación en el contexto neoliberal, Miñana Carlos y Rodríguez José Gregorio. En La Falacia Neoliberal, Críticas y Alternativas. Bogotá, Universidad Nacional de Colombia,2003, pág.301.

WHAT STUDENTS THINK ABOUT THEIR MAJOR by Sonia Gamboa and Bruno Lovo Capital Letter has been interested in knowing the students' opinion about the curricular program of Philology and Languages, and how the students feel before their subject of study. In order to obtain this information, Capital Letter has carried out a survey and has interviewed some students from III, IV, and VI semesters. The students' opinions show different views about the major among the students. When people start studying this major, they do not know what philology is, different from people that study medicine, architecture, arts, psychology, engineering, and other majors. Many people in this major that are in the first semesters think that they are doing a holiday language course; others have all their interest only in changing to another curricular program, and many of them do not want to work as teachers. For that reason, students who belong to the first semesters do not find some subjects such as Linguistics and Functional Spanish interesting and useful, and they take this branch of learning as needlework. But, what happens with the students in III, IV, and V semesters? They are always apathetic to continue their studies, and fail many subjects trying to feel better. Others take as many subjects as possible, trying to finish the major in a short time, but they are not aware of the loss of a huge amount of knowledge. On the other hand, students from superior levels think that the Linguistics area is the most important and that this represents an advantage over other universities. They have a clear idea of working as teachers since they know that the widespread field of work for people from this career is teaching. The majority of the students are in the mood for finishing the major as quickly as possible, but a few of them are interested in taking this curricular program in the best possible way in order to be skilled professionals. Many think that the professor is not a good one and that he/she has the responsibility of teaching them really well, and that criticize the major searching a guilty one for their own mistakes. Others think that the student has the responsibility of learning. But nobody does anything for changing the thought in people who study this major in order to see the curricular program from another and better point of view.

One student proposed the idea of an induction day for people who start studying the career, and it could be the opportunity for new people to know the main branches of learning in Philology. This induction day could be organized by the students who are in higher levels - as it is done in other majors- and Vicedecanatura de Bienestar with the co-operation of the Foreign Languages Department. This activity can give those new students the opportunity of knowing better the major before they begin it. Maybe in this way we can solve the problem among the students that do not have any idea about the curricular program. All these opinions can make the new students remain in Philology because they want to and not because they have to.

A brief summary of the interview held with Norma Chavarro, Head of the Foreign Languages Department By Judy Villanueva Nowadays, our major is changing in many aspects; we are conscious about some problems that we have. For this reason we decided to interview the Head of the Department, professor Norma Chavarro, about her point of view on the career and which our future as philologists is. This interview showed that one of the most important problems we have is the misinformation among students, teachers and heads of our department. Our major has almost 800 students, 80 teachers and the administrative staff. However, almost nobody or nobody knows what Philology is. The objectives of the directives, teachers and students are different. Maybe this is the reason why people do not feel identified with the career; we do not know what major we belong to (Linguistics, Classical Languages, English or Pedagogy). But what is Philology? This is the essential question for us. According to Diccionario de la Real Academia de la Lengua Española, Philology is "the science that studies one culture based on its language". Are we really studying this science? Does our current curricular program answer this idea of Philology? Norma Chavarro thinks that this major has a wrong name because it is evident that students are going to be English teachers, not philologists. She also explained in the interview that now the Department has a new project in which Next page...

This knowledge is not a piece of merchandise in the " supermarket of knowledge"* and that is why we may expect


Page 4

CAPITAL LETTER

MUSIC

ACADEMIC ISSUES

there would be some changes: the title of the career, Licenciatura en Lenguas Extranjeras instead of Licenciatura en Filologia e Idiomas; the length, it would take five years instead of four; and the emphasis on Pedagogy, this subject would be stronger than in our current program. However, this is just a proposal and students have not defined who they are. This conducts us to other questions: What do we students think about the changes? Which is our position? Has the department counted on our opinion as students? We are in a point where neither teachers nor students have a direct and institutionalized channel of communication. A good example of the misinformation, as a cause of our problems is present from the moment prospect students intend to apply to the career. The names that promote the major appear under the headings of English, French and German without specification that they are degrees in Philology. For this reason, future students do not know what they are actually going to study. Now the answer to our question is evident, we need to communicate to each other in order to improve our major. Thanks to the current juncture, some groups have been organized in order to understand and solve some worrying situations regarding the naming of the new Principal of the university, our position about him, and what our positions about the new policies are.Furthermore, those meetings are becoming a place of debate where the students, teachers and the heads of our career can share their points of view.Maybe this is a good element in order to construct better communication among the Philology community. This is an invitation for all people who are interested in improving our major and working together for getting common objectives.

PETRONA MARTÍNEZ: Authenticity and Rhythm By M. Claudia Nieto

The name may ring a bell to some. Well, she is a Colombian bullerengue singer who was recently nominated for a Latin Grammy Award under the category of "Best Folk Album" together with Totó la Momposina.

Petrona is a 'bullerengue cantaora' born in San Cayetano, Bolívar, 64 years ago. She learned her craft from her grandmother and aunt who spent their time tuning melodies while doing housework. The Bullerengue is a female tradition from the Caribbean coast of Colombia. It is improvised singing accompanied by claps and play drums. Its lyrics deal basically with episodes of the daily life of common people from the town, like the one that narrates the "Dolor de Barriga de Ramón Pío" . Petrona has a vibrant and colorful voice and an innate passion for rhythm. Her songs are original compositions that contain part of her life. She sings to the new-born as well as to the one who has just died. She also dedicates part of her compositions to the people who extract sand of the stream to be able to survive, activity that she herself performed once.

Although she has dedicated her life to music, she only became popular in 1999 when she was widely recognized as a 'cantante revelación'. She has recorded some LPs and recently released two CDs called 'La vida vale la pena' and 'Bonito que canta'. Her fame surmounts the boundaries of Colombia and her name is now familiar in countries like France, Spain, England, and Portugal thanks to the multiple personal shows offered there.

Petrona is an example of authenticity and rhythm. The only things she cares about are knowing and feeling. In her own words: "El bullerengue es la candela de mi garganta y la felicidad de mi cuerpo y de mi alma". That is why she sings like this: "Oye, mi amigo:/La vida vale la pena/ Coge la pala en la mano/ y vamos a sacar la arena/ Pa' ganarnos el arroz./ Oye mi amigo:/ La vida vale la pena". Let's listen to Petrona and enjoy the magic of the bullerengue. We hope Petrona will continue performing and showing the world the roots of our Caribbean culture.


Page 5

CAPITAL LETTER

NEW WRITING IN PROGRESS

By Juan Carlos Soto Obeisance to Jorge Luis Borges

REVIEW Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Eclíptico Sueño A year ago, I was reading the magazine ANONYMA and, to my surprise, I found a short space dedicated to the Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges. I observed in detail the illustration that accompanied those beautiful words. Then, the muse of literature came here in order to inspire me these unpretending words I want to share with you. I wrote them in Spanish first, and now I dare to translate my poem into English. I hope they keep their deep sense, and you, dear reader, do agree with the essence, the sublimation of Borges. Here it is:

Borges is waiting for himself, wishing to see himself coming and not to feel alone anymore there he is sat in a whatsoever corner of his beloved Buenos Aires. The mistake here is that he is alone, The mistake here is that the light has left his eyes, The mistake is that he will never arrive to that meeting pacted in the crevices of his prodigious memory, and if he luckily arrives, he won't be able to distinguish between the young Borges, haughty, fearless, eager of words, the young man who knows everything, and the other, the wise Borges from the end of time, a modest, prudent old man who, with no pretension, only the immortality of his words, is waiting patiently for the fall of the night, lighted by the moon of the Llanura Gaucha. Be a little more patient dear Borges Because as soon as possible, and without your notice, Your whole life will converge in a unique place, The one you longed for a long time ago. There, those will wait for you, The other men you are, The ancient Borges, The young one, The Borges who is sitting here, The Borges who will be immortal.

Carlos Aldana is a student of VI semester of the English major. When he took the course of Literature I he wrote this essay as the final paper of the semester. His essay Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Eclíptico Sueño is a very interesting text where the author analyses the different aspects that the famous Mexican nun treated in the detailed descriptions of her dream. "Deep sleepy jungle, descriptive and philosophical at the same time, plenty of breath and with no great comparison; this poem is certainly hard, a little fantastic, and if it is possible to say, weird but splendid". This is the manner Carlos Aldana uses to describe the masterpiece, as a dream that is the object of his essay where he shows an accurate interpretation, but without trying to replace its greatness. Although he does not analyse every single part, fragment by fragment, he takes the essence of the poem and reveals it through a detailed study of philosophic topics, which are rational and fantastic, and are hidden in the beautiful words of Sor Juana. The author develops his writing using a very organized structure that is the base and guide for his paper. If you are interested in reading the complete essay, you can find it at the main library on campus.


Page 6

CAPITAL LETTER

ALEX-INSTITUTIONAL PROGRAM ALEX: What are some of the concepts involved in this new program? By Magda Rodríguez - ALEX: BOGOTÁ

ALEX is a program to develop learning autonomy in students so that they can apply the principles of this new paradigm to their learning of a foreign language.

Learning, thus, is a never ending active process. That is why it is essential to learn to learn, and here autonomy begins to play its role.

The first aspect to deal with is the concept of development. How would you define development? Take a few seconds and think of your definition of the term. Development comes from 'develop' - from the French développer - meaning "to cause to grow gradually in some way; to cause to become gradually fuller, larger, better." ALEX is a program that seeks to improve students' learning skills and strategies in such a way that they will become better students. However, as the definition of development implies, this is a gradual process requiring patience and work. Patience because the final result is not obtained spontaneously, but step by step; work because all great goals are reached with constant effort, whether mental or physical. The great goal is that learners acquire appropriate communicative competences in a foreign language through the development of autonomy.

Autonomy. .. . AUTONOMY. Again, take a few seconds to think what autonomy means to you. Many ideas may come to your mind: making decisions, self-governing, taking responsibility, individual work, making changes, organizing, leading, independence, ... As defined by the dictionary of Real Academia de la Lengua, autonomy is "the skill to govern your own actions." This concept applied to learning will take us to Holec's perspective on autonomous learning: "the ability to take charge of one’s own learning.”1 If this is an ability, it means that it needs development. How many of us can say we are autonomous learners? Maybe very few would say we are. Most of us are the result of an educational system where autonomy is neglected, where learner’s decisions and interests are left aside and where institutional and even political parameters are the basis of the decisions taken in the classroom. That is what makes the development of autonomous learning even more difficult: the fact that we have to rethink learning; rethinking learning, reflecting upon learning, will result in new different attitudes and new more interesting roles, from the part of the teacher as well as from the student.

A second concept to deal with is learning. Many definitions have been thought about what learning is, ranging from the old behaviourist paradigm to the different modern cognitive stands. ALEX has adopted the following position with respect to learning: learning involves the assimilation of our experiences so that they can become a part of our life and produce changes in us. "Learning is the process by which we obtain new knowledge, abilities or attitudes through experiences that will produce a change in our character or behaviour." As experiences are gradually assimilated, we begin to acquire new views, attitudes, ways of thinking, behaviours, all of which will make us different in many ways; all these shifts will lead us to new experiences.

On their way to become autonomous, learners, in their new roles, will gradually begin to make decisions about such things as their objectives, what they want to learn, what the results and benefits will be, how they will reach their goals, when, how assessment will be done, and so forth. Being this a new process for learners, it is necessary for teachers to adopt new positions with respect to the way they provide support and guidance to students. Students cannot, by any means, be left alone in the first stages of this long hard, but rewarding, process.

Teachers will have to provide as many resources as possible for students to be able to discover their strengths and weaknesses, to learn to maximize the former and compensate for the latter, to work in teams and cooperate with others, to begin making decisions and assuming responsibility for their mistakes, etc. We are not prepared for doing all these things alone (autonomy does not mean to do things on your own); there is a need for support in this process and it is the teacher’s responsibility to provide this help.

We have just come to one last important concept: paradigm. After this short and basic discussion about autonomous learning, have you felt any changes? We hope you have. ALEX is beginning to break the previous teaching – learning process scheme where the teacher makes decisions and controls, and students follow. In this new project, learners will become decision-makers who will learn to control their own process. Teachers? They will be beside students, accompanying them along the first part of their path. 1

Webster’s new twentieth century unabridged dictionary, p. 499. 2 Michel, Guillermo (1994) Aprende a aprender (12ª ed.) México: Trillas, p. 20. 3 Holec, Henry (1981) Autonomy and Foreign Language Learning, Oxford: Pergamon, p. 3.


CAPITAL LETTER

Page 7

ALEX - EXPERIENCES

ABOUT ALEX IN MEDELLIN by Lucía Helena Estrada

WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH ALEX IN BOGOTÁ?

THE ALEX PROGRAM IN MANIZALES by Cesar Augusto Contreras

by Lina Rodríguez and Leonardo Solórzano We started implementing this new program the previous semester and we have learnt a lot from this first experience. Last semester we had around 613 students willing to begin; many of them gave up for several reasons including academic obligations, not effective strategies to schedule their time and even misunderstanding of the project ALEX. Last semester some students did not understand the importance of working extratime in the lab and they found the ASESORIA useless, so they did not want to attend it at the beginning. This semester the teacher staff have been working on different strategies for students to have an effective use of the resource room and ASESORIAS. Nowadays, the resources room is full most of the time, there is even a space problem because the lab is not big enough for the number of students we have in this moment. Students are more conscious so they are eager to visit it and from the very first weeks

they were asking for tutors. This semester teachers are working on different projects to improve our resource room. Some of them are organizing material in order to re-classify and systematize it. Others are designing new material for specific skills and levels or adopting class activity documents as support documents so that students have more opportunities to work by themselves.

We believe in autonomy and we are all working on it as well!

Some Foreign Languages Students’ opinions on ALEX after three months of implementation. In our last issue, we showed what ALEX was and its objectives. In summary, ALEX is a program based on autonomous learning (with the teacher as a guide) in order to go beyond language…to learn its culture. To have an idea of Foreign Languages Students’ opinion about the implementation of this program, we devised and applied a survey. We found some generalized ideas. The first surprise was to know that the ALEX courses do not replace the electivas for Foreign Languages Students. ALEX is intended for students from all careers except Languages. Second, what the students expected from this program was the access to the Resources Center as an important tool of the program. So far, students have not been able to do so. The Resources Center was supposed to have materials, such as tape recorders, videos, reference books and many other audio-visual or reading materials. This fact has constrained students’approach to an autonomous model. It is expected that ALEX opens the doors of the Resources Center by the end of this term. There are some facts that also worry students. The first is the number of hours a week. A student’s opinion on this issue is that, 'We ask for more time because with three hours per week we are not going to be able to learn'. A second aspect has to do with the number of students in the classrooms;quoting a student’s opinion, 'There are even 50 students in a classroom and we cannot interact with each other'. Another student who is taking an elective argues, 'The level of speaking has decreased about 50% compared with the electives because almost nobody participates in class since there are many people, and the methodology does not allow it'. Now we just can wait to see how ALEX is going to be developed when it has the necessary resources and when students have and understand the information about this program. This can be just a problem of communication and lack of resources that can be solved with time, since this is the first time this program has been carried out. The students and the teachers also have to give the most they can to make this program grow.

This current year, the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, branch of Manizales, is celebrating 55 years of its creation (1948). However, the teaching of foreign languages here just started in 1958 and lasted until 1972, when hot revolutionary political movements of that epoch, promoted by many students, made the courses collapse and disappear as subjects pertaining to the academic programs. Then, some sporadic courses in English and other languages such as French, Italian or Japanese continued to be scheduled as elective subjects. But now there is a new option in order to provide students with a better and permanent variety of languages courses: ALEX. After ALEX was created and formally began as an institutional program of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (year 2002), more than 550 new students were enrolled to take the courses. In the first semester of the year 2003, 580 more were also admitted to courses in English, French and Italian. 16 hired teachers are joined to the ALEX Program and a micro Self Access Center (SAC) is now in the phase of implementation since no Department or Section of Foreign Languages has ever existed at this branch of the university up to now.

At present, there is a very favorable, enthusiastic atmosphere about the ALEX Program. In general, students feel that languages are very important for their professional and personal education as well as an effective, helpful tool in their lives. For these reasons, among others, this program is rapidly meeting the expectations of the student population in our institution.


Page 8

CAPITAL LETTER

GUEST COLUMNISTS MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES APPLIED TO PEDAGOGY by Professor Sonia Delgado de Valencia

Since the moment Gardner identified other intelligences different from the linguistic and mathematical ones, much has been said and written about this subject all around the world. The author of this new theory first thought in Psychology rather than Pedagogy for applying it. However, it has been within this last discipline that his theory has been used with more emphasis, and it has been proposed as an excellent tool for working in the classroom. Gardner (1999) says that all human beings posses the eight intelligences and that our duty as teachers and is to promote in the learners the use of all of them to enhance the possibilities of both educators and learners to acquire knowledge relevant for their own lives. For an intelligence to be considered as such it has to fulfill eight requirements, otherwise it would be only a skill or a talent but not an intelligence: 1. It can be potentially isolated in the brain due to brain damage. For example, if a person suffers an accident that involves the Broca region, he or she may have limitations in language but not in math, or in dancing or even in singing. 2. There can be individuals that show superior skills in one intelligence but not in other ones. That is the case of Raymond in Rain Man, who could calculate accurately but could not have good relationships with other people. 3. It can be identified culturally and with individuals that perform it as a final state. It means that there are human beings that perform in this intelligence, as Mozart for the musical or Mutiz for the naturalistic. 4. It has to be present in the evolution of the species with more or less emphasis according to the needs of the different cultures. For example, the spatial intelligence can be observed when the bees are able to find flowers far away from their territory and communicate their findings to the group by means of a dance. 5. Psychometric discoveries complementary of other measures like IQ (intelligence quotient), or Cooopersmith for measuring selfesteem.

6. Complementary Psychological tasks. Such is the case when the individuals are very keen on a specific skill, as for example reading, but are not able to transfer this skill to another field. Every person can demonstrate different competence levels in all the eight intelligences. 7. A set of nuclear identifiable operations. Each intelligence has a set of nuclear items in charge of prompting the different natural activities corresponding to each one. For example, in the musical intelligence its components would include the ability to separate different rhythmical structures. 8. Possibility of encoding it in a system of symbols. According to Gardner, one of the best indicators of human behaviour is the capacity we have to use symbols. The word "cat" is not a cat but the symbolic representation of the animal that permits me to recall its image. Gardner insists that there are some important elements within the Multiple Intelligences Theory that have to be taken into account: 1. All human beings have the eight intelligences. 2. Most of the people can develop each one of the intelligences until an appropriate level of aptitude. 3. The different intelligences work interwoven in a complex way. 4. There are different ways of being intelligent within each category. The eight intelligences we have been talking about so far are: Language Intelligence The person with this intelligence remembers poems and short readings easily, enjoys telling stories and work with puzzles and tongue twisters. They express themselves properly and can follow the rhythm of various languages. As representative of this intelligence we can mention Gabriel GarcĂ­a Marquez. Logical- mathematical Intelligence Going from the concrete to the abstract is easy for a person with this intelligence, since thinking in a conceptual mode is her / his natural way. Spatial-Visual Intelligence The person with this intelligence will use charts, maps, drawings, designs and colouring for expressing himself or herself in a better way. A good example of a person with this intelligence would be Christopher Columbus, and in general all fishermen, and architects as well.

Musical Intelligence Mozart used to remember long melodies with ease and modified them on purpose according to his mood, surprising every body with his creativity. A person with this intelligence can differentiate sequential patterns in sounds, and expresses his/ her feelings through songs and by playing musical instruments. Kinestetic intelligence The person can be easily identified because he or she can move smoothly and beautifully. They can be great dancers and sport-people, since they have good motor abilities that they demonstrate with physical dexterity. Interpersonal intelligence The person with this intelligence can understand and interpret the feelings of the people around him or her. They are popular and have many friends and they enjoy to play in teams and solve problems in group. Intrapersonal intelligence Recognising strong and weak areas of our personality is not an easy task. However, for the person with this intelligence to be reflective and intuitive make him and her feel comfortable and shows preference for being alone than in large groups. Naturalistic intelligence The person prefers to walk along the river than being inside a room. Nature and himself establish a pantheistic continuos. This person will be able to distinguish among the different trees and flowers of the environment. Darwin, Mutiz, Sabio Caldas, ecologists of our times as well, are people that have this intelligence more developed than any other one. It is important to recall that no intelligence exists by itself. In general terms all the intelligences exist and work at the same time, with more or less emphasis depending upon the natural abilities of every one. However, we can help other people nearby, our students, children, sons and daughters, among others, to recognise which intelligences they have more developed in a natural way. It might be interesting to propose a life project to bring the other intelligences to a good standard that, surely, will awake in ourselves a lot of potentials that had been slept for years in our minds. How can we organise a syllabus based on M.I.? First of all taking into account that every learner has a different route to approach knowledge and that is the best way for us to understand what intelligence he/she has more developed .

Next page...


Page 9

CAPITAL LETTER

GUEST COLUMNISTS

THE TEACHING PAGE PROFILE

Observe how your learners misbehave and you will discover what kind of intelligence they have. In the classroom it is necessary to introduce readings, formulas, drawings, music, kinestetic activities, walks and visits outside the room, and promote group work and good relationships among the students. Little by little they will develop their M.I. up to a point where all of them have a standard level that will make them better citizens of the world.

Melba Libia Cárdenas Majored in Modern Languages, associated teacher of Universidad Nacional, editor of PROFILE magazine. She has been teaching the English Didactic courses since 1992 and the Action Research Seminar since 1999. Professor Cárdenas has been a teacher-researcher since she finished her undergraduate studies. As a teacher-researcher, she has covered different and useful topics as evaluation, teacher training, didactics and Action Research in Education.

Gardner (1999). Inteligencias Reformuladas, Ed. Paidos, Madrid.

A language ‘melting pot’ Article from San Andrés by Professor Raquel Sanmiguel Although San Andres is part of Colombia, when living here, it does feel like being in a different place altogether…. especially if you move around, mix and have your eyes, ears, and heart wide open. As you enter our small campus, for example, if you open your ears you will hear our executive Secretary and some of our collaborators speak Creole to one another. If you open your eyes, you will see a sign inviting all people on campus to speak English and/or Creole on Fridays, as part of a pedagogical project. And, if you open your heart, you will feel great to see young native faces walking in and out of our classrooms, being prepared to be the first students to enter our University by areas of study. San Andres is as Caribbean as the ‘melting pot’ the whole region is. Cultures mingle, languages develop ‘in contact’ with one another, countless religions, lifestyles and beliefs co-exist, and peace is still a precious gift to be enjoyed. Complexity is at the heart of all aspects of culture, languages being a unique characteristic. How do we handle the complexity of languages: English, Creole or Spanish? Spanish, we use it all over, it is the national language… Creole, we value it, we encourage it, we respect it, we try to understand it, we study it… English, spoken neatly by the oldest in the island, supported, encouraged, and taught by the church, valued by all as an international language and a door to the Caribbean, to the world… is there to be encouraged too. … Ever thought of widening your language learning experience?

… Ever experienced teaching in a multi-lingual corner of Colombia?

Some of her major concerns are: in-service teacher training to improve the English language teachers' performance, and teacher's involvement in research as a way of increasing their abilities and opening their personal views in the language-teaching process. These concerns can be seen in her written production (e.g. "Teacher Researchers as Writers: A Way to Sharing Findings" 1, "Teacher Research as a Means to Create Teachers' Communities in In-Service Programs" 2, "Action Research by English Teachers: An Option to Make Classroom Research Possible" 3), and also in her participation in the "Programas de Desarrollo profesional para Docentes de Inglés de Educación Básica y Media" in the Foreign Languages Department at UN (1995-2000). So, as it can be seen Professor Cárdenas has a strong interest in English language teachers' performance and its incidence in the learning process. Furthermore, students who belong to the FLD should appreciate teachers like her. She is strongly committed to her role and has a big need of sharing and giving the tools to improve the reality of the students who will be her successors. 1 Revista Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal. Number 5. Maestría en Lingüística Aplicada a la Enseñanza del Inglés de la Universidad Distrital: In progress.2 Revista HOW. A Colombian Journal for English Teachers. ASOCOPI. Number 9, 2002 3 Revista Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal. Volume 2, Number 1. Maestría en Lingüística Aplicada a la Enseñanza del Inglés de la Universidad Distrital: Julio 2000

Action Research: a way of transforming our classrooms By A.N. Action Research( AR) is a new type of research based on what is going on in the classroom and in the educational environment in order to have an effective teaching-learning process. Action Research defines a 'problematic' situation observed within the classroom and, depending on the classroom needs, creates different strategies to explain it or improve it. The strategies are developed to explore the situation(s) -the teachers, the students or both-; and then, its idea is to explain or solve the identified problems with the aim of improving our daily practice as teachers.According to Gregory (1988), mentioned by Richards (1994), 'Action research is used to refer to teacher-initiated classroom investigation which seeks to increase the teacher understanding of classroom teaching and learning, and to bring about a change in classroom practices' . As most of the research approaches, Action Research is based on observation, it is done in the daily work of teachers by themselves or other colleagues. The teacher-researcher has the collaboration of other colleagues, the students, the parents, or other participants involved in the academic community, but always the participants involved are conscious of the needs they have and the research process they are participating in. Action Research involves small-scale research projects. In addition, it is a reflective process constituted by different phases: planning, action, observation and reflection. In conclusion, to develop Action Research. The teacher-researchers should be prepared to manage and collaboratively participate with at least their students to create by action and reflection the strategies needed to improve the classroom atmosphere or the teaching-learning process.

Richards, J and Lockhart, C. (1994) Reflective teaching in second language classrooms. CUP


Page 10

CAPITAL LETTER

TEACHER'S CORNER

ACTIVITY

MISCELANEOUS BAG

A REFLECTION FOR PEACE. By: V.L

(Beginners - 5 minutes per student ) Classmates call out questions until they guess what is being mimed. Preparation: Write an action or a sequence of 2 or 3 actions on a card. Prepare enough of these for each student so each one has one. Mimes should be related to eating and cooking or tasks around the home, for example:

- "You are standing in front of the cooker. You're frying a pancake in a frying pan. Toss it to turn it over" - "You have a loaf of bread. Pick up a knife and slice off 2 pieces" - "You are pouring milk into a glass. Some milk spills onto the floor. Find a cloth and clean up the milk" - You are dusting a table. You knock off a vase. It breaks, clean up the broken glass" Procedure: 1. Give a card to each student. If necessary, take performers out into the hall one at a time to demonstrate their activity, then send them back into mime. 2. One student at a time goes in front of the class to repeatedly mime the actions on his/her card. Classmates guess what they are doing asking only Yes/No questions until someone guesses the correct action.

Taken from Hess, Natalie and Pollard, Laurel. (1995) Creative Questions (1995) England: Longman.

Currently, news has registered the war USA Iraq. Activists from many countries in the world have expressed their disagreement with this war. Many people have gone out to the streets with pamphlets in which they have shown messages rejecting it. Another way of demonstration was shown in the Oscar awards in which there were also expressions against the conflict among some of the winners. In spite of the fact that some singers and actors have expressed their opposition, they have been censured by some channels and some important members of entertainment that consider these reactions as a position against the country. However, it is important to remark that all that people do in favour of peace is more valuable, at least, this is a way to convoke reflection. If instead of inciting the war to resist terrorism President Bush had appealed to good sense and living in peace, maybe he would have gotten a more global coalition to get a purpose of peace. Without tolerance we will always be witnesses of wars and these always will be the legacy of new generations.

The Fox and the Grapes A new Version by J.C.S. Once upon a time in a forest, walking through the huge trees, a fox was searching for something to eat. She had no eaten for two days and was starving. Suddenly, the Fox saw a beautiful vine plenty of grapes. She ran to a tree and jumped to reach some grapes but they were so high that the Fox could not reach them. The Fox continued jumping and one of the grapes said "I had not seen an animal as stupid as this one, look at it, what is it doing now? " The Fox then thought about a different way for reaching the grapes. She started climbing the tree but that was difficult. Meanwhile the grapes started to laugh because the Fox was very clumsy at climbing.

But although the Fox was not good enough for climbing, this was a very clever animal. She waited during a few minutes and sat down. Then, the Fox started to think about a better way to make grapes come down. Ingeniously, the Fox said "Do you know that grapes can live much better on soil than over there, upwards? You are so high that you might fall down and hurt yourselves." "That is not true" - said the grapes "we cannot grow on the soil". The Fox had reached her purpose. She made the grapes believe what she had said. Then, the Fox told the grapes she would leave because there was nothing interesting to see.

As soon as the fox left, the grapes decided to prove if what she had said was true. They started jumping one by one and after all of them were on the ground, they noticed that being there was not a good place to be. Besides, it was not a good idea staying there. Immediately, the Fox appeared again. The grapes were horrified. "Oh! please do not scream, I am here to help you", said the Fox. " Are you?", ask her one of the little fruits. "Yes, certainly", answered the traitor. " I will throw each one up to reach your limb, but listen to me, I will do it only once, and I do not have time to play with you, right?" The grapes accepted guiltlessly. So, the Fox launched the grapes but none of them could reach the limb and as fast as they fell, the cheat animal ate them. "Why are you doing this?" asked her one of the grapes, "you said you would help us!" To this utterance the Fox answered, "Yes, I did, and I am doing what I told you, however, do you remember I explained that I would do it only once? If you cannot go back to your place I do not care, that is not my problem. Now, shut up tiny grape, I am still hungry". "Sometimes being innocent means being ignorant".


Page 11

CAPITAL LETTER

MISCELANEOUS BAG

IRONY, PARADOX, AND PROPOSALS By John A. Oyuela All of us, in any time of our lives, have experienced sensations produced by contradictory and -in some cases- improbable situations. Recently, I have felt those sensations because of the current state of Colombian Literature's; and I want to summarize that situation in just two terms: Irony and Paradox. As an example of what I mean by irony, I will mention an Irish man named Jonathan Swift. After that, I will mention an English man named Terry Eagleton who defines paradox; finally, I will propose an idea that is both ironic and paradoxical. SWIFT AND IRONY Jonathan Swift wrote about the incoherence of the epoch he lived in. One of his most important, ironic, and well known writings is A modest proposal for preventing the children of poor people in Ireland from being a burden to their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the public. Here, Swift wanted to denounce the poverty and starvation of the Irish lower-class people, but beyond that he also wanted to question the indifference of the Irish higher classes. The belief in Swift's days was that the poor people got what they deserved and could elevate themselves to a better position if they wanted to, a view that later evolved into "social Darwinism." Swift used irony when he proposes that Irish mothers had babies and sell them to their English lords as delicacies. This is Swift's ironic sense. THE ENGLISH LITERATURE PARADOX The book Literary Theory: An introduction (1983) by Terry Eagleton, gives in the two first chapters a summary about how English literature became recognized and important around the world. There, Eagleton appoints to George Gordon (a nineteenth century English literature professor in Oxford) who said,: "England is sick, and…the English literature must save it. As (according to what I understand) the churches have failed and the social remedies are slow, the English literature has now a triple function: it must still, I suppose, delight us and instruct

LATEST EVENTS

us, but also, over everything, save our cores and healing to the State" Those words had a dramatic effect on the whole Victorian England. As a result, the subject English Literature got institutionalized as a necessary subject to approve school and technical studies. Paradoxically, English Literature became a National Issue and its recognized as one of the best ones world-wide. Of course, nobody would have thought that Literature was able to save England when the problems did not refer to it … anyhow, it was able to.

RECOGNITION Capital Letter wants to highlight the work of the people who participated in the first logo contest, second semester, 2002: Carlos Alberto Aldana Luis Fernando Cobos Eliana Wilches Carolina Penagos Camilo Andrés Patiño

MY PROPOSALS First of all, I must recognize that what I propose is in a certain way ironic and paradoxical because it is exactly the opposite of what I have been trying to illustrate with Swift and Eagleton's examples. It is sad that, we as students of Human Sciences, we do not have -at least in principle- to attend Colombian Literature classes. As I understand, the only one program that offers and demand the attendance to Colombian Literature classes is the Literature Program. Knowing that situation, I allowed myself to think on the subject and to propose a new subject for all the careers at the National University, it would be named Colombian Literary Studies. Such subject could allow students to understand the current national problems and, what is the best, to propose solutions throughout a noble way: Literature. The irony and paradox of all this is that I had to use external patterns to propose a way for understanding our own concerns: Colombian Literature. I wonder, why do we have to read European or American authors and customs since we have our own authors and customs? I am not proclaiming a pseudonationalism, but a possibility of constructing a massive identity: the Colombian one. Finally, as Héctor Abad -a Colombian writersays in one of his columns in a famous magazine: "When our time comes, we will had left many unread books, but life is also leaving a great amount of open possibilities." So, let's work it out before our time comes. Eagleton, T. Literary Theory: An introduction. P.36 (1983) Spanish edition (1994

The British Council gave one of our students, Richar Vargas López Code Number 445513, a scholarship to study English during the first period of 2003 at its prestigious institution. Richar was the winner of the Short Story Contest sponsored by Capital Letter during the second semester of 2002.

COLOMBIAN PRESENCE ABROAD

1) 37th International Annual IATEFL Conference, 22-26 April 2003, Brighton, UK Speakers: Norma Chavarro C. and Alberto Abouchar. Name of the presentation: The Teaching of English in the Plurilingual Context of San Andrés and Providencia, Colombia. 2) 37th International Annual IATEFL Conference, 22-26 April 2003, Brighton, UK Speaker: Melba Libia Cárdenas Name of the presentation: “Classroom research by inservice teachers: Which characteristics? Which concerns?” 3) Third Internacional Conference on Language Teacher Education 29-31 May 2003, Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA). Speaker: Melba Libia Cárdenas Name of the presentation: “Teacher Research in an Inservice Program: Features


Page 12

CAPITAL LETTER

CONTESTS FOR ALL TASTES

UPCOMING EVENTS These are some of the events that will come up soon.

THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE DEPARTMENT LOGO CONTEST

·- National Teacher's Day May 15, 2003 will be National Teacher's Day, a time for honouring teachers and recognizing the lasting contributions they make to our lives. It's a time to strengthen support and respect for teachers and the teaching profession.

Objective: to create and original and simple logo for the web page of the Foreign Language Department. Prize: Public credit on the web page and printed materials.

- Sixth National ELT Conference: Beyond Evaluation

PHOTOGRAPHIC CONTEST Objective: to get the best shots from the department (places, people, surroundings) to be published on the web page. Prizes: public credit on the web page and printed materials. THE UNPLUGED FESTIVAL Language Day April 23, 2003 Objective: to show the talent of students. Prizes: Books

Building on the successful outcome of the National Conference on Professional Development held in 2002, Universidad Nacional de Colombia in co-operation with British Council is organizing the Sixth National ELT Conference: Beyond Evaluation. The Conference will be held in Bogotá, from 18 to 20 September 2003 at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Edificio de Posgrados, Facultad de Ciencias Humanas. This year's conference will be focused around the topic 'Beyond Evaluation' in order to have a critical and constructive assessment of current research and practice in this area. - 14th English Language Teaching Conference: Managing Complexity and Diversity in Language Teaching Based on the necessity of more divergent uses of teaching resources and a more integrated and inter-disciplinary curriculum where students can learn about themselves and about the world, next August 28, 29 & 30 the 14th English Language Teaching Conference Managing Complexity and Diversity in Language Teaching is programmed. Organized by Centro Colombo Americano, Medellín. The conferences will be focused on the perspective and implications of a curricular change, in the context of foreign language learning.

THE DEPARTMENT PUBLICATIONS Anonyma, the Foreign Languages Department magazine, holds as its main purpose to promote complex thinking through writing. Thus, Anonyma is a place where students have the chance to publish their works and explore common topics of the languages program: linguistics, literature, civilization and education. Besides, the magazine intends to join together students of Spanish, German, English and French.

The cheapest original book will never be overcome by the most expensive photocopy

Profile, is an annual publication of the Foreign Languages Department that has the purpose of sharing the results of classroom research projects undertaken by primary, and secondary schools teachers as well as articles written by university professors.

CAPITAL LETTER 03  

Tercera edición de Capital Letter. Publicada en Mayo de 2003.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you