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NEIL MCLAREN

entrevista tras su jubilación

THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE

reportaje de la America con más raíces

LAURA POLO

como es ser profesora online

DIGITAL STORY-TELLING educational uses Who’s Who Laura Polo

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EDITORIAL

be ginnings Con este número comienza esta publicación que va dirigida a todos los profesores de inglés como lengua extranjera o como segunda lengua (EFL/ESL), especialmente a los profesores de nivel superior, refiriéndonos a universidad, cursos superiores de Escuela Oficial de Idiomas y resto de academias y centros de enseñanza. Pero, más específicamente, esta publicación esta dedicada a los profesores inquietos que dedican tiempo y pasión a su trabajo, y que nunca se cansan de aprender cosas nuevas para evolucionar como docentes cada día. Por lo tanto, en cada uno de los números de esta revista, los profesores suscritos irán descubriendo muchas herramientas nuevas que utilizar en el aula, también interesantes entrevistas a profesionales de la enseñanza del inglés. Los artículos principales hablarán de grandes recursos que le ayudarán de forma práctica en sus clases, a la vez, que lo harán evolucionar y adaptarse a las nuevas tecnologías y a la gran cantidad de posibilidades que se nos ofrecen a la hora de enseñar. Hemos decidido llamar a esta revista FOUR SKILLS, ya que, cuando aprendemos un lenguaje, lo hacemos a través de estas destrezas, debido a que son necesarias para completar la comunicación. Y es lo que consigue esta publicación, una comunicación directo con el profesor de inglés, que le ayudará a mejorar cada día y adaptarse a las nuevas tecnologías sin olvidarse de las técnicas de enseñanza tradicionales que todavía funcionan. Le presentamos una revista por suscripción que podrá recibir en su casa cada cuatro meses o si lo prefiere y ya es un profesor a la última moda, descargarse nuestra versión digital a través de nuestra web (www.fourskills.com) FOUR SKILLS intenta ser una publicación práctica, pero con contenidos muy interesantes para su lector específico, con entrevistas a grandes profesionales, como Neil Mclaren, experimentado profesor de la Universidad de Granada o también con nuestra sección que nombra a la revista, FOUR SKILLS, en la cual, presentaremos pequeños artículos prácticos sobre cada una de las destrezas del lenguaje, además no olvide que esta publicación está escrita tanto en inglés como en español para no perder la esencia de la versión original.

STAFF DIRECTORA Celia Polo Castillo DIRECTORA DE ARTE Celia Polo Castillo REDACTORA JEFE Olga Murillo Leal REDACCIÓN Jefa de Actualidad: Christian Cabrera Jefa de Reportajes: Daniel López Jefa de Diseño: Celia Polo Castillo

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Who’s Who Laura Polo

REDACTORES David Gómez María Fernández Juan Serrano Lourdes Rodríguez Beatriz Castro DISEÑO GRAFICO Juanjo Rivas Inés Millán Inma Blanco Ana Belén Olmedo SECRETARIA DE REDACCIÓN Cristina Olmedo DOCUMENTACIÓN Teresa Martín, Ascensión Olmedo y Maite Linares

FOTOGRAFÍA Nélida Gónzalez, Paola Puertas, Mari Carmen Fernández, Ventura Blanco, Matilde Garzón, Irene de la Obra, Patricia Pérez, Ana Ruiz. INFOGRAFÍA José R. Pedre, Pedro J. Martín de los Santos, Juan C. Esteban, María Luisa Sánchez Ocaña, Mario Riviere DISEÑO Celia Polo Castillo PROGRAMADORES Oscar Gracia Rodolfo Mata


SUMARIO Mayo - Julio 2012

4. teachers Bag Things to put in it

6. Review

Ridmi Magazine

7. Whos who Laura Polo

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8 13 Digital story-telling 18 BEEN THERE 20

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Questions Neil McLaren

Four Skills

Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing Educational Uses

The American Experience


First of all, you’re going to need a bag to put all you things inside. This beautiful briefcase made from soft grain leather with dual front buckle clasps and leather covered handle. You can get this at http:// www.tedbaker.com/ (245 €)

The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary,is recommended by teachers and students because it defines words in language students understand, gives useful example sentences, and includes the help learners need to expand their vocabulary to 7500+ words. At www.amazon.com (41.95 €)

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Teacher’s bag

You are going to need a folder for the next day’s material to be photocopied. Don’t wait to the last minute to photocopy material. Having a separate folder entirely will keep those papers organized. This one is from www.pendaflex.com (5 €)


Here’s a mini guide on what essentials should go into a teacher’s bag, plus a few little extras

Evian Natural Still Mineral Water (2L). A bottle of water because you’ll be doing a lot of talking on some days more than others. But still, you are going to have to keep your throat healthy and hydrated to talk in a class. You can get this bottle of water at any supermarket. Prices change between 1 and 2 euro.

This basic, yet classic notebook is one of the best selling Moleskine notebooks.Perfect for thoughts and passing notes, has a cardboard bound cover with rounded corners, acid free paper, a bookmark, an elastic closure. At www.moleskine.com (9.99€)

A good red marker to correct all of your students mistakes. You know they’re going to make mistakes, spelling, grammar, etc, so you have to be prepared. You can use this traditional edding red marker which is perfect for all your corrections. (1.80 €)

Teacher’s bag

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NOmore shakespeare E Una gran revista para españoles pero escrita en inglés

s con este eslogan “No More Shakespeare”, con el que presento la revista RIDMI su primer número que salió a la venta en mayo de 2011. Con este eslogan, la revista RIDMI, quiso mostrar al público joven español que existen más formas de leer inglés de calidad que leer el, a menudo difícil de leer, Shakespeare. Lo que intenta y, teniendo en cuenta sus ventas ha conseguido, esta revista es convertir la lectura del inglés en algo entretenido y que se puede disfrutar, y alejar del público la idea de el inglés “académico”. Esta revista, se define así misma como juvenil, alternativa, moderna, asequible, informativa, interesante, social y educativa . Y definitivamente, es buena con su definición. Nos ofrece contenidos de buena calidad e interesantes pero especialmente dedicado al público español, con lo cual, con un nivel

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Review

Ridmi Magazine

intermedio-alto de inglés, no necesitarás el diccionario cada vez que te pongas a leerla. Es una revista mensual que es a la vez informativa, entretenida y de aprendizaje, ya que la revista está escrita en inglés, pero inglés como EFL (Englishas a Foreign Language), es decir, uso del inglés para hablantes con otra lengua nativa, en este caso, el español. Como profesor, esta es la herramientas perfecta para hacer a los alumnos unos buenos lectores de inglés. Sus texto son buenos para incluirlos en clase y para usarlos como ejercicios, y además enriquecerán la cultura de cine, musical, televesitva, y general del estudiante. Otra gran cosa sobre esta revista, es que está al alcance de todo el mundo, ya que uno puede suscribirse, encontrarla en el quiosco o, descargarsela en su tablet, ya que tiene versión electrónica y versión online.


LAURA POLO Laura Polo es una de las pocas opositoras felices de andalucía, ya que tras aprobar sin plaza las oposiciones de la escuela oficial de idiomas, pasar dos escasos meses de interina en cadiz, Ha conseguido una vacante en la EOI (escuela oficial de idiomas),pero no es una vacante como una profesora según su sentido tradicional, es la primera de cinco interinos que están iniciando desde cero el sistema de enseñanza online de la escuela de idiomas.

m

i trabajo consiste en muchas cosas, la primera y principal es atender a los alumnos, no solo en el terreno metodológico, ya que trabajan de forma autónoma, sino que la mayoría de las veces me necesitan para dudas tecnológicas. En el terreno metodológico muchos me preguntan cosas como, ¿Cómo me puedo descargar el temario? , ¿En qué consiste el examen?, ¿Qué tareas tengo que realizar? Y cosas así. Otro tipo de preguntas tienen más que ver con lo que es en sí el inglés y su aprendizaje. Normalmente la forma de atender a los alumnos es por correo electrónico o por mensajes emergentes, esa no es la forma más rápida, pero si es la más usual. No es la más rápida, ya que es explicar una duda gramatical por correo electrónico no tiene

mucho sentido ni es muy útil pero el alumno, que no te conoce, tiene vergüenza y prefiere escribirte por email. Otras vías de comunicación con el alumno son Skype o el teléfono. Los alumnos tienen un número de teléfono al que pueden llamar y ponerse en contacto con el profesor, y la otra vía es Skype, que aunque se suele usar como una simple llamada más que como una videollamada también es muy útil. En cuanto a la creación de materiales, en mi caso, yo no creo materiales por que ya existen, pero los materiales existentes hay que modificarlos porque, metodológicamente, no funcionan correctamente, esto fue una decisión de todo el equipo. Lo modificable, lo modificamos sobre la marcha, usando un programa que se llama Exelearning, que es un programa para crear actividades. Al usar nosotros materiales libres, todo el resto de cosas que queramos usar para nuestras ac-

tividades creadas con Exelearning también tienen que ser libres, es decir, que lo usemos tiene que estas con licencia Creative Commons. Es por esto, que yo uso mucho la Wikipedia. Por ejemplo, hicimos una actividad que se llamaba “Stars of Our Time”, para practicar el pasado, entonces usamos a varios cantantes que murieron jóvenes como por ejemplo Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Freddy Mercury, etc., y toda la información biográfica la sacamos de la Wikipedia, que tiene licencia Creative Commons. La escuela de idiomas no funciona como otro tipo de enseñanzas, la EOI nos ha proporcionado unos materiales de antemano que no son modificables, los ha comprado la Junta de Andalucía y no son como el resto, que son públicos y los puede ver todo el mundo.

Who’s Who Laura Polo

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Who’s Who Laura Polo


QUESTIONS with NEIL MCLAREN por Jesús M. Nieto García One day somebody came to me and said something like, “Hey, you know? I heard Neil McLaren is retiring at the end of the year,” and I thought something like, “Oh, come on, this guy must be out of his senses.” I simply couldn’t think of the English Department without Neil, and it is not just melancholy (by the way, I used to stress the second syllable of this word at the time; thank you, Neil, I know better now), or the feeling that I am now obviously not so lithe and possibly not as active, but the thing is that, ever since then a few ideas seem to be going round and round again in my mind, considering the impressive and massive work he has done with so many of us in the past thirty-five years or so, and considering how we have improved so many things whereas others do not seem to be so well off as they should be. So, thanking him for these years and also for this little while that we are sharing, what follows is a rather informal chat between teacher and pupil, and also between colleagues. On the one hand, I am sure that, through his expertise, his writings and the indelible stamp he has left on all of us, he still has many more lessons to teach. On the other hand, I feel honoured to humbly speak of him as a colleague, although I know that this is practically an impossible challenge, being on an approximate par with him is no easy matter, although I think that I can improve, as a teacher, every day, and that is one of my goals for life.

Who’s Who Laura Polo

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Neil, trying to make a balance of these years, in what sense is the current situation different from the situation you found in Spanish Universities in the 1970’s?

When I started it was pre-internet, premultimedia: books were the thing, and books were expensive, libraries had nothing like the capacity they have now.

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Questions Neil McLaren

First of all, I should like to thank FOUR SKILLS, and its editorial board, most sincerely for the privilege of this interview, and Prof. Jesús Nieto personally for his extremely friendly, tactful and professional preparation and editing of the same, with all the work that involves. I would also like to apologise in advance for the disjointed nature of some of the observations that follow. Coming on to the first question, then, there are really many differences between the situation now and the situation when I arrived, in 1973. If we think about the University curriculum, it was first of all a five-year course and English was only introduced in the third year; it was a closed syllabus in the sense that there were no optional subjects; and it was also –not so anecdotally– different in the sense that we had classes on Saturday morning! So that it was a regular procedure for the student to have three classes Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and three classes Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, which was a very good idea, in my opinion! Teaching Prácticas de Lengua Inglesa, as it was then, in the third year and fourth year, we had big groups, and we were allowed to divide the groups by competence, that is, after a pre-test we effectively “streamed” them and we adjusted the teaching to the two or three groups. That, perhaps, would not be politically correct nowadays –or maybe it would– but I didn’t have any problem with it. I’m not at all sure the students had very many problems with it either - that’s something which has changed. Of course, the number and type of students is also different nowadays. I don’t want to categorise sociologically a type of student, but obviously the primary and secondary education system was quite different then to what it is now: there were far fewer people who went through the whole system. And there were quite a lot of students who, although they were not particularly gifted perhaps linguistically, when they came into English in the third year did have the backup of those first two years. Apart from the lack of the greater flexibility we have nowadays, when I started it was pretty clear, I think, when you came into a Faculty like the Arts Faculty, you were more or less assured of a job, and that job basically was teaching. I remember our course was very clearly orientated to providing a good, solid, general


education in English Philology, and specifically a pedagogical education for future English teachers, and nobody, I think, had any serious doubts about that, apart from the few people who went on to do research: in those days, as you remember, certainly in Granada, there were few facilities for secondary school teacher training, since the professional teacher training colleges were basically concerned with primary school teachers and not with training secondary school teachers. I think that nowadays we have to be much more flexible, and much more concerned with a greater variety of future occupations, which hopefully will be reflected in the materials students have to study, and how they study them, in our English courses. The next thing, of course, is that when I started it was “preinternet”, pre-multi-media: books were the thing, and books were expensive, libraries had nothing like the capacity they have now. Many, perhaps most, of our students could afford to buy books, perhaps more than nowadays - it’s difficult to compare -, but obviously books and photocopies were the essential staple element, which in one sense simplified the task enormously, with all the limitations inherent in that. But if we think that you can’t do everything anyway in a university English course, even one of five years, then it’s not a bad idea to have a book-based course, where students at least get the most they possibly can out of their learning material. Anyway, to conclude, I have quite fond memories of that initial curriculum. I do think it had very positive features, despite its rigidity –it could have had, for example, such things as introducing translation activities into the English curriculum. It had to be modified, and it has been modified. Whether for the better in general terms is very difficult to say, because the student population has changed so enormously over the last years. I think that we have much greater resources, and the challenge we have nowadays is to use those possibilities of all kinds, not only technological, but others. For example, in the old days it was more difficult for students to travel abroad, as there was no established Erasmus system. The situation is vastly different now and there is a very well-established system, and I think it’s really sad that all students do not take up all the opportunities they have for travelling. Anyway, I feel equally comfortable about both situations, because they were/are in a sense both appropriate for their respective times. Thinking of what we can imagine just round the corner, how do you think we should start adapting to the new challenges implicit in the Bologna process? The first thing I think we will have to do is to get our aims clear. The term “Bologna” is bandied about in a loose way, and I feel we really will have to decide what we mean by it. Is it a re-working of the whole degree course, or is it, as I personally think it should be, much more a concentration on the methodological side and getting that right, providing the right number of physical possibilities, rooms for example, to be able to teach in the way that the Bologna concept suggests? I might say that it is not, in my view, a question of reproducing the “Oxford and Cambridge” system, which as you know is very much based on individual supervisions, or tutorials. I’m not sure we realise the enormous expense which that involves. I mean, those universities are very well-off, for historical reasons, and it’s not something which can be introduced, at least in those terms, overnight, or perhaps ever, in a University like Granada, with sixty-five thousand students, or whatever, so I think we’ve got to be careful about trying to copy systems which have operated in other universities. British universities are, comparatively, very small –though admittedly other European universities are certainly not–, and you can’t just

QUESTIONS Neil McLaren

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I think content teachingshould be an importantpart of universityeducation. However,I’m not at all sure thatit should be anticipatedin the primary or the secondary situation.

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Questions Neil McLaren

translate their system wholesale into the Spanish system. However, I’m all in favour of the change, as long as we don’t go overboard and try to do too much and therefore feel frustrated that we’re not doing enough. I also hope that we won’t discard the formal lecture just like that –I’m not suggesting that that has been proposed–, since I feel it’s got a clear place in the syllabus, given what we could term the traditional Spanish “learning style”. It’s perfectly obvious that the students will have to use all the resources of technology at their disposal –and that does not mean just switch on the Internet and look for something–, the teachers also will have to be very much clued up on what is available in the Internet in their field, which is half the job, directing the students to the reliable sources, and not “any old” source. That’s an area which all of us are completely aware of; it’s just that there are different levels of confidence about using these techniques. In my view, the whole principle of the student workload being the basic unit, as it were, is perfectly sound, as long as –to go back to my first point– we are very clear what our aims are. It shouldn’t be the case that, as long as students work three thousand hours, or whatever, they get their degree, and also I’m not sure that we all realise how much, not simply extra work, but careful reading of projects done by the students, etc., how much time and energy that is going to take. It will have to be built in, not only to the students’ workload, but the teachers’ workload, in an intelligent way. My last reflection on the “Bologna” process is that, as always, the key word is going to be patience: we’re not going to be able to expect quick results, it’s not going to be the case that everything is going to change overnight. There are going to be inequalities, for all kinds of reasons; some universities with a smaller student-staff ratio than others will probably be able to function more efficiently; even universities with new buildings will be in an advantageous position, maybe. All those kinds of logistic things will mean that we’re not talking about instant success, we’re talking about, say, five years to get going, ten to know that we’re pretty well on the right track.more experience in this kind of teaching, and in foreign language teaching in general. OK. Thank you very much, Neil, it’s been a real pleasure.


Four Skills is the name of our magazine, and this is the section that decided the name. four are the skills of the learning and teaching english and any other language. And in this section you will find articles, tools and resourceful material to get the most of each of the language skills, Listening, Speaking, Writing and Reading.

Who’s Who Laura Polo

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LISTENING

Using songs in the ESL classroom written by: David Gómez Simal Photograph by: Olga Murillo

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t’s great to use songs in the class, if only to do something a little different. But beyond using them solely to give your students some ‘light relief’, there are many other ways songs can be used in ESL classrooms to consolidate what students have already learnt. You can use the in “filling the blanks” exercise. Songs are often used in this way in the ESL classroom. You can carefully choose which words to blank out depending on what lexical area you want your students to work on. Their really good for listening comprehension. Instead of doing your usual listening comprehension out of the course books, do a song instead. Get your students thinking about the subject and do any pre-teaching of vocabulary as necessary. As with standard listening comprehension, there are a variety of exercises that you can do with songs: true

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Four Skills Listening

or false, matching exercises, open comprehension questions, etc. You can use a song with a clear rhyme pattern to do some phonetics work on particular phonemes. But the thing with using songs in the English classroom is that the teacher always uses popular cheest songs that everybody knows and with simple and basic vocabulary, like “What a Wonderful World”, “You’ve got a friend,” etc. Why don’t you give more credit to your student and their vocabulary competence? What a teacher could do, is it to use in classes more alternative music, what is called, nowadays, Indie music, with more insightful lyrics, that create great complex sentences, sometimes too hard to understand but with rich and open vocabulary uses. In these article, I’m going to introduce you to “The Shins.” The Shins are an American indie rock band from Albuquerque, New

Mexico, formed in 1996. The band consists of James Mercer (vocals, guitar), Joe Plummer (drums), Jessica Dobson (guitar), Yuuki Matthews (bass) and Richard Swift (keyboards). The band is currently based in Portland, Oregon. They have a new album in stores, the name is Port of Morrow, this album, immediately hooks the listener and holds on tight right up until the last few seconds. The Shins’ pop sensibilities and Mercer’s stunning way with words shine brighter on this album than ever before. I really wish I had all of the album’s lyrics out in front of me because I know they’re amazing. I catch snippets here and there: “Love is the ink in the well when her body writes” or “Long before you were born, you were always to be a dagger floating straight to their heart.”


SPEAKING

Teach English speaking skills with Skype written by: Daniel López Photograph by: Christian cabrera

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here has never been a better time to study languages.Developments in technology offer our learners many opportunities to use the internet for language learning, whether through online interactive quizzes, downloaded podcasts for authentic listening practice or through connections made with the various networking sites like Facebook or Myspace. One of the most practical technologies for the language learner which has emerged in recent years is ‘instant messaging’, a way of communicating from computer to computer instantaneously by text, voice or videocam. Language teachers will all be aware of two inherent limitations of class-based language learning. Conversation time is valued highly by our learners and yet speaking opportunities are at a premium in face-toface sessions. What’s more, until recently, frequent practice with native speakers (for

many) has been out of their reach. Thanks to instant messaging, this no longer needs to be the case. Whether studying alone or as part of a group, with tools like Windows Live and Yahoo Messenger, students can now speak to others in all four corners of the world at a time that suits them – and it’s absolutely free! If you’ve yet to dabble in instant messaging and worry that it’s all a bit too hightech, then think again. These tools are quick to learn and allow users to text chat, make telephone-style voice calls and even video conference from one computer to another with very little technical expertise required. So, whether you want to offer flexible speaking opportunities for your students, link up with native speakers or simply keep in touch with your favourite auntie on the other side of the world, the opportunity is now just a mouse click away.

Let’s look at one tool in particular: Skype, found at www.skype.com. Skype allows you to call a single Skype user or run conference sessions with up to five other people free of charge. You can also host a ‘Skypecast’, essentially a session open to the public, which allows up to 100 people into a ‘room’ at the same time and gives the moderator, that’s you, the choice of who speaks and when. So, whether your needs are for a one-to-one chat, an online paired or group discussion or a formal presentation or lecture, you can do it with Skype. And, with the addition of a third-party simple-to-use product, these conversations and presentations can even be recorded for people to listen to later as podcast-style audio files!

Four skills Speaking

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READING

Reading Skills Through the Language of Comics written by: María FErnández Photograph by: Flores Taboada

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aving spent many years working in the traditional picture book arena, I am now writing and illustrating children’s comics as well. Although I have been a longtime comics fan, doing comics for kids has given me a finer appreciation of the educational benefits this medium has to offer. Comics have much in common with picture books in that the text and illustrations work in concert to tell the story, neither being complete enough to stand on their own. But whereas picture books are primarily for young children, comics utilize the same principals to speak to all ages and can be instrumental in transcending age barriers. A bookseller in Miami recently told me that she has sold my Benny and Penny books to young teenagers with reading difficulties, which I find amazing considering that my protagonists are preschoolers! There is

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four skills Reading

something about the comic format that appears “cool” and accessible. We live in a visual age after all, and children can find reading pictures more natural and less daunting than dealing with blocks of type. Information contained in the pictures, eliminates the need for lengthy descriptions, allowing comics to be read quickly. During the initial reading, the words are read first, with the visual component acting as a subliminal counterpoint. The reader then re-reads in order to seek out information glossed over on the first run-through to (unconsciously) discover how the words and art support one another. Studies in cognitive reading skills have shown that while a good reader, if lost or unclear about something, will return to the place where they faltered, a poor reader will return to the beginning of the paragraph. This is less likely to happen when reading

a comic story as the reader has the option of studying the art to catch what they have missed. Visual clues are found not only in objects or backgrounds, but encompass a range of symbols, which together form a comics vocabulary; cloud-like speech bubbles denote thought, jagged ones, alarm, etc. Other clues might include facial expressions, body language, bolded words, movement lines around figures, “surprise” lines, beads of sweat, and puffs of dust to show that a character is in a hurry. Mood and pacing are expressed through the use of color (somber colors for somber moods/ bright colors for happy moods) and panel layout. Large panels can be effective when pulling back to show location, open a scene, emphasize a key story point or a defining moment for a character. A tilted panel might communicate disorientation, a small one, claustrophobia.


WRITING

Facebook can help to improve writing skills written by: Daniel López Photograph by: Christian cabrera

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ocial networking sites like Facebook and Bebo could help improve children’s writing skills, according to research. A study conducted by the National Literacy Trust found that children’s confidence in their writing abilities were boosted by writing blogs and using social networking sites. The survey, of more than 3,000 youngsters aged between nine and 16, found more than half of all respondents thought writing was “boring” but that youngsters who spent time blogging enjoyed writing more than their peers who did not keep a blog.It found that 57% of youngsters who kept blogs said they liked writing compared to 40% of children who did not do so. The findings, detailed in the report, Young People’s Writing: Attitudes, Behaviour and the Role of Technology, also indicated that 61% young bloggers and 56% youngsters

with a social networking page claimed to be good or very good at writing. Dr Spencer Jordan, who lectures in creative writing at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff’s (Uwic) School of Education, said web technologies were proving to be an ideal way of encouraging young people to write confidently about things they enjoy. He said: “When I was a kid I used to write in exercise books kept in a drawer, but now that young people write on the web there’s a whole community out there to read their work. It’s interactive and that makes it more appealing to them.” Dr Jordan believes encouraging learners to share their writing through blogs can help boost their confidence in their own abilities. “It allows them to share what they’re doing,” he said. “In the old days of teaching creative writing it was difficult to share each other’s work without shuffling notebooks

around. Now we just put all our work on the web and people can look at it whenever they want.“I run workshops for creative writing and I always encourage students to upload their work to our blog and read each other’s work. It’s really good for their confidence.“It’s not just about creative writing either. A lot of our students write music reviews or set up their own web pages about their own interests. It means they’re practising writing both formally and informally and it’s something they enjoy.” Dr Sangeet Bhullar is executive director of Wise Kids, a Newport-based non-profit organisation promoting safe and positive internet usage among young people.She believes it is important that educators and parents recognise the importance of blogs and social networking sites in both developing children’s writing skills and their knowledge about safe internet usage.

four skills Writing

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the educational uses of

DIgItaL STORY-TELLING What is it? There are many different definitions of “Digital Storytelling,� but in general, they all revolve around the idea of combining the art of telling stories with a variety of digital multimedia, such as images, audio, and video. Just about all digital stories bring togethersome mixture of digital graphics, text, recorded audio narration, video and music topresent information on a specific

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Who’s Who Laura Polo

topic. As is the case with traditional storytelling, digital stories revolve around a chosen theme and often contain a particular viewpoint. The stories are typically just a few minutes long and have a variety of uses, includingthe telling of personal tales, the recounting of historical events, or as a means to inform orinstruct on a particular topic.


The 7 elements 1. Point of View – what is the perspective of the author? 2. A Dramatic Question – a question that will be answered by the end of the story.

3. Emotional Content

– serious issues that speak to us in a

personal and powerful way.

4. The Gift of your Voice – a way to personalize the story to help the audienceunderstand the context.

5. The Power of the Soundtrack – music or other sounds that support the storyline. 6. Economy – simply put, using just enough content to tell the story without overloadingthe viewer with too much information. 7. Pacing – related to Economy, but specifically deals with how slowly or quickly thestory progresses.

The 3 types 1. Personal Narrative 2. Digitial stories that examines historical events 3. Stories that inform or instruct

The 9 skills When students are able to participate in the multiple steps of designing,creating and presenting their own digital stories, they increase a full complement ofliteracy skills, including.

1. Research Skills 2. Writing Skills 3. Organization Skills 4. Technology Skills 5. Presentation Skills 6. Interview Skills 7. Interpersonal Skills 8. Problem-Solving Skills 9. Assessment Skills Who’s Who Laura Polo

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POR chELO cASTILLO

Manoli Alcántara, joven y experimentada profesora de inglés, disfrutó de la beca de Auxiliar de Conversación que concede el estado a jóvenes profesores de la lengua inglesa. Dentro de sus destinos, se encontraba el gran estado de Texas, más concretamente, Houston, con el cual ella no tenía ningún problema, y eso por esto que, en 2008, Manoli, se embarcó en la gran experiencia de su vida, ser profesora en un instituto american y vivir lo que ya es famoso como la experiencia america. En este reportaje, observaremos la experiencia de Manoli, a través de las fotografías que ella

misma realizó en los diez meses que estuvo viviendo y disfrutando de la vida americana. Desde Oklahoma hasta California, Manoli, recorrió la parte menos conocida pero más tradicional del sur de Estados Unidos, con sus tradiciones y costumbres. Gracias a estas fotografías, se despiertas muchas ganas de conocer sitios nuevos a la vez que vivir nuevas experiencias, sin dejar a un lado el trabajo de profesor de inglés, ya que, como Manoli, podemos, no solo disfrutar de lugares nuevos y distintos, si no también conocer nuevos métodos de enseñanza, tipos de alumnos, de centros educativos y muchísimas cosas mas. Aquí empieza THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE... BEEN THERE

The American Experience

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Texas

the lone star state

Texas es un estado situado en la región Sur de Estados Unidos. Tanto en extensión como en población es el segundo de los estados de Estados Unidos; abarca 696.241 km² y posee una población de 24,7 millones, en constante aumento. Limita al sur con los estados de Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Coahuila y Chihuahua de México, y con los estados estadounidenses de Luisiana al este, con Oklahoma al norte, al nordeste con Arkansas, y al oeste con Nuevo México. El término “seis banderas de Texas” proviene de los múltiples países que han reclamado el territorio. España fue el primer país europeo que, en el ámbito del virreinato mexicano, poseyó el territorio texano. Francia afirmó haber establecido una colonia en Texas, que sería de lo más efímero. Como sucesor de la corona española, México fue propietario legítimo del territorio hasta 1836, cuando un grupo de inmigrantes de Estados Unidos se alzó en armas, proclamando unilateralmente una “República independiente”. Esto facilitó la posterior anexión en 1845 por parte de Estados Unidos como “estado número 28”. missioners court), y un juez del condado (county judge). La Intervención estadounidense en México dio lugar a una guerra entre México y Estados Unidos en 1846, con derrota mexicana. Tras ello, Texas sería otro de los estados que se sumaron a los Estados Confederados de América, con carácter de miembro. A principios de 1900, el descubrimiento de pozos de petróleo inició un auge económico en el estado. Texas se ha diversificado económicamente. Cuenta con una creciente base en la alta tecnología, la investigación biomédica y la educación superior. Su PIB estatal es el segundo más alto de los Estados Unidos. La capital de Texas es Austin, aunque la ciudad más poblada es Houston. La flor del estado es el altramuz de Texas; el pájaro del estado es el cenzontle o sinsonte, la mascota es el armadillo y la comida típica es el chili con carne.


BEEN THERE

The American Experience

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Lousiana

the pelican state

Luisiana (en inglés Louisiana, del francés Louisiane) es uno de los estados que conforman los Estados Unidos situado en la región Sur del país, sobre el delta del río Misisipi. El estado hace frontera en el oeste con el estado de Texas, en el norte con Arkansas, en el este con Misisipi y en el sur con el golfo de México. Luisiana tiene una cultura particular debida a la colonización francesa y, en menor medida, a la española. Las lenguas más habladas son hoy día el inglés y el español. En cuanto al dialecto del francés conocido como cajún (voz derivada del adjetivo acadien, que designaba a los pobladores procedentes de la colonia francocanadiense de Acadia), este se ha reducido hoy al 5% de hablantes. Peor suerte le ha tocado al español vestigial, traído en el siglo XVIII por emigrantes canarios y andaluces, el cual está hoy prácticamente desaparecido. El español, no obstante, crece sin cesar en número de hablantes, debido a la emigración mexicana y centroamericana, sobre todo en la ciudad de Nueva Orleans. Su capital es Baton Rouge, pero la ciudad más importante es Nueva Orleans.

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OKLAHOMA the sooner state Oklahoma es un estado en el centrosur de los Estados Unidos de América. Con una población estimada de 3.579.212 habitantes en 2006 y una superficie de 181.035 km²,2 3 e informalmente es conocido con el sobrenombre de The Sooner State (esto porque en 1889, el territorio indio se abrió a los colonos. Miles de personas largaron desde la frontera y, cuando se dio la señal, corrieron con sus carruajes por el territorio para reclamar sus tierras, adjudicadas a los que primero llegaran. Por eso se hicieron conocidos como Sooners, Tempraneros en inglés). Oklahoma se convirtió en el cuadragésimo sexto estado en ingresar en la Unión el 16 de noviembre de 1907, a partir del Territorio Indio. La capital y la mayor ciudad del Estado es Oklahoma City. Cuenta con 77 condados.

MEXICO theNEW land of enchanment Nuevo México es un estado del suroeste de los Estados Unidos de América. Limita al norte con el estado de Colorado, al noreste con el estado de Oklahoma, al este y sureste con el estado de Texas, al suroeste con los estados de Chihuahua y Sonora (México), al oeste con el estado de Arizona y al noroeste con el estado de Utah, siendo uno de los llamados “Estados de las Cuatro Esquinas”. Habitado durante siglos por nativos americanos, tras la llegada de los europeos ha formado parte del Virreinato de Nueva España, México y Estados Unidos. Nuevo México no fue miembro de pleno derecho de la Unión hasta 1912, año de su declaración como estado y de la aprobación de su constitución. Historia pero no en vano, es también uno de los estados más pobres del país con una emigración interna.

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Who’s Who Laura Polo

FOUR SKILLS Magazine  

Revista para profesores de inglés. CELIA POLO CASTILLO

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