Sunday, 5 November 2017

HOW CAN WE FACE THE FUTURE WITHOUT FEAR? - LAYOUT OF A SPEECH


It's a fateful moment in history. We've seen divisive elections, divided societies and the growth of extremism -- all fueled by anxiety and uncertainty. "Is there something we can do, each of us, to be able to face the future without fear?" asks Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. In this electrifying talk, the spiritual leader gives us three specific ways we can move from the politics of "me" to the politics of "all of us, together."

Friday, 3 November 2017

MACHIAVELLI AND ELIZABETHAN ENGLAND


European Influence of Machiavelli

The influence of Niccolò Machiavelli (1469 - 1527) on European poliical and philosophical thought and literature was immense in the 16th and 17th century, particularly with his famous treatise on politics and statecraft: Il Principe (written 1513 - published 1531). This fame, however, was very much contrasted both in Italy and in Europe.
In Italy, Il Principe was officially condemned by the Church at the Council of Trento (1545) and in 1559 the book was finally included in the Indice dei Libri Proibiti because of its atheism and anthi-religious doctrines. In many European countries, on the other hand, Il Principe was considered to be he instrument of Jesuit propaganda against Protestants and Catholics because he was the first to separate politics from ethics or religion. In his treatise, Machiavelli portrayed not the ideal ruler but the kind of ruler that emerged from a study of past and present history.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

NOTES & WORKSHEETS FOR MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING


Date and Sources

Much Ado About Nothing marks Shakespeare's greatest achievement in comedy with As You Like It and The Twelfth Night. The date of its first performance was 1598 and it was probably printed two years later. A story by Italian author Matteo Bandello is the source of the plot (as it happened for Romeo and Juliet too). Shakespeare read Bandello in the French version by Belleforest in his Histoires Tragiques.

Themes

The central part of the action turns on two main plots: the Hero-Claudio plot, which is a conventional story belonging to the tragi-comedy type, and the Beatrice-Benedick plot, belonging to the comedy of wit. In this way we are offered differrent views of the same reality, views which we might call respectively romantic and realistic, in whose clash and interrelatio lies a great part of the substance of the play. 

Sunday, 1 October 2017

ON MILLENIALS, TECHNOLOGY & HAPPINESS

Imagine a world where people wake up every day inspired to go to work, feel safe while they are there, and return home at the end of the day feeling fulfilled by the work they do, feeling that they have contributed to something greater than themselves. This is what Simon Sinek believes we can achieve working hard...




WORKSHEET

Monday, 25 September 2017

OUTSIDERS & OUTCASTS: HOLDEN CAUFIELD FROM J.D. SALINGER'S THE CATCHER IN THE RYE


Read the conversation between Holden Caufield (16), the protagonist of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye,  and his little sister,  Phoebe. He has just come  back home after escaping  from the last college he was expelled from and after wandering around New York City for a few days... "Old Phoebe", 10 years old, wants to know why he escaped and disappeared . She asks him if there is anything he likes in his life, because he doesn't seem to like anything...

The Phoniness of the World 


"You can't even think of one thing"


"Yes, I can, I can"


"Well do it, then"


"I like Allie", I said. "And I like doing what I'm doing right now. Sitting here with you, and talking , and thinking about stuff, and - "

Friday, 1 September 2017

THE ARTHURIAN LEGEND IN DANTE: PAOLO AND FRANCESCA


Dante’s use of the Arthurian legend

By the late 13th century the Arthurian legend and its stories were so well-known throughout Europe that Dante could use them for one of the most famous episodes of his Divina Commedia: that of the tragic love and death of Paolo and Francesca (Inferno, Canto V). Dante placed the two lovers from Rimini in the ring (girone) of the lustful (lussuriosi). Virgil, who is Dante’s guide through Hell and Purgatory, first points out to Dante some of the famous figures in the ground of the lustful: some of them come from classical history and literature  - Helen of Troy, Dido, Cleopatra; others – such as Tristan – come straight from the Arthurian legend.
Tristan, one of the bravest knights of the Round Table, is there because of his adulterous love for Isolde, wife to King Mark of Cornwall – who was Tristan’s uncle and who finally killed him.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

SUMMER ACTIVITIES - ALIKE, THE STORY OF COPI & PASTE


"Alike" is an animated short film directed by Daniel Martínez Lara & Rafa Cano Méndez. In a busy life, Copi is a father who tries to teach the right way to his son, Paste. But...what is the correct path?

Thursday, 13 July 2017

SUMMER ACTIVITIES - WILL: 21st CENTURY SHAKESPEARE

Jamie Campbell Bower and Laurie Davidson as Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare in TNT drama series

William Shakespeare is one of the most widely known authors in the world and in history,  but we actually know very little about the man. For instance, we know very little about his life during two major spans of time, commonly referred to as the "lost years": 1578-82 and 1585-92. The first period covers the time after Shakespeare left grammar school, until his marriage to Anne Hathaway in November of 1582. The second period covers the seven years of Shakespeare's life in which he must have been perfecting his dramatic skills and collecting sources for the plots of his plays.  The TV series “WILL”, which premiered on TNT on 10th July 2017, in a very imaginative way, tries to fill in the seven years’ gap. 

WILL tells the wild story of young William Shakespeare's  arrival onto the punk-rock theater scene in 16th century London -- the seductive, violent world where his raw talent faced rioting audiences, religious fanatics and raucous side-shows. It’s a contemporary version of Shakespeare's life, played to a modern soundtrack that exposes all his recklessness, lustful temptations and brilliance. 

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

TEACHERKIT: THE BEST APP FOR CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT


The Teacher job is very stressful. It's not a small thing to be responsible for an entire generation of students. Teachers don't just share knowledge with their class, they form the way kids think and perceive the world. Managing one or more classes is a serious endeavor and takes a lot of time, will and experience. There are a number of things you need to pay attention to and luckily there is a solution for that. TeacherKit is a powerful app that allows teachers to manage their class with ease. What TeacherKit is and how it can help you, we shall see in this article.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

SUMMER ACTIVITIES - WONDER, YOU CAN'T BLEND IN WHEN YOU WERE BORN TO STAND OUT




It was published in 2012 and since then over 5 million people have read it.  Anyone who's read #1 New York Times bestseller WONDER by R. J. Palacio has fallen in love with Auggie (August) Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face.  A movie based on the book is coming soon starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay. 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE THAT? PRONUNCIATION LESSONS BY EMMA & LUCY



While learning to speak English,  pronunciation is probably one of the biggest frustrations we may experience.
But here are two lovely young ladies ready to help us in our journey through awkward combinations of letters and sounds.
Emma and Lucy have many videos on their Youtube channels with useful pronunciation tips. (HERE and HERE)

Monday, 9 January 2017

LESSONS IN HUMANITY: WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU LOOK AT ME?



When you look at Muslim scholar Dalia Mogahed, what do you see: a woman of faith? a scholar, a mom, a sister? or an oppressed, brainwashed, potential terrorist? In this personal, powerful talk, Mogahed asks us, in this polarizing time, to fight negative perceptions of her faith in the media — and to choose empathy over prejudice. 

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

MODULE 1. ARTHUR MILLER'S THE CRUCIBLE

A context of fear

The Salem Girls in The Crucible (The Old Vic, London, 2014)
Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible in the 1950s,  in a climate of fear, during the Cold War, when communist infiltration of US culture was considered a pathology, a virus that could kill their politics and their nation.  

Writers and intellectuals gravitated to communism during the 1930s Depression, either hoping its precepts could lead to social reform or as a way to protest America’s isolationism, specifically the nation’s neutrality in the Spanish War.  In the 50s, in a period of right-wing paranoia, they became Senator McCarthy’s scapegoats. They were considered Un-American. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) turned its attention to writers and actors who were  supposedly seen as a threat to the republic. Those who in the 1930s had embraced radical politics were now to be made to pay.  

In January 1952 Elia Kazan, Miller’s friend and film director, was summoned by the Committee. Although at first he refused to name names, he changed his mind, confessing what he had done and said to Miller,  who then left Kazan’s house and drove directly to Salem, Massachusetts to research what would become The Crucible.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

HOW TO LEARN SPEED READING

Today the Internet provides people with tons of useful and interesting information. There is no need to go to the library or pay enormous sums of money in order to read desired book or article. It is possible to find great amounts of information in the vastness of the Internet. Thus, it is extremely important for modern people to read more information and apply useful reading techniques that can improve person’s reading skills. Here are some tips that can be beneficial for readers:

Monday, 19 December 2016

BECAUSE I LOVE ANIMALS!


Task 1. Copy and translate what the little girl says
Task 2. Why is the child so sad? What is she talking about? 

Saturday, 17 December 2016

HUXLEY'S LETTER TO ORWELL ABOUT 1984 AND BRAVE NEW WORLD


In October of 1949, a few months after the release of George Orwell's dystopian masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four, he received a fascinating letter from fellow author Aldous Huxley — a man who, 17 years previous, had seen his own nightmarish vision of society published, in the form of Brave New World. What begins as a letter of praise soon becomes a brief comparison of the two novels, and an explanation as to why Huxley believes his own, earlier work to be a more realistic prediction.

Huxley's letter to Orwell


21 October, 1949

Dear Mr. Orwell,

It was very kind of you to tell your publishers to send me a copy of your book. It arrived as I was in the midst of a piece of work that required much reading and consulting of references; and since poor sight makes it necessary for me to ration my reading, I had to wait a long time before being able to embark on Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

MODULE 1. BRAVE NEW WORLD


Aldous Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD is part of an unforgettable trilogy of masterpieces which are strictly connected each to the other. The other two novels are 1984 by George Orwell and Ray Bradbury's FAHRENHEIT 451. They are all science fiction dystopian novels, not my favourite genre,  but the three of them left an indelible mark inside me. There is science fiction and science fiction. These three novels are amazingly interesting and frighteningly premonitory.


They all imagine life in a dystopian society, under totalitarian regimes, in which human beings are dehumanized and totally deprived of their freedom.

In Brave New World , set in the future year A. F . 632 ( 632 years after the advent of the American magnate Henry Ford), the stability of the World State is maintained through a combination of biological engineering and exhaustive conditioning. The citizens have not been born but "hatched" to fill their predestined social roles. In infancy the virtues of passive obedience, material consumption and mindless promiscuity are inculcated upon them by means of hypnopedia or sleep - teaching. In later life the citizens of the World State are given free handouts of soma , the Government  - approved dope. The World State's motto is: "Community, Identity, Stability". The World State is divided into ten zones, each run by a Resident World Controller. "His fordshisp", Mustapha Mond, the controller of the Western European Zone centred in London, heads a hierarchical, factory-like concern with a mass of Epsilon- Minus Semi - Moron bred for menial labour at the base and with castes of increasing ability ranked above them. Immediately below Mond there are a caste of Alpha- Plus intellectuals. Bernard Marx and Helmhotz Watson are members of this elite, but both have developed subversive tendencies, taking delight in such deviant pleasures as being alone and abstaining from sex.