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Friday, August 18, 2017

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Why students need a global awareness and understanding of other cultures

The following article is from José Picardo & was originally posted on 25 September 2012 by The Guardian.

From trips to Normandy beaches to language blogs, José Picardo explores the growing importance of offering students international experiences


Experiencing new lands is an exciting way to bring the world into your classroom.

As a languages teacher, it never ceases to astound me to think that the rasping, whistling and vibrating sounds emanating from our mouths and noses when you talk can be effortlessly decoded by our interlocutors as meaningful language, allowing us to communicate with one another in astonishing levels of complexity. Language is a defining feature of people.

In many western societies we might be tempted to assume that being able to speak and understand more than one language is the exception. However, it is estimated that between half and three quarters of the world's population is bilingual to some degree. That's more than four billion people who understand that with different languages come different ways to interpret the world.

Marcel Proust, the French novelist, observed that "the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new lands but in seeing with new eyes". He realised that by working with other people we learn about their cultures and become able to explore new ideas and prospects. Options that would not have occurred to us before stand out as obvious if we understand how other people experience the world. This is why, I believe, it is so important for students to have a deeper global awareness and understanding of other cultures.

In my own experience, leaving my small town in southern Spain to explore Italy for two weeks during my sixth form opened up a whole new world. As I found myself immersed in a different culture, it struck me that Italians, previously perceived by myself as peculiar beings, were in fact the norm in their context and that I was the stranger. Students nowadays are more likely to have travelled abroad by age of 16 and have easy access to a world of information through the internet. However, they still need to be guided through the process of discovery so that a deeper understanding of their own place in the word is developed.

This is why fostering global awareness and international collaboration in our classrooms are so beneficial to our students. Schools understand this and have traditionally encouraged the need to put learning into context. The history trip to Berlin, the French exchange, the cultural visit to Andalucía, pen pal writing schemes and foreign language assistants who bring a little bit of abroad into our classrooms are just a few of the many examples of contextualised learning that we provide our students. At my school we have three foreign language assistants and hold four foreign exchanges each year - in addition to a range of cultural trips abroad.

The moment in which a cohort of year 8 pupils land in Seville and realise that Spanish has a life beyond the textbook, the year 7s visiting Normandy and noticing that people behave and react in familiar ways but the small differences are what really matters. The awkward dinner conversations of foreign exchange students with their German host families, the sudden realisation that Dubai is such a long way away on so many different levels. These are character building experiences that bring out the best and worst in all of us and from which we learn so much.

However, in today's increasingly interconnected and globalised world, tradition is being supplemented by new and exciting ways to bring the world into our classrooms. Modern means of communication such as social networks and video conferencing can ensure that our students experience foreign cultures with unprecedented ease.

Class Twitter accounts link students in real time across the face of the planet with projects devised around common academic subjects and cross-cultural understanding. Skype allows us to converse face-to-face with people from other countries, allowing us to knock down classroom walls and hear it direct from the source. Google Maps lets our pupils take a walk down the streets of every major town and city in the world, allowing them to sight-see and get a sense of other cultures from the comfort of their own classroom. And blogs provide geographically distant schools with the means to partner together so that their pupils can interact in a safe virtual environment, contributing a valuable international dimension to peer assessment.

Both Britain - through the British Council - and the EU - through the Comeniusand eTwinning programmes - are actively encouraging international partnerships between schools. These projects also promote the sharing of their resources so that, not only students, but also teachers can benefit from the exchange of practices, knowledge and expertise, with welcome positive implications for teacher training and professional development.

Global awareness and international collaboration during the formative years results in more rounded individuals, encouraging our pupils to see things from different perspectives and helping them to make informed decisions, acquiring transferable skills that will be useful to them and will remain with them for life. According to the Association of Graduate Recruiterscompanies cannot find enough applicants with the requisite skills to operate in an international market place, indicating that greater efforts by schools in fostering global awareness and international collaboration are needed to best prepare our students - and ourselves - for life in the 21st century.

José Picardo is head of modern foreign languages at Nottingham High School. He is also a languages and educational technology consultant and can be found on Twitter @josepicardo.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday, August 7, 2017

James Jean Art & Design Talk

Before watching this talk, read the mechanical transcript in pairs.

Note what it means to the right of the sentence:

I think my emotional state is separate from the diligence

I put into to make my work because part of being an artist is

thats its your practice should be- I think

to daily go to the studio

just work at it and and or something kinda

I'm mechanical and unemotional about

a process for you still can help to be

to be human so you know your body's just

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Short Dialogue

  • commute- going (usually) from home to work and from work to home everyday 
  • killing me- very difficult for me 
  • I know what you mean- I understand 
  • walking distance- very close, you can walk there 
  • not working out- It's not good for what I need 
  • landlord- person who owns the building 
  • repairs- fixing broken things 
  • breaking down- becoming broken 
  • budget- how much money you have to use 
  • furnished- it has furniture included (sofa, bed, etc.) 
  • utilities- electricity, water, gas, etc. You usually have to pay extra for these 

Read the dialogue:

  • Henry: I am so tired of my commute to work. Driving all those hours is just killing me.
  • Lance: Yeah, I know what you mean. I used to drive two hours to work each way. But now I live within walking distance of my work. It's great.
  • Henry: You're kidding. I didn't know that. Did you move? 
  • Lance: No, I got a new job near my work. 
  • Henry: Well, I don't think I can change my job, but I am thinking about changing my apartment. The one I have just isn't working out. 
  • Lance: What's wrong with it?
  • Henry: Well, besides being too far from work, I'm having some problems with my landlord. He keeps raising the rent, but he never does any repairs. Everything is breaking down.
  • Lance: That's terrible. Listen, I think there is a vacancy in my apartment building. And my landlord is excellent. And I'm sure it would be closer to your work than you are now.
  • Henry: Really? But is it expensive? My budget isn't that big.
  • Lance: No, it's not that expensive. And it's furnished and the utilities are included.
  • Henry: That sounds great. I'd love to see it. When can we go?
  • Lance: How about now? 
  • Henry: Sure. I'll drive. 

Click on link HERE

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

1. August!

Founding of the Swiss Confederation in 1291

Since 1891, the first of August has been celebrated as Swiss National Day. The date refers to a historic alliance concluded in 1291 by the three cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden. This alliance was to become the focal point around which the Switzerland of today was built over the next 500 years.

Men from these three cantons "at the beginning of the month of August 1291" swore  eternal allegiance to one another, promising mutual help and assistance. The alliance was mainly formed against the Habsburgs, who were striving to strengthen their position in the strategic region leading to the Gotthard Pass at the time.

August 1st is celebrated exclusively within the communities; a radio or television broadcast by the President of the Swiss Confederation is the only exception to this esteemed federal principle. Communal celebrations comprise solemn words spoken by a prominent public figure from political or cultural life, accompanied by a concert or choire, gymnastic presentations, and the community singing the national anthem.

Wealthy communities or tourist offices may also sponsor a display of fireworks. Bonfires, mainly on hills and other elevated spots, commemorate the expulsion of foreign bailiffs in the fourteenth century, the news of which were spread in this manner in those days. Children carrying lighted paper lanterns roam the streets at night. Public and private buildings are decorated with national, cantonal, and community flags, and the bakers produce special bread rolls with a small Swiss flag on top. 

A special kind of celebration takes place at the Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen. From mid-nineteenth century onwards, the waterfall has been illuminated on special occasions. Since 1920, it has been illuminated regularly on August 1, and since 1966 exclusively so. On the same day, a magnificent fireworks display also attracts throngs of spectators to this special site.

A representative celebration is staged at the Rütli Meadow in the canton of Uri above Lake Lucerne. It takes place in the same place where the legendary pledge of alliance was pronounced. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

112 Phrases for Saying Thank You in Any Situation

What is the best way to say thank you? How to say thank you?
This is a very popular question that many of our students often ask. In fact, there are several ways to express your gratitude!
In this article, we will look at the various ways of saying ‘thanks’, and how they would differ in a number of situations. Whether you need to say it formally or informally. To a friend or to a colleague. For a gift or for someone’s help. There’s a whole variety of phrases you can use!
Everyone wants to be appreciated, so say it the right way, and show that you mean it by being sincere, rather than seeming as if you are just saying thank you out of obligation.
It’s not just about expressing verbal gratitude, but also about using the right body language and selecting the right words!
Have a look at the various options below, and pick the right one for the occasion…
How to say thank you ideas


  • Thank you
  • Thanks.
  • Thanks a lot.
  • Thank you very much.
  • Thank you. That’s very kind of you.
  • Thank you. You’re so helpful.
  • Thanks for your kind words.
  • Thank you for coming here today.
  • “I love your dress; you look so beautiful!” – “Thank you very much.”
  • “Would you like a sandwich?” – “Oh, thanks. I would love one.”
  • “Can I help you with anything?” – “No, thank you. I’m fine at the moment.”


thank you teacher card
This can be done in many ways. As we know, teachers are generally helpful, considerate, encouraging, and forthcoming towards their students.
The way you say it would depend on what you are saying thank you for. Teachers are some of the most influential and inspiring people that we come across in our lives, yet they tend to be regrettably under-appreciated.
Just writing a simple ‘thank you’ note, or saying a few special words will go a long way, and be remembered for years to come. Even recommending your teacher to others is a great way to show that you really enjoyed studying with them!
Phrases with examples:
  • Thank you I really appreciate your help.
  • I am eternally grateful for everything you’ve taught me.
  • Thank you for sharing your wisdom with me.
  • I cannot thank you enough for helping me.
  • I am very thankful that you are my teacher.
  • How can I ever thank you enough.
  • Teachers like you are not easy to find.
  • I really appreciate all the hard work you’ve done to help me.
  • I am grateful for the positive learning environment you provided me with.
  • I have learnt so much, thanks to you.
  • Thank you for your guidance and support.
  • Thank you for helping me improve.
  • I want you to know how much I value your support.
  • Your lessons have been very insightful and fun!
  • I have had so much fun learning with you!
  • Your approach to teaching inspires me.
  • Thank you for being patient and helping me improve.
  • I wholeheartedly appreciate everything you’ve done for me.
  • You’re the best teacher ever!
  • “I just want to say how grateful I am that you were my teacher. Your guidance and support has been amazing! Thank you for helping me improve”
  • “I really appreciate all the hard work you’ve done to help me. I have learnt so much, and it’s all thanks to you!”
  • “You were there for me every step of the way, and I wholeheartedly appreciate everything you’ve done for me.”
  • “Thank you for being so patient, and helping me improve! Teachers like you are hard to find, and I’m eternally grateful for everything you’ve taught me.”
  • “I had so much fun learning with you. Your lessons were very insightful and interactive, so thank you. You’re the best teacher ever!”


There are various reasons why people would want to express thanks to wedding guests. Maybe they bought an extravagant wedding present, gave a generous monetary gift, helped with the preparations, or simply turned up to join in the special celebrations!
It could even be that you were the wedding guest, and would like to thank them for the invite! Pick the right words and remember to make everyone feel like you really appreciate what they’ve done for you.
Phrases with examples:
  • Thank you for coming.
  • Thank you for joining us today.
  • We appreciate you sharing our celebrations with us.
  • Thank you for sharing this special day with us.
  • We really appreciate your presence here.
  • Thank you for the gift, we’re very grateful.
  • I cannot thank you enough for the wonderful gift.
  • We will remember this day and your contribution forever.
  • You were invaluable today, thank you for all your help.
  • What would we have done without your help? Thank you so much. (Rhetorical question)
  • Thank you ever so much for your generous gift.
  • Words cannot describe how grateful we are.
  • It was a pleasure to be a part of your special day.
  • Thank you for inviting me to share your special day.
  • I’m very happy to be a part of your celebrations.
  • “Thank you for coming today. It’s been such a wonderful day, and we really appreciate you sharing it with us.”
  • “Thank you for the gift, and for joining us today. It’s been so special, and we’re really glad you were her.”
  • “Thank you so much for everything you did to help make this day perfect. What would we have done without you?” (Rhetorical question)
  • “Thank you for all the lovely gifts, and for being here with us. It means a lot.”
  • “Words cannot describe how grateful we are for your generous gift. Thank you ever so much.”
  • “It was a pleasure to be a part of your special day. Thank you for inviting me, and sharing your happiness.”


Christmas is a very special time of the year for many families; it is a time when friends and families can get together and celebrate in good cheer. It is usually a time of union, togetherness, and goodwill.
If you don’t celebrate Christmas, you may have an alternative special celebration which brings you closer to your loved ones, such as Eid, Diwali, Thanksgiving Day, or Hanukkah.
These expressions can be used for any of these occasions! Just change the word ‘Christmas’ to your own special occasion.
Phrases with examples:
  • Thank you for the wonderful Christmas present.
  • Thank you for the Christmas wishes.
  • Sending special thanks to you this Christmas. (Written message)
  • I’d like to say a warm thank you to you this Christmas.
  • Thank you for making me feel special this Christmas.
  • Thank you so much for making my Christmas so special.
  • Thanks for the Christmas gifts; I love them!
  • It has been a very special Christmas thanks to you. Happy Holidays.
  • Thank you Santa! The children loved your gifts.
  • Thank you for inviting us to your beautiful home for Christmas.
  • Thank you for the wonderful Christmas feast!
  • Thank you for including us in your Christmas festivities.
  • Thank you for hosting Christmas dinner; it was divine.
  • Thank you for a memorable Christmas gathering.
  • You are a very gracious host. Thank you for the warm invite.
  • I really appreciate the gift card, thank you so much!
  • Thank you for such a practical gift.
  • Thank you for the beautiful Christmas card.
  • We all appreciate the lovingly wrapped gifts. Thank you so much!
  • Sending you wishes of joy and happiness in return.
  • Thank you for spreading the Christmas cheer.
  • What a magical Christmas experience! Thank you.
  • “I’d like to say a very warm thank you to you this Christmas. Thank you for making us feel so special. Merry Christmas”
  • “Thank you for inviting us to your beautiful home for Christmas! You are a very gracious host and we had a magical time. Warm Wishes.”
  • “What a wonderful Christmas feast, thank you ever so much! We had a lovely time.”
  • “Thank you for the beautiful Christmas presents. How thoughtful of you!”
  • “Thank you for the Christmas parcel. Sending you wishes of joy and happiness in return.”


Managers, supervisors, and other people in superior positions to you at work can be quite hard to speak to on a regular day, let alone when having to say ‘thank you’ for something!
Especially if they have given you something you really needed, such as extended holiday time, professional support or even a promotion!
Using the right words is very important, if you want them to really understand how grateful you are, and that you’re not just saying thanks because they’re your boss and you have to…..!
Phrases with examples:
  • Thank you for extending compassion and flexibility when I needed it.
  • As a supervisor, you are truly inspirational to your staff.
  • Your strong leadership skills along with your support has earned you much deserved respect.
  • Your support and dedication to your team has earned you much deserved admiration.
  • I am thankful to be a part of your team.
  • The workers have seen your dedication, and we would like to express our appreciation.
  • We are grateful for your kindness, loyalty and commitment to all of us.
  • If there ever was a boss who deserves praise and adulation, that person is you!
  • Thank you for providing us with such a great working environment.
  • I want to thank you for the expression of faith in my abilities.
  • I would like to sincerely thank you for this gesture.
  • Allow me to express my sincerest gratitude for this opportunity you have given me.
  • I value the trust you have put into me and will work hard to maintain it.
  • Thank you very much for putting your trust in me and agreeing to my extended holiday request.
  • I am eternally grateful for your trust, and appreciate you allowing me to have this time off work.
  • Thank you for your support, guidance and encouragement.
  • Thank you for the opportunities you provided, and for having faith in me.
  • I would like to express my heartfelt thanks for giving me this opportunity.
  • “I would like to sincerely thank you for such a fantastic opportunity. I appreciate your faith in my abilities and will certainly do my very best to meet your expectations.”
  • “Allow me to express my sincerest gratitude for this opportunity you have given me. I am eternally grateful for the trust you have put in me and will work hard to maintain it.”
  • “Thank you for extending compassion and flexibility when I needed it. As a supervisor, you are truly inspirational to your staff.


thank you boss
In the business world, sometimes it is important to express thanks to people other than your boss too, such as colleagues, other firms, or even clients!
Showing that you appreciate them placing their business with you, providing support, or even partnership, is important. Here is how you can say it well. Most of these can be used for direct contact or email communication.
Phrases with examples:
  • Thank you very much; your support is greatly appreciated.
  • We would like to express our gratitude.
  • I am most grateful for your support.
  • Thank you for providing the requested information.
  • Thank you for all your assistance.
  • Thank you for raising your concerns.
  • Thank you for your kind co-operation.
  • Thank you for your attention to this matter.
  • Thank you for your consideration.
  • Thank you once again for everything you’ve done.
  • How kind you are to help me. Thank you very much.
  • Thank you for spending time with me.
  • Thank you for taking the trouble to help me. I do appreciate it.
  • Many thanks for your assistance in our project.
  • Many thanks for your letter/email.
  • I was so pleased to hear from you.
  • I greatly appreciate your kind words.
  • I am very thankful that you are considering my problem.
  • Thank you for your kind consideration.
  • “I was so pleased to hear from you, and am very thankful that you’re considering my problem. Thank you for your attention to this matter.”
  • “I would like to express my gratitude for all that you have done. I am most grateful for your support. Thank you for taking the time to help me, I really do appreciate it.”
  • “I am very thankful that you are considering my application. I appreciate your response and look forward to hearing from you again soon.”
  • “Thank you for raising your concerns. I appreciate your co-operation and will respond to your query very soon.”

  • That’s all right.
  • You’re welcome.
  • You’re very welcome.
  • Don’t mention it.
  • Not at all.
  • It wasn’t a problem at all.
  • It’s nothing.
  • It’s my pleasure.
  • The pleasure is all mine.
  • My pleasure.
  • “Thanks a lot for your help, you’re very kind.” – “Don’t mention it.”
  • ‘Thanks a lot for looking after the children.” – “It’s my pleasure. I love children.”
  • “Thank you so much. I couldn’t have managed without your help.” – “No problem.”
  • “Thank you for such a wonderful gift.” – “You’re very welcome.”
How do YOU say thank you? Enter it in the comment box below.

Friday, July 28, 2017


For the original post, please visit here. 

A 'meme' is a virally-transmitted cultural symbol or social idea. 

The majority of modern memes are captioned photos that are intended to be funny, often as a way to publicly ridicule human behavior. Other memes can be videos and verbal expressions. Some memes have heavier and more philosophical content.
The world of memes (which rhymes with 'teams') is noteworthy for two reasons: it is a worldwide social phenomenon, and memes behave like a mass of infectious flu and cold viruses, traveling from person to person quickly through social media.
According to Cecil Adams of, the concept of memes "is either really deep, or really, really obvious".

Meme Examples 

Most modern internet memes have some element of humor: 
Some internet memes are also about shock-value and drama: 
Other memes are urban myths that tout some kind of life lesson:
A few internet memes are about deeper philosophical content and social commentary:
In some cases, a meme achieves notoriety as a conversational expression:
The majority of internet memes are transmitted by 20-something millennials. This is because that age group is hyperconnected and enamored with social media. The average age of meme users is increasing, though, as Generation X and Baby Boomer users discover the entertainment fun of spreading memes to their spreads.
The "meme" word was first introduced by evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, in 1976. "Meme" comes from the Greek word "mimema" (meaning "something imitated", American Heritage Dictionary). Dawkins described memes as a being a form of cultural propagation, which is a way for people to transmit social memories and cultural ideas to each other.
Not unlike the way that DNA and life will spread from location to location, a meme idea will also travel from mind to mind.
The Internet, by sheer virtue of its instant communication, is how we now spread modern memes to each other's inboxes. A link to a YouTube video of Rick Astley, a file attachment with a Stars Wars Kid movie, an email signature with a Chuck Norris quote... these are a few examples of modern meme symbols and culture spreading through online media.
The bulk of internet memes will continue to be humor and shock-value curiosities, as these grab people's attention more quickly than deeper meme content. But as users become more sophisticated in their thinking, expect memes to become progressively more intellectual and philosophical.

Other Examples of Modern Internet Memes:

Note: some of the following content is juvenile, and more targeted at adolescents. Some of these following memes are much more adult and are intended for more mature audiences.
  1. The New Old Spice Guy
    This dashing fellow is a YouTube phenomenon with his outrageous visual stunts.
  2. Judgmental Kermit 
    With Kermit's help, you can publicly judge someone's poor life decisions. 
  3. Nuts the Squirrel
    is a Canadian critter who stole a front spot in a family photo.  
  1. Grumpy Cat
    This pouting critter is an icon of sarcasm and bitterness on the Web!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Optimism Bias

We like to think of ourselves as rational creatures. We watch our backs, weigh the odds, pack an umbrella. But both neuroscience and social science suggest that we are more optimistic than realistic. On average, we expect things to turn out better than they wind up being.

Click here to read on


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Word of the Month


(adj, noun): false untrue; counterfeit, not authentic.

To fake: to forge or counterfeit

Ex: I’m sorry I forgot your birthday. I thought it was fake news.

Ex: Fake in the news. In the media, on the internet, and especially in the White House, fake news is real.

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