sister_luck: (Default)
With the absence of prompts I've had to find my own topic on which to do a Portugal Picture Post. I've decided to go with something that is very popular on the internet.

Lots of cats and a dog )

Prompts? Please?
sister_luck: (oops)
Last night on arte TV there was a 'documentary' called The naked Shakespeare about the author of the famous plays.

The whole thing was dripping with condescension (this country lad couldn't have known about law, falconry etc, he wasn't educated enough, he wouldn't have known how courtiers spoke) and the main evidence was from an American gentleman who travelled to Italy and 'found' that 'the author' had described real places in Padua, Verona etc. down to identifying the very Sycamore Grove of Romeo & Juliet fame. We even got to see those sycamores, which were barely 100 years old, and we were told that at this very spot there had always been plane trees. He must have travelled to Italy in his lifetime because no writer ever described places sort of accurately that he had never seen.

I fell asleep before the big reveal. NOW I WILL NEVER KNOW! Sadface.

As you know, no writer ever wrote about things outside his immediate personal experience, so maybe he was actually the time-travelling ghost of Julius Caesar.

Here is the link to the arte website, giving you a little teaser.

[Edited to add: Oxfordians they were, of course, and don't ask me why I wasted my time researching this. I only feel sorry for the president of the German Shakespeare Society who was interviewed and they managed to make him look sympathetic to their cause and he is anything but.]
sister_luck: (Default)
When I read this Joss Whedon interview on my phone I wanted to keepsake what he said about appreciating Shakespeare. Of course, I mislaid the link and it took me a while to find it again. Thus, here, as a quotation with a link back of course, is what he said:

[Interviewer]I must admit, I am someone who needs to study Shakespeare to understand the dialogue. What is the threshold that one can cross to get a deeper appreciation of the language?

[Joss Whedon] There’s two ways. One is you really pick a play apart and you go over it and you understand all of the references and the intent. Just everything that he’s doing in terms of character, in terms of talking about humanity, in terms of even punning, the rhythms. The more you get into it and learning his basic vocabulary, that’s really useful. However, it pales beyond seeing a good production, because a good production of a play or a good movie of it will give you something that all the study in the world can’t. It will give you the humanity of it. When you access that, the language almost becomes secondary. You can understand it without necessarily understanding what it is exactly is being said. If you understand that the person who’s saying it is really f***ing angry at the other guy and you know why, then you’re in the story. Then gradually the language seeps in.


At school, I'm aiming to follow both ways. In future, I'll have a Joss Whedon film to aid me.
sister_luck: (television)
Yeah, not quite in the zombie "I'm terribly hungry" sense though I'm not feeling far off. School's horrible at the moment.

I'm currently obsessing about something that I'd already forgotten once, then managed to dredge up from the depths of my memory and forgotten again. It's not as urgent as I was making it out to be in the last hour or so - I've just realized that I only need this in three weeks' time, as I've got my next two lessons already planned for tomorrow and then it's the class trip and then two weeks autumn break.

BUT I'm sure you at least one of you knows this (and I used to know it, too):

In one of the television series that I watched in the last five years there's an episode where someone goes undercover at a school and then teaches a Shakespeare sonnet. And no, it's not Zoe in Spooks Series 2, Episode 3 - she mostly talks about Great Expectations and uses a Dido song to teach about romantic poetry. I think it's British and I think the 'teacher' is female.

Any idea what I'm talking about?

The thing is when I first watched it I wanted to use it in class next time the sonnets came up and then when that happened I only remembered about it afterwards and didn't quite remember what tv series it was and then I found it again and I might have written it down somewhere to remember but that knowledge has disappeared again.


Dec. 6th, 2008 02:52 pm
sister_luck: (Default)
Happy birthday [ profile] gillo!

And under the cut something just for you.

Not the fireworks this time! )
sister_luck: (smile)
German teachers, as a profession, have the reputation for being whiners who complain all day. This is not untrue.

I do enjoy the occasional whingeing myself and teacher humour can be bleak and sarcastic, but my colleague S overdoes it and it is starting to get on my nerves. He's got a beautiful wife and baby-daughter, last year he got the promotion he so desired, he's teaching a form together with the colleague of his choice, but every single one of his comments is negative.

Yes, there are unreasonable parents, annoying pupils, ridiculous demands by higher authorities and there is not a single teacher I know who enjoys marking.

But there are moments when it's definitely worth the hassle (and I don't mean the pay-checks).

Like when you realize that the creative writing task you set your students for their exam is in effect a Much Ado/Romeo & Juliet crossover. Reading a dialogue in which a love-struck Romeo is criticized by a disdainful Benedick is just fun.

If only my students knew that most of their 'production-oriented' tasks could be classified as fanfiction...

And it's all part of the curriculum.
sister_luck: (winter)
The first snow of the winter is always something special, and even more so here, where we don't get much of it anyway, maybe two or three times a year and then only for a couple of hours.

Needless to say, everyone at school was giddy with excitement. Even the Year 13 students were acting like little kids, talking about snowmen and snowball fights and marvelling at the steady fall of big fat snowflakes outside the window. "Miss", one boy told me, "yesterday I just threw myself down in the snow".

They just couldn't concentrate on the balcony scene in Romeo & Juliet, so I made them write about what would have happened if it had been snowing in Verona on those fateful days...

The first scene was re-written as starting with a snowball fight. The ball took place at an ice-skating rink. Romeo tried to impress Juliet with snowy metaphors and in the balcony scene he had to throw a snowball at Juliet's window to get her attention. He also nearly froze to death.
sister_luck: (Default)
Sometimes a pen is just a writing implement and not a verb meaning "to shut an animal or a person in a small space".

On the other hand, I would give extra points for creativity to someone who latched on to the double meaning and argued that by writing about someone with your pen you actually shut this person into a pen, because the words are limited to what you want to express about this person.

Am I a bad teacher for not anticipating this vocabulary problem?


Sep. 6th, 2008 07:46 pm
sister_luck: (rain)
I'm again battling cross rhymes and the dreaded lyrical I.

Sometime I question why our sixth form/high school English courses have to be so much about language analysis. I really enjoy doing Shakespeare and analysing public speeches or newspaper editorials, but what my students really need to learn is to use the English language confidently in an every-day context and in the business world. They go metaphor hunting in their German lessons anyway and while I have to make sure that they recognize the form of the Elizabethan sonnet, I'm not convinced that they're prepared for a telephone conversation in English that goes beyond booking a double room.

I make them do presentations in English, force them to speak English during groupwork (not always successfully) and of course, my classroom is mostly an English-only environment. At the end of the school year, they'll also be able to discuss problems of globalisation and genetic engineering, but I still doubt that this will help them in those situations when they're most likely to encounter English after school.

That said, I have absolutely no ambition of teaching Business English and I'm not qualified for that. I love it when my students passionately debate whether it's important to know who these people in the sonnets were or if it is of no consequence at all. I enjoy their discussions about the characters in the books we read and films we watch and when we talk about the American elections or immigrant life in Britain. Most of them are good at stating their opinions, developing their arguments and providing reasons for what they think. In a roundabout way, I hope that in a future business meeting they will be able to fall back on that and close the deal.


sister_luck: (Default)

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