Sunday, January 16, 2011

fishy techno pants or why education as we know it is all wrong

happy new year all! / bonne annee a tous!
may 2011 be as magical as your wildest dreams!

Now, a few things I've found interesting this week:

- Channel 4 have been having their Big Fish Fight on this week. I was very surprised to find that there can still be some decent TV on thses days! Hugh Rivercottage's done some interesting programmes looking at the main isues surrounding fishing in the UK, and Jamie Oliver showed some really easy and cheap enough recipes... So, if like me, you bore yourself cooking the same stuff day in and day out, have a look at some these recipes...Nothing like well-oiled joints to start off 2011!!

- Ever feel the weight of the years when you're around kids? well, that's probably cos technology's evolving so fast that compared to today's kids, our childhood was filled by neanderthal toys .. as demonstrated by this clip from boing boing showing cute French-speaking kids try to make sense of gaming technology from the 1980
Really nicely done, in French with English speech bubble subtitles...

- and if you've always wanted to break loose from society's conventions, taking part in the no pants subway ride could be a good start! As shown by these video snipets, Le slip c'est chic!
quite liberating... although I've got to wonder why, of all seasons, they've decided to do in the midst of winter...

Now, because I'm a teacher, you won't blame me for giving you some homework, alright? it's for your sake, of course...
One of my students forwarded me that link and it's simply blown my mind.. beautifully animated, fascinating contents: it's time to change education paradigms!
There are some other inspiring presentations on the RSA youtube channel... Enjoy!

take care and have fun...

Saturday, December 04, 2010

a few things

hello- ahoj- hola- salut!

it's hard to believe that Christmas is only a couple of weeks away!
10 days off work is just what I'd asked Santa; I'm sure glad he got it right.. swell guy!

I've finished working on the New English File project, and the online int and upper-int reading activities will hopefully go live next May.
Immensely enjoyed the process; as opposed to teaching in a school with continuous enrollment, that project had a beginning, a middle and an end, and I gotta say that it did help motivation-wise!
Anyway, I was thrilled to bits to try my hand at this and I'm hoping to do some reading to hone my writing skills! yep, it has sure made me appreciate the work that goes into the average multiple choice task!

I also did a translation for Very interesting and open process there as well: Join the translators' database and if you've enjoyed a talk and notice that there are no subtitles for it in your language, then you can request to translate it. The translating platform used is really user-friendly. When you're done, a reviewer has to check your work and make any necessary changes (collaboration between the translator and the reviewer is encouraged). There's no money involved but it has genuinely reconciled me with translating: i got to translate something I'm interested in, yeah!! take that contracts and manual guides!
One really neat thing you can use is the interactive transcript, i.e. you click on any sentence from the transcript and it takes you to that exact spot of the talk... (brilliant resource for language learners)
The talk is by Rob Forbes and is about urban design. Check it out, it's pretty cool!

A few interesting things coming up in Belfast:
this Sunday (05-12-10): Black Market @ Black Box- crafts, books, clothes, food, and BEW's bleep boxes!

Sunday 19-12-10: Black Books-( I'll be selling French and English books)

So brave the cold and come to the Black Box: Christmas shopping and mulled wine, not a bad combo!

One last thing and you can go back to your online Xmas shopping:
The online music magazine Vibrations posted a link to this Radiodiffusion music blog, and, oh my word, it's a wonderland of old, rare, weird, beautiful, melodic, different sounds; a free library of musics from Africa, the Middle-East and Asia. (I only found it about an hour ago and all i've been doing since then is telling everybody how awesome that website is.. so don't leave me hanging, go check it out!!)

wrap up and stay cosy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

quick update

Hi all,

after that wonderful holiday in Canada, it's been real hard to get back to work... you leave thinking you'll get back feeling refreshed and motivated, but you come back resenting the alarm clock more than ever before...
It will have taken a while, but I think I'm almost cured from the back-to-work depression, just in time to get my Seasonal Affective Disorder on.. that's what I like to call perfect timing.
I was offered a writing gig a while back... been working on an online bank of EFL reading resources, involving selecting and editing texts, and designing accompanying tasks. It's fairly time-consuming but mega enjoyable! I've been looking at reading, from how ESL students read to how we teach or test their various skills...
well, you gotta get your kicks from somewhere!

let's finish this quick update by a real cute thing I've heard in class:
"teacher, I can't concentrate.. my mind is dancing in my head!"
When complimented on his lyricism, the student replied: "nobody else can use that, it's only me, it's my line".
can't think on what to write after that....
my neurones are breakdancing in my skull...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Snippets of Toronto goodness

Toronto- a few highlights from the vibrantly cultural hub of Ontario
bew @ somewherethere
Improv gig featuring Belfast-based bew and Toronto-based Octopus. Although the artists only met on the night, the mix of sounds was very natural. A sonic conversation, all voices were heard. Beautiful music and very warm atmosphere.

ROM (Royal Ontario Museum)
Neither the building nor the art pieces could possibly disappoint. Objects from around the world. Amazing collection of beetles.  Traditional costumes, weapons, musical instruments and other objects from various continents. Fauna and flora.. plenty more.

and new...

Kensington Market
bric à brac, vintage, junk, fruit & veg, reggae, bars, 'Paris Hilton' incense sticks (phew), colours, smells, random bits and pieces...
awesome place to roam the streets...   sit down and make camp the time of a couple of cool pitchers...              
or take the time to smell the patchouli oils burning in and outside the numerous hippie shops

Niagara Falls
from ghost town ...            to wonder of the world

and many more... Tony Allen and his band playing for free in a park, by far the best sushi I've ever tasted, street festivals, the Bata Shoe Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario, kind and welcoming strangers...
and more importantly, wonderful friends and hosts! Thanks Gerald & Katie.

Next stop of our holiday: Montreal.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

and so I kiss my social life goodbye...

... and what's more surprising is that it's not even for a TV series!
The little bit of free time I have these days is being spent playing the Word Machine game...
It wouldn't be so great were it not for the fact that it works in both French and English.. that Word Machine is very clever indeed!

For native speakers, what a lovely way to procrastinate, and for language learners, what a thrill to see how many words you know in another language.

So whether you've got some time on your hands and no urging matter to attend to, or you're keen to challenge your vocabulary skills, you should most certainly have some fun with the Word Machine.

have fun no matter what! Amusez-vous bien quoiqu'il en soit!

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

a blissful Sunday

After a maniac week and before another few to come, I've had a beautifully peaceful day which involved...

The Crescent Arts Centre are host of the adult electronic creche previously held in the Ulster Hall.
It takes place in the cafe on the ground floor. All the Sunday papers you could possibly want to read and more are available, and if you're in a playful mood, you can have a game of Wii.
Opened from 1 to 4p.m., the event is free of charge...

Today's creche saw local artist Barry Cullen perform a DJ set that suited both the space and the mood of the day. A great selection of chilled tunes!

(also, if you are going to make your way down to the Crescent, oh dear, you absolutely got to try the scones... without the shadow of a doubt the best in the city and beyond!)

Back home, watched Pedro Almodovar's classic Women on the Verge of a Nervous breakdown. Fantastic comedy... enough to make you go 'that's it, I'm definitely going to learn Spanish!' Some lough out loud moments topped by stunning shots; Almodovar's irreproachable sense of aesthetics strikes again, to the viewer's delight!
Highlights for the coming week include Chris Morris's Four Lions, a well overdue visit to the dentist, and just over 30 hours of teaching!
oh well, might spend the week running around like a headless chicken, but I've had a wonderfully blissful Sunday!

to all, have fun!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Festival of Fools

The Festival of Fools is back in Belfast! Rejoice!!
This festival of street theatre brings us international acts rich in beauty and laughter...

Many acts, such as Rob Torres', don't use intelligible words, but rather comedic sounds...

Now, being a language teacher, I spend my time trying to teach people how to communicate in another language, set of values etc., but when I see an entire audience in stitches at the artist's latest gag, I can't really help wonder how redundant my job could be....

words are handy for sure, and I love them,  still I'm in awe when I see a person expressive enough to convey so much without uttering a sound!

if you're around, I urge you to go see the Decadence. All the way from St Petersburg, Mr. Pejo's Wandering Dolls will make you believe in magic the time of a unique procession from Cotton Court to the brand new St Anne's Square. It starts at 9p.m.

Smitten yet?
The Festival of Fools finishes on Monday. All performances are free, although you'll be kindly asked to donate some money towards the festival, whose future is at risk due to lack of funding.
All the info you could possibly need and more available at:

Fun, art, poetry and laughter for everybody... a weekend rich in 'waouh's!
Because words aren't everything!

Bring your friends, relatives, beaux and belles... and enjoy!