In this article from 2008, Amnesty International claims that “world leaders should apologise for 60 years of human rights failures since the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.” This idea is still timely and I wonder how much longer it will be.
It’s upsetting to know that despite the existence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, one of the most relevant documents of our time, there are still numerous communities which still lack basic rights. Not to mention the staggering high number of countries where child abuse, slavery or human trafficking are an everyday issue; children are obviously the most vulnerable part of society and often their chances of a life full of hope and opportunities are buried under insufficient support by the authorities.
But just when we start to lose our hope in humanity, and one can only see examples of actions triggered by greed and economic interest, a spark amidst the dark appears somewhere in the world, like a match that slowly ligthens up to shed some light and make people aware of where humanity is missing. With their actions they are making sure that human rights are promoted, protected and have some chances of becoming a reality.
I’m thinking of Malala, an example of inspiration for all of us. But before her, many others like Martin Luther King or Gandhi sought peaceful ways to make life more bearable and dignified for millions of people around the world.
Sparks of Humanity
And this is what we are up to in class these days. We are learning how to express obligations and duties, but we are also talking about ways of protest and movements that have led to real social transformation, like the Civil Rights Movement in the 60’s.
Would you like to join us generate small sparks of humanity in the world?
Generosity, positive feelings and purely human driven actions are everywhere, so why not make them more visible?
Voice your concerns
Express your wishes
Share stories of humanity around you
I invite you to reply on this blog post, and also on twitter. Be sure to include the hashtag #sparksofhumanity to create a thread of positive ideas and examples so we can eventually ignite some hope in the human race.
Which is the best way to find a job? On our padlet board we can see some of the ideas that came up in class and some interesting articles where you’ll find the language in context.
We also listed some ideas to succeed at job interviews. Can you think of more?
You can follow the thread on #occeoic on Twitter.
Let’s learn a bit more about the figures that define the population of the world. Before you watch the video by National Geographic Magazine, try to guess what the figures below refer to:
7,000,000,000 / 25% / male / 8 hours / Chinese / India
Was there anything you found surprising about these facts? How typical are you?
Fun fact about this song:
On 30 September 2005, the writer and scientist Simon Singh accused Katie Melua in The Guardian of being scientifically incorrect with the lyrics. In her song she says: We are 12 billion light-years from the edge. That’s a guess – no-one can ever say it’s true, but I know that I will always be with you.
Singh said it was an assault on the accuracy of the work of cosmologists, and the article motivated a series of letters from other readers, agreeing or disagreeing. On 15 October, Melua and Singh appeared together on the BBCs Today programme and Melua sang a new version of the song including Singh’s amendments to the lyrics:
“We are 13.7 billion light-years from the edge of the observable universe / That’s a good estimate with well-defined error bars / And with the available information / I predict that I will always be with you”.
Both sides amicably agreed that the new lyrics were less attractive for commercial success, and continued with a discussion about scientific accuracy versus artistic licence.
The following picture was taken in Carballo. It is one of many examples of mural art you can see in this town. Reknown artists were invited to give new life to many walls and buildings.
This one is by Sokram. It is a huge pencil with people trying to climb to the top -one of them is falling. Interpretations may be as diverse as the people who look at it, but there is another controversy to add: the scissors are not part of the original painting.
This triggers an interesting debate: could it be considered vandalism, or the price urban artists have to pay?
In class we learnt how to write short texts for social media posts. After all, it’s one of the most likely writing activities an English language learner may do sooner or later.
Why not start practising your writing skills on your own social media profiles? Here are posts we did in class: Greetings from around the world!
The only things missing are emojis and hashtags!
Check out the some words we learnt to talk about food.
In class we watched this animated short film The Wishgranter to talk about hypothetical situations. After you watch you’ll be ready to do the exercise below!
Fill in the gaps and answer the questions.
What would have happened if the waiter (not throw) the coin in the well?
What would have happened if the coins (not got) stuck?
What would have happened if the wishgranter (not have) an emergency kit?
What would have happened if the waiter (not come across) the dandelion or the wishbone?
What would have happened if the waiter (not give) the coin to the wish granter?
For some help for using the third conditional go here and for mixed conditionals, here.
What other superstitions do you know for making wishes come true? In this article you have a few ideas!
Here is some vocabulary to talk about the kind of house you live in.
House and furniture.
Idioms about home.
Quizzes on QUIZLET: