Sparks of Humanity


Humanity-Quotes-1

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

#sparksofhumanity

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.

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How to…stop multitasking

Multitasking has become a natural way of approaching almost anything we do nowadays.

We’ve been talking about this in class, and becoming more aware of its effects: we spend more time carrying out our tasks, we do them worse and, on top of all, feel anxiety most of the time. In a former blog post you can find out more about multitasking. But  if you are looking for solutions, we have some for you!

In class the students came up with some wise advice:

Can you think of other tips?

Feel free to reply or share your opinions on Twitter using #occeoic

New Year Resolutions

#My4WordNewYearResolutions

In class we stopped to think about what we would like to change in 2017, and found this great opportunity using the hashtag #My4WordNewYearResolutions

And here are some of the ideas we came up with:

We learnt that we can express intentions or resolutions using -be going to

I’m going to do more exercise     or     I’m going to learn how to cook

I’m gonna spend less money on clothes (more informal)

But we also found it very useful to use would like to+inf . Even though it doesn’t express a resolution, we needed it to share with each other the things we wish to change.

I‘d like to stop smoking     or     I‘d like to drive less and walk more

What was really tricky was to express it all in only four words!

Tips for learning pronunciation

problem-860227_1920It might seem that English pronunciation is difficult to handle. But there are habits that will make it easier for you to pronounce better. Here are a few tips I usually share in class with my students:

TIPS FOR LEARNING SPELLING AND PRONUNCIATION

  1. Keep your own pronunciation record. I always recommend dedicating a few pages on your notebooks to grouping words according to their pronunciation. This is particularly helpful with vowels and vocalic groups. When you learn a new word which has a “weird” pronunciation, write it down with other words that contain the same sound. It can be useful also when there is a word you always seem to be getting wrong.
  2. Learn the symbols of the IPA (international phonetic alphabet). The IPA is an essential tool for language learners. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to learn to transcribe or even be familiar with every single sound, but you should be aware of some phonemes, as it will enable to pronounce any word at all by simply looking it up in the dictionary. The interactive phonetic chart below may be of some help to get started:

3. Learn to recognize word stress and sentence stress. Stress is the most important features of the English phonological system. Being aware that some syllables and words will not be heard because they are weak forms, while others will surely stand out because they are strong, will make it a little easier for you to start prediciting certain phrases because of their stress patterns. And you’ll finally get to understand the reason why “the English seem to eat up all the words”.

4. Be patient!