Sparks of Humanity


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.


Mainstream vs Alternative Medicine

Here are two videos that show two approaches to the alternative-traditional medicine discussion.

Watch and think of the following questions:

Which video is in favour of alternative medicine? Which video is against it?

What are their main arguments?



Staying fit and healthy

One of the things I love about teaching English is that the topics we talk about can easily give place to interesting discussion and sharing ideas about everyday issues we can all learn about.

Last week in class we thought of activities and habits that are healthy, and created this poster with all the tips:


Here are some links to websites where you can revise how to give advice in English:

English Live

English Club

#occeoic: Microblogging.

What other tips can you think of for staying fit and healthy? To participate, simply post your comment on this blog or on twitter.

Thanks to all my students from Básico 2 for your work.

Shakespeare lives

2016 commemorates the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn more about this poet and playwright, considered the greatest writer of English literature. The web and social media are posting links and events that will help you learn more about his life, and understand why he became so relevant. You can follow hashtags on twitter like #shakespeare, #shakespeare400thanniversary or #shakespearelives to get more information.

Shakespeare Lives on Film trailer from British Council Film on Vimeo.

Any time is a good time to discover the works of writers you’ve never read before, but given the quantity of information and ideas these days, now could be just the right moment to read something by Shakespeare. I suggest visiting these pages and links to start:

A complete list of his works.

A youtube playlist featuring trailers of film adapatations of his work.

Play this fun kahoot game to revise or learn some interesting facts about Shakespeare’s life.

And don’t miss all the interesting posts on BBC Learn English.






Verb Patterns with Music

These days we’re learning how to use verb patterns and trying to practise enough so as to remember them better.

It is surely one of the most demanding parts of English and it seems that learners are unaware of how to learn them easily.

Some students suggested their own ideas about how to make the most of the time they spend revising the commonest verb patterns, and here are a few examples that were discussed:

  • Spotting examples in songs.
  • Doing guided production: creating their own examples and sentences: //
  • Noticing them more and paying attention when you come across one in a text, whether oral or written.



Shopping Around the Clock

Do you enjoy shopping? If so, you might feel happy to be able to share your ideas on this blog post. To help we created this presentation in class  where we gathered most of the expressions, vocabulary and useful phrases we’ll need when shopping.

Shopping Habits

What are your favourite kind of shops? Do you like shopping for clothes? Why or why not? If you are interested in the topic you might like to watch the video below that features some important shopping areas in London. Have you ever been there?

Safe Shopping

Are there any dangers associated to shopping? What should we be aware of? Is it safer or not to buy online?  Share your advice and ideas either on this blog o tweet your recommendations using #occeoic or to @oneclickcloser

Around the clock is an idiomatic expression. You can click here to find out what it means.