domingo, 3 de junio de 2012

I'm not one of Bob Dylan's follower, so I don't know many of his songs. So I decided to ask my husband. He has told me some titles of his songs and I've decided on the first one, Knocknig on Heaven's Door, because I know it and I like it. But the first time I listened to this song, it was not Dylan who sang it, but another great musician: Eric Clapton. Bob Dylan does a great job, but I prefer Clapton.

sábado, 2 de junio de 2012


Have you ever thought of a language course as an unforgettable voyage?

Well, there’s one: the C1!

Voyage to the C1

I started the C1 voyage as a tourist; I’m ending it as a traveller, though.

Now, contradictory feelings are flowing over me: it’s finished… Oh, no!

For sure, this has really been a very hard, long way till the desired goal,

But my soul has emotionally grown in the arms of creativity and flow…

sábado, 26 de mayo de 2012

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan Still a Rolling Stone
Totally unpredictable as a tiny electron within an atom; completely changeable as a simple worm which turns into a beautiful butterfly, so has Bob Dylan been evolving throughout his whole life.
Unbelievably, Dylan’s musical career has kept evolving for almost 60 years and it continuous doing so. From acoustic to electric rhythms; from a Jewish to a Christian religiousness; from a folk to a pop style. But the primary essence of the artist still remains. His relentless and strong personality has made him not to stop working anytime.
 Always keeping abreast of the times, looking for new lyrics and different ways of expression, and showing a desire to sing for the people, neither a war nor an accident has prevented him from giving expression to his inner thoughts in an unprecedented poetic style. No musician has had a deeper impact on American popular music than him.
Now at 71, this diehard singer continues soldiering on, giving concerts around the world. Undoubtedly, “Rolling Stone” Dylan is still on the move.

sábado, 19 de mayo de 2012


 Here you have my oral presentation. It is about euthanasia. I know it is a very delicate issue and with a lot of controversies. I do not pretend that you agree with me. My only purpose is that you try to understand those who are in favour of euthanasia. Thank you in advance.
                Today there are a great number of comatose patients in long term care facilities. There are countless elderly people in care facilities that have repeatedly expressed a desire to die. There are countless terminally ill patients that have also begged for death. Should these people be allowed to die or should they be forced to keep on living?
                In some countries, courts permit the administration of lethal injections to terminally ill patients. To many people, this is a barbaric practice. To others, it is the only human thing to do. When a person is dying of a terminal illness with no hope of recovery, that person should be allowed to die if they wish. Deliberately keeping them alive to endure the pain and suffering from their illness is the barbaric practice. If they wish death, death should be given to them. I firmly believe that the Right to Die is as sacred as the Right to Life.
                Aside from offering freedom from pain an undignified death that is prolonged and difficult for the patients and their families, the other serious issue that is a factor is that of freedom. We pride ourselves on the wide range of freedoms that impact our daily lives-- the right to speak freely, the right to live without threats, the right to pursue our own happiness—but what is happiness for someone with a terminal condition who is forced to live through the pain because the same government that allows other freedoms denies this one?
For some reason the ability to make a valid argument about euthanasia is stunted when the right to die is involved. In order to preserve our rights as human beings, it is necessary to stand up for this one because it is a matter of preservation of someone’s right to choose their own course, Happiness and ultimate fate.
                One of the controversies over the right to die is: Who should choose? If the patient is comatose or unable to make rational judgments, should the doctor or a family member permitted to make the final decision? If family members were allowed to make the final decision they could get away with the murder of a relative just because that person can’t make up their own mind.
However, there is a simple answer to this problem. Every person should have a “Living Will” which simply states that that person wishes death if they’re fatally injured or become terminally ill. A “Living Will” would permit people to make their own decisions about life and death with no possibility of being misunderstood.
                There are a huge number of people who are suffering from pain caused from terminal conditions yet that are forced to live out the rest of their lives in an undignified and unwanted way. I do not know why advocates of the Right to Life insist on keeping people who are suffering alive, but I do know they have no right to dictate a person whether or not they have the right to die.
I can understand their concern that euthanasia might be used for unethical killings but if euthanasia was strictly regulated to include those who had specifically asked for euthanasia, or those who had asked for it in living wills, then this kind of unethical practice could be prevented.
            When someone is suffering extreme pain from an injury or a terrible disease, do we deny tem drugs to make them more comfortable? Of course not. That’s why, I see no reason to deny the same suffering and dying people the comfort of death. I strongly believe helping them achieve a good death is a must for all of us.

lunes, 7 de mayo de 2012


I'm having problems with my blog; it doesn`t work properly so the only thing I can do is to write. I don't know how to use links or how to insert a picture or a video. Everything has changed completely and I'm very bad at this kind of things. So please accept my apologies. Anyway, if you want to know more about
Csíkszentmihályi here you have more information.

Creativity—his own, others', and that of life itself—has been the entry point into evolution for Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced "chick-sent-me-high-ee"). Truly an international renaissance man, born in Hungary, a graduate of the classical gymnasium "Torquato Tasso" in Rome, and an artist, Csikszentmihalyi earned his Ph.D. in psychology in 1965 from the University of Chicago, where he would eventually teach. Yet the bounds of psychology could contain neither his creativity nor his desire to find a greater order: "Somehow I always gravitated to the people in various disciplines—whether it's psychology, sociology, anthropology—who saw a certain unity in their field, who were not what later became known as postmodern reductionists," he explained, speaking on the telephone from his office at the Claremont Graduate University. Influenced by Carl Jung and reading widely in religion, Csikszentmihalyi found himself intrigued by "people who kind of stepped back and tried to say, 'What is it that's going on in this messy and confusing pattern of human behavior over time?' And I was influenced greatly, for instance, by Teilhard de Chardin, the Jesuit who developed this notion of evolution." Even his current position as a professor at Claremont's Drucker School of Management is a new evolutionary turn in a life lived with passion and curiosity.

Csikszentmihalyi is most well known for his bestselling 1990 book,
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. He defined and explored the concept of "flow"—as in "in the flow"—as our experience of optimal fulfillment and engagement. Flow, whether in creative arts, athletic competition, engaging work, or spiritual practice, is a deep and uniquely human motivation to excel, exceed, and triumph over limitation. Csikszentmihalyi describes his life's work as the effort "to study what makes people truly happy." The emphasis here is on the word "truly"—because to him, happiness is not simply flow nor an emotional state nor even the experience of pleasure. The happiness he points to involves the continual challenge to go beyond oneself as part of something greater than one's own self-interest.

What compelled us to speak to Dr. Csikszentmihalyi was his constantly evolving understanding of individual human development in the context of evolution. Ever the empiricist, he has systematically explored what it means to bring the laws of material evolution into both human and cultural development. In his books
The Evolving Self and Finding Flow, he develops a moral and ethical perspective on flow as a force of evolution. Integrating the concept of flow with a contemporary understanding of ancient wisdom teachings, he offers a new paradigm for human living rooted in his recognition that human beings now have the unique opportunity—and obligation—to become conscious participants in evolution. In the following interview, Dr. Csikszentmihalyi invites us to join in creating an evolutionary psychology founded in a deeper understanding of human motivation and an attention to our inescapable interconnectednes.

Flow with Soul

An interview with Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
by Elizabeth Debold

In your books The Evolving Self and Finding Flow, you speak about evolution, particularly about human evolution. Could you define what you mean by "evolution"?

MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI: At the most abstract level, what I mean by "evolution" is the increasing complexity of matter, which results in increasing possibility for consciousness. Here I'm differing from the view of [French Jesuit paleontologist] Teilhard de Chardin. He thought that rocks had a consciousness appropriate to their own material organization. I don't know whether they do or not, but his view was that whenever there is matter organized in some system, there is a commensurate level of consciousness, which reaches its apogee in the human nervous system being as it is the most intricate system, where you can code and store information of all different kinds. Smells, sights, inner feelings, and thoughts can all get stored because there is enough space, and the units are connected so that you can begin to draw parallels and see similarities and develop cause-and-effect relationships and so forth.

So you have this system that is very complexly organized, very intricately differentiated, and very integrated. Those are the two dimensions of complexity that you always see in evolution: differentiation and integration. Differentiation allows you to use different parts, for instance, different cells in your brain, different neurons to store information. And at the same time, these differentiated cells are connected to each other, or integrated, so that they can talk to each other, so to speak. Okay? They can exchange information. This is one way to talk about evolution: the process by which matter becomes more complex, allowing for more complex consciousness.

Then, of course, we see the results of humans becoming conscious begin to extend outside the body. And that's where we begin to see the evolution of culture, where we are able to store information not just in the brain but also in cave paintings and buildings, and then books and computers, etcetera. That begins to enlarge the amount of information about the universe that we can, in principle, deal with.

But I don't think the direction of evolution is laid down in any sense. We, having become aware of what is going on, have to decide for ourselves to what end this information should be directed and where it should be going. And I think that from the abstract level, the signposts for those decisions are again differentiation and integration. You want a future where people are free to develop whatever unique blueprints they carry in their genes, and you want that freedom to blossom as much as possible, but at the same time, you want each person to see that they are part of something much greater. That's where the integration comes in—it starts with feeling that you belong to a family, to an ethnic group, to a church and to a nation. But unless you realize that you're also part of all the living systems and the planet—that there is something beyond all of this that we can sense—unless you're part of that, then evolution would not be very successful, as far as I can tell. 
If you’re really interested in reading the whole interview go to this webpage.


Main article: Flow (psychology)
Mental state in terms of challenge level and skill level, according to Csikszentmihaly.
In his seminal work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Csíkszentmihályi outlines his theory that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow— a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. It is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter (Csikszentmihalyi,1990). The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great absorption, engagement, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored.[8]
In an interview with Wired magazine, Csíkszentmihályi described flow as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost."[9]
To achieve a flow state, a balance must be struck between the challenge of the task and the skill of the performer. If the task is too easy or too difficult, flow cannot occur. Both skill level and challenge level must be matched and high; if skill and challenge are low and matched, then apathy results.[7]
The flow state also implies a kind of focused attention, and indeed, it has been noted that mindfulness, meditation, yoga, the Alexander Technique, and martial arts seem to improve a person's capacity for flow. Among other benefits, all of these activities train and improve attention.[citation needed]
In short, flow could be described as a state where attention, motivation, and the situation meet, resulting in a kind of productive harmony or feedback.[citation needed]

sábado, 5 de mayo de 2012

Teaching English as a Truly Foreign Language

This is a very interesting article I found in one of Emilio's links in his blog. It is about teaching English as a foreign language and I absolutely agree with some of the ideas in the article. What about you? Do you think the author is right or wrong?

The following question has been on my mind a lot recently: Why don't we teach English as a truly foreign language?
The background: Until recently I just took it for granted that in my teaching I should hold up the English of the native speaker as something my foreign students really ought to be aspiring to. It just seemed obvious to this British teacher that learners should become progressively more competent speakers of British English with all its idioms and odd ways of expressing things. There was no such thing as "English as a foreign language". There was just "teaching English as a foreign language", which meant a different method of teaching exactly the same language - pointing out things that would never need to be pointed out to native speakers, and putting a lot less emphasis on literature, for instance. And in this context it made sense to insist that students should be entered for EFL/ESL exams compiled back in the venerable city of Cambridge - and who better to set the standard than our colleagues on either side of the Cam? Of course there were also English exams organised by the Greek authorities (for students here in Greece), but one just smiled at them in a gently condescending way.
Increasingly I find that attitude (my own attitude) repugnant. Why hold up a Cambridge don or Robbie Williams or any other native speaker as a standard? Why not make it clear at the outset that this is English as a FOREIGN language - the language OF foreigners who, in all probablility, will never have the desire or the opportunity or the need to assimilate into some cosy English-speaking nook in Britain or elsewhere and, in a sense, disappear in some odd process of cultural and psychological self-abnegation?
This has become an issue for me particularly in connection with advanced classes of English language learners. At this level, I am becoming more and more doubtful about the value of teaching EXACTLY what the English natives say in a particular situation. Let me give an example. In a situation where someone needs to stay alert the native might use the expression: "Keep your eyes peeled." Now this is a colourful expression that I personally like and which it might be fun to present and discuss in class in one context or another. What I don't agree with any longer is the idea that if this expression cropped up in a course book, students should be expected to learn it by heart (perhaps for a quick vocab test the following day).
In my own vocab tests I would definitely include the more common use of the verb "peel" and the word's use as a noun, but I wouldn't expect students to learn the expression about peeling eyes, and I would certainly not include the latter in some test of whether they are proficient users of the language. If a foreign learner can talk about peeling onions and about your skin peeling when you get sunburnt, that for me is a mark of proficiency in English as a foreign language. With that know-how they will certainly be able to grasp the eye-peeling expression if they ever come across it.
But what will they say in a war zone where they need to tell someone to stay alert and be on the lookout for snipers if they don't know the expression "Keep your eyes peeled"? Well, I guess they could say: "Stay alert and be on the lookout for snipers." It does exactly the same job.
I would even be in favour of Greeks borrowing translated expressions from their own language to enrich the conversation. In Greek they say: "Keep your eyes 14." If you were in enemy territory with a Greek paratrooper and she turned to you and said: "As we say in Greek, 'Keep your eyes 14'." It would be obvious what the message was, and you might have learned an interesting detail about the Greek language. This, for me, is proficiency. Anyone who - between bursts of sniper fire - turned to the Greek woman and said: "If you don't already know the expression: 'Keep your eyes peeled' you can't really be proficient in English" would be a fool.
Of course, I am not in a position to say exactly what constitutes English as a foreign language. It seems to me that it really must be up to foreign organisations to define their own standards. This has led me to reverse my estimation of the local (Greek, in this case) examination authorities. There really needs to be a sea change - a massive upswelling of self-confidence in these local authorities to promote themselves and assert themselves and insist that they have the right to set the standards and answer the question: what should constitute proficiency for Greeks (in this case) who need to communicate in English with foreigners?
In the process there will hopefully be more freedom for Greeks (and all foreigners) to make the language their own. Another example springs to mind. Back in England a Greek colleague with excellent English quietly insisted on also using the word "sympathetic" in a Greek way (e.g. "It was a sympathetic film" meaning it was quite nice but not brilliant). It was obvious what she meant and I found this new (to the English) use of the word interesting. As long as there is no obstacle to communication, why shouldn't there be this freedom to use the language in ways that are foreign to the natives (heck, this is English as a Foreign Language, isn't it?).
Some will say that this is an unacceptable lowering of standards. I would reply that this objection fails to grasp the difference between teaching English as a native language, where there is a specific group of cultural and intellectual imperatives, and teaching English as a foreign language. For the native speaker the language is, to a certain extent, constitutive of their very being, their very identity (in a sense, you are what you say) whereas for the foreigner the language is likely to remain merely a tool of communication. As EFL teachers, we need to accept that and make sure that the tool is moulded adequately to the grip of the foreign learner.

Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigms

Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we're educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.
In this talk from RSA Animate, Sir Ken Robinson lays out the link between 3 troubling trends: rising drop-out rates, schools' dwindling stake in the arts, and ADHD. An important, timely talk for parents and teachers. If you're interested in this talk go to