Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Giver: Love



This is an excellent film. I loved its premise and the way the emotions were dealt with by the characters.  Don't miss it.

I. Work with a partner. Write down a definition of "love". You  may write more than one definition if you believe there are different kinds of love.

II. Read you definitions to the class.

III. Read the definition provided by a dictionary and check which definition is closest in meaning to the dictionary's.


1. A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from  kinship, recognition of attractive qualities,or a sense of underlying oneness.
2. A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair.
3. An intense emotional attachment, as for a pet or treasured object.
4. A person who is the object of deep or intense affection or attraction


IV. Read the quotes about love below. In pairs, explain what they mean and decide if you agree with them. Explain why.

a) Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says ‘I need you because I love you.’

b) In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities.

c) The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen nor even touched, but just felt in the heart.

d) There is no remedy for love but to love more.

e) In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing.

f) You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.

g) Love is to love someone for who they are, who they were, and who they will be.

h) You know you’re in love when you don’t want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”

i) Goodbye without reasons is the most painful one.
Love without reasons is the most beautiful one.



video


V. Watch the movie segment. Discuss the questions.

1. What is their definition of love?
2.  How is life in a world without love?
3. Why do you think those people chose not TO live a life with LOVE?
4. What's the difference between the questions: "Do you love me?" AND "Do you enjoy me?"

MOVIE SEGMENT DOWNLOAD - THE GIVER

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Gandhi: Gandhi




The most important time in Gandhi's life was the time he spent fighting for the independence of India.  Great Britain was a small country that owned India.  Great Britain owned the United States until 1776.  India wanted to be free just like the United States.  Gandhi spent his entire life fighting for India's freedom.  Gandhi's  longest fast was 21 days.  He fasted for the independence of India and for the war between the Muslims and the Hindus to end.



Some interesting facts about Gandhiji     He was not born a courageous, outspoken leader. In fact, in his autobiography, he says that, as a boy, he was so shy that he would run home from school because he could not bear to talk to anybody.     He was a walking enthusiast. Walking, he said, “is justly called the prince of exercises". He began enjoying long walks in high school, preferring lengthy rambles to organized sports. As a law student in London, he saved money by walking as many as eight to ten miles a day. It was primarily those long walks, he said, that “kept me practically free from illness throughout my stay in England and gave me a fairly strong body". All those years of walking served him well during the Salt March of 1930 when, at the age of 60, he walked 241 miles from his ashram to the sea at Dandi.     Once during a train journey a British asked Gandhi to get out of the train as he was considered as a ‘black’. But Gandhi refused as he had the ticket with him. The British and the Railway officer cruelly pushed Gandhi out of the train. This is a sample of Gandhi’s bitter experiences with British.     While in England in 1931, Gandhi made his first radio broadcast for the United States. The first thing the people of the United States heard the Mahatma say was, “Do I have to speak into this thing?”     Gandhi was basically very helping and concerned about others. Once while he was boarding train one of his shoes slipped and fell on to the track. He instantly removed the other shoe and threw it near the first one. His intention was to help the person who would find the pair and help himself.     His life aims were truth, non-violence, spiritualism, religiousness, honesty, discipline, loyalty, aspiration and so on. All these excellent high qualities made him the Mahatma which means a great soul.     Gandhi was extremely punctual. One of his very few possessions was a dollar watch. Just before he was assassinated, on January 30, 1948, Gandhi was upset because he was ten minutes late getting to a regular prayer meeting.     Time Magazine, the famous U.S. publication, named Mahatma Gandhi the Man of the Year in 1930.     He was a lawyer, but what a lawyer! He said, “I realized the true function of a lawyer was to unite parties riven asunder.” Thus, he spent his twenty years in practice “bringing about private compromises of hundreds of cases. I lost nothing thereby—not even money, certainly not my soul.”     The year that Gandhi arrived in London to study law was 1888, the same year that Jack the Ripper and his horrific murders dominated the British headlines.     Gandhi was funny! One example: When asked by a reporter what he thought of Western civilization, Gandhi replied, “I think it would be a very good idea.”     He corresponded regularly with Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy.     - See more at: http://gandhiworld.in/english/littleknownfacts.php#sthash.n3TuaBeU.dpuf


I. Work in pairs. Decide which of the statements below are false.

1. Some interesting facts about Gandhi   

2. He was not born a courageous, outspoken leader. In fact, in his autobiography, he says that, as a boy, he was so shy that he would run home from school because he could not bear to talk to anybody.   

3. Once during a train journey a British asked Gandhi to get out of the train as he was considered as a ‘black’. But Gandhi refused as he had the ticket with him. The British and the Railway officer cruelly pushed Gandhi out of the train. This is a sample of Gandhi’s bitter experiences with British.   

4. Gandhi was basically very helping and concerned about others. Once while he was boarding train one of his shoes slipped and fell on to the track. He instantly removed the other shoe and threw it near the first one. His intention was to help the person who would find the pair and help himself.     

5. His life aims were truth, non-violence, spiritualism, religiousness, honesty, discipline, loyalty, aspiration and so on. All these excellent high qualities made him the Mahatma, which means a great soul.   

6. The year that Gandhi arrived in London to study law was 1888, the same year that Jack the Ripper and his horrific murders dominated the British headlines.    


 http://gandhiworld.in/english/littleknownfacts.php


Answer key: All are true.

II. Read the quotes below. Decide what they mean and if you agree with them:


From:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashoka/2012/10/02/12-great-quotes-from-gandhi-on-his-birthday/

  •  “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” 
  •   “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
  • “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
  • “The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.”
  • “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”
  • “You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.”
  • “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
  • “If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”
  • “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
  • “A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”
  • “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”
  • “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” 
  • “You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.”


 III. Watch the movie segment and answer the questions:


video


1. Describe the scene of the murder.

2. Describe Gandhi's funeral.

3. What did the reporter say about Gandhi?

4. What did you learn about Gandhi that you didn't know before this class?



 MOVIE SEGMENT DOWNLOAD - GANDHI




Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Bag Man: Curiosity



I really liked this movie. I was intrigued by the content of the bag. It was a surprise to me. My students wanted to kill me, because I never told them what was in the bag, so they had to rent the movie if they wanted to know it. That's my contribution to Hollywood! By the way, this class generated a lot of discussion and debates. It was lovely!



I. Work with a partner:

What makes you curious? Rank the items from 1 (extremely curious) to 5 (not curious at all)

Life of celebrities

Discoveries about the outer space

Secrets

Gossip

Technology

Your neighbors

Your children's life

What people think

What your lover thinks

The existence of aliens/UFOs

What dreams mean

How/When you are going to die

Your future

Religion



 II. What do you understand by the expression: Curiosity Killed the Cat?




 Answer key:
"Curiosity killed the cat" is a metaphor used to warn of the dangers of unnecessary investigation or experimentation.



III. Divide the class into two groups. Group 1 reads passage # 1, whereas group 2 reads passage #2. Then pair-up one student from each group and they tell each other what they read about:

PASSAGE # 1

Curiosity is an important trait of a genius. I don’t think you can find an intellectual giant who is not a curious person. Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, they are all curious characters. Richard Feynman was especially known for his adventures which came from his curiosity.

But why is curiosity so important? Here are four reasons:
  1. It makes your mind active instead of passive                                                                                                                                           Curious people always ask questions and search for answers in their minds. Their minds are always active. Since the mind is like a muscle which becomes stronger through continual exercise, the mental exercise caused by curiosity makes your mind stronger and stronger.
  2. It makes your mind observant of new ideas
    When you are curious about something, your mind expects and anticipates new ideas related to it. When the ideas come they will soon be recognized. Without curiosity, the ideas may pass right in front of you and yet you miss them because your mind is not prepared to recognize them. Just think, how many great ideas may have lost due to lack of curiosity?
  3. It opens up new worlds and possibilitiesBy being curious you will be able to see new worlds and possibilities which are normally not visible. They are hidden behind the surface of normal life, and it takes a curious mind to look beneath the surface and discover these new worlds and possibilities.
  4. It brings excitement into your life
    The life of curious people is far from boring. It’s neither dull nor routine. There are always new things that attract their attention, there are always new ‘toys’ to play with. Instead of being bored, curious people have an adventurous life.
PASSAGE # 2

Tips to develop a curious mind:


1. Keep an open mind
This is essential if you are to have a curious mind. Be open to learn, unlearn, and relearn. Some things you know and believe might be wrong, and you should be prepared to accept this possibility and change your mind.

2. Don’t take things as granted
If you just accept the world as it is without trying to dig deeper, you will certainly lose the ‘holy curiosity’. Never take things as granted. Try to dig deeper beneath the surface of what is around you.

3. Ask questions relentlessly
A sure way to dig deeper beneath the surface is asking questions: What is that? Why is it made that way? When was it made? Who invented it? Where does it come from? How does it work? What, why, when, who, where, and how are the best friends of curious people.

4. Don’t label something as boring
Whenever you label something as boring, you close one more door of possibilities. Curious people are unlikely to call something as boring. Instead, they always see it as a door to an exciting new world. Even if they don’t yet have time to explore it, they will leave the door open to be visited another time.

5. See learning as something fun
If you see learning as a burden, there’s no way you will want to dig deeper into anything. That will just make the burden heavier. But if you think of learning as something fun, you will naturally want to dig deeper. So look at life through the glasses of fun and excitement and enjoy the learning process.

6. Read diverse kinds of reading
Don’t spend too much time on just one world; take a look at another worlds. It will introduce you to the possibilities and excitement of the other worlds which may spark your interest to explore them further. One easy way to do this is through reading diverse kinds of reading. Try to pick a book or magazine on a new subject and let it feed your mind with the excitement of a new world.

Taken from the awesome site:


http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/4-reasons-why-curiosity-is-important-and-how-to-develop-it.html


IV. Watch the movie segment and discuss the questions.



video


1. What do you think is in the bag? What makes you believe that?

2. Would you manage to do what was requested - transport a suitcase without knowing what is inside, especially if someone tells you not to look inside the bag? Why (not)?

3. How curious are you? What about your family?

4. How do you feel when somebody says he/she has something to tell you, but he/she  would like to do it in another moment?

5. Are you curious enough to go through your lover's cell phone messages, e-mails or calls? Why (not)?

6. What if someone searched your e-mails, messages or calls? How would you react to that?

7. What is your opinion about curious people? Is being curious a positive or negative trait?

MOVIE SEGMENT DOWNLOAD - THE BAG MAN

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mama: Theories of Cognitive Development and Language Acquisition - Piaget & Chomsky -

This is a scary movie, but the beginning is perfect for warming up topics such as the ones proposed on this post.
Read a short summary of Piaget's and Chomsky's theories of language acquisition. Then watch the segment and answer the questions. Although the segment is fictional, there are several registered cases of similar cases and outcomes. 

Taken from wikipedia

Piaget is one psychologist reluctant to ascribe specific innate linguistic abilities to children: he considers the brain a homogeneous computational system, with language acquisition being one part of general learning. He agrees this development may be innate, but claims there is no specific language acquisition module in the brain. Instead, he suggests external influences and social interaction trigger language acquisition: information collected from these sources constructs symbolic and functional schemata (thought or behaviour patterns). According to Piaget, cognitive development and language acquisition are lifelong active processes that constantly update and re-organise schemata. He proposes children develop L1 as they build a sense of identity in reference to the environment, and describes phases of general cognitive development, with processes and patterns changing systematically with age. Piaget assumes language acquisition is part of this complex cognitive development, and that these developmental phases are the basis for an optimal period for language acquisition in childhood. 



Chomsky - The capacity to learn a language is indeed innate, and, like many such inborn mechanisms, it is circumscribed in time. If a child does not learn a language before the onset of puberty, the child will never master language at all. This is known as the critical period hypothesis, which claims  that if somebody does not acquire a first language before a certain time (around puberty), they will lose the ability to acquire language. There are two versions of this hypothesis: The strong version states that language acquisition will be impossible after this point has been reached. The weak version states that acquisition will be difficult after this period has been reached.




video

1. Describe what happened to the children.

2. How do you think the theories are applicable in both cases?

3. They have spent the same amount of time away from society. How/Why are their behavior different?

4. How do you think their lives will be permanently affected?

5. How does the situation corroborate (or not) to the theory of the Critical Period Hypothesis?

6. Do you think the movie segment shown an accurate picture of what might happen to children who are isolated from the rest of the word? Explain it.