Thursday, 13 July 2017

SUMMER ACTIVITIES - WILL: 21st CENTURY SHAKESPEARE

Jamie Campbell Bower and Laurie Davidson as Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare in TNT drama series

William Shakespeare is one of the most widely known authors in the world and in history,  but we actually know very little about the man. For instance, we know very little about his life during two major spans of time, commonly referred to as the "lost years": 1578-82 and 1585-92. The first period covers the time after Shakespeare left grammar school, until his marriage to Anne Hathaway in November of 1582. The second period covers the seven years of Shakespeare's life in which he must have been perfecting his dramatic skills and collecting sources for the plots of his plays.  The TV series “WILL”, which premiered on TNT on 10th July 2017, in a very imaginative way, tries to fill in the seven years’ gap. 

WILL tells the wild story of young William Shakespeare's  arrival onto the punk-rock theater scene in 16th century London -- the seductive, violent world where his raw talent faced rioting audiences, religious fanatics and raucous side-shows. It’s a contemporary version of Shakespeare's life, played to a modern soundtrack that exposes all his recklessness, lustful temptations and brilliance. 

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

TEACHERKIT: THE BEST APP FOR CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT


The Teacher job is very stressful. It's not a small thing to be responsible for an entire generation of students. Teachers don't just share knowledge with their class, they form the way kids think and perceive the world. Managing one or more classes is a serious endeavor and takes a lot of time, will and experience. There are a number of things you need to pay attention to and luckily there is a solution for that. TeacherKit is a powerful app that allows teachers to manage their class with ease. What TeacherKit is and how it can help you, we shall see in this article.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

SUMMER ACTIVITIES - WONDER, YOU CAN'T BLEND IN WHEN YOU WERE BORN TO STAND OUT




It was published in 2012 and since then over 5 million people have read it.  Anyone who's read #1 New York Times bestseller WONDER by R. J. Palacio has fallen in love with Auggie (August) Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face.  A movie based on the book is coming soon starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay. 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE THAT? PRONUNCIATION LESSONS BY EMMA & LUCY



While learning to speak English,  pronunciation is probably one of the biggest frustrations we may experience.
But here are two lovely young ladies ready to help us in our journey through awkward combinations of letters and sounds.
Emma and Lucy have many videos on their Youtube channels with useful pronunciation tips. (HERE and HERE)

Monday, 9 January 2017

LESSONS IN HUMANITY: WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU LOOK AT ME?



When you look at Muslim scholar Dalia Mogahed, what do you see: a woman of faith? a scholar, a mom, a sister? or an oppressed, brainwashed, potential terrorist? In this personal, powerful talk, Mogahed asks us, in this polarizing time, to fight negative perceptions of her faith in the media — and to choose empathy over prejudice. 

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

MODULE 1. ARTHUR MILLER'S THE CRUCIBLE

A context of fear

The Salem Girls in The Crucible (The Old Vic, London, 2014)
Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible in the 1950s,  in a climate of fear, during the Cold War, when communist infiltration of US culture was considered a pathology, a virus that could kill their politics and their nation.  

Writers and intellectuals gravitated to communism during the 1930s Depression, either hoping its precepts could lead to social reform or as a way to protest America’s isolationism, specifically the nation’s neutrality in the Spanish War.  In the 50s, in a period of right-wing paranoia, they became Senator McCarthy’s scapegoats. They were considered Un-American. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) turned its attention to writers and actors who were  supposedly seen as a threat to the republic. Those who in the 1930s had embraced radical politics were now to be made to pay.  

In January 1952 Elia Kazan, Miller’s friend and film director, was summoned by the Committee. Although at first he refused to name names, he changed his mind, confessing what he had done and said to Miller,  who then left Kazan’s house and drove directly to Salem, Massachusetts to research what would become The Crucible.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

HOW TO LEARN SPEED READING

Today the Internet provides people with tons of useful and interesting information. There is no need to go to the library or pay enormous sums of money in order to read desired book or article. It is possible to find great amounts of information in the vastness of the Internet. Thus, it is extremely important for modern people to read more information and apply useful reading techniques that can improve person’s reading skills. Here are some tips that can be beneficial for readers:

Monday, 19 December 2016

BECAUSE I LOVE ANIMALS!


Task 1. Copy and translate what the little girl says
Task 2. Why is the child so sad? What is she talking about? 

Saturday, 17 December 2016

HUXLEY'S LETTER TO ORWELL ABOUT 1984 AND BRAVE NEW WORLD


In October of 1949, a few months after the release of George Orwell's dystopian masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four, he received a fascinating letter from fellow author Aldous Huxley — a man who, 17 years previous, had seen his own nightmarish vision of society published, in the form of Brave New World. What begins as a letter of praise soon becomes a brief comparison of the two novels, and an explanation as to why Huxley believes his own, earlier work to be a more realistic prediction.

Huxley's letter to Orwell


21 October, 1949

Dear Mr. Orwell,

It was very kind of you to tell your publishers to send me a copy of your book. It arrived as I was in the midst of a piece of work that required much reading and consulting of references; and since poor sight makes it necessary for me to ration my reading, I had to wait a long time before being able to embark on Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

MODULE 1. BRAVE NEW WORLD


Aldous Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD is part of an unforgettable trilogy of masterpieces which are strictly connected each to the other. The other two novels are 1984 by George Orwell and Ray Bradbury's FAHRENHEIT 451. They are all science fiction dystopian novels, not my favourite genre,  but the three of them left an indelible mark inside me. There is science fiction and science fiction. These three novels are amazingly interesting and frighteningly premonitory.


They all imagine life in a dystopian society, under totalitarian regimes, in which human beings are dehumanized and totally deprived of their freedom.

In Brave New World , set in the future year A. F . 632 ( 632 years after the advent of the American magnate Henry Ford), the stability of the World State is maintained through a combination of biological engineering and exhaustive conditioning. The citizens have not been born but "hatched" to fill their predestined social roles. In infancy the virtues of passive obedience, material consumption and mindless promiscuity are inculcated upon them by means of hypnopedia or sleep - teaching. In later life the citizens of the World State are given free handouts of soma , the Government  - approved dope. The World State's motto is: "Community, Identity, Stability". The World State is divided into ten zones, each run by a Resident World Controller. "His fordshisp", Mustapha Mond, the controller of the Western European Zone centred in London, heads a hierarchical, factory-like concern with a mass of Epsilon- Minus Semi - Moron bred for menial labour at the base and with castes of increasing ability ranked above them. Immediately below Mond there are a caste of Alpha- Plus intellectuals. Bernard Marx and Helmhotz Watson are members of this elite, but both have developed subversive tendencies, taking delight in such deviant pleasures as being alone and abstaining from sex.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

SHAKESPEARE, THE BOOK OF THOMAS MORE & THE ISSUE OF THE REFUGEES

“If they banished you from your country, where would you go? Would you like to find a nation as barbarous as yours who would spurn you like dogs?”
This does not come from Amnesty International, nor from Unhcr. This is William Shakespeare 400 years ago, in a passage from the historical play “The Book of Thomas Moore”. The fragment has been digitalized by the British Library and is one of the few manuscripts we have in Shakespeare’s own hand. It is part of a play written by different authors based on the life of Henry VIII’s chancellor, Sir Thomas More . The play dates presumably back to around 1600  but it was censored and never staged for fear of further disorders in London due to the theme it dealt with.  
Sir Thomas More (1478 - 1535)
It is not only a historical literary important discovery, but also a socially important message which comes right in a time when those words are relevant and painful. The tragedy of the migrants and refugees is an open wound in nowadays Europe, characterized by the fear of the foreigners and the misery of the newcomers.
 In the play,  set in 1517, Thomas More as the Sheriff of London, speaks to the crowd enraged against the migrants, merchants coming from the North of Italy, whom they accused of wanting to steal their jobs and money.  Doesn’t this sound very familiar and contemporary? Haven’t you heard this refrain in the media?

Friday, 14 October 2016

SHAKESPEARE THE POET - VENUS & ADONIS

By the early 1590s, we know for sure that Shakespeare had become an actor. He was working very closely with a group of actors. They moved between a number of different companies, but it  rapidly became apparent that the leading figure among them was Richard Burbage. He would go on to become Shakespeare's closest friend and the man for whom he wrote all the great parts (Romeo, King Lear, Richatd III)

Shakespeare and those actors, such as Burbage, were just establishing themselves as some of the leading players in the early 1590s when disaster struck. There was a major outbreak of plague, and the theatres had to be closed. The point of that was that public places with large crowds in close proximity to each other were very dangerous from the point of view of the spread of infection. So,  whenever a bad outbreak of plague hit London, immediately the theatres were closed. That was a problem for the actors. What they had to do was get out on the road, tour in the provinces, and the takings were always much poorer there than they were in the city with its huge population.
It seems, though, that in 1593 and 94 while various acting companies were out in the country, Shakespeare didn't go with them. It would seem that just as he was establishing himself as a playwright, he decided on an alternative, or an additional course, for his writing. He decided to write poetry.