What is Language for, if not to Communicate...?
What is Language for, if not to Communicate...?
If you feel like having practice on your CAE exam, dear students, you can visit
See what you are offered..., then make a comment here: do you find the site useful?
Our Brazilian mates are ready to start sharing views on Argentina and their country. In their site at http://sambaefl.podomatic.com/, where they have uploaded photos and sound files, they have also written about their favourite tourist spots.
These students of English will read your comments and will listen to your recordings, and then they will post their own comments here.
Go to the site and leave one posting in any of their episodes. You can choose from several options!
Then they will also add their views on Argentina...
I am sending them our Podomatic address so that they can leave their impressions as well...
If you are going on a tour across Argentina, it would never be complete without visiting the seaside. With over 500 kilometres long of beaches, it make you feel flabbergasted at the unbelievable variety of options you have, and which you may want to take into account in order to have the best time when coming. From the many coastal villages, Villa Gesell undoubtedly deserves to be short listed for its unique combination of modern urban architecture with many unchanged original features of the town, remaining unaffected its natural beauty by limiting the number of tall buildings, and still not having too many paved roads.
It offers an ample range of activities to do: during the day you can enjoy your time swimming in the sea, playing beach-volley or just sunbathing while having the so typical Argentinian drink, the “mate”. For the adventurers, there are some full of adrenalin alternatives. They might be willing to have a ride on the Banana Boat, hire a bicycle for two or four riders, and defy one of the largest dune areas of Argentina, or take a tour to a lighthouse which is about 30 kilometres to the south. If the weather doesn’t allow or because you prefer less crowded places and more relaxing activities, you can take a stroll around the natural reserve situated in the middle of the town, just like Central Park!
During the night, there is also a wide choice. There all types of restaurants, for pockets of all sizes. Moreover, if you are keen on parties, meeting new people and having fun, take for granted that you will get on well with its frenetic nightlife. There are also a few cinemas, a theatre, and a casino settled a few kilometres away.
Give a monotonous life an upheaval by undergoing a trip to Villa Gesell. It won’t let you down!
ROSARIO, THE “CITY”
Situated on the southwest coast of the Paraná river, our city is a splendid combination of river, sky, architecture, green spaces, entertainment and, what is more, friendly and respectful people.
If you are spending some time in this fascinating city, you should seize the day, because Rosario has a wide variety of offers, as its premises are attracting different kind of people and making them feel at home in order to guarantee an unforgettable experience.
Our city provides its visitors with a wide choice of hotels. They are spread all over Rosario and you will certainly find the one which best suits your requirements. There are different options according to the amount of money you can afford and the most expensive ones are situated in the main streets of the city centre. Anyway, if you have any doubt you should go and ask for information in the tourism office, situated next to the Fluvial Station. There, specialized people will find and book a place for you in the chosen hotel. In contrast with other cities, such as Córdoba or Buenos Aires, Rosario is not a bustling place. You can go everywhere on foot or by taxi and if you are willing to use the public transport, Rosario has a complete and efficient bus net that can take you from where you are to any place you want to go.
As regards places to go, why not visit the Flag Memorial. After that, you may want to do a trip to the islands which is a tranquil and cheap excursion where you are able to appreciate the lively beauty of Rosario’s coast. No tour would be complete without a visit to the luxurious shopping malls. Moreover, if you are an architecture addict, you should visit the Cathedral and the post office. Finally, it is a must to go to one of the peaceful parks that Rosario offers, like the Independence or the Urquiza park.
If you want to experience something slightly different, don’t forget to visit some of the arcades and museums which have impressive art-exhibitions and they’re free. Rosario is waiting for you, don’t put off this opportunity.
Bariloche is a wonderful city placed in the Southwest of Argentina. Surrounded by lakes and mountains, it offers an amazing view, which can be enjoyed from different panoramic points, such as the restaurant placed at the top of Cerro Otto.
Something special about Bariloche is that it offers a variety of activities to do, from horse riding or trekking, to skating and sailing. By ship you can reach Isla Victoria, unique for its natural forest, located in the Nahuel Huapi lake.
Cerro Catedral , the largest ski centre in SouthAmerica, is one of the main attractions for tourists and local residents interested in ski and snowboarding.
The city has a very lively nightlife, offering several night clubs, each one with a different style.
Although Bariloche is normally regarded as a winter attraction, it is also an interesting destination to visit on summer, where the landscape is much more colorful and the weather allows tourists to enjoy the different beaches.
Four times the width of Niagara Falls, Iguazu Falls are divided by various islands into separate waterfalls. They are protected by Argentinean and Brazilian national parks on both sides. It is located in Puerto Iguazu (Argentina) and Foz do Iguaçu (Brazil). It’s the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Most part of the falls are on the Argentinean side where you have a closer look at them. There you can enjoy catwalks that go over the falls on the upper, lower and to the Devil’s Throat, the most amazing fall in the world because of its height as well as a beautiful ecological train which goes into the forest in order to transport the tourist to the various trails and paths. In the Iguazu National Park you can enjoy wildlife flora and fauna, so if you like being in touch with nature you can’t miss that trip. For those who like adventures, there’s a boat trip for a close up and really wet view of the falls.
On the Brazilian side the view is more panoramic but it’s also worth seeing.
If you want to enjoy the Iguazu falls completely, it’s recommended a two-days tour so as to spend a day in each side.
Now that we are having more and more people visiting Rosario, and as you are all going through this wonderful experience of travelling to Bariloche in our beautiful south, we could start writing a guide for visitors!!.
So the idea is this:
* choose a place in our country that you love visiting, or that has made an impact on you when you visited it, or that you would like to recommend to visitors from abroad. It could also be Rosario!!
* look for a photo YOU have taken of the place, if you are there , all the better! if not, choose one you really like.
* write your guide, upload the photo, write "why you think this place is a good choice", and include "Do´s and Don´t´s".
* have you ever been to Brazil? if so, where? what was your experience like? how do you feel about the Brazilian people? which place in Brazil would you like to visit?
Answer these questions or just express your views on Brazil and its people making a recording and uploading it here...
There will be another group of students in Brasilia (Brasil), who will read your comments. They will also write their views on Argentinian people...., and you'll be able to read them, as they´re are published in their blogs!
Once your task is ready, we will have a chat with all the students who want to be present, you will be informed where and when.
Start selecting your photo, and let's give foreigners a good picture of Argentina!! !!.
Hi, my students! Now that you need to make up your minds as to whether to enrol for your CAE exam or not, here goes a site for extra practice I recommend you,
You can also subscribe to it and get the latest news and tasks sent to your box...!
Hi, dear boys and girls!
I've come across a site for making movies..., and have made one short and silly one here
I'd love to see your movies!! Just go to the main page, at
and you'll get the chance to see how good you can be at movie making!!
(then post your url here, of course!! )
It was an unusual celebration. Monica --the Headmistress at Cultura and a very dear friend--, together with our visitor Annette Capel, who came from Cambridge and who recorded the audio file for YOU, had a special outing last Sunday. We had this guided tour in the neighbourhood called Pichincha, where a group of actors and actresses made a beautiful parade, dressed in the fashion of the 80´s in Rosario. This is a photo of her and the people in a carriage which represented a typical view of our city.
Rosario is getting international!
After having worked with podcasting for a couple of months I decided to hear what my students had to say about their experience. And, mainly, what they thought about the use of this tool for language learning, its benefits and its drawbacks.
We did some brainstorming in class, they were given full freedom to express their views, and they had some time to get ready for the recording thinking about what they were going to say so that there wouln't be any clash of ideas.
Here is the final product.
Hi, my dear students!
Here's the recording of an interview I made to Ms Annette Capel, the co-author of our Masterclass textbook and a Cambridge examiner. She came to Rosario to give a talk for teachers on Cambridge examinations, and she is giving you very useful tips on how to pass your CAE exam...
We are in this photo together with Ms Monica Perez, the Headmistress at Cultura, enjoying a coffee at "El Cairo", our traditional "Cafe" shop.
Listen to her, she is an expert!
You see, my dear students? Who´s said the computer and Internet isolate people ??
The best example of how Internet can widen the world for all human beings willing to meet likeminded people living in different corners of the world is this: I also met Susan, in marvellous Copenhagen, where we visited all highlights, led by my dear friend Sus. It was our first f2f encounter, after four years sharing work and friendship online.
After two full days sightseeing together, we found it hard to say goodbye. But we both have the computer...., our linking bond through space, and we can go on sharing experiences and projects...
Thank you, dear Sus! It's been another wonderful gift being with you!
Back at home, after an unforgettable trip round impressive cities like Moscow, St Petersburg and then Helsinki, where I met my dear friend Teacher Ruth, I am posting a photo of us in Helsinki, a beautiful spot full of culture, respect and wonderful people...
Thank you again, dear Ruth, my students will now have the privilege of meeting you online!
Hi, all my dear students!!!
I hope you are enjoying your hols (even those of you who are studying hard..., any time left for pleasure...?)
Here I am, in the capital city of Sweden, an incredible spot blessed by nature and its people.
Before coming here we went to Helinki, in Finland, where we met Ruth!!!! YES!!! You cannot imagine the joy we shared..! We walked along wonderful streets and parks..., talking and talking..., also about you !!!
Tomorrow we'll be in Copenhagen, and then back to my son's in New York.
Enjoy the rest of the hols, have a pleasant week at Cultura...., and if you can...., drop me a line here, I'll be delighted to learn about you!!!
A big hug to you all, I DO remember you!!!
I want to say I'm very proud of my students Lila and Leo!
Come and see what they have added to our class wiki at
A very happy teacher
Hi, dear all,
This is just a reminder for all my dear students: we need to comply with cyber rules, which means that, unless we upload a photo that we ourselves have taken, we MUST provide the LINK to the photo, instead of copying and pasting it.
This holds true for all contributions you make on the web !!!
These three good students have posted beautiful comments in our space at Ms Ruth Vilmi´s site, at http://www.writeit.fi/sys/
Lila has written about "Alcohol and Drug Problems", Leo, about "My dreams and Aims", and Bianky, about "Friends, Relatives and Marriage", and they have received many comments from foreign students!
Now, Lila, Bianky and Leo, these are the new instructions:
"When you have written your articles and done some commenting, you might
like to add something about your culture to your class space in the new
International Culture Exchange (ICE)
* Go directly to this link for editing:
All the information you write and link to Rosario should be on the Rosario page at
and then the information that you write about Argentina and
its culture should be here:
You can post comments, photos, links. Make the page attractive!!!
Hi, my dear students,
A teacher of English in Brazil has sent me a note with a link to her students ´ blog, where they are writing on the World Cup. You can visit it at
Or you could also write your ideas here, as I've sent her the address of our "podomatic" to get in contact with each other. I guess it could be a good starting point for an interesting exchange of opinions....)
Who starts the ball rolling....?
Can you work this out?
You have 5 pieces of chain, each consisting of 3 links. You want to make one long chain of these 5 pieces. Breaking open a link costs one euro, and welding an open link costs 3 euros.
Is it possible to make one long chain of the 5 pieces if you have just 12 euros?
This kind of "difficult but fun to solve problem" is called a brainteaser.
Do you know any other to share?
Hi, my dear students!
There's an article in the YnetNes.com news today about a girl who met a guy in a chatroom...., and meant to meet him f2f... BUT......
To read the story, go to
What do you think??
My students want to read some of Oscar Wilde´s quotes.
The past is of no importance. The present is of no importance. It is with the future that we have to deal. For the past is what man should not have been. The present is what man ought not to be. The future is what artists are.
The one charm about marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.
America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.
There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating - people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.
Whenever people agree with me, I always feel I must be wrong.
A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.
A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.
All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.
Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much.
Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.
By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.
Charity creates a multitude of sins.
Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.
Experience is one thing you can't get for nothing.
Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.
He must have a truly romantic nature, for he weeps when there is nothing at all to weep about.
How marriage ruins a man! It is as demoralizing as cigarettes, and far more expensive.
I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.
I am not young enough to know everything.
I can resist everything except temptation.
I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
I have nothing to declare except my genius.
I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.
I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being really good all the time. That would be hypocrisy.
I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.
I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.
I sometimes think that God in creating man somewhat overestimated his ability.
Illusion is the first of all pleasures.
It is better to be beautiful than to be good. But... it is better to be good than to be ugly.
Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.
Life is too important to be taken seriously.
Men always want to be a woman's first love - women like to be a man's last romance.
Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.
Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.
No object is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly.
One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.
Only the shallow know themselves.
Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.
Questions are never indiscreet, answers sometimes are.
The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.
The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.
There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.
There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.
Woman begins by resisting a man's advances and ends by blocking his retreat.
How much do you know about the World Cups....?
You can test your World Cup knowledge in our special World Cup Game. When you start the game, you have five minutes to play against the its-online team. If you get a question right, you score a goal. If you get a question wrong, the its-team scores a goal. Good luck!
To play the game, go to this site:
Hi, dear students!
Would you like to know what each letter of your name means, regarding your personality?.... You could also do one for a friend or girl/ boyfriend!
Go to this site
and then tell us all if you agree with the result of the test.....)
My dearest students, hi here!
I know that some of you have started posting to Ruth Vilmi's "International Writing Exchange", that is, Lila (congrats, Lila! you've been the first one!! ), Leo and Gaby, and now Bianky and Ceci Arakaki are also trying to join in... I'm so proud of you!
But still, this goes on being our dear little spot to meet away from the classroom and share...
How did you like the visit we got today? Would you go through a similar experience? Where would you choose to go if "yes"? Who enjoys the challenge of a country like Italy? or Cuba? or Australia?
If I was young again..., I would definitely choose to live somewhere else (in fact, almost anywhere!) for some time, to see different cultures, different people, and visit different places!
But well...., too late for that, so I do what I can..., though experiences at your age are absolutely enriching and have a special flavour!
I look forward ro reading about your views!
In class, we brainstormed topics for discussions to record and upload as audiofiles in our site. The class was divided into three groups, and each group chose a different topic. They had some preparation time to organize thoughts and turn-taking and to rehearse their performances.
This is the result:
group 1: "Our hobbies and interests"
group 2: "The Oil War and its implications in Latin America"
group 3: "Violence and insecurity in our city today"
You are all invited to leave a comment, which will be greatly appreciated by all students, willing to read and listen to other people's views on those issues. Thank you!
And here some of the girls, sharing an episode..., quite different from their everyday students' lives!
Very enthusiastically, they all gathered to wait for the calls...., cell phones in hand...
Synchronous session via Skype : rehearsal
Rehearsal time: Barbara tried Skype via my stds' cell phones. Adjustments had to be made to ensure a better and safer performance on the meeting day.
After sorting out some glitches some of the Argentinians students started getting calls on their cell phones. They had one-to-one conversations on different topics, and their enthusiasm and eagerness to contact their partners, with whom they had already exchanged asynchronous comments on varied aspects of both their cultures and lifestyles, was contagious.
Here's a couple of photos I took as some were glued to their phones, while others were waiting for their turns to get their own contact.
Once back in our classroom, they all commented about the importance of using the language for communication purposes. I guess they are less likely to forget today´s learning experience than a lesson from a book.
As a follow-up activity and to keep a record, my students will write an account and a personal evaluation of their participation, their gainings and their feelings, which I will upload as I get them.
Thank you very, very much, Barbara Sawhill and all your clever, inquisitive students, for sharing this unforgettable experience!
Do you want to read what my beautiful students have written about the project? See below their photos!
How to describe the experience we had last week is quite complex.
The project we are doing is an amazing idea in order to learn the language in another way. To my mind, that’s very important to know to how to communicate correctly in English with other people, especially if they are from abroad. This opportunity that we had was a perfect occasion to do it!
We were able to do something that, I think, not many students would ever do. Luckily, I and my classmates could do it! We talked with Spanish students from the USA. We exchanged opinions about many different and interesting topics.
In my personal case, I talked with Lucia, Maya and Daniel who were really talkative and knowledgeable. They were interested in very controversial and well-known topics, such as kidnappings, the policies of Hugo Chavez and what people all around the world think of him. Luckily, I knew something about these topics and I could help them a bit in their final projects.
That’s not all; we also talked about our daily routines and customs. We were able to spot how different we are as regards social customs! But these won’t prevent us to keep in touch and help each other when there’s a need; and why not…..making some new friends….ha!
It’s highly important to realize that this opportunity is unique and that we must take profit from it!
To sum up, I reckon this was a spectacular experience. I was able to take advantage from it and to learn that the most important part of learning a language is to know how to communicate with it!
Thanks Rita for giving us this exceptional and superb chance!
The topic is: "Aspects of your own Culture you are most proud of". My students speak their minds..., and tell the world about different aspects of our cosmopolitan culture.
Listen to their voices, they have a lot to say!
Last week, I had the great and fantastic opportunity to meet people from the USA, and I found it realy interesting, and it was something new for me.
I was in my english class, when suddenly my cel phone rang. It was Brandon from Ohio, he was a bit shy but in the same conversation was Evie, who was more friendly and easy-going, because she was more interested in talking in differents topics and in both languages.
At first we talked in Spanish, because they wanted to improve it so Lila and me accepted, but after some minutes we started talking in English, which was more enjoyable, especialy for me, because I have some problems with my speaking, and with the phone conversation I could practise and it was a perfect opportunity to apply the things that I have learnt some years ago.
We talked about their life style and what they do in their spare time, and that sort of things, but one thing that surprised me, was that they didn´t know any celebritie or famous people from Argentina, either Maradona.
From my point, this experience helps me a lot, because I want to improve my English and this is a great method to learn more about others cultures and and to know about the things that people at our age do
Interesting… that could be said of today English class. As everybody knows by now, our project with American students of Spanish is developing perfectly. Finally we could communicate. Through Skype they called us to our cellphones and we had a pleasant conversation, in my case with Evie (21) and Brandon (19), two friendly and nice students.
We began exchanging a bit of personal information to know one another better; they commented me about their projects that turned up to be subjects very debated as the case of female murders and the economic crisis of Argentina. This last one, faced by Brandon seems to be an attractive topic between these students and truly, it is. Unfortunately, my knowledge of politics and economics is not very deep as to help him, but we could exchange some opinions about this controversial subject.
After several minutes, Mauricio, a classmate, joined the conference and the conversation became daily-like, we talked about subjects of common interest like music that we listened or sports that we practiced, and also we described each one the place where we live and finally about our families.
These 35 minutes conversation demonstrated me how important is learning another language, because if each one chooses not to learn them, the globalization would not exist and we would all live in separated “worlds” and without communicating with other people. Furthermore, we wouldn’t be able to deepen in cultural aspects nor commercialize either.
There are different things that enrich our culture, as it is the exchange of traditions and opinions also with people who have other points of view and thoughts formed on the basis of their lifestyles, that it can be very different from ours. This is as important as to recognize that we cannot live locked up in our worlds. Humans are social beings whose food is the communication with the people of the society, and today, Argentineans and North Americans we fed ourselves with a simple conversation organized by 2 professors whose interest and enthusiasm motivated us to carry on with this project of which I feel absolutely proud of and I desire to continue developing.
Summing up this comment of today experience, I believe that it is a fabulous project that promotes the interactivity and communication with other foreign countries, with which we can acquire new knowledge and concepts. Regarding to learning English with different methods, it seems to me it’s very productive and interesting and worth a try!!
Well, as you know, my writing is not CAE level; anyway, I'll try to describe our project.
It's really interesting to meet people from around the world and I have never thought this would go this far. An audio conference it’s something I wasn't expecting for this year nor receiving a call to my cell-phone from Ohio; and you can't even imagine how exciting that call was for me because I really love USA. When I was a child, I saw an especial program on the discovery channel about this country, since then I'm dreaming with the day that I can travel there.
I'd really like to fly and visit different countries, learning English helps me a bit more each day to reach that dream, because these last days showed me how important is to know English. I love this language, more than my first one, but it's really difficult for me to talk fluently and moreover, to write properly So... this year I'll do my best, not only to pass the final examination, I'll do it for me too XDD.
The other day, I spoke to Rena by Skype just for a couple of minutes, but it was great indeed. We’ve already spoke in several occasions, but not through a voice program. When I chated with her, was a mixture of our two languages, It’s really funny to read it, and despite her first language is Japanese she talks in English as good as any american does.... I envy her. What is a bit odd is... why is she learning Spanish?? Jajajaja I’ll ask her the next time I see her online. She told me that she’ll go to Spain soon, but I’d prefer to stay at Ohio =P
Thanks for giving us this wonderful opportunity, because it showed me that I can communicate with another people in different part of the world, not as good as I'd like to, but... like I already said, I'll do my best!.
This year I did something totally different in my English classes. Apart from the usual classes, we started communicating with students from the U.S.
First we did it through our blogs and mail adresses. Each one was asigned a partner with whom we could exchange opinions and ideas about any topic we liked.
This was really interesting, getting to know the way people live in another country that's so different from ours, and learning many things about their culture. Something that made it even more appealing to us was the fact that our friends from the U.S are studying Spanish.
And then last week , we finally got to talk to them through skype, which was an amazing experience. I could only speak for a couple of minutes, but those minutes were more than enough to remind me the reason I've been studying English for so many years. And that reason is simply to communicate with people.
Last week I had the chance to put to practice everything I've been learning inside the classroom in a real experience with great people who were really eager to talk to me, just as I was to talk to them.
To finish my post I would like to thank these two teachers who allowed us to see that we can learn in many other ways than just memorizing contents from a piece of paper, and that what we learn has a very meaningful practical use.
Also, thanks to all the students from the U.S, for being so enthusiastic throughout this project.
In this project I had the opportunity to speak with two different people. The fist one was Barbara, the Spanish teacher in an Ohio’s University, while the other one was Lara, one of her students. With Barbara I spoke in English, whereas with Lara I did it in Spanish, as she wanted to practise for her final exam.
The first time I talked about how much and why I was studying English, about my future career and how I’d take profit of this language in the near future. In the second exchange, I told Lara about the Argentinian culture, our customs and our scenic routes. Moreover, I asked her why she was learning Spanish and why she’d like to come to my country to elaborate her final university project. It’s unbelievable to hear somebody that can speak in Spanish -which is said to be a hard language to learn- reasonably well, with only having studied it for one year. It’s incredible the effort made by this American students who want to open their minds to other languages and cultures.
Personally speaking, I’d certainly say that I learnt more than I expected about north American lifestyle and their possibilities. It’s absolutely astonishing to talk to a foreigner I’ve never met, in the language I’ve been learning for about fourteen years and I’m proud of saying that it’s useful and I could take an enormous profit of this experience. Therefore, to sum up, I’d evaluate this opportunity as something that should be repeated in order to carry on polishing my English so that I could get it across in a more natural way.
Hi, my dear students!
I'm very happy here with my lovely kids, playing with my baby granddaughter, talking and sharing with my son and daughter-in-law and visiting places...
Here is a photo of Manhattan..., one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world! (remember the article about the Marathon....?, that's a good description of the place, full of people from all over the world, dressed in funny clothes, and eating at all times foods from different origins...) It's a real pleasure to walk up and down the streets sightseeing, there are many typical neighbourhoods with shops selling the most weird things you can think of!
My son gave me an mp3 player as a present!, so the next class we are together you can all record what you have prepared in class, if you cannot manage to do so through podomatic...
I hope you are enjoying your Easter time with your family and friends, and also hope to hear from you here!!!
Have a good week, with a big hug,
Our project has been launched. We are all happy to be starting a new experience. My students, because they feel this exchange will add some authentic practice of the language they've been learning for many years now; but, above all, because they will be using it to communicate with other students to share ideas, opinions, tiny episodes in their lives in different countries and cultures.
I'm also very happy, because it's thanks to the advent of the Internet that we can now afford to reach other people anywhere in the world and allow our students to learn and communicate, straight from and through their mouths and fingers.
Barbara Sawhill, a teacher of Spanish at the Cooper International Learning Center in the Oberlin College, Ohio, and myself got in contact some two weeks ago. Knowing we both share a passion for teaching and communicating, we decided to organize a project to allow our students to have a hands-on experience using synchronous and asynchronous tools the computer offers for free. We talked about our students ages, levels and interests, and planned to share a cyberspace to get them together.
Barbara’s students have a class blog at http://languages.oberlin.edu/hisp305/spring06/ ,where all the links to their personal pages have provided access to my students´ interest to find out more. As learners of Spanish, they are also willing to learn about latinamerican lifestyles and culture, and to share their experiences living in an English-speaking country whose culture differs in many aspects from ours in Argentina.
The project is now going through its first stage: students both ends are getting to know each other. Mine, through visiting the American students’ personal blogs and leaving their comments. The students in Ohio, by reading our class blog, where they are already contributing with comments as answers to the Argentinian introductory postings . We are also enjoying comments written by teachers from different corners of the world. And we all feel very enthusiastic at seeing that a common project through the computer is feasible, despite geographical distances.
Students from both countries have been matched, one to one, and their next task will be working in pairs, interacting asynchronously, to get to know each other better, find interests in common, and learn more about each other’s culture and language.
Argentinian students have been assigned another task: they’ll have to record an answer to “Aspects of your own culture which you are proud of”, and publish it here so that they give the students in Ohio more information about our country.
The students in the States will be asked to circulate an ipod with a microphone in class to provide their contribution and get the ball rolling…
We are all seeing this project grow with enthusiasm. Our ultimate aim, taskwise, will be giving all students the chance to get together on Skype for a voice encounter. Knowing the impact and the appeal voice has in communicative environments, we guess and hope it will be a most enlightening experience.
A most friendly hug,
This is my group this year. I´ve only known them for a month, but I already love them, I'm so proud of each of them!
This is our city, a view of the park by the river Parana --one of the longest and largest in the world. Rosario is the 2nd largest city in the country, with 1 million inhabitants. We speak Spanish, and now English is being studied at primary and secondary schools.