Thursday, February 27, 2020

Walk the Line: Movie Review (Scripted)

Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:

From the Miami Herald:
A Miami man who flew to China worried he might have coronavirus. He may owe thousands.
...I came across this article because it was posted to a group for Expats in Ho Chi Minh City on Facebook.  People, of course, compared it to Vietnam (and other countries) in which people were treated for the coronavirus for free.
The obvious conclusion people came to on Facebook (which is also not so subtly hinted at in the article itself) is that if people can't afford to go to the hospitals to be tested, then this will make it harder to control the disease.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Corporation: Movie Review (Scripted)

Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:

夜明けを告げに (Leaving all Behind) by オフ・コース (Off Course)

I linked to this song once before back in 2008.  But that was just as a "link of the day", and not as a full post.  So I thought I'd give it its own separate post, and add it to my "Sharing Music I Like" project.
This is a 1971 song by the band Off Course.  It's a pretty obscure song even within Japan.  The band "Off Course" was famous (Wikipedia article HERE) but this wasn't one of their bigger hits.
Nevertheless, I stumbled upon it while listening to a compilation album for Off Course, and I fell in love with it.

To quote myself from 2008:
This is perhaps my favorite Japanese song ever (in so much as it is possible to have a favorite song, since it always depends on your mood at the time.) Yoyake o Tsugeni by Off Course.
I have this song on one of my mixed tapes, and it's one of those songs where when I'm driving, I'm constantly stopping the tape and rewinding so I can hear it just one more time.
Today in "Hey, I know that guy!"
Jeffery, a friend of mine from my Gifu days, has set up a Youtube channel for ESL students to practice their listening.

Linked below is the latest video, but be sure to check out the whole channel for more.

[See my general index on TESOL materials HERE, and my materials on listening for ESL students HERE.  See also my own Youtube listening lessons: ]

Monday, February 24, 2020

Joe Cocker The Letter with Leon Russell Live on Mad Dogs & Englishmen

Part of my "Sharing Music I Like" project.
Apologies for the fact that this video only takes up a quarter of the screen.  This was the only copy I could find of this.
I stumbled upon this several months back, and absolutely love this video.

For one thing, I find Joe Cocker's whole schtick of "find a mediocre hit song from somebody else, and make it rock way better" fascinating.  He's done this with a lot of songs, and it just makes you marvel at the genius of the man.  I imagine every time he turns on the radio, in his head he hears a way better version of whatever song is playing at the moment.
The original version of this song by the Box Tops isn't bad (check it out HERE), but it's amazing how much more fun this song is once Joe Cocker gets his hands on it.
Secondly, I love this video of the live performance, because you can see how much fun everyone is having.  Look at the big smile on the faces of the background singers.  They're loving this!
It's videos like that make me think: "Man! What I wouldn't give to have been alive back then and have been part of that scene!"

Interesting, then, to read the Wikipedia section about this tour:
However, the pace of the tour was exhausting. Russell and Cocker had personal problems; Cocker became depressed and began drinking excessively as the tour wound down in May 1970. 
Just goes to show you never can tell what the state of someone else's mental health is, huh?  They look like they're having the time of their lives, and yet...
A colleague of mine has set up this website to help ESL teachers plan lessons quickly and easily.
In my own lesson planning, I have regularly made use of his materials, so I can attest to how useful his materials are.  (i.e. I'm not linking to it just because it is a colleague, these genuinely useful materials.)

[See my general index on TESOL materials HERE, and my materials on lesson planning HERE]

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev: Book Review (Scripted)

Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
The latest from Vietnam:
Education Ministry asks to reopen school from March 2

Meanwhile, one of my co-workers has made a video tribute to a rough month in Vietnam for hourly paid teachers who have been affected by the school closures:

Smile - An ode to teachers in Vietnam

I Support Elizabeth Warren

I am of the opinion that the reason Democrats keep losing elections is because they usually nominate boring centrist candidates that don't actually stand for anything.  Republicans, on the other hand, have a habit of nominating strong ideologues who are able to not only excite their base but also attract people easily manipulated by the passion of this idealism.

In other words, people are more attracted to a candidate who stands for something than a candidate who stands for nothing--even if that "something" is dangerous and wrong.

This is, in my opinion, why Al Gore lost in 2000, why John Kerry lost in 2004, and why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016.

( I recently linked to a post from Phil in which he claimed this trend went all the way back to the 1980 election.  Possibly.  I didn't really start carefully following the news until the 1990s.  But I remember 2000, 2004, and 2016 clearly, and these were all definitely years in which the Democrats lost because they nominated a bland centrist who had to campaign against a charismatic Republican ideologue.)

And so, I am convinced that the way to beat Donald Trump in 2020 is to nominate a progressive candidate who actually stands for something.
Of this year's crop of candidates, that would mean either Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders.
I'd be happy with either of them.  But of the two, Elizabeth Warren strikes me as the more viable.  Mainly just for health reasons.  Bernie Sanders is 78 years old (he'll be 79 in September) and has already had one heart attack this year.  If we're going to put all of our progressive eggs into one basket, Elizabeth Warren seems like the safer basket at this point.

I had kind of assumed  that everyone else would be doing the same math I was, and had assumed Elizabeth Warren would surge in the polls easily.  And I'm slightly confused/concerned that this hasn't happened yet.  (Admittedly I have a history of being wrong in my political predictions.)  I guess we'll see what happens.

To be clear, I would be perfectly happy with Bernie if that's the way things work out.  I would just be more happier with Elizabeth. 

Bernie Bros, feel free to tell me what I'm overlooking in the comment section.  I'm open to having my mind changed on this.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Karl Marx: His Life and Environment by Isaiah Berlin: Book Review (Scripted)

Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
Another shout-out from Dane Reads.  (Thanks again Dane.  You're too kind.)

You know, I was going to write a little post about my thoughts on this incident, but the Young Turks have spared me the trouble.  I'm just going to link to their video instead.
I agree with their points on both sides. Namely:
1) Kaitlin Bennett is incredibly annoying and stupid
2) Kaitlin is blowing this out of proportion and milking this incident for all it's worth
2) How stupid of these leftist protesters to give her exactly what she wanted.  How did they not see that this was playing into her hands?

Kaitlin Bennett's Crappy Stunt Goes WRONG

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Jethro Tull - The Witches Promise [BBC top of the pops 1970]

Stumbled upon this video last night while surfing Youtube, and I really liked it.  So I thought, why not share it?  (In fact, maybe I can make this a regular feature on this blog.  "Sharing Music I Like", or something like that.)
Jethro Tull is one of those bands that I've always been meaning to get into, but never did.  I had a couple friends in college who were really into them, and I was always intrigued by what I heard on the classic rock radio stations.  But I never went any deeper than their radio hits.
* Jethro Tull is the kind of music which, by all rights, should only appeal to us geeks.  It's medieval fantasy stories combined with mystical sounding flute solos.  And yet, fascinating to think, this stuff was legitimately big back on the mainstream charts back in its day.  ("The Witches Promise" was number 4 on the UK charts, according to Wikipedia).

* In my mind, I've always associated Jethro Tull with the prog-rock era of the mid-70s.  I didn't realize they were already on the charts in 1969 and 1970.

* The studio version of the song is on Youtube HERE, and sounds a little bit clearer.  But it's fun to see the energy behind Ian Anderson's live performance in the above clip. I'm not quite sure what's going on with his weird facial expressions.  Either he's deliberately mugging it up for the camera, or these are the contortions he needs to make in order to overcome his nerves force all the notes out.  I like to imagine it's the latter.  He looks like he's really giving it his all to force the song out.  And then the way he throws his whole body into the song about 2:22 is really fun.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: Movie Review (Scripted)

Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
Stealing from Phil again:
There is a famous remark to the effect that generals are always fighting the last war. I don't know enough about generals to say if this is actually true of them, but I was reminded yet again this week, as some Dems geared up to support a racist billionaire plutocrat for President, that it sure is true of American center-leftists. They are so ruled by 1972's model of what's electable that they are willing to even consider running Mike Bloomberg against Donald Trump in 2020. They are fighting a war they lost a generation ago, using a strategy--"voters want us to be Republicans, but with a twist!"--that lost, depending on how you count 'em, in 1980,* 1984, 1988, 2000, 2004, and, most consequentially, 2016.
Yeah, my thoughts exactly.
Read Phil's whole post HERE.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The DaVinci Code: Movie Review (Scripted)

Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:

Passive: Present, Past, Present Perfect, Future

(TESOL Worksheets--Passive Verbs)
Google: docs, pub
[A modified version of this previous worksheet--modified to also include the will future.  In my classes I use this with English World 7, Unit 9, p.92 Grammar]

Passive: Present, Past, Present Perfect, Future

present passive
past passive
present perfect passive
have been
has been
future passive
will be

Example: cat mouse catch
present: The cat catches the mouse. = The mouse is caught by the cat.
past: The cat caught the mouse. = The mouse was caught by the cat.
present perfect: The cat has caught the mouse. = The mouse has been caught by the cat.
Future: The cat will catch the mouse. = The mouse will be caught by the cat.

1. The boy eats hamburgers.

The boy ate hamburgers.

The boy has eaten hamburgers.

The boy will eat hamburgers.

2. The students take the test.

The students took the test.

The students have taken the test.

The students will take the test.

3. The girl kicks the ball.

The girl kicked the ball.

The girl has kicked the ball.

The girl will kick the ball.

4. The man drives the car.

The man drove the car.

The man has driven the car.

The man will drive the car.

4. The thief steals the wallet.

The thief stole the wallet.

The thief has stolen the wallet.

The man will steal the wallet.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Revolution and Reaction: The Paris Commune 1871 by John Hick and Robert Tucker: Book Review

Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:

Started: Tiếng Việt 123: Vietnamese for Beginner [sic, by the way.  It is "Beginner" not "Beginners" on the actual book]

Started: Tiếng Việt 123: Vietnamese for Beginner

Lesson on Nazis: For Upper-Intermediate or Advanced Students

(TESOL Worksheets--Reading, Topic Lesson)

Google Drive Folder HERE
History of the Nazi Party Reading and Questions: docs, pub
Excerpts from the Diary of Anne Frank: docs, pub
Video clip from Youtube--LINK HERE
Excerpt from Night by Elie Wiesel: docs, pub
Nazis in the News Folder HERE
--Unite the Right rally (source here): docs, pub
--Pittsburgh synagogue shooting (source here): docs, pub
--Vegas Man to Plead Guilty in Plot to Bomb Synagogue, Bar
--Durham neo-Nazi teenager detained for terror attack plan

I've got mixed feelings about this lesson.  Part of me thinks the whole idea was a mistake.  At any rate, it was a rushed job.  (Like most of my lessons, this was done on a deadline as I scrambled to get everything ready during the afternoon break between classes.)  If I decide this is a lesson worth re-doing, I should probably go back and try to edit these documents to try to make them read smoother.  But for now, I'm just going to post what I have at the moment, along with the explanation below of what I was trying to do
Anyone who has taught English in Asia knows that Nazi imagery and symbols often appear, and are particularly common among the young people.  It's viewed as something cool and subversive by young people who don't understand the history behind it.  It's a point I've mentioned on this blog several times before (HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE).  
See also the CNN article: 'Nazi-chic': Why dressing up in Nazi uniforms isn't as controversial in Asia, which does an excellent job of describing the phenomenon, and the reasons behind it.
"For East Asian countries, World War II was not about the Nazis or Hitler but rather the Imperial Japanese forces. Comparatively little time is spent in Asian countries studying World War II Germany than in Europe or North America."
Brennan said Nazi outfits and regalia often have a more punk or anti-establishment meaning in Asia, rather than a political or historical one.
"'Nazi chic', as it has become known, is an expression of subversion and its wearers in Asia are largely ignorant of its historical underpinnings," he said.
Anyway, all that is to say that in all of the Asian countries I've taught in, I've become very used to my teenage students wearing Nazi symbols or drawing Nazi symbols in their notebooks.
What to do about it, however, is another issue. I don't know what the best thing to do is.  Sometimes, depending on my mood, I want to make a big deal out of it, and sometimes I just want to ignore it.
The other day, a student drew a big swastika on the back of his test, and then handed the test to me so that the swastika was face up.  He grinned as he watched to see what I was going to do about it.
I was in a certain mood, so I said to myself, "Right, we were going to play games after the test, but now we're going to do a lesson on Anne Frank instead."
There was a 15 minute break following the test, in which I ran up to the staffroom and scrambled to find materials.  There's a lot of pre-made ESL lessons already on the web these days, and I was sure I could find one about Anne Frank.  I found "Who Was Anne Frank?" worksheet and video lesson (LINK HERE) and "The Lesson on Anne Frank" (LINK HERE).  I rushed to print out photocopies, and ran down to the classroom armed with the worksheets.
Despite being labelled as ESL lessons, as it turned out, neither worksheet was suitable for my students.  (Always the danger of rushing to print something out before checking it carefully).  Both were way too difficult for ESL students, the video lesson especially, even for the upper-intermediate level students I had.  And neither gave any sort of context, so my students didn't really understand what they were reading or listening about.  Realizing that my materials were inappropriate, I searched Youtube for "Holocaust Documentary for Kids".  This video here  came up, but it was also entirely inappropriate for ESL students.
My students, however, were getting curious, and beginning to ask questions about the topic.  What were those pictures of dead bodies?  What was going on?  
I tried to explain about the Jews and holocaust, but this just generated more questions.  What was a "Jew"?  Why did the Nazis hate them so much?
Gradually, I realized, they knew nothing, absolutely nothing, about the whole period. They had never heard of the holocaust before, or the concentration camps, or Jews, or any of it.  It was just as the CNN article had said.  They viewed the Nazi symbol as something punk and subversive, but didn't know any of the history behind it.

So, for the subsequent lesson, I tried to devise a lesson that would explain why Nazis are bad for teenagers who had absolutely no background knowledge of European history, in language that would be accessible for an upper-intermediate ESL student.  Not finding anything suitable online, I decided to make it myself.  I had 3 hours to put the whole thing together during lunch break the following day.  I could have used a whole week, so that's why the thing is still rough around the edges.  

 The lesson starts with the reading on Nazis HERE.  (Something I wrote myself).  Students read by themselves for 15 minutes and answer the questions at the back.  Then they discuss with a partner.  Then open class feedback as a whole class.  
Then, we read excerpts from the Diary of Anne Frank.  My worksheet is here.  I took the excerpts from here and here.  For the Anne Frank diary, there were no reading comprehension questions.  I just handed it out to the students, and then I read it aloud with them, and we stopped to discuss this or that  along the way (highlighting both interesting idioms and vocabulary words, but also talking about the content).  It was very teacher centered (not good practice, I know), but I was able to get the students engaged in it by talking about the diary beforehand, and getting them interested in reading the authentic voice of a real girl from the past.
After reading Anne Frank's description of the clearing of the ghettos, we watched a Youtube clip of the ghetto liquidation scene from Schindler's List.  (Best I could find online was this clip HERE, but I believe the full movie has a longer and more dramatic scene, if anyone has access to it).

Then we transitioned into a description of the death camps from an excerpt of Night by Elie Wiesel.  My worksheet is here.  It's based on this document here.  The imagery in it is so vivid that it's mostly accessible to high level ESL students, but I had a go at re-writing parts of it anyway--trying to clear up any points of confusion, tried to make explicit what was only hinted at in the original, and tried to delete anything that relied on culture knowledge about the Jews.   Or at least I tried.  It was a rushed job, and I could have done better with more time.
 I have mixed feelings about re-writing Elie Wiesel.  (It may have been better to just leave the excerpt as it was.) 
I handled this the same as Anne Frank's diary--i.e. no comprehension questions, we just read through it together and discussed it as we read it.  I was able to get students engaged by giving them some background before we started reading.  It was all very teacher centered, but the reading was vivid enough that the students were engaged with it.

Then, in an effort to emphasize to students that the Nazis are a problem even today (and thus the use of Nazi imagery should be avoided), I gave them out copies of articles about Nazis or neo-Nazis in the news recently. Students were divided into 4 groups.  Each group got a different news story which they had to read about, and then present to the rest of the class.
My folder of recent news stories about Nazis is HERE.  At the time I did this lesson, all of these stories were from within the past couple years, and 2 of the stories were from within the past month, and 1 story was from that very day.  But obviously this part of the lesson will need to be updated if the lesson is every repeated.
The news stories are unsimplified authentic texts, so students required some support.  I went around to each group and did some micro-teaching before they presented.

So, yeah, that's the lesson.  If I ever decide to do this again, I'll go back and try to improve the material.  But for now, this is what I've got.
I'm posting below the introductory reading text that I wrote.  All of the other material is available at the links above.

History of the Nazi Party
The word “Nazi” refers to a political party that controlled Germany from 1933 to 1945.  It was associated with the fascist ideology.  Fascism supports a strong central government and a strong police force.
Nazism in particular is associated with racist ideology. 
“Race” is a category of dividing people into different groups based on what they look like.  Historically, the most common way to do this has been by skin color.  For example: white people, brown people, black people.
“Racism” is the idea that some races are good, and other races are bad.  For example--the idea that white people are good, and black people are bad.
The Nazis believed in what they called “The Aryan Master Race”.  This was the belief that the white people who lived in Northern Europe were the best people, and the other races were bad.
The Nazis are famous for their concentration camps.  A concentration camp is a prison in which a large group of people are kept in very bad conditions.  There were many people that the Nazis did not like, so the Nazis put lots of different kinds of people in the concentration camps: homosexuals, communists, Gypsies, swing kids (kids who listened to swing music), and anyone who spoke out against the government.  However, the people who suffered most under the Nazis were the Jews.

The Nazis and the Jews
Jews are the descendants of the people who lived in Israel 2,000 years ago.  They are associated with the Jewish religion, but anyone who is born into a Jewish family is considered a Jew whether they are religious or not.  (For example, Karl Marx was Jewish, even though he did not believe in God.)
The Romans destroyed the ancient country of Israel 2,000 years ago, and ever since then, Jews have had no home country, but they have lived in Europe. 
For many centuries, the Jews were able to live peacefully in Europe, although there was trouble from time to time.  Even though Jews looked the same as white Europeans, Europeans were often suspicious of Jews because they had different customs and religion.  Rumors and superstitions began to spread about Jews.  Europeans sometimes said that Jews were dirty, or that they carried spread diseases with them, or that they were responsible for criminal activities.
When the Nazis came to power in Germany, they decided that the Jews were the enemies of the German people.  Immediately, life became hard for many Jewish people.  They were not allowed to go to good schools, or get good jobs.  They faced a lot of violence and bullying in the street.  Many Jews tried to leave Germany, but it was difficult.  First of all they needed money to move, and secondly a lot of other countries wouldn’t accept Jewish immigrants at that time.
During World War II, Nazi Germany invaded and occupied many other countries in Europe.  Now it wasn’t just German Jews that were in trouble, it was Jews in most of Europe.
In all of the countries they controlled, the Nazis began hunting all of the Jews they could find, and sending them to concentration camps. 
But what to do with all of the Jews once they had them captured?  Eventually the Nazis decided that the only solution was to kill all of the Jews.  The Nazis called this “The final solution to the Jewish problem.”
The Jews tried to hide, but the Nazis went from house to house looking for the Jews.  Once they found the Jews, they took them away to the death camp.
One Jewish girl who lived at this time was Anne Frank.  Her family had to hide in the ceiling of a house.  Anne Frank kept a diary for 2 years describing what it was like to hide from the Nazis.  Unfortunately, the Nazis eventually found Anne Frank and her family, and they were taken to the death camps.  Anne Frank died in the death camps.  But her diary was found later, and is still famous today.
The Jews were taken to death camps, such as Auschwitz.  Here they were separated.  The Nazis kept alive 20% of the Jews who they thought could be used to do work--usually young strong men between 18 and 40.  Everyone else was killed.
The Jews were killed in many different ways.  At first, they were shot with guns, but this took a lot of time and money.  To kill so many people is not easy.  Imagine trying to kill 6 million people.  It’s almost impossible even to count to a million.  At one number per second — with no breaks, at all, for any reason — it would take 11 days, 13 hours, 46 minutes, and 40 seconds just to count from one to 1,000,000. Now imagine trying to shoot 6 million people.  How much time would it take?  How many hours would it take?  How many soldiers would you need?
So the Nazis decided to use poison gas to kill the Jews faster. 
In order to control the Jews, and prevent panic, the Nazis usually told the Jews they were going into the showers.  The Jews were made to take off their clothes, and were put into a big chamber, and then the door was closed, and the poison gas came out.  After this, the dead naked bodies were taken out.  There were piles and piles of dead bodies.  Where could they put them all?  At first they tried to dig huge holes to put all the bodies, but it was a lot of work and there were too many bodies.  So it was decided to burn the dead bodies in huge fires.  Every day in the concentration camp, smoke would go up from the chimney as the bodies of dead women, children and babies were being burned.
In total, 6 million Jews were killed in this way.  We call this event “the holocaust”.
Nothing like this had ever happened before in history.  Of course, there had been many massacres before in history, and many people had been killed before by wars and bombs.  But there was never such a big system designed for killing people.  Nazi police (called SS) went from house to house to find Jews.  Jews had to be taken to camps in trains.  (Imagine how many trains you would need to transport 6 million people.)  So many people were necessary to guard the Jews, and transport the Jews, and kill the Jews, and burn the bodies.  It was a whole complex organization.
After the War
After the war, the allied armies found the Nazi death camps.  People couldn’t believe that this had happened.  How could people possibly be this evil?  How could this have happened in modern times?  How could this have happened in a civilized modern European country?
Some people survived the holocaust.  They either escaped the death camps, or were freed by allied armies at the end of the war.  Some of them wrote about what had happened to them at the Nazi death camp.  A famous book is “Night” by Elie Wiesel.  Elie Wiesel’s family was brought to the Nazi death camps when he was 15.  His mother, sister, and father were all killed in the death camp, but Elie Wiesel survived, and wrote about it.
Anne Frank’s diary was found, and published.  Many people read it.

Nazis Today
Surprising as it may seem, there are some people today who admire the Nazis, and want to bring back the Nazi ideology.  They are sometimes called “Neo-Nazis” in order to distinguish them from the historical Nazi government.   (“Neo” means new).
These groups are for an ideology called “white supremacy”, which means they want white people to be in control of everything.  They are against black or brown people, and they are against Jews.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups in Europe and the United States.  They are proud of the Nazi symbols, and they draw or display the Nazi symbols in public places.  These groups are associated with violent attacks on immigrants, black people, and Jewish people.

What is racism?

Who did the Nazis put into concentration camps/

Who are the Jewish people?  Where did they live?

Who was Anne Frank?  Why is she famous today?

Why did the Nazis decide to use poison gas to kill the Jews?

What is the holocaust?  Why is it unique in history?

Who was Elie Wiesel?  Why is he famous?

Do we have any Nazis left today?

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Friday, February 07, 2020

Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion: Movie Review (Scripted)

...Oh, I completely forgot to mention it here, but the star of this movie, Meiko Kaji, was also a fixture in the Stray Cat Rock series of movies.  For my reviews, see HERE:

Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:

Rest in Peace Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas is one of those actors who I always thought was a titan, even though I could only tell you a couple things he was in before I have to go to Wikipedia.

But those couple things... wow, what a memorable performance.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was a huge part of my childhood.

Spartacus was a huge part of my adolescence.

And those are pretty much the only two movies I remember Kirk Douglas for.  But he was a legend on screen in both of those movies.

...other than that...
I rented Gunfight at the O.K. Corral years ago, but got bored with it and never finished it.
I saw most of The Way West when it was on TV on night.  I never saw the whole thing, but I was fascinated with what I did see.  It looked like a really interesting story.

I saw Paths of Glory, of course.  And I also saw the Tales from the Crypt episode with the exact same plot, which also starred Kirk Douglas.  (I actually saw the Tales from the Crypt episode first, and only later learned what it was based on.)

And I think I must have seen one of Kirk Douglas's early film noirs when it was being re-run on one of the Ted Turner networks back in the 90s, but for the life of me I can't remember which one it was.

...and that's it.  I think those are all the movies I can associate Kirk Douglas with.  But in my mind, he's still one of the Hollywood greats just because of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Spartacus.

Also interesting to reflect on Douglas's longevity.  20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Spartacus were already classic movies from a bygone era when I saw them as a child.  And here I am at middle-age.
And Kirk Douglas was already middle aged when he made most of his classic films.  He was 38 for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 41 at Paths of Glory, 44 when Spartacus came out, and was 51 already at The Way West.  And then he kept living all this time.

Design Your Own Zoo Project

(TESOL Worksheets--Project)
Google: docs, pub
In my own classes, I use this with English World 7, Unit 8

Design Your Own Zoo:
What animals will you keep at your zoo?

How will you keep the animals happy?

What will your zoo do to educate the public about animals?

What special shows or entertainment will you have at your zoo for the visitors?

Who will work at your zoo?

Why should people come to your zoo?

Draw a map of your zoo.  Include the entrance, the paths for the visitors, the animal enclosures, any lakes or rivers, and any buildings (gift shops, aquariums, etc.). 

Thursday, February 06, 2020

ELT Training by Jo Gakonga Youtube Series

(Review of a Youtube Series)

After completing the Delta Module 2, I was brought into a teacher training program at my company.  It wasn't quite a CELTA, but it was a CELTA equivalent, and I was working side-by-side with experienced CELTA tutors.  They knew everything backwards and forwards, and I was struggling to catch up.
I didn't know how to effectively convey the basic information to new trainees.  To the extent I had absorbed any good teaching techniques myself, I was struggling with the Curse of Knowledge--I struggled to remember the difficulties a new teacher has with teaching grammar.
And, to be honest, I also felt like I could use some shoring-up on some of the fundamentals myself.  How exactly do you make good concept checking questions again?

I don't remember how I first stumbled upon Jo Gakonga's videos.  (Was it just a random act of the Youtube algorithm?  Or was I actively searching for key words?)  But once I discovered them, I realized that these were exactly what I was looking for.

The videos on her channel do vary slightly in terms of intended audience.  Some of them are pitched at experienced teachers, and some of them are pitched at teacher trainers.  But the vast majority of them are pitched at new teachers, and the intent is to convey the basics of the CELTA methodology in video format.
Jo Gakonga herself has worked for years as a CELTA trainer and CELTA assessor.  The intended purpose of many of these videos (explicitly stated in some of them, implied in others) is for teacher trainees to study these videos at home when they are on a CELTA course, in a flipped classroom sort of way.
(Or better yet, watch these videos before they start the CELTA.  Once the CELTA starts, they'll be so busy with lesson preparation that they won't have much extra time to watch these videos.)

As part of my training, I had to shadow the experienced CELTA tutors do the input sessions, and it was noticeable to me how much of what Jo Gakonga said was exactly the same as what the experienced CELTA tutors said in their input sessions.  Sometimes even the example sentences were exactly the same.  (Do they also watch her videos?  Or perhaps some of these example sentences are just really common with CELTA tutors.) 

I found Jo Gakonga's videos useful both for my own education, but also as a good way to remind me of all the things I needed to make explicit to new trainee teachers.  These particular videos I would watch intensively before I had to do the input sessions myself (i.e. giving the videos my full attention, and taking notes while I was watching.)
For the rest of the videos, I put them together into a playlist, and just had them on in the background while I was working on the computer and puttering around the apartment.
As always with these things, I wouldn't say that every minute of this playlist was immediately useful to me.  (There are a couple long videos early on about making a class website, which is not going to be immediately useful to my situation.)  But by having these videos constantly play in the background, I did pick up tons of useful ideas, activities, and information over all.

For a few of these videos, the volume is not great, and so some of these are better watched with headphones on.

Also, some of these videos are advertisements for Jo Gakonga's online course, which you need to pay extra for.  (ELT Training is apparently both the name of Jo Gakonga's Youtube channel, and also her private online course.)  I never paid money for the course, but I found all the material that Jo Gakonga has freely available on Youtube to be plenty useful.

Video Review
Video review HERE and embedded below:

My Complete ELT Training Playlist HERE  (I've given into my usual completest tendencies, and tried to include everything I could find from Jo Gakonga, including some videos from her older channel, and her interview with TEFLology.)