A sheer pleasure to have YOU as a reader of my blog. At present my main teaching area is English so you will find that most of my posts are in English -my second language of communication. I promise to publish posts related to Spanish eventually; in the meantime, those of you interested in Spanish will find some interesting links regarding my native language. Truly hope you will visit my blog now and then; will try not to disappoint you!


Mi foto
GÄVLE, Sweden
I am an English/Spanish language trainer who thinks communication is a key issue in human interaction. Good sensible communication is needed whatever the language. On the personal side I strive for happiness by keeping love, respect and honesty as main ingredients. Last but not least, my smile is my trademark :O)

30 de enero de 2011


Once I read a curious column titled ¨Miércoles¨ in the newspaper El País; now and then it comes to my mind, especially when I get my students to practise the pronunciation of the days of the week. Yes, I admit Miércoles has no sound connotation with Wednesday, but this is a tricky word for Spanish speakers to pronounce with ease.

In his column (I do remember it was a male writer but unfortunately I can't recall his name), the author aimed to restore some credibility to a day that falls in the middle of our weekdays and which seems to be generally overlooked by most of us; or at least, we tend to skip over it in our discourse when making any remarks regarding our weekly life.

This is roughly the essence of his column: we tend to talk gloomily about Monday when Sunday is nearing to its end; once we have managed to walk onto Tuesday we seem to be relieved that Monday has gone by without much distress and, unconciously, we move forward onto Thursday as we start visualizing the weekend, ¨thank god, it's Thursday, one more day before the weekend is here¨....Friday's knowledge that we will soon shake off our working constraints brightens the day up despite a likely feeling of exhaustion; Saturday and Sunday are back and we're in command of our lives again!

So, what about Wednesday?! Nothing much to be said about Wednesday!!!

I wanted to find some music related to Wednesday, ...even if the lyrics don't match my post Simon&Garfunkel are always worth listening to.

Have a good Sunday :O)!

27 de enero de 2011


The other day when teaching the present tenses (present simple vs. present continuous) to my new students I approached this subject from a different perspective. I avoided focusing on the usual way, i.e. explaining form and uses, then do some practice through exercises, and aimed to widen my students' scope in the understanding of verb tenses. I focused on building up a communicative frame in their minds which would help them use the present tenses in a more effective way when communicating.

So, instead of starting by explaining form and uses I drew up a timeline on the board and tried to place them into the three time slots -if I may call them like this-: PAST, PRESENT= NOW , FUTURE. I went on saying that time isn't conveyed simply by a verb tense but that there are other words that can convey time. Here are a few examples to illustrate what I'm saying:

I can go with you tomorrow.
John isn't coming to the party on Friday.
I'll send it to you now.
If I *were you I wouldn't do it.

In the first two sentences above we have a time expression -tomorrow, on Friday- to express future but both verbs are present tenses; the verb in the third sentence is a future tense but we're referring to ¨right away¨, or just immediately after I've uttered this statement. Finally, the last example expresses a hypothesis by means of a past verb tense.

* Regarding this example, I'd like to draw your attention to the fact that the use of the past tense in English places ourselves in the unreal time. The English verb system lacks subjunctive so there are other ways to express this mode. But this is ¨food¨ for a future entry.

Then, after explaining the uses of both verb tenses in English, I started giving them some situations so that they could respond in a pseudo-communicative way by using the right verb tense. I also introduced the use of the future will for some instances in order to expand their understanding and to avoid restricting to one or another

I went round the class addressing different students with situations like the following:
  • The door bell rings and you're sitting in the living-room with your mum. Offer to open the door. I'll open the door.
  • You need to know what time the next train is. What do you say to the booking clerk? What time does the next train leave?
  • Tell your friend about your plans this weekend. I'm having a haircut on Saturday morning.

Therefore, when we teach verb tenses to our students it's important to draw up this connection between verb form and real time. We can't encapsule a language into pills (let's say ¨labelled formulas¨) and expect that students alone will manage to draw up the connections. We must provide those connections, or a means for them, so that they manage to build up an internal system, which hopefully and gradually, will render accuracy in their fluency.

22 de enero de 2011


Although the primary aim of this blog was to address those of you interested in the English language, you may have been aware by now that I have been gradually introducing stuff related to my own native language, Spanish.

Today, reading El País, one of my favourite writers in Spanish, Antonio Muñoz Molina, has published an enriching, honest article that, in my opinion, renders 20 good brief lessons for us -keen readers- to enrich our own eagerness. His article is called 20 años, 20 lecciones and is found in the Saturday literary supplement: Babelia.

I discovered Antonio Muñoz Molina long ago when I read one of his best novels El Jinete Polaco, in which I delighted myself in reading one of the most beautiful descriptions of the physical communication that two people in love with each other may convey.

The features I admire most in his prose are the richness of the language, the use of adjectives, and the melodic rhythm that flows as you read. There is a slight drawback, I must admit: his recurrent theme. He tends to evoke his childhood much too often in many of the novels I have read; but all the same, this doesn't diminish my admiration for him. If you want to know more about him, his Self-portrait is a good start.