Tottenham 1 – Man City 5 – post match comment

28 08 2011

It’s all very well to say our season starts against Wolves, but that’s the third game of the season. We’re a point behind last season and on a run of 3 wins in 14 games. We’ve just lost 5 -1 at home, when if we hadn’t lost I have a feeling we would have gone a year without losing at home? 

Things don’t look good. The season has started and it’s started badly. A 1/2-0 defeat at Old Trafford and a draw here would have been a much more positive start – especially if we had shown some progress from the end of last season. 

As things stand we are sliding. Luckily this is football and things can change very quickly. If we sign a couple of players who quickly fit into the team, if Harry gets struck by lightning and it gives him to power to select our best team to play that week’s opposition, even if we sign no one else and manage to scrape a lucky 1-0 win with an own goal against Wolves it could still signal the start of a run away from the foot of the table. 

The thing that really worries me is the atmosphere that seems to be surrounding the club. Be it Modric, be it Harry’s famed man-management skills coming full circle and now annoying the players, be it the differences of opinion between manager and chairman, and particularly be it bad training (which rings so true just looking at the line-up of our background staff (Joe Jordan excepted)) – this is the aspect of the start to the season which really concerns me. 

What can change it? The close of the transfer window, with a signing or two if we’re lucky? Let’s hope so. A change of manager – it may well take this. How long will Levy wait?

A moment to change a season…

in the move which ends up with Bale scuffing over at the far post when he really should have got it on target, Crouch nods the ball on to him at the far post. Unfortunately, although it found Bale, Crouch’s flick took the ball away from an in-rushing Modric, who would have had a clear header from about 5 yards out.

How would the match have continued and how would the world be looking now if Modric had been able to bury that header…

Which is why we all love football, isnt’ it, even if we’re not in love with it today.


Professionally Developing

26 08 2011

Here are the slides from the workshop I’ve just given at the ABS Conference for Coordinators and Directors of Studies in Buenos Aires.  It’s an overview of different things teachers can do, or coordinators can encourage their teachers to do, in order to continue to develop either individually or as a school, incrementally or taking giant steps, face2face or online.

Enjoy the ideas and please share your favourite ways of continuing your professional development and let us know how you get on with putting some of these ideas into practice.

And a special thanks to all those who tweeted us from home and abroad during the session!

Coordinating against the clock

26 08 2011

Coordinating Against The Clock Powerpoint slides

Coordinating against the clock Handout

Coordinating against the clock was a workshop on time management that I gave at the ABS Intermational Conference for Coordinators and Directors of Studies in Buenos Aires in 2008.  The workshop looks at planning your to do lists, how to stop procrastinating, how to deal with your inbox efficiently and how to avoid needless interruptions.

As always, I post it here as it was originally presented and I hope to update it with new ideas when I get the chance.  Please help with the reworking by adding your comments and questions about the slides and handout.  I hope you find the materials helpful.


B2 / C1 Scrabble reading lesson – the history, the rules, the scoring

25 08 2011

C1 Reading lesson – The History of Scrabble

C1 Reading lesson – The Rules of Scrabble

C1 Reading lesson – The Scoring of Scrabble

After the Facebook episode I’ve been looking at different ways of using Facebook with my students and one suggestion from Rosie that I’ve taken on board in a big way is playing Scrabble with the students.  At the moment I’m in eight different games with different combinations of the class and it’s great to be able to add an example sentence of the words I use to help the students learn new vocab.  Even though most of them are losing to me badly (I just can’t help it, i’m not really trying to win, honest) they’re still super keen to play and are learning lots of idiomatic (and a few useless) words as they go.

To celebrate this new phenomenon I decided to do a Scrabble lesson with them, which also went down well.  For the History, we did a jigsaw reading, the rules they had to put in order and then compare with other groups and discuss the best order (there isn’t really a correct order) and for scoring they had to make up questions for the other teams to answer.  It ended up in lots of reading, some useful gaming vocab and even more enthusiasm to play Scrabble and increased their vocab.  Hope you have as much success using the materials with your classes!



22 08 2011

The sun has gone and the wind blows cold

I stand and watch and wait to grow old

I think of you and the secret I sold

I watch for the light and wait to be told

Why you are walking away

To another friend on another day.  

The moon is sad and my heart beats slow

The sea is beckoning way below

I feel my body but it isn’t there

I dream of old my soul is bare

Why you are slipping away

To another end in another place. 

Gustav Caillebotte – Los acuchilladores de parqué, 1875

21 08 2011

Gustav Caillebotte, Los acuchilladores de parqué, 1875

I have always found this picture incredibly intriguing and have had many opportunities to consider it since I have a copy on my living room wall at home.  The colours of the floor and whitewash of the walls make it incredibly simple to locate within the decorations of a room with parquet floors.  The incredible portrayal of light also benefit any space it adorns.  Caillebotte has expertly captured the light seeping through the window and its beautiful railings and has also portrayed the muscular labour of the workman as they wield their tools in the search for a better prepared and more aesthetically laid floor.  

I also wonder if there isn’t a hint of celebration in the artists portrayal of such physically impressive workers.  Their poses hint at more than simply hard, manual labour.  The artist’s perspective is looking down upon both their work and their bodies and it’s difficult to separate the two concepts.  The play of light and dark; of the brightness of nature shedding light on previously unrealised shadows of its potency; the curled up shards of discarded wood clashing with the straight and parallel lines of the well-laid floor.  There are many stories in the scene described here for us, let alone what the world outside from whence the light comes may offer us.  

There is innate beauty in the physicality proffered us as much as there may well be a wealth of social awareness and even confession as soon as we, at the invitation of the workers we see in the picture, scratch below the surface.  

The end is gone

21 08 2011

This one is about 20 years old already – amazing to think I’ve been carrying these songs around on scraps of paper for two decades.  Now some of them are going electronic, will they last longer that way, or will the end come soon enough anyway?

And it’s dark

And it’s cold

And the rain beats down inside my soul

And I’m alone

And I’m old

And empty steals around

Inside my soul

The end is gone

Let’s start again she said

Let go of her

Be with me instead

And it’s dawn

And it’s light

And the stars are clear

And strong all night

And I’m warm

And you’re right

And I forget about her

Without a fight

And I smile again

Because I see her eyes

And they say to me

Let there be no lies. 

Camille Pissarro – Toits rouges, coin d’un village, hiver Côte de Saint-Denis, Pontoise, 1877

14 08 2011

Camille Pissarro - Toits rouges, coin d'un village, hiver Côte de Saint-Denis, Pontoise, 1877

Pissarro has always been one of my favourite impressionists and this is one of my favourite works of his.  For starters the colours are full of life the reds of the earth and greens of the grass speak much more of life than the barren browns of the trees, but the patchwork effect of the fields bending up the hill and the criss-crossing branches seems to ooze life from even the bleakest season of the year.  The parallel patchwork of the rooftops hints at a harmony between man-made and nature-made whose logical manifestation are the ploughed fields – man and nature in creative union.  

The colours are vivid and vibrant but the overall effect is one of serenity, of a world at peace and in which we can appreciate the beauty of nature and the life of man together.  The bushes that protect the house mirror in form the trees atop the hill, which frame (and protect) all we see below them.  What would reward us were we to climb such a steep and curving hill?  Another blissful scene of village and valley?  

And looking at the green going up the hill, are they the three prongs of the fork used to plough the field?  Is the earth asking for man to give it back what it’s ceded in kind?  I have looked hard and long for signs of people in the picture, but I’m pretty sure there’s no one there.  And yet in the solidity of the buildings, buried staunchly in the centre of the picture by man and by the artist, there is a human presence with almost as much of an eternality to it as the seasonal landscape that surrounds and caresses it.  Perhaps Camille was trying to warn us that our environment will only last as long as we do, or was he giving us the confidence to think we’ll last as long as the earth itself? 

A picture to come back to again and again, it soothes the eyes but energises at the same time.  How I’d love to be able to wind my way between the trees and discover the village pub (for me the steep green roofed building, just in front of the mansion at the back of the village), slip inside and discover the artist having a well-deserved lunch break with the picture almost finished beside him.  

Massacring Masterpieces

14 08 2011

Camille Pissarro - Toits rouges, coin d'un village, hiver Côte de Saint-Denis, Pontoise, 1877

I love visiting galleries and enjoying works of art.  I’m not even an amateur connoisseur of art however, I just look at whatever is put in front of me and have a think about it.  Massacring Masterpieces is where I share those thoughts, hopefully giving you another angle on my Loving Life, and at worst adding some classy colour and impressive images to the blog.  Would love to hear your thoughts on the masterpieces I choose as well as your thoughts on on my thoughts.  Enjoy. 

One way or another

14 08 2011

Another short, sharp punky riff I guess.  Good for pogo-ing to if you use the tune I’ve got going for it in my head.

One way or another

you remind me,

of another

The sparkling smile

the wondering why

the softest skin

as I welcome you in

One way or another

you remind me

of another

The glittering smile

the reasoning why

the cleanest skin

as I suck you in

One way or another

you make me,

lose another

The breaking heart

the falsest start

the wondering how

I could be here now

One way or another

you make me

lose another

The screaming heart

the stuttering start

the presuming how

I could see you now

One way or another

you will find me

with another

The chance to be

 your mystery

the freshest face

 of your latest taste

One way or another

you will find me

with another

The hope to be

your eternity

The purest face

of your fated taste

There’s only one way

I know no other

I know no other

I know no no no…