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Vicky Loras's Blog

A Blog About Education

Support for the Swiss Federal English Exam of the Direktionassistenten/-innen Course

Are you considering taking the Swiss Federal English Exam of the Direktionassistenten/innen Course (Berufsprüfung Direktionsassistent/-innen)?

The Loras Network is here to assist you, with a lot of helpful material we have either created ourselves, or have in the form of Past Papers.

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We provide full support in:

– Presentation Planning & Practice – Speaking Part 1

– Text Comprehension + Q & A Section – Speaking Part 2

– Correspondence for Writing Section

– Grammar for all levels

– Extra Vocabulary & Idiom Practice

We have successfully been supporting the needs for the Swiss Federal English Exam of the Direktionassistenten/innen Course (Berufsprüfung Direktionsassistent/-innen).

Please feel free to arrange a meeting with us in order to discuss your needs and determine your level of support.

 

Thank you,

Eugenia and Vicky Loras

Seven – Επτά – Sieben

7-years-of-blogging

Seven.

Επτά.

Sieben.

It is that time of the year again!

Seven years of blogging – sometimes often, sometimes not so often…

A few weeks ago, Doug Peterson wrote a post about Starting or Reflecting on a Blog – and I thought it was great to write on at least some of the points he mentions, and what I have learned in the process of these seven years. There is so uch more to learn – and share!

I will make that seven points – to keep to the theme of seven : )

  1. Have a plan when to write and what: I honestly admire bloggers like Doug and Aviva Dunsiger who write very often and on so many different topics. I still do not have a plan and just post when I think I have something to write about. Let’s see if that changes : )
  2. Make it social: I try to share my posts and other posts everywhere. Now that I am not on Facebook anymore, I use Twitter and LinkedIn.
  3. Content is king! I think so too. In the beginning, I would only share what I did in my classes. Then I started sharing more general or more specific topics. This year, I also tried something different, which I was a bit doubtful of at first – my blog became a bit political, as last month we had a referendum here in Zug on pay cuts for teachers, people with disabilities, people in the medical profession, the elderly and lots more. I thought it was very important to make my little mark as well – we won!
  4. Blogging is a huge learning platform. I cannot even begin to mention how many things I have learned from other people’s blogs, as well as from their comments on mine or other blogs. They have made me think, taught me things, they have inspired me!
  5. Disagreeing is not a bad thing. I remember the first time someone disagreed with what I had written. I was crestfallen. However, after some time I thought that I am not always right of course and the person was very polite in doing so, and above all…made me think! It all depends on how the person disagrees with an opinion. Ad long as it is civilised, it is a great exchange of opinions and learning opportunity.
  6. Sharing is super! I love sharing blog posts I have read or have taught me something. Think of how many people we can reach just by sharing! The commuinty of learning keeps growing. Here I would like to share another great post on blogging, by Jennifer Aston, an educator in London, Ontario!
  7. Writing improves! I sometimes cringe when I read some of my first blog posts and have been tempted to correct / delete them, but I have decided to leave them there.We can only improve and learn, right?

 

Thank you all so much for being with me on this amazing journey, for sharing, for teaching me and helping me become a better educator!

blogging
(Image taken from askablogger.com)

 

 

Sparpaket Kanton Zug NEIN – mach mit!

Vielen vielen Dank an Barbara Kurth-Weimer für alle Informationen und dafür, dass ich diese auf meinem Blog zu veröffentlichen, für all jene Menschen, die durch eine unfair Sparpaket betroffen sein könnten! Vielen Dank an Marco Knobel für den Text.

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Liebe Unterstützerinnen und Unterstützer

Unsere Kampagne geht los. Wir stellen nicht politische Interessen in den Mittelpunkt, sondern jene, die direkt Betroffen sind. Deine Unterstützung ist enorm wichtig für den Abtimmungserfolg. Mobilisieren wir gemeinsam – für ein lebenswertes Zug! So kannst du mitmachen:

Aktionen, Stände, Materialverteilung
Jede und jeder kann etwas tun für ein lebenswertes Zug. Nimm gemeinsam mit uns die Verantwortung für die Schwächsten Glieder der Zuger Gesellschaft und unsere gemeinsame Zukunft wahr. Wir haben tolle Stände und lässiges Verteilmaterial, aber deine Unterstützung fehlt uns noch. Hilfst du uns?
-> Alle Termine und Anmeldeinfos gibt es auf
http://www.sparpaket-nein.ch > aktiv werden > mitmachen

Postkarte versenden
Wählen Sie ein Sujet aus, schreiben Sie eine Grussbotschaft und wir drucken und versenden die Postkarte kostenlos.
-> Jetzt auf
http://www.sparpaket-nein.ch > aktiv werden > Postkarte versenden

Material bestellen
Wir haben tolles Material! Hast du einen gut sichtbaren Balkon für eine Balkonfahne? Oder stellst du ein Plakat in deinem Garten auf?


-> Jetzt bestellen auf
http://www.sparpaket-nein.ch > aktiv werden > Material bestellen

Leserbrief schreiben
Leserbriefe prägen die Meinungsbildung stark. Damit die Leserbriefe nicht geballt, sondern etwas verteilt eintreffen, haben wir einen Koordinations-Doodle. Suche einen Tag, an dem noch keine oder wenige Leserbriefe geplant sind, trage dich ein und schreibe eine Erinnerung in deine Agenda. Für die Einhaltung der Termine bist du verantwortlich.
http://doodle.com/poll/wghayw63z7533bmn

Infos weiterleiten
Bitte leite diese Infos weiter an die Mitglieder deiner Organisation, Bekannte, Freunde und Interessierte.

Liebe Grüsse

Marco Knobel
Koordinator

Olympic athletes saluting Canada’s Indigenous youth! By @iloveatt1

I am very happy and proud to host a blog post by I Love Attawapiskat & Canada’s Aboriginal Youth! Ten Canadian Olympic athletes have shared their love with Canada’s Indigenous Youth. Good luck to each and every one of our athletes – GO CANADA!

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(Image taken from http://www.google.com)

 

I Love Attawapiskat & Canada’s Aboriginal Youth is pleased to announce that ten Olympic athletes have saluted Canada’s Indigenous youth as they get ready to shine in Rio!

Adam Van Koeverden

http://olympic.ca/team-canada/adam-van-koeverden/

Bolade Ajomale
Emily Batty
Gabriela Stafford
Genevieve Lalonde
Inaki Gomez
Jacqueline Simoneau
Julien Bahain
Marissa Kurtimah
Vincent Riendeau
I Love Attawapiskat & Canada’s Aboriginal Youth is a national celebrity campaign that supports youth reeling from high suicide rates in communities across Canada. The campaign serves to educate Canadians and gives the youth a platform for positive change where their voice can be heard. Www.iloveattawapiskat.ca @iloveatt1
We take this opportunity to wish all of our athletes the very best — you make us all extremely proud!!
Josée Lusignan, President
Iain Speirs, Vice-President
I Love First Peoples
Attawapiskat

I Love Attawapiskat & Canada’s Aboriginal Youth

Attawapiskat
(Copyright : 2016 I Love First Peoples)

I am from Ontario, Canada. The place where I was born is called Mississauga and it is on the shores of Lake Ontario.  There is another place in northern Ontario that I have never been to, but hope to visit some day: it is a nation in the Kenora District called Attawapiskat First Nation – it is one of 49 nations comprising the Nishnawbe Aski Nation. It came to national news a few months ago, because of the very high rate of suicides that had occurred and unfortunately keep happening, even at very young ages. I started following the news about Attawapiskat any way I could, and saw that the people there have severe lack in housing, medicare, everyday needs.

They did not stop, they have not given up. They have a wonderful Grand Chief, Alvin Fiddler, and their chief is Chief Bruce Shisheesh. Chief Shisheesh met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau two days ago to discuss the actions to be taken for the community. 

There is a website called I love Attawapiskat & Canada’s Aboriginal Youth, which shows their various activities and the things they do not only to help their own community, but other communities reeling from suicide and hardship across the whole country! Iain G. Speirs and Josee Lusignan are in charge of the Twitter account and much more for I Love Attawapiskat – they are the founders of this organisation and Josee is also the founder of I Love First Peoples; they work tirelessly, night and day! I am in awe of all that they do. On their website you can see different ways to help.

With this post, I hope to help raise awareness about Attawapiskat as much as possible. As an educator, aunt, godmother, Canadian and human, I hope to raise awareness for these amazing people, these brilliant children and their lives.

Attawapiskat, I have not met you yet, but I know you are amazing and I send all my love and warmest wishes.

Will you say I LOVE ATTAWAPISKAT with lots of other people who support the cause? Watch this video with Chief Shisheesh:

 

And here are some of the amazing young people of Attawapiskat, singing and walking for peace! 

Note: Thank you so much to Josee and Iain for helping me learn so much and adding lots of details to this post. 

 

 

The day k d lang came to our class…with Godot (Pt 2)

godot
(Image taken from quotesgram.com)

 

Last December, I published Part 1 of a lesson plan based on k d lang‘s song Constant Craving, in  combination with the amazing theatrical play by Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot.

Many are the times when with students we study literature or work on songs in English. Little did we know, that with working on the lyrics from Constant Craving we would be led to look at parts of a theatrical play – and some of the students would read the whole thing!

In my language classes, due to time restrictions or goals such as examinations or getting to a specific level by a specific time, unfortunately we do not have the luxury of looking at the whole play, which in my opinion is amazing and I cannot do it justice, I feel.

However, the parts that we do work on are interesting for the students and lead them to converse and also write in English – that is one of the things we want them to do.

So here we go!

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(Image taken from www.newcitystage.com

Things we usually do with the students before we start working on the text: 

  • I ask if they have read it in their own language.
  • I ask if they have ever heard of the and what it is about.
  • What do they think it is about?
  • Who do they think will be waiting and who do they think Godot is? – With this question, they can  create such lovely imaginary stories, either spoken (they can even prepare them for a few minutes beforehand, or even use as an improvisation technique for more spontaneous speaking) or written, either as homework for the next lesson, or a short paragraph in class, if time and circumstances allow.

 

When we start working on the text: 

Here comes one of my favourite excerpts from the play, with two of the main characters, Vladimir and Estragon:

ESTRAGON: Charming spot. (He turns, advances to front, halts facing auditorium.) Inspiring prospects. (He turns to Vladimir.) Let’s go.

VLADIMIR: We can’t.

ESTRAGON: Why not?

VLADIMIR: We’re waiting for Godot.

ESTRAGON: (despairingly). Ah! (Pause.) You’re sure it was here?

VLADIMIR: What?

ESTRAGON: That we were to wait.

VLADIMIR: He said by the tree. (They look at the tree.) Do you see any others?

ESTRAGON: What is it?

VLADIMIR: I don’t know. A willow.

ESTRAGON: Where are the leaves?

VLADIMIR: It must be dead.

ESTRAGON: No more weeping.

VLADIMIR: Or perhaps it’s not the season.

ESTRAGON: Looks to me more like a bush.

VLADIMIR: A shrub.

ESTRAGON: A bush.

VLADIMIR: A—. What are you insinuating? That we’ve come to the wrong place?

ESTRAGON: He should be here.

VLADIMIR: He didn’t say for sure he’d come.

ESTRAGON: And if he doesn’t come?

 

  • A great idea I love is have two students read it out loud to the rest of the class – or if it is a one-to-one class, like many of mine are, I can read with the student. The students can set the tone, bring the feelings out and make a nice little play for the rest!
  • Why do they suddenly start arguing about the tree, or whether it is a shrub or a bush?
  • Who is the greater realist / optimist of the two? why?
  • What happens when you are waiting for someone and they are not coming? How do you react, what do you do and what are your feelings?
  • Try to continue the dialogue. In your story, does Godot come or not? Who is he? Why has he been late?
  • Borrow photos of the play from the internet. What are the characters saying or doing, in your opinion?

There are so many things to do with such a play! This is only a tiny part of what we can do with it. I truly do not do it justice at all.

Here are some more resources about working with this great play: 

 

And yet another rendition of the amazing k d lang song that gave me the idea to teach this play! Enjoy : ) 

 

 

Podcasts, Prince and UnPlugged – An Interview with James Taylor

I am delighted to present you with the first interview for 2016, with one of my favourite educators ever, James Taylor!

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Today’s guest is an invaluable ELT colleague and friend: an English teacher, blogger, co-founder and former President of BELTA Belgium, TEFL Commute podcast co-producer, iTDi mentor, ELTChat moderator, conference and webinar speaker. He is very active on social media and we all learn such a great deal from him on a daily basis.

James joined me from Brasília, where he now lives.

Enjoy this amazing interview and listen to James talk about everything from ELT, life experiences and travelling around the  world as a teacher, podcasts, books, music and more!

A huge thank you, James!

(And thank you, James for coming up with the brilliant post title!)

Dr François Grosjean interviews Eva Hoffman: Lost in Translation

grosjean_francois-200x300I am very honoured to have Dr François Grosjean on my blog today, interviewing Eva Hoffman, author of Lost in Translation, originally for Psychology Today. A huge thank you to Dr Grosjean for sharing his interview!

About Dr Grosjean:

Professor Grosjean  received his degrees up to the Doctorat d’État from the University of Paris, France. He started his academic career at the University of Paris 8 and then left for the United States in 1974 where he taught and did research in psycholinguistics at Northeastern University, Boston. While at Northeastern he was also a Research Affiliate at the Speech Communication Laboratory at MIT. In 1987, he was appointed professor at Neuchâtel University, Switzerland, where he founded the Language and Speech Processing Laboratory. He has lectured occasionally at the Universities of Basel, Zurich and Oxford. In 1998, he cofounded Bilingualism: Language and Cognition (Cambridge University Press).
His domains of interest are the perception, comprehension and production of speech, bilingualism and biculturalism, sign language and the bilingualism of the deaf, the evaluation of speech comprehension in aphasic patients, as well as the modeling of language processing.

Here is the interview:

Back in 1989, Eva Hoffman published her first book, Lost in Translation, a memoir about immigration, language loss, second language acquisition, and discovering a new land and a different culture. Her autobiography was to have a worldwide success – the Nobel prize winner Czeslaw Milosz called it “graceful and profound” – and it helped launch a new genre, the language memoir. To celebrate this blog’s fifth anniversary, it was only fitting that we should ask Eva Hoffman if she would answer a few questions. She very kindly accepted to do so and we wish to thank her wholeheartedly.

More than a quarter of a century has gone by since you published Lost in Translation. How do you consider it now after all these years and the success it has had?

Occasionally, I’ve had to go back to it and reread parts of it – and I find that I have a double reaction: One is to wonder who wrote it; and the other is to think, “This is pretty good.” The success of the book was initially entirely amazing to me. When I was writing it, I didn’t know if it would be published, or whether anyone would understand, or care about, the experience I was trying to describe – the internal journey involved in emigration, and the process of translating yourself into another language and culture. But since then, of course, emigration and other cross-national movements have become one of the central phenomena of our time; and it seems that I identified something about that experience which many others understand — perhaps in part, because I was writing about it innocently, so to speak; that is, by trying to capture my own perceptions as directly as possible, without thinking about previous literary models, or worrying about the book’s reception. What can I say, I was lucky.

You can read the rest of the interview here.

 

 

The Loras Network at the Expat-Expo in Zug – 4th year!

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For a fourth consecutive year, The Loras Network is proud exhibitor and supporter of the EXPAT EXPO ZUG.

Looking forward to seeing you there on Sunday, 3 April 2016!

 

 

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