Saturday, 27 April 2019

Save the date!


Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Happy to be part of the APPI Conference team of speakers. It's always a pleasure to share time with good friends and colleagues.

My talk on Friday 3rd May at 16.40:
Lifting poetry off the page
Poetry reading and writing can empower and transform lives and it can also make social change happen. Through a practical classroom-based approach and carefully selected poems, such as ‘The Day War Came’ by Nicola Davies, I will show how to enable students to engage confidently with poetry while becoming aware of social issues.

... and the workshop on Sunday 5th may at 11.40:
Using stories to develop Art and Science projects for Primary
Storybooks can provide a memorabIe context for language learning. In this session, I will present Arts & Crafts and Science ideas based on ‘The Little Red Hen’ that will help develop learners’ linguistic competence, observation skills, imagination and curiosity. I will also encourage teachers to contribute with their own ideas.

Brighter thinking podcast - Cambridge Education

Sunday, 31 March 2019

JJ Wilson – Sky’s the limit: six lessons from an unlikely place - TESOL-SPAIN Oviedo 2019

In 2007, 600 homeless people took over an unfinished tower block in Caracas, Venezuela, and developed a thriving community. By using the four Cs – communication, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration – they bettered their lives and showed what can be achieved with great leadership against enormous odds. Together, we will examine what educators can learn from this story, with a particular focus on creating educational communities in the 21st century.

JJ Wilson is the writer-in-residence at Western New Mexico University, USA. He teaches classes in ESL Methods, Linguistics, Publication, and Creative Writing. He has co-authored several ELT courses, including Total English, and Speakout, which won the Duke of Edinburgh English Speaking Union prize and was shortlisted for an ELTons award. His methodology book, How to Teach Listening, also won an English Speaking Union prize. JJ writes fiction under the name JJ Amaworo Wilson. His novel, Damnificados, won three awards, and was included on Oprah’s Top 10 list. JJ has lived in 10 countries and trained teachers in 30.

If you want to learn more about TESOL-SPAIN Annual Convention and regional activities, visit

Teresa Ting: Dreaming, Learning and Educating… with the Brain in Mind - TESOL-SPAIN Oviedo 2019

Education acts on the brain. When learners can easily comprehend complex and abstract content that is presented through a foreign language, real learning on a local scale can become realistic dreams on a global scale. Here, we will see how and why, done well, CLIL very naturally prompts educators to move towards a way of instructing that is much more compatible with how the brain likes its information, thus enabling learning (and big dreams).

Teresa harnesses knowledge regarding how rats’ brains learn in laboratories (holds PhD in Neuroscience) to design materials for teaching complex content to students in classrooms. CLIL-materials she developed received the 2013 ELTon’s Award. These materials and their theoretical underpinnings have been used in CLIL teacher-training courses (Pilgrims, Bell, Universities of Vienna, Madrid etc.) and developing additional CLIL-materials (e.g. in the CUP “Talent” series, 2018). She is a tenured Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Calabria, Italy.

If you want to learn more about TESOL-SPAIN Annual Convention and regional activities, visit

Thursday, 21 March 2019

The Cultural Revolution—and the necessity of culture. BY AI WEIWEI

My father, Ai Qing, was an early influence of mine. He was a true poet, viewing all subjects through an innocent and honest lens. For this, he suffered greatly. Exiled to the remote desert region of Xinjiang, he was forbidden to write. During the Cultural Revolution, he was made to clean the public toilets. At the time, those rural toilets were beyond one’s imagination, neglected by the entire village. This was as low as one’s condition could go. And yet, as a child I saw him making the greatest effort to keep each toilet as clean and as pleasant as possible, taking care of the waste with complete sincerity. To me, this is the best poetic act, and one that I will never forget.

My father was punished for being a poet, and I grew up in its consequences. But even when things were at their most difficult, I saw his heart protected by an innocent understanding of the world. For poetry is against gravity. Reading Walt Whitman, Pablo Neruda, Federico García Lorca, and Vladimir Mayakovsky at a young age, I discovered that all poetry has the same quality. It transports us to another place, away from the moment, away from our circumstances.

In my own work, the process of creation always requires the understanding of aesthetics in relation to morality, to the pureness of a form, or to a personal language, one which extends us clearly to another. Many of my projects have poetic elements. In 2007, I brought 1,001 Chinese citizens to Kassel, Germany, for documenta 12. For many, it was their first time traveling outside of China. This was Fairytale. In 2008, we researched, under extremely harsh and restrictive conditions, the aftermath of the Great Sichuan Earthquake and unearthed the names and birth dates of 5,196 student victims, otherwise buried forever.
I used to say that Twitter is the perfect form for poetry. It is the poetry of society in the modern age. In engaging social media and the forms of communication it makes possible, again and again we find ourselves deeply moved with emotion. By anger, joy, even feelings that are new and indescribable. This is poetic. It makes today a unique time.
To experience poetry is to see over and above reality. It is to discover that which is beyond the physical, to experience another life and another level of feeling. It is to wonder about the world, to understand the nature of people and, most importantly, to be shared with another, old or young, known or unknown.

A black-and-white portrait of a bearded Asian man (Ai Weiwei), who is looking directly at the camera, and holding his own eyes wide open.


On Poetry 

Originally Published: July 1st, 2015

Ai Weiwei is an artist. He resides and works in Beijing, China. He is an outspoken advocate of human rights and freedom of speech.