Friday, 18 April 2014

HAVE A BLESSED GOOD FRIDAY!


Here you can read an informative article about Easter celebrations in Britain.  

Thursday, 17 April 2014

LEARNING IDIOMS





An idiom is a phrase where the words together have a meaning that is different from the dictionary definitions of the individual words, which can make idioms hard for ESL students and learners to understand. 
Here  you can find a site which provides English idiomatic expressions, with definitions,  arranged alphabetically.
Now you can watch some helpful videos to discover lots of idioms! Have fun!



Tuesday, 15 April 2014

MACBETH


Here you can find useful materials to understand and analyse one of Shakespeare's great tragedies, Macbeth.


Monday, 14 April 2014

A VERY SPECIAL AFTERNOON ...


This afternoon I had the chance to meet Erri De Luca at a seminar at the local library. He is a famous Italian novelist, translator and poet. He is self-taught in several languages including Ancient Hebrew and Yiddish.  In 2013, he received the European Prize for LiteratureI was just impressed by his limpid and intense speech, his capability to use words to illuminate his own personal experiences, emotions and values while inspiring everyone to ponder over their own life.

Here you can read a beautiful interview by Kourosh Ziabari to discover this fascinating writer.

Invincible is not the one who always wins, but who, defeated and defeated, never stops standing up to fight again.
Erri De Luca


Thursday, 10 April 2014

REVISING THE TEMPEST


Here you can find some useful materials to revise The Tempest.  Click here  to download a PDF presentation of Shakespeare's play.


Tuesday, 8 April 2014

LOOKING FORWARD TO SHAKESPEARE'S 450TH BIRTHDAY!


William Shakespeare is Britain's national poet, the world's most performed and translated playwright. He  was born about 450 years ago  -  on 23  April 1564 to be exact - the same year as Galileo. He died about 400 years ago -  on 23 April 1616  - the same day as Miguel de Cervantes whose  Don Quixote  is considered to be the first modern European novel. He added hundreds of words to the English language; coined expressions that anyone who speaks English probably  uses  every day – made a virtue of necessity, dead as a doornail, fair play, neither here nor there - and wrote plays that still inspire audiences of every generation and in every language spoken on the planet.

Click here to find suggestions for teaching and learning William Shakespeare in honour of  his 450th birthday!


Thursday, 3 April 2014

QUEEN ELIZABETH MEETS POPE FRANCIS FOR THE FIRST TIME AT THE VATICAN


You can read some articles about the Queen's visit to Rome today  in The Guardian and  The Telegraph

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

APRIL


AN APRIL DAY

When the warm sun, that brings
Seed-time and harvest, has returned again,
'T is sweet to visit the still wood, where springs
The first flower of the plain.
I love the season well,
When forest glades are teeming with bright forms,
Nor dark and many-folded clouds foretell
The coming-on of storms.
From the earth's loosened mould
The sapling draws its sustenance, and thrives;
Though stricken to the heart with winter's cold,
The drooping tree revives.
The softly-warbled song
Comes from the pleasant woods, and colored wings
Glance quick in the bright sun, that moves along
The forest openings.
When the bright sunset fills
The silver woods with light, the green slope throws
Its shadows in the hollows of the hills,
And wide the upland glows.
And when the eve is born,
In the blue lake the sky, o'er-reaching far,
Is hollowed out and the moon dips her horn,
And twinkles many a star.
Inverted in the tide
Stand the gray rocks, and trembling shadows throw,
And the fair trees look over, side by side,
And see themselves below.
Sweet April! many a thought
Is wedded unto thee, as hearts are wed;
Nor shall they fail, till, to its autumn brought,
Life's golden fruit is shed.




Sunday, 30 March 2014

THE TEMPEST


The Tempest is generally regarded as Shakespeare’s last play, first performed in 1611 for King James I and again for the marriage festivities of Elizabeth, the King’s daughter, to Frederick, the Elector Palatine. 
Scholars attribute the immediate source of the play to the 1609 shipwreck of an English ship in Bermuda and travellers’ reports about the island and the tribulation of the mariners. The period in which it was written, the 17th  century age of exploration, the circumstances of its performance at court, and the context of the playwright’s writing career suggest some of its rich themes and ambiguities.
The play can be read as Shakespeare’s commentary on European exploration of new lands. Prospero lands on an island with a native inhabitant, Caliban, a being he considers savage and uncivilized. He teaches this “native” his language and customs, but this nurturing does not change the creature’s nature, at least from Prospero’s point of view. But Prospero does not drive Caliban away, rather he enslaves him, forcing him to do work he considers beneath himself and his noble daughter. As modern readers, sensitive to the legacy of colonialism, we need to ask if Shakespeare sees this as the right order:  What are his views of imperialism and colonialism? What are our 20th  century reactions to the depiction of the relationship between the master and slave, shown in this play?
The theme of Utopianism is linked to the explorations of new lands. Europeans were intrigued with the possibilities presented for new beginnings in these “new” lands. Was it possible to create an ideal state when given a chance to begin anew? Could humans hope to recreate a “golden age,” in places not yet subject to the ills of European social order? Could there be different forms of government? Would humans change if given a second chance in an earthly Paradise?
The play emphasizes dramatic effects. Because it was performed at court, there is a lot of stage business: music, dance, masque-like shows. The role of the artist is explored through Prospero’s use of his magic, and parallels can be drawn to Shakespeare’s own sense of his artistry.
Finally, knowing that this is Shakespeare’s last play, it is intriguing to explore autobiographical connections. Does he see himself in Prospero? Does he feel somehow  isolated, in need of reconciliation? How is this play a culmination of other themes he has explored? 
Here  you can find the full text of the play.  




Friday, 28 March 2014

ASKING AND ANSWERING QUESTIONS



Here you can read an informative article about  the skill of asking and answering questions.
I have also found some useful videos which can help you improve such an ability.