Entradas para la categoría ‘World Headlines’

A chimpanzee called Wounda

Lunes, diciembre 16th, 2013

 

Today we rescue from the good news section of World Headlines the story of a chimpanzee called Wounda. A story full of life and optimism at a gloomy and often discouraging time when the news are often written in the darkest shades of gray.

Wounda just went back to the jungle she should never have left after being rescued by Galician veterinarian Rebeca Atencia and her team at the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center (Democratic Republic of Congo). Just watch the video in class and let your students’ hearts and yours take you through a whole array of activities stemming from Wounda’s heartwarming story. The YouTube version (with Spanish subtitles) of the video went viral this week, just  one year after it was published in Vimeo by the Jane Goodall Institute:

You may even be up to the task of asking Rebeca herself about the story as was done a few years ago by the team of Entrepontes, one of Prensa-Escuela’s blogs.

I spy with my global boundless eye: 1984 in 2013

Viernes, noviembre 1st, 2013

Newsmedia around the world have underlined this past week the limitless reach of the NSA, the American National Security Agency. Global surveillance by the US government opens a line of debate about privacy and internet security that can be very fertile in classrooms all around the world.

You can open your session with a quote from 1984 by George Orwell:

“There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”

The Thought Police has materialized as the NSA and they have spied both world leaders and anybody’s email and even phone calls as reported by Amy Goodman at DemocracyNow.org on October 28th, 2013:

Millions of Spanish, German or French people, among many others all around the globe, have been spied on, making Orwell’s a self-fulfilling profecy that curiously hasn’t massively led people to the streets or countries to severely warn the US to stop surveilling anyone in the name of “National Security”.  Why?

In order to answer this and other questions and in order to complete the impact of these actions in global news, you can finally take your pick from the many items in a special section in The Guardian. This British newspaper  has led the way by disclosing information leaked by Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor now exiled in Russia:

Take the results of the debate, post them in your blogs and, maybe, they will end up being spied on by the American global Thought Police.

National Teacher Day: World Headlines for May 7th, 2013

Lunes, mayo 6th, 2013

 

In a few hours teachers in the United States will be sharing the headlines with other important domestic and international issues. The second day of the first week in May is National Teacher Day, the starting point of National Teacher Appreciation Week, a moment to honor the work of present and even former teachers. The UNESCO has set a similar date for  World Teachers’ Day at the beginning of the school year, October 5th, and many countries have followed suit.

But in the case of Spain, either San José de Calasanz (November 27) or Santo Tomás de Aquino (January 28) are more closely related with the saint patron of primary and secondary school teachers than with their celebration by the rest of the community. A way to thank them for their work and effort that is somehow lost here by just considering it another holiday. Or even disappearing from school calendars, like this year of cuts and seemingly neverending crisis.

What we propose today is a turnaround by reading headlines and articles like the ones offered below and writing in your blog about your favourite teacher, thanking them for having made a difference in your lives, telling them how and how much their work has positively influenced you.

Let’s kick off this spring celebration with the first headline from The Huffington Post, “What I Learned From A Master Teacher?“, part of a whole section dedicated to National Teacher Appreciation Day:

The second headline is from this celebration last year and comes from our brother program The Learning Network, from The New York Times (“What Teacher Do You Appreciate?“):

We finally offer you other possibilities to say thanks to your teachers and publish it in your blogs. The first one is a poster using Slideshare:

The second one is a video on YouTube:

You can make this your school’s special Teacher Appreciation Week and use your blog to reach beyond the walls of your classroom.

Cuestionando el código ético de preferencia informativa

Miércoles, abril 24th, 2013

Los eventos ocurridos durante la maratón de Boston y los dramáticos sucesos posteriores dan pie al proyecto planteado hoy. La constante presencia en las cabeceras de los periódicos y la reincidente apertura de los informativos televisivos con la última hora del drama norteamericano durante más de una semana pone en cuestión el cálculo del peso de las noticias.

El debate inicial puede partir de la fotografía que abre este post. La pancarta que portan los habitantes de la bombardeada ciudad siria de Alepo cuestiona la ausencia de su tragedia diaria de las primeras planas y la apertura de los informativos de las televisiones. Por alguna razón, la última de las revoluciones de la “primavera árabe” ha pasado de moda. Se ha tornado invisible a los ojos del mundo. Las imágenes de bombardeos sobre poblaciones civiles y las constantes masacres parecen no interesar ya a nuestros medios. Sin embargo, la presencia de miles de cámaras, el envío de corresponsales a la calle misma donde se está procediendo a la búsqueda del segundo de los responsables del atentado de Boston, el seguimiento al minuto de todo lo ocurrido en la ciudad norteamericana no es algo cuestionado o incluso no parece cuestionable en su candente actualidad e interés para el público de este país.

Las tareas de este proyecto pueden avanzar del contraste inicial de opiniones a la búsqueda activa de ejemplos, tanto de la actualidad como de la historia reciente o no tan cercana. Las evidencias y los productos del proceso y del final del proyecto, como siempre, directamente en el blog, donde puede continuar el intercambio de opiniones a través de los comentarios.

New Terrorist Attack in the United States: The Boston Marathon Bombings

Miércoles, abril 17th, 2013

The precise moment when the first bomb explodes as runners approach the finish line./ TV Capture NBC

A selection of frontpages from US newspapers tragically show us that “Terror” is back in American soil:

Terror is back in the USA on PhotoPeach

The last time something similar happened (September 11, 2001) consequences shook and changed the world into a continuous state of global alarm. The message was and still is: “wherever you are, you are not safe”. And this is especially meaningful when it happens in Boston, the birthplace of the republic, during a National Holiday, Patriots´ Day, held every year the third Monday in April to commemorate the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, the first combats of the American Revolutionary War.

This is why today we propose a research project for either your advanced English class or your bilingual History class. You can take advantage of the resources Newseum provides you by offering you access to the pdf version of the frontpage of most US newspapers, updated everyday. This site also has a hidden jewel, an “archive of national and international front pages that chronicle events of historical significance”, dating back to 2001, with news of the 9/11 attacks. With these tools as a starting point, the students can search  all sorts of information from the media in order to look for the causes and effects of previous terrorist attacks either in the USA or anywhere else in the world.

The first clues about this tragedy are just out. Here is how they tell the story at a local Boston TV station:

 

Nonproficiency in English as a national issue in Spanish headlines

Lunes, marzo 4th, 2013

World Headlines takes us today to one of the favorite and recurrent topics in Spanish media: Why is it so difficult for us to master the English language?

This headline, from El Huffington Post, not only exemplifies the frustration through a chronicle of 25 year old Ruth, who places herself in an intermediate level quite insufficient for the job opportunity she sees slipping through her fingers.  Like most of her fellow citizens, she declares to understand “parts of texts, talk about simple issues and understand conversations that are not very complex”. That is, she will probably be able to pass a written exam on a few lessons of a textbook with standard topics such as “the school”, “the airport” or “the restaurant”. An exam that will be restricted to that vocabulary and to the grammar issues that she has been dealing with for the 18 years she has been taken an English class for three hours a week.
A couple of examples from the present and the past will suffice to look at ourselves in the mirror:

 

Dubbing movies and television shows, seeing the language as another school subject we just need to pass and then forget, or the very Spanish fear of  “making fools of ourselves” are frequently mentioned as some of the causes why only 10% of Spaniards consider themselves proficient in English.

Our proposal this week is a sort of self-evaluation asking ourselves a couple questions:

  1. What is wrong with the way we study English?
  2. What can we do to really and finally improve our proficiency?

Writing the answers in the blog and using this tool as one of the possible solutions can be the first step towards achiving that dream.

Obama’s Second Inauguration: From “Yes We Can” to “We Must Act”

Martes, enero 22nd, 2013

Barack Obama’s second inauguration as president of the United States made it to the frontpages all around the world. This ceremony, that takes place on the 20th day of January every four years, has somehow been different this time. And finding those differences are the challenge we propose today.

In the first place, students can compare headlines, videos or pictures from four years ago and come out with a list of similitudes and differences between that Obama as the first black president of the United States and this more experienced Obama in his final term.

On the other hand, they can use the selection of frontpages offered below or any other internet tools such as Newseum or Kiosko.net in order to compare the impact this event has had around the world.

 

What happened to the first term Obama empowered by the votes of millions of his fellow citizens and by the “Yes We Can” mantra he used to get to the White House?

 

What has happened to the world in the past four years?

Has Obama been successful in making the world a better place for all of us?

What are the challenges ahead for him, for the United States and for the rest of the world?

Research, debate and posts in the blog with the results of these activities or any other teachers and/or students can come up with are an open window to world affairs, a fertile field to share ideas and develop well informed critical thinking. Enjoy the ride!

 

Shocking and Disturbing News as Food for Critical Thought in the Classroom

Lunes, diciembre 17th, 2012

Anywhere you look around the globe you find news about the Newtown school shooting of 26 innocent people: 20 kids, 12 girls and 8 boys ages 6 and 7, and 6 teachers from Sandy Hook Elementary School, murdered in cold blood by a 20 year old deranged man who took his own life when surrounded by the police. He started his shooting spree by killing his own mother, “a gun enthusiast”, according to The New York Times, and legal owner of the assault rifle and two guns he took to his former school to carry out what was, according to the Hartford Courant, “a methodical massacre”:

A quick review of local headlines that you can find in the Newseum website can give a closer and more vivid account of the facts, including direct testimony of the victims and their families: “We don’t know how we’re going to get through this” are the words of a neighbor of Newtown, heading in large white typeset four out of five columns of The Hour, one of the main local newspapers in Fairfield County. This feeling of perplexity is summed up in the full page headline of The News-Times: “Newtown asks why”.

And this can be a good starting point for a critical analysis of what happened in a peaceful rural American town where only one person had been murdered in the previous ten years, but in a country with almost 300 million weapons in the hands of civilians and close to 10,000 annual firearm homicides, according to gunpolicy.org.

In order to complete the newspaper information offered above, you can also analyze president Obama’s heartfelt speech to the American people just a few hours after the shooting. Very close to tears, he emphasized the need “to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics” [choose the video titled “President Obama Makes a Statement on the Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut ” from the List of Featured Videos]:


Finally, we can profit from the quick updating speed of such helpful resources as the Wikipedia, where you can find, under the title “Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting“, a good summary of the tragic Newtown events as well as an extensive list of references where to complete the information.