понедељак, 03. април 2017.

The Importance of Teaching Literature

Most people assume literature is an important part of education. But not everyone really thinks about why that is. The importance of literature on teaching lies in its ability to foster critical reading, build valuable skills, and expand students' worldviews.

·         Literature in the Classroom

In today’s fact-obsessed culture, the importance of literature on teaching and the classroom is sometimes questioned. Why bother having kids read stories, spend their time with books about things and events that aren’t even real? Why not just teach them what they need to know and send them on their way?
Of course, to most educators these questions seem ludicrous. Of course literature is important—why would it have such a central place in the curriculum if it wasn’t? But you may not realize in just how many ways literature really does contribute to a child’s education. Because education is and should be about more than passing on dry information; it’s also about fostering critical thinking skills and an understanding of the world around us.

Cultural Value

Stories have been of central importance to the human race ever since it began, as far as we can tell. Cultures are built on stories—histories, myths and legends, fables, religions, and so on. If students are to understand and participate in the culture to which they belong, they must first learn about the stories that culture has been built around. And while books aren’t the only kinds of stories out there, they are one of the most important.
Take the Bible, for instance. Despite concerns about religion in schools, it is commonly taught in some form or another because it has so heavily influenced our culture. References and allusions to biblical stories are all around us, so not knowing those stories puts you at a disadvantage. The same goes for
Shakespeare’s dramas, and for the novels of early American writers. Current books and movies, among other works, often reference older texts. Without a working knowledge of those older texts, you can’t understand the new ones as fully as possible.

·         Expanding Horizons

Everyone has a tendency to get so caught up in their own lives that they forget what’s going on in the world around them. And children and teens are particularly prone to this. It’s a goal of education to expose them to ideas from other cultures, to teach them about the histories and peoples of other times and places. Literature is an ideal way to do this. Huckleberry Finn, for example, puts students into the mind of a boy living in the south in the 1800s, letting them experience his life firsthand. Through this experience they learn what it was like to live in that time period, how the people talked and thought and acted.
The same goes for books about other countries, which teach students what life is like in other parts of the world. It’s more engaging to read a novel about another time or place than to learn about it in a lecture or from a textbook. The Diary of Ann Frank is a great example of this effect, since it exposes students American students to both a country and time period not their own (and most likely a nationality and religion as well).

·     Building Vocabulary

Having a large and wide-ranging vocabulary is essential for a number of reasons. It helps with both writing and reading abilities, of course, but it also allows for more complex discourse. The larger your vocabulary is, the more in depth and thoughtful discussions you can have on important topics and issues, both in and outside of the classroom. When people speak they tend to use a fairly limited vocabulary, so the best way to become exposed to new words is to read.
And reading literature is a great way to build and enhance vocabulary. Due to the descriptive nature of a story, any novel will include plenty of words students have likely never seen or heard before. They’ll see those words in context, learning their meanings passively rather than having to drill. And because they’re reading a story and not drilling, they probably won’t even realize they are building their vocabulary (hence they won’t be able to complain about it).

Improving Writing Skills

Writing skills can be taught, to some extent. But the number one way to become a better writer is to read often. When you read you are being immersed in language, in the way it sounds and feels when put together in the right ways. Students who are encouraged to read have a more intimate knowledge of the ways in which language works, and so have an advantage when it comes time for them to write. This effect can even be made transparent by encouraging students to try writing in a particular book or author's style.
·         Many older works of literature are still taught primarily because of their authors’ way with language. Novels such as The Great Gatsby, The Scarlet Letter, and The Catcher in the Rye are noted for their unique style and creativity with language. And there are plenty of more recent novels that are just as well written. Literature serves as a valuable teacher and an example to students who are first learning to use written language to communicate with the world.

·         Teaching Critical Thinking

Education is supposed to give students the tools they need to become a valuable part of society, and one such tool is the ability to think critically. We want them to not just passively consume whatever is around them, but to analyze and criticize it as well. Literature serves this goal in a couple of ways. Many novels encourage critical thinking on their own, due to the issues and themes they explore. The kind of novel usually taught in the classroom is selected for its depth and for the way it transcends the obvious and the cliché.
And educators often use literature to promote this kind of thought actively, by teaching students how to analyze what they read, understand others’ opinions about the text, and formulate their own views. You can learn to think critically about the events and characters in a novel, the themes it presents, the author’s purpose in writing it, and the ways it fits into a certain time period. You can also analyze its impact on society and the ways it compares and contrasts with other texts. Few activities give students’ critical abilities such a workout as the close reading of a work of literature.

And Many More…

This is hardly an exhaustive list, of course. But these are some of the most essential reasons why literature is so important to education and why it should remain at the heart of the curriculum. Literature takes students out of their own lives and lets them experience things that are new and challenging, and encourages them to imagine possibilities and to think about ways the world could be different. Few textbooks could be said to do the same thing.
prepared by: Milica Filipović, English teacher 

April fool – the language of jokes and tricks

April 1st is known in many Western countries as ‘April Fool’s Day’. The idea is to trick other people, to try to make them believe things that are not true. If you succeed, you shout ‘April fool!’ at the person you have tricked. In honour of April Fool’s Day, this post will look at some words and phrases connected with this custom.

One important thing is to remember that we play tricks on someone (we don’t ‘make’ or ‘do’ them). The tricks are often practical jokes (using actions instead of words), and they are almost always harmless – they are intended to be fun. Other words for this kind of trick are prank or hoax, although the word ‘hoax’ can also be used for more serious, unpleasant tricks in the same way as the words fraud or deceit.

Children often like to kid or dupe (trick) their friends on April Fool’s day with simple jokes such as pretending that their shoelaces are undone or that there is a spider on their head.
However, some April Fool’s hoaxes can be very elaborate (complicated and difficult to do). For example, in 1957, the BBC (the most famous TV company in the UK) made a film about Swiss spaghetti farmers, and showed pictures of people picking spaghetti. The film was very realistic and a lot of people  were taken in (believed it). Some very gullible people (people who believe everything they are told) contacted the BBC because they wanted to buy spaghetti plants – they didn’t realise that the plants were fake (not real)!
Another very plausible (easy to believe) prank was a newspaper article about ‘FatSox’ – socks that were said to absorb fat from a person’s body and make them thin. Most people saw through the trick (realised it was not real), but many others fell for (believed) it and wanted to get a pair.
One common idiom we use to talk about playing gentle tricks is pull someone’s leg. In fact, when people want to say that it’s obvious that someone is trying to trick them, they sometimes say Pull the other one!’ or even Pull the other one – it’s got bells on!.
Strangely, in the UK, April Fool’s Day stops at midday – anyone playing a trick after that becomes the fool! And in France, April Fool’s day is called ‘Poisson d’Avril’  – April fish!

prepared by: Marina Dedić, English teacher 

First Impressions: Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade has been described by some as Berlin-like, but the Serbian capital has a charm all its own.
BELGRADE, Serbia – Perched on the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, Belgrade feels like a grittier Prague — unpolished but appealing, with a burgeoning design and art scene and an active nightlife. It comes as no surprise then that Serbia's historic capital and largest city draws young travelers looking for affordable and under-the-radar experiences. But what surprised this seasoned (and sober) traveler was the food scene, a mix of old-world favorites and lively establishments. Here's how I took it all in on my first time in town. 
1. Any meal that starts with olives makes me happy, even breakfast. The buffet at Metropol Palace Hotel is an Eastern European delight: olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggs, mushrooms, and strong coffee with hot mleko (milk). I wait for a table near the window overlooking verdant Tašmajdan Park, where dogs are playing among energetic kids, a nice contrast to the gray city beyond.

2. I head to Legacy of PetarLubarda gallery (Iličićeva Street 1; +381-11-2660-404) to see works by the famous 20th-century Serbian painter. His art touches on Serbia's changing political and social landscape and is very emotional — the artist's time in a concentration camp during WWII comes across in his paintings, even recent ones.
3. I'm a fan of walking with no particular destination in mind, so I hit the streets of Old Town (Stari Grad) for people-watching. My route takes me down KnezMihailova, the city's main pedestrian zone and its shops, cafes, and restaurants, then along winding cobblestone streets in KosancicevVenac, a vibrant neighborhood in the heart of Stari Grad.
4. I love walking almost as much as I love good, strong coffee, so I break at Belgrade's oldest traditional tavern, Kafana Question Mark (Kralja Petra 6; +381-11-263-5421), the place with the "?" above the door. The restaurant, located across St. Michael's Cathedral in the heart of Old Town, was built in 1823 and retains its original interiors. Many order JelenPivo here, the local beer, but I go for Turkish coffee, for which the place is known. Since the weather is nice, I sit outside for fresh air. Everyone smokes here, and sitting inside is to be engulfed in cigarette smoke fairly quickly.
5. Lunch at Manufaktura is a spread of Serbian mezze: proja (cornbread), gibanica (spinach and cheese filo-dough pastry), kajmak (cream-cheese-like condiment for pita and meat), prosciutto, bacon, feta, smoked cheese, and unforgettable ajvar, a delicious roasted red pepper spread. The hip restaurant has outdoor seating in the heart of a pedestrian walkway under a sea of red umbrellas, making the people-watching almost as good as the food.

6. Belgrade architecture is an interesting mix of Eastern bloc buildings and beautiful 20th-century designs. I walk to Belgrade Fortress, also known as Kalemegdan Fortress, which has one of the city's largest parks and some of the best views of the Danube. From here, I visit Museum of Yugoslav History, where I snag some quirky Soviet-era memorabilia from the gift shop before moving onto House of Flowers, Josip Broz Tito's Memorial.
7. Turkish coffee is drunk regularly throughout the day, and I'm happy to comply. This time, I have it at Amphora River Cafe, a splav, or floating restaurant. Unique to this region, splavs are at the heart of nightlife, and are also great places for coffee or lunch during the day. In the evening, music is loud and the scene is lively. Since it's on the water, there's no bothering the neighbors.
8. I gravitate towards Church of Saint Sava, which can be seen from many points in the city and is reminiscent of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Construction on the famous church started in 1935. The exterior was completed in 2004, but the interior has a long way to go. When finished, the space will hold more than 10,000 people and host one of the largest collections of mosaics in the world.
9. Dinner is traditional Serbian cuisine (think lots of meat) at Tri Šešira. The historic restaurant has two orchestras that play folk music and is filled with locals young and old, speaking and laughing at the top of their lungs as they spend hours at the dinner table. I have pork, beef, chicken, and veal all on one skewer, known as Milo's Sword, and revel in the atmosphere.

10. I don't drink, but I stop into Rakia Bar for a lesson on the famous national drink of Serbia. Rakia, I learn, can be made from all kinds of fruit and spices including pears, quince, raspberry, honey, lavender, and thyme. The long, narrow bar serves over 54 varieties, including thirteen of their own homemade products, but the crowd favorite among locals and travelers alike is plum. How's this for a fun fact: Serbia is the world's second largest producer of plums.
written by: Judy Koutsky
prepared by: Milica Filipović, English teacher 

четвртак, 16. март 2017.

Il pranzo della domenica, un’intramontabile tradizione italiana

Tradicionalni nedeljni ručak? Zvuči kao nepostojeći pojam u savremenom toku života kada svi članovi porodice, zaokupljeni obavezama, retko uspevaju da se okupe oko trpeze bar jednom nedeljno. 
Italijani su poznati kao vreoma tradicionalan narod pa ovaj termin kao i praksa kod njih još uvek nisu izumrli i imajući u vidu bogato gastronomsko nasleđe, nedeljom se trude da se okupe, lepo i dobro pojedu i naravno razgovaraju o svim aktuelnostima... 
A evo i kako u originalu izgleda taj famozni "pranzo della domenica" iliti: nedeljni ručak all'italiana

Una tavola imbandita, il calore di una casa accogliente e la famiglia riunita. Ecco cosa rappresenta per gli italiani il pranzo della domenica. E se negli ultimi anni le famiglie patriarcali  – terreno fertile del pranzo domenicale –  sono andate scemando, al loro posto sono nate le famiglie allargate. Dove il marito facoltoso prende il posto del vecchio pater familias, i nuovi coniugi squattrinati sostituiscono gli zii scapoli e sfaccendati, le nuove compagne, prendono il posto delle zitelle o le lolite di famiglia (a seconda dell’età).
Mentre il nugolo di figli e nipoti – che con le fidanzate affollava la tavola – è rimpiazziato dalla prole di primo, secondo e terzo letto. E almeno così il pranzo di famiglia è salvo.

Ma cosa mangerà questa folla di gente? Le varianti sono numerose e seguono le latitudini, alcuni piatti però restano un caposaldo e da nord a sud, da est a ovest  la domenica si diffonde in molte case un irresistibile aroma di ragù.

Ecco un menu tipico della domenica italiana: antipasto di salumi, sottaceti e verdurine varie, il primo piatto spazia dalla tradizionale pasta al forno alle lasagne international, dalla pasta fresca col ragu – tagliatelle, pappardelle e spaghetti – a quella ripiena, ravioli o tortellini. Il secondo più gettonato è l’arrosto o il brasato, di maiale, di manzo o di cervo o ancora di coniglio, diagnello, di cinghiale o di tacchino.

I contorni sono infiniti: zucchine alla scapece e friarielli, carciofi e spinaci, frittura all’italiana e gnocco fritto, topinambur o lampascioni, cardo o verze. Ma su tutti trionfano le rassicuranti e amatissime patate fritte o al forno per la gioia di tutti. 

E nei dessert vincono gli immancabili pasticcini, portati normalmente, dagli adorati e numerosi ospiti della domenica.

preparato da: Nataša Đurica, insegnante d'italiano 
adattato da: http://dilei.it 

среда, 01. март 2017.


Most Brit and American teachers are all too aware of the differences between the deceivingly similar languages.
They share a sarcastic disdain for each other’s pronunciation of ‘tomato’ and have long argued about the difference between ‘biscuit’ and ‘cookie’ or ‘chip’ and ‘crisp’. There is always a right or wrong answer- it just depends on who’s being asked.
Pettiness aside, these inconsistencies pose a few questions when faced with a class full of ESL students, particularly when those students are schooled in British grammar and combine this with phrases learnt from American TV shows and movies.

So which ‘English’ should you teach?
The best advice is to stick to what you know. You can teach British English, but allow students (especially beginners) to use American conjugations and pronunciation if they find it easier to do so.
Try to resist the urge to make generalizations about whether something is right or wrong.
Never underestimate your students’ ability to catch you out – many take great pleasure in doing this. Keep it simple and make it clear that you are teaching only one style of English.
As a starting point, here are six of the most common differences you may encounter whilst teaching:

1. Regular or Irregular?
The most notable difference between American and British grammar is their inability to agree on whether verbs follow regular or irregular conjugations.
The past tense and past participles of the verbs learn, burn, dream, smell, spill, leap, lit, spit and saw amongst others, are all irregular in Britain (learnt, burnt) but regular in America (learned, burned) and many others follow similar patterns.
Confusingly, despite having regular past participles, irregular adjectives may still be used in American English. ‘Burnt toast’ for example.
American English is generally easier to teach owing to its greater concentration of regular verbs, however it could be argued that if you teach the irregular patterns then students will understand both.

2. Realize or Realise?
Any Brit who has inadvertently subjected their writing to an American spell-check will already be familiar with their annoyingly similar yet different spellings.
After hours spent agonizing over whether to use a ‘z’ or an ‘s’ or whether travelling is correctly spelt with one ‘l’ or two, I lost all memory of what I was taught in school.
The main differences are that American English omits extra letters and favours phonetic spellings – ‘traveller’ becomes ‘traveler’, ‘colour’ becomes ‘color’, ‘centre’ becomes ‘center’ and ‘recognise’ becomes ‘recognize’.
Let the students use whichever spelling they are familiar with but always check for consistency – whichever method they prefer, they have to stick to it!

3. Use of the Present Perfect
The present perfect is one of the most difficult tenses for foreign students to grasp, a problem unaided by its different uses overseas.
Whereas Europeans would say, “I’ve already eaten”, an American may simply use the past tense and say, “I already ate”, a phrase that is deemed grammatically incorrect in England.
When teaching, particularly with beginners, it’s best to give clear examples that clearly follow the grammatical ‘rules’.
For this reason I teach students to use the present perfect with prepositions such as ‘already’, ‘yet’, ‘never’ and ‘ever’ and would disallow the use of the past tense.

4. Use of Modal Verbs
In the UK, peopletend to use more modals than the American peers. On numerous occasions I’ve overheard American teachers dismissing expressions using ‘shall’, ‘shan’t’ or ‘ought to’ as out-of-date, unaware that they are still used in England.
Students benefit greatly from a few pointers on modern language usage (I would definitely discourage the use of ‘how do you do?’, for example) but make sure you are aware of international variations before you make these statements.
If unsure, simply state: ‘In America, we say it like this…’.

5. Numbers and dates
These basics are the bane of early language learning, as anyone trying to master their telephone number in a new country will agree.
Most significant is the order of dates – 25th January 2009 would be expressed 25/01/09 in the UK but 01/25/09 in America.
Numbers may be pronounced differently too – ‘twelve hundred’ is more common in America than in England, where ‘one thousand two hundred’ is preferred. Similarly the Americans often drop ‘and’ when reading numbers – ‘two thousand and three’ might become ‘two thousand three’.
Students often struggle to distinguish these differences in conversation and benefit from exposure to as many variations as possible.

6. Vocabulary
English speakers have plenty of disagreements over vocabulary, with each country, and often region, renaming common items.
A British duvet is an American comforter, a lift is an elevator, and the boot of a car is a trunk. The list is endless.
With vocabulary, try to teach as much as possible without baffling the student. The more words they know the better.
When dealing with a special case, refine the selections – a student moving to the UK will obviously benefit from English phrases and colloquialisms whereas a salesperson who deals with US representatives would need to familiarize themselves with American speech.

prepared by: Marija Anđelić, English teacher 

понедељак, 27. фебруар 2017.

Do Brits really love to queue?

It’s been said that the British love a queue; that they’ll join a queue then ask what it’s for.
That’s patently untrue. When the queues started to spiral out of control at Heathrow airport howls of indignation began to drown out the sound of the jet engines.

Our resident Brit confirms that the Brits resent queuing as much as anyone. The only difference is they have utter respect for the convention and loathe anyone who tries to manipulate it. Perhaps it’s a vestige of the World Wars when rationing made queues a necessary part of life. Everyone is equally miserable in a queue and that suits the average Brit just fine.

As a result, they queue for the bus, the cinema, the supermarket checkout and the portable toilets at festivals. Brits will actively look for a queue even when none exists, asking, “Is this the end of the queue?”
So, if you want to make it in the UK, learn to respect the queue. Never jump the line or push in. Don’t ask the person behind you to mind your place while you go on a long errand or visit the toilet. And don’t drive your suitcase into the heels of the person in front of you when you’re in the line at the airport.

On the other hand, it’s perfectly acceptable to roll your eyes and click your tongue in disgust when the line moves slowly. Feel free to glare at the person at the front of the queue if they make small talk with the cashier. And if you see someone pushing in say, “Excuse me!” in a terse, slightly strangulated voice. It works every time!

Prepared by: Marina Dedić, English teacher 

Untranslatable words in French

Vous avez pris l’habitude de traduire chaque mot français vers votre langue maternelle ? Il vous arrive de ne pas réussir à trouver le mot équivalent dans votre langue ? C’est parfaitement normal ! En français, on dénombre une quarantaine de mots et expressions qui n’ont pas de traductions exactes ! Voici une liste :
1. Le dépaysement (être dépaysé)
C’est un sentiment, une sensation agréable que l’on éprouve lorsqu’on se trouve à l’étranger, loin de notre pays. Les paysages, la culture, la langue et les mœurs sont vraiment différentes. Alors, on se sent loin et complètement détaché de notre pays et de notre culture.
2. Un pied-à-terre
C’est une résidence secondaire ou un appartement où l’on va occasionnellement dans une autre ville. On s'y rend pour le travail ou en vacances. Exemple : J’ai un pied-à-terre à Paris, ça me permet de venir souvent dans la capitale.

3. Des retrouvailles
C’est quand on revoit une ou plusieurs personnes que l’on apprécie et que l’on n’a pas vue(s) depuis longtemps, ce qui nous procure un sentiment de joie.
4. Frileux
Adjectif qui décrit quelqu’un qui est très sensible au froid (même s’il ne fait pas vraiment très froid…)
5. Affriolant
Une tenue affriolante ou des formes affriolantes renvoient à quelque chose de très séduisant, qui excite l’appétit voire le désir. C’est une façon polie de décrire ce qui est plaisant ou attirant.

6. Se recroqueviller
C’est une position physique qui peut être différente selon les personnes.  C’est l’action de se replier, se tasser sur soi-même, se crisper. C’est une réaction que l’on peut avoir s’il fait froid, ou si on a peur ou honte. On peut aussi dire qu’une personne se recroqueville pour s’endormir.
7. Chauffer
Le verbe « chauffer » a plusieurs sens en français ! On peut chauffer un plat, de l’eau : ça signifie donner de la chaleur.
On peut aussi chauffer ses cordes vocales, ses muscles : ça signifie les préparer pour leur bon fonctionnement.
« Ca va chauffer ! » signifie que la tension monte. Dans un registre populaire, chauffer quelqu’un signifier énerver, mais aussi courtiser, séduire ou exciter.
8. Ballot
Etre ballot, c’est être niais ou avoir une mauvaise allure. Ca signifie aussi être maladroit, être « balourd ». C’est aussi l’idée de ne pas être là au bon moment ou de louper quelque chose d’important, de manquer de chance.
« Ah, tu as oublié d’aller à ton rendez-vous. C’est ballot… » (sur un ton un peu moqueur).
9. Mitonner
En cuisine, mitonner signifie cuisiner un plat et y passer beaucoup de temps. Ne pas confondre avec « mythoner » qui veut dire mentir en langage familier !
10. La vache ! / Vachement / C’est Vache
C'est vrai, le français emploie plusieurs expression qui contiennent le mot "vache" !

  • La vache ! : Exprime l’étonnement, on le dit quand on est surpris (que ce soit positif ou négatif)
  • Vachement : mot familier qui signifie : Très, beaucoup, vraiment, extrêmement …
  • Être vache : quelqu’un de vache est quelqu’un de méchant ou d’audacieux. Quelque chose de vache signifie quelque chose de méchant.
Jelena Kovačević Bralović, French teacher