Our high school, ‘Pau Vila’, in Sabadell, has about 760 students and 69 teachers. It offers day time and evening lessons. It is located in the neighbourhood of Gràcia close to the central part of the town which is 23 kms away from Barcelona. The social background of our pupils is middle and working class cleverly mixed up. Most of our students were born in Catalonia, but we have 20 newcomers from different places (South America, Rumania, China , Morocco and Ghana) who are being taught in Aula d’Acollida by very professional teachers who look after them, humanly and academically speaking. The number of foreign students among us isn’t so high (40 approx) and this gives us the chance to work properly in the field of multiculturalism exchanges in order to set proper basis for the future

The idea of this project is to generate a shared platform of interaction and discussion on migration issues among our students and teachers, as well as adult newcomers who can offer meaningful human exchanges using the English language (it could also be extended to French and other languages). N.G.O.s and social counterparts that might be interested in participating.

We want to strengthen and improve relationships which may allow us to stablish better knowledge and communication between all the members of our school and society. In this way we can collectively work together towards a new social model, one that holds respect and justice for everyone, including immigrants and the important cultural exchanges, contributions and diversity that they bring to our society. Insteat of looking at migrations as a problem, we will regard them as a good chance of cultural and human enrichment for all of us.

It could start as an optionanl English subject for batxillerat and/or the second cycle ESO coordinated by the English Department and Aula d’Acolllidar, but many of the activities and resources would be shared with the rest of students, with teachers from other Departments and tutorial sessions within the school, and open to the world outside us too.

Another interesting aspect could be to create a good source of information or a library section with plenty documents, books, specific audiovisual items and links to local and international NGOs that could also help us in this project. This resource will become increasingly more powerful with the general public contributing . It might also help tutors with their task and Departments who might want to deal with these issues. This material can be kept together through a borrowing system in the Aula d’Acollida or in the school library itself

2. Reasons behind this project

During the past few years we have welcomed the arrival of foreign students to our school, but we are aware there is still a lot of work ahead if we want to succeed. This project aims to create many more connections with the Aula d’Acollida and make improvements to the receptive capacities of Catalan society.

Immigration points of view in the contemporary Catalonia / Spain must be revised. On one hand this is a new process, and so prejudices are not yet deeply rooted. On the other hand there is a lot if ignorace with regards to the outside world and with this, the danger of the development of racism. In fact, Spain had to send workers away in recent times because after the Civil War, the country had become very economically depressed and some European countries needed cheap labour to rebuild their economies too. This means a lot of people still remember the hardship of their own migration and could be receptive to the problems the newcomers have. At the same time, poor people in Spain have such hard living conditions today they may begin to complain about any official help offered to immigrants, and may even resort to racist comments now and then. There are dangers that youngsters may develop mistaken views. In fact the new migration flow has just made more evident the injustices and problems certain neighbourhoods and sectors of our society had even before their arrival.

We want to compare our situation to that of others in different European countries. Our center has applied for two Comenius projects and so we will be able to work on these issues jointly and learn from the constructive experiences that are taking place in different corners of our continent. We all know it is a crutial challenge for Europe to build the capacity to integrate people who arrive from all over the planet. At the same time it is a unique opportunity.

We know that integration is not only giving newcomers a job and a place to live, but it has also a lot to do with the acceptance of their culture, values and the opening of a truthful dialogue and exchange among all the members of the new future society and making everybody feel part of it. If we don’t get to know each other, none of the above is possible. The school has an important role to perform.

Many immigrants have a full command of the English language, much better than the avarage Spanish citizen. At the same time there is a big need in our country to improve the knowledge of this foreign language and therefore we don’t realise the big chance we are missing. At this moment, we can find for example a Nigerian engineer with full comand of English unloading lorries and doing it so happily to get ‘papers’.

These new English teachers don’t come from the U.K. or from the United States. In fact they are already here and have arrived from Africa and Asia mainly. Most of them are totally bilingual, one of the languages is normally either English or French. They come from countries which are former colonies and as a result their English/French is very good. As the liguist David Graddol has recently declared in Barcelona, the leading research on lingua franca English is carried in other countries rather than the UK. We are all interested in English as a global language and this means the acceptance of many accents and ways of using the same language . Going back to the personalities of our immigrants, we must also realise the fact that many of them had to leave their country for political reasons because they were journalists or intelectuals from different fields campaigning to defend human rights in their regions. Their cultural level is often very high indeed

Personal motivations: When I finished my studies at university, a long time ago, I went to England where later on I met my Indian husband. The first time I travalled with him to India in 1979, I wondered why in my studies in human science I had never been taught anything about this highly interesting country .I cannot stress how ignorant I felt and my life changed completely after this visit. During my long stay in London I also lived the racial prejudice towards people who were from Southern Europe and other places. Furthermore, I experienced the difficulties of not having easy access to normal work permit because at that stage Spain had not become an EU member yet. On the other hand, I enjoyed the multicultural atmosphere in London and the many opportunities I had to make friends from all corners of the globe. Therefore the issues dealt here in this project are a very important part of my life. To show how ilogical all these legal regulations are I often explain to my students that I had to apply for my Spanish nationality in 1981 after discovering that they had taken it away from me the moment I got married to a foreign person!

3. Objectives:
· Help students to solve cultural and personal problems such as:
- Ignorance regarding other countries.
- Prejudice / Racism (discovery / prevention)
· Improve their integration skills:
- Open themselves to new realities
- Help them to relate better with newcomers inside and outside school
- Prepare them to build a fairer society
- Inform them of the many cooperation possibilities with NGOs
- Beneficial results on the Aula d’acollida and on the whole school
- Offer the persons who arrive a sincere feeling of welcome and gratitude for all the knowledge and cultural and human contribution (mutual enrichment) that they bring
- Study the possibility of establishing a fund to reinburse the adult immigrants and some of the important personalities who contribute to the project. Perhaps we could even create a post in the future (the financial part can be shared between the administrations and the other social counterparts)
- Collaboration with the local NGOs which could play an important role here in order to select the right candidates based on their level of English and their capacity to trasmit their vital experience.
· Offer the students the chance of good linguistic exchange and oral practice in English. We greet persons who will enlarge the students knowledge of the language and stimulate their curiosity about the world in which we live, thereby motivating them to talk with and learn from many kinds of people. This will result into a meaningful English exchange
- The possibility to share these experiences with the rest of students and teachers of the school, with the evening students who are older, with other schools, etc.
· Incorparate vital whitnesses who may be able to help our youngsters in overcoming their own difficulties.
- Learning from the newcomers human values such as the group sense, family colaboration, hardship resistance and the capacity to overcome huge problems. All this might be useful to balance the consumerism and selfishness we see around us which are largely instruments of the Western society .
- Make them aware that by helping others they help themselves.
· Link these migration stories with others that belong to our recent past.
4. Development:
1st Part: ‘Clean eyes’

Activities designed to overcome the prejudice, widen the points of view of our students and help them to understand our culture is not the only one and it is not superior to any other. If we want our students to be broad-minded, we have to provide them with the right tools to make them appreciate the world for all its variety and richness.

- To greet our students, as an introduction, we will surprise them with a little performance or role-play. The whole class will become Rosa Parks’ segregated bus. They won’t know initially the details of what they are acting out, but we will all experience the same emotions. This will be the first sympathetic approach to people who have experienced racism in their own lives. At the end we can show a video recording of Dr. Martin Luther King campaigning for the Civil Rights in the United Sates and ask them about what they have felt, especially the person who performs the role of Rosa Parks (the whole activity plan is shown later on).
- Discussion about the ideological origins of European and colonial racism (texts from the CCCB) which are in full contradiction with the ideas of democracy and fraternity supported by the French Revolutions and the First Declaration of Human Rights (1789). Surprisingly, all these movements coexisted. Collaboration with the Philosophy Department through a lecture on the issues given by Josep Sanllehi (other students of this subject or other pupils might be invited). The second text which will be given to them is ‘A short history of Human Rights’ from the book ‘Stand up for Your Rights’.
- Carmina Graells’s lecture on the false biological theories that supported the first racist ideologies. She is a famous local biologist and she taught in ‘Pau Vila’ for many years. She is now retired. Biology students will have the chance to join us for this activity.
- Study of the consequences that have followed the inequalities of the past (historical, economical and social ones). We can also talk about the debts that many underdeveloped countries must pay to rich countries, debts which create a huge burden on these already struggling economies. We can also talk about the many injustices that have resulted in countless civil wars.
- Migration flows in the Mediterranean region (‘link’ with the Comenius projects) and colonial past of our peninsula. We will have here a lecture by Virtuts Sambró (History Dep. Teacher) , according to her, the present mixed ethnicity will result in the restoration of the one we had before the Catholic Kings. This talk could be shared by the students of the ‘Aula d’Acollida’ and other History students.
- Causes of the emigration-immigration flows (push and pull factors) We can do a brain-storming activity about what are the problems that influence people to leave their own countries and what are the most attractive aspects of the country they go to.
- The Physics and Chemistry Department will organise an activity about the problem our world has regarding clean water. About 1.200 million people are deprived of it and this is a serious vulneration on the right they have to it. The same Department will choose the groups of students who will take part in it. Some materials might come from Expo Zaragoza 2008.
- Study cases of human rights violations around the world. Written witnesses of youngsters who have been awarded international prizes for their fighting for justice in their countries. The texts we will use are from the book ‘Stand up for your rights’. Written summaries in English and oral exchange when groups explain each other’s stories.
- We will show a documentary (Darwin’s nightmare) and a film (The Constant Gardener). These projections, plus their reviews (summary and opinion) and final discussions will probably help everybody to understand better the way the economical powers rule the world without any respect for their inhabitants.
- Students will collect newspaper cuttings on these matters and other types of information that could download from different international sources, BBC,International Amnesty, SOS Racisme... Again, they will have to summarize them and explain to each other in English.
- Personal and emotional approach through the description of pictures of people from many places around the world. We can also read descriptive texts written by the photographers that have already been translated into English. There are other important ones like the writing done as an adult by the Vietnamese girl of the famous photograph that had such a resounding effect on American society. The students can exchange the explanations, in their oral and written form, among themselves. It’s quite amazing to realize their guesses are many times right. Some can even write a little poem about the chosen person’s picture.
- Possibility of inviting a photo journalist to be interviewed. Easy access to the private collection of J.Llorens, a well-known traveller who has published many books on his trips to remote places from where he has brought amazing objects. For this activity we could also invite other students from the same level and one of our geography teachers.
- There is also a very interesting thesis on the ‘inbuilt’ mathematical knowledge of the artists that make fabulous works of art in Indonesia. The teacher who defended it is a mathematician, called Miquel Albertí, who taught many years in Pau Vila. He speaks good English and as he did in the past, he can explain the thesis in simple words to our pupils.
- Talk by Arcadi Oliveras, Jaume Botey or another relevant personality that could bring together all the different aspects of these subjects we have dealt with so far. This conference will be open to the maximum possible numberof students. Later on, they will have to write a summary and their opinion in English.
- The Physical Education teachers could help to organize a sports match, probably a football game with young immigrants who live close by, in Emaús, to end this first part and to link it with the second.

2nd Part: ‘New Voices’

Central part of the project of interaction with the newcomers which becomes the most interesting by far and the one that might provide first hand experiences to the students, inspiring them to build their own personal contributions. The first part has had an introductory perspective. This one is much more involved. The activities here will be the following:

- Searching for information about the country of the ‘guest’ teacher who we are about to welcome. (Previously there have been exchanges with NGOs or others who have put us in touch with the right contact). The research can also be carried out via internet. We need to know something about the geography, history, language or languages, culture, social practices, traditions, religion, tales, food, music, etc. Collaboration with different school departments including the I.T. Department which will help us with the computers and the internet access, the Physical Education Department which can provide information about sports in the country and also underline the human values enhanced by the practice of sports in order to establish friendly relationships between people and countries.

- Try to find a film, a book and/or a song about the studied country. If we manage to find such material it will be useful for building a better understanding of the country.

- Pass on the details of the arrival of our guest teacher with the NGOs or person in touch.

- Preparing questionnaires for our new teacher and a welcome message.

- Greeting of the selected person. Handing out of a symbolic object such as olive branches tied with a white ribbon. Reciting of the welcome messages. Make him/her feel at home in our school. Introduction to the headmaster who may even be invited to the session and could also say a few words that the students/English teacher can translate.

- In the following sessions (from 3 to 6) we will pay a lot of attention to his/her explanations and we will compare what we are told with our previous knowledge. The communication will be carried out in English and we will remain very open to whatever he/she tells us about the country we are studying (political and economical problems, human and cultural richness of the people who live in it, etc.), together with his personal experiences, as far as he/she chooses to go. We must warn our students aside about the fact that recalling certain memories can be very painful and they have to be very respectful at all times.

- One or more sessions have to be shared with the ‘Aula d’Acollida’. Perhaps we can have some tea together in the classroom. We can inform each other about the activities related to immigration we are all dealing with. We all share a constructive perspective since we don’t see it as a problem, but as a good opportunity. Our guest teacher can receive all this input and can also reinforce the position of our newly arrived students. This can also be a good moment to review many of the multicultural activities done in ‘Pau Vila’ through the years. There are pictures and paper cuttings grouped in albums in the library that can help. We could also mention the ‘Roda de la Pau’, a citizen peace movement in Sabadell that holds weekly silence meeting in front of the Town Hall every Thursday evening. As some of the students have read texts there we might consider doing it again.

- Milagros Villar is a Spanish language teacher who has offered her contribution to the project by giving a speech on the Arab words that are shared by the Spanish language. This lecture will be open to the ‘Aula d’Acollida’ but also to other Spanish students within our school. The Castilian language and literature Dept. will have the last saying in order to select them.

- Rosa Aragay, a writer who is also a Catalan language and literature teacher will talk about our political refugees in South America mainly and the way many Catalan books were written in the exile. She will end recalling the task carried out by Pau Vila himself, an important geographer who had to leave Catalonia because of Franco’s regime. Our school is named after him. The Catalan Department will decide who are the right students , including ‘Aula d’Acollida’, who will also receive the lecture.

- The students can start their drafts and begin to write their articles with everything they have learnt so far.

- They can also gather ideas to design posters to prepare an exhibition about the first and second part of the project. Collaboration with the Art and Drawing Department.

- Another possibility is to collect songs and poems to recite and sing in a little show we can prepare together with other students, open to ‘Aula d’Acollida’, ‘Aula Oberta’ and to the rest of the school. They have to search for the items to be included. (There is a a protest song of the many unfortunate deaths that happen too often when crossing the Gibraltar waters. The name of the song is ‘Papeles mojados’ and the group that sings it is Chambao. Perhaps the students might feel like translating it and sing it…who knows?) The students in Aula d’Acollida might teach us songs and dances from their countries.

3rd Part: ‘Better Chances’

This is the part of the personal and group students’ conclusions and the most productive phase. It is the response or reaction to many stimulus, observations and shared experiences. The dialogue among them is now vital and therefore we suggest the following activities:

- Writing a group project with everything learnt and the conclusions reached by them. The projects could also include proposals of how to improve the present situation.

- There is also the alternative to build a magazine among the students with the articles written by each student of the aspects that have impressed them most and they find most relevant. They can use their own pictures or others downloaded from the internet, etc. The most interesting or voted articles can be translated into Catalan, Spanish, and be published in the local press. Others can also be included in the school magazine.

- Open discussion, exchange of ideas within the class. It’s also important they try to describe the emotions, if any, they have experienced.

- Watching another film and/or another documentary (depending on time) that could lead to further opinions exchange. Let students offer proposals too. (‘Kites in the sky’, ‘14 kms’, ‘The last border’…)

- Talk by Michael Albertí, a mathematician who wrote his thesis on the inbuilt mathematical knowledge he has proved in Indonesian craftsmen who use it all the time to carry out their wonderful works od art. This teacher is very fluent in English and will give his lecture in this language. The Mathematics Department will choose the right students to receive such explanations.

- Tino Martorana will provide the right person to talk about the last movements of open dialogue among the different religions in the world. He will select the right students to attend his talk.

- Lecture by Maria Paredes, a Latin and Greek teacher, on the figure of Ulysses and his constant exile. We have learnt in Achotegui’s book that the depression syndrom suffered by some immigrants is called after this mythological hero.

- Open session by Gilbert Ndunga, political refugee from the Congo, who lives in Sabadell at present. He is a film director and the author of a documentary called ‘Catalunya Negra’ produced by the CCCB with very important thoughts about the double identity (Catalan and African) of some youngsters who were born in Catalonia from African parents. We can do here a link with the 3rd year ESO students and their ‘Crèdit de síntesi’, on multicultural issues. The History Dep will help to organize the questionnaires to be included in their file. The ‘Aula d’Acollida’ students will be invited again to share the activity.

- Spread around the task carried out by Amnesty International and other local NGOs such as SCAI (Servei d’Acollida a l’Immigrant), Drapaires d’Emaús, Roda de la Pau and Coordinadora Un altre món és possible) and prepare a discussion with representatives of these organizations and other institutional and Town Hall members. This activity will be addressed to all the students and teachers of our school, to the immigrants and their organizations, to the teachers of the different departments who have taken part in the activities. Some of the students highly involved in this project could also act as speakers and explain the conclusions reached and the proposals sent away. The press will be invited to make everybody aware of the work carried out by our students.

- If possible, we will organize an exhibition with posters, projects and writings related to our subject. The design and drawing teachers are ready to help here.

- Another option is to organize a one day poetry and music festival in collaboration with all the Languages and Music departments. With this last Department we want to share the organizing and expenses of some of their activities for ‘3ESO Crèdit de Síntesi’, such as African music concert, drums workshop, etc.

- Evaluation of the project itself and the activities developed by the students, teachers in and out of our high-school. This is important in order to improve everything in the future.

- Evaluation by the students , taking their comments into account.

- Evaluate the effect or the impact this project might have had on our students’ lives. Even if it is difficult, we can try to see the medium and long run effects of the project on our students, trying to meet them again in a while. We can show them an interesting documentary called a ‘Divided classroom’ which is based on a real experience performed by teachers and students in an American school after Martin Luther King’s killing.


Each stage of the 3 part project can more or less coincide with one of the natural course terms. Both contents and activities can expand or contract according to the available hours, but we must respect the right sequence: introduction based on studying the origin and effects of racism, interaction with the guest teacher, reaching personal and group conclusions and sharing them with the others. We must study the best way to work together with the students from ‘Aula d’Acollida’, ‘Crèdit de Síntesi’ on multicultural issues and with the other different levels and subjects that might be interested in the activities proposed in the three phases.

6. Methodology

It’s obvious that we will use a communicative methodological approach, open to other useful techniques that might suit the different activities and aims. The exposure of students to real communicative situations, which aren’t artificially set as in the text books will increase their motivation a lot.

Canale and Swain were the ones who basically organized the theories that favour this point of view. It was a reaction to traditional grammar-based perspectives and these authors were aiming to achieve basic competence in language skills. In fact The Communicative approach bears a close relatioship with some Humanistic approaches in which the teaching of different languages is connected with the development of human values such as self-estem and better understanding of others.

In fact the learners and their needs focus more of the attention.Techniques such as pair work and group work are constanly in use to ptomote intensive oral practice and teachers are no afraid of students’ mistakes anymore and explain them that it is natural they appear when they attempt to experiment with a new language.

Coming back to our project we must remember that most of our guests won’t be very fluent in Catalan and/or Spanish yet and they will act as native teachers in English as they are so. We will regard the different accents as part of the richness of the global language English has become. In the new ‘Lingua Franca’ the focus and the lead is not in the Anglo-Saxon countries anymore.

Our students open new windows to the world outside the school and so they become aware of how important is to master English, especially the oral part, to be able to relate to people from all over the world.

Group tasks and finding ways of relating better among themselves and with persons from outside the school will be encouraged all through the project.

Although most activities will be carried out in English, oral and written forms, if the opportunity arises the practice will be carried out in another language; then we will use translation in all its possibilities. The Catalan, Spanish and French Departments will help in this respect. We can simulate the writing of English articles. We can improvise oral translations, etc.

The constant use of translation in our own heads and in many respects is such a powerful practice that none of the modern approaches on foreign language teaching has managed to suppress. It has very deep psychological and cultural roots. Its traditional extensive practice has allowed the languages to get in touch and evolve together. This is obvious. We consider translation has its own values when learning a foreign language.

Nevertheless, we will still use all the main basic language skills, but underlining somehow the Speaking part. We will practice as well quite a lot of Listening and Reading in the first part and Listening, Speaking and Writing will be the most important skills practised s in the second and third parts.

7. Evaluation

Rather than setting an exam system, we will take into account objectively all the tasks done, which will be many along the course, both orally and in writing, but with special emphasis to their oral interactions and presentations in English. Since in certain activities several departments will be involved, we can value their work from the different subjects. We will also consider their attitude and contributions.
At the end of each part, the teacher in charge will forward an indicative mark of their individual and group performance.
From the point of view of the English language we will consider all the basic skills (Listening, Reading, Writing, and mainly speaking) when deciding a final mark.

8. Technical and economical means and needs

We will need easy access to one of the computer rooms, in addition to an audiovisual room. We will use the Conference Room on several occasions and an exhibition room towards the end of the project.
It would be very handy to have a Laptop with a video projector to organize some of the activities with flexible groups gathered around the project.
We need a special budget to finance our new foreign teacher, the lectures given by persons who don’t belong to our school and activities such as, poster exhibition, drums workshop, concert, poetry contest, etc.
Eventually, we need to buy a cupboard we can use to keep all the multicultural teaching material and money to keep buying new books, films, and others that might be interesting for our purposes.
But mainly we consider we need extra teaching hours in our English Department to set out this new project, at least 8 more week sessions , plus a lecturer provided by the ‘Departament d’Educació’ who keeps our students’ oral English fluent to be able to perform properly this new educational experience.

9. Adapting this project for Younger Students (First ESO Cycle)

We could focus our attention on traditions and popular culture. We can work on multicultural folk tales.We could ask ‘Contes Solidaris’ to collaborate with us in this task. Many oral activities can be set to reinforce ‘speaking’ in an activity called ‘Telling stories’ which is explained herewith. They will also write and draw during this activity but mainly to support the main task consisting on retelling a tale.
Through the history of sport and the study of international sporting events we could underline the values of sport trying to join different cultures (Physical Education Department).

In our school there are also teaching resources to work on human rights with simple drawings and short English texts. Collaboration with the Art Department.

10 . Teaching material on multicultural issues to be shared

We will place a cupboard with all the gathered material either in the ‘Aula d’Acollida’ or in the school library. This collection of texts, books, files, internet addresses, films and other audiovisual material will grow thanks to the different contributions of the Departments and with a budget specific to the project which can be updated.
Leaflets with information on different NGOs and contact telephones of people who are ready to help us in organizing activities within this project and also for tutorial sessions, talks promoted by the departments, etc.
Albums showing the pictures and articles of many multicultural activities carried out by students and ex-students of ‘Pau Vila’.



Introduction:The project that follows is totally inspired by a book published by a good friend of mine who is a photographer as well as a writer. His name is Pepe Navarro, and in spite of the name coincidence, he has nothing to do with the radio and TV showman. I also enjoy photography very much, so I was introduced to Pepe just after he had published “Humanamente Possible”. It is a selection of Pepe’s best works and it includes pictures and stories of very unusual and special people from all over the world. The book is not just filled with art, but its human contents is so valuable that I had to offer it to my students somehow. That was how this activity was put together.

The way this activity is carried out consists basically in giving our pupils different pictures from the book and asking them to describe the people represented in them both physically and psychologically. Plus, they have to imagine what the setting of the picture was. Once they are finished, they must explain it to the rest of pupils. Later on, they are given some short texts that disclose some of this information. Finally they share it with the rest of the group and point out the coincidences.

A photo is closely linked to reality , and therefore I have seen time after time that our students guess correctly most part of the identity of the portrayed people on them. I have experienced the same effect when I show them pictures of Sebastiao Salgado or Cartier-Bressons or other artists who have mastered social photography.
Function : They learn to describe people They answer questions such as How does he / she look like? What type of personality has he / she got?
Lexis : The use of adjectives to express physical and psychological features. Find out in a dictionary the difficult words of the given texts. They will be provided with a sheet of paper with a good list of adjectives. that can become useful to them
Grammar: Practice of simple structures learnt in class, such us Simple Present of the verbs ‘to be’ and ‘to have’, possessive ‘s, etc A brief summary of these types of sentences will also be given for them to revise and use .
Speaking: Discussion in groups of the possible identity and building on a description. They explain it to the class and finally they share the coincidences together.
Writing: The speaking activity also takes a written form. It becomes a composition about an unknown person and all the guessing task is included.
Reading: They have to read the text about the person they have chosen and find out the meaning of it in order to retell the others.
Listening: This time they listen to each other and learn form the English they practise in class. The objective here is communication rather than perfection.
Human concern and admiration for people who have difficult lives all over the world but they can teach us a lot in many ways.
Autonomy in the process: the teacher instructs about the procedure to follow, but they fundamentally do everything on their own.
Cooperative tasks with their classmates. Most of the activity is done in small
groups and they must also have respect for the learning process , being patient
with each other’s mistakes.
What is the best time? The best time for this activity would be at the end of the first term, just after the exams and before another Christmas practice. It would be placed in the ‘Clean eyes’ section.
Activity extension
If our students are happy and at ease with the project, have learnt many new adjectives and if you want to build a good atmosphere in class, ask them to move seats next to each other in a different way. Now tell them they have to look at the person sitting on their left and define a couple of qualities he or she has. For example, .Xavi is generours and friendly.
The texts that follow are meant to be used in this project together with their pictures:
Adapted and translated stories by C. Lamarca (with the author’s permission) from Pepe Navarro. Humanamente Posible. Ed. Salvat , Barcelona, 2001.


This is a very special story about a very special young girl in India. “Her deep beautiful eyes, as the picture shows us , will always bring back the memories of one of the most important experiencies in my life. Somehow, she will always be my guide.” That is what the photographer and writer tells us in his book

And he carries on ....When I first met her, it was a sunny summer morning. She was sitting outside the bank where I was changing my money. In a silent way she told me “I will wait for you. I might be lucky today and find a bit of generosity in your heart”. There were other kids playing around her, but they were much noisier , shouting and begging for money.
When I came out, I stopped talking to them and I asked the little girl if I could take a picture of her. “I will give you a rupee” for it. It is not a lot of money but for her it was a fortune. I added ”I will also give some money for your friends” that is how I got this beautiful snapshot of her. After playing with them for a little while I went back to my hotel room.

In the afternoon, I went for a walk. I told myself “I will walk for a while and try to take a few more photographs. I won’t need any money. I will just take my camera” When I got close to the bank I saw the same kids and they all came running and they asked me “Will you give us any more money?”. The little girl was silent and watching her friends crowd around me.
As I couldn’t make them understand I didn’t have any money with me, I pretended to be a beggar myself and I knelt down and I stretched my arm and bent it towards my mouth asking them for food. They didn’t like my game and soon after, they went away. She was still sitting on the bank steps and moved towards me. Slowly she opened her hand, the rupee note appeared again and guess what ...she wanted to give it back to me.... Can you believe that?


This smiling face belongs to a very happy man who defines himself as the richest poor man in the whole world because he has everything he needs. He lives under a bridge that holds the freeway110 in Los Angeles, USA.

As everyone can see in the picture, he lines against the wall all sorts of furniture and he has a
a sitting room, a bedroom covered with curtains against the dust, rugs... It is his “palace” and everybody is welcome there.

He collects shoes and he is prepared to give you a pair of your exact size. He thrives at the opportunity to share his wealth with his friends.

He knows perfectly well that this dream may end any day, but who cares? He has decided to live the present moment and to help others with what he has..


The author met him by chance. He called his door meaning to take a photo from the balcony of Rolando’s house when he was compiling a set of pictures for a book about the arquitecture in La Habana. He spoke to Rolando’s sister and later on he got the chance to meet him.

Rolando could hardly walk because he had suffered a very serious illness when he was a young child. Since he realised he would have to spend most of his life indoors, he decided to read as many books as possible and to learn a lot from them. That is how he has learnt to speak and write six different languages. He also knows a lot of authors and you can have deep conversations with him about them.

In the picture you can see his bedroom piled with books . He has read most of them. He is happy among them and agreed to have a picture showing us his prized possessions.


Who is this beautiful girl sitting at the books stall? She is Yamilé, a young Cuban girl, and according to the author of the picture, this is the most important photograph he has ever taken of anyone.

The artist was leaving the island and he stopped in front of Yamilé. He asked her if he could take a picture of her. This happened in Santiago de Cuba a few years back. He promised to send her the photograph.

After that, he went to India and he had almost forgotten about the girl. One day, though, he sent her the snap with a short letter and they started to write to each other. Through their letters they fell in love and she arrived one year later to this country to get married to Pepe.
Now they live in Barcelona and they have a baby daughter called Duma and this photograph is an unforgettable experience for them both. Would you like to meet them?

Why are we always eager to listen to a new story? It doesn’t matter if we are young or old. People of different ages, from different countries and cultural backgrounds enjoy the magic within a legend or tale. Funny enough, these days with so many multi-media means spread around, we can see how this activity spreads itself around. In quite a few festivals and local celebrations we have the chance to listen to our modern story-tellers . Let’s not forget that before schools and universities were invented, the most important information was passed from one generation to the next thanks to the traditional tales. We want to bring this cultural richness to class and so allow our students to enjoy learning not only English but respect for other civilizations by listening to some old legends about distant places and let’s give them the chance to invent new ones.
- Lexis: connected to far distant lands and styles of life. The Eskimo world and the Cherokee Indians . The vocabulary activities will include puzzles and crosswords.
- Grammar: The use of the past continuous versus simple past. Our students will have to find out these structures in the texts and fill in exercises to practise them. A chart or grammar explanation will also be provided.
- Listening To the film scenes and dialogues, to the teacher telling the legends miming them. To their friends in class retelling stories.
- Speaking: about what they see in some parts of the two films showing life as it was in the Arctic and the rainforests in America. Express their opinions and compare these ways of life to our modern ones. Retelling the legends to their classmates. Explaining the new ones.
- Reading: the stories given to them and doing the exercises they are asked for, like fitting the parts of a text in their right order.
- Writing: A summary of the given legends. A new tale in groups and a few notes that help them to explain it to the others.
- Values and attitudes This practice is clearly aimed to respect other cultural worlds and to admire the courage people needed to survive in difficult conditions. There are important teachings also about how to face death in the Eskimo tale and how to solve conflicts in a peaceful way like in the Cherokee story. The fact they have to do many tasks on their own with teacher supervision and the group orientated activities promote students’ autonomy and cooperation among themselves.

Timing: Probably by the end of the second term, just after the exams. The Eskimo legend represents the hard winter which is gone and the Cherokee story represents the spring time that is breaking through.
1st Session
Explain to your students that they are going to work on two traditional legends one from the Eskimos in the Arctic and another from the American Indians. The last activity will consist in writing in groups their own tales and telling them orally to the rest of the class.
To introduce the activity say they are going to watch two films scenes from two very famous movies where these two worlds appear.
One is “The Savage Innocents” performed by Anthony Queen. It shows the hard conditions of life in The Arctic and the deeply rooted culture of the Eskimos and the second is “The Mission” featuring Robert de Nero. This movie also discovers the truth about the big civilization and the cultural values of the American Indians . After watching the scenes;

- Collect the first students’ impressions about the images by asking oral questions.
- Give them some basic vocabulary about the type of life described in the film scenes through some puzzles, crosswords.
- Ask them to compare the old traditional ways of life to the western modern ones.

2nd Session
- Divide the class into two groups and give them a set of jumbled pieces of their story stuck on cardboard and ask them to put them back into the right order. Help them a bit if necessary with difficult words. It’s also good if they learn to use their dictionaries.
- Retell the story to each group mimimg a lot. Remind them they will have to explain their story to the other group. They can draw on a piece of paper a set of small pictures which might help them to remember the plot plus a few difficult words. Instruct them though they will not be able to read the text itself when attempting to retell the story.
- In turns the different members can now explain the story to the other group asking them to also draw their pictures, as they go along. At the end they can compare the drawings.
- Now focus their attention on the use of past continuous and contrast it with the simple past. Make them write examples on the blackboard from the texts given. Improvise a grammar chart and emphasize the importance of their use in narrative texts. Say they have to use this construction in their next productions.
- Give them new exercises to practise the use of the past continuous form in contrast with the simple past ones.
3rd Session
- Mix the two groups again and now divide the class into four smaller groups to write their little tales (about 80 words)
- After, they have to move seats again and try to explain the stories to the other groups. At the end they will vote for the best story and will give reasons for it.
These are the two legends that we will supply our students with:


Once upon a time there was a very old Eskimo who lived completely alone in his igloo in the Arctic. One day he was feeling very cold and very sick. He didn’t have any food with him, so he decided he had to get something to eat otherwise he would starve himself to death. ( E )
Although he was very weak and his legs were shaking, the old fisherman managed to gather a bit of energy and he walked towards the frozen river nearby. He broke the ice and he put his fishing rod through the hole. After a while he noticed it got stuck to something big and heavy and it became very difficult for him to pull it up, but he finally got it to the surface.....but he really got a was a skeleton......a WOMAN’S SKELETON..... ( C )
He fell back on the ice and he was trembling from head to toe....he threw it away and tried to escape.......but as he turned his head back........unbelievable........the He then began to feel sorry for the poor skeleton and he slowly moved towards her....he got closer and closer and finally he started to tidy the big mess in which the bones were piling until they were back to their right position and ....funny enough he noticed that two big tear drops were falling from the eye holes down to the skull cheeks...... by now he was totally touched and he had forgotten all about his fear ...So he dried the tears with his finger tips and a few moments later he was hugging the skeleton with his skeleton was moving towards him ....she was crawling with her rattling bones. He ran away as fast as he could and bent down to get into the igloo little corridor that led him inside. He wrapped a blanket around him and was lying down trying to calm his nerves and recover from the cold, when he realized the bones of the skeleton were all jumbled up, moving in a mess along the passage and entering into the igloo.... He got into a panic stage and he didn’t know what to do.......but as he was scared to death, he couldn’t move, he was just watching... and later on he noticed the pile of bones were trembling with a crackly noise. (B)

arms trying to give her a bit of warmth and comfort....then he wrapped his blanket around them both and they fell into a very deep sleep.....They were hugging each other in such a sweet embrace that he dreamt of his beautiful wife who had died many years before..... ( A )
In the morning, a hunter who was passing by, went into the igloo to visit the old sick man and there was nobody inside, just a thick blanket on the floor. He travelled a few miles trying to find someone who could inform him about the poor fisherman. Nobody knew anything, but finally a traveller said that he had seen a young Eskimo couple moving happily away . She was a very beautiful woman with rosy cheeks and the sleigh was pulled by dozens of dogs.....the Eskimo legend ( D )


A long time ago, when the world was new, the Creator made a man and a woman. He made them both so that neither of them was alone. They got married and they lived happily for many years( M)
One afternoon, the man was coming home after hunting and saw that his wife didn’t have the supper ready. She was picking some flowers. ( I )

The man was angry.
- I am hungry – he said coldly. Do you expect me to eat these flowers’ ( H )

Then the woman also got annoyed. While she was picking the flowers, she thought she could share their beauty with her husband.
- You hurt me with your words -she said-. I no longer want to live with you. ( C )

She turned west and started to walk following the direction of the sun. The man followed her, but she was walking too fast. He couldn’t reach her. He called her, but she couldn’t hear him. He ran as fast as he could, but the woman was much faster. ( A )

The sun was watching how the husband was following his wife. The Sun realised how hurt the man was and felt sorry for him.
-Are you still angry with your wife?-asked the Sun.
-No answered the man-, I was a fool when I said those things to her. But I can’t reach her to tell her how sorry I am.
-I will help you- said the Sun. ( L )

-The Sun sent a sun beam upon the Earth, just in front of the woman. There, where the light shone, some raspberries grew up. The raspberries were ripe and looked so good, but the woman didn’t take notice and she kept on walking. ( F )

The Sun tried it again. It sent a ray and the blueberries grew. They were shining under the sun, but the woman didn’t take notice of them. She was heading west and her husband was even further back. ( D )

The Sun tried it for a third time. Right where the sun rays touched the Earth, blackberries grew. They were black and big, but the woman was too angry and didn’t pay any attention to them. ( B )

Finally, the Sun made a supreme effort. It lit the grass right in front of the woman’s feet and the strawberries appeared. They were shining as if the grass was on fire, and the woman had to stop when she had them in front. ( E )

She knelt down, she pulled one and bit it. She had never tried anything as good as this new fruit. That sweetness reminded her how happy she and her husband had been before their argument.
-I must pick up some fruit for my husband-she said-, and she started to pick some strawberries.
( J )

She was still picking them when the man approached her. ( K )

-Forgive me for the things I said –the man said. And she answered him by sharing with him the sweetness of the strawberries.
That is how the strawberries came to exist in this world. ( G )

So, when the Cherokee Indians eat strawberries remember that they must be kind to each other, and that friendship and respect are as sweet as the taste of juicy ripe strawberries. ( N )

C) LET’S ALL GET INTO THE BUS (inspired in a teaching proposal made by Collin Grange in a teacher’s event in Barcelona) 1 or 2 DAYS PROJECT ON RACISM

Introduction: Racism and immigration are two issues we have to deal with in class in an effective way. They are not just ideas We must get involved and make students experience the right emotions and this way we can try to make our small contribution to the better world we want from the language class.
- Lexis: Some basic words about a means of transportation such as the bus. Some words about the biography and struggle of a historical man as Martin Luther King.
- Grammar:Revision of the simple past. Preview of future will
- Listening To the teacher explaining the story and giving instructions how to role-play it. Listen to a song, “We shall overcome”
- Speaking: Role-play in class a historical anecdote. Some advanced students could try to recite parts of the famous speech in the history of United States, “I have a dream”. Expressing their opinions on how they felt after the dramatization. A possible debate on racism.
- Reading a biography and some parts of the above speech.
- Writing their opinion on racism with reference to some problems not only in The United States but within Spain too.
- Values and attitudes: Respect for each human being in the world irrespectively of his or her race. Paying attention to any racist problem around the students. Make them aware of problems immigrants face..

Timing: Right at the beginning of the sessions, in the ‘Clean eyes’ part to make them feel the right emotions

The activity starts:
First tell your students we are going to recall something that really happened on a bus. You are going to tell the story and they must dramatise it. At the end of the activitiy you will ask them two questions:

1) Where did it happen?

2) When did it happen?

First of all, try to move some chairs around to create the idea of a bus. Choose a man/boy to be the bus driver. He should be fairly good at English and a woman/girl to be at the bus stop. She must also be quite fluent. The rest will sit in the different rows, but they will leave a free seat just behind the driver.

Before you start telling them what happened, you will teach them some necessary vocabulary alley or corridor, seat, free seat, bus driver, bus stop, passengers...etc.

Now you address yourself to the woman at the bus stop and ask her to show emotions on her face as you go along: You are very tired today. You have worked really hard cleaning several houses for rich people and you are dead tired and you just want to get into the bus and collapse on your seat, any seat. You are also loaded with shopping for your family. Make sure she carries on one or two people’s bags.

Ask the driver to pretend he is driving and the passengers must simulate that he is driving fast and braking near the bus stop. The driver is in a funny mood and takes the money for the woman’s ticket from the front window. Ask these students to role-play a short dialogue . The woman cannot enter through the front door and she must run to the back with her heavy load. The driver is joking with a couple of passengers: ”One of these days I will leave without her..”

She finally manages to get in and walks along the corridor and sits right behind the driver . The only free seat is there. After a while, the bus stops again and another chosen student will play the role of a male passenger waiting at the next bust stop. This one pays and enters the bus from the front and stands angrily next to the woman and wants her to give up her seat for him. She refuses to get up and he shouts at her and he even insults her. Suggest a few nasty expressions for the student who role-plays to repeat....

The bus driver is a bit fed up of the noise and stops the bus and walks towards them and shouts WHO? You ask this question to the class. The normal answer is: “ To the man”......but it’s not so in our story. You tell them that he shouts at HER.... and wants her to give up her seat. She will not obey the driver and she sits firmly on her seat....Eventually, the bus driver asks one of them to leave the bus, but ..WHO? Again it’s the woman.

The driver calls the police. They will take her to prison ... by now many faces are surprised except one or two people. At the end you ask them the initial questions. The answers are the following:

1) It happened in Montgomery, Alabama (U.S.A.)
2) It was in 1955

This might ring a bell. Perhaps somebody will guess she is black. Her name is Rosa Parks and she is Martin Luther King’s neighbour.

Tell them that Rosa will change the history of U.S.A. by refusing to leave her seat to a white person as the rules of the apartheid established. In a few days, the black people led by King protested because of this and refused to travel by bus. They started a long boycott campaign against the buses. Black people organized themselves walking to work o sharing private cars. The public transport system in the area began to lose a lot of money. Later on, even John F. Kennedy, the American president, had to go there to try to solve the problem by negotiating with the black leaders, especially with Luther King. Therefore this little story became very relevant. Also tell your students that this happened on 1st Dec. ..... And Rosa Park died recently.

At this point it is very important to ask the student who role-played Rosa Parks how she felt. Often the person acting this part feels quite bad and insulted by being treated in such an unfair way and so through her we can understand the initial emotions felt by the actual protagonist.

Later on, we will spread round the class a text about Martin Luther King from The Oxford Important People’s Dictionary and so they will have the chance to read about him and his struggle for Civil Rights.

Let them read the text to themselves and after explaining the difficult vocabulary, then get them to answer a few comprehension questions.

Vocabulary: Write sentences using these words from the text:


Comprehension questions:
1) What is Martin L. King’s job?
2) What do you know about his family?
3) How did black people live up to that moment?
4) Where did he give his famous speech ‘I have a dream’?
5) How is the situation of black people in America now? Are there many changes? What about the flooding in New Orleans?
6) Add two more questions to the list to ask to your classmates

Now ask students to get ready to watch and listen to a documentary released by The Time Magazine about the most relevant people of the 20th Cent. They will see scenes of the black people’s fight, the segregated buses and a piece of one of the most famous speeches in history, which is also a masterpiece in terms of literature.

After this little video that lasts about 5’, let them talk to each other and write their own impressions on the issue and tell them to express what are the images that are the most impressing. Ask them if they know other similar leaders such as Luther King or Gandhi. If possible, start a short debate with them about “Will racism ever come to an end?”

As homework, you can ask them to find more information on the internet not only about this episode, but about any racist problem around Catalonia, The United States or the world.

Give them a short explanation about will /won’t for predictions. They must find a few examples from the text and write their own sentences about the way they imagine a better world:
Black people will be treated as first class citizens in a better world.
Children won’t be judged by the colour of their skin anymore
To finish the lesson you can play “We shall overcome”, a song of the fifties linked to the movement just revived.


The one day project about Rosa Parks and Luther King will provide us with the feedback information we need to know if our students are very concerned about the world around them and injustice in general or if we should stimulate their views on certain matters.

If we sense we must carry on in this direction, we could use a very valuable book I obtained from the United Nations store in Genève, Switzerland. It is called “Stand Up for Your Rights”. It was written and illustrated by youngsters all over the world who played an important role defending the different causes in their own countries. A NGO called Peace Child International gathered them all in a house in England a few years ago and they worked for several months on this project. The result is authentic and unbelievable. As it happens to be, I know a person in my town that was there too with a scholarship helping to compile the book. She is always ready to help out by coming to explain her experience to the students , as she did in the past. Her name is Esther Visas. The book reference is Peace Child International, Stand Up for Your Rights, Two-Can Publishing Ltd, Herts. 1998.
- Vocabulary: Revising and enlarging the vocabulary they know. Further use of their dictionaries.
- Grammar: Revising the structures they know well and the pre-view of new ones.
- Reading: Articles on human rights and real stories connected to them.
- Listening. To their classmates summarising their articles and the possibility of practising English in class through an invited guest who could talk about the problems in his / her country.
- Speaking in front of the class ,with a few notes only, and retelling an article or some information they got from internet
- Writing an account of the human right they are dealing with, all the information collected , plus their opinion on possible solutions.
- Values and attitudes It is obvious our aim here. They could also talk about possible ways they feel they can get involved to make a better world possible. It is important though that they see the relationship there is between the articles of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the many abuses of them that happen in everyday situations very close to them.

Between the first and second part of the project, From ‘Clean eyes’ to ‘New voices’ leading them to their interaction with our newcomers who will represent the injustices in their own countries.

1st Session
1) I would start by asking my students to recall any injustices they have fought against or something that has happened far away but they felt somehow concerned about .
2) Divide the class in small groups of 3 or 4 people.
3) Give them a short history of human rights. It is the introduction of the mentioned book and it is written as if it was a comic strip .Ask them to focus their attention in different time periods. They will explain it later on to the rest of the class in a couple of minutes without reading it.
4) Now they will choose one of the articles with an attached story. I will prepare twice as many needed so that they can select one according to their interests.
5) I will hang an enlarged copy of The Universal Declaration of the Human Rights in the classroom in English so they can find their own one.
6) They will use the dictionary to understand the text and they will write a summary and give an opinion which they can present orally to their classmates.
7) These compositions will be handed to the teacher and they will be a third of the activity mark.

2nd Session

1) They prepare a few notes out of the marked composition. They can also write down a difficult word or two they might need for the oral presentation.
2) They talk in front of the class and they refer to the human right article their story deals with. After, they retell the experience that they have chosen and their opinion using the notes only and leaving aside the text and their composition. This part is also a third of the total activity mark depending on the fluency and accuracy they have used to express themselves. In any case, if communication has been established in spite of the normal difficulties, we will give them a pass mark. We must encourage our students to talk in front of a group and we will never point out any mistakes while they are speaking. We will only take active part in the speech if they need some help with a word or an expression that they need to continue.
3) The group moves to the computers room to get through internet further information about a country, a problem, or the different movements and N.G.O.s that work for human rights. Out of the texts we print, we can pick some to make a poster for our classroom. This part is the third item of the mark. They don’t need to translate the texts. They can write a few sentences in English for everybody to know what it is about. We can help them to do it as some of the information they have downloaded will be a bit complicated for some of our students.

13. Bibliography

- ACHOTEGUI LOIZATE, Josep. La depresión en los inmigrantes: Una perspectiva transcultural. Ed. Blanquerna
- ARIMÓN, Glòria i LORMAN, Josep. Contes de Bagdad. Marge Books, Barcelona, 2007.
- CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona), books published for the exhibitions:

- Apartheid, the South-African mirror (2007)
- The West seen from the East (2005)
- The Frontiers (2007)
- The War (2006)
- Post-it city (2008)
- CEAR (Comissió Catalana d’Ajuda al Refugiat). L’enriquiment de la pèrdua: Aportacions i riqueses de les persones refugiades a Catalunya. Ed. Eco-reciclat, Barcelona, 2007.
- CASTLES,S and MILLER,N.The Age of Migration.International Population Migration.MacMillan, London, 1994.
- LLIGA DELS DRETS DELS POBLES. Parlem de l’Afganistan. Via Gràfica, Sbdell. 2001.
- MAS, Francesc. Trencant fronteres. Intermón-Oxfam, Barcelona, 2001
- NAVARRO, Pepe. Humanamente Posible. Barcelona, 2001
- OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS. Oxford Dictionary of Famous People. O.U.P., Oxford, 2002
- SEGLERS, Àlex. La immigració a Catalunya explicada als joves. Enciclopèdia Catalana, Barcelona, 2001.
- STERN, Anita.Tales from many lands (An anthologyof multicultural Folk Literature) . Published by NationalText Book Company.
- TIME MAGAZINE. The 10 Most Outstanding People in the 20th Century. T.M., New York, 2000.
- TORTAJADA, Carme, MARLET, Núria. Afganistan el país de les dones valentes. PAUOC (Pataforma Antiguerra de la Universitat Oberta de Catalunya), Barcelona, 2003.
- UNESCO. Quan viatjar no és un plaer. (Unitat Didàctica) :Barcelona, 2007.
- VIVAS, Esther and Other Editors. Stand Up for Your Rights. Peace Child International. Two-Can Publishing Ltd., Herts, 1998.
Internet addresses A very interesting page that promises: ‘fresh thought, authoritative data, global reach’.
- Designed by ‘Mans Unides’ . It’s an educationl game.
- This important press agency has trained important journalists and photographers such us Cartier-Bressons
- blog with pictures of the suffering of illegal immigration.
- An endless and reliable source of news .
- . Another prestigious English newspaper.
- This worldwide famous organitzation fights for human rights
wherever it is needed.
- This organiztion fights racism.
- Associació Catalana d’Ajuda al Refugiats. It offers help to refugees within
- . Comissió Espanyola d’Ajuda al Refugiat. It assists refugees who arrive to Spain.
- www.intermó It offers help to the Third World.