As I start this Newsletter, our eleventh, I wonder how time could have gone by so fast: here we are contemplating the memories of our 31st Annual Conference which celebrated both FAAPI’s thirty-fifth and APrIR’s thirtieth anniversaries with due solemnity in the joy of getting together to continue learning.
And learn we did! First of all, from the British Council Director Martin Fryers we learnt about the agreement signed to collaborate with the educational authorities to further the teaching of English in our country. Great promising news for every ELT professional in the country for we are well aware of the quality of their educational services. Every attendee was provided with a wonderful BC transparent portfolio full of bookmarkers with helpful websites for the teaching of English. Last but not least, the Conference Proceedings were once again funded by them.
We also learnt how to appreciate and decode multiple instances of communication starting with two wonderful storytellers who spellbound the audience with the incredible impact of their stories, masterly told, mimed and/ or chanted; continuing with icons and images through to the magic of facilitation of higher thinking skills and discipline to a great close with Irish dances!
We also confirmed that Murphy’s Law* inexorably outwits the wisest organizers: this time with the unbelievable response to the celebration so that concurrent sessions tended to be overcrowded or too packed to allow any more attendees, some of whom got too fractious and vented their own frustrations on the guileless usherettes! Little did the would-be gatecrashers know that the number of people allowed in every concurrent session was set in observance of stringent safety measures which are being reinforced since Cro-Magnon regrettable tragedy! Technology also hindered rather than helped when the first morning session fell behind schedule for a cable was missing- obviously affecting the following ones Or when the incredible depth of the stage prevented those seated at either side from watching the Power Point presentations. There is always something, isn’t there? As in each event, even though every detail may be considered on the basis of what happened during the previous ones! We cannot help wishing FAAPI could anticipate the ones that might happen in the next, and we will keep trying to do our best!
The exhibitors’ area was nothing short of an ELT profession mall: a specialized area where the offerings were too many and the time too short to see them all, but we do know we have to make choices as the time is too short to see everything! Someone suggested a four-day Conference and more extended timetables… Some others, reducing crowds by restricting registration to graduate teachers and last year trainees. What FAAPI does know is that in the future the registration will be announced as closing on the quota being reached. No exceptions.
We hailed this Conference as a great celebration and the social events were really joyous occasions to get to know each other or to get acquainted with people from other places! Even though the plenary sessions were held at Broadway Theatre and the rest of the activities at St. Bartholomew School, everything was within walking distance and the premises were really nice! Our deepest gratitude to APrIR and all their generous collaborators for all their hard work! We do hope the exhaustion after this mega organization will not deter them from considering future ones, given the impact of their efforts. The legend “May the harvest ahead be as fruitful,” on the pewter dish we gave them is but a heartfelt token of our admiration for their work.
At the informal meeting with member TAs’ Representatives, Asociacion Jujeña de Profesores de Inglés announced they will be hosting FAAPI 2007 on Cultural Awareness, a challenging topic that will interest most ELT professionals in Argentina. But beware, for this will have to be more reduced in numbers in direct relation to the size of both the premises and accommodation facilities available there.
IATEFL’s Wider Membership Scheme
Our bid for 100 IATEFL membership applications at £5 was accepted in June, but just to try to make them available to all the associations we offered them at the informal meeting we usually hold with the representatives of the different Associations. So far over 35 membership applications have been received, so there are still over 60 to go. The offer is for members of TAs and has to come through their executive committee. In case you are interested, you need to send an e-mail with the following information:
WMS Application Argentina (FAAPI)
Title: Mr/ Mrs/ Dr/ Prof/ Other
Family Name Given Name
Telephone Fax Email
Payment: $30 either deposited in HSBC Savings Account 0676-06548-4
CUIL/ CUIT/ CIE 27-03694749-2 CBU 15000176 0000676654846 or sent by postal order.
Please, fax deposit slip to 0387-4321054; scan and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to Pje Zorrilla 239. 4400 Salta
Mother’s Day came and went and I was thrilled to get over fifteen messages congratulating me! However prolific I was, I had but six children, all wonderfully mature adults with their own families now! However I do feel that parenthood not only helps teachers understand both learners and their own children a bit better, but also keeps them aware of the social changes that have brought about the great differences between their own and their students’ adolescent times! Something that other parents sometimes are hard put to perceive!
National Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Resolution 664 SE, dated September 26, 2006, granting official recognition to FAAPI Conference 2006 has just come out. Once again, after the event was over thus creating a lot of anxiety among organizers and attendees alike. Red tape still looms as invincible as always in our country.
One of the cultural byproducts of the relentless march of personal computer technology through society is the extraordinary revival and pervasive use of the term “cool”- the favorite expression of Mr. Gates and just about everyone else in computerdom.
The modern roots go back to the 1940’s and before. In 1947, the jazz saxophonist Charles Parker cut a record titled “Cool Blues”. Over the years, the popularity of “cool” as a slang expression has ebbed and flowed, but it has been used by bebop musicians, beatniks, hippies, techies and beyond.
It’s the endurance of “cool”, more than its etymology, that intrigues linguists. Aging colloquial expressions tend to fall by the wayside. People don’t run around today intoning “twenty-three skiddos” or “it’s the berries.”
“It is surprising that “cool” has survived so long,” observes John Simpson, the chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, “usually one generation tries not to use the slang of the previous generation.”
In his book “I sing the Body Electronic: A year with Microsoft on the Multimedia Frontier,” Mr. Alfred Moody writes about the term “cool,” as it is used at Microsoft: “Depending upon the context in which it is used and the tone of voice with which it is uttered, cool can mean perfect, phenomenal, awesome, ingenious, eye-popping, bliss inducing, prettery clever, enchanting, fine, adequate, acceptable, okay, or any of hundreds or so of other such words. The opposite of cool, in all of its meanings, is random.” (Random, in this sense, means out of it, wrong or clueless.)
“Cool” has become part of America’s linguistic currency. Fox television network has ‘recently’* run print ads showing a picture of an older, dowdy person in his underwear alongside a picture of one of the self-consciously trendy characters form Fox’s evening soap opera, “Melrose Place.” The copy above the two contrasting photos reads, “Cool like them or Cool like us.”
Last month, Dr. Lee P. Brown, the senior White House anti-drug official, spoke forcefully in urging American companies to stop making liquor, beer and tobacco so attractive to children. His punch line: “Corporations must stop making marketing coolness.”
“Cool” has evolved to reach its present-day usage over the course of more than a century. Through most of its life as a slang expression, cool has had an edgy, counterculture connotation. In the early 19th century, notes Jesse Sheidlower, the editor of Random House Dictionary of American Slang, “cool” was used to mean impudent, insolent or daring. A citation in 1825, from the magazine English Spy, refers to a Young man from Eton College as “A right cool fish,” meaning “one who is not particular about what he says or does. By the 1930’s, Mr. Scheidlower said , “cool” had come to mean exciting or enjoyable in the English used by many American blacks, including the author Zora Neale Hurston in her 1935 book “Mules and Men.” Black jazz musicians helped introduce “cool” to a wider audience and, by the late 1940’s, it was used loosely as a general term of approval. In 1948, The New Yorker wrote “The bebop people have a language of their own… Their expressions of approval include “cool”!”.
To the early computer technophiles, the appeal of “cool” seems to have been its counterculture lineage. Steward Brand, the editor of the Whole Earth Catalog and only one of the founders of The Well, an on-line computer service, recalls first hearing the word “cool” in the 1950’s used by beatniks in San Francisco. And, he says, there was a real affinity between the counterculture street scene and renegade computer hackers.
“Instead of doing drugs,” Mr. Brand said, “they were doping computers.”
Still the use of “cool” is one thing, but its use as an all-purpose term, repeated again and again in conversation, suggests a certain lack of imagination and precision. And it is true that wealthy young programmers, like those at Microsoft, tend to be fluent in the language of computer code but inarticulate in English as a second-rate language, mushy and subjective compared to computing’s precise digital vernacular.
John Brockman, the author of “The Third Culture”, a book about how science and technology are shaping intellectual life, sees the insistent use of “cool” as a sign on insularity. “It’s indicative of a monoculture- people who share the same ideas and the same limited language,” Mr. Brockman explained. “They don’t have to say much beyond “cool” because the people they are speaking to know what they mean.”
Perhaps, Mr. Brand replies, “but now we’re all in this subculture together. In fact “cool” has gone so mainstream that this could be the time to sell your stock in cool.” Excerpted from the article “It’s hot, has four letters and legs” by Steve Lohr, The New York Times, 1995.
Interesting to note that to all the meanings cited above, the Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary adds “composed, collected, unruffled, imperturbable, nonchalant.”
An anecdotic reference to ELT professionals and trainees’ literacy skills: the incredible number of registration forms that were not fully or duly completed and the fact that very few paid attention to the “Please, bear in mind” notice in the FAAPI 2006 program, something that might have saved themselves and the organizers quite a few awkward moments.
Although they might be rated as highly proficient readers, most of them seem to pay little attention to forms, signs and notices, a fact that has earned them their fame as absent-minded stereotypes
Social News: We regret to inform that AJPI President Marcela Burgos Pawlak’s second baby could not make it after his premature birth last week. We offer the bereaved parents our deepest sympathy.
Reading about APIBA’s Annual Seminar in ELT News Bulletin we were reminded that 2006 is also APIBA’s thirty-fifth anniversary so our heart goes to them in celebration of their fruitful work, as well.
Hallowe’en is drawing nearer and so is the busiest time of the year when we rush to catch up with everything we fell behind in! So we wish you the best and look forward to hearing from you!
Norma Beatriz Boetsch
*American engineer Edward F. Murphy- alleged author of the Law made up of several other practical observations- said: ”If anything can go wrong, it will.”
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