Sunday, 28 February 2010

Poem of the month

February is almost over, but there is just enough time for me to share my poem of the month. In 2001 I studied English at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. One of my courses was a linguistics course led by professor Gerard Steen. I've always been a bit of a romantic and I think I picked the course because it had love stories in its title. However, it turned out to be very different from what I had expected. The course was mainly about rhetorical structure theory (RST) and all the students took part in a project where we applied this theory to love poetry. I was much more interested in love poetry than linguistics, but the project turned out to be very interesting. One of the poems I worked on was "Come. And be my baby" by Maya Angelou. Almost ten years later I have to admit that I have forgotten most of what I learnt about RST, but I still know this poem by heart:

The highway is full of big cars
going nowhere fast
And folks is smoking anything that'll burn
Some people wrap their lives around a cocktail glass
And you sit wondering
where you're going to turn.
I got it.
Come. And be my baby.

Some prophets say the world is gonna end tomorrow
But others say we've got a week or two
The paper is full of every kind of blooming horror
And you sit wondering
what you're gonna do.
I got it.
Come. And be my baby.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Plan a vacation in the UK

It's been some busy weeks lately, but most of the time busy is good. One of the topics we have been working on in February is the UK and we decided that a good introduction to the country would be to have the students plan a trip to a British city. The students were divided into groups of three or four and they were each assigned a British city. You can see the instructions they were given here: Plan a vacation to the UK. I think the assignment worked quite well, but if we are going to do this again, I think I will ask them to use a more fun presentation tool than powerpoint. This photo is from flickr: Underground (night version).