Friday, 19 November 2010

Human towers in Barcelona

The Catalan tradition of building human towers are now on UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

"Castells" are regarded by Catalans as an integral part of their cultural identity, passed on from generation to generation.

Go to to find out where and when you can see the spectacular show.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Movies on Montjuïc

Every year there is an open-air film festival on Montjuïc. Movies are shown every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you haven't been there yet this year it's about time! The movies are shown close to the castle on the top of the mountain and you can go by car, motorbike, Montjuïc “teleférico” or by bike.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Monestir de pedralbes

Described by many as one of Barcelonas hidden treasures. The Pedralbes Monastery located in Les Corts is one of the city's most interesting examples of Catalan Gothic architecture.
The initiator Queen Elisenda built the Monastery as a retreat for herself after her husband Jaume II's death .

The cloister's three-story structure hosts the museum, showing the remains of the nuns' everyday lives. The collections include paintings, ceramics, furniture, gold- and silverware and textiles.


As you enter the cloister look at the broken paving stones, tracks made during Napoleons occupation of Barcelona 1809, when the nunnery was turned into barracks


How to get there:
The nearest metro station is Palau Reial. From there Avinguda de Pedralbes will take you all the way to the Monastery.


Monday, 7 June 2010

What's it like to teach English abroad?

Thinking about starting to teach English for the first time?
Or moving to another country to teach?
On this website I've found excellent stories from other teachers working in different parts of the world. Job possibilities in Asia, requirements for teching in Latin America.. Its all there!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Interesting listening

For listening exercises or homework BBC offers a broad range of pod casts covering many different subjects. They are easy to download and you can find something for every level.

Grammar challenge (learn English) is originally 6 minutes long but can be shortened if needed. Verb forms, tenses, prepositions and pronunciation are presented in a easily comprehendible way.

The Song Tree Music and educational resources for school children aged 5 to 7. For musical activities, learning and
performing songs.

Talk about English (learn English) A 20 minute chat
show that can be divided or shortened. Covers different topics and highlights useful words and expressions.

Programmes about news, sport, history, film etc. are also available. Why not let the students choose their own pod cast to listen to as homework?

Communication, leadership and fruit

For seven years Greig Martin has been teaching in Barcelona. I figured he must have some things to say about his experiences so I decided to ask him some questions.

Why did you choose to become a teacher?
- It started as a hobby two evenings a week when I worked in stock exchange in Ireland. In Barcelona I asked for work in the stock exchange but they asked for my level of Spanish and Catalan, which was zero. They offered me a job sorting mail; I said no thanks and decided to change my hobby into a profession.

What do you like about teaching?
-Autonomy, leading, helping people achieve their goals. I find it fun to make a measurable impact on people’s lives, a change that you can notice.

Do you have any advice for someone who hasn't got much experience of teaching? What should they have in mind?
That you're guiding a bunch of people through a forest. You might not know everything that's in the forest but it's important you know your destination and help them get there. Knowing grammar and specific vocabulary points, don't worry, that can take years before you know all that. You just have to get them to the one point that you're doing with the class.

What is the most important characteristics of a great teacher?
Patience, leadership, patience, communication and more patience.

What is the most challenging thing you've done as a teacher?
Now I’m mainly organizing costumed courses for different multinationals, with students of different professions in the classes. It’s continually challenging to try to make that class very useful to them as individuals. The most difficult thing was when I had to teach the names of fruit and vegetables in four different languages, for one of the largest fruit companies in this part of
Spain. It was very boring, but at least now I know the name of all different fruit in four different languages.

What would you advise a person coming to teach in
Just do it. I came with one sentence and not a lot of teaching experience. So I had a big drive to learn Spanish because when you really want to speak and need to speak on a daily basis you can learn it very quickly.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Get inspired!

I recently came across a website with teaching techniques. Included in the list of links is classroom management, music and songs, motivation and public speaking, among other things.

Friday, 5 March 2010

The Chocolate Croissant - a TEFL trainees first day

On the way to my first day of my TEFL course 3 and a half long years ago, I started a new tradition which would become my favorite part of Barcelona for the first month living here: the morning chocolate croissant. Having just spent the previous 2 years of my life driving to work, I always missed out on the morning stop to the corner bakery and the ensuing sugar rush. So armed, I stepped onto the uncomplicated metro at Poble Nou and headed confidently towards Trinitat Nova on the yellow line to my school at the corner of Rambla de Catalunya and Carrer d’Aragó and my new life as a TEFL trainee.

After a short ride, luckily without transfers or pick-pocketing incident, I got off at Passeig de Gràcia, remembering that it was the same as Paseo de Gracia, the Spanish name for the stop as it was written on my map. I had done some recon during the week before the course and knew exactly how to get there: follow the exit signs, see the Gaudi house, Casa Batlló on the right, sigh in awe, and proceed one block down Aragó. Only this time something went terribly, terribly wrong. There was no Gaudi house to greet me as I excited the metro, no Carrer d’Aragó to reassure me that I was on the right track, and obviously no sigh of relief or awe.
For someone who has had ample opportunities to get accustomed to using a map, I still have never mastered it; on this occasion, now with 10 minutes to get to class, my first class, the most important first impression I would make in Spain, sweat making its presence known in the June heat and overwhelmed by the sameness of the Eixample streets, I showed my ineptitude by running a block in every direction, hoping to random ly come across something that would remind me of how to get to school. I remember thinking Could they at least throw us newbies a bone by labeling the streets in some identifiable way? The plaques on the sides of under-construction buildings were not helping my mission.

Eventually, my unsystematic scheme did work and I caught sight of an interesting store next to the school (Note to self: check that out after class). As I raced up the stairs, barely managing to breathe a bon dia to the portero at the door, I thought today I’ve earned that chocolate croissant breakfast and maybe even one more for lunch.

Jen Whelan

Monday, 15 February 2010

Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona

One of Barcelonas most famous museums Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona is a great place to go if you're looking for some inspiration. The MACBA, designed by American architect Richard Meier opened to the public in 1995. All the art dates from the mid-20th century onward.

Winter Hours
September 25th to June 23rd
Weekdays: 11 am to 7.30 pm
Saturdays: 10 am to 8 pm
Sundays and holidays: 10 am to 3 pm
Closed: Tuesdays (except holidays), December 25th and January 1st

Plaça dels Angels, 1
08001 Barcelona
Tel +34 93 412 08 10
Fax +34 93 412 46 02

Learn Spanish Free

A great way of learning Spanish without paying anything is to do a language exchange. This means that you "exchange language" with another person. You teach them a language you know and vice versa. On the two websites listed below you can find a person to learn Spanish or Catalan from.

The first one only has people in Barcelona while the second one has people from all counties.

English books in BCN

Where in Barcelona can you find books in English? Listed below are three of the best bookshops in the city.

  • HIBERNIAN-BOOKS - Second hand bookshop in Gracia with good selection. Reasonable prices
    Carrer de Montseny 1708012 BARCELONA Tel: (+34) 932 174 796

  • BCN BOOKS - English course books for all ages. Contemporary and classic fiction. Dictionaries
    Three shops in the city, see website for more information

  • LLIBRERIA ANGLESA COME IN - Fiction and non-fiction, travelguides and a big selection ofEnglish course books and teaching material.
    C/ Balmes 129 bis08008 Barcelona - Spain93 453 12 04/93 453 18 06

Write a fantastic CV

There are some websites out there that offer great advice on how to write a CV that will make a good impression. Are you just about to write a CV for the first time or are you looking to improve your CV? These sites are definitely worth a visit. - Covers everything from Resumes and CVs and Cover letters to Interviewing. - Information about writing CV for teaching jobs. - Examples of CVs.

Do you know other websites with CV tips feel free to share them!