miércoles, 29 de marzo de 2017

Salón do Libro

Next friday, 7 April, a group of our pupils will enjoy the opportunity to listen Polish Poet, Grażyna Wojcieszko, who wil visit our school as an activity promoted by Salón do Libro de Pontevedra.

She will be accompanied by Galician poet Yolanda Castaño, director of the event.  

Grażyna Wojcieszko

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gra%C5%BCyna_Wojcieszko (Wikipedia in English )

martes, 28 de marzo de 2017


A couple who fought to change things  (and they got it)
“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” is a Drama which takes place in the USA in the 1960s.  The film was made just in the year 1967, when the Supreme Court abolished the laws which still banned interracial marriages in some southern states. 

In this social background, 23-year-old Joanna Dreyton returs home from a holiday in Hawaii with her smart fiancé, 38-year-old Dr. John Prentice, who happens to be a negro.

To Joanna’s parents this represents a shock, because, although they had brought her up in the idea that black and white people were equal, they were not really prepared to see their daughter marrying a black man, even though he was the son-in-law any family would fancy for their beloved girl (“We told her it was wrong to believe that white people were superior to black people.  But we never added,’ never fall in love with a coloured man’).  He was a doctor who was carrying out some really efficient health programme in Africa, which was saving thousands of lives, and was travelling around the world giving lectures about this matter.  Not to mention that he was handsome, sensible, gentle and educated.

One of the most surprising reactions is the Draytons' black  servant’s, who cannot even believe that a black man can be a doctor and she happens to be the most racist character in the film. -‘I don’t want a man of my own race getting above himself’.

A major point in the film is the coincidence between both fathers and both mothers in their point of view on the marriage.  Both mothers appeal to feelings and they support the couple because they are very much in love with each other, whereas the fathers are more worried about the huge difficulties the couple will have to face in a society which has changed their laws, but not the way they think about interracial marriages.  - ‘Have you thought what people will say about you?  And say they changed the law,  that will not change the way people feel about these things.’

On the other hand, it is also basic to highlight the different views of the racial situation between the younger generation and the older generation.  Doctor Prentice tells his father,’ you think of yourself as a black man, I think of myself as a man’.  The change has started for the young generation and, despite the fact they know they will have to face social contempt, they are optimistic and believe the change cannot be stopped.

Finally, a curious coincidence.  Joanna dreamt her son would be president- quite a wonderful mother’s dream.  Curiously enough President Barak Obama was born in 1961.  A whole generation were fighting for equality, they had faith in it, some black leaders like M. Luther King and lots of other anonymous people were killed for it,  and it seems that eventually they reached it.

They lived in a racist society.

      They struggled for real equality.

                                       It seems they have finally reached it.

  Written in 2011: Arturo Neira.

martes, 7 de marzo de 2017

To The Indifferent Women

A Sestina
You who are happy in a thousand homes, 
Or overworked therein, to a dumb peace; 
Whose souls are wholly centered in the life 
Of that small group you personally love; 
Who told you that you need not know or care 
About the sin and sorrow of the world? 

Do you believe the sorrow of the world 
Does not concern you in your little homes? — 
That you are licensed to avoid the care 
And toil for human progress, human peace, 
And the enlargement of our power of love 
Until it covers every field of life? 

The one first duty of all human life 
Is to promote the progress of the world 
In righteousness, in wisdom, truth and love; 
And you ignore it, hidden in your homes, 
Content to keep them in uncertain peace, 
Content to leave all else without your care. 

Yet you are mothers! And a mother's care 
Is the first step toward friendly human life. 
Life where all nations in untroubled peace 
Unite to raise the standard of the world 
And make the happiness we seek in homes 
Spread everywhere in strong and fruitful love. 

You are content to keep that mighty love 
In its first steps forever; the crude care 
Of animals for mate and young and homes, 
Instead of pouring it abroad in life, 
Its mighty current feeding all the world 
Till every human child can grow in peace. 

You cannot keep your small domestic peace 
Your little pool of undeveloped love, 
While the neglected, starved, unmothered world 
Struggles and fights for lack of mother's care, 
And its tempestuous, bitter, broken life 
Beats in upon you in your selfish homes. 

We all may have our homes in joy and peace 
When woman's life, in its rich power of love 
Is joined with man's to care for all the world. 

Gender equality

Emma Watson's UN speech.   He for sShe.  

Important points
If you still think of Emma Watson as Harry Potter’s cute, clever pal Hermione Granger, then you’ve got to read this. Now a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador in addition to being an A-list actress, Emma is spearheading a new international campaign that aims to tackle gender equality around the world. Called HeForShe, this U.N.-sponsored initiative focuses on getting men involved in the fight for equal rights for women. To launch the campaign, Emma took the floor at the U.N. headquarters in New York on Saturday with guns blazing, explaining why feminism isn’t a dirty word, how men are also disadvantaged by a patriarchal society, and why both sexes have to step up to the plate to help advance women’s rights worldwide. Check out some of the most emotional points from her provocative speech, which earned raves from the U.N. audience:
1. The gender-equality movement is not anti-men: "I was appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for U.N. Women six months ago, and the more I've spoken about feminism, the more I have realized that fighting for women's rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop."
2. Many people misunderstand what feminism really is: "For the record, feminism, by definition, is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. I started questioning gender-based assumptions a long time ago."
3. Expectations about how women should behave are made clear from a young age: "When I was eight, I was confused about being called 'bossy' because I wanted to direct the plays that we would put on for our parents. But the boys were not. When at 14, I started to be sexualized by certain elements of the media. When at 15, my girlfriends started dropping out of their beloved sports teams because they didn't want to appear 'muscle-y.' When at 18, my males friends were unable to express their feelings; I decided that I was a feminist.”
4. Men absolutely must get involved: "I want men to take up this mantle so their daughters, sisters, and mothers can be free from prejudice—but also so their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human, too, and in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves."
5. Everyone benefits from a more equal world: "Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. … Gender equality is your issue, too. … I've seen young men suffering from mental illness, unable to ask for help, for fear it would make them less of a men—or less of a man. I've seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don't have the benefits of equality, either."
6. Men suffer from gender stereotypes, too: "We don't want to talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes, but I can see that they are. When they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don't have to be aggressive, women won't be compelled to be submissive. If men don't need to control, women won't have to be controlled."
7. It's not enough to expect others to effect change: “We are struggling for a uniting word, but the good news is that we have a uniting movement. It is called HeForShe. I am inviting you to step forward, to be seen, and to ask yourself, 'If not me, who? If not now, when?' Thank you very, very much."

jueves, 2 de marzo de 2017

Music as our identity


I have been singing with our school choir and living the musical atmosphere of our school, which happens to be pretty vigorous, for the last 18 years or so.
That was when music teacher Miguel Rodríguez came in search of a school where many boys and girls played with music bands.  And he found the school and the musicians.  Our school receives students from surrounding villages whose musical tradition is long and rich.  Most of them have junior bands in which children have the chance to start playing a musical instrument and practice it.  

In our school music rooms and in the assembly hall, you can hear music every weekday all year round.  Whether it is flute sound, choir, piano or a jazz band.
The idea underlying this bustling endeavour is expressed in the front page of our blog (http://coroxunqueira1.blogspot.com.es/) “music as our identity”, where we say that “music can be a subject whose only aim is to fulfil a school curriculum, or become a teaching and leisure activity which goes further than the subject and involves the whole institute community, beyond the actual students and teachers who learn and teach it.  In our school, we chose the second approach, and here is the result:  we play and sing, and get hundreds of students involved in the project.  We started an orchestra and a choir which have been growing and improving.  We started with Christmas concerts in the school, then we performed in neighbouring ones, in the town theatre, in the auditorium, …. We recorded a band cd, and another one with the band and choir.
Future projects? Continue getting our students to play and sing music and, of course, have fun doing it and feel motivated when they see –or better listen to- what they have achieved”.

Some years later, a young music teacher came to the school, Luisa Sánchez, who started a small choir.  That small project started growing and improving quality.  There were some singing courses where students, and a few teachers who have been enthusiastically taking part in the choir activities, were able to improve our vocal technique and performance.  In 2010 the music department prepared a band and choir cd, recorded live in the auditorium, with the participation of 104 students- about 20% of the school total. 

We also organised a couple of exchanges with Ies Galileo, from Valladolid and Ies María Guerrero, from Madrid, which turned out to be two extraordinary experiences for the students.  Rehearsing with other groups, working and singing with them was an amazing and inspiring experience which improved the quality of the group, together with a generation of highly talented musicians, some of whom are now following their music training at professional colleges; and we are still lucky to have them back in some of our performances.  Last year we released our third cd- a double one: choir and band-.  

Our most recent experience took place a month ago in Ourense: Ourencanto, a course organised for schools and conducted by the most talented choir director I know, especially for children, Josu Elberdin (https://www.youtube.com/user/josuelberdin) .  350 children singing and dancing  together on stage, after two days of rehearsal.  A wonderful visual and musical display (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRmWe2VaMOE&app=desktop )

Our aim?  Follow the same path.  That is, trying to improve and enjoy this wonderful hobby, which has also become a powerful educational tool, as it involves compromise, cooperation, discipline, respect and many other qualities and values which are basic to form fine citizens.

Arturo Neira.

lunes, 16 de enero de 2017

Michelle Obama's final speech

I have been listening to some of Michelle and Barak Obama's goodbye speeches and I must confess that I am really impressed by her humanity, by the way she speaks about people and hope.  I think some parts of her speech in which she thanks all the people who have collaborated with her to improve education shows the character of a woman fully committed to the promotion of young people: she encourages them to have hope, work hard, knowing that they are important for the country if they are willing to make the effort to get a good education and become an important part of the country where they belong and that they can have an important role in the management of the country.  But you'd better listen to her, she explains everything much better:

Michelle Obama Farewel Speech