Essential Online Tools and Activities for Summer School Teachers – Part 1

With summer being around the corner and summer schools being a huge business in the ELT industry, I decided to share some ideas which may be useful to both experienced and new summer school teachers. The following was used in a webinar I presented earlier this month as part of Moodle MOOC 6.

Here, you can watch the recording of that webinar:

This post is the first part of that webinar and focuses on building rapport and engaging students in out-of-class communication.

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There is no doubt that during summer there are so many better things to do than working 12-15 hours per day, running up and down a campus, teaching 50 teenagers/day, and organising activities. Coming from a country whose summer has been the object of jealousy for many other people, it is always very hard for be to get on a plane and head to the north. But… Continue reading

“Live and Let Live:” The Destabilization of Heteronormativity in Moises Kaufmann’s The Laramie Project.

This article was published in the Fall 2013 issue of Forbes & Fifth – the University of Pittsburgh’s Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences’ Undergraduate Magazine (the image below is taken from that issue).

It was part of the senior seminar Dr. Harriet Zengos taught on Documentary Theatre at DEREE – The American College of Greece.

Bollas

“Live and Let Live:” The Destabilisation of Heteronormativity in Moises Kaufmann’s The Laramie Project.

By Angelos Bollas

Moises Kaufmann’s The Laramie Project dramatises the aftermath of university student, Matthew Shepard’s murder, focusing on the reaction of citizens of Laramie, Wyoming to their representation by the media. The media presented Laramie as a typical mid- Western US town where cowboys, violence, and brutality constitute its daily routine. Apart from the focus on mediation, The Laramie Project offers insight into the heteronormative-ly shaped mindset of Laramie, Wyoming. Critical responses to the play have largely focused on the social implications of Shepard’s murder, possible causes, lack of special legislation, and the depiction of mid-West American society; yet, none of them has focused on the heteronormative net, upon which society has been rooted. Kaufmann’s play does not attack Laramie for being reactionary. It exposes and questions the construction of the residents’ mindset that led two of “their own” to commit such a brutal crime. Through the use of documentary theatre’s devices, namely, selection and arrangement of interview material, Kaufmann reveals the irony behind the “live and let live” motto and the dominance of a heteronormative mindset that names non-exclusive desire for the opposite sex, deviant. Kaufmann also challenges the irony behind the “live and let live” philosophy through which Laramie residents did not distinguish tolerance from acceptance.

Critics such as Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Elizabeth Atkinson, Renee DePalma, and Samuel Chambers follow Judith Butler’s theory on the heteronormative matrix, arguing that heteronormativity is a political net upon which society sustains its maintenance. Some of them connect heteronormativity to feminism and patriarchy, while others to social class. The Laramie Project, though, manifests the dominance of heteronormativity upon the whole of society regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or social status. However, because society has always been more tolerant towards women who desired other women, than males who do the same, heteronormativity “attacks” males rather than females. In Between Men English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire, Eve Sedgwick makes clear that society’s reaction to male intimacy, even historically, different and less flexible than the reception of females who are attracted to other females (2-5). Thus, the application of heteronormativity as a social force that shapes human thoughts and actions, almost exclusively affects males rather than females who are attracted to the same sex.

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