Castellon Conversation Club 2018/19

•February 9, 2019 • Leave a Comment

2018 has been an exceptional year, with the consolidation of the English and French groups and the relaunching of the German group.

2019 has started with a certain amount of interest in an Italian group and a Dutch group.

My own research has revealed the missing factor in language progress through conversation groups. Let me explain.

The grammar-based approaches were debunked years ago, giving way to more natural approaches, especially the communicative approach.

But students typically completed their studies with a lack of confidence in spoken skills.

My Conversation Club largely remedied this giving the opportunity to practise natural language in a natural surrounding. After a few months of practice, students became confident speakers.

Over time, the weaknesses remaining were principally these two:

  1. Accuracy
  2. Ingrained errors

By “accuracy”, I refer to the type of error that will go generally unnoticed in a conversation, because it doesn’t interfere with communication, but which would be unacceptable in a written text.

By “ingrained errors”, I refer to the mistakes that the speakers know are mistakes, but that come into their speech unintentionally, simply because they have repeated them so many times in the past.

I wish to address these two problems with some very specific classes, which will be 30 minute drilling sessions, where students will come with the specific aim of identifying their ingrained errors and drilling with the correct forms.

Emotional Intelligence and the board game (Black Hole) Rescue

•January 6, 2015 • Leave a Comment

The board game (Black Hole) Rescue is apparently a very simple game, but its beauty lies in the open-endedness of the negotiation process.

The negotiation is not limited to elements of the game and is not limited to the present time. This means that aspects of real life can be negotiated and past and future events can be taken into account.

First we’ll summarise some of the main attributes of emotional intelligence. Then we’ll go on to  look at some examples in the game and how they relate to different aspects of emotional intelligence.

The four main attributes of emotional intelligence

  • Self-awareness – You recognize your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior, know your strengths and weaknesses, and have self-confidence.
  • Self-management – You’re able to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Social awareness – You can understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.
  • Relationship management – You know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict.

Examples of negotiation in (Black Hole) Rescue and how they relate to emotional intelligence.

The negotiation at its simplest level is looking out for your own economic interests. For example:

  • I’ll save you if you pay me X money (where X is always more than the money you have, i.e. more than the money you have to pay into the hole.

But this type of negotiation, with time, would turn into a relationship of exploitation, with feelings of resentment and desire for revenge:

  • When I was in the hole, you made me pay X money; now that you are in the hole, you can’t expect me to treat you any better!

So the intelligent thing to do is to take into account the feelings, emotions, needs and desires of the person you are negotiating with. For example:

  • You know I could ask you for a lot of money, but I’m going to be generous to you because you were generous to me when I was in the hole…
  • I know you need a house to win the game, but I also know you hate doing the washing up. How about if I wash up that big pile of dishes in the kitchen and you give me the next house that you buy in exchange for saving you?
  • I know it’s a delicate moment for you in the game and you don’t want to lose your house or your transport, so I tell you what… I’ll rescue you for nothing this time, so long as you promise to do the same for me when I’m in the hole.
  • As you can see, I’ve got all the money I need, I’ve got my house and I’ve got my transport, so all I’m going to ask you for, in exchange for getting you out of the hole, is… to join me for a drink after the game.

As you can see the possibilities are endless, and the more you take into account the experiences of the other players, their feelings, their attitudes, their character, as well as their strategic position in the game, the better you will do in the negotiations.

You can order the game at

Good luck to you, and never stop learning about yourself and those that surround you!

Rikki Jaffar Prince, 6 March 2020

Black hole adventure – Rikki’s negotiating game for all the family

•December 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

You can find the game a the following website:

Spain, one of the last countries where torture and cruelty is still permitted by law.

•October 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

A decision by a Spanish congressional commission to protect bullfighting by awarding it special cultural status has been condemned by animal rights groups which have decried the use of public funds for “unacceptable animal cruelty”.

The legislation, which was passed by the congress’s culture commission by 24 votes to six, with 14 abstentions, designates bullfighting as “part of the cultural heritage worthy of protection throughout the national territory”. The bill now goes to a vote in the senate, expected later this month.

The governing rightwing People’s party rejected most of the amendments to the proposal put forward by smaller opposition parties who strongly rejected the bill, while the main opposition party, the PSOE, abstained, saying it wanted neither to “ban nor promote” bullfighting.

A coalition of international animal protection organisations said: “Spain’s government has signalled its support for unacceptable animal cruelty and the allowance of public funds used to assist the blood sport.

“This move is a cynical attempt by a desperate bullfighting industry to secure the future of this dying industry. Bullfighting is cruel and outdated and has no place in a modern society; culture stops where cruelty starts.”

The organisations included the Humane Society International, World Society for the Protection of Animals, CAS International, League Against Cruel Sports, Peta and Torture is not Culture.

Marta Esteban, of Torture is not Culture, said: “The declaration of bullfighting as cultural patrimony in Spain … simply aims at the allocation of further public funds to support this decadent activity and to indoctrinate children with education on the ‘virtues’ of torturing and killing animals for entertainment.”

Bullfighting has a long and bloody history going back to the Roman amphitheatres, but its modern incarnation in Spain is usually dated to 1726 when Francisco Romero began fighting on foot with a cape and sword.

Over the years bullrings were introduced to prevent bull or fighter from being cornered, and the event became embedded in Spanish culture. Juan Belmonte is seen as the father of the modern school, popularising the now common practice of drawing the bull close to him with a cape, in the mid-20th century.

But in recent years bullfighting’s popularity has dwindled considerably as animal rights groups have raised awareness, leading to permanent bans in Catalonia and the Canary Islands. Figures released by the culture ministry revealed that bullfighting attendance is at an all-time low, and an Ipsos Mori poll this year suggest that 76% of Spaniards opposed the use of public funds to support bullfighting.

La aventura del agujero negro – El juego de la inteligencia emocional

•September 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

El Juego de mesa La aventura del agujero negro es un juego diseñado para recompensar las habilidades comunicativas y la inteligencia emocional más que la suerte o ni siquiera la estrategia:

Puedes pedir el juego en:
Para los que no conocen el juego:
Es un juego de compra de propiedades muy sencilla e intuitiva, con un mecanismo novedoso de negociación que beneficia a los jugadores que usan sus conocimientos de los demás jugadores.
Refleja el mundo interdependiente en el que vivimos donde el egoísmo incontrolado a veces puede hacer que se derrumbe el mundo.
A los niños les encanta la simplicidad del juego y a los adultos les encanta su carácter abierto.

Black Hole Rescue the Emotional Intelligence board game

•June 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I am taking orders for the Black Hole Rescue board game at the following prices.

Paper versions: 10 € version (80g paper) and 20 € version (250g card for board)

Card versions: 30 € version (standard version) and 40 € version (higher quality finish)

Wooden versions: 70€ version (framed with wax finish for maximum longevity) and 80 € version( 3-dimensional board and box)

Although nearly everone orders the standard (30€) version, I thought I’d let you know that there are other possibilities too.

The game is still in its home production phase. I am open to offers from manufacturers to take it to the next phase.

Just contact me at the following address interdependenz @ gmail .com (without spaces) if you are interested in the game and I will send you full information and details of how to make your payment. These prices are valid only until the end of the current month.

Castellon English Conversation Club

•May 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment

2014 is turning out to be the best year ever for the Conversation Club. Thank you to all those that are making it work.