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ENGLISH Issue 67

March
2010

Tprofessional
EACHING
The Leading Practical Magazine For English Language Teachers Worldwide

Cultivating confidence
Jane Arnold and Vernica de Andrs

Teacher plus
Sue Leather

The student as input


Ken Lackman

The value of vulnerability


Lise Cyrenne

practical methodology

fresh ideas & innovations

classroom resources

new technology

teacher development

tips & techniques

photocopiable materials

competitions & reviews

w w w . e t p r o f e s s i o n a l . c o m
Contents MAIN FEATURE BUSINESS ENGLISH PROFESSIONAL

CULTIVATING CONFIDENCE 4 THE CORPORATE DOMAIN 2 35


Jane Arnold and Vernica de Andrs sow the Catherine Leuz makes recommendations for
seeds of self-esteem corporate trainers

FEATURES TEACHER DEVELOPMENT

SENIOR SERVICE 2 8 THE VALUE OF VULNERABILITY 54


Mark McKinnon and Sophie Acomat suggest Lise Cyrenne thinks teachers need to use their own
strategies for supporting senior students experiences to help their students

DRAMATIS PERSONAE 12 TEACHER PLUS 57


Fari Greenaway demonstrates the delights of drama Sue Leather begins a new series by explaining how
teachers can become trainers
CHOP, CHOP 16
Paul Ashe turns to the cutlery drawer to captivate IN PRAISE OF CREATIVITY 2 59
his students Chaz Pugliese suggests ways in which we can all be
more creative in our classrooms
OVER THE WALL 18
Alan Maley immerses himself in books on immigration
TECHNOLOGY
PHRASAL VERBS? THEYRE EASY! 6 20
John Ryan bows out THE WIKI WAY 64
Susan Dreger has her wiki way with us
LOOPING THE LOOP 25
Simon Mumford makes language itself the content FIVE THINGS YOU ALWAYS WANTED 66
of his language examples TO KNOW ABOUT: COMPUTER VIRUSES
Nicky Hockly is feeling protective
THE STUDENT AS INPUT 28
Ken Lackman uses student talk for presenting language WEBWATCHER 69
Russell Stannard finds fun websites for young learners
MISTAKES AND MODELS 34
John Anderson concentrates on error correction
and copying REGULAR FEATURES

A PINCH OF SALC 37 PREPARING TO TEACH ... 40


Punjaporn Pojanapunya finds inspiration in a Should
shopping centre John Potts

ENGLISH TEACHING CONFESSIONAL 46 WORKING WITH WRITTEN WORK 1 71


Ken Wilson tells us how it all began for him Rose Senior

TEAMWORK 48 IT WORKS IN PRACTICE 42


Paul Bress champions collaboration

LEARNING DISABILITY 1 49 REVIEWS 52


Lesley Lanir begins a new series on learners with
special needs SCRAPBOOK 62

COMPETITIONS 41, 72
TEACHING YOUNG LEARNERS

REPORT WRITING IN 3D 22 INTERNATIONAL SUBSCRIPTION FORM 32


Chris Roland involves his students in their own reports
Includes materials designed to photocopy

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 1


Editorial everal of the contributors to this issue look at choose from and to complete, thus giving him vital

S the topic of affect and the way that students


feelings about themselves can influence their
learning.

For Jane Arnold and Vernica de Andrs in our main


feature, the importance of building confidence and a
feedback and getting the students to do some self-
analysis regarding their own performance and
behaviour.

In the first of a new series, Lesley Lanir looks at how


to identify when a students difficulties with learning
positive self-image cannot be overestimated. They list amount to an actual learning disability. She asks us to
five components of self-esteem and discuss how put ourselves in the shoes of someone who invests
teachers can promote these in the classroom. hours of time in study to absolutely no effect and calls
on us to adapt our methods to facilitate learning for
Lise Cyrenne is also concerned with the emotional side
these types of students. Over the next few issues she
of learning, seeing the vulnerability of both students
will be exploring how to raise both the skills and the
and teachers as having enormous potential for growth
confidence of such students.
and learning. She recommends that teachers draw on
their own experiences of past vulnerability to help their
students to take the risks that they need to take in
order to develop their language skills.

Chris Roland is interested in the way his students feel


about themselves and their learning and uses this Helena Gomm
information to help him write their progress reports. He Editor

provides a series of comment cards for his students to helena.gomm@keywayspublishing.com

ENGLISH PO Box 100, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 8HD, UK

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EACHING Tel: +44 (0)1243 576444
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Pages 23, 4041 and 6263 include materials which are designed to photocopy. All other rights are reserved and no part of this publication may
be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted without prior permission in writing from the publishers.

2 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


M A I N F E AT U R E

Cultivating
confidence
Jane Arnold and Vernica de Andrs argue that
building self-esteem has benefits for everyone.

rawings are often used as a where activities designed both for However, the issue is healthy self-

D data collection technique in


research with young
children. Below is a drawing
of how Juan, one of the students in a
study by Vernica de Andrs in
teaching English and supporting the
students self-esteem were used. At the
bottom of his second drawing, Juan wrote
I learned that I am normal. Not only
were there noticeable improvements in the
esteem. This means that students have
both a positive, accurate belief about
themselves and their abilities and also
the commitment and responsibility that
comes when they see themselves as able
Argentina, saw himself. What do you students attitudes towards themselves to complete worthwhile goals. It is not
see in his self-portrait? Perhaps that he and others, there was also significant about giving empty praise or relaxing
feels afraid or rejected? progress in their use of English. standards but, rather, providing a
supportive atmosphere in which we can
Affect and attitude better encourage our learners to work
hard to reach their learning potential.
If someone asked you to make a list of
affective factors, it is quite possible that
one of the first to come to mind would
be self-esteem. Learners self-concept
Learners
(how they see themselves) and their self- self-concept (how
esteem (how they feel about what they
see) are very closely related to their they see themselves)
learning, as we can observe in the case
of Juan.
and their self-esteem
And what about this drawing? How does
this student see himself ? Open, friendly?
Self-esteem is a term that is used (how they feel about
very freely but often imprecisely. Stanley
Coopersmith described self-esteem as a what they see) are very
personal judgement of worthiness that is closely related to
expressed in the attitudes the individuals
have of themselves, and in his research their learning
he found that young childrens self-
esteem was a strong predictor of their
reading ability. Important work with Self-esteem can be thought of as
self-esteem has been done over the years ones attitude towards oneself. Our
in many educational contexts. Yet there attitude towards something is generally
What is very interesting is that the have also been misunderstandings, and conceived of in terms of ABC: affect
drawings are by the same child at the there are critics who have affirmed that (our feelings about it), behaviour (how
beginning and then at the end of a three- working with self-esteem can lead to we behave regarding it) and cognition
month-long research project in a primary egocentric behaviour and to unrealistic (what we believe about it). Applying this
school English class in Buenos Aires, expectations on the part of students. to language learning, we could say that

4 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


our attitude about the self as a language with the area of dealing with mistakes.
learner includes what we believe (I am One reason that We know that students want and need
capable of learning the language or I can to get feedback about errors they make,
never learn), which leads to our feelings language teaching but insensitive correction can lead to
about the learning process (pleasure or insecurity. To model the concept of
pain) and this, in turn, will determine
activities which focus learning to accept ones mistakes, Tim
our behaviour (approaching or avoiding on self-esteem are Murphey recommends that we tell
opportunities to further our learning). mistake stories, stories about times
successful is that they when we have made funny little mistakes.
Expectations and have strong personal By doing this, in a sense we set an
example for what we want our students
experience meaning for learners to do: to feel at ease in the classroom
According to Herbert Puchta, negative and not be so afraid of making
beliefs influence our students mistakes that they greatly reduce their
expectations. Low expectations lead to a opportunities for learning the language.
low level of motivation and every failure Confidence and Another way to promote a sense of
is seen as confirmation of the initial classrooms security is by using routines: once in a
beliefs. The feeling that is generated Robert Reasoner, founder of the while doing something students find
does not depend on objective, International Council for Self-esteem, familiar. For example, in the first week of
observable facts but on beliefs, often established five components of self- class you could ask the students to write
very subjective, but, for this very reason, esteem that can be dealt with in the down on a strip of paper a question
amenable to change, and this change classroom: that they think would be interesting to
can occur in the classroom. There is no Security knowing that I am safe, answer. You can then collect these and
question that self-esteem can be physically and emotionally begin the class each day by going around
nurtured through successful learning Identity knowing who I am the room and getting everyone to give a
experiences that enable the learners to Belonging knowing others accept brief answer to one of the questions.
see themselves as competent and a me
student who feels this way is likely to Purpose knowing what I want to do 2 Identity
take the risks and challenges involved in and to achieve
the language learning process. Teachers who promote a sense of
Competence knowing I can identity:
In our language classes we can work to celebrate the uniqueness of individuals;
What we do promote all of these at the same time as promote the development of a positive
we develop the students language skills. self-concept;
with self-esteem One reason that language teaching show acceptance of their students, and
activities which focus on self-esteem are interest in them as people;
or any other area of successful is that they have strong help the students recognise their
affect does not need personal meaning for learners. strengths and the points that need to
Lets take Reasoners components be developed.
to be heavy-handed one by one to see why they are important Language is a very significant part of a
and obvious and to explore some suggestions as to persons identity. It is through language
how teachers might work with each of that we communicate who we are to
them in the ELT classroom. others and through interaction with
Self-esteem is, then, important for others that we learn more about who we
learning. But can we really do anything 1 Security are. My sense of identity is knowing
about it? Shouldnt we just teach our who I am and who I can become and it
Teachers who promote a sense of
subject and let self-esteem and similar involves awareness of my abilities and
security:
things take care of themselves? Many, of things I need to develop.
define procedures and routines (so
like Adrian Underhill, feel that the We reinforce our sense of identity
their learners know what is expected
answer to the question of what makes when we remember positive things about
of them);
teaching really effective lies precisely in ourselves and even more if we talk about
involve the learners in defining rules
doing work in areas of affect. What we them. One way to incorporate this in
and norms;
do with self-esteem or any other area of the classroom and to get students using
enforce rules in ways that support the
affect does not need to be heavy-handed the language freely is in the context of a
learners self-respect;
and obvious; many times the greatest game. You could prepare a number of
promote individual responsibility.
changes can come from very subtle boards like the one on page 6 or with
actions. Perhaps the most important Both research and common sense point other items appropriate for your students,
factor in promoting learners self-esteem to the need to establish a secure and get the students to sit in circles in
is a caring attitude on the part of classroom atmosphere where the learners groups of three or four. They toss a coin
teachers. As has often been said, are willing to take the risks involved in and move one square for heads, two for
Students dont care how much you know trying to express themselves in another tails and tell the rest of the group about
until they know how much you care. language. One way to do this has to do the topic on the square they land on.

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 5


Cultivating
with each other and dont always work issue. Some things you can do in the
with people they already know well. classroom include trying to catch
Rather than telling them to work with the students doing something well and

confidence person next to them for an activity in


pairs, you could prepare some interesting
sentences or quotations on individual
strips of paper, one for every two students
acknowledging this; highlighting points
that are well written and making
positive comments when you correct
written work; providing encouragement
Afterwards, each student can tell the
in the class. You can then cut them in and special help for students who may
whole class something they learnt about
half, hand them out randomly and let the take longer to learn; celebrating when
the person on their right in their circle.
students walk around the class locating major class goals have been reached;
One thing Something
the other half of their sentence and using reading texts about people who
I can do nice that
their partner for the activity. Then, before have overcome obstacles and become
START moving on to the activity, give them a successful.
well happened
this week
few minutes to find out something
interesting about each other and go 
A good Something Something around the class having each student
friend I am that makes say what they learnt about their partner. An extra benefit we have found from
grateful for me happy working with self-esteem in the
4 Purpose classroom is that as our students
progress and shine, our own self-esteem
Someone A time I A value Teachers who promote a sense of
is enhanced in the process. ETp
I admire helped that is purpose:
someone important transmit positive expectations;
for me show confidence and faith in the De Andrs, V Self-esteem in the
classroom In Arnold, J (Ed) Affect in
abilities of their students;
A good One thing A place Language Learning CUP 1999
strengthen their students values;
memory I hope to that is Coopersmith, S The Antecedents of Self-
help the students to set realistic and esteem Freeman & Co 1967
do next special reachable objectives.
year for me Murphey, T Language Hungry Helbling
One of the keys to successful learning is 2006
I feel good Something setting goals because then we know Puchta, H Creating a learning culture to
when ... I am proud where we want to go. However, as the which students want to belong In Arnold,
FINISH J (Ed) Affect in Language Learning CUP
of French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupry
1999
pointed out, A goal without a plan is just
Reasoner, R Building Self-esteem: A
a wish. Comprehensive Program Consulting
Another way to deal with identity in To work with goals and plans it is a Psychologist Press 1982
the classroom at the beginning of the good idea to get your students to think Underhill, A Process in humanistic
term would be to have each student of a language learning goal they have education ELT Journal 43(4) 1989
prepare a collage with pictures, drawings, not just to learn English, but
words, etc related to themselves. You something more specific, eg to read
Jane Arnold has taught
could put these collages up on the walls things in English on the internet or to in the English Language
as a gallery of art for the students to understand songs/films in English. Then Department at the
University of Seville,
walk around and look at. either orally in pairs or on their own in Spain for over 20 years.
writing they could answer questions Her publications include
Affect in Language
3 Belonging such as: What is your goal? Why do you Learning (CUP) and
want to achieve it? What would help you Imagine That! Mental
Teachers who promote a sense of Imagery in ELT, with
do so? What is your main challenge? Herbert Puchta and
belonging:
What are you going to do to achieve your Mario Rinvolucri
create a climate of acceptance; (Helbling).
goal? You might want to try having
reduce the number of isolated arnold@us.es
them do this first for a life goal.
students;
Vernica de Andrs
develop group identity; 5 teaches at the
promote a feeling of pride in the Competence Universidad del
Salvador, in Buenos
class; Teachers who promote a sense of Aires, Argentina and is
support interpersonal relationships in competence: an author and coach
specialising in personal
the class. offer options or alternatives; growth. She is an
provide incentives and support; executive member of
A feeling of being accepted and being the International Council
give feedback; for Self-Esteem and co-
connected to others is essential to healthy
celebrate achievements. creator of Confidence
self-esteem. To have a sense of belonging Time Productions.
in the classroom, students need to get to The sense of competence is our www.veronica-andres.com
know each other. Finding different ways confidence in our potential to reach our
Together they have written Seeds of
to divide them into pairs or groups is a goals, the I can do it spirit. Here, our Confidence. Self-esteem activities for the
useful technique to ensure that they mix attitude towards our students is a key EFL classroom, published by Helbling.

6 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


IN THE CLASSROOM favoured strategies at home. This is
essential to allow them to make the best
use of their memory. More generally, we

Senior
need to promote learning outside the
classroom and help our senior learners
become more autonomous.

3 Recycling
Senior learners need constant recycling

service 2
of language, especially vocabulary.
Incorporate recycling into each lesson
and make sure you have a variety of
different ways to recycle the same
language. With older learners, we cant
simply cover a topic in one or two
lessons and move on. Once a topic has
been covered, we should look at the
course calendar and plan when it is
going to be recycled. Over a nine-month
Mark McKinnon n Issue 66 of ETp, we considered

and Sophie Acomat


give practical guidance for
I the characteristics that senior
learners bring to the classroom.
With this information in mind, we
feel that it is necessary to adapt our
teaching and teaching materials in order
course it is not unusual to recycle a
topic five times or more. Variety of
activities is the key to effective recycling.

4 L1 to L2
accommodating older to provide the conditions in which they Many of our senior learners studied
can learn effectively. languages at school using the Grammar
learners. Translation method; this may also be
1 Timing the case in your teaching context. If so,
then incorporate L1 to L2 translation
In the senior learner classroom,
activities into your lessons on a regular
progress cannot be measured by the
basis. Translation can be used creatively
number of language points covered
in class. It gives the students a chance
during a course. Seniors need time to
to observe the target language and
work on the language. Therefore, timing
compare it to their own. Adult learners
needs careful planning and it makes
come to the classroom with a complete
sense to be flexible. Good monitoring of
grammar system already learnt, so we
activities is necessary to give you an
can use this to help them learn English.
idea of how the learners are progressing
Translation is also a way to give them
with an activity. If you feel they need
more time with the language; it could
more time, or if they ask for more, then
aid recycling and add the variety that
it is reasonable to give them the time
you are looking for.
they need. This will help provide more
New groups of seniors are normally
effective learning conditions. Be
unsure of their ability to learn a new
prepared to cover your material in two
language and L1 to L2 translation work
lessons rather than one. You may even
can give them confidence. In a
consider covering a coursebook over
monolingual group, you can provide
two courses rather than one.
your senior learners with much needed
Within a lesson, senior learners do
not normally respond well to time
limits. This puts them under pressure.
As the ability to
2 Memorisation call on the short-term
As the ability to call on the short-term
memory declines as people get older, it
memory declines as
is important to exercise the learners people get older, it is
memories constantly and recycle
language regularly in the classroom. important to exercise
You should incorporate memorisation the learners memories
training into your lessons, providing a
variety of memorisation techniques and constantly
encouraging the learners to use their

8 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


assurance at the beginning of their interference diminishes their ability to book will be suitable for senior learners;
course, by giving clarification using concentrate and has a negative effect on have a thorough look at it with a view
their L1. This technique obviously cant their performance. Ageing may to adapting it for your class. We have
easily be used in multilingual groups. deteriorate the systems in the brain that found ourselves in rather awkward
respond to stress so that they become situations when realising halfway
5 Instructions less efficient. What you perceive as through the lesson that an activity was
challenging activities may prove more not suited to our students. And if the
Instructions should always be clear and
distressing than stimulating to your material is not adaptable, do not
to the point. However, remember that
learners. Avoid time limits and that hesitate to reject it altogether.
when they begin an English course for
teacher urge to push on with the
the first time, your senior learners could
lesson. 10 Expectations
be coming back to the classroom after a
30- to 40-year break and may be easily Older adults have learning strategies
8 Groupwork/pairwork
disconcerted by unfamiliarity, such as that they have been using for many,
by new activity types. Be aware of this Incorporate a lot of pairwork and many years. For this reason, teachers
when planning your activities. Do not small-groupwork into your lessons. should expect them to use their own
hesitate to resort to simple written This will allow your senior learners to strategies (such as translating or trying
explanations on the board, visuals, support each other and discuss to understand everything), which may
demonstrations or use of the learners language points. It can also give them differ from modern language-learning
L1 for clarification (if possible) and more time to think about the language techniques. Rather than fighting your
always divide the instructions into and thus allow acquisition to take place learners in an attempt to eradicate these
different steps. more effectively. strategies, be flexible in your teaching
approach, and allow them to draw on
6 Reaction time 9 Adapting and their life experiences.
We have discovered that senior learners rejecting 11
reaction time is much slower than that The material that we use has rarely been
Physical
of younger adult learners. We need, created specifically for senior learners considerations
therefore, to plan smooth transitions and may not always be suitable for them Because of a decline in visual and
and well-connected stages. It makes both in terms of format (for example, hearing abilities in some learners, it is
sense to prepare a self-contained lesson gist/specific information listening important to create a comfortable
with the same grammatical, lexical or activities and overly challenging learning environment that compensates
thematical content. speaking activities) and content (for for any physical impairments. This may
example, discussing the distant future, involve using educational materials with
7 No pressure present simple activities on work large print, making sure the classroom
Generally, stress and pressure have routines, etc). is well lit, using listening material with
counter-productive effects on senior Do not take it for granted that any high sound quality and eliminating
learners. Stress-related cognitive lesson plan provided in the teachers background noise.

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 9


Senior
senior learners. They might work very individuals who prefer to prepare
well but, by considering the listening orally, then consider grouping them
text as a language resource before together to do this: the most
listening, you may be able to remove important consideration here is that

service 2 some of the obstacles to a successful


listening activity. You could consider
making the listening practice last for an
entire lesson. With senior learners the
listening may not always have to be the
they have more time to prepare.
All these considerations will take up
more time. So, as with a listening
activity, a speaking activity may well take
12 Listening up a whole lesson rather than simply
stimulus for production the
occupying the last stage of a lesson.
considerations production may come in the next lesson.
Our own research shows that listening 
practice is the greatest obstacle and
problem for our senior learners. We
Senior learners can We are aware that a lot of teachers may
already use some of the techniques that
suggested in Issue 66 that gist/specific easily become blocked we have described with their younger
information models are more often than
not unsuccessful with these types of when speaking if they learners, and we are not arguing that
learners. We would like to suggest some these should only be used with senior
alternatives:
cannot recall a word learners. However, we have found this
or a structure, so do learning group to have specific needs
Work on the content first rather than that should be addressed and our aim in
the gist. Giving the learners access to some pre-speaking this article was to share our experience
some of the content of the listening of ways of doing this. During our whole
text in advance may not be popular preparation teaching experience with this learner
with many teachers, and we can see group we have found ourselves naturally
why that may be the case, ie it defeats moving away from some of the more
the purpose of a listening activity 13
which was designed to give the student
Speaking established ELT techniques. Looking
considerations back now, rather than being a no-no, it
access to the language through the most certainly proved to be beneficial. ETp
listening process. However, if we Like listening, speaking can cause senior
consider the slowing down of the learners some difficulties and stress and Mark McKinnon has
17 years experience
auditory processes and possible hearing requires more time and preparation in EFL teaching. He
impairments among our seniors, that beforehand. Many of our seniors lack the currently works at the
confidence to speak in class. Here are Autonomous University
very access may not be completely of Barcelona. He has
possible through a gist question. some ways to build their self-confidence been a tutor on the LTCL
and ease them into the speaking practice: Diploma in TESOL since
Do some grammar work based on the 2003. He has written
supplementary materials
content of the listening. If there is Even if you have recently covered the for Macmillans
particular grammar exemplified in the necessary vocabulary that will be used Straightforward and
for the speaking activity, it wont hurt Global coursebooks.
listening text, do some specific
grammar practice on that language to review it as a pre-speaking activity. mark.mckinnon@uab.cat

point before they listen. That way it will be fresh in the Sophie Acomat has
learners memories, ready to be used. an MA in Applied
Read through the listening script Linguistics and ELT
Incorporate pronunciation work on and the RSA DELTA.
before the lesson to find potential She has been working
pronunciation problems that could any potentially problematic words since 2001 as a teacher
impede understanding. Then do some that may arise during the activity. and teacher trainer at
the Autonomous
specific pronunciation work on these Senior learners can easily become University of Barcelona.
before listening. This might be the -ed She also tutors on LTCL
blocked when speaking if they TESOL Certificate
endings of regular verbs in the past cannot recall a word or a structure, so courses.
simple or weak pronunciation of Did do some pre-speaking preparation
you. sophie.acomat@uab.cat
and allow them to write full sentences
Look for lexical groups in the text before the activity. Once again, this
and practise them beforehand; or, in may go against established ELT
the case of unknown vocabulary, pre- classroom practice and may be seen Writing for ETp
teach new items. as lacking in spontaneity, but it will
Would you like to write for ETp?
give them time to think carefully
Give your seniors visual support by We are always interested in
about what they want to say and how
providing your own photos or new writers and fresh ideas.
to express it and will make them more
diagrams if there are none in your For guidelines and advice,
comfortable and confident when
coursebook. write to us or email:
speaking. Discourage them from
We are by no means suggesting that you looking at what they have written editor@etprofessional.com
never use gist questions with your during the activity. If there are

10 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


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IN THE CLASSROOM

Dramatis
personae
Fari Greenaway rama often conjures up By giving them the opportunity to

takes the drama out of


doing drama activities.
D daunting images of school
plays and endless
memorising of lines, but we
neednt relive past horrors in order to
bring it into the language classroom.
take on a role or pretend to be
somewhere other than the classroom,
drama helps students to realise the
practical applications of the language
they are learning and gives it real
This article explains why drama is a meaning. As Chris Brumfit and Keith
useful (if not necessary) tool for teaching Johnson put it, Since the actual
English and provides a number of tried classroom is only one small piece of the
and tested ideas for teachers to use. world in which we expect the learner to
use language, artificial means must be
Why use drama? used to transform it into a variety of
other pieces: the obvious means for
Anecdotal evidence leads me to believe performing this transformation is drama
that a great many teachers still feel imaginative play has always been a
reticent about using drama in class. powerful educational device both for
Their reasons range from lack of children and adults. In particular,
confidence (including fear of their student-led drama or roleplays, where
students reactions) to a lack of
practical ideas or awareness of how to
use drama in the classroom. I believe I believe that
that drama is a powerful tool for all
language learning contexts, regardless of drama is a powerful
the teachers experience or the students
level, because it serves to demonstrate
tool for all language
practical usage of the language we learning contexts,
teach.
Most teachers will be familiar with regardless of the
the experience of encountering students
who can recite grammar rules but fail to
teachers experience or
apply their knowledge when they are the students level
communicating. Language does not
exist in an abstract vacuum of rules and
systems in fact, it is precisely its usage the students create their own dialogues,
that defines what it is. As Diane Larsen- allow a large degree of personalisation
Freeman points out, When we and ownership of the learning
communicate, we use language to experience, making it more memorable
accomplish some function, such as and real for the participants.
arguing, persuading, or promising. Drama can also be a powerful tool
Moreover, we carry out these functions for creating both a desire and a need to
within a social context. As the purpose communicate between students. It can
of language is communication, we need be used to create a language-learning
to create communicative situations (eg situation in which the students generate
roleplays) in the classroom in order to and respond to their own language
make that language real for students. needs. An improvisation based on a

12 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


doctors surgery (see below), for You can also use pre-prepared tall facing the class and call out Hello!
example, creates the desire to exchange roleplay cards to create dynamic tension In every class we have tried this with,
information about illnesses and in dialogues. For example, the students have automatically echoed
ailments. Student A:
back a receding Hello, hello, hello ... . If
Drama can be especially useful with You are a customer in a very expensive
they dont, run around to the mountain
shy students who are wary of making restaurant. It is a special occasion and
side and do the echo yourself, signalling
mistakes. It provides a platform for you have been looking forward to it for
that they should join in. Then say a full
learning in a context in which it is a long time. You are very disappointed
sentence; they will either echo the full
possible for the students to feel less self- with the food. You are angry and want it
sentence or the last few words. Next get
conscious and more empowered to to be changed. Complain to the waiter
a series of students to take the place of
express themselves. Drama provides a and say what you want.
the explorer and tell them that they can
mask behind which people can hide: if a say anything they like. We have found
student is playing another character, Student B: that students like to be original and
then it is that character who is speaking You are a waiter/waitress in a popular dont just repeat what the last explorer
and not them. and elegant restaurant. You are very said. Moreover, because they are
In addition, drama can help busy and the customers are very echoing, they really listen carefully to
students who learn in different ways. demanding. The chef believes he what each explorer is saying.
Howard Gardners theory of multiple prepares the best food in the country
intelligences suggests that each learner and gets very angry if it is returned to 4
the kitchen; it is your job to educate the
Mirrors
has a different dominant intelligence
which will affect the way that they learn customers about the food that you serve. This is a good TPR warmer, especially
best. One of the intelligences that with shy groups.
Ensure that the students have an idea of
Gardner identified is bodily-kinaesthetic Have the students stand facing each
the language they might want to use. I
intelligence, which entails the ability to other in pairs. Explain that one person
find it best not to correct errors during
use mental abilities to coordinate bodily in each pair is a mirror. Have the first
the exercise, but to follow up with some
movements. Gardner thus sees mental person begin moving, and ask the
corrections that can be incorporated
and physical activity as related. As mirror to copy them. Encourage slow
into the next practice or performance of
drama is physical, it is a great way to movements and go around helping the
the dialogue. Dont be afraid of
incorporate the needs of bodily- students until they get the idea. Once
repetition.
kinaesthetic learners into classes. James they have the idea, get them practising a
Asher also explores the relationship variety of different scenes, such as
2 Dramatic register taking
between learning and physical getting up in the morning, practising
movement in his Total Physical Write a famous line from a film on the ballet and doing yoga. After a while,
Response (TPR) method. He suggests board. For example: ask them to swap roles.
that movement at beginner levels is Once the students have got the hang
Go ahead, make my day. (Dirty Harry) of this, they can decide on and practise
powerfully linked to learning and claims
that the movement of the body seems to Ill be back. (The Terminator) their own scenes, and then perform
be a powerful mediator for the them for the rest of the class to guess
Were going to make him an offer he what they are doing.
understanding, organisation and storage
cant refuse. (The Godfather)
of macro-details of linguistic input.
Above all, drama is fun, combining Well, ya best start believing in ghost 5 Object improvisation
education and entertainment to create a stories, Miss Turner, youre in one!
Select an everyday object, stand in a
situation where learning takes place (Pirates of the Caribbean)
circle with the students and demonstrate
naturally through a desire to
Take the register, but explain that when the activity by using the object and
communicate. Research has found that
you call out a students name, they doing a mime of it as something else, eg
when people are relaxed, they learn more,
should respond with the line of the day. using an umbrella as a golf club, a
so if your students are enjoying their
Demonstrate yourself first, making the telescope or a pen. Elicit from the class
classes, they should be learning, too.
line as over-the-top as possible. the name of the thing you are miming.
Here are ten suggestions for drama
This is a great activity for breaking Pass the object round the circle and ask
activities to use with language students
the ice, makes a fun start to a lesson, the students to use it to create their own
your perfect dramatis personae.
gets everyone thinking in English and mimes. Dont let anyone linger too long;
practises intonation. get them to pass the object on if they
1 Roleplays cant think of something. Each time,
3 Explorer echoes have the class guess what the student is
In one of the most fundamental and miming.
obvious applications of drama in the This is really useful as a warmer. First,
classroom, students act out dialogues set the scene by telling your class that 6
from their textbooks. Ask them to they are the mountains and that you are
Phrases sketch
create additional scenes to cover what an explorer walking in the mountains Write a list of one- and two-word
happened before and after the dialogue, (alternatively they can be a cave). Mime phrases on the board, eg hello, goodbye,
to personalise the text and allow for dressing up in your walking gear and so-so, sorry and oh. Choose one phrase
more practice. stomp into the mountains. Then stand and say it several times with different

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 13


Dramatis 8 1 Their first name
Criminal acts
2 Their surname

personae This is an ideal activity to use as a


follow-up to work on newspapers or
crime vocabulary. It also provides
3 Whether they are married (yes or no)

4 The number of children they have


practice of the present perfect passive,
intonation each time, expressing
though it can also be used to practise a 5 Their job
different emotions, eg shock, surprise,
number of different grammar points.
disappointment, sadness, etc. Divide the 6 Where they are from
Write brief descriptions of crimes
class into groups of three or four.
on cards, e g A child has been kidnapped, Explain to the students that they are at
Explain that they are only allowed to
A plane has been hijacked, A bank has a cocktail party where they dont know
use the words on the board and no
been robbed. Make sure the students anyone, so they need to introduce
others to prepare a short sketch. Give
know the relevant vocabulary themselves and ask questions to get to
them a time limit (around eight
beforehand. Give one description to know each other. Play some music and
minutes). They may need help with
each pair and have them practise and encourage the students to walk about.
possible locations or situations to get
perform a roleplay for the rest of the Explain that each time the music stops,
started.
class to guess what the situation is. they should have a conversation with the
Limiting the language that the
students can use forces them to employ person nearest to them. Finish by having
intonation in order to convey the 9 Im on a plane a discussion about any similarities or
meaning of what they want to say. differences in their characters.
This activity makes a good follow-up to
Criminal acts. Set up a plane in the
7 Emotions party classroom: this can easily be done using Drama tips
Prepare some cards with different two long rows of chairs. Ask the Dress a little differently if you are about
emotions written on them. Begin by students where the flight is coming from to do a drama class. If youre prepared
eliciting different feelings from the and where it is going to. Explain that to look silly, the students will feel more
students and writing them on the board. you are going to act out a airplane relaxed, too.
Illustrate how emotions can be hijacking. Depending on the size of the Gather props to use. People love
expressed with tone, topic and body class, one or two students can play the unusual objects, especially if these draw
language. Explain to the class that they role of the hijacker. Help the other the interest away from them personally.
are going to go to a party and the aim is students to select passenger roles for Try using masks. When peoples
to guess each others emotions. themselves, encouraging them to choose faces are hidden, they are more likely to
Brainstorm some party small talk, eg the race, occupation and personality of lose their inhibitions. ETp
Hi! I havent see you in ages, hows the their character. In large classes, some
family? The students will each be given students can take the roles of cabin
Thanks to Jim How for sharing his ideas
a card with their emotion on it, but they crew and pilots. Work with the students for activities and developing them with
are not allowed to say what their to decide what their character might say me and our students over the years.
emotion is. Instead, they have to and how they might react in a hijack
demonstrate it by what they say and situation. Begin with all the students in
rows, then set the hijacker in action, Asher, J, Kusudo, J and de la Torre, R
how they say it. Select one student to be Learning a second language through
the host of the party. Set the scene, play encouraging everyone to react
commands: the second field test
some music and encourage the host to spontaneously in character. Modern Language Journal 58 1974
mime preparations, pouring drinks, etc. Brumfit, C and Johnson, K The
Take the remaining students outside the 10 Cocktail party Communicative Approach to Language
classroom, or at least to the door, and Teaching OUP 1979
I use this activity with new classes to get Larsen-Freeman, D Techniques and
have them enter the party one by one.
them moving and talking. Principles in Language Teaching OUP
Give each student a different emotion
Instruct each student to write down 1986
card (which they should not show to the
the following:
rest of the class) as they enter. When
everybody has entered and milled 1 Their favourite actors first name Fari Greenaway is an
English teacher in
around a while, call the class back and Crdoba, Spain, and
2 Their favourite colour DOS of Education aBc in
ask the host to say what emotions they
Oxford every summer.
think each person exhibited, with help 3 Whether they like coffee (yes or no) She has a BA in English
from the rest of the class if necessary. language and linguistics,
4 How many times they have been completed the DELTA in
Variation: more adept students can 2008 and has written for
abroad
watch and listen to each new guest and a number of publishers,
including Edelvives in
should all (including the host) mimic 5 The worst job in the world Spain. She is particularly
their emotion as they enter the party. In interested in how
6 A country they would like to visit language is acquired,
this way, the whole class goes through organised, retrieved and
the range of emotions by carefully Then explain that the list tells them the used by the brain
(psycholinguistics).
attending to and mimicking each others following about a character they are
thefari@yahoo.co.uk
behaviour. going to play:

14 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


IN THE CLASSROOM technique used in Total Physical
Response and ask your students to
pick up, say, a green rubber, using the

Chop, chop
chopsticks? This could be done with
realia or with pictures of the language
to be practised. If you use pictures,
its a good idea to bend them slightly
to make them easier to pick up. This
game can be made more fun by
having competing teams who have to
Paul Ashe makes his activities stick in the mind. pick up items on a list before their
opponents.
omething that stands out of chopsticks in your class lends itself Alternatively, you could play the

S because it is different is more


memorable. This idea is not
new. Marketing companies use
it to attract our attention all the time. It
is known as the von Restorff effect (or
perfectly, therefore, to a task-based
lesson. Once you yourself can use them,
a natural information gap is created
between you and your students and, as I
am sure you will discover, there will be
hungry hippos game. Put all the
objects to be picked up on one table.
Get the students to stand around the
table with their chopsticks ready.
They then have two minutes to pick
isolation effect) named after the motivation on their part to learn how to up as many of the objects as possible.
psychologist Hedwig von Restorff who use them. If you dont have enough The winner is the person with the
identified the phenomenon in 1933. chopsticks for all your students, hand most objects. At lower levels, the
Making things go beyond the mundane out two long pencils to practise with things they pick up could be words,
and forgettable has become all too and show the students how to hold the which they then have to put together
necessary in a world in which chopsticks in their hand. Let them ask to make sentences. At higher levels,
information overload is the norm. you any questions they like, as long as they might be the beginnings of, say, a
In the search for activities to make they are in English. This will naturally conditional sentence, eg If I werent in
language in the classroom stand out bring up the language of instructions class right now , which the students
and, therefore, stick in the memory of and staging, eg first of all hold one have to complete appropriately in
my students, I decided to use chopsticks. chopstick like this; then . However, the order to score a point.
Chopsticks are simply two long pieces objective is that the students should focus As a warmer or revision activity, you
of wood, bamboo, plastic or metal and on the task and not on the language could give each student a pair of
were first used as eating utensils over used. This more natural interaction is chopsticks and a dice. Tell them to
5,000 years ago in China. The Chinese more likely to increase what Jane Willis throw the dice and pick it up with the
word for them is kuai-zi, which means calls fluency and natural acquisition. chopsticks. The first person to do so
quick little fellows. To produce one-use There is a video at www.videojug.com/ is asked a question of your choice. If
chopsticks for domestic use, the Chinese film/how-to-use-chopsticks-5 which you they answer correctly, they receive the
use 25 million full-grown trees a year, might want to use to help teach your number of points shown on their dice
not to mention those required for the student how to use chopsticks. when they picked it up. Repeat the
chopsticks they export. Therefore, using When all the students have practised process to see who can win the most
them in class (instead of buying picking something up with the chopsticks, points.
purpose-made resources) will not only you can focus on the language that arose
re-use some of the worlds diminishing naturally. If, however, you happen to be As a revision game, you could use
resources, but also give you and your teaching in a country where your students different coloured sticks, with each
students a fun and effective way to are experts with chopsticks, the same colour corresponding to a question
make language memorable. format applies but you can be the student about a language point previously seen
instead, and your students then get to in class. The students have to pick up
a coloured stick with their chopsticks
Start teach you something through English.
and answer the corresponding
This will result in a great feeling of
If, like me, you teach in Europe, you empowerment and reward for them! question correctly to win that stick.
may find that many of your students are The winner is the student with the
unable to use chopsticks, especially most coloured sticks. If you want to
younger learners. The initial introduction Recycle encourage the students to try certain
Once your students can use chopsticks, questions over others, you could award
there are endless ways in which you can more points to these questions.
use them to make mundane activities
fun and create extra resources. Here are 2 Illustration
just a few. Cuisenaire rods are used to great effect
in The Silent Way, but they are not easy
1 Pick up games to find and neither are they cheap.
For younger learners especially, Different coloured chopsticks cut into
instead of pointing to objects to test different sizes are more accessible and
understanding, why not apply a less expensive.

16 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


next. You could give your students a
few chopsticks in the form of a logic
puzzle for them to complete within a
given time limit. For example, Can
you move three chopsticks to make the
fish look the other way? (see the photo
on the left). You can get logic puzzle
ideas from www.learningtree.org.uk/
stickpuzzles/stick_puzzles.htm.
You could also use chopsticks to raise
cultural awareness as to how people
eat around the world. This may lead
to many cultural topics, such as
international food and what times
people eat in different countries.


The use of chopsticks with young
learners will certainly also help develop
their motor skills, but dont think that
Placed horizontally on a table, the tennis racket and a smiley face for a these ideas can only be used with
rods/chopsticks can be used to happy tennis player. Attaching these children. I have also successfully used
illustrate the grammatical structure of shields to a chopstick gives each chopsticks with adult groups at all levels
a sentence. By using different student their very own banner. and they have helped me address
coloured chopsticks (or painting plain Give the students problem-solving different learning styles in the classroom.
chopsticks), you could use a different tasks by dividing them into groups I couldnt have hoped for a better
colour to represent a different part of with an equal number of chopsticks. example of what an impact using
speech, eg subject, verb, object, etc. Then ask them to form something chopsticks in class has on my students
Placed vertically, they can illustrate using the chopsticks. This could range than when I was teaching the mother of
sentence stress, with each chopstick from a letter of the alphabet in a young learner I had had the previous
representing one word and the tallest capitals, to a digital number to a year. During the lesson she asked when
chopstick being where the main stress picture, such as a house. they would learn how to use chopsticks.
falls. She explained that ever since I taught
4 Resources her daughter to use them she has always
Why not lay them horizontally and
If you dont have a clock when teaching used chopsticks whenever they go to a
use them as a timeline with other
the time, use chopsticks as clock hands. local Asian restaurant and she would
chopsticks representing actions?
Put the numbers 12, 3, 6 and 9 at the like to be able to do the same.
They could also act as symbolic cardinal points on a table and ask the Chopsticks take up little room in
objects in roleplays, for example a students to place two chopsticks in the your bag and can act as an easily
bowl of soup, a main course, etc. middle to indicate the times you then adaptable resource. Whats more, if the
call out. worst comes to the worst, you could
3 Imagination
To practise prepositions of place, why always use them to have dinner after
Creating things by using your class! ETp
not hide a chopstick somewhere in
imagination involves a combination of
the classroom when the students cant
skills, from listening, speaking and Willis, J A Framework for Task-Based
see you. They then have to ask you
writing to listing, sorting and problem Learning Longman 1996
questions like Is it under the table? to
solving. Task-based learning, as www.videojug.com/film/how-to-use-
discover where it is. You could help chopsticks-5
advocated by Jane Willis, uses creative
by answering Hot or Cold, depending
tasks to encourage teamwork and www.independent.co.uk/environment/the-
how close they are to finding it. true-price-of-disposable-chopsticks-
develop any number of skills.
Chopsticks can be a great visual 471574.html
You could make stick puppets by
sticking pictures made by your resource when trying to explain
Paul Ashe has been
students onto one end of the vocabulary. I have used one to teaching English since
chopstick and get the students to put demonstrate how to play lesser-known 1997. He has written
coursebook materials
on their own show, practising the sports like cricket or hurling or to and articles and has
language encountered in class. show what a flute or drumstick is. given conference talks as
part of his professional
A good ice-breaker is to ask the Fillers for early finishers or the last development. He is
five minutes of class often employ interested in innovative
students to draw a coat of arms with but effective teaching
the shield divided into four sections. single-use activities. Having a large ideas. He is currently a
repertoire of fillers will mean you will head teacher in Spain.
Each section should have pictures
never be left wondering what to do pogs@ono.com
which represent the student, eg a

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 17


Over
the
wall ... Alan Maley
ponders the plight of
people on the move.

n this article, I am reviewing four novels itself does not have much of a plot: it is closely-integrated group, both culturally

I about the experience of being an


immigrant. The past 20 years or so
have seen an unprecedented
movement of populations, displaced by
war or political oppression, by economic
seen through the eyes of Moses, a man
who has been in London for several
years already, as he recounts the
experiences of a number of newly-arrived
immigrants. We find Cap, the Nigerian,
and linguistically, through close family and
clan networks. Whereas the Caribbeans
had English as their first language, albeit
in a dialectal form, those from Hong
Kong were able to operate largely without
deprivation or by the prospect of a better always in debt and moving from one reference to English. Newcomers were
life elsewhere. Whatever the motivation of woman to another with lightning agility: integrated into existing Chinese
immigrant populations, and whatever the towards the end he is so hungry he is enterprises with no need to interact with
views of the communities into which they
move, the facts are undeniable. Should
we, as teachers, be concerned? I think so. The past 20 years or so have seen an
These four novels examine some unprecedented movement of populations
facets of the immigrant experience. They
span a period of about 60 years, from the
first wave of post-war immigration into reduced to catching and eating seagulls. the local culture. It is this context which
the UK from the Caribbean to the most Henry, alias Galahad, is wide-eyed at the forms the backdrop for Timothy Mos
recent influx of Central and East novelty of London. Bart has so few 1982 novel Sour Sweet. The centrepiece
European migrants. clothes that he has to change in the is the life of the Chen family: Chen, a
laundrette itself, and so poor he lives off Soho waiter, Lily his wife, Man Kee their
tea. Moses is the kind of archetypal infant son and Mui, Lilys sister. They
The Lonely Londoners spokesman for all these lost souls: move to a suburb and set up their own
Sam Selvons novel The Lonely ten years the old man in Britain and what Chinese takeaway with some success.
Londoners, first published in 1956, to show for it? ... Sleep, eat, hustle pussy, But Chen has become involved with the
focuses on the experiences of Caribbean work . And yet, despite their criminal Triads who rule the Hong Kong
immigrants in London in the early 1950s. precarious existence, none of them will Chinese community, and at the end he is
iStockphoto.com / Steven Robertson

Many men from the Caribbean had return to their homeland. disappeared (or washed). The most
fought in the British army during the war. remarkable thing about this group of
Some stayed, others went back. Soon immigrants is their almost total separation
the word spread that a better life was to
Sour Sweet from their host community. Lily has no
be had in London. Numbers swelled till Immigration to the UK from Hong Kong, wish to become involved with British
by 1960 immigration was over 50,000 a which was at its peak in the 1960s, was people. Her only concern is her family
year, which led to the government very different from that from the and, in particular, Man Kee. Everything
stepping in to restrict numbers. The novel Caribbean. The immigrants were a more else, including such things as income tax

18 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


and driving licences, is unimportant. Yet, the bus. She helps him find money to live on, somewhere to sleep,
by the end, Man Kee is showing accommodation with Christy, an Irish something to eat and someone to love.
disturbing signs of integration, much to plumber separated from his wife and And, of course, on making sense of the
her alarm and disapproval. For their part, daughter. And he finds work as a indifference or hostility of the alien culture
the Triads similarly operate independently dishwasher in a fashionable restaurant. in which they live, including its infuriating
of the police or the law in general. Life settles down somewhat. He is language.
promoted from dishwashing and starts to Why should we, as teachers of EFL
learn something about cooking. He has a or ESL, be concerned? Well, although, of
Two Caravans passionate affair with Sophie, his co- course, we cant really compare our
Two Caravans by Marina Lewycka worker. She introduces him to a care situation with those of impoverished
focuses on Ukrainian migrants, as we home for old people which she migrant workers, many of us have gone
follow the romantic ups and downs of sometimes visits they even go there to abroad to teach, and encountered some of
Irina and Andriy, the two immigrants who cook the Christmas dinner, a masterpiece the same issues faced by the migrants in
form the basis of the novel, before they of tragic-comic description. The affair these books. We, too, are migrants, albeit
find their happy ending. But the cast also goes wrong, he loses his job and, in the more privileged than most. We will also
includes characters from Poland, China, aftermath, he is arrested for drunken commonly find migrants in our classes,
Malawi and Zambia. The novel starts in behaviour. He moves to work on a farm in and it may be worth reflecting on the very
the strawberry farms of Kent, takes us Norfolk, harvesting asparagus, working real existential problems they face on a
through work in a battery chicken farm alongside Chinese illegals. He learns of daily basis. When we migrate, we have to
and the adjacent meat-packing plant, to the plans to build a dam which will engulf negotiate a whole new deal, not just with
a restaurant in London, and to the care his home village and desperately devises the language. However, the language is a
home in East Anglia, as the lovers make a plan to make enough money to open major complication, and I shall turn to
their way north to Sheffield. The scenes his own restaurant back home. He returns this next time, when I deal with books
from the poultry farm are enough to put to London and finds a job as a waiter, which focus on the language issue. ETp
anyone off eating chicken ever again. The
book is simultaneously hilarious and
deeply shocking as it explores the
It may be worth reflecting on the very real existential
deprivation and exploitation of these problems migrants face on a daily basis
largely vulnerable people the invisible
underbelly of UK society. Angela, the
Zambian nurse, compares notes with then a cook, in a Greek restaurant,
Lewycka, M Two Caravans Penguin 2007
Andriy: ... my adaptation job pays only making good money. After being mugged
the minimum wage then they make Mo, T Sour Sweet Vintage Books 1982
and beaten by two 12 year olds near
deductions. Tax. Food. Accommodation. Highgate cemetery, he finds a daytime job Selvon, S The Lonely Londoners
Longman Caribbean Writers Series 1956
Uniform. Training fee. Agency fee. At the as chef at the care home. Eventually, he
end of the week, I have nothing left. And Tremain, R The Road Home Vintage
makes it back home, opens his restaurant
Books 2008
the Ukrainians also have their own mafia and can look forward to better times. But
to cope with. The extravagant humour the novel is a harrowing account of the Alan Maley has worked in
only serves to highlight the deprivation sheer uncertainty of the migrant situation, the area of ELT for over
and hopelessness of these workers lives. of having no one to turn to, of having to 40 years in Yugoslavia,
Ghana, Italy, France,
face each day not knowing how it will China, India, the UK,
end. And of the courage it takes to Singapore and Thailand.
The Road Home confront a life dictated by these terms.
Since 2003 he has been
a freelance writer and
The last novel I will review here is The The novel succeeds in presenting Lev consultant. He has
published over 30 books
Road Home by Rose Tremain. It, too, as a more rounded, three-dimensional and numerous articles,
deals with recent East European migration figure, with more density and credibility and was, until recently,
Series Editor of the
to the UK. Lev, over 40 and desperate than the characters in some of the other Oxford Resource Books
following the loss of his young wife and books. The insights it gives into the for Teachers.
the closure of the saw-mill where he dehumanising types of work available to yelamoo@yahoo.co.uk
worked, decides to migrate to Britain to migrants, their powerlessness in the face
be able to send money back for his of authority, and the precarious nature of
mother and young daughter. He gets off their daily existence are similar to those
the long-distance bus at Victoria with depicted in the other novels but Visit the
nowhere to stay, no job and no idea how
to proceed. After an unpleasant incident
somehow more credible because Lev
himself is a more credible character.
ETp website!
with a policeman, he spends the first The ETp website is packed with practical
night in the open, in front of a basement  tips, advice, resources, information and
flat. He finds work distributing leaflets for selected articles. You can submit tips
a kebab shop but realises he cannot The themes that emerge from all four or articles, renew your subscription
survive on this. He does, however, seem novels are none the less poignant for or simply browse the features.
always to find help when he needs it. He being familiar. They all touch in greater or www.etprofessional.com
turns to Lydia, his fellow passenger on lesser detail on finding work and enough

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 19


G R A M M A R Suppose the room is too hot, or
your blood pressure is very low. What
can happen? You can faint. You can

Phrasal verbs? lose consciousness and fall onto the


floor: you pass out.
When you pass out, what do you
see? Darkness!

Theyre easy! 6
As well as flammable material,
people can burn out. This is due to
excessive stress, usually in work:
He was a stockbroker, but burnt out
after five years.
When you burn out, youre finished!
John Ryan brings out the logic in one last preposition. We often hear of governments trying to
stamp out crime (destroy it).
he preposition out means outside. they tell their friends or family or the Sometimes, they will phase something

T There is a journey from inside to


outside, a journey which can take
you into the light or into the darkness.
world that they are, in fact, gay. This is
when they come out of the closet and
their secret reaches the light.
out.
At the moment, they are phasing out
free medical care (little by little it will
Elton John came out years ago. be gone).
Into the light When you close the curtains, you block out
Making things out the light. You can also block out sounds.
Working things out To make something out means to be able
Lets say you have a problem, such as a Some people try to block out bad
to see or hear something in difficult memories.
maths problem. The solution is hidden circumstances. It is often used with can.
deep within the problem itself. Your job Out can also be associated with
For example, if something is far away negative experiences. If you decide to
is to work it out. Here, the image is and you cant see it or read it:
slowly bringing the answer from a dark stick it out, you decide to remain in a
I cant make it out. (A car registration, bad situation:
hidden place into the light. When for example, or a bus number.)
youve worked it out, the solution is I hate my new job, but my friends have
I cant make out the signature. (Here, advised me to stick it out, at least for
there, in the light. You can see it! its not far away; the quality is bad.)
Jim and Mary are trying to work out another month.
You can also use it for things you Sometimes, you can prevent a negative
their marriage problems. By talking can/cant hear, usually because of the
through their problems they begin to see experience:
clarity of the sound. We talked him out of doing it. We
solutions; they begin to shed light on I find heavy metal lyrics difficult to
what has gone wrong. persuaded him not to do something we
make out. viewed as being bad.
Likewise, you can also figure I couldnt make out what he was saying
something out. Again, figuring out a He was going to sell the company, but
because of the noise. we talked him out of it.
problem means thinking about it until When you can make something out, there
the solution can be seen.
I couldnt figure out how to open the
is the lightbulb moment of throwing 
light onto the unknown.
door. In this series of articles I have attempted
It took me ages to figure out the to show that there is a logic and a clear
complicated bus timetable.
Into the darkness line of thought running through
Likewise, you can find things out. This, Falling out seemingly unrelated phrasal verbs. This
again, involves bringing information However, sometimes out is a matter of logic is, I believe, contained in the
into the light, sometimes accidentally: darkness rather than light. Sometimes prepositions. If you can unlock the
I just found out that Mary is going to friendships can fall into darkness: meaning of the prepositions and present
have a baby! people fall out. This means that they are this (the image) to your learners, you can
I went on the internet and found out no longer friends. They usually fall out empower them to understand better the
that the company doesnt exist! over something: idiomatic side of the English language.
For working out, figuring out and Peter and I fell out over the money he Good luck! ETp
finding out, a solution sees the light. owes me. John Ryan is the Director
They fell out over a stupid argument. of Studies of Englishour,
Coming out a brand new school soon
to be opened in Dublin.
To come out can simply mean come Here are some more verbs which mean go He believes that the
outside. When we say Are you coming out into the darkness, away from the light. English language is
accessible to all learners
tonight? we are asking if someone is going The first is literal. To blow out a as there is an underlying
to come to the pub, or the cinema, etc. candle or a flame. logic, which exists even
in the most idiomatic of
Come out also means to reveal that He made a wish and blew out his phrases. Bringing this
you are gay. The idea here is that it is a birthday candles. logic to the learner is his
goal in training.
secret. When someone is secretly gay, What do you do with a finished
lifethroughenglish@gmail.com
they are in the closet. Then one day, cigarette? You put it out (extinguish it).

20 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


TEACHING YOUNG LEARNERS 

Report writing in 3D
Chris Roland adds an extra dimension to teachers comments.

T
he main aim of writing reports verbalise such a perspective can often themselves that change is necessary.
for our young learners is to be a daunting and demoralising task. It Hopefully, with the additional
make them aware of their own sometimes feels as if one is launching information afforded by the comment
progress and thus encourage comments into the void, almost like templates provided on page 23, many of
them to maintain their efforts (as in desperate prayers, asking: Will this do the tiny dilemmas that a teacher faces
Keep up the good work!) or to highlight any good? Is that comment enough to when filling in report cards will be
the areas in which more effort needs to make this particular student actually do solved. At this point, you may wish to
be made. I think most teachers would anything different? Do they even have a quick glance at the templates.
agree with this statement, in varying realise they arent pulling their weight? For lower levels, I would
degrees, and so I have used it as my If, at the time of writing reports, the recommend using comment slips with
starting point. My second move, and the teacher has an additional slip for each translations. I have electronic versions
point of this article, is to skip straight student on which they have expressed of the templates, both in English and
to the effort part of the equation and how well they themselves think they translated into Spanish, so that individual
ask the students how much effort they have worked, then immediately the job teachers can modify the comment
think theyve put in, prior to the final should be an easier one. A third templates to suit their own particular
drafting of the reports. To this end, I dimension has been added to the situations, changing the wording and/or
have included templates for seven short process and that is the subjective providing or changing the translations
comments from which each student perspective of the student on their own into other languages to suit their own
can select the one that they think best performance. This is what I refer to as teaching contexts. Readers are welcome
summarises their efforts over the term. three-dimensional report writing. I havent to contact me directly to receive these.
The idea is that this should be done in gone as far as including a schematic If you translate the comments into any
one of the classes leading up to the diagram at this point. However, if I had, other languages, I would also greatly
report writing, and so, when the teacher you would now be looking at a triangle, appreciate copies!
comes to actually writing their reports, the two base-line points being labelled To give an example, if a student has
they will have an extra element or Teachers perspective and Students obviously under-performed in the
dimension to aid their decision-making perspective and the third point labelled teachers eyes and yet shows absolutely
as to final grades and comments. Students actual performance, with various no awareness of this, selecting, for
arrows going backwards and forwards. instance, comment 2 (I think that I have
done quite well this term. I think that if I
From 2D to 3D maintain this level of work I will pass. I think
Traditionally, the first element of a Communication that the teacher is satisfied with my work.),
report involves some sort of objective It shouldnt matter that the students then obviously the report itself needs
measure or score (informal test results, are unaware of what exact percentage to become a point of reconciliation
exams or writing grades). The second or grade their performance translates between the two disparate viewpoints.
element involves the teacher giving a into. At this point, we are asking them The case will need stating clearly and a
comment on that measure through the for a more introspective, honest follow-up meeting will probably be
lens filter of their own professional appraisal of their own work. required. If, on the other hand, the same
perspective as observer, facilitator or The teachers comments box on the student chooses comment 4 (I realise
administrator. In as much as this report, therefore, becomes a point of that I havent tried hard enough this term
perspective is personal to the teacher, it exchange and communication between but I will make more of an effort next
is a subjective one, but teachers naturally the teachers and the individual term.), then perhaps the students
aim to make it as firmly grounded in students perspectives. If the teacher shortcomings do not need stating quite
reality and as constructive as possible. feels that something needs to change, so boldly. More importantly, their own
Nonetheless, when sitting at home with then its vital to know where their recognition and identification of areas to
a stack of half-written reports, trying to student is at in terms of realising for be worked on (be they isolated areas,

22 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


Comment 1

Report writing Name:


I honestly think I have studied a lot this term. I am very
happy with my progress and I hope the teacher is, too.

in 3D General template for


.....................................................................................................................

.....................................................................................................................

.....................................................................................................................

.....................................................................................................................
comment slips
.....................................................................................................................

Comment 2 Comment 3
Name: Name:
I think that I have done quite well this term. I think that I think that I have done the required work this term but,
if I maintain this level of work, I will pass. I think that the from the teachers point of view, perhaps I havent done
teacher is satisfied with my work. much to help the class function well.
..................................................................................................................... .....................................................................................................................

..................................................................................................................... .....................................................................................................................

..................................................................................................................... .....................................................................................................................

..................................................................................................................... .....................................................................................................................

..................................................................................................................... .....................................................................................................................

Comment 4 Comment 5
Name: Name:
I realise that I havent tried hard enough this term, but I I havent worked very hard this term, maybe because I
will make more of an effort next term. havent had the time or the interest. I dont think that I
will be able to do any more next term either.
.....................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................

Comment 6 Comment 7
Name: Name:
I realise that I didnt do very well in the first half of this I dont think that any of the other comments apply to
term, but more recently I have been trying harder. I me. Im a special case and will explain why below.
understand that my report/grades must reflect the
.....................................................................................................................
whole of the term and so probably wont be very good,
but I would like the teacher to remember my recent .....................................................................................................................
improvements, which I will try to maintain.
.....................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................


www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 23


TEACHING YOUNG LEARNERS 
Report writing in 3D Procedure
One or two lessons before reports are
d) the teachers final comments on the
report may bear no similarity to the
comment slip chosen, but that the
 global effort or behaviour) can be written, the teacher sticks a single copy teacher will bear all comments in
constructively worked into the report: of each of the seven comment slips on mind.
Alex is aware that he needs to work harder the board. The students are then invited,
next term, and I think that one area to in ones and twos, to go to the board, 
work on in particular is his writing. read all the slips, and then decide which
comment they think best applies to Obviously, no one activity works for
them. They dont actually take the cards everyone in every situation. This has
Collaboration down from the board; they just tell the worked for me hence my decision to
The last example demonstrates the teacher what number they have selected share it. I mentioned earlier that this is
added advantage that, where a problem and the teacher hands them a card from not the same as having the students
does exist and the student recognises a photocopied store. That way, the write their own reports. I have,
it, there is already some level of teacher does not constantly have to however, also had students write out
collaboration between teacher and check what numbers have been taken the report they would like to receive,
student at the point where the report and what numbers need replacing. The complete with their projected grades
changes hands. Handing over a less students then add their name and any and self-ratings for behaviour,
than satisfactory report, to either additional comments they have. (You will participation and performance across
student or parent, when the problem see that the template cards themselves the four skills; and then I have worked
has been mutually acknowledged (as are quite small. Most students wont with that in counselling sessions. By
precursor to some sort of action have mountains of comments, so the contrast, the comment templates
plan/changed behaviour to address the space provided normally suffices.) presented in this article require very
problem) is always a more pleasant This could be done whilst the class little in the way of follow-up. Theyre
event that handing out nasty surprises. is engaged in another activity. I have more of an aid to the teacher. They
In other words, if a parent can see that found that disruption to the main class could, however, also be viewed as a
their child has already acknowledged activity tends to be minimal. I have also stepping stone to getting students to
the need to work harder, they will, it is found that just by doing this activity, the conduct more in-depth self-analysis
hoped, appreciate the fact that the class tends to centre itself on whatever regarding their own progress. ETp
teacher has identified a problem and is else they are doing. Some students may
already addressing it. see completing the cards as a personal Chris Roland teaches for
the British Council in
thing, which they do not wish to Barcelona, Spain.
discuss with their classmates. Others Throughout the year he
Evaluation may try to draw the teacher into giving gives as many practical
workshops as he can
As a final example, I shall mention the their views on how they have possibly manage to fit in
on top of his regular
perennial case of the student who does performed. The emphasis here should teaching schedule. He
very little all term but then comes be on what the students themselves also writes childrens
material for Cambridge
good (for whatever reason) in the last think. However, as long as the students University Press in
choice of comments is their own, I see Spain, as well as his own
few weeks before the writing of the PowerPoint stories for
report. Does the teacher give that no harm in the teacher sharing their very young learners of
opinion if asked. It is not going to spoil English, available at
student a shining comment reflecting www.regandlellow.com.
on the last few weeks so that the good anything after all, we are looking to Chris.Roland@britishcouncil.es
performance continues? Is this fair? Is avoid dealing in surprises!
the teacher being true to themselves? The teacher should say something
Will the student then go back to their along the lines of: This is to help me
old ways, having got what they needed write your reports. It should be made IT WORKS IN PRACTICE
on the report? Or should the teacher clear to the students, though, that: Do you have ideas youd like to share
give a harsher report, reflecting the a) there are no correct or incorrect with colleagues around the world?
whole term, and run the risk of the choices; Tips, techniques and activities;
students disappointment pushing them simple or sophisticated; well-tried
b) the students are not actually writing or innovative; something that has
back into behavioural problems or lack
their own reports; worked well for you? All published
of application? Comment 6 is specifically
intended to give the teacher an idea of c) they should try to write for contributions receive a prize!
the students own feelings on this, and themselves as an individual, not put Write to us or email:
also to prepare the student for the the same as the person sitting next iwip@etprofessional.com
possibility of a more global evaluation. to them, as all students are different;

24 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


M E T H O D O L O G Y S4 Is there a pronoun?
S1 Yes.

Looping
S3 Is it you?
S1 Yes.
S4 Is it about sport?
S1 No.
S2 Is it about entertainment?
S1 No.

the loop
S4 Is it about food?
S1 Yes.
S3 Is it about savoury food?
S1 No.
S2 Sweet food?
S1 Yes.
S2 Is it Do you like chocolate?
Simon Mumford oop input is a teacher-training

L
S1 No.
technique, described by Tessa
S2 Do you like ice-cream?
links up language input Woodward, which creates a
parallel between input and S1 Thats right.
with task output. training processes. So, for example, a
trainer gives the trainees information on
dictation in the form of a dictation.
Preposition placement
This idea could be extended to The students are given a blank 3 x 3
contextualising grammatical structures grid. The instructions below are read
for students. By creating a link between out to them or supplied in written form.
the structure focused on and the activity The students then have to write the
and/or example sentences used to appropriate word or phrase in each
practise it, teachers can increase their square and draw the appropriate arrow
repertoire of activities and provide to the next square. When their answers
benefits to learners. Here are some ideas have been checked, they work in groups
on how this works in practice. to try to reconstruct the original
instructions using the grid.
Questions about Instructions
questions Write in the centre in the centre
square. Write above above it. On the
Students play the game Twenty right of above write on the right of.
questions but, instead of objects, they Write below below it. Write under
think of a simple four-word question, eg under below. Next to under write
Do you like ice-cream? The questioning next to. Near next to write near, and
then involves metalanguage, such as on top of near write on top of. In the
pronouns and auxiliary verbs. You may last square, write in the corner.
need to demonstrate first as this is quite
a complicated concept. Here is an Solution:
example game:
in the above on the
S1 OK. corner right of

S2 Is it a Yes/No question?
S1 Yes.
on top in the below
S3 Is there an auxiliary verb? of centre
S1 Yes.
S2 Is there the verb to be?
near next to under
S1 No.
S3 Is it do?
S1 Yes. 

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 25


Looping
should be placed between the were is traditionally correct; Square 8:
longest sentence and the centre. the sentences show that the second is
e) The easier one should go next to the correct; Square 5: ignore the unreal
shortest sentence. conditional; Square 10: Finished!


the loop Solution:
b, d, a, e, c

Conditional maze
Rule and mistake
sentences
To help the students notice mistakes,
Modals contextualise each one in a sentence that
To complete this maze, the students need
Modal verbs are often used to talk gives the rule, and ask them to correct
to understand both the instructions and
about rules, but modals themselves are the errors. (Answers given in brackets.)
the example conditional sentences given.
subject to rules, so we can use them as
Start at Square 1. 1 He always using the present
content and metalanguage. Here is a
continuous without the verb to be.
true or false quiz about modal verbs. Solution: (He is )
Square 1: there is a mistake; Square 4:
True or false? 2 You know how to use an auxiliary
landing here shows you are correct, go
1 May can be used instead of can in verb in present simple questions?
to 6; Square 6: correct; Square 11: it is;
requests and permission. (Do you ...?)
Square 3: it doesnt; Square 12: youre
2 We mustnt use dont have to not; Square 9: it makes 7; Square 7: a 3 If you will show me how to use if
instead of mustnt. correct mixed conditional (past with the present simple, I will not
3 We must use to after ought. condition with result now); Square 2: make a mistake. (If you show )
4 We must use to after must. 4 I forgetted that some past tense
verbs are irregular. (forgot)
5 Only should can be used for advice. Conditional maze
6 Ought to can often replace should
for advice. Square 1 Square 2 Square 3
If there will be a mistake If I were you, Id go to If unless means the
7 We can replace can with could in
in this sentence, you Square 8. same as if, go to 6. If it
requests.
would have gone to If I was you, Id go to doesnt, go to 12.
8 We should use must for advice. Square 4, but if there is Square 7.
9 In certain situations we may write no mistake, go to 3. Go to the square given in
shant for shall not. the most grammatically
correct sentence.
10 We must use to after let, but we are
not allowed to use to after allow.
Square 4 Square 5 Square 6
Solution: If you got the last If this square is number If you didnt study
1T, 2T, 3T, 4F, 5F (ought to can also be answer correct, go to 6. 5, go to 10. But just English, you wouldnt
used), 6T, 7T, 8F, 9T, 10F If you did not, go back supposing it had been be able to understand
to 1. number 6, then you this sentence.
Comparatives would have had to go If this sentence is
to 3. correct, go to 11, if it is
and superlatives incorrect, go to 10.
The students put the following sentences,
which all contain comparative and Square 7 Square 8 Square 9
superlative structures, in the correct If your father had If the if clause always If eight minus one
order, according to the instructions been a billionaire has to come first, go to makes ten, go to
given in the sentences: you wouldnt have Square 10. Square 10. If it doesnt,
a) Simon says the sentence which has to work. Go to Square 5 if it can go to the square which
the most s sounds inside should If this is a good come after the main is the correct answer to
certainly be situated in the most sentence, go to 2. If clause. this sum.
central position. not, go to 10.
b) The longest sentence, with the most
vocabulary items and, therefore, the Square 10 Square 11 Square 12
greatest number of letters and the If you have visited all If this square is in the If you are doing this
longest distance between the first the other squares third column and the between three and five
and the last words and the most before coming to this bottom row, go to 3. If oclock in the morning,
information, goes first. one, then you have not, go to 12. go to 2. If not, go to 9.
correctly completed the
c) The shortest goes last. maze. If not, start again!
d) Of the two remaining sentences, the
one that has greater complexity

26 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


5 For making sentences expressing wrong/unnecessary. In this context, the
purpose, use an infinitive.
(To make )
indefinite article denotes something
missing and the definite article refers to ENGLISH
6 Use a the first time you introduce a
word, but use the for a same word
a word which is wrong/unnecessary. The
reason for this is that, for a missing
verb, we are not referring to a definite
Tprofessional
EACHING
later. ( for the same word ...)
word at this stage, only pointing out
7 Teachers should not to let students This is your magazine.
that one type of word (a verb) is
use unnecessary words.
missing. On the other hand, where there We want to hear from you!
( not let students )
is an extra, unnecessary word, because
8 When use an adverb clause, dont we can all see the particular word we
forget to use a participle. are referring to on the paper, we use a
(When using ) definite article. The following
9 dont forget to start every sentence demonstrates an exercise on articles: IT WORKS IN PRACTICE
with a capital letter and end with a Correct the following sentence: I went Do you have ideas youd like to share
full stop (Dont stop.) for holiday to the France, and I had with colleagues around the world?
10 You dont need to use a conjunction wonderful time swimming in a sea. Tips, techniques and activities;
before a clause that which starts There should be an a before holiday simple or sophisticated; well-tried
with a wh- word. ( clause that or and wonderful. or innovative; something that has
clause which ... but not both) worked well for you? All published
The the before France is unnecessary.
contributions receive a prize!
The a before sea is wrong. It should be Write to us or email:
Grammar explanations the.
The following sentences, all taken from iwip@etprofessional.com
(The bold words show articles used as
Cambridge Grammar of English, contain metalanguage, words in italics refer to
an example of the grammar point they
describe. More advanced students can
words in the sentence.)
TALKBACK!
be asked to highlight the part of the Solution: Do you have something to say about
sentence that illustrates the point, as I went for a holiday to France, and I had
an article in the current issue of ETp?
shown here. a wonderful time swimming in the sea.
This is your magazine and we would
A defining relative clause identifies really like to hear from you.
the noun which it post-modifies and
 Write to us or email:
distinguishes it from other nouns.
Example sentences about imaginary talkback@etprofessional.com
(p 327)
people or unfamiliar places may have
Often adverbs are fully integrated in little relevance to the students. One
the clause. However, adverbs may be alternative is to make the important Writing for ETp
less integrated in the clause structure information, the language itself, the Would you like to write for ETp? We are
and may modify the whole structure content of the sentences. Associations always interested in new writers and
or utterance. (p 458) and parallels between content and fresh ideas. For guidelines and advice,
Present day English has four main activity can lead to new ways of write to us or email:
processes of word formation: thinking about language and, as Tessa
Woodward puts it, exploit the possibility editor@etprofessional.com
prefixation, suffixation, conversion
and compounding. (p 474) that certain people learn more deeply as
A subordinate clause can be part of a
a result of reverberation between
process and content. ETp
Visit the
sentence when it is dependent on the
main clause. (p 554)
ETp website!
Carter, R and McCarthy, M Cambridge The ETp website is packed with practical
Regular or habitual events are usually Grammar of English CUP 2006 tips, advice, resources, information and
referred to in the present simple
Woodward, T Loop input ELT Journal selected articles. You can submit tips
[active or passive]. (p 599) 57(3) 2003 or articles, renew your subscription
or simply browse the features.
Articles for missing, Simon Mumford has
taught in Izmir, Turkey, www.etprofessional.com
wrong and extra words for 20 years. He teaches
academic reading and
One type of grammar exercise omits writing at Izmir University
of Economics, organises ENGLISH TEACHING professional
necessary words and adds unnecessary a voluntary workshop Pavilion Publishing (Brighton) Ltd,
words. The students task is to correct programme for the
British Council in Izmir, PO Box 100, Chichester, West Sussex,
these. The articles a and the are useful and edits the Practical PO18 8HD, UK
in the metalanguage used to refer to the Teaching Ideas column in
IATEFL Voices.
Fax: +44 (0)1243 576456
missing or extra words: eg A verb is Email: info@etprofessional.com
simumford@yahoo.com
needed here. The preposition is

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 27


IN THE CLASSROOM

The student
as input
Ken Lackman his is my third article in ETp one who can critically assess a teaching

modifies his methodology


until it evolves into a
T on lesson frameworks for
teaching with little or no
before-class preparation. The
teacher as input (Issue 48) used teacher
talking time as the linguistic input; The
procedure, extract what works, eliminate
what doesnt and adapt the rest. The
series of adaptations of CLL in this
article resulted from such a process and,
while I believe the last one to be free of
successful strategy. text as input (Issue 53) had text as its the limitations of its predecessors, I
focus. This article uses student talk as think that it is useful and interesting to
the linguistic input and, although it is look at each step in the process.
the third to be published, it was actually
the first one I came up with. The reason
for its appearance at the end of the
The successful teacher
sequence is that it took longer to evolve will be one who can
into something that I felt could be
implemented into most classroom critically assess a
teaching situations. However, each stage
in the evolution is described below as I
teaching procedure,
feel that each is a viable method within extract what works,
certain teaching contexts.
eliminate what doesnt
Community Language and adapt the rest
Learning
My experiments with low-prep lessons CLL was developed by Charles
began with my exposure to Community Curran in the early 1960s. A typical
Language Learning (CLL). Being a lesson begins with the students seated in
relatively new teacher at the time, I was a circle with a tape recorder in the
receptive to any teaching ideas that centre. The students are expected to
could significantly reduce my converse in a group and whenever
preparation time. I recognised that CLL anyone wants to say something, they call
had a framework for teaching lessons the teacher over and say what they want
that could be used without any to say in L1. The teacher then whispers
planning. I also recognised that it had the English translation of the utterance,
limitations which made it impossible for which the student then says to the
me to use without adaptations. group. All student contributions to the
My adaptations of CLL illustrate conversation are recorded. After the
the benefits of never completely conversation, the recording is played
dismissing any method or activity. back and, to summarise, there are a
While debate continues about the best series of steps in which the corrected
methods and approaches to language utterances are examined with regard to
teaching, the successful teacher will be form, meaning and pronunciation.

28 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


As in CLL, the students are seated can deliver the lesson with no
The obvious in a circle with a tape recorder in the preparation other than collecting the
centre. A student who wants to speak required materials. However, even
drawback to CLL is calls the teacher over and whispers what though the language focused on is what
the requirement the they would like to say, but in English. the students naturally produce, the
The teacher writes down exactly what manner in which they produce it is
class be monolingual the student said on an overhead anything but natural. The necessity of
transparency. Then, if the students checking with the teacher to reformulate
and that the teacher be utterance is awkwardly structured or their contributions creates very stilted
able to speak the same contains errors, the teacher reformulates communication which, for practical
it and whispers the corrected version to purposes, limits the students to very
L1 as the students the student. The student then says this short utterances.
to the rest of the class and it is recorded
Recognising that this adaptation might
with the tape recorder. The class
Following clarification of the utterances, only be appropriate for lower-level
discussion continues in this manner until
there is a controlled practice stage where learners, I modified the method to allow
the teacher has collected around ten to
the utterances are used in a writing task. for less constrained communication for
15 utterances on the transparency. The
CLL, while it has an obvious learners with greater levels of fluency.
discussion is then stopped and the
drawback, has a number of significant transparency is projected on the board.
advantages. As previously indicated, it is The students work in pairs to determine Version 2:
a framework that can be used repeatedly where the errors are and how they Group discussion
without planning. Part of the reason no should be corrected. After they have had
planning is required is because the target This version sees the disappearance of
a few minutes to do this, the teacher
language becomes what the students the tape recorder. The students remain
starts with the first line, elicits the
spontaneously produce on a particular in the circle and choose the topic in the
students comments and/or corrections
topic. Taking it one step further, there is same way as before. During the group
and then plays the first utterance on the
no reason why the students cant also discussion, any student can speak at any
tape recorder to confirm the correct
decide the lesson topic. This very time and at any length with no
form. Corrections are then made on the
student-centred approach is immediate concern for accuracy, as long
board. Some explanation regarding
advantageous not only for affective as only one student is speaking at a
form, meaning and/or pronunciation
reasons, but also because the approach time. The teacher is also seated in the
to language is completely descriptive circle and has a collection of half-sheets
of overhead transparencies, each one
the students saying what they want or The students with a students name written using an
need to say and the teacher providing
the form for doing so. The obvious determine the lesson OHT pen at the top. Whenever a
drawback to CLL is the requirement student says something which contains
that the class be monolingual and that
content and target an error, the teacher writes the utterance
on their transparency. As the discussion
the teacher be able to speak the same language, while the progresses, there may be some students
L1 as the students. Not having either of
those requirements, I modified the teacher can deliver sheets which have no errors written
framework to eliminate the need for a down on them. The teacher can hold
shared L1 while still keeping the
the lesson with no those students blank sheets up as a
signal that they need to contribute more
important advantages. preparation other than to the conversation. Other students can

Version 1: collecting the required also help those students contribute by


asking them questions.
Recorded group materials The discussion is brought to a close
discussion once the teacher decides that enough
errors have been collected. (I usually
Using the idea that the students choose may be provided. This procedure
end up with an average of about three
the lesson topic, this version begins with continues, line by line, until all the
the students brainstorming speaking utterances have been dealt with. Any
topics, eg travel, sports, family, food, which were initially correct and required
etc. The topics are elicited and written no reformulation should be pointed out During the group
on the board. Then the students are and confirmed as useful structures. Then discussion, any student
asked to think of three that they would the students are placed in pairs or threes
like to speak about. The teacher reads for a controlled practice stage, where can speak at any time
each topic from the board and the they are required to use the utterances
students raise their hands if it was one from the board in a conversation.
and at any length with
of the three they chose. The number of The three potential advantages of no immediate concern
votes is written beside each topic and CLL are preserved in this method as the
the most popular becomes the topic for students determine the lesson content for accuracy
that class. and target language, while the teacher 

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 29


The student
should be shared with the whole class. the interchange provides more exposure
As soon as a student receives a mark to topic-based language and promotes
beside one of their utterances, they are increased fluency. However, a small

as input required to write it up on the board.


The structures on the board become the
target language for the clarification and
problem arose during one of my classes
which led to a final adaptation.
Once, when using the paired
controlled practice stages. conversations with an advanced class,
 to five per student.) The transparencies the rotation stalled when I could not
are put in pairs so that the combined This method provided for much more
detect any errors from a student who
total of errors for each pair is about the natural communication, with the
was extraordinarily accurate. Although
same. The students are then paired up students being free to speak whenever
students with this level of spoken
according to the transparency pairings they wanted and for as long as they
accuracy are rare, it still led me to
and they work together to try to correct wanted. However, this often meant that
modify the procedure once again and,
the errors on their transparencies (OHT the more confident students spoke the
in doing so, I came up with what I think
pens are provided). Once most of the most, to the detriment of those who
is the best version.
students have corrected all the errors could potentially benefit more from some
they can, the teacher gathers up the focus on their spoken accuracy. This is
transparencies and projects each one on a problem inherent in group discussions Version 4:
the board, leaving enough space to the and that, and the realisation that most Rotating pairs with error
left of the projected image for collecting spoken communication does not occur strips
useful language. The students in large groups, led to a further
adaptation to pair communication. The setup is the same as in the previous
corrections are confirmed or changed
version, but instead of using half-sheets,
on the board and discussed. Whenever
the errors are written on strips of paper.
the teacher comes across a particular Version 3: The strips are placed in a pile and the
structure that is worth focusing on, it is Rotating pairs students names are not attached to
written on the board in the space to the
This method enables pair interaction by them in any way. Since it is not
left. Then meaning, form and/or
having the students in two parallel lines necessary to obtain a specific number of
pronunciation are discussed and if there
starting on either side of the teachers errors from any student, the teacher can
are variations of the structures that
desk, rather than in a circle formation. rotate the students at roughly equal
Each student converses with the person intervals, provided that at the end of the
complete rotation the total number of
This method provided directly opposite and, for odd numbers,
error strips equals or exceeds the
one chair is placed perpendicular to the
for much more natural last two to create a group of three. All number of students in the class. The
the students are involved in conversation total number should probably be
communication, with at the same time, but the teacher listens between ten and 20, which means
the students being free only to the two students on either side of doubling or tripling the number for
the desk and writes down their errors on small classes and limiting it to around
to speak whenever half-sheets of paper or transparencies, one per student for large ones.
as in the last version. Once enough The error-correction stage following
they wanted the conversations is where things get
errors have been collected from the pair
at the teachers desk, the conversation is interesting. The error strips are put in a
stopped and all the students move two cup or similar receptacle and placed on
might be of use to students, those can the teachers desk. The students are put
places in a clockwise direction. This
be provided also. When all the into teams of two or three and told that
gives the teacher two new students to
transparencies have been projected, the they will compete to see which team can
listen to and all the other students will
structures on the left-hand side of the correct the most errors. Each team
have a new partner to converse with.
board become the target language for a needs to be supplied with a different
This procedure continues until the
controlled practice stage, where the coloured board marker because they
teacher has recorded errors from all the
students use the expressions in speaking will be required to write the corrected
students. The correction, clarification
or writing. utterances on the board. When all the
and controlled practice stages are exactly
Because some teachers who wanted errors have been corrected, each team
the same as in the previous version.
to use this method had problems with
access to overhead projectors, This version seemed to have eliminated
transparencies and/or OHT pens, I all the problems of the previous ones. The fact that the
adapted the procedure slightly to allow Student choice of topic and language
the use of half-sheets of paper instead and the lack of planning still remain, but students have to
of transparencies. The papers are used now all the students are involved
in the same way except when the equally at all times in a realistic
repeat the interaction
students are working in pairs to correct communicative interchange. The fact gives them a chance to
their utterances; the teacher circulates that the students have to repeat the
and puts a mark beside any structures interaction gives them a chance to speak to new partners
on the students papers which they feel speak to new partners, and repeating

30 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


done quite effectively by reading aloud
When the students from the error strip and asking the The use of error
students to compare it to the corrected
have corrected all structure on the board. During this strips allows this
the strips they are clarification stage, it may prove method to be used
worthwhile to point out any useful
able to, you can structures which emerged and any by relatively new
useful variations of them. For example,
correct the remaining it could be pointed out that an teachers or those with
ones during the alternative way of asking about an limited knowledge
allergy is Are you allergic to ?
clarification stage For the final stage, one error strip is of grammar
handed to each student. If there are
more error strips than students, errors
will count their corrections on the most worth dealing with can be the activity some communicative value.
board to determine a winner. If you selected. The students then mingle and The students find this task fun and
cannot find enough different colours, try to work the error on their strip into challenging and I think its better to end
you can distinguish the corrected errors a conversation. For example, a student lessons this way than with the more
by asking each team to do something with the error I love the taste lobster traditional controlled practice activities
like underline, double underline, circle could start a conversation by asking the used in the previous methods.
or write some symbol next to what they other student what types of food they The use of error strips allows this
write on the board. Before the teams like and then they could give their own method to be used by relatively new
start the race, you need to tell them not teachers or those with limited
to write anything on the strips of paper knowledge of grammar. Teachers have
and that, once theyve come up with a During the the option of choosing which errors to
possible correction, they need to focus on and an error that may prove
confirm it with you before writing it on clarification stage, too challenging for either the students
the board. If they havent successfully it may prove worthwhile or the teacher can be weeded out of the
corrected the error, they can keep trying pile before the strips are put in the cup.
or they can put the strip back in the cup to point out any useful Even once the corrections are up on the
and take another one. The teams will board, teachers can choose not to focus
need to be reminded to take only one
structures which on all of them by letting the students
strip at a time and not to put the emerged and any useful know that the others will be dealt with
finished strips back in the cup but to in another class. The error strips can be
give them to you or put them in a pile variations of them retained for researching errors or for
on the desk. When the students have revision and testing purposes.
corrected all the strips they are able to, preferences including the line I love the
you can correct the remaining ones taste lobster. Each student has to listen 
during the clarification stage. carefully for an error which correlates to
one of the corrections on the board. Since completing the adaptations, Ive
Have you tried Switzerland food? Upon hearing the error, the student used the final version successfully in
then corrects their partners utterance. classes ranging in level from elementary
Using the above example, the correction to advanced. The trick, I found, is to
I hate the seafood. gauge the number of error strips you
could be something like Dont you mean
you love the taste of lobster? When a are going to focus on so that you can
pair of students finishes finding and deal with all or most of them in the
I got used to eat spicy food. clarification stage and still have time left
correcting each others errors, they
switch strips of paper and find new for the controlled practice stage. Once I
partners. In this mingling activity, all was able to do that, the lessons
I love the taste lobster.
the students should get the chance to proceeded virtually flawlessly. ETp
notice and correct all the errors selected
My bodys reaction on meat is not good. from the original conversations.
I think that this unusual controlled Ken Lackman was a
senior teacher in charge
practice stage provides this version with of developing materials
Do you have allergy to nuts? some more advantages over its at the Caledonian School
in Prague from 1996 to
predecessors. The use of incorrect forms 2002. He then spent five
Sample incorrect utterances from years as the Director of
focuses the students attention not just
a lesson about food Studies at EF Toronto.
on specific forms but on form in general Now he is a freelance
Once all the corrections are up on the as they will be listening carefully for teacher trainer and
presenter.
board and the winning team has been errors in their partners portion of the
determined, some time is spent focusing dialogue. Yet, the requirement that they
plant the error in a conversation lends klackman@kenlackman.com
on the significant errors. This can be

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 31


ENGLISH
Tprofessional
EACHING

To advertise here
please contact Sean Close
on +44 (0)1536 747333 or
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The Leading Practical Magazine For


English Language Teachers Worldwide
W R I T I N G I couldnt get her words out of my
head, though an ETp article, gosh! I
pulled out the latest copy to have a look

Mistakes
and let its vibe drown me in pedagogy-
based inspiration. Ah, yes
Another technique for improving
writing ability is based on the fact that
many students seem to develop hitherto
unrealised creativity whenever you ask

and models
them to copy a model. Ask them to
create something using their own brain,
and youll often find whole chunks of
the internet copied, pasted and handed
in, but give them a model structure and
say copy that and its a different story.
John Anderson has winning ways of helping his students The technique Ive started working
to write well. with involves getting the students to go
to a website where there are essay
practice in checking their essays by questions and model answers (eg
Great, said a colleague halfway looking for the mistakes they have listed www.writefix.com). They then choose an
through marking a pile of essays in the backs of their books. essay title and spend the requisite
that looked like it was never going amount of time writing an answer. After
As Ive worked with the technique,
to end. Im glad theyve finally that they put the answer to one side and
assessing and refining it, Ive tried
started listening to me, and study the model answer for 20 to 30
tweaks such as setting time aside in
stopped making the same mistakes minutes. While studying, they make two
lessons to let the students steal mistakes
again and again and again. vocabulary lists in their notebooks
from each other to add to their lists,
Really? I said. Thats brilliant, well and starting off lessons with the tried one of useful topic vocabulary for this
done! How long have you been and tested grammar auction. (This particular question and the other of
teaching them? involves writing on the board six to ten good generic vocabulary, useful for any
Just three months, she said, and sentences from their homework, some essay of this type. Next, they have to
then added mournfully, in any case correct, some with grammar mistakes. stop looking at the model answer,
I was being sarcastic. The students then form teams and bet though they are allowed to look at their
an amount of imaginary money on each vocabulary lists, and have to write their
sentence being either correct or wrong.) answer again, trying to include as much
veryone else in the staffroom of the vocabulary from their lists as

E nodded and stopped feeling so


inferior. Of course she was being
sarcastic; there was no way any of the
However, it doesnt seem to matter
whether or not I add extra activities; the
basic method of listing mistakes and
then using that list to check subsequent
possible. Finally, they compare their
second version with the model answer,
looking for any ideas they missed.
students could be taught out of their essays is strong enough in itself to This method has given my students
ingrained, decades-old mistakes in just improve the students writing drastically. much stronger foundations on which
three months. I should add, however, that Ive only they can then build, using their own
Or was there? tried this at intermediate level and creativity. ETp
That conversation was a real one above; it would need seriously adapting John Anderson is Senior
though probably lightly fictionalised, as at lower levels to avoid overload and Teacher at the British
my memory doesnt do detail very well Council, Abu Dhabi,
confusion. UAE. He occasionally
and took place in 2008. For the last 12 poses as stand-up
months Ive been experimenting with a comedian Hartley Pool,
Thats a good method, that is, said and you can read his
new, but very basic, technique, and have Arabian adventures at:
the previously sarcastic colleague http://noculturejustcam
seen it work wonders. It is simply this:
just a few weeks ago. I listened els.wordpress.com.
in the first lesson, the students turn to
carefully to check whether she was
the back of their notebooks and over John.Anderson@ae.britishcouncil.org
in fact secretly deriding me, but
four pages, write the numbers one to 20
tone and inflection seemed within
on the left-hand side of the page (so
the normal range.
thats five numbers per page, for the
mathemaphobic). Then, every time they
get an essay back, they choose between
Thanks it seems to work for my
students anyway.
TALKBACK!
two and four corrections which I have If you had another idea, you might Do you have something to say about
specifically highlighted. On those pages be able to crank out enough words an article in the current issue of ETp?
at the back of the book, they write the for an ETp article. This is your magazine and we would
initial mistake and its correction, within Dont be so cynical, I said. Its not really like to hear from you.
the context of the sentence if possible. all about fame and fortune. Write to us or email:
In subsequent lessons, I give them talkback@etprofessional.com

34 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


B USINESS E NGLISH professional 

The corporate
pronunciation, grammar and business
vocabulary, and also business skills, such
as using the telephone, writing emails,
letters and reports, describing flow charts,
tables and graphs, handling presentations,

domain 2
meetings and negotiations, as well as
social English for business hospitality.
In my experience, clients often worry
more about meetings than presentations
or negotiations. This is because they feel
unable to express themselves effectively
Catherine Leuz has some advice for prospective business trainers.
in English in the presence of native
speakers. To tackle this problem, it is
n Issue 66 of ETp, I compared material can be balanced in content and

I
important to find out what their role is
teaching business students in a geared to the clients requirements. All in company meetings and identify the
language school with training sessions are conducted in the target vocabulary commensurate with that role.
business clients in the corporate language, irrespective of the clients To help clients get their message across
sector. In this article, I will concentrate ability, using the Direct Method or effectively, handle questions and finish
on the actual English language training Communicative Approach. in a strong upbeat manner, it is a good
that is done in the corporate domain. idea to incorporate videos/CD-ROMs
Training assignments
Before accepting a training assignment, of meetings and presentations featuring
Corporations and the trainer should check the client English being spoken with regional
expectations companys profile and mission statement. accents, as well as by non-native
(Note: the word client often causes speakers. There are some excellent
Multinationals spend considerable sums videos available and I have listed some
confusion because it refers to two separate
of money on corporate training of these in the Skills section towards the
entities. The client is the company that
programmes, so they expect a good end of this article.
employs the trainer, but trainers usually
return on their investment. Business
also refer to the representatives of that
clients are usually experts in their own
field. They do not take kindly to
company whom they train as clients.) Training materials
Corporate trainers must be fully The following is a list of some good
teachers who have little professional
conversant with the vocabulary sources for finding authentic material
experience outside the classroom, or
associated with the business sector in for training business English clients.
who treat them as students! Whatever
which they are working. They should be
area of specialisation a trainer chooses, Websites
prepared to invest time and money in
the key requirement is subject Many websites offer business English
training to keep abreast of market
knowledge. Knowledge is power; it gives materials. Although a few companies
trends. This is particularly important for
the trainer an authoritative edge over still offer free downloads, the majority
those who are involved in the banking
others offering English language tuition. now charge a fee, particularly for
and finance sector, who need to
Language training assimilate complex financial information. podcasts. One of the largest providers,
Most corporate language courses take www.businessenglishstudy.com, charges
an annual fee of 36 to cover articles,
place in-house on a one-to-one basis. Training programmes newsletters and downloads of pdf
Group courses are usually limited to
Your training courses will be designed exercise files on companies like EasyJet
six participants of similar language levels.
to improve the language skills of staff and IKEA. The files include vocabulary,
They offer an excellent opportunity for
working in an English-speaking grammar, pronunciation and scripts for
colleagues to improve their language
environment. Within each sector, you meetings and presentations roleplays.
skills through a variety of shared
may cover a variety of specific language When using website material it is
exercises and workshop activities.
needs. For example, in business and important to check that it is current and
Most executives at senior
finance, one of the most popular areas, accurate.
management level choose bespoke
you may find yourself having to provide www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/
tuition in a private secure environment.
training in the language of retail and learningenglish
For them, time is of the essence, so
investment banking, investment www.eslgold.com (free English
tutors must be totally flexible.
portfolio management, risk assessment teaching materials)
Training approaches and management, financial planning www.better-english.com (business
As soon as a company requests a training and statements, ratios, analysis and expressions, abbreviations, business
course, a needs analysis should be carried trends, forex, global markets and idioms, quizzes)
out to provide an overview of the clients international finance. www.nonstopenglish.com (business
job, area of expertise, language needs Obviously, whatever the sector, your vocabulary tests, ESP lesson plans
and current level of language proficiency. courses will also need to cover more and articles)
This is essential for the trainer so that general language needs, such as 
www.usingenglish.com (lesson plans)

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 35


B USINESS E NGLISH professional 

The corporate Jones, L and Alexander, R New


International Business English CUP
2003 (with CD-ROM)
50 hours of classroom material in 24
units with texts and interviews from
the global world of finance)

domain 2 Powell, M Presenting in English LTP


1996 (public speaking skills including
articulation, intonation and pacing)
Pledger, P English for Human
Resources OUP 2007 (covers
appraisal interviews, remuneration,
 www.businessenglishstudy.com Smith, D English for Telephoning including authentic forms)
(downloadable business English lessons) OUP 2007 Mol, H English for Tourism and
www.EnglishClub.com (free teaching Hospitality Garnet 2008 (with CD)
Coursebooks:
material and video downloads)
Market Leader Pearson (a series by TV, newspapers and magazines
www.esl.about.com (general business
various authors which includes The following are good sources of
English, financial and medical English)
articles from The Financial Times and authentic teaching materials:
www.business-spotlight.de
other authoritative, authentic sources: TV: BBC; Bloomberg TV; CNN
www.forbes.com
www.market-leader.net) Newspapers: The Daily Telegraph;
www.gtnews.com
Intelligent Business Pearson (a series The Financial Times; The New York
www.iatefl.com
by various authors which includes Times; The Times; The Wall Street
www.investorschronicle.co.uk
useful articles from The Economist) Journal; The Washington Post
www.investorwords.com (vocabulary
In Company Macmillan (a series by Magazines: Business News;
items updated twice a day)
Mark Powell and others which BusinessWeek; The Economist
www.researchandmarkets.com
contains some of the best material for
www.thisismoney.co.uk
presentations and includes audio CDs 
Books and worksheets in the teachers book) I have taught business English and
These business books have stood the test Johnson, C The Intelligent Business presentation skills around the world for
of time. They can be used to augment Skills Book Pearson 2005 (produced in many years. Now, back in London, I
current bespoke training material. association with The Economist; covers work exclusively in the corporate sector
For trainers: virtually every facet of business with some of the most prestigious
Ellis, M and Johnson, C Teaching English, with a grammar reference names in finance and law and I find this
Business English OUP 1994 (a book section, exercises and a CD-ROM) work very satisfying. So if you are
every business trainer should read) Jones, L and Alexander, R New seeking a career change that is
Frendo, E How to Teach Business International Business English CUP challenging, fiercely competitive but
English Pearson 2005 2003 (a good business English extremely rewarding, you, too, should
Test Your Professional English (a series coursebook with CD-ROM) consider the field of corporate language
by Penguin and a must for trainers; Language and resources: training. Continuous professional
books in the series include: Finance, Bowen, T Build Your Business development is crucial to your success,
Accounting, Law, General Business, Grammar Heinle 1997 so I recommend joining the following:
Management, Marketing, Medical, Campbell, B Chambers Guide to  IATEFL (International Association
Secretarial, Hotel and Catering) English for Business Chambers 2000 of Teachers of English as a Foreign
Skills: Hindle, T Pocket International Language). This is an association for
Barrett, B and Sharma, P The Business Terms The Economist 1998 teaching professionals which publishes
Internet and Business English Oxford Dictionary of Business English Voices magazine: www.iatefl.org.
Summertown 2003 OUP 2005 (an excellent dictionary of  BESIG is the Business English
Chapman, R English for Emails OUP business English) Special Interest Group of IATEFL.
2007 Nolan, S and Reed, B The Business Its members are international
Comfort, J Effective Meetings OUP English Teachers Resource Book Business English teachers. The group
1996 (has a CD-ROM) Pearson 1996 (a spiral-bound book of provides links with others in the
Comfort, J Effective Presentations lesson plans and worksheets) profession, through annual
OUP 1996 (has a CD-ROM) Richards, J and Sandy, C Passages conferences, workshops, newsletters,
Dignen, B 50 Ways to Improve Your CUP 1998 (good for American English) reports and the magazine Business
Presentation Skills in English 501 Business English Exercises (an Issues: www.besig.org. ETp
Summertown 2007 (presentation e-book in PDF format with A4
Catherine Leuz is a
techniques, exercises and examples) printable/photocopiable exercises, corporate language
available from www.english-test.net) trainer working with
Emmerson, P Business English banks and multinational
Frameworks CUP 2002 (one of the Specific sectors: organisations. Her career
encompasses education,
greatest tools for teaching English for MacKenzie, I Financial English LTP broadcasting and the
presentations and meetings) 1995 (one of the best financial diplomatic corps. She is
attached to Professional
Gore, S and Smith, D English for language practice books, with mini- Language Solutions and
Socializing OUP 2007 dictionary of finance and answer key) Rainbow Language in
Grussendorf, M English for Business, London, UK.
MacKenzie, I English for the Financial
Presentations OUP 2007 leuzoflondon@talktalk.net
Sector CUP 2008 (with CD; around

36 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


RESOURCES

A pinch of SALC
Punjaporn Pojanapunya goes shopping for an attractive self-access learning centre.

he increased popularity of self- experience of things outside the SALC: SALC, the design and layout,

T access and autonomous language


learning has led to a corresponding
interest in developing and establishing
you will discover that there are many
great ideas available which you can use.

Shopping for ideas


furniture and facilities, storage and
display and presentation of materials.
2 Sets of specific questions you can ask
self-access learning centres (SALCs). yourself when you visit the bookshop.
SALCs are being integrated more and When I want inspiration, I begin by
3 Space for your comments.
more as a component of language walking around a shopping centre,
teaching. As a result, teachers of English looking for interesting people, shops You can use this list in a very simple
are tending to get more involved in their and new products. I believe that most of way. All you have to do is to look
management. the good ideas I have ever had were around and jot down information in the
If you are one of those teachers generated this way. It is also my bookshop. Once you get back home,
who are responsible for SALC planning, experience that many people, especially you can apply the information and
there are several issues, addressed in a students, like meeting friends and taking comments collected at the bookshop to
number of handbooks and research part in other activities in shopping your own reading corner.
papers, which you should take into centres. Wandering round a shopping This checklist can be adjusted for
consideration: for example, different centre looking for inspiration is a fun other sections of the SALC. Apart from
types of SALC, management systems, way of both working and being creative bookshops, you may visit other places,
facilities, activities, materials, staff, in your leisure time. such as music shops, furniture shops,
marketing and the physical setting. Before going out to collect great ideas toy shops, coffee shops, clothes shops,
for your SALC, answer these questions. card and gift shops, restaurants, ice
Window dressing 1 Which section of the SALC are you
cream parlours, mobile phone shops,
In my view, the physical setting of a working on? theatres, supermarkets, spas, game
SALC is extremely important. As David centres, and any other places as long as
2 Which shop in a shopping centre has they can each be matched to a specific
Gardner and Lindsay Miller point out,
characteristics relatively close to the SALC section.
the attractiveness of the surroundings is
function of that section?
one of the key factors in creating a
successful learning environment and 3 What kinds of ideas are you looking 
maintaining student motivation. By for in this particular shop?
You can enjoy being a creative SALC
physical setting, I mean the overall For example, let us suppose you would planner in your leisure time your
appearance, design and layout, like to set up a reading corner in your workplace is not always the best place
furniture, materials storage and display, SALC that is your answer to question 1. for productive work. Creative ideas are
presentation of materials and any other You could answer question 2 by saying available everywhere, as long as you are
aspects which work together to create a that a bookshop would be a good model attentive to what you are looking for. I
comfortable learning environment for for a reading corner because they have a hope this simple guide helps you to make
SALC users. number of general characteristics in more contributions to your SALC. ETp
In order to achieve a satisfactory common. For question 3, you might say
result, a SALC planner sometimes that to help you get good ideas for Gardner, D and Miller, L Establishing Self-
needs to have a flair for interior design! setting up your reading corner, you need Access: from theory to practice CUP 1999
However, this requires much effort and a checklist of interesting and successful
creativity, which may be difficult for features of the bookshop. Punjaporn Pojanapunya
is a researcher in the
those teachers who only take part in School of Liberal Arts,
managing a SALC occasionally. I would A shopping list King Mongkuts
University of Technology
like, therefore, to suggest in this article You should prepare your checklist before Thonburi (KMUTT),
some practical ideas for making a SALC you set off for the shopping centre. On Bangkok, Thailand. She
page 38 you will find an example of one holds an MA in Applied
attractive and motivational. These Linguistics from KMUTT.
suggestions are also intended to help that you could take to a bookshop. It Her areas of interest
reduce the pressure on teachers to come has three main columns: include self-access
language learning, the
up with ideas for SALC interior design. 1 The features you need to focus on in learning environment
Instead of worrying about finding new and learner motivation.
order to come up with interesting
ideas, clear your mind and use your punjaporn.po@kmutt.ac.th 
ideas on the overall appearance of the

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 37


 A pinch of SALC CHECKLIST: the bookshop
Items Questions Comments
Overall appearance/environment

Interior paint: Is it a comfortable environment? ...................................................................................


colour/theme What makes the shop unique?
...................................................................................
Tone and Does the colour scheme match the function
mood of the shop? ...................................................................................
Customers What is the tone and the mood of the shop? ...................................................................................
activities
What are the customers doing? ...................................................................................
What makes them enjoy their activities?
...................................................................................

Design and layout

Decoration Does the decoration look nice? ...................................................................................


Use of space What makes it attractive?
...................................................................................
What is the style of decoration? eg calm, warm,
romantic, casual, traditional, classic, modern, ...................................................................................
fun, entertaining, etc ...................................................................................
Are there any pictures and other accessories?
...................................................................................
Is each section well-organised?
...................................................................................
Are there any separate zones?
Can customers easily walk around? ...................................................................................

Is the furniture well-arranged? eg reception area, ...................................................................................


bookshelves, chairs, etc
...................................................................................

Furniture and facilities

Materials What kinds of facilities are provided in the shop? ...................................................................................


Styles Does the shop provide enough facilities?
...................................................................................
Colour What is the furniture made of?
scheme ...................................................................................
Does the style of furniture match the theme of
the store? eg reception area, reading area, ...................................................................................
shelving, seating
...................................................................................
Does the colour scheme in each section match
the overall colour scheme of the shop? ...................................................................................

Storage and display

Arrangement How are the items (eg books, CDs, newspapers, ...................................................................................
Accessibility magazines) displayed?
...................................................................................
Cataloguing Are they easy to access?
system Are there any particular items displayed for the ...................................................................................
duration of special events? ...................................................................................

...................................................................................

Presentation of materials

Packaging How are the products packaged? ...................................................................................


Labelling Are there any special offers for regular
...................................................................................
Cataloguing customers?
system Are there any leaflets to advertise new ...................................................................................

Promotion and promotions? ...................................................................................


marketing Are there any signs? How are they arranged?
...................................................................................

38 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


D E S I G N E D T O P H O T O C O P Y

PREPARING TO TEACH ...


Should
John Potts reminds us of some things we should know.
Ai You should call the hotel and confirm the booking. Cii Where on earth are the kids? They should have got back
Aii You should have called the hotel and confirmed the booking. from school ages ago!

Bi They left after breakfast so they should be home now. D Why should people have to live in such poverty?

Bii They left after breakfast so they should have arrived home E And then who should come in but his boss!
by now. Fi If you should have any problems, please call the helpline.
Ci Where on earth are the kids? They should be back from Fii Should you have any problems, please call the helpline.
school now!

 FORM  PROBLEMS
Should is a modal auxiliary verb which must Aii, Bii and Cii all have the form Because should has a range of
always be followed by a bare infinitive should + auxiliary verb have (infinitive functional applications, learners may be
(= infinitive without to). without to) + past participle of main verb. uncertain about using it. Conversely,
Ai, Bi, Ci, D, E, Fi and Fii all have the Like all modal auxiliaries, should has no they may over-associate should with just
form should + main verb (infinitive without to). third person form with s; it forms one function (usually giving advice as
questions by inversion, and negatives this is often the one they encounter first).
Fii is a conditional variant that does not use if.
with not. They may also find it hard to distinguish
between should and other forms that
express some similar functions (eg must,
 MEANING had better, ought to and have to).
Should often has a counterfactual concept: it In Ci, in fact they are not home, and There may be problems of form,
says that the reality is/was different. This is this is wrong in some way. especially in the question and negative
most clearly seen in Ai, Aii, Ci, Cii and D. In Cii, in fact they havent arrived yet, forms.
In Ai, the speaker knows the correct/right and this too is wrong.
thing to do, with the implication that the other In D, people do have to live in poverty,  USE
person doesnt know what to do and therefore but the speaker finds this wrong and
hasnt done it. unjust. Ai, Aii, Bi, Bii, Ci, Cii and D are
widely used in informal spoken and
In Aii, again the speaker knows what was In E, the bosss arrival was surprising, written language.
right/correct, but the other person did not do it. and may have been the wrong thing
to occur in the circumstances. E is usually spoken and informal.
In Bi, the assumption is that they are home
now (but we dont know that they are). In Fi, problems are unlikely, but may Fi and Fii are usually written, often in
perhaps occur. business contexts, and, if spoken, are
In Bii, the assumption is that they have
quite formal.
already arrived home (but we dont know that In Fii, the occurrence of problems is
they have). even less likely.
 PRONUNCIATION

 FUNCTION
In Ai and Bi, should is usually weak.

Ai gives advice in some cases, it can be a Cii expresses concern because In Aii and Bii, should and have are both
warning or criticism. something hasnt happened. usually weak and contracted.

Aii criticises a past omission/mistake it D expresses moral or ethical anger, In Ci and Cii, should may not be
can express blame, reproach, etc. dissatisfaction, indignation, outrage, weakened, and may even be stressed.

Bi expresses an assumption about the etc. In D, should is usually not weakened,


present. E expresses a surprising or and may even be stressed.

Bii expresses an assumption about what unexpected event (probably with In E, should may be weakened, with a
has already happened. dramatic or humorous consequences). greater stress on boss.

Ci expresses concern about the present Fi and Fii express polite offers of In Fi, should may be weakened.
situation being wrong in some way. help/assistance. In Fii, should is usually not weakened.

40 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


D E S I G N E D T O P H O T O C O P Y

PREPARING TO TEACH ... Should

 CONCEPT QUESTIONS
Aii You should have called the hotel and confirmed the Ci Where on earth are the kids? They should be back from
booking. school now!
Did you call the hotel? (No.) Are the children usually back from school at this time? (Yes.)
Was that the right thing or the wrong thing to do? (Wrong.) Are they back now? (No.)
So what was the right thing? (To call the hotel.) So something could have happened? (Yes.)
So you made a mistake? (Yes.) Something could be wrong? (Yes.)
How do we feel? (Worried, etc.)
Bi They left after breakfast so they should be home now.
Do we know when they left? (Yes.) D Why should people have to live in such poverty?
Do we know how long the journey usually takes? (Yes.) Do people live in poverty? (Yes.)
So do we think they are home now? (Yes.) Do I think thats right or wrong? (Wrong.)
But do we know this for sure? (No.) And how do I feel about this? (Upset, angry, etc.)

 SITUATIONS
Whats wrong? Create some paragraphs and/or game for them to play in groups of four, or run a
visuals that contain incongruities, eg a collage of team game, playing tic-tac-toe (noughts and crosses)
Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth I, a galleon, a castle on the board or OHP. For each square, there is a
and a bicycle. The students decide what shouldnt calamity if you play tic-tac-toe, simply number the
be there, and suggest what could or should replace it squares and read out the calamity accordingly. Make
(eg a horse). Alternatively, create sets of five lexical squares 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 more difficult. John Potts is a teacher
items in which one item doesnt belong, eg shout, and teacher trainer based
It makes me angry Make a worksheet of a range of in Zrich, Switzerland.
scream, whisper, yell, call. Again, the students He has written and
local, national and global issues that your students co-written several adult
identify what shouldnt be there and suggest what
can be expected to know about and have an opinion coursebooks, and is a
should or could replace it. CELTA assessor. He is also
on. Some can be relatively minor (eg littering) while a presenter for Cambridge
Logical thinking Create word, maths or other others can be very serious indeed (eg no access to ESOL Examinations.
puzzles for the students to work out logically. For safe drinking water). You can allow the students to johnpotts@swissonline.ch
example: If I say north, south, _____ and west, what discuss all of the issues and possible solutions/action
should the missing word be? If I say 4, 9, 16, _____ in pairs or small groups, or ask them to choose two
and 36, what should the missing number be? etc. issues to focus on (perhaps one less serious and one
more so, or one local and one global). Then move on
My bad day Make a worksheet of sentences that
to a whole-class discussion stage. They should use
narrate a (fictional) bad day. For each calamity, the
the Why should I/we/taxpayers/employees/residents/
students produce a sentence using should/shouldnt
people ...? pattern where appropriate.
have (done). Alternatively, you can make a board

13 2 25 26 13 13 19 3 15 7 26 25 13 26
S T R E S S U N I V E R S E
21 22 19 15 26 COMPETITION RESULTS
Q A U I E
19 23 22 17 26 9 13 13 20
U F A C E D S S M Congratulations to all those readers Camille Jaworski, Villejuif Cedex, France
22 8 26 1 19 3 2 15 26
A P E G U N T I E who successfully completed our Prize Iwona Knockaert, Tavistock, UK
9 25 26 22 Crossword 37. The winners, who will Hoz Nguyen-Xuan, Limeil Brevannes, France
D R E A
25 26 22 11 15 2 16 11 22 25 1 26
each receive a copy of the Macmillan Angela Olchini, Castaglione Olona, Italy
R E A L I T Y L A R G E English Dictionary for Advanced
18 17 26 7 Hanna Reichman, Bnei Brak, Israel
O C E V Learners, are:
3 2 15 11 26 1 22 11 26 Soledad Salazar de Jess,
N T I L E G A L E 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Cdiz, Spain
15 3 11 22 18 17 17 19 25 G T N J Z H V P D W L B S
I N L A O C C U R 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 Kathrin Steffen,
K I Y C O U M Q A F X R E
17 13 18 5 12 11 Pfaffenhofen, Germany
C S O Z B L
8 25 26 7 15 26 10 26 12 18 19 1 6 22 2 26 7 26 25 16 10 18 25 9 Michael Tsiloglanidis,
P R E V I E W E B O U G H A T E V E R Y W O R D
22 13 16 26 22 25 26 8 19 2 22 2 15 18 3 Aridea, Greece
A S Y E A R E P U T A T I O N
9 15 26 13
Uli Ungethm, Hgendorf,
13 22 1 2 26 22 17 6 13 26 24
S A G T E A C H S E X D I E S Switzerland
2 15 22 14 Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock Hugo Viellard, Paris, France
T I A K
26 4 26 17 2 26 9 2 25 18 8 6 16
E J E C T E D T R O P H Y

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 41


IT WORKS IN PRACTICE
More tested lessons, suggestions, tips and techniques which have
all worked for ETp readers. Try them out for yourself and then
send us your own contribution.
Both the contributors to It Works in Practice in this issue of ETp
will receive a copy of Networking in English by Barney Barrett and
Pete Sharma, published by Macmillan. Macmillan have kindly
agreed to be sponsors of It Works in Practice for this year.

All heart All ears!


I really enjoyed Kimberly Sanfords This game is suitable for students of pre- 6 When the song is over, tell the students
sane, grounded and student- intermediate level and above. It is a team to go back to their seats. Work out which
centred article in Issue 66 of ETp game involving plenty of movement and it team scored the most points and announce
on the importance of getting gives practice in listening, pronunciation and the winners. Then give each student a copy
students to learn text by heart . mouth gymnastics. It should take about of the lyrics with the selected words
Antoine de la Garanderie, the 1520 minutes of class time. underlined. Play the song again and ask the
great French pedagogical thinker, You will need a CD player, a board, some students to sing along, looking at the lyrics
medium-sized pieces of cardboard, Blu-Tack or in order to practise pronunciation.
suggests that there are four main
tape, a song, marker pens and copies of the Alternatively, play short excerpts of the
ways of learning and that the
song lyrics. song, stopping after each one and asking
second is committing text to
1 Choose a song which is appropriate for the students to sing the excerpt without
memory (as the Muslim world music, moving their lips in an exaggerated
does with the Koran). the level of your students and make a copy of
way in order to provide them with some
I know two good ways of the lyrics for every student in the class. Select
mouth gymnastics.
helping students to interiorise 12 words at random from the song and put
and memorise text. each on a medium-sized piece of cardboard. Variations
The first is individual 2 Introduce the song and tell the students Members of each team stand next to each
other without forming a line. A member of a
running dictation. In this that they are going to listen to it twice, the
team who hears one of words on the board
activity each student has to run to first time to familiarise themselves with the
tries to grab it before a member of the other
a text, commit what they can of it mood of the song, get some general
team does so, and marks it with their team
to their short-term memory, run understanding of it and prepare themselves
letter. That student then leaves the team and
back to their writing materials for a game based on it.
sits down.
and put it down on paper. They 3 Play the song and while the students are Instead of songs, other authentic
then run back to the text, read listening, attach the 12 word cards to the listening materials can be used.
some more and run back to write board with Blu-Tack or tape. To make it more challenging
it down. 4 Divide the class into two teams, A and B, for more advanced students,
The second is blackboard add homophones where
and ask them to stand in two vertical lines
rub out. You write a memorable possible for some of the
facing the board.
text on the board and ask two or chosen words. (Write the
5 Tell the students that they are going to homophonous pairs on the
three students to read it aloud.
You rub out three or four words listen to the song for the second time and same piece of card.) When the
from different parts of the text when they hear one of the words on the cards, students choose a card with two
the two students at the front of each team words on it, they have to circle the correct
and ask a student to read the
should race each other to the board. The one. If a member of the other team thinks
text, including the words that
faster student uses a marker pen to write the the opposing team has chosen the wrong
have vanished. You then rub out
letter of their team on the word card. Both word, they can go to the board and mark
three or four more words and get students then go to the back of their teams. their choice with their team letter.
another student to read the whole Make it clear that shouting by members of a (Examples of homophonous words:
text aloud, including the missing team while the song is playing will cause that breach/breech; bread/bred; cite/sight/ site;
words. You go on like this till 90% team to lose one point, and if the game ends sea/see; your /youre; bow/bough. You will
of the words have gone but the in a tie, the more disruptive team will lose! find an alphabetical list of homophones at
students know the text by heart. When playing the song, make sure it is loud www.homophone.com.)
Mario Rinvolucri enough so that it can be heard over the Mohammed Arroub
Canterbury, UK movement of the students. Homs, Syria

42 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


IT WORKS IN PRACTICE
Do you have an idea which you would like to contribute All the contributors to It Works in Practice get a prize!
to our It Works in Practice section? It might be We especially welcome joint entries from teachers
anything from an activity which you use in class to a working at the same institution. Why not get together
teaching technique that has worked for you. Send us with your colleagues to provide a whole It Works in
your contribution, by post using this form or by email Practice section of your ideas? We will publish a photo
to helena.gomm@keywayspublishing.com. of you all.

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Return to: It Works in Practice Or email: helena.gomm@keywayspublishing.com


English Teaching professional
P O Box 100
Chichester
West Sussex PO18 8HD
UK

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 43


ENGLISH TEACHING
CONFESSIONAL ...
In the first of a new occasional series, Ken Wilson reveals the lessons
he gave and the lessons he learnt when he entered the world of ELT.

August 6th, 1968. The day he practice lesson had started. had a few laughs, but they didnt actually

after my 21st birthday. I


had spent the previous
night sleeping on the floor
T There were four free-lesson
students sitting directly in front
of me. Silvana and Massimo
were Italian honeymooners. Milan was a
muscular and handsome Czech, loved by
say anything that Alex hadnt said first.
And lets face it, they probably could
have said something new, seeing as how
they were all living in London.

The second lesson was very colourful.


of a friends flat in West trainees and students alike.
Fiona had stuck some magazine
London. There had been no The fourth student was a Japanese girl photographs on cardboard: pictures of
celebratory drink. I was too called Junko. I dont remember anything camels, elephants, palm trees, samba
about her apart from her name. I never dancers and other exotic items none of
busy preparing my first managed to get her to say anything. My which you could find on the streets of
extended practice lesson fault entirely, not hers. London. At least not in those days.

on my International House The four of them stared at me in silence. Fiona flashed the cards in front of the
Milan smiled to try to make me relax. students faces. They were required to
TEFL training course at Behind the four sat my co-trainees and make a sentence beginning There arent
40 Shaftesbury Avenue, next to them sat Benetta, a dazzlingly any .
beautiful woman from Sierra Leone with a
London W1. There was one small problem. None of
clipboard on her knee and a keen,
the students knew the English words
supportive smile on her face.
camel, elephant, palm tree, samba
It was achingly quiet in the room. I had dancer or any of the other exotic items.
just asked Silvana, the Italian girl, a
Massimo was the most confident of the
complex opening question, which she
four and had a clever way of producing
didnt have a hope of answering. She
the sentences that Fiona demanded. If he
stared at me, my co-trainees stared at
didnt know the English word for the
the floor and Benetta the trainer smiled
item, he used the Italian word and let
and nodded in encouragement.
Fiona translate it for him:
I was the third person to teach the class
Massimo: There arent any cammelli?
that day. The first trainee, whose name
Fiona: Camels.
was Alex, had to present and practise
Massimo: Camel.
There are some ; the second, Fiona, had
Fiona: CamelZZZZZZZZZZZ!
to present and practise There arent any
Massimo: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!
and guess what I had to do ... Youve got
Fiona: Go on
it! Present and practise Are there any ?
Massimo: in Londra.
We had based our lessons on London.
Fiona: Very good!
Alex drilled the students, getting them to
And then it was my turn. My opening
repeat in chorus:
question was: Are there any places in
There are some museums in London! London that youve never been to but
There are some parks in London! would like to go to if you ever get the
There are some pubs in London! chance?

The lesson was definitely noisy and, in a At the last second, I decided it was too
way, the students were involved all the complicated, so what actually came out
time. They shouted in chorus and they of my mouth was: Are there anywhere in

46 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


London that youve never been to yet, I then returned to London and worked at I had an intermediate class at the time.

iStockphoto.com / Vasiliy Koval


but will in future if you can? International House, a place which, like They were really great students. I was 22
many English-teaching establishments at years old, and most of them were the
No wonder Silvana was stunned into
the time, was buzzing with great people same age as me. There were whoops of
silence.
and new ideas. delight when I walked into the classroom
Milan was mouthing something silently at with the guitar. The students demanded
me. It looked like he was saying that I play. I wasnt sure what the school
beefsteak. I determined to tell him later to would think about this, but the more I
stop mucking about. I then realised he hesitated, the more insistent they
was correcting my English. He was became. Eventually, I promised to teach
actually mouthing Is there ? He had them a song the following Friday. We
turned the / / sound into an / i* / so it were together for ten hours a week
looked like beefsteak. One day, I walked into the IH staffroom surely the powers that be wouldnt mind
and saw a guitar case under a table. The if I spent a little bit of time singing? So
From the debris of these three lessons, hard black plastic case was covered in the next Friday, I taught them a song.
Benetta found aspects that she was able white paper in the shape of flowers (this And the Friday after that. And so on.
to praise, and offered us some thoughts was still the 60s, after all).
about what to change. She praised us for When that class finally disbanded, I was
our energy and the rapport we created I had learnt to play the guitar at heart-broken. My next class were
with the students (I dont think she was university. I was taught by a girl from beginners so I couldnt use the same
talking about me at this point). By clever Sheffield called Liz Rackham, who was a songs. However, by this time I was
prompting, she helped us think of ways pretty good singer and guitarist. She convinced that using songs was useful as
to improve. sang mournful Joan Baez songs, almost well as enjoyable. With no material
all in a minor key, and she taught me my available that was easy enough for my
Alex realised that it might have been first three chords. She carefully placed beginners class to sing, I started to write
useful to let the students give some of my fingers on the frets to make an A my own songs for them.
their own examples, and Fiona expressed minor shape. It was such a lovely
her horror at not thinking about pre- One day, John Haycraft, the IH boss,
experience, I pretended to be a slow
teaching the words for camel, elephant, stopped me in the corridor.
learner.
palm tree, etc. Benetta just told me to
I understand that youve been writing
keep it simple. Now, without a second thought, I opened
songs for your class, he said. Ill see if I
the guitar case and took out the guitar.
can get one of the publishers interested.
My fingers were just forming an A minor
shape when a stunning young blonde And he was as good as his word. Before
woman walked into the room. I smiled at my 23rd birthday, I had signed a contract
her, dazzled. She didnt smile back. to write and record a collection of English
teaching songs. Mister Monday appeared
Who said you could play my guitar? she
the following year. And Ive been writing
Despite my appalling performance on demanded.
stuff ever since!
that particular day, I didnt do badly on
Er
the course as a whole, and I was offered Ken Wilson is an author
a job at the Instituto Britnico in Seville, Can you play? and trainer. He has
written about 30 ELT
Spain. titles, including ten series
Yeah, a bit.
of coursebooks, the most
Three months later, I was living in one of recent being Smart
We have a music club on Friday nights.
the worlds most beautiful cities. Every Choice (OUP). He is also
Be there and I will forgive you. the author of Drama and
morning, I gasped with astonishment as I Improvisation, one of the
looked at La Giralda, the half-Moorish, This was Dede Brewer, who is now Dede OUP Teacher Resource
Books series.
half-Gothic tower of Seville Cathedral. I Wilson.
couldnt understand how Sevillanos could
At the music club, I met a South African kenwrite@btinternet.com
pass this magnificent edifice without
called Michael Klein. A few weeks later, I
stopping and gasping themselves.
met his friend Alan Wakeman (anyone
The students were wonderful, in spite of remember English Fast?), who was a Would you like to enter the
my lack of experience and my dubious songwriter as well as an ELT author. English Teaching Professional
teaching method. I talked too much, I Dede, Michael and I decided to try to Confessional and tell our
told jokes at every opportunity and I form a band. readers how and why you
aimed my teaching at the best students became the professional
We rehearsed on Tuesday and Thursday
in the class. English teacher you are today?
evenings, so I brought my guitar to
That was the biggest lesson my year in school on those days and left it under the Do you have any amusing
Spain taught me. You have to work table in the staffroom. One day, someone stories to tell?
harder than I did at involving all the said there had been a theft the night Please write to
students, with all their different levels and before, so I took the guitar with me to editor@etprofessional.com.
ways of learning. class for safe-keeping.

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 47


IN THE CLASSROOM classes in which the target language is
related directly to the lives of the
students (and to how theyre likely to

Teamwork
use English in the future), lessons
usually come alive. Students will be
more motivated to speak in English.
And, above all, they will see each other
as real human beings. This, I feel, is
essential for teamwork. It makes for a
Paul Bress finds that collaboration benefits much more open, honest atmosphere.

both the individual and the group. 6 Encourage the students to give
class feedback (on their lessons).
s human beings have gradually teacher is usually seen as being right,

A
If you have done all of the above, your
evolved, collaboration has been while other students are seen as possibly students should feel reasonably
the key to our success and has wrong. Often, in such learning comfortable about this final step. Every
enabled us to become the dominant cultures, students just pay lip service to now and then, it is a good idea to let
species on the planet. Moreover, within their interaction with each other. As a the class congregate without you and
human society, collaboration has result, they tend not to learn anything come to an agreement about:
enabled some organisations to be more from the other students linguistic or
what they are enjoying in class (and
successful than others. And when communication skills. Therefore, the
what they arent);
collaboration occurs, it is not only the more the teacher can encourage genuine
whole organisation that benefits, it is studentstudent interaction, the more the linguistic (and non-linguistic)
also the individual members within it. the students can learn from each other. content of the lessons.
Of course, many courses are governed
3 Encourage your students to
Team building by strict, state-imposed syllabuses but,
make group decisions. even if that is the case, I think that both
When most people hear the term team Splitting classes into separate groups students and teachers can gain a lot
building, they probably think about a ensures a degree of teamwork. All of a from this feedback exercise. Students
group of company employees going away sudden, the teacher is not in front of should feel more powerful, and they
for a weekend of bonding exercises in the class orchestrating everything. should take more responsibility for their
the great outdoors. But there is no Instead, it is the turn of the students to language learning as a result.
reason why the participants in English take control of something, whether it is
classes cannot be encouraged to work as using language for communication or 
a team, too. If they can be persuaded to analysing aspects of the English language
collaborate, pool their knowledge and more formally together. Such groupwork Various important areas of research are
work constructively together, surely prepares the students more effectively for being investigated in English language
every student in the class will benefit. real-world communication because, teaching today. Researchers are trying
I want to examine here some key outside the class, the teacher will no to find out whether L2 acquisition
ways in which teachers can help to longer be able to hold the students should mimic the L1 acquisition
encourage their students to participate hands: they will be on their own. process; whether formal teaching of
in teamwork. rules increases communicative
4 Encourage your students to share competence; whether computer software
1 Encourage your students to get their expertise with each other. can replace the role of the teacher. But
out of their seats. In most successful companies, people it might be an idea for someone to
This may seem to be a ridiculous are honest about the strengths and research the role of successful teamwork
suggestion to many readers. But I suspect weaknesses of the employees inside the in the development of communicative
that students stay sitting at a desk in company. In this way, colleagues can competence. Id personally like to see
quite a large percentage of English learn from each others strengths. how different groups of students would
classes worldwide. If students are stuck Teachers can encourage this kind of compare if one was being taught on
to their desks, they are likely to be locked learning atmosphere by saying things team-building principles and the other
into purely studentteacher interaction. like: Martin, you are the king of not. ETp
Indeed, they may not do much talking collocations, and Maria you are the
at all. However, if students are given the queen of connecting words! Of course, Paul Bress works both
in the fields of personal
responsibility to leave their seats for such kings and queens can be toppled if growth and ELT and has
constructive reasons, then the power of other students improve! published very widely
in both areas. He is a
working together can be unlocked. life-long, non-stop
5 Encourage the sharing of learner he learns
2 Encourage studentstudent personal things in class. more from everyday
experience than from
interaction. In classes where there is a complete formal research. His life
Even today, a lot of students may absence of personalisation, it is unlikely coaching website is
www.bemycoach.co.uk.
attach importance only to the dialogue that the students will be very motivated
they have with their teacher. The paulbress@talktalk.net
to communicate in English. However, in

48 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


IN THE CLASSROOM is sometimes hard to find time for
serious reading, both research and
theory are essential for language

Learning
teachers. Approximately 25 per cent of
the students in your classes will have a
learning difficulty, so in order to
provide appropriate solutions for these
students, it helps to know where the
source of their problems lies.

disability 1
Experts in the field of foreign
language acquisition have, in the past,
assumed that failure to learn is mainly
due to anxiety, lack of motivation or
lack of effort. Even though, of course,
these factors do play a part in the
ability to learn anything, over 40 years
In a new series of articles, Lesley Lanir ago Dr Kenneth Dinklage of Harvard
University discovered that they were not
looks at what happens when learning disabilities necessarily the main cause of failure for
some students. He found that struggling
create teaching difficulties. Harvard students could be taught
Spanish if they were exposed to
magine the overwhelming feeling disappear. Usually they are revealed methods used to teach students with

I of frustration after spending years


learning a foreign language and
still not being able to express your
needs and ideas in speech or in writing.
Picture yourself after hours of
when there is unpredicted academic
under-achievement or achievement
which is sustained only by unusually
high levels of effort and support.
learning disabilities. Subsequent to his
discovery, anxiety, poor motivation and
lack of effort became viewed as the
consequences of failure and not always
the prime causes.
investment trying to learn to read but Defining difficulties Also during the 1980s, due to the
not being able to make sense of the number of students being referred to
letters, read the words or comprehend As teachers of English as a second or them with difficulties in language classes,
the meaning of simple sentences. Or foreign language, we have all US psychologists Richard Sparks and
envision spending hours trying to experienced weak or slow learners in Leonore Ganschow decided to look into
memorise vocabulary lists and being our classrooms. Fortunately, there are Dinklages claims more seriously. They
unable to remember one word the well-respected theories in the field of began their investigations by comparing
following morning. Although different foreign language acquisition and the differences between two groups of
from person to person, these difficulties language learning in general that can students: those with foreign language
make up the common daily experiences help us understand why some of our learning difficulties and those without.
of many children, adolescents and students are less able to acquire the From the results of their research,
adults with a learning disability or target language than others. In addition Sparks and Ganschow came to the
learning difference. Having learning conclusion that a causal relationship
difficulties can bring crushing exists between the L1 (mother tongue)
disappointments and cause serious
Learning disabilities and the L2 (second language) and
problems in mastering a foreign have nothing to do with their Linguistic Coding Differences
language and can badly affect a persons Hypothesis (LCDH) was born.
self-esteem. a persons intelligence To understand one of the most
Learning disabilities have nothing to influential theories on difficulties in
do with a persons level of intelligence
and are not the result foreign language learning to date, lets
and are also not the result of mental of mental retardation, look into the principles of Sparks and
retardation, emotional problems or Ganschows Linguistic Coding
environmental factors. They are, rather, emotional problems or Differences Hypothesis more deeply. It
the effects of neurological weaknesses environmental factors is based on the idea that language is
due to genetic and/or neurobiological made up of the components or
factors or injury that alter brain linguistic codes of phonology,
functioning in a manner which affects to linguistic theories, an abundance of morphology, syntax and semantics or, in
one or more processes related to research over the last two decades has other words, language sounds, word
learning. They do not only affect the taken place in the areas of cognitive structure, sentence structure and
ability to learn to read fluently but also psychology, neurobiology and brain meanings. If there are deficiencies in the
the ability to listen, speak, write, spell, imaging that can help us better first language in any of these
organise, plan and remember. Learning understand our students and from component parts, particularly in the
disabilities are permanent. You cannot where their difficulties originate. ability to distinguish and remember the
take medication and make them Although in a teachers busy schedule it individual sounds within a language 

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 49


Learning Dealing with difficulties
have been assessed as having a reading
or language learning disability.
However, mature students may be So, which instructional methods can be
used to aid the foreign language learner

disability 1
unaware that they have a learning
disability as the assessment of learning with learning disabilities? The extra
difficulties has only become popular in challenge for teachers is, naturally, to
certain countries within the last ten to decide how these methods can be used in
15 years. Even if they have not been the dynamics of a language classroom.
 (phonological processing), then the
formally assessed, since learning a Popular and well-proven methods of
same difficulties will transfer to the
foreign language taps into all the areas teaching reading are those that are
same areas of a foreign language in the
in the brain where their difficulties may systematic, structured and multi-sensory,
course of its acquisition.
lie, students who have moderate to such as the remedial method developed
According to the LCDH, excellent
severe difficulties in their native by Kathleen Hickey in the 1960s or
language learners are proficient in all
language will begin to demonstrate Orton-Gillingham approach to reading
language components. Since learning
difficulties quite quickly in the foreign instruction, based on the research of
difficulties may range from mild to
language classroom. Samuel T Orton in the early twentieth
extreme, weaker students may have a
Initially, foreign language teachers century and turned into a remedial
deficiency in one or a number of the
should keep their eyes open for the programme by Anna Gillingham and
language components. In actual fact, if
following, which are some of the most Bessie Stillman. However, a reading
a thorough assessment of a weaker
common signs that there could be a difficulty is not the only difficulty that
student were undertaken, the assessment
language learning problem: your student may have. The key to how
would show that the student, even
to reach and teach a student with
though seemingly competent in their Difficulties in: learning disabilities is, firstly, knowing
first language, actually had language
hearing (perceiving), learning and how to identify the problem, understand
weaknesses which had been overcome in
remembering the sounds and sound its source and the limitations it causes
the L1 due to massive exposure to the
combinations of the language; and, secondly, knowing how to adapt
first language.
your methods in order to facilitate
repeating sounds, words or phrases learning. We will explore all these things
without hearing several examples; in this series. ETp
Students who have
breaking down words into syllables or
moderate to severe sounds; Augur, J and Briggs, S (Eds) The Hickey
Multisensory Language Course Whurr
difficulties in their native learning the connection between the Publishers 1992
symbols or letters of the foreign Dinklage, K T Inability to learn a foreign
language demonstrate language and the sounds and sound language In Blaine, G and McArthur, C
difficulties quite quickly combinations that they represent; (Eds) Emotional Problems of the Student
Appleton 1971
in the foreign language forming letters, spacing letters and Gillingham, A and Stillman, B W The
words on the page, writing neatly; Gillingham Manual: Remedial Training for
classroom Students with Specific Disability in
spelling and copying correctly from a Reading, Spelling, and Penmanship
book or the board; Educators Publishing Service 1997
Of course, besides theories based on Sparks, R and Ganschow, L The impact
learning new vocabulary;
the linguistic aspects of foreign of native language learning problems on
language acquisition, the topics of slow applying grammar rules; foreign language learning: case study
information processing, limitations in illustrations of the linguistic coding deficit
understanding spoken language, hypothesis The Modern Language
working memory and short-term
especially directions even when Journal 77 1993
memory and in visual perception have
spoken slowly; Sparks, R, Ganschow, L, Javorsky, J,
been and continue to be popular valid
Pohlman, J and Patton, J Test
research areas for those experts trying keeping up with the pace of the class. comparisons among students identified as
to discover the root of foreign language high risk, low risk, and learning disabled
learning difficulties. For example, Of course, these are not the only in high school foreign language courses
research shows that many learning indicators, and if a student has The Modern Language Journal 76 1992
disabled students, especially those with problems with any of the above, the
reading disabilities, take longer to process first point of reference is to check how Lesley Lanir is a
different the sound and writing system freelance writer, lecturer
language information and cannot be and teacher trainer who
expected to take in information at the and grammatical structure of the L1 are has been involved in
from the target language. The wider the teaching English for over
same rate as their peers. 15 years. She specialises
differences are between the two in learning disabilities
languages, the more quickly a learning and foreign language
Diagnosing disabilities disability will surface. The students learning. She has a BA in
English and Education,
So how do we begin to recognise weaknesses will generally manifest CTEFLA/RSA and an MA
in Learning Disabilities.
students who have learning disabilities? themselves in difficulties in the first four
points. lesleylanir@gmail.com
It is possible that a student may already

50 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


Reviews
diphthongs, the author analyses the
Transcribing English: The nuts Moodle 1.9 for Second
transcription of function words and of
and bolts of phonemic Language Teaching
strong and weak forms.
transcription by Jeff Stanford
Chapter 3 discusses the transcription
by Antonio Lillo PACKT Publishing 2009
of consonants. A number of exercises are
Comares 2009 978-1-847196-24-8
devoted to the pronunciation of the -ed
978-8-498-36492-7
ending of regular verbs and some Teachers seem to fall into two polarised
Phonemic symbols play an important role adjectives. Furthermore, some useful tips groups when it comes to e-learning.
in my own teaching. I find that on how to pronounce the final r in non-
1 Enthusiastic, usually because of
knowledge of them provides my students rothic or r-less accents (such as RP) are
positive experience with e-learning as
with a priceless instrument conducive to given. In the final chapter, Chapter 4, The
a student or teacher;
good pronunciation and to learner transcription of written texts, stress,
autonomy: if they know the symbols, they stress-timing and isochrony, predicting 2 Highly sceptical, for a wide variety of
can find out how to pronounce an stress placement in non-compound and reasons, including the inability to make
unfamiliar word without my aid, simply by compound words, common stress the mental leap required for teaching in
checking the transcription in their patterns and sentence stress are dealt a different way. Some of the comments
dictionaries. with. Ive heard include, Its so impersonal
This book is a thorough treatise on and de-humanising and I just dont
pronunciation and phonemic trust that kind of learning, mediated by
transcription. As such, it is primarily a machine.
aimed at university students taking The groups are not completely defined
a course in phonetics and by generation. There are open-minded
phonology. However, teachers will 50-somethings, unafraid of technology or
also find it useful if they wish to social change, and there are counter-
update their own knowledge and cultural 20-somethings, suspicious of the
skills. In addition, they will find apparent artificiality, unwilling to be
activities from the extensive repertoire dragged into the latest fad.
presented which they can extract and If you are sceptical, this is not the
use to cater for the various different book to change your mind. Its an inch
needs of their students in all language thick, and full of potentially eye-crossing
teaching contexts. details. It could have been even thicker
The wide range of exercises as two further chapters are available on
provided includes ones in which the the publishers website.
students have to supply missing But if you are already enthused, or
phonemes, identify the words at least interested, then youll find this
represented by phonemic transcriptions, book a revelation.
spot errors and transcribe passages. As the author points out, Moodle
Multiple-choice exercises are the most is one of the fastest growing free,
frequent type in the book. There is an open source VLEs (virtual learning
answer key at the back. environment) around at the moment.
As the sentences used in the Instead of explaining the various
exercises offer an abundance of lexical features of Moodle and then leaving you
chunks, not only will doing the tasks help I am totally in tune with the authors to guess how to apply them, the chapters
to improve the students facility with intention in writing this book: to invite focus on language teaching goals (the
phonetics, but it will also provide reflection on pronunciation and how to four skills: reading, writing, listening and
cognitive manipulation of lexis and improve it based on phonemic speaking, plus vocabulary and grammar)
structures and will raise awareness of transcription, rather than the more and show how Moodle can help second
collocations. Both these skills are traditional approach of teaching students language teachers reach their goals.
necessary for vocabulary learning. first to pronounce and then to transcribe. Each chapter starts with simple ideas
In Chapter 1, the author examines the Note: the model accent used and moves on to more complex ones
basics of the field, such as the difference throughout is the so-called RP (Received though some applications Stanford calls
between spelling and pronunciation, Pronunciation). Speakers of other easy have stumped even my technical
phonemic and phonetic transcription, varieties of English and teachers who use support guy!
phonemes and allophones, accent and these in their teaching should bear this in On the other hand, the information on
dialect, and model accents. Chapter 2 mind. how to create quizzes in Hot Potatoes
discusses the transcription of vowels. Joaqun A Gerardo and import them into Moodle is a life-
After having explored the 12 vowels and Elche, Spain saver. Its much quicker than creating

52 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


Reviews
quizzes in Moodle itself. And the chapter
Rules and Exceptions of
on assessment shows how Moodle gives
English Spelling
teachers and students new and fun ways
by Masha Bell
to track progress.
Pegasus Educational 2009
To benefit from this book, you need: 978-1-90349-039-6
a version of Moodle on your computer
At first glance, this isnt a particularly
so you can try things out as you read,
attractive book, but then it could be
in order to really understand;
argued that English spelling is not a
time (like anything worthwhile, it takes particularly attractive subject. Essentially,
a while to learn); what Masha Bell provides are lists of
motivation; words which follow certain spelling
conventions alongside those that employ
technical support (depending on your different spelling patterns to produce the
own computer know-how). same sounds. So far, so good. The aim is
to help poor spellers to improve as
quickly as possible by presenting
common spelling patterns
and the exceptions to them
and, certainly, having these all
sound at the beginning of yacht. The very
in one place rather than
reason phonemic symbols were invented
requiring people to look up
in the first place was to avoid the
each individual word in a
potential confusion occasioned by the
dictionary has got to be a good
fact that, in English, letters can represent
thing.
more than one sound. In a book
Taking us alphabetically
dedicated to sorting out the confusion of
through a series of spelling
sound and spelling, consistency of
patterns, the author gives a brief
presentation and use of proper phonemic
account of each one, often
symbols and conventions would have
pointing to the deficiencies of
given a more professional and more
many commonly-used rules and
helpful impression.
explanations of why English words
Nevertheless, I believe students of
are spelled in particular ways.
English as well as native speakers whose
The overriding impression is
spelling is poor will find this a useful
that this is a book for people who
reference book.
actually need to spell now, not
Bill Johnson
those who want to read a
Weston-super-Mare, UK
theoretical account of the subject,
and the frill-free layout contributes to
this sense that its time simply to get
Though I was originally in the sceptical on with the job. Reviewing
camp, a no choice situation gave me
starting motivation. This book came into
My one quibble would be the
presentation of sounds and letters. The
for ETp
my hands after two years of creating and author tends to use letters between Would you like to review books
running courses and, without it, my slashes to represent sounds, and letters or other teaching materials for ETp?
learning curve was slower. But as I tried between angled brackets to denote We are always looking for
things out for myself, they came into spellings, though this is not consistent people who are interested in
focus and my courses took shape. When throughout the book (there are also writing reviews for us.
my students began to use and enjoy the references to the F-sound and the <j>
Please email
material, my attitude improved a lot! sound). Moreover, slashes are the
Moodle 1.9 for Second Language convention generally used by linguists to helena.gomm@keywayspublishing.com
Teaching has shown me some bells and present phonemic symbols, yet what for advice and a copy of our
whistles that I was unaware of, and Im appears within the slashes here are not guidelines for reviewers. You will need
eager to try them. If you are just starting, phonemic symbols but simply letters of to give your postal address and
it will be a valuable guide. the alphabet. Thus, the author refers to a say what areas of teaching you
Christie Murphy /j/ sound as in engine. To anyone familiar are most interested in.
Wroclaw, Poland with phonemic symbols, a /j/ sound is the

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 53


TEACHER DEVELOPMENT

The value of
vulnerability
Lise Cyrenne suggests ll teaching is both exhilarating students professionally and also

teachers evoke their own


experiences to enable them
A and exhausting. Face-to-face
teaching and learning is
particularly demanding and
rewarding, often exactly because the
studentteacher relationship makes all
personally. Adult education is a meeting
of our deepest vulnerabilities, perhaps
long put aside consciously, though no
less active.
The adult language classroom thus
to help their students better. the difference to the learning itself. This risks being a maze of vulnerability. I
relationship is what differentiates would venture to say that the majority of
teaching in significant ways from other adults learning languages are doing so
professions: the relationship is the centre, out of (perhaps extreme) vulnerability:
not the product. the millions of migrant workers, whose
At this time, when there is a economic survival depends on a degree
significant focus on searching for of adaptation to the new environment;
relevant and meaningful occupations,
adult language education could be seen
as one of several fulfilling and If learning was,
meaningful professions. Yet, language from infancy on, an
teachers in adult learning institutions
often go home extremely hungry at the invitation to a journey
end of their day literally and, more
relevant to this article, metaphorically.
of adventure, affirmation
Adults seeking to learn something and discovery, learning
new are thrown back upon their personal,
learning and working biographies. If as adults will continue
learning was, from infancy on, an
invitation to a journey of adventure,
the adventure
affirmation and discovery, learning as
adults will continue the adventure. If, the millions of young and not-so-young
on the other hand, early learning was a learners around the world whose (family)
labyrinth singed by fire and brimstone, income may depend on their mastering
it will continue to be so in adulthood. English. Teachers, often also foreigners
As we shall see, in both extremes, themselves, have to navigate these depths
vulnerability is the starting point. A more of vulnerability while, on the surface,
daring interpretation is that all learning they appear simply to be giving a lesson
throws us back to, and into, the absolute lets say, on the zero and first
vulnerability of the child we once were. conditional.
Equally relevant, though often I would like to invite the reader now
ignored, is the fact that teaching is as into a more in-depth exploration of
deeply anchored in our personal and what constitutes our own most
emotional biographies as is learning. profound vulnerability, in the hope that
That is, the teacher at the beginning of it will help us all navigate the
each course is as much thrown back vulnerabilities of our classrooms with a
into this original vulnerability as are the fraction more ease.

54 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


TEACHER DEVELOPMENT

Vulnerability in ourselves Human need/level Material Communicative Symbolic


Human needs theory has filled hundreds
of volumes. However, let me attempt a Security Food, shelter, Negotiating with Confidence in
summary* that I consider relevant to For example: income, legal authorities ones environment
and accessible for work in the adult status
language classroom. My beginning point
Meaning Common Participating in Sense to ones
is that there are five core human needs:
For example: language creating meaning life
the need for security, meaning,
with others
belonging, action and recognition. These
needs are active at three levels at the Belonging Passport, work Common language, Feeling at home
material level, the communicative level For example: permit, work common culture
and the symbolic level. corresponding to
Let me summarise this in a simple ones capacities
chart (see right), with some examples.
Seen in the light of this simple Action Relevant work, Expressing and Confidence, trust
chart, it is clear that vulnerability is For example: participation in contributing actively in ones self
likely to exist at many different levels in ones environment to ones environment
the language classroom. Although the
majority of teachers have been well- Recognition Pay in Receiving Being and feeling
trained in teaching verb tenses, For example: correspondence acknowledgement welcomed
conditionals, conjunctions, adverbials, to work done that ones
modal verbs and such like, these same participation is valued
very competent people may be at a loss
when faced with the vulnerability of a
bank clerk whose job is threatened Vulnerability in others self-confidence or propelled us into self-
unless they succeed in the Business protection, can provide us with valuable
Although we may not be aware of it clues for dealing with vulnerability in
English Certificates Higher exam.
consciously, we are all experts in others.
Simultaneously, the teachers themselves
vulnerability. The key to our expertise, Vulnerability in others elicits many
may be equally vulnerable to job
however, lies within ourselves. We have responses, the range of which I do not
sanctions, and a loss of self-confidence,
all experienced vulnerability. It is have the space to cover in this article.
unless their students succeed. While this
possible that our vulnerability grew into For the sake of brevity, let us examine
all sounds rather sombre and
self-confidence in an environment that only two extremes. The first possibility
intimidating, we must also realise that
was nurturing, supportive and affirming. is that it can elicit in us an almost exact
these deep vulnerabilities are the very
Alternatively, our vulnerability may repetition of what we ourselves have
reason the adult foreign-language
have crept behind walls of self- experienced at moments of
classroom exists.
protection in environments focused on vulnerability; the second is that it can
No learning is possible where no
constant correction and potential elicit its complete opposite. Let me give
vulnerability exists. Vulnerability in and
punishment. Whether we are willing to a more concrete (albeit for learning
of itself is pure potential. It is one name
recall and consciously draw on our past purposes, negative) example.
we can give to openness to new
vulnerabilities, especially those that If, as a child, it was left up to my
impulses, to the desire to learn and the
resulted in self-protection, depends on own resources to cope with the
capacity to throw oneself into and stay
each person and our own willingness to challenges of the world around me, I
in situations of uncertainty. And
go there again. However, the courage may have developed a do or die
situations of learning, especially as an
to recall feelings of vulnerability, as well response to vulnerability. This response
adult, are always situations of mild to
as the dynamics that either nurtured often leads to extremely independent
extreme uncertainty.
Vulnerability, then, is that potential learners, who insist on doing it all for
in each of us to explode into Vulnerability themselves. In such a case, my response
enthusiasm and to feed the curiosity for as a teacher to my students vulnerability
newness, the hunger for learning. It is is that potential in may be of two kinds. The first response,
a repetition of my own experience, is to
also, unfortunately, that very potential each of us to explode leave the students completely on their
that can turn on us; it can, and
occasionally does, subvert and block all into enthusiasm and to own, allowing them to sink or swim in
learning for both the student and the the learning environment. In this case, I
teacher. It is vulnerability, this juncture
feed the curiosity for would probably teach very well, but
of pure potential, in each student, newness, the hunger would retain an almost superior attitude
teacher and classroom, that renders towards the students.
learning and teaching a craft steeped, for learning The second possibility is to offer the
extreme opposite of my own experience: 
first and foremost, in relationship.

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 55


TEACHER DEVELOPMENT

The value of
The core human needs of security, vulnerability. Only by learning to
meaning, belonging, action and negotiate our own past and present
recognition are all at work in the adult vulnerabilities, will we learn how to
vulnerability classroom. The students need to know
and experience that the teacher is able to
facilitate an environment safe enough to
perceive and negotiate (often without
words) our students vulnerabilities.

 I would do everything for the learners, experiment openly with a new language. 
being accessible at all times, always Such experimentation compels students
supporting, never challenging, giving to err repeatedly. This is exactly the Anyone who has learnt a new language
my all, 24 hours a day. situation that presents most teachers as an adult knows that the ability to
In both cases, I would become with a substantial challenge. participate in meaning creation in a new
convinced that my learners could not If the teacher has had a normal language is exhilarating. Such
learn without me, and would risk subtly schooling experience, finding the inner competence comes only through
convincing them of the same. Such an emotional resources to treat each and continually throwing oneself into
approach potentially strips, or at least every error in the classroom as an situations of trial and error, until it
seriously limits, the students capacity to opportunity will require some substantial begins to work. Such learning is
be competent actors in their learning personal work. Such work requires the exhilarating exactly because it gives the
process. The subliminal message is that teacher to revisit personal experiences of learner a feeling of competence (ability
they cannot do it without me, and more committing errors, which may have led to act) and, potentially, an increasing
subtle, but potentially more powerful, to feelings of failure, often accompanied sense of belonging to the new
that they ought not to dare to do it by a sense of humiliation: times when environment. Teachers who are genuinely
without me, for then my central sense of they were at their most vulnerable. generous and consistent in openly
meaning as a teacher risks being recognising their students willingness to
undermined. take risks, their ability to learn through
Both extremes risk leaving the Despite, and (and not despite) error and the progress
teacher extremely hungry. In the first they have made, enhance the students
case, the teacher skims the surface of often because of, sense of safety, action and belonging.
being the untouchable and isolated classes that are well This, in turn, enhances the students
expert; in the second, the teacher risks willingness to risk more and, hence,
metaphorically being fully consumed by planned and well potentially to learn more.
student needs, having nothing left for Vulnerability in the classroom is a
themselves at the end of the day. executed, teachers are vital resource, yet it is not a resource we
So often this hunger at the end of sometimes left at a loss can tap through particular methods or
the day remains unnamed and hence lesson plans. It requires room and
untamed. Despite, and often because of, as to what more to do recognition as part of the learning
classes that are well planned and well process, without words. We can offer our
executed, teachers are sometimes left at students such a resource only once we
a loss as to what more to do. Exactly These are moments which many of us
have been able to offer it, first and
this the well-known pressure to do would genuinely prefer to forget. Yet the
foremost, to ourselves. ETp
something, especially in the face of courage to go there again, to ask
vulnerability is rendered futile. This ourselves what, in these exact moments,
* Two books are especially relevant in
futility, in turn, renders even the most would have been most helpful to us,
this summary:
competent of teachers somewhat enables us to develop personal and
Neufeld Redekop, V From Violence to
vulnerable. professional resources. Most of us are Blessing Novalis 2003
capable of this, but we will remain
LeBaron, M Bridging Cultural Conflicts:
unaware of those resources until we find
Feeding the need the courage to relive those experiences
A New Approach for a Changing World
Jossey-Bass 2003
Vulnerability is pure potential, as I said again. When re-examining our past
earlier in this article. It is also experiences, in order not to drown in Lise Cyrenne, a
extraordinarily supple. Vulnerabilitys feelings of helplessness, we need to cling Canadian who has lived
and worked in Zrich,
openness to, and agility (or lack of) in to one question: Who or what could Switzerland, since 1992,
new encounters, is acutely susceptible to most have helped me in this situation? is currently Head of
Language Diplomas for
the interpersonal environment. If we answer this question honestly, Klubschule Migros in
Vulnerability is omnipresent yet, we come face to face with the potential Zrich. She has a
Masters Degree in
simultaneously, almost always goes within a missed opportunity. Finding an Conflict Studies and is
unacknowledged. Learning to befriend answer, emotionally and intellectually, especially interested in
the role cultural identity
vulnerability in ourselves first, and then often brings an emotional release, and and politics play in
in our students, can become an suddenly we are able to perceive the language learning and
especially effective resource in navigating hidden resources we carry when we teaching.
Lise.Cyrenne@gmz.migros.ch
the complexities of adult education. come face to face with anothers

56 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


Teacher +
+
Looking for new experiences within the profession?
Interested in different ways of developing beyond

plus +
the classroom?
Hoping for tips on how to extend and enrich your
professional life?

Teacher Plus is a new series which focuses on specific areas in which you can
step outside the strictly teaching sphere. In this issue, Sue Leather has
some encouragement for teachers who want to teach teaching.

Getting into teacher training


want to share what I have learnt, school teachers in universities or colleges. My story is, I think, quite typical of

I Natasha told me. I like to see


teachers develop, Missy said. I
love the dialogue and exchange of
ideas, Mary wrote. I want to make a
difference to what happens in
It can also be in-service training, which
again may be part of the governmental
system if you work in a state school. If you
work in the private sector, it may be offered
by an international exam board, a local
how teachers all over the world get into
teacher training. Radmila, a Serbian
trainer, has a similar story:

I took my first steps into teacher


classrooms, said Antonella. teachers association or other group. It training while I was working in a
Do any of the reasons why these may even be offered by your school. language school in Belgrade. The
teachers became teacher trainers sound school organised seminars in winter for
familiar? Do you feel that you have teachers from language schools all over
something to share with other teachers? In many ways, teacher Serbia, and the Director of Studies
Maybe you like the thought of talking asked me to prepare a talk because she
training is the obvious liked my classes and thought I had
about teaching ideas, helping others to
develop and having more influence on next step for a teacher some interesting ideas. That was the
how teaching and learning is conducted beginning. The talk was on how to make
who loves teaching the best of not very interesting texts
in your school, your area or even your
country. Have you thought of getting into and mechanical grammar exercises. It
teacher training? went well, I think, because they asked
A good way to start, then, is to do
In many ways, teacher training is the me to do it again with a different group
some research into what kinds of training
obvious next step for a teacher who of teachers.
are available, and what is going on in your
loves teaching. It makes use of the skills area. This may help you to find a gap or So, teacher trainers tend to start
youve already developed as a teacher, to let people know you are interested in small, and start with what they know
extends them and allows you to share getting involved. Ask around, talk to other something theyve tried and tested in
them with colleagues. Its also potentially teacher trainers if possible, and find out their own classrooms. Sharing ideas with
a very good field for continued about opportunities. colleagues is also a common theme in
professional development, offering a wide trainers stories. Natasha, a trainer from
variety of training contexts as well as the Start small Kyrgyzstan, says:
possibility of further academic and
The majority of teacher trainers first get I dont know why I wanted to get into
professional qualifications. But becoming
involved in training and development at teacher training, really. I didnt think
a teacher trainer is not necessarily a
their own school by mentoring less about improving language teaching in
smooth career path with a single
experienced teachers or by giving a the country at the time, I just wanted to
qualification. So how do you get into
training session. My first training session, share what I had learnt.
teacher training and development? Here
for example, was for a group of my
are some tips.
colleagues in my schools in-service
training programme. It was on reading
Think about co-training
Do some research skills, I think, because I was very Although teacher training is a natural
The first thing to ask yourself is what interested in that topic and had done move for many of us, it can also feel very
teacher training means to you. It may seem some work in the classroom that I threatening when you first start teaching
like an obvious question, but teacher thought might interest other teachers. other teachers! To alleviate this, some
training is a huge area, and its good to The session lasted just one and a half trainers start training alongside a
have a sense of the possibilities, especially hours. Little by little, I gained experience colleague; this can make the experience
those in your geographical area. Teacher of training. My repertoire of training much less intimidating. In fact, co-
training can mean pre-service training, such sessions, though, remained quite small training is such an excellent way of
as the training offered for future state- for some time. developing initial skills as a teacher 

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 57


Teacher plus One excellent way of gaining good
experience is by putting yourself in a
institute where I worked called me into
her office. After an informal interview,

Getting into school or situation where you are the


best qualified teacher to do any teacher
she asked me to join her team of
teacher trainers. Id been teaching for

teacher training training. Or how about getting a volunteer


job through an organisation like VSO
around six years at that point and was
one of the few teachers in Iran whod
(Voluntary Service Overseas)? This kind had internationally recognised training,
 trainer that I usually use it as a way of
of post may mean having a low salary for so it seemed like the natural next step in
developing training skills on my own
a while, but it may be worth it in the long my career. I was assigned a couple of
trainer development courses.
run as it can give you a large amount of modules to teach.
Hem, a British trainer, really
varied experience in a relatively short
recommends it. She says: Getting a good qualification such as
period of time. British trainer Simon says:
an MA with a teacher training
I was teaching in Poland and felt that I
I first got into teacher training through component, following an international
would like to become more involved in
VSO in China. I worked in a provincial teacher training course, writing an article
teacher development. I approached my
teacher training college, where 100 for teachers for a local or national
Director of Studies, who advised me to
teachers of English came for a two-year magazine or journal, giving sessions,
try my hand at some in-house training
secondment. I got a chance to do observing teachers, mentoring beginner
sessions. I delivered my first session
everything, including designing all the teachers in your school all these are
with a co-trainer, mainly to share the
courses, choosing course materials, ways that you can prepare yourself to
planning and, of course, the nerves. We
designing tests and exams, running a become a teacher trainer.
were both really interested in teaching
library for teachers, showing evening
teenagers, which is how the session
came about. I really enjoyed the
films and setting up and designing my
own materials for a self-access centre. I
+ + +
experience and loved working with
learnt about teacher training through trial All the teacher trainers I interviewed for
another teacher.
and error, from talking to my partner, this article come from different contexts
talking to the other six VSOs in China at and have different stories. But they have
Get some experience the time, from talking to my Chinese one thing in common: they all love their
Getting experience as a trainer is teachers and from methodology books. chosen path. So what are you waiting
essential. Often, once youve started for? Get sharing! ETp
offering sessions in the way outlined Be prepared
above, you get more requests. In my Sue Leather is a trainer
Like Simon, many teacher trainers trainer, educational
case, for example, after my in-service
develop their skills through trial and error. consultant and writer.
sessions for my school, I got invited to do She has delivered talks,
So what can you do proactively to workshops and courses
some sessions on the local pre-service
prepare for being a trainer? Obviously, in over 25 countries for
CELTA (Certificate of English Language the British Council and
being an excellent teacher is a good other organisations. She
Teaching for Adults) and in-service DELTA
start, as is gaining a good set of works with trainers and
(Diploma in English Language Teaching teachers on trainer
qualifications. Leila, an Iranian trainer, has development courses
for Adults) programmes, which were run
a story which shows that. She says: and curriculum and
by another local school. That way, I got capacity-building
more exposure in the community as a After I was nominated as teacher of projects all over the
world.
teacher trainer. Before long, Id gained the year, the Quality Control and
sue@sueleatherassociates.com
quite a lot of experience. Teacher Training Manager at the

ENGLISH IT WORKS IN PRACTICE


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58 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


TEACHER DEVELOPMENT

In praise of
of creative individuals but coupled
with its antithesis, a quality of
perseverance and endurance. As early as
the 16th century, Erasmus and
Montaigne both recommended games
as mnemonic devices, and recently Guy

creativity 2
Cook has explained how play has a
cognitive function that supports and
fosters creative thinking.
A playful attitude is important in
the classroom because it helps the
teacher create a stress-free environment,
and is essential because it allows us to
Chaz Pugliese suggests some stimulating strategies. pay heed to the child within us that is
still longing to be creative and playful.
We can approach self-expression with a
greater sense of balance and, in some
n Issue 66 of ETp, we looked at Blind portrait

I the concept of creativity: what it


is, where it is and its role in the
classroom. We concluded that,
given the right type of motivation,
everyone can be creative. But creativity
(a warmer)
Level: Any
Preparation: Have some pencils and
A4-size sheets of paper ready.
cases, with renewed enthusiasm, making
it easier for our creativity to flourish.

Lingo novo
Level: Intermediate and above
doesnt just happen like that; it needs to Method: Preparation: None, as such, beyond
be embraced, invited, nurtured and 1 Put the students into pairs and make keeping an eye open, as always, for the
encouraged. In this second article, I will sure they have a piece of paper and a best time to do it.
talk about three strategies I use to boost pencil each.
my own creative potential. For each of Method:
these I will provide a short outline and 2 Ask them to draw each others 1 Ask the students to work in pairs.
an example to illustrate how it can be portrait without ever looking at the
2 Tell them they have ten minutes to
implemented in the classroom. Finally, I paper.
invent a new language. This language
will describe an activity teachers can use 3 When theyve finished, ask them to should include:
themselves to overcome blocks and compare their portraits (this inevitably a greeting
fears and to unleash their own triggers laughter).
a farewell
creativity.
4 The lesson can now start. expressions for:
thank you
Strategy 1: Alternatively, and especially if the
please
students dont know each other very
Simplicity well, you can ask them to draw the sorry
Keeping things simple in the classroom same object in the classroom again, why and because
involves focusing on the learner rather without looking at the paper. if
than on the materials to be covered. a positive comment ( I like the
Most importantly, to teach more simply Comment weather.)
is to teach more purposefully and with a Over the years I have found that using a
a negative comment ( Im not Jean
minimum of needless distraction. If touch of humour in the classroom is a
Jacques.)
necessity is the mother of invention, great tool to diffuse tension and relax
then frugality definitely plays a big role the students (and, often, the teacher). 3 When they are ready, ask the students
in boosting our creativity. The to form new pairs and to teach each
simplicity strategy can be spectacularly other their new languages.
Strategy 2:
applied in the language learning
classroom in activities that require The ability to play
little or no preparation time and which
Strategy 3:
Think, if you can, of a life deprived of
are designed to use the students as our play. You give up? I dont blame you. Risk taking
primary resource. What you need, to The ability to play is the capacity to Risk taking is about getting out of ones
put this strategy into practice, is some have serious, purposeful fun. This is comfort zone. Charlie (Bird) Parker
knowledge of who your students are as seen by many creativity researchers as was one of the most influential jazz
people, what they like and how they like an important step in the creative musicians who ever lived. The first time
to learn. The rest is down to some process. In the words of psychologist he played in a jazz club, he got booed
thinking, some work and, to a lesser Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, theres no off the stage, and the drummer even
extent, some inspiration. question that a playful attitude is typical threw a cymbal at him in sheer anger. 

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 59


TEACHER DEVELOPMENT

In praise of
Comment below) the opposite of instrumental piece. Play it in your
what they hear from the As. Thus: If A head. Play it loudly, as if someone
says: In this painting theres a cat were performing it in front of you.

creativity 2 sitting in a tree, B may draw or write:


Theres a dog sleeping on the sofa.
4 Give them a good ten minutes for
3 Focus on the details. When the image
is clear, change just one feature of the
music. For example, change the
 Parkers sin had been to venture into this. When theyre ready, ask them to tempo from slow to fast or from fast
new territory: he wasnt interested in check Bs picture or description to slow.
playing mainstream music, and thats against the original. How close did
4 Now change another feature in your
the risk he chose to take. He persevered, they get?
imagination. For example, hear
and contributed to the birth of a whole 5 Invite the students to exchange roles. different instruments performing the
new chapter in the history of jazz. Bird music.
was prepared to be wrong; he had the Comment
The idea of an opposite is naturally 5 Keep changing the music as ideas
guts to challenge the establishment, and
very subjective, hence theres an spring to mind until you hear a whole
thats perhaps the lesson for all of us:
element of creativity that makes the new different piece of music,
creativity takes courage.
activity more engaging. It is important something neither you nor anyone
Taking risks doesnt come naturally
to provide the students with options. else has ever heard.
to a lot of us; it makes us feel
uncomfortable and edgy. This comes Some may prefer to write a description, 6 Be as daring or as subtle as you wish,
from a fear of being wrong. As others may like to draw. By giving them but allow your mind room for
children, we feel free to experiment with a choice, hopefully the activity will be something new each time.
reality and we dont care about the more inclusive.
7 What does the creative experience
results. By the time we are adults, we feel like? Take some time to think
lose that capacity and become
frightened of doing things differently.
Overcoming blocks about this.

This is largely because we stigmatise and fears 8 Make notes and share with a partner
mistakes. So, what we do, according to or discuss with your colleagues
Not a single person I have met finds it
Sir Ken Robinson, is to educate according to the possibilities of the
easy to nurture and unleash their
ourselves out of creativity. However, situation you are in.
creativity.
there is only one alternative if you dont As teachers, we have to deal with all Comment
want to take risks, and that is to play it sorts of fears that may keep us from The same exercise can be done by
safe to give in to the sirens of routine, being creative, including fear of change, visualising a familiar picture and, when
an approach which never really pays fear of accepting failure, fear of rocking the image is clear, changing its colours,
dividends. Risk taking in the classroom the boat, fear of standing out, fear of adding or eliminating features, etc.
is about assessing the situation, daring disappointing and fear of uncertainty. Remember to experiment and to let
to try different approaches and entering Working in an environment that doesnt your imagination run free. It is the
the discomfort zone. The outcome wont value creativity is another huge process that matters: you may or may
be spectacular at first, but taking risks mountain to climb. not feel proud of the end product! ETp
is a necessary step if one intends to Having worked with hundreds of
engage oneself seriously on this path. teachers on creativity courses, I know
from experience that discovering that we Cook, G Language Play, Language
Picture this can actually begin to create is the real Learning OUP 2000
Level: Intermediate and above trigger. There are no magic wands and Csikszentmihalyi, M Creativity: Flow and
no easy tricks, but please try the activity the Psychology of Discovery and
Preparation: You will need a set of Invention HarperCollins 1996
below. It is easy and powerful, and it
pictures of works of art. Robinson, K Out of Our Minds: Learning
should get you started. Remember two
Method: things: that there is no such thing as to be Creative Capstone 2001
1 Put a collection of pictures of works of right or wrong and that you need to
art on your desk. Invite all the students trust the process. Chaz Pugliese is
currently Director of
to come up and pick one picture Studies (Teacher
theyd like to do some work on. The music of change Training) at Pilgrims, UK.
He is the author of
2 Ask them not to show their pictures 1 Take a few moments to relax, unwind Being Creative: The
Challenge of Change in
to anyone. and gather attention. Feel every the Classroom,
muscle in your body relax and let published by DELTA.
3 Put the students into pairs (A and B).
your breathing become even and
Explain that the As are going to
deep.
describe the opposite of the picture
theyve chosen, and that the Bs 2 Now visualise a piece of music you
should draw or write (see the like: anything, a song or an chazpugliese@pilgrims.co.uk

60 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


SCRAPBOOK Gems, titbits, puzzles, foibles, quirks, bits & pieces,
quotations, snippets, odds & ends,
what you will

Hare raising of the leporid


ae Leporidae laughs
re s ar e bo th members 1
Rabbits and
ha re by the What is the difference between a crazy bunny and a
ca n te ll a ra bbit from a ha
people es have very
long counterfeit banknote?
family. Most
e le ng th of their ears (har
difference in
th n a rabbit 2 Why did the rabbit fall over every time he tried to hop?
offic ia l di ffe rence betwee
er, the
ears). Howev social skills an
d how 3 What do you call an ugly rabbit that sits on someones
te rm in ed by
and a hare is
de ked and
bi es . R ab bits are born na forehead?
are as ba es are born w
ith
helpless they colonies. Har 4 What did the magician say when he made his rabbit
es , an d liv e in
with closed ey live socially. disappear?
ey es, and rarely
fur and open 5 What must a policeman have before searching a
rabbits home?

Leporidae lore 6

7
Why couldnt the rabbit fly home for Easter?
What do you call mobile homes for rabbits?
In Aztec mythology,
a pantheon of four hu
gods represented fer ndred rabbit 8 Where do rabbits go after their wedding?
tility, parties and drunk
enness.
In central Africa, Ka Answers
lulu the rabbit is widely
tricky character who ge known as a 1 One is bad money and the
ts the better of everyo
deals with. (The rabbit ne he other is a mad bunny.
appears in the folklore
countries as a creature of several
that uses cunning to ou 2 Because he always kept
enemies.) tw it its one foot in his pocket for
good luck.
The rabbit is one of
the 12 celestial animals 3 Unsightly facial hare.
Chinese zodiac. Howe in the
ver, the Vietnamese rep
the rabbit with a cat laced 4 Hare today, gone tomorrow.
in their calendar as the
any rabbits in Vietnam. re arent 5 A search warren.

iStockphoto.com / Ljupco
In Chinese literature 6 He didnt have the hare fare.
, Change, the goddess
moon, is always acco of the 7 Wheelburrows.
mpanied by rabbits.
8 On their bunnymoon.
The Japanese see
the pattern of dark pa
moon as representing tches on the
a rabbit pounding ric
mochi, a popular swee e to make

In Jewish folklore, the


t eaten at New Year.

Aus s ie bunny
a similar way to the En
denote cowardice.
Hebrew word for rabbit
glish colloquial use of
is used in
ch icken to
The long-runnin
g campaig
n
, th e re is a
In Australia ster
with the Ea
In Native American th e E a s ter bunny
mythology, Nanabozh to replac e ecies, is a
Rabbit, is an importa o, or Great
a n e n d angered sp
nt deity related to the ilby, e
creation of bilby. The b a long nos
the world.
tha n a ra bbit. It has
r profit
little smalle rtion of the
A Vietnamese mytho o s t a s big. A po
logical story portrays and ears a lm research
a symbol of innocence the rabbit as
o la te bilbies goes to
and youthfulness. g cho c t.
from sellin f its habita
a l a n d p rotection o
im
into the an

62 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


com / janeff
A lesson in leporidae Mad as

iStockphoto.
a March
1 What is the collective noun 7 In the 2002 film Rabbit-
for hares? Proof Fence, three girls
a) a husk
b) a nest
escape from captivity and
walk 1,500 miles back to hare
ad as a
c) a warren their home. Across which The saying M
d) a coursing country do they walk? refers to the
March hare
a) Australia r of male
2 What is a female hare called? wild behaviou
b) Austria compete
a) a sow hares as they
c) South Africa ales in the
b) a jack with other m
d) the USA ng season.
c) a doe spring breedi
d) a cow 8 What was the naughty
rabbit in the Beatrix
3 What was special about the
1958 Bugs Bunny film
Potter childrens books
called?
Lucky leporidae?
Knighty Knight, Bugs? a) Ronnie In the UK and the US
A a rabbits foot is
a) It was the last black and b) Peter sometimes carried as
a good luck charm. Th
white animated film to be practice is said to come e
c) Harold from African-American
made. folk magic. In the UK
d) Flopsy it is considered lucky
b) It won an Oscar for best White rabbit! on the firs to say
t day of the month.
short animated film. 9 In some countries the However, to secure the
good luck you have to
the first to say it. be
c) It was the first Bugs Bunny Easter Bunny brings
film made for television. chocolate eggs at Easter. On the Isle of Portland
in the UK, however, the
d) It was the only Bugs Bunny In which country did this rabbit is said to be un
lucky and saying its na
can cause trouble wit me
film in which Bugs Bunny tradition start? h older residents. This
thought to date back is
does not actually appear. a) the USA to early times in the
quarrying industry, wh
b) Italy ere piles of extracted
4 (not fit for sale) were bu stone
Which airport in the USA is c) Germany ilt into tall rough walls
save space) directly be (to
named after a World War d) the UK hind the working quarr
face; the rabbits natur y
Two hero? al tendency to burrow
a) Warren Airport, Arkansas 10 What is the name of the would weaken these wa
lls and cause them to
b) Bunnyfield Airport, girl in the famous collapse, often resulting
in injuries or even death
As a result, the word .
Shreveport childrens story who rabbit is often substitute
terms such as long ear d by
c) OHare Airport, Chicago follows a white rabbit s or underground mutto
so people dont have n,
d) Haresfield Airport, Atlanta down a rabbit hole? to say the actual word
risk bringing bad luck and
a) Martha on themselves. It is sai
5 that a pub there can be d
Novelist John Updike wrote a b) Vicky cleared of people sim
by calling out the word ply
series of books whose main c) Pippa rabbit. While this was
true in the past, it has very
character was called Rabbit d) Alice gradually become mo
fable than fact over the re
Angstrom. Which of these is 9 c, 10 d past 50 years.
not part of the series? 1 a, 2 c, 3 b, 4 c, 5 c, 6 d, 7 a, 8 b,
Answers
a) Rabbit Redux
b) Rabbit at Rest
c) Rabbit Robs a Bank
nd the tortoise
6
d) Rabbit is Rich
The hare a , a ha re ch allenges a to
rtoise to a ra
s time to ke
ta
ce but
a nap in
Which of these is the name
fam ous fable by Aesop lie ves he ha
In the be
onfident and
of a dance, popular in the e he is over-c
loses becaus et in
1950s? the race. e 15 to 20 fe
the middle of m ph and can mov
a) the hare hula ds of ab ou t 45 when th do
ey
ar es have recorded spee m ot io nles s for hours and
b) the hare hop H ten remain
. Tortoises of iles per hour.
c) the rabbit run a single leap sp eed of 0.1 m
im um nap!
move, its at
am ax re, nap or no
d) the bunny hop
t yo ur m on ey on the ha
, pu
decide to race
If the two do

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 63


T E C H N O L O G Y

The wiki way


Susan Dreger creates an extended learning environment.

here has been a lot of talk few and far between for many adults. communicating with the teacher or

T about blended learning


recently. New social
networking technologies mean
that traditional face-to-face classes can
now be enhanced with asynchronous
Many of these students feel stuck at an
intermediate level and are fed up with
learning the irregular verbs in the past
simple tense after more than 15 years of
studying! English classes are taken up
with others.
Wikis introduce a social aspect and
connect students with other students,
setting up possibilities for
collaboration and/or sharing of
virtual environments, thus creating a periodically then dropped because of information.
variety of blends for our language other demands in their busy schedules;
students to take part in. One of these they are often restarted again after many Wikis can be teacher-guided and
new environments can be found using a dry years of not having practised, etc. scaffolded in order to help students
wiki. Setting up a wiki as an added class This fruitless cycle will continue unless gain autonomy and become more
component is a motivating way to get more effective ways of teaching can be confident in using new technologies
students practising more English outside found. New technologies can open the for learning English. They can also be
of the classroom and can be especially doors to changing this cycle and bring used by more autonomous learners as
useful with busy adults who not only fresh dynamics and motivation when it a self-access resource centre.
have time restraints when it comes to comes to learning another language. Wikis give the students editing and
learning a new language, but also have changing rights, which enables them
few opportunities for communicating in Why wikis? to take charge of their learning and
English in real-life situations. As reflect more on their needs.
language teachers, we must try to create A wiki is a website where users can add,
remove and edit every page using a web In language learning, the teacher has
flexible opportunities for our students
browser. Wiki wiki means quick in usually played the main role. However,
to use the target language. Wikis could
Hawaiian and thats precisely what they as David Little points out, the nature of
be just the answer.
are: quick and easy to set up. this role is slowly changing as we
It is so easy for people to jump in encourage and expect more autonomy
Why blended learning? and revise pages that wikis are from our students. In order to promote
According to Pete Sharma and Barney becoming the tool of choice for either autonomy in an online environment, the
Barrett, blended learning is a language small or large multiple-participant teachers role must change from
course which combines a face-to-face projects. There are many advantages: purveyor of information (sage on the
classroom component with an appropriate stage) to facilitator of learning and
Wikis are flexible regarding both time
use of technology. In my case, I have manager of learning resources (guide
and place.
found that blended classroom practice on the side).
coupled with wiki technology best suits Wikis are a very dynamic and
versatile learning environment.
the needs of my adult students. The sage on the stage
Wikis allow a group of people to
In online environments where the
Why technology? develop a website collaboratively with
students are encouraged to work
no knowledge of HTML, the
As Mark Warshauer puts it, connecting autonomously, the teacher continues to
encoding scheme used to create and
students with their teacher, classmates, play a significant role in motivating the
format webpages.
learners around the block or across the students to take part in an active
globe is a way to increase opportunities Wikis can provide as many extra manner. The teachers role will
for communication, to broaden the variety hours of learning as the students are inevitably vary depending on the
of language usage, and to enhance the willing to do. This is particularly students level and on the teachers
quality of involvement in using the target useful for EFL students who find it particular objectives, and this role can
language. difficult to improve their English change and develop with time. As with
If, like me, you teach English as a sufficiently with just one or two any new technology, the initial role will
Foreign Language (EFL) rather than classes a week. probably be teacher of a new
English as a Second Language (ESL), Wikis can serve as virtual classrooms technology. However, once the students
you will know that opportunities for which control all the resources and have learnt how a wiki works, the
practising English can sometimes be very give added opportunities for teachers role can change to that of

64 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


facilitator, motivator and resource to keep track of their favourite pages notifications by RSS and email
manager. In order for students to use a and links in an organised manner; access controls (Whoever sets up the
wiki successfully, teachers must provide: to share favourite pages and links wiki can decide who will be permitted
encouragement; easily with their friends, family, to join it and, if desired, to edit the
personal choices and opportunities teachers and all other English wiki. Some companies offer special
for learning; learners (if they choose); wiki sites for schools where you can
to practise reading and writing tags ask for your own domain name. In
prompt feedback;
and reviews in English; this case, you can have public wikis
tools for becoming independent shared by the whole school system or
learners; to access their favourite pages and private wikis for teachers or other
tools for social networking. links from any computer; smaller communities.)
to make the internet a better place to tags and folders
The guide on the side learn English.
automatic backups
There are many tools available to Students and/or teachers often want to
storage space (Some wikis have more
encourage students to become more share sites of common interest with
storage space than others. Depending
autonomous learners, taking more control each other. Teaching them to share their
on your project, this may be
of their activity or site choices. Many of favourite sites using social bookmarking
something to take into consideration.)
these tools are free and can easily be tools will supply them with endless
embedded in a wiki. Below are three tools resources and will put them in contact customisable templates (You can
which can be used to encourage more with others who have the same interests. choose the appearance of your wiki
student autonomy within the wiki. A link to whichever bookmarking tool with regard to colours and layout.)
you decide to use can be added directly possibility for an ad-free site (This is
1 RSS feeds to the wiki. Students will be more likely an important feature when working
RSS stands for Really Simple to add links if they have easy access to with students as advertisements often
Syndication or, sometimes, Rich Site them from the wiki. distract them and lead them to places
Summary. In simple terms, an RSS that were not intended.)
3 Skype
feed allows users to subscribe to their
Skype enables students to chat in There are many others, but the wiki sites
favourite sites. Because the content of
synchronous conversations either with mentioned above have many, if not all,
many webpages changes on an
the teacher or with the entire class. It of the important features mentioned.
unpredictable basis, an RSS feed informs
can also be used to contact the teacher They all enable you to set up and use a
the reader when any new information
when in need. Students can contact the wiki very easily, so choosing one rather
has been added. Examples of such
teachers or others in a spontaneous than another is really a matter of
websites are news sites, community
way or set up appointments. Although I personal preference.
organisation information pages and
have not found a way to embed Skype
weblogs. Teaching students to embed
RSS feeds in a wiki can not only save the directly into the wiki site, links for

teacher time but, more importantly, it downloading Skype can be put in the Creating a blended course using a wiki
allows the students a choice in the types wiki and the students IDs can be can be an effective and motivating way to
of information they wish to receive. The organised on the wiki. bring more English into students daily
information comes directly to them lives. Why not try it, the wiki way! ETp
instead of them having to look for it on The choice of wiki
the web. Most wikis allow the embedding
There are many companies which offer Sharma, P and Barrett, B Blended
of RSS feeds, which means that the Learning Macmillan 2007
an easy way to create wikis. Three
students can subscribe to their favourite
popular sites are www.pbwikis.com, Warschauer, M Computer-mediated
feeds and keep themselves and their collaborative learning: theory and
www.wikispaces.com and
peers up to date directly from the wiki. practice Modern Language Journal 81(3)
www.wetpaint.com, but most wiki
1997
2 Social bookmarking tools companies tend to offer many of the
Little, D Learning as dialogue: the
same features. Listed below are some of
There are many software programs to dependence of learner autonomy on
the features that make wikis so teacher autonomy System 23(2) 1995
help organise and manage links to
manageable to use and which are good
webpages. These links can be accessed
to look out for when choosing which Susan Dreger has been
from whichever computer you find
company to use: teaching English and ICT
yourself on, which is a great advantage in Barcelona, Spain,
if you are constantly moving around collaborative page editing since 1991 and has had
experience with students
from computer to computer or simply document management and file of all ages. She has
cant keep track of where you left your sharing recently completed her
MA in Technology and
pen drive! Examples of social TESOL from the
complete history and audit trail (Any
bookmarking sites are del.icio.us, Digg University of Manchester
edits that have been made on the wiki and is now a secondary-
and Google bookmarking. school English teacher.
can be viewed and followed.)
Reasons for learners of English to
ease of inviting others to collaborate teacherbarcelona@gmail.com
use social bookmarks include:

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 65


T E C H N O L O G Y

Five things you always wanted to know about In this series, Nicky Hockly

computer explains aspects of technology


which some people may be
embarrassed to confess that

viruses
(but were afraid to ask)
they dont really understand. In
this article, she explores threats
to our computers.

1 Ive heard of viruses, worms,


Trojans Are these all the
same thing?
themselves on your computer without
your knowledge or permission, then
surreptitiously monitor your computer use
this daily). Your antivirus software settings
will allow you to program updates and
scans automatically.
A virus, a worm and a Trojan horse are all (such as the websites you visit), and
examples of malware malicious
software that can do a lot of damage to
your computer. A virus attaches itself to a
report this to third parties. Spyware
designed to serve advertising purposes
(such as tracking what sites you visit, or
4 So all I need is some up-to-
date antivirus software? Right?
This is definitely an essential first step.
program, and when you (usually what products you buy online) is called But there are a few other basic things
unwittingly!) run the program, the virus is adware. Spyware can be installed on that you can do that will minimise the
activated on your computer. Viruses are your computer when you download a chances of your getting a virus:
most commonly spread as files attached new program, or if you click on links, eg
in some pop-up windows. Never open an email attachment or
to email messages, or by users sharing
click on links from people you dont
already infected files (eg a Word
know. If you receive an unexpected or
document). A worm is similar to a virus,
but it has the capacity to replicate itself. If
you get a worm on your computer, it can
3 Is no one safe? What can I do
to avoid viruses and spyware?
Its certainly true that no one is safe! The
strangely-named file from someone
you know, first check by email or
phone that this is a legitimate file, or
send out thousands of copies of itself, for average time it takes for an unprotected
run your antivirus software on the file
example to all the contacts in your email computer to be infected by a virus is
before opening it (most antivirus
address book. Some worms even have about 20 minutes. But dont panic. There
programs will allow you to right-click
the capacity to insert themselves into are several very effective things you can
on an unopened file and scan it). Most
your system and allow another user to do to protect yourself against viruses.
dangerous are executable files (those
control your computer remotely. A Trojan The first, and it is absolutely vital, is to
that can be run as programs by your
horse (named after the Trojan horse in have up-to-date antivirus software
computer), which will have extensions
Greek mythology) is designed to fool you installed on your computer. There are free
such as .exe, .com or .vbs, and these
into opening it. It may come disguised as antivirus programs available, such as
days viruses can even come in graphic
what seems to be a useful piece of AVG (free.avg.com) or Avast
image files (eg .jpg).
software for you to download from the (www.avast.com), and there are pay-for
internet, or an interesting link for you to services such as BitDefender The same goes for instant messaging
click on, or as an important file for you to (www.bitdefender.com), Panda an instant message from someone you
open. Some Trojans just have annoying (www.pandasecurity.com) or Norton know with a link in it should be treated
effects like changing the look of your (www.symantec.com/norton/antivirus). with caution! Unless you know exactly
desktop, but others can be far more Good antivirus software will also what the link refers to, and are
destructive, such as allowing other users block spyware, but if you use free expecting it, ignore it, and let your
access to your computer. Although there antivirus software, you may also need to friend know about the message. If your
are differences between a virus, a worm install separate anti-spyware. Two free friend is indeed having strange
and a Trojan horse, we usually refer to recommended programs for this are messages sent out in their name,
them all as viruses. If you follow the Spybot (www.safer-networking.org) and changing their messenger password
advice in this article, you should be able Adaware (www.lavasoft.com). should get rid of the problem.
to remain virus free ...
Having antivirus software installed on your Dont download illegal software, which
program is an essential first step, but you is often virus-ridden. For any

2 This already sounds very scary!


Any more of these viruses I
need to know about?
must also ensure that your antivirus
software updates every day, because new
apparently legal software that you
download, get into the habit of first
viruses are appearing all the time. You saving the downloaded file, then right-
Youve probably heard of spyware also need to ensure your antivirus scans clicking on it and running your antivirus
computer programs that install your computer for viruses regularly (I do scan, and only then running the

66 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


program. Call me paranoid, but I do If you are using a PC, the Windows
this with every single file I ever
download from the internet, no matter
operating system has restore points,
which means that you can go back to ENGLISH
how legitimate it may seem to be!

If you are using a PC with a Windows


a certain date in the past, and restore
everything that was on your computer
at that date. Anything that has been
Tprofessional
EACHING
operating system, make sure that you
installed or created since that date will
regularly download any system
be deleted. Remember that this means This is your magazine.
updates. Mac computer users have far
fewer issues with viruses.
you will lose any work (eg files that you We want to hear from you!
have created) since the restore date.
Viruses are often passed on via pen Google the phrase Windows restore
drives, or memory sticks (external USB points [XP] to find out how to do this
drives). Make sure your antivirus for your operating system.
software is up to date before you plug
If you dont feel confident about trying
IT WORKS IN PRACTICE
in a memory stick, and if you want to Do you have ideas youd like to share
any of the solutions above, take your
be extra safe, right-click and scan the with colleagues around the world?
computer to a professional!
drive with your antivirus software Tips, techniques and activities;
before opening it.
 simple or sophisticated; well-tried
Finally, and this may be one of the or innovative; something that has
most important things you do, educate In the end, practising safe computing is worked well for you? All published
any other people who regularly use not only good for you, your computer contributions receive a prize!
your computer (such as your children, and your work, but also part of being a Write to us or email:
partner or work colleagues) on the responsible computer user and internet
iwip@etprofessional.com
basic things to do and to avoid, as citizen. Once your computer is infected,
outlined above. its highly likely that youll pass that
infection on to others and spread it even
further. Just as washing hands and
TALKBACK!
5 And if I get a virus? What can
I do?
Of course, prevention is better than cure,
avoiding direct contract with people
when you have the flu is advised, as
Do you have something to say about
an article in the current issue of ETp?
soon as you notice a computer infection, This is your magazine and we would
and the problem with getting a virus is
disconnect from the net and clean up really like to hear from you.
that it will often disable your antivirus
before you share any of your data with Write to us or email:
software, making it much harder to get
anyone else and that includes writing
rid of! But if you are unfortunate enough talkback@etprofessional.com
an email to a friend asking for help!
to get one on your computer, here are a
Doing a proper clean up will
few things to try:

If you get a specific message on your


guarantee you are infection free, but also
that you have closed any back doors
Writing for ETp
screen generated by the virus, or a which may have been opened, allowing Would you like to write for ETp? We are
specific icon, use Google (from another remote users to connect to your always interested in new writers and
computer!) to describe the symptoms computer and use its resources and fresh ideas. For guidelines and advice,
and to see if there are any solutions internet connection for malicious ends. write to us or email:
available on the internet. For some These zombie armies of computers are
editor@etprofessional.com
viruses, antivirus software companies responsible for many of the epidemics we
will produce a quick downloadable fix see every year and contribute much to
for you to get rid of it. This is usually
provided for free, in the hope that you
the annoying spam mail which currently Visit the
makes up around 80 per cent of all mail
will then buy their software. sent on a daily basis. So, dont be a ETp website!
zombie keep your computer clean! ETp The ETp website is packed with practical
If the virus has disabled your antivirus
tips, advice, resources, information and
software, try booting into safe mode Nicky Hockly has been
selected articles. You can submit tips
(starting up your computer up in safe involved in EFL teaching
mode with no programs running or and teacher training since or articles, renew your subscription
1987. She is Director of
internet access). You can usually boot Pedagogy of The or simply browse the features.
into safe mode using a function key Consultants-E, an online
training and development www.etprofessional.com
(for example, in Windows XP by consultancy. Nicky is co-
pressing F8), or you can Google the author of How to Teach
English with Technology ENGLISH TEACHING professional
phrase how to boot into safe mode in (Pearson) and Learning
English as a Foreign Pavilion Publishing (Brighton) Ltd,
[Vista] if you are unsure how to do it PO Box 100, Chichester, West Sussex,
Language for Dummies
for your operating system. If you know (John Wiley & Sons). PO18 8HD, UK
the file name of the virus, you can then Fax: +44 (0)1243 576456
Contact Nicky at nicky.hockly@theconsultants-e.com
manually search for and uninstall it in and let her know of any other ICT areas youd like her to Email: info@etprofessional.com
safe mode. explore in this series.

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 67


Webwatcher
Web Russell Stannard finds
sites that make learning fun.

use in class. If you click on the Listen button, you can hear the

I
n this issue we are going to look at some websites which are
particularly good for young learners. There are some that your text being read out. You can also download the listening file onto
students can use on their own to learn English and others your computer by right-clicking on the Listen link.
which you can incorporate in your classroom teaching. I have Dont overlook the excellent quizzes on this site. There are
made a short video for each site to help you use it. usually two for each text. In the first quiz you generally have to
At the end are a couple of curious sites that I think everyone re-build the text by clicking on a series of choices. You will see
will like. When I tried these out in the class, my students were the text slowly building up as you re-make it. This is a great
engrossed. activity for pairs or small groups. The second quiz allows you to
predict words from the text. It is a sort of dictogloss, where you
Spotlight on spelling type in words and hope they are in the actual text. If they are,
they appear in the correct place.
Site www.learner.org/interactives/index.html Note that you can also see all the learning content in a pdf
format by simply clicking on pdf. This is a really worthwhile
Help video: http://screencast.com/t/AbK3ESfb
site, brilliant when you need a quick option, and the material is
This site has useful listening and writing material that the very well made.
students can use for free. Click on Spelling Bee in the Language
Interactives section to hear gapped texts at a variety of different
Curiouser and curiouser
levels being read. The students have to try to complete the
missing words. What I like is that the students can play the full Site: http://quizicon.com/quiz?id=37
text but can also listen to individual words by clicking on the
Help video: http://screencast.com/t/M2I2YWU3O
boxes or the red question mark next to each box. They can also
check their scores and review the words before moving on to This can be used with any students. In fact, teachers might like
another level. it, too. You have to think of the most common 100 words in
English and you are limited to five minutes to find them. This is
Site: www.eduplace.com/kids/sv/books/ good for spelling, good for vocabulary at low levels and it is just
content/wordbuilder/? great fun to see how many you can think of in five minutes. I
managed 44 words not very impressive, I am afraid.
Help video: http://screencast.com/t/MTgzYzM1ZTc
This great website also has a spelling theme. It breaks down Site: www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/
words into parts to make them easier for the students to spell. body/interactives/senseschallenge/
The focus is on individual words, but you do hear them in the senses.swf
context of a sentence, which is important. What I especially like
here is the masses of content and the variety of levels. It is very
Help video: http://screencast.com/t/ZGNhZjE5ZD
easy to use, so your students can work alone or you can use the This is an extremely simple site and nothing directly to do with
material in class. They just click on a grade and then click on a language teaching. However, I have found that my students love
unit. A series of gapped sentences is then read out and, for each it. It is all about the senses and how we are fooled into seeing
one, they move sliders up or down to choose the right elements things in a different way. You have probably seen the things I
of the missing word. Clicking on the Hint button will produce a mean, where you see things that are not really there, etc. The
clue. When the students are happy with their spelling of the good thing about this site is that it is interactive, and once you
missing word, they click on Go. If they are correct, the full have finished each task or question, you get feedback on it. This
sentence is read out and the correct word is added to a list at is nice for higher-level students who will enjoy both the
the side. If they get it wrong, they are asked to try again. interactivity and reading the feedback. Students can work
together or in pairs. ETp
Short and sweet
Site: www.listenaminute.com Russell Stannard is a principal lecturer in ICT at the
University of Westminster, UK. He won the Times
Help video: http://screencast.com/t/jftmpTz6B Higher Education Award for Outstanding Initiatives in
Information and Communications Technology for his
This website is produced by the same person who makes the website www.teachertrainingvideos.com and has
fantastic breakingnewsenglish.com site. It offers shorter and recently been shortlisted for the British Council
ELTons awards.
easier content that is appropriate for younger and lower-level
students. The material is organised alphabetically by topic. Just
Keep sending your favourite sites to Russell:
click on the topic of your choice and a page will open with a
russellstannard@btinternet.com
short text and a selection of pre-made activities which you can

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 69


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In this column Rose Senior explains why certain teaching techniques and
class management strategies are effective, and identifies specific issues that can assist
all language teachers in improving the quality of their teaching.

Working with written work 1


eaching English involves helping amounts of red ink (perhaps with certain records. For students who are sufficiently

T our students to master four quite


different skills: listening, speaking,
reading and writing. Of these four
skills, most teachers find writing the most
difficult and demanding to teach. Students
errors underlined strongly) or scribble
untidily across the work, students may feel
irritated. This can lead them to toss their
work aside without looking at it further or
even to screw it up and chuck it in the bin.
self-directed, this task can be given for
homework.
In a subsequent lesson we need to
schedule ten or 15 minutes when students
can ask us questions about their work,
seem to make the same errors over and How can we encourage our students to such as I dont understand; why isnt this
over again, with progress often being examine their work carefully in order to correct?, Can I say it like this? or (if they
painfully slow. An added burden is the identify errors and work towards improving cant read our writing) What have you
heavy marking load. So, what points do we their accuracy at both word and sentence written here?. Once they understand the
need to keep in mind when it comes to level? First, we need to make our purpose and utility of taking responsibility
correcting our students written work? expectations clear by establishing routines for correcting their work and realise that
Firstly, we need to remember that that we wish to be followed. For a start, we we are open to questions and queries
students are highly sensitive to the manner can specify that all written work must be students start to focus more deeply on
in which we provide feedback. The first headed, dated and written in double their own writing and its limitations. As we
thing they notice is the way spacing with wide margins for our go round the class, we can identify
in which we return written Students are highly comments. We must then establish problems shared by a number of students,
work: whether we give it sensitive to the in our students minds the notion write items that need clarifying on the
back in a respectful manner, that written work is to be handed board, and then re-teach points (perhaps
with a nod and passing manner in which we in on time and will be marked and with additional examples) for the benefit of
word of acknowledgement, provide feedback handed back in a specific lesson. the class as a whole.
or whether we toss papers Students also need to know that Having students work independently in
back to them in a casual, offhand way. On lesson time will be given for error class is demanding. Apart from being
receiving their work, the natural reaction of correction and that we regard this activity pulled in many directions as we respond to
all students is to look at the mark. If it is as essential to the learning process. their requests for help, we must also
high, they are happy to tell their friends Teachers have individual preferences answer the students queries on the run,
(wanting to know what they got and hoping for how they mark students work. Some providing explanations where necessary.
to have done better), while if it is low, they favour marking codes (placing a code in As we lean over students shoulders and
either keep it to themselves or else share it the margin opposite each re-examine our corrections,
with their friends in a laughing way that identified error: T indicating an
Having students work we may find that we have
suggests that they didnt really try or incorrect tense, Sp indicating independently in class missed certain errors or
dont care anyway. incorrect spelling, and so on), that we cannot remember
If students receive both a mark and a while others prefer to circle or
is demanding why we wrote what we did.
comment, they are likely to set more store underline errors that they consider students In this article I have described relatively
by the mark than by the comment even should be able to correct for themselves. traditional ways of correcting students
when the comment has been written with They may use additional symbols, for written work, showing that we must mark
care. If their mark is similar to marks they example omission marks for words that work carefully and treat individuals
have received before, students will assume have been left out, such as articles, sensitively if we want our students to take
that their writing has not improved (even if prepositions or auxiliaries. When they judge responsibility for examining their own work
they have been more ambitious in what that students have insufficient knowledge critically. In my next article I will describe
they have attempted to write). As a result, of English to make their own corrections, an alternative, class-centred way of having
they are likely to feel disheartened even if many teachers lend a helping hand by students engage in error correction. ETp
the teachers comment is encouraging. If writing a more suitable word above the one
the teacher makes a routine comment, such the student has used or by supplying an
as Good work or Along the right lines, idiomatic expression that the student might
without saying anything more specific (such find useful. All these marking techniques
as what was noteworthy or what could be are labour-intensive and of little use unless Rose Senior is a language teacher educator
worked on next), the comment is unlikely students are given the opportunity to re- who runs workshops and presents at
conferences around the world.
to register. If the teachers comment is examine their work, make as many
If there are any particular topics or issues you
dismissive in tone (Can do better or Too corrections as they can and add useful would like Rose to explore in this column,
many careless errors) or if they use large new words or expressions to their personal please contact her at rsenior@iinet.net.au.

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 67 March 2010 71


Prize crossword 40
ETp presents the fortieth in our series of prize Publishing (Brighton) Ltd, PO Box 100, Chichester, West Sussex,
crosswords. Try it and maybe win a prize! Once you PO18 8HD, UK. Ten correct entries will be drawn from a hat on
have done it successfully, let your students have a go. 10 May 2010 and the senders will each receive a copy of the
Send your entry (completed crossword grid and quotation), not second edition of the Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced
forgetting to include your full name, postal address and telephone Learners, applauded for its unique red star system showing the
number, to Prize crossword 40, ENGLISH TEACHING professional, Pavilion frequency of the 7,500 most common words in English.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 2 6 8 9 10 8 19 12 14 9 8 17 19 14

2 11 12 2 13 14 17 26 17 3 5 23 17 6 4

15 16 17 18 19 3 6 1 6 14 6 17 3 24 18 9 5 13 9 5

8 20 14 14 19 21 3 19 8 6 5 10 9 17 3 10 17

6 12 4 12 6 14 11 6 14 14 19 12 22 20 2 8 6 3 6 14 8 George
Orwell
23 2 17

19 10 24 17 18 11 23 VERY FREQUENT WORDS ** Relating to money and financial


*** One of the sections into which matters, especially taxes
5 25 13 17 14 17 25 17 14 a book is divided ** Not at all sensible or practical
*** To use your hand to send an ** Difficult to deal with and embarrassing
17 26 9 11 17 3 10 17 6 19 19 object through the air FAIRLY FREQUENT WORDS
*** Polite, especially in a formal * A unit for measuring how much energy
5 14 4 16 19 23 way and without being friendly you get from food
*** The individual way that * An argument, especially one about
10 14 22 10 13 6 23 8 17 14 someone behaves and does things something unimportant between people
*** A unit for measuring length, who know each other well
6 6 20 9 8 9 containing 12 inches and equal to * Old, broken or useless things
about 30 centimetres * A pain that is continuous and
10 6 18 19 14 9 17 26 9 16 6 24 17 *** Sudden and surprising or easy unpleasant, but usually not very strong
E to notice * A type of dark-coloured beer without
13 14 6 9 10 18 8 *** An opinion that people have bubbles
T about someone or something, LESS FREQUENT WORDS
17 20 5 8 22 18 17 17 22 which may not be a true one Behaviour that follows accepted social
Y *** To have tears coming from your or moral standards
eyes, especially because you are Slightly open
sad To place things together or describe
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
*** Facts or physical signs that things together so that people can see
T help to prove something how they are different
14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
*** To mention someone or To remove the testicles of a horse
E Y something when you are speaking Growing or living in or near water
or writing An object that has a perfectly round
To solve the puzzle, find which letter each number represents. FREQUENT WORDS shape
You can keep a record in the boxes above. The definitions of the ** An attitude that makes you treat Someone who is boring, especially
words in the puzzle are given, but not in the right order. When someone in a way that is unfair or because they seem to be interested only
different from the way you treat in computers
you have finished, you will be able to read the quotation.
other people A large round fruit with hard green or
** A weapon in the form of a thin yellow skin and soft orange, green or
straight stick with a sharp point at white flesh inside
one end and feathers at the other Behaviour that is considered to be
** A weapon with a short handle immoral because it involves a lot of sex,
and a long sharp blade alcohol or illegal drugs

72 Issue 67 March 2010 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com