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Issue 91


The Leading Practical Magazine For English Language Teachers Worldwide

Steps to critical thinking

John Hughes

Socially responsible teaching

Jakub Hankiewicz

Mind your Ps and Qs!

Clare Fielder

Team training
Nick Baguley

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
For students who need to
learn the language for writing
academic English
whatever subject they
are studying at
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Academic iWriter

detection bandwidth
No more than 10% of the
strength is lost in the con signal 749
nection to the amplifier
signal2 /snl/ verb (-ll-, input. signify
US -l-) 1 [T] to be a
sth exists or is likely to sign that that will assume increas
happen IND ICAT E ing significance as the pop
proposal for a new, loo (2) : ~ sth The
ser union of sovereign ages. ulation
nalled the end of the old states sig-
USSR. ~ that The significant
nalled that some importa
English political culture
nt changes were taking
. 2 [T] to show sth suc
crisis sig-
place in

adj. 1 large or importa
nt enough to WO RD FAM ILY Find out more at
ing or opinion through h as a feel- have an effect or to be significant adj.
your actions or attitud noticed:
government signalled e: ~ sth His These voters could hav
a willingness to abando e a significant significantly adv.
national veto. ~ tha n the UK's effect on the outcome of
t The company rais the election. signify verb
ed its prices Althoug
significantly, signalling h population ageing is significance noun
that it did not want a global phenomenon, the a
costly price war. 3 [I, T] prolonged re are sig- signification noun
to make a movement or nificant regional differen
give sb a message, an sound to ces. ~ for insignificant adj.
instruction or a warnin sb/sth The contributio
ship signalled back. g: The other ns of Islamic insignificantly adv.
~ to sb He was wa civilization proved to be
signalling to his wife. ving his arm, as signifi- insignificance noun
~ (to) sb to do sth cant for the West. it is
signalled his chamberla The emperor ~ that It
in to show in another dele was significant that its
~ sth The charge wa gation. nearest rival only had a
s signalled by trumpets. share of the market. 5.5 per cent

he driver could not see ~ that As INSI GNI FICA NT
the road behind him, IMP ORT ANT 2 hav thesaurus note at
duty of the conductor to it was the ing a particular meani
signal that the road wa a candle may be symbol ng: The lighting of
s clear.
gnature /snt(r)/ nou bringing of light, that is,
ically significant if it den
otes the
n 1 [C] your name as enlightenment. it is ~
sually write it, for exa you particularly significant that It is
mple at the end of a that Branagh selected
weeks later, the newspa letter: Two the play's United Kingdo Belfast for
per delivered a petitio m debut. 3 (statistics) hav
rime Minister containing n to the istical significance see ing stat-
1.5 million signatures. also SIGN IFIC ANC E (3) : Afte
he artist's signature sb's ~ results for r 3 years,


John Hughes charts the development of Jing Shi champions constructivism in China
an important skill
Clare Fielder points out that politeness can
FEATURES make or break a business deal


Robin Walker analyses students pronunciation needs TEACHER DEVELOPMENT


Joshua Cohen encourages the systematic recording Nicola Yeeles suggests that volunteering has
of vocabulary all-round benefits


David Greenslade is right on the money Nick Baguley thinks that two trainers can
sometimes be better than one
Sasha Wajnryb starts a new series of
teacher-tested tips TECHNOLOGY


Paul Bress believes good manners are a good idea La Gabay tells us how technology is
helping women in Afghanistan
Jakub Hankiewicz worries about what our MOVING PICTURES 63
students wish for Martin Bradley demonstrates the power of film


Chaz Pugliese interviews Nicole Heel KNOW ABOUT: AUGMENTED REALITY
Nicky Hockly takes on technology that combines
PREPARING STUDENTS FOR EXAMS 3 30 the real and the virtual
Adriana Ciobotu reveals reasons for taking
Trinity GESE exams WEBWATCHER 67
Russell Stannard monkeys around with surveys
Rachael Roberts recommends extra exploitation REGULAR FEATURES
of photos
Alan Maley commemorates the First World War
John Potts



Lauren Kelley Gonzalez wants teachers and parents
to cooperate more COMPETITIONS 41, 47, 68

Includes materials designed to photocopy

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 1

quick glance at the provisional programme for values or, at least, to make sure that other viewpoints are
this years IATEFL conference in Harrogate, UK, also represented.
reveals that there will be quite a number of
This idea is echoed by Lauren Kelley Gonzalez, who
presentations on critical thinking, including one by
finds that parents perceptions of an imbalance in the
John Hughes, author of the main feature in this issue.
representation of different cultures in the graded readers
Critical thinking has certainly become a buzzword in that schools send home with their children cause them
recent years, but what exactly is it? Should we be to reject these books as undervaluing their own cultures.
teaching it and can it, in fact, be taught? As John points The result is that the parents fail to engage with the
out, interpretations of the term vary from the idea that teachers efforts to promote the childrens literacy skills.
we need to adopt a dubious, if not cynical, attitude to
Whether we are being critical or not, there is always a
everything we read, hear or see, to the notion that it
need for politeness, and two articles in this issue make a
embraces any kind of creative thinking. In educational
plea for teaching students that following the politeness
terms, it appears to involve skills such as identifying the
conventions of English will smooth their way in both
difference between fact and opinion, evaluating the
social interaction and the business world.
supporting evidence for any proposition and the ability
to make inferences and connections. So thank you for reading this, and please enjoy the rest
of the magazine.
The subject is also addressed by Jakub Hankiewicz,
who thinks that not only should we teach our students
critical thinking skills in order to enable them to question
some of the values that Anglo-American teaching
materials appear to promote, but also that teachers
Helena Gomm
should think critically about the values which they and
the materials they use are teaching, if only subliminally.
He recommends that we take steps to counter these

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2 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

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Steps to

John Hughes ponders n recent years, the term critical Authenticity in the classroom
thinking has gradually crept into the If classroom reading and listening
how critical thinking has jargon of ELT teachers. To find the texts are authentic or based on
origin of this buzzword, you should authentic sources, then they will
become part of mainstream start by looking at academic courses at include the real views, bias and
university level. Undergraduates need to generalisations of a writer. So for real
language teaching. develop the skill of listening to lectures understanding, a student needs to be
or reading books in the library and then able to recognise these features.
selecting the main arguments and Similarly, communicative tasks which
relevant evidence, which they can then contain authentic challenges, such as
apply to writing an essay or dissertation. real-world problem-solving, will also
As a result, universities increasingly offer develop critical thinking.
study skills courses which include the
Learning and skills
development of critical thinking skills.
In their highly-praised book 21st
Following on from this, materials
Century Skills, Bernie Trilling and
and coursebooks written for English for
Charles Fadel include critical thinking
Academic Purposes included critical
as one of the five key skills that
thinking alongside language teaching
learners should develop in the 21st
the logic being that if students need to
century. They assert that skills like
learn the language necessary for reading
critical thinking and problem-solving
or listening to an academic text, then
increase motivation and improve
they can, at the same time, integrate
learning outcomes. In light of this, it
critical thinking skills: skills such as
makes sense to link language learning
identifying fact and opinion, inferring,
to critical thinking.
making connections and evaluating the
supporting evidence. Future goals
But nowadays, the skill of critical Your students may have future plans
thinking is increasingly referred to in to take academic courses at English-
materials and classroom activities medium universities, in which case
designed for learners on general English they will need to develop critical
courses at adult and secondary level. thinking skills alongside language
There are good reasons for this: skills. These same skills are also

4 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

required for success in the world of e I agree up to a point, but I also the key in stage 4 clarifies what critical
work. And achieving higher grades in disagree. thinking is, without going into long
many language exams requires f I agree/disagree because complicated explanations. Responses f
candidates to go beyond the basic text and g are the ideal responses because
g I agree/disagree for a number of
and infer meaning or generate their they show the students that critical
reasons, but Id also like more
own reasoned response. thinking requires them to develop an
opinion which is supported by evidence.
The internet as a source
4 Having chosen one of these statements,
In the past, our information tended to
come from edited sources, such as
they now find out what their response Critical thinking over the
means in terms of critical thinking and
textbooks or journals. Nowadays, an
what your expectations as a teacher
course of a lesson
overwhelming amount of information
are, by reading the key below. For Of course, the development of critical
comes from the internet, where the
example, if their response was d, Im thinking skills is a more complex process
validity of the views and evidence is
not sure, then they read that its a safe than the previous activity might suggest.
often much more questionable.
response but that they need to be It needs to evolve and expand over many
Critical thinking skills help students
more active in their thinking. lessons, and the level of sophistication
to make better judgements about the
will increase as the students level of
veracity and worth of information Key
English improves.
found on the internet. a You dont need to be interested to have
Typically, teachers integrate critical
an opinion. thinking skills into lessons with reading
Introducing critical b and c You have a strong opinion, but or listening texts. The diagram below,
thinking can you give reasons for your opinion? which is adapted from work by Lorin
d and e This is a safe response, but Anderson and David Krathwohl,
If you want your students to start
critical thinkers need to be active in the summarises six stages of the development
thinking critically, its important that
discussion. of critical thinking, conceived of as a
both you and they share a common
f Good. You have a reason for your
kind of stairway.
understanding of the term. Interestingly,
opinion. The stairway provides a useful and
even among teachers themselves,
complete model to follow when planning
definitions can vary. On the one hand, g Great! You have reasons for your a lesson or for writing teaching materials.
the word critical suggests that it is about opinion and you want more information. To illustrate it in a real classroom
being constantly negative or dubious
context, here is a short description of a
about what you have just read, heard or The activity described above achieves a
lesson in which the teacher uses a reading
seen. On the other hand, the term is number of things which are useful for
text. It incorporates all six steps shown
sometimes used loosely to describe any future critical thinkers. Firstly, it asks
in the diagram.
kind of thinking in the classroom where the students to respond with their own
students have to be creative in their opinions and to develop a critical Step 1
responses. Neither definition is entirely mindset. Secondly, the list of items in The students read or process a short
correct as we will see from the stage 3 introduces them to the kind of article about the negative effects of
following activity, which you might like language they will need to express their social media websites on young peoples
to do with your students. This activity is thinking (eg I agree because ). Thirdly, brains.
adapted from an idea by Debra Hills.
Critical thinking activity
your own
1 Write a topical statement on the
ideas and
board that students could easily agree EVALUATE
or disagree with. For example: out of your
Nowadays, young people cannot validity and thinking.
concentrate for very long because ANALYSE
of the internet. the of the
information material.
2 Ask your students to work APPLY
individually and think of their own and divide
response to this statement. the it into its
information components.
3 Show them the following list of UNDERSTAND
to complete
possible responses, and ask them to the main a task.
choose the one which is most similar points
to the one they came up with. PROCESS
and key
a Im not interested in this topic. the (reading information.
b I agree. Its true. or listening)
c I disagree. Its false.
d Im not sure. 1 2 3 4 5 6

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 5

Steps to
Take, for example, the six sentences
below. They are taken from a pre-
intermediate text about a tribe of Native Integrating critical thinking into your

Americans which is trying to save its language lessons has a number of
native language by teaching it in schools benefits:
to younger members of the tribe. The

It develops a critical mindset and
students have to identify whether each
reflects the skills that the students will
of these sentences expresses a fact or
need in their future studies and work.
simply the authors opinion. Once they
have identified the opinion sentences, It introduces more authentic and
Step 2 they have to say which words in motivating language tasks.
The students complete comprehension particular told them it was the authors
It develops deeper reading and
questions and check any new vocabulary opinion and not a fact. (In relation to
listening skills and extends the stages
to make sure they understand. the stairway above, this exercise will help
of a traditionally-planned lesson.
in the development of stage 5: evaluate.)
Step 3
It guides the students to a more
In pairs, the students apply the
1 Five hundred years ago, natural discovery of language and
information they have read to a task; in
Europeans arrived on a new how it can be used effectively.
this case, to summarise the key
information in the text in a table. continent. It was the USA.
Anderson, L W and Krathwohl, D R (Eds)
Step 4 2 By the end of the 20th century, A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching and
The students return to the text and start more than half the Native Assessing: A Revision of Blooms
to analyse its components. For example, Americans in the US were living Taxonomy of Educational Objectives
they identify how the writer reinforces in cities. Longman 2000
the main points of the text with Hills, D Critical Thinking Trotman 2011
3 Some tribes offer courses in the
supporting evidence. Hughes, J, Stephenson, H and Dummett, P
language to the younger adults Life (Pre-intermediate Students Book)
Step 5 and children. National Geographic Learning/Cengage
The teacher asks the students to Learning 2013
4 The good news is that some of
examine the evidence in the text more Trilling, B and Fadel, C 21st Century Skills
these people are keeping their
closely and to evaluate where it came Jossey Bass 2009
culture and language alive.
from. For example, do they think it is
from reliable sources or is it just the 5 There are 30 students learning John Hughes is a teacher
writers opinion? trainer and coursebook
the tribal language in the daytime author. His latest series is
Step 6 school. Life, a general English
course, published by
For homework, the students are asked 6 It is schools and projects like National Geographic
Learning. His booklet on
to find more articles on a similar topic these which hopefully might integrating critical thinking
and to create a short presentation of save languages for the future. into language teaching is
their views on the pros or the cons of free to download from
social media sites. The aim is to criticalthinking. For more
convince their peers with their final Sentences 2, 3 and 5 are all factual. practical ideas on
teaching, teacher training
opinion. However, sentences 1, 4 and 6 include and materials writing,
words which indicate the authors visit his blogs at www.
elteachertrainer.com and
Critical thinking and opinion or bias. In sentence 1, the writer www.eltmaterialswriter.
describes the continent with the com.
language teaching adjective new, but for the people already john@hugheselt.com
Clearly, not every lesson based on a living there it wasnt new: they had been
reading or listening text will include living there for hundreds, if not
every step from the stairway. Sometimes, thousands, of years. In sentence 4, the
you might want to focus on part of the writer uses a phrase to introduce an
stairway before doing some language opinion: The good news is that . And IT WORKS IN PRACTICE
work. For example, many coursebook in sentence 6, the writer inserts the Do you have ideas youd like to share
reading lessons ask the students to adverb hopefully, which also expresses
with colleagues around the world?
answer comprehension questions, which an opinion.
Tips, techniques and activities;
help them to identify the main points, The usefulness of this exercise is that
simple or sophisticated; well-tried
before they do some vocabulary work, it sensitises students to the validity and
or innovative; something that has
based on the text. However, there are relevance of factual evidence and
worked well for you? All published
some critical thinking tasks which have unsupported opinions and, at the same
the dual purpose of helping students to time, it teaches them useful techniques contributions receive a prize!
develop their language at the same time to use in their own writing for expressing Write to us or email:
as encouraging them to develop their opinions with adjectives, phrases and helena.gomm@pavpub.com
thinking skills. adverbs.

6 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

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Horses for

Robin Walker matches n Issue 90 of ETp, I tried to show In the place of native speakerness, it
why pronunciation matters. Of was argued that learners pronunciation
goals, priorities and models course, with so many things to fit only needed to be, as Joanne Kenworthy
into our already tight teaching put it, comfortably intelligible. That is
to learners needs. programmes, we have to identify the to say, they would still have some degree
priorities. In this article, I want to look of foreign accent, but not so much as to
at what these might be, and also to require a native-speaker listener to have
discuss the different models that we can to make too much effort to follow them.
use for working on our priorities. But in Today, with English operating as a
order to do this, we first need to look at language for global communication,
our goals. there is a third goal. As I explained
when I first wrote about international
Goals intelligibility in ETp Issue 21, many
learners use their English in business,
It would seem reasonable to assume that academic, sports and leisure
the goal of learning a language is to environments in which the vast majority
sound like a native speaker and, until of people they talk to are not native
relatively recently, this was the unspoken speakers. Of course, users of English as
goal of pronunciation teaching in ELT. a lingua franca, which is how we now
Teachers had to decide whether the native refer to this situation, still want to be
speaker was from the US or the UK, but comfortably intelligible, but the judges
the goal was either the standard British of who is or isnt intelligible are fellow
accent, RP (Received Pronunciation), or non-native speakers.
the standard American accent, GA We have, then, three legitimate goals
(General American). for pronunciation teaching:
With the arrival of Communicative
Language Teaching in the early 1980s, Goal 1 a native-speaker accent
the goal of sounding like a native Goal 2 comfortable intelligibility for
speaker was called into question. Partly, native-speaker listeners
this was a reaction to the over-emphasis Goal 3 international intelligibility
that the Audio-Lingual Method had Learners who have emigrated to an
placed on individual sounds. Essentially, English-speaking country and are using
however, sounding like a native speaker English as a second language (ESL)
was increasingly seen as an unrealistic often express interest in Goal 1.
goal, both in terms of the time required Learners of English as a foreign
to achieve it, and in terms of the language (EFL) are usually drawn to
chances of success. Pronunciation Goals 1 and 2, whilst Goal 3 is suited to
experts now widely acknowledge that learners who will be using English as a
most students will never reach this goal lingua franca (ELF). Whichever goal is
and, in failing to do so, can lose interest appropriate, it is only after it has been
in pronunciation: an outcome that chosen that we can go on to determine
nobody wants. our priorities.

8 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

was initially suggested that suprasegmental the length of the vowels, including the
Glossary features were significantly more important shortening effect of voiceless consonants
than individual sounds for intelligibility. that follow a vowel (eg in back and bag,
clusters groups of two or more Today, a more even balance between where the vowel is shorter in back);
consonants (eg /ns/ or /nts/ in the segmentals and suprasegmentals seems to
word consonants) consonant clusters, especially at the
have been established, though with the
beginning of words. The addition of a
nuclear stress the highlighting of emphasis still firmly on suprasegmentals.
small vowel is acceptable, but deletion
one word in a group of words spoken The situation for Goal 3 is less
of one of the consonants is not (eg
together (often incorrectly referred to complicated, and priorities here focus on
spoon is acceptable, but soon is not);
as sentence stress) achieving competence in the four areas
of pronunciation that have been shown nuclear stress (eg I LOVE speaking
segmental the part of pronunciation
to have the greatest impact on English / I love SPEAKING English).
that deals with the perception and
international intelligibility. Essentially,
production of individual consonant The table below compares priorities for
these are:
and vowels sounds Goals 2 and 3 across nine different
schwa /P/ a very weak vowel sound the consonant sounds, except for the aspects of teaching pronunciation. In
that is only found in unstressed voiced and voicelesss th sounds and general, we can see that both goals
syllables in spoken English dark l; broadly coincide with respect to the

suprasegmental the features of

pronunciation beyond the level of the Teaching priorities for Goals 2 and 3
individual sound; typical
suprasegmental features of English Goal 2 Comfortable Goal 3 International
are word and sentence stress, intelligibility (NS listeners) intelligibility (NNS listeners)
rhythm and intonation
1 Consonants All 24 consonant sounds are All consonant sounds, except
voiced sounds that are made
given equal importance. for the dental fricatives,
accompanied by vibration in the
Some importance is given to /C, / and dark l. Aspiration
vocal chords (eg /z/ or /v/)
the aspiration of word-initial of word-initial /p, t, k/ is very
voiceless sounds that are made /p, t, k /. important.
with no accompanying vibration of
the vocal chords (eg /s/ or /f/ ) 2 Vowels Vowel length as a Vowel length is very
weak forms words such as characteristic of each vowel. important, especially the
prepositions, conjunctions, pronouns Quality of all pure vowels shortening effect of voiceless
or auxiliary verbs, which have two and diphthongs as close as consonants. Variation in
pronunciations in English, a strong possible to the chosen vowel quality is acceptable if
form and a weak form; the weak form native-speaker standard the quality is consistent for a
of the words and and to, for example, accent. given speaker.
are /Pnd/ and /tP /
3 Clusters Important in all positions, Very important at the
especially if poor beginning and in the middle
pronunciation of clusters of words. Deletion of
Priorities affects rhythm. consonants in word endings
A great deal has been written about is not so important.
priorities in pronunciation teaching. Sadly,
most of the discussion has not been made 4 Sentence Very important. Very important.
generally available to English language stress
teachers, despite the fact that it is essential
to have a clear idea of our priorities if we 5 Word stress Very important. Not important.
want to optimise work on pronunciation.
The simplest situation with respect to 6 Stress- Very important. Not important.
priorities is that of sounding like a timing
native speaker. To do this, learners need
to be equally good at each and every 7 Weak forms Very important for rhythm Not desirable. Can reduce
feature of pronunciation, from individual and sentence stress. intelligibility.
sounds through to suprasegmental
features such as rhythm and intonation. 8 Schwa Very important for good Not desirable. Can reduce
That is to say, everything has the same word stress and rhythm. intelligibility.
priority, and it is only a question of
deciding the teaching sequence. 9 Tones Very important for Not important.
The priorities for Goal 2 are less communicating grammar
straightforward. In the discussions that and attitude.
have taken place over the last 30 years, it

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 9

Horses for
learner can do what the teacher does,
and if the teacher knows that she or he
is intelligible to native speakers, then

Pronunciation really does matter, as we
logically the learner will also be intelligible. saw in ETp Issue 90, and choosing the
This is true for non-native-speaker right goal also matters, because it is only
teachers of English, and for native-speaker after we have chosen a goal or, better still,
priority areas of Goal 3, with certain teachers with non-standard accents. after we have negotiated an appropriate
exceptions, such as the voiced and With Goal 3, the choice of model is a goal with our students, that we can then
voiceless th consonants, the importance little more complicated because there are go on to determine our teaching
of the aspiration of /p, t, k/, or the no standard ELF accents. By definition, priorities and the right model to use in
importance given to the length of vowels ELF is spoken with a huge range of class. But teaching pronunciation is
followed by a voiceless consonant. accents. In terms of classroom practice, more than just goals, models and
Where the two sets of priorities differ however, the choice of model can be priorities. We also need to think about
most, and here they differ a great deal, is brought down to one of two options: the learners age(s) and about teaching
in the importance Goal 2 gives to the A standard native-speaker accent techniques, and Ill be looking at these
suprasegmental features of English Many features of native-speaker matters in future articles.
pronunciation. Recent studies, including accents are also features of ELF
those by Tracey Derwing and Murray accents, so until ELF-specific materials Derwing, T and Munro, M Second
Munro, continue to indicate that native- come onto the market, teachers can use language accent and pronunciation
speaker listeners do rely significantly on existing RP- or GA-based materials. teaching: a research-based approach
rhythm and intonation when judging how However, they need to avoid working TESOL Quarterly 39 2005
intelligible a non-native speaker is. In on those areas that have been identified Kenworthy, J Teaching English
contrast, these same features are either Pronunciation Longman 1987
as either not being helpful, or as being
not important for Goal 3, international potentially damaging, to international Walker, R International intelligibility
English Teaching Professional 21 2001
intelligibility, or can even be harmful to intelligibility (see the table on page 9).
it. Weak forms and schwa, for example,
The teachers accent
which are the basis of native-speaker Robin Walker is a
As with Goal 2, teachers who know teacher, trainer and
rhythm in English, are probably
from personal experience that their materials writer. He is
detrimental to intelligibility when the editor of Speak Out! the
pronunciation is intelligible in ELF newsletter of the IATEFL
listener is another non-native speaker.
contexts can confidently act as a model Pronunciation SIG, and
is the author of Teaching
for their learners. Again, this is true
Models regardless of whether the teacher is a
the Pronunciation of
English as a Lingua
Franca, an OUP
If the goal is where learners hope to get native speaker of English or not, teachers handbook.
to with their pronunciation, the model is although as I indicated in ETp Issue 21,
the lighthouse that guides them in the non-native-speaker teachers may have
right direction. In pronunciation, the a slight advantage over native-speaker
model is usually a speaker with the teachers as models for Goal 3.
accent the learners are aiming at, and so
is different for different goals.
For Goal 1, the model is exclusively
the relevant native-speaker accent. In a
British English learning environment, this
will be RP, and in a US environment, it
will be GA. Both accents are very widely
available in commercial ELT materials.
However, to get learners sounding like a Welcome to the
native speaker, the teacher should ideally
speak English with this accent. It is very ETp website!
hard to teach your learners to sound As a subscriber to ETp, you have full access to our website.
American if you are from the UK,
Australia, Spain or China. Browse through our archive of Watch videos and read blogs
For Goal 2, teachers use standard downloadable articles from previous by award-winning blogger
accents such as RP, GA or standard issues ideal for inspiration or Chia Suan Chong.
Australian or New Zealand accents. research. Download our guidelines for
However, in class they need to be able to Add your opinions to ongoing contributors and think about the
recognise when a learners production of a discussions and comment on articles article that you could write for the
particular aspect of pronunciation will be that you have read. magazine.
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IN THE CLASSROOM Creating word cards

Its on
Vocabulary lists (such as Avril Coxs
Academic Word List) are a good place
to start, particularly if your curriculum
requires the teaching of certain words.
However, I try to encourage my students
to decide for themselves when to create a
card. To help them keep up the

the cards
momentum, I ask them to create a
minimum of ten cards per week. More
often than not, they choose to make
cards from our assigned words, although
many of them make cards based on
words they have encountered in reading
texts or outside the classroom.

Creating a template

Joshua Cohen knows here are many different ways Without guidance, most language
to teach vocabulary. One of learners make word cards in much the
where to look for solutions the best methods I have found same way: they put the target word on
is to have my students create one side of the card and a translation on
to learning lexis. their own vocabulary cards. These cards the other. This is an excellent start, but
are pocket-sized, portable records of it does not give the learners enough
vocabulary that the students wish to information about their words to
learn. They are inexpensive to make understand them fully when they are
and, unlike other forms of vocabulary reviewing them.
study, such as working directly from My students are no different, which
word lists or using a vocabulary is why I find it helpful to give them a
notebook, they are free-standing and template for the design and creation of
easily shuffled, making them perfect for their cards. It provides them with
use in interactive and communicative structure, and appears to increase their
games. This article provides a template capacity to remember and use their
for the design and creation of words later on in freer practice. It also
vocabulary cards, and outlines several allows them to share their cards in a
ways to incorporate their use in the variety of ways. The card template,
English language classroom. shown on page 14, involves five steps.
The activity of making these cards
can be used to augment existing
vocabulary teaching procedures or as
the foundation of a new programme for
the learning of words.

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 13

Its on
they write a definition of the word in the help them to remember the words
target language and in their own words. meaning and demonstrate that they
Note: Dictionary definitions even those understand it.

the cards
found in learners dictionaries can Note: I find this step to be the trickiest
sometimes be challenging for students part of making effective word cards
to understand. Instead, try having them because the students sentences
write a definition in their own words. This seldom convey enough information to
The front of the card helps them to internalise the meaning of demonstrate the meaning of the word
In the middle of the front side of the the word more fully and explain it in from context. For example, a sentence
card, the students write the word or language that will be comprehensible to like The king exiled him does not give
phrase they want to learn. their peers. enough information about the word
exile to help the student remember the
Note: Try to dissuade your students In the top right-hand corner of the card, words meaning. You may need to give
from adding any other information to the students write any conjugations, your students help in producing more
this side of the card. Leaving the rest of collocations or inflections of the word. useful example sentences.
the front blank encourages them to try
Note: Depending on the level of your
to retrieve the word from their In the bottom right-hand corner of the
students, this can also be a good place
memories, prior to turning it over and card, the students draw a (simple) picture
to add pronunciation information, or
viewing the words meaning (and the that can help them remember the word.
patterns such as plural forms or
other information given on the back).
irregular verbs. I like to ask my students Note: This step is a lot like the keyword
to include one or two collocates of each technique, in that learners create a link
The back of the card
word to help expand their understanding between their sketch and the word they
The back side of the card is the of the word in context. are studying. Drawing a picture may help
information side. Here, the students add enhance the storage and recall capacity
information or further details about the In the bottom left-hand corner of the of their memories, and this may be
word or phrase they wish to learn. card, the students write an example especially true for more visual learners.
In the top left-hand corner of the card, sentence (again, in their own words) to


In the centre of the card the students

write (only) the vocabulary word or
phrase they wish to learn.
Easy definition in the target
language and in the students
own words not copied Collocations, parts of
verbatim from the dictionary speech, pronunciation

a powerful effect sth Major impact,

has on s/b or sth negative impact,
serious impact n, vb
The students may wish to put a /im-PAKt/
translation of the word in their
own language in the centre.

The news of the

An example sentence in the A simple picture to
students own words not help remember the
presidents death
taken from a dictionary words meaning had a great impact.

14 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

Playing games learners. Instead of playing the entire
game in English, the student-
It is probably safe to say that your teachers can call out the L1
students will eventually get bored with translation of the word and the other
making and drilling their cards. If they players must find the word, slap it
have no reason to look at them (other and say the English equivalent.
than to improve their vocabulary), they
will soon grow weary of the process. 2 Word card tennis
One way to maintain their motivation is This back-and-forth game is a great
to create meaningful language exchanges way to review vocabulary at the end of
in which they use their cards and engage a lesson or any time you want to
one another in fun and interactive ways. change the atmosphere of the
The following three activities are easy to classroom. It is best played in pairs, but
set up and require no additional works with groups of three or even
Not just playing games
preparation by the teacher. four students. In addition to the pedagogical benefits
of having students make and use word
1 Smack down Ask each student to select and
cards, there is a practical one, too: word
This tactile, fun game is perfect for a remove ten (or more) words from
cards are easy to collect and assess. They
review of vocabulary or whenever you their decks.
can serve as a weekly or monthly
want to increase classroom energy levels The first student serves a word, homework assignment, or you can put
dramatically. either in English or in their L1, and aside class time for the making of
First, divide the students into groups their partner replies with the additional cards.
of three or four. Ask them to select appropriate translation volley, or I regularly collect my students cards
and remove any five cards from their easy English meaning. Play throughout the semester to check on
deck and put them aside until its their continues until the specified time is their quality and quantity. At that time,
turn. Next, ask one member to teach up or until both students have served I also give them feedback on their efforts
the others the five chosen words. This and returned all their cards. and a score, based on a five-point scale.
step can be overwhelming, so teachers Teachers looking for ways to add depth
3 Story time to the vocabulary component of their
may find it helpful to put the
following sentence beginnings on the This activity provides the learners with courses may wish to assign a grade, based
board for students to consult as they the opportunity to make deeper on the characteristics or final number of
teach their group their words. connections with their words by using cards the students have produced.
them together with language they
1 This word is ______. (shows group
already know.
the front of the card)
2 In easy English it means ______. Divide the class into groups of three Whatever your language goal be it
or four students and ask them to expanding your students lexicon or
3 Here is an example sentence: ______.
select any ten or 15 cards at random. teaching them vocabulary for specialised
4 Here is my picture, which helps me to Next, have them spread their cards purposes word cards are an effective
remember its meaning. (shows group out across their desks. Tell them they way to learn words and phrases quickly.
the back of the card) are going to work together to create They are inexpensive to make and easy
5 In (Japanese/Spanish/French) we say a story and that they should attempt to carry around, but best of all, they are
_____. to include as many of their words as free-standing. This makes them perfect
After the student-teacher has taught possible. for playing games as well as for study,
the five words to the group, play can because the students can mix them up
Once the students have a rough idea
begin. (Caution! This is where the and rearrange the order in which their
of their story, they can begin to
game picks up and often gets quite cards appear in their decks. By altering
create a visual aid. Give each group a
boisterous.) the sequence in which they study their
big piece of paper and coloured
cards, they can avoid the serial or
The groups mix and spread out the crayons or markers if you have them
sequential learning that can accompany
five cards word-side-up across the (pencils work just as well, too). Tell
studying vocabulary by means of a fixed
table. The student-teacher then says the students they should sketch out
list in a notebook.
something like: In easy English this their story on the piece of paper to
word means ______. Group members help them when they tell it to the rest Joshua Cohen teaches
of the class. classes in the Intensive
must then race to be the first to slap International Program
the card with the word that At this stage, the groups may decide at Kinki University in
Osaka, Japan. His
corresponds to the easy English to divide the task, with one or two research interests
definition. Play continues until all five students drawing the picture and one focus on vocabulary
words have been slapped, and a new acquisition, speed
or two students writing out the story. reading, dictation, and
student-teacher takes over with task-based teaching.
The final step is to share their stories He has worked in ELT
another set of five words.
with the other groups or with the for nearly 15 years.
Variation This game can easily be whole class. cohenjoshua2000@yahoo.com
altered to accommodate lower-level

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 15

RESOURCES prepares ahead of time, guiding a class

The money
through even a few of the counterfeit
devices can be fun and instructive a
kind of learning game.
The UK 5 note, for example, has a
fascinating silver hologram flicking

between the number 5 and a picture of
Britannia (the female symbol of Britain).
The 10 has a watermark, visible when
held up to the light. Charles Darwins
ship HMS Beagle is there and the
David Greenslade carries a ready-made lesson in his wallet. cardinal directions of a compass. The 20
note features the pin factory where

Adam Smith, philosopher and political
part from its use as money, Students find the design of money
economist, made his famous observations
paper currency would not seem surprisingly interesting. Telling them the
on the division of labour. Seven people
to have any other function. But story of the people portrayed on
are shown engaged in work. The 50 has
it can also be used in the classroom as banknotes becomes a cultural entry
a motion thread, bearing images that
a realia teaching aid. Most people are point into the realms of prison reform
move as the note is tilted.
surprisingly unaware of the design and and female emancipation, the theory of
These are just a few of the qualities

Claudio Divizia / Shutterstock.com

content of the currency notes in their evolution, economics, engineering and
that engage the students interest regarding
pocket. If you are from the UK, can the industrial revolution.
British money. When I have asked
you, for example, name the personalities
students to write about those figures
portrayed on the back of the current 5, Culture portrayed on their own money, theyve
10 and 20 notes? How about the 50 I have delivered lessons using UK never had any problems meeting the target
note? If you are not from the UK, can banknotes to a number of classes, and the of an agreed word count. This is a topic
you describe in detail the design of the response varies according to the language that especially engages business students.
various denominations of your own ability of the students. It never fails,
countrys banknotes? though, that when the lesson turns to the
The currency note provides a lesson paper notes of their own currency, the
in your pocket, which requires very students have as varied an awareness of
little preparation. Paper money can be their money as we in the UK have of ours.
used with classes at all levels, since the Most recently, I have taught classes
vocabulary associated with it can range comprising students from India, Japan,
from the basic language of shapes Spain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait,
rectangle, circle, edge, front, back, etc Kurdistan, Nigeria, Taiwan and mainland
to the more sophisticated vocabulary of China. A few students had their own
hologram, counterfeit, security thread, paper currency with them. This enabled a
and so on. show-and-tell session, with the students
sharing what they knew of the symbols
Personality and portraits of each denomination of Credit cards are equally interesting
At another level, paper money allows their own currency. For students who but, as a teaching aid, lack the artistic
explorations of narrative. Students may did not have examples of their currency and dramatic impact of cash. When it
ask a range of questions as they try to to hand, we simply brought them up via comes to getting the students interest
find out more about prison reformer the internet onto iPhones, iPads and the and participation, as with so many other
Elizabeth Fry (5), naturalist Charles interactive whiteboard. Again, the things in life there isnt really anything
Darwin (10), economist Adam Smith students were remarkably willing, and that motivates like money.
(20) and manufacturers of steam proud, to vocalise their knowledge, The answers to the two questions above are:
engines Matthew Bolton and James however limited. The lesson became a The balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet
Watt (50). And, by the way, nothing very successful bridge-building event, was featured on the Shakespeare note.
fixes the attention of a class like deepening cross-cultural awareness and, A cricket game from The Pickwick Papers
was featured on the Dickens note.
paper money stuck on the board. of course, developing language ability.
Sceptics may think that the people
depicted on paper money dont have Security David Greenslade
currently teaches at
much to offer. This is far from the truth. Paper currency is made to be quickly Cardiff Metropolitan
University, UK. He has
By way of illustration, can you answer and securely used. It is designed for ease a PhD, and while
these two questions about UK of recognition and the average cash teaching in Oman he
wrote Ibtisam al Habsi
banknotes? When Shakespeare was on transaction takes less than 20 seconds. and her Zanzibar Court,
the 10 note, which of his plays was This is why so few people know or care published by the Omani
Ministry of Heritage
featured as well? When Charles Dickens who or what is on their currency. and Culture in 2013.
was on the 10 note, which of his novels Counterfeit features are even less well
was portrayed in the background? dgreenslade@cardiffmet.ac.uk
known, and for the teacher who

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 17

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S U G G E S T I O N S F R O M T H E S TA F F R O O M 1
Sasha Wajnryb offers some classroom-tested tips to invigorate your lessons.

Getting to know you and class bonding activities

he staffroom can be the source of 2 Teacher timeline students will see that their teacher cares
a wealth of knowledge for all Learning about the teachers life about them.
teachers. Both new and veteran The teacher draws their language learning
teachers can take advantage of the years 7 Teacher answers, students
history as a line graph, with enjoyment on
of experience and the varied teaching question
the vertical axis and the time period on
styles that other teachers can offer. The teacher shares their life story
the horizontal axis. The graph displays
This series mimics a friendly On the first day of class, the teacher
which languages were learnt, when and
staffroom environment where teachers writes on the board ten answers to
whether the experience was enjoyable.
can share and access useful tips on how possible questions about their life.
The teacher talks through their history
best to meet the needs of their students. The students work in pairs to create the
with the class. Each student then draws
Trawling through textbooks or websites questions that match those answers.
their own graph and explains it to other
may uncover some fantastic activities, students in small groups. 8 Students question, students
but can also be time-consuming, answer
whereas the staffroom often provides 3 Teacher surveys
The students become the teacher
quick and valuable tips. The ideas you Learning about student strengths
Rather than using the corresponding
read here have been proposed by The teacher surveys the class to find out
questions for a reading text from the set
experienced teachers from a busy ESL their work/study history, goals and their
coursebook, the teacher gives the
college in Sydney, Australia. They have perception of their own strengths/
students the task of creating their own
all been trialled in the classroom. weaknesses in English. The information is
questions. These questions are then
Just as with staffroom talk in a used to customise class materials and
given to other students to answer. Their
five-minute break between classes, homework to match the students areas
answers are checked by the student who
each activity is not described in detail. of interest.
wrote the questions. Creating activities
Instead, the key point is presented, and
4 Anonymous surveys where the students assume the role of
you can tailor the activity to fit your own teacher is a way of empowering them.
What activities does the class enjoy?
students needs.
The teacher creates a basic and
9 Facebook friends
anonymous survey (eg using a Likert scale)
Learning about each others lives
that allows the students to choose whether
The tips in this issue of ETp concern the outside
they want more/less/same of various types
topic of bonding with a new class, as well Facebook is a fantastic way to expose
of activities. The teacher explains that if
as strengthening those bonds throughout students to English. While the students
they choose more of one activity, they need
the course. complete activities online, the teacher can
to select less of another. This will reveal
Many students feel insecure and encourage them to friend each other,
what the class wants, and allow the teacher
nervous on their first day in a new English and their teacher, so they can learn about
to fine-tune class activities accordingly.
class. They may be self-conscious about their lives outside the classroom.
their language level and, surrounded by 5 Islands in the class
10 Breaking the routine
strangers, they may be reluctant to Creating a safe space for answers
Taking the learning outside
contribute. The goal of these activities is Instead of calling on students to answer
Changing the classroom environment can
to break the ice so that students can questions in front of the entire class,
reinvigorate a class. Moving the class to
bond with each other and with their divide the class into islands of three to
the park, bringing a plate of food and
teacher. In this way, a class of quiet, shy four students. The students share their
sharing an international lunch or taking
individuals is transformed into a friendly ideas in small groups, while the teacher
the class out on an excursion is a great
and engaged class, where the learners checks each groups response before
way to break the monotony of the
are willing to attempt new language in a calling on a group representative to report
classroom and create shared memories.
supportive classroom. back to the entire class.

1 Class timeline 6 One-on-one Sasha Wajnryb teaches

adult international
Learning about the students lives Creating time to counsel each student students in a large
Each student writes down an event that During activities that require long periods college in Australia. He
has worked in ELT for
was important for them in each of the last of time (eg essay writing, reading a long 15 years as a teacher,
five to ten years. The teacher then text), the teacher finds a quiet space to academic manager and
allocates a different year to each student. counsel the students individually. This will
The students survey the class to find out offer an insight into their hopes, fears,
what happened to each student in that strengths and weaknesses and will
If you want to share an idea in the ETp
year, and they report back the most enable the teacher to intervene early if community staffroom, feel free to email it to
interesting event to the class. extra help is needed. Importantly, the sasha.wajnryb1@tafensw.edu.au.

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 19

IN THE CLASSROOM 2 Give them the opportunity to
demonstrate features of politeness

Politeness matters
You could use the politeness features in the
table to guide your students towards a
full-blown roleplay, in which one of them
has encountered a problem and needs to
confide in the other. It is important to give
Paul Bress puts forward the case for teaching good manners. constructive feedback, being honest but

encouraging at the same time. Of course,
s we teach our students, we communicate more politely. I have
some students might listen very effectively,
facilitate the development of a endeavoured to distinguish between polite
while others will really struggle and
whole host of abilities: the and impolite people in the table below.
possibly feel embarrassed. A lot will fall
ability to communicate with more
somewhere in between.
accurate (and more sophisticated) Politeness in class
syntax, with increasingly varied lexis
and with better pronunciation, not to
Bearing this in mind, how can English Politeness out of class
teachers help their students communicate
mention other less immediately obvious Encourage the students to put into
more politely so that they get on much
things like collocations, connotations, practice what they have learnt in real
better with the people they are working
punctuation and even body language. life. They can then record how well they
or sharing leisure time with? Lets look
Of course, all these things are important think they have done on a grid like this:
at a possible two-step procedure.
but, if we focus on the social effects of
the way our students communicate, it 1 Raise the students awareness Feature of politeness Mark
could be argued that it is more (by showing assorted video clips) Listening carefully
important than anything else to help You could show clips of a) polite
Thinking before speaking/acting
them to communicate politely in the behaviour, b) impolite behaviour and c)
target situation or target country. anything in between. As the students Observing conventions
However, it isnt possible to be watch, they could be asked to answer
Tailor-made communication
completely scientific about politeness in questions, such as:
the way it is about grammar: we may not Did X listen to Y when Y was speaking? Allowing people to be themselves
always agree on what constitutes Do you think that X was polite or not?
politeness. Nevertheless, for most people, How do you think Y felt about X Every now and then, you can ask the
most of the time, politeness matters. listening/not listening to him? students (either in class or one-to-one)
Let me now attempt to establish In this particular instance, you would be how they are doing, whether they are
what I understand by politeness, before raising awareness of the importance of making progress or not, and how they
suggesting how to help students to listening. think they will be able to make progress
in the future.
Polite people ... Impolite people ...

listen carefully to others when they speak. The dont listen carefully to others when they
only exception might be when they are under speak. They are constantly pre-occupied Some teachers may say that politeness is
extreme stress (in which case they will probably with their own thoughts/feelings/intentions a very subjective matter and that its
still make this clear). and dont attend to other people. much better to steer clear of it
altogether. But I dont think that we can
consider the consequences of their behaviour dont consider the consequences of their
or should divorce language from its
(whether verbal or nonverbal). They will naturally behaviour when they speak. They will tend
monitor their conversations, gauging the to say the first thing that comes into their
social function. Most people want to
reaction of other people to their words. mind, regardless of the consequences. spend time with people they like. Most
people want to spend time with polite
observe established conventions concerning dont observe such conventions. They will, people. If we can help our students to
attire/punctuality/gift-giving, etc, unless they instead, do whatever they feel like, such as become more polite, then I think that it
think that existing conventions are immoral turning up half an hour after a dinner party
is really worth the effort.
(such as participating in the black economy), in has started.
which case they would carefully explain their Paul Bress lives in
reason for not conforming. Herne Bay, UK, where
he teaches English to
take time to get to know people before deciding are too familiar with people before they overseas students and
also writes novels and
how to communicate with them. During this really know what they are like. paints. His novels are:
time, they will gradually tailor their Consequently, they may make a joke about The Man Who Didnt Age,
communicative style so that the relationship is something the other person is very The Dysfunctional Family,
For Adults Only, The
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Lauren Kelley Gonzalez studies a particular problem from the parents perspective.

anguage barriers prevent many how homework is completed and values and beliefs. Four topics emerged
limited English proficient (LEP) valued. It is, therefore, important that from the interviews and will be
parents from participating fully in teachers should understand the culture discussed here.
their childrens literacy and values of each childs home
development. According to Luna Yasui, environment in order to help them 1 Language barriers
Christina Wong and Winnie Lau, this is become successful readers. Language barriers prevented many
because they lack critical information This article describes a study LEP parents from participating fully in
about their childrens education and conducted in one school district in the literacy development activities that
often have no way to communicate with United States into the involvement of were developed primarily for English-
their childrens teacher. Many families parents in their childrens English literacy speaking children. All the parents
who have emigrated to English-speaking development, but it has implications for reported that English was not their
countries choose to speak only their any teaching context where the parents primary language. Parent 2 spoke only
native language in the home, causing and the teachers do not share a Persian and indicated that she was
difficulties for the children in common language. Furthermore, the unable to help her son with reading and
transferring their knowledge from one problems revealed are likely to be even homework activities because they were
language to another. Sonia Nieto states more acute in a context where a third written only in English. Parent 4 stated
that this prevents the parents from language is involved for example, a that she did not feel confident in her
being able to reinforce literacy concepts Chinese family living in Spain where the ability to help her son with his
in English. As a result, their children may children are learning English at school homework. She did not want to read to
not receive the same number of rich from a Spanish teacher of English. her son because she was not a good
literacy experiences that other children reader. Parent 3, who primarily spoke
get at home because their parents are Parents Spanish, did speak English, but could not
unable to speak and read in English. read or write it. She indicated that she
It is widely recognised that culture perceptions did not want to interfere with her sons
plays a major role in shaping literacy in The purpose of the study described in ability to learn to read fluently in
the home. Yet, in many cases, as Nieto this article was to examine how the English. Parent 1 said that his son did
points out, the school culture is very parents of children in ESL programmes not speak English fluently and was
different from the family culture, and experience the homeschool literacy unable to read the graded readers the
literacy is valued and perceived practices initiated by their childs school. teacher sent home every day. He stated
differently, depending on the cultural In particular, this study focused on the that instead of requiring the child to
values and experiences of the parents. schools use of graded readers to try to read these books, he practised English
As a result, many children are faced with involve the parents in their childs vocabulary with him, using picture
the challenge of negotiating two different reading development. The parents were flashcards. Parent 6 indicated that he
environments and finding a way to exist asked about their perceptions of the did not want his Spanish language to
in both worlds. Differing cultural values homeschool literacy practices and how interfere with his sons learning to read
in the home also cause differences in well these fitted with their culture, in English.

22 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

2 Culture 4 Multicultural literature it is my belief that they should consider
The importance of culture and diversity As mentioned above, Parents 5 and 7 the following recommendations and
was also a recurring theme among the both felt that the lack of multicultural insights, which come from the tips on
participants responses. Parent 5 said literature in the reading curriculum was teaching ESL students produced by the
that she wished her sons teacher would an indication that the teacher did not Writing Center of the University of
incorporate more multicultural books, value their familys culture. Parent 5 stated: North Carolina and from the work of
specifically those related to the familys I want Connor to value his culture as well as Kristen Brown and Claude Goldenberg.
Chinese culture. Parent 4 indicated that his American culture and read books about
Appreciation of cultural
she felt that the teacher devalued her it. Parent 7 (the one whose son was not
Turkish culture. She stated that her allowed to count the story they wrote
childs kindergarten teacher disagreed together in Russian as an assignment) Cultural differences can give rise to
with her decision to replace the weekly stated: I still have Igor read and write in different expectations regarding the
reading homework of graded readers Russian; we just dont tell the teacher. rules for classroom behaviour.
written in English with childrens books Students from other cultures can
written in Hebrew. Parent 7 stated: have different views on how to be a
One day when Igor was sick and absent By knowing the student for example, when and
from school, I told his teacher that we had background culture how they should participate in
written a story in Russian together, and I activities. By knowing the background
asked if it could take the place of missed
of all the children in culture of all the children in the class,
work. The teacher said no because it was the class, the teacher the teacher will have a better
not written in English, that she would not understanding of different behaviour.
be able to read it, and therefore could not
will have a better
Cultural differences can affect the
count it as an assignment. understanding of students understanding of content.
3 Parents opinions of the different behaviour Children whose life experience is not
the same as that of the mainstream
materials students will often need additional
All the parents objected to the literacy The results of this survey, although not explanations and examples so they
materials the teachers provided, either surprising, provide concrete evidence of can draw connections between new
because of their childs inability to read the negative impact that the use of material and their existing knowledge
them or because the books lacked any mainstream literacy practices with ESL base. Teachers should move away
element of multiculturalism. Parent 1 students has on the parents from using only mainstream practices
stated: Sometimes the teacher gets angry involvement in their childrens literacy and develop curricula that better
with my son because he does not read the development. The parents showed both meet the diverse needs of all the
books she sends home, but it is my fault a lack of understanding of the reasons students in the class.
because I do not think the books are behind reading assignments and
Cultural differences can affect
appropriate for him. They are too hard for insufficient language ability to help their
interactions with others. The actions
him because he cant speak English yet. children complete them. These parents
of students with culturally different
Parent 2, who spoke only Persian, said: also felt that their own culture was not
ways of showing interest, respect and
I cant read the books, so I dont know if valued by the school and the teachers.
appreciation can be misinterpreted.
they are good or not. Parent 3 indicated Although this study took place in only
Teachers need to be sensitive to
that she did not think the graded one school district, researchers report
student reactions and try to respect
reading book was hard enough for her that this problem exists for many ESL
them, while also helping the other
son. However, she was not confident parents across the United States.
students to understand cultural
enough in her English-speaking skills to
speak to the childs teacher about this. Recommendations
Parent 4 stated: I do not know how to be
In the US and many English-speaking
Curriculum and instruction
involved in my sons English reading and Instructional activities should
countries around the world, more and
writing when I cant understand it myself. maximise the opportunities for
more non-English-speaking children are
I think he should be able to read Turkish language use. Activities such as
entering into the classroom each year.
books, too. dialogues and roleplays should be
These children may have very different
Parents 5 and 7 both felt that the used and should involve all the
backgrounds, skills and past experiences
teacher did not value their culture students as active participants.
from the other students. Teachers and
because of the lack of multicultural
administrators should be prepared to Teachers should ensure that all the
literature in the reading curriculum.
meet the needs of these children so students understand the concepts
that they can be successful learners, and and materials being presented.

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 23

Literacypractice valued, the teacher should incorporate
multicultural literature into the reading
of the dominant culture. Unfortunately,
as Dudley-Marling points out, deficit

curriculum. perspectives continue to dominate the
This study revealed that the literacy relationships of schools and ESL and
strategies of the schools investigated, low-income parents. He also asserts
which involved setting homework using that educational researchers, teachers,
The curriculum content should be
graded readers, did not always comply administrators and policy makers have
tailored to bring diversity into the
with the specific culture and values of come to view home environments as a
classroom. This will provide students
each parent. As Curt Dudley-Marling likely source of experiences that can
from other cultures with social
points out, How parents and children enhance childrens literacy development.
support, and will provide all the
experience school literacy practices If this is the case, then educators and
students with information on other
imported into the infinitely complex cultural administrators need to tap into the rich
cultures, give them exposure to other
spaces of families and communities can resources that are available within the
languages and offer opportunities to
never be anticipated with any certainty. It home environment.
recognise and validate different
is possible, however, as Lesley Morrow
cultural perspectives.
and Jeanne Paratore assert, that parents Brown, K Strengthening the homeschool
Teachers should make learning from minority cultures will always have literacy connection Reading & Writing
relevant to the students experiences. difficulty integrating mainstream English Quarterly 20 (1) 2007
Students from other cultures need literacy practices into their homes Dudley-Marling, C Homeschool literacy
connections: the perceptions of African
additional support and materials for because of differing values, beliefs and American and immigrant ESL parents in two
understanding English. These can expectations. Yet, parents who do not urban communities Teacher College Record
include pictures, graphic and visual accept mainstream literacy practices, 111 (7) Colombia University 2009
organisers and extra notes. More such as the use of graded readers, risk Goldenberg, C Making schools work for
discussion time should also be being labelled as unsupportive of their low-income families in the 21st century In
Neuman, S B and Dickinson, D K (Eds)
allowed. childrens learning development and Handbook of Early Literacy Research (1)
Students should be allowed to use school success. As Dudley-Marling puts Guilford Press 2001
their native language when necessary it: Through the deficit lens that dominates Morrow, L M and Paratore, J Family literacy:
to expand upon their knowledge. educational reform, low-income, minority perspective and practice The Reading
and immigrant parents are blamed for low Teacher 47 1993
Development of partnerships levels of academic achievement. Educators Nieto, S Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical
must find a way to infuse school-based Context of Multicultural Education Longman
with parents and caregivers 1996
literacy practices with those specific
Teachers need to inform parents literacy practices that take place in the
Writing Center Tips on teaching ESL
about what is happening in the students University of North Carolina
homes of diverse families. School-based Retrieved July 31, 2012 from
classroom and in the school and invite literacy practices must not be reduced http://writingcenter.unc.edu/faculty-resources/
them to visit, so they become aware to merely having children reading graded tips-on-teaching-esl-students/tips-on-teaching-
of what the students are doing. readers out loud to their parents. The
Teachers should find ways to Yasui, L, Wong, C and Lau, W Lost without
ideal familyschool partnership would
translation: Language barriers faced by
motivate the parents of students embrace cultural diversity in which limited-English proficient parents with
from other cultures and provide teachers learn from families, resulting in children in the San Francisco Unified School
opportunities for them to be a partnership between the two. As District CAA 2006 Retrieved from
involved in the classroom. www.caasf.org/wp-content/uploads/PDFs/
Goldenberg claims: Foregrounding the
Teachers also need to find a way to cultural and linguistic needs, values and 5BCAA%5D.pdf
incorporate the cultures of all the expectations of parents will reduce the
students into the curriculum. conflict, blame and dysfunction that
Lauren Kelley
characterize the frequently tense Gonzalez, Ed.D, is an
relationship between families and schools. Adjunct Professor of
Education in the
In order to have effective Department of Teacher
Because classrooms today are much communication, both parents and school Education at Texas
Womans University,
more diverse than in the past, it is personnel must feel respected and valued. USA. Her research
imperative for all students to learn to The parents interviewed in this study did interests include
literacy development in
accept and understand people of not feel that the teachers respected their young children, parent
different races, ethnicities and cultures, cultural values and language abilities. involvement in
education, and teaching
while valuing their own. To help children Schools that use only mainstream methods that work for
from different cultures and their parents diverse children.
literacy practices are inherently
to feel that their culture and language is LThetford@mail.twu.edu
disrespectful to anyone who is not part

24 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

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Jakub Hankiewicz t is common practice that when we attitudes to doing business around the
learn a language, we also learn a world.
examines the cultural little about the history, customs Very rarely do you encounter texts
and culture of the country in which about British, American or Australian
impact of teaching English. that language is spoken. In my school history in the most recent English
Latin classes, for example, conjugations textbooks; more often than not, it is the
and declinations were covered within the customs of a variety of different cultures
first 15 minutes, and the remainder of that are discussed.
the lesson would be devoted to a lecture This is, of course, due to the massive
about Roman literature or the Roman expansion of English as a global language.
way of life. Studying textbooks of my Today, people do not only study English
own mother tongue Czech at because they want to have a link to those
university, I saw that the books were full countries where English is spoken as a
of elements of Czech culture: reading first language. English has become the
and listening exercises introduced the language of international communication
students to Czech topography, history and thus, as a subject of learning, has lost
and traditions; the illustrations showed many of the connections to its origins.
students typical Czech housing, food,
views of the countryside, famous people
from Czech history and contemporary When we learn a
Czech celebrities. language, we also learn
To a certain extent, the English
textbooks which are produced nowadays a little about the history,
dont do this. On the first few pages of customs and culture
New Cutting Edge, one of todays
best-known coursebooks, you will find of the country in which
pictures of Russia, Spain, Thailand and
Korea. Play the CD, and a wide range
that language is spoken
of accents echoes around the classroom.
Business English textbooks seem to
focus on international contexts even Changing priorities
more obviously. International Express, I had the chance to observe this change
for example, manifests its international in my hometown of Prague. In the
character in its title, while In Company 1990s, an advertisement bearing the
often presents different customs and slogan We teach proper British English

26 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

would have been considered an example generally very attractive; and next to the
of good marketing, despite all the Modern English photograph there was, of course, no
academic objections concerning what cultural note describing the obesity
proper English truly is. At that time, textbooks illustrate, and issues associated with unrestricted
large numbers of students insisted on without realising it also consumption of junk food, nor the
having only native speakers of British environmental impact of producing the
English as their teachers. Today, the propagate, the Western number of cattle necessary to feed the
situation is dramatically different. When worlds obsession with burgers. A
working for the biggest Czech language
way of life, the chief photograph of a shopping mall made
school, I saw one of my British symbol of which is the the students eyes shine with desire for
colleagues, who was an excellent teacher things they had only seen in the
and an extremely talented linguist, lose United States windows of their hometowns expensive
several courses, accompanied by more tourist boutiques. When they learnt that
or less this explanation: We have In most textbooks, ordering food and this is where most of the Westerners
nothing against you, and youre a good food vocabulary is taught in the context living in the town do their shopping,
teacher, but we dont understand you. We of fast-food restaurants; speaking they were speechless. Of course, they
want an American teacher; they are easier exercises that practise shopping tend to be were unaware that all consumerism has
to understand. set in shopping malls. I recently taught a its downsides: the more people treasure
class on the topic of holidays, and found material possessions, the less they seem
to value the important things in life,
English seems that the textbook only discussed package
such as friends and family.
holidays, rather than offering a variety of
to have lost its link to options, such as travelling on ones own,
the Anglo-American camping, hitchhiking or backpacking. Low-impact teaching
Even though modern English textbooks Observing my Peruvian students staring
culture, as its global use dont include texts on the Anglo- at the massive hamburger, I then
American cultural heritage, they illustrate,
has become more and and without realising it also propagate,
imagined them all leaving the classroom,
walking to the main square, where
more emphasised the Western way of life, the chief symbol McDonalds is located, and buying
of which is the United States. burgers without a seconds hesitation. I
Looking at an enormous photograph imagined them travelling to Lima and
Today British English is an outcast, of a juicy hamburger in Expressions for
its place in the centre having being invading a shopping mall; I heard them
45 minutes (of course, classes on food complaining that there isnt a mall in
usurped by international English, a always take place around lunchtime)
language taught for communication Cusco; maybe there will be one some
made even me, a vegetarian, drool.
purposes only, a language stripped of its Looking at the happy faces of women in
cultural meanings, a language used every shopping malls made me doubt all of Anyone who decides
day in most offices throughout the world. my negative prejudices against these
English seems to have lost its link to dens of materialism and murderers of
to go and teach
the Anglo-American culture, as its
global use has become more and more
small businesses. The negative sides of English outside the
our modern lifestyle miraculously
emphasised. The motivation of most vanished for a time. United States and the
learners to learn English is not
connected to a desire to establish
But I am, at the end of the day, a wealthier regions of
Westerner, someone aware of the
contacts with Britain, the USA, Canada problems that juicy burgers can bring. Europe should be aware
or Australia, but rather to a desire to When I was teaching in the Czech
survive in the international, global world Republic, the Western culture that was
of the responsibility
of business. Textbook publishers have
picked up on this change and adapted
bombarding me from all my teaching they are taking on
materials never particularly attracted my
their products to meet those needs. notice.
day, after too many people taste the
Culture is out ... but it is High-impact teaching joyful possibility of endless possession
and maybe that will mark the end of
still in! This radically changed after I moved to all the colourful markets and local
Nevertheless, the disappearance of the Cusco in Peru and started teaching shops. A terrifying image and the last
Tower of London or George Washington there. The cultural artefacts pictured in thing I want to be the cause of here.
from English teaching materials does the textbook which were so familiar to Anyone who decides to go and teach
not mean that contemporary textbooks me were largely new to my students; English outside the United States and
fail to reflect Anglo-American culture. they were objects or behaviour patterns the wealthier regions of Europe should
Sometimes these new books actually do that only a few of them were familiar be aware of the responsibility they are
so even more than the old ones used to. with and that was largely thanks to taking on. English teachers are, like
Lets look at some of the elementary television. The juicy burger in the tourists, representatives of Western
units about food, for example. picture looked delicious, exotic and culture; they automatically attract the

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 27

Western culture as it is presented in the that to experience Peru, one has to be
media? As teachers, the least we can more active and go beyond the tourist
offer is to show the harsh reality behind areas. They concluded that on a tour

responsible the glittering material treasures or to

mention the obesity problems behind
bus you dont see the real Peru.

the fast-food culture. Why not discuss
with our students possible reasons why
the United States, the worlds great Every meeting of two cultures should be
material and technological empire, only a dialogue, rather than one culture taking
attention of the local people and rouse came 46th in a happiness of the over the other. That should be the lesson
their curiosity, so everything they bring citizens survey, despite all its glittering we learn from the history of colonial
to any given country poses a potential goods. Incidentally, the happiest country conquests. Even though were supposed
threat to the local culture. Just as in the world, according to this survey, to make sure that we dont repeat the
tourists should follow the guidelines of was Bangladesh, one of the worlds same mistakes as our predecessors, we
low-impact trekking, so teachers poorest countries. often fail in this endeavour. At this point
should be made aware of the necessity When noticing the curiosity, in history, we seem to be sitting on the
for some sort of low-impact teaching. fascination or desire on our students sidelines with our arms folded, observing
I believe a discussion of the potential faces aroused by some Western novelty, the aggressive advance of globalisation,
cultural impact we can have should even and making the excuse that we are too
be part of every teacher training course. small to make a change.
Every meeting of But as teachers, even more so than
Challenging accepted two cultures should just as citizens, we are in possession of
viewpoints the massive weapon of influence. Who
But what can a teacher coming to a
be a dialogue, rather else, if not educators, should encourage
critical thinking, the only shield there is
country like Peru actually do about such than one culture against the omnipresent propaganda of
hidden advertisements of Western life?
Nothing, many would surely say. There
taking over the other the Western lifestyle? By using
internationally-oriented English
is nothing that can be done. The
textbooks without balancing out their
textbooks are printed and globalisation
we should attempt to challenge it in order effects, we might subconsciously be
is inevitable, whether we like it or not. If
to help preserve their local culture. Try endangering the local culture, all the
the students dont learn about Western
asking the students why this thing could while passing by the perfect opportunity
luxuries from their textbooks, they will
be bad, and elicit possible disadvantages. to fight the great myth that all that comes
learn about them from television or
Often, once encouraged to do so, the from the United States is good. This
from other sources.
students discover the downsides of some myth is strongly supported by Hollywood
Yet, at least here in Peru, teachers are
of those phenomena for themselves. Such and other powerful means, leaving people
still very much respected as authorities.
challenges are also fruitful as far as entirely brainwashed and unaware of the
Their role is similar to that of the
teaching English is concerned, as they dangers that the Western lifestyle brings.
teachers and masters of 19th-century
trigger discussion, a desirable feature of Language teaching, today more than
Europe; they possess certain knowledge,
any language course. Should this fail, we ever before, is about speaking and about
and not only do they transfer that
may try to encourage them to talk about dialogue. Here in Peru, I see the dialogue
knowledge onto others, but they also set
their own culture (which most Peruvians on a deeper level, too, as an intercultural
an example for their pupils. The weapon
are very happy to do) and try to dialogue, which has the potential to
a teacher holds, therefore, is influence.
emphasise the advantages of their ways combat the cultural imperialism which
Why not try to use that influence to
of going about things. the Spanish conquerors brought here
question the indisputable value of
When none of those methods work, centuries ago, and which subliminal
the last resort (last, as it increases marketing, as well as overtly targeted
Just as teacher talking time) is sharing your marketing, is continuing today.
opinion with your students. When doing
tourists should so, I always try to give examples they
follow the guidelines of can personally relate to. I was, for Jakub Hankiewicz has
example, forced to give my viewpoint on taught English for four
years. After graduating
low-impact trekking, package holidays. I told my students to with a degree in Czech
imagine a package holiday in Cusco and Czech Literature in
so teachers should one day in the city centre, one day
his hometown of Prague,
Czech Republic, he
be made aware of amongst the nearby ruins, one day at moved to Cusco, Peru,
to continue teaching
Machu Picchu, two days in the Sacred English, as well as to
the necessity for some Valley and asked them if they thought pursue his career as a
freelance writer and
sort of low-impact this was a good way of visiting and translator.
getting to know their region. The
teaching students agreed that this was not the
best way to get to know Cusco and said

28 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

Chaz Pugliese poses five questions to people
involved in the world of ELT. In this issue, he talks
to Nicole Heel.

Nicole Heel was born in Canada and brought up in
London, England. She studied music at university
and currently works in educational publishing. She
has recently completed her TEFL training and is
about to embark on a career as a teacher.

Nicole, what do you see as your English and French and how some of the I also like to learn from
main challenge as a newly more idiomatic phrases dont make sense
graduated teacher? in other languages. [At the time of this my students. I dont think
I think knowing what does and doesnt
interview, Nicole was completing an initial you should assume that
teacher training course in France and the
work with students, and the great
guinea-pig students were mostly French.] you are all-knowing,
spectrum of personality types Ill have to
cater for at some point, will be the
So while I enjoy giving out knowledge, I simply because youre
also like to learn from my students. I dont
toughest challenge. I want to be able to
think you should assume that you are the teacher
keep everyones interest, to get everyone
all-knowing, simply because youre the
involved, but this is difficult if people have
teacher, and I think bearing that in mind I gain more experience, Ill start to have
different needs and learn at different rates
can make you a better teacher. more confidence in my subject and Ill be
in different ways which is what makes
able to develop more varied lesson plans
teaching so hard, I understand. There is
a huge range of factors contributing to I feel honoured so that, hopefully, every student will be
engaged at one point or another.
how a lesson can go: teaching style, that something I know
learning style, classroom dynamics, how
you or the students are feeling on the day,
interest in the subject, etc. At the
is of worth to someone
else, and that they can
What do you remember about the
moment, I feel slightly overwhelmed by
how much I have to think about, which use it to help themselves first lesson you taught?

means it takes me longer to plan lessons in the future Not much! I remember that the students
and come up with new ideas theres no were very engaged and eager to learn, and
hindsight and no experiences to base my
new ideas on. Hopefully, that will change 3
... and your least favourite?
this helped me enormously. I remember
having a strong fear of boring them they
once Ive been teaching for a while. were higher-level students, so I was
constantly trying to keep the pace up, vary
The fear that what Im teaching the

What is your favourite aspect
students is in some way uninteresting or
that theyre bored by it. I dont want to be
the activities and ensure the language, as
well as the content, would be sufficiently
challenging. But I think, overall, it went well.
the reason that students dread going to
of teaching so far?
English lessons. I found planning lessons
I really enjoy imparting knowledge. I feel
honoured that something I know is of
particularly difficult, mostly because I
didnt know how the students would react
Whats your motto as a teacher?
worth to someone else, and that they can to what I wanted to teach them. Would
use it to help themselves in the future. they think it was boring? Would they feel Lend a hand wait, no, thats the Brownie
This feeling is augmented if the students they had already covered it? In which Guide motto! Much as I like that, maybe
have a genuine interest in the language. It case, maybe they would switch off. Its a keep learning would be a more
was rewarding when the students would difficult thing to let go of the fact that you appropriate motto because the more you,
ask me specific things about the arent going to reach every student with as a teacher, know, the more enriching your
language and I was able to give them the what they want every single time. lessons will be for your students.
answer or clarify a particular point for Standing up in front of a group of people
them, and I would see it click in their is daunting, especially for a first-time Chaz Pugliese is an independent trainer and
author, living in Paris, France.
heads. It was also fun to laugh with the teacher, and no one wants to see people
students about the differences between yawning or simply not listening. I think, as chazpugliese@gmail.com

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 29


students for
exams 3
Adriana Ciobotu teach a Preview to FCE class to historical events like the relief of
students who have been learning Romania and the conjugation of to be in
believes the Trinity GESE English for eight years and who are Latin? And even when the information
preparing for the entrance exam to is rather more useful than this, it is
exam prepares her students a bilingual English class in high school. presented as just another fact to be
One day, I was talking to these students dictated by the teacher and jotted down
for life. about taking exams and whether this is by the students. Where is the practical
something which motivates them or, on side of things? How do we stimulate our
the contrary, hinders their progress and students minds and spark their
has a negative effect on their education enthusiasm?
in general. It came as no surprise that
the majority expressed opinions which
were against the taking of exams. Our educational
Among their reasons was quite simply system thrives on
the fact that, more often than not, they
get low marks, which results in parental spoon-feeding students
dissatisfaction, which in turn leads to
frustration and, most importantly for
a lot of superfluous
them, possible deprivation of the information with
almighty phone!
absolutely no relevance
Motivation in their current lives
But why is it that their test scores are so
low? Where does this lack of motivation
stem from? Is it, perhaps, due to our Personalisation
educational system, which thrives on In my experience, I have found that
spoon-feeding students a lot of personalisation is the key. Out of all the
superfluous information with absolutely levels I teach, the students who have
no relevance in their current lives and, always scored the highest have been those
on the gloomier side, with no likely who have taken the Trinity Graded
relevance in their adult lives? How can Examinations in Spoken English
children muster enough intrinsic (GESE), especially Grade 6. Why?
motivation to cope with test day when Because this exam is an opportunity for
a few hours apart they need to the students to relate to English on an
remember all the details of World War II, affective level: English becomes the
the chemical formula of glucose, channel through which they present

30 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

themselves to the world. It is no longer choose something that is going to be The conversation task
just another subject in the curriculum, it memorable! Not only will they impress 1
is a means of getting messages across to the examiner, but bringing a familiar
an interested interlocutor, a way of object into the examination room will The first thing the students need to
communicating with someone who make them feel more comfortable and remember in the conversation task is to
belongs to a different culture and has an more at ease when they have a ask the examiner questions, too, and to
entirely different view on life. It becomes conversation about it. turn the exchange of lines into a
the students chance to convince the genuine, real-life communication. How
world that they are special and original, 3 can they do that? By mirroring the
well-informed and ready to face any Of course, it is equally important to examiners questions and showing
challenges that come their way. make sure the students include the interest in what he or she is saying. This
language functions, grammar, lexis, etc can easily be accomplished by training
the students to include an occasional
The exam which are specified in the exam
Thats very interesting! or Really?
requirements. What I have found
There is further information on the extremely successful has been to refer to when they are having any conversation.
Trinity GESE exam at the end of this each required grammar point in a
article. The number and nature of the 2
separate paragraph of text about the
tasks depends on the stage, but at Grade discussion topic and to give each The second tip is to encourage your
6 (the upper level of Elementary) it paragraph a title which refers to that students to speak naturally and fluently.
consists of two tasks: discussion of a grammar point. The text is produced as Remind them that they can correct
topic chosen by the candidate, and a a way of preparing what they want to themselves if they make mistakes;
short one-to-one conversation on two talk about in the exam; the students however, that should not be their focus.
topics selected by the examiner from a dont memorise it, but they use it to You might ask how students can
given list. clarify their thoughts and think about possibly relate to a stranger in such a
the language they will need. They then short space of time and succeed in
Steps to success use these same paragraph titles to speaking in a free and uninhibited way.
complete the boxes on the mind-map My solution is to tell the students to
The topic task imagine that they are not going into the
which they submit to the examiner. For
1 example, if the students topic is My examination room to talk to a foreigner
passion: playing chess, different they have never met before. Instead, they
Candidates have to fill out a form, a
paragraphs and sections of the mind- should imagine that they are going to
kind of mind-map, which shows the
map could be entitled How I started have a friendly chat to an old friend they
examiner the topic they have chosen and
playing chess (this paragraph to include have not seen in a while. This will make
the aspects of it that they are prepared
the past tenses), How to play chess (to them more comfortable and eager to
to talk about. I always tell my students
include modals) and How I see my future share their experiences and open up.
to think about their lives and choose the
one thing they will happily do for hours chess career (to include the future 3
on end: something that defines them, tenses). The advice for your students is,
therefore: Mind your grammar! Last but not least, urge your students
something they are passionate about
not to be afraid to take the initiative and
this is important because they will have
For teachers, preparing students for the surprise the examiner with intelligent
to convince the examiner that they are
Trinity exam is a great way to get to questions on the chosen topic. If they
being truthful about themselves and that
know your students interests and include some of the target language as
they know all there is to know about
hobbies and to develop a much more they do this, so much the better. Before
their hobby or special subject. Dont
meaningful relationship with them, the exam, it would not be a bad idea to
forget to tell them to take that passion
based on understanding, support and brainstorm some possible questions for
into the examination room. They should
harnessing the students strengths in a the examiner on the various topics on
speak from the heart and with
constructive way. the list. Of course, this does not mean
The best part is that the preparation the students should memorise questions
2 for the exam can be presented in a to ask: such practices are quite rightly
variety of fun speaking activities, such frowned upon in both parts of the exam.
My next piece of advice is for the
as speed dating, alibi, roleplays, This exam is not intended to test the
students to find a relevant lucky charm
impersonations, and so on, because you candidates memories, but their brains, so
to take into the examination room. For
are, after all, teaching free conversation. they need to prove they are spontaneous,
a candidate who is going to be talking
This is definitely one of the most dedicated and, most of all, that their
about travelling, this might be
important benefits, as the students not command of the language is good.
something like a fridge magnet they have
bought as a souvenir. A candidate who only need these skills now, but will
is going to talk about their coin continue to need them in the future. Long-term benefits
collection could take in their favourite More than vocabulary, we are teaching There are many life lessons to be learnt
coin. Someone who is planning to talk them social interaction. from your students choice of topics for
about art could take in one of their own To ensure your students are the Trinity exam. You can learn not to
drawings or a piece of origami. No successful in the conversation phase, give up from a student who attended a
matter what it is, the students should too, here is my advice: chess match and won it although the

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 31

Regardless of what your students skills
are, taking the Trinity exam allows them
to bring to the surface their innermost

students for feelings, dreams, past experiences and

hopes for the future. Students will

exams 3 always be motivated to share things

about themselves, and when this
happens in a foreign language, you have This is your magazine.
odds were against him; you may become
helped them on two levels. What greater We want to hear from you!
satisfaction can there be than to know
aware of how much teachers mean to that you have made it possible for them
children when you find out about a to discover who they really are, what
childs aversion to a certain musical they are good at and to know that, from
instrument because of a strict teacher, now on, their light will shine on a sky of IT WORKS IN PRACTICE
and the same childs instant attachment possibilities thanks to English? Do you have ideas youd like to share
to another musical instrument because with colleagues around the world?
of an engaging, kind and motivating Tips, techniques and activities;
teacher; you might find out about your Trinity GESE exams are one-to-one simple or sophisticated; well-tried
students interest in sports like cycling, oral exams that test candidates or innovative; something that has
basketball or football and realise that ability in listening and speaking.
worked well for you? All published
sport plays a very special part in their
There are 12 grades, grouped into contributions receive a prize!
lives because it teaches them fair play,
four stages: Initial (Grades 13), Write to us or email:
teamwork, competition and friendship.
Elementary (Grades 46), Intermediate
(Grades 79) and Advanced (Grades
Students will always 1012). The number of tasks in each

be motivated to share
exam depends on the stage. New
tasks and increasing demands are TALKBACK!
introduced at each stage, and the
things about themselves, length of the exam increases from
Do you have something to say about
an article in the current issue of ETp?
and when this happens 57 minutes at the Initial stage to
This is your magazine and we would
25 minutes at the Advanced stage.
in a foreign language, really like to hear from you.
Assessment is a balance between Write to us or email:
you have helped them fluency and accuracy, and the
on two levels emphasis of the exam is on what the
candidates can do, rather than what
they know. Writing for ETp
Children I have taught have Candidates who also need to Would you like to write for ETp? We are
displayed passions for painting, drawing, demonstrate reading and writing always interested in new writers and
acting, photography, building model ability can take the GESE exams in fresh ideas. For guidelines and advice,
airplanes, playing video games, doing combination with the Trinity Integrated write to us or email:
origami, watching vampire films, reading Skills in English (ISE) exams.
the Harry Potter books, collecting coins, helena.gomm@pavpub.com
playing the flute or the piano. They are For more information about the
Trinity GESE exams, go to
all special in their own ways, and this is
exactly what this exam allows them to www.trinitycollege.co.uk/site/ It really worked
show: their human side, their ?id=1803.
An information booklet can be
for me!
sensibilities, even their flaws. The exam Did you get inspired by something
offers more than grades: it offers trust, downloaded from this site.
you read in ETp? Did you do
confidence and the chance to shine.
something similiar with your students?
This is exactly why I love teaching
Adriana Ciobotu is an Did it really work in practice?
this kind of class: there are endless
ESL teacher trainer, Do share it with us ...
possibilities for creativity, inventing and mentor, materials writer,
reinventing yourself, learning new translator and poetry helena.gomm@pavpub.com
writer, working in
things, constantly gaining new insights Romania. She has been
into the minds of the younger a group leader on
various English camps English Teaching professional
generation often a realisation that you in Romania, England Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd,
are not so different after all. And, of and Scotland. She is
also a Branch Manager Rayford House, School Road,
course, you are able to rejoice in their at Shakespeare School Hove BN3 5HX, UK
success at the end, as if it was your own. and the head of the
Fax: +44 (0)1273 227308
CPD Department.
Email: admin@pavpub.com

32 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

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Do something
with your
coursebook 4
Rachael Roberts continues her series on adapting your coursebook to suit your classes.
In this issue, she does something different with coursebook photographs.

hese days, pictures in upper-intermediate coursebook for that they are selling it as a holiday
coursebooks are usually teenagers. There is an aerial photograph destination what the weather is like,
expected to pay their way and of a typical suburban area, a picture of what you could do there, etc.
to have some purpose other a lonely cottage in the mountains and
The students are given a few minutes to
than to make the page look attractive. one of a busy city street. The coursebook
prepare, and then have to give a
However, given that they are such a key exploits the pictures well, asking the
mini-presentation for one or two
element of a coursebook, the photographs students to first match the pictures with
minutes. Depending on which task you
are still often very under-utilised. captions and then to describe the pictures
choose, the language they need to use
Many people are naturally more in some detail. Next, it gives them some
will, of course, vary. This is excellent
engaged by a photograph than by a text, phrases (eg lively atmosphere, nothing to
preparation for a common exam task,
meaning that further exploitation of the do) and asks them to decide which
and also a good way of building up to
photos can enable us to lift the lesson phrases could be used to describe each
making longer presentations.
off the page when too many of the place. Finally, it asks the students to put
activities are heads down, or when the photos in order, according to where
attention or motivation is flagging. they would most and least like to live. Describing
Equally, having a few picture-based This is a great deal more exploitation Students can, of course, always be asked
activities up your sleeve is a good way of than you often find in a coursebook, but to describe a picture. This is a very
dealing with those lessons when you what else could we do with these photos? popular exam task, and coursebook
havent quite planned enough to fill the photographs give us plenty of extra
time, or you decide on the spur of the Extended speaking opportunities to practise this skill. To
moment to cut an activity. make it a little different, however, you
Id like to start by describing a range To develop their extended speaking
could ask the students to imagine and
of activities that could be used to exploit skills, the students could be asked to
describe what they cant see in the
a particular set of photographs, so that choose one of the photographs and
picture as well in other words, what is
you can see how flexible it is possible to imagine, for example:
just out of sight, over the mountain,
be, and how these or similar activities that they live there; behind the building, etc.
could be used with any photos. that they have visited there; Point of view is another technique
These photographs come from an that they are planning to move there; than can work nicely to ring the changes

36 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

on a description activity, especially with who has lived in peace all their life, and way. The obvious place to start is with
higher-level students who have more so on. Let them prepare and then have a the language in the actual coursebook
vocabulary at their disposal. As an town hall meeting. unit. In this case, the vocabulary, as we
example, using the pictures described have seen, is words and phrases such as
above, the students could describe the Categorisation and lively atmosphere and nothing to do, and
busy city from the point of view of a the grammar is wish and if only.
young person who is excited to be there
decision-making The unit as it stands does ask the
and from the point of view of an older Categorisation is a very flexible basic students to use the vocabulary to talk
person who liked it when the street was technique, which can be used with most about the pictures, but an alternative
quieter. pictures. The example coursebook might be to start by asking them to talk
Two pictures can also work very well described above already asks the students about the pros and cons of living in
in an information-gap activity, though to rank the places in order of preference these three places and see if any of the
this would probably work better as a (a task you can use with almost any vocabulary (or anything similar) comes
lead-in rather than a follow-up, so that photos), but you could also ask them to: up naturally. The students could then do
the students are not already too familiar decide who would like to live in each the given vocabulary task, and go on to
with the pictures. One student describes place and why. (This could be people repeat the pros and cons task with a
one of the pictures which the other in the class, famous people, etc.) different partner, using a wider range of
student is not able to see. The second vocabulary. This is a kind of testteach
decide which would be the most/least
student has to try to draw the picture test approach, and can be an effective
expensive place to live and how it
from the description they have heard. way of finding out what students already
would compare with where they live
Alternatively, the student listening could know, as well as encouraging them to
try to remember the description and develop their vocabulary store further.
repeat back as much as they can to the decide what would be the pros and In terms of the grammar, because it
first student. They then swap roles and cons of living in each place (another is on the next page in this coursebook, it
repeat the activity with the second picture. very flexible task). doesnt refer back to the pictures, but
Another idea that works well is for these could be used again to give extra
one student who hasnt seen a picture to Imaginative writing practice either at the end of that lesson,
guess what is in it. For a simple picture This can work particularly well with or as a quick review at the start of the
of an object, they could ask 20 yes/no pictures of people, as the ideas are next one. In this case, that would mean
questions to guess what the object is. probably limitless. For example: asking the students to imagine they live
For a picture of a person, they could in these places and make sentences using
also ask yes/no questions to arrive at a Write a conversation between two of I wish and If only .
close description. For a picture of a the people. With some imagination, pictures can
scene, say a city street as in our example, Write about what the person is also be used to review language from
they could ask about what objects can thinking. previous units. For example, the students
be seen in the street and try to guess ten Write about the persons hopes and could review personality adjectives from
correctly. dreams. a previous unit, using pictures of people
If both students have already seen Write about the persons home life from their current unit. This type of
the picture, Student A could look at it and family. activity is particularly useful as a short
and ask detailed questions about it to filler or warmer.
Student B, who is not allowed to look Write a lonely hearts advert for the
and must try to remember what they person.
have seen. Write a letter/an email from one
person to another. Activities such as the ones I have
described here require virtually no
Roleplay However, there is always potential, preparation, are engaging and are a very
Alternatively, to develop fluency through whatever the picture. For example: flexible tool to have up your sleeve for
pairwork, the students could be asked to Write about the person who took the early finishers, lessons which dont quite
roleplay a conversation between estate photograph (How did they get there? go to plan, warmers and extra practice
agents and potential buyers of a What were they thinking? etc). at any time. So try taking a fresh look at
property in one of the photos. Again, Write about how the scene might have the photos in your coursebook.
give some preparation time. The estate looked 100 years ago (There used to be
Rachael Roberts is an
agents could think of the selling points, ). ELT teacher, teacher
and the buyers think up questions about trainer and materials
Imagine you are in the picture. What writer, and has published
it to ask.
can you see, hear, smell, even taste? a number of coursebooks.
Or, using the picture of the lonely She is particularly
cottage in the mountains, you could set interested in ways of

up a larger-scale roleplay, imagining that Review of language exploiting published

material, and has a blog,
a building company wants to build a www.elt-resourceful.com,
As well as speaking and writing tasks, with more practical ideas
whole new housing estate there. Give the photos can also be a good way of either and downloadable
students different roles, such as a young material.
previewing or reviewing grammar and
couple who need housing, an old person vocabulary, in a perhaps more engaging radbod1234@aol.com

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 37

wall ... Alan Maley reflects on
the war to end all wars.

ugust 2014 marks the 100th bungled political decisions. Christopher Novels and short stories
anniversary of the outbreak of Clarks The Sleepwalkers is in the latter
the First World War. In the four camp, and offers a splendid account of There were also many novels and short
years of conflict, over 16 million the long drift to war. For a more succinct, stories (eg Barbara Kortes Penguin
people were killed and 21 million were highly readable account, try Michael anthology) written about the war, including
wounded. Nothing on this scale had ever Howards very short introduction to the William Faulkners A Fable, based on a
been seen before. A whole generation of war. Barbara Tuchmans The Guns of mutiny in the French army, Ernest
young men was wiped out, societies were August is an earlier but still useful guide Hemingways A Farewell to Arms, which
transformed, the map of Europe was to the way events unfolded after the focused on the Italian front in the Alps, and
redrawn, and the seeds of the next war assassination of Archduke Franz- the neglected masterpiece trilogy Parades
were sown in the vindictive treaties of Ferdinand in Sarajevo the event that set End by Ford Madox Ford. There were also
Versailles and Aix-la-Chapelle. Things the ball rolling. some well-known titles from French and
would never be the same again. So it is German writers, such as Henri Barbusses
Under Fire (Le Feu) and Erich Remarques
hardly surprising that, a hundred years Poetry of the trenches All Quiet on the Western Front (Im Westen
on, this tragic event continues to
fascinate historians, writers and the The utter horror of trench warfare on the Nichts Neues), both of which give a
general public alike. Western Front ignited an explosion of gruesome account of trench warfare and
Rather than reviewing just a few literary creativity, much of it aimed at the the pathos and futility of it all. And the
books, I shall be suggesting a number of hypocritical political classes who sent war has continued to inspire writers up to
publications dealing with various aspects their youth to almost certain death in the the present. Michael Morpurgos War
of the Great War. All of these offer name of patriotism. As Rudyard Kipling Horse captured the popular imagination,
compelling reading, some may provide bitterly wrote: especially in its stage and film form.
rich inputs for teaching. Sebastian Faulkss Birdsong was an
If any question why we died,
intensely moving blend of a love story
Tell them, because our fathers lied.
with the underground war experiences of
Origins of the war Poets of the war, such as Wilfred Owen, sappers (soldiers who do engineering work,
There is still wide disagreement about the Siegfried Sassoon and Isaac Rosenberg, such as digging trenches and repairing
origins of the war. Some historians among many others, brought about a bridges). And Pat Barkers trilogy
attribute responsibility to the deliberate radical change in the way poetry was Regeneration (made into the film Behind the
policies of this or that country. Others see written, and their work is justly celebrated Lines) has been widely praised for its frank
it as the inevitable result of a lack of in collections such as George Walters and graphic depiction of the brutality of the
foresight, nationalistic ambitions and Penguin Book of First World War Poetry. war, including some of its sexual aspects.

38 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

Diaries and journalism authority (Fred Karnos Army), to
grin-and-bear-it forced cheerfulness,
Unsurprisingly, the war generated a rich Adie, K Fighting on the Home Front
(Pack up your troubles in your old kitbag). Hodder & Stoughton 2013
harvest of diaries, letters and popular Many of these songs were incorporated
journalism. The Wipers Times was a Barbusse, H Under Fire (Le Feu) Penguin
into the gloriously irreverent and 2003
newspaper published by soldiers subversive stage show and film, Oh What
themselves in Ypres (Wipers) between 1916 Barker, P Regeneration Penguin 1991
a Lovely War! (See the website references
and 1918. Most of it was made up of mildly Brittain, V Testament of Youth Virago 2004
below for songs and films about the war.)
disrespectful items, expressed in a Many of the songs appropriated existing Clark, C The Sleepwalkers Penguin 2012
somewhat schoolboyish humour. Making tunes, especially hymn tunes, which adds Faulkner, W A Fable Random House 2011
a joke of the intolerable conditions was a little more malicious relish to them. But Faulks, S Birdsong Vintage 1993
perhaps one way of surviving them. Joshua there is no doubt that these songs had a Ford, F Madox Parades End BBC Books
Levines Forgotten Voices of the Somme big impact on maintaining morale among 2012
brings together a wealth of memoirs from men living in intolerable conditions, and Graves, R Goodbye to All That Penguin
men of all ranks who fought on the Somme whose life expectancy was close to zero. 1960
in 1916. The war was also an historical Hemingway, E A Farewell to Arms Vintage
turning point for women all over Europe. 2013
With the men away fighting, they took over
Art Howard, M The First World War: A Very
jobs hitherto closed to them, and proved The war also produced some notable works Short Introduction OUP 2002
their right to be considered as equals. of art in all the countries involved. Artists Imperial War Museum The Battle of the
Joyce Marlows Virago Book of Women and like Otto Dix, Stanley Spencer, Paul Nash, Somme (1916/2005)
the Great War contains fascinating material Felix Vallotton and Oskar Kokoschka were Junger, E Storm of Steel (Stahlgewittern)
from diaries, letters, newspapers and prominent among these (see the website Penguin 2003
memoirs from across the whole continent. references). And the propaganda war Korte, B (Ed) The Penguin Book of First
Kate Adies Fighting on the Home Front generated the genre of the recruitment World War Stories Penguin 2007
focuses more on the situation in the UK. poster and the war cartoon. Levine, J (Ed) Forgotten Voices of the
Somme Ebury Press 2008

Memoirs Marlow, J (Ed) The Virago Book of Women

and the Great War Virago 1998
There were also some iconic full-length It is all too easy to become almost Morpurgo, M War Horse Egmont 1982
memoirs. Robert Gravess Goodbye to All pruriently fascinated by the war, especially Remarque, E M All Quiet on the Western
That, sets the war in the context of his with the distancing effect of time. And Front (Im Westen Nichts Neues) Vintage
young life before, during and following there is always the danger of romanticising 1929
the war and has interesting insights into the utter horror. A useful antidote is to view Sassoon, S Memoirs of an Infantry Officer
resistance to the war, particularly by his the Imperial War Museums documentary Penguin 1958
close friend Siegfried Sassoon. Sassoons film, 1916: The Battle of the Somme. Tuchman, B The Guns of August
own semi-fictional Memoirs of an Infantry Another might be to dwell on these words Ballantine Books 1994
Officer also documents the inside story of from A P Herberts poem: Walter, G (Ed) The Penguin Book of First
an officer from the landed classes trying World War Poetry Penguin 2007
to come to terms with the brutal reality of Nor will I now forget Westhorp, C (Ed) The Wipers Times
the war. Vera Brittains memoir Testament The filth and stench of war, Conway 2013
of Youth documents the irreparable loss The corpses on the parapet,
Selected websites:
of her fianc and her determination to The maggots on the floor.
overcome this through practical, and dave-lamb-solidarity
political, action. Seen from the German In this article, I have drawn on material (On mutinies)
side of the war is Ernst Jungers classic gathered for a one-day, pre-conference event
of the Literature, Media and Cultural Studies
memoir, Storm of Steel. Junger was in the (Multimedia history a very rich site)
SIG on The Pity of War: In Text, Film and Song
thick of the conflict for the duration of the at the IATEFL Harrogate Conference in April www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/FFW.htm
war and spares no gory detail of the 2014. This is a collaborative event with David (Comprehensive coverage of all aspects
fighting. Unlike his British counterparts, A Hill. This is to acknowledge his contribution. of the war)
however, he seems never to have www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/
questioned the necessity of the war. He Alan Maley has worked in FWWart.htm
the area of ELT for over (Deals with artists of WW1)
was a soldier and proud to be one. 40 years in Yugoslavia,
Ghana, Italy, France, www.world-war-pictures.com./
China, India, the UK, british-war-posters.htm
Songs Singapore and Thailand.
(Posters from WW1)
Since 2003 he has been a
Songs were an important part of the freelance writer and www.westernfrontassociation.com/
consultant. He has great-war-people/48-brothers-arms/
Great War legacy. They range from the published over 30 books
sentimental (Take me back to dear old and numerous articles, 372-songs-war.html
and was, until recently, (Songs from WW1)
Blighty), to the bawdy (Mademoiselle from Series Editor of the
Armentieres), to the critical (You were with Oxford Resource Books
for Teachers. =ttr_yls_3
the wenches, while we were in the (List of WW1 films)
trenches), to irreverent comments on

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 39


Ergative verbs
John Potts charts the intricacies and idiosyncrasies,
the contradictions and complications that make the English language
so fascinating for teachers and teaching. In this issue,
he considers boiling kettles and other linguistic mysteries.

ne of the very first questions I was asked when I Another way of looking at this explanation is to apply the
started teaching was to explain the following idea of cause and effect:
sentence: The kettle boiled. My inquisitor, a very 1c He boiled the water and, as a result, the water boiled.
conscientious student from Milan, wasnt trying to be
Clearly, this doesnt work with the second example above.
difficult or to catch me out she was genuinely puzzled.
We cant say:
I had little trouble explaining that the kettle itself wasnt 2c He salted the water and, as a result, the water salted.
boiling, but rather the water within it, and I thought I was in
This tells us that boil is an ergative verb, while salt is not.
the clear. With a bit of head-scratching, I could even recall
the rhetorical figure for it: synecdoche (although some
people may argue that its metonymy you could say that
Not surprisingly, several other verbs connected with the
asking whether its synecdoche or metonymy is a rhetorical
cooking process are also ergative, for example: bake, burn,
question ...).
cook, fry, melt, roast, simmer.
But, she persisted, whats the name for the grammatical
Another useful group or classification is verbs connected
side of it? After all, the water (or kettle) didnt just boil of its
with the idea of change, for example: begin, break, change,
own accord. Someone must have plugged it in (it was an
close, drop, crack, decrease, end, finish, improve, increase,
electric kettle) and set off the whole process. That got me
move, open, start, stop, tear, turn.
thinking about sentences like these:
1a He boiled the water. And another is connected with movement, including driving:
crash, drive, reverse, fly, sail.
1b The water boiled.
as opposed to sentences like these (where 2b is
But why do we need them? Well, one reason is that
2a He salted the water. sometimes we really dont want to say too much about who
2b The water salted. did what to whom particularly when we are the who and
the what is bad news. Compare these three versions of the
My thoughts centred around the concepts of active and
same scenario concerning a Ming vase, now in a thousand
passive, transitive and intransitive, but there was still
something missing.
1 Well, to tell you the truth, Ive broken the Ming vase.
2 Well, to tell you the truth, the Ming vase has been broken.
What I didnt know was the term for this kind of verb, and 3 Well, to tell you the truth, the Ming vase has broken.
I wasnt to find out for a few years until I came across it
In Sentence 1, Im being very honest. Sentence 2 is
serendipitously when looking for something else, as is
equivocal but since its a passive form, an agent is
usually the case. Verbs like this are called ergative verbs,
implied, at least. However, in Sentence 3 it seemed to
and can briefly be described as verbs that can be either
happen all by itself the existence of a guilty party has
transitive or intransitive, and whose subject when
been airbrushed from the picture.
intransitive corresponds to its direct object when transitive
(the definition is taken from Wikipedia).

40 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

LANGUAGE LOG: Ergative verbs

Some other languages also have ergative patterns (French, very nicely/well. I first became aware of this pattern a few
for example), while others do not. In some cases, reflexive years ago, and only in wine journalism and brochures, and it
verb patterns may cover the same concept. means that the wine is particularly pleasant and enjoyable
to drink. It does seem to provoke mirth and rolled eyes if
If youd like more examples and some online practice, try
one says it in company pretentious, moi? (as Miss Piggy
these web links:
would say).
British Council Learn English:
Youll notice immediately that we need to qualify the
ergative verb with an adverb here the unmodified ergative
wouldnt work. We cant say The 2005 vintage is drinking.
Random Idea English:
And would a similar pattern hold for eat, I wonder? For
example, for seasonal fruit or vegetables could one say
The raspberries are eating nicely just now, or for mature
And if youd like a very thorough treatment indeed of the cheeses The stilton was eating well? I tried a brief Google
several syntactic patterns that are possible, along with search, but found no immediate hits.
various sets of verbs grouped together, go to the Collins
Perhaps thats one to watch out for if our current foodie
COBUILD Bank of English site. Here are the links to the
culture continues. Meanwhile, Im now going to read
chapters on ergative verbs and ergative reciprocal verbs:
through this piece again, just to check that it reads well.
https://arts-ccr-002.bham.ac.uk/ccr/patgram/ch08.html John Potts is a teacher and teacher trainer
based in Zrich, Switzerland. He has written
and co-written several adult coursebooks, and
is a CELTA assessor. He is also a presenter for
Cambridge ESOL Examinations.
Finally, its the case that some rather unlikely verbs can be
ergative in some specialised meanings: one that has long
fascinated me is drink, as in: The 2005 vintage is drinking johnpotts@swissonline.ch

3 13 18 25 8 7 18 13 6 8 7 18 13 Congratulations to all Peter Bond, Dagenham, UK


24 25 9 22 19 25
those readers who Nadia Davydova, Cardiff, UK

Y R P O A R successfully completed
19 10 3 11 13 17 2 22 25 Anna Hasper, Wellington, New Zealand
A L B S E N I O R our Prize Crossword 61.

7 2 6 6 2 23 8 10 1 10 19 The winners, who will Agnes Howard, Palma de Mallorca, Spain


2 6 6 1 19 17 24 13 17 each receive a copy of Alice Knpfel, Ksnacht, Switzerland
I F F T A N Y E N the Macmillan English

11 15 2 6 1 23 25 2 13 25 7 Nadine Levron, Naveil, France

S H I F T C R I E R D Dictionary for Advanced

19 1 22 13 15 17 19 2 10 11
Beatrice Meggiato, Monbazillac, France

A T O E H N A I L Learners, are:
7 5 2 17 7 10 13 1 11 19 25
Susan Moller, Strasbourg, France
D W I N D L E T S A R Ptolemy Sandbach, Berlin, Germany

20 1 2 25 2 11 22 24

V T I R I S O Y Sandy Willcox, Dragon Peaks, South Africa

19 3 11 11 26 24 14 1 15 13 17

17 19 9 13 13 14 8 22 1 19 22 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

1 19 10 22 17 18 13 3 22 17 24
14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

19 11 2 12 13 19 3 10 13 7 21


10 13 19 25 17 2 17 18 2 11 19

18 22 1 11 9 13 23 11 10 2 10

1 25 13 19 11 8 25 13 1 15 19 1

13 16 23 13 11 11 1 15 13 4 13 1
5 2 10 10 6 22 10 10 22 5 2 1 11


22 5 17 13 25 13 20 13 25 24 5 15 13 25 13 Chinese

O W N E R E V E R Y W H E R E proverb

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 41

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. Dont forget to include your postal address.
All the contributors to It Works in Practice in this issue of ETp will receive
a copy of Reading for IELTS (Improve Your Skills series) by Sam McCarter and
Norman Whitney, published by Macmillan. Macmillan have kindly agreed to
be sponsors of It Works in Practice for this year.

Who are you? Who is your classmate?

When you work with young learners Oh no, not relative clauses! is a common The students took it in turns to read out
and prepare various activities for cry, heard from students and teachers alike. one of their defining relative clauses and
them, its good to make use of their With lower-level students, we often look at the whole class had to guess who they were
imaginations. defining and non-defining relative clauses defining. This way, the students could see
When I was teaching my class of together, or one hot on the heels of the the use of the relative clause.
eight year olds how to form basic other, so it can be hard for students to But what about the non-defining relative
questions to ask about personal separate the two in their minds. In my clauses? These add extra information, but
information (Whats your name? experience, the use of defining relative when would my students ever need to add
How old are you? and Where are you clauses is reasonably straightforward; it is extra information? How about when they
from?) I came up with an idea for a a valuable piece of grammar which our are gossiping?
game which the students found students can readily use. It is usually with
really appealing. the non-defining clauses where the I introduced this idea to my students, and
I got a piece of paper for every problems lie. started by eliciting an example of a defining
student in the class, and on each relative clause: Helen is the teacher who
Before approaching any class, I always ask used to live in Korea.
piece I wrote down information myself why the students need to learn the
about an invented person: their language we are about to cover, whether it I pointed out that this was not very
name, age and country. For example: be grammar or lexis. By this, I mean what interesting, and wrote the following
Angie, 10, Germany. I put all these in the students can actually use the grammar sentence on the board:
a box and each student in turn had or lexis for in their own personal lives. Helen, who is secretly married to Brad Pitt,
to choose one and hide the Defining relative clauses, for example, are is the teacher who used to live in Korea.
information from the rest of the very useful when you dont know the name
class. The other students then had The students then thought up some juicy
of something in the language that you are
to guess who each student was by gossip about each of their classmates and
learning: It is a thing which you use to
asking questions. Of course, this also completed the second column on their
unblock the toilet. However, they can also
provided good practice in giving handout. The use of the columns showed
be used to define your classmates when
answers: My name is ..., Im ... years the students clearly that the second column
you dont remember their names. In one
old and I come from . To start wasnt necessary to the sentence, and they
class, I felt that this would be a good start
with, the students can ask the really enjoyed thinking up fun gossip for
for introducing this grammar point to the
questions chorally, afterwards you each of their friends. Obviously, a quick
can ask individual students to ask reminder to be gentle might be necessary
them. So I prepared a worksheet with three but, overall, the students really enjoyed the
My students were excited about columns and I put the names of all of my activity and were better able to see the
taking part in this game and they students in the first column. I made a copy difference between the two types of relative
were eager see what name, age and for each student, folded the worksheets so clause. I also asked them to practise reading
country they had drawn. For the rest the students could only see the first and the their sentences aloud, reading the
of the class, it was no less thrilling third columns, and handed them out. See non-defining relative clause in a lower voice
to ask questions and find out who the photocopiable example on page 43. and at a faster speed, as we would when
their friends were. The students then had to interview their gossiping.
You can play the game until you classmates and complete the third column A quick follow-up the next day showed that
decide your students have had with something which made each person in the students had understood the difference
enough practice or until they get the room different. For example: Mario is my between the two relative clauses as well as
bored: mine would play it for ever! classmate who is late every day. Min Kyung is creating an example use for each.
Joanna Naporowska my classmate who gave me some chocolate Helen Eames
Grodzisk Mazowiecki, Poland yesterday. London, UK

42 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

Who is your classmate?
Classmates names

is my classmate who

is my classmate who

is my classmate who

is my classmate who

is my classmate who

is my classmate who

is my classmate who

is my classmate who

is my classmate who

is my classmate who

is my classmate who

is my classmate who

is my classmate who

is my classmate who

is my classmate who

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 43

good comprehensible definitions. For
Intercultural Competence those wishing to do further reading,
in Business English there is also a comprehensive Further
by Rudi Camerer & Judith Mader information reading list (laid out per
Series Editor: Eric Baber chapter). The CD-ROM provides further
Cornelsen 2012 resource material.
978-3065-20079-0 The authors say: We hope we have
been able to contribute in some way to
Essentially, this book is about how
improving intercultural communication for
business English trainers can help
BE trainers and their learners! In
their learners avoid breakdowns in
response to this, I would say that they
communication resulting from
have. This book is a mix of theory and
cultural faux pas and, should one
practical pointers that I will certainly be
occur, teach them strategies to
referring to in the future, with the aim of
smooth things over.
improving both my learners intercultural
The book contains sections
competence and my own.
on the background of intercultural
Julie Allen
aspects of business English,
Exeter, UK
lesson content considerations,
reference pages eg a glossary
and a CD-ROM. It is assumed Mind the App!
that trainers will be working by Thomas Strasser
with adults and that they will Helbling 2012
not be pre-service business 978-3-85272-556-7
The first seven chapters, which This title in the Helbling Languages The
make up Part 1 (Preparing the are used to compare the work of Edward Resourceful Teacher Series should be of
background), provide a theoretical T Hall, Geert Hofstede and Trompenaars/ interest to teachers who wish to integrate
overview, answering such questions as Hampden-Turner. more online materials, apps and tools
What is culture? and examining issues Part 2 of the book is composed of into their lessons. The author, Thomas
such as intercultural theory, the CEFR eight chapters. It follows the same format Strasser, has successfully created a
and intercultural competence, and as Part 1, but where the focus of Part 1 is winning collection of activities to use in
corporate cultures. theoretical, Part 2 (Teaching intercultural tandem with these online resources.
As the authors point out, all this competence) has a practical focus. There The books introduction gives a
replaces the necessity to read a large are chapters on teaching self-awareness, satisfactory overview of Web 2.0, and
number of books. I found the margin country specifics and communicative lists many advantages of the internet and
boxes particularly useful. These fulfil a competence, and also on assessing and social media for language teachers and
number of functions, having titles such as testing intercultural competence. learners. It also mentions some concerns,
Did you know? What is it? and Remember. I had expected plenty of practical such as privacy, plagiarism and
These seven chapters, although teaching ideas in this part of the book. copyright. The introduction concludes
primarily looking at the theoretical Instead, I found it to be more along the with a brief overview of the book.
aspects of intercultural competence, also lines of describing the features that The remainder of the book is divided
have activity boxes, with suggestions for should be included in a lesson on an into five sections. Section 1, Teacher Tools,
things that trainers can do with their intercultural competence course. These focuses on a few apps that teachers can
learners, thus providing practical features were very interesting and, use. These include websites for creating
reinforcement for both trainers and indeed, would equip learners to be more online quizzes and sharing PowerPoint
learners. Each chapter ends with a To effective communicators in business presentations on the web. Section 2,
think about box, allowing for further situations. Where actual activities to use Visualisation, covers activities using some
reinforcement, as well as an opportunity in lessons were suggested, I felt they of the websites that allow students to
for reflection. could be very engaging. However, I found manipulate images. Two examples are
The examples that are used to it rather frustrating that the teachers I have a dream (using Wordle to create a
illustrate points or set the scene for notes are only available on the CD-ROM. I word cloud) and Glogster it! (using
exploring culture are well chosen; they would have appreciated having them at Glogster to create an interactive
relate to current issues and have a global the end of each chapter within the book desktop). Section 3, Collaboration,
spread. The book is quite text heavy, but itself. Nevertheless, I will be including provides a number of activities that get
pictures and diagrams have been used to some of these activities in my future students to work together on projects
illustrate the examples and summarise business English lessons. such as brainstorming, collaborative
concepts and theories. For instance, they The glossary is well laid-out, with writing and generating feedback on a

44 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

lesson online. Section 4, Audio, One problem I had with the book
concentrates on music, voice and sound was that the number of activities in each
effects. Activities here show how to chapter was a little unbalanced. For
create podcasts and audio stories. example, Chapter 2 features 13 activities
Finally, Section 5, Writing, lists several for visualisation, while Chapter 4 presents
activities for helping students write a mere four activities that involve audio.
online, such as producing online binders However, overall, I was highly
and diaries. impressed with the range of apps
One of the strengths of this book is introduced in this book. In fact, I saw
the clear presentation of the activities. several that I want to explore next
Each activity contains information on how semester. In my view, it is an excellent
to register on the relevant website and book for any teacher wanting to use more
start using the applications. The in-class online resources.
activities are explained well, with lead-in, Hall Houston
online and follow-up steps, as well as Luzhu, Taiwan
suggestions for homework. The author
Subscribers can get a 12.5%
also provides some interesting variations
discount on this book. Go to the ETp
on most of the activities.
website and quote ETPQRO314 at
Another useful feature of this book is
the checkout.
the quick reference guide found near the Part A (Meaning-making inside and
back. All the activities are presented in between the people in the classroom) looks
chart form, so one can easily find things Meaningful Action: at the intrapersonal and interpersonal
to do, based on level, age, focus or Earl Stevicks influence aspects of learning, and includes chapters
available lesson time. on language teaching by Jane Arnold, Scott Thornbury, David
The website accompanying the book Edited by Jane Arnold and Tim Murphey Nunan, Herbert Puchta and Carolyn
(part of the Helbling Languages website) Cambridge University Press 2013 Kristjnsson. Kristjnsson, for example,
is well worth mentioning here. It contains 978-1107610439 demonstrates how support from teachers
several professionally-made instructional can aid the development of identity, agency
videos that show clearly how to navigate This book was published in May 2013, just
and community among the students in a
ones way through these applications. In before Earl Stevicks death in August. It is
class, while Herbert Puchta looks at what
addition, there is a list of over 40 websites a celebration of a great educator and the
ELT can learn from neuroscience and
that are related to learning technologies profound influence he had on language
educational theory in general.
and TEFL. teaching. Many successful teachers and
Part B (Meaningful classroom activity)
teacher trainers have found reading
considers ways of moving classroom activity
Stevicks Teaching Languages: A Way
away from that which is unproductive
and Ways a career-changing, if not a
towards that which will result in real learning.
life-changing experience. Indeed, Scott
Contributors in this section are Zoltn
Thornbury acknowledges on his
Drnyei, Penny Ur, Diane Larsen-Freeman,
popular blog that Stevicks book
Tim Murphey and Alan Maley.
marked a milestone in his own
In Part C (Frameworks for meaningful
professional development. This tribute
language learning), attention turns to the
to Stevick includes contributions from
structures and conditions that support the
19 ELT authors and academics who
language learning process. Here, there are
have all been influenced in some
chapters by Leo van Lier, Donald Freeman
way by his work.
and Madeline Ehrman.
The title, Meaningful Action, is a
The book ends, appropriately, with an
reference to Stevicks exploration of
Epilogue by Carolyn Kristjnsson which
how individual learners can engage
assesses the influence of Earl Stevick and
with activities that appeal to their
his contribution to the field of ELT, and a
sensory and cognitive processes,
series of tributes to him by those who
resulting in the construction of
found his work inspirational.
meaning according to the learners
Phil Dangerfield
own characteristics, together with
Leipzig, Germany
their relationship with the teacher
and other learners in the class. Subscribers can get a 12.5%
The book is divided into three discount on this book. Go to the ETp
parts, each of which explores a website and quote ETPQRO314 at
different aspect of meaningful action. the checkout.

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 45

The long and the short of it
The long
Human beings are fascinated by extremes: extreme weather (as seen last December in the UK!), extreme sizes (the worlds tallest ...,
the worlds largest ..., the worlds tiniest ...). This fascination extends to language as well, although as far as I know, there are none of the
well-deserved booby prizes available for the worst grammar, worst sentence and most meaningless report aired on radio or TV!

However, extremes of size are readily found in the English language.

Perhaps the most obvious, although this may be thought of as cheating, are place names. The best known in the UK is probably the
northern Welsh town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, usually known as Llanfair PG for brevity
(and sanity). The hint as to the construction of this mammoth lies in the presence of the four consecutive ls: even consonant-ridden Welsh
isnt that perverse! However, it often uses a double l and, here, you can find the join between two words which end and start with this
double ll respectively. So the whole thing is actually an elaborate topographical description, meaning:

[St] Marys Church (Llanfair) [in] the hollow (pwll) of the white hazel (gwyngyll) near (goger) the rapid whirlpool (y chwyrndrobwll) [and]
the church of [St] Tysilio (llantysilio) with a red cave ([a]g ogo goch)

Some ten years ago, there was an attempt by another Welsh village to topple Llanfair PG from its pinnacle. Llanfynydd adopted the name
Llanhyfryddawelllehynafolybarcudprindanfygythiadtrienusyrhafnauole. They were being threatened with the building of a wind
farm nearby, and the name apparently means: a quiet beautiful village; a historic place with rare kites under threat from wretched blades.

As far as real long words are concerned, my favourite has always been: antidisestablishmentarianism. This wonderful word rejoices in the
definition of being an agglutinative: a word composed of various elements or ideas bolted together. Here the word defines a 19th-century
British political movement opposing proposals for the disestablishment of the Church of England, and it is still regarded as the longest
non-medical, non-coined, non-technical word in the English language.

These qualifications are important, as pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis can be safely dismissed as being considered
superfluous, having been coined (invented) by the medical fraternity simply to claim the title of the longest English word. Surely not!

Floccinaucinihilipilification would seem to claim the Everest title its longer than antidisestablishmenarianism and it is a real, non-
technical word, but it is coined. It means the practice of describing something as having little or no value, and is my second favourite.

There are other lengthy examples of specific types of word. How many of these included in an English dictionary.

questions can you answer?

same whichever end you start)
palindrome (a word that reads the
1 Subdermatoglyphic is the longest accepted isogram can you work out what that is
3 It is the longest non-coined

from this word?

exactly once.
word to use all five vowels in order
2 Abstentious describes someone who does not have excessive appetites, particularly in 2 At 11 letters, this is the longest

food and drink. It is also the longest of word its kind what pattern can you spot in it?
only once.
1 A word in which every letter is used
3 What is peculiar about the word rotavator? What is the name given to words of this type? Answers

46 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

From the sublime to ...
Methionylthreonylthreonyglutaminisoleucine (abbreviated)
The full chemical name for the human protein titin is 189,819 letters long, and would take anyone with nothing better to do
about three and a half hours to pronounce. I did warn you about medical folk earlier ...

Lopadotemachoselachogaleokraniopterygon (abbreviated)
The longest word ever to appear in literature comes from Aristophanes play Assemblywomen, published in 391 bc.
Weighing in at 171 letters in Greek, this refers to a fictional (we hope) fricassee comprised of rotted dogfish head, wrasse,
wood pigeon and the roasted head of a dabchick, among other delights.

The short
Thus far, we have revelled in excess; as an antidote to the long This idea of writing economy has recently spawned a school of
place names with which I started, I have found no fewer than ten Hint Fiction. This espouses the short story tradition, but limits the
places simply called A. With various accents over the letter, most stories to a maximum of 25 words, with the few carefully-chosen
of them come from Scandinavia, with five in Norway alone, and words hinting at a longer and more complex chain of events. Here
three in Troms. Could be confusing! is an example:

Worldwide, I found 27 single-letter place names ... Mix up by Jack Dean

She went out to get us a Christmas tree. Nine months later she
Brevity of the written word probably began with the telegram.
came back with a baby. Bit of a mix up.
A widely-used form of (almost) immediate communication, it was
charged by the word, so encouraging economy of writing.

Almost certainly the shortest recorded telegraphic exchange was COMPETITION!

between Oscar Wilde and his publisher. Wilde, living in Paris at the Could you or your students write an interesting story
time, sent a telegram to his London publisher to find out how his in fewer than 25 words? Send your story to
latest book was doing which simply read: ? helenagomm@pavpub.com before June 20th.
The reply was equally brief: ! Dont forget to include your name and postal address.
We will give a prize to the best one.
Another brief message may sadly be apocryphal, but is too good
to omit. It concerns General Sir Charles Napier, who was
Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in India in the 19th Not everyone is gifted (or capable) of verbal economy; sometimes
century. He was reputed to have sent a one-word telegram to his it is for a specific (and not altogether honest) reason. For example,
superiors: PECCAVI. In Latin, this means I have sinned. Napier in 1957, Senator Strom Thurmond set a record in the US Senate
had succeeded in taking the whole Indian province of Sindh, so which lasted until very recently: he spoke for a total of 24 hours 20
the pun would have told the whole story very economically indeed! minutes on a filibuster against the 1957 Civil Rights Bill, thereby
curtailing the debate on it and attempting to get it thrown out.
Another short and delightful cable was sent by journalist Robert
Benchley to his New York editor on arriving in Venice for the first Sadly, the world record is a speech by Alex Cequea, a professional
time: STREETS FULL OF WATER. PLEASE ADVISE. speaker, given for 34 hours at the Fairfield Arts and Conference
Center, mostly about his own life and his familys journey from
The charge-per-word system gave rise to some ambiguous
Venezuela to the United States. Riveting, Im sure! I can get to
messages: A reporter once sent the actor Cary Grant a telegram
Australia in that time and halfway back ...
enquiring about his age: HOW OLD CARY GRANT? The actor
supposedly replied: OLD CARY GRANT FINE. HOW YOU? In English, we have several phrases which are very descriptive of
those who speak at great length:
Telegrams werent always to everyones liking, however. Mark
Twain found brevity foreign to his nature. Receiving this telegram Long-winded, a windbag, fond of the sound of his own voice,
from a publisher: NEED 2-PAGE SHORT STORY TWO DAYS, he never uses one word when 20 will do (this can be reversed to
replied: NO CAN DO 2 PAGES TWO DAYS. CAN DO 30 PAGES 2 illustrate those blessedly brief souls), talks the hind legs off a
DAYS. NEED 30 DAYS TO DO 2 PAGES. donkey (donkeys are tough that takes a lot of doing!) ...

Not all authors felt the need to be loquacious. Ernest Hemingway Of course, get many people on their favourite subject and it is hard
was quoted as claiming that his best story consisted of just six to shut them up. On the next page is a photocopiable worksheet
words: For sale: baby shoes, never worn. about one such person. You might like to use it with your students.

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 47

Going on and on ...
Put the students into pairs. Give a copy Ask them to do the two activities. Encourage the students to discuss
of the left half of this worksheet to each talkative people they know. Have they
When they have come up with their own
Student A and a copy of the right half to ever had a long conversation with a
ideas for a punchline, tell them the
each Student B. Tell them not to show stranger on a plane, bus or train? What
original: So tell me, what do you think
each other their texts. did they talk about?
about my grandson?

Student A Student B
1 Read part of a joke about a talkative woman on a plane. 1 Read part of a joke about a talkative woman on a plane.
Ask your partner questions to find the missing Ask your partner questions to find the missing
information (16). Answer your partners questions. information (16). Answer your partners questions.
You start. Your partner starts.
Example: What was the womans name? Example: Who did the woman sit next to?

2 The punchline (gap 7) of this joke is missing. What do 2 The punchline (gap 7) of this joke is missing. What do
you think is the last thing the woman on the plane said you think is the last thing the woman on the plane said
to her fellow passenger? Discuss your ideas with your to her fellow passenger? Discuss your ideas with your
partner. partner.

Hi! My name is (1) ______________, said the woman as she sat Hi! My name is Mary-Beth, said the woman as she sat down

down next to a tired-looking businessman on a crowded plane. next to a tired-looking (1) ______________ on a crowded plane.

Its so nice to meet you! Im flying to (2) ______________ for my Its so nice to meet you! Im flying to New York for my

grandsons birthday. Im so excited! I remember when he was (2) ______________. Im so excited! I remember when he was

just a little thing, lying there in my arms, and now hes already a just a little thing, lying there in my arms, and now hes already

toddler! Oh, he was such a tiny little baby, and his little cries a toddler! Oh, he was such a tiny little baby, and his little cries

were so sweet not that he cried much. Oh no, he was a really were so sweet not that he cried much. Oh no, he was a really

easy baby; he slept through the night within a couple of months (3) ______________ baby; he slept through the night within a

and all smiles from his very first day. Its really hard to believe couple of months and all smiles from his very first day. Its

hes (3) ______________ years old! Dont they just grow up so really hard to believe hes three years old! Dont they just grow

quickly! And hes the most adorable thing youve ever seen! You up so quickly! And hes the most adorable thing youve ever

know what? Hold on, hold on, I think I might have a picture on seen! You know what? Hold on, hold on, I think I might have a

me. Let me take a look in my (4) ______________, yes, here it is, (4) ______________ on me. Let me take a look in my bag, yes,

just look at him, isnt he adorable? Do you see those cute little here it is, just look at him, isnt he adorable? Do you see those

dimples on his cheeks? Simply adorable! I could stare at his cute little dimples on his cheeks? Simply adorable! I could stare

gorgeous little face all day. Oh my, and you should hear him at his gorgeous little face all day. Oh my, and you should hear

(5) ______________! He is just the cutest child. He says to me in him on the phone! He is just the cutest child. He says to me in

the sweetest little voice Hi, Grandma! Oh, it just gets me all the sweetest little voice (5) ______________! Oh, it just gets me

teary-eyed to think about it. all teary-eyed to think about it.

After what seemed like at least two hours for the poor man After what seemed like at least two (6) ______________ for

sitting next to her, the woman at last seemed to realise that the poor man sitting next to her, the woman at last seemed to

perhaps she was talking a bit too much. You know what? realise that perhaps she was talking a bit too much. You know

I feel (6) ______________! she said. Here I am, just talking and what? I feel terrible! she said. Here I am, just talking and

talking, without letting you get in a word edgeways. So tell me, talking, without letting you get in a word edgeways. So tell me,

(7) _________________________________________________ (7) _________________________________________________

48 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com Scrapbook compiled by Ian Waring Green

These students will have no interest in
the BE course if the traditional teaching
pedagogy is not transformed.

How do I change the


by doing
The goal of BE teaching should be to
enable the learners to employ the
English language accurately and fluently
in a business context. It is my belief that
it should be taught according to the
principles of constructivism: learning by
doing. Constructivism, as a philosophy
and a theory of communication, has
emerged as a dominant paradigm in
education in recent decades. The
Jing Shi takes three Tell me, I will forget; show me, activities I use to replace the instructivist
I may remember; involve me, teaching and learning methods
steps from instructivism I will understand. previously experienced by my students
Chinese proverb are rooted in constructivism. According
to constructivism. to constructivist-based pedagogy, the

learning process consists of the
hina has the largest number of construction of knowledge by the
English language learners in learners themselves. While they
the world. However, English construct this knowledge on their own,
teaching in China is notorious the teacher acts as a valuable helper and
for producing bubble English: the a facilitator of the process. These
learners can pass high-stakes English activities are divided into three steps.
tests, but they are barely able to
communicate in English. It is widely Step 1:
recognised that the instructivist-based
approach to general English teaching in
Free writing
China is in great need of reform. Speaking is a real-time activity, in which
Meanwhile, the need for business English there is normally no time for careful
(BE) is increasing because of Chinas consideration of language. Writing, on
greater participation in international the other hand, allows time for the
business. However, the teaching of students to focus their attention on
business English is still fairly rudimentary. language forms.
So how can we make BE teaching more Moreover, writing is a vital skill for
effective and interesting in a country BE students and one that they need to
where the entire English teaching be equipped with before they enter the
profession is afflicted with problems? business world.
In my classes, the students are
What makes teaching required to write on a given topic which
is related to the skills they have to master:
BE challenging? anything from writing meeting minutes
The students I teach are BE majors in a to putting together business proposals.
prestigious university in the south of They are expected to use the words and
China, specialising in foreign language expressions, sentence structures and
teaching. Teaching them is challenging genres that they have learnt in class.
for three reasons. First, the students First, the students brainstorm ideas
have no work experience so they lack and jot them down. They then have to
sufficient background information to complete the writing task within a time
understand authentic business language; limit: between 15 and 30 minutes,
second, the monotonous genres of BE depending on the complexity of the
bore and demotivate them; third, they topic. This time limit pushes them to
have been exposed to ineffective think in the target language, instead of
instructivist-based pedagogy for almost resorting to literal translation of their
ten years in their general English classes. mother tongue. The task also mimics the

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 49


way of doing pairwork than getting the session has the effect of making the
students to work with the person sitting presenters more engaged with their
next to them. I make it clear that they material: they need to have a clear

by doing
can help their partners with the picture of what they are presenting and
pronunciation, grammar and structure deliver it as a proper presentation, rather
of their written work, which they are than just reading out their written work.
going to use to make a presentation. The ability to give a speech and answer
real business world, where people often While they are doing this, I move questions on the spot is a necessary skill
have to deal with business documents around the classroom, monitoring and for business students, so this provides
under great pressure. As a result, this coordinating the activity, but only useful practice.
kind of practice will be very beneficial offering help if it is necessary. I keep an Later, I will also comment on their
for their future jobs. eye out for the areas in which my performances. Whenever possible, I
By doing this writing exercise, the students usually have problems: record the whole process of the
students are compelled to reflect on expressing their ideas accurately in presentations and question and answer
what they know and what they do not English; choosing the precise English sessions on a digital camera. After class,
know about the topic. The activity equivalents in the business context; I send them a copy of the video clips so
encourages them to draw on their confusion about the grammar, or they have an audio-visual record of their
existing knowledge of business-related uncertainty about the genre of writing performance.
expressions and to become more in the business context. This feedback helps the students
self-reliant. Of course, it is important to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses
select the writing topics carefully: they
should be relevant to the teaching Step 3: during the learning process, not just at
the end of the course. The feedback
objectives of the class and should give Formative assessment forms are filed in each students portfolio,
the students an opportunity to apply of presentations which helps them keep track of their
what they have learnt. This type of progress. They can also compare the
hands-on, minds-on exercise, which I choose two students at random and
ask them to give oral presentations of comments with the video clips of their
allows the students to gain active performance, noticing the differences
practice in the major language skill of their written work to the whole class.
The other students have to listen and between their own impressions of how
writing, rather than passively receiving well they did and the opinions of others.
information from the teacher, ensures complete an assessment form. The
assessment form is designed according This form of assessment creates an
their involvement in the class and increased sense of responsibility,
increases their motivation. to the principles of formative
assessment, the requirements of giving ownership and entrepreneurship on the
The pieces of writing produced in part of the students.
this first step are used as material for presentations in a business context and
giving presentations in the second step. the requirements of the topic. Formative
assessment is administered before the
completion of a course and has a much
Step 2: closer relationship to instruction, Students will lack motivation if we teach
Giving presentations because the results can be fed back into in boring and ineffective instructivist
classroom teaching. I see the formative ways. The teaching procedure described
Making a business presentation in above is an engaging and interactive
English or giving any kind of speech in assessment that I conduct as an
indispensable part of the learning method which has brought a lot of fun to
English tends to put Chinese students my BE course and increased my students
under pressure. However, acquiring the process. It is an ongoing, development-
oriented process of collaborative motivation. I hope that my proposal can
skill of making a presentation in English contribute to the undeniable need to
is a necessity for BE majors. These are engagement that reveals the underlying
causes of the students performance educate students to be more informed,
the students who will potentially go on curious and critical in BE language
to become the major workforce of the problems and helps them overcome
those problems in their future studies teaching and learning.
Chinese multinational companies.
Before asking the students to give and careers.
Jing Shi holds a Masters
formal presentations to the class, I set up The students are asked to write degree in Globalization
down the main ideas expressed by the and Development from
pairwork activities, which act as a kind of the University of Warwick,
rehearsal. Having the chance to practise two presenters. They are also expected UK. She has been an EFL
first with another student makes them to give a score for content, language and lecturer at Guangdong
University of Foreign
less anxious and more excited about the delivery, and to make constructive Studies in Guangzhou,
idea of giving an oral presentation. comments on each presenters China, for eight years. Her
research interests include
I ask the students in one row to turn performance. At the end of the applications of technology
round and discuss the writing they presentations, each presenter has to in language teaching and
learning, especially in the
produced in Step 1 with the students answer two questions from their business context.
sitting in the row behind them. In my classmates and me about their
classes, this has proved to be a better presentation. This question and answer sj@oamail.gdufs.edu.cn

50 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


Mind your
Ps and Qs!
Clare Fielder helps her ome people might regard it as a because they actually recognise these as
cultural clich, but in comparison mistakes and are usually not disturbed
students make a good to some other nationalities, by errors, as long as the message is clear.
British people tend to be polite. However, most native speakers do not
impression. Of course, different cultures have make allowances for requests or
different concepts of what being polite statements which are not phrased very
actually means; translated from some politely, as they do not realise that this is
languages, some formulations may a language-related mistake, and may
sound overly direct to a native English simply assume that their interlocutor is
speaker, while translated from others a little bit rude, or odd.
they may be perceived as vague or As business English teachers, then,
circuitous. In international business the responsibility is on us to ensure that
settings, understanding these differences our learners not only gradually master
and acquiring intercultural lexis, grammar, pronunciation, etc, but
communicative competence is essential, also polite language and politeness
and failure to grasp these pragmatic
aspects of language usage may result in
serious financial and economic losses. Understanding
In many business English textbooks,
though, the pragmatic input of polite
the conventions for
language seems to take a back seat. politeness is arguably
Useful phrases for business
communication tend to include please and more important for
thank you, and often make use of verb business English learners
forms generally considered to add a
polite touch. However, these verb forms than getting verbs in
are rarely highlighted as such, and the the correct tenses
syntactic and pragmatic intricacies of how
to formulate your requests or statements
so that your English-speaking audience norms for communication within their
perceive them as polite are often neglected. field of business. Luckily, you dont need
Nonetheless, understanding the a degree in sociolinguistics to be able to
language norms and conventions for teach politeness to learners for their
politeness within the field of business business communication.
communication in the Anglo-American Below are some ideas of how to go
sphere is arguably more important for about it, with a few example texts Ive
business English learners than getting used for these tasks with my own
verbs in the correct tenses. Native students, who are native speakers of
speakers who are communicating with a German (German speakers are known
non-native speaker will make allowances for being overly direct when speaking
when they notice, for example, English). These can easily be adapted
grammatical or pronunciation mistakes, for your own teaching contexts.

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 51


Mind your Example 1

Hello Miss XY,
Example 2
Dear Miss XY,

Ps and Qs! My request to join the course ENG

101 in March was not approved but
only 28 students were approved.
I tried to sign up for the course ENG 101
in March but unfortunately did not get a
place. Having checked again, it seems
Therefore, I want to request a spot that only 28 spaces on the course are
Politeness in practice on that course in March. If that is not taken at the moment, and I was
The key element in all the activities possible, I would then want to join wondering whether it would be possible
described here is encouraging the learners the course in April. I hope you help to attend that course after all. If that
to engage in active noticing. Learners me quickly because there is no time doesnt work, would it perhaps be
need to notice, for example, the left and if I cannot participate in the possible for me to participate in the course
differences between their own language ENG 101 this year, I will have to in April? I hope that we are able to figure
and English and the features of the completely restructure my something out, since these are the two
language used in English correspondence apprenticeship schedule, which will courses that best fit my apprenticeship
to make texts sound courteous. Of course, cause big problems because schedule, and Im not sure how easily I
active production will also be necessary courses start next week. can change things at this late date.
for the learners to practise and fully I look forward to your quick answer. Thank you in advance for your help!
internalise the new language and phrases,
but I think every teaching situation will
require a slightly different production and to highlight the language features to texts for how many polite features
task so Ill leave that up to you. that make them sound more polite when they include. They can then use this
compared with the least polite one(s). table to analyse further examples, or
Ranking language To make it really communicative, the (even better) their own emails, letters
This first activity is suitable when you learners should do this in groups, with and other texts they are writing in
have a series of lessons that you can use each group working on a different English for their work.
to work on polite language. example and presenting their findings to
the rest of the class. (Some examples of Since devoting a whole series of lessons
Step 1: the language features they might find are to work on politeness is sometimes
Rank examples by politeness shown in the table below.) unfeasible, here are some other ways you
Where possible, use texts (eg emails or could go about teaching polite language
letters) that your learners have written Step 3: in a business context.
which are not very polite according to Improve the less polite texts
Anglo-American standards, but make Get the learners to incorporate the Comparing languages
sure that they are sufficiently disguised features they discovered in Step 2 into
In this task, the learners should develop
so that the learners cant recognise who the texts that were ranked as less polite.
an understanding of how their native
produced them. Get the whole class to Step 4: language expresses politeness and how
give each one a score out of ten for how Design a ranking table different that is from English. The task
polite it sounds. Using the features collected by the is most suitable for use with classes of
This works best if the texts all serve groups in Step 2, the learners draw up a learners with the same L1 (and where the
the same purpose, eg making requests, table like the one below to award points teacher can also speak this language).
complaints, invoice reminders, etc.
Using various examples that are more/
Polite language feature Occurs Occurs Doesnt
less polite should allow the class to rank
often rarely occur
the texts according to the level of
politeness. As an extension, you could
please (most neutral at end of sentence)
get the learners to interview other native
English speakers and compare the subjunctive modals (eg would, could, might)
rankings given by native and non-native
speakers. past continuous (eg I was wondering, I was hoping)
Above are two example emails. The
first I would rank as not very polite at requests with just (to minimise imposition)
all. The second one I would rank as
suggestions/requests with maybe
nice and polite.
Step 2: seem for indirect statements
Explain the ranking
expressions of gratitude
Once you have ranked the example texts
according to how polite they are, get the Im afraid for apologies
learners to look at the most polite ones,

52 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

Find examples of phrases from
German English
business correspondence relevant to
your learners fields of work, both in Wrden Sie mir bitte eine Preisliste Would you please send me a price list?
English and in their native language. zusenden?
Get the learners to translate the
documents into the other language Sie finden die Rechnung im Anhang. You(ll) find the invoice attached.
and see whether, for example, the text
Ich kann Ihren Anhang nicht ffnen. I cant open your attachment.
translated into English sounds the same
as the original English documents. Ich muss das Datum unserer I must change the date of our meeting.
They will probably conclude that the Besprechung abndern.
translated versions do not sound like the
native English formulations, and you can Knnten Sie mir vielleicht eine Could you maybe send me a pricelist,
then ask them to highlight the differences Preisliste zusenden, bitte? please?
and, depending on their level, label the
features that make the polite-sounding Es scheint ein Problem mit dem ffnen There seems to be a problem opening
phrases sound so polite. des Anhangs zu geben. Knnten Sie the attachment you sent. Could you
den Anhang vielleicht noch mal maybe resend it? Thanks!
On the right are some examples from my
schicken, bitte? Vielen Dank!
students. The arrows show which way
the sentences were translated.
to help your learners realise that even Brown, P and Levinson, S Politeness:
Acting the language grammatically correct sentences may not Some Universals in Language Usage CUP
Using similar examples to those used in be the right choice in certain settings. 1987
the ranking activity (or the same ones), Although learners who work in Maier, P Politeness strategies in business
get volunteers to read out an email or business settings will probably understand letters by native and non-native English
how important it is to create a good speakers English for Specific Purposes
letter and try to act out the feelings
11 (3) 1992
behind what they think writer meant to impression in business communication,
imply. (My guess is that they will read they may need extra guidance on how
Clare Fielder works as an
out the text in a rather neutral tone.) being polite may entail behaving and ESP lecturer and teacher
using language differently in English from trainer at the University of
Then read out the same example text Trier, Germany. She holds
the way they do it in their first language. an MA in German and
yourself, but use intonation to
Politeness (or a lack of it!) can really make Translation, as well as the
exaggerate how impolite (or circuitous, Trinity TESOL Diploma.
or break a business deal, so it is vital for Her key interests are
depending on the learners L1) certain
our learners to be aware of features of teaching methodologies,
passages or phrases sound. translation studies and
the language used to make business EAP. As part of her
If you like, get the learners to try to communication effective and appropriate, professional development,
imitate your acting so that they really and to learn to use these in their own she also hosts a blog,
which can be found at
develop a feeling for how certain dealings with native speakers and that is clareseltcompendium.
phrases or passages would be exactly what I hope these activities will wordpress.com.
perceived by a native English speaker. help you enable your learners to do. fielder@uni-trier.de

Then, discuss with the class which

phrases imply a different feeling or
attitude of the writer than they
originally thought. This is the noticing
Welcome to the
stage, helping the learners to develop
an understanding of the aspects of
ETp website!
language to watch out for when
writing business correspondence.
As a subscriber to ETp, you have full access to our website.
As a follow-up, they could also
improve the original texts and act Browse through our archive of Watch videos and read blogs by
out those, or compose their own lists downloadable articles from previous award-winning blogger Chia Suan
of dos and donts for polite business issues ideal for inspiration or Chong.
correspondence in English. research. Download our guidelines for
Add your opinions to ongoing contributors and think about the article
discussions and comment on that you could write for the magazine.
The activities described here can be articles that you have read. Renew your subscription online and
adapted for almost any group of Visit our bookshop for make sure you dont miss a single
learners. Perhaps they will also inspire recommendations and discounts. issue.
you to develop some tasks of your own

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 53

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Any volunteers?
Nicola Yeeles looks at what can be gained by working for free.

m afraid we have no classrooms because they wanted to work with But volunteering is not just about
available at the moment, so could particular learners in a charity setting; getting used to life without the teachers
you take these children out into as part of a working holiday. book. As a professional development
the playground and teach them? opportunity, a volunteer placement
My heart sank. I had done hours of Others are simply altruistic. Anna Pires, could offer you experience of:
preparation for the teenagers in my new assistant director of studies at
International House, Braga, Portugal, a different aspect of language, such as
school, but none of it involved teaching English for academic purposes;
outside under a tree in the sweltering was offered money by parents when she
Sri Lankan heat. taught for free at her sons nursery a new environment for example,
Anyone who has taught in a school, but refused as she knew that teaching in a church hall rather than a
low-resource environment will no doubt some parents wouldnt have been able to school;
be wearing a wry smile as they read. But afford it. a different country;
for me, a closeted teacher more used to
teacher training;
sparkling classrooms and well-stocked
bookshelves, it took a while to
I needed to step working alongside teachers with
understand that we did have resources. up and be less of a alternative methods or specialisms.
The ground was our board; the students
own experiences the material. After a few facilitator hiding Plunged into a new setting, I was
surprised to overhear Sri Lankan
moments panic, I scratched a tic-tac-toe behind a mountain of colleagues teaching students through
grid on the ground with a stick and lectures. Not very communicative, I
instigated a game of guess the question expensive photocopies, thought. But those classes were
with personal answers. Looking back, it
was the perfect place for us to get to
and more of a leader instructive for me, too. Gradually I
learned that I needed to step up and be
know each other, relaxing in the students and guide less of a facilitator hiding behind a
own space without distractions. For me, mountain of expensive photocopies, and
that first lesson was a valuable one: use more of a leader and guide. It was about
what you have, not what you think you Learning as a volunteer working more humanistically with the
need. My rucksack full of photocopies students who had walked into class that
Im afraid my own motivation was rather
already seemed a little irrelevant. morning, not being tied to the lesson
selfish. My position in Sri Lanka was
organised by the UK charity Challenges plan I had written the night before.
Teaching as a volunteer Worldwide, who arrange overseas
And so began my three months placements for UK professionals to Developing as a
volunteering in Sri Lanka. The V word facilitate an exchange of skills between volunteer
frequently divides opinion. All too local employees and the incoming
often, so-called voluntourism is aimed worker. After some time outside the Many teachers report that volunteering
at young, inexperienced graduates who classroom, I wanted to improve my gives them a chance to reassess their
pay handsomely for the privilege of teaching in a challenging setting. methods for the first time since their
working in communities that really need Id grown a little used to the routine training. Nick Havard, a DELTA-
skills, not students. But outside this of classroom work, and realised that Id qualified professional who volunteered in
scenario, professional teachers like us become reliant on staffrooms stuffed Zanzibar, agrees: The culture of teaching
typically volunteer for a number of with resources that do the thinking for in Zanzibar was very different and this
reasons. Among my colleagues are those you. As one of my five-year-old Sri made me consider why I do things in the
whove worked for nothing for the Lankan students posted flashcards into way Ive been taught, and understand
following reasons: Boris the (waste paper) Bin, I reflected through discussing with other teachers
that creativity often emerges from why they taught in a lecture style.
to keep their skills up-to-date while Volunteer positions are often
necessity. Admittedly, the idea backfired
job-hunting or studying; temporary because few of us can afford
slightly at the end of the lesson when the
because its the only job they could child kissed Boris goodbye, then stuck to be without paid work for long, and
find; his head inside the bin. schools are more likely to attract unpaid

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 55


Any volunteers?
but have since found out that it helps! 7 Learn to exploit materials fully.
Theres no shame in admitting that by For every photocopy or idea, ask
helping others, youre also helping yourself: have I squeezed the full
workers if the commitment is short, yourself, and invigorating your career. potential out of this? Consider
although the UK charity Voluntary exploring topic, lexis, grammar, register,
Service Overseas (VSO) sends people for Lessons learnt as a pronunciation and the possibilities for
up to two years, with the aim of making
a sustainable contribution. As a very
volunteer teaching study skills.

temporary feature of the school and Here are some of the lessons I will take 8 Become a hoarder.
college I was working in, I was ever away from my time as a volunteer. They A picture file is easily built up over time.
conscious of my impending departure. I are all ideas for teaching in a low- Interesting souvenirs, found objects and
did my best to compensate by starting a resource environment, but of course even your weekly shopping list can all
self-access section for students, creating they would work equally well in any become classroom resources if you look
resources for other teachers and teaching context. at them in a new light.
assisting with staff training. But, in
1 Explore Dogme. 9 Consider adopting a task-based
many ways, I failed to make my project
Dogme is a learner-centred approach approach.
sustainable the English club I started
did not continue and the childrens that prioritises conversation skills and Your students could, perhaps, plan and
classes stopped. rejects the overuse of materials, implement their own small business,
Few of us worry that we wont see including textbooks. The Yahoo! Dogme English day or sports event.
our students ever again, expecting them group is a good place to find out more.
10 Develop a self-access section.
to reappear for another course, or a Subscribe by emailing dogme-
subscribe@yahoogroups.com. A one-stop area for the few resources
future exam. But in a short placement,
you do have ensures that all your
every second counts and, like other 2 Consider the mother tongue as a students benefit. Dont forget to include
resource. instructions and a sign-out sheet, to
It is difficult to think of Ask your students to translate favourite make sure you keep track of those
songs or literature, or discuss English precious materials!
another three months versions of well-known jokes or sayings.
that have added so 3 Use authentic material for listening More information on volunteering
These organisations can arrange
much to my CV by way practice.
volunteer placements for professional
Consider whether you could use
of teacher training, www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish, songs on
English language teachers:
Challenges Worldwide (UK)
resource creation and YouTube or the BBC World Service for www.challengesworldwide.org
listening practice. If you have access to a
personal development computer, record good English speakers The Peace Corps (USA)
talking about current topics or allow
your students to call them on Skype. Projects Abroad (Australia, Canada, UK
volunteers, I was teaching classes that and USA)
only existed because I was there to be an 4 Invite the students to become www.projects-abroad-pro.org
extra pair of hands. It was crucial to teachers. Tenteleni (UK)
prioritise those language points that are The students can enjoy writing material www.tenteleni.org
issues for Sinhala and Tamil speakers, for their peers and for other classes. VSO (UK)
and focus on their most challenging Examples include treasure hunts, gap-fill www.vso.org.uk
skill: listening. That urgency is certainly activities, texts with comprehension
useful for a regular teaching schedule, questions, quizzes and instructions on Nicola Yeeles is a British
for while we may be with students for how to do something. teacher and writer with
longer, its still in our gift to provide over ten years
experience in education.
enough ideas and encouragement for a 5 Encourage your students to write She teaches on a
lifetime of language learning. freelance basis in Bristol,
their own syllabi. UK, and has previously
What about a volunteers prospects, In lieu of a textbook, create a wish-list taught students in China,
post-placement? It is certainly difficult Portugal, Latvia and
of can-do statements and then ask the Poland. Alongside
to think of another three months of my students to reflect regularly on their teaching, she has written
career that have added so much to my on education for the
progress. Primary Times, The
CV by way of teacher training, resource Guardian Higher
creation and personal development. 6 Make your own materials. Education Network and
University Business.
Nick Havard has found his experiences Children can create their own skittles, Her website is
are a useful talking point in interviews. puppets, charts and flashcards from www.nicolayeeles.co.uk/
He says: I never volunteered in order to recycled materials; these can then be
improve my chance of getting better jobs, reused time and time again in class. info@nicolayeeles.co.uk

56 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

Write for us
We are always looking for fresh ideas that will appeal to
our readers. Whether you are an experienced writer or
a practising teacher with something to say, we would
like to hear from you. We cannot promise to publish
your article, but we do promise to read it carefully!

General guidance Article length Submitting articles

The best advice we can give is Read ETp. Most articles in ETp are between one and three We accept articles by email, but if you decide to
If you are already a subscriber and we hope pages in length, although we occasionally send one this way, please ensure that anything
you are you will know that we publish a wide publish both shorter and longer articles. you send is free of viruses.
range of features and articles dealing with Approximate word counts are as follows:
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personal development, methodology, pedagogy, Two pages: around 1,400 words your computer and do not allow any of your
technology, language and linguistics, teaching Three pages: around 2,200 words colleagues who read and comment on your
resources and a lot more besides. article to do so, as it can cause issues.
If illustrations or diagrams are required, please
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Regular features and include your name and address within the
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If we do not accept your article, it may be
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publication elsewhere.
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you if we already have several articles on the information about this is available on request.
If you want to be published quickly, it is often
same subject waiting to be published, and are a good idea to submit an article to one of the
unlikely to accept another one. Contact details
following sections: teaching young learners,
business English, teacher development and English Teaching professional
Starting point technology. We are often looking for articles Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd
You may wish to submit shorter pieces to to fill these sections, and we are particularly Rayford House, School Road, Hove BN3 5HX
begin with. We are very pleased to receive interested in photocopiable activities. UNITED KINGDOM
letters and suggestions for publication, Tel: +44 (0)1273 434 943
and contributions to the TALKBACK! and Email: info@etprofessional.com
IT WORKS IN PRACTICE sections of the
All this information can be found at: Contact the editor: Helena Gomm, at
magazine.Good, innovative photocopiable
materials are particularly welcome. www.etprofessional.com helena.gomm@pavpub.com
and click on Write for us

Seeing how someone else approaches an

issue can sometimes encourage you to
examine your core beliefs and your own
training methodology.
Working with a colleague can also
reduce the preparation time, as it is

possible to divide the material creation
between the two of you. This is
particularly important in contexts where
the delivery of training sessions is an
add-on to your regular teaching load.
The preparation process can be more
exciting and motivating, with almost
immediate feedback on your ideas and
hand-outs from the co-trainer. In my
experience, training sessions planned
and prepared with a colleague come
together quite quickly, and there is often

a greater energy and vibrancy to the
Nick Baguley sees the ach year it is a good idea to try
process. For me, there is the added
to do something a little
motivation of doing something that I
value of working with a different in our professional
have a good deal of experience in
lives. It is good for our
(planning training sessions), but in a
colleague. development, adds a sense of challenge
slightly different way.
and variety, and can open our eyes to
new ways of working. For me, one such
move forward was to start team
training planning and delivering a
Planning a teacher
teacher training session with another training session with
trainer. I was fortunate to be able to do
this in three slightly different contexts another trainer can
with three engaging and open-minded be especially useful if
colleagues during a two-week pre-
service training course at the British one half of the pair
Council in Ramallah; as a one-off lacks confidence or
90-minute INSETT session for teachers
at the British Council in Cairo; and as a experience
stand-alone input session on a CELTA
course at the same centre.
2 In the delivery stage
Advantages of team Delivering a training session with a
training colleague removes some element of
pressure. This is particularly useful for
1 In the planning stage inexperienced trainers, or when the
Quite often, two heads are better than topic, audience or context is especially
one when it comes to putting a training challenging. As the session is often
session together. Even when planning divided into stages, each delivered by one
something alone, we often run it by a of the trainers, it allows the other to have
colleague, use or adapt ideas that a quick breather out of the spotlight. It
originally came from others and, in some also means that the trainer who is not
cases, do a dummy run with a peer leading a particular segment of the
observing, in order to get feedback which session can look at their notes and
we can use to fine-tune the session. prepare for the next stage of the input.
Planning a teacher training session Team training also means that you
with another trainer can be especially can monitor more effectively (as there are
useful if one half of the pair lacks two trainers in the room); you can react
confidence or experience. It can also be more easily and quickly to any issues that
rewarding if the two trainers concerned arise and, if necessary, make changes on
have slightly different methods of the spot, in consultation with the other
training or approaches to a certain topic. trainer. A really important element of an

58 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


effective training session is to have the stimulus of having two trainers present
confidence, skill and time or space to deal rather than the usual one (especially
with questions and issues as they arise. towards the end of the course) can add
Being able to consult quickly with a variety and a renewed sense of energy. It
colleague in the middle of a session can be motivating and reassuring for the
while the participants are doing a task, course participants to experience both
This is your magazine.
or trusting your co-trainer to make trainers working in tandem and, of We want to hear from you!
decisions on the spot for the benefit of course, it provides an example of team
the group, is especially useful. And, of teaching, a technique which many might
course, in the unlikely case of one trainer want to experiment with in their own
dropping the baton, you know that
there is someone else in the room with
classrooms at a later date. IT WORKS IN PRACTICE
Do you have ideas youd like to share
you who can pick it up in an instant. Disadvantages of team with colleagues around the world?
Team training can also be handy if there
is an equipment failure, an activity simply
training Tips, techniques and activities;
does not work or you need to retrieve It could be argued that team training is simple or sophisticated; well-tried
something from the staffroom! It adds not cost-effective, as it requires the input or innovative; something that has
flexibility and helps ensure continuity. of two people. In some centres, where worked well for you? All published
In terms of what you can deliver and teachers can claim additional hourly contributions receive a prize!
how, team training has other clear pay for planning and leading training Write to us or email:
advantages. It allows you to exploit sessions, it would certainly make an helena.gomm@pavpub.com
roleplays with the two trainers acting out INSETT programme more expensive.
a scene. For example, during an INSETT And with teacher training courses, such
session on the topic of Counselling
students at the end of term, a colleague
as the Cambridge English CELTA, it
simply is not logistically possible to have TALKBACK!
and I did a roleplay which demonstrated every input session delivered by two Do you have something to say about
how not to tell a language student that trainers. However, the one-off nature of an article in the current issue of ETp?
they had failed a course. Not only was team training sessions is part of their
This is your magazine and we would
this mildly entertaining (due to our appeal. Team training should not be
really like to hear from you.
terrible acting and slightly over-the-top viewed as the norm but, rather, as an
Write to us or email:
delivery), but it was a memorable way exciting ad hoc alternative.
for the participants to start working on When delivering a team training helena.gomm@pavpub.com
a list of important dos and donts when session, the transitions between the two
giving feedback to students.
Team training also enables you to
trainers need to be limited and natural,
so as not to distract the participants or Writing for ETp
split the participants into two groups interrupt the flow of the training. Would you like to write for ETp? We are
and demonstrate different things. For However, this issue can be addressed in always interested in new writers and
example, on a CELTA input session on the planning stage, ensuring that there fresh ideas. For guidelines and advice,
Student-centred clarification are not too many changes between write to us or email:
techniques, I demonstrated the concept trainers and that these occur at the most
of guided discovery with five trainees natural points of the session.
while my colleague looked at test
teachtest with the other five. We then
paired up trainees from each group and
It really worked
asked them to describe their experiences, So if an opportunity arises and you want for me!
noting similarities and differences in the to use a slightly different dynamic for one Did you get inspired by something
two approaches. Whilst not impossible, of your training sessions this year, why you read in ETp? Did you do
it would have been difficult for a trainer not give team training a go? something similiar with your students?
working alone to run this session Did it really work in practice?
smoothly, both in terms of content and Nick Baguley is the Head Do share it with us ...
of Teacher Training at
classroom management. The presence of the British Council in
two tutors ensured flow and participant Cairo. Since 1992 he has
engagement while maximising the use of worked as an EFL
teacher, recruitment
time. consultant, teacher English Teaching professional
However, there are other advantages. trainer and academic
manager in schools Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd,
Working with a colleague gives the across Europe, the Rayford House, School Road,
session a second voice and an alternative Middle East and Asia. Hove BN3 5HX, UK
delivery style. On training programmes Fax: +44 (0)1273 227308
that are run over a number of weeks, the Email: admin@pavpub.com

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 59



21 June 2014
Holiday Inn, Brighton

A one-day conference packed full

In conjunction with
of practical ideas to improve your
teaching practice

ETp Live! brings the practical approach of English Teaching

professional magazine to a one-day event, focusing on the
practical aspects of English language teaching, with:

: seminars
: workshops Book now
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: opportunities to network. 59.00!
How to book:
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Opening up
La Gabay overcomes n Afghanistan, a country where to the cultural guidelines, they are also
access to education is limited for encouraged to find creative and engaging
local difficulties by teaching women, the advent of the internet ways of teaching their lessons, eg using
has been a boon for the many poems, songs, essays about life in
women online. women and girls who have a strong Afghanistan written by other students,
desire to learn. newspaper articles, etc. Emphasis is
Thanks to software programs such placed mostly on strengthening speaking
as Skype, they are now able to receive and listening skills as well as grammar
training from abroad and develop their and vocabulary. Slow internet connections
English-speaking skills from professionals mean that the lessons are conducted
who are eager to volunteer their time. without the use of webcams, thus
In recent years, various programmes forcing both the student and the teacher
have been implemented to make it possible to communicate orally or in the chatbox.
for Afghan girls to get an education. One
centre, the Kandahar Institute of Modern
Studies (KIMS), offers courses to 1,500 I was nervous about
predominantly female students in Business what to expect and how
Management, Information Technology
and English. The goal is to enable these I would handle teaching
students to acquire the necessary skills someone whose culture
to contribute to Afghanistans
development and to improve their own was vastly different
job prospects. The English programme is
run in collaboration with the Alliance
from mine
for International Womens Rights, a
non-profit organisation that seeks to Because sessions are held entirely in
empower Afghan women through English, all the students are required to
Mentor and English language have at least a pre-intermediate level of
programmes, and the English classes are English. The teachers complete a monthly
taught online via Skype by qualified report on their lessons. Every three
female volunteer English teachers. months, a more thorough evaluation of
each students language skills is conducted
The programme so as to assess overall progress.

Each volunteer is matched with a student

at KIMS. They are then assigned two Teaching through Skype
consecutive days each week, during which When I first joined the programme in
they meet for a one-hour lesson. The December of 2011, I had never taught
volunteers receive a detailed Teachers English online before. I was nervous
Guide, with information on procedures, about what to expect and how I would
appropriate topics and cultural guidelines. handle teaching someone whose culture
While the teachers are expected to adhere was vastly different from mine, and whom

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 61

Opening up
the students to listen, take brief notes imparting information to their students
and then reconstruct the text) because and teaches flexibility and patience.
they are an excellent way of practising In spite of the fact that we were

opportunities listening, speaking and spelling, and of

checking listening comprehension. In
addition, I highlighted the importance of
restricted to certain culturally
appropriate topics, such as food, family
and holidays politically-charged
I would not even be able to see. Moreover, building vocabulary by encouraging the themes and any focus on relationships
my knowledge of Afghanistan was students to record new words and include were strongly discouraged my fellow
limited to news reports and photography word families, definitions and their own teachers and I gained valuable insights
exhibitions. It turned out that I had no example sentences. By doing this, they into the lives of these young women and
reason to worry: the students that I began to develop greater autonomy and established strong bonds with them,
taught over the course of two years were I found that they were much more likely based on mutual trust and respect.
absolutely delightful and always eager to to incorporate the new vocabulary they
share information about their culture. had learnt in their speech.
Many of my students had a strong We used Google Drive to record and
grasp of English and could speak check new vocabulary in shared For anyone who would like to make a
fluently, so I found it helpful to challenge documents. This meant I could instantly real difference in the field of English
see the information that my students teaching, I cannot recommend this
were entering in a vocabulary table and programme strongly enough. It is a
I gained valuable could point out any corrections that wonderful opportunity to empower
young women while, at the same time,
insights into the lives needed to be made.
honing your online teaching skills in
of these young women Issues and solutions difficult conditions and learning about a
different culture.
and established strong While volunteering to do this kind of
online teaching can be an extremely
bonds with them, enriching experience, both volunteers
Alliance for International Womens Rights:
based on mutual trust and students are faced with challenges, The Afghan School:
chief among them being the internet www.theafghanschool.org/aboutus
and respect connection. Often the connection was
La Gabay started her
too slow or didnt work at all, career as an EFL/ESL
them by speaking at normal speed and interrupting the flow of the conversation teacher five years ago.
and reducing the amount of class time. She has taught in
including phrasal verbs and idioms so several countries, mainly
that they could develop an awareness of Without the use of a webcam, it was Vietnam and Spain. She
sometimes quite daunting trying to is currently pursuing a
the intricacies of the language. Some Masters in TESOL at
students were planning to specialise in communicate ideas effectively, especially San Francisco State
as actions and feelings couldnt be mimed University, USA. Her
certain fields, such as medicine or law, interests include
and I found it beneficial to design lessons as they would be in a regular classroom. teaching immigrant and
However, having to rely on ones voice refugee populations,
based on their needs and which could EAP and basic literacy.
segue into topics that were culturally and the chatbox is an opportunity for
relevant to them. For a student who teachers to develop more creative ways of
wanted to study medicine, I focused my
lessons on medical vocabulary and relied
on roleplays related to giving advice or to
inquiring about the patients symptoms.
Since the material catered directly to the Welcome to the
students interests, she always
participated with great enthusiasm. ETp website!
With students whose English was
As a subscriber to ETp, you have full access to our website.
not as strong or who were nervous about
speaking, I needed to give plenty of Browse through our archive of downloadable articles from previous issues
positive reinforcement and ideal for inspiration or research.
encouragement. It was often necessary to Add your opinions to ongoing discussions and comment on articles
repeat instructions slowly several times that you have read.
and to pause after each one so as to ensure
that the student had understood. I also Visit our bookshop for recommendations and discounts.
found it helpful to write the instructions Watch videos and read blogs by award-winning blogger Chia Suan Chong.
in the chatbox so that the students could
Download our guidelines for contributors and think about the article
refer to any information that they might
that you could write for the magazine.
not have heard or fully understood.
I often used dictagloss exercises Renew your subscription online and make sure you dont miss a single issue.
(reading a short text aloud and asking

62 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


Martin Bradley believes film clips make for memorable lessons.

Film is an integral part of the English- And films motivate. People learn
Oh how Shakespeare
language classroom, and its use can best when they are motivated, and film,
would have loved cinema!
make the difference between a good arguably the most powerful and popular
Derek Jarman (194294)
lesson and a great lesson for both the of all media when used properly (and

students and the teacher. selectively), rarely fails to motivate.
he clearest memory of my In this article I will highlight some
school years is of Mr G, a
teacher at my primary school
of the benefits of using film to teach Considerations
English, and also a few things that need
in England. He was an to be taken into account. I will also The technological hurdles to the easy
imposing man with a big personality detail the areas where film can be and reliable use of film in the classroom
and a volcanic temper. The reason I usefully implemented, and finish with an are becoming fewer and fewer.
remember him in particular was because example of how a clip from the 2002 Computers and beamers in the
of his English lessons: he would stride futuristic thriller Minority Report can be classroom are not yet universal, but in
up and down the front of the classroom, used in the classroom. many schools, universities and other
a tiny paperback in his huge hand, and educational institutions they are now
with a booming voice read from J R R standard. Such set-ups make the use of
Tolkiens The Hobbit. This memory
Classroom benefits film much easier than having to reserve
returned when I was watching Peter But first, why use film in the English- and wheel in clunky and cumbersome
Jacksons film trilogy of the novel. The language classroom? TV equipment each lesson not to
theatrical way in which Mr G read the There are many good reasons why mention having to deal with the myriad
tale of Bilbo Baggins, especially the teachers might want to do so. Films are buttons on the remote controls and the
scene where Bilbo is trapped deep funny, moving and thought-provoking. spaghetti of cables hanging out of the
underground with Gollum and the Ring, They can sum up a problem in a few back.
left a lasting impression on me. minutes of well-written script; dilemmas Access to films was also a problem
Why is this memory still of we face in everyday life can be illustrated in the past, but today DVDs are widely
importance to me? Well, it made it clear in an entertaining way. In the teaching available and many educational
how learning can be encouraged and of English, they can help trigger institutions have their own DVD
facilitated, in this case not only with discussions, set up writing tasks and be libraries. DVDs can also be borrowed
enthusiasm and a larger-than-life used to practise listening skills or get the from public libraries or are available from
character, but, just as importantly, with students used to hearing how native rental chains or, when necessary, can be
the skilful use of a medium which can speakers communicate with each other. purchased at very reasonable prices.
transform the everyday atmosphere of Films contain a wealth of interesting Copyright issues have caused
the classroom. and useful vocabulary; they can confusion in the past, but in many
In the past, it was novels and highlight communication and business countries today (eg the UK, the USA
literature that provided a key element of skills and give the students an invaluable and Germany) using film clips for
an English lesson; I believe that film is window into the culture of the English- educational purposes is allowed by
increasingly taking over this role today speaking world, thereby adding colour copyright law. As long as the DVD has
as a complement to the written word. and life to what they are studying. been purchased legally and the clip is

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 63

Moving paint-covered work overalls. Another
example occurs in The Devil Wears Prada,
General English

when Andrea Sachs (Anne Hathaway) Clips from films are not only good for
convinces Miranda Priestly (Meryl business English. In general English
Streep), the feared fashion magazine classes they also offer an excellent way
editor, to employ her, despite superficially to begin a lesson and introduce a topic.
embedded in an educational framework, appearing unsuitable for the job. Imagine your lesson topic is connected
its use for educational purposes does not Other great job interview scenes with music. Good clips to use include
contravene copyright law. You should, which are useful to highlight specific the scene in The Shawshank Redemption
however, check your own countrys laws interview skills are Roman Polanskis where the inmates of Shawshank prison
to be sure. The Ghost, where Ewan McGregors hear a mesmerising piece of opera music
character turns his seemingly fatal played over the tannoy by wrongly-
Care weakness of not knowing anything convicted murderer Andy Dufresne (Tim
about politics into a strength which gets Robbins). And what about the scene in
Film should not be seen as an easy him the job of writing a former Prime
alternative to regular teaching materials; Green Card when the slightly oafish
Ministers memoirs. Georges (Grard Depardieu) tries to
it needs to be used judiciously, and
adequate preparation is required. As Presentations impress his sophisticated dinner hosts
long as each clip is carefully chosen for Business presentation scenes can be used with his piano playing skills? Or the scene
the intended audience, supplemented in the same way. The Hudsucker Proxy in Walk the Line where Johnny Cash
with interesting follow-up tasks, made contains a poor presentation, whereas an (Joaquin Phoenix) has to perform an
relevant to the students and introduced example of a good presentation can be impromptu song to get a record contract?
so that the context of the scene can be found in Up in the Air. Both clips could If your topic is food, you could show
understood, it rarely fails to work. be shown, and the students asked to part of Julie & Julia, where Julia Child
Film can keep a class fresh and compare the ultra-cool Ryan Bingham (Meryl Streep) takes on the challenge of
interested, but it should be used with (George Clooney), preaching the simple learning the intricacies of French
care so as not to become an all too life to stressed-out businesspeople, and cooking.
regular and finally unloved task. Its the enthusiastic but hopelessly out of his For politics, you might like to try the
important to achieve a balance when depth Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins), seemingly idealistic but cynical speech at
watching a film clip, and not to trying to sell his childrens toy idea to a the beginning of The Ides of March, or
overanalyse scenes and risk taking away humourless board of directors. the powerful and moving speech at the
their inherent magic as a small but United Nations from Waris Dirie (Liya
Meetings Kebede) in Desert Flower.
integral part of the film as a whole.
Meetings are also an important skill, Sport, art, pioneers, traditions,
and in Dances with Wolves there is a crime, education ... for all topics there is
Areas great scene showing how well a formal the suitable film scene to spark peoples
Lets look at a few areas where film can meeting can be run. This occurs when interest and to start off, break up or end
be of particular use in the English the Lakota tribe debates what to do with a lesson well.
language classroom. the strange white man (Kevin Costner)
who has appeared near their camp. Illustrating
Business English Less formal meetings, but still just as As in dealing with a business skill or
Film scenes are an excellent way to good, are the scenes in The Social leading into a topic, film scenes are also
practise and illustrate business English Network, where Facebook founder an excellent way to highlight problems
skills. Here are some examples of how Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and illustrate specific situations. Here
they can be implemented. meets Napster founder Sean Parker are a few examples:
(Justin Timberlake) for the first time in a Finding your vocation in life is nicely
Interviews shown when Frida Kahlo (Salma Hayek)
New York restaurant, and in Salmon
Before a lesson on job interviews, Fishing in the Yemen, when the charming asks the great Mexican artist Diego
showing some examples of good and bad and easygoing Harriet Chetwode-Talbot Rivera (Alfred Molina) for feedback on
interviews can not only entertain but (Emily Blunt) meets the buttoned-up her talent as a painter in Frida.
focus the students on the necessary skills. civil servant Dr Alfred Jones (Ewan Getting to know someone is well
One scene in Trainspotting (even if it McGregor) to discuss a seemingly illustrated when Celine (Julie Delpy) and
is difficult to understand the fast slang) harebrained project idea. Jesse (Ethan Hawke) meet on a train
shows how not to do a job interview, as travelling to Vienna in Before Sunrise.
the character Spud (Ewen Bremner) is Other important areas of business Giving directions can be introduced
forced to apply for a job in order to keep English skills, such as negotiations, using the clip showing Robert Kincaid
his unemployment benefits. small talk, problem-solving, (Clint Eastwood) turning up lost at the
iStockphoto.com / JJJonsey

Rescuing an interview which has intercultural communication, teamwork door of Francesca Johnson (Meryl
gone awry just by force of character can and telephone calls, can all be illustrated Streep) in The Bridges of Madison
be seen in The Pursuit of Happyness when with film clips. Appropriate scenes from County and asking the way.
Chris Gardner (Will Smith) is forced to films can also be used to set up writing Introducing your family and
turn up for a once-in-a-lifetime chance tasks for emails, letters, mission hometown can be demonstrated by the
at an investment brokers, dressed in his statements, press releases and reports. way Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp) does

64 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

it at the beginning of Whats Eating from epidemic proportions to almost identification methods by writing each
Gilbert Grape? zero. But one day, the pre-cogs predict method on their graph. For example, if
Talking about your life so far is well that Anderton himself will soon commit they would be happy to use it and see it
represented by Ray Kinsella (Kevin a murder. He runs, but knows the system as an effective method of identification,
Costner) at the beginning of Field of too well to think he can escape. then they should write it in the top
Dreams. right-hand quadrant.
Skills Happy to use
Some of the themes of this clip are
Using film in the English language biometrics, crime, the future, privacy
classroom can also fit well with the four and technology.
skills. Lets take a typical lesson with An ineffective An effective
four stages, each stage being used to Timings method of method of
practise one of the four skills. The scene begins at 0.40:55 (DVD identification identification
Stage 1 Listening skills: timing) as Anderton is trying to escape
You begin with a gist or detailed his fate and lasts until 0.05:25, when he
listening task based on the chosen film is surrounded by his former colleagues.
This scene has no clear end and so can Not happy to use
clip. Here you can also include some
vocabulary. be stopped around this point.
Stage 4:
Stage 2 Speaking skills: Vocabulary Writing skills
The subject of the film clip leads into a Some useful vocabulary that could be A final task could be an essay on the
short speaking task. highlighted are the verbs: set up (blame advantages and disadvantages of
Stage 3 Reading (research) skills: an innocent person), override (eg a technology, or an information sheet
You then set a task (given as homework computer) and clarify, and some nouns: explaining new biometric identification
if there are no computers used in the suspect, victim, subordinate. methods. The issue of how to deal with
classroom) where the students must crime can also be discussed and/or
research a topic connected to the film clip. Stage 1: written about. Privacy issues
Listening/viewing skills surrounding the internet and social
Stage 4 Writing skills:
A possible gist listening/viewing task media sites can be touched on, too.
The research can then be presented and,
to finish off, written up in an would be to ask the students to watch
appropriately structured format as a the scene and make a list of which
final writing task. The structured writing futuristic ideas they see.
(Answers: Touch screens, video Film is entertainment. Film can be big
tasks given in the Cambridge exams (eg
communication via laptops, automatic cars, business. But film is also an art form. It
FCE, CAE and CPE) can also be
vertical roads, iris scanning, holographic speaks a universal language, whatever its
integrated. Formats such as articles,
advertising, personalised advertising, country of origin, and is the modern-
letters, competition entries, information
newspapers with moving pictures, jetpacks.) day equivalent of the ancient art of
sheets, proposals, reports, reviews and
storytelling, when narrators recounted
short stories can all be practised at this
Stage 2: their tales by firelight under the backdrop
point, as can some commonly-used
Speaking skills of the night sky. And as the adventurer
essay structures, such as cause and
When the clip is finished, ask the Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford)
effect, classification, compare and
students to compare what they saw with says to the writer Karen Blixen (Meryl
contrast, for and against, problem and
their neighbour and discuss if they think Streep) in front of the fire in Out of Africa,
solution, procedures/instructions.
these are good ideas and why. They We should have a story now .
should also discuss whether any of these
Case study ideas are a reality in todays world Bradley, M Teaching with Film Stone River
Lets now take a look at a specific (many of them are). Books 2013
example and how a film scene from Sherman, J Using Authentic Video in the
Minority Report can be used. Stage 3: Language Classroom CUP 2003
Reading (research) skills Stempleski, S and Tomalin, B Film OUP
The film and the scene After class feedback on what they say, 2001
Minority Report, directed by Steven ask the pairs to research as many ways
Martin Bradley is a film
Spielberg, is based on a 1950s short as possible of identifying a person. enthusiast who has
story by Philip K Dick. It is set in the (Possible answers: password, pin code, worked in the media
and industry. Since 2005,
year 2054 and stars Tom Cruise as John fingerprint, photograph, finger/thumb he has been teaching
Anderton, the head of Precrime, a scan, finger/thumb vein scan, palm scan, business English in
companies, and media
futuristic police department. The role of iris/retina scan, facial geometry scan, voice and technology English
Precrime is to arrest people before they pattern, keystroke, gait, smell, DNA.) at a university in Austria.
He currently offers
commit a murder, based on predictions When they have reported back on teacher training seminars
by three pre-cogs, former drug addicts their results (which you can put on the and workshops on
who are able to see into the future. The teaching with film.
board), ask the pairs to draw the graph
system works. Murders have dropped shown here and to categorise each of the martinbradley@teachingwithfilm.com

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 65

In this series, Nicky Hockly
Five things you always wanted to know about explains aspects of technology which

Augmented Reality
some people may be embarrassed to
confess that they dont really
understand. In this article, she
(but were too afraid to ask) explores Augmented Reality.

What is Augmented Reality?
you identify what plant species leaves come
from. Open Leafsnap, take a photo of your
mystery leaf through your devices camera,
5 What kinds of AR activities
could I do with students?
Augmented Reality (AR) is, well, reality Here are a few ideas for activities using AR:
augmented via technology. AR works on and wait while the app compares the image
Take your students to the school library.
mobile devices like smartphones or tablets, with its database of leaf images and then
Ask them each to choose three to five
and with wearable technology such as gives you information about your particular
books and to use an AR image
Google Glass (see www.google.com/glass/ leaf. Google Goggles is another app that
recognition app such as Google Goggles
start/ for more on that). Its where the real works with image recognition via your
to read online reviews of the books.
and virtual worlds overlap, when virtual devices camera. The app can read text,
Based on the reviews, the students each
information is overlaid on real objects. such as a book cover with a title, and
choose one book to take home and read.
provide you with links to more information

2 That sounds very abstract. How about it; it can recognise famous paintings Take your students on a tour around
does it work in practice? or buildings; and it can read barcodes, so your town to visit three or four famous
that you can quickly find further information landmarks. In each place, ask them to
Imagine youre on holiday in Australia.
about products while shopping, for use an AR geolocation app such as
Youre standing in front of a famous
example, or do a price comparison online Wikitude to find out three important
building the Sydney Opera House. Youd
with other vendors. things about the landmark. The students
like to know something about the building,
Another form of AR uses printed take notes about what they find out and
but youve left your guidebook in the hotel.
pictures or geometric shapes as markers share what they learnt about each place/
No problem. You take out your
to overlay information in the form of text, landmark in a subsequent class, and/or
smartphone, open up one of your AR apps
images, sound or even 3D animations. write up their findings as articles for a
such as Wikitude, which automatically
Take a look at www.poweredbystring. class tourist guidebook to your town.
opens the smartphone camera. You hold
com/showcase, which demonstrates an Create your own AR markers using an
up your phone to view the Sydney Opera
AR app called String to see how this app like Junaio, and print them out. Your
House through the camera, and a text
works with video. There has been some markers can link to an image, a text clue
bubble saying Sydney Opera House
application of AR markers in education in or question, a short audio file or a video
immediately appears superimposed over
printed textbooks: for example, markers that you create. You can create a
the image of the building on your screen
in a science book can launch 3D multimedia quiz reviewing a recent
(assuming your phone has an internet
animations of the earths structure, which coursebook topic, using these markers.
connection at that moment). Clicking on
appear to hover over the page when Then get the students to create one or
this text will take you to information about
viewed via a camera. See a video demo two of their own AR markers in Junaio to
the Sydney Opera House on Wikipedia.
of this at http://youtu.be/1RuZY1NfJ3k. produce multimedia review quizzes for
You can now use your smartphone and the
their classmates, or to create markers with

Wikitude app to identify and find out more
This all sounds very futuristic. book covers and to record book reviews.
about other buildings in Sydney as you
What has AR got to do with
wander around the city. The app is using Dont be afraid to encourage your students
language teaching?
GPS data to figure out exactly where you to get creative with their own AR markers
are your geolocation (geographical AR clearly wasnt developed specifically for and content, once they see how it works.
location). The app then displays data and language teachers. But, as with any This is what Web 2.0 has brought us: the
links superimposed on your phone screen technology that can link us to the internet ability not just to be passive consumers of
based on that location. And voil reality and bring in information from the outside internet content made by others, but active
has been augmented (or enhanced) via world, or even allow us to create digital producers of our own online content in
your mobile device. information, AR can be used with students this case, in AR formats, and in English.
in the language classroom. Remember that

the students will need smart devices Nicky Hockly is Director of Pedagogy
So is AR just for tourists? Or of The Consultants-E, an online
are there other ways to use it? connected to the internet to be able to use teacher training and development
AR apps. They could use their own devices consultancy. Her most recent book
Well, the Sydney Opera House and Wikitude is Digital Literacies, published by
in a BYOD scenario (See ETp Issue 90), or Pearson. She has published an
app example is just one use of AR, based in e-book, Webinars: A Cookbook for
use class sets of devices provided by the
this case on geolocation. There are AR apps Educators (the-round.com), and is
school, with at least one device per pair of currently working on a book on mobile
that work purely on image recognition. For and handheld learning. She maintains
students. You can have your students using
example, an app called Leafsnap, a blog at www.emoderationskills.com.
AR inside the classroom, or out and about.
developed by Columbia University, can help nicky.hockly@theconsultants-e.com

66 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com

Webwatcher Russell Stannard goes
bananas over Survey Monkey.

s teachers, we often want to collect data from our hoping to learn on my course. I sent the link to the questionnaire
students. For example, more and more we are expected to the students by email, but I also placed the link on the
to collect feedback after our classes or to produce Blackboard site we were using. This was really helpful, and
surveys that help to build up a picture of our students needs and enabled me to gain a clearer idea about the students I was going
expectations for their course. to be working with.
Teachers often get students to create surveys and I have also used Survey Monkey to gather data about my
questionnaires as language exercises, too. We might ask them to website and the people who use it. For the last four years, I have
work in groups and create questionnaires about hobbies or produced questionnaires that I have put on this website, trying to
opinions on certain topics. Such questionnaires are a useful way keep the questions similar so that I can compare the answers
of helping the students to get to know each other at the start of a from year to year. So, for example, I have learnt that 26% of the
course. Once the students have done their surveys, they can people that use my website are teacher trainers, yet four years
report their findings to the rest of the class or even give a ago this number was only about 5%. A growing number, around
PowerPoint presentation. 20%, dont teach languages at all.

Survey Monkey Student surveys

One of the tools I like to use most for creating surveys and Using Survey Monkey is not difficult, and I like getting my
questionnaires is Survey Monkey. It has been around for a students to create their own surveys. A lot of language
number of years now; it is very reliable and is popular with both processing takes place, both while the students work out how to
teachers and students. create a survey and also in the production of the questions. With
The entry-level tool is free and allows you to create up to ten lower-level students, you can even allow them to change the
questions. These can be answered by as many as 100 students interface so that the instructions and guidance are in their native
normally enough to cover even the biggest of classes. The language. Of course, not every language is available but about
variety of question types available is pretty impressive, and 15 languages are now covered. This doesnt stop it being a
Survey Monkey will also analyse your data and provide graphs, useful language tool, since the questions the students produce
percentages and summaries. will still be in English.
Although Survey Monkey is not designed for creating tests The best way to approach the activity is to give each group a
and quizzes, you can use it for these, as it allows multiple-choice topic on which to base their survey, eg the area where they live,
questions, single-answer text questions, scales and ranking type use of the internet, multiculturalism, environmental policy, etc.
questions and a number of other choices. You can even add Once the survey has been created, it is shared, so that the rest of
pictures. Your tests can be shared online, so the students can do the class can complete it.
them at home after the lesson, as a way of checking You could make this a regular feature of your lessons: each
understanding. week, one group creates a survey that the rest of the class
Where Survey Monkey really comes into its own, though, is completes. Presenting the findings can be good fun, as the
for gathering data. This could be opinions, feedback, needs students can use the graphs and percentage data as well as
analysis, etc. You can include questions where the students can highlighting interesting comments and text.
write their own answers as well as those that ask for specific Survey Monkey is also a tool that students might find very
answers. Survey Monkey cant analyse long answers and interesting in their future lives. Many of my MSc students have
produce graphs for you based on these, but it can reproduce all used it for gathering research data. The paid versions offer very
the answers to a question in such a way that you can easily read sophisticated options, which make it useful to businesses, too.
through them. Where specific answers to questions are provided, So as well as practising their language skills, the students are
it can produce specific data in the form of graphs and also developing their digital literacies.

Teacher surveys Help videos for using Survey Monkey:

Survey Monkey can be a great way of collecting feedback about www.teachertrainingvideos.com/monkey/index.html
a course. The answers can be completely anonymous, and the
fact that it is online means that the students dont have to do it in
Russell Stannard is the founder of
class if you dont have time. Once you have produced a www.teachertrainingvideos.com,
questionnaire, you can share it very easily. which won a British Council
ELTons award for technology. He
The first time I used Survey Monkey was on an MSc is a freelance teacher and writer
Multimedia and Education course, where I wanted to build up a and also a NILE Associate Trainer.
picture of the experience of the 25 students who had just signed
up. I used a variety of questions to help me collect data on the
Keep sending your favourite sites to Russell:
work the students had done previously, what software they knew
and what courses they had taken, as well as what they were

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 91 March 2014 67

Prize crossword 64 VERY FREQUENT WORDS
*** A negative reply
* To communicate with
someone while performing
Small corners or sheltered
ETp presents the sixty-fourth in our series of prize *** Not healthy an activity with them A mountain range in
crosswords. Once you have done it successfully, let *** To make something start * Abbreviation for crops whose western Russia
your students have a go. Send your entry (completed to exist or start to happen genes have been modified A valley, especially in
crossword grid and quotation), not forgetting to *** To deliberately not Scotland
include your full name, postal address, email address include something An amount of money, eg
To worry about something
and telephone number, to Prize crossword 64, English *** An area of land that is a tax, that you have to pay
Teaching professional, Pavilion Publishing and Media higher than the land Magical or supernatural
A large deer
Ltd, Rayford House, School Road, Hove, BN3 5JR, surrounding it forces
The tube in your throat that
UK. Ten correct entries will be drawn from a hat on *** A place where people Abbreviation used for a
you use to breathe
go to drink medical procedure
10 June 2014 and the winners can choose one of Well known and believed
*** The final part of a period Relating to private or
these titles: Macmillan Collocations Dictionary or to represent a particular idea
of time personal things
Macmillan Phrasal Verbs Animals kept on farms
*** Used for saying who The number of legs a
Plus. Please indicate your An animal before it is born
wrote a book, piece of spider has
choice on your entry. A situation where water
music, etc Fish eggs eaten as food
from rain or a river covers a
*** Not to agree to an offer A small amount of a

22 10 5 1 23 8 18 2 19 7 6 6 11 21 large area of land
or request substance put on a surface
Abbreviation for company

11 1 18 2 5 5 8 19 *** To obtain or receive To copy data from a
A hard layer that forms
something phone or MP3 player onto

18 1 1 7 11 23 4 5 2 4 25 7 20 when a wound is healing
G a computer
FREQUENT WORDS Very loud, high and

18 18 25 21 24 17 8 11 11 10 Experienced in your own
** When people take control unpleasant
mind but not obvious to

26 15 22 10 21 23 22 21 8 15 23 9 of a country by force To eat a large amount of
** The part of your arm food (2 words, informal)
8 2 23 8 19 5 23 21 21 2 24 9 18 To stop someone in an
where it bends The nose and mouth of
aggressive or annoying way
2 18 11 1 18 2 21 15 21 2 26 ** A game where people hit a dog
Great style and

4 18 20 11 21 23 2 8 23 15 1 5 20 a ball across a net Abbreviation for a vehicle

** A small part of something powered by a battery
3 11 25 8 4 18 7 23 20 9 A system used for
** A group of young people A large wine glass with a
broadcasting high quality

21 15 23 5 20 11 8 15 17 10 18 21 6 who cause trouble tall stem
radio signals
** An important test of Often (literary)

12 10 18 21 23 10 5 1 17 21 5 An interjection to show
knowledge A donkey
you see or understand
1 8 2 16 5 10 26 21 11 3 2 Abbreviation for New York

11 21 24 9 1 14 4 21 23 * To refuse to approve or An interjection to show
Extremely ugly and strange
allow something surprise or lack of

7 8 1 18 2 8 1 21 12 5 19 8 A feeling of wanting what
* Plastic objects used to understanding
other people have

26 5 22 2 1 15 2 prevent cars driving on part A formal statement
To keep asking someone to

21 1 11 5 23 4 10 18 23 21 15 13 7 21
of a road expressing the aims of an
do something they dont want to
* Not important or serious organisation
The egg of a head louse
* A long device with two Full of energy and
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Complicated and difficult to
G U rows of teeth, used to open determination

14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 and close something

2 18 15 2 18 16 22 11 5 3 21 8 2 5 2
To solve the puzzle, find which letter each number represents.
5 24 5 11 5 2 1 17 21 21 24 21 10 22 21
You can keep a record in the boxes above. The definitions of
the words in the puzzle are given, but not in the right order.
21 11 15 10 21 15 25 18 2 15 8 20 11 21 Stanisaw
When you have finished, you will be able to read the quotation. Jerzy Lec

68 Issue 91 March 2014 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


e n a g e r s . Beyond
i x- l e v e l c ourse for i s t ic skills,
i s a s g l i n g u
Beyond e v e l o p ing stron a n d s trategies
n d sk i l l s
focuses o c h i n g the wider a g e learners
a s te a l a n g u
as well d t o improve a
n e e
students t i c a l s u b-skills
r a c
p re h e n sive and p invaluable skills
com dents wit
It offers a ip p i n g s tu t h e i r learning.
e q u s o f
syllabus, s f e r t o o ther area
they can

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