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ENGLISH Issue 64


The Leading Practical Magazine For English Language Teachers Worldwide

A closer look at CLIL

Wayne Rimmer

I loved this book!

Sin Morgan

Lights, camera, action!

Michael Brewster

Start building
Andrea Storr

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


Wayne Rimmer suggests that a little more scepticism Premakumari Dheram fashions her trainees into
is in order facilitators



Sin Morgan uses mini book reviews to instil Majid Hayati finds mobile phones motivating
a love of reading and writing about it
THEY TALK MORE, YOU TALK LESS 12 Michael Brewster persuades his students to
Susan Doran betters the speaking balance produce videos


Alicia Artusi and Gregory J Manin expand their TO KNOW ABOUT: WEB 2.0
students horizons Nicky Hockly looks at how the web became interactive


Gary Collins shows his students how to make Russell Stannard targets a tool for screen capturing
a pictorial story


John Ryan looks up the meaning of up
Alan Maley recommends reading books about reading Jon Marks


Jeremy D Slagoski matches methods and methodology Future time clauses
John Potts
Paul Bress believes our attitude is hugely important QUESTIONING 2 67
Rose Senior
Ana La Passarotto describes a course she created IT WORKS IN PRACTICE 42

Gaye Koer plays some language games COMPETITIONS 41, 68


Andrea Storr uses blocks to build inspiration
Includes materials designed to photocopy ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 1

n this issue we have a wealth of articles from

see the progress they are making, and Gaye Koer
people for whom visuals are important in makes the most of flashcards and drawings in the
teaching. Gary Collins describes how he and his games she plays with her young learners.
students construct photo novellas which have a dual
Russell Stannard is also well aware of the benefits of
function: his students use language as they put them
showing people something at the same time as
together and the results can then be used as a
explaining it. His short teacher training videos, which
teaching resource with other groups and classes.
demonstrate how to use various aspects of
Michael Brewster goes one step further and has his technology, have proved very popular, and here he
students videoing themselves, whether for simple introduces the screen capture software which he
vocabulary and pronunciation practice or when they employs to produce these and shows how it can be
do simulated news broadcasts, celebrity interviews used to help students with their learning.
and commercials.

Andrea Storr finds that her business students respond

to activities where they represent stages of their
careers visually with building blocks. She encourages
them to use the pictures they build of their lives to
structure their descriptions of themselves.
Helena Gomm
Ana La Passarotto includes ongoing student portfolios Editor
in her new course so that her students can actually

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2 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

M A I N F E AT U R E perspective into prehistoric life the
learners get. In contrast, a science
lesson where the learners need to read a

A closer
circuit diagram and build a radio will
not work unless they understand the
logical system described.
2 Depth of content
Some subjects are more cognitively
challenging than others. One would
hardly teach primary school children

look at
about Brownian motion.
3 L1/L2 balance
CLIL definitely does not preclude the
use of L1 and translation. Indeed, at
lower levels of L2 and with younger age
groups, L1 is encouraged, either to
explain difficult content areas or to

manage the tasks. If L1 allows the
learners to take on more challenging
concepts, it is an asset.
4 Involvement of subject
Language teachers are trained to be just
that, teachers of language. They are not
fountains of all knowledge. When CLIL
Wayne Rimmer is cautiously critical. gets technically more demanding,
typically at tertiary level, teachers will
ne of the latest acronyms to sentence definition is found on the (very need to collaborate with subject

O hit the jargon-hungry field of

ELT is CLIL: Content and
Language Integrated
Learning. Given the voracity with
which CLIL has been received and
helpful) CLIL compendium website
CLIL refers to any dual-focused
educational context in which an
additional language, thus not usually the
5 Curriculum fit
CLIL may determine the whole learning
programme or it may just be part of a
more varied diet, which includes
endorsed (for example, it warranted a first language of the learners involved, is traditional discrete language lessons.
symposium slot in this years IATEFL used as a medium in the teaching and
conference), it almost seems redundant learning of non-language content.
to spell out the acronym, let alone The key word is dual-focused: CLIL Claims
explain the basic concept. I will do no is about learning language and content There is obviously a lot to think about
more than outline the key features of together. Whereas language teachers in CLIL, so teachers should not
CLIL before addressing the crucial aims are usually purely linguistic eg undertake it lightly. On a practical level,
question of whether it works or, rather, grammar points or skills work CLIL switching to CLIL could mean a great
whether we think it works; for my chief incorporates a further focus on learning deal of extra preparation, especially in
concern with CLIL as a methodology is real-world information or skills, whether the early uncharted stages. Teachers
the fact that many, often outlandish, that be mathematical formulae, recipes need to be sure that CLIL gives their
claims made for it are simply or map-reading. Beyond this core learners a significant advantage in the
unsubstantiated. This article will help concept of language plus subject classroom. The following benefits of
teachers engage more critically with the knowledge, CLIL can actually be CLIL are often cited.
arguments made in favour of CLIL. interpreted and applied in many ways.
1 CLIL is intrinsically motivating.
There are, correspondingly, a number of
Few learners are interested in language
Definitions variables in the CLIL mix.
per se. Yes, there are people who drool
It says much for the novelty factor of over the past continuous and fantasise
CLIL that it is not cited at all in the Variables about phrasal verbs, but they are
2002 edition of the comprehensive 1 Degree of content probably mainly confined to dusty
Longman Dictionary of Language There is probably a cline from light to corners of university libraries! Most
Teaching & Applied Linguistics. It is heavy CLIL, depending on how integral learners want English in order to do
mentioned, briefly, in the fourth (2007) the content is to the lesson. For example, something, for example understand a
edition of that other classic, The a reading skills lesson which incorporates pop song or fill in an application form.
Practice of English Language Teaching, a text about dinosaurs is probably not CLIL gives a rationale for the language,
but not in the previous editions. A one- very dependent on how much of a new which is based on function not form. In

4 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

this sense, the aim of a lesson is Evidence bridge between pure language
transparent because its outcome is development and the wider skills
directly observable in what the learners Does CLIL work? This is the million- necessary to function both as an
know or can do afterwards. dollar question. Given the very different individual and as a member of society,
environments in which teaching and the impression is that CLIL kills many
2 CLIL makes language more learning take place, this is a very birds with the same stone, so to speak.
meaningful and memorable. difficult matter to investigate, let alone However, the individual claims made are
Content is a natural context for language. prove. There are so many variables to yet to be backed up. For example, with
Context provides a framework for the consider age group, level, learning thinking skills, it is by no means clear
learners to organise their thoughts and styles, materials, to name just a few what these consist of, whether/how they
makes the linguistic analysis fuller. It is that it is very problematic to isolate can be measured, and how exactly they
claimed that by operating on two levels, approaches or techniques which give an are promoted by content-based
language and content, simultaneously, edge in the classroom. The enthusiasm instruction. Too much is being assumed.
learners cognitive skills are enhanced. with which CLIL has been adopted For example, there is a fierce debate in
would thus make one assume that it philosophy and linguistics over the
3 CLIL is better preparation for
draws upon an exceptionally large and independence of a language module from
outside the classroom. meticulous research base, one that general cognitive faculties. Hence, the
There are very few scenarios where accounts for and explains the diversity implication above that language operates
language learning is purely an academic of factors involved. Unfortunately, this separately from cognition conveniently
activity with no real-life applications. is not the case. Much has been written smoothes over an issue which is actually
The learning of content makes language about CLIL, but the evidence for its
immediately relevant and puts the learners effectiveness in second language
in a position where they can practise life acquisition is meagre. What evidence One suspects, and
skills in a low-risk environment. there is amounts to little more than
4 CLIL develops autonomous anecdotal it worked for me. the verb cannot be
This is not to say that CLIL doesnt stronger, that CLIL
work. There are probably plenty of
The enhanced challenges posed by CLIL
over a pure language approach compel
teachers who swear by CLIL, and could succeed in the
individual language learners who have
learners to draw on their own resources.
made great progress in CLIL classrooms.
right context with
For example, a class geography project
may involve assigning different roles to
However, until somebody can explain the right people
why CLIL works and how it is better
the learners and may encourage a
than other approaches, such testimonies
degree of independent investigation. very problematic. In short, the claims
are of little interest outside the immediate
This is an impressive, yet far from concerns of the teachers involved. The made do not reflect the depth or
exhaustive, list. Certainly, CLIL has very fact of progress is not enough to complexity of the issues concerned. Such
what testers call face validity, ie it makes justify CLIL. After all, throw a bunch of lists of value-added features are common
all the right noises to the various people into any classroom with any type in the CLIL literature, but there is little to
stakeholders in the curriculum. Also, of instruction and eventually, like the suggest they are more than assertions.
there is nothing like an acronym to give proverbial monkey writing Shakespeare To be fair, CLIL practitioners are
instant respectability. The chorus of on a typewriter, the result will be an realistic about the lack of hard
approval for CLIL is reassuring and it is increase in competence. Whether CLIL evidence. For example, Sheelagh Deller
tempting to join in, but a note of caution makes this process quicker, with a better and Christine Prices recent resource
should be sounded. In an age of end product, can only be hypothesised book of CLIL activities admits that
increasing accountability, and lets not without a solid research base. there are a number of claims made for
forget that there is a global economic Despite this weak empirical the advantages of CLIL, although it is
crisis, teachers have to be extra careful foundation, several strong claims are difficult to substantiate them. On the
that what they offer students is a good made for CLIL. Do Coyle adds the other hand, there is nothing to disprove
return on their time, and perhaps money. following to the more general features CLIL either. It could work. One
It is time to have a critical look at CLIL. cited earlier: suspects, and the verb cannot be
stronger, that CLIL could succeed in the
Developing thinking skills which link
right context with the right people.
concept formation (abstract and
Unfortunately, this weak conclusion
Much has been concrete), understanding and language.
does nothing to distinguish CLIL from
written about CLIL, Exposure to alternative perspectives virtually any other methodology.
and shared understandings, which
but the evidence for deepen awareness of otherness and self. Innovation
its effectiveness Introducing learners to the wider Part of the appeal of CLIL is that it is
cultural context.
in second language new. This novelty factor may make us
Clearly, CLIL is seen as extending more tolerant of the holes in the case
acquisition is meagre beyond language, and content, to larger for CLIL. For example, to counter the
socio-cognitive goals. As a purported above section, CLIL probably needs a ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 5

A closer
an ESP lesson. Again, the onus is on language we teach. That said, teachers
CLIL to show the distinction. must be wary of adopting
As such, CLIL really has little new methodologies, CLIL or others, that
to offer other than the repackaging of make promises on the flimsiest of data.

look at
familiar ideas and principles in a Students are not guinea pigs and
broader and slicker package. Indeed, teachers have a professional
there is something slightly patronising responsibility to make informed choices
in the CLIL assumption that language about how their students are taught.

few more years to get going before it
teachers ignore the value and potential
of content. On a very basic level,
teachers often work with texts. These
texts are about something. Their
content can be talked about and
Teachers should at least be aware that
CLIL represents a leap in the dark
rather than the giant step forward often
envisaged for it.
Anything that makes teachers reflect
can accumulate some meaningful exploited. It is hardly a great jump from on classroom practice is useful and CLIL
research; Rome wasnt built in a day this observation to CLIL. One of the should at the very least do this. While
and all that. Just as we are usually CLIL may not be the manna promised,
harsher on adults than children, so we the interest it has generated should have
can make allowances for fledgling While CLIL some valuable consequences. It may be
methodologies. However, is CLIL really that some of the relatively under-
so original and cutting-edge? The basic
may not be the emphasised aspects of CLIL turn out to
concept of content plus language manna promised, be the most rewarding. For instance, as
actually has a long history in ELT. For Guy Cook points out, the recognition
example, with children emigrating to the interest it has of the role of L1 in the classroom can
be seen as part of a larger movement
English-speaking countries there have generated should towards reinstating translation as a
been two approaches with heavy content
components. The first, sink or swim, have some valuable method in language teaching; the
was to put children in classrooms considerable demands of disentangling
alongside native-speaking peers. There
consequences content and language in CLIL
was no real provision for language; the assessment may have backwash for
focus was exclusively on curriculum establishing construct validity in ESP.
reasons why skilled teachers take such
subjects. The second was immersion care in choosing and exploiting
programmes, whereby children similarly materials is that they understand the

experience a full curriculum in English tight relationship between good content
but with a (very variable) degree of The CLIL story is set to run and run so
and good language learning. Ironically
language support and specialist I suggest teachers keep pace with the
perhaps, the basic message of CLIL is
teaching. In both programmes, and latest developments while following at a
so attractive precisely because it is
their many mutations, content is top of cautious distance. ETp
already commonplace.
the agenda, with no suggestion that
language is secondary. CLIL Cook, G An unmarked improvement:
practitioners would respond that in Acceptance using translation in ELT In Beaven, B (Ed)
CLIL the match between content and This article should not be seen as a IATEFL 2007 Conference Selections
language is more systematic and dismissal of CLIL. For example, the IATEFL 2008
controlled. This may be true compared lack of empirical evidence is not Coyle, D CLIL Introduction accessed
to the sink and swim days, but it is damning. I think most teachers of the from
much harder to distinguish between communicative approach would
Deller, S and Price, C Teaching Other
immersion programmes and CLIL, shudder to realise how scanty the
Subjects Through English OUP 2007
indeed most would see immersion as at theoretical support is for even this very
Douglas, D Assessing Languages for
the heavy end of the CLIL spectrum. well-known and well-established
Specific Purposes CUP 2000
Turning to adults, the long interest methodology. The fact is that much of
OKeeffe, A, McCarthy, M and Carter, R
in teaching and assessing English for what we do in the classroom is driven From Corpus to Classroom CUP 2007
Specific Purposes has made content by hunch or intuitive feeling. Even when
very much part and parcel of ESP hard data exists, our attitude to research
Wayne Rimmer has
programmes. Dan Douglas provides is very ambivalent. We tend to ignore recently finished a
many practical examples of how testers what we disagree with and seize on doctorate in corpus
linguistics. He has
and subject specialists can work anything which confirms our previous taught English in Russia,
together to produce valid tests. It is a behaviour. A classic case of this odd Germany, Thailand,
Moldova and the UK.
well-established principle of ESP that relationship between research and
content and language complement each classroom practice is corpus linguistics.
other, often with the line between them For all the furore of the corpus
hard to draw. On a micro-level, it is revolution, it is often pointed out (eg by
difficult to see how a CLIL lesson Anne OKeeffe and colleagues) that
would differ in design principles from corpora have very little impact on what

6 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional


I loved this book!

Sin Morgan recommends reading and writing short reviews.

ne thing that puts teachers (and are also rich in collocation, chunks, Phase 4: Share reviews

O students!) off in-class writing

activities is the time and effort
required to produce a piece of written
evaluative language and intertextual
references. Lower-level students will
need help to identify these features,
Circulate the reviews so that each one is
read by each member of the class. A
feedback session where the students ask
work. Finding an engaging topic, whereas higher-level students may enjoy questions about books which interest
generating content, organising ideas and spotting the reference to Shakespeares them or comment on those they have
drafting these into a coherent whole can Romeo and Juliet (no 8), memorable also enjoyed can be enormously
sometimes last several lessons. The vocabulary items such as harrowing (no valuable. In my experience this is the
activity described here, however, can be 4) and underdogs (no 9), or persuasive part that the students particularly like
completed in a single lesson and gets collocations such as the coolest dude as they bond over favourite books.
students writing texts which are brief ever (no 7) and explosive combination
and, at the same time, personally (no 10). Each teacher knows how much There are some examples of my
engaging. In doing so, they develop to adjust the amount of scaffolding for students work on page 10, together
awareness of the language of evaluation their particular class. with a blank I loved this book card for
and the typical discourse features found you to photocopy.
in an increasingly popular genre: Sample lesson 
bookshop recommendations. (This lesson could begin with a brief
class warm-up to discuss reading tastes.) I loved this book works on several
Sample recommendations levels:
If you browse the shelves of bookshop Phase 1: Focus on meaning First of all, a short writing task is
chains in Britain you will notice small Distribute the collage. Ask the students accessible and works well with classes
cards with mini book reviews of around to read the reviews and discuss in pairs of different ages and levels, since
3050 words. Some have been the following questions younger or lower-level students can
professionally printed for marketing or Do you know any of these books? If use the model reviews to help them
information purposes, but others are so, did you enjoy them? How much do produce a successful text.
handwritten by sales assistants or you agree with the reviewers comments?
Secondly, giving students control over
customers who want to recommend a Are there any unfamiliar books here that
the choice of book to review increases
good read to fellow booklovers. I was you would be interested in reading?
their motivation, and they genuinely
sure that the students I teach would Why/why not?
enjoy reading each others reviews.
enjoy reading these and it would be very Phase 2: Focus on language Finally, writing a persuasive text like
motivating for them to write one for Working with the whole class, get the this can be a gentle introduction to
themselves. students to identify the persuasive discourse awareness, as students get a
I made a collection of reviews from language in no 1: words or phrases feel for language features that occur
various branches of Waterstones between where the writer comments on the book typically in different text types and
2006 and 2008 by asking sales assistants and persuades readers to read it genres.
for any spare copies or transcribing themselves. Here there are two chunks:
interesting examples on display. (You Most importantly though, students are
[he] has gone right back to his horror
could also photograph them and encouraged to share a love of reading
roots, and Action right from the word go!
transcribe them at home.) I included which, in the long term, can only
which occurs at the end of the text as a
fiction and non-fiction, and new books enhance their literacy skills. ETp
final flourish. Ask the students to
and more familiar texts, which students explore the other reviews and find other Sin Morgan teaches
might recognise from their school or examples. End with a class feedback English at the University
private reading. I then made a collage of of Modena and Reggio
session. Emilia in Italy and is also
these cards and photocopied it onto A3 a Cambridge ESOL oral
paper (see page 9). Phase 3: Write a mini-review examiner. She is
particularly interested in
These reviews ranging from 14 to Distribute some blank I loved this second language writing
44 words are complete texts in book cards and ask the students to and computer learner
write their own short review of a book corpora analysis.
discourse terms, in that they sum up the
essence of the book reviewed and they have enjoyed. Set a word and time
make a recommendation to the limit. Circulate to answer queries and
audience to read it for themselves. They monitor accuracy if necessary.

8 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

I loved this book! Personal recommendations

The House of the Spirits

1 Cell by Stephen King 6
by Isabel Allende
ding this book after
I was doubtful about rea
but with Cell, he has A magical-realist masterpiece, which spans
Kings Dark Tower series,
rror roots. four generations of one South American
gone right back to his ho
phone users into family. It touches on all subjects and has a
A pulse turns all mobile
h a collective mind.
zombies, but zombies wit vast cast of eccentric characters.
rd go!
Action right from the wo One of my all-time favourite reads!

The Great Gatsby

7 by F Scott Fitzgerald
Edgar Allan Poe: Illustrated Tales of Mystery
2 Great is an understateme
and Imagination nt. Gatsby is a
god, a legend in shor t,
If you thought Poe was scary before, wait till you the coolest dude
see this gruesomely illustrated edition of his work.
ever. He has it all looks
and wealth
Warning: Not recommended for bedtime reading. but his mission is to win
the one thing
missing from his decadent
life: Daisy.
The jazz age has never be
en so divine.
: Joe Abercromb
The Blade Itself d Part
3 debut novel an
This is a stunning e Itself
ne of A bercro mbies The Blad The Name of the Rose: Umberto Eco
O at
yle and a plot th 8
series. With a st A book by any other name would smell as
d memorable
really grip you an about, sweet, but would it be as full of Ecos
ar ac ters th at you actually care excellent prose style? Better than the film.
ch owd.
out from the cr
this book stands

The Beach: Alex Garland otte Bronte

4 Jane Eyre by Charl
When a trip to paradise goes wrong, boy does 9 ip and enduring
A story of hardsh
asses. One for
love through the cl
it go wrong!
Garlands beautiful and harrowing tale of a
the underdogs.
group of travellers who live on a secluded
island is full of psychosis, murder and betrayal.

The Scarlet Letter by

Nathaniel Hawthorne
Ghosts of Spain by Giles A powerful tale of love and passion,
5 Tremlett
Make the most of your Sp which explores how the
anish holiday with this
fascinating histor y and jou condemnation of society can break
rney around one of
Europes most interesting hearts and minds. An illegitimate
and complex countries.
Highly recommended. birth and 17th-century Puritanism
make an explosive combination. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 9

We loved these books! Student reviews
1 Title: Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows 6 Title: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Author: J K Rowling Author: Oscar Wilde
Review: Awesome! Enter the wizarding world and discover Review: At times dark, this tale reveals the weakness of
J K Rowlings amazing style. Tons of great adventures and human beauty and what lies beyond it. A great read for a
magical challenges are waiting for you in the last episode of dark winter night.
this fantastic saga. Dont miss it!
7 Title: Not Waking Up Dead
2 Title: GRIMMS FAIRY TALES Author: Viniccio Capossela
Author: Brothers Grimm Review: A book that opens your mind towards aspects
Review: In bringing to life a host of unforgettable characters of life that you have never thought about. Even better if
such as Tom Thumb, the Frog-Prince and Cinderella, the you read it against the musical background of
Brothers Grimm created a feast of stories to stimulate the Caposselas songs.
mind and the emotions of readers of all ages. As popular
today as they were when they were first published, these
stories should find a place on the bookshelf of every home. Author: EMILY BRONT
They represent part of our heritage and culture and are an Review: A wonderful book about the strength of true
essential part of every childs imaginative upbringing. love, which survives and overcomes any kind of
obstacles. The dialogue between Catherine and her
3 Title: Il Cacciatore di Aquiloni housekeeper, Nelly, makes it worth buying the book
Author: Khaled Hosseini simply because of the touching words she uses to
Review: The greatest fault of this novel is that, no sooner describe her love for Heathcliff. A novel full of contrasting
have you started reading, youll have already finished it. emotions: love, passion, revenge and hate, which will
A magnificent portrait of the last 30 years of history in surely touch you.
Afghanistan, told through the eyes of a child growing up.
9 Title: Two of two
A book that stirs strong emotions and allows us to imagine
stunning backgrounds and settings. Unforgettable Author: Andrea de Carlo
Review: Two friends, two choices, two adventures. The
4 Title: Alice in Wonderland difficulty of living in the contemporary world and the
Author: Lewis Carroll search for new values. A story of a wonderful friendship
Review: If youre curious ... if you love laughing ... if youre written by the brilliant pen of Andrea de Carlo.
grown-up but not too much and youre still able to be led by
10 Title: Stranger than Fiction
imagination ... and if the idea of being catapulted into a
nonsense world doesnt worry you, then you cant miss this Author: Chuck Palahniuk
opportunity! Review: From the author of the famous Fight Club, a
powerful collection of tales about the strangest aspects
5 Title: The Alchemist of Americas society. Palahniuk, with his rude and often
Author: Paulo Coehlo brutal style, makes a critical analysis of the American
Review: An astonishing beautiful magic tale about a way through articles straight to the point. Americas
shepherd who leaves everything to follow his dreams. society has never been so naked before.
For people who need to dream again.

I loved this book!




10 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional


They talk
more, you
talk less
Susan Doran tackles n the majority of ELT classrooms, breaks the ice and establishes in their

too much teacher talking

I the skill of speaking is often the
most coveted, yet it can be a
challenge to get your students
actually speaking to one another for
any length of time. Many factors will
minds that you are a teacher who wants
them to talk. Keep class feedback to a
minimum after such an activity
otherwise the pace might drop.

influence their willingness to speak, 2 Use signal prompts for

including their cultural background, discussions
previous learning experiences and the
Example: Ask the students to work in
material which forms the main body of
groups of three or four and to discuss a
the study you do together in class.
topic or series of questions on the
Although some of these ideas may
board. Each student takes a set of
not be new to you, I hope that many of
signal prompts, which they must use
the suggestions below may inspire you
and then throw into a central pile
to promote speaking in your own skills-
whenever they want to contribute to the
based classes. I have divided the topics
discussion. To prepare for this, make
into sections for each major skill to be
and laminate sets of prompts along the
lines of those listed below. If you make
Good luck maximising student
identical sets in different colours, it is
talking time (STT) and minimising your
easy for the students to collect their
own teacher talking time (TTT),
own groups prompts again at the end of
especially if you are relatively new to
the topic before starting a new topic.
teaching in this field.
Speaking skills Can I say something here?
1 Always start a lesson with a I disagree because ...
chatty warmer How about you, [name]?
Example: Get the students, working in
Actually, what I think is ...
pairs or threes, to plan a lunchbox.
They should decide on the main food, What about ...?
drink, snack and sweet items and I think ...
include something healthy.
In my opinion ...
Relevance: If you get all the students
What do you think, [name]?
engaged in a chatty, personalised
activity during the first five minutes, it According to ...

12 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

Relevance: This technique prevents one 5 Anticipate, share and the other students can define the words
student dominating and encourages speculate they want to know. Monitor here for ill-
quieter ones to contribute to the defined words. Then ask them to swap
discussion at some point; it gives Example: Always lead in to a listening groups and see if others can define
everyone a launch pad into the forum. text with visuals or a brainstorm, having words they still dont know. Finally,
the students talk about the topic in pairs write any remaining unknown words on
3 Recycle recent vocabulary by
or small groups if possible. For gap fills, the board and explain their meaning to
always read through the whole text first the class.
voicing it and discuss together the possible type of
Example: Divide your class into two word or actual word for the gap. Always Relevance: This works best at
teams and invite them up to the board share and compare answers between two intermediate levels and above; it gives the
with a scribe in each team. Divide the playings of a recording. students a greater sense of responsibility
board in half and tell the teams to get and keeps TTT suitably low.
the scribe to write as many new words Relevance: Its highly likely you do this
from the last two or three lessons as already, so this may just be a reminder 8 Sometimes use a mutual
they can. All team members make to anyone who skips ahead without
allowing peer feedback. dictation
suggestions. The first team to reach ten
Example: Change all or part of your text
words wins; alternatively, see how many
6 Encourage the students to into a mutual dictation (see the example
they can get in five minutes. Then after
become interested in below). You may wish to do this with
they have sat down again, encourage
listening to others just the first paragraph as it is quite
them to use each word in a sentence with
time-consuming to prepare. Then put the
a partner. If they like, they can elicit a Example: Get the students into the students in pairs to do the dictation. Be
definition from their partner by asking habit of asking follow-up questions. very careful with your instructions since
What does ... mean? You may like to This can be initially set up with prompts its not that easy to grasp at first. Stress
divide the board up into six numbered and dice. Write the numbers 16 (as dice that each person follows the pattern
sections. The students can roll dice to cubes) on the board, with Who, What, speakwritespeakwrite, etc. After
select a section to choose a word from. When, Where, How or Why next to each doing the dictation part, the students
Relevance: This is a good warmer or number. can chat in their pairs to predict the rest
filler activity. The more the students use When the students ask a partner of the text before you supply it for them
the vocabulary, the more they questions, eg from a coursebook, they to read on.
remember. This activity gets passive must throw the dice after they have heard
the answer and make a further question Relevance: A mutual dictation is often
vocabulary into active usage and aids
beginning with the corresponding prompt highly motivating and gets the students
longer-term memory of each item, too.
word on the board. Alternatively, you practising all four skills at once. It is also
Top speaking tips: Always use prompts could have the question words on good for spelling and pronunciation
written on cards or on the board to laminated cards in an envelope for the practice.
keep discussions flowing. Play some students to pick at random in order to
background music during speaking ask their follow-up questions. Student A
activities. This needs to be relatively A mutual dictation ........ ........ ........ ........ text
non-intrusive, and suitable for creating Relevance: Students seem content to be
minimal in the way they answer which is shared ........ ........ ........ .
an atmosphere which makes speaking
questions, but this encourages interest They take it in ........ ........ ........ and speak.
out loud feel less vulnerable and
threatening for the students. and responding to open-ended
questions. Its a good way of extending Student B
coursebook material. ........ ........ ........ is a piece of ...........
Listening skills Top listening tip: When students are going ........ ........ ........ between two students.
4 Pre-teach vocabulary actively to encounter an unusual name or a place ........ ........ ........ ........ turns to write ........ ........ .
in a listening text, be sure to familiarise
Example: Put the students into pairs.
them with it first. An accompanying visual
Student A has a list of target words with 9 Do a running dictation
such as a photo or map can also aid
stress/phonemic pronunciation marked.
comprehension at lower levels. Example: If you have no time to prepare
Student B is told a word and runs to
find the correct definition from a set a mutual dictation, pin up part of the
previously pinned up around the room. B Reading skills text, clear away any obstacles, and put
then runs back, and dictates the definition the students in pairs: a runner, who has
7 Make vocabulary pre-teaching
to A. Student A can then dictate both the to memorise parts of the text, and a
word and definition to their partner so student-centred scribe, who writes down what the runner
that both of them have a copy. Example: After a brief lead-in to the dictates. Alternatively, if the text you are
topic, let the students scan an article or going to read is long, give them the text
Relevance: TTT can dominate when itself but get them running for the
text quickly and each choose four words
pre-teaching vocabulary, especially if its they want to know the meaning of. comprehension questions they need to
largely unknown language which would Then put them into groups of three or answer on it, which are clearly numbered
be difficult to elicit anyway. four (not pairs) and ask them to see if and pinned up around the room. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 13

They talk 12 Reformulate a text in a
different genre
more, you Example: Get the students to do some
analytical work about the format, Tprofessional
talk less register and likely content of a piece of
text, eg a newspaper article or a letter to
 Relevance: Reading can be a very quiet a friend. Then give them a short text This is your magazine.
part of the lesson; this brings some and ask them to reformulate it in a We want to hear from you!
action into it. different genre, such as changing an
article into a chatty letter or a film
Top reading tip: Always let pairs
review into a news report. The students
compare answers and chat together
can add extra information for creative
after a quiet time of reading alone to
find their own answers. Then conduct a
interest the main point is to try to stay IT WORKS IN PRACTICE
true to the new genre.
brief class feedback session. Do you have ideas youd like to share
Relevance: This is useful at higher with colleagues around the world?
levels for appropriacy awareness and Tips, techniques and activities;
Writing skills may be of interest to students doing the simple or sophisticated; well-tried
10 Do a class chronology Cambridge ESOL FCE, CAE or or innovative; something that has
Proficiency exams. worked well for you? All published
Example: How you organise this
activity* depends on your class size. Top writing tip: Display the students contributions receive a prize!
You could split up a large class into texts in the classroom and invite Write to us or email:
groups of up to ten people. Choose as everyone to read them and pencil in
many years as there are students in the any peer correction before you take in
class, eg for ten students, use the last ten the work and check it. This puts
years. Get them to note down quickly
an event or activity which happened in
responsibility on the students and
encourages peer cooperation and TALKBACK!
their own life in each year. Then speaking as they discuss whether or Do you have something to say about
designate a year per student. They not correction is really needed. an article in the current issue of ETp?
interview all the others in their group
This is your magazine and we would
and make notes on each life. Finally, on * I am indebted to Alan Harry Hall and really like to hear from you.
coloured paper, they write up the class Ben McDonald for this particular idea.
Write to us or email:
history for that year and pin their
accounts up around the room. Give
everyone time to read these; they will 
then have more launching points to ask
each other further questions about Many of the suggestions described here Writing for ETp
interesting incidents. require little preparation and few Would you like to write for ETp? We are
materials. A small number need slightly always interested in new writers and
Relevance: This activity takes quite a
more careful preparation. However, all fresh ideas. For guidelines and advice,
time, but is a form of process writing
are designed to get the focus and write to us or email:
and can be very motivating if you
responsibility off you, the teacher, as
display the results. Its also very
soon as possible, going straight into
personalised. (Note: it probably wont
maximum STT. Your role, once the
work with young children.)
students are up and running, is to sit
quietly, perhaps with some notepaper Visit the
11 Use picture prompts for a
group composition
and a pen, and listen out for examples ETp website!
of excellent language and a few The ETp website is packed with practical
Example: Put the students in groups of mistakes. You can then spend a few
tips, advice, resources, information and
three or four with one shared notepad moments of class time doing a praise
selected articles. You can submit tips
and a designated scribe. Using a series of and correction slot after the activity to
or articles, renew your subscription
picture prompts for example, cut-out round things up. ETp
or simply browse the features.
pictures from a magazine or downloads
from the internet each student suggests Susan Doran is a
freelance English
a sentence in turn to create a story and teacher and teacher
the scribe writes a paragraph. Then trainer, based in
Cheltenham, UK. She ENGLISH TEACHING professional
another person becomes the scribe and has been teaching since
Keyways Publishing Ltd, PO Box 100,
the story continues. 1993 and has worked in
Egypt, Turkey and the Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 8HD, UK
Relevance: This can help to balance UK.
Fax: +44 (0)1243 576456
over-dominant and rather shy students so Email:
that they contribute reasonably equally.

14 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

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wo interesting
intteresting and informative
culturee books with an emphasis on CLIL.
Special CLIL pa ges and sections seamlessly
integra t English with other subjects reinforcing
CEF langua g and content for real learning.

A1/A2 Bringiing paradise so much closer

Bringing closer for older teenagers
for CLILL devotees
EL Gazeette

for young teenagers


Innovis House

i n si d e
108 High Street
Crawley, W
Crawley, est Sussex
RH10 1AS - UK

One classroom,
many worlds 2
Alicia Artusi and Gregory J Manin explore the use of real-world resources.

n the first part of this article, in Challenge why, when they should and shouldnt

I Issue 63 of ETp, we outlined the

four worlds that can be brought
into the classroom to broaden the
students language learning experience.
These were the world around (the students
The real world is outside the
It takes some extra time to bring the
world outside into the classroom because
use a mobile phone, how to operate a
particular device, and so on.

Teach reading and listening

comprehension, writing and speaking
it needs research and presentation of skills in a way that will help your
immediate environment), the world inside
new vocabulary. However, if we can students deal with the outside world
(the inner world of emotions, past
make students realise the power of on their own. Deal with simple
experiences, needs and interests that make
mastering English for understanding the learning strategies, such as classifying
up the individual), the world outside (the
world outside, they will clearly see the information, using key words,
wider world, including other countries,
importance of learning the language. imitating, taking notes, summarising,
knowledge areas such as science,
mathematics, history and literature, and using previous linguistic knowledge
Suggestions and knowledge of the world, etc. Ask
the realms of philosophy, belief and
speculation) and the classroom world (the Link the coursebook unit topic to the students to notice in their daily
world of the teacher). It is these last two other subjects. Get in contact with lives when they would use certain
that are the main focus of this article. teachers of other subjects like English structures, then have them
geography, biology, literature or report to the class.
history. Theres always someone you
The world outside have empathy with in the staffroom
2 The classroom world
Students are already very aware of the and who will be willing to share a
importance of learning English. cross-curricular project or discussion Bringing other worlds to the classroom
Amongst other things, they use the with your students. means educating the students by
internet, play computer games, interact cultivating their intelligences and
in virtual worlds, listen to and sing Invite a guest to the classroom. An helping them in their personal growth.
songs in English, buy trendy portable outside specialist who demonstrates English can be the key to entering
gadgets with instructions in English and an occupation or craft or shares their multiple worlds. The teachers role is far
watch English movies. Most of them work experience can add a new more important than just covering the
feel attracted to English-language dimension to the flat world of syllabus. Teachers are educators, filters
culture and many would like to study in language learning. to absorb the worlds outside and guides
an English-speaking country. They may to help the students to decode these
play sports of American or British Ask your students to bring personal worlds.
origin and wear clothes with slogans or things from home, such as CDs,
logos in English. In recent research, magazines, photos, movies, books, Challenge 1
teenage students in Brazil claimed that pins, iPods, etc to class. They are easy
I have no time.
they were most interested in learning to carry and represent the students
about different places in the world, their lives and interests. Incorporate these The only drawback to bringing different
customs and other cultural aspects. So, into a lesson whenever possible. For worlds to the classroom which is worth
why do students appear to switch off example, have the students explain mentioning might be time constraints.
in English classes when there are plenty what they like or dont like about However, if you feel this is an approach
of reasons to suggest that they should their particular mobile phone, what to teaching the language that you
be highly interested and motivated? model they would like to have and believe in, you need to give it space in

16 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

your curriculum. Careful planning and waste time while rearranging their Exploit your schools facilities. The
a good balance of the target language seats. Challenge them to change seats computing lab, the gym, the music
points and the topics that may arise will fast. Set a time limit in which room, the garden, etc can all be good
help with time management. everyone should be ready and holding resources for teaching. By changing
their material. Explain the importance their environment, you can give your
Suggestions of working with different people. students opportunities to change the
Plan carefully what to include in the Soon, this routine will become a habit. kind of activities they do, ask for the
curriculum. Covering more language meaning of new words, and break
points can mean that you do them in Encourage cooperative work. down the classroom walls by using
less depth and take a more superficial Students can be very competitive, but resources which are already there.
approach. While forward-planning is also very cooperative. Give them the
important, it is also vital to be chance to share their strengths and 
flexible. If you see that your students work on their weaknesses by working
have an easy grasp of a language in cooperative groups of four or six Finally, you have probably realised that
point or topic, dont belabour the students. You can assign different by involving different worlds in your
point, but take it as an opportunity to roles (reader, materials handler, lessons, you are catering to the different
move outside the syllabus and bring recorder, time keeper, illustrator, language levels, intelligences, interests
new worlds in. presenter, etc) within the group or and personalities in the class. You are
you can allow them to do so also encouraging cooperative work and
Realise that you dont need to enlarge, themselves, profiting from the fact learning about the world through
discuss or add music to every unit or that they know each other very well. English. In other words, you are
topic. Go through the material and incorporating a wide variety of
see which parts of your material will Foster autonomy. Encourage the use methodologies and approaches that, in
benefit from adding some other of the vocabulary lists and grammar the abstract, seem complicated and
elements or starting with another charts in the students coursebooks. daunting, but when put into practice are
approach. Be ready to shorten or Train them to use dictionaries in class really useful, commonsense tools.
simplify parts which, in spite of being and at home. Teach them the Letting other worlds into your
a mandatory element of the course, language of instructions so they can classroom will make your teaching as
are less relevant or interesting to your do assignments when you are not challenging, varied and, at the same
students. there to help. Train them in strategies time, controlled as you could have
so they can understand difficult hoped, and the rewards will be visible in
Show your syllabus to a colleague or material globally without calling for the engagement, dedication and
coordinator in order to share views. help. Time spent covering the basics gratitude of your students. ETp
This doesnt take much time, and it is of coursebook instructions and
very useful to listen to an outsiders teaching students to use the tools and
point of view. In our experience, resources available to them will pay
teachers who teamwork with their off by giving them confidence and the
colleagues never want to work on ability to follow their own language-
their own again. Sharing ideas and learning path.
approaches, swapping material, CDs,
and so on, is one of the keys to Challenge 3
bringing different worlds into the I have no resources.
classroom. Simple elements can bring the world
Alicia Artusi has worked in the ELT profession
outside into the class: a map, a photo, a as a teacher, teacher trainer, presenter and
Challenge 2 CD, a magazine, an article from the writer. She is now teaching and writing EFL
materials. Gregory J Manin has taught English
I have a large chaotic class. internet, a book, etc. If learning English in Italy, Greece and the USA and is currently a
becomes an important subject at school, writer of English language coursebooks.
Some teachers might be sceptical about Together they have written Engage, No Problem
how effective breaking down the walls you will soon get a better budget or and ECCE Result, all published by OUP.
could be, especially in large chaotic help from parents and authorities. Also,
classrooms. However, in our experience, students will be more than willing to
discipline is not an issue if you are bring in materials to share with the class
patient enough to wait for the students when they realise that their contributions
to realise your class is meaningful and are made use of and appreciated.
Suggestions Bring a box to the class and label it
Writing for ETp
Would you like to write for ETp?
Train your students to change seats Resource box. You and your
We are always interested in new writers
and partners. Students tend to be students will soon collect plenty of
and fresh ideas. For guidelines and
reluctant to change seats and work useful and relevant material to be
advice, write to us or email:
with other students in the class. They used in the class: brochures, photos,
also usually make a lot of noise and articles, paintings, comics, songs, etc. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 63 July 2009 17

IN THE CLASSROOM their story as ridiculous and corny as
they like.

Starting the students off
Put the students into groups of four
or five and tell them to work together
to invent the outline of a plot for a
photo novella. Allow plenty of time

a photo
for this and be prepared to go around
the groups helping with vocabulary
and ideas. Reassure them that it is not
very difficult to do.
Get each group to create a central

character for their story. This person
should be human and about their
own age. When they have decided
what their main character is like in
terms of personality, looks, etc, ask
them to create another character
(again, human and around their age).
Gary Collins gets his camera out for a fun project. Finally, get them to create a third
character; this one could be human, a
pet or an object but if it is an animal
etting students to create their Getting the students

G own teaching materials has

several benefits. Not least, in
these days of financial crisis,
it makes sense from an economic point of
view. However, I dont believe it is merely
Go into the classroom announcing that
you are going to read a photo novella
together. (If you have students above the
or an object, it must be something
that can be brought to school. Even if
the students lack creativity,
establishing three basic characters
usually works well for creating a
a way of saving teachers time and money. age of enjoying such things, tell them coherent story.
I regard it as a much greater investment: that you want to investigate why these Ask the groups of students to work
by doing the same tasks as my students stories are regarded as contrived and on a storyboard for their photo
doing their exercises while they do clichd.) Then get all the students to sit novella. This involves creating a quick
mine I provide humanistic support to around an overhead projector. Some may sketch of each scene of the story with
them, and it means I am prepared for be reluctant; tell them they will learn speech bubbles and captions on one
any questions they might have. some useful English which they can use or two pages and is a useful group
The project outlined below involves out there in the real world. Display the writing and drawing exercise.
getting the students to write and put first part of a photo novella which you
together their own photo novella (see have prepared in advance (instructions Take in the stories and correct them,
page 19 for an example of one produced below) on the OHP and ask the students helping the students to create a final
by my students). This involves quite a to read it. Eventually, after all the readable version.
bit of planning and preparation (not sniggers have subsided, put them in pairs In the following lesson, read out all
least, putting together one of your own, and ask one student in each pair to tell stories and get the class to vote on
to use as an example) but it has benefits the other what they have understood in which is the best one and the one
in encouraging the students to work their own language. Do not emphasise that you will all work on to turn into
cooperatively and provides practice in any particular target language structure: a photo novella.
all the key skills areas. Once one group the point is simply to get them motivated
of students has produced their story, to speak. Ask several individuals to Choose a scriptwriter (someone
you can use it with other classes to describe the plot in English: ostracised creative or someone you trust to be
motivate them to do likewise or for girl meets hero, or whatever, while you effective). Sit down with the
reading and comprehension work. supply or highlight any words you want scriptwriter and work out a script for
them to remember, or any facts you your shots and the text for your
would like to emphasise. Then give balloons. As an experienced teacher,
Getting ready you will know that although you cant
them the rest of your story, telling them
To do this project, you will need a digital that, again, they will have to tell each fill this time for the rest of the class
camera (I used a Canon Power Shot S50 other what they have understood. Note with equally exciting work, you need
with 7 mega pixels). You will also need that weaker students can always refer to have something to keep them going
to be proficient or semi-proficient with back to the OHP for help. and to set you free for the editing
Word 5 or later editions of the software. Finally, tell the students that they task: some exercises, an interesting
Finally, you will need a printer which are now going to make their own photo text to read, an article on the latest
can make colour prints and overhead novella. If they are still sceptical about comic or whatever. Choose students
projector (OHP) transparencies. the genre, point out that they can make to play the characters in the story and

18 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

assign other roles (someone to be in
charge of props and costumes,
camera operator, director, etc).

Taking the photos

This is the most sensitive stage of the
project and you must make sure that
everything runs smoothly. Check that
the battery of the camera is fully
charged and that new batteries are on
hand in case of failure. Make sure that
there is sufficient room on the memory
card to take a large number of photos.
You will need to take several shots of
each scene as even bad pictures may
prove handy later on. Ensure that the
students know where each photo will be
taken. Remind them that they must
bring any props that they need.

Assembling the novella

Your students may well have advanced
computer skills which will enable them
to assemble their photo novella
themselves, or at least assist as you put
it together. If not, you will have to get
used to handling all kinds of graphics
within a Word document yourself, but
you will benefit greatly from this as it is
a useful skill for any teacher to have!
Follow this basic procedure:
Up-load all the photos onto your
computer and put them into a new
Open a Word document and insert
your pictures by choosing Picture
from the Insert menu. Move them
around, positioning them in a logical
order to tell the story
Speech and thought bubbles are
called Callouts in Word. Find them
on the Drawing toolbar under the
View menu. Click on the shape you
want and then drag your mouse near
where you want it to appear on the
photo. You can type inside the bubble
and resize and reposition it as you
wish. Add speech and thought
bubbles where required, to complete
the story. ETp

Gary Collins teaches

English and history in
Basel, Switzerland. He
studied theology,
English literature and
history in Basel and has
written stories for his
students, which are so
far unpublished. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 19

G R A M M A R He lit up a cigarette. He began
smoking. Creation.
I took up tennis in school. Again

Phrasal verbs? creation; I began playing tennis.

What about the verb throw up? I
drank so much beer, I threw up in the car.
Creation or death? Well, obviously I

Theyre easy! 3
could say its creation: Ive created
something horrible on the floor of the
car! Another way of looking at it is that
the moment I throw up, the pain stops.
Its the end of pain.
Sometimes we can use phrasal verbs
John Ryan takes up the challenge of verbs that take up. formally:
Ill draw up a contract for tomorrow.
Here, Ill write the contract. Ill create
n Issue 63 of ETp, I used a single the same time. Your sleep ends and your the contract. Creation.

I keyword (contact) to explain phrasal

verbs with on. With those that take
up, there are three possibilities:
day begins. Therefore, the verb wake up
can be seen as being both creation and
Still on the subject of creation, a lot
of things are created in the kitchen:
She cooked up a feast last night. (the
up is not necessary in this sentence), or
1 The direction  There are other verbs which can be
seen in both ways: if you want to create something quickly:
2 Creation or death
Last year, I gave up smoking. You relax and Ill rustle up something
3 The road to perfection
Starting or stopping? Again, both. The to eat.
Verbs that take up probably comprise moment I give up smoking, the dirty Earlier, I mentioned making up with
the biggest group of phrasal verbs. For habit ends and a new clean healthy life someone. But the verb make up has
this reason, we will look at the first two begins. Again, creation and death. several meanings, all creation.
potential meanings in this issue and I broke up with Mary. Are you an I made up an excuse. I created an
then examine the third in Issue 65. optimist or a pessimist? It depends on excuse.
your perspective. I can say that the Hes always making up stories and
1 The direction  moment I break up with her, the jokes. Hes always creating stories and
Though they may not be phrasal verbs, relationship ends. Its death to the
relationship. Or my new single Mary- There is of course also the idea of
learners encounter many verbs of
free life begins! make up, the stuff that people put on
movement with up. For example, walk,
We made up after the fight. their faces, but that is covered in part
swim, climb, come and go. If the context
To make up with someone is all about three, the road to perfection, which I will
suggests movement, eg he walked up the
rebuilding a relationship after a fight deal with in the next issue.
hill, she ran up the stairs, the meaning of
I was talking to the boss the other

the verb will be . This is an ideal has ended. Its about starting again. Its
about creation. day and your name came up. Your name
starting point for the learner, where they
He turned up late. A little more was mentioned. Creation. We began to
can translate literally.
difficult, this verb, but still both talk about you.
More figurative meanings can also
creation and death. It means to arrive. I cant go to the party as something
occur, however. In phrases like She ran
What happens just before you arrive? has come up. Here, you could see it as
up a pair of curtains, something came up,
The journey. And when you arrive, the the beginning of something new, or as
etc, up should be seen as something
death. Something that stops me

other than due to context. journey ends. Death. And when you
arrive at the party or the meeting, it carrying out my original plan.
When introducing the preposition,
begins. Creation. Thats it. Times up! More up in the
start with movement and then move
While the above verbs suggest both next issue when I will look at verbs
down the figurative path towards phrasal
creation or death, starting or stopping, where the meaning of up suggests the
verbs, always focusing on context.
depending on your own perspective, the road to perfection. ETp
following verbs are more obviously one
2 Creation or death or the other.
With creation, the idea is that something When someone says I hung up the John Ryan is the Director
of Studies at Delfin
is beginning; we are at the start of phone, I see this verb as being more the School of English, Dublin,
something. Death is the end; something end of something. I see it as being Ireland, and believes that
the English language is
stops. So, you can think of up as death. However, if a learner says it is accessible to all learners
creation or death or starting or creation (ie the beginning of life off the as there is an underlying
logic, which exists even
stopping. It all depends on your phone), I will never disagree with them. in the most idiomatic of
viewpoint. For example: They use the system only as a guide and phrases. Bringing this
I woke up at seven oclock. logic to the learner is his
they are never wrong! goal in training.
When you wake up, something is Coca-Cola was set up in 1886. Coca-
starting and something is stopping at
Cola was created in 1886.

20 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional


Playing with
Gaye Koer suggests
some language learning
The more students use their language
skills for enjoyment, the more language
ability they are likely to acquire.
Teachers of young learners need to
(Julian Edge)
games. know what children at the same level
as their students are capable of doing.

y 14 years of teaching Wendy Scott points out:
English were full of joy,
Learners of five to seven years old:
excitement and interest
until I tried to teach a class  can talk about what they are doing,
of 25 six year olds for four hours of  can tell you what they have done or
English every week. Our coursebook heard,
contained big colourful pictures of  can tell you what they think,
various objects and my main aim, and
 can use their vivid imagination,
that of my fellow first-grade teachers,
was to familiarise these young learners  can understand direct human
with English vocabulary and to promote interaction,
the formation of a positive attitude to  can understand situations more quickly
language learning in general. I soon than they understand the language
realised that it was unrealistic simply to used,
present the new words to the children  have difficulty in knowing what is fact
in their colourful book and expect and what is fiction,
them to remember them all. I tried
 cannot see things from someone elses
different ways of presenting the new
point of view,
vocabulary, such as using flashcards and
bringing actual objects to class, which  cannot decide for themselves what to
worked quite well. However, the learn,
following problems still arose:  have a very short attention and
1 The children forgot the new words concentration span,
very quickly.  seldom admit that they do not know,
2 They were not always able to use the
 are enthusiastic and positive about
new words.
learning when they are praised and
3 They were reluctant to participate in
constantly motivated.
the lessons and soon lost motivation.
As I was new to teaching such young As young learners are subject to rapid
learners, I decided that I needed to mood changes and often find it difficult
learn more about them. I started by to sit quietly, teachers need to be
learning about their likes, dislikes and creative in finding a large variety of
characteristics. activities that will interest them. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 23

Playing with
Note: When playing games, dont windows in one side of the
forget to use expressions like please, envelope with one edge still attached
thank you, very good, great, etc, to show so they can be opened or closed.

vocabulary respect to the students, to encourage

them more and to make them feel
secure. Praising students for what they
Write the numbers one to eight on
the flaps of the windows. Put the
flashcards in the envelope making
 Moreover, as children in the very early have done and accepting whatever they sure that one part of each animal can
stages of primary school education may say and correcting it later will help to be seen through each window.
not be able to read and write, teaching create a safe class atmosphere and give
2 Ask the students in turn to choose a
needs to be based mainly on listening the children a sense of achievement.
number. Open the corresponding
and speaking. Games seem to represent
window and ask them to identify the
the most fertile area for activities that 1 Flashcard game animal from the small part that can
will work well with young children.
1 Put the students in groups of five be seen. (To make the game more
and hand out flashcards with animal enjoyable, use a puppet to ask the
Childrens games pictures at random. There should be questions to the children and open
several flashcards for each animal. the window.) If the answer is
When deciding on what games to use
correct, say Very good [Ayse], thanks
in my classroom, I was influenced by 2 Tell the students that when you
and encourage everybody to applaud.
Piaget, who defines the stage that imitate the sound of an animal, eg a
If not, say Sorry Ayse, maybe next
children in primary school are usually dog, those students who have
time. Another child can then choose
at as the concrete operational stage of pictures of dogs have to hold up
another window and see if they can
cognitive development, meaning that they their cards and call out the name of
identify the animal. Once an animal
learn through hands-on experiences and their animal. They then move seats
has been guessed, remove that
through manipulation of objects in the so that all the dogs are sitting
flashcard from the envelope and start
environment. I also found support from together.
again with the next one.
Vygotskys theory of the zone of
3 After finding the other members of
proximal development. He asserts that
their group, the children with dog 4 Listen and match
children learn in social contexts, in groups
cards say loudly We like dogs! This game is adapted from one
where some group members know more
than others. This principle suggests that 4 Repeat with the other animals until described by Wendy Scott. It acts as a
children need not only hands-on or direct all the children are sitting in the listening comprehension exercise
experiences, but also experiences where correct animal groups. where the children have to place the
they are interacting and learning both from right food in front of the right animal
adults and other children. 2 Memory game while listening. It enables them to
The thing to be kept in mind is that revise the topics of food and animals.
1 This game is based on concentration
the teacher needs to interact with the and memory. You will need two 1 Give each student a sheet of paper
children in English as much as possible, identical sets of cards with pictures with a picture of four animals sitting
making use of what Krashen calls of animals. Mix up the sets and lay at a table and another sheet with
comprehensible input and using them face down on the floor or food pictures on it. Ask them to cut
English that is related directly to the table. out the different food pictures
activities in which the children are before they start to listen.
engaged. 2 Tell the children to take turns to
As Fawui points out, it is important turn over two cards. If the cards 2 As they listen to the text, tell them
to try to avoid the frustration that can match, the child who turned them to put the correct food pictures in
result from [students] not being able to over must say the name of the front of the animals mentioned. The
make appropriate responses a game may animal and can then keep the cards. text should be read slowly and
call for ... The teacher should work out As it is not a competition, you will should be matched to the level of
beforehand what language items are likely find that they will cooperate and the learners.
to be needed in the course of the game so some kids will shout No, no, thats the Example text: Rabbit Timmy is very
that it can be played with maximum cat!. very hungry. He wants carrots, milk and
success and enjoyment. Besides, enabling cake. The cat, Mrs Ginger, likes toast.
learners to communicate with each 3 Envelope game She wants toast, butter and tea. Mr
other, using teams and groups helps to 1 For this game you will need a big Hiss, the snake, is not hungry so he only
reduce the individual pressures of envelope and some animal flashcards wants an egg. Little bird Jim likes
competition, which can be discouraging (or flashcards of some other topic hamburgers very much. He wants two
for shy learners. you are teaching). Cut eight hamburgers and a coke.

24 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

To make the task more enjoyable, the students in each pair should end 3 Show the students how to fold their
the text can also be read by the class up with two identically coloured books together. The books can be
mascot or puppet as if it is talking sheets. If they do not, then it held together with a paper clip.
about its friends. highlights anything that is wrong with
their colour or animal vocabulary. 
5 Going fishing
This is a game recommended by Helena 7 Listen and draw I did manage to motivate my classes
Curtain. We play it using the floor as 1 Give each student a sheet of paper and overcome the reluctance of the
the pond so the children can all see with the same basic picture of a farm children to participate in my lessons.
whether their classmates are successful on it. This picture should not contain The following things helped me to
in catching and naming the fish. My any animals as the children will draw achieve this:
students not only enjoy the fishing part, and colour them according to your  Keeping the characteristics of young
but also the excitement of getting more description. learners in mind;
fish than the others when they know
2 Present the picture to the learners  Making sure that English was used in
the correct answers.
by pointing to the objects in it so each game;
1 Put numbers, colours or pictures of that it is easier for them to  Providing maximum opportunities
new vocabulary items (animals in our comprehend. Encourage them to for the children to participate;
context) on small paper fish with listen to what you say and to add
 Adding elements of cooperation,
paper clips attached to them. colours and animals according to
suspense and a little competition;
your description. For example:
2 Give each child in turn a fishing pole  Adapting games to my students
with a piece of string and a magnet This is Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam is a farmer level;
attached to the end. They use this to and he has got a farm. Today the weather
 Stopping the games at a point when
catch a fish. If the child can say the is very nice and Uncle Sam is outside. The
the class still wanted more;
number, colour or the word sky is blue. (Wait until the children
represented by the picture, they can have coloured the sky blue.) There are  Not repeating the same games too
keep the fish; if not, the fish goes two birds in the sky. (The children draw many times.
back into the pond. the birds.) His house is brown. (The In addition, I found that the students
children colour it in.) Uncle Sam has were able to remember and use the
6 You decide! got a lot of interesting animals. On the new words easily. ETp
Although in this game the language farm there is one red cat. (The children
limits are decided by the pictures, the draw and colour the cat.) The cat has Curtain, H and Pesola, C Languages and
pupils still decide for themselves which three ears. (The children adjust the Children: Making the Match Pearson 1994
colours and animals they are going to number of ears.) There is a big horse ... Edge, J Essentials of English Language Teaching
Longman 1993
use. They also have the chance to 3 When you have finished, compare Fawui, A The role of games in the learning
revise the words for colours. the pictures and praise the children process Forum July 1987
1 Put the students into pairs and give for their work. Krashen, S D Principles and Practice in Second
Language Acquisition Pergamon Press 1982
each student a sheet of paper with
8 Concertina book Piaget, J The Language and Thought of the
some black and white animal pictures Child World Publishing Company 1955
on, ready for colouring. Tell them not This activity can be used when the Scott, W Are You Listening? OUP 1980
to show their pictures to their students are familiar with reading and Scott, W and Ytreberg, L Teaching English to
partners and have them sit opposite writing. Preparing books about topics Children Longman 1990
each other with a book or a bag which the students like really keeps Vygotsky, L Thought and Language CUP 1962
between them so that they cant see them motivated and active.
their partners sheet accidentally.
1 Give each student a long sheet of Gaye Koer taught in
private schools in
2 Student A asks Student B What colour paper and show them how to fold it Istanbul, Turkey, for 14
is the dog? Student B chooses a in a zig-zag to produce a number of years and is currently
teaching at Yzyl Isl
colour and answers, for example, Its pages. Ask them to draw and High School. She studied
blue. Then they colour the picture of colour simple pictures of the animal English Literature at
Istanbul University and
the dog blue. It is then Student Bs you describe (a blue cat, a red fish, took her Masters degree
turn to ask about another animal. etc), one on each page. in TESOL at Aston
University, UK, in 2003.
3 The asking and answering goes on in 2 Tell them to write what you said
turns until all the pictures are below each picture. At the same
coloured. When the game is over, time, write it on the board. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 25

Page 26
wall ... Alan Maley has
some suggestions for
reading about reading.

iven that this series of articles Daniel Pennacs The Rights of the On a more autobiographical note, and

G is about the kinds of reading

teachers can do outside their
professional interests, it seems
appropriate to review a few titles which
touch on the nature of reading itself. I will
Reader, in a seamless translation from
French and wittily illustrated by Quentin
Blake, is a humorous yet serious attack
on the negative effects of institutional
(mis)education, which condemns kids to
echoing some of the concerns of Pennac,
Nancie Atwell describes how she gets
seventh and eighth graders in Maine
hooked on reading. The Reading Zone is
a wise and compassionate book, full of
discuss five non-fiction books, one a hatred for books. It is a passionate plea unpretentious, practical advice on how to
memoir and two novels, all of which have for restoring pleasure to reading without engage kids with books. As she says, The
reading as a central theme. the paraphernalia of set texts, questions, processes of story reading are so subtle, so
tests, mandatory discussion, etc, and is a fantastic, so quicksilver and simultaneous,
celebration of the love of books which that we cant account for them, measure
Non-fiction good teachers can offer their students. them, test them, or teach them. We can
Alberto Manguels monumental A History Pennac sets out ten readers rights: the only give kids great books and time to get
of Reading is a must for anyone right not to read, to skip, not to finish a lost in them, then be grateful .
interested in how reading evolved. He book, to read it again, to read anything, The most recent of these books,
deploys an impressively encyclopaedic to mistake a book for real life, to read Maryanne Wolfs Proust and the Squid,
knowledge with elegant eloquence. anywhere, to dip in, to read out loud and opens with the words We were never
Virtually all aspects of the history of to be quiet. born to read. It is divided into three
reading are covered: how it moved from It is full of quotable quotes and parts. In the first, she investigates the
reading aloud to silent reading, from the relentless common sense: an iconoclastic history of writing systems as ways of
elite to the masses, from orality to text, delight. encoding phonetic, graphic and semantic
from scholastic to individual, from literal The Power of Reading by Stephen information, along with the ways existing
to allegorical/interpretative. A History of Krashen describes the research which brain functions had to adapt to the
Reading ranges over the physical shapes unequivocally supports the central role complexity of the interconnected
of books, the places people have read in for Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) in L1 processes involved in reading by creating
and how, the power of scribes, the role of and L2 language acquisition. It goes on new neural pathways. In the second, she
libraries, censorship, the author as public to suggest ways in which this can be takes us through the stages a child goes
reader, the translator as reader, and much done: through better access at home and through in learning to read, the natural
more. The opening chapter, The Last in libraries, reading aloud, strong reading history of reading, from the emerging
Page, is a highly evocative account of experiences (home-run books!), through pre-reader, to the novice reader, to the
the authors own reading history. offering models, time and encouragement. de-coding reader, to the fluent
Altogether, this is a wonderful book, In the final chapter, he deals with the comprehending reader and finally to the
packed with fascinating anecdotes and readingwriting connection, and dismisses expert reader. This is both an informative
reflections and beautifully illustrated. the fear that TV will eradicate reading. and a deeply moving account, bringing ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 27

totalitarian, fundamentalist theocracy. is untidy, discursive and perceptually
They discuss Lolita, The Great Gatsby, inviting. Briefing closes down a subject,
Daisy Miller and The Ambassadors, and reading opens it up.

the Jane Austen, and in doing so form a

confederacy of readers who find in books
Pass the time? said the Queen.
Books are not about passing the time.

wall ... consolation from the humiliations they

suffer, courage to resist and subvert the
pressures they are under, and hope in the
Theyre about other lives. Other worlds.
Far from wanting time to pass one just
wishes one had more of it.
face of the despair that surrounds them. A book is a device to ignite the
Nafisis comments on womens rights, imagination.
politics and education are an inspiration. Bennetts writing is gently satirical
A good novel is one that shows the and sometimes wildly funny. I wonder if
complexity of individuals, and creates the Queen found it as entertaining as I
enough space for all those characters to did! There is a delicious sting in the tail,
have a voice: in this way a novel is called which I will not reveal, as the Queen
democratic not that it advocates decides to progress from being a reader
 together detailed explanations of neural
democracy but that by nature it is so. to becoming a writer
connections in the brain with sensitive
I wonder ... whether as professor of
quotations from literature which express
... one book led to creative writing you would agree that if
something of the mysterious and
reading softens one up, writing does the
wonder-full nature of the reading process.
another, doors kept reverse. To write you have to be tough,
In the third part, she explores what is
opening wherever she do you not?
happening when the brain does not learn
to read. Her detailed analysis of the
turned and the days 
multiple sources of dyslexia is both
compassionate and clear. werent long enough Just to round off, if you want to share
One of Wolfs preoccupations is the
effect of internet culture on reading: What
for the reading she your reading with others, try, a way of
is being lost and what is being gained for wanted to do passing on books you have enjoyed to
so many young people who have largely other people. Also relevant is
replaced books with the multidimensional for information on
continuous partial attention culture of Extensive Reading. Enjoy your book! ETp
the internet? What are the implications of
seemingly limitless information for the
Atwell, N The Reading Zone Scholastic
evolution of the reading brain and for us Fiction 2007
as a species? Does the rapid, almost
The Reader by Bernard Schlink is perhaps Bennett, A The Uncommon Reader Faber
instantaneous presentation of expansive and Faber/Profile Books 2007
information threaten the more time- better known in its Oscar-winning film
version, but the book is, if anything, even Krashen, S The Power of Reading
demanding formation of in-depth (second edition) Libraries Unlimited/
knowledge? She quotes Edward Tenner: more powerful. The love affair between
Heinemann USA 2004
it would be a shame if brilliant technology the 15-year-old Michael and the 30-ish
Manguel, A A History of Reading
were to end up threatening the kind of Hanna includes the ritual of him reading
Flamingo 1997
intellect that produced it. This is not to aloud to her before their love-making. It
Nafisi, A Reading Lolita in Tehran: a
say that she is hostile to the internet but is only years later, when he sees Hanna memoir in books Fourth Estate 2003
her questions, like those of Socrates when on trial for Nazi atrocities, that Michael
Pennac, D The Rights of the Reader
he condemned the transfer from oral to realises she is illiterate. Rather than admit Walker Books 2006
written culture, are of great significance. this, she takes responsibility for the war Schlink. B The Reader Pantheon Books
This is a truly marvellous book, combining crimes and goes to prison. There can be 1997
the how of science with the wow of few more telling cases for the power of Wolf, M Proust and the Squid Icon Books
wonder and delight of an aesthetic literacy, or its lack, than this book. 2008
appreciation of the miracle of reading. Alan Bennetts The Uncommon
Reader is a whimsical fantasy in which Alan Maley has worked in
the Queen of England accidentally the area of ELT for over
Memoir discovers the joys of reading. Bennett
40 years in Yugoslavia,
Ghana, Italy, France,
In Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi uses the Queen to scatter some pearls of China, India, the UK, / Steven Robertson

Singapore and Thailand.

recounts her experiences in the Tehran of wisdom about reading. For example: Since 2003 he has been
199597. She has resigned her post at What she was finding was how one a freelance writer and
consultant. He has
the university in protest against the book led to another, doors kept opening published over 30 books
enforcement of the strict Islamic dress wherever she turned and the days and numerous articles,
and was, until recently,
code. For those two years, seven of her werent long enough for the reading she Series Editor of the
students meet in her flat every Thursday wanted to do. Oxford Resource Books
for Teachers.
to discuss English literature and the way but briefing is not reading. Briefing
it intersects with their lives under a is terse, factual and to the point. Reading

28 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

B USINESS E NGLISH professional 

needs of business students are different
but, fundamentally, all students share
the same aim to develop their ability
to communicate successfully. Once they
have mastered the basics and reached a
certain level of fluency, they usually
also have the confidence to adapt their
skills to more specific situations and

purposes. Teachers need to provide
business students with what they need,
but they are equally responsible for
creating a classroom environment in
which students are able to relax and be
productive. Job-related reasons for
learning English are serious, but who
says that the learning itself cant be a
little more light-hearted and fun?
Andrea Storr joins the first came across the idea of using

construction business.
I building blocks when I was
teaching at an international
residential language school near
Ambleside in the English Lake District. I
saw another teacher preparing her first
The particular and
contextual needs of
lesson with a group of 12 high-profile business students
corporate students from Sweden and are different but,
Poland, and asked if I could observe her
class. The only material she was going to fundamentally, all
use was a large box full of very simple, students share
thin, wooden building blocks, no bigger
than about 15 x 3cm. Not only was that the same aim
lesson one of the most inspiring Id ever
seen, but it also made me think very
carefully about my own approach to the
teaching of business English.
Why building blocks?
Not many students are aware of how
All work and no play? stress affects their learning, some arent
aware of their stress at all, and those
Business English, compared to general who are tend to want to work even
English, is still widely associated with harder. Most students need some form of
more serious learning. Students often support to approach their learning with
join business English classes with a more relaxed attitude. Introducing
unrealistically high expectations, due to something as simple and unexpected as a
pressure they put on themselves or set of building blocks can be surprisingly
pressure from their company, superiors successful when challenging a group of
and colleagues. Yet, the difference tense business students to take their
between general and business English is English lessons less seriously. It
much smaller than most students encourages them to analyse their own
believe. The particular and contextual expectations and re-consider their goals,
shifting the focus from what they think
they want to what they actually need.
The element of play involved in the
use of building blocks goes beyond that
of games or roleplays. There is
something so elemental about putting a
set of blocks together that most
students associate the activity with some
long-forgotten childhood experience.
The basic skill of using them puts all
students on an equal par. That, in turn,
helps break down barriers within a ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 29

B USINESS E NGLISH professional 

speak freely. I listen in quietly and help Make sure theres plenty of table
out when they need help with new words and/or floor space for each pairs
or get stuck on grammar. The activity creative output.

building includes the past, present and future,

and might be an opportunity to assess
your students understanding of
I dont usually get involved at this
stage, but observe quietly, taking mental
or written notes of the students
 class, be they based on age, nationality, grammar, either as a tense review or, with performances:
profession or status within a company. a new class, as a needs analysis. With
Many students thrive on the novelty How well did they listen or how much
higher levels, I often circle around and did they understand?
factor, and the element of surprise soon pay attention to individual students,
diverts their attention from their own challenging the strong ones and How fluent is their speaking, how
thoughts or worries to the task at hand. supporting the weaker ones. I also take good their knowledge of appropriate
Also, building blocks are visual and notes, with the aim of spending some vocabulary?
tangible; they can be physically moved time on new vocabulary and whole-class What kind of mistakes do they make?
and re-moved. This adds a non-verbal error correction at the end of the lesson.
means of communication to any activity How often do they correct
using them, which lower-level students themselves?
in particular often find reassuring when How good are their
trying to express themselves. conversation/social skills?
How do they take turns or interrupt
How do they work? each other?
The following lesson plan is based on Do they show interest in what their
activities I frequently use with my partner says?
business students, often with new
Are they aware of rules of politeness?
classes. They have worked well with a
variety of students of different levels
Stage 3
and nationalities, and are not dependent
When the students have finished, put
on either job or position.
each pair together with another pair (in
Stage 2 the order they finish, so as not to rush
This is my life ... When a pair has finished, give them a students who need more time). Ask
You will need about 1015 building set of about 30 building blocks. Explain them to look at each others building
blocks (wooden or plastic) for each that theyre going to use these blocks to block pictures. What information can
student in your class. Their size doesnt re-create their partners career path. In be gleaned from them? Encourage each
really matter, though bigger ones are other words, theyre going to lay out pair to piece together information on
easier to handle and more visually blocks to represent visually how they the job histories of the other pair, from
effective. I also always have a supply of see their partners job history. How they the way the blocks are arranged and
good monolingual dictionaries. want to do it is up to them, but they from asking questions. The aim is to
need to take it in turns and they have to open up the information exchange and
Stage 1 supply a commentary while theyre to use the students art work (of which
Put the students into pairs and explain doing it (to illustrate their moves and to many students are very proud!) as a
that theyre going to take turns to tell show their partner theyve understood stimulus for extended communication.
each other about their respective job all information correctly). Some Particularly with higher levels, the
histories from the time they left school, students are naturally imaginative and pictures tend to act as springboards to
to their present job and future career launch straight into it, others need a more natural conversation, with
ambitions. Encourage them to take their demonstration first. In that case, try to students sharing experiences or
time and to ask each other plenty of remember parts of that pairs discussing job-related topics.
questions. With younger students who conversation (but dont worry if you Depending on time and the
have had little or no work experience, dont have a good guess instead and enthusiasm of your students, either re-
focus on school and education as well as let your amused students supply the arrange the pairs and repeat the activity,
their ambitions/dreams for the future. If rest!) and show them how its done: or allow the students to mingle freely
your students have neither had much So, this is Karl (put down a block) amongst each other and the pictures,
experience nor appear to have any ... when you left school in 1989, you joining and re-joining in conversations. / Bonita Hein

ambitions, encourage them to talk about didnt know whether to take a year off or
their present job, their responsibilities, go to university (attach two blocks to the Stage 4
daily routine, colleagues, etc. first, facing in opposite directions) ... you Try to leave at least 1015 minutes at the
Your role at this stage depends on the decided to go to university in Stockholm end to round up the lesson. I usually give
level of your class and your lesson aims. (put a block next to or on top of the one the class a handout with new theme-
With lower levels, I usually monitor from representing the option of university) ... related language that I noted down
a distance and allow the students to then you ..., and so on. during the lesson and then photocopied.

30 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

B USINESS E NGLISH professional 
I might also do some whole-class error your pedagogical motives, and as far as Still, why building blocks?
correction on the board, and/or briefly they are concerned, they didnt ask for
address issues such as interrupting this. Working with building blocks offers a
politely or voicing opinions, useful topics Usually there are two types of refreshing change, not only to students
for follow-up lessons. Youll probably sceptical students. There are those who but also to teachers. It introduces new
find that your students naturally raise an eyebrow at the beginning of the dynamics to a lesson, as students
comment on the activities. Encourage activity, but are still willing to themselves supply most of the material.
their feedback, positive and negative. participate. All they need is a little time The lesson is based and builds on the
Give them the opportunity to analyse to adjust and come round to the idea. students own personal worlds of work,
expectations (their own and yours) and Once theyve started, they often surprise not on those of other people taken from,
help them redefine their goals. This themselves and relax into it. Give them for example, coursebooks, videos or
lesson is most likely to set the scene for a big, encouraging smile and ask their articles. Students are forced to take an
how you conduct, and want your more willing-looking partners to start active role, which, in turn, allows them to
students to approach, further lessons. first, in the hope that their enthusiasm develop their skills within a meaningful
rubs off. Then there are those of a context and at an individual level.
What if my students very rare type who flatly refuse to

have a go, either straight away or half
are sceptical? way through. At this stage, dont argue
I havent come here to play childish your case. Be positive and respect their Building blocks are versatile, and their
games! wishes. If they refuse as a pair, offer use is limited only by the creativity of
them alternatives. Would they prefer to the teacher. Over the years, I have
What has this got to do with business? included building blocks in lessons on:
draw their career paths as a chart, for
This doesnt improve my English, cant
presenting a company (ie laying out a
we just talk?
companys organisation, explaining
Some students are quick to voice their Working with the roles of departments or a
scepticism for a number of reasons. students role within the company)
They might feel exposed, because building blocks
company processes (ie illustrating the
theyve been taken out of their comfort offers a refreshing movement of goods/materials
zone (the expected) and thrown into the
through the production process)
deep end of creative freedom (the change, not only
unexpected). Theyre at a slight loss and preparing and simulating a factory tour
become unsure of themselves. Others
to students but practising turn-taking and
consider such trivial activities an insult also to teachers interrupting politely during meetings
to their intelligence. Interestingly, its and/or negotiations (ie signalling
often the most sceptical students who ones intention to speak)
are also the most insecure and those example? Or would they like to present
each others job histories as a mini- With a little imagination, building blocks
who put themselves under the most
presentation to the rest of the class? can be whatever you or your students
pressure. Thats why they have to be
If only one student is difficult, want them to be people, buildings,
dealt with sensitively. Respect their
organise for their partner to join departments, countries, products,
doubts and criticism, because there are
another pair to form a group of three, machines, food, options, decisions, signals,
reasons for it that we, as teachers, have
and take the student to one side. Find telephones. There might be sides to your
no right to question. Its easy to get
out exactly what the objections are, but business students you have yet to discover.
annoyed with such students, as their
do so gently. Dont challenge the So why not have a go and start
behaviour clearly demonstrates a lack of
student any further or enter into an building? ETp
confidence in you as their teacher. Yet,
all they see are the building blocks, not argument. Instead, reassure them that
Special thanks to Liz Cooper and Tim Melling
the method is pedagogically sound, and at Nab Cottage English Language in the
explain how you feel it can help improve Lakes in Ambleside for the inspiration to
their English. If they change their mind, start building.
let them join a pair. Allow the pair to
Andrea Storr has an MA
continue with what theyre doing. The in English Literature,
student can either get involved or and advocates creative
and experiential
simply watch. Explain that when the learning. She has taught
pair has finished, they are going to English in South Africa,
interview the third student and lay out Spain, Germany and
England. As a freelance
their career path. If the student doesnt travel writer, her work is
change their mind, ask them to prepare regularly published in
both English and
a mini-presentation to give to the rest of German.
the class, to be done as part of that
lesson or, if preferred, at a later stage. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 31

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Page 33

Practise what
you preach
Jeremy D Slagoski efore coming back to the Preaching to practice
describes the experience of
adapting his teaching to his
B United States to teach English
for Academic Purposes, I
worked as a teacher trainer for
English as a Foreign Language in
Japan, Russia and Korea. My field was
The two language teaching approaches
that I have the most experience and
belief in are content-based instruction
and task-based instruction. These two
ideals. EFL methodology with emphasis on approaches fall in line with my personal
improving learners speaking and philosophy of education, which most
listening proficiency. With that resembles experiential learning. After
background, I thought I was well teacher training for four years, I gained
equipped to teach at an intensive a lot of confidence through research,
language programme at university level. classroom observation and simulated
I looked forward to this new path in my trials of these approaches.
career for several reasons. Most
importantly, I wanted to put my Content-based instruction
favoured theories, which I had taught Whilst in Korea, the approach I was
and demonstrated, into practice. I also most familiar with was content-based
felt a need to rediscover the language instruction, which I was required to
learning classroom firsthand as implement in my training courses: training
opposed to being a non-participating teachers to use content-based instruction
observer and to reacquaint myself themselves, while simultaneously using it
with English language learners, myself to improve their language skills.
especially those at the lower end of In Russia, I travelled around the Volga
language proficiency. Lastly, this region giving demonstrations of content-
opportunity would be the first for me to based instruction to English teachers.
observe the differences between teaching According to Donna Brinton, the
EFL and teaching ESL. I believed that principles for content-based instruction
this experience would make me a better are:
educator for language learners as well as 1 Base instructional decisions on content
language teachers, especially if I could rather than language criteria.
practise what I preached.
2 Integrate skills.
3 Involve students actively in all phases
I wanted to of the learning process.
4 Choose content for its relevance to
put my favoured students lives, interests, and/or
theories, which academic goals.
5 Select authentic texts and tasks.
I had taught and
6 Draw overt attention to language
demonstrated, features.
into practice It is difficult for me to stray from these
principles as they enabled me to deliver

34 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

successful lessons in both Korea and 3 Learning is a holistic process of Reading courses
Russia. I found added strength in my adaptation to the world. This
teaching ability when I combined A challenging start
principle coincides with integrating My two reading courses were not as
content-based with task-based the skills (holistic process) while
instruction. easy to adapt. At first, the solution
using authentic texts and tasks seemed simple: require the students to
(adaptation). The authentic text and write about their reading as well as
Task-based instruction task, for me, is where content-based
Where content-based instruction helped share their ideas through speaking and
instruction and task-based listening tasks. I started planning my
me make decisions on what to teach, instruction intersect.
task-based instruction helped me make courses this way until I realised that I
decisions on how to deliver that 4 Learning involves transactions was putting more emphasis on speaking
content. In my first full-time teaching between the person and the and writing than on reading. I had to
job in Japan, the central task was the environment. The roleplay redesign the courses so the students
roleplay. In Korea, the central tasks simulation, which is one of my speaking and writing would reflect their
were summarising and personalising the favourite activities, is a good reading ability.
content. In Russia, task-based example of this principle as it My second challenge (after
instruction was my most popular involves spontaneous discourse in a integrating the skills) was to choose
teaching demonstration because my simulated environment with the appropriate content. To be fair, my first
trainees could instantly see the results. objective of stimulating students to days activity involved students choosing
This teaching approach strongly use that same language outside the texts they were interested in. I had
appealed because the organisation of classroom. hoped their choices would help me
the approach, as expounded by Jane narrow down the content for the course.
5 Learning is the process of The most commonly selected texts
Willis, was simple. She divides tasks into
creating knowledge. I see this included a range of diverse topics, such
six types, as follows:
principle echoing the importance of as world folktales, business, American
1 Listing learner autonomy. I always history, literature and sports.
2 Ordering and sorting encourage my students to find their
3 Comparing own meaning and to reduce their
dependence on the teachers
4 Problem solving
thoughts and ideas.
I always encourage
5 Sharing personal experience
With this teaching philosophy backed
my students to find
6 Creative tasks.
by two tried and true language teaching their own meaning
By organising tasks in this way, from approaches, I believed I could easily
simple to complex, I can vary each make the transition from teacher trainer and to reduce
class. With students at lower proficiency to EAP instructor by putting it into their dependence
levels, the majority of my classroom practice. However, I encountered a few
tasks are at the lower end, whereas with challenges to my beliefs and previous on the teachers
higher-level students, the majority of experience.
classroom tasks are at the higher end. I
thoughts and ideas
also like these types of tasks because Preaching in practice
using a wide variety of them keeps the
students interested and motivated. Before my first semester started, I I decided to cover as many of these
received my teaching schedule, content areas as possible during the first
Experiential learning consisting of four courses: beginning half of the semester. Using the chosen
reading, high-beginning speaking, texts, I could easily follow the remaining
Experiential learning ties in content-
intermediate reading and advanced principles of content-based instruction.
based and task-based instruction. I will
writing. After looking at the courses I My personal goal was to give my
briefly clarify this while going through
was to teach, I knew I would have to students a taste of different reading
David A Kolbs list of its characteristics.
break one essential principle from assignments, which I believed to be
1 Learning is best conceived as a content-based instruction that I have excellent preparation for university
process, not in terms of never broken before integrate the courses.
outcomes. This coincides with skills. About half of the students were
task-based learning. Using the After reflecting on how I could bend ready to face this barrage of texts. The
language to perform the task is rather than break this principle, I other half were shocked this was not
often more important than the end realised that with my speaking and what their previous ESL reading
result of that task. writing courses it would be quite easy. courses had been like. One bold student
In order for my students to produce the protested in class: You are supposed to
2 Learning is a continuous process
spoken or written language, they would let us read for half the class and then we
grounded in experience. This need to listen and read to experience a spend the other half of the class
relates to the fourth principle of good model. That reduced my anxiety a answering comprehension questions.
content-based instruction listed little bit as it made course designing However, as I pointed out to her, that is
above. much easier. not how most university courses work ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 35

Practise what
summarised the key points and went 3 Learning is a holistic process of
over important vocabulary. Two quizzes adaptation to the world. The
were also given and they reflected the students were involved in authentic
you preach lower end of the tasks as opposed to the
higher-end daily assignments.
In the second half of the semester,
tasks, speaking in groups and
writing individually, as if they were

native speakers reading authentic
because most reading is done outside the students were much more relaxed texts from across the curriculum.
the classroom. and less confused as they understood
I employed task-based instruction the goal, which was to read the whole 4 Learning involves transactions
theory when it came to planning novel. It didnt really surprise me that a between the person and the
individual lessons. For each text, I would good two-thirds of the class were now environment. Although I didnt use
choose two authentic tasks. One task passing the course. However, to my roleplays in this specific course, the
was to read the text and respond to surprise, a few students who had been class often simulated a university
critical thinking questions. The second strong readers in the first half of the classroom where knowledge and
was to come to class ready to engage in semester had got lost in The Golden opinions of the material were
discussion of the text or to give an oral Compass. One student later informed meaningfully exchanged.
summary of it. This second task was me that he never had to read a novel in
5 Learning is the process of
more difficult because the majority of which he had to follow a large number
the students had preconceived ideas of characters. creating knowledge. I found
about reading classes being quiet classes. The course ended on a high note evidence of this when the students
when the students watched the film of reacted to the film The Golden
the book. I gave them the option of Compass, both while watching it
The students writing a comparison-and-contrast and later in their assignments. They
essay about the novel and the film demonstrated their preferences
were involved in instead of taking the final exam, which strongly for the book, with each
authentic tasks, was to be only about the book. Only a student giving different and
handful of students opted for the exam. personal examples.
speaking in groups Whether they took the exam or wrote The outcome was a pleasant surprise. I
and writing individually, the essay, many of the students could practise what I preached. ETp
demonstrated that they were well able to
as if they were native follow the plot and the characters and
relate those elements to their own lives. Brinton, D in Nunan, D (Ed) Practical
speakers reading The most challenging class ended up English Language Teaching McGraw-Hill
authentic texts being the most rewarding one. I had
Kolb, D Experiential Learning PTR
clear evidence that the students had
Prentice Hall 1984
read a text at or above their reading
Pullman, P The Golden Compass Alfred
When it turned out that half the level. And many of them, in their A Knopf 1995
students had a difficult time reading evaluation forms, credited the second
Willis, J A Framework for Task-Based
and discussing, I was critical of myself: half of the semester in helping them Learning Longman 2004
I thought I had raised the bar too high. develop better reading comprehension
To test this out, I gave a few and vocabulary.
After two years teaching
comprehension quizzes. Less than half at the ESL Institute at
the students were able to do the quizzes.  the University of
Wisconsin at La Crosse,
I looked forward to switching gears in Jeremy D Slagoski is
the second half of the semester. now a PhD student in
To summarise my feeling of ESL Education at the
accomplishment, I will illustrate how University of Iowa, USA.
A change of gear He is also a Senior
my intermediate reading class matched English Language
During the second half of the semester, Fellow with five years
the philosophy of Kolbs experiential
I got my students to read a novel, The teacher training
learning: experience in Russia
Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. The and South Korea.
class was transformed from ESL 1 Learning is best conceived as a
Reading to Understanding The Golden process, not in terms of
Compass. Instead of the English outcomes. My students enjoyed
language, it was the theme and the the process of reading The Golden
characters of the story that dominated
the class. In this way, it felt more like a
Compass more than passing the
Writing for ETp
content-based course. Would you like to write for ETp?
Task-based instruction was utilised 2 Learning is a continuous process We are always interested in new writers
every day in that class. The primary task grounded in experience. It was a and fresh ideas. For guidelines and
consisted of group discussion on certain first experience for all the students advice, write to us or email:
elements of the chapters of the day. At to read a novel in English from start
the very end of each class, we to finish.

36 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

Jon Marks offers two photocopiable
thematically-linked communication
activities with an element of

Teaching academic writing

In Issue 62, I offered an activity for helping
1 Reverse engineering 2 Linking words
structure written compositions at
Cambridge First Certificate level. This time Preparation: Make a copy of the handout Preparation: Copy page 39 and cut it up
Im focusing on similar strategies for a on page 38 for each student in the class. into individual cards.
higher level and a more academic style. In Method Method A
this area, the three factors which Ive 1 Distribute copies of the handout, and Divide the cards into grey cards and white
found to be the biggest obstacles are: read through the text at the top with the cards. You will need one set of each for
class the precise method you choose is each group of three to five students. Put the
a) Cultural differences
not important, as long as you avoid a lot of students into groups and give each group
The style required for successful academic
close language analysis at this stage. two piles of shuffled cards, one white and
writing in a native-English-speaking
one grey. Tell them to place the grey cards
environment can be substantially different 2 Focus attention on the skeleton plan
face down in a pile on the table, and to deal
from the conventions of the students home under the text and ask the students, in
out the white cards. The first student picks
country. For example, in some cultures, it pairs, to reverse engineer the text, aiming
up one of the grey cards, and reads it out.
is permissible to write in an ornate style to produce a suitable plan for it. Feed
Whoever has the matching half completes
which can seem at odds with the crisp back the results, and discuss any
the sentence and wins the grey card.
minimalism favoured in English-speaking interesting points about planning that are
academia. Above all, the structural and raised. Here is a model plan: Method B
organisational conventions may be Introduction: Agree that computers are Give half your students a grey card, and
completely different. Although it would be being used more in education and give the other half a white card. Everybody
wrong to suggest that one way is superior one or two examples. memorises their card, then puts it down.
to another, students will often have to adopt The white-card students remain seated
Body paragraph 1: Learning with
English-speaking conventions in order to (preferably in a large circle). The grey-card
computers requires equipment which is not
pass exams and gain entrance to English- students circulate, stopping by each white-
easily available in many parts of the world.
speaking higher-education institutions. card student and saying his/her sentence
Body paragraph 2: Classroom interaction half. The white-card student must reply
b) Structuring an argument is better for learning than working alone on with his/her sentence half. If the halves
The ability to assemble mentally a group of a computer. match, the students sit down together.
abstract concepts, some of which are Body paragraph 3: At school/college we When everybody has found their match,
contradictory, organise them into a linear dont just learn subjects, we also learn collect in the cards, redistribute them and
argument and then present that argument in social and other skills. repeat. Repeat again as required, aiming
a cogent and compelling way is an entirely to keep things brisk, with each round
separate skill from being able to speak Conclusion: Computers will become even
more important in assisting learning, but will lasting just a couple of minutes or so.
English. Yet if our students dont already
possess that skill, and are approaching an never replace teachers and classrooms. Method C
exam such as IELTS or Cambridge 3 Discuss the statement in part 2 in order Perhaps as a follow-up to method A or B,
Advanced/Proficiency, they may be to raise awareness of the cultural put the class into pairs, and give each a
looking to us for guidance in this respect. expectations involved in academic writing pile of shuffled cards. The pairs spread out
in an English-speaking environment. the cards on the desk. Their task is simply
c) Language tools to match the corresponding cards to make
Important fixed expressions such as It could 4 Ask the students to look for the two complete sentences.
be argued that and contrastive structures types of language asked for and then to
report back to the class. Jon Marks is an ELT writer and
such as [point A] Nevertheless, [point B] may editor, based in the UK. Recent
be fairly straightforward to teach individually, KEY
publications include the Puzzle
but there are a lot of them, and it can be Time series and IELTS
Some fixed expressions: Resource Pack (both DELTA
difficult to present them in a digestible way. it is becoming common for to / very far from Publishing) and three titles
/ with little more than / The notion of / in the in A & C Blacks Check Your
The material which follows aims to tackle foreseeable future. / Another factor to consider is / English Vocabulary series.
It could be argued that / in hand / play an He is currently developing
these three difficulties. (Alternatively, you teenager courses for China,
increasingly important role / become a thing of the
could prepare a similar handout based on and also draws the Langwich
past / it seems likely that / for many years to come
Scool cartoon in ETp.
another piece of academic writing suitable Linking structures:
for the focus of your class.) However, / but / Even in / although ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 37

Reverse engineering
As computers and Information Technology (IT) become increasingly important in education, teachers and classrooms
will eventually become unnecessary. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

I certainly agree that computers are becoming increasingly the lesson and give extra help when necessary, making sure that
important in education. It is now possible to study a language everybody has understood.
online, and it is becoming common for university lecturers to
communicate with their students using advanced forms of IT. Another factor to consider is that at school and in higher
However, I do not agree that teachers and classrooms will education, students learn about more than just the subjects they
eventually become unnecessary. are studying. In a classroom lesson, young people learn to
cooperate and to exchange ideas. It could be argued that
In developed countries, computers and internet connections are developing these skills is actually more important than the
almost universal, but the majority of the worlds population lives specific content of the lesson in hand.
in the developing world, where access to IT facilities is very far
from universal. A teacher in a remote village without electricity I believe that computers will play an increasingly important role
can educate hundreds of children with little more than a box of in assisting students and teachers. Students will use the internet
chalk. The notion of replacing such a teacher with computer for research even more than they already do, and the regular use
equipment seems very unlikely in the foreseeable future. of paper in education may become a thing of the past. However,
although developments in IT will continue to change the way
Even in locations where learning by IT is possible, sitting alone in teachers teach and students learn, it seems likely that the
front of a computer is less motivating and probably less effective traditional classroom lesson will remain a major part of
than learning from a teacher. A teacher can change the pace of education for many years to come.
(307 words)
1 Write a plan for this essay. Write around 10 to 20 words for each paragraph.


Body paragraph 1

Body paragraph 2

Body paragraph 3


2 Discuss this statement.

The style of this essay is exactly the same as the usual style of academic writing in my country.

3 Look for these methods of writing in an academic style.

How many fixed expressions can you find?

How many uses of linking words to contrast two ideas can you find?

38 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

Linking words

Although dogs are I prefer cats. Even though cats I prefer dogs.
nice, are nice,

Despite the high its not Dogs are actually  However, cats
cost of vets expensive to more intelligent often seem more
bills, keep a pet. than cats.  intelligent than

While cats may dogs are in fact Cats are easier to  On the other
sometimes seem considerably more look after than hand, dogs are
more intelligent intelligent than dogs.  usually better
than dogs, cats. company than cats.

Even when theyre  Cats, however, Its not expensive in spite of the
asleep, there seems seldom give that to keep a pet, high cost of vets
to be something impression. bills.
going on in dogs

Dogs are nice, but ... are nicer. Dogs may be but cats are
cats ... better company much easier to look
than cats, after.

Cats and dogs  Nevertheless, Apart from cats there are very
are highly millions of people and dogs, few animals suited
efficient killing choose to keep to living in human
machines.  pets in their homes. homes. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 39



Future time clauses
John Potts looks into his crystal ball.

A Ill give you the new contract when I see you D Youll feel more at home after youve been
at the meeting tomorrow. working here for a while.

B Youll meet your new colleagues while Im E Were a bit late. By the time we get there, the
showing you round the building. presentation will have started.

C As soon as youve received your password,

youll be able to log into the intranet.

All these sentences refer to the future, even though the verb in the subordinate clause is in Future time clauses are used widely in
a present form. both spoken and written English. In
informal spoken and written language,
A Ill see you tomorrow at the meeting + then Ill give you the new contract
the contracted form of auxiliary verbs
B Ill show you round the building + during that time, youll meet your new colleagues is normally used.

C first youll receive your password + then you will be able to log in
D first youll work here for a while + then youll feel at more home
Future time clauses have a wide range
E first the presentation will start + then well arrive
of functional applications, including
Note that any present simple forms in the subordinate clause dont have the meaning of expressing promises, offers,
timetabled or scheduled future events which is often associated with the present simple as reassurance, warnings, intentions,
future (eg The new semester starts in September ). plans, expectations and predictions.


All the examples employ a subordinating conjunction when, after, while, etc. Some future time clauses operate in
the same future frame: sentences A
A main clause = will future; subordinate time clause = present simple
and B.
B main clause = will future; subordinate time clause = present continuous
Others relate two different future
C main clause = will future; subordinate time clause = present perfect frames: sentences C, D and E.

D main clause = will future; subordinate time clause = present perfect continuous
E main clause = future perfect; subordinate time clause = present simple
Note the contractions Ill, Im (etc) in
The time clause can come either before (C and E) or after (A, B and D) the main clause.
spoken and informal written English.
The verb forms are often quite weak.
 PROBLEMS However, when the sentence
functions as a warning or criticism,
In some languages, the subordinate future time clause uses an appropriate future form,
for example, the verbs may be
generating incorrect sentences like Ill tell her when Ill see her.
stressed (eg sentence E).
Some learners may confuse the conjunctions when and if.

Learners may assume that the form in the subordinate clause must always be a present
simple form.

Sentences using a co-ordinating conjunction (eg and ) contain two future forms:

Ill see you at the meeting tomorrow and Ill give you the new contract then.

40 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional


PREPARING TO TEACH ... Future time clauses

A Ill give you the new contract when I see you at the meeting E By the time we get there, the presentation will have
tomorrow. started.
When will I see you? (Tomorrow.) Has the presentation already started? (No.)
When will I give you the new contract? (Tomorrow.) Have we got there yet? (No.)
What will happen first? (The presentation will start.)
C As soon as youve received your password, youll be able to
What will happen second? (Well get there.)
log into the intranet.
So will we miss the start? (Yes.)
Are you able to log in at the moment? (No.)
Why not? (Because you havent received your password yet.)
Will you receive it at some point? (Yes.)
And then? (Then youll be able to log in.)

Combinations Make a worksheet with two columns, visuals and put the cards in a deck face down.
each containing eight short sentences, all using a Ask the students to work in pairs. Student A turns
future form. First, ask the learners to make a pair over the top card and asks, for example, Have you
with a sentence chosen from each column. Then, tell done the laundry yet? Student B replies No, I
them to combine the two sentences into one, using a havent. Ill do it when/after/as soon as ... etc. They
future time clause for one of the original sentences. then change roles.
John Potts is a teacher
By the time we get there Make flashcards with key Ask Anna Create some short letters to a and teacher trainer based
in Zrich, Switzerland.
words and/or visuals (eg cinema, theatre, restaurant, newspaper/magazine advice column, each He has written and
party, station, the sales, school, beach, airport, etc). describing a problem situation. Get the learners to co-written several adult
coursebooks, and is a
Show each card in turn and ask the learners to make give appropriate advice. For example: CELTA assessor. He is also
a suitable sentence, eg By the time we get to the Dear Anna, Ive just moved here from the UK, and a presenter for Cambridge
station, the train will have left. ESOL Examinations.
Im so lonely and homesick. I cant speak (Italian,
Procrastinator Create some short situations where Mandarin, etc) and have no friends. What should I
things need doing (eg the laundry, the ironing, do? Yours, Tina
cleaning the oven, homework, making a reservation, Dear Tina, First of all, try to learn a little (Italian,
etc you can revise the vocabulary of household Mandarin, etc). When you can say a few words,
chores). Put each on a card use key words and/or youll feel more self-confident ... etc.

Congratulations to all those readers who successfully completed

COMPETITION RESULTS our Prize Crossword 34. The winners, who will each receive a copy
of the Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, are:
15 1 15 25 11 25 2 21
6 18 26 15 7 6 14 13 6 26
Linda Balistreri, Gdansk, Marie Brunet, Coulaures,
E X I S T E N C E I Poland France
6 8 6 13 8 12 25 17 9
E D E C D O U G H Vera Bremer, London, UK Rita Candotto, Santa Maria La
16 6 24 5 12 14 17 10
K E A L O N G R Longa, Italy
4 12 10 16 2 6 23 25 24 5
Gerti Brindlmayer, Vienna,
W O R K M E Q U A L Austria Francesca Ferri, San Michele
12 9 20 25 7
O H F U T AllAdige, Italy
6 14 13 22 13 5 12 21 24 6 8 26 24 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
E N C Y C L O P A E D I A V M J W L E T D H R B O C Marjorie Fish, Dundee, UK
8 2 10 25 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
D M R U O N S K G X Z F P Y Q A U I Maria Elisabeth Kalchgruber,
3 6 4 6 5 7 16 6 6 14
J E W E L T K E E N 4 12 10 8 15 15 7 10 24 26 14 13
Elsbethen, Austria
10 24 4 24 10 6 5 13 W O R D S S T R A I N , C
R A W A R E L C 10 24 13 16 24 14 8 15 12 2 6 7 26 Maria Messano, Laveno
15 26 19 6 15 11 6 11 10 R A C K A N D S O M E T I Mombello, Italy
S I Z E S B E B R 2 6 15 11 10 6 24 16 25 14 8 6
M E S B R E A K , U N D E
E 10 7 9 6 11 25 10 8 6 14
Augoustinos Neophytou,
25 17 5 22 6 15 4 4 R T H E B U R D E N . Larnaca, Cyprus
U G L Y E S W W T S Eliot, Four Quartets ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 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.
All the contributors to It Works in Practice in this issue of ETp will
receive a copy of Advanced Language Practice by Michael Vince,
published by Macmillan. Macmillan have kindly agreed to be
sponsors of It Works in Practice for this year.

Party people
Give your students the text opposite and ask them to
I went to the office party last night. There were lots of people there,
read it and work out how many people were at the
including the managing director and his wife. She was talking to a
office party. In order to do this, they will need to
man from accounts who told jokes all evening. The head of sales
understand the following:
was there, and his PA. There was a very tall man I had never seen
The indefinite article (a, an, and another) denotes before. He was nearly two metres! He was talking to a young girl
the first time someone is mentioned (eg a woman with blonde hair. The blonde was a friend of Mary from sales. Oh
from catering whos only been with the company for a yes, the assistant manager was there, too. She was listening to the
few weeks). funny man all evening. In the corner a shy man sat all by himself. I
The definite article the is used for subsequent felt sorry and went to talk to him. He was really interesting; he
mentions of the same person, although the keeps snakes! But he was very quiet. Who else? A woman from
description may be paraphrased (in this case, the catering, whos only been with the firm a few weeks. She has just
new woman). moved from London, and another woman from advertising. The
new woman was friendly, but the woman from advertising was a
However, where the person being introduced is bit strange, I thought. Then there was Carl, who you remember,
unique, or known to both speaker and listener, the and the man who is always with him. He was trying to make a
is used for the first as well as subsequent mentions, good impression on the managing director. Me? I spent most of
eg the managing director, the head of sales, the man the evening chatting to a woman, Sue her name was, you know,
who is always with him. who writes the reports. Good party, it was.
To work out how many people are at the party,
therefore, students must understand the different ways Solution: There are 16 people including the speaker. The first mentions
in which the definite article is used and whether it are underlined.
represents the first or subsequent mention of a person I went to the office party last night. There were lots of people there,
each time. They need to be careful not to count the including the managing director and his wife. She was talking to a man
same person twice. Note that some people are from accounts who told jokes all evening. The head of sales was there,
mentioned by name only (Carl), or indefinite article + and his PA. There was a very tall man I had never seen before. He was
noun + name (a woman, Sue her name was, ...). nearly two metres! He was talking to a young girl with blonde hair. The
blonde was a friend of Mary from sales. Oh yes, the assistant manager
was there, too. She was listening to the funny man all evening. In the
corner a shy man sat all by himself. I felt sorry and went to talk to him.
He was really interesting; he keeps snakes! But he was very quiet. Who
else? A woman from catering, whos only been with the firm a few
weeks. She has just moved from London, and another woman from
advertising. The new woman was friendly, but the woman from
advertising was a bit strange, I thought. Then there was Carl, who you / Lise Gagne

remember, and the man who is always with him. He was trying to make
a good impression on the managing director. Me? I spent most of the
evening chatting to a woman, Sue her name was, you know, who
writes the reports. Good party, it was.
Simon Mumford
Izmir, Turkey

42 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

Close your books, please! Preparing to write
This activity is a good way of recycling I use the following activity to review vocabulary of countries and
language which the students have learnt from nationalities and to prepare my students for writing formal letters
their coursebooks, so it should preferably be using appropriate phrases. I find that it works well with teenagers at
done when the coursebook has been completed Cambridge FCE level.
or towards the end of a course.
Stage 1
1 Put the students into groups and tell them I give the students the following letter about myself and tell them to work
to close their coursebooks. in pairs and to find the seven countries and/or nationalities that should go
2 Give each group a character (eg Jamie in the gaps. I tell them that I will give them hints (the first letter, one of
the neighbouring countries, whether it is in Europe, etc), but they will
Oliver, Quentin Tarantino) or a topic (eg text
have to pay for these by suggesting any phrases that they know which are
messaging, family conflicts) that has been
suitable for inclusion in a formal letter. The students discuss in their pairs
dealt with to some extent in the course and
what hints they would like and then pay for them with phrases, which I
that the students enjoyed working on.
write on the board.
(Alternatively, give all the groups the same
character or topic, but in stage 4 tell each
group to use a different form of Lisbon, November 27th
presentation.) Dear Madam/Sir,
3 Tell them to discuss and note down all the I am writing in response to your recent letter requesting more
information they can remember about their information on my background.
person or topic. I was born in 1_________ , in a 2_________ _________ family.
4 Ask the students to prepare a presentation
My former husband is 3_________ , which explains my interest in
to give to the rest of the class using the 3_________ literature and sausages.
information they have assembled. They can
I went to university in the 4_________ _________ and that is also
choose how they want to make their
where I received my Masters degree.
presentation. It could take one of the
following forms: Over the last few years, I have worked in 5_________ ,
a short speech the 6_________ _________ and 7_________ .
a conversation in which two friends are On a personal note, I am keen on literature and sports and I enjoy
talking about the person/topic travelling. It is, after all one would argue in my blood.
a debate
I hope this answers your questions, but do not hesitate to contact me
a poster
should you require further details.
a TV interview with an expert on the given
topic I look forward to hearing from you.
an article (for a newspaper, for Wikipedia) Yours faithfully,
5 Tell the students that it is not important Andreea Pulpea
that each detail is correct. You could even
encourage them to invent details, for Stage 2
example a student could start a conversation Once all the students have filled in the gaps, I get them to identify the one
about David Beckham saying Youll never element which is not appropriate in the letter (my interest in sausages).
guess who I met at Toms party .... We then brainstorm what types of information are not appropriate in a
Since the presentations can take some time, it formal letter.
might be a good idea to get, for example, two Stage 3
groups to present their work to each other. If the I ask the students to organise the information in my letter under the
groups are large, it may be that not all the group following headings: Introduction, Personal information, Professional
members can be involved in the presentation; in information, Conclusion.
this case you might want to choose the students
who present. Stage 4
The students write their own letters using the same headings.
This activity can be extended to make a mini-
project and to give the students more time to Key: 1 Romania 2 Russian Serbian 3 German 4 United Kingdom
research information. 5 Hungary 6 United States 7 Portugal
Stefan Rathert Andreea Pulpea
Kahramanmarafl, Turkey Lisbon, Portugal ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 43

Listening in the Language
by John Field
CUP 2008

John Field believes the time is due for a

major re-think of how listening is treated
by teachers. He begins with the
observation that teachers do pay more
attention to listening nowadays than they
did 40 years ago. Listening first appeared
in the Cambridge ESOL FCE exam in
1970, in the form of written texts read
aloud, and welcome developments during
the past few decades have included a what skilled listeners do in decoding input
focus on listening as a skill in its own right and in actively constructing interpretations
(rather than as a means of accessing of what they hear, there are numerous
samples of language), the use of authentic examples of exercise types throughout
or simulated-authentic recordings and approach, focusing less on product the book and, by way of conclusion, a
tasks which bear some relation to the real (getting the right answers) and more on the proposal for a multi-strand approach to L2
world, and the use of contextualisation processes which expert listeners use. This listening development. Listening in the
and prediction in defining listening involves a consideration of how listeners Language Classroom is an accessible and
purpose and raising motivation. manage to identify words which reach their persuasive blend of theory and practice,
But, the author continues, the current ears in forms very different from idealised and deserves to be widely read.
standard procedure for listening exercises citation forms, and how they construct Jonathan Marks
the comprehension approach which was interpretations of what they hear. If learners Leba, Poland
based closely, and ill-advisedly, on the can learn to use the same processes and
already-existing approach to reading to make judicious use of compensatory The Developing Teacher
comprehension still doesnt actually teach strategies, they will acquire a transferable by Duncan Foord
listening in a principled way, but only tests skill which will stand them in good stead Delta Publishing 2009
accomplishment. It give learners repeated after their course of study finishes. 978-1-905085-22-4
opportunities to grapple with the problems Teachers need to diagnose how
of listening, assuming that more listening learners get right and wrong answers, and The Developing Teacher fills a niche that
means better listening, but without what problems they have with decoding is greatly needed in the world of ELT.
diagnosing exactly what the problems are (translating the speech signal into sounds, Basically, this book is a collection of
and trying to provide solutions to them. words, clauses and literal meanings) and practical activities aimed at teachers who
This book, which combines theory and meaning building (adding to literal want to develop professionally. While
practical suggestions, firstly suggests ways meaning by relating it to context and co- most books of activities are intended for
of adapting the comprehension approach text), in order to give focused, systematic teachers to use with their students, the
to make it more effective and more help such as dictation exercises to practise activities here are for a teachers own
conducive to learner autonomy, by recognition of half-audible weak forms. professional development, both
recommending more actual listening Current methdodology overestimates the individually and with others.
work by learners and correspondingly ability of learner listeners to make use of The Developing Teacher is the first
less intervention by the teacher, more contextual information, and underestimates volume in Delta Publishings new Teacher
interaction between learners in class, and the importance of being able to recognise Development series, which emphasises
the use of independent out-of-class words: to develop accurate and automatic professional development in ELT. The book
listening. Most classroom listening takes decoding so that more attention is is divided into three parts: A, B, and C.
the form of auditory scanning, and there available for processing meaning. Part A is a brief introduction to the
is a plea for greater variety, with a better At the same time, the author topic of professional development in ELT.
alignment of materials, tasks and the types emphasises the importance of helping It provides several definitions of
of listening they require, including more learners from the early stages of learning professional development and gives some
interactive listening-and-speaking, but to develop and use strategic guesswork arguments for it. In addition, there is a list
not neglecting intensive work involving to enable them to deal with the challenge of four areas in which a teacher can
re-playing of short recorded segments. of listening to the English they will hear develop (skills, knowledge, awareness and
The book then goes on to offer outside the classroom. attitude), and several different models for
alternatives to the comprehension As well as detailed descriptions of development are described (including the

44 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

theory-philosophy model, the art-craft strong in one of the learning styles. The
model, and reflective teaching). Part A is activity ends with each group presenting
rounded out by a bibliography of titles for their materials to the class.
teachers who want to learn more. One small problem I had with the
Part B, the longest of the three book is that I felt a few of the ideas could
sections, builds on the theories and have been extended to give teachers
concepts of Part A. It has over 70 more support. For example, the section
activities for professional development, on keeping a teacher diary could have
arranged into five categories, presented been improved with some examples of
as five concentric circles. The first actual teacher diaries. Also, I thought the
category, Self, shows ways a teacher can activity on getting published could have
develop individually. It includes such included a list of some recommended
topics as stress and time management, publications or websites.
as well as a useful introduction to doing Overall, this is a very appealing book. awareness of key issues. Chapter 1, The
self-observations. The second category, Many teachers will find the activities here Context of EAP (academic purposes and
You and your students, emphasises inspiring and helpful. Im looking forward expectations), for instance, begins by
professional development in the context to trying out some of Foords suggestions differentiating ELT from EAP; probes the
of interacting with students. The activities in the next few months. nature of teaching and learning at a
here touch on needs analysis, getting Hall Houston university; continues with a fascinating
student feedback and experimenting with Luzhu, Taiwan discussion of the nature of the academic
different ways of teaching. The third tribe and how to join it (the hidden
category, You and your colleagues, brings curriculum); suggests the most practical
EAP Essentials: a teachers
in the other teachers you deal with on a ways of handling the EAP learning
guide to principles and practice
daily basis. Videotaping a lesson, team process; delves into student and teacher
by Olwyn Alexander, Sue Argent
teaching, mentoring and being mentored expectations and much more.
and Jennifer Spencer
are all mentioned here. The fourth Subsequent chapters cover text analysis,
Garnet Publishing Ltd 2008
category, You and your school, also deals course design, reading, vocabulary, writing,
with colleagues, but with an emphasis on listening and speaking, critical thinking,
management concerns. This section EAP (English for Academic Purposes) is a student autonomy and assessment.
contains activities for improving meetings field that has exploded in recent years: not Clearly, this book isnt just about
and communication with colleagues. The only are overseas students flooding into language: it explores the strategies,
fifth category, You and your profession, universities in the English-speaking world, thinking, skills and attitudes that underpin
deals with the profession at large, but many higher education courses are the academic project and how to
providing instructions for choosing and now being taught in English in countries convey these to the student.
taking courses, leading workshops and where English is a second language for The accompanying CD, which contains
writing articles for publication. both teachers and students. For teachers photocopiable classroom materials, is a
Part C, gives concrete suggestions who find themselves catapulted into vital component in all this: it takes us from
for three long-term projects: a teacher devising and running such international discussion to experience, with a wealth of
diary, a teaching portfolio and a teacher courses, this book could be a godsend. tasks, exercises and tools to enable the
development scheme. Not only have the three authors student to master the language and
A notable strength of this book is the combed the relevant research literature, thinking necessary for academic success.
authors presentation of a broad range of but since 2002 they have run EAP teacher One niggle: Clarity. Academic writing
ways to develop (short-term, long-term, development courses at Heriot-Watt should be transparent, like a pane of
individually, with others). I liked the fact University and have harvested valuable glass, so that the ideas can be clearly
that Foord encourages teachers to find material from conversations with the seen without the language intruding. How
their own ways to develop, instead of participants. This has enabled them to true! Yet the authors rather reverently
insisting on one single way. bridge the gap between theory and present nominalisation (noun phrases),
The book contains many clever ideas classroom practice and to use the pre-modification and the passive as
I hadnt thought of before. One activity I courses as a laboratory in which to test essential components of academic
really enjoyed is called A VAK experiment. materials and find out what works. Their writing. True up to a point; but used to
In this activity, the teacher introduces the own experiences over many years have excess, these elements lead to obscurity.
students to three different learning styles also allowed them to pinpoint situations John Kirkmans Good Style: Writing for
(Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic). The where teaching and learning can go wrong. Science and Technology would be a
students are given copies of a text, put The book presents major aspects of useful corrective here.
into three groups (one for each learning EAP, using well-chosen text extracts, All in all, though: indispensible.
style), then challenged to create an questionnaires, discussions and case Charles Rankin
activity that would appeal to a student studies to stimulate reflection on and Warnford, UK ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 45


Fire your enthusiasm

Paul Bress encourages teachers to adopt a positive attitude.

f someone isnt enthusiastic about increasingly for the needs of a clearly

1 Listen carefully to how each student
something, then that lack of responds to your teaching style.
identifiable section of the market. In such
enthusiasm is generally evident to English language teaching is a highly journals, professional people either relate
other people. For example, if youre not complex business. This is because their personal experiences or perhaps
enthusiastic about your partner, surely language itself is complex and because sum up some vital research they have
its going to show, isnt it? I think the human beings are complex, too. If you just conducted. Speaking personally,
same applies at work. If an employee are not really interested in people or how whenever I read ETp, there are at least
displays lacklustre body language and they learn languages, then teaching is four or five articles that I read from start
intonation, then the employer will probably not for you. However, if you can to finish because they are very well
notice this, and probably wont be too endeavour to really focus on how each of written and because they make me think
impressed as a result. your students is registering your way of more deeply about a thorny issue.
Lets have a look at how teaching, then you are doing the most 5 Do some research.
! enthusiastic you are in your role important thing to ignite interest. The If you follow suggestions 14 above,
as an English language teacher. Below wonderful thing is that no two students you are probably well on your way to
youll see five tasks most English are ever identical. So make a real effort becoming a career professional
teachers do at some point. Next to each, to tune into the different ways all your someone who cares deeply about the
please put a letter (A, B or C), students react to the way you teach. work they do, wants to do it to the very
signalling which describes you best: 2 Evaluate how well youre teaching. best of their ability, and wants to
A = I feel very enthusiastic when I do this. Without being hypercritical, you can start contribute something of great value to
B = I dont have any strong feelings to evaluate just how effectively you are the profession. A natural extension of
either way about this. teaching. For example, do all your class this is to do some more formal studies.
C = The very thought of this makes my really understand your explanation of a This could either be in the form of an
heart sink. particular word? Do you perhaps need to advanced diploma or an MA or even a
explain it again? Do you need to consider, PhD. You might simply undertake your
Five tasks more systematically, the techniques you own research and then put pen to paper
use to convey meaning? Such questions for one of the many ELT journals that
Teaching the present continuous (for
can be applied to every single aspect of are in publication. This way, youll really
referring to the future) to a pre-
English language teaching. be making your mark on your profession.
intermediate class
Marking a pile of essays on the 3 Experiment with different teaching 
styles/methodologies. As with every profession, ELT employs
Explaining the rules of a complex
It is quite common for teachers to go people who are very enthusiastic and
about their work as if they are on others who are much less so. If you are
Meeting a new class for the first time
autopilot. They may do very minimum one of the less enthusiastic ones, all is not
Attending a staff meting to discuss
preparation, enter the classroom, box lost. Its possible that you have just lost
the progress of your classes
clever and, effectively, use the same your way. It may be that your interest has
Helping slow learners to make
approach time and time again. Of temporarily waned for some reason. But
course, we cant have personality if you are in this for the long haul, I think
How did you get on? If you scored transplants. However, we can try to you owe it yourself to get fully involved.
largely As, this suggests that you are experiment in order to see what our If youre not fully involved, your students
probably in the right profession limits are. We can keep pushing and will always be the first to notice. ETp
(provided you have the skills to match pushing to test our own capabilities. We
Paul Bress works both
your enthusiasm, of course). However, may end up feeling disappointed, but we in the fields of personal
if you scored a mixture of Bs and Cs, may also end up surprised at our ability growth and ELT and has
published very widely
its worth having a critical look at your to teach in a new, more creative way. in both areas. He is
level of enthusiasm for ELT. 4 Read ELT journals. a life-long, non-stop
learner he learns
This will allow you to enter the broader more from everyday
Fuelling the fire ELT community. Of course, not every
experience than from
formal research. His life
Lets now look at five things you can do article is written exclusively for your coaching website is
to ignite (or re-ignite) your enthusiasm
consumption, but journals are very
for your profession. expertly edited these days, and they cater

46 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

Page 48

Putting it
Ana La Passarotto y colleagues and I work at learning for understanding

creates a new portfolio-

based course for her tertiary
M a teacher training college
with would-be teachers of
English whose native
language is Spanish. We identified the
need for a course that would enable our
methodology and Howard Gardners
multiple intelligences theory. As David
Perkins asserts: In the long term,
education must aim for active use of
knowledge and skill. Students garner
students. students to put together all the knowledge and skills in schools so that
knowledge they had acquired in three they can put them to work in
very important subjects: language, professional roles scientist, engineer,
grammar and phonology. This would be designer, doctor, businessperson, writer
a subject in which they could practise artist, musician and in lay roles citizen,
both oral and written English as freely voter, parent that require appreciation,
and naturally as possible within the understanding, and judgment.
constraints of the classroom and we Learning for understanding requires
opted to include portfolio assessment as the students to work with information
one element. and content, using their own strategies
The purpose of this article is to and previous knowledge and developing
relate our experience of setting up our the habit of reflecting upon their own
course. Although the uses and benefits progress. It engages them in projects in
of continuous assessment will not be which, as Howard Gardner puts it, the
discussed, some of its main whole classroom assumes the shape and
characteristics will be mentioned. characteristics of a traditional workshop,
giving the students the possibility of
working cooperatively and learning
Learning by doing according to their own kinds of
As this new course had to be organised intelligences and learning styles.
from scratch, we had total freedom over This way of working is totally
how to design it. We decided that it opposed to the somewhat passive
would be a good idea to give a new learning style of our secondary schools,
lease of life to the well-proven rules and and at the very beginning the students
working methods of a traditional were disconcerted. However, we were
workshop technique, introduced by convinced that it was essential for
American educators in the 1940s. We students at tertiary level to be able to
agreed with one of its promoters, Ralph look for solutions to different problems,
Tyler, when he described learning as take complete responsibility for their own
taking place through the action of the learning, monitor their own progress and
student: It is what he does that he prepare themselves for the routines of
learns, not what the teacher does. postgraduate study. As doing research
We also thought of revamping the would give them training in investigation,
workshop according to the tenets of the written work and oral presentations and ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 49


together Name: ....................................................................... Date: ..................................

Type of item (first draft, edited version, etc) ..........................................................

 help them develop techniques for This piece of work shows that I can: (mark only the appropriate items)
speaking in public, thus developing their
fluency and accuracy in both writing use the material Ive researched and the information Ive found.
and speaking, we decided to focus on work collaboratively.
research. An additional advantage of this support ideas with evidence or reasons.
approach was that the trainee teachers
would learn to evaluate and compare organise related ideas logically.
information from several sources and to use a wide range of grammatical structures.
organise it and use it according to their use specific vocabulary appropriately.
own judgement. At the same time, they
spell difficult/new words correctly.
would work cooperatively and try their
hand at correcting their own and their self-edit my work.
peers work, also making suggestions other: (please specify)
for individual improvement.
SETTING YOUR OWN IMPROVEMENT GOALS (Think about realistic goals.)
Creating the project 1 What does this sample show you can do well?
Having been put in charge of this new
course, I was free to think about it in an
innovative way, and decided to organise it 2 What do you think you need to improve?
around a novel by contemporary British
writer David Lodge. Changing Places is
3 What do you think you need to keep working on?
one of his campus novels and tells the
story of an academic exchange in which
two professors from fictional universities
in England and the USA swap places
for six months. I chose this book firstly (stereotypes and all); the Vietnam War, time, I also contributed my own
because I really enjoyed reading it; it is the pop revolution and its main material to round off a topic. (As I was
enlightening, ironic and, at times, consequences: hippies, changes in music a teenager in the sixties, I had had first-
extremely funny. Secondly, I thought it and fashion, sexual freedom, the hand experience of things such as
would be an ideal vehicle for comparing generation gap, the widespread use of changes in music, fashion, parent-child
and contrasting the British and American drugs, etc; the womens liberation relationships, teenage freedom, etc.)
education systems, the two different movement; Ralph Nader; Martin After the selected topics from each
cultures and the personality traits of the Luther King; the student riots of the section had been discussed, the students
people in each country, subjects which 1960s; and experiments in art and life were assigned written work in which they
the students had already been studying on the west coast of the US. had to use what they had learnt. The
for three years. Besides, as our trainee writing tasks, which were then placed in
teachers are, on average, quite young, it the students portfolios, included
was the perfect means to show them
Covering the skills reporting interviews, making summaries,
where, how and why the world we are The students were free to choose the producing magazine articles, writing
now living in has developed. topics that most interested them to talk reflective and argumentative essays,
I used the sections in which the about in pairs or groups. In order to biographies, and a final book review.
novel is divided (Flying, Settling, make their choices, they were Emphasis was placed upon the
Corresponding, Reading and Changing) encouraged to consult the internet, production of written texts and pieces
to structure the course. After the encylopaedias and several other books of discourse and on the students
students had read the sections at home, available at the school library, as well as reflection upon their own performance.
we commented on them one by one. newspapers and magazines. They were We started from the belief that
From each section I identified the issues then expected to give presentations to discourse is a construct that must be
that seemed most relevant to the period their peers on what they had learnt, but tackled using knowledge drawn from
in which the action takes place (the late they were allowed to present the several subjects and we always worked
1960s), and which helped shape our information in any way they wanted: with authentic material.
modern world. These included the using an overhead projector, videos, I created a self-evaluation form
educational system and university life in material downloaded from the internet, (see above) in order to stretch their
England and the USA (which we songs, recordings, PowerPoint, etc. metacognitive skills. To produce this
compared with Argentina); the main Some of them even prepared activities form, I used one from Successful writing
characteristics of the two peoples for their classmates to do. From time to by Sencan Topaloglu in ETp Issue 8 and

50 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

another from In praise of the portfolio put the students in charge of their own
by Yan Xiaoyun in ETp Issue 55, along I have found that learning. It gives them the chance to
with the Setting improvement goals reflect upon their errors and to develop
form which Yan Xiaoyun adapted from the combination of their own self-monitoring system. It also
OMalley and Pierce. I modified all trains them in the difficult task of
these according to our actual needs and
workshop methods evaluating other peoples work and
blended them into one. and the use of makes them work cooperatively (a
highly valued skill these days).
portfolios fosters Moreover, the scheduled oral
Evaluating the progress
autonomy presentations make them do
Using a system of continuous assessment conscientious research work, teach them
(integrative or formative evaluation), the to make critical use of the internet and
students were asked to re-write any work help them improve their oral fluency
of the students a written appreciation of
that was not satisfactory, following and accuracy, while at the same time
their work and their progress, and a
advice from their teacher (or their they learn new concepts and start
note of the points they had to keep
classmates hints in the case of peer- relating different ideas and making
working at in order to improve their
correction). When marking their writing, sense of historical events.
overall oral performance.
I simply underlined their mistakes and This course has been working well
But, and there is always a but, there
marked them according to a code we had for four years, and what seems to me
were some school rules that had to be
agreed upon: G for grammar mistakes, the most important achievement is that
followed; namely a mid-term exam to be
L for language mistakes, Sp for spelling the students learn at the same time as
given, which in terms of continuous
errors, and so on. The students were enjoying what they do. They like the way
assessment and portfolio evaluation was
then encouraged to produce a new the course is designed and are delighted
totally out of context. So, after thinking
version, correcting all the mistakes they to find out what the world was like when
about it for a while, I opted for a
had made. Some suggestions on style their parents were young. In fact, the
compromise solution: a debate held by the
improvement were also provided. I second year I taught the subject, at the
students on a polemic topic of their own
choice. This was conducted in the usual end-of-the-year overall evaluation one
way, with a panel arguing for and against of the students said: Next year teach
I never interrupted the motion, a chairperson to conduct the the subject exactly the same way you did
this year. All of us have really enjoyed
their speech proceedings, and members of the audience
the work and learnt a lot! What else
who had to ask questions and add
flow unless some comments. When everything had been could a teacher ask for? ETp
said (or most likely the time was up) the
information was chairperson closed the debate and Gardner, H Frames of Mind: The theory of
glaringly wrong, or everyone voted for or against the motion. multiple intelligences Basic Books 1993
I remember a very successful, lively and Gardner, H Reflections on multiple
some very serious heated debate on the right of homosexuals intelligences: myths and messages
Phi Delta Kappan 77 1995
mistake prevented to get married and adopt children. I
Gardner, H Intelligence Reframed: Multiple
took a back seat as I did during all
proper understanding the oral presentations and made notes
Intelligences for the 21st Century Basic
Books 1999
on their strong and weak points in
Gardner, H and Miller, L Establishing
order to mark their performances. Self-Access: From Theory to Practice
insisted that they write the date on each The rules and procedures for the CUP 1999
piece of writing so that they would be course were made explicit from the very Perkins, D N Knowledge as Design
able to monitor their own improvement. first class. If the students complied with Lawrence Erlbaum Associates 1986
They were allowed to re-write all the all the requirements, including doing a Perkins, D and Blythe, T Putting
pieces they wanted as many times as they given number of presentations and understanding up-front Educational
thought fit, until they felt satisfied with writing assignments, passing the mid- Leadership 51 (5) 1994
the results. All their pieces of written term exam and receiving a successful Tyler, R Basic Principles of Curriculum
work, the research work done for their evaluation of their final portfolio, they and Instruction Chicago University Press
presentations and the extra material passed the course without taking a final 1949
provided by the teacher were included exam. If they failed and did not reach
in their portfolios, which were checked the required grade, they could sit an Ana La Passarotto has
and graded at the end of the year. an MA in education and
exam at the end of the school year as has recently retired after
As for their oral work, I never they normally have to do for their other teaching, training and
interrupted their speech flow unless coordinating extensively.
curriculum subjects. She currently lectures
some information was glaringly wrong, and writes articles on
or some very serious mistake prevented  education as well as
contributions to books
proper understanding. At the end of on the same subject,
each presentation, we did some global I have found that the combination of in both English and
error analysis with the whole class, and workshop methods and the use of
at the end of the semester, I gave each portfolios fosters autonomy and helps ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 51


part in the process of learning. They
must be willing to take risks, accept that
mistakes are natural and participate in
every activity.


The trainees participated in a series of
activities and then reflected on them.
The following is based on working with
Jim Daniels poem Dim.

Stage 1

In Jim Daniels poem Dim, a father talks
about how he tries to comfort his son
after an incident at school in which he is
mocked by the other children for failing to
do a computer maths game. The poem
Premakumari Dheram trains her trainees reminds us that children can be badly hurt
by seemingly small things. You can read
to be facilitators. the poem at
anguage through literature is Orientation I thought that the trainees would be

L one of the optional courses in

the first semester of our
postgraduate diploma in the
teaching of English. There are usually
at least 20 trainees in the class and most
Our initial discussions focused on the
1 The purpose of English language
teaching in India, and particularly in the
able to think of a number of activities
for initiating their students interaction
with the poem. But I was disappointed
by their lack of response and surprised
that the poem didnt have the same
have had no teaching experience. trainees contexts. They all agreed that effect on them as it did on me. It
This year, I spent several hours students need to learn non-literary seemed that there was a big difference in
looking for poems to use on this course. communication. Then, we made a list of the purposes for which we read it. To
My only criteria were the experience the the non-literary genres their students me, it was reading for pleasure. To
text offered and the background would be familiar with. This usually them, it was a classroom task.
knowledge it demanded of the students included advertisements, agony columns, My first objective, therefore, was to
(high-school students who would have drama, news reports, pamphlets, help them relate to the poem. After a
studied English for at least five years). I personal and official letters, and stories. brief class discussion of the theme, I
met my class of trainees for 20 one-hour 2 The purpose of literature in the suggested that they rewrite the poem
sessions and we worked on poetry for the curriculum. The trainees unanimously with the boy as the narrator instead of
first two months. During this time they agreed on two purposes: encouraging the father. Some lines were easy to
also received a detailed introduction to reading for pleasure, and promoting rewrite. For example, the beginning lines:
various theories of language teaching understanding of the difference between
literary and non-literary communication. Today my son realized someones smarter
and learning in their other classes. I than him. Not me or his mom
planned my course so that the trainees Some identified a third purpose:
had hands-on experience of working on encouraging thinking and language use were changed to:
a few poems, considered the role of in the classroom.
3 The role of the (literary) text. A few
Today I realized someones smarter
literature in the language classroom, than me. Not my dad nor my mom
designed a few interactive activities and activities helped them to arrive at the
tried them out on their peers. They were understanding that the text is only a Initially, the class thought that all that
encouraged to play three roles. means to an end and not an end in itself. they had to do was to change the
The class decided to adopt an interactive pronouns. Soon, however, they got
As students, they did the tasks on the approach and explore the opportunities engrossed in the activity and realised
text. for language use the text offers. that changing the voice involves
As trainees, they reflected on their 4 The role of the teacher. Most trainees changing much more than that. They
experience with those tasks. were familiar with the word facilitator. found that they had to choose language
As critics, they commented on what I However, they admitted that they that didnt change the character of the
(their trainer) said, did and made needed guidance and practice in order boy, the father or the situation.
them do. to develop into facilitators. Although they were working in pairs,
My major aim was to make them feel 5 The role of the learner. We agreed the whole class got involved in a
comfortable with the facilitator model. that the learners must take an active discussion of the choice of language.

52 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional


Reflections would definitely enjoy working in They volunteered to find samples on the
The class all agreed that this activity groups and participating in decision- internet and revise their drafts.
would work with senior school children. making. More importantly, they realised
They acknowledged that by doing it, that talking about a personal experience Facilitation
they found their way into the poem with demands a great deal of language,
very little help from me. especially topic-specific vocabulary. The trainees identified the following
The trainees observed that: They also observed that the weak principles of facilitation and how they
the activity focused on meaning and students in their classes might need to may be turned into learner-friendly
not grammar. be helped with their language, and the classroom practices.
the discussions encouraged a lot of teacher may do it within a reasonable Create room for learner practice.
language use. They noticed how amount of teacher talking time. 1 Place the text in a wide ESL context.
grammatical points came up for The trainees reflections may be 2 Examine the text in relation to the
discussion within the groups and the summed up as follows: students background knowledge.
class, and saw how a teacher-educator 1 They realised that facilitating and 3 Identify the opportunities it offers
could play a navigators role without scaffolding may be interpreted as students for language use.
sabotaging student talking time. providing the students with cognitive
Upload cognitive and linguistic support.
they needed to read the poem closely (conceptual) and linguistic support to
The word upload was chosen because
and think of activities to direct the navigate their thinking and skills
material from various locations may be
students thinking about the text. practice. Teachers may use authentic
brought to the classroom and it is a
non-literary texts of different genres to
Stage 2 reminder of the relevance and usefulness
help students practise language use and
Activity of the internet.
grow familiar with the appropriate
1 Pick readings to guide the students
The second lesson began with an formats for presenting information.
animated discussion on the feelings of thinking about the text.
2 The activity and the subsequent
2 Develop simple tasks that hinge upon
the father and the son. Some trainees reflections demonstrated the concepts of
had young children of their own. More the text.
teacher talking time and student talking
3 Initiate the students interaction with
importantly, many of them had had time in action, and encouraged the
similar childhood experiences and they the text.
trainees to be conscious of the nature,
shared these with the class. We discussed timing and purpose of teacher support. Enable learning outside the classroom.
the therapeutic effect of talking about 3 They began to see themselves in the 1 Practise reflecting on curricular goals,
an experience, and thus brought into role of navigators, responsible for guiding relating them to life outside the classroom.
focus the childs silence in the poem. the students to think and work with the 2 Encourage and help students identify
In groups, the trainees then had to text so they can practise language. sources and strategies of learning.
think of a plan of action to deal with the Teacher-facilitators need to ask the 3 Introduce the concept of personal
situation, and report it to the whole class. right questions, point the students in the development, and initiate the process in
We adopted the case-study approach, direction of the texts available in their the class.
with different groups playing different
roles in dealing with the situation. There
environment, and provide supportive 
reading material if possible.
were parents, older siblings, friends, That the trainees began to re-think their
teachers and heads of schools, all trying Stage 3 approach to the text was evident from the
to address the childs hurt. Activity nature of their subsequent participation
After the activity, I distributed a two- The third activity was a follow-up of the in the lessons. They now associate
page handout with a few blogs on the group discussion, addressing the issues English language teaching with creative
poem and abstracts of journal and of peer rejection, bullying, student self- practices, not difficult theories. For their
newspaper articles on peer rejection, and esteem, etc. Different groups had to write M Phil, two chose to work on authentic
suggested that they read them quickly. different texts, such as letters of complaint material, while two others began thinking
The trainees found that the blogs from parents, letters of encouragement about what they could do in the area of
contained a great deal of conceptual and from friends and the responses of a language through literature. ETp
linguistic support which would have counsellor of a teenage agony column.
Premakumari Dheram
helped them practise language if they had They were given 15 minutes to write their teaches at the English
received them before they began the task. first drafts, then each group presented its and Foreign Languages
University, Hyderabad,
work to the others in two to three minutes. India. She enjoys
Reflections There was enough time left for a quick designing stress busters
The trainees were surprised with the discussion of each text.
that create fruitful anxiety
and promote independent
way the discussion highlighted different learning. Her Masters
perspectives on the poem. Some of Reflections (TEFL) is from Reading
University, UK, and she
them confessed that it also made them The discussion highlighted the fact that has a PhD (Comparative
consciously aware of the role of the although the trainees had the necessary literature) from Osmania
students self-esteem in learning. ideas and the language, they needed University, Hyderabad.
They all thought that their students some samples of writing to guide them. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 53

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

Autumn leaves ard to falling

we can look forw
Autumn is when king it up
d rising fuel prices. Well be ra
leaves an
while the oil com
panies are raking
it in.
The music
out your winte
Au tumn is the time to drag
e what kind of
summer fun
of autumn
clothes and se Autumn seems to have provided the inspiration
the moths ha for many songwriters. Can you identify the artists
like whether
n is a season for big decisions who sang these popular songs?
te to start spring
or not its too la 1 September Morn 5 November Rain
are a lot like A Perry Como A Guns N Roses
Autumn leaves en they
on you, and th B Jack Jones B Led Zeppelin
First they turn you
the next thing C Frank Sinatra C The Doors
fly away. And
out D Neil Diamond D Dean Martin
know, you look
an d
of the window 2 September 6 Autumn Leaves
theyre back! A Earth, Wind and Fire A Henry Mancini
B Kool and the Gang B Doris Day
C Chicago C Mariah Carey
D Shenandoah D Frank Sinatra
3 See You in September 7 Autumn of My Life
Autumn facts A The Ink Spots
B The Beach Boys
A Bobby Darin
B Bobby Vinton
1 Why do leaves
fall off trees in th C The Chiffons C Bobby Goldsboro
In autumn, there e autumn?
is less sunlight be D The Supremes D Bobby Rydell
days are shorter. cause the
Because sunlight
ingredient in the is a crucial 4 October 8 Autumn
leaf food factory
to sustain itself an , it is unable A The Beatles A Edgar Winter
y longer. So the
le af becomes B The Monkees B 98 Degrees / Borut Trdina
weak and floats
to the ground.
2 Why
C T.Rex C Tim McGraw
are leaves diffe D U2 D The Kinks
rent colours in
Leaves are actual autumn?
ly red, yellow, or
brown all year lo an ge and
ng we just can Answers 1 D 2 A 3 C 4 D 5 A 6 D 7 C 8 A
colours because t se e these
they are masked
intense green pigm by the
ent of chlorophyll
In the autumn, th .
e red, yellow, oran tumn leaf
What did one au
Leaf love
and brown pigm ge
say to another?
ents in the leaves
become visible an
d bright when th you.
tree stops produc e Im falling for
ing chlorophyll.

54 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

Rakes progr
Native wisdom ess
How to tell if
youve hired
It was autumn, and the members wrong teenag the
er to rake up
of a Native American tribe asked their new chief if the your leaves:
1 H
coming winter was going to be cold or mild. Since he was e charges yo
u by the leaf
a new chief in a modern society and had never been
2 H
e keeps aski
taught the ancient secrets of nature, he had no clue what ng where he
in the rake. should plug
to do. To play it safe, he looked up at the sky and then told
his tribe that the winter would definitely be cold and that they 3 He picks up
leaves one at
should collect firewood early, just to be prepared. So, they started them in melte a time, dips
gathering wood. d cheese and
eats them.
4 H
e says, This
Being a practical leader, he figured he should also use the wont take a
starts soakin minute and
resources available from the modern world. He went to a nearby g your lawn w
ith petrol.
town, found a phone booth and called the National Weather Service 5 H
e comes to yo
to ask if the winter would be cold. ur door and sa
Ive had a lo ys,
ng talk with th
As of now, it looks like this winter is going to be quite cold, he was and theyve d e leaves,
ecided to stay
told. .

So the chief went back to his tribe and told them to collect even
more wood. A week later he called the National Weather Service
again and asked for an update.
Plenty more
Yes, the forecaster at National Weather Service again replied,
based on incoming data, this winter is looking to be even colder fish inhytfuhn e sea!
than we expected. The chief was surprised, but again went back to in Issue 63)
(Further fis
his tribe, told them that this might be a very cold winter indeed, and e most?
h like playing th
asked them to collect every scrap of wood they could find. What game do fis
Name that tuna.
One week later, he called the National Weather Service yet again, ones to wear?
hy ar e fish boots the warmest
hoping for a new answer. Are you absolutely sure that the winter is W
ve electric eels.
going to be very cold? he asked. Because they ha
cleverer than hu
Positive, the forecaster replied. In fact, its going to be one of the Why are dolphins a man to stand at
s they can train
coldest winters on record. Within three hour h.
and feed them fis
the side of a pool
Really? the shocked chief exclaimed. How can you be so sure? by octopus to ra
Who held the ba
Because, the forecaster replied, the Indians are collecting Squidnappers.
vourite fish?
firewood like crazy! ler of Russias fa
What was the ru
to school?
How do fish get
Autumn superst By octobus.

It is said that if
itions Why is a fish ea
sy to weigh?
you catch a falli own scales.
ground, you will ng leaf before it
hits the Because it has its
have one month ezing weather?
of h is useful in fre
can catch 12 leav go od luck. If you What kind of fis
es, the whole of
be lucky for you. the next year will Skate.
with a fish?
It is also said th
at the best wa y to communicate
the luckiest leaf What is
of all is the last
one to fall from Drop it a line.
the tree. igh whales?
Where do you we
At a whale weigh
trout with an
t if you cross a
What do you ge
A flat fish. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 55


For Majid Hayati, SMS he rapid advancement of The phenomenon of Short Message

can also mean Student

Motivating System.
T technology has led to a
parallel increase in the
quantity of research into the
application of mobile technologies to
learning. In both popular and scholarly
Service (SMS) or texting is one that
has been growing in many countries.
Most people use SMS mainly for
communicating with friends and family.
But the almost ubiquitous presence and
literature, terms such as mobile, wireless, use of SMS in many urban and rural
handheld and nomadic are now widely areas, and across different socioeconomic
used. Mobile learning, or m-learning, and gender lines, mean that there is great
is a burgeoning subdivision of the potential for this technology to be used
e-learning movement, further evidenced in more productive ways.
by European initiatives such as the
MOBIlearn project which explores the Studies
potential of mobile technologies to
deliver informal, problem-based and Texting on mobile phones is particularly
workplace learning. popular with young adults, and while it
Common features of these devices is considerably more difficult to enter
now include internet access, voice- text on a mobile phone than it is on a
messaging, SMS text-messaging, computer, mobile text messaging has
cameras and even video-recording. As begun to be used to support language
Lai, Yang, Chen, Ho and Chan point learning. Thornton and Houser have
out, mobile technologies are quickly developed several innovative projects
becoming indispensable and they are using mobile phones to teach English at
readily available and typically less a Japanese university. One focused on
expensive than standard equipment. providing vocabulary instruction by
SMS. Three times a day, they texted
short mini-lessons to their students,
sending them in discrete chunks so they
would be easily readable on their
phones tiny screens. These lessons
defined five words per week, recycled
previous vocabulary and used the words
in various contexts, including episodic
stories. The students were tested
biweekly and compared to groups that
received identical lessons via the web
and on paper. The results indicated that
the SMS students learnt over twice the
number of vocabulary words as the web
students, and that the SMS students
improved their scores by nearly twice as
much as those who had received their
lessons on paper.
The use of SMS as an instructional
content delivery and assessment tool for
non-formal education would seem,
therefore, to be practical. In fact, the
Philippines Open University has
recently offered an SMS-based distance

56 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

education programme and has reading and writing skills; however, their
developed modules on such topics as usefulness for the teaching of listening Outside the class
English grammar and personal health. and speaking is, in my opinion,
However, more rigorous studies to outweighed by the disadvantages, such there are fewer time
determine the efficacy and feasibility of as the lack of body language, physical
actually delivering educational content absence and voice distortion.
constraints and the
through SMS are still lacking. Furthermore, the high cost of talking informality of language
One of the newest technologies with via mobile phones makes it practically
potential application in language impossible for the teaching of oral skills. that typifies the SMS
learning is moblogging, an amalgam of As a result, teaching pronunciation,
mobile and weblogging. Gary Mielo intonation patterns, stress patterns and
message is more
defines moblogging as using a mobile communication strategies by mobile appropriate
phone or PDA in the field to post phone may not be viable.
words and/or pictures on a website. The
use of blogs themselves is a recent trend
in language teaching. They provide
Vocabulary lesson in a few days time. There will, of
course, be some unknown words in the
opportunities for language creation (eg Vocabulary learning can be facilitated text. Select the difficult words and
writing journals) and a range of by the use of SMS as even short provide short definitions and examples
collaborative activities. Moblogs offer messages can provide the learners with for them. Then send them by SMS to
the potential to expand these benefits authentic contexts in which the terms the whole class. This way the students
by removing time and place boundaries can be meaningfully practised. can become familiar with the words in
and adding up-to-the-minute authentic Depending on the students level, the advance, and when they come to the
and personal visual content. introduction of new words can be lesson they may only have problem with
carried out through the use of pictures, their pronunciation.
translation, explanation, definition, and The learning process does not stop
Through a so on. With elementary students, new here. Post-phase learning takes place
words, especially concrete nouns, can be outside the classroom and, again, SMS
combination of SMS introduced by means of pictures at the can play a role. After they have read or
bottom of the text containing the new
and in-class feedback, word. The L1 translation of the new
listened to a text in class, the students
can be asked to make sentences with the
the students can vocabulary item can be an alternative to words that were sent in the pre-phase.
picture cues, especially with abstract They then text their sentences to their
become familiar with words and concepts. With higher-level teacher. The teacher takes note of any
students, L2 definition or explanation
different aspects can replace picture cues and L1
problems with the words and gives
feedback in the next lesson. Furthermore,
of words translation. Care must be taken to use after the students have sent their
each new word several times in the same sentences, the teacher can send back
text and recycle the vocabulary at some multiple-choice questions on the
regular intervals. Previously-taught words. The students can then check
Skills items should then appear as known their answers quickly in the next lesson.
Markett, Snchez, Weber and Tangney words in texts offering new vocabulary Through a combination of SMS and
conducted research into the promotion items. in-class feedback, the students can
of interaction via the use of SMS in Vocabulary can also be taught become familiar with different aspects
class. Their students entered a message through code-mixing in an SMS text. of words: form, meaning, use and
loop in real-time, in class, by sending To do this, the L1 lexis is inserted at the pronunciation. More importantly, they
SMS messages via their mobile phones. beginning of the text. In the next get multiple exposures to the written
The lecturer, using a modem interfacing utterance, the L2 item appears in the form of the words. This helps to stabilise
with customised software to produce same syntactic function as its L1 the words in their memories, and it is a
SMS files, viewed the messages and equivalent. This helps the learner technique that can be used with all
verbally developed the interactive loop. recognise that the L2 and L1 items proficiency levels to improve learning.
The results indicated increased student correspond. Later on, the L2 item can
participation in classroom discussions. be used in different syntactic functions
However, apart from the cost of sending to introduce the other usages in the Use
a text via SMS, the time required to word family. The use of different SMS is particularly good for further
type the messages was considered to be syntactic forms of new vocabulary in practice outside the classroom. Inside
a negative aspect of the project. Many further utterances helps learners the classroom it has limitations and, in
of the students reported that typing out internalise the new lexical items. many circumstances, using a computer
SMS messages took a lot of time, SMS can be used in two ways in the would be a much better option. Outside
distracted them from what was being classroom to help vocabulary learning: the class there are fewer time
said, and sometimes made them miss a pre-phase and post-phase. For example, constraints and the informality of
point completely. suppose that you have a text (either for language that typifies the SMS message
Mobile phones can be used to teach reading or listening) to teach in the is more appropriate. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 57

situation, their proficiency level and
their willingness to participate in such
activities. More importantly, using the ENGLISH
 Here are some suggestions and
guidelines for using SMS outside the
technique too often takes away its
novelty value and can make it boring.
In other words, SMS should not be
classroom: considered solely as Short Message
Service, nor should it be taken to mean This is your magazine.
Make sure your learners understand
the differences between formal and
Self-learning Mobile System, implying We want to hear from you!
no control from the teacher as the head
informal language. Learners,
of the class. I think it is best regarded as
especially at lower levels, may be
a Student Motivating System, whose
tempted to use the language used in
mission is to encourage the students to
SMS in formal situations. This may
get them into bad habits, and could
keep in permanent touch with the IT WORKS IN PRACTICE
language, with the teacher and with Do you have ideas youd like to share
cause problems when they need to use
their fellow students. with colleagues around the world?
formal language, particularly when a
Despite the many benefits of mobile Tips, techniques and activities;
more formal written style is required.
phones, they are, at the end of the day, simple or sophisticated; well-tried
Due to the need for brevity, the only machines that can facilitate contact or innovative; something that has
spelling of words is usually changed in between people. They can neither think
worked well for you? All published
SMS. For example, tomorrow is often nor create. Therefore, a language class
contributions receive a prize!
written as tomoro or even 2moro in an must not be entirely mobile-centred
Write to us or email:
SMS text. This can be dangerous for because this may reduce the role of the
learners. Always remind them to learn teacher, who should be the real provider
the correct spelling of a word first of creativity and the authority and
before they use it in any other form. leader of the class. There will always be
Riddles and jokes are two good ways
times when a piece of chalk can do
better than a mobile phone. At other
of promoting language learning.
times, you may find that it provides just Do you have something to say about
Learners often send jokes and riddles
the right kind of studentteacher an article in the current issue of ETp?
to each other and they like them a lot,
interaction that will enliven your class This is your magazine and we would
so using them to teach can be
and motivate your students. ETp really like to hear from you.
motivational and can provide good
Write to us or email:
examples of authentic language use
which are quick and easy to send by Lai, C H, Yang, J C, Chen, F C, Ho, C W
text. and Chan, T W Affordances of mobile
technologies for experiential learning: the
Short pieces of news, either those
happening within a particular
interplay of technology and pedagogical
practices Journal of Computer Assisted Writing for ETp
Learning 23 2007 Would you like to write for ETp? We are
educational context or in the wider
world, can also help learning. They Markett, C, Snchez, I A, Weber, S and always interested in new writers and
Tangney, B Using short message service fresh ideas. For guidelines and advice,
have the advantage of being related to
to encourage interactivity in the
daily life and thus are likely to be of classroom Computers & Education 46 (3) write to us or email:
interest to the learners. 2006
Short language tests on a particular Mielo, G The medium is the moblog
ETC: A Review of General Semantics 62
grammar point or selected items of
vocabulary can be sent to the learners
Thornton, P and Houser, C M-learning in
Visit the
between lessons by SMS. The number transit In Lewis, P (Ed) The Changing ETp website!
of items should be restricted to one Face of CALL Swets and Zeitlinger 2002
The ETp website is packed with practical
or two a day. These can keep the
tips, advice, resources, information and
students interested in English outside
Majid Hayati holds a selected articles. You can submit tips
of class and help them monitor their doctorate degree in
progress in the language. linguistics from the or articles, renew your subscription
University of Newcastle, or simply browse the features.
Australia. He teaches
 English, language
testing and linguistics
at Shahid Chamran
University of Ahvaz,
The use of mobile phones and short Iran. He has published a ENGLISH TEACHING professional
messages to teach English is, of course, number of articles in a
Keyways Publishing Ltd, PO Box 100,
variety of international
directly dependent on the course magazines. Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 8HD, UK
objectives, the classroom context, the Fax: +44 (0)1243 576456
expected degree of mastery of the Email:
language, the students financial

58 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional


Digital video cameras are very
similar to ordinary digital cameras,
but it is always a good idea to do a
test recording and playback before
the lesson.

For filming
Video camera: Familiarise yourself
with the controls before the lesson,

and remove the lens cover!
Battery: Charge the battery before
the lesson, and have a spare
battery on charge during the
lesson just in case.
Memory card: Check that the
available recording time on the

memory card is sufficient.
Tripod: If you need a tripod, make
sure you know where it is.

For playback
Cables: Check that you have the
ones you need Camera/TV or
Interactive whiteboards: Check
Michael Brewster howing videos in the language beforehand that any computer

sets the scene for a

productive video project.
S classroom is widely recognised
as a valuable tool to aid
students, and the birth of the
interactive whiteboard (IWB), which
turns the class into a cinema, can make
that will be used has appropriate
software to play the videos back,
particularly if you wish to play
them on an IWB. Failing that, it
may be possible to play directly
students even more enthusiastic about from the camera to the IWB
watching them. New technologies have without connecting it to the
continuously been adapted to classroom computer.
use, and I felt that the natural next step TVs: A digital camera can easily
had to be to go beyond simply watching be connected to a TV, but it is
and to actually produce videos. Many of worth practising the procedure
us have digital cameras, have and checking that you have the
experimented with the video option, necessary cables. It would be a
and could without too much difficulty major disappointment for the
extend this to the classroom. After students to go to all this effort and
noticing some new dust-gathering then be let down by the teacher
digital video cameras at my school in not knowing how to play back
London, I was keen to have a go ... their videos to the class.

Scene 1:
Why bother? Ten reasons to get out
the clapper board:
As I started the planning, it was evident
that you could film any part of a lesson, 1 Student interaction through the
which then posed the questions What whole process generates a lot of
would actually be the benefits of filming practical language.
it? and What would the students get from 2 A variety of learning styles can be
it, which they wouldnt get by doing the
same activity in an ordinary lesson? My
initial aims were quite basic, but 3 Videoing provides an effective
experimenting over time and with a means of assessing and determining the
variety of classes led me to discover students needs, which can aid planning
other benefits that I had not anticipated. for future lessons. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 59

Failing all that, another approach

cameras does not have to be limited to a
that can be useful is to plead final-hour time slot, and can be spread
ignorance and have the students teach across several lessons.

each other and you how to use the Initially, it is easy to underestimate
equipment, which can ultimately how long it will take from start to
provide a direct or indirect tool that finish, which reinforces the benefits of

action! generates practical language.

Teaching problems
There is no simple answer to the question
using this type of activity on a
number of occasions.
It is wise, nevertheless, to give students
4 It develops the students awareness of how the students will respond, and clear time expectations and give
of their strengths and weaknesses, their own preferences and learning ongoing encouragement and reminders.
which can be enhanced through self- styles are likely to result in a wide If there are not enough video cameras
evaluation and peer evaluation. variety of reactions, which may include for each group, it is advantageous to
shyness, reluctance, over-acting, and too have another stream of work in
5 Giving greater responsibility helps
much or too little confidence; we must progress, instead of simply filming as
to encourage learner autonomy. be sensitive to them all. However, there a whole-class activity. It is more
6 Videos created by students can are a few tactics that can help you productive and avoids any concerns
provide an additional resource and can achieve the aims of the lesson: that watching back is unnecessary
be used in teaching in a similar way to Explain the activity and allow the repetition.
professional videos. students to film you as part of the
7 Students are encouraged to demonstration, as students may then Scene 3:
be more willing to try it themselves.
concentrate on whole-body involvement Final thoughts before
as well as speaking. Allow the students to select roles:
director, camera crew, actor/actress,
taking the plunge ...
8 It promotes creativity and
to ensure that everyone is at ease and With any new technology, material or
imagination, which are powerful aids to methodology, we often have an opinion
as a result is more likely to engage in
development. as to how productive and user-friendly
the lesson. Those who are shy may
9 Video activities are memorable and even be prepared to step in front of it will be, and are sometimes reluctant
motivating and help students to firmly the camera after watching others; I even to give it a chance. I, for one, did
anchor the targets of the lesson. never sang at karaoke sessions in not welcome the interactive whiteboard
Japan until I had seen a few others with open arms, but our lovehate
10 It can be a powerful eye through
get on the stage first! relationship is now comparative to that
which to view yourself, the teacher. After of an old couple who no longer wish to
all, self-evaluation is one of the best Video a variety of activities in the
argue and, for the most part, work well
methods that can be used to ensure that classroom across a period of time.
together with just the occasional tiff!
you continue to develop professionally. Our abilities improve in all areas of
Whilst we all have a good idea of
study through practice.
what works in our classroom, we should
Scene 2: Stay out of the classroom (or continuously be looking for new ideas
Problems? completely out of the group activities) that may work just as well, if not better,
while the students are filming. This from the students point of view. I am by
Undoubtedly, problems can arise with can be advantageous as it can result in no means saying that we must throw out
operating a video camera and filming a performance that is more natural or the old and bring in the new, simply that
the students but, as with any lesson, we even more expressive than one given greater variety in the classroom can lead
can try to predict potential difficulties with you in earshot. When playing my to renewed motivation from the students
when preparing the lesson and think students work back, I have seen a as it will increase the likelihood of
about how to overcome them. The creative side to them that I didnt see meeting all their needs. ETp
following list is by no means exhaustive, when monitoring during a normal
but it addresses areas that I perceived to lesson, and my predictions of how On pages 61 and 62 are some practical
be problematic, and gives suggestions certain students would behave in front ideas for video activities.
drawn from my experience of how to of the camera were also wrong. It is
approach them. Michael Brewster has
also worth noting that the location of taught English in Japan,
the filming does not always have to be South Korea, Germany
Technical problems and London for six years.
in the classroom. While working at St Giles
The best solution to potential International, London, UK,
problems is to familiarise yourself Time problems he also led professional
with the equipment through trial and development workshops
It is easy to be too ambitious in what using the ideas and
error before the lesson. you hope to achieve in the class, but one activities in this article
and workshops on using
It is useful to have a checklist (see the of the most pertinent lessons that I IWBs in the classroom.
box on page 59) that enables you to learnt was that if you wish students to He now works at
Embassy CES, London.
determine quickly whether you have be creative, then you have to allow time
all the necessary equipment. for creative thinking. Using video

60 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

Practical ideas for video activities
Making videos has unlimited possibilities, but small-group watching the videos as they will be curious to see what their
activities which go on to use the videos the students produce as classmates have produced in order to compare it with their own
a resource can often be the best idea. They do not require the efforts. They also need to pay greater attention if the videos are
rest of the class to watch while filming is taking place, and those subsequently used as a teaching resource. Here are some of
waiting to film can do other work until their turn comes. the more memorable activities that could easily be adapted for
Furthermore, students are likely to be more engaged when use in several classes.

Offer a limited selection of products (eg bottled water, a mobile

phone, etc) that the students will be happy to make a
commercial about. Agreeing to use the same product will
enable the groups to compare and contrast their work at the
Split the class into at least three groups and explain that they
will each be making a commercial that must be no longer than
one minute for the chosen product.
Give the groups ten minutes to discuss their ideas of how best
1 Vocabulary acting/miming to advertise this product. Prompt them to think about the
Possible aims: To give the opportunity for the students to use pronunciation, body language, music, sound effects, words,
their creativity to recycle vocabulary. phrases and slogans commonly used in commercials.
Level: Any Give the groups five to seven minutes to film their commercials,
each in a different location, but stress again that it must be no
Before and during filming:
more than one minute long because of the cost involved in
Set the context (eg crime) and give a handout of the target
advertising on television!
Give the students the chance to brainstorm how the vocabulary After filming:
can be portrayed through acting and/or miming, and be After watching the commercials:
prepared to demonstrate. Discuss what was memorable about each of them.
Split the students into two groups and give them ten minutes to Compare and contrast the different ways in which the groups
decide roles (actor, camera crew, director, etc) and to brainstorm chose to advertise their product.
what they will do during filming. Ask the class to say which commercial would most
Give the groups ten minutes to film a series of separate short encourage them to buy the product and why.
clips (preferably in another location) that illustrate as much of the Discuss whether they would change their commercials if they
vocabulary as possible and total no more than 35 minutes. were to have another opportunity.
After filming:
3 Charity appeal
Watch the clips from each group with the whole class, and
encourage the students to identify the vocabulary that their Possible aims: To practise using persuasive language.
classmates are trying to illustrate. Level: Pre-intermediate +
Before and during filming:
2 Commercials Ask the students to brainstorm information about charities and
Possible aims: To stimulate the students creativity by developing how they raise money in their countries. Encourage them to
authentic commercials for a specific product. refer to current charity work.
Level: Intermediate + Explain that, working in groups, they must decide which charity
they are working for and must produce a television charity
Before and during filming:
appeal requesting donations. (It can help to give them the
As an optional lead-in, show the students two or three
opportunity to explore the internet for ideas and examples.)
commercials, using videos or the internet to prompt a response
Get the students to film their charity appeal. Set strict time
to the following questions:
limits (eg ten minutes to film a two-minute appeal) and give the
Do you have any favourite/least favourite commercials?
students the opportunity to produce their work in another
What is it that you like/dislike about them?
Why do you think we remember certain commercials
and forget others? After filming:
What things in a commercial make Watch all the appeals as a whole-class activity and give the
you want to buy a product? students a fictional fixed sum of money which they can donate
to charity. Encourage them to discuss which charity they will
donate their money to and why, making their decisions purely
on the basis of the charity appeal.
The success of the appeals will be shown by the amount of
money that they receive in donations from the other groups
(and no, they cannot give the money to their own group!). ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 61

Practical ideas for video activities

5 Talk-show interview
Possible aims: To practise listening and responding in the
context of an up-tempo television talk-show interview.
Level: Upper-intermediate +
Before and during filming:
Show the whole class an interview with a well-known celebrity
(eg I use Will Smith being interviewed by Jonathan Ross on
4 Lip-synchronisation of a prior listening YouTube) and prompt the students to look for the type of
This activity can be used as an extension to a listening activity language and questions used, especially impromptu questions
consisting of a dialogue or series of dialogues that the students and reactions.
have already been exposed to, and one where there is immediate Put the students into groups and ask them to choose a guest or
access to the recording and the transcript (eg from the textbook). guests for their own interviews. Tell them to choose their roles:
interviewer(s), guest(s) and camera operator.
Possible aims: To increase the students awareness of their
Give the guests the opportunity to use the internet to find
strengths and weaknesses in pronunciation (eg connected speech,
relevant information about themselves, such as their latest work
intonation and rhythm), facial expression and body language.
or details of their personal lives.
Level: Pre-intermediate + Have the interviewers brainstorm questions that will be asked.
Before and during filming: Emphasise that the interview must run smoothly and must be
Choose the recording from a listening activity that the students exciting in order to maintain viewer ratings!
have already done. Put the students into groups according to Have the students film their interviews in different locations and
the number of speakers in either the whole listening activity or a set a time limit for them to complete them.
section of it, and give them the transcript. (Dividing a listening After filming:
activity into sections would give greater variation and reduce Get the students in each group to work together to produce
repetition among the groups.) comprehension questions based on their interviews, which can
Allocate specific roles from the dialogue they have received to be given to the viewers before they watch.
the members of each group, or get the students to allocate the The video then becomes a resource where the students watch
roles within their groups. the videos of the other groups to find the answers.
Allow time for the students to rehearse their roles as a group,
and tell them to concentrate on how they move their mouths
and lips, their eye contact and their body language. It is
important, however, to emphasise that during filming they will
need to mime and that the actual sound will come from the
recording. (You could give them the example of how some
singers do this during live concert performances.)
Ask each group to film their dialogue, playing the sound
recording as they do so. Remind them to synchronise their lip
movements accordingly and to use appropriate eye contact and
body language. (It may be necessary to film in front of the whole 6 News report
class because of the additional complications of using video
(The same ideas could also be used for a brief documentary.)
cameras and CD players together.)
Possible aims: To practise using formal English to give factual
After filming:
information in a current affairs setting.
After filming the groups, play back the videos and illustrate how
they appear to sound like a native speaker. This should increase Level: Intermediate +
their awareness of the strengths/weaknesses in aspects of their Before and during filming:
own pronunciation and how facial expressions and body Put the students into groups and ask them to obtain information
language are also an important part of communication. from either newspapers or the internet about two current affairs
Extension: stories, two sport stories and the weather forecast.
After the whole class has watched the videos back, you can Tell each group to prepare to give this information in the role of
draw attention to any specific points (eg pronunciation, news reporters in a three-minute news broadcast.
production of individual sounds, connected speech, etc). Give each group ten minutes to film their broadcast (preferably
The same groups can then perform the same roles in front of the in another location) while the other groups prepare between five
whole class and without lip-synching to the original recording. and ten comprehension questions for their own news report.
This time they have to perform and produce the sounds Make photocopies of the question sheets for the other groups.
themselves. (You may or may not be decide to record them and After filming:
play back their dialogues.) Give the students the question sheets from the other groups
This final performance will hopefully be more natural and can be and then ask them to watch the videos and answer the
compared and contrasted with their video performance. questions. The videos have now become a teaching resource.

62 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

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

Web 2.0
embarrassed to confess that
they dont really understand.
In this article, she looks at
Web 2.0 and how it is relevant
(but were afraid to ask) to language teachers.

1 Web 2.0? I think I missed

Web 1.0!
series of web pages. Now think of
Wikipedia. The contents in Wikipedia are
compiled by people like you and me all
5 What about Web 2.0
and me? How do I get
The internet has been around for several
decades now, and in that time it has you need to do to contribute to Wikipedia Web 2.0 is all about user-generated
changed quite a bit. Think of a typical is to sign up for an account and you can content, so you need to start by
web page ten years ago, such as a then add or edit information there. The generating some content!
company website, or an online article. Encyclopaedia Britannica online is an
example of the Web 1.0 approach; You could set up a personal blog,
You accessed the page, and read what
Wikipedia is an example of the Web 2.0 which could serve as a model for your
was there the page consisted of static
approach. We can draw the same students to then set up their own
content. This was Web 1.0 (pronounced
distinction between a personal web page, blogs.
web one point oh). In the last few years,
though, there has been a shift towards in which you can include your biodata,
You could get your students to create a
user-generated content, that is, web publications, CV, etc, and compare that
guide to your city or town in a class
content produced by the average internet to your blog, which is regularly updated,
user like you or me. This is Web 2.0 (web is much more dynamic, and can allow
two point oh). Think of blogs, or videos readers to comment and interact with You could even get them to research a
on YouTube, or photos on Flickr the you. Web 2.0 is not necessarily better topic and contribute to the Simple
average internet user can easily create than Web 1.0 there is a place for both English Wikipedia
and upload contents to these sites. So in our lives. (!
when we talk about the change from Web
Your younger students may already be
1.0 to Web 2.0, we are simply referring to
the growth of user-generated content.
Internet users today are not just
4 What has it got to do with
language teachers?
With Web 2.0 tools, teachers and
using Web 2.0 tools, and uploading
videos taken on their mobile phones to
YouTube, or they may have their own
consumers of content put on the web by students can now produce content for blogs or Facebook accounts. A very
someone else; they are now prosumers the internet. As we saw in ETp issue 63, good starting point is to ask your
we both produce and consume web- you and your students can set up blogs. students about their own digital lives!
based content. Of course, this doesnt You can also use other Web 2.0 tools
mean that Web 1.0 content has such as podcasting, online slideshows,
disappeared its still there, and very * One of the most active and effective
or wikis to create internet-based content
useful it is, too! online teachers networks I know of
with your students. Getting your students
is the Webheads community
to use Web 2.0 tools is hugely motivating
2 Can you describe it to me in
two sentences or fewer?
You produce all the content. They keep
for them for a number of reasons. They
get to use up-to-date internet-based
technologies, some of which they may
all the revenue. (This is a quote from Nicky Hockly has been
already use in their personal lives. By involved in EFL teaching and, which sums it publishing content on the internet, they teacher training since 1987.
up nicely!) potentially have a worldwide audience, She is Director of Pedagogy
of The Consultants-E, an
and they will be that much keener to online training and
development consultancy.
3 Can you give some more
examples of Web 1.0 versus
Web 2.0?
produce good quality work. You can also
make contact with other teachers from
around the world (for example via online
Nicky is co-author of How
to Teach English with
Technology, published by
Longman, which won the
Think of an online encyclopaedia, such teachers networks*) and set up online 2007 Ben Warren Prize.
as Encarta or the Encyclopaedia projects with them to encourage your
Britannica online. The contents of these students to visit and comment on the Contact Nicky at
blogs, podcasts, cartoons, slideshows, and let her know of any other ICT areas youd like her to
encyclopaedias have been compiled by
explore in this series.
experts and are published online as a and so on of a class in another country.

64 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

Russell Stannard shares
the easiest screen recorder software on
the market.

usually use Webwatcher to show you websites that you can Capturing

I immediately use in class, but for once I am going to introduce

a tool you can use, rather than content. But I promise this is a
very very special tool!

People are often surprised at how easy it is to use Jing.
Basically, you just need to download the software onto your
computer. You can get it from and it is

A Jing button will appear at the top of your screen (like a little
Some of you are already using my teaching videos at
sun). Roll your cursor over this button, and you are offered three and some readers have written
choices. Choose the first of these, which asks you to mark out
and asked me how I make them. Basically, I use a piece of
an area of the screen that you want to capture. You then have
software that records a computer screen just as if there were a
the choice of capturing an image (like taking a picture of the
video camera pointed at it. It also records your voice if you have
screen) or capturing the screen as a video (as if you had a video
a microphone connected. It is known as screen capture
camera pointed at it). Press the correct button and off you go. If
software, and there is now a really easy free version available,
you are videoing, you can pause and continue at any time. To
called Jing. It even saves all your screen captures on their
stop the video recording, press the stop button; the video will
server, so you dont have to keep them on your computer. You
immediately be processed and then you will be presented with a
just have an individual link (URL) to each screen capture you
button to click on, which will play it back. If you are happy with
make. This, of course, makes it very simple to send a link for
what you see, you can save it onto your own computer or you
your screen capture to your students, who can then use it.
can choose to add it to your screen cast server. This is where
Here are a few quick ideas of how screen captures can be used: you can store, edit and re-use all the videos you have made
without having to save anything onto your own computer. It also
Produce a list of words you want the students to learn in makes it much easier for other people to play back and access
Word and then turn on the screen recorder software your videos.
(SRS) and record yourself reading out the words and
highlighting the stress in each one. You could also read Saving
out example sentences using the words. Send the link to You need to register to use the screen cast server by giving a
your students, who can view the list, repeat the words few details. But once you have done that, you can save all your
and learn them. You can see an example at videos and screen captures to the site. What is incredible is that, once your screen cast is loaded, it will tell you that it is ready
and the URL for that video will be available to paste into your
browser. This really saves you time. So you could make a video,
If a particular grammar problem keeps coming up in the load it up onto the screen cast server, wait for them to tell you it
class, you could make a small video where you give an is ready, then open up an email to your students and paste the
explanation. Open up Word and key in some example URL directly into the email. The students simply open up the
sentences. Then turn on the SRS and record yourself email, click on the URL and play the video. It is actually harder
explaining the grammar point. Remember, the software to explain than it is to do! I have made a set of videos that show
just records what is on the screen, so if you use the bold you very quickly how to do everything. You can find them at
or highlighting tools or add anything to the screen, it will
all be shown when you play back the video. You could index.html.
build up a whole collection of mini-grammar lessons for
You are limited as to the length of the video (I think it is five
your students. There is an example at
minutes for the free edition), but that is the only restriction. If you
choose to take a still screen capture, you can also annotate the
image by drawing lines, writing text and adding arrows, etc
and this is all provided by Jing. It really is a great tool and worth
Of course, you could also turn the tables around and get investigating.
the students to use the software, if they have it on their
computers. For example, for homework you could ask
Russell Stannard is a principal lecturer at the
them to write the names of five important people in their University of Westminster, UK, where he teaches
lives in a Word document. They then turn on the SRS and using technology on multimedia and TESOL courses.
He also runs, a
begin talking about the people: where they met them, website that trains English teachers to use
why they are important, what sort of personalities they technology, which has won a Times Higher Education
Award for Outstanding Initiatives in Information and
have, etc. The students save their screen captures and Communications Technology (ICT).
send you the links. In this way, you can get them
Keep sending your favourite sites to Russell:
speaking as part of their homework! ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 65

Page 66
In this column Rose Senior explains why certain teaching techniques and
class management strategies are effective, and identifies specific issues that can assist
all language teachers in improving the quality of their teaching.

Questioning 2
n the real world, outside the language answers. Students need to understand that in unison. If we detect that some people

I classroom, we normally ask questions

because we want to find something out:
where the station is, who won the soccer
match, whether anyone has seen our door
keys, and so on. Were asking because we
our responses can be to what they are
saying, to how they are saying it, or to a
combination of both. If a student provides
an answer that is correct in content but not
in form, a good technique is to look at them
have called out true while others have
called out false, we can say Right! Lets
have a show of hands. How many people
think its true and how many think its false?
Everyone must decide one way or the
dont know the answer. In language in a questioning manner, thereby other! Then after a short pause for
classrooms, the situation is different: we encouraging them to repeat what they have dramatic effect we can give the correct
commonly ask questions to which we just said. Students often spontaneously answer, making sure that everyone
already know the answer. Why do we do self-correct when repeating an answer and, understands why one answer is correct and
this and how should we do it? In this if they do not, we can supply the correct the other not.
article, I will explain the purpose of asking form. It is good to have students develop The way that we select which student to
questions for which we already have the the habit of echoing correct models of the answer each question should be governed
answer technically known as language: a strategy used by by the class-centred principle of equity:
display questions and
We ask display all good language learners. giving all class members a fair go. If we
suggest ways in which we can questions because we Most of us can usefully decide to select students randomly, we
ask such questions in varied, expand our range of should try to choose stronger students to
engaging and motivating ways.
want to find out how questioning techniques. We answer the more difficult questions and
We ask display questions much our students always need to frame each weaker students to answer the easier ones.
because we want to find out question clearly, using Every student should be given the
how much our students have
have understood words that the students opportunity to answer a question: no one
understood, how much they remember, or already know and writing the question on should be left out. If we forget who hasnt
how well they can reproduce the language the board if necessary. We should address yet had a question, we only have to ask the
we have just taught. When the focus of our each question to the class at large, looking class who will willingly tell us who hasnt
lesson is grammar, our priority is accuracy: round the room as we do so. It may be yet been chosen. Alternatively, we may
we want our students to produce appropriate to have students confer with a decide to ask questions round the class in a
grammatically accurate responses to our partner, in which case we should say Talk set order up and down rows or table by
questions and to complete grammar to your partner!, using a table in such a way that each
exercises correctly. When the focus of our gesture such as bringing our Most of us can student can predict when they
lesson is the development of interactive hands together as we do so. usefully expand our will be asked, and can prepare
skills, our priority is fluency: we want our (This gives students more their answer in advance.
students to respond readily to questions thinking time and shows that range of questioning Although it is unwise to ask
using whichever words come most easily we value collaboration.) If no techniques questions in a predictable order
to them. When the focus of our lesson is one is able to answer, we all the time, this practice benefits
the development of listening or reading can jog our students memory by giving weaker learners, who have more time to
skills, we often want our students to hints: Its a word beginning with B, Its an prepare their answers.
complete multiple-choice or true/false adjective that means the opposite of By focusing on how we can ask
questions, thereby demonstrating the lazy, Its an expression we learnt last questions and respond to student answers
extent to which they have understood what week, and so on. By questioning in these in ways that both boost the self-confidence
they have just heard or read. ways, we are putting into practice the of individuals and enhance the learning
Whatever the purpose of our questions, class-centred principle of inclusivity: experience of all class members, we can
we need to respond to our students constantly seeking to involve all members increase student motivation and
answers in ways that are as encouraging as in the collective learning of the whole class. engagement. ETp
possible even if the answer is incorrect. When checking the answers to
Although there are occasions when it is grammar exercises with our students, we
appropriate to call out Wrong! in a jokey can make the task more engaging by
tone of voice, it is normally better to say occasionally doing things differently. For
Rose Senior is a conference presenter
No, not quite, Yes, thats one possible example, if we are checking true/false and teacher educator. She is the author
word, or Y-e-e-s in a doubtful-sounding answers to reading comprehensions, we of The Experience of Language Teaching,
published by CUP.
manner before inviting the student or can go through the questions and
others in the room to supply alternative encourage the class to give their response ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 64 September 2009 67

Prize crossword 37
ETp presents the thirty-seventh in our series of prize Publishing, PO Box 100, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 8HD, UK.
crosswords. Try it and maybe win a prize! Once you Ten correct entries will be drawn from a hat on 10 November
have done it successfully, let your students have a go. 2009 and the senders will each receive a copy of the second
Send your entry (not forgetting to include your full edition of the Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced
name, postal address and telephone number) to Prize Learners, applauded for its unique red star system showing the
crossword 37, ENGLISH TEACHING professional, Keyways frequency of the 7,500 most common words in English.

13 2 25 26 13 13 19 3 15 7 26 25 13 26 22 2 26 7 26 25 16 10 18 25 9

21 22 19 15 26 22 25 26 8 19 2 22 2 15 18 3

19 23 22 17 26 9 13 13 20 9 15 26 13

22 8 26 1 19 3 2 15 26 Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock

9 25 26 22
VERY FREQUENT WORDS ** Money, food or other help
25 26 22 11 15 2 16 11 22 25 1 26 *** To emphasise an idea, fact given to people who need it
or detail ** An object given as a prize to
18 17 26 7 *** Confronted head-on the winner of a competition
*** To relax after exertion FAIRLY FREQUENT WORDS
3 2 15 11 26 1 22 11 26 *** Used for referring to * A section of the armed forces,
E G A yourself especially of the air force
15 3 11 22 18 17 17 19 25 *** Bigger than usual in size * A strong metal box with a
*** At any time, all the time special lock
17 13 18 5 12 11 *** The real character or * To take the knot out of a piece
nature of things of string
8 25 26 7 15 26 10 26 12 18 19 1 6 *** The business of a doctor, * The colour of the middle of an
lawyer or other professional egg
22 13 16 26 *** To give instructions firmly * The area just inside the
*** Allowed by the law entrance to a hotel
13 22 1 2 26 22 17 6 13 26 24 *** To happen unexpectedly
*** Males or females LESS FREQUENT WORDS
2 15 22 14
considered as separate groups To use a part of your body to
*** To help students to learn give a little push to someone
26 4 26 17 2 26 9 2 25 18 8 6 16
something The opportunity to see
*** A piece of clothing worn on something before the general
the head public
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 A big branch on a tree
FREQUENT WORDS To become soft and start to
G ** Space and everything that
14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 bend
A E exists in it A kind of glue, often made of
** Relating to things that you flour and water
can see Removed forcefully from a
To solve the puzzle, find which letter each number represents.
** To look longingly place or job, or removed from a
You can keep a record in the boxes above. The definitions of the ** Pieces of information that machine
words in the puzzle are given, but not in the right order. When provide solutions A knockout in a fight
you have finished, you will be able to read the quotation.

68 Issue 64 September 2009 ENGLISH TEACHING professional