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Issue 87


The Leading Practical Magazine For English Language Teachers Worldwide

CAT: A framework for Dogme

Ken Lackman

Teaching at the top

Caireen Sever

Grammar mia
Chris Payne

Dramatic dialogues
Paul Harvey

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
vate yo u r gramma
Ac t i
Oxford r act
ivate your English

Grfoar mmar
n Skills-based grammar practice
n Resources for IWB
n Covers all the grammar for the Cambridge NEW
English: Starters, Movers, Flyers exams

6 1sloohcS
Schools1 3

Rachel Godfrey All the grammar you need

Liz Kilbey
for Cambridge English: Flyers

Working towards FCE 1


Ken Lackman introduces an enhanced method Michael Tasseron takes his learners on an adventure
for materials-free teaching beneath the waves



Chris Payne tackles the problem of inert knowledge Caireen Sever offers tips for teaching high-level senior staff

Paul Bress counsels calm TEACHER DEVELOPMENT


Mary Cerutti, Lydia Guill, Cheri Pearson and Lee Shutler exploits multiple personas in the staffroom
Moriah Sharp suggest a model to get students speaking and the classroom


Handoyo Puji Widodo and Andrzej Cirocki Saltanat Meiramova relates what she has learnt
draw attention to the features of academic writing from observing and reflecting

Douglas Williams advocates flexibility in testing TECHNOLOGY


Nestor Kiourtzidis and Tim Chase reveal how
Alan Maley celebrates Shakespeare
technology is helping with vocabulary retention

Paul Harvey finds that drama brings language to life
Nicky Hockly exercises her thumbs
Maxwell Clark rejoices in roleplay
Russell Stannard presents Prezi
Helen Stepanova lists lexis-learning techniques

Charles Mercer proposes props to teach prepositions LANGUAGE LOG 40
John Potts
Magnus Coney feels that tests are useful learning aids IT WORKS IN PRACTICE 38


Louis Rogers demonstrates the use of academic word lists
Sarah Portell outlines ideas for the under-resourced
Includes materials designed to photocopy ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 1

t is a common lament of teachers that students successfully such, tests are an aid to ensuring long-term internalisation of
complete grammar and vocabulary exercises in class, but language, rather than simply a means of assessment.
then seem unable to replicate that success when called
Nestor Kiourtzidis and Tim Chase demonstrate how technology
upon to use the same language in free speaking and writing
is coming to the rescue of those who want to make their
activities. Several contributors to this issue highlight this
revision more targeted and effective. They recommend spaced
problem and offer strategies and solutions for dealing with it.
repetition activities and explain how new technologies are
In our main feature, Ken Lackman outlines the method he uses making these not only possible, but a highly efficient speed-
to enable his students to get the most out of their speaking learning method.
activities. He ensures that every student gets multiple
The key to successful retention of learnt language seems to lie
opportunities to practise and perfect the language they are
in making the students study of new vocabulary and structures
trying to use and that feedback on each students performance
more focused and deliberate, and I am reminded that these
contributes to everyones progress.
words were also used by Jeremy Harmer in a talk at this years
Chris Payne relates how the problem of the lack of transfer of IATEFL conference, where he described asking successful
linguistic knowledge from one context to another was identified musicians about how they learnt difficult passages of music
back in 1929 and given the name Inert Knowledge Problem. with a view to seeing how these techniques might be applied to
He advocates a strategy of noticing and analysis in grammar language learning. They all, without exception, spoke of the
teaching to improve the students understanding of the way in need for concentration, focus and deliberate repeated practice
which language works. of small sections of a score, rather than playing the whole piece
all the way through a few times, ignoring the mistakes.
Noticing is also the technique recommended by Handoyo Puji
Widodo and Andrzej Cirocki in their case, applied to
academic writing. They maintain that if students are able to
identify the features of academic text they will be better able to
apply them to their own work.
Knowing what language has been successfully learnt and what
hasnt is the focus of Marcus Coneys article. He puts forward a Helena Gomm
convincing case for testing as a means of teaching, believing Editor
that tests give students an opportunity to try out what they
have learnt and find out whether they really know it or not. As

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2 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

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A framework
for Dogme
Ken Lackman centres ven though it was way back in and dealing with emergent language
1997, I distinctly remember would later reappear as the three key
his method on his students. one of the first observations I aspects of the Dogme approach.
had to do in a supervisory role. But what was perplexing to me was
It was a one-to-one lesson and, although how to apply those three principles to a
it had been a textbook lesson, I felt that group lesson rather than a one-to-one.
there was something seriously wrong And this is what many teachers find
with it. In fact, that was the very thing intimidating about Dogme: As it is an
that was wrong it was a textbook approach rather than a method, there is
lesson. After having an evening to think no comforting framework on which to
about it, I brought this up in the structure your lesson. Methods and
feedback session the next day. I asked coursebooks provide frameworks that
the teacher whether it had made sense determine where lessons go, but the
for the two of them to talk about Elton direction in which they might go when
Johns life rather than their own lives. I based on language that emerges from
said that I felt that the coursebook had conversations is much less predictable.
been a barrier between them through While it is often exciting to throw
which almost all their communication yourself into a lesson with your students
had been filtered. He could see my and see what happens, it can also be
point, but he really didnt know of somewhat stressful and even very
another way of going about it and, to be experienced teachers using Dogme often
honest, neither did I. appreciate a break from it with the
framework provided by a method and/or
One to one ... or more a coursebook.

That marked the beginning of my

experiments with teaching without New dogs, old tricks
coursebooks. With one-to-one lessons, it In my own quest for a framework for
was fairly easy. I engaged the student in Dogme, I got some ideas from an old
conversation and I worked with their method called Community Language
language to reformulate it in a way that Learning, which arguably has Dogmes
was more accurate. I had learnt to do this three key conditions although the
from Peter Wilbergs book One-to-One: communication that takes place can only
A Teachers Handbook. His thoughts on loosely be described as conversation
working with students rather than (see my article in ETp Issue 67). My
materials, basing lessons on conversation adaptations of it improved this aspect

4 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

conversation topics in small groups. You particular language that is accurate and
The teachers can also add a competitive aspect by worth sharing with the class, make a
challenging each group to come up with note of that also.
reformulation is done the longest list. When you stop the When you have finished the initial
after the conversation, activity, find out who got the longest list conversation with the student, explain to
and write it on the board. You can ask the rest of the class that you will be
with the teacher other groups for further ideas and add reiterating what the student said in your
them to the list. Read the list out and own words and they are to listen carefully
reiterating what the get the students to raise their hands for and make note of any useful expressions
student has said, using each topic they would like to talk about. they hear. They should particularly make
Explain that they can raise their hands note of any expressions that they feel that
brief notes taken during as many times as they wish. Then write they could use when speaking on the
the conversation the number of votes next to each topic. topic. Let your students know that this
Circle the one that has the most votes is an invaluable learning strategy which, if
and announce it as the conversation practised consistently, will one day lead
significantly, but one thing about them topic for that class. If there are two or them to produce language like native
still seemed less than ideal, and that was more topics with the same number of speakers. If your students are not used to
that the correction of the utterances votes, ask the students to vote again on noticing useful expressions, you should
occurred well after they were produced just those topics and this time they can spend a few minutes explaining this task
by the student. And this is something only choose one. and exactly what an expression is. Then,
else about Dogme that always perplexed tell the student you are paired with that
me. How can the teacher take emergent Pair conversations 1 after each reformulated utterance, they
language and reformulate it without Put the students in pairs and tell them are to confirm that that was what they
being intrusive or, even worse, that one student in each pair is to ask the had said, either with a short answer or by
completely dominating the lesson? But other questions to get them talking about repeating the whole utterance. Note that
by taking little bits and pieces from my the topic. Explain that asking questions for lower-level students you may want to
adaptations and from Community to find out about another person and reiterate in direct speech, eg You said,
Language Learning itself, I pieced their ideas is a valuable conversational I stayed at home last night. Emphasise
together a method that eliminated that tool. Start the activity and, after a few to the student that this is a learning
problem. As a homage to Dogme and minutes, ask the pairs to switch roles. opportunity and, if they want to
just because I love wordplay, I decided Let them continue for roughly the same remember the best way to say something,
to call the method CAT: Conversation amount of time as before. it will be helpful to repeat it. Now do the
Activated Teaching. If you have an uneven number of reformulation, and if there is an utterance
students, you can use a group of three. that the student doesnt repeat and you
Tell that group that they can have two think its important to practise, you can
Letting the cat out of students asking questions to find out ask the student to repeat it. This also goes
the bag information from the third, or they can for any language that you recorded
CAT is a step-by-step method that has have one student asking questions to verbatim from what the student said.
students engaged in conversation on a find out information from the other two. The students who are listening might
topic that they have chosen. The It depends on what you think they initially be reluctant to write down
reformulation is done with only one would feel most comfortable with. expressions, as mine were when I first
student at a time, based on that students started using this method. The way I
short conversation with the teacher. In Conversation with teacher solved the problem was to make the task
order to encourage a fairly natural Call one student up to the front and a competitive one. I put the students in
exchange, the teachers reformulation is explain to that student that you will be small groups of around four or five and
done after the conversation, with the asking them questions on the same told them they would be competing
teacher reiterating or paraphrasing what topic, similar to the activity the students against other groups to see who could
the student has said, using brief notes have just finished. Explain to the rest of record the most expressions. I
taken during the conversation. The the class that they should listen for the emphasised that I was just looking for
other students in the class listen to the different questions you ask and write the group total of expressions written
whole exchange and are asked to pick them down. Emphasise that, by doing down and that a particular expression
out language that they could use in this, they will get examples of questions could be repeated by some or all of the
further conversation on the topic. Here they can use when they repeat the task members of the group. After your
is a detailed explanation of each stage. with their next partner, which will conversation with the student, ask each
happen as soon as your conversation group to total up their expressions and
Warmer with the student ends. get each total and write it on the board
The first stage serves as a warm-up and, Start the conversation and make next to their names or initials. Since you
more importantly, as an opportunity to brief notes about what the student says. will be repeating these steps, you can
give the students a chance to decide Youre mostly only looking for content, draw attention to the low scores and
what they would like to talk about in as you will be using your notes to put challenge those groups to come up with
that lesson. The easiest way to do this is the students utterances into your own a better total next time. This adaptation
to have them brainstorm a list of words. However, if the student uses worked perfectly for me, probably ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 5

CAT: variations, do that with as much input
from the students as possible. Once
However, if you put the students into
teams to challenge them to write down

A framework
youve finished dealing with the the most expressions, you will need to
language on the board, let the students ask them to reassemble in their teams
know that you will be putting them in after each pair conversation stage. You

for Dogme pairs again and that they can use the
structures on the board in further
conversations on the topic.
can then keep a running total on the
board of the expressions each group
writes down for the conversations
because no student wanted to be Below are some sample utterances and between the teacher and student. The
personally responsible for their group reformulations from a lesson where the collaborative and competitive aspect of
getting a low score. students talked about their future plans. this task should motivate them to notice
The recognising and recording of Alternative slot-fillers were provided for and write down more expressions.
expressions will be much more the semi-fixed expressions so that the The lesson can be drawn to a close at
challenging for lower-level students. The students could see how they could change the end of any Pair conversation,
best thing to do is give them some them for their own purposes. Conversation with teacher or Language
guidance when you do your reiteration. focus stage. All are acceptable ways to
Student utterance finish. Ending with the pair conversation
As well as speaking more slowly and
clearly, youll need to draw attention to 1 I will continue learn English. allows the students one more chance to
what you want the students to write 2 For me the best work is flight attendant. use the language that has been
down and to give them ample accumulated up to that point. The
3 I want to move to city.
opportunity to do so. The best way to dialogue with the teacher gives them one
do this is to insist that the student at the 4 I want to move the job. more chance to practise noticing useful
front repeats the reiteration and, while 5 I want to move from the home of my language. The language focus stage gives
you are asking them to do that, make a parents. the teacher one last chance to clarify any
writing gesture to the rest of the class, new expressions that come up, as well as
Teacher reformulation and expansion
indicating that they are to write down to summarise everything else that has
what they hear. You might even want to You are going to continue learning been extracted.
repeat the utterance again at this point. English. (studying at university, working In addition to varying the number of
at ..., etc) stages in the lesson, you can adjust the
Language focus Ideally, you would like to be a flight length of each stage. For students who
In this stage, you will be eliciting attendant. (a teacher, happy, rich) really need speaking practice, the pair
language that the students noticed and You want to move to the city. (the
conversation stages can be extended to
wrote down. First, take a section of the country, the suburbs)
whatever length seems appropriate. For
board and use it to write down your students who need and can handle more
You are planning to change jobs. (get linguistic input, the teacher and student
questions, as repeated to you by the
married, go to university, move to ..., etc) dialogue can be extended to produce
students. Do any necessary clarification
in terms of meaning, form and You want to move out of your parents more language. Of course, adjustments
pronunciation, and then draw special place. (mothers, fathers, sisters, will be made according to the students
attention to questions that students could friends) level. For example, you may decide to
use in further conversation in that lesson keep the studentteacher dialogue short
and also beyond it. In this regard, you Pair conversations 2 for lower-level students, to ensure that
may want to emphasise useful semi-fixed Now the students find new partners and they are not overwhelmed with new
expressions such as What is your repeat the previous pair conversation language and that the reformulation
favourite _____? or How do you feel stage in exactly the same way. This time occurs relatively soon after the initial
about ______? You should not dedicate they may use some of the language that utterance is produced. Note that with
too much of the board to the questions is highlighted on the board, both for larger classes, not all students will have
as the main focus in terms of structures answering and asking questions. the chance to speak directly to you. You
will be on those that are used for the However, it is important that use of the should keep this in mind for future
responses. However, in your further structures is optional as this is not lessons so those students who didnt get
conversations with other students, other meant to be a controlled practice stage. the chance can be given priority.
important questions may come up, so Still, the students will probably use some
you can allow some room for those. of the structures, as this will often make
After dealing with the questions, communication easier and they will
Feedback from students
start eliciting the expressions that were naturally be motivated to use language The value of any teaching method
used in your reformulated responses. that is closer to what native speakers use. cannot really be established without
Again, you should deal with meaning, getting some feedback from the
form and pronunciation where necessary, Continuing the lesson students, particularly about whether
and point out any expressions that are The rest of the lesson just repeats the they enjoyed the lessons and whether
especially useful for your particular cycle, each pair conversation being they felt that they could learn with the
topic. As in the question stage, if you followed by a dialogue between a method employed. In addition, feedback
have any semi-fixed expressions that are different student and the teacher, from from students can lead to modifications
worth expanding by showing other which useful language is extracted. which improve the method. With CAT,

6 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

feedback was obtained after the very first choose to focus on specific grammar
trial. Here are some of the comments points as they come up during
from a class of 15 intermediate students: reformulation, but this is not necessary
as the main thing is that students get
The new method I like it because you
native-like structures to use for the topic.
use our examples and is easy to identify
There are, as there should be, more
where I can use the expression.
benefits for students. The lessons are
I think the new method is good because completely learner-centred as the This is your magazine.
we have the possibility to interact with students are actively involved in every We want to hear from you!
many areas to improve our English. stage. And in terms of content, its the
The method is great because we can students who decide what they want to
practise speaking, grammar, new talk about. The conversations are very
realistic and the students practise an
vocabulary, new expressions. If it is up
to me, you should really continue with important conversational skill that of IT WORKS IN PRACTICE
this method. asking someone questions in order to Do you have ideas youd like to share
I love to learn English with this method. find out more information about them with colleagues around the world?
or their ideas. Sadly, its a skill that a lot Tips, techniques and activities;
The method is very good. I liked so
of native speakers could improve on, simple or sophisticated; well-tried
and thats why learners will make a great or innovative; something that has
There is too much imitation. impression if they use this skill in the worked well for you? All published
I think it is good. I can improve my real world. contributions receive a prize!
English fluency. Another skill that will prove useful Write to us or email:
Is good because is more interesting in the real world is listening to notice
useful expressions in spoken language. A
for me.
unique feature of CAT is that the

The comment about there being too students do not have the difficult double
much imitation was the only negative task of listening for comprehension and
one. This was because, in the initial for language. They will have already
lesson, the students who were talking Do you have something to say about
heard the teacherstudent conversation
with the teacher were asked to repeat when they focus on expressions used in an article in the current issue of ETp?
every reformulated utterance. This stage the reformulations. But I think one of This is your magazine and we would
was then modified to make it optional the greatest advantages of this method is really like to hear from you.
for the student to offer or the teacher to the repeated conversations after each Write to us or email:
ask for the repetition. This must have language focus stage. This allows the
worked, as feedback was uniformly students to produce at will whatever
good after that. In fact, after the third language has been focused on earlier. In
trial, the students were asked how often essence, this mirrors how language Writing for ETp
they would like to learn with the new proficiency develops in the real world, Would you like to write for ETp? We are
method instead of their regular classes. with learners getting more fluent and always interested in new writers and
The results in this case were rather more accurate every time they speak on fresh ideas. For guidelines and advice,
remarkable as the students had five a particular topic or do a particular
write to us or email:
lessons a week and the average number task. And, in the end, I think it is the
of lessons they wanted devoted to the strong real-world connection that leads
new method was around 3.5. Five to such positive student feedback and
students out of 15 asked for CAT for
every class, and no student chose it less
that will ultimately lead the learners to
becoming much better integrated into It really worked
than twice a week. the English-speaking world. for me!
Did you get inspired by something
Wilberg, P A One to One: A Teachers you read in ETp? Did you do
Handbook LTP 1987
something similiar with your students?
CAT seems to be well-suited to both
Did it really work in practice?
teachers and students. From the teachers Ken Lackman was a
Do share it with us ...
perspective, the method is easy to use and senior teacher in charge
of developing materials
it requires no preparation, planning or at the Caledonian
materials. There is a definite framework School in Prague from
1996 to 2002. He then
to follow, but there is no need to follow spent five years as the
English Teaching professional
time guidelines as the lesson can be ended Director of Studies at
EF Toronto. Now he is a Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd,
at any point and the stage lengths are freelance teacher trainer Rayford House, School Road,
completely flexible. Extensive linguistic and presenter. Hove BN3 5HX, UK
knowledge is not required, as the extent Fax: +44 (0)1273 227308
to which teachers deal with grammar is Email:
also completely variable. Teachers may ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 7


Grammar mia
Chris Payne presents icture this classroom scene: the providing our L2 learners with abundant
students are learning a grammar comprehensible input is not suited to all
the Inert Knowledge Problem structure and are using it students, many of whom want or need to
correctly during class exercises, study grammatical rules. Students value
and sets about solving it. but then they seem to forget how to the generative capacity of rules, which
produce it in a more communicative part enables them to create and understand new
of the same lesson. Later, in real-time language. Maybe knowing grammar rules
communication outside the classroom, gives students a feeling of security, even
they struggle to put into practice the though the number of exceptions to rules
grammar that they have been taught. might mean it is a false sense of security.
Way back in 1929, the English
mathematician and philosopher Alfred
North Whitehead described this Research
phenomenon as the Inert Knowledge suggests that when
Problem (IKP). The knowledge of
grammar that is gained in our language students dont receive
classrooms remains inactive or inert
when it is required in a non-instructional
grammatical instruction,
setting. The IKP is undoubtedly a source they may not acquire an
of great frustration for learners, who see,
all too frequently, that they cannot do ability to use grammar
anything meaningful with what they are accurately
studying. Of course, it can also be
frustrating for teachers, who dont want
to feel powerless to help their students. Contrastive analysis can also help
But is the IKP an insoluble problem? learners comprehend the differences
Before I attempt to answer this question, between the target language and their
another question springs to mind: Should L1. Research suggests that when
we be teaching grammar at all? students dont receive grammatical
instruction, they may not acquire an
The teaching of grammar ability to use grammar accurately. Often
cited is the experience of those learners
Some researchers and teachers, such as who have lived in a target language
the proponents of the Natural Approach environment for a considerable length of
and a strong interpretation of Task-Based time and yet have failed to acquire an
Learning, argue that explicit form-focused adequate grounding in grammar.
instruction is not necessary for successful Some degree of grammar instruction
language acquisition. They suggest that is necessary if we want our learners to
if learners are exposed to sufficient possess effective communication skills
comprehensible input, as they are when and essential if accuracy is the aim of
they acquire their L1, they will learn the our learners, which it often is.
language and its grammatical rules on
their own. This claim is based on the
premise that second language acquisition Overcoming the IKP
is exactly like first language acquisition. Let us now return to the question of
Few of us would dispute the idea whether we can solve the Inert Knowledge
that some learners can acquire a second Problem. It would be overly optimistic
language without an explicit focus on to believe that there is an easy solution
form, but the theory that all students of a to a problem that has persisted for such
second language will achieve acquisition a long time, and expecting students
in this way is hard to substantiate. Merely simultaneously to use language both

8 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

grammatically and communicatively is a Psychological authenticity The dimensions of grammar
difficult goal to achieve. With this in In her insightful book Teaching Grammar is mostly associated with
mind, a more achievable objective is to Language: From Grammar to rules, but it also comprises recurring
mitigate the IKP by reflecting on and Grammaring, Diane Larsen-Freeman patterns which are combinations of
reacting to how we teach grammar. draws on research from psychology to particular words. However, even
Perhaps some teachers are support the theory that psychological knowledge of patterns and rules is not
unintentionally perpetuating the IKP authenticity plays an important role in sufficient if we want to avert the Inert
because of the way in which they teach helping students transfer what they Knowledge Problem, as rules can lead
grammar. Grammar is often taught as learn in class to everyday use outside the learners to produce language that we
declarative knowledge (knowing rules classroom. She defines a practice activity wouldnt actually use. Grammar can be
about the language) rather than as psychologically authentic when said to consist of three dimensions
procedural knowledge (knowing how to students learn something in the same form, meaning and use which can be
use the language for meaningful way that they will use it later. Written depicted in a pie chart that focuses
communication). If we perceive grammar exercises have their place in attention on the interconnected but
grammar and communication to be language teaching, but it should not different aspects of structure:
completely different things, then we will come as a surprise that students are
teach them differently, thus placing the unable to use grammar effectively in How is What does
onus on our students to integrate the speech if they have only practised it in it formed? it mean?
two. If they cant integrate them, they written form. Psychologically authentic
will know about grammar but they will activities do not necessarily mirror
be unable to put their knowledge to linguistically authentic communication,
effective practical use in communication. but they will be meaningful and have an
Here are some ideas for contending end goal.
with the Inert Knowledge Problem: An example of such an activity is an USE
information gap, in which one student
Noticing grammar or group of students has certain
One way of focusing on grammar in a information, while another student or When or why is it used?
communicative approach is to draw our group has different or no information.
students attention subliminally to correct The students practise structures by The challenge principle
forms while they are engaged in reading working together to find out According to Diane Larsen-Freeman,
a text for meaning. To do this, we can information that they dont already one of the three dimensions of form,
highlight grammatical structures so that know, as they would to communicate meaning or use usually affords the
students notice them. For example, if we outside the classroom when they ask greatest long-term challenge for language
wish to focus on instances of the present questions to which they need or want an learners. It is often possible to predict
perfect in a text, we could colour all uses answer. which dimension of a structure is likely
of the present perfect to make them
to be the most challenging. For example:
more noticeable. Alternatively, we could
underline and/or italicise words, or use It should not The learning challenge for
comparative adjectives is form:
bold and different fonts. come as a surprise eg more boring or boringer?
We can also emphasise grammatical
morphemes that are difficult to notice in that students are The problem that prepositions pose
speech, such as the s at the end of verbs
and nouns, although care should be
unable to use grammar for learners is normally one of
taken to ensure our pronunciation effectively in speech if Use tends to be the main learning
doesnt become unnatural. Increasing
the frequency of a particular structure they have only practised challenge for the passive voice and
present perfect.
to which students are exposed can also it in written form
promote noticing, which in turn can lead Teachers could draw a pie chart for a
to priming. Priming is the processing structure they are teaching, which will
of recently encountered language that is If our aim is for learners to attain help them define the learning challenge
activated, resulting in the learners communicative competence, we should for a particular class.
tendency to produce a salient structure. recreate in the classroom some of the Although these observations will
Naturally, the effectiveness of these conditions experienced by people sound like common sense, we need to
proposals depends on students noticing engaged in real-time communication. remember that our class time with
the enhanced input. However, like One such condition would involve giving students is limited, so identifying the
Merrill Swain, who formulated the students little or no time to prepare learning challenge for grammar can
Comprehensible Output Hypothesis, I what they need to say, as outside the inform our thinking about how to create
believe that students need to do more classroom they are expected to produce optimum learning opportunities in the
than notice grammar in order to acquire language promptly. Clearly, we would classroom. I do not advocate
it. They also need to produce language, also have to teach students strategies so disregarding an entire dimension, as
which forces them to pay attention to that they are able to cope with the obviously students need to know about
structures in language use. conditions of psychological authenticity. form, meaning and use. However, if we ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 9

Grammar mia
sentences. This, that, these and those are New information is what is being
demonstratives which are used to refer introduced, while old information has
to near and distant things. But we dont already been referred to in the context.
dont prioritise and select a dimension normally use a demonstrative to answer For example:
according to the challenge principle, it is the question Whats this? Instead,
usage prefers a personal pronoun: Whats your name?
easy to spend too much valuable class
time on a part of grammar that is not Teacher: What is this?
particularly problematic. Student: Its a book. (not: This is a book.) (new information)
Let us look more closely at the My name is Mike.
Roleplays are ideal for practising use,
passive voice and the challenge of using
especially if we ask the students to
it appropriately. The passive might be
choose the more appropriate of two (old information) (new information)
expressed by a different structure in
forms for a given context. An example is
other languages, with the result that When native speakers of English have a
a job interview in which students take
some students will over- or under-use it choice, they prefer end focus, which is
turns to play the role of the interviewer
in English. How can we teach the a tendency to place new information at
and the applicant. They choose between
passive voice in a way that honours the the end of a sentence. Thus in the
using the present perfect and the past
challenge principle? One way is to example above, Mike is my name would
tense to talk about past events:
refrain from presenting the passive as a be a less common answer because name
transformed version of the active voice, Interviewer: Have you had any is old information.
and from focusing too much attention experience of working in a hotel? Pronouns are old information, so
on the agent by. The passive voice is not Applicant: Yes, I have worked as a end position is avoided when we use
derived from the active and the two are receptionist since last May. Before that I phrasal verbs because we have a choice
not always interchangeable; and only worked in a hotel bar for two years. of where to place them. (The same
about 15 percent of all passive sentences Other factors that influence appropriate cannot be said of this last sentence, in
include the agent. use are the formality of the situation which I had no choice but to put the
I do not wish to give the impression and if written or spoken English is pronoun them at the end!)
that applying the challenge principle is required. Also, teachers ought to establish
straightforward! Occasionally, the whether native-speaker use is the
learning challenge that we anticipate learners objective. In certain situations,
might not be the one that our learners adhering to native-speaker conventions Not everyone is enthusiastic about
experience, so we will need to react to might be inappropriate for learners. grammar, but we are still duty-bound to
their difficulties and focus on a different teach it. Some people may even consider
dimension. Or some structures need Choice and reasons it to be the most boring part of learning
more attention in two dimensions. In the I mentioned earlier that many students a language, but grammar is not in itself
case of phrasal verbs, the meaning is a want to be given grammar rules and to boring: what can be boring is what we
challenge as it is for other vocabulary be told what is right and wrong in a ask students to do with grammar in
items. But as well as lexical meaning, the language. The danger with students order to learn it. It can be helpful to
form can also be hard to learn because simply accepting that rules are rules is think of grammar as something we do
students have to know which phrasal that their learning can become more rote rather than just something we know.
verbs are inseparable and where they and mechanical. We need to make them We must provide our learners with
have to place their pronouns. It is also aware of the concept of grammar of grammar practice that is meaningful
worth bearing in mind that the learning choice, that is, more than one structure and engaging, and which integrates form
challenge that a structure presents can can be correct for a context, depending and communication while maintaining a
be different for different students, and on the meaning they wish to express. focus on the learning challenge. My
that the short-term and long-term In addition to teaching rules and grammar advice is to strive to build a
challenge may differ. explaining grammatical choices, we can bridge between forms and use, in order to
help our students learn by enabling them lessen the Inert Knowledge Problem.
Use to see whether there is an underlying
Knowledge of structures is important, reason why language is used in a certain Larsen-Freeman, D Teaching Language:
but acceptable language isnt just way. Let us return to our previous From Grammar to Grammaring Thomson
grammatical, it is also appropriate for example of phrasal verbs. We can say Heinle 2003
the context. The dimension of use is Turn off the TV and Turn the TV off,
but when TV is replaced by the Chris Payne is the
sometimes overlooked, maybe because it owner of Paddington
is considered to be something different pronoun it, we can say Turn it off but School of English,
from grammar. But to neglect use is to not Turn off it. Linares, Spain. He is
an experienced
contribute to the Inert Knowledge Most grammar materials would say teacher and a former
Problem. If two grammatically correct that here the pronoun cant go after off Cambridge English
oral examiner and
sentences have a similar meaning, the and that it must be placed between the oral examiner trainer.
slight difference between them will be verb and its particle. This rule might seem He has written
several published
related to how speakers use them. For arbitrary, but it has a logical explanation. articles on ELT.
instance, It is a book and This is a English grammar distinguishes between
book are both grammatically correct old information and new information.

10 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

IN THE CLASSROOM what you want them to learn. This

doesnt signal defeat for the teacher; its
just how people learn. Even though we
plan syllabuses very rigorously, there
will always be a gap between our good
intentions and the actual working of the
students minds. The result of this
willingness to wave goodbye to

is a virtue
syllabuses and plans is that you can give
your students the time and space to fully
internalise what you are trying to teach
4 Dont intervene before a
learning opportunity has
definitely passed.
Paul Bress praises a much-forgotten quality. Sometimes, a teachers anxieties make it
very difficult (painful even) to listen to a

t hardly needs stating that English thoughts, feelings and intentions. When student struggling over a word, phrase,
language teaching has changed we are preoccupied with our own clause, sentence or longer utterance.
radically over the last generation. concerns, we absolutely detest operating Silences are often, for some strange
For one thing, it never even used to be at a speed that is different from our own. reason, considered to be the enemy. But
called ELT (it was EFL when I started If, instead, we can try to engage in a behaviourist days are long gone. We
my teaching career). For another, there more empathic style of communication, must not expect our students to behave
have been significant methodological then our impatience is likely to lose a lot like performing seals! They need time in
changes, with the emphasis now much of its fuel. As we listen (and watch) our which to hypothesise, begin, self-correct,
more on deciding on, and helping students more intently, we should find reformulate and finally produce a piece
students achieve, communicative that we change both mentally and of English which reflects their best
objectives rather than talking about the physiologically. Empathic listening efforts. To jump in before this process is
target language. And finally, there have should help rid us of our impatience and realised is to rob them of a valuable
been enormous technological changes: allow us to teach much much better. learning opportunity.
with each passing year, more and more
2 Dont move your body around
teaching, testing and independent
learning is done online. nervously.
Even though everything is so much
If you engage in an empathic way of
faster today than it used to be, I think
Patience is an ability communicating, then this should follow
the need for patience is just as important
naturally. However, sometimes its a
But there is one aspect of language as it ever was. When things go wrong in
good idea to give yourself that extra
teaching that remains as important as this digital age, they tend to fail
chance to empathise properly. This
ever perhaps even more so now. The completely. How many times have you
means sitting comfortably on a chair so
quality I am referring to is patience. As been unable to send a text, or record a
that you are at eye level with your
a (very poor) practitioner of yoga, I am programme on your digibox, or
student(s). Lean back, stretch your legs
more aware of my yoga tutors ability to download something from a website?
out, intertwine your fingers and relax. If
be patient with me than I am of any The scope for disappointment today is
you are constantly pacing up and down
other ability. The same applies, enormous. It is important to nurture our
the classroom, you will cease to be able
assuredly, to our ELT students. Many of patience both inside and outside the
to enter into the individual worlds of
these, particularly students with little ELT classroom, and this should prove
your students.
self-confidence, must really crave a beneficial to both our home and
patient teacher. Against this 3 Be prepared not to meet the professional lives.
background, what practical steps can we learning objectives (when its
take in order to increase our patience clearly not possible). Paul Bress lives in
Herne Bay, UK, where
and, thereby, offer our students the time Of course, its generally a good principle he teaches English to
and space in which to learn effectively? overseas students and
not only to set communicative also writes novels and
Here are four suggestions: objectives, but also to do your very best paints. His novels are:
The Man Who Didnt Age,
to help your students to achieve them. The Dysfunctional Family,
1 Try to imagine what it is like to
However, its the mark of a more For Adults Only, The
be your students (especially enlightened teacher to be able to let go
Check-out Operator and
Life Swap, all published
those who are struggling with of the above principle on certain by Fast-Print and
the language). occasions. Your students heads are full available on Kindle. His
paintings can be viewed
This is, by far, the most important step. of any number of preoccupations and at http://paulbressgallery.
Impatience derives, largely, from a
distractions. Sometimes they are not in a
compulsive preoccupation with our own psychological state of readiness to learn ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 11

Invitation to

Mary Cerutti, Lydia
Guill, Cheri Pierson
Abdul: Do you live in an apartment?
Ramona: No, I live in a house.
Abdul: Does it have a yard?
H Douglas Brown, interaction is the
collaborative exchange of thoughts,
feelings or ideas between two or more
Andy listened as his students diligently people, resulting in a reciprocal effect on
and Moriah Sharp practised their dialogues in pairs. All each other. Interaction is obviously
right, times up. Lets have this pair come important, as learners use language to
bridge gaps and go beyond. up to the front and recite their dialogue negotiate meaning in a range of
for the class. Abdul and Ramona stood situations. All aspects of communicative
in front of the class and began: competence are involved in human
interaction; thus, language teachers need
Abdul: Do you live ... to understand ways to enhance oral
Andy couldnt help but notice the rote communication among their adult
manner in which his students recited learners. Wilga Rivers suggests that in
their dialogues. They obviously know interaction, students can use all they
this dialogue. But they sound so possess of the language in real-life
unnatural! How can I help them sound exchanges:
more natural? Through interaction, students can
increase their language store as they
Having a good model of interaction listen to or read authentic linguistic
helps promote an atmosphere of material, or even the output of their
risk-taking and speaking, an atmosphere fellow students in discussion, skits, joint
which can help the perpetually silent problem solving tasks, or dialogue
class. Instead of hunting for new ideas journals. In interaction, students can use
for interaction, take a few moments to all they possess of the language all they
reflect on what you already do in your have learned or casually absorbed in
classroom with interaction. Does your real-life exchanges ... Even at an
practice match with your beliefs? elementary stage, they learn in this way to
In this article, we first define exploit the elasticity of language.
interaction and then present a model to
provide a framework for teachers
reflection. Finally, we provide a range of Interaction is a stated
high-interest classroom techniques
based on the model to enhance
goal that most teachers
interaction among adult learners. of adult ELLs strive for,
What is interaction? but many are often
Interaction is a stated goal that most unsure how to foster
teachers of adult English language and develop it among
learners (ELLs) strive for, but many are
often unsure how to foster and develop their learners
it among their learners. According to

12 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

Interaction has clear benefits. First,
it provides students with a large amount Interaction model
of speaking and listening practice.
According to Donald Snow, if students
are to have a breakthrough in spoken Small talk
English, they need to have practice that
allows them to express ideas in their
own words. Second, interaction Just talk
resembles real-world communication:
Rather than focusing heavily on Classroom
structures and dialogues, students are chat
motivated to interact when the tasks are
relevant to them. Third, interaction
fosters a cooperative, more relaxed Problem
environment that supports learning. solving
Moreover, research indicates that a
positive learning environment lowers Interaction
students anxiety and fosters confidence Strip stories
in their ability to interact successfully
with others. Finally, interaction creates
more autonomous learners. Autonomy Roleplay
is not automatic but, rather, fostered by
teacher modelling and direction. When
teachers move from a directive to a Information
facilitating role and allow students to gathering
initiate conversations, the students learn Guided
to internalise and recycle language and, practice Information
in the process, make it more personal gap
and malleable.

A model of interaction Direct Dialogues

The model shown here incorporates approach
direct and indirect approaches to foster (Structured
and develop interaction in the classroom. conversation) Language
The Just talk category focuses on
fluency and creative use of the language,
while the Guided practice categories
focus on fluency, accuracy and communicative techniques. For example, grammar structures to express ideas,
conversation management strategies. Classroom chat encourages what rather than only using them receptively.
Using a model such as this helps the Rivers calls elasticity in language. Just It is important to incorporate both of
teacher in three distinct ways. First, it talk and Classroom chat activities can these categories, to encourage fluency.
provides a framework for reflective provide opportunities for students to Activities should help develop fluency
teaching. According to Richards and interact, albeit in short intervals, with and accuracy while also helping students
Lockhart, teachers who are better each other, without a conscious focus on to initiate interaction with confidence, in
informed as to the nature of their accuracy. The teacher should provide a and out of the classroom.
teaching are able to see what aspects of relaxed environment but with interesting
their teaching they need to change. When and motivating topics. This can be Techniques to invite
critical reflection is integrated into our especially effective during the initial
teaching routine, it enables us to ask phase of a lesson.
questions about current practice and Finally, Just talk activities are not Small talk
uncovers new options. By focusing on enough. Guided practice activities also Small talk is conversation about
aspects of the model, the reflective need to be integrated into a model of common topics that helps build rapport
teacher may ask: What constitutes an interaction. Here the focus is on direct between people; it is important in daily
interactive classroom? To what extent do and indirect aspects of interaction, life, work, school or community
the activities I use foster authentic including fluency and accuracy. Issues activities. When students are able to
interaction? If this model is used as a such as vocabulary and grammar should interact using small talk in the
starting point, more objective evaluation not be neglected. Snow suggests that the classroom, they will gain confidence in
may occur, in terms of purposeful teachers role is to ensure that the practising this same language outside
interaction in the teaching context. students learn new material in ways that the classroom. Besides the actual
Second, the model provides the improve their interaction, learning vocabulary, it is important for ELLs to
teacher with a range of traditional and productive ways to use vocabulary and gain sociolinguistic competence in ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 13

Invitation to
outer circle then rotates and the Roleplays
students talk about the same topic In a roleplay, the teacher gives each
with new partners. Because of the student a role with a specific setting and

interaction repetition, this activity provides

thinking time and recycling
opportunities for the students.
scenario in mind. Roleplays may be used
to give students opportunities to practise
specific language functions in a scenario
appropriate topics for small talk. An which simulates an authentic context. For
All of these activities involve a great example, in a beginning-level class, the
ELL who discusses age, salary or weight deal of interaction, focusing on fluency
in the USA might be negatively teacher might choose to have students
and lowering the students affective practise the language function of
perceived; therefore, a classroom filter, while simultaneously developing a
discussion on appropriate and accepting and declining invitations by
sense of community in the classroom. first having every student complete an
inappropriate topics is critical. After a
discussion about possible small talk invitation template (event/date/time/place)
Problem-solving assignments before putting them in pairs to practise
topics, the students can practise, using a Problem-solving activities in pairs or
ladder drawn on the board. On each accepting and declining invitations.
small groups are a popular way to Moving students from the structured,
rung of the ladder is a small talk topic, encourage interaction and authentic use
such as the weather, family, sports or controlled activity of completing a
of the language in the classroom. Some template to the less structured, free
current events. The students move up examples include creating an
and down the ladder, using a dice. Each activity of using language appropriately
advertisement for a new coffee shop, builds the students confidence by
student in turn must lead a small talk developing a flyer for a new class, listing
discussion on the topic they land on. allowing them time to process their
instructions for a special recipe, drawing language before they actually speak. This
After three to five minutes, the next a poster for a movie, putting together a
person rolls the dice and continues the activity also provides ample opportunity
menu for a restaurant or planning a for them to work on conversation
activity with a new topic. Practising class party. The overall goal is authentic
small talk helps students gain confidence management skills, such as asking for
language practice, not the resulting clarification or reading body language.
in talking with native speakers outside products. These activities can also have
of class. Some helpful pointers for teachers to
a beneficial effect on a students affective ensure full participation of all students, in
domain. A student who may be addition to clearly defining and assigning
Classroom chat
struggling with the language may have roles for every student, include teaching
The primary difference between small artistic or organisational talents, and
talk and classroom chat is that the language necessary for the roleplay
these projects allow those students to before beginning the activity.
classroom chat goes beyond developing gain positive recognition. Along with
rapport and moves into substantive the interaction that results from these Information gathering
topics. With classroom chat, the projects, another by-product is basic
discussion is from a lesson-based Information gathering activities and
language survival skills through surveys tap into our natural human
content area, using relevant vocabulary. generating ideas, such as reading signs,
Activities to facilitate classroom chat curiosity for learning about new things,
price tags and newspapers. while also capitalising on our natural
include conversation cards, corner chats
and circle talks. enjoyment of talking about ourselves.
Strip stories They can be effective as warm-up activities
Conversation card activities involve Strip stories provide practice in or energisers in the middle of a long
each student receiving a card with a negotiating meaning, encouraging lesson. The information gathered can and
question or topic which they must fluency development. Strip stories are should be recycled in follow-up activities
discuss with a specified number of very effective because there is a correct or subsequent lessons. Additionally, these
classmates. answer, and this facilitates more activities generate a lot of spontaneous,
negotiating and discussion. student-generated communication.
Corner chats involve students moving
For this interactive activity, a pair or However, each student has a relatively
to specific corners of the room, in
small group of students is given a small part, making it less intense than
each of which several questions are
picture story, which has been cut into pairwork. Also, surveys are highly
posted. These are based on specific
pieces. Each piece shows a clear step in a structured activities and can be useful
aspects of the overarching topic being
story or process. The students must put when you want to give students more
practised. The students spend a
the pictures in the correct order. controlled practice. Finally, engaging in
predetermined amount of time in
This activity can easily be information gathering activities creates
each corner discussing the questions,
accomplished without much conversation, positive shared experiences, which build
and then move to another corner to
so the teacher needs to provide some clear relationships, increase motivation and
begin a new discussion.
guidance, such as questions to ask and lower the affective filter.
Circle talks are appropriate for all the vocabulary required to discuss the When designing an effective
levels. The students form an inner pictures. A follow-up activity that information gathering activity, first set
circle and an outer circle. The students encourages conversation is to have the some specific guidelines. Go beyond
in the outer circle speak for one students prepare to narrate the picture generalities like Get up and ask your
minute on a given topic to the person story or process to the whole class, once classmates the questions. For a lower-
facing them in the inner circle. The they have put it in order. level class, running the survey within an

14 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

interactive activity like Corner chat ensure that the activity runs smoothly Brown, H D Teaching by Principles (3rd
(described above) might be helpful. Give and that everyone is an interactive ed) Pearson Education 2007
higher-level students a number of people participant. After teaching the language Richards, J C and Lockhart, C Reflective
they are required to survey in the time for the task, the teacher should then Teaching in Second Language Classrooms
allotted. model the task with a student before CUP 1996
Second, make sure that the students pairing the students and beginning the Rivers, W (Ed) Interactive Language
have the language necessary for the activity. After all the student pairs have Teaching CUP 1987
activity. The questions on the survey completed the task, the teacher can Snow, D More Than a Native Speaker
should either be student-generated or facilitate a whole-class discussion of the (Revised edition) TESOL, Inc 2006
else already covered in class. The survey information to check their answers.
is an opportunity to use vocabulary and Cheri Pierson is an
structures in communicative situations, Dialogues associate professor of
Intercultural Studies and
not to introduce new content. Dialogues include interaction that starts TESOL at Wheaton
Graduate School, USA.
Third, model the survey process. with controlled practice and moves She earned her
This is especially important if this is the toward more authentic and fluent doctorate in education
first time you are leading your class in interaction. Dialogues are often from Northern Illinois
University. She
this activity, or if the class is lower-level practised in A and B pairs, with the specialises in teacher
and modelling is an important part of students taking turns practising each education, methodology
and research. She has
clarifying instructions. role. A common problem with using authored several books
Finally, always make sure to tabulate pairs is that students often practise with and numerous articles.
the results of the survey. This can be the person sitting next to them in class.
done in the same class period or on a One way to encourage interaction Lydia Guill has an MA in
following day. Tabulating the survey between all the students is to use a circle TESOL/Intercultural
data is essential to the effectiveness of or line format. Half of the students are Studies from Wheaton
Graduate School. She
this activity type. There are many ways given an A card, with lines for one currently teaches
that survey results can be used or speaker of a dialogue, and they form the English to primary
students in Beijing,
expanded to tap into other skills, and outer part of a circle. The other half are China.
hopefully these ideas and results will given a B card with the other speakers
stimulate creativity in the classroom. lines. The Bs then find a partner from
the As and practise the dialogue several
Information gaps times together, before moving around
In an information-gap activity, the the circle to find a new A partner to Moriah Sharp has an MA
teacher pairs students and gives each practise again. After several rotations, in TESOL from Wheaton
Graduate School. Since
student either an A or B worksheet. the partners switch cards, allowing the 2011, she has taught
These two forms of the worksheet have students to practise both parts of the ESL/Literacy to resettled
refugees in the USA and
different information missing. The dialogue. Finally, the students practise English for Academic
students are then required to ask and the dialogue without looking at their Purposes in South Asia.
answer questions to complete the blanks cards. At this point, the focus should not
on their worksheets. Finally, the be on producing the dialogue word for
students work together to check the word, but rather on being able to
accuracy of their answers. These communicate clearly the main message
activities provide students with practice of the dialogue. This final step is Mary Cerutti has an MA
in using the language necessary to important in moving the student to in TESOL from Wheaton
Graduate School and
complete the task. For example, a automaticity of the language. has been teaching ESL
teacher might choose to use this kind of for over ten years at
various locations. She
activity to give the students an also trains teachers at
opportunity to practise asking for and the Institute for
Cross-Cultural Training
giving phone numbers. The teacher If Andy were to read this article, he at the Billy Graham
would first make two copies of a would now understand the answers to Center.
simulation of a phone book page. The the questions How can I get my students
two worksheets would be identical, to talk? and How can I encourage both
except that Copy A and Copy B would accurate yet authentically fluent
be missing different names and different
phone numbers. To set up the activity,
conversation? Using the model presented
in this article, Andy now has the tools to TALKBACK!
the teacher should first teach the scaffold students up to fluency tasks,
Do you have something to say about
language necessary for completing the moving from more controlled to less
an article in the current issue of ETp?
task. For example, the teacher would controlled tasks. Interaction is not an
This is your magazine and we would
want to have the students first practise unattainable goal, but it takes creativity
really like to hear from you.
asking and answering Whats _____s and intentionality in the classroom to
Write to us or email:
phone number? and Whose number is move language activities from mere rote
___? Carefully teaching the necessary memorisation and recitation to fluidity
language before the task is essential to and ownership. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 15


a scaffolding
strategy 1
Handoyo Puji he concept of noticing and its pedagogical benefits. Then we will look
role in foreign language at the roles played by the teacher and
Widodo and Andrzej grammar instruction have been the students in noticing activities. The
widely discussed. There is, implementation of noticing activities for
Cirocki analyse the however, a dearth of discussion on the building well-developed paragraphs in
role of noticing in L2 writing academic essays, which deserves a
academic essay. pedagogies. In particular, the application lengthy discussion, will be discussed in a
of noticing as a scaffolding strategy for follow-up article.
teaching academic essay writing has
been somewhat neglected. This article The concept of noticing
attempts to fill this void. The noticing
strategy serves as a way of giving The term noticing is sometimes used
scaffolded input for inexperienced interchangeably with other related terms,
student writers, providing them with an such as consciousness, attention, awareness
informed awareness of the typical and understanding, in the second language
features of paragraphs in academic acquisition (SLA) literature. This use of
essays. These features include topic multiple terms makes it difficult to
sentences, supporting sentences, compare theories and results from
concluding sentences and two textual different studies. The inconsistency may
components: coherence and cohesion. result from the inherent subjectivity in
The noticing-oriented activities defining those concepts. Richard Schmidt
discussed in this article aim to prepare
students for the difficult task of writing The noticing-oriented
a good academic essay. The teaching of
writing skills and the structure of activities discussed
paragraphs tends to vary from one ELT
writing context to another. We believe
in this article aim
our approach offers a useful way to to prepare students
teach formal academic English to novice
student writers, and we recommend that for the difficult task
teachers consider integrating the of writing a good
suggested activities into their classrooms.
First, we will discuss briefly the academic essay
concept of a noticing strategy and its

16 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

defines noticing as the registration 3 practise accuracy and fluency in
[detection] of the occurrence of a stimulus Students need to be writing through both careful analysis of
event in conscious awareness and ready-made texts and systematic
subsequent storage in long-term memory. aware that academic engagement in paragraph composition.
Paying attention to language appears to discourse is governed by 4 identify solutions to problems
be vital in order to convert input into
intake. As Schmidt further affirms, a set of principles and concerning language, content and
noticing is inextricably linked to organisation while they work on noticing
awareness and consciousness, both of
that all of these must be activities. This task assists the students in
which are a prerequisite for a language adhered to if their writing paying close attention to the characteristic
acquisition process. features of academic paragraphs, giving
According to Schmidt, attention is is to be successful them an opportunity to familiarise
equal to awareness, which occurs at two themselves with how such paragraphs
levels: awareness at the level of noticing are typically structured and developed.
In order to avoid a misunderstanding
and awareness at the level of of the term noticing, we would like to
understanding. The first, described as offer an operational definition of this The practice of noticing
lower-level awareness, contributes to the concept in the context of teaching To illustrate how we can put the noticing
intake of linguistic items. The second, academic writing. Accordingly, in this strategy into practice in the classroom,
characterised as higher-level awareness, article, noticing should be taken to mean let us concentrate on teaching paragraph
is related to the learners ability to test a strategy to enable students to identify, construction when writing an
hypotheses. It is awareness at the higher classify and grasp the particular features argumentative academic essay in our
level that contributes to deeper learning. of academic paragraphs. To be more experience, the students Achilles heel.
Processes like restructuring are then precise, in our approach, the noticing
involved. In short, conscious The teacher should first provide the
strategy is used to aid students in students with a model essay paragraph
involvement is required for input to identifying or recognising such features
undergo further processing. Such a and ask them to read it over to get the
as: topic sentences, supporting sentences, gist of it.
requirement makes it clear that no concluding sentences and paragraph
learning occurs without noticing. coherence, as well as cohesion. Our Then, the students should be asked to
ultimate goal is to provide students with analyse the organisational pattern of
an understanding of the structure and the model paragraph.
Noticing is pattern of a well-formed paragraph so Next, a discussion of topic sentences,
inextricably linked that their own texts meet academic supporting sentences, concluding
English conventions. sentences, paragraph coherence and
to awareness and paragraph cohesion should follow, to
consciousness, both of The benefits of noticing enable the students to grasp the
various features of a good paragraph.
which are a prerequisite Although employing a noticing strategy
The teacher should go on to draw
provides very few chances for students to
for a language express their ideas freely and creatively, it attention to the diverse lexico-
grammatical features found in the
acquisition process does offer several advantages. It enables
paragraph so that the students see
them to:
how to express ideas in formal
1 build confidence in composing a
Some SLA researchers, such as John academic English.
paragraph in English by being exposed
Truscott, argue that the foundations of Introducing the typical features of
to various features of academic writing.
the noticing hypothesis in the cognitive paragraphs in argumentative essays in
Before the students work on the actual
psychology of SLA are weak, owing to this way provides students with useful
writing task, the teacher provides them
lack of empirical evidence. However, the scaffolding, which should result in the
with support that takes the form of
noticing concept has provided a successful production of coherent and
scaffolded input so that they feel less
significant contribution to generating cohesive texts of their own.
anxious and apprehensive about the
important theoretical and empirical In short, the noticing strategy is a
challenge of familiarising themselves
debates. It has also afforded the starting point for teachers to introduce the
with academic writing discourse.
opportunity to integrate a useful concept significant features of such a paragraph
from the cognitive psychology perspective 2 tap into their capabilities of self- before they ask the students to go through
into SLA theories. Moreover, as Shinichi revising and self-editing by giving them the process of composing their own
Izumi points out, in language teaching a good understanding of the target beginning by generating a topic sentence
and learning, noticing plays a crucial role features of academic paragraphs (eg and ending by completing a coherent and
in the processing of new knowledge and content, language and organisation). cohesive paragraph. Students need to be
rule internalisation. Peter Skehan tells us Such skills constitute a crucial part of aware that academic discourse is governed
that noticing also helps learners to the writing process. Students develop the by a set of principles and that all of these
become aware of the linguistic and ability to apply these skills automatically, must be adhered to if their academic
non-linguistic features of the input or once they have mastered the art of writing is to be successful. This necessitates
task given. writing well-structured paragraphs. a lot of practice on their part. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 17

are provided should contain, for
example, explicit topic sentences for
the students to notice. If the activities The noticing strategy which we are

a scaffolding
are too difficult, the students will show advocating provides a scaffold to help
little enthusiasm, will lose interest, students to gain an awareness of the
and finally may be tempted to give up.

strategy 1 Fourthly, as a resource, the teacher

supplies information, language,
typical features of a paragraph which is
then developed into an academic essay.
It is beneficial for two reasons. Firstly, it
strategies and additional materials shows teachers how to introduce the
The roles of the teacher whenever such a need arises. The elements of academic writing to their
The teachers roles include guide, teacher helps the students with their classroom activity repertoire. Secondly,
facilitator and motivator, as well as attempts at writing by answering all the this approach gradually familiarises
resource and feedback provider. questions that emerge before, during students with the various conventions
and after the writing task and by giving which they need to follow when
Firstly, as a guide, the teacher leads composing essays in English. Since ELT
advice about linguistic and grammatical
the students into doing some noticing- students represent diverse cultures, these
choices, topic sentences and supporting
oriented activities, providing clear conventions may be very different from
and concluding sentences.
instructions on what they are to do those used in the students native
with the given input. This opening Finally, as a feedback provider, the languages, and therefore it is important
phase is intended to start a lesson so teacher gives constructive feedback on that they notice them and develop the
that the students know what the class the students writing. It is important ability to follow them in their own
will focus on. This phase, according to to point out that feedback must not writing.
the concept of structuring, allows for be confused with criticism, which is
the orderly and logical sequence of often the case. Planned and targeted
Izumi, S Output, input enhancement, and
noticing-oriented activities in the constructive feedback informs students the noticing hypothesis Studies in
classroom. Consequently, the students about which aspects of paragraph Second Language Acquisition 24 2002
are well-informed about the form and writing they need to do more work on Schmidt, R W The role of consciousness
purpose of the activities they are and reminds them of the audience for in second language learning Applied
involved in. their writing and the reason for it. Linguistics 11 1990
Feedback should be encouraging, Skehan, P A Cognitive Approach to
supportive, respectful, objective, clear Language Learning OUP 1998
Writers have to make and solution-driven. Before providing Truscott, J Noticing in second language
feedback, the teacher should get the acquisition: a critical review Second
decisions on content, students to compare their writing with Language Research 14 1998

organisation and lexical that of their classmates. Doing this

boosts studentstudent interaction Handoyo Puji Widodo is
and syntactic choices so (collaborative work) as well as currently a research
scholar at the Discipline
that their final products teacherstudent interaction (idea of Linguistics, University
sharing). Both forms of interaction of Adelaide, Australia.
are understandable lead to meaningful communication in
He has published
extensively in the areas
the target language. of language teaching
to readers methodology and
language teaching
materials development.
The role of the students He also serves as an
Secondly, as a facilitator, the teacher editorial board member
Writing is a highly complex process, on numerous
makes sure that the students international refereed
requiring constant activity on the part
understand the noticing-related journals based in
of the text creator. Writers have to make America, Asia and
activities. This is necessary since Europe.
decisions on content, organisation and
students may not be familiar with the
lexical and syntactic choices so that their
features of academic writing that they
final products are understandable to
are required to notice or identify. The Andrzej Cirocki is
readers. Moreover, while composing Assistant Professor of
teacher closely monitors the class and
their paragraphs, student writers are Applied Linguistics and
responds to individual as well as TEFL in the Faculty of
also interacting with their audiences, Languages of Gdansk
group queries. By providing support,
and this interaction involves negotiating University, Poland, and
the teacher ensures that student stress, Editor-in-Chief of The
common ground and cultural European Journal of
anxiety and frustration are reduced.
understanding. Students should be Applied Linguistics and
TEFL. He has been
Thirdly, as a motivator, the teacher encouraged to act as engaged feedback involved in TEFL since
encourages the students to grasp new providers, promoting critical thinking, 1996, working as a
social interaction and greater teacher, teacher
concepts. In doing so, the teacher must researcher, teacher
ensure that instructional input is both participation in the classroom. This is trainer and university
learnable and comprehensible to the likely to promote the idea that learning academic.

students. The model paragraphs which is a shared enterprise.

18 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

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Douglas Williams t the IATEFL conference in in different ways. These are issues which
Glasgow last year, the talk cannot be fully discussed in one article,
asks why and how we that stood out most for me but I hope to offer food for thought,
was given by Jeremy Harmer, present my own conclusions based on
should test our students. and was entitled Six key questions for personal experience, and argue the case
teachers and trainers at the crossroads. for flexible reviewing over rigid testing.
One of these questions related to the
benefits and disadvantages of language The types of test
testing, and, like the other questions,
when voted upon by a packed audience,
we use
great diversity of opinion was shown as Most teachers will be familiar with the
to whether or not testing students following overt types of test:
actually helps them to learn. Jeremy
Placement test, given when new
informed us that this controversy was
students join the school to establish
reflected in previous talks, leading us to
which level to put them in. This
believe that it is a highly relevant point of
usually consists of a combined
contention in todays ELT environment.
grammar/vocabulary gap-fill exercise
and a short interview, but may be
The issue of testing more comprehensive (or, in some
There is little doubt that testing plays a cases, less so!).
role, in one form or another, in almost Progress test, given on a regular basis
every class of every course. It would, (usually weekly) to test what has been
therefore, appear to be in the interests of learnt in the short term, perhaps from
all teachers to understand more about one unit of the coursebook.
what testing involves, why it is used and the
advantages and disadvantages of testing Achievement test, given at the end of
a course to test what has been learnt
in the longer term.
There is little
Proficiency test, given to assess overall
doubt that testing competence in English. This may be
internal or external (such as IELTS or
plays a role, in one the Cambridge exams). Students
form or another, doing exam preparation classes may
do past papers as a form of internal
in almost every class proficiency test.
of every course The following may also be used as more
covert forms of testing:

20 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

Games picture of a students language progress?
Quizzes Another commonly Clearly they dont; after all, how many
times has a student sailed through a
Competitions cited reason for testing schools placement test, answering most
Tasks and projects
CCQs (Concept-Check Questions)
is that it gives the of the grammar questions correctly, but
has then been unable to string one
Written homework students physical proof accurate sentence together in class?
Presentations that their money has
How should we test?
Although not recognised as standard been well spent ie that
forms of test, the relevance of these very There are pros and cons to every testing
much depends on the teachers their language level method, and no matter how carefully we
interpretation of testing. It could be plan our tests to suit our students needs,
finding out first what language the
has improved there will always be some drawbacks.
students can already use (as with There are many questions to consider:
Task-Based Learning), checking their Critical issues to reflect on here are, How often should we test? How long should
understanding of individual vocabulary amongst others, which types of test are tests be and using which format? Should
items (CCQs), questioning their general best at increasing retention, whether these the format be standardised? Should they
knowledge (with a quiz) or perhaps work for just some or all learning styles, cover something from every class? How
assessing their ability to use paralinguistic, and whether we can isolate the effect that much production of language should they
as well as linguistic, features (by having testing has on the learning process from involve? If they are skills-based, should
them give presentations). all the other factors involved. active and passive skills be represented
Retention is very closely linked to equally? What weighting should be given
washback: the effect that a test has on the to grammar, vocabulary and other
The more we students. This can include positive and sections? Should they be communicative,
silent or a combination of both?
learn about the negative consequences. Obviously, students
Earlier, I mentioned washback the
will be more likely to revise if they know a
reasons for testing, test is coming (or at least we would hope effects of testing on students but just
as important are the effects on teaching.
the better we will be so!). However, they may also avoid coming
A teaching context where the teacher
into school on the test day altogether as
at selling the positives some simply hate doing formalised tests. knows, for example, that a certain
I had one student who, when I was amount of material must be covered by
to our students explaining on Monday that there would the end of the week, or perhaps that
be a test on Friday, immediately after they have to teach something different
hearing the word test went into a panic. every day from Monday to Thursday,
Why should we test? As expected, she didnt show up on may be very restrictive. It may not leave
Friday morning, and since then Ive enough time for any number of
It seems insufficient for the conscientious
tried to stop using this word within important classroom activities: recycling
teacher just to know what school policies
earshot of all students (I dread to think previously-taught language, going over
are in relation to testing; they should also
what exam would have done to her!). writing homework or answers to
reflect on and become more aware of why
exercises carefully, encouraging students
testing is used, critically analysing the
2 It
gives us evidence of to analyse language in more depth,
reasoning offered by students, colleagues,
managers and other individuals involved learning. giving longer explanations, extending or
Another commonly cited reason for adapting activities on an ad hoc basis
with the organisation. The more we learn
testing is that it gives the students when necessary, allowing freer activities
about the reasons for testing, the better
physical proof that their money has to take place (as with TBL),
we will be at both selling the positives to
been well spent in other words, that spontaneous error-correction, etc.
our students and seeing the bigger picture
their language level has improved. From Instead of focusing on students needs
of testing as part of the educational
a teaching and management perspective, throughout a class and throughout the
process, rather than as a necessary evil.
There seem to be two main arguments it gives us some kind of data to cover
for testing, which I will outline below. ourselves if we need to show that There are pros and cons
progress has, or has not, been made. We
1 It aids retention. can compare scores from an initial to every testing method,
This is the pedagogical reasoning that placement test to a final achievement test
students learn better (and hence to show total gains made, or between
and no matter how
remember more) if they are tested. The each progress test as part of continuous carefully we plan our
testing process itself, it can be argued, is assessment. If students think they are in
an opportunity to enhance the learning the wrong level, we have hard evidence tests to suit our students
process by identifying specific areas of with which to justify our decision to keep needs, there will always
strength and weakness, which can then them in the same level or move them.
be explored through post-test discussion An important question to ask here be some drawbacks
and feedback. is: Do all types of test give us an accurate ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 21

because I had focused on functional available and the need for evidence of
language for the first part that a more learning? The true test of whether or not

hands-on way of testing seemed more learning has taken place is the students
appropriate: the students could ability to recognise and use the language
demonstrate for real that they were able taught in life-like situations. However,
week, teachers may be constantly to perform the function adequately. If I this method is unreliable, takes more
thinking Am I going fast enough? or had focused more on form during the time and does not give us sufficient
Have I taught something today that I can week, practising one or two particular proof that objectives have been met.
include in my test on Friday? grammar points, the second, more Other ways of testing students
universally recognised, format of test comprehension and memory (including
may have worked better than the first. cloze-type activities) are valid ways of
Testing and teaching testing and have a place in the
This prompts the questions: How Criticisms and classroom. In the end, test type should
important is the testability of a language depend on what is taught and how it is
point when we decide what to teach?
credentials taught, with freedom for the teacher to
Should it have equal importance as, say, Critics may argue that the first task choose the most suitable method
the occurrence of errors connected to that described above was not really a test at available. This must include all valid
point in our learners interlanguage? To all; it had little reliability, as many forms and adaptations, not just those
give an example, I recently taught how different answers were possible, the that fit the stereotype of a test.
to ask for, give and respond to advice in answers were not objectively measurable
a variety of situations. I decided to and the learners were working in groups,
spend more time on this than other
things, as I knew that it was a weakness I have tried to delve into the complex
in my students English. Other errors We can never issue of testing in ELT, raising a number
of key questions for teachers and
were dealt with as and when needed. I create the perfect test, managers to explore and discuss further.
allowed plenty of opportunity for re-use
and therefore retention of the functional reliable and valid in I have also made the case for needs-
language, both in spoken activities in based reviewing (prioritising flexibility
class and written homework. By the end
every way, and trying to and creativity, focusing on the best
type(s) for the material covered) over
of the week, I was satisfied that every do so would inevitably regimented testing (using purely
student (even the ones who had missed a
class or two) were better able to perform result in lessons dull traditional, standardised formats,
focusing only on gradability). If wide
those functions in the real world. Part of beyond imagination diversity of opinion exists with regards
my review on Friday consisted of a
group task, in which I told the students to testing, as Jeremy Harmer
about an imaginary problem I was meaning evaluation of individual demonstrated it does, shouldnt our
having, after which they had to discuss achievement was difficult. However, the approaches to testing reflect this
the situation in groups and write down task rated highly in content validity (it diversity, rather than a reductionist view
advice for me. While monitoring the tested only what had been taught) and of the many issues involved? As with
groups, I got an overview of how well construct validity (it contained a task most things in life, shouldnt quality
they could produce the functional exactly like those used during the week). outweigh quantity, both in terms of
language we had practised all week. Conversely, the written test gave me a what we teach and how we test it?
When time was up, I made feedback score for each student (however
competitive by writing points on the superficial), was more reliable and had Butler, R Enhancing and undermining
board for every correct sentence; this intrinsic motivation: effects of task-
high face validity (it looked like a test of
involving and ego-involving evaluation on
encouraged more and more confidence, the language covered). However, the interest and performance British Journal
as well as variety and risk-taking (as construct validity suffered, not to of Educational Psychology 56 1988
students had to rephrase their advice if mention the possible negative effect of
it repeated someone elses). Fun and scoring. (Ruth Butler states that marking Douglas Williams is a
laughter ensued, which can only have using grades may have a detrimental freelance trainer for
the London School of
aided the learning process. effect on learners performance, especially English, and, since
The other part of my test followed a for low achievers.) starting his first TEFL job
in 2006, has taught in
less enjoyable, much more predictable As language teachers, we can never Indonesia, New Zealand
format: 20 minutes of silent reading and create the perfect test, reliable and valid and the UK. He holds
the Cambridge DELTA
filling in gaps, followed by a brief round in every way, and trying to do so would and is currently taking
of answer-giving and no follow-up inevitably result in lessons dull beyond an MA in ELT and Applied
Linguistics at Kings
questions; the result was a row of imagination. College London, UK.
unenthusiastic faces. The gap-filling So if testing is a compromise His academic interests
include assessment,
seemed unnecessary, a waste of time between reliability and validity, should learner autonomy and
even: time which could have been spent we not envisage the test itself as the best technology in the
extending the previous activity in a classroom.
possible balance between the two,
creative way. Perhaps it was especially
considering course content, time

22 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

Finding Nemo
on the iPad
Michael Tasseron goes s learners increasingly make The value of stories
use of smartphones and Stories have immense educational value,
fishing for fun with his tablets outside of the and James Bourke recommends that
classroom, it should be they should be regarded as an essential
very young learners. expected that teachers also adopt such element in a young learner syllabus. I am
technologies for use in their lessons. also of the opinion that they should be
One way the iPad can be used is a regular feature of lessons wherever
through storytelling, and a wide range possible, even where the syllabus does
of colourful animated and interactive not make provision for them. Children
e-books are now available for this love stories and, when they are used
device which will bring stories to life in effectively, they are bound to engage
the classroom. An e-book application young learners of all ages.
which I use regularly in my lessons is
Disneys Finding Nemo. It can be used Authenticity and application
successfully with learners aged four to An aspect of stories which I believe is
seven. The approach I use for this is particularly valuable is that they provide
guided by the recommendations made learners with authentic input.
by James Bourke in an article in ELT Authenticity in this instance refers to
Journal, where he argues the case for a what David Nunan describes as
topic-based syllabus and the use of language which learners will be exposed
materials which should relate to outside of the classroom, and which
to the world of the young has a real-world application. This is
learner, where there are no something which is often absent from
tenses, nouns or adjectives. many classrooms, particularly in parts of
In this article, I will Asia, where English lessons at public
suggest ways in which schools, private schools and language
teachers can use this schools often entail only the
e-book with very memorising and drilling of particular
young learners to linguistic structures.
provide them with
content which is Procedure and presentation
enjoyable, engaging and Fortunately, most children will be
educational, and I will familiar with the antics of Nemo, the
also discuss the associated loveable little clownfish, whose desire
pedagogical advantages. for adventure lands him in trouble and
Strategies relevant to using who finds himself in a fish tank many
such applications in the EFL and miles away from home. His father,
ESL context are also provided. Marlin, then embarks on a long and ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 23

Finding Nemo
on the iPad
perilous search for him, which takes him
all the way to a dentists office in Sydney.
I try to leave ten to 15 minutes at
the end of my 50-minute young learner
lessons for stories. My typical class size
ranges from four to six learners, but
this type of storytelling can also be used
for slightly bigger groups.
The Finding Nemo e-book is
interactive and has music and a range of
sound effects which accompany the story.
When you touch one of the characters
on the iPad screen, the name of the
character is played. The music used also
corresponds to the tone of each scene,
and conveys emotions such as
excitement, relief or sadness. The e-book dictionary is to familiarise the learners caused by squabbles about who can
contains 29 pages, and I try to cover with the story content. The teacher can touch a colourful character can disrupt
approximately ten pages in 15 minutes. also ask questions about the colours the chain of thought and result in a loss
The aim is to complete the story in three and sizes of the different creatures. If a of interest or discontent. Stories
to four sessions, but this is dependent picture dictionary is not available, similar provide opportunities for children to
on factors such as the available time for questions can be asked about the host dream and enter into a world outside of
stories. Very young learners have short of colourful characters who appear direct teaching and learning. As such, it
attention spans and this needs to be throughout the e-book. With regard to should be a time where everyone can
taken into account. If they become the learners responses, the emphasis be comfortable and enjoy the magic.
restless, it may be time to stop; though should be on comprehension. Therefore,
fortunately this will usually coincide short one-word answers to questions are Sound and suspense
with the end of the lesson. sufficient. Questions such as Is the shark After a quick reference to the picture
I would recommend that for this age big or small? facilitate such responses. dictionary, I start reading the e-book,
group the teacher sits on a chair and The iPad is a wonderful tool, and in using the appropriate intonation and
the learners on the floor. Care should the appropriate setting learners can be pace to accompany the narrative. For
also be taken to ensure that everyone encouraged to interact with it. However, instance, for dramatic scenes I increase
can clearly see the iPad, just as when a caution is advised. Allowing learners to the reading speed for effect, and I slow
normal storybook is used. It should be touch the screen to turn the page or it down for sad scenes to depict the
read facing the learners, placed on the find out a characters name may seem emotions felt by a certain character.
teachers lap, with the teacher reading it like a great idea, but it is best left to the The music and sound effects in the
from above. This is easy to do as the teacher to do this. I find it more e-book are a wonderful aid in
text size in the e-book is large and efficacious to ask the learners what generating excitement at climactic
there are usually only a few sentences they hear when I touch the screen and events in the story, such as when Marlin
on each page. a characters name is played, or what and Dory make a timely escape from
they can see on the screen. The reason the three sharks in the sunken ship.
Accompaniment and for this is that learners in this age group What I do in this particular scene is tap
appropriacy are easily distracted by different sources the screen to turn the page, close my
A useful addition to using the e-book app of stimulation. They are also not usually eyes and look away, conveying the idea
is a picture dictionary which includes a able to remain focused on what the that I am too afraid to see if the two
page about sea creatures, although this is teacher is saying, while at the same time fish are going to escape, and letting the
not essential. Prior to starting the story, using the iPad. Also, bear in mind that learners be the first to see what
I open the picture dictionary to the sea their young brains are trying to process happens. I then ask them if the sharks
creature page and ask the learners what information being presented to them in ate Marlin and Dory, using total physical
they can see. The aim of using the picture a foreign language. Thus, distractions response (TPR) to help the learners

24 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

understand what I am asking, if Repetition and revision In terms of linguistic output, as
necessary. Prior to other dramatic While reading, it is a good idea to mentioned previously, teachers can and
incidents, I may turn the iPad over, look repeat the names of the characters and should expect their learners to be active
at it and keep the screen covered. I then what is taking place, to help the learners participants while the story is being read.
use the appropriate emotion to convey to follow the story. When you have However, just as with any other classroom
disbelief or surprise at what I saw, and finished the story, the learners are likely interaction, the degree of participation
then ask the learners if they really want to request that you read it again in will differ from learner to learner. What
to see what happened. This is likely to subsequent weeks. If you are using a is important is to encourage short
induce gasps and anxious requests to number of different e-books, you can ask responses, which demonstrate that the
see what took place, of course, all of the learners which story they want to learners are following what is being
which add to the enjoyment. read. This is again another opportunity read by the teacher. Learners will often
for authentic communication in the form make lengthier responses in their L1 to
Direct and indirect learning of negotiation. Furthermore, repeating a add something they believe to be
Christine Nuttall advocates the use of story is advantageous as it serves to important to the tale; and again, this is
pre-reading, while-reading and post- review the linguistic content the learners perfectly acceptable.
reading strategies, and these can also be are exposed to.
employed by the teacher. The teacher
can ask the learners to make predictions Input and output
about the story by pointing to the As with illustrated storybooks, it is both As teachers, we all know that our
relevant character or scene and asking the visual and the auditory input which learners enjoy variation, and making use
what they think is going to happen. Once engages learners. For L1 learners this of new technologies such as the iPad,
again, the aim should be to elicit short input is provided by a parent, a teacher combined with traditional teaching
answers. Examples of questions I use are: or a sibling, who can explain new approaches, can work wonders in
Are the sharks going to eat Marlin and vocabulary or concepts with relative engaging our learners. Storytelling is one
Dory? Questions can also be asked as the ease. However, the concern for an ESL example of this, and literally any story
story proceeds, such as Where is Nemo or EFL teacher is how to read a story in can be transformed into an exciting part
now? What do sharks eat? and Is Nigel (a a way that their learners can understand. of the lesson, with animated characters
pelican) a fish? Questions such as these The teacher also needs to consider what that move around, accompanied by
help to keep the learners engaged and can be done to ensure that the joys of sounds and music. Young learners are
aware that they also have a part to play storytelling can be transferred to their bound to relish this. Apart from the
in telling the story. learners without sacrificing the richness aspect of enjoyment, such stories are
The sub-menu of the e-book of the text by oversimplifying it. My also a valuable learning tool, as they
contains numbered miniature pages. At recommendation in this regard would expose learners to authentic language
the end of the lesson it is important to be to read the story as it is. The reasons use and allow for both direct and
note the last page read, by asking the for this are: indirect learning opportunities and
learners What page is this? In the next negotiation, as well as revision.
1 Learners at this age, even L1
lesson the teacher can ask the learners
learners, are unlikely to understand
where they should start from. I have Finding Nemo iPad App Disney Pixar 2012
everything they hear in a story. This
found that learners are usually able to Bourke, J M Designing a topic-based syllabus
is not an overriding concern, as the for young learners ELTJ 60 (3) 2006
tell me the correct page number. If they
emphasis should be on Nunan, D Designing Tasks for the
are not, a quick look at the sub-menu Communicative Classroom CUP 1989
comprehension of the story as a
will help them to remember and they Nuttall, C Teaching Reading Skills in a Foreign
whole, not individual linguistic units.
can then tell the teacher. At the start of Language (3rd ed) Macmillan 2005
the next lesson, the teacher can quickly 2 The visual elements in this e-book Richards, J C The Language Teaching Matrix
recap what took place by asking are very well sequenced, and this CUP 1990
questions about the names of the allows the learners to follow the
Michael Tasseron is a
characters and key events. This type of storyline with relative ease. South African who has
interaction is beneficial because it 3
been teaching English
I do not believe that very young since 2004. His first
facilitates meaningful communicative teaching experience was
learners consciously make distinctions
exchanges and promotes what Jack in China and he has also
between their L1 and the foreign taught in Oman. He is
Richards refers to as indirect learning. currently living and
language they are exposed to,
What is proposed here is that learning working in Japan.
especially in a storytelling context.
takes place unconsciously through such
interactions. This is contrasted with 4 Attempts to simplify the language in
direct learning, which entails explicit the e-book are unlikely to serve any
purpose, particularly in light of point 1.
attention to the taught target language. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 25

wall ... Alan Maley
revisits the relevance
of Shakespeare.

he most famous British writer of In the rest of the book, Bryson major supporters of the Earl of Oxfords
all time, yet the one we know least introduces us to what is known about claim to be the author of Shakespeares
about. Thats Shakespeare. Shakespeare and the context in which he works was a man with the inescapably
Yet the Shakespeare industry lived and worked. His linguistic noteworthy name of J Thomas Looney!)
continues to pour forth publications at a contribution to English is staggering. Of Bryson concludes: it is an amazement
rate no reader could possibly keep up with, the 12,000 new words which came into that one man could have produced such a
his plays are still performed worldwide to English between 1500 and 1650, 2,035 sumptuous, wise, varied, thrilling,
packed houses and, of course, he is still a came from him and 800 are still in use. ever-delighting body of work, but that is
staple of literature courses. One tenth of the most quoted quotations the hallmark of genius. Only one man
in English are from him. Bryson explores had the circumstances and gifts to give us
Shakespeare the labyrinthine, messy and complicated such incomparable works, and William
way the plays have come down to us, Shakespeare of Stratford was
Bill Brysons book is a witty yet perceptive with multiple versions, typographical unquestionably that man whoever he
take on the bard. The chapters are short, errors and uncertainty as to authenticity was.
the style accessible and the observations of provenance. He discusses the sonnets
not only acute, but often barbed.
His first chapter shows how very little
and their unsolved puzzles, and agrees Shakespeare Our
with Audens judgement: it seems to
we know for certain about Shakespeare: me rather silly to spend much time on
he is a kind of literary equivalent of an conjectures which cannot be proved true Jan Kott was very much the product of
electron forever there and not there. or false. his time growing up under Nazism, then
Only about 100 documents have been His final chapter, on rival candidates living under Communism in Poland (which
found connected with Shakespeare and for the authorship of Shakespeares plays he initially supported) and this is starkly
most of them are legal documents. No (Bacon, the Earl of Oxford, Marlowe, etc) reflected in Shakespeare Our
manuscript has ever been found in his is hilariously funny and damningly Contemporary. In Kotts bleak vision of
own handwriting. There are only three dismissive. (Believe it or not, one of the Shakespeares world, we are all caught
depictions of him, none of them up in the great mechanism, helpless to
authenticated. We are not even sure how avoid its indifferent churning, where no
his name was spelt. So most of what is one is a winner. And this is the mirror
written about him is sheer speculation. Shakespeare holds up to our own world,
We can know only what came out of his where greed, violence, war, corruption,
work, never what went into it. Yet hypocrisy and indifference rule. Hamlet is
Shakespeare is not so much a historical a sponge it immediately absorbs all the
figure as an academic obsession. problems of our time.

26 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

The book is in two parts: The importance for language development: puppets and set design. The final chapter,
Tragedies and The Comedies. The The language is energetic, vivid and on assessment, offers a sensible and
analyses of the history plays, Hamlet, sensuous. Its difficulties are enabling humane set of varied ways of assessing the
Macbeth, King Lear and Coriolanus are difficulties. In Chapter 2, he establishes work, ranging from self-assessment and
unremittingly raw and black, and Kott the principles underlying the approach. assessment through performance, through
draws interesting comparisons between Paramount among these is the need to to tasks and examinations. His principles
them and the work of Brecht, Beckett, treat Shakespeare as a script: A script for assessment are particularly important
Genet and other contemporary writers of declares that it is to be played with, in our measurement-obsessed age. Sadly,
the absurd. Tragedy is the theatre of explored brought to life by acting out. there is no bibliography.
priests, grotesque is the theatre of A text makes no such demand. Chapter 3
clowns. There is no way out: when all clears away some of the theoretical The North Face of
has been lost, only memory remains, but thickets: Tradition v Post-modern,
it, too, must be stifled. One must kill Feminism, Psycho-analytical,
oneself or kill in oneself the last vestiges Deconstruction, etc. He is remarkably James Stredders book can be treated as
of shame. Of Macbeth, he writes: He tolerant of theory but, on page 44, sets a companion volume to Gibsons. His
knows there is no escape from nightmare, out a list of practical questions to help main concern is to de-mystify
which is the human fate and condition teachers navigate through it. Shakespeare, regarded by many as being
There is no other. Even the comedies are The remainder of the book examines more unscaleable than the North Face of
seen though a jaundiced eye: Love tales, various aspects of the bards work. the Eiger. He draws on the work of key
stories of lovers and married couples are Chapter 4 looks at Shakespeares figures in theatre education from Viola
just as ruthless and cruel as the histories language and reminds us of the Spolin, through Cicely Berry, Augusto
of kings, princes and usurpers. In both, Boal and Keith Johnstone, to Patsy
dead bodies are carried away from the Rodenburg and offers a rich variety of
empty stage. So A Midsummer Nights classroom activities focusing on
Dream, Twelfth Night and As You Like It Shakespeares language, narrative and
are seen as visions of a bitter Arcadia. character. Part II concentrates on
This book, published in Britain in 1965, activities for practical drama workshops,
had an immediate and enormous influence including group formation activities,
on Shakespearean theatre, including theatre games and drama exercises. The
iconic productions, such as Peter Brooks importance and vibrancy of Elizabethan two books together form an invaluable
King Lear. And the influence continues. English: The human voice was held in resource for any teacher wanting to work
Like Shakespeare, Kott remains our high esteem ... The vigour of language, its with Shakespeare.
contemporary, and reminds us, sound and evocative power, mattered as
uncomfortably, of who we are. much as its logic. And language
substituted for elaborate scenery and
lighting effects. The chapter deals with Even if Shakespeare does not figure in
Teaching Shakespeare imagery, personification, repetition, our teaching programme, he is ever
With the last two books, I am departing rhyme, prosody, puns and all the tropes present, both in the language and in the
slightly from my original intention: only to Shakespeare so extravagantly deployed. relevance of his themes for our troubled
discuss non-teaching books. Both titles Along the way, there are concrete times. We cannot ignore him. Neither
discuss how to teach Shakespeare but suggestions for activities related to each should we wish to!
they do far more than that, offering a rich category. And on pages 9091, he draws
and accessible way into a deeper attention to the way Shakespeares Bryson, B Shakespeare Harper Perennial
understanding of Shakespeares work. 2007
language evolved over his lifetime. The
Rex Gibsons Teaching Shakespeare Gibson, R Teaching Shakespeare CUP
succeeding chapters deal with story,
is a fabulous resource, as might be character, themes and their relevance for
expected from the director of the Kott, J Shakespeare Our Contemporary
our time, and dramatic effect, including
Methuen 1965
Shakespeare and Schools Project using stage directions, critical incidents
Stredder, J The North Face of
(198694), and editor of the Cambridge and opening scenes. Each chapter is Shakespeare Wincot Press 2004
School Shakespeare series. His approach bubbling with ideas for activities.
is based on Active methods Chapter 9, the longest in the book, is Alan Maley has worked in
Shakespeare is not a museum exhibit wholly devoted to Active methods, the area of ELT for over
40 years in Yugoslavia,
but a living force inviting active, including the teachers role and attitudes Ghana, Italy, France,
imaginative creation. Active methods and the organisation of the classroom. China, India, the UK,
dissolve the traditional oppositions of Singapore and Thailand.
Most space is given over to suggested Since 2003 he has been a
analysis and imagination, intellect and activities for speaking, improvisation, freelance writer and
emotion. They encourage informed consultant. He has
warm-ups, tableaux, choral speaking, published over 30 books
personal responses which are both critical insults, video work and writing. These could and numerous articles,
and appreciative. Chapter 1, Why Teach and was, until recently,
equally well be used with any theatrical Series Editor of the
Shakespeare? sets out his rationale: the script, not just Shakespeare. Chapter 10 Oxford Resource Books
enduring relevance of the themes, the suggests ways into Shakespeare for for Teachers.
power for personal development, the younger learners through storytelling, ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 27

IN THE CLASSROOM What kind of dialogue?

I must admit to not being a fan of most
of the dialogues that I see in coursebooks.
The necessity to include target structures
often makes them sound very unnatural.
More often than not, they dont reflect
what we might hear in the real world. I

have very rarely read a dialogue in a
coursebook and thought: Yes, Ive had a
conversation similar to that one. In fact,
I have more often than not thought:
Imagine if we all really talked like that!
However, dialogues can be written to
practise a particular structure, to focus on
certain lexis or to concentrate learners on
certain aspects of pronunciation. They
can lead to writing activities and they

can be used for reading practice (see
Paul Harvey thinks have spent a lot of my career in
What can you do with a dialogue? below).
places where the conditions may
A dialogue should, I believe, try to
well-targeted drama cause teachers to believe that
adhere to ten key rules:
drama, or anything associated with
1 It shouldnt be too long, especially
activities are guaranteed it, is really not possible in their situation.
Part of my job over the past few years at pre-intermediate levels.
to hit the mark. has been to persuade teachers who work If the dialogue goes on for too long,
in crowded classrooms, often with time students can become daunted by the
constraints as well as spatial ones, that wall of language. It also makes the
engaging learners through various performing of dialogues for the class
drama techniques is possible; not only more difficult (although there is always
possible, but also profitable and the possibility of getting different
enjoyable. I am not going to try to say groups to perform different sections if
that it always works. There are very few the dialogue is longer than average).
activities done in the average ELT 2 Each line/turn should be short,
classroom that always work. We all with few exceptions.
know that what works with one group Having short turns mean there is less
doesnt work with another; what works language for the students to stumble
at ten in the morning on a Monday, over, and so the whole experience is less
doesnt work at four in the afternoon on stressful. It also means more efficient
a Friday; what works on a sunny June pronunciation practice and the language
afternoon doesnt necessarily work on a is more chunky and more easily
cold November morning. However, absorbed.
there are some activities which have a
very good chance of hitting the mark if 3 The language used should be as
they are set up in the right way, and if near to real everyday English as
they are written with the right target possible.
group in mind. This, for me, is often the most important
aspect of a dialogue even if the
dialogue is structure-loaded. It is, I
What dont you need? think, always possible to make speech
Here are some things that you dont approximate to natural speech while still
need in order to bring language to life in making sure the target structure is
the classroom through drama: repeated as often as possible.
1 You dont need to be particularly 4 It should have a definite ending/
extrovert. conclusion.
2 You dont need a great deal of space. A mini-play is always more satisfying
than a set of exchanges.
3 You dont need to spend time
5 There should be some attempt at
reorganising tables and chairs.
4 You dont really need to make a lot of This may not always be possible, but
noise (although if you do, it will, we creating a sense of fun definitely helps to
hope, be good noise). lighten up the lesson. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 29

much prefer to have time to digest the 5 Ask them to translate certain parts
content and get, at least, a general idea into their own language.
before I heard it read.

While this may not help on the stress
2 Read it out loud with the whole and intonation front, it does allow the
students to get to grips with the meaning
Either do this with you playing one of of a line, and highlights the dangers of
6 There should be some kind of the parts or, if you have students that literal translations. This could be done
action. you can trust to do it well, let them do it in parts of the dialogue where there is
This is essential (unless the dialogue without your participation. I think its an underlying meaning or nuance, or the
itself, probably at higher levels, is important that the first time students language is culturally specific. In the
particularly entertaining). Action doesnt hear a dialogue, it should sound good. latter case, a local alternative can be
have to be the storming of the Bastille. found. For example Take a hike! will not
3 Do some pronunciation practice. translate into another language as Go
There just needs to be something for the
characters to do. In the two examples on Choose some lines from the dialogue, on a mountain walk!
page 31, not a lot happens, but there is probably between five and eight,
6 Take in the dialogues and hand out
always something for the characters to depending on the level of the class and
a version with every second line
concentrate on as they are speaking. The their exposure to drama techniques, and
taken out.
action adds another dimension; and not practise these as a class for pronunciation:
intonation, stress the lot. Try to make This now becomes a reading and writing
only does it make the dialogue come to activity. This could, of course, be done
life more, it also makes it more interesting this as lively and enjoyable as possible.
as an initial activity.
for the audience and for those performing 4 Ask questions about it.
7 Ask the students to finish the
it. In the examples, the action is simple Ask comprehension questions to check
enough not to cause too many difficulties dialogue.
general understanding of the text, the
for the performers. plot, relationships, how the characters Either leave the story unfinished or ask
might be feeling, etc. Also ask questions the students to add to your original.
7 The lines to be spoken by the
various characters in the dialogue to get ideas for how to approach any 8 Ask them to improvise the
should be differentiated by the use action in the piece. dialogue.
of colour, bold, italics, etc. Give them a last chance to read the
It is amazing how easily some people What can you do with dialogue, then take it away and ask them
lose their place in a script! a dialogue? to practise improvising it without
writing anything down.
8 Repetition of useful language Here are eight ideas for various activities
should be a common element. you can do with a dialogue:
Repeating phrases in a natural situation
1 Ask the students to perform it in
reinforces them and is a form of drilling Why not try some of these activities
the style of a particular film genre.
within a context. with the two example dialogues on page
My top ten genres are comedy,
9 It should have a title and some kind documentary, horror, romance, silent 31 and see how they work for you?
of pictorial representation of the movie (see 2 below), cartoon, action, Paul Harvey has been
content. western, soap opera and in the style of a teacher since 1984
Being able see who the characters are, in the UK and many
eg James Bond, Mr Bean, Russell countries in the
where they are and/or what they are doing Crowe, and any other characters or Middle East and a
can make a big difference to the way that teacher trainer since
actors you think your students will be 1996. He has a special
some students approach the dialogue. familiar with. interest in the uses of
drama in ELT and the
10 Most of it should be readily 2 Ask them to mime the dialogue DOGME approach.
understandable by the majority of first.
the students. This really concentrates them on the
The activity is always more enjoyable if action and the dialogue simultaneously.
the students are not required to learn a
3 Ask them to do it as quickly as they
lot of new lexis before beginning.

How do you prepare Insist that, despite the speed, it must still
be comprehensible when they perform
It really worked
students for a dialogue? it. This will encourage them to for me!
Here are four suggestions for concentrate on diction. Did you get inspired by something
preparation activities: 4 Ask them to choose the line they you read in ETp? Did you do
1 Give them time to read the think they say the best and perform something similiar with your students?
it for the class. Did it really work in practice?
dialogue first.
I put myself in the place of a student. If This is best done in a class that has Do share it with us ...
I were given a dialogue in Arabic, a gelled well and is comfortable with such
language I am trying to learn, I would activities.

30 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

1 I am Sam Blackson!
X and Y are in an office, where Z works, waiting for
a tax refund.

Z: Next! Sam Blackson! Y: Im me! Youre you!

X: Hello. Yes. Im Sam Blackson. Z: Excuse me! The
Y: Really? So am I Sam Blackson we
X: Were both Sam Blackson? want has ...
Y: Yes, I think so. Y: Yes?
X: Which Sam Blackson is next? X: Yes?
Z: Sam Blackson from ... Hammersmith. Z: Let me check the
Y: Thats me, then. distinguishing
X: And me, actually. features ... Y: (Still limping) Liar!
Y: What? Where do you live? X/Y: Aha? X: Fake!
X: Hammersmith. Z: Sam has one arm longer than the Y: I am Sam Blackson!
Y: Wow! What a coincidence! other ... X: I am Sam Blackson!
X: What address do you have there? X: (X tries to make one of his arms Z: Oh dear ... it also says here that he or
Z: 35, Rose Hill, Hammersmith. appear longer than the other one) she is deaf.
X: Right. Thats my address. You see! Its me! See! Look! This arms Y: What?
Y: And mine. longer! X: Pardon?
X: What? Y: What? No, it ... Y: What did you say?
Y: Yes. 35, Rose Hill, Hammersmith. Z: ... and he or she has a limp. X: I just cant hear you.
X: Impossible. Y: Look! (Y begins to limp around the Z: Yes. Deaf. Completely deaf.
Z: Excuse me! There are other people place) Yeah. Look! Terrible, isnt it? Y: What did he/she say?
waiting ... The war, you know. X: What? I didnt hear him/her.
Y: Yes, I know ... but he/she says X: You havent got a limp! War? What war? Y: Sorry?
hes/shes me. This is ridiculous! X: Pardon?
X: No, I dont. Z: Oh ... and he or she has a tic in the Y: (Using sign language, pointing to
Y: You said you were me. right eye. himself/herself) Deaf.
X: No. Im not you. Im me. X: (X begins to make his/her eye twitch) X: (Using sign language, pointing to
Y: You want to be me. See! Thats me, too. Terrible it is! himself/herself) Me, too.
X: No. Im me. Youre you. Terrible! Z: Next!

2 You cant sit here!

B is sitting on a bench in a park.
A comes over.

A: Excuse me.
B: Yes?
A: Im afraid you cant sit here.
B: Why not?
A: You just cant.
B: I just cant?
A: Yep.
B: What do you mean, You just cant?
A: I mean its illegal. A: I am the police. B: Go and jump in a lake!
B: No, its not. B: Youre a nutter. A: You cant sit here.
A: It is. A: Im a what? B: Pea-brain!
B: Rubbish. B: Youre a nutter. A: You cant sit here.
A: Its not rubbish. Its true. A: Now youre being rude. B: Give it a rest!
B: Its nonsense. B: You tell me I cant sit here again and A: OK. Im going.
A: Its absolutely true! Ill get ruder. B: What?
B: If its true, you get the police. A: Will you? A: Im going.
A: I am the police. B: Yes, I will. B: Good
B: No, youre not. A: OK. You cant sit here. A: Im not staying here to be insulted!
A: Yes, I am. B: Right! Go away! (A goes)
B: Youre not the police. A: You cant sit here. B: Idiot! ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 31

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Maxwell Clark rounds
up some rules for roleplays.
ve just taught one of those happy,
thought-provoking lessons that
happen from time to time when
were lucky.
I wont say the classroom exactly
rocked with lively chatter during the
roleplay, but it did achieve a respectable
thrum of productive activity. Moreover,
Needing to plan a lesson in a hurry the speaking went on long enough
for my intermediate-level teenage (around 20 minutes, once we got started)
English learners (1314 years), I looked for me to get round and monitor
at the materials my colleagues had thoroughly, making notes about each
prepared for classes at the same level students performance. In short, I
and which they had left on the shared counted it as a spectacular success.
drive. (Thank you, whoever that was!) Id like to extract the characteristics
I was delighted to find a fully-developed of this activity that made it successful,
lesson plan which included a speaking so as to bear them in mind when
activity that proved really effective: a designing future speaking tasks.
doctorpatient roleplay by Chris Gunn
on 1 A relevant
Now, its usually a struggle to get
these kids to speak more than a bare
minimum. Partly I think its because purpose
theyre at that difficult age when theyre Kids are up for anything, Ive heard.
getting self-conscious the boys dont This may be true of younger children,
want to sit with the girls, and so forth. but teenagers are developing the critical
Also, this stream isnt for those faculty to regard poorly-conceived
precocious kids whove had lots of activities as pointless and can quickly
positive reinforcement over the years so withdraw their cooperation. The
that they know that they can speak relevance of a doctorpatient roleplay is
up and get it right, so I suspect obvious to the kids, who have probably
many of them have developed experienced such situations already.
strategies for getting Furthermore, the situation itself
through lessons as underlines the importance of accurate
inconspicuously as communication. (We dont want to get
possible. the wrong treatment, do we?)
Well, its easy enough to do a relevant
roleplay when the topic in the syllabus is
health, but what about when its
something further removed from our own
lives? Recently, our syllabus has given us
the topic of magicians, escapologists, etc.
How can you extract a speaking task
from that? At first, I was tempted to fall

34 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

back on the tired old Make a for increased coherence of the / Matthew Cooper

presentation about ... rubric, but then I simulation for classroom management
started to wonder what the kids could reasons. I think the students accepted
do in real life in this topic area. This led this: we dont suddenly swap roles in real
me to the answer: they could learn card life or drama, do we? Im sure the
tricks (and the associated patter) from a actress who plays Lady Macbeth learns
YouTube video and perform them to each a lot about Macbeth and his lines, too,
other. The kids loved that one, and some even though she doesnt swap roles with
of them even said they performed their sufficient motivation for him. Mind you, swapping roles gives me
card trick later for their parents! students to repeat a task. a pretext to re-run the activity at the end
They typically feel that as soon as of term if we want to.
theyve muddled to the end of it
2 A script once, its done. What strategies do
You can find handy scripts for roleplays we use to motivate students to
5 Mixing
at Roleplays are repeat tasks? Swap roles and repeat. I love mixer activities, where students
scary things for many people, so having (OK, fair enough, they think.) Swap move around the classroom talking to
a script to hand is a necessary crutch for partners and repeat. (But why, teacher?) each other. Perhaps its because Im such
lower levels. I dont think its cheating or The nice thing about a restless person whenever I sit in on a
spoonfeeding. The cognitive activity of BogglesworldESLs roleplay is that it class, after about 30 minutes sitting still
adapting the script to the particular case provides a record sheet for both the starts to feel oppressive. When Im
and the repeated reading and production doctor and patient. The repetition is teaching, Im on my feet most of the
of an accurate model strike me as thus embedded in the task, which time anyway, so I forget that some of my
extremely intense learning experiences. consists of making eight doctor visits, students may need a pretext to get up
Ive seen cognitive theorists refer to our so its clear how much work is to be and use those fidgety bodies our simian
repertoire of mental scripts that enable done and how far through it youve ancestors bequeathed us.
us to deal fluently with the various progressed. School kids are strongly Heres another thing: as my patients
situations we find ourselves in. conditioned to complete the exercise, moved around from doctor to doctor
Coursebooks often include such scripts, and this can be harnessed to encourage (deciding where to go and when giving
but perhaps I should provide more repetition of a speaking exercise. them a tiny bit of self-determination), I
opportunities for the students to Another nice touch is the idea of getting realised that they were asking and writing
operationalise them in order to a second opinion on the same ailment down each others names. They had been
internalise them. I suspect we often push before getting a new ailment card. The studying together weekly for three
our students to perform without a script doctors have a choice of advice to give months and they hadnt yet got each
before theyre ready to, for fear they may the patients (giving the doctors more others names! But of course, they dont
continue depending on the script when control and the patients more variety) call the register every week, do they?
they no longer need it. To avoid this, I so, as they go to get their second Theydont feel empowered to strike up a
told my class at the outset that they opinion, they might get the same or conversation with each and every one of
could use the doctorpatient script, but different advice. This satisfyingly the class members, do they? This was a
that when they had enough confidence, simulates the stakes of the real-life reminder to me that activities which
they could use their own words. Then communicative situation. entail gathering information from
after a few rounds, I stopped everyone classmates (including their names) may
and suggested they try continuing play an important role in building esprit
without looking at the script if they
4 An aspirational role de corps, which has numerous benefits
could (but saying it was OK to peek if Who wants to play a doctor? a couple for a class.
they got stuck). of students raised their hands, and I
What if your materials dont include made sure they got the role they wanted.
a script and you dont have time to write Its fun to play at being a doctor or a
one? Why not build one together with pilot or a police officer, even if we dont Thank you Chris Gunn and
your learners on the whiteboard as you particularly aspire to be one. Trying on BogglesworldESL I learnt a lot from
model the activity? a role (especially that of an authority that roleplay!
figure) is fun, memorable and motivating.
The patient role might seem less Maxwell Clark (DELTA,
3 Repetition aspirational, but it is not without its
MBA) has been teaching
English since 1996 in
I suspect few teachers I know would attractions, too: for a teenager, seeing a several countries. He
endorse the degree of soul-numbing presented about Stone
doctor without Mum or Dad mediating Soup at IATEFL 2012,
repetition I endured in my French is a significant milestone on the way to and currently teaches at
lessons at school (Je suis, tu es, il est, elle Yew Chung International
independence. School, Hong Kong.
est ... ad nauseam!). But repeating atask Incidentally, in my lesson the
is almost always a good idea, provided doctorpatient roles were fixed for the
there is enough scope for improvement duration. It would have been nice to
and variation between each repetition. give each student a taste of both roles,
Unfortunately, it can be hard to provide but I decided to trade off thoroughness ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 35

IN THE CLASSROOM sound association (syringe Syria), and
kinaesthetic learners will memorise

Vocabulary for all

words through the emotions generated
by their associations.
4 Reading books
Another technique is to read books and
to write down new words as you
Helen Stepanova proposes practice encounter them, learning them in the
to process new lexis effectively. context of the story. Some students will
hair be able to remember not only the word,

he English language is becoming
eyes fingers but even the page and the position on
more and more popular all over the page where a word was printed.
the world and in all spheres of neck lips
life; in particular, anyone who wants to
body 5 Listening to audio input

succeed in the business world has to be

arm leg Students who like to learn by listening
able to speak English. Knowledge of should be encouraged to enlarge their
vocabulary has a serious influence on vocabulary by spending as much time as
general language competence. The more different parts, but you could also get possible listening to recordings, the
words students know, the more secure them to draw a house or flat and write the radio, podcasts, etc.
they feel and the more willing they are names of the rooms, the furniture, etc. 6 Working with a dictionary
to communicate. But how can they best One of the best techniques for
2 Using sticky notes
process new words? And how can expanding vocabulary is to write down
teachers make it easier for their students Writing new words on sticky notes,
together with a translation, synonyms words from the dictionary in groups, for
to learn new words and retain them in example a group of compound words
their long-term memories? and example sentences, is another
technique which will appeal to students made from two other words, such as
who like to write things down and learn headache, lighthouse, snowman, etc.
Different learning styles by seeing words in their written form. 7 Finding international words
According to the proponents of VAK The sticky notes can be put in those Students can be told to look for
there are three innate learning styles, places where the students spend most of international words, those which also
which are used to process new their time or where they are sure to see occur in their native language(s). There are
information: visual, auditory and them several times a day. Each time they plenty of examples nowadays. Sometimes
kinaesthetic. They propose that teachers look at the note, they revise the words. we even do not realise that a word from
should help their students to identify When they have finished with one note, our mother tongue is used in English or
their preferred learning styles and to they can stick up a new one. vice versa. For example, boss, catastrophe,
exploit them when memorising new hooligan and tornado are all English words
3 Creating associations
words by using techniques which match which come from other languages.
their learning profile. (See Marjorie Some students learn by making
associations between a new word and Students who like to learn by
Rosenbergs article in ETp Issue 86 for a listening will find the similar sounds an
fuller exploration of learning styles.) one they already know. These
associations are very personal, so the aid to memorisation.
I have collected a number of
techniques which I have used on students must be left free to create their 8 Looking for familiar words
numerous occasions over the last 14 own: the ones that will work for them. There are a lot of words often the
years, and which have proved extremely The teacher could give some hints, names or parts of the names of
useful in the teaching of new vocabulary. however. The point is that the word will internationally famous companies or
Here is a selection of them that you be memorised and years later the corporations which will be familiar to
might like to try with your students. students will be able to remember it. the students. The teacher can demonstrate
For example, many years ago I tried that these have some meaning and so can
1 Labelling images to memorise the word syringe by easily be added to the students English
Putting new words in a picture or associating it with Syria. There is no lexicon. Examples include smash, bush,
diagram gives the students a useful visual logic to the association, but the word is dell and sharp.
reference. Those students who learn still in my memory!
Helen Stepanova is an
words best by seeing them written down Another example is the word English language teacher,
will benefit from this technique. Actually cumbersome the first association I teacher trainer and
author. She works at the
drawing the picture or diagram is a way made was with cucumber. I imagined a International University
of stimulating creative thought, which long bulky cucumber which it would be EIHSEBA in Riga, Latvia,
and runs her own English
helps make memorisation easier. Students impossible to hide. language courses at
can also be encouraged to draw pictures This technique is appropriate for Bright World
and words in the air with their hands if several different learning styles: visual She is interested in the
they find this is a good way to help them learners will draw a picture in their promotion of independent
language learning.
remember them. In the example here, the minds (cumbersome cucumber),
student has drawn a body and labelled the auditory learners will memorise using

36 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

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A medley of metacognition
Here are some ideas for helping your learners become more Put them in groups to share their response to the activity
self-aware, task-aware and strategy-aware. Why? So that they (Was it hard? Easy? Challenging? Fun? Boring? Useful?
are better able to make use of what you do with them in the Useless?). Every opinion is valid, provided it is backed up with
classroom and continue learning outside the classroom, a good reason or reasons.
where most of their time will be spent.
Ask each group to come up with an idea for adapting the
activity to make it more useful for them.
1 Subvert the sequencing
Subvert your coursebook (they tend to follow a predictable Next time you do a similar activity, let them use their
pattern, so breaking this pattern can spice things up) or your adaptation idea and see if it does make the activity more
usual approach to sequencing activities: useful for them.

Skip an activity or a stage that you would usually use to help 3 Encourage evaluation
your learners. (But be nice about it explain that today you At the end of a coursebook unit, or a series of self-created
are going to do things a bit differently, before launching into a lessons, build in a reflection and evaluation phase:
different game plan: get them on board and ready to spot the
Ask the learners to turn back to the beginning of the unit and
look through all the activities theyve done.
Build in time for discussion following your atypical choice of
Give them a set of the following questions to discuss in
activities or sequencing. Get your learners to consider in what
relation to that unit. For example:
ways the lesson was different and what impact this had on
how easy or difficult they found the reading text/listening What was the aim of each activity?
text/speaking task/writing activity, etc. How useful did you find each activity? Why?
This will help the learners to become more aware of the value What do you think you could do to be more successful next time
that different activities have for them, in approaching texts or you do a similar activity?
tasks. Could you use any of these activities outside the classroom to
help you learn? How?
2 Pinpoint the purpose
Encourage your learners to think about the purpose behind the Give the learners a chance to discuss their answers together
activity you are using: and learn from each other.

Before they start doing an activity that you have prepared, The first few times you use this activity, you may want to
and when they know what is expected of them, ask them how monitor and feed in ideas by asking guiding questions based on
they think doing it might help them. (It will improve our what you know the purpose of certain activities was, and do a
English is not an acceptable answer! Get them to be more short plenary at the end to bring it all together. However, once
specific.) the students are accustomed to doing it, this will become
unnecessary and you will be able to let them take full
At the end of an activity, ask the learners to reflect on the
responsibility for the activity.
experience of doing the activity and whether it met the Lizzie Pinard
expectations they had prior to starting it. Leeds, UK

38 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

TV games
As we all know, games can be both educational and fun for 3 The price is right
students. Adaptations of famous TV games often work This works well for revising numbers, weights or prices.
particularly well as the students already know the format Put the students into teams and ask them a question, such as
and enjoy watching them in their free time. Here are some How much does a ticket for X cost? or How old is Y? The group
games you may like, and which can be done in teams, which guesses nearest the correct answer wins 100 points, but
competing for points. then can try double or nothing to guess the exact amount. If
they get it exact, their points are doubled to 200; if they dont,
1 The weakest link they lose their 100 points.
Put the students into small teams and give them sheets of
paper. Ask a question and, after one second, ask the teams to 4 Mr and Mrs
hold up their answers. Give 100 points for each correct answer In this adaptation, the students ask and answer questions about
and put the points up on the board so everyone can see them. each other.
After three questions, ask the teams to vote for one other team Select two students to be presenters and put the others into
to be the weakest link. They must explain their reasons. At two teams. Get the teams to ask each other questions about
first, this may simply be because they did not get the last themselves to find out as much information as possible, while
question right or have the least number of points, but later on, the two presenters write a series of questions asking for
teams usually start ganging up on rivals and become very personal information. Tell the presenters to select one person
competitive. The team that is voted the weakest link loses 200 from each team and to ask them their questions in private,
points and the questions resume. After a further three noting down the answers. Meanwhile, the teams brainstorm
questions, have another vote. what they remember about the person from their team who has
been selected, pool what else they know about them and also
2 Deal or no deal
what they know about the person from the other team. Finally,
Put the students into two teams and ask a question to the
the presenters tell the teams the first question they asked and
first team. They have ten seconds to answer it correctly for
give three possible answers for each person, only one of which
ten points. If they cant, then it goes to the second team for
is correct. The team that selects the correct answer wins a point.
ten seconds and you add a little more information to help them.
If they get it right, they get five points. If they dont, it goes Phil Wade
back to the first team for one point. La Runion, France

What are you plinning at?

This a good activity for both reviewing verbs questions as possible. With higher levels,
Do you have an idea which you
and practising questions in English. It can just write a couple of examples so that
would like to contribute to our
be done in pairs, but you need to model the they have to think up further questions for
It Works in Practice section? It
exercise first with the class. themselves. The questions can be in the
might be anything from an
present, past, present perfect, etc
1 Tell your students that you are thinking of activity which you use in class to
(depending on the level of your students a teaching technique that has
an action verb and that they have to guess
or the verb tense you want to focus on). worked for you. Send us your
what it is.
1 Get the students to ask questions and try contribution, by post or by email,
1 Write on the board some suitable
to guess the verb you are thinking about to
questions for them to ask, but dont use
When you answer the questions, be sure All the contributors to It Works in
the verb which you have in mind. Instead,
you use plin in your answers. Practice get a prize! We especially
use a nonsense word, such as plin. For
For example: welcome joint entries from
Students: Do you plin during the day? teachers working at the same
Do you plin every day? institution. Why not get together
Teacher: No, I only plin at night. (if your
Do you need your hands to plin? with your colleagues to provide a
verb is sleep)
Are you plinning now? whole It Works in Practice section
Ronaldo Lima
For elementary students, write as many Recife, Brazil of your ideas? We will publish a
photo of you all. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 39


The proof of the pudding is in the eating

John Potts charts the intricacies and idiosyncrasies,
the contradictions and complications that make the English language
so fascinating for teachers and teaching. In this issue,
he is looking at words ending in -ing.

he title and introduction say it all, really: four continuous form, as in this last sentence here? As Im sure
examples of the same form, all ending in the same everyone knows, continuous tenses are formed with the
three letters: ing but are they all the same kind of auxiliary verb be and the present participle of the verb in
word? Both my learners and my trainee teachers this case, have been + looking. Here, the -ing form has a
often struggle to identify words like these, and some tend to verb function, to show the continuous/progressive aspect.
view almost anything with this ending as a present (or past) As a form, this is usually not particularly problematic,
continuous tense. So, what are the different classes and although the spelling can be an issue. Knowing when and
meanings of -ing? why to employ a continuous tense form is another matter
altogether, of course, and one that many learners find
Taking the title as our starting point oops, Ive done it
notoriously difficult.
again. Twice. Time to slow down, I think. Lets look at the
first example: a pudding. Its perhaps the easiest to identify: However, the present participle is very versatile and not
its a noun. Its concrete (my puddings often turn out that restricted merely to helping to form continuous tenses. It
way!) and countable. There are lots more very useful has more roles: for example, in a non-finite adverbial clause,
examples: a painting, a drawing, a building, a ceiling, etc, in a reduced relative clause, as an adjective and as an
and these are usually met from CEF level A2 onwards. object complement.

The second example, the eating, is also a noun, though this Lets take the non-finite adverbial clauses first. Non-finite
time abstract and uncountable. One dictionary defines this means that the verb element doesnt reveal all the
word as the act of eating, and there are many other similar information that finite verbs do: if we say When I opened my
nouns that refer to a particular instance of the act. Literature bag, I saw that it was empty, we know when, who and how
gives us good examples: Nothing in his life became him like many past, first person, singular. In that sentence, both
the leaving it (from Shakespeares Macbeth), Lewis Carrolls verbs are finite.
poem The Hunting of the Snark, or the refrain to the English
But if we say Opening my bag, I saw that it was empty, we
carol The Holly and the Ivy: O, the rising of the sun, And the
dont immediately know that information. We know that the
running of the deer, The playing of the merry organ ...
verb in question is (to) open, but thats all. In this sentence,
But what about eating without the definite article, as in: the first verb is non-finite (opening) and the second is finite
Eating junk food is bad for you. Or Hunting should be (I saw). Only when we reach the finite verb (I saw) are we
banned and Running is good exercise. Here, the word able to supply the missing information about the non-finite:
doesnt take an article and doesnt refer to an instance of now we know that opening = in the past, first person,
the act of eating, hunting or running. Instead, it covers singular. We can now (mentally) expand it to its full finite
multiple acts (infinite acts, even) and so we see the word as version when I opened my bag. Note in passing that we
referring to the activity generally, rather than to a particular cant assume that our expanded finite version is necessarily
example of it. Words such as these are often classed as past simple it could be past continuous if that makes
gerunds, rather than as nouns but, like nouns, they often better sense: Walking along the road, I met my favourite cat
function as the subject or object of verbs, as well as the could easily be expanded to While/As I was walking ...
object of prepositions.
And notice, too, that our expanded versions are all in the
active voice: we need a different participle in non-finite
constructions that have a passive voice.
So far, weve been looking at words that are nouns or that
have some noun-like qualities. But what about the

40 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

LANGUAGE LOG: The proof of the pudding is in the eating

A similar process takes place in reduced relative clauses: a road sign reading: Danger, falling rocks tells us that more
The train arriving at platform nine is the 8.15 from Oxford. rocks may still yet fall. The present participle adjective has
In this case, we can quickly see that the expanded version the aspect features of progressive tenses (incomplete, in
will contain a full relative clause: The train that is arriving progress, etc). So, look above you there may be some
at platform nine is the 8.15 from Oxford. rocks on their way down!
Once again, the time reference depends on that of the main In contrast, a road sign reading: Danger, fallen rocks tells
verb (is = present, in our example above), but our choice of us that the process has been completed the past
tense depends on what makes good sense. In the following participle adjective has the aspect features of perfect
example, we would expand the reduced relative clause to a tenses (completed, perfected, etc). So, look in front of you
present simple, as it expresses general circumstances the rocks are already on the road!
rather than an event in progress: Passengers arriving late
should proceed immediately to the gate = Passengers who
arrive late should proceed immediately to the gate. And Finally, the present participle can be used to complement the
again, the full relative clauses are in the active voice. object of a verb: I watched a street artist drawing a tourists
caricature. In this case, we infer that I didnt watch the artist
draw the caricature completely, from start to finish, but that
Next, lets look at adjectives formed using present participles. I watched just a part of the process. For the former, wed
Every verb will provide us with a present participle and a say: I watched a street artist draw a tourists caricature.
past participle, and these can often be used as adjectives. Again, the present participle provides the aspect features
Learners often first meet them as contrasted pairs: a boring noted above, namely incompleteness and in progress.
book / a bored reader. Sometimes, these participle-
But thats enough for one sitting, I think: time to be leaving
adjectives are categorised as having active and passive
while the going is good.
senses respectively: a boring book is one that bores the
reader, whereas a bored reader is bored by the book. This John Potts is a teacher and teacher trainer
based in Zrich, Switzerland. He has written
is true, but only provided that the root verb that provides the and co-written several adult coursebooks, and
two participles, in this case bore, is a transitive verb. is a CELTA assessor. He is also a presenter for
Cambridge ESOL Examinations.
If the root verb is intransitive, it can hardly form adjectives
with active and passive senses. Instead, the two participles
provide adjectives expressing different aspects. For example,

4 25 1 1 21 17 2 4 5 18 2 25 17 3 Congratulations to all Olga Andreeva, Samara, Russia

16 22 7 25 5 12 25 18 22 those readers who Damian Barnett, Manchester, UK

R E S O A V O T E successfully completed

22 16 5 18 2 26 22 16 22 22 Steve Roberts, Aranda de Duero, Spain

E R A T I G E R E E our Prize Crossword 57.

15 26 16 22 5 18 17 16 25 25 20
Klaudia Bednarczyk, Sosnowiec, Poland

D G R E A T N R O O K The winners, who will
Teresa Mendiguren, Dungannon, UK
2 16 16 22 7 11 22 4 18 2 12 22 1 each receive a copy of
I R R E S P E C T I V E M Ludmila Bogdan, Trowbridge, UK

19 22 5 18 16 7 24 17 the Macmillan English

Dictionary for Advanced Eileen Maguire, Bray, Ireland

10 25 4 22 15 5 16 14 22 4 18 2 4
L O C E D A R H E C T I C Learners, are: Elizabeth Smith, Cardiff, UK

22 10 2 18 22 18 2 11

E L I T E T I P Frdric Amoureux, Cellettes, France
2 1 2 17 12 22 17 18 25 16 13
I M I N V E N T O R Y Janice Anders, Pulborough, UK

5 26 22 12 22 22 22

A G E V E E E 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
5 9 16 22 22 8 22 15 25 7 22
14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
16 25 2 16 2 7 22
5 47 6 21 5 2 17 18 5 1 22 17 15 11 16 25 26 16 22 7 7 3 5 7 5 10 10
14 27 25 16 22 26 16 22 18
16 2 26 14 18 25 17 10 13 2 18 3 22 17
5 15 23 21 7 18 22 10
18 25 17 18 25 25 10 25 17 26 James
A D J U S T E L T O N T O O L O N G Thurber ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 41

The wind is like r Who has seen
the air, only pushie unding the planet and the wind?
a layer of gases surro
Earths atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, 21% Wind is a very curious phenomenon, if you stop to think
y. It contains roughly
kept in place by gravit e and trace amounts about it.
, 0.04% carbon dioxid
oxygen, 0.97% argon , so good if a In itself, it is quite invisible, but its effects are widespread
ga se s, in ad dit ion to water vapour. So far
of oth er and easy to see. Even a gentle breeze will move plants and
d wade through every
the stuff we breathe an
bit dull. So thats air, useful, but the really
turn the pages of newspapers or books, while a major storm
y, wh eth er ou tsi de or in. It is indeed very can demolish buildings and fling vehicles for miles.
da ve about. When it
en when it starts to mo The movement of air (which makes the winds) is caused
interesting things happ zephyr (pleasant);
names for it: breeze, by differences in atmospheric pressure. Air moves from
does, we have various
mpanied by rain or
especially when acco higher-pressure areas to lower-pressure areas to fill the
squall, gale (less so, definitely not on my vacuum. These streams of air, apart from wreaking havoc
, hurricane (these very
hail); tornado, typhoon ric name? Wind. with our umbrellas, can have a major impact on our weather.
list of thi ng s to ex pe rience!) ... And its gene
wish I recently learnt of a wondrous (if fickle) animal called a jet
stream. These (there are several) are narrow, often very
strong winds of 100 miles an hour or so, blowing at high
The answer is altitude (anywhere from 20,000 feet to over 50,000 feet).

blowin in the wind

Jet streams are responsible for the sometimes abrupt and

behindlens /
frequently bizarre changes in our weather. For the global
travellers among us, they can also be responsible for some
Try your hand at this pretty dramatic alterations to flight schedules depending
wind quiz.
1 Which of the follow on whether the pilot is trying to fly with the jet stream or
ing is not affected by
a) person b) dog wind chill? against it.
c) car radiator d) bird
2 What instrument is
used to measure win

a) a radiometer b) d speed?
an anemometer
c) a ammeter d) a win
d vane

in the air
3 Which of these is no
t a wind deity and, for
points, what nationality extra
/religion are the others
a) Aeolus b) Fujin ? m, walking
c) Vitztlampaehecatl When conditions are cal
d) Vayu e) Chillipuff y, really; as its
through air is pretty eas
ff be comes more
4 Which of these win
ds played a pivotal rol speed picks up, the stu
e in a war? of tting your
a) Kamikaze b) Pro
testant Wind c) Kham and more solid think
sin car and feeling the
hand out of a moving
create your own
resistance of air as you
several times forced the
m to halt mid-battle.
out air at
d storms which
While we are talking ab
ps in Wo rld War II, bringing san
and German troo t affected both Allied
y mentioned flying
can win d tha
speed and have alread
a No rth- Afri
1588; the Khamsin is Spanish Armada in
tected England from the
the Protestant Wind pro nes are held up
did you know that pla
t of Kub lai Khan in 1274;
from the invasion flee
lack of air? The
that protected Japan d to describe typhoons
by a vacuum, or relative
wind of god and is use
them; Kamikaze means ec, d Hindu) 4 All of
ne wing means that
), c Azt
cross-section of a pla
b Japanese (Sh into
deity (a ancient Greek, 3 e is not a wind
through the air a
s or other objects.) 2
as the aircraft ploughs
chill has no effect on car the bod y tem per ature down. Wind
the upper surface
d rate driv ing
body at an accelerate
vacuum is created on
t is car ried away from the
wind increases, hea
exposed skin. As the
g the whole thing
t loss from
of the wing, so enablin
of hea
ll is based on the rate
Answers 1 c (Wind chi
t of suction!
to be held up by a sor

42 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

Enough to knock the
A wind by any wind out of your sails
other name The power of the wind
is not confined hour on the top of Mt
Ive mentioned various descriptive words that to simple air movemen Washington in
t; anyone who Ne
lives near the coast, or w Hampshire, USA, in
we have for different wind strengths: words spends any 1934!
time on the water, will However, possibly the
like breeze, zephyr, gust, gale, typhoon, know the effect most
of the wind on the sea damaging wind is the
hurricane, tornado, etc, but there are also . It is said that a on e that changes
15-knot wind blowing just as you are pulling
many proper names given to winds that for a day can a pa rticularly silly
whip up waves five fee or unpleasant face. Fo
feature regularly in a particular area. t high or more, lklo re (of the sort
while a 15-knot wind, used by mothers all ove
One of my favourite names is used for the given 48 hours, r the world)
can create waves som states that if you pull
winds that you find in and around the e 33 feet high. such a face and
We generally become the wind changes while you
Mediterranean Sea near Greece. Here, you worried when so, you are doing
the wind speed reach will be stuck with that
basically have winds which take it in turns to es the 75 mile an face for
hour mark, but the gre the rest of your life.
drive the local population to distraction if not atest surface
wind speed ever officia We are not told what ha
actual insanity by blowing regularly for days lly recorded ppens in the
was a truly terrifying 23 eve nt of subsequent gurni
on end. When one wind gets bored, there is 1 miles per ng (face-
pulling) activity during a
obviously some secret coded message that changing wind
passes between them, and another one takes
over. The name for these winds is the

Wind or
Meltemia, meaning the bad-tempered ones
which, I imagine, can refer equally to the

just a lot
winds and the humans on the receiving end!
The Shawondasee (a word from the
Native American Algonquin tribe, meaning
lazy wind) blows across the American
prairies from the south in the late summer.
of hot air?
Which of these is a genuine
The Williwaw are violent gusts of cold air
name (wind) and which is
that blow off the mountainous coasts into the
made-up (hot air)?
ocean in South America.
The romantically named Chocolatero, off 1 Cats paw 4 Maria
Mexicos Gulf Coast, unfortunately doesnt 2 Whiffler 5 Cock-eyed Bob
bear out its promise it is so-called because it
3 Elephanta 6 Stoat Strangler
is a hot sandy squall coloured brown by dust.
The Trade winds circle the globe both
north and south of the Equator. They got their (a tropical cyclone in Australia) 6 hot air
name because they provided early sailing
from the musical Paint Your Wagon) 5 wind
wind in the song They call the wind Maria
ships with steady and reliable winds which of Indias wet season) 4 hot air (a fictional
would transport valuable cargo from Europe or 2 hot air 3 wind (a southerly gale at the end
Africa to the Americas. Answers 1 wind (a gentle breeze in the US)

The Mistral is a penetrating, stormy, dry

and cold wind that blows through the Rhone
Gone with the w
Valley of France toward the Mediterranean
coast. I live within earsho
t of two bell-endo
wed church towe
Some of the names given to winds can the wind is blowi rs. Depending on
ng, I can hear th the way that
indicate various degrees of violence: tower (just under e near tower (a qu
one mile away), arter of a mile aw
ne ither or both. Sim ay ), the far
A wind of Arabia, the Mezzar-Ifoullousen, kingdom, wind is ilarly, especially
an invaluable tra in th e animal
has a name that translates as the wind that creatures to know nsmitter of scen
when there is tro ts as well as soun
uble/prey/help ab ds , en ab ling
plucks fowl. understood by hu out. This has been
nters in the past, we ll
But my all-time favourite of a name must be purging themselve who spent the tim
s. e before a hunt in
sweat tents
on the next rung up the tempestuous ladder: So, we can see th
at the movemen
the Spanish Descuernacabras the wind effect; in weathe t of air can have
r terms, wind rare a huge and far-rea
ly pleases everyo ching
that de-horns goats. While this experience we have that sayin ne , even though, in its
g: It is an ill wind defence,
would not be rated a success by many goats, possibly been ov that blows nobo
ershadowed by its dy any good. Th
more recent adap is ph ra se has
it might be marginally preferable to meeting the oboe as an tation by musician
ill wind that nobo s to savage
another Iberian breeze: the Matacabras. This dy blows good.
wind is perfectly capable of killing the animals!

Scrapbook compiled by Ian Waring Green ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 43

creative approaches, like
Past Simple: Learning English
writing a childhood
through History
account or a poem. Best,
by David Ronder and Peter Thompson
however, is the treatment
Garnet Education 2013
of idioms so on the
section for topic
This is a cleverly thought-out and development, students are
attractively presented book, which asked if they know the
uses amusing classroom activities meaning of words like
and insightful articles to develop chuddies, chutzpah, kushti/
language learning. It does this by cushty, craic/crack, and so
providing stimulating discussion on. My students really
topics, a selection of playful English warmed to this in class.
idioms, good internet-based Altogether, this is a very
research and creative writing tasks, pleasing addition to the
all within a historical, cultural and plethora of English language
British citizenship context. teaching books out there, but
Its 22 chapters are divided into one that stands out as it gets
two parts, beginning with the students to practise the four
Chronological chapters, a short but skills while getting to grips with
nuanced chronological survey of the rich and diverse cultural
British history, beginning in Roman backstory from which the
Britain and ending, presciently, 12 English language has emerged.
chapters later with The Iron Lady: Ashley Chapman
Margaret Thatcher. Also included London, UK
in this section are chapters on the We have organised a 12.5%
1960s and the national health service discount on this book for ETp
(NHS). A further ten chapters (the Thematic her and agreed to marry her on the subscribers. Simply go to the ETp
chapters) deliver material on topics such strength of it but was bitterly website to order and quote AFZ713
as democracy, immigration and even disappointed when he met the real thing). at the checkout.
cricket. The chapter on democracy, for There are also further opportunities for
instance, sympathetically explores the research, so that students, in one
emancipation of women through the instance, can find out more about the Lingle
activities of the suffragettes, and in the talented black South African cricketer
chapter on cricket a funny old game Basil DOlivera, who embarrassed the
there is an exploration of class and race South African apartheid regime to its very I found the Lingle website to be a very
issues. The book is not exclusively core with a very successful career in the useful resource and I would recommend
Anglo-centric either; it is about Britain, and UK after being denied a platform at home it to all English teachers. This site
rightly includes Ireland and Scotland. in which to shine. provides texts taken from a wide variety
The structure is accessible, but an Past Simple is also very internet-savvy of newspapers (updated and added to
entire chapter is not doable in a single and web-wise, with recommendations for daily). Not only does it provide you with
two-hour lesson. Each chapter has plenty of very good YouTube clips. It has this material, but you can modify the
pre-reading discussion questions, web links to further develop the students texts, adapt them to suit your personal
followed by an in-depth reading text with a understanding. For example, they are needs, create lessons and exercises that
glossary, which will take students between invited to investigate whether Henry VIII exploit them, or even choose and upload
20 and 30 minutes to complete. (I think it really wrote the words to Greensleeves. I your own texts and use the online
would be a very good idea to set the particularly like the way keyword search facilities to create lessons and exercises
pre-reading at the end of class and then engine prompts are given. For example, based on those.
get the students to do the reading for when doing research on the welfare state, Once you log in (a free trial is
homework, ready for a follow-up lesson.) it is suggested that they search for state available), the homepage opens and you
Illustrations, graphs and tables pension + history and William will see three sections: My Lessons, My
develop topics interestingly, so that in the Beverage + last words and NHS + Bookmarks and My Content. You will
chapter on Henry VIII, we are presented number of employees + annual budget, also see a couple of recent news articles.
with six portraits of Henrys wives and thus guiding the students to excellent Click on one of these, and when the text
asked which one we think is Anne of interactive material. opens, you can choose to have some of
Cleves (Henry was supposedly charmed The final writing tasks in each unit the vocabulary highlighted. Difficult
by the flattering portrait he was sent of range from writing short essays to more words or topical words can be

44 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

This is your magazine.
We want to hear from you!

Do you have ideas youd like to share
with colleagues around the world?
Tips, techniques and activities;
simple or sophisticated; well-tried
or innovative; something that has
worked well for you? All published
contributions receive a prize!
Write to us or email:
highlighted (or both), and you
choose the number of words:
five, ten or 20. Difficult words

(the choice is informed by
various corpora) are
highlighted in the text in
Do you have something to say about
purple; topical words appear
in blue. When you click on one an article in the current issue of ETp?
of the highlighted words, you This is your magazine and we would
can hear the pronunciation really like to hear from you.
and see the meaning. Write to us or email:
You can then create a lesson from the
article by clicking on the Create a lesson focus on. Again, students can drag and
button. You are offered several options. drop the parts of speech into the available
You can choose to have a glossary of gaps. There is a Check answers button Writing for ETp
difficult words, a glossary of topical words, for checking accuracy and scores. There is Would you like to write for ETp? We are
a difficult words gap-fill exercise or a also a very useful Grammar gapfill (Usage always interested in new writers and
topical words gap-fill exercise. You can list) tool, which will pull out and display fresh ideas. For guidelines and advice,
have all of them if you want, and you can example sentences from a variety of texts
write to us or email:
select the level. You just tick your choices to illustrate grammar and vocabulary use.
and in less than a minute your lesson is There are other exercise types available,
ready. If you choose to have a glossary, it such as ordering and matching.
appears under the text, with each word
explained, including its part of speech. It is
To find texts on interesting topics,
use the Search tab at the top of the
It really worked
followed by the text with gaps, which can homepage and put key words in the box. for me!
be filled by dragging and dropping words Again, you can also specify the level and Did you get inspired by something
from a box (or you could print it out and particular grammatical structures you want
you read in ETp? Did you do
get the students to write the words in). You to focus on when you search for texts.
something similiar with your students?
can also provide a list of words that you You can share your lessons with other
Did it really work in practice?
would like to be included in the exercise. teachers as well as track and assign work
Do share it with us ...
If you want to focus on the grammar in to students, who need to log in to
the text, you can click on the Grammar complete the exercises online.
tab and highlight the grammar points that Could this be the end of textbooks?
you want to target. If you select several By using sites like this, teachers can
English Teaching professional
grammar points to focus on, they will all make their lessons completely up-to-date
Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd,
appear in different colours. If you want to and can vary their content according to Rayford House, School Road,
create a grammar lesson based on the the interests, level and degree of Hove BN3 5HX, UK
same text, you click on Add exercise, knowledge of their students. Fax: +44 (0)1273 227308
then on Grammar gapfill, and then select Evelina Miscin Email:
the grammar points which you want to Zagreb, Croatia ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 45


Charles Mercer boxes have often noticed how students
respond correctly while I am
clever to teach prepositions. actually teaching a particular point
of grammar. For example, repeated
drills of the present perfect tense in the
classroom seem to produce the correct
answers, both spoken and written. But
once the students are out of the
classroom, and find themselves in a
situation where the tense is required,
they immediately revert to a past tense
which they have previously assimilated
and which adequately (for them) fills the Figure 1
gap. Beginners manifest this students are so consistent that I believe
phenomenon by speaking in infinitives, the incorrect answers are more than
somehow being unable to push their mis-translations from the mother tongue
brains another mental step further to into English. Consider these answers to
unlock the file with the correct form of the question Where is the blue box? with
the tense. reference to Figure 1.
I have partially solved the memory
retention problem while teaching French speaker: Above the white box.
prepositions, which, I think it could (incorrect)
fairly be argued, represent a minefield German speaker: Over the white box.
for language learners. It does require the (incorrect)
use of the currently unfashionable
Native English speaker: On the white
technique of repetition, but it produces
box. / On top of the white box.
positive results. I stumbled on the idea
while teaching French air traffic Above and over tell us where the blue
controllers. As you may imagine, getting box is, but we dont use those
professional students like these to use prepositions in English in this specific
the correct prepositions could literally situation. Imagine if you have forgotten
be a matter of life or death, so I needed where you left your book and your
something relatively foolproof. I used friend says: Its over the kitchen table. To
two plastic boxes, which I placed on the a native English speaker, this answer
desk in front of me and moved around, would sound decidedly odd, as we
asking the students to say where each would expect to hear: Its on the kitchen
box was in relation to the other. table. And this points to one of the
When I have used this exercise with major difficulties that prepositions
multilingual classes, I have received introduce: some of them are
some intriguing responses, which would interchangeable, some are not.
seem to indicate that different Focusing on the white box and asking
nationalities see spatial relationships in Where is the white box? produces answers
different ways. The responses from that are usually a little more encouraging:

46 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

French speaker: Below the blue box. Based on these examples, the students
(correct) will quickly introduce examples of their
German speaker: Under the blue box. own, and your clarifications will usually By starting the first lesson of the day
(correct) promote a lively discussion. with the boxes, I found both accuracy
and retention were usually achieved by
Native English speaker: Under the
the fourth day. I extended the principle
blue box. / Underneath the blue box.
to a library of pictures, collected from
magazines, which as closely as possible
Above and below targeted one preposition. You have to
Above and below are particularly difficult accept that in some pictures multiple
because they can be used in the form of answers are possible, but this, in itself, is
prepositions, adverbs and adjectives not a bad thing as it extends the
(and sometimes even nouns). They can knowledge of prepositions. Consider a
also sometimes be interchanged with Figure 2 picture of a man walking in a street and
over and under just to add more ask:
Placing the boxes side by side, as
confusion. To reinforce the explanation illustrated in Figure 2, produces a Question: Where is the man?
of their use, I hold the blue box above different spatial relationship and the Answer: He is walking along/through/
the white one with about half a metre original question may be repeated: down/up the street. (correct)
separation and ask: Where is the blue box?
Question: Where is the blue box? The correct answers are: Next to/ I found that ten pictures were usually
near/beside/on the right of the white box. enough to fit in as a warmer before the
Answer: Above the white one. (correct)
Sometimes I hear besides, which is main lesson began. Occasionally the
Question: Where is the white box? incorrect, instead of beside. Used as a pictures will produce so much additional
Answer: Below the blue one. (correct) preposition, besides means in addition vocabulary that the exercise can consume
to. Also incorrect is: The blue box is the whole lesson. But daily repetition is
Note: in this case, it is best to supply the nearby the white box. Nearby is an the key, and, for me, a proven way of
answers yourself the first time you do adverb and usually appears at the end of helping students to retain their
this to avoid confusion. On the next a sentence, eg Our school has a bus stop knowledge and use of prepositions.
occasion, wait for the students to answer nearby. Nearby can also be used as an
and correct as necessary. adjective, eg There is a nearby post office. Charles Mercer worked
Admittedly all this is an over- as a sales and marketing
manager in the DIY
simplification, but it fits in well with the industry for 30 years
concept of the drill exercise. And it gets before taking a TESOL
qualification at Trinity
the idea of a spatial relationship into College London. He then
perspective. I would also slip in at this joined Studio School
Cambridge, teaching all
point a reference to an iceberg and how levels of English, but
it floats in water, which is a fairly well specialising in business
English. He is now
understood principle (most students semi-retired, making
have seen the film Titanic). One eighth videos for websites,
training films and
of the iceberg is above the surface of the commercial enterprises.
sea, seven eighths of it is below the
surface of the sea. Note: it would not be
incorrect to say: Seven eighths of an Figure 3
iceberg is under the surface of the sea,
but one eighth of an iceberg is over the
surface of the sea is incorrect.
Now I place the blue box behind the
white one, as illustrated in Figure 3, and TALKBACK!
ask: Do you have something to say about
Over and under Question: Where is the blue box? an article in the current issue of ETp?
Answer: Behind/In back of the white This is your magazine and we would
Because of the inter-changeability of over really like to hear from you.
box. (correct in back of is American
and under with above and below in some
English) Write to us or email:
situations, I usually offer two example
sentences related to sport, which are Question: Where is the white box?
familiar to most of my students:
Writing for ETp
Answer: In front of the blue box.
1 To score a goal in Rugby Football, (correct)
you have to kick the ball between Would you like to write for ETp? We are
One incorrect answer which is quite
the goalposts and over the bar. always interested in new writers and
common here is before the blue box.
fresh ideas. For guidelines and advice,
2 To score a goal in Association Used as a preposition, before refers to
write to us or email:
Football, you have to kick the ball time, eg two days before the holidays. As
between the goalposts and under an adverb, before means at a previous
the bar. time, eg Ive seen this film before. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 47


From research
to reality 4
Magnus Coney continues his series on putting theoretical insights to practical use.

T Testing
wo different teachers tell you how designed to elicit links with other
they recycle previously-studied material beyond the item being tested
vocabulary in class. One of them (eg through careful selection of Make testing low stakes: help the
gets her students to go through their distractors in a multiple-choice test). students to see it as a learning
personal word list (with the English The research has obvious opportunity rather than an evaluation.
words and L1 translations). The other implications in several areas, some You can support this by playing
gives her students regular tests. Both end suggestions for which are presented here. background music, allowing the students
the cycle with a final assessment. The two to work together, and incorporating the
approaches could be summarised as: Lesson planning students in your questions (Matteo was
The research suggests that a testteach late today because he _____ the bus) to
1 SSSSA bring a little levity to the situation.
test approach to lesson planning is more
beneficial than the standard PPP Make sure students get feedback on
(S = study, T = test, A=final assessment) their tests. This can be done through
(presentation, practice, production)
Which group of students would you approach. The simplest way to do this is peer- and self-correction, but students
think does better on the final assessment? to decide what you want your students should also be encouraged to consider
to be able to do at the end of the lesson, which areas they struggled with and why
Research and get them to try the same exercise at and what they could do about it.

Studies performed by Robert Bjork and the beginning of the lesson before they
his colleagues at UCLA showed that learn anything.
Another option is to problematise Keep a vocabulary envelope for the
students who are forced to retrieve class, containing flashcards with new
previously-learnt information learn better the language point. This involves setting
an awareness-raising task that highlights words in English on one side and a
than those who simply study the same translation and/or definition on the
material repeatedly, so the second class in the misunderstandings that can result
from using this item incorrectly. An other. The students could also be
the example above would perform better encouraged to keep their own. These
on the final assessment. The theory is example suggested by Scott Thornbury
can be seen on the facing page. envelopes lend themselves to a variety of
that students get more useful feedback games and force the students to attempt
from a test than they would if they simply Use an inductive approach, where
the students attempt to work things out retrieval of the word, as they cannot see
studied something without seeing if they the translation until they turn the card
could remember it first, which requires for themselves before they get feedback.
This can be supported by providing over. One possibility, depending on the
much less in the way of mental effort. number of cards/students, is to lay them
Bjork and his team also discovered that guiding questions to direct them to the
right answers. I have found in my own out on the table in the form of a board
testing people on the material before game. As students throw dice and land
they learnt it improved their ability to informal (and undoubtedly not
scientifically valid at all!) classroom on each card, they have to use the
remember the material after they learnt it. English equivalent in a sentence.
research that students who attempt to
infer the meaning of a word before If your students are digitally literate
Reality looking it up retain the word better than and have their own tablets/smartphones,
This article is not advocating a testing those who look it up immediately. there are various websites and apps that
culture of the sort that has blighted As suggested in a previous article in can be used to keep online vocabulary
many educational systems. I have always this series, lessons could end with a final envelopes. One of the most popular is
considered tests a learning opportunity reflection, where students attempt to
for students, and Bjork says the same, retrieve what they have learnt that day. Any text that is used in class should
suggesting that they should be frequent, They should have an opportunity to get be re-used at least two or three times in
low stakes (ie having no important feedback on this, whether through peer-, a variety of activities, such as to create a
consequences for the students) and self- or teacher correction/support. gap-fill or word re-arranging activity. The

48 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

benefit of this is that, if the text is from

Phillip Burrows
the students coursebook, the activity can
be set as homework (if you trust them!)
which they can mark themselves, because
they already have the original text.

Self-study techniques
Share this research with your students!
Something else that researchers found
was that the repeated testing process was
the one rated least effective by the
subjects, even though they went on to
perform best in the final assessments.
Encourage your class to try to
remember things for themselves rather
than immediately reaching for the
dictionary or reference book.
If they are using a self-study book,
they could try to do the end-of-unit test
first, then the unit itself.

As I said before, this is in no way a

validation of the stressful, high-stakes
testing culture prevalent in many A drawing game
schools. The key is that the students are
(Adapted from an activity suggested by Scott Thornbury)
trying to retrieve what they have
previously learnt without being given
it, whether this be through a test, a task, This is a good way of starting a lesson on articles, and can be adapted
re-reading a previously-used text or even to other language points (eg dependent prepositions: Draw a coat
playing a game. We need to appreciate, made for a dog versus Draw a coat made from a dog).
even welcome, errors as signs of learning
(desirable difficulties as Bjork terms Put the class in pairs, A and B. Tell them that they will be giving each
them), moving from the prevailing get it
other a series of instructions to draw various simple pictures. Distribute
right in the beginning approaches to
accepting that learners will get it right in the handouts below, making sure each pair has one copy of A and one
the end, as Patsy Lightbown and Nina of B, which they keep secret from each other. They take it in turns to
Spada put it. read out the descriptions of each picture and draw what they hear.
When they have finished, get the students to compare their pictures with
research.html their partners and look at the sentences they read out.
21memory.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 Student A Student B
cfm?id=getting-it-wrong Tell your partner Tell your partner
2011/10/09/p-is-for-problematizing/ to draw these pictures: to draw these pictures:
Lightbown, P and Spada, N How
Languages are Learned OUP 2006 a room with a glass on the floor a bowl with a tomato in it

Magnus Coney a man buying paper a room with glass on the floor
completed his CELTA
in 2005 and, since then, a boy with egg on his head a girl with long hair
has worked in London
and Italy. He blogs
occasionally at a girl with a long hair a boy with an egg on his head
www.learningcentred a cat on TV a man buying a paper
and is currently
preparing for his first
course as a CELTA tutor.
a bowl with tomato in it a cat on a TV ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 49


Learner: Things are hard at the moment
and no one has had a pay rise for three
years. Even the annual managers meeting
is taking place on site this year, rather
than at a luxury hotel. We felt that was a
better sign to give to the employees.

at the top
Teacher: Yes, so they feel as if you are
all in the same boat.
Learner: Exactly. Thats what I meant.
(writes it down)
Another role you will take on in such
lessons is that of motivator, by
encouraging the learner to increase their
contact with English in their daily life.
This might be by reading their company
Caireen Sever addresses high-level, newsletter in the English version first (if
available), by watching DVDs in English
high-status learners. or by reading books or news websites. If
you ask every lesson what they have

done this week in English, you will
eaching business English is an only talk about work and its the small
motivate them to spend some time doing
exciting job. The teacher has to talk that follows which is a problem? Do
something. You can also talk to them
get to know different people in they lack confidence or suspect that what
about how to fit extra English practice
different industries and has to they are saying isnt accurate enough?
into their already very busy lives, eg by
understand enough about their jobs, They might also want to improve specific
listening to an English podcast while
their companies and their English needs business skills for example, chairing
driving to work.
to be able to design a course to help meetings or giving presentations.
them improve. Once you have decided these course
One of the more challenging aims, put them in writing and make sure Your lessons
situations we face is when learners are at you both have a copy so that you can But what will you actually do in the
advanced level, for example CEF C1. refer to them every lesson and check lessons with learners who seem to know
This means that they speak fluently, they that you are making progress towards everything already? Here are some
make few mistakes and they are already achieving them. elements which will probably feature:
easy to understand. As a result, it is
Prepare for real work situations use
sometimes difficult to see progress lesson Your role a meeting agenda or the minutes of
by lesson. In addition, these learners are
often senior managers or board Your role in a lesson with an advanced- the previous meeting to prepare for
members, usually having one-to-one level senior manager will be different upcoming meetings by talking about
lessons. But their lessons are not just an from that in a group or lower-level the topics involved, feeding in
opportunity for you to drink good lesson. It is likely to be a conversation- vocabulary where necessary and
coffee and admire the view from the top based situation, with you usually in the enabling the learner to voice their
floor. These are busy people and expect role of listener, encouraging the learner opinions and practise their arguments
their time to be used productively. They to talk by asking questions, helping out in the safety of the lesson before
will certainly tell you if that is not with vocabulary where necessary and doing it in the real meeting. Use
happening or they will just stop offering corrections if any errors are authentic emails and presentations to
booking lessons with you. made. discuss the issues contained in them as
However, there is also some room well as to exploit them for useful
for you to be a talker your own language. Your learner will already be
Your aims language is a rich source of new effectively doing business in English,
You need to start such a course by firmly vocabulary, including phrasal verbs, but almost definitely will not be
establishing your course aims with your collocations and idioms (and ones which getting any feedback on the accuracy
student. Despite their advanced level, this are really used rather than just found in of their language, or on areas they
busy person is giving up precious time to a list in a book). Your advanced-level could improve and this where you
improve their English. Find out why that learner is likely to be good at noticing can help. Even better, if it is possible,
is. Did they recently have to use their new language; after all, they must shadowing provides invaluable
English in their job and found it wasnt already have good learning strategies to language for feedback. For example,
good enough? What exactly can they tell have achieved this level, but you may you could listen to your learner
you about where they feel they lack also sometimes need to help out by making a genuine phone call or sit at
language? Is it vocabulary and if so, is making notes or pointing out alternative the back of a real meeting and take
it work-related or do they find they can ways of saying something. For example: notes.

50 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

Get learners out of their comfort
Note down an event
zone. For example, they may be
you have seen or
avoiding talking about difficult areas
heard about recently
where they know they dont have the
in the news, eg recent
vocabulary. Keep yourself aware of
elections, strikes,
current events in business and politics
summits, etc.
and get your learner to explain them
to you. Ask probing questions to
stretch them further: Why exactly was Why is this interesting
that? Tell me more about that. for you?

Deal with fossilised errors, which

happen because the learner has not
had feedback on their language for
some time. Error correction in your
lessons will more often be on-the- What impact might
spot, rather than making notes to go this have in your
through later, because they are things country?
which the learner should already
know. For example:
Learner: The finance department is
doing the annual report at this time
every year. What impact might
Teacher: is doing? this have on your
Learner: does! company?

Use online dictionaries and corpus

statistics, especially as the lesson is
likely to be in the learners office so
their computer will be there.
What developments
Alternatively, this type of learner
do you think there
might have a laptop or tablet. Showing
might be in this news
them how to look things up on their
own equipment is teaching them to be
a self-sufficient language learner.
Think beyond single-word vocabulary.
Collocations and phrasal verbs will
time may help them to focus on their in the course to prove that they have
help push their language further, so
language and cut out some of their made progress which will help them
make sure they get used to looking for
fossilised errors or to try out new stay motivated and encourage them to
and recording whole phrases.
vocabulary. book even more lessons with you!
Use authentic materials such as
Use their previous learning experience.
podcasts and video clips. This can
To have achieved this level, they have
stimulate discussion, can encourage
been doing something right, so exploit Teaching high-level learners at the top
students to listen to podcasts and watch
this for example, by asking how they of their profession is challenging but
video clips in their own time and is also
learn new vocabulary. Suggest new stimulating, and with these tips you will
a rich source of useful new language.
ways of learning; for instance, they be helping them do business better in
Keep asking them about their use of may never have tried recording not English.
English in their jobs: How did it go? only the noun but also the related
Caireen Sever is
How did you feel? Where did you feel verb and adjective forms. Director of Studies at
your English was lacking? This will Linguarama Dsseldorf,
help inform future lessons. It will also Record them speaking even film Germany, leading a
team of business
show them that they are making them, if possible and go through the English teachers.
progress, as situations will get easier, recording together to suggest She is also co-author
of The Business English
and this will keep them motivated. improvements. This will force them to Teacher, in the Delta
focus on the details of what they are Teacher Development
Series. She has over 12
Leave time for silence. For example, saying and may highlight problems years of experience in
use a framework and give them a few they were unaware of, such as flat teaching business
minutes to make notes on it (see the intonation. If you keep these English.

example here). Giving them planning

recordings, you can also use them later ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 51

ESP Academic
Louis Rogers differentiates between two different word lists

n this ongoing series on using corpora had to occur at least 100 times and a vocabulary give us two sets that are quite
to develop materials, I should like to member of the word family needed to be different and contain words that can,
move the focus to corpora of academic in all four disciplines, with a frequency of consequently, be used in different ways.
vocabulary and how they can be used at least ten appearances in each sub-list As the AWL excludes the first 2,000 most
to develop EAP materials. There are a and in at least 15 of the 28 subject areas. frequent words of English, it can arguably
whole host of corpora analysing academic This study was embraced to such an only be used with higher levels, potentially
language, but I would like to look here at extent that the AWL can be found in many from CEF B1 or more likely from B2
two main lists Averil Coxheads Academic published EAP materials. In many cases, upwards. Also, because it is an analysis of
Word List and Magali Paqouts Academic the list has been used well, such as in published academic texts and does not
Keyword List. Both were designed to help Focus on Vocabulary: Mastering the include student writing, it is also potentially
students in an EAP environment, though Academic Word List by Diane and Norbert most valuable when used alongside an
they were created in quite different ways Schmitt, but in some cases I think it has academic reading course. The AKL, by
and, arguably, for quite different purposes. been overused. The main aim of the study bringing in more frequent words and two
These two lists, though similarly named was to identify important words to help corpora of student writing, is perhaps more
and, at face value, appearing to deal with students deal with the reading texts that valuable when working on productive
the same issue are significantly different. they would encounter on their degree writing skills. Students writing is unlikely to
Academic vocabulary is often defined courses. It used printed written texts and have the sophistication of published texts,
as words occurring frequently in academic did not look at spoken language. However, so using these as a model for productive
texts which are transferable across you still find the list being used in academic language may be counterproductive.
disciplines, ie they are not technical or listening and speaking courses. Had the Choosing the right corpora to inform
specific to any one subject. However, not study only looked at spoken language, I your materials development can be tricky.
everyone accepts this definition, and there doubt many people would have used it as In many cases, it is useful to go back to
is much debate about transferability and a tool to improve their students vocabulary the original research and analyse how the
specificity. Ken Hyland and Polly Tse argue for dealing with academic reading texts. corpus was created and what its intended
against the concept of transferability. They Whilst there could well be some crossover, outcome was.
feel that it would be better to create and using it to inform speaking and listening Here we have two very different
use discipline-specific lists. Personally, I materials is to some extent second- academic vocabulary lists that can serve
can see the benefit of both and I will look guessing the transferability of the language learners and teachers well, but that
at discipline-specific lists in a future article. into a context that was not studied. perhaps need to be used in different ways
Here, I will give a brief overview of the and for different outcomes. The material
Academic Word List and the Academic The Academic Keyword List on page 53 looks at using the AKL to
Keyword List and follow this by presenting The 930-word Academic Keyword List teach students the language of cause
a set of materials for teaching the (AKL) was designed at the Centre for and effect.
language of cause and effect to students. English Corpus Linguistics, Universit
Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, within Coxhead, A A New Academic Word List
The Academic Word List the framework of a research project led by TESOL Quarterly 34 2000
To create the Academic Word List (AWL), Professor Sylviane Granger. It is available Hyland, K and Tse, P Is there an
academic vocabulary? TESOL
Averil Coxhead analysed 3.5 million words on the CECL website:
Quarterly 41 2007
from 414 texts in four main discipline areas en-372126.html. The list was created in
Paquot, M Academic Vocabulary in
and across 28 topic areas. It consists of quite a different way from the Academic
Learner Writing: From Extraction to
the 570 word families that are used the Word List: the sources were not only Analysis Continuum 2010
most frequently across a range of published academic texts, but also two
disciplines. The study excluded the first student writing corpora: the Louvain Louis Rogers is a
2,000 words found on the General Service Corpus of Native Speaker Essays and the Course Tutor at the
University of Reading,
List, as the main aim was to focus on British Academic Written English (BAWE) UK. He is the author of
transferable academic vocabulary for Pilot Corpus. A second important @Work (intermediate
and elementary levels),
students about to start academic study. difference is that the list does not exclude published by Richmond,
There was an assumption that students at the 2,000 most frequent words of English. and co-author of Oxford
EAP (B1+), published by
this stage and level would already know OUP, and Skillful Reading
this more frequent vocabulary. Frequency Different uses and Writing (Level 2),
published by Macmillan.
was the key in determining whether a word The different approaches used to produce
was included in the list. Each words family these two lists of transferable academic

52 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

Cause and effect: Lesson plan
These materials and this approach can underline any examples of cause and Verbs: cause, bring about, contribute to,
be adapted to almost any topic that effect language in the answers. generate, give rise to, induce, lead to,
lends itself to teaching cause and prompt, provoke
4 Give out copies of Worksheet 1 and
effect. Here, the examples are based Adjectives: consequent, responsible (for)
around the topic of urbanisation. ask the students to match the two
halves of the sentences together. Prepositions: because of, due to, as a
1 Start the lesson by giving the students result of, as a consequence of, in view of,
5 Get the students to identify the owing to
an info-graphic which will provide an
interesting stimulus to generate ideas cause and effect word(s) in each Adverbs: therefore, accordingly,
and discussion. The info-graphic at sentence and to decide if these words consequently, thus, hence, so, thereby, are nouns, verbs, adjectives, as a result
php/the-world-at-7-billion-urbanization prepositions, adverbs or conjunctions.
Conjunctions: because, since, as, for
highlights the rate and distribution of Ask them to think of other words for
each group and to say which word form Answers:
urbanisation around the world. Ask the
they think is most common in marking 1c 2a 3d 4f 5b 6e
students to look at this and discuss the
following questions: cause and effect. When analysing the 6 Give the students Worksheet 2 and
British National Corpus: Academic
1 Why do you think people ask them to complete each sentence
sub-corpus (humanities), which is part
move to urban areas? with words from Worksheet 1.
of the AKL, we find that nouns make up
2 What problems might just over 30 percent of cause and effect Answers:
urbanisation cause? markers, adverbs and conjunctions just 1 1 Since 2 Thus 3 due to 4 contribute
3 What might the benefits over 20 percent each, verbs just over to 5 factor 6 responsible for
of urbanisation be? 15 percent, prepositions approximately 2 reason factor; lead to give rise to;
5 percent and adjectives 1.49 percent. because of due to; therefore thus; as
2 Elicit the students answers and write since
The most common in each category
them up on the board. Put a number or are:
7 Finally, ask the students to use these
letter next to each one as you do this.
Nouns: cause, factor, source, origin, words to write sentences of their own
3 Ask the students to divide the ideas root, reason, consequence, effect, related to their initial discussion at the
on the board into cause and effect and to result, outcome, implications start of the lesson.

Worksheet 1 Worksheet 2
Match the two halves of the sentences. 1 Complete these sentences using words and expressions
from Worksheet 1.
1 Improved standards of a higher levels of air
living are a and water pollution. 1 _________________ urban lifestyles are less physical, many
people gain weight.
2 Increased urbanisation b governments
2 There is a belief that employment opportunities will be
gives rise to need to take control
and manage the better in an urban area. _________________, many people
3 Developing countries transition from a choose to leave rural areas behind.
will be responsible for rural to an urban
3 The additional pressure placed on agricultural land is
_________________ changes in diet that mean urban
4 Much of Chinas
residents consume more meat.
economic growth is c factor in increased
arguably due to urbanisation. 4 Poor living conditions _________________ the many health
problems residents face in slum areas.
5 When managed d much of the future
effectively, urbanisation in the 5 Poor urban planning is a _________________ in many
urbanisation can bring next decade. transport issues modern cities face.
many benefits. Thus,
e the countries are at 6 Urbanisation is arguably _________________ the breakdown
6 Problems associated a different stage. of many traditional societies.
with urbanisation in
2 Which words in Exercise 1 can these replace?
the developed world f its rapid
are different since urbanisation. reason lead to because of therefore as ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 53


Teaching in a
Sarah Portell revives o you teach in a modern and overcome various problems is what
classroom, fully equipped will differentiate mediocre and excellent
some old ideas in high-tech with an LCD projector, teacher trainers.
screen, computer, sound Many low-resource-area teachers
times. system and interactive whiteboard, with rely on the grammar-translation
access to limitless copies of materials method of English teaching because
and a full range of online ELT resources? they do not know what else to do in the
Or do you teach in a classroom that may situation. Recently I co-facilitated a
or may not have electricity? Do your workshop in Western Mongolia for rural
students have to share books because English teachers entitled Activities for
there are not enough to go round? Is the Language Practice. Simple, virtually
blackboard cracked and stained? Is there paperless communicative activities were
usually, but not always, chalk to use? groundbreaking for the teachers.
Although the situation of English I produced a feedback form in order
teachers around the globe is varied, to learn what resources the teachers had
many teachers in South America, Asia available and which of the workshop
and Africa must teach with few activities they thought would be the
resources available to them. Many of most useful in their particular contexts.
these teachers teach in rural areas to Most of them reported having only a
vulnerable children. Even if your own blackboard, chalk and limited textbooks
classroom is well equipped, you may be (ie more students than textbooks) as their
teaching future English teachers who available resources. Each student had a
will return to work in low-resource notebook and pen as well. However,
areas. How we equip teachers in there was no photocopier, no extra paper,
low-resource areas to adapt to situations no teachers book, no listening CDs, no
internet and no dictionaries available for
the teacher to use.
You dont need to have I reminded them that you dont need
elaborate PowerPoint to have elaborate PowerPoint
presentations and reams of photocopied
presentations and matching activities to motivate students
to learn. Interaction using English is
reams of photocopied intrinsically motivating for students, even
matching activities if the activity seems like it is one of the
oldest ideas in the book! Here are some
to motivate students of the activities the teachers picked out
to learn as being likely to be the most useful in
an under-resourced teaching context.

54 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

3 Tell the students that they must listen 6 Each person must tell the others in
1 Dictation relay race to a sentence and correct the mistake. the new group about their section.
Materials: One piece of paper, students If they can correct the mistake, they The students may ask some of the
notebooks and pens can write an X or an O on the board. key questions written on the board in
Preparation: Using new vocabulary or 4 Ask two people to be the writers and
order to try to understand the text.
grammar structures, write sentences on to stand at the board, one for X and (This stage should take four to six
a piece of paper. Attach the paper to a one for O. minutes.)
wall. (With a large class, you may need 7 Write other questions on the board
to write the sentences on two or more 5 Ask two people to be the speakers:
one for X and one for O. Each team to help the groups find and share all
pieces of paper and attach them to the information in the reading text.
different walls.) must talk to their speaker and the
speaker then talks to the teacher.
Procedure: (The speaker can change in each 4 Disappearing dialogue
1 Put the students in pairs. Designate round of the game.) Materials: Blackboard/whiteboard and
one student in each pair as the reader
6 Say the first sentence to one team. chalk/whiteboard pens
and the other as the writer.
They discuss for a few seconds and Preparation: Prepare a dialogue that
2 Ask the readers to stand up. Then then tell their speaker what to say. If practises the vocabulary or grammar
ask the writers to stand up. Make the teacher agrees that their version structure that you are teaching.
sure that all the students know what of the sentence is correct, the speaker
they are before you start! Procedure:
can tell the writer where to put their
mark. 1 Write the dialogue on the board.
3 Demonstrate with one pair first.
7 Then do the same with the next 2 Ask the students to practise it in
4 Ask the writer to take out a pen and
team. Repeat until one team has pairs.
notebook. Ask the reader to stand
up. Tell the reader to go to one of the three of their symbols in a row in the 3 After most students have finished the
pieces of paper and to read a grid, or it is not possible for either first reading, erase one or two words
sentence, then come back and tell it team to win. from each line of the dialogue. Ask
to the writer. The writer must write the students to practise it again,
the sentence down in their notebook. 3 Reading jigsaw supplying the missing words from
The reader must keep going back memory.
Materials: Textbooks with a reading
and forth, reading the sentences and 4 Repeat Stage 3 until there are no
text, blackboard/whiteboard, chalk/
dictating them to the writer. words on the board.
whiteboard pens
5 Now ask all the writers to take out Preparation: Choose a text from the
their pens and notebooks. Check that textbook and divide it into four or five
they have them. Ask all the readers to sections, depending on how many
stand up. Show them the location of These activities are not new or original,
students there are in the class.
the sentences and tell them to begin. and many readers will have come across
Paragraphs are the best way to divide it.
them before. What they have in common
6 The first pair to write all the Procedure: is that they will all work in a low-resource
sentences wins.
1 Divide the students into groups of environment, and even teachers in
7 Pairs who finish first can compare four or five, depending on class size. classrooms full of the latest technological
and check their answers with another equipment might like to be reminded of
2 Assign each group a different section
pair who have finished quickly. some simple ideas that genuinely work.
of the reading text.
After all, who knows when your next
3 Ask each group to read their section
2 Tic-Tac-Toe error and help each other remember the
power cut may occur and you find
yourself left to your own devices?
correction important words. Monitor the
Materials: One piece of paper, groups closely to help them
understand any new words they dont Thank you to Mindy Bergen who taught
blackboard/whiteboard and chalk/
me these simple activities when I was a
whiteboard pens know. (This stage should take three new teacher, teaching in a low-resource
Preparation: Record on a piece of paper to four minutes.) middle school classroom in Lhasa, Tibet.
at least 12 common mistakes that the 4 Ask each group to try to memorise
students make. the important ideas in their section. Sarah Portell and her
husband Craig started
Procedure: You may want to write some an English training centre
questions on the board to help them called NovaLingua in
1 Divide the class into two teams: X Bayan-Ulgii, Mongolia, in
identify the key ideas. (This stage
and O. 2011. She enjoys working
should take three to four minutes.) with new teachers,
2 Draw a grid of two vertical lines and especially in remote
5 Give each group member a number places where people
two horizontal lines on the board. want to learn English but
and rearrange the groups so that
Demonstrate that team X want to have few opportunities
there is one person from each old to do so.
put three Xs in a row and team O
group in the new group.
wants three Os in a row. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 55

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Me, myselves, I
conversation, confidence-building
fluency and affective strengthening of
the class bond between the students.

A class
I then asked the other students in the
Lee Shutler widens his horizons. class to have similar conversations with

each other in pairs. At this stage, I just
dont know what to say! This is weekend? and often got variations on wanted them to follow my example and
often heard in classrooms around the response Nothing much. I decided I not follow up on their partners answers.
the world usually from students. would hear this answer no more. This had the (desired) effect of the
However, it wasnt until I heard the same I introduced my idea by getting the students wanting to investigate their
thing during an appraisal with a relatively students to consider the question Who partners answers: the questioners wanted
young and inexperienced teacher starting am I? and to brainstorm in small groups to be nosy and the answer-givers wanted
out on her ELT journey that I really a list of possible roles that they play in to be given the opportunity to expand.
began to think about the statement. She life. They came up with a list of over 30 We then did some gambit work on how
was bemoaning the fact that she seemed similar to those of the teacher above. to react to interesting news so that the
and felt isolated in the staffroom and Here are some examples: conversations would not sound too much
that, while she wanted to join in the daily husband, wife, daughter, son, brother, like a 1970s ELT textbook, before I asked
conversations and banter, she felt she had sister, divorcee, lover, student, graduate, the class to change partners and repeat
nothing worthwhile to contribute as she post-graduate, sportsperson, non- the activity. This time I allowed them to
was only newly qualified. sportsperson, armchair sports fan, linguist explore the response as they wished.
(they are in a language class after all!), This produced a hearteningly long
A teacher drinker, dog lover, cat lover, religious period of conversation. Afterwards, the
My conversation with this shy but very believer, traveller, communist, socialist, students said they felt they had been
promising teacher developed along the liberal (etc), charity worker/volunteer ... having conversations in English that they
lines of her needing to remember that I then put a list of simple questions may not have had in Korean (their native
she was not just a teacher, that we all on the board: language) and that they felt better for the
have other personas that we bring with How was your weekend? practice, but also for the opportunity to
us into the classroom or the staffroom What did you do last night? treat their classmates as real people.
and that her relative inexperience in the How was your day?
classroom did not mean that she was What did you do on your last holiday? etc
inexperienced in life or that her opinions I then asked them to think of the
were, in any way, invalid. answers to these questions in relation to Subsequent lessons with that class now
We then explored her other their various personas. often start with a variation of that theme
personas. As well as being a teacher, she I then picked on a student about reminding students of their various
was a wife, an ex-pat, a graduate, a whom I had some inside information: personas. Information from the initial
wine-drinker (moderate!), a baseball fan, Teacher: Hyesun, tell me about your
lesson has been followed up: Hyesuns
a dog lover, a sister, a daughter, an weekend. team didnt do well in the playoffs but her
athlete and a tourist. Therefore, when Hyesun: I stayed at home.
niece is fine and her professor continues
someone asked her how she was, she Teacher: Hyesun, as a sports fan, tell me
to be happy with her work.
didnt have to give a TEFLish answer about your weekend. The aim of this article is to let
and define her state of being on how Hyesun: It was good. My team won and
teachers know that if they have a class
well her classes were; instead, she could we are now in the playoffs. of (say) four students, this could mean
bring more of herself into the staffroom Teacher: Hyesun, as a sister, tell me
that they have well over 40 personas in
and into the lives of the other teachers. about your weekend. the class. A small class has suddenly
She thought about this and, slowly Hyesun: I am worried about my sisters
become a big class in which there should
over a number of weeks, became more baby. She went into hospital on Friday be a lot to talk about.
confident and involved in staffroom life. with a fever. Lee Shutler has spent
Teacher: Hyesun, as a student, tell me 20 years teaching and
A student about your weekend.
managing schools in Italy,
Japan, Korea, Siberia and
In a Road-to-Damascus moment, it then Hyesun: My professor said my work was the UK and is currently a
tutor and teacher trainer
occurred to me that if it worked for her good and he wants me to do a at Hilderstone College,
in the staffroom, it could work in the presentation, so I did some reading. Broadstairs, UK. He holds
a DTEFLA and an MA
classroom, too. Even Hyesun was surprised that her TESOL from Canterbury
Like many teachers, I tended to start weekend was fuller and more interesting Christ Church University.
His professional interests
the lesson (in this case, a monolingual than she had thought. All of her include developing the
pre-intermediate group at the British responses were worthy of exploration learner as a person, not
Council in Incheon, Korea) with a casual her team, her family and her studies just as a student.

question, such as What did you do at the and would have produced interesting ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 57


From observation
Classroom management

Practical application of

to practice
theories (including TBLT)

Teaching materials

Motivation and responsiveness to

Saltanat Meiramova deciphers seven key criteria students needs and interests

for learner-centred teaching.

Topic-oriented lesson plans

hen I first started my careers. The many round-table discussions,
internship (as part of the teachers interviews, seminars and classes I
Classroom dynamics
Bolashak international have participated in while in the UK have
scholarship programme) on Theory and helped me to see the task-based approach
Methods of Professional Education at as the most effective and appropriate to Reflection
the University of Glasgow, UK, I found use. The main reasons are as follows:
many differences between the style of Figure 1 Key criteria in a task-based
It is learner-centred. learning and teaching context
language teaching and learning I was
It seems more useful to me than the
witnessing and that of my home activities and class organisation, teaching
country, Kazakhstan. I was invited to aids, language exposure and possible
(PPP) approach.
observe three types of classes: English problems. Students should be able to make
speaking skills (ESS), MEd English It provides target language exposure attempts at using the target language in
Language Teaching and classes taking rather than rote learning. meaningful but controlled contexts.
place at private language schools in It requires classroom dynamics which Learner-centred teaching
Glasgow. This allowed me to examine involve the students in a socialising Teachers in Kazakhstan are gradually
how teachers select appropriate methods process. moving from a teacher-centred approach
and strategies and how they apply new
towards a learner-centred approach,
techniques and the theory behind them Key criteria realising that this is a viable way to meet
in practice in order to achieve effective
As a result of observing classes and diverse needs. This involves ensuring that
learning. This observation has opened
reflecting on what I have seen at the the classroom organisation is student-
my eyes to the task-based approach and
University of Glasgow, I have developed focused; that students engage actively in
has made me think that the fundamental
seven key criteria for teaching and learning, the lesson, whether working in pairs,
principles of learning and teaching
which I believe should be implemented groups or individually; and that the
should be reconsidered in the context of
in Kazakhstan (see Figure 1). content is task-based. This encourages
English teaching and teacher training in
The reason why I have chosen these the students to become self-directed and
criteria is that they reflect the contexts in responsible decision-makers, participating
In this article, students refers to
which English is taught and used. In actively in their own learning.
university students who are learning the
English language and those other words, they contribute towards a Staging cohesion
simultaneously training to be future real picture of what is happening in the The role of staging cohesion in classroom
English teachers. classroom. management is very important and relies
on the teacher developing a well-structured
1 Classroom management
lesson plan, focused on a unifying theme,
A shift towards task- Four important features of classroom topic and aims. In a well-staged lesson,
based learning management are considered here: language learning is seen as a process
cognitively-challenging lesson content; rather than a product. Much attention
As practitioners, we are always concerned
learner-centred teaching; staging is paid to vocabulary, grammar and
with improving our own experience as
cohesion; and appropriacy of activities. pronunciation through practice, and
teachers and employing methods that will
increase our students motivation and Cognitively-challenging lesson content both receptive and productive skills are
academic achievement. Teachers should This includes the learning context, dealt with. (See Figure 2.)
not just fill up their students with
knowledge (as happened in my university
when I was a student), but encourage brainstorming input reflection output
(generating (topics for (comparison/ (authentic
them to learn by doing and help them to
interest) listening/reading) interpretation/speculation) language practice)
personalise what they learn and appreciate
its usefulness for their future teaching Figure 2 An example of lesson staging

58 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional


Appropriacy of activities engagement in a meaningful learning Analysis = recalling and applying

It is important for teachers to identify process should contribute towards prior knowledge to explain,
activities which will lead to motivating them to make efforts to learn extrapolate and further analyse a
communicative, authentic use of the target language. Taking into account topic, situation or problem
language at the same time taking into the students needs and interests is very Synthesis = providing answers within
consideration the students learning important because this will encourage the context of readings or tasks
styles and preferences. These activities them to pursue their own enquiries and assigned by the teacher, eg recalling
might include awareness-raising express themselves in a supportive and previously memorised information
activities and information-gap, productive learning environment. Such and applying it to a new context
reasoning-gap and opinion-gap tasks. an environment will help the students to
The thinkpairshare approach, in take responsibility for their own learning Evaluation = making judgements
which students first think of ideas and make them prepared to pursue and based on defined criteria, eg judging
individually, then discuss them in pairs try out new ideas. the logical consistency of written
before sharing with the class, is one way materials and the adequacy with which
5 Topic-oriented lesson plans conclusions are supported by data.
to involve students more actively with
the lesson content. Jack Richards states, that the success
6 Classroom dynamics
with which a teacher conducts a lesson is
2 Practical application of theories Classroom dynamics can involve
often thought to depend on the effectiveness
Teachers should provide their students with which the lesson was planned. There whole-class interaction, small group
with an introduction to the theories and are some pedagogical implications to be interaction, interaction in pairs,
concepts which relate to language considered here: studentteacher interaction and
acquisition and to the learning and individual work. These will vary
A lesson plan should list the topic and according to the type of activities being
teaching of language. These theories
aims of the lesson and should outline undertaken. Teachers should exploit any
should include an overview of the
the method and materials to be used. opportunities to get their students to
language itself and the language
teaching/learning process. The The lesson plan should take into socialise in the classroom as this can be
integration of skills in language account the construction and design a very motivating process.
development and theories underlying of teacher-produced materials and/or
7 Reflection
assessment procedures should also be the selection of appropriate published
considered in syllabuses. This can help materials. Critical reflection on your own teaching
both teachers and students to relate and learning, which includes examining
The lesson plan should outline ways
underlying principles to practical your own particular context, interpreting
in which meanings can be made
applications by creating their own new what takes place in a lesson and
accessible: by visual/aural support;
understanding of teaching and learning. evaluating your decisions, is important
by editing and simplifying texts; by
for both teachers and students. It brings
3 Teaching materials
allowing for groupwork; by specifying
about a deeper awareness of what you are
the staging and presentation of tasks;
Teaching materials play a crucial role in doing, learning and teaching, which may
by outlining plans for getting the
language learning and teaching. They lead you to decide to make changes to
students involved in activities designed
can be taken from authentic sources, your teaching and learning practice.
to develop their language skills.
such as journals, newspapers, the
internet or recordings from TV, radio It is worth noting that teachers should
and films; they can be textbooks or choose tasks which are relevant to the
The key criteria I have outlined here are
reference materials, such as linguistic students needs, and should provide
ones that I believe are important for
corpora, grammar reference books and clear specifications for how they intend
facilitating the students understanding,
dictionaries. Authentic materials, in to set up and run each task. An example
cognitive perception and effective
particular, can provide students with of a smooth lesson sequence would have
language use so that they can
examples of the target language in a real the following features:
communicate successfully.
context. Teachers need to ensure that Knowledge = activating the students
the teaching materials they use are prior knowledge of a topic and/or Richards, J C Beyond Training CUP 1998
suitable for the purpose and are likely to piece of language
engage the students interest. Saltanat Meiramova is an
Comprehension = ensuring the associate professor at
4 Motivation and responsiveness students understand the instructions Gumilyov Eurasian
National University and
to students needs and interests and the nature of the problem to be Seifullin AgroTechnical
Identification of strategies to stimulate solved University in Kazakhstan,
where she teaches BA,
student engagement and student Application = highlighting the MA and PhD students.
Her coursebook English
autonomy should be used to manage the application of knowledge and skills in in Professional Activity is
students level of motivation. Presenting a new context by providing the published by LAMBERT
teaching materials with media-intensive students with prompts to activate
support and ensuring the students relevant prior knowledge ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 59


A new vision of revision

Nestor Kiourtzidis and Tim Chase say that spaced-repetition tools are the name of the game.

eve all been there before ... You in the classroom, it may soon go the way
deliver the perfect lesson, the of the telegraph. Creating customised
students are eagerly putting the electronic flashcards greatly enhances
target language into practice. However, language acquisition and makes the
the following week they can barely learning process more productive.
recognise the new words you taught Electronic flashcards can also include
them, much less use them in a sentence. multimedia elements, such as audio,
It seems that no matter how you look images and even animation. Having said
at it, revision is the name of the game for this, we may have reached the laziness
genuine, long-term vocabulary acquisition. threshold once again. Asking students
English language teachers have long to prepare their own media-rich
been advised to get their students to record flashcards after every lesson would be
new vocabulary in a notebook and to totally impractical, not to mention
review it outside class time. Although requiring an element of technical skill.
this is a tried and true study method, the each repetition or review. With time,
problem with any type of revision outside increasingly less frequent reviews are
the classroom is that the effort required to needed in order to remember an item of There is a veritable sea change in the ELT
memorise lists of words or phrases rises any level of difficulty. world, and online resources are playing
exponentially the more items students Since Herr Ebbinghauss time, an increasingly important role in how
are required to learn. Every word or sophisticated algorithms (sets of students are learning and more
phrase has a unique level of difficulty mathematical equations) have been importantly how teachers are teaching.
for a particular learner and requires a developed to calculate the optimum Perhaps future language learning courses
different number of repetitions to become intervals between each repetition, that take advantage of spaced-repetition
locked in the impenetrable vault of the minimising the number of repetitions technology will start to include their
long-term memory. In practice, students needed and maximising the period of own prefabricated electronic flashcard
tend to revise easier items too often, and memory retention. Early experiments packages, covering the new language
more difficult items not often enough. were based on ordinary paper flashcards. from each lesson. Integrated applications
And what if the students are simply too Students were first shown the question that allow teachers and students to
lazy, or too busy, to pick up their part of a flashcard and then, depending access the flashcard database will help
rapidly-wearing-out notebooks? on their response, the flashcard was both teacher and student keep track of
scheduled for repetition on a specific progress, maximise language acquisition
Back to the past future date. Unfortunately, due to the ... and minimise laziness.
extremely time-consuming nature of
Much to the elation of concerned creating physical flashcards and Nestor Kiourtzidis is
teachers everywhere, modern technology manually scheduling their review, this
the co-founder of
has come to the rescue and is making it method was rendered completely He develops printable
possible to optimise the revision process impractical for everyday use.
EFL/ESL lesson plans
and other resources
(cant you hear the students dancing in that are integrated
the streets?). But before we get too far with spaced-repetition
ahead of ourselves, lets jump back a bit Back to the future learning. He has a
passion for implementing
in time to the late 19th century and With the arrival of the computing age, technology in language
examine the foundations of a learning learning.
spaced-repetition activities have been
technique called spaced repetition.
transformed into highly efficient
Noted German Psychologist speed-learning methods. These days, there Tim Chase is a writer,
Hermann Ebbinghaus (18501909) are a number of computer programs journalist and English
language teacher. He
conducted extensive experimentation with and mobile apps that harness these has contributed to a
lists of nonsense words. He discovered powerful learning algorithms. Most of number of publications
and blogs and has been
that the rate at which we start to forget a these applications offer prefabricated involved in creating and
recently-learnt or reviewed item of sets of electronic flashcards for review editing content for the
knowledge follows a predictable pattern language learning and
and some even offer users the option to teaching portal
or curve. (Ever heard of the forgetting create their own flashcards.
curve? Yep, this is that guy.) Significantly, So, as much as your students trusty
the process of forgetting slows down after vocabulary notebook is a beloved item

60 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

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

SMS/text messaging
that they dont really understand. In this
article, she suggests how to work with
SMS. SMS (Short Message Service) is
also known as text messaging and is
(but were too afraid to ask) typically done via a mobile phone.

1 Whats to know? I already send

text messages with my phone
creating chain sentences by passing a
phone around in a small group
creating SMS conversations between
with young learners, as part of a strategy
to encourage reluctant readers. You can
read about this very interesting initiative
Im sure you do, but have you thought fictional or historical characters at
about how you might use text messaging
with your students, both inside and
outside the classroom? Have you 3 But what if my students dont
own smartphones? 5 What about classroom
management issues? Wont my
students just text their friends
considered using SMS with students of To use text messaging, you and your
different ages, both adults and young students dont need to own expensive and fool around if they are
learners? If not, read on. smartphones or phones that connect to allowed to use phones in class?
the internet. Simple low-end phones Classroom management is arguably more

2 OK, so how could I use SMS

with my students?
(often called feature phones) are fine.
One thing to check is whether your
students need to pay to send text
of an issue with younger learners and
teenagers than with adults. You can include
guidelines for appropriate classroom use
In a number of ways: for admin and for
language work. Admin-related text messages. Some phone contracts will of phones in your school AUP, with a clear
messages can include reminders about include a large or even limitless indication of consequences for misuse
upcoming deadlines, exams, meetings or number of free text messages per month, (such as filming the teacher or classmates
excursions, or general school news and but this is not always the case. If text without permission, or texting inappropriate
information. You and/or the school admin messaging is expensive for your students, messages). The other trick is to ensure
department can be responsible for then you can do activities using the SMS that, during class, phones are kept visible
sending these to your students via group function in their phones without actually and face down on the students desks.
text message services. There are free sending the message itself, or you can The students are told when to pick up
group text messaging services, such as send the text messages and just have the and use the phones to carry out a specific
gText (, so sending text students receive them. task (such as a dictation), and as soon as
messages to students doesnt need to be the task is completed, the students need
You can use SMS both inside and 4 Some of my students are young
learners. How could I possibly
use SMS with them?
to place the phone back on their desks,
face down and clearly visible to you.
Having a clear reason to use the phones
outside the classroom for language-related
work. Its easiest to start slowly, by using If your students are under 18, then you in carrying out a specific task and only
text messages outside the classroom. For need to work within the confines of your using them for this brief period of time
example, by sending your students short schools acceptable use policy (AUP). will help deal with potential classroom
homework assignments by text. Or by An AUP will typically cover a range of management issues.
sending them idioms or vocabulary items digital issues, such as rights over digital And finally, dont be afraid to discuss
regularly. Of course, you first need to photos taken in school, appropriate use the use of SMS and mobile phones with
check that everybody in the class owns a of personal devices, e-safety practices, the students themselves. Let them know
phone! The advantage of sending an SMS consequences for cyberbullying, etc. It the rationale, and get feedback from
rather than an email is that the students can include a section on the use of them. Including them in the reasoning,
are more likely to read it immediately. mobile devices in and outside the and allowing them to voice an opinion,
For using SMS in the classroom, classroom. If you work with very young will ensure more buy-in on the part of the
simple activities include: learners, its a good idea to get the students.
short dictations (see a lesson plan for parents on board by explaining how and
Nicky Hockly is Director of
this at why devices will be used with students, Pedagogy of The Consultants-E,
taking part in live polls (eg using a free and how this is beneficial for learning. an online teacher training and
development consultancy. Her most
polling service like Poll Everywhere: Some schools hold meetings with parents recent book is Digital Literacies, at the beginning of the school year to published by Pearson. She has
sending and decoding emoticons, or published an e-book, Webinars:
explain the rationale behind their AUP. A Cookbook for Educators
using them to change the mood or Of course, many younger learners (, and is currently
direction of a roleplay dont own mobile phones. Carol Rainbow, working on a book on mobile and
handheld learning. She maintains a
translating textspeak messages into a trainer based in the UK, ran a project blog at
standard English using class sets of cheap feature phones ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 61

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simple ways
ways to
to order:
Pavilion Publishing and Media,
CALL: the orders hotline on +44 (0) 1273 434 943 Rayford House, School Road,
Hove, East Sussex, BN3 5HX
Webwatcher Russell Stannard finds Prezi
to be a real alternative to PowerPoint.

owerPoint is probably one of the most frequently used animation path, you need to click on Edit path and then click on
technologies in education. Most people use it, or the object. Only then will it be part of the animation path and
something similar, when they give presentations and talks. included in the presentation. However, frames dont work like
It is quite common to see teachers using it in ELT classes, too. Of this. When you add a frame onto the screen (using the Frames &
course, it is also great to get students to create their own Arrows tab), it is also added to the animation path automatically.
PowerPoint presentations and then give them to groups or even Once you get your head around these two concepts, you will
to the whole class. start to understand how the tool works.
You may also have heard of Prezi. It is a genuine alternative
to using PowerPoint and one that has been getting a lot of The Prezi templates
attention in the educational world. It works in a completely
A good way to start with Prezi is to use one of the pre-prepared
different way from PowerPoint, being based on the idea of
templates. These already have the animation path defined and so
brainstorming or laying out all your ideas and then connecting
you simply add in the text, video, pictures and objects you want
them. You create an animation path that takes you through your
and it is ready. Prezi offers a range of templates to work with and
ideas, linking them together and this becomes your
some of them work really well. So, for example, if you want to focus
presentation. By working this way, you avoid the rather linear
on a central point and then talk about a related point and then
approach of PowerPoint. Prezi can take a lot of getting used to,
come back to the central point, you could try using the Cohesion
and many PowerPoint users find it difficult to move from one
template. Another nice one that works well with for and against
product to the other. However, it does offer lots of possibilities
or balanced arguments is the template called Balanced.
and a genuinely different way of creating your presentations.
The Prezi account
What you can do
To use Prezi, you actually create an account online (the basic one
Imagine you were going to make a presentation on the subject of
is free) and then all your prezis are accessible from your account.
human trafficking. You might want to make some important
You simple click on the prezi you want and then click on Present.
points, you might have an interesting video you want to show,
You can then use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move back
you might have some images, too. You could lay all these items
and forth through your prezi. Prezis can also be downloaded to
out on your canvas in Prezi and then think about how you want
be used offline.
to link them together. You could start with some opening key
points, then go to each key point individually to add more detail,
What your students can do
then go to a picture, then a video, and then even come back to
the opening points and reiterate them. Once you have your plan, Prezi allows for collaboration and so you can have more than one
you can simply link the ideas together by creating an animation person creating a prezi. This could be an interesting way of using
path. You can jump back to points made earlier and zoom in on the tool with your students. They can build presentations together
individual points to show how they are linked to the broader in pairs or groups and can also do this remotely. Your students
picture. Though it is tricky to use at the start (you will find the might like the idea of brainstorming their ideas and then linking
videos mentioned at the end of this article a massive help), them all together, and they might find that creating a presentation
eventually it really starts to make sense. on Prezi is a more interesting way of presenting their ideas.
Prezi is a bit tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, it
The Prezi canvas has real potential.

The way you develop a Prezi presentation (a prezi) sometimes

makes it hard to visualise, especially if you create your own one I have made some help videos for using Prezi.
from scratch. Most people think of the slides on the left-hand You can find these at:
side the same way they do the slides in PowerPoint. Actually,
what you are seeing on the left-hand side is not slides, but the
animation path. You have just one canvas and you move around
the different objects on that canvas. You can access the whole Russell Stannard is a Principal Lecturer in ICT at
canvas at the top of the screen on the left. So the presentation is the University of Warwick, UK, where he teaches
on the MA in ELT. He won the Times Higher
put together by creating the path through the objects and Education Award for Outstanding Initiatives in
choosing what you zoom into and focus on. Information and Communications Technology in
2008, TEFLnet Site of the Year in 2009 and a 2010
The next problem is objects and frames. When you add an British Council ELTon award, all for his popular
object onto the screen (using the Insert tab), it is simply an website
object, which you are adding to your canvas. So an object might
be a picture or a video which you add to the canvas, but this Keep sending your favourite sites to Russell:
does not affect the animation path. To add the object to the ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 87 July 2013 63

Prize crossword 60
ETp presents the sixtieth in our series VERY FREQUENT WORDS ** An exclamation used to A rubber for removing
of prize crosswords. Send your entry *** To gain knowledge or show pleasure or achievement pencil marks
(completed crossword grid and experience of something by ** A vehicle that people can Typical of or suitable for a
quotation), not forgetting to include being taught live and travel in on holiday monarch
your full name, postal address and telephone number, *** A building where people ** An object used for writing A competition in which
to Prize crossword 60, English Teaching professional, get on and off buses and or drawing in ink ticket holders can win a prize
Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd, Rayford House, trains ** An enclosed area in a port To dig in the ground in
School Road, Hove, BN3 5JR, UK. Ten correct entries *** A reply to a question where ships tie up order to find things from the
will be drawn from a hat on 10 October 2013 and the *** To realise that someone or FAIRLY FREQUENT WORDS past
senders will each receive a copy of the second edition something is making a sound * A light brown colour An exciting and attractive
of the Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced *** A soft furry pet with a long * A place where people go as quality
Learners, applauded for its unique red star system thin tail that catches mice punishment for a crime The crime of setting fire to
showing the frequency of the 7,500 most common *** On every occasion * A long journey, especially by buildings
words in English ( *** Producing good results by boat or into space Great effort, energy and
using available resources * A strong artificial material enthusiasm
economically used in making plastic and Something that is related
3 23 21 18 9 1 1 17 6 18 25 24 23 12
*** A road vehicle for one cloth but not exactly the same

18 23 18 20 13 24 19 21 driver and a few passengers * To put one or both knees on An old word used to draw
*** Owning a lot of money or the ground attention to something

26 1 9 18 2 22 5 26 24 19 18 2
valuable possessions * To give something to An abbreviation that means

24 18 2 2 23 22 18 25 1 23 23 *** A time at which someone officially or decide you should pay particular
something happens that something can be used attention to something

18 25 15 3 18 12 10 18 2 12
*** A Dog ___ Small for a specific purpose An exclamation used to

12 22 18 26 18 3 18 12 23 18 (childrens book by Philippa * Trousers made of denim show lack of understanding
Pearce) LESS FREQUENT WORDS or surprise

25 26 18 21 25 22 18 25 18
*** The mixture of gases An exclamation used to A female sheep
18 26 11 23 12 1 16 12 1 1 2 surrounding the Earth, that show understanding A relaxing activity involving
14 22 8 11 23 11 2
we breathe To make someone liked by physical and breathing
S *** Last Year ___ Marienbad someone else exercises
1 14 14 24 22 24 1 12 25 1 15 1 6 (film directed by Alain An attitude that shows a To make marks on a hard
2 23 18 2 18 7 18 11 25 1 26 26 Resnais) lack of respect or care for surface by cutting into it
FREQUENT WORDS peoples needs Someone who deliberately

4 1 18 12 11 2 25 22 26 18 3 1
** A large bird with big eyes A young horse, donkey or damages property

18 2 24 26 24 22 20 11 and a small sharp beak mule To kill someone by burning
** A statement that two sets A prefix that gives the them

24 23 15 2 23 20 1 18 26
of numbers, letters or opposite meaning to some An abbreviation used to
2 1 18 26 12 1 12 10 1 18 26 1 symbols are equal words beginning with l introduce the subject you are
** A flat piece of plastic, Relating to something very going to write about
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
metal or wood with raised basic To want something in a
S N edges, used for carrying White stone used for making way that is hard to control

14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 things statues and decorations
16 12 23 15 24 12 9 21 23 6 26 11 1 2 14
To solve the puzzle, find which letter each number represents. You can keep

24 11 25 20 1 7 1 9 24 12 12 24 12 9
a record in the boxes above. The definitions of the words in the puzzle are
given, but not in the right order. When you have finished, you will be able to
23 14 18 2 2 15 24 11 10 23 19
read the quotation.

64 Issue 87 July 2013 ENGLISH TEACHING professional

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