ENGLISH EACHING T professional

Striking a balance
Michael Swan

Issue 70 September 2010

The Leading Practical Magazine For English Language Teachers Worldwide

Reported speech – rules, what rules?
Dave Willis

More than please and thank you
Mark Hancock

The tourist trap!
Rebecca Norman
• 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

Michael Swan puts the language back into language teaching

Laura Loder Büchel addresses the needs of the already fluent


Dave Willis explodes the myth of tense backshift

Bahar Gün investigates the impossibility of pleasing all the teachers all of the time


Sue Leather and Andy Hockley consider how teachers can become managers



James Venema makes the most of vocabulary notebooks

Britt Jepsen applauds authentic materials


Blanka Klimová outlines the benefits and demands of online courses

Chris Payne celebrates the corpus


Rose Hickman advocates an all-inclusive classroom


Nicky Hockly looks at a trend that’s getting bigger all the time


Louis Rogers improves his students’ seminar skills


Rebecca Norman captures some keen conversationalists


Russell Stannard describes some quick and useful online tools


Alan Maley recommends books dealing with disability


John Potts

Lesley Lanir describes reading difficulties



Andrew O’Dwyer takes his students out for some playful practice


Rose Senior


Mark Hancock looks at how we teach students to be polite



42 44 41, 64

Betka Pislar sees her students’ reading blossom
Includes materials designed to photocopy





• www.etprofessional.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 •


uk Publisher: Tony Greville Pages 28–29. All other rights are reserved and no part of this publication may be reproduced.com Web: www. Northants. Part of OLM Group. Directeur de la Publication: Tony Greville Advisory Panel: Dave Allan. West Sussex. while Rebecca Norman brings the language of the outside world inside by luring tourists into her conversation classes. 2 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www.com and he would like to see more emphasis on the actual teaching of language. Pavilion Publishing (Brighton) Ltd ISSN 1362-5276 Subscriptions: Pavilion Publishing (Brighton) Ltd. Andrew O’Dwyer. Prix à l’unité = EUR14.com Editorial Consultant: Mike Burghall Published by: Pavilion Publishing (Brighton) Ltd. NN16 9QJ Tel: 01536 527297 Número de Commission Paritaire: 1004 U 82181. who describes ways in which we can teach our students about politeness conventions in different situations. Helena Gomm Editor helena. UK Tel: +44 (0)1243 576444 Fax: +44 (0)1243 576456 Email: info@etprofessional. Dave Willis wants to make things easier for students by abandoning the teaching of rules which he believes don’t actually work. and Chris Payne also advocates looking at real-life language. stored in a retrieval system or transmitted without prior permission in writing from the publishers. he comes to the comforting conclusion that most good teachers pick and choose between the methodologies and materials on offer to create a mix that works for them. sees opportunities outside The other articles in this issue represent some of the many different viewpoints on the way in which language should be taught.dickson@mainlinemedia.com • . Also concerned with real language usage is Mark Hancock. Mainline Media.com / Orlando Rosu Advertising Sales: Sophie Dickson. à l’abonnement (6 numéros) = EUR59. ENGLISH TEACHING professional Editor: Helena Gomm Editorial Director: Peter Collin Designer: Christine Cox PO Box 100.co. West Sussex. Rose Hickman appeals to us to make our classrooms places of inclusion and safety for all students. Kettering. PO18 8HD Printed by: Matrix Print Consultants Ltd.etprofessional. the classroom to get his students to practise the language they are learning and to see real language in use. Chichester.75. West Sussex. Tel: 01536 747333 Fax: 01536 746565 Email: sophie. He favours the use of concordances to reveal not just the frequency of words and collocations but how they are actually used. Ruth Gairns.gomm@keywayspublishing.Editorial I n our main feature. 42–43 and 51–52 include materials which are designed to photocopy. Chichester. for his part. Britt Jepsen’s school students read authentic materials from the word go. PO Box 100. PO Box 100. Chichester. PO18 8HD © 2010. Nevertheless. Taking a more humanistic approach to language teaching. PO18 8HD. whatever their gender or sexual orientation. 40–41. James Venema then explains how students can record and remember new language efficiently.etprofessional. Janet Olearski Cover photo: © iStockphoto. Michael Swan describes trends in English language teaching in terms of a pendulum swinging between two extremes: form and meaning. Susan Norman.


scanning. so to speak – this is likely to be a question of processing capacity: so much of their working memory is being used for low-level decoding that they can’t build a higherlevel mental representation of the text as a whole. so that they can deploy it easily and fluently in real time for their communicative purposes. aspects of pronunciation). and so on the students most need. where the focus is on meaning rather than language. So at this stage. let’s not waste time teaching people to do things they can do already. It’s no good if students learn a lot of forms and can’t use them (which often happened with older approaches. predicting their way through text. We need to remind ourselves that language teaching does mean teaching language: making sure that students are exposed to the highest-priority language forms (words. so we can lose sight of what. and having fun. What is special about ‘task-based teaching’ is the view that such tasks. It’s recognised that such ‘naturalistic’ language use may need to 4 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www. and taken the focus even further away from looking systematically at the language itself.etprofessional.) So. that they learn and practise these forms. You have said that language teaching should be about teaching language. the four skills suffered a conceptual explosion. But it’s equally unconstructive if students are made to concentrate on using language without being given a systematic knowledge of the language they are supposed to be using. but it has also reinforced and legitimised our liking for doing things in the classroom. Yes. if anything. structures. In fact. (Texts. there’s a perennial danger that the activities language teachers use for consolidation and fluency practice can become an end in themselves. If students seem to have trouble ‘comprehending’ an English text that is apparently at their level – they can understand all the words but don’t get the whole picture. As decoding becomes more automatic. and that this idea can sometimes get lost. and facility in handling that language. it can really be quite hard to make clear decisions about what to teach – which elements of grammar. Of course. as far as reading skills (and others) are concerned. Reading. all of which soon arrived in textbooks.com • . capacity will be freed up. and that they become skilled at using them fluently and appropriately. But this takes the time it takes. and still does in some teaching contexts today). can do nearly everything – that a task syllabus will enable students to acquire most or all of the linguistic elements that they need. identifying main points and so forth – which they mostly already possess in their mother tongues – is unlikely to speed things up very much. But in the 1970s and 80s. scanning. and that what they need is language to apply these skills to. (And don’t get me started on the notion that you can teach students to ‘guess vocabulary from context’. I remember you once suggested that teaching reading skills is mostly a waste of time. and so on and so on. Work on the so-called ‘four skills’ is vital. our activities are actually supposed to be teaching. Unfortunately. for instance. many teachers and course writers love work of this kind: it keeps everybody busy and gives people something structured to do with texts. phraseology. understanding text structure. this can happen more and more easily. can of course be enormously useful for language-teaching purposes if they are used properly – but that’s another story. with its emphasis on ‘language in use’. spoken and written. along with exercises carefully designed to teach these sub-skills to learners who were assumed to lack them. the temptation is to take refuge more and more in activity-based teaching. that those who are literate in their own language (that is to say. I think all so-called ‘skills’ teaching needs to be looked at very carefully. was typically analysed into up to 20 sub-skills. There’s a question of balance here. And this ‘battery-of-skills’ approach still goes on today: any number of current teaching materials purport to train students in skimming. If the students are using English. vocabulary. this was the topic of a talk that Catherine Walter and I gave at IATEFL two or three years ago.M A I N F E AT U R E Striking a balance Michael Swan talks to ETp about the pendulum swings of language teaching. and doing things can take over completely by default. ‘Training’ students to ‘transfer’ skills like skimming. we do have to ensure that our students practise using the language they learn. a large proportion of students) are already able to apply these skills to written text. they must be learning. mustn’t they? This tendency has been powerfully fuelled by the communicative movement that has dominated language teaching for the last 30 years or so. fixed phrases. or precisely which skills and sub-skills really need improvement. It’s done an awful lot of good. Can you explain? Teaching things is difficult. it’s much easier to do things.) How about task-based learning? Communicative tasks are – and have been for a long time – an important language-teaching tool. As we move up the levels. and they will increasingly be able to access their existing comprehension skills. I think a reasonable position (and one that is increasingly supported by research) is that students already have domain-general comprehension skills. With intermediate and advanced students. Because of this.

‘product’. In the typical ‘three-hours-a-week’ situation. But they may learn to operate each script without being able to generalise their knowledge to other different and unpredicted situations. What exactly is wrong about a ‘language-based’ approach to language learning and teaching? We wouldn’t criticise a music teacher for making her lessons musicbased. Under the influence of current theory. Then. ‘repetition’ and ‘drill’ are dismissive expressions – they refer to supposedly bad and discredited pedagogic attitudes. Turkish. for example. ‘ensuring social relevance’. would we? And why is ‘process’ good and ‘product’ bad? If I sign up for lessons in. Is it possible to say ‘this is what you need to know’? Yes. and with the associated mindset. with perhaps three hours’ contact time a week for maybe 35 weeks a year. to travel hopefully is not better than to arrive. for the target group of learners. ‘negotiation’ and ‘strategy’. We know perfectly well that we have to teach the present tenses before the subjunctive. or the names of the colours before words like putty or catatonic. The academic literature in this area is full of very tendentious terminology. Some of the more extreme pronouncements that come from the sociolinguistic end of the profession actually make me wonder if the scholars in question are really thinking about language teaching at all.be supplemented by some extra ‘focus on form’. when and where. making them increasingly autonomous and so forth – that we may find ourselves short of time for actually teaching them what they want to learn. Coming at it from the ‘form’ end. ‘process’. unsupported by structural and lexical syllabuses. we shouldn’t dismiss a concern with what one might call the ‘human’ side of language teaching: our recognition that students are individuals (with all that that implies for their learning). ‘memorisation’. who to. they’re in an input-rich environment.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 5 . Certainly. For such teachers. prioritize the quality of life in the language classroom’. so that they can write a letter to an imaginary penfriend or show someone round their home town. in a book published in 2006. which are the thousand commonest words. and the theories on which it is based. The danger. ‘transmission model’. Allwright. which are the next thousand commonest words. It depends on what you are teaching. Kumaravadivelu. maximum. Mary and the garden. let alone have a chance to use it enough to fix it in their minds. in a secondary school in a non-English-speaking country. teaching poorly-motivated students in classes that are probably too big. in his 2003 book on ‘Exploratory Practice’. coming at A syllabus of tasks alone. So should the academic focus be on identifying what it is that students need to know? Of course. costeffectiveness is crucial. A syllabus of tasks alone. but does it enable them to ask for a cup of coffee or to deal with an enquiry from a customer? Can they actually put these things together to handle whatever everyday language functions and real-life tasks are relevant to their purposes? This perspective got a lot of attention in the 1970s when people invented needs analysis. or they’ve learnt the language for years and know far more than they can use. unsupported by structural and lexical syllabuses. ‘teacher-dominated’. simply can’t be relied on to throw up all of the top-priority language that students need to learn it from the ‘use’ end. And these need to be approached from two directions. or whatever. And is ‘learner-centred’ automatically good and ‘teacherdominated’ automatically bad? Of course not. (Though it could sometimes go too far: if you get the students to ‘let it all hang out’ and talk about. simply can’t be relied on to throw up all of the toppriority language that students at a particular level need to learn. which aspects of pronunciation are going to be crucial. ‘Good’ concepts – the applied linguistic equivalents of democracy and motherhood – include ‘meaning-based’. one asks which are the most widely-used structures in the language. we may risk spending so much time training our students to become better learners and better-rounded human beings – teaching them social and negotiating skills. and it gets a lot of attention now through the Common European Framework and its ‘can do’ statements. lists what he calls ten ‘macrostrategies’ for language teaching. These include things like ‘facilitating negotiated interaction’. there’s very little room for the more peripheral issues that currently occupy some sociologically-oriented language-teaching theorists. But one needs to question its value for the more typical teacher. you can move dangerously close to casting the teacher in the role of the incompetent amateur therapist. training them in learning strategies. working. They won’t even be exposed to half the language they need. ‘discourse’. their deepest fears. ‘raising cultural consciousness’ and ‘activating • www. ‘sentence-level’. let’s say. rather than simply parroting meaningless sentences about John. That’s something we’ve been doing pretty well for centuries. this will be different in different contexts. ‘holistic’. we can very reasonably say that’s it’s all very well teaching them all these words and structures. because of gaps in basic grammar or vocabulary – missing items that fell through the language-in-use net. if any. So learners may practise can-do scripts. but ‘traditional’ systematic syllabus-based grammar teaching is strongly discouraged in the task-based model. It encouraged teachers to get their students practising language by talking about things that mattered to them. with our current focus on language in use. and so on. is that (as happens in some foreignlanguage teaching in Britain) one half of the dyad – the formal element – may be downgraded in favour of the other. and also social beings (with all that that implies for their learning). ‘discovery’. makes the remarkable statement that we should ‘above our concern for instructional efficiency.etprofessional. say. The process involved is valueless unless it gets me where I want to go – in language learning. selection and prioritisation are vital. I think we need to take issue with this terminological polarisation. Task-based learning. ‘interaction’. This was a valuable dynamic in the early days of the communicative approach. ‘Language-based’. ‘learner-centred’.) What worries me now is the extent to which the ‘human being’ focus may actually take over from language teaching. product is exactly what I want: a knowledge of Turkish. may certainly be valid for a certain kind of situation – one where your students have plenty of time to work at their English.



I can remember asking students to do activities like this: Rewrite the following in reported speech. Students change the tenses according to the rules they have been taught. For example. and so on. Mary said ______________________ ________________________________ they are doing has nothing in common with the way we report things in real life. have been set out very clearly by respected grammarians. Michael Swan and Catherine Walter. etc.etprofessional. 8 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www. Remember to change the tenses: 1 We will be leaving home at six tonight so we will arrive at about half past seven. in their useful students’ grammar tell us that: ‘Tenses and pronouns (I. It informs us that: ‘When the indirect speech is perceived as referring to the past. the tense in the reported clause usually changes to a past form of the tense of the original speech. What the grammars tell us The rules for reported speech. Joan and Peter told us ___________ ________________________________ 2 I will see you tonight after I have finished work. sometimes called indirect speech. M any of you will have seen exercises and tests where learners are required to change direct speech into reported speech. explaining that yesterday may become the previous day.’ This is a fairly mechanical exercise. This process is known as tense backshift.’ Students who have been well drilled should have little problem applying the rules they have been taught.) change in indirect speech if the time and speaker are different.com • . next Wednesday becomes the following Wednesday. my may become his or her. for example.L A N G U A G E Reported speech . I may become he or she. what rules? Dave Willis doesn’t see the problem. They also change time references according to a given set of formulae to produce the following: 1 Joan and Peter told us they would be leaving home at six that night so they would arrive at about half past seven.rules. The prestigious Cambridge Grammar of English by Ron Carter and Michael McCarthy is one of the best reference grammars currently on the market. you. but what Coursebooks and student grammars regularly produce guidance of this kind. present tenses become past. 2 Mary said she would see me that night after she had finished work.

But I couldn’t afford to travel unless I earned some money …’ All the verbs here are past tense forms. I can’t afford to travel unless I earn some money on the way. Even if they could. And there is another problem: if we did recall and report exactly what was said. so there is no way we can apply tense backshift. It said …’ Or it could have been: ‘I regret to inform you that due to unforeseen circumstances we will be unable to meet as usual on the second Monday of the month. don’t forget that the next meeting will be on the last Monday in May. The fact is that the tense system works in exactly the same way when we are reporting or summarising as it does in the rest of the language. Think of a conversation you had recently and think how you might tell someone about it. Can you all take a note of that?’ or ‘I read an article about that in The Guardian. Of course she uses past tense forms.’ The rules given for reported speech are based on the assumption that we recall exactly what was said on a given occasion Report or summary? If we don’t recall what was said. things like: ‘The chair reminded everyone that the next meeting would be postponed until Monday. So giving rules about how to report next Wednesday is really quite complicated.’ and off you go. Learners come to believe that there must be something mysterious and challenging about reported speech to justify this level of detailed treatment. as we shall see later. but you will probably be able to remember the content and. Almost certainly you will be unable to remember the exact words. • www. that is Monday 10th May. folks. ● They can become extremely complex.However. So let’s get away from the idea that reported speech involves some sort of mechanical processing of someone’s original words. so I want to learn to teach English as a second language so I can make some money while I am abroad …’ Nobody. or when we are accused of having broken a promise – but fortunately. But that’s not because it’s reported speech. explaining how present simple must be changed to past simple. And if she were reporting or summarising the contents of her letter. how can we possibly shift it back into the past? ● They imply that there is something unusual about the way in which we use tenses in reported speech. there is really no need for all this. She might say something like: ‘Well. But of course. I hope this doesn’t inconvenience anyone unduly. 31st May. thus. present continuous to past continuous. You would not even try to remember the article word for word. I have arranged instead that we meet on the last Monday. then the minutes would be slightly longer than the original meeting. It might have been: ‘OK. Let us recognise it for what it is – a summarising rather than a reporting process. Fortunately. A false assumption The rules given for reported speech are based on the assumption that we recall exactly what was said on a given occasion and then go through a process of ‘tense backshift’.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 9 . We say things like: ‘I saw an interesting programme on the TV last night. I was in my final year at university and I wanted to travel after graduation. not the usual second Monday in the month. we very rarely recall exactly what was said. Some coursebooks try to list all the changes we need to make. These minutes contain summaries of what was said at the previous meeting. It’s because she is talking about something that happened 15 years ago. these occasions are very few and far between. if reported on Thursday 8th April. there are three problems with these formulations: ● They are based on the mistaken assumption that we recall and report exactly what we have heard. I plan to take a year off and I’d like to travel round the world. Summarising is something we do all the time. for example. We can’t tell from this exactly what the chair said. the tenses would be past tense forms for the same reason: because she is talking about the past. If we cannot recall the tense used in the original. Most of us are familiar with meetings in which the minutes of the last meeting are circulated. It was about …’ Let’s imagine that the writer took a course and not only learnt to teach English. I’m in the final year of my English course. but we do recall what was meant. but took it up as a career. We very rarely remember precisely what was said. it could be reported either as the following Wednesday or as yesterday. You would summarise what it meant. she was asked how she became an English teacher. and so on. including the secretary who wrote the minutes. not the 10th. if someone mentions next Wednesday and the original speech takes place on Thursday 1st April and is reported on Saturday 3rd April. Unfortunately. then it would probably be reported as today. And there is no such thing as ‘tense backshift’. What about all those tenses? Here’s an excerpt from a letter from a young woman to a language school: ‘I am a 21-year-old student at Birmingham University. So that’s the 31st. just try applying the rules to change one of the above into reported speech and see how ridiculous they sound. If it is reported on Wednesday 7th April. There is absolutely no need for a special set of rules about reported speech. would be able to recall the precise words. then next Wednesday is still next Wednesday. be able to offer a brief summary. There are occasions when we try to recall exactly what was said – in a court of law. then how do we report speech? I think it’s clear that we don’t even try to report exactly what was said – we summarise it. I suppose it all started when I was about 20. I am taking my final exams next month and will graduate in July. that is the 31st of May. For example. Fifteen years later.etprofessional.

So if last week Mary said to you: ‘I am going to stay at the Ritz because it’s the most comfortable hotel in London’. we would use a past tense form: ‘They said they wanted to climb Helvellyn because it was the highest peak in England. if it is tomorrow.’ The important thing is that the choice of tense forms follows the same logic as in the rest of the language And if we are talking about something that was happening next Wednesday. including the tense system. so I can’t say I. but I am not Mary.’ This makes it clear that there is nothing problematic about the deictics of reported speech in English. including Rules. If the day in question was yesterday. so I must say he or she.british council. J Collins COBUILD English Grammar HarperCollins 1990 Swan. exactly the same way as it does in the rest of the language.org/book-page/ learn-english-grammar. But the important thing is that the choice of tense forms follows the same logic as in the rest of the language. They don’t think ‘Now when Mary was speaking. not a problem with reported speech. Everything works in 10 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www. you could report it as a narrative: ‘Mary said she planned to stay at the Ritz because it was the most comfortable hotel in London. ‘Whatever the tense of your reporting verb. But you should see it for what it is – a useful but artificial pedagogic device. say: ‘They wanted to climb Scafell Pike because it is the highest peak in England. Patterns and Words: Grammar and Lexis in English Language Teaching (CUP). you could take it as telling us something about the Ritz Hotel and say: ‘Mary said she planned to stay at the Ritz because it is the most comfortable hotel in London. Perhaps you believe it is useful for learners. There are many reasons why you do not quote a person’s exact words. If they don’t. M and Walter C The Good Grammar Book OUP 2001 Dave Willis has published widely on language description for ELT. He is also the author of the grammar on the British Council’s LearnEnglish website: http://learnenglish. It has nothing to do with reported speech. for example.’ So what do we do about it? Stop spending inordinate amounts of time on unnecessary and misleading rules. Often you cannot remember exactly what was said. she said I. which tells us that: ‘You are more likely to report what (someone) meant than what (they) said.’ They simply know that they are talking about Mary and they know that they should refer to her in the third person as she. to transpose a text from present to past time.Reported speech . or perhaps they need to do something like this for examination practice. There is no need to make life difficult and confusing for learners by telling them that there is something different and complicated about reported speech.co. R and McCarthy. they will get the right tenses and the right deictic forms in place. then it’s an indication that there is something wrong with their understanding of these systems themselves. we have to choose between a past form and a present form because either one is possible. and: So what about next Wednesday? Just as there is no problem with tenses in reported speech. One of the few sources to recognise the true nature of reported statements is the Collins COBUILD English Grammar. If this is the case. you put the verb in the reported clause into a tense that is appropriate at the time you are speaking. Basically. And you are not Mary. M Cambridge Grammar of English CUP 2006 Sinclair. so there is no problem with other deictic systems of the language – the systems that show how things and events are situated in time and space relative to the speaker. We have quite enough to do in the classroom without making life any more difficult for our learners. however. If they know the way personal pronouns work in English. we say tomorrow and if it was a couple of weeks ago. not an exercise with communicative relevance outside the classroom. and since Mary is female. There are plenty of opportunities in class for learners to summarise. dave@willis-elt.etprofessional. what rules? Choosing the right form Sometimes. There’s no need to tell learners that I may become he or she.com • . We might. so I can’t say you. and what to change it to. ETp Carter. as a mechanical revision exercise. At other times the exact words are not important or not appropriate to the situation in which you are reporting. we don’t need to take out the calendar to tell us when the original words were uttered and how to refer to the day in question. but actually the highest is Scafell Pike. my may become his or her. They don’t have to stop and think about how to change the pronoun I. I must say she. we say yesterday. They can do research on the internet or in the library and report it in class.’ But if we think the statement is mistaken. we say a couple of weeks ago.uk So the choice of tense here is affected by what we want to emphasise and what we believe to be true.’ On the other hand. They can interview people inside and outside class and report what they have to say. then you might spend time in class doing the kind of exercise I exemplified at the beginning of this article.’ We normally use the present tense for something that everyone agrees is still true. they just put that knowledge to work.rules.


information about pronunciation would involve writing the word in phonemic symbols. Noting information Once a word has been selected.V O C A B U L A R Y Active word power James Venema explains how to use vocabulary notebooks efficiently. Writing example sentences The next step is to imbed the selected word in some kind of structured context with example sentences or phrases. Finally. it is important not to send the L Active vocabulary Students will. not very helpful and can. such as phrase and phrasal. encompass the precise meaning of a given word very accurately. say a conversation class. A vocabulary notebook. if a student is not aware that syllable is a noun. with example sentences combined with student-written original sentences. they can also look up the word in learners’ dictionaries. syll-A-ble will be less so. they are likely to produce some rather peculiar sentences using it. noting down the form of a word will be critical in helping students to use it accurately. After all. the students will need some basic information about it. a student may already be familiar with the word chosen. While I will continue to use the singular form of word in this article. even a single word can present a rather daunting source of study. Reading materials. they may not Writing their own original sentences is the students’ first move towards being able to use a word effectively students down the slippery slope of knowing everything about a word before attempting to use it. vocabulary lists and regular classroom teaching all provide rich sources of vocabulary. However. While SYLL-a-ble is recognisable in quite a number of accents and less than perfect pronunciation. Vocabulary textbooks typically provide example sentences and/or phrases. Where the original context might be more ephemeral. lead to error fossilisation. or where the students need additional information. Further exposure will result in a deeper relationship as the learner encounters conjugations. Reading materials provide the most obvious context. Exposure to a wide selection of words is critical. at best. usages and meanings. at the very least. pronunciation and form. It is important that the students choose the words themselves since they are best able to make a decision on what words would be useful to them. After all. meaning. the goal is simply to help them begin expanding their active word vocabulary. it is best to provide some guidance on vocabulary notebooks that can set the students on the way towards vocabulary learning independence. a poorly-produced vocabulary notebook is. In some cases. the students will need to note the number of syllables as well as the stressed syllable. While translations are a useful start for meaning. When a learner first ‘meets’ a word. but would like to move beyond passive knowledge to being able to use the word actively. students should be prepared to look closely at the examples of text in which they encounter the word (more on examples later). at worst. they might check its meaning. At the very least. need to move beyond passive knowledge to actively using a word well before they have learnt all its possible variations. since writing their own original sentences is the students’ first move towards being able to use a word effectively. the selected items may often include twopart verbs as well as longer phrases. ‘Usefulness’ in this context implies that a student believes they will encounter opportunities to use the word.etprofessional. tenses and forms as well as different meanings. not to enable them to become linguistic experts on the word selected. Choosing words The first step is the selection of words for active use. Ideally. Advanced learners can even make use of an online corpus. earning vocabulary is sometimes seen as progression from passive to active. However.com • . Some students may also want to pursue word families and write some variations of a word. such as the 12 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www. It is important to note here the difference between active and passive use. This should include. Where the English definition is too daunting. common collocations and members of the same word family. can provide a structured first step in developing their active vocabulary. For this reason. all of which will provide good examples of the word in use. Others might like to write down some common collocations straight away. perhaps in a bilingual dictionary. however. From this perspective.

I always encourage my students to copy the example sentences they encounter into their notebooks before beginning to write their own original sentences. ● The reason for being furious can be given with that followed by a grammatically complete clause. In fact. with both a subject and a verb. and the attempt to express real meanings in original sentences will help students retain the word and sentence for future use.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 13 . they would need the following example sentence: He was furious at the court’s decision. can be a structured means to help students towards vocabulary learning independence. dependent on the examples in which they have previously encountered the word. While the question of what a good original sentence might be involves. I always have my students ask themselves the following three questions: Am I really trying to communicate something with this sentence? Meaning is a key part of retention. In effect. They now have enough information to write a wide variety of accurate sentences. if students wanted to write that somebody was furious about something The effective and accurate use of vocabulary is a central component of language competence. including the preposition for followed by a verb in the ing form. with both copied example sentences and student-written original sentences. This brings us to the final. to a degree. some subjective opinions. the students will need to choose useful example sentences rather than useful words. I tell them that they should be able to use their original sentence to launch a small conversation. Writing original sentences The obvious next step is for the students to begin writing their own sentences. when. at least with some confidence in accuracy. Are there clues to the meaning of the word given in the original sentence? While it may not always be possible to write sentences that would make good cloze questions in a test. While a more time-consuming endeavour. where. it is important to encourage them to continue to expand on the words they are able to use effectively. A vocabulary notebook. While a student’s active vocabulary typically only constitutes a fraction of their total knowledge of vocabulary. What is critical here is that the context provides important lexical information while not overwhelming the students with data. why and how. ETp James Venema is currently an Associate Professor and teacher coordinator at Nagoya Women’s University in Japan. I have found that the expression of meanings not encapsulated in copied example sentences is the most frequent source of errors. (Longman Active Study Dictionary) In the absence of such an example sentence. question. when they move on to write their own sentences. This relative complexity probably better replicates the demands of real-world usage. For example. including grammatical patterns and collocations. to a considerable degree.jp Encourage the students to write instead: My father was angry with me for coming home late yesterday. this has the advantage of encouraging long-term learner independence. This has the downside of limiting them in what they are able to say. This is the best way to ensure that they attend to important information on usage. it is also more • www. primarily dictionaries. there will usually be more meaning behind them than what they actually encapsulate in a single sentence. A complete overview of what dictionaries have to offer is beyond the scope of this article. I’m absolutely furious that nothing has been done. Does the original sentence use grammatical patterns and collocations from the copied example sentence(s)? If one of the goals of having students write original sentences in a vocabulary notebook is vocabulary learning independence. form the parameters of the ones they can attempt to write for themselves. critical.British National Corpus. Using real meaning as a starting point is also one way of guiding students in the selection of useful words. Looking up the word furious in the Longman Active Study Dictionary. Not only is the meaning of angry clearer in the second example. but a good place to start is the dictionary guide typically found at the beginning of most learners’ dictionaries. It is important to note that the example sentences they find and copy will. The alternative is to train the students in the effective use of language resources. they should note: ● Furious collocates with absolutely. venema@nagoya-wu. one finds the following sentences (among others): She was furious with me. using only an object. there are useful guidelines that can help students improve the overall quality of their vocabulary notebook. the students may attempt to write the following: My teacher was furious that the cheating in the test.ac. If they are unable to think of something to communicate with the word chosen. it is possible to note unhelpful sentences such as: My father was angry yesterday. After all. a teacher can encourage the students to limit their original sentences to the patterns and meaning provided in the example sentence(s) they have found. He is interested in curriculum development as well as the development of professional communities of teachers. It is important to note that the students’ ability to produce accurate original sentences such as these without direct teacher help will be. As a guide. to a large degree. then the effective analysis and use of copied example sentences will be critical. ● You can be furious with someone. In order to maintain a modicum of student independence.etprofessional. if they are writing the original sentences with some image of who. When students read these sentences. The attempt to express real meanings in original sentences will help students retain the word and sentence for future use lexically complex. which should help facilitate retention. the chances are that they have not selected a particularly useful word.

Goals In the light of the demands of the curriculum and insights into how successful readers interact with texts. Its five major elements are each represented in the curriculum: ● linguistic competence. with the support of audio and visual media. Curriculum I teach in Denmark. To find or create valid reading purposes for texts presented in class might be the key to motivating the 14 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www. ● fluency. ● the development of awareness of the structure of written texts in English. simple short stories.etprofessional.com • . instruction on the ability to understand short.R E A D I N G Carry on readıng! Britt Jepsen sees the benefits for increased confidence and competence of giving students authentic texts. and the ability to make use of such things as discourse features and cohesive devices in comprehending texts. invitations. Recipes from cookbooks for children. where the overall aim when it comes to getting students to read in English is to give them the opportunity to produce language (oral and written). ● the building of schematic knowledge in order to interpret texts meaningfully. ● the ability to adapt a reading style according to purpose and apply different strategies (eg skimming. the students find original materials much more interesting! Young learners are usually easy to motivate and they enjoy most of the materials and tasks presented in class. With higher-level students who have better language competence. ● strategic competence. letters. poems. it is important to focus on motivation. though I do believe that it is possible. with the focus particularly on extensive reading as an ideal resource for English teaching. The Communicative Approach to language teaching has had a major impact on teaching in Danish schools. more importantly.’ ‘It is difficult and takes time to find suitable texts and materials. postcards. ● pragmatic competence. will all yield useful reading practice – and. since the English language is still new to them. I have the exam syllabus to get through. (Adapted from Hedge. Some of the reasons they give for neglecting or avoiding it are as follows: ‘There is simply not enough time in the week. ● the ability to take a critical stance with regard to the content of texts. Reading is involved in working towards all these elements and emphasis is placed from the early stages of English Levels Naturally.’ In this article I intend to present some of the benefits of reading authentic material. T Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom OUP 2003) T eachers often avoid the use of authentic reading material. they like to know how far they have progressed. ● the acquisition of knowledge about language (eg vocabulary. ● discourse competence. scanning) as appropriate. reading purposes and the value of extensive reading. a set of general learning goals for the reading component of an English language course could include: ● the ability to read a range of texts in English. etc. simple texts on relevant and meaningful topics. based on what they have read. for students at lower levels it is more difficult to find suitable authentic texts.’ ‘The students prefer to keep to the coursebook. cartoons. structure) which will facilitate development of greater reading ability.

etprofessional. but for fun! ETp Rivers. And where there is some freedom of choice. Furthermore. ● for pleasure and enjoyment. If reasons for reading are missing from textbook tasks. Chichester. ● to find out when and where. In summary. The opportunities that extensive reading affords learners of all ages and levels of language proficiency makes it a useful resource: ● Learners can build their language competence. then clearly individual extensive reading outside class time has value. Write to us or email: Extensive reading Intensive reading activities in the classroom are intended to train students in the strategies needed for successful reading. M A Practical Guide to the Teaching of English as a Second or Foreign Language OUP 1978 Krashen. in the long run. ● They can progress in their reading ability. UK Fax: +44 (0)1243 576456 Email: info@etprofessional. and this tallies with the aim of giving students an opportunity to produce language based on what they have read. in a stress-free environment. PO Box 100. resources. well-tried or innovative.com TALKBACK! Do you have something to say about an article in the current issue of ETp? This is your magazine and we would really like to hear from you. renew your subscription or simply browse the features.dk • www. extensive reading can be a highly productive step towards autonomous learning and greatly increases a student’s exposure to English – which is relevant where class contact time is limited. She is currently working at a primary school in Skuldelev. Denmark. ● They can become more independent in their studies.com Writing for ETp Would you like to write for ETp? We are always interested in new writers and fresh ideas. If we are persuaded by Stephen Krashen’s view that learners need to be exposed to large amounts of comprehensible input which is meaningful. In addition.com Visit the ETp website! The ETp website is packed with practical tips. We want to hear from you! Purposes The list compiled by Wilga Rivers and Mary Temperley of purposes for reading is a useful tool for teachers to use as a framework for text selection. Reading syndicates combine the motivation engendered by the fact that the students may have chosen the books themselves. ● They can acquire cultural knowledge. in which members of a group read different books and then share their experiences. the reading of authentic English texts with students of English as a foreign language has several benefits. genuine classroom interaction among changing groups of learners. information and selected articles. West Sussex. simple or sophisticated. ENGLISH TEACHING professional This is your magazine. relevant and interesting. advice. For guidelines and advice.students to read texts which would not normally interest them. www. and potential student recommendation of books to their classmates. The pedagogical value attributed to extensive reading. These purposes can be contrived to create interest. write to us or email: editor@etprofessional. The outcome is often a peer conference in which students can take on the roles of asking questions as well as answering them. techniques and activities. Reading syndicates An example of a useful procedure to support extensive reading is the reading syndicate. ● to follow instructions. something that has worked well for you? All published contributions receive a prize! Write to us or email: editor@etprofessional. ● to keep in touch.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Pavilion Publishing (Brighton) Ltd. interest will be a key criterion in selecting texts for learners. it will build the learners’ competence and confidence to carry on reading in English outside the classroom – not as part of the course. She also teaches PE and Spanish at secondary level. ● They can develop confidence and motivation to carry on learning. ● to know what is happening in the world. it is possible to construct a teaching programme based mainly on authentic texts which offers purposeful engagement with reading and is likely to prove motivating. W and Temperley.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 15 . IT WORKS IN PRACTICE Do you have ideas you’d like to share with colleagues around the world? Tips. S D Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition Pergamon 1982 Britt Jepsen has been involved in teaching English for eight years. They should be able to find authentic material to match each of these purposes: ● to get information. ● to respond to curiosity about a topic. editor@etprofessional. You can submit tips or articles. however. PO18 8HD. is based on the assumption that exposing learners to large quantities of material will. one of the most useful things teachers can do for their learners is to create purposes which will motivate them to read.com brittjepsen@mail. produce a beneficial effect.etprofessional. Indeed.

Corpora are used to create and inform multifarious teaching resources.R E S O U R C E S Corpus delicti 1 Chris Payne confesses the error of his ways. This is sometimes referred to as semantic prosody. Today. might be used mainly in a negative context. Prioritisation Corpus evidence is extremely useful for teaching vocabulary. Because the language found in a corpus has actually been used. Some coursebook writers also use corpora by consulting word frequency lists. Context As well as informing us about the frequency with which grammar and lexis occur. We have been taking authentic material into our classrooms for many years. These include: dictionaries. Why should we use corpora? Authenticity Corpora are a valuable resource of authentic language for all teachers. we can identify these words and teach them as a priority to elementary levels.com • . corpora can give us an insight into the preferred context in which words occur – some words. many of us use what is arguably the world’s biggest corpus. think of as common are actually infrequent. phrasal verbs and idioms. such as cause. With the help of a corpus. we now have more information than ever before about the differences between spoken and written English. What is a corpus? A corpus is a carefully laid out collection of real examples of spoken and written language stored on a computer. exam practice tests and an array of materials for teaching vocabulary and lexical sets. corpus evidence shows that these intuitions are sometimes flawed. The crime committed in this case was my own – of not incorporating corpusinformed language into my classes. and that words we 16 Recycling Words need to be revisited several times and in different contexts to increase the chance of them being truly acquired. Frequency Thanks to corpora. and it becomes an Augean task unless we have a sound organising principle. magazines. C orpus delicti is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘the facts and circumstances constituting a crime’. The Collins Cobuild Corpus shows that a core vocabulary of 2. Although we tend to trust our intuitions about grammar and vocabulary. reference grammars. Vocabulary learning creates an enormous memory load for our students. • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www. it consists of descriptive rather than prescriptive language. in the form of books. grammar practice activities. the internet and its search engines. Concordances display the key word in context in example sentences. The information that corpora contain is typically presented in the form of word frequency lists and concordances. collocations. A corpus allows us to observe important variations in the frequency of many words and structures between these two ways of communicating. newspapers. It is immediately clear that the collocation crime prevention is a frequent one. leaflets.500 words accounts for about 80 percent of the words in spoken and written texts. The box on page 17 shows the first few concordance lines for the word crime from a spoken corpus of British English. to find topical or engaging texts for our learners. Teachers can consult a corpus or a corpus-informed dictionary in order to ascertain which words are used most frequently and to keep abreast of language change. Collocation Corpora also show us the most common collocates and colligations of words.etprofessional. etc.

etprofessional. distorted. even worse. We can liken learning a language to learning to drive. some data will confirm what we already know. Let us look at some examples of frequency and semantic information we can obtain about a word. if we can offer them a diet of actually-used language in our lessons. if we can offer them a diet of actually-used language in our lessons However. learners can benefit considerably from language content concocted specifically for teaching. Of course. for. Here they are in order of frequency: to. we often have to think on our feet and use our own ‘bespoke’ examples of language. but simply restricted or. The crackdown on switchblade crime in Glasgow. Also. to use some corpus-informed content. we simplify our English when we are • www. in the unpredictable environment of the classroom. this will ensure that what our students learn is truly representative of the target language. So you have and hospitable and generous. Space allows me to cite just a few examples. with and at. speaking to children and non-native speakers of English outside the classroom. It is not desirable to expose learners to an excess of contrived content. ● The zero conditional is the most frequently occurring pattern out of the different types of conditionals. It would take even the most omnivorous reader far longer to encounter as many examples and contexts with extensive reading. Clearly. but the use of a concordance can be even more effective because learners are presented with a word in multiple contexts which can be read in very little time. Students who encounter simplified language too often could end up learning English that is not just simplified. when the need for communication arises outside the classroom. But most corpus findings will enable us to make more informed choices about what grammar and lexis to prioritise and teach. It should be axiomatic that some language needs to be adapted and redesigned for the specific purpose of learning English. When the onus is on the teacher to supply more authentic language. Yes. This is undoubtedly good advice. Let’s have sentences which fit the crime.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 17 . Is crime quite serious there and what about the drugs private sector people er either crime prevention which there are quite a few I mean how much do they know about the kind of crime prevention work Only a significant role and I think sort of crime prevention as a Of agencies which can have an influence on crime prevention as possible erm largely Re likely to have any impact on the instance of crime the fear of crime that you can to then Of were having to go back what is crime prevention. What can we learn from a corpus? Corpus evidence can further our own and our students’ language awareness. Likewise. on. Who’ll win and who’ll lose Just want stay in the game? When petty crime I just want to come back I want to come Mm If they’d promised to reduce crime Mm and they don’t deliver Which are a large reason for the rise in crime in the first place Okay. Our learners will be in a better position to cope outside the classroom. Erm er for example has been working to prevent crime or if your group leader at school in the Bangkok. we should reflect on how much of it we use. our learners will be in a better position to cope. ● Seven prepositions are in the top 20 most frequent words. a corpus can be a useful tool. as most of us do these days. Simplification It is natural to simplify language. Sooner or later. Because there are murders and murders aren’t But the theft element you know this rising in crime in breaking into shops Yeah. My Coming up fairly soon of course is the National crime Prevention Week and I think we ought as Sentences. despite there being justification for a certain amount of simplified content. Communication If we aim and claim to teach communicatively. but some of the following findings may be of interest. of. a learner driver will need to leave the relative safety of the local industrial estate and drive in real traffic.To your discussion on erm possible Nazi war crime trials coming up. If our teaching situation permits us Frequency information ● The future continuous is 300 times more frequent than the future perfect. in. After all. It is particularly Stephen Krashen recommends extensive reading as an aid to vocabulary acquisition and retention. and when to teach it. such as the fact that question tags (isn’t it? aren’t they? etc) are almost exclusively found in spoken English. We cannot always rely on a coursebook to give them the natural-sounding English they need. then our learners ought to be exposed to language that is used in real communication outside the classroom.


we are part of the process of transmitting a message of equality or stereotyping. Teachers. • www.IN THE CLASSROOM Sex education Rose Hickman looks beyond the limitations of the assumptions. nor do we all find that it meets our needs when it comes to expressing our experience of life.etprofessional. we saw how being one gender or another has an effect on our experience of a class and how a teacher may counteract gender inequality. and behaviours that break the supposed gender rules. who come from cultures and languages that have their own debates. Their students will. just in case. We need to be aware of our role in this. non-differentiated blob. Who are our students? I work in Spain. but the society they function in. Even something as basic as Ms is still ridiculed in some quarters and hasn’t managed to replace Miss or Mrs. We should not assume that everyone in our class is heterosexual or wants to be identified as either male or female. and not regarding them as individuals but as one homogeneous. be trying to negotiate between what they know and what they learn. One effect of not taking into consideration who is actually in the classroom. I recently saw a T-shirt produced by a group of students at Barcelona University.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 19 . I believe it is important to understand that it is not the words themselves that resist change.. gender and sexuality in class in more detail. although sexualities that differ from the sociallyapplied hetero ‘norm’. in two languages/worlds. Our students certainly seem to be well aware of who is in our classes! Teachers need to know a little about the issues in the language they teach and those in the L1 and culture of their students language to describe them respectfully is slower to appear. need to know a little about the issues in the language they teach and those in the L1 and culture of their students. But interestingly. are becoming more accepted. Steven Pinker maintains that ‘attempts to introduce gender neutral words like “hesh” [a pronoun encompassing he and she] . This is one of the reasons why the content words of the language are adapted and added to so frequently. and boys who don’t like the image they know they’re supposed to fit. If we accept equality as our preference. It said: 2 lesbians + 3 gays + 1 transsexual + 4 bisexuals + 15 heteros = my class. is to ‘overeducate and over promote’ specific groups. where I often see girls get irritated or give up when they are pressured to be quiet by boys. the And in the middle of this minefield of debate about our language and cultures are our students. lesbian or transsexual. And those who identify as gay. we need to realise that doing nothing to combat inequality is equivalent to being part of the cause. after all. who stay suspiciously quiet at certain moments in conversations. therefore. I n my article in Issue 69. gender and sexuality.. have failed’ because function words resist change. I’d now like to look at the English language. I see those who have same-sex parents and don’t want to talk about their families. What are we teaching? Teachers are automatically part of a society that produces and reproduces cultural beliefs. Whose English? We don’t all use English in the same way.

the learners will be using the language in a society with many different types of people. Reconsidering learner needs There is always a need to be aware of the culture in which we teach. and they are losing out by being ignored in class Learner needs include the need to know about the rules for social discourse. We could also integrate this into our language classes in our given contexts and cultures. It is not just gender roles that are supported and promoted by popular belief and the language we teach. as well as linking the content to the use of English and Japanese. I believe we should not hide behind these difficulties as an excuse for ignoring aspects of life which reflect reality for some students. Jacqueline Beebe asks. Doing it differently We know that our learners are never only learning a language. Feminist English courses have existed in Japan since the 1980s. but use guardian in my questions. so how will that affect how we teach certain items of vocabulary. Because of this. Man: Who is he? All learners would surely benefit from learning respect for everyone and acquiring the social skills necessary to work with others What can we do? Managing our classes Being in tune with our students’ needs doesn’t only consist of being able to identify such things as ‘Paul is weak on prepositions’. of family. but it is important to include all and promote equality. which could damage the image of themselves or their company? Students need the knowledge to avoid inadvertent sexist practices such as adding a Mr to all the names on a computerised mailing list or addressing all adult women as Mrs Family Name. to take up a new sexist practice in English The way the missing background information has been understood is that it is a heterosexual situation. courtesy titles which do not distinguish by sex or marital status. bringing up problems we encounter every day. Deborah Cameron and Don Kulick claim there is a ‘part played by language and language use in sustaining heteronormative social arrangements’. including learners in the content while addressing gender. even when they feel different. Class management is an umbrella term for many aspects of our job.Sex education according to Alistair Mant. I teach the words mother and father. He’d been working in the country for seven years. Learners need to know how to address people in English correctly in modern times. but by no means everybody would assume this. I also do not automatically assume a child means parents when they say ‘my fathers’. we can include within it organising our classes so that no one feels left out or uncomfortable. and they are losing out by being ignored in class. Steven Pinker gives the following example: Woman: I’m leaving you. but also ‘Paul doesn’t seem to work well in groups. I wonder why. and what I can do to make him feel more comfortable’.etprofessional. When speaking of how we need background information to make sentences understandable. heterosexual binary system is not the great majority that many would have us believe. There are many different types Knowing our stuff Do we actually know if a word has different connotations in the students’ L1? I once had a conversation with a teacher about homophobia and he said he had not heard any examples in his classes. Kinship patterns can be different. etc. and even more so when approaching possibly ‘taboo’ issues.’ Including everybody The problem of inequality in language is even more subtle than use of greetings or personal pronouns. but the assumed two-parent. so too are people of certain sexual orientations. Ultimately. so too are people of certain sexual orientations. However. ‘Should we teach Japanese students who in their first language would use “san” or “sama”. and some teachers are exploiting this in course content.com • . not all children fit into this kinship pattern. sexuality and kinship when we teach. I believe these skills are already being introduced into the curriculum in some schools in some countries. too. and tend to bring it up at the end of an activity to clear up misunderstandings without putting a specific student on the spot. but they have yet to even begin to tackle the sexuality issues. but it turned 20 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www. This is a challenging idea. and we teach that way. Spanish speakers do not tend to know that it can sometimes refer to a person. Every day we use our L1 to perform and perpetuate standardised ‘norms’ in society that have no basis in reality for many people. I really think it’s time to address both gender and sexuality issues in education. I would suggest that just as girls are negatively affected by stereotyping. We are educators in general as well as English teachers. And what about children who are living in state care? We could be perpetuating an unequal and possibly uncomfortable situation for more students than we realise. and we tend to ask questions like ‘What are your mother and father’s names?’ However. Some ELT books have gone some way to addressing gender role issues. Shouldn’t we also teach the neutral it to cover all possibilities? Where I work. It is not my wish to cause difficult moments for individuals. married. after all Just as girls are negatively affected by stereotyping. which is a strong argument for including issues around gender. All learners would surely benefit from learning respect for everyone and acquiring the social skills necessary to work with others. and research suggests this will mostly benefit males – I’d add heterosexual males at that. appropriacy. and they need to feel included. like family itself ? The way we teach language is often through majority kinship patterns (my culture’s case having one male and one female parent). depending on where you teach.

simple or sophisticated. resources. so its connotations and the actions we take upon hearing it used will be different out that he didn’t know the offending words in L1 to look out for. Her personal research interests include gender in education and the built environment. Even simply adding the odd question here and there that doesn’t assume everyone is the same. Chichester. It just takes the desire to promote equality and a little extra effort. A On Lies. in teaching we need to be acutely conscious . teenagers and adults for 15 years in Barcelona. R and Martínez. information and selected articles.com www. keep others silent and powerless’. carefully-chosen groups and give them some questions to discuss. J ‘Sexist language and English as a foreign language: A problem of knowledge and choice’ The Language Teacher 22(5) JALT 1998 Cameron. so its connotations and the actions we take upon hearing it used will be different...etprofessional. renew your subscription or simply browse the features.. ● To raise the issues in class. PO Box 100. As Adrienne Rich expresses it. For guidelines and advice.. R Taboos and Issues Thomson Heinle 2001 Mant. it will be no surprise to see that child stay silent at times. Hold an open-class feedback session afterwards.com editor@etprofessional. editor@etprofessional. A ‘Addressing gender in the ESL/EFL classroom’ TESOL Quarterly 1996 Pinker. PO18 8HD. ● You can also find information on the internet to provide topics for lessons or class discussions. Learners often say things in private that they wouldn’t say in public: let them know their work will only be read by you. to make a change. ● If you think it will be too difficult to address these issues with the whole class. You can submit tips or articles. ● The most obvious place to begin is with your teacher colleagues: don’t assume they have no views on the subject. to ensure that language will not be used to . Write to us or email: editor@etprofessional. When we do nothing.. B and Pavelenko. Keep each other informed of what is going on in your classes. A Intelligent Leadership Allen & Unwin 1997 Norton. hickmanrose@yahoo. S The Language Instinct Penguin 1994 Rich. ETp Beebe.etprofessional. a message is still being given. advice. We want to hear from you! ENGLISH TEACHING professional Pavilion Publishing (Brighton) Ltd. Also. well-tried or innovative. West Sussex. UK Fax: +44 (0)1243 576456 Email: info@etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional This is your magazine. So if a child has same-sex parents and within their world hears words like gay as positive. A word can mean different things in different cultures. Above all. for those students who have no (known) contact with gay/lesbian people.A word can mean different things in different cultures.com • www. write to us or email: Visit the ETp website! The ETp website is packed with practical tips. so how could he possibly spot any problem? We enter into dangerous territory. when they hear the same words used pejoratively in class without this being challenged. something that has worked well for you? All published contributions receive a prize! Write to us or email: TALKBACK! Do you have something to say about an article in the current issue of ETp? This is your magazine and we would really like to hear from you. D The Language and Sexuality Reader Routledge 2006 MacAndrew. discuss problems and share ideas. here are some ideas to get you started.com IT WORKS IN PRACTICE Do you have ideas you’d like to share with colleagues around the world? Tips. and making it clear your class is a safe zone where students know they can speak openly and safely will help. allowing the pejorative use of the word in class could confirm their idea that ‘gay = bad’ is some kind of ‘universal truth’. but set a written homework assignment for individuals. Shouldn’t teachers make an effort to be aware of the possible problems? A little help from your friends If you decide to tackle these issues. Secrets and Silence W W Norton & Company 1995 Rose Hickman is a DELTA qualified teacher who has taught English to children. you may find the book Taboos and Issues by Richard MacAndrew and Ron Martínez a good source of lessons on these themes. as well as other lamentable reactions. ‘.com Writing for ETp Would you like to write for ETp? We are always interested in new writers and fresh ideas. not even a great deal of planning. Teachers are also part of society and have their own views – but are we not at least supposed to be impartial? That would mean making an effort to inform ourselves. She coordinates external exams and provides guidance for new teachers. techniques and activities.. we should insist that everyone is represented in our institution’s equality and anti-bullying policies. D and Kulick. Spain.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 21 . start by putting the students into small.


The plan I set the following objectives: to encourage the students to develop and expand their vocabulary. I explained what I would like them to do after they had borrowed and read each of the three books. For example. to motivate them to read books in English.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • . the groups swapped books and repeated the activity with a new book. s A s a primary school teacher of English in Slovenia. and they felt reassured as they had very little text. After the presentation. to incorporate new activities in my teaching. The Three Billy Goats Gruff. I then asked them to throw a dice and to open their books on the corresponding page. The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse. 2 I planned the visit to the school library beforehand with the librarian. These questions proved to be a good start as they aroused the students’ interest and made them discuss their reading habits (this was done in their mother tongue). The students found the books extremely attractive as they were all fully illustrated. She did that at the beginning of the lesson. I helped them by asking them questions like: Who are the people in the story? What animals are there? What does Goldilocks do? Where do bears go? What do bears eat? The students answered the questions and pointed to the people and things in the book. which was fun for the children. I brought the books to class. The Sleeping Beauty. and a passionate reader myself. to help them to associate learning and reading in English with having fun. First. Working in groups meant there was plenty of discussion and exchanging of ideas. I explained to them that they would read the books at home. to improve their reading skills. To avoid expense. However. 23 • www. These exercises encouraged them to use and recycle words they met in the books. asking her to show the students the shelves with books in English and to explain the rules of the library. to increase their creativity. To meet these objectives I decided to encourage my pupils to read at least three books in English. I asked them to look at the covers and to read the titles. giving the students an idea of the dictionaries that were available in there. the students were allowed to browse the books for a few minutes. At the end of the lesson I invited them to visit the school library in the next lesson. Then they sat at the desks in the ‘reading corner’ of the library.TEACHING YOUNG LEARNERS A primary reading project Betka Pis lar encourages good reading habits from the start. I had prepared a few amusing vocabulary exercises for them to do and they read their books and did some of the exercises in pairs. Then we looked at the other dictionaries in the library. some of the students tried to guess the meaning of new words with the help of the pictures. Afterwards they did some more vocabulary exercises which involved looking up new words in a simplified English–Slovenian dictionary. which they enjoyed immensely. Back in the classroom. The next step was to show them the books I had chosen for them to read in English. I began with these questions: Who read bedtime stories to you when you were a little child? Do you remember the title of the first book you read in Slovenian? What book are you reading now? What is your favourite book? ˆ I then showed them my favourite nursery book when I was a child.etprofessional. When all four children in the group had had a go at throwing the dice. I explained some new words to them. So I developed a project to get them involved in reading. so they all opened the book Goldilocks and The Three Bears on page five. The students were allowed to borrow each of their three books for one week. I find that the children I teach are naturally interested in what is going on in the school. After reading this page they were asked to say what they had read. such as Goldilocks and The Three Bears. I have always tried to pass on my love of reading to my students and motivate them to start reading in English. in one group a child threw the dice and the number was five. The project 1 My project was targeted on three classes of 20 nine year olds who were in their first year of learning English. etc. These were simplified texts adapted from traditional fairytales. The activity also aroused their curiosity – they were eager to read the entire book and to learn what happened next. They are open to new ideas and willing to take part in any activities offered to them. I deliberately chose books that were available in the school library. put the students into groups of four and gave each child in a group a copy of the same book.

brought their worksheets to school. Gradually. 4 Make a new cardboard cover for the book. Reading the books. I then gave each student a small. 4 flower on the poster. introduced some new songs and rhymes. Slovenia. They could write the title of the book they had finished on the petal if they wished. That would mean all their tasks had been done. Ziri. they started borrowing books which were not even on my list. with magnificent illustrations and beautiful handwriting. we read together the names of those who had already completed their flowers on the poster. 3 Write what the story was about in five to seven sentences. The optional activities were meant to encourage the students to be creative and to give them the opportunity to do things that they liked doing. Some of them produced really nice work. I tried to persuade them to start reading and I also prepared some additional fun activities to encourage them. I checked them and gave them each a paper petal. The instructions for the obligatory activities were as follows: 1 Write the title of the book in English. They became quite competitive at the same time as they read.net 24 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www. and students who had already read the books acted out some scenes from them. I realised they either had less support from their families or they were not interested in reading at all. Her main educational interest is motivating primary school children to learn. which I carried out with the students in all three classes. All these activities gave them a strong sense of achievement. 2 Do an illustration with coloured pencils or water colours.etprofessional. We even made cardboard puppets. I explained that it represented the centre of a flower and that they would get a petal for each worksheet they finished to add to their flower on the poster. secondary school students and adults for over 20 years. They realised that by reading more books they also learnt more English. I also The students involved in this reading project nearly all discovered that reading in English can be a lot of fun. 53 children out of 60 had read all three books.com • ˆ At the beginning of the following lesson. and asked them to write their name on it. Then I asked them a few comprehension questions about what they had read. and when all the books in the library were out. They started by reading simple English texts. The students were very keen to complete their flowers as quickly as possible. doing the worksheets and completing the flowers gave them a strong sense of achievement. and we dramatised some of them. I asked them to do at least two of the following: 1 Write what you liked or didn’t like about the book. those students who had read one of the books at home and done a worksheet. They were asked the following questions: How often do you go to the library? Who usually helps you to read? Do you discuss the books you read with your parents or schoolfriends? 5 betka_pislar@t-2. After bringing me all three worksheets. which they stuck on their Betka Pislar has taught English to young learners. They were asked to do these activities at home or after lessons in the school library. Completing a flower on a class poster and doing worksheets was also an incentive. which proved motivational. ETp . 3 Write a new ending for the book in three to five sentences. their flower would be complete. In class we watched some extracts from films which had been made of the chosen stories. colour it and stick it on the poster. They went to the library very often. 5 Rewrite one page of the book in the form of a cartoon story. They were so busy competing that they didn’t realise how much they were reading! It was noticeable that their vocabularies expanded and that they went to the library more often. In fewer than two months. Each lesson. 2 Find any new words in the English–Slovenian dictionary.TEACHING YOUNG LEARNERS A primary reading project 3 My after-reading activities were given to the students on a worksheet which had an obligatory part and an optional part. After talking to the remaining seven children. done the worksheets and consequently completed their flowers on the class poster. ˆ ˆ I brought a large cardboard poster to the next lesson and put it on the wall next to the board. especially to those with more creative skills. 6 The final part of my project consisted of a survey. I wanted to discover more about how they read and learn. Peer competition was an important factor: more active children encouraged those with less motivation. round piece of paper. which as their English improves will gradually become more advanced. At present she teaches English and French at the Ziri Primary School. some of their parents even went to libraries in neighbouring towns to get the books for their children. which resulted in increased selfconfidence and personal satisfaction.


Furthermore. but also social skills and skills for life.pdf and www. They can be put in charge of materials so that the other students have to come up and ask for things.com • . Materials While the normal textbook used with the rest of the class can be followed. for example. or with an additional section where they have to do some extra writing or take the activity or activity reflection one step further. but with more gaps for the native speakers to complete.com and www. They can also be the ‘mediator’. games. and they can be the resource person with the dictionary. www. It is useful and relatively simple to prepare at least two versions of a handout. The following ideas are more for the benefit of the individual.org/ curriculum/languagearts/scos/. Differentiation The first suggestion involves the preparation of handouts.edu/frameworks/ela/ 0601. letting children read books of interest in English and getting them to write reports can support their skills in their mother tongue and in their second language. choosing another textbook for independent work can be a good idea. as this requires more formal English and use of language such as Yes. There are numerous sites. which can benefit all the children.com. handouts 26 Teachers in many countries need to have a repertoire of ideas for working with native speakers in the foreign language classroom. Allowing them to choose an independent project. Cooperation Finally. such as making a poster about a country they have lived in. With gapped texts. it is a good idea to have the native speakers sit where they are not facing any language support on the board or on the wall. one might see. some children may need more social development than content development. the teacher could have monolingual dictionaries for the native students and bilingual ones for the others. The following ideas might be used for one lesson a week for those learners who can work more independently.loder@phzh. Publishers. such as Teacher Created Materials and Scholastic.TEACHING YOUNG LEARNERS A fair deal for all lessons. Individual benefits The above ideas fully integrate the native speakers into the class for the benefit of all.ch • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www.discoverykids. Organisation Organisationally. with less language support (model sentences.com. The role the community can play in schools should also not be forgotten. Extra worksheets from language classrooms in English-speaking countries (from www. which offer educationally relevant and challenging materials for independent work.mass. the same text can be given to all the other learners. offer a wide range of textbooks for children in English-speaking countries. laura. Every language in the classroom should be recognised and shared. it might be useful for the native-speaking child to develop their local language skills. a South African father coming once a week to the English class and taking his child and a few more to another room to read them stories. If the parents have enough money. Helpful websites include: www. In addition.doe. The ideas listed above help to support language development as well as social development. computer work allows these children to keep up with the typical language development of their peers in Englishspeaking countries. Working on a computer can help native speakers set their own pace in language learning activities. This ensures they don’t have the information right at their fingertips. can help promote cultural and linguistic knowledge and can lead to a product that can be shared with the class. as they should be expected and encouraged to write more. and children of all language backgrounds should be provided with opportunities to improve their mother-tongue competence within and outside the classroom. When assigning roles in groups. However … . native speakers can be used in many ways in cooperative learning contexts to their own benefit and to the benefit of the class. It would be good to let every child lead a game in the language they speak at home. parental involvement is being highly encouraged at the moment. so teachers should be prepared to give support in the main language of the school. too. though the child still belongs to and can work alongside the class. In addition. can be created for the native speakers which have more of a focus on spelling and writing. for example) can be kept in a special binder and used as supplementary materials for the ‘native’ students. Furthermore.abcteach.funbrain.pbskids. I hope this article has sparked some creative ideas for integration and differentiation. that’s right. Teachers with native speakers in their class should perhaps take the time to find the language curriculum from the country their child is from. word banks. they can be the ‘writer’. Language awareness and cultural activities can be used which give the students the opportunity to share songs. However. in a shop-like setting. stories and traditions from their own culture or those they have experienced. ETp Laura Loder Büchel studied Bilingual and Multicultural Education at Northern Arizona University in the USA and has been an instructor at the Zürich and Schaffhausen Universities of Teacher Education in Switzerland for the past seven years. Depending on the situation. In Switzerland.etprofessional. In some communities. They can be made responsible for ensuring the whole group speaks in the target language. others not.ncpublicschools. such as www. Independence Schools aim not only to teach content. they can be asked to purchase an e-book of interest to their child that can be printed out and used in class. etc) on the ones for the native speakers.com.

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EAP An all-round challenge 2 Louis Rogers teaches his students seminar skills. 2 Put the Group A students into smaller groups of four to six and ask them to take After your students have completed the seminar activities above. Whilst it is arguable how authentic some of these expressions may be. where he taught General English.etprofessional. However. Then ask them to discuss one of the topics below (or any other topic you feel would be of interest) using as many of the phrases as possible. ● Parents. Award one point per phrase used by each student. The third activity provides them with the opportunity to reflect on their own participation. He has previously worked in Italy. Then repeat the process with the students from Group A observing those from Group B. or any other seminar activity. Whilst the seminar is happening.j. and give this person a set of the cards used in Stage 2. I n an academic setting it is often important to consider several different perspectives on a topic. I find initially that many of the students find it difficult to move beyond their own perspective on a situation. in order to set personal learning objectives for future seminars. UK.com • . Ask them to divide the cards into the following functions: ● Partly agree ● Disagree ● Agree 2 Give the pairs or groups of students the second set of expressions cards from Task 2 1 Give half the class (Group A) Seminar topic A from Worksheet 2 on page 29 and the other half (Group B) Seminar topic B.uk Worksheet 3 – Seminar observation Student Main arguments presented Did they listen to others’ opinions? Yes □ No □ Did they modify their viewpoint? Yes □ No □ Did they focus on winning the argument? Yes □ No □ 28 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www. encourage them to reflect on their experience using questions such as these: Everyone 1 Are you satisfied with how you participated in the discussion? 2 How do you think you could improve? 3 Did any person dominate or not take part? 4 How could you help to include others and stop some people dominating a discussion? The chair ● How well do you think the discussion went? ● How do you think you could improve as chair? ETp Louis Rogers is a course tutor on the International Foundation Programme at the University of Reading. one student from Group B should focus on one from Group A and complete the table in Worksheet 3 below. Ask the students to work in pairs and to think of arguments for or against their topics and to decide what sort of people might hold these opinions (more than one person may hold each opinion).rogers@reading. Germany and Portugal. Business English and Academic English. Worksheet 1 and ask them to divide them into these categories: ● Beginning a discussion ● Clarifying points ● Managing the discussion ● Closing the discussion 3 Ask the students to work in small groups. It also encourages them perhaps to modify their opinions after hearing different arguments. Give each other person in the group a set of the cards used in Stage 1. The second task encourages the students to consider a wide range of perspectives on a topic. l. Task 1 1 Give pairs or groups of students the first set of expressions cards from Worksheet 1 on page 29. part in a seminar on the topic they have been preparing. The first task presented here provides students with language which they can practise using in their seminar discussion. Get them to decide who in their group is going to chair the discussion. These perspectives will often come out of the background reading that the students are expected to undertake before a seminar.ac. I feel they do give students a framework of language to use. are primarily responsible for their child’s education. Possible topics ● The only reason to learn a language is if the language will help you gain a good job. even if they have been presented with different viewpoints in a reading text. not teachers. ● The most effective way to support a homeless person is to provide them with money.

..com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 29 . but … Set of cards 2 Let’s start by … So what you are saying is . I’m sorry but I don’t agree that . I can see what you mean but .. That may be true. Who might have an opinion on this topic? What are arguments for and against? Who might present this argument? Use your ideas to complete the table below.Worksheet 1 – Language focus Set of cards 1 Yes. So.. Who might have this opinion? Governments. What might be an argument against this? Who might have this opinion? Leaders of developing countries What might be an argument for this? Restricting emissions for developing countries may limit their development and ultimately limit their standard of living. X. I completely agree that . would anyone else like to comment? In conclusion … Shall we stop there? Worksheet 2 – Different roles and perspectives Seminar topic A Work with a partner and think about the following topic: Tobacco should be made illegal... you have a point there. But surely … I’m not sure I entirely agree … As X said .. X. Could I just check what you mean by ... so let’s begin. What might be an argument against this? A lot of people would lose their jobs. Is there anything else to cover? I didn’t quite catch that. You have a point there but . do you have anything to add to Y’s point? To sum up … OK.. employees of tobacco companies What might be an argument for this? Seminar topic B Work with a partner and think about the following topic: Developing countries should not have to restrict CO2 emissions in the same way as developed countries. let’s move on to the next topic. I don’t quite follow you.. Who might have an opinion on this topic? What are arguments for and against? Who might present this argument? Use your ideas to complete the table below.etprofessional. I’m afraid that’s not how I see it. Maybe. • www.... but … X put it well when he/she said ...? Moving on … So to kick off … I’m not quite sure I understand what you mean. OK.

call everyone into a big circle and ask if anyone heard anything interesting. ask the tourists to rotate clockwise. narrow topics allow us to recycle with variations without getting bored: if your first topic is something large like Culture.etprofessional. These classes are separate from my regular English lessons.R E S O U R C E S Rebecca Norman’s students go abroad without going anywhere. I often discover additional questions when I overhear groups straying into interesting areas. I alternate between calling on students and tourists to ensure that my students speak. As I have enough tourists to run a conversation class every day. you’ve pretty well made any future cultural topic into a boring repeat. too. and the improvement to their spoken English is remarkable. Ten minutes before the end of the class. I have also made fruitful connections with several foreign student travel groups. You can announce an additional question once in a while. he most natural way to learn a language is to be plunged into a situation where it is needed for communication. If the students need to be mixed up too. T Topics I find it is helpful to set a clear and limited topic. inviting visitors to the country to join in. break it down into small subtopics. I found that when I asked our local staff to put these up. We can’t send all our students abroad for experience. mix the groups up every few minutes. of course! Give a fixed time. let’s go there this afternoon!’ Have them come a few minutes before class so you can greet and orient them. More advanced students will digress into more interesting topics. you may be able to recruit them to help with such classes. Tips For low. since some students are unable to maintain a conversation for much longer. or anything that they didn’t understand. giving my students a chance at conversation in small groups. collecting vocabulary for the board and clarifying where necessary. To reduce confusion when rotating. look. every five minutes. ask one from each group to stand up and rotate anti-clockwise. I mean travellers with flexible schedules. in the nicest possible way. Try putting up A4 posters in popular backpacker restaurants. to get impulse visitors saying ‘Hey. Rotate quickly. Travellers usually appreciate the chance to interact with locals outside the tourism industry. Instead. longer for a juicier topic or when the noise level indicates that something interesting is taking place). Some tourist volunteers talk too much and over the students’ heads. rather than just ‘Call for details’. ● Introductions. Roam around the room. Advise them ahead of time to tolerate long pauses and to remember how hard it is to formulate a sentence in a foreign language that one doesn’t know very well. it helps to arrange the small groups around a large circle. I got fewer responses than when I did it myself: they didn’t have a sense of where the backpackers gravitate. The tourist trap! the same information while their recent attempt and any new words that have come up are fresh in their minds. and many are eager to volunteer. This is hugely popular with the students. Elementary Low-level students appreciate having new conversation partners so they can repeat old topics for further practice. while the lower-level students will be glad of the structure. and sometimes I write main points or words on the board. Tourists as resources For years I have run a conversation class here in Ladakh during the tourist season. You might remind everyone to make sure they can pronounce their partners’ names before they rotate away. Another tactic with the intractably loquacious is to announce that at the end the visitors will tell the whole class what they learnt from the students. If you teach in an area with a lot of backpackers. We want to trap as many of them as we can. and all the students then get a chance to repeat 30 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www.and intermediate-level students. By backpackers. It keeps the talk going. but this situation is difficult for students to find in their home country. After five to 15 minutes (shorter for introductions. Add specific questions or leave it open.com • . but we can try to bring the world to them.

● Chores. while the tourists appreciate learning about local farming. If the tourists don’t have photos. and again later after teaching the past tense. I give a map to each group and then redistribute the maps after ten minutes. ● Avoid anything that might be embarrassing or offensive to your local students. I use this topic with visiting foreign student groups to sensitise them to how they should dress so as not to offend the locals. BeckyLadakh@gmail. sometimes I have them teach the tourists a tricky pronunciation point from the local language. Let your imagination fly! Topics to avoid ● Food tends to flop.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 31 . Props give low-level students an encouraging experience of communicating. For example.com • www. sometimes we find a photo book about their country in our library. To turn the tables and raise my students’ confidence. I ask them to bring them in. ● Generations. I do this topic early in the year. Intermediate Exchanging factual information works best. this conversation class is like going abroad for an hour a day. too. etc? I like to add questions that I know might surprise one side or the other. These might include local maps that students have to explain. What plants and animals does your family have? My students come from farming families and are surprised at what the foreigners say to this. Advanced When students are able to communicate more. asking the students to make general statements in the present tense. It is a great favourite with my students.etprofessional. and describe their own personal experience in the past tense. and it’s frustrating to garble one’s deeply-held personal beliefs. ETp Rebecca Norman has been teaching English to rural students in an alternative education programme in Ladakh in the Indian Himalayas for 18 years. My female students are shy about dating and sex. you can use more abstract topics and opinion questions. This topic uses the simple present tense. even if they can’t make full sentences. Topics might include: Who lives in your house? Is that common in your country? Were your parents and grandparents born in the same town? What age do children normally move out of their parents’ house? Is it considered good if a son lives with his parents when he is 30 years old? My region still has a fairly traditional family structure. If the students and/or tourists have photos from home. ● Plants and animals. This topic always generates a lively (and generally noisy) discussion. such as Who brings water to your house? Who shovels the snow? ● Clothing. I have found these topics among the most successful early ones: ● Family. and my students are amazed by the mobility and creative family structures of the West. as terminology varies widely between countries. What are the major differences between your grandparents’ lives and your own? This topic also focuses attention on past and present tenses. For the learners. I announce two additional questions: Does anyone help poor people? Have you ever done anything to help someone poorer than yourself? ● Gender. ● Poverty. political topics are better avoided. Are there certain jobs that women shouldn’t or can’t do? This topic emphasises modal auxiliaries. Tourists as tutors Tourists with good-enough English can be used as small-group tutors. ● Education. or world maps for the tourists to show where they are from or where they are travelling. Are there poor people in your country? Who? Why? After five minutes for factual exchange. you can have them work on a particular pronunciation point for the first five or ten minutes. ● Maps. with each side reciting a litany of food names to blank-faced partners. world and opinions. Young people always enjoy comparing education systems. and in some countries. having to use English for real communication.● Photos. What chores do you do in your house? Do boys and girls do different things? Who cleans/cooks/washes the clothes. Words or tongue twisters on the board give everyone a clear task to work on. and with the tourists. ● Contrived topics and games are less intrinsically motivating than discussing one’s own life. Start with vocabulary for the tourists as well as your students. but be sensitive to your particular tourists and don’t make non-native speakers teach points that they themselves have difficulty with. I use this topic when the tourists are also students. ● Avoid religion for intermediate students – they have trouble expressing abstract concepts and answering the Why questions.

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the book is an account of the remarkable education she received at the hands of her tutor and companion. two autobiographies and one non-fiction manual.com • . As is well-known. However. David Lodge dissects with his customary humour and intelligent observation the life and woes of retired Professor of Linguistics. It may seem unusual to introduce this set of books on various forms of disability. so it goes well beyond the relatively short basic text (only about 110 pages long). Deaf Sentence In Deaf Sentence. Desmond Bates. Helen Keller lost both her sight and her hearing in a childhood illness. ‘Deafness is comic.. correct.’ Essentially. at 19 months. and make us more conscious of the way disability in one area may be compensated by exceptional gifts in others. as the novel moves on. there are strikingly radical observations about the condition of being disabled: ‘… the way to help the blind or any other defective class is to understand. which celebrate her appreciation of the natural world largely through her other senses of touch and smell. all dealing with disabling conditions. Socially we are still ignorant. Perhaps that is symptomatic of an era when we are all so much more aware of disability and more positively engaged with it.Over the wall . the emphasis shifts away from the predicament of deafness to a more general concern with how to cope with an ageing father. but the issue of how we cope with life when we are effectively useless is more sobering still. Apart from the inspiring story of how she overcame her disabilities. The edition I am reading of The Story of My Life includes a section of letters and a supplementary account of her life and achievements.com / © Steven Robertson This is an era when we are all so much more aware of disability and more positively engaged with it 34 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www.. remove the incapacities and inequalities of our entire civilisation … Technically we know how to prevent blindness … but socially we do not know how. as blindness is tragic’. However. Anne Sullivan. and with the plight of being retired. The disabling effects of advancing deafness are what gets the novel off the ground and are thoughtprovoking for anyone who suspects their auditory acuity may be duller than it once was. Alan Maley considers ability and disability.’ The book is also notable for its lyrical passages. At the outset.etprofessional. I hope it may also prompt us to become more aware of our own and others’ disabling conditions. The book remains a remarkable account of one person’s triumph over physical adversity. until she came – my teacher – who was to set my spirit free. ‘Gradually I got used to the silence and darkness that surrounded me and forgot that it had ever been different. probably to compensate for her loss of sight and hearing. especially. As he observes. with beneficial effects on the way we deal with them. The Story of My Life The case of Helen Keller is perhaps the best-documented of all accounts of disability. which were clearly hyper-sensitive. I n this article I shall be looking at two novels. The early part of the book. iStockphoto. acquiring not just one but several languages and becoming a leading public figure in the life of her age. contains some highly comic observations on the fate of becoming deaf and its consequences for social intercourse: ‘What would be the equivalent of a guide dog for the deaf? A parrot on your shoulder squawking into your ear?’ And there is a good deal of witty wordplay with well-known literary quotations.

even more terrifying than the book. in spite of her condition. Ghana. until recently. or to talk. or. ETp Bauby. if he encounters a new situation. often acting violently. or perhaps because of it. Italy. Singapore and Thailand. Visit the ETp website! The ETp website is packed with practical tips. But he has brilliant visualisation skills and can solve quadratic equations and other mathematical problems in his head – something he often does to calm himself down. M The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Jonathan Cape 2003 Keller. You can submit tips or articles. She became. It also raises the uncomfortable question of how many patients who appear to be in a deep coma are.The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Imagine that you are unable to move your limbs. information and selected articles. Finally. it is a positive gift. renew your subscription or simply browse the features.’ he replies when asked his age. suffers from a form of autism. largely corroborates the symptoms of the fictional Christopher. The book is both an inspiration and a valuable source of information on the condition.507. The result is The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Christopher. the UK. He has problems with social interaction and becomes uncontrollable when he panics. are the same as those claimed by Grandin to have been autistic. indeed.etprofessional. He is obsessed by numbers and by total accuracy: ‘I am 15 years. These practical procedures are described in great detail. He cannot bear to be touched. with the patient help of his specialised nurse. totally cut off from communication with those around him but with his mind racing – re-living his past. The former editor-in-chief of Elle was confined to his bed and wheelchair at the Naval Hospital in Berck-sur-Mer. he has to work everything out from first principles. This is ‘locked-in syndrome’ and is the fate that befell Jean-Dominique Bauby following a massive stroke at the age of 44. Since 2003 he has been a freelance writer and consultant. besides its negative consequences. He has published over 30 books and numerous articles.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 35 . Davis describes dyslexia and its results. The story of the difficult relations with his estranged parents and the effects of his unusual behaviour on those he These books remind us of how difficult it is to empathise. with conditions we do not fully understand.etprofessional.uk Thinking in Pictures Thinking in Pictures. outraged by his present condition. the protagonist and firstperson narrator of Mark Haddon’s novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. hates crowds and does not look at people when he speaks to them. www.com • www. J-D The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Harper Perennial 2008 Davis R D The Gift of Dyslexia Souvenir Press 2010 Grandin. There is a film of the same title which is. aware of how pathetic and repellent he has become: ‘What kind of person will those who only know me now think I was?’ So how do we know this? He was able to open and close one eyelid and. H The Story of My Life (Ed Berger. T Thinking in Pictures – And Other Reports from my Life with Autism Bloomsbury 2006 Haddon. most of which he cannot use to make sense of new situations: ‘I know all the countries of the world and their capital cities and every prime number up to 7. these books remind us of how difficult it is to empathise.’ In fact. translated from French by Jeremy Leggatt. Interestingly. The fundamental cause of dyslexia in relation to reading and writing is disorientation. Ronald Davis’ book The Gift of Dyslexia is of interest partly because it also gives an insider’s view of dyslexia and partly for the diagnostic and treatment tools it offers. while maintaining full consciousness. D Deaf Sentence Penguin 2008 Alan Maley has worked in the area of ELT for over 40 years in Yugoslavia. to communicate at all with those around you. effective ways of diagnosing and treating it by teaching the dyslexic to turn the disorientation on and off at will. in fact. which he cannot bear to have disturbed. and would only be comprehensible in the context of a real dyslexic undergoing treatment. The main messages for me from this unusual book were that dyslexia is not all negative and that it is treatable given the right conditions. rather than merely to sympathise. yelamoo@yahoo. and Davis cites the cases of many highly gifted people who were also dyslexic. which do nothing to resolve the essential problem. a terrifying account of his condition and a testament to his courage. some of these. he succeeds in getting an ‘A’ in A-level maths … but what sort of future awaits him in a world he still does not understand and which offers him little tolerance? leading to panic and to the building of compulsive solutions such as mnemonics (like the Alphabet Song) or heavy concentration. advice. France. resources. J) The Modern Library 2004 Lodge. China. finding his way to the station. Hers is part autobiography and part detailed information about autism. In order to exert some control over his life. a highly-successful animal scientist. according to his claims. which is Temple Grandin’s insider’s view of autism. conscious of what is going on around them. The description offered of dyslexia makes the powerful point that. like buying a train ticket or The Gift of Dyslexia Autism is widely regarded as sharing many of the symptoms of dyslexia. three months and two days. if anything. but powerless to communicate. managed painstakingly to send messages to her by indicating which letter of the alphabet he needed to make up the words of the book he wrote. rather than merely to sympathise meets is told by him in a manner both highly comic and with a bitter edge. and was. Series Editor of the Oxford Resource Books for Teachers. such as Einstein. humorously philosophical.co. then moves to the unusual but. or groaning in an alarming way. as when he is touched by a policeman early in the story. If nothing else. He has total recall of whatever he sees and has a head full of detailed information. he has developed routines and rituals. India.


‘words’ or ‘language’. ● manipulating the three sounds /æ/. Originally. dyslexia was known as ‘word blindness’ because it seemed that only a problem with sight and visual memory could explain why some people confused letters. however. Subsequently. Decades of research have established that dyslexia is caused by specific neurobiological dysfunctions in the language areas of the brain. /m/ and /n/ to form a new word. sight problems are not at the root of this reading disorder. • www. In the same class. learning the alphabetic principle and thus remembering which specific speech sounds correspond to which letters and letter combinations is more than a challenge for dyslexics. however.IN THE CLASSROOM ● locating and identifying the middle sound of the word: /æ/. locate or manipulate a word’s individual speech sounds. a dyslexic would have problems: ● taking the first sound away. situated at the back of the brain. These malfunctions prevent dyslexics from perceiving and remembering speechbased information accurately and manifest themselves in poor sensitivity to: ● rhyme. Trapped at the level of decoding. just seeing the letter in print activates immediate retrieval of all its relevant information. brain imaging studies conclusively point to the fact that dyslexics overuse the slower decoding systems at the left frontal area of the brain – Broca’s area – and compensatory systems on the right side of the brain. Reduced awareness of spoken-word sound structure also means that dyslexics cannot identify. eg /m/ from man. Their classmates Tammy and Guy. or removing the last sound. Although these are simple examples. neither are speech or hearing In addition to weak phonological awareness. yet he just doesn’t understand short passages even though he gets full marks in vocabulary quizzes. turned them upside down or reversed them. causing phonological limitations. such as nam. As Shaywitz puts it. learnt the alphabet fairly easily and seems to have reached the stage of reading without any decoding errors. Anna and Tony are reading quietly. Quite the reverse. ammy. lack of intelligence or poverty. demonstrate difficulties at each of these stages and are examples of students whose primary learning disability is reading. how many syllables man has. Sometimes she confuses the order of the letters or misses words or jumps lines on the page. As Sally Shaywitz points out. yet every word still remains an effort and her reading is full of errors. frontal lobe Broca’s area parietal lobe Wernicke’s area temporal lobe cerebellum occipital lobe brain stem occipito temporal automatic reading system What are reading disabilities? Reading difficulties are commonly referred to as dyslexia – dys means ‘difficulty with’ and lexia. A person who has dyslexia would find it difficult to say: ● ● ● ● another word that rhymes with man. This is known as understanding ‘the alphabetic principle’ or ‘cracking the code’ and is needed in order to take the first step in the reading process. She’s been learning English for three years. Dyslexics. and replacing it with another sound to create a different word. simultaneously decoding the text and comprehending the writer’s message. /n/. For instance. after proficient readers have seen a letter and articulated the sound it represents a few times. since for them the distinct borders between each phoneme seems blurry. T impairments. known as phonemes. Interestingly. swapped them around. ● distinct language sounds. reads slowly and awkwardly. and replacing it with /t/ to form mat. cerebrum Learning disability 4 Lesley Lanir considers disabilities in reading. its individual sounds.etprofessional. she can’t seem to make headway. it is almost as though there are no connections between these systems. /æ/ and /n/. ● syllable divisions. these essential phonemic skills are needed in order to appreciate how the individual sounds of words are represented by letters that are sequenced in a specific order. segment. the word man is made up of three distinct phonemes /m/. which affects nearly 20 percent of the population. 11 years old. but underuse their automatic reading system sited in the left hemisphere at the back of the brain. eg /p/ to make pan. Guy enjoyed rhyming games. Instead. Due to their phonological deficits. an exact neural representation of its form and sound becomes imprinted in the occipito temporal automatic reading system.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 37 . are unable to supply perfect imprints to this automatic storage place because the language information they receive through their dysfunctional phonological system becomes distorted or degraded and lost in the neural system. how many sounds it is made up of.

move on to end sounds. developing sensitivity to rhyme. and display several pictures. ● slow or erroneous word retrieval. ● Ask the students to produce their own words that rhyme and don’t rhyme. 38 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www. Working on syllables: ● Clap or tap out the number of syllables in words. then moving on to teaching syllables. ● decoding errors. or end with this sound.com • . Firstly. say /m/ then man. working on distinguishing individual language sounds has to be tackled. m. days of the week. and ask the students to group those cards that rhyme and those that don’t. ● Say one syllable of a word and ask the students to finish it. ● becoming skilled at decoding words and reading groups of words. one at a time. first introduce highfrequency consonants with one predictable sound (such as b. replace the /n/ with /t/ (mat). Teachers need to draw attention to language sounds by inserting ten minutes of phonological practice at the beginning of lessons. misunderstanding temporal adverbs). Once students have mastered these exercises. Working on phonemes: ● For phoneme identification. etc. or have three sounds. This is the hardest phonological task but it is crucial in order to move to the next stage of learning to read. writing. ● Practise phoneme substitution by saying man and asking the students to repeat the word. Developing phonological and phoneme awareness is paramount. The remedial method developed by Kathleen Hickey or the OrtonGillingham programme developed by Anna Gillingham and Bessie Stillman both use these systems and can be adapted to teach foreign language learners. 2 Master decoding by: ● learning the alphabetic principle – associating sounds with written symbols. for example. Decades of studies conclude that phonological processing deficits are the primary cause of reading disabilities and also emphasise that phoneme awareness is an essential factor in the process of learning to read. t and d). 1 ● For phoneme location. accuracy and expression. Working on rhymes: ● Have the students practise identifying if words or names follow a rhyming pattern or not. teaching letter/ sound (grapheme to phoneme) and also sound/letter (phoneme to grapheme) associations. fin – ger. the remedial programme has to be: ● Multisensory. ● Structured. students with dyslexia need to do the following: 1 Understand that words are made up of different sounds/phonemes. systematic and progressive. the short vowel sounds of the letters i and a can be added. Also known to accompany poor reading skills are: ● memory problems. Then progress to small sentences: Mad bad bat bit dad. ● poor spelling. etc). 2 Understanding that words are made up of different sounds occipital lobes These neurological dysfunctions result in: ● difficulty learning and remembering letters and their corresponding sounds. b-a-d. After substituting beginning sounds. moving and touching. cat. m-a-d. for example. ● blending the sounds into syllables and words. difficulty learning the order of the alphabet. ● slow and painful reading. using a mixture of seeing. say a sound. hat. ● trouble with coordination (confusion between directions. there has to be plenty of over-learning to create and strengthen strong neural pathways. Then ask them to replace the sound /m/ with /t / and say the new word (tan). ● Repetitive. Have the students say where the sound /m/ appears: at the beginning. learning has to be gradual and must build upon preceding knowledge. ● recognising language structure and syntax. etc. 3 Receive word structure instruction. Words and nonwords can be created by showing the students how to blend sounds together and create one-syllable words. ● slow information processing. (Adapted from Suzanne Carreker) This fifth point will be discussed in depth in my next article. 4 Improve their fluency and read with speed. After a few consonants have been acquired. for example bat. For example. using the most common sound/letter correspondences first. Mastering decoding In order for dyslexics to master the alphabetic principle and begin the reading process. untidy desk. ● Based on phonics. ● Incremental and cumulative. ● Teach phoneme deletion by showing a picture (eg man) and asking the students to say man without the /m/ (an). ● Make picture cards. end or not at all. ● poor organisation and sequencing skills (messy bag. d-a-d. man. for example /s/. ● handwriting difficulties. bed. it has to be logical.etprofessional. asking the students to point to the pictures which begin with this sound. ● internalising comprehension strategies.Learning disability 4 pre-frontal cortex (word analysis/ articulation) Broca’s area frontal lobes left side corpus callosum Wernicke’s area (word analysis) occipito temporal automatic reading system (word form) parietal lobes right side 5 Develop reading comprehension skills by: ● building up vocabulary. hearing. speaking. eg ta – ble. How can we help? In order to learn to read. ● Get the students to identify how many syllables there are in the words you say.

The next article in this series moves on from decoding and fluency to the next stage of reading instruction: developing reading comprehension. Space does not allow for more detailed instructions. As reading accuracy and rate improves through repeated reading to over 100 words a minute.allkindsofminds. have. She has a BA in English and Education. Word structure knowledge boosts reading fluency.hk/lexiconindex/ frequencylists/words2000. This article has explained why reading disabilities exist and given essential guidelines as to what to include in a remedial reading programme. di/et at least four correct readings are necessary for automatic word recognition to take place. J R (Ed) Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills Brookes Publishing Company 1999 Carreker.com www. 2 sequencing tasks – naming and ordering the alphabet using wooden or plastic letters. and) 2 Open – one long vowel is at the end (eg she. etc. comprehension will improve because fewer mental resources are invested in decoding. ● introducing a new letter/sound or reviewing sounds still not being retrieved automatically. Fluency turns decoding into comprehension. Teach: ● the six kinds of syllables 1. lesleylanir@gmail. Writing and Spelling Heinemann 1989 Levine.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 39 . does. 4 Improving fluency ● repeated reading of lists of words formed from all the letters already learnt. but a plethora of reading materials and internet sites are available for further guidance. eg prob/lem. adjectives. She specialises in learning disabilities and foreign language learning. 1 Kinds of syllables 1 Closed – consonant(s) follow(s) a short vowel (eg man. F Alpha to Omega: The A–Z of Teaching Reading. these learners need massive exposure to the printed word both orally and visually. he) 3 Vowel/consonant/silent ‘e’ – consonant is between a long vowel and a silent e (eg make. ● the five syllabication rules 2 . one.com www.edict. of. eg the. To facilitate reading fluency. there.com Remedial teaching A 50-minute beginners’ remedial reading lesson plan may consist of the following: 1 phonemic exercises. too. and so on. puzzle) 6 R combination – vowel combined with r (eg art. B W The Gillingham Manual: Remedial training for students with specific disability in reading. 6 introducing morphological instruction.com www. ● word roots. S (Eds) The Hickey Multisensory Language Course Whurr Publishers 1992 Birsh. eg hun/dred. S Overcoming Dyslexia Knopf 2003 Websites www. eg he and sight words that cannot be decoded). 3 phonics instruction: ● reviewing letters/sounds already learnt.org.wordfrequency. ● sound dictation (the teacher produces a sound.greatleaps. sentences and then short passages to improve accuracy and increase word speed retrieval. verbs. A and Stillman. was.ortonacademy. and penmanship Educators Publishing Service 1997 Hornsby. increases the students’ knowledge of word meanings and aids spelling and vocabulary acquisition. trouble articulating words indicates that exact neural representations have not been formed and that further repetitions have to take place. tail ) 5 Consonant + le (eg table.dyslexiaaction. spelling. ● repeated reading of frequent vocabulary (words that can be decoded but have to be learnt before their letters/letter combinations are introduced. in order to create any kind of accurate mental impression. M A Mind at a Time Simon & Schuster 2002 Shaywitz. hu/man 4 If previous rule doesn’t create a word. ● common prefixes and suffixes.info/ Lesley Lanir is a freelance writer. Modelling and feedback are essential in helping students pronounce words properly and build more accurate neural models.com.org www. • www. ● sentence dictation. S ‘Teaching reading’ In Birsh. Therefore. Both Shaywitz and Carreker assert that developing the students’ word analysis and syllabication skills and encouraging them to focus upon roots and affixes so as to perceive language as chunks rather than individual sounds and letters prevents memory overload. B and Shear. ● inflections which create nouns. For the normal reader. ● repeated reading of short sentences constructed from the above words. J R (Ed) Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills Brookes Publishing Company 1999 Gillingham.ldonline. J and Briggs.htm www. Some of my favourites are listed below. teachers and students have to go through many sessions of modelling and repeating word lists. term) 2 Syllabication rules 1 Two consonants between two vowels: divide the syllables between the consonants. ETp Books Augur. mon/ster 3 One consonant between two vowels: divide after the first vowel. eg pi/lot. the student has to write the letter).etprofessional.org/ http://candohelperpage. 5 spelling practice: Our overall goal in reading is to understand the writer’s intended message. lecturer and teacher trainer who has been involved in teaching English for over 15 years.spellzone. divide after the consonant. start working on automatic recognition and reading of the most common irregular and regular words. five) 4 Double vowel – two vowels combine to make one sound (eg meat. eg doz/en. morphological instruction should be gradually introduced.org www. CTEFLA/RSA and an MA in Learning Disabilities. eg po/em. 4 developing fluency: In addition.3 Giving instruction on word structure Once a few sounds and symbols are acquired and can be blended together. ● word dictation.uk www. fin/ger 2 More than two consonants together: divide keeping the blends together. Foreign language learners with reading disabilities not only have to rely on distorted neurological perception and slower neural pathways but also on areas of the brain that are not designed for word storage or retrieval. sol/id 5 Divide vowels.

and the formation of questions and negatives. Here are some approaches: 1 Reading texts can provide the context – and you may not need more than one example in the text. etc) – you can teach the imperative using the instructions on a box of pasta! Telling. for example: I used to get up early and I’m used to getting up early.. Songs can also be a good vehicle. 3 And learners may confuse two similar-looking structures in English. but some are usually spoken (eg How about going for a pizza?). Things to consider include the position of adverbs. rather than simply surface messages. specific to a particular occasion. a typical mistake made by speakers of many European languages is to use the present perfect where the past simple is needed – and this can be traced back to their mother tongue. otherwise they remain just that – grammar structures. 3 APPROPRIACY In addition. 2 WRITTEN. learners may overuse a form such as the present continuous. etc.. Telling is quicker – but the learners need to do very little mental work and. guiding or discovering? The approaches outlined above all involve elements of illustrating the language. and so they can be compared. SPOKEN OR BOTH Many grammar structures are equally at home in both spoken and written language.etprofessional. meaning. Situations and contexts Grammar structures need a context for them to make communicative sense. and certainly require the learners to focus and work harder at constructing the meaning (with the teacher’s help).com • .D E S I G N E D T O P H O T O C O P Y PREPARING TO TEACH . 4 Advertising slogans and other short authentic texts (eg instructions on packaging. too) and then elicits/provides the target language as the ‘punch line’. illustrating.. 4 On the other hand.. as a result. 2 Listening – especially anecdotes told by the teacher: these can be amusing or dramatic.). how important is it to devote class time to teaching Were I to do this . etc. 40 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www.. making a suggestion. little may finally stick. and may appeal to younger learners. 3 Situation and/or dialogue building: a classic approach but still very useful.? L1 and L2 1 Mistakes (of form. narrating. so that they can discover these for themselves rather than simply being told what it means. past participle). For example. what message they want to send. dependent prepositions and complement patterns (eg whether it is followed by an infinitive or a gerund). Grammar John Potts reviews some of the components of teaching a new grammar item. etc. The teacher tries to guide the learners towards the meaning and function of the new language. 2 Conversely. simply because they don’t have that form in their own language. whereas others are usually written (eg Should you need further information . provided that its meaning and function are very clear from the context. A more complex analysis of pronunciation includes features such as elision. For example. For example. and may not be typical of him.. 4 USEFULNESS Some structures may simply not be very useful in most everyday contexts. The teacher builds the situation/dialogue with the learners (perhaps using visuals and/or realia. sometimes a form and its meaning may be very close or even identical to the learners’ L1. Language analysis: four things to consider 1 FORM This refers to how a tense (or other grammar structure) is constructed: eg present continuous = present simple of be + present participle. Language awareness: four things to consider 1 FUNCTION This relates to what the speaker/writer seeks to do with the language. pronunciation or syntax) may often be due to L1 interference. some structures may be inappropriate in some contexts (eg you wouldn’t (normally) tell your boss that she had better be careful about what she says). 4 WORD ORDER/SYNTAX/PATTERN This looks at a tense or other grammar structure as part of a longer utterance (eg a clause or sentence). 3 PRONUNCIATION The basics are sounds. I think he’s being silly = this is temporary behaviour. and allow the learners to stop and question the teacher as the anecdote unfolds. assimilation. stress and intonation. for example: apologising. weak forms. These approaches may take more classroom time. It also refers to irregular forms (eg past simple. 2 MEANING This is concerned with deeper concepts of aspect. giving advice.

future continuous and future continuous.) (Yes. was going to. visuals or Cuisenaire rods. Vendôme. UK Elisabeth Jendraszczak.) (No. These should be prepared in advance – they’re very hard to think up on the spot! They should be kept few. Iserlohn. Wolverhampton. so they need their own personal example(s): I used to have dyed hair/be very shy/like Walt Disney (etc). especially at lower levels. John Potts is a teacher and teacher trainer based in Zürich. passive tense forms. for example. Bridgend.) (No. They needn’t be boring – both can be lively. He has written and co-written several adult coursebooks. discussions.) There are other ways of clarifying and checking – using Total Physical Response..etprofessional. Then you simply switch the time zone from now to yesterday/last week and elicit the past continuous to replace the present continuous. etc. perfect modals. France Laura Neuhoff. they have a basic repertoire of grammar structures and their concepts. Paris. Grammar The old and the new When your learners are no longer beginners. For example. and review and consolidate the present continuous. UK E B S T Y L E Y George Orwell • www. concept clarification and checking help the learners to feel confident about their grasp of the meaning of new language. Germany Emeline Parizez.ch COMPETITION RESULTS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 2 6 8 9 10 J 2 U N K 11 S 12 A 3 Q 2 U 1 A 6 T 13 I C 14 U 15 16 D 17 18 W 19 U 6 H 14 R 6 X 8 M 12 4 12 E 20 L 14 O 14 N 6 A 14 J 14 A 19 R 19 A 21 T 6 B 6 R 11 R 14 O 12 Z 22 A 23 W K W A 2 R D 24 A 17 R 17 R 11 O W Y 23 P 19 U 10 E 18 Congratulations to all those readers who successfully completed our Prize Crossword 40. short and simple – with equally brief answers. you can establish a situation/context in the present.D E S I G N E D T O P H O T O C O P Y PREPARING TO TEACH . 1 2 3 4 Did he have long hair in the past? And does he have long hair now? So something has changed? Do we know when? (Yes. etc. The example with used to above illustrates this for me – when I was 17. for example by asking a set of concept questions. who will each receive a copy of the Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners. A step towards this production is the personalising of language so that it takes on individual meaning for each learner. I had extremely long hair (almost to my waist!). johnpotts@swissonline. The winners. France O 2 25 C 13 G 17 E L D 14 17 25 17 P 14 S 17 26 F 9 11 H 17 3 10 E 17 R 6 E F 19 E R 19 J 14 U 15 N 16 K 17 S 18 A 19 Q 20 T 21 I 22 C 23 D 24 W 25 H 26 E V I 5 D 14 E 14 N C E 4 A 16 O 19 O 23 R 8 X 19 M E 12 L 14 O 9 B 8 Z 17 Y P 19 G 14 F V S 10 R 22 K 10 13 M 6 23 O 8 17 P 14 T 17 O 26 17 W 3 R 9 I 5 T 23 E 17 6 O 4 R C 6 6 R 19 Y 20 C 9 H A 8 P 16 T 6 E 24 R 9 E 17 V 3 E 24 N 18 S 5 P 13 E 10 A 9 K 5 A 10 6 A 18 14 B 9 17 I 26 T 9 I 17 E 3 N 19 G 8 L 8 I 6 S 6 H 5 I 9 S 17 3 10 17 C 13 A L O 14 R I 6 E 8 22 V 9 I 10 M A 18 G E 8 N O 20 T 2 A T A S 3 C I 6 E 14 N 8 C E H 17 R 20 A 5 I 18 17 C E L 17 T 22 B U N A R T Veronique Valières. Bottenwil. He is also a presenter for Cambridge ESOL Examinations. Combined with a clear context. Drills and controlled-practice activities (both oral and written) help to achieve this. they’ll need opportunities to use the language in fluency activities. Drilling and practising Learners also need to feel confident about the form and pronunciation of the new language. wish constructions. For example: Our teacher used to have long hair. fun and communicative. But my learners probably didn’t. St Sauveur. using it as a platform for new grammar structures. UK Alison Hyde. Germany Georgeta Bradatan. Finally. Switzerland.. learners have to produce language from their own resources and not only in controlled-practice exercises. and is a CELTA assessor. France Roy Wilson. You can build on what they already know.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 41 . Paris. This approach works very well with many other forms – past perfect. Switzerland Stella Tatchum. and in tandem with a guided-discovery approach. London. such as problem-solving tasks. are: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Wolfgang Alkewitz. Iserlohn. roleplays. Clarifying and checking It’s important to clarify and check the meaning and function of the new language. Using and personalising In the end. France Patricia Rüfenacht.

Justice is said 4a Fides was the goddess of good sun ea. swor of these deities possess all three his goddess who advised Zeus after and scales).’ ‘Are you sexually active?’ ‘No.’ ‘Could you see him from where you were standing?’ ‘I could see his head. quirks. holding a d over her (a robed woman with a blindfol other) are in one hand and a sword in the set of scales ough not on deities. quotations. Except for d symbols of Justice (blindfold. In court. none of the original incar god Ra) and Justitia. Daniel Noble was arrested for two sep ressive when he ly agg and run incidents. He was extreme a psychotic . odds & ends. His widow sued McDona including the itive did she ch food add contributing to his actions. This is how I dress when I go to work. Dike. his lawyer claimed it was was arrested of what? ption – episode caused by an overconsum c) Orange and guava juice a) Herbal tea and milk d) Coffee and energy drinks b) Milk shakes and smoothies Ysidro. snippets.’ ‘Was this a male or a female?’ ‘How many times have you committed suicide?’ ‘Were you present when your picture was taken?’ 42 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www. 1d Not surprisingly. he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him. the media nam onald’s and her husband’s former 2c Etna Huberty sued both McD She jointly responsible for his actions.’ ‘And where was his head?’ ‘Just above his shoulders. employer. puzzles. and then each would take . alth based on a number of classical not one of icular. in 1984 resulted in the ld’s for gunman. you have investigated other murders.’ ‘Are you qualified to give a urine sample?’ ‘Yes. titbits. scales.’ ‘Mrs Jones. to faith and honesty. felt that someone else had 3b Until fairly recently. what you will Legal eagle arate hit 1 In 2009.’ ‘Now. Themis was a Greek of and Astraea were both daughters purge of the old Pantheon.’ ‘What happened then?’ ‘He said. Dike carried a fold.’ ‘Do you have any suggestions as to what prevented this from being a murder trial instead of an attempted murder trial?’ ‘The victim lived.30 pm.’ ‘Do you recall the time that you examined the body?’ ‘The autopsy started around 8. I’m divorced. did you say he was shot in the woods?’ ‘No. alleging that they were . is that true?’ ‘Can you describe the individual?’ ‘He was about medium height and had a beard.’ ‘Doctor. Maat (daughter of the Egyptian be based on Themis. bits & pieces.’ ‘You were there until the time you left. Which of the following is any one in part to be based? those on which she is believed c) Themis a) Fides d) Justitia aea b) Astr Answers ed this the ‘Starbucks defence’. whereas Astraea carried Themis and Zeus. 2 A massacre at a McDonald’s restaurant in San of 22 people. until this fact.’ ‘And what did your husband do before you divorced him?’ ‘A lot of things I didn’t know about. how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?’ ‘All my autopsies are performed on dead people. where there was a victim?’ ‘Doctor.etprofessional. Dike a set of sword. is your appearance this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?’ ‘No. I have been since early childhood. Justitia simply wore a blind Courtroom quotes ‘Are you married?’ ‘No. and the welder. an Inuit who d of would inform the person concerne committed a wrong against them turns head-butting the other. “I have to kill you because you can identify me. Whi responsible? claim was partially c) Monosodium glutamate a) Sodium chloride d) Antioxidants b) Red food colouring with a 3 Which peoples used to resolve legal disputes head-butting contest? c) Blackfoot Indians a) Zulus d) Mongols b) Inuits of Justice 4 It is commonly believed that representations eyes. The was dismissed. The last person standing was the one fell and could not get up again winner of the legal dispute. mate used by McDonald’s in food claimed that the monosodium gluta as a d in his body caused by his years and the high level of metals foun case judge didn’t accept this.’ ‘And Mr Dennington was dead at the time?’ ‘No. foibles.com • . triggered his violence. have you not. I just lie there.SCRAPBOOK Gems. I said he was shot in the lumbar region. deaths California.”’ ‘Did he kill you?’ ‘No. Astra nations Themis.

3a.. A man who had crashed his car at a roundabout was accused of reckless driving. Witness: That is correct. then you obviously must have had the plaintiff and the defendant out of your field of vision. even see the car? Witness: Well. I see . One of the skills I learnt in that job was the ability to judge speed and distance. Here are two examples. 2b. Answers 1b. Barrister: Well.Silence in court! It is often said that if barristers allowed the jury to draw their own conclusions instead of trying to discredit witnesses through close questioning. but I made an allowance for the fact that it was a car rather than a plane. but that was planes . did you see the defendant bite off the plaintiff’s ear? Witness: No. Barrister: Were you wearing your glasses at the time of the accident. Is that correct? Witness: Yes. 4c. no more questions. seeing that the woman was over 80 years old and wore thick-lensed glasses. The driver maintained that he had been driving within the 30-miles-perhour speed limit and that faulty brakes had caused the accident. Barrister: You then said that you were concerned for your safety and that. As to how I could tell what speed the driver was doing. Legal language How good are you at Latin lega l language? What does each of these terms mean? 1 A aver et tener a) to make or break b) to have and to hold c) to own or convey d) to relinquish or abandon Ab actis a) in context b) in relation to the proceedings c) in action d) in title Ab agendo a) unable to act b) unable to inspect c) unable to listen d) unable to convict Abamita a) defendant b) victim c) great-great-great-aunt d) imposter 2 3 4 5 Abarnare a) to take away by force b) to escape detection c) to uncover and disclose a secret crime d) to declare an interest in Accedas ad curiam a) You are to go to the clerk.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 43 iStockphoto. When questioned by the prosecution. Barrister: And then you testified that that was when the defendant bit off the plaintiff’s ear? Witness: Yes. After giving testimony which was very bad for the defendant. Barrister: I see. The only witness was a woman who had been walking along the road at the time. Well. moved in for the kill. she testified that the driver had approached the roundabout at about 60 miles an hour and had then lost control and crashed.com / © DNY59 . Is that correct? Witness: That is correct.. then! If your back was turned to the fight. they might win more of their cases. Now you testified that the defendant approached the roundabout at ‘about 60 miles per hour’. I actually judged it to be 63 miles per hour. Barrister: (smugly) Then how do you ‘know’ that the defendant bit off the ear of the plaintiff if you did not see him do it? Witness: I saw him spit it out. that makes for an interesting question. A witness was testifying in court in a case that involved one man biting off the ear of another man during a fight. you turned your back on the fight? Witness: Yes. before I retired I worked as an airline test pilot. I certainly could see the car as these are reading glasses and there is nothing wrong with my distance vision. Witness: No.. in fact. then how could you possibly tell what speed the driver was doing? Could you.etprofessional. Barrister: Well then. The driver lost his case. 6d 6 • www. I wasn’t. d) You are to go to the court. Barrister: I see.. b) You are to go to the jail. 5c.. Barrister: (weakly) Yes. That is why I testified that he was doing ‘about 60 miles per hour’. the witness was cross-examined by the defence barrister: Barrister: You said that you saw the defendant and the plaintiff in a fight? Witness: Yes. Barrister: Eighty-five. young man. smirking all the time at the jury: Barrister: May I ask how old you are? Witness: I am 85. And I notice that you wear glasses. you sought shelter elsewhere? Witness: Yes.. The defence barrister. c) You are to go to the church. Barrister: You further stated that during this time of seeking shelter. because of this concern. (Dead silence) Barrister: Ah . Witness: Precisely.

I have spoken to people at all levels in the English360 organisation.000 activities from 35 titles. which is testament to the ability of the software designers. For instance. particularly pilots and air-traffic controllers. Check Your Aviation English provides 30 units of listening and speaking exercises to help aviation professionals.com The English360 platform plays an integral role in the activities of my company. there are several other excellent publishers not present on the system.english360. from the owner to the developers to the client service department to the accounts department. there are areas that need improvement.com • . There is also not enough flexibility given to the school in deciding what a student will see on their homepage. matching and multiplechoice. The platform is simple and easy to interact with. To evaluate the English360 platform. therefore. the recording scripts at the back of the book alone make gripping reading. one can have hundreds of students all diligently doing their homework. such as gap-fill. these give practice in the twin language focus of ‘plain English’ and ‘ICAO phraseology’. and every single person has been at all times professional. English360 immediately caught our attention. in my opinion. but who will mark all their work? English360 does the marking instantaneously and provides reports at the click of a button. one can begin to create activities on the system using traditional formats. which the students are required to describe and interpret. saving costs and hence improving our financial returns in an industry not known for its ROA (return on assets)! As City Professional English is a bespoke company. It has allowed us to offer innovative pedagogical material in a timely and efficient manner. It is the means by which we deliver our linguistic and non-linguistic didactic material. as these are the ones where communication between those involved needs to be spot on. However. After founding the company we looked into developing a system ourselves but the inherent time lag in development. Most schools use coursebooks and although Cambridge University Press. Literally within minutes. all our materials are written by our language coaches for each client project. All business is about people and communication. with no room for any kind of misunderstanding. Mark Olding Verona. that we have the means to develop and thereafter present these materials in a professional manner to our clients. highly competent and polite. There could be a greater range of exercise formats to allow for more intricate activities. It is essential. It therefore saves a great deal of time. This gives me great confidence that they will continue to strive to overcome difficulties and improve the system. City Professional English. Helpfully.english360. Italy Check Your Aviation English by Henry Emery and Andy Roberts Macmillan Education 2010 978-0-230-40205-8 Apart from its use in training students who work in the aviation industry. go to www. English360 overcomes all these problems in a convincing manner by offering the most important element for a school owner in this regard. beginning with a photo of an aviation-related incident. Many of the units are necessarily based on the more dramatic incidents and special situations that occur in the aviation world.com and sign up for a free Educator account where you can try your hand at creating personalised courses for your learners. The second exercise in each unit is based on a recording related to flight operations and is aimed who is contemplating making an investment in infrastructure: high-quality service. encouraged us into the market place to search for a readily available system.Reviews English360 www. Of course. to name but a few. Designed for classroom use as a supplementary text or for self-study. achieve and maintain Level 4 of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s language proficiency requirement. But probably the most significant problem is the limited range of coursebook material on the system that can be used instead of creating original exercises and courses. and also our central administration point. as well as the high costs involved. the accompanying CDs (attached to the inside back cover) contain sample answers to these opening activities as well as recordings for the subsequent listening comprehension exercises. and the people at English360 are exceptional 44 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www.etprofessional. The units all follow the same structure. the system is not perfect. which is represented on the English360 platform with over 9. is an excellent source of high-quality course material. As a result. this book provides fascinating insights for the lay person into the behind-the-scenes workings of airlines and airports.

they can move swiftly on to another one. I personally learnt a lot from it. The main attraction of such readers is that they are generally short and largely fictional. even those at intermediate level (for whom it is intended). too: writing graded readers is a skilled business. having undertaken to write a review. France A History of Ireland for Learners of English by Tony Penston TP Publications 2010 978-0-9531323-2-4 Most major publishers of ELT materials produce series of graded readers to promote extensive reading and engage learners in enjoyable ways of practising their English and increasing their vocabulary. So it is that. and its structure would allow for dipping in and out and focusing on the parts of main interest if reading from cover to cover was not an option.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 45 . The language is not all that simple. My first reaction was that a student would have to be very interested indeed in Irish history to want to plough through this. First. UK • www. It is also extremely well illustrated with historical and contemporary photographs and maps. Language students actually studying in Ireland and keen to find out the historical background of their place of study. The fourth exercise practises clarification techniques. thus gaining the satisfaction of reaching the end without too much effort.Reviews at improving plain English proficiency. I began reading and was pleasantly surprised. The catch-all phrase on the back cover ‘would also be enjoyed by native speakers who prefer a less formal style of English’ rang alarm bells. but there is a pleasant mix of straightforward historical narrative and more personal stories about the characters involved. but it would be a rewarding one. Students in a class will work in pairs to roleplay a dialogue. The fifth exercise checks the main vocabulary the students will need to talk about the subject of the unit. quizzes. Those working independently are advised to think about what they would say in the given situation and can then check their answers at the back of the book. either simplifications of works of literature or original stories written specifically for learners. or which has been chosen for them. Helena Gomm West Meon. I have come across few that would be genuinely satisfying for any native speaker of the language. and with a very dour. and then Anyone who flies would be comforted to know that those in charge of the plane had the language skills taught and practised in this book in order to deal with any emergency or non-routine situations that might arise! Lorna Ampthill Vendôme. but it could be used in conjunction with any other course aimed at aviation professionals.etprofessional. would probably get the most out of reading the book. Students have to answer a number of questions about what they hear. they use the target words to complete a text. doesn’t appeal. my heart sank a little. Presumably this book has been produced as a supplementary text to Macmillan’s own coursebook Aviation English. There are progress tests after every five units and the full recording scripts and answers to all the exercises are available at the back of the book. and although the aim is to produce a text which sounds natural as well as being simple enough for learners to understand. This would not be an easy read for students. also written by Henry Emery and Andy Roberts. Students can read them fairly quickly. and the text is interspersed with some fascinating and quirky facts. I still think students would have to have quite a strong interest in the history of Ireland to want to read it to the end. The third activity involves listening to a radiotelephony exchange containing a mixture of plain English and phraseology. but the book is divided into small manageable sections with useful vocabulary exercises. almost monochrome cover. the students are asked to identify the main theme of the recording and then a second part focuses on the details. and those with an interest in politics. and can easily tell if something is going to interest them or not – and if the reader they have chosen. Nevertheless. etc to break up the text. when faced with a 120-page. The unit ends with a discussion activity. self-published book on the history of Ireland. presented as a reader for learners of English. First they have to match items to definitions.

I’d rather not reveal what happened next! It wasn’t José’s fault.OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM Andrew O’Dwyer champions the teaching of language in context. We ask them to act out roleplays to employ new structures. as teachers. But. I have yet to witness a student buying a coffee or ordering a pizza from the relative comfort of their chairs. which renders my previous assertion a little dubious at best! As teachers. but it does ensure that there are some language barriers in place. OK. It doesn’t always work. The classroom functions as a portal into the real world. This works to a degree. Surely. why is alcohol the constant pre-requisite I The classroom functions as a portal into the real world. man on. t was football-speak for look out. the ability of teachers to contextualise is severely limited by the very nature of our Conviction The classrooms we enter every day are hives of activity. That glorious phrase ‘But my teacher in school told me …’ still gets a regular airing in my classes. after all. Even watch out would have sufficed. we can do better. Our students work in pairs and groups on a daily basis. But. However. under the mantra that the classroom is not the real world. I cannot imagine the classroom being an ideal setting for a romantic date – although many a student has had their heart stolen by a dashing teacher. there must be something more we can do to assist them better. It would not be amiss to say that. Interaction So. contextualising doesn’t need to be shoe-horned to the extent that the students’ sole exposure to English as a language of communication occurs in a four-walled room. Learners possess almost blind faith in teachers who teach with confidence. Without doubt. Those with little knowledge of football may not appreciate that a five-a-side pitch is a melting pot of emotion – a thriving babble of communication! Men with 46 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www. so it is an environment which encourages the use of English. the most common interaction that occurs between adult students and teachers. a phrase I’d used a litany of times on the pitch. The teacher can debunk any language-learning myths their students will no doubt have acquired during their pursuit of improved English. but it is not enough. how do we best contextualise what we teach our students? I believe we achieve this by stepping outside the classroom. The classroom is adequate. My golden rule is: anywhere but a bar! A ‘kick-around’ on a Friday evening is a great personal pleasure: there is always a smattering of native speakers. head up. we tend to contextualise within the confines of an almost parallel world. How can it be? Students don’t meet their friends in the classroom. Context How can we achieve this most satisfying result? The answer is context. I accept that our students wouldn’t appreciate us tagging along on a date. the world which our students actually inhabit to confident communication? It is the laziest approach to language immersion that we humans employ. involves alcohol! We join our students for a drink and converse with them in a relaxed atmosphere. It could have been said in so many other ways – be careful. We can convince even the most sceptical students with our absolute conviction. though. the world which our students actually inhabit. in whichever way we see fit. and a warning I had shouted on innumerable occasions led to an irreparable mistake: we gifted possession to the opposition and … well. of course. almost inevitably. This is not an exaggeration. prodding them a little in moments of uncertainty! I’m sure they would rather take their chances in this particular social exchange! However.etprofessional. It was his first exposure to football in another country. we have the chance to mould our students. workplace. the look of confusion on José’s face was enough to confirm that the meaning of watch your house had been well and truly lost on him. I have always operated.com • . particularly our less-fluent ones. Tackling the real world have in a classroom is extensive. Students who have fun acting out some of the aforementioned scenarios often lament their inability to make them work in the real world. There. The power (for want of a better word) that teachers Immersion Socialising with students is the key.

collocations. ● Take your students to the cinema or theatre. It’s not magic. eventually. Few. ● Step out and be creative! Let the students use what they’ve practised – in the real world. who are willing to do that bit extra. we instil confidence in them. ● Go to a lecture. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that language and socialising don’t mix.) I did a double-take. even those with only a limited grasp of English. Teaching is still considered a vocation. By contextualising. It works on a certain level. That didn’t make him a better teacher. so that Vocation It is naïve of a teacher to think of their role as being limited to a pre-approved timetable and venue. but it gave me the opportunity to witness him in a different context. Hungary. He believes that the key to competent. Confidence This type of immersion is like teaching a child to ride a bicycle. Teachers need to step out of the comfort zone. We never leave their sight in the beginning. Students welcome these opportunities. I appreciated that he was passionate about his work and that he could instil some of that passion in me. ● The students gain a context within which they can explore and utilise their communication skills. We’ve given the child what we can and it’s up to them to try to conjure up a formula that enables them to function alone.etprofessional. we can do more for our students. The student is no different. However. rather than as an end in itself. if any.egos find it very difficult to remain quiet in this testosterone-fuelled environment so it is ideal for language practice! So. but that was the limit of my reactions. have a far greater impact on their students. Incorporate techniques that you use to develop other topics: ● Brainstorm vocabulary in the lexical area. And that is important. ● Sample the delights at your local food emporium (a guaranteed stimulant of chat). confident and contextual communication can be found within the motto There’s the official way . ● Employ roleplay as a means to an end. though. what activities can you do with your students? The best ones usually require the least imagination: ● Organise a game of football. We do it. but they don’t realise that. they can now function in day-to-day tasks. The child demands of us: Don’t let me go! We assure them we would never consider doing such a thing. and mould them a little. José has finally unlocked our coded parlance! I was playing football last Friday when he screamed at me to watch my house. (Incidentally. In fact. ● Attend a cultural event. or to play five-a-side in the evening. We offer them support when they need it. He also coached the rugby team on which I played. classroom we shared. We anticipate their problems. ● Focus in particular on idiomatic language – phrasal verbs. where he works as a primary school English teacher for Janikovszky Éva Általános Iskola.com • www. It doesn’t matter what anybody says. I was astounded! A photograph of that moment would have been priceless … just to witness the amazement etched into my brow! I did look up alright. ● Go shopping.. Roleplay is the thespian’s biggest deception. The best teacher I had at school was my history professor.. We push them along. Think about it: How many of us learnt to ride a bicycle indoors? Making the transition from teaching to contextualising is not difficult. watch your house means you are about to be tackled. It’s pretty easy.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 47 Phillip Burrows . a person whose expertise and skills extended beyond the Context only exists in the real world. These experiences are invaluable for students. I respected him more as well. We teach them the basics.. I believe we accomplish two crucial breakthroughs with these activities: ● We provide our students with a genuine opportunity to use their English outside the classroom. Ireland. you can guess the rest! ETp Andrew O’Dwyer taught for six years in Dublin. tennis or rugby. andrewodwyer@gmail. because I saw him as somebody who cared.. My amazement turned to despair as I gifted possession to the opposition and … well . colloquialisms – that the students may encounter. but has recently relocated to Budapest. of them would object to being invited for a cup of coffee. Teachers who care. then there’s the real way. and with International House and Dover Nyelviskola.


This includes who they are talking to and what they are talking about. For example. ‘S ay “please”!’ children are often told. please?’ The question form gives the listener a getout. ‘Could you close the door. however. The learner may be a competent user of politeness strategies in their L1 but fail to recognise and transfer the same strategies to the L2 Power and authority Choice of politeness strategies also depends on whether the person you are speaking to is in a position of authority. We English teachers sometimes do the same. though. The long version is polite. Speakers choose which degree of politeness to use from along this spectrum. It is something they create through the politeness strategies they use. It’s a risky strategy. while the boss might say to the employee. when it is used and why. They call the former ‘negative politeness’ and the latter ‘positive politeness’. An employee might say to a boss. For example. In this article. you use negative politeness. Typically.etprofessional. a speaker’s degree of intimacy with a listener is not an objective fact. ‘Why do English speakers say “Would you mind …?” when they’re not really asking a question?’ and we say. they may be very direct indeed. and your relationship will be on the rocks. in Madrid it is commonplace for a customer to walk into a bar and say in The more students are aware of politeness. Secondly. because your listener may interpret your directness as rude and pushy. from convoluted indirectness through to brief and direct. you may be able to create an atmosphere of intimacy between you. we’ll look at what politeness is. the more they are empowered to use it in a way that works best for them • www. such as ‘Shut that door – it’s freezing in here!’ This is known as positive politeness. If. like ‘Would you mind keeping your voice down?’ instead of ‘Shut up!’. For example. Friends and strangers In politeness terms. you might say. people talking to a superior are careful and indirect. if you approach a stranger with a request. if you use positive politeness with someone you do not know very well. Positive and negative We often think of politeness as being long-winded ways of saying simple things. there are two important factors here. First of all. it implies that you accept their right to refuse. you can be much more direct. they are talking to a subordinate. the significance of a person’s choice of words is determined by when they use them: the context. However. According to social anthropologists Brown and Levinson. The more they are aware of it. the short version is rude. after saying something like ‘Give me a biscuit’. If they ask why. it implies that you are too intimate to require careful indirectness. Interestingly. the more they are empowered to use it in a way that works best for them. ‘Because it’s polite!’ I think we could do a lot more than this to increase our students’ awareness of how politeness works in English. politeness includes the entire spectrum. Strategies and conventions From the point of view of language learning. Then we’ll look at how to make these insights more apparent to students. the politeness conventions in the two cultures may differ. the learner may be a competent user of politeness strategies in their L1 but fail to recognise and transfer the same strategies to the L2. we say. they may receive the explanation ‘Because it’s polite’. if you are speaking to a very close friend. ‘Would it be possible for me to have this by tomorrow?’. ‘I need this by tomorrow’. according to what relationship they are trying to achieve with the listener. This is not quite true. Typically.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 49 . on the other hand. A student asks.L A N G U A G E More than please and thank you Mark Hancock recommends ways to increase students’ awareness of politeness conventions.

For example. she uses face-saving strategies – that is. She finds something pleasant to say about Sonia by thanking her for a bunch of flowers. It is interesting to discuss with students when and with whom they would use these politeness strategies.More than please and thank you Spanish. The difference between what she thinks and what she says is interesting because it reveals the politeness strategies she is using. This reflects the general politeness rule that if you are giving the answer that your interlocutor wants to hear. ETp Brown. the first activity from a spoken interaction lesson and the second from a lesson focusing on writing. The writer and addressee are people of more or less the same status. you can be direct and sincere. or her dog. I believe you can use the same strategy to focus on politeness. UK. is writing to the student. in addition. she ends on a positive note by expressing a desire to maintain their relationship. by suggesting that she herself.etprofessional. It’s good to be aware of these potential differences! Activity 1 Look at the photocopiable activity on page 51. and modify the wording of what they want to say accordingly So how can we go about increasing students’ awareness of politeness? One very effective strategy in language teaching generally is to show what you are focusing on by showing what it is not. may be responsible for the problems. In her email. He started teaching in 1984 and holds an MSc in Teaching English from Aston University. and this directness is a positive politeness strategy. including the contrast between what Emma says and what she really thinks. In her thought bubble. Text 2 is a ‘thought bubble’ containing the same content as the email. She also avoids directly accusing Sonia. a speaker must judge what kind and degree of politeness to use. but if you’re giving the answer they don’t want to hear. but they are certainly not close friends. you could use this material to raise awareness of some of the issues involved in politeness choices. she makes her accusations very indirectly so that Sonia is not upset by the suggestion she has done something wrong. As a follow-up to the discussion of politeness strategies. In the cartoon. This contrast lies behind my suggestion of showing what politeness is by showing what it is not.com • . In Britain. and they know each other a little. You could ask the students to identify the politeness strategies in Emma’s replies. In the classroom. but showing what Margaret really thinks. but in may be polite in another. In any interaction. it might seem cold and distant – negative politeness can have that effect when used inappropriately. the direct imperative in this context may be positive politeness. ‘Who do you think you are?’ In Spain.net 50 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www. Sonia. Text 1 is a polite email from a woman who has had an overseas student staying in her home. Instead. ‘Give me a coffee’. and modify the wording of what they want to say accordingly. P and Levinson. and say how it is different from the email and why. For her openly to display her horror at the prospect of going out with Josh would be very offensive. Let’s have a look at how this could work in two samples of classroom material. His most recent coursebook. markhancock@telefonica. we can see what the girl is thinking. Margaret uses a tone which is politefriendly. as there are likely to be similarities and differences between cultures and even between individuals. Margaret begins by showing an interest in Sonia’s experiences since they last met. Finally. a speaker must judge what kind and degree of politeness to use. Margaret tries to make it seem trivial – something small and unimportant. For example. If you wrote an email like Margaret’s to a very close friend. all of these strategies are conspicuous by their absence. before switching to a polite smile and giving her response. or you might elicit or explain: Margaret is writing to accuse Sonia of something. with a couple of queries. The woman. S Politeness CUP 1978 Mark Hancock is a teacher and writer based in Madrid. we can see how the conversation in the cartoon continues. we see the beginning of a conversation in which a boy tries to convince a girl to go out with him. written with Annie McDonald. Here are some insights they might come up with. For this reason. First of all. students could use the same strategies to make the contents of Sonia’s thought bubble (Text 3) into a polite email. is English Result (OUP). Margaret. They could also have some fun deciding what Emma’s real thoughts were in the last two boxes of the central column. ask your students to read the email and imagine the context. Some classes may enjoy dramatising the dialogue. you can focus on the vowel sound in bet by showing it is not the same as the vowel sounds in bit or bat. or even say. The server would be entitled to think. Who are the writer and addressee? What is their situation? How well do they know each other? Then ask them to read the thought bubble version of the message Saying and thinking In any interaction. there may be a difference between what the person says and what they really think. close friends may address each other very directly in this way. implying something like ‘We’re all in this together as equals. she does this directly. Activity 2 Look at the photocopiable activity on page 52. It’s important to note that the thought bubble version of the message is not wrong. When the accusation begins in the second paragraph. a customer using such a direct imperative might give the impression that they think they are superior to the person behind the bar. Consequently. with the person in the Emma role giving her ‘thoughts’ as a whispered aside. You can focus on the meaning of the tense choice in She’s arrived by contrasting it with She arrived. so we can dispense with airs and graces’. It would probably be impolite in this particular context. she finds an excuse why she can’t go out and then pretends to be interested in Josh’s reason for asking. In the thought bubble. We can see the boy’s question and the girl’s response but. In the table. you may need to be tactful and indirect.

but I’m afraid I’ve got to study for an exam on Monday. OK. I’m thinking of going to the ice rink. that’ll be nice. We can do something the week after next instead. Would you like to come? Emma: Real thoughts Oh no. That’s very kind of you. Bye! Oh come on! I’ll buy you lunch as well. Well. Are you doing anything on Saturday? Well. how about one day next week. Emma. Josh.etprofessional. but I really can’t … I’m sorry. actually. that sounds great.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 51 Phillip Burrows . OK. Why? Oh. after the exam’s over? We could go to the cinema. He’s going to invite me out! I can’t think of anything worse than going to the ice rink with you! Yuk! I’d rather starve than have lunch with you! (you decide) Emma: Tactful refusals Oh hi. never mind. I’ll give you a ring … (you decide) • www. Well. Josh. I’ve got a very busy week with one thing and another … OK.More than please and thank you Activity 1 • Responding to invitations Josh: Invitation moves Hi. I’m rather busy.

More than please and thank you Activity 2 • Polite emails
Text 1

Dear Sonia I hope you had a good journey home. Did you have a chance to look around London when you were passing through? I’m sorry I was out when you left so I wasn’t able to say goodbye properly. It was a nice surprise to come home and find that lovely bunch of flowers in a vase on the coffee table. Thank you for that. I’m just writing to ask you about a small thing really. I was wondering if you used the computer at all before you left? It’s not a problem if you did, but I’ve had trouble getting onto the internet since you left. A box appears on the screen asking for a password. Do you know anything about that? I’m sure it was my own fault – I probably pressed the wrong button or something. Not to worry, I can ask my son; he’s good with computers. Oh, and one other small thing while I’m writing. I don’t know if you remember the Sopranos DVD we watched the night before you left? I was wondering if you have put it somewhere because the disc isn’t in its box. Perhaps the dog’s taken it outside! Well, that’s all for now. It was really great having you to stay and I hope you’ll come again some time – or, who knows, maybe we’ll come to visit you! All the best Margaret

Text 2

Hey, Sonia, what the hell have you been doing to my computer? I can’t get my internet connection to work properly. What is this password you’ve put on it? And another thing – you haven’t walked away with my Sopranos DVD, have you? I can’t find it anywhere, and I know you rather liked it … Marge

Text 3

Hi, Marge. I haven’t touched your computer! I bet it’s something your son did to it. He was always playing around with it. That boy should get out more! As for the DVD, I bet it’ll be in the DVD player if you look there. Sonia


• Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www.etprofessional.com •


Bahar Gün suggests that winning teachers’ approval is fundamental to a successful development programme.

From TDU to CPD
structured developmental activities for the teaching staff. The activities conducted in the last five years include classroom observations, workshops (trainer-led as well as teacher-led or led jointly by trainers/teachers), swapshops, short courses and in-service certificate programmes. The types of the activities offered were determined by the trainers of the unit as well as the school administrators, and the teachers’ opinions were asked (workshop topics, for example) through questionnaires. ● When being observed by a more senior colleague, teachers argued that the classroom situation was unnatural. ● Teachers thought that the workshops were too frequent, unsuitably scheduled, insufficiently practical and tended to be repetitive. They wanted the workshops to be optional, but expressed interest in being involved in workshop presentations. ● They indicated that the swapshop meetings, group discussions of the following week’s teaching material, were too frequent and not very effective.


y 20 years’ experience as a teacher educator, most of which has been INSET (in-service education of teachers), has taught me one thing: you can never win with teachers! I am aware this is a strong comment to make, but maybe after reading the following true story of a Teacher Development Unit (TDU) in a university setting in Turkey, you can see why I make it, and maybe, if you are a teacher educator yourself, you will even agree with me, simply because you have had similar experiences in your own work context.

All teacher development programmes in English language teaching settings are aimed at achieving the same goal: to contribute to the teachers’ professional development. Institutions try different routes to achieve this common aim. Some try informal methods, such as allowing the teachers to discuss their common concerns and brainstorm possible solutions to commonly-shared teaching problems. Others do it more formally, with a structured teacher development programme in place. As Richard Watts has pointed out, such programmes are often geared towards the interests of the course organisers and/or the authorities rather than those of the teachers themselves. According to Richard Rossner, in most teachers’ opinions, ‘teacher development has to be bottom-up, not dished out by managers according to their own view of what development teachers need …’. The TDU in our institution was established to provide in-service support and development to enable English teachers to achieve their full potential, operating on the premise that teachers who continue to learn are more effective. Since the school was established six years ago, the TDU has been organising

Teacher development programmes are often geared towards the interests of the course organisers rather than those of the teachers themselves
Teachers’ attendance at workshops was mandatory. This was the situation when a decision was made to carry out a feedback study on the effectiveness of the TDU activities three years ago. What follows is the story of that study and what happened in the next two years.

Re-thinking the programme
Taking all the feedback obtained into consideration, the TDU Activity Programme was redesigned for the following year. Observations for developmental purposes did continue; workshops became optional and were fewer in number. The workshop programme was advertised, and those who were interested signed up for the workshops they wanted to attend. Teacher involvement in the preparation and presentation stages of workshops continued, and swapshop meetings were abandoned for that academic year. Towards the end of the year, another feedback questionnaire on the TDU activities conducted that year was given out, but yet again, the teachers indicated that they didn’t think the TDU programme had been very useful. Their reasons this time were: ● Observations themselves, as well as the post-observation feedback sessions, could cause stress on the part of the teachers when trainers were critical and feedback was non-constructive. ● Teachers thought workshops should be more practice-based rather than theoretical; also the pace of the

Feeding back
Feedback obtained from the teachers through questionnaires, structured interviews and focus groups showed that, despite some overall positive comments, they were not entirely happy with the development activities for the following reasons: ● Although many teachers found classroom observations useful, some believed that observation was only suitable for less experienced teachers.

• www.etprofessional.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 •



From TDU to CPD
programme did not allow them to implement the practical ideas that were provided in some of the workshop presentations. ● Some teachers stated that the number of workshops had dropped dramatically that year, and that they would prefer more frequently conducted workshops, like the weekly ones in the previous year. ● As for the teacher involvement in workshop preparation and presentation, a few noted that it was sometimes difficult to refuse when asked by a trainer to prepare and present a joint workshop, and that they had to do it unwillingly.

period of three years, moving from taking a top-down approach to a bottom-up approach, suggesting that effective professional development is teacher-oriented and that (as Naashia Mohamed expresses it) ‘involving teachers in the planning and the delivery of the programme is fundamental to its success’. Unfortunately, however, the feedback obtained in the second year showed flaws in this kind of bottom-up approach as well and, as a result, in the third year both top-down and bottomup approaches were adopted.

Another re-think
After going through a state of confusion as a result of the conflicting feedback, the TDU members and the management decided to adopt an approach combining the principles of both topdown and bottom-up processes in designing the in-service programme. (Perhaps we were hoping we could catch the teachers somewhere in the middle!) The following year, as well as regular mandatory observations, extra observations took place on the basis of requests from teachers. In planning the workshop programme, trainers prepared two tracks: one group of practical, optional workshops, where teachers signed up, and another group of compulsory ones for all teachers, determined according to the trainer observation results and the perceived needs of the teachers. Teacher involvement in workshops continued almost in the same manner; except it was the willing teachers this time who approached the trainers and indicated an interest in getting involved in workshops.

The aim in any teacher education programme should be to engender favourable attitudes to growth and change among teachers
In the light of this experience, it might be claimed that a successful teacher education programme should be both top-down and bottom-up, and that taking teachers’ views into account can have a positive impact on both the teachers’ professional development and the institution, and is, therefore, important. The aim in any teacher education programme, maybe combining the principles of the two opposing approaches, should be to engender favourable attitudes to growth and change among teachers. However, an even more important implication for all teacher education programmes, as with the one in our institution, would be to propose adopting a new Continuous Professional Development programme (CPD) based on individual teachers’ needs. Past experience in our TDU showed that we should abandon the ‘one-size-fits-all’ kind of programme, composed of snapshot observations, presenting ‘one for all’ workshops, circulating conference/ seminar announcements, sending teachers to odd conferences, etc – simply because they do not fit! As Keith Harding points out, each teacher is at a different stage of professional development; therefore

their needs differ. This suggests that teacher educators, by tuning into the teachers’ needs, should be aware of individual expectations and approach each teacher with a different ‘menu’ for professional development. The trainers’ main responsibility should be to help the teachers to increase their awareness of weaknesses and strengths, ie to become effective, reflective practitioners, and they should be able to identify individual CPD needs and provide relevant activities to meet them. This would avoid the mistakes of the past – one big menu for the entire staff – and having a teacher development unit in an institution would be worthwhile not only for the teachers but also for trainers and administrators; eventually leading to development of the whole school.

I am happy that in our institution we are now getting closer to establishing a new CPD programme, after the period of painful confusion over what it is teachers really want for their development. I find myself looking forward to feedback from teachers on the CPD system in the next two or three years. Maybe one day we will win their approval. Hopefully, then, we will all be winners! ETp
Harding, K ‘CPD’ Modern English Teacher 18(3) 2009 Mohamed, N ‘Meaningful professional development’ English Teaching Professional 42 2006 Rossner, R ‘When there is a will – facilitating teacher development’ IATEFL Teacher Development SIG Newsletter 18 1992 Watts, R J ‘Planning in-service training courses: institutional constraints and non-native EFL teachers’ perceptions’ International Journal of Applied Linguistics 4(1) 1994
Bahar Gün currently works at Izmir University of Economics, Turkey, as the Assistant Director of the School of Foreign Languages, where she is primarily in charge of teacher education programmes.

Feeding forward
This three-year reflection on a teacher development unit in a university setting brought out some points which any institution with a TDU of a similar nature might find it interesting to consider. It was interesting to note the change that the TDU had to undergo over the



• Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www.etprofessional.com •

it is evident that your work incorporates some key management skills. organisation of human and physical space and resources. Perhaps the most wellknown. most teachers have. as you say. This will be the case regardless of whether you enter a management position in the school at which you were previously a teacher or if you take up a post elsewhere. it’s a bit like going into teacher training. I think that going into management is one means of having an effect on teaching at a different level from just being in the classroom. and it is vital that all teachers develop management strategies in the classroom. involved in management. an ELT management consultant and trainer. managing the diverse and ever-changing nature of the classroom is essential in facilitating students’ learning. it does seem like a natural career progression. In addition. experienced good management and leadership as well as. I turn to management. and certainly most internationally portable. but also means you can decide at various stages whether management is for you. move on to being a senior teacher and then perhaps to an ADOS position. but there are also a few courses specifically for the language teaching field. But what about training and formal qualifications for ELT management? Managing the diverse and ever-changing nature of the classroom is essential in facilitating students’ learning Sue: Yes. I discussed with my associate Andy Hockley. time management. and the addition of some new ones. You probably did. Many recently-appointed managers struggle between wanting to do as much teaching as possible and realising that they just don’t have the time. Going into management can allow you to take some of those lessons learnt from being a ‘beneficiary’ – or ‘victim’ – of management. I fear. too. After all. Needless to say. and record-keeping. I think that can be very enriching. I hope. missed that daily contact with my own students. seems like a natural career progression. This time. I think most people are aware that going from teacher to manager has some downsides. As well as spending a lot of time managing people – your students – your work includes the need for effective communication. for many of you as teachers. for example. This gives you a clear path to follow. In addition. becoming a Course Director. which. Getting into ELT management Sue Leather discusses becoming an ELT manager with Andy Hockley. was that I missed the classroom. So teachers are managers. when you look at what you do as a teacher. In short. However much people assume their relationships with their colleagues will not change. the University of Why go into ELT management? Andy: I think for many people. I agree with that. It’s also a path to take that has an obvious structure in place – in many language schools you can cut your teeth on coordinating a level. The first one is that developing yourself and learning new skills is always a good thing to do – whatever direction that professional development takes you in. I suppose that’s one aspect that training could help with. bad management. another area which. Director of Studies or Principal of a school will require the further development of some of the skills you already have. then. What kind of management courses are available? Andy: Obviously there are lots of general management courses around. Sue: Yes. What do you give up by going into management? Andy: Well. is the International Diploma in Language Teaching Management (IDLTM). maybe. In that way. but beyond this I’d say there are some very good reasons for getting • www. So how can you decide if management is really for you? What kind of training can you get? How can you go about getting into management? To help me answer these questions. often grows naturally out of teaching. which is a qualification jointly certified by Cambridge ESOL. Another thing that new managers often tell me is how difficult they found the transition was from colleague/peer to boss. It’s about changing perspective.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 55 . and apply them yourself. up to and including an MBA (Masters in Business Administration). and certainly you can gain a lot. I argued. I n Issue 69 of ETp. You mentioned one path into management being to take on different responsibilities at school level.Teacher plus + + + Looking for new experiences within the profession? Interested in different ways of developing beyond the classroom? Hoping for tips on how to extend and enrich your professional life? Teacher Plus is a series which focuses on specific areas in which you can step outside the strictly teaching sphere. aren’t they? Well. obviously one thing you give up is the classroom experience. One of the things I noticed when I first became a manager. in subtle – or perhaps not so subtle – ways they will. though. too. I agree that coping with your different role can be hard. which can be difficult to cope with. some of the issues around getting into management. I wrote about writing materials for publication.etprofessional.

there are Directors of Studies jobs in various schools round the world – within networks like International House and Bell.com editor@etprofessional. These jobs can be applied for online through a central site. a university language department or a state school. and then a national one. International House London also runs a modular online course in ELT Management. ELT management is a challenging and exciting career path. andy@sueleatherassociates. However. well-tried or innovative. which is what made me start a local organisation. editor@etprofessional. and regularly trains on the course as well as other ELT management courses and workshops round the world. for example.iatefl.Teacher plus Getting into ELT management Queensland.com/group/ managersELT/ Sue Leather is an educational consultant. What are your thoughts on the range of management jobs within the profession? Council.com Writing for ETp Would you like to write for ETp? We are always interested in new writers and fresh ideas. we hope this article has given you some starting points.com www. Sue: I got my first management job in the school I worked for as a teacher. write to us or email: Visit the ETp website! The ETp website is packed with practical tips. the vast majority of people get involved in ELT management and take their first management position within the school that they’ve worked for as a teacher – whether that be at a private language school. Also. after the training. We want to hear from you! ENGLISH TEACHING professional Pavilion Publishing (Brighton) Ltd. something that has worked well for you? All published contributions receive a prize! Write to us or email: TALKBACK! Do you have something to say about an article in the current issue of ETp? This is your magazine and we would really like to hear from you. renew your subscription or simply browse the features. and SIT (School for International Training) in the USA. She has delivered talks. He was involved in the creation and development of Cambridge ESOL’s International Diploma in Language Teaching Management. Chichester. Then there is the DELTM (Diploma in English Language Teaching Management). of course. So. PO18 8HD.com IT WORKS IN PRACTICE Do you have ideas you’d like to share with colleagues around the world? Tips. sue@sueleatherassociates. based in Romania. For guidelines and advice. perhaps volunteering to take on some extra responsibilities. which has a newsletter and an online discussion group and organises workshops. tend to be looking for a DOS or an academic director. trainer trainer and writer. She was the founder of the ELT Management Special Interest Group of IATEFL and of the Directors of Studies Association movement in the UK. I agree with you too that managing a summer school is a way that teachers frequently get their first management experience. simple or sophisticated. UK Fax: +44 (0)1243 576456 Email: info@etprofessional. West Sussex. run by English UK. Many summer schools in the UK. Whichever route you take into it. that’s quite a common route into management. see if they will act as a mentor to you. and they will often draw those managers from a pool of experienced teachers rather than qualified or experienced managers. As you say. resources. There was actually a lack of formal training for managers in ELT at that time. workshops and courses in over 25 countries for the British Council and other organisations. Sue: I think the ELT management field has definitely developed in the last few years. PO Box 100. I think it’s also worth mentioning the support organisations such as the ELT Leadership and Management Special Interest Group of IATEFL (see below). and only later got some formal training. though probably one would be unlikely to get a job as a teaching centre manager with the BC without prior experience.com Andy Hockley is a teacher trainer and educational management consultant and trainer. You can submit tips or articles. Another possibility is to ask your current boss if you can shadow them for a while. One quite common way to get your first management position is in a summer school. the British ENGLISH TEACHING professional This is your magazine. what about the jobs? You mentioned earlier the different levels of management. say.com How do I get a job in ELT management? Most obviously.yahoo. information and selected articles. and there is certainly more specific training available. It’s also a very good one. advice. to address the need for support and training. Australia. techniques and activities. and one that provides great scope for professional development.com • . ETp ELT Leadership and Management Special Interest Group of IATEFL http://eltm.com 56 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www.org/ ELT Leadership and Management Special Interest Group Discussion Group: http://groups.etprofessional. because you can ‘put your toe in the water’ and see if you really like it. Write to us or email: editor@etprofessional. I had my training ‘on the job’. in my experience. I think such groups can be a very useful source of information about current issues and training possibilities. though.etprofessional.

possible promotion. -learning courses (using multimedia technology to deliver tuition) have become an indispensable part of acquiring new knowledge. where the students’ work is evaluated orally by the tutor. ● study materials – Materials must be highly accessible and easy to use. contact with fellow students and access to a language support website are all important. For many learners. and success in tests and examinations. We also find it contributes enormously towards increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the educational process. ● Helping students to overcome obstacles so that they achieve their learning objectives. where the students usually discuss with their tutor any problems they have come across when doing their assignments. In the e-learning courses different names are employed. ● does not follow a linear conversation. can be taught completely online. Catherine Gerrard emphasises several features which differentiate online tuition from traditional tuition. At present. enhanced job performance. Self-study is very important for our students. ● requires tutors to develop new ways of encouraging participation. This is particularly suitable for distance students and those doing their main courses at other universities. quizzes or assignments. ● produces a more formal tone. In this article we will use the word tutor. Online tuition: ● places greater emphasis on written skills. there will never be enough time or money available to attend regular language classes. ● places greater emphasis on student–student learning. moderator. with the result that the understanding of the word teacher itself has altered. Our e-courses are created in a virtual learning environment called WebCT. the students meet a teacher once every two weeks to discuss and clarify any mistakes they have made in their essays. ● Sometimes creating the content of the e-learning course. As Ian Badger has pointed out. as the teachers see this as a way of improving the quality of their teaching. ● Supporting and encouraging the students in their studies by e-mail and discussion. particularly at tertiary level. going over the information taught in class again and doing additional practice exercises. ● Providing students with explicit and clear instructions and a study guide. do reading and writing tasks on their own. There are several key factors which influence successful self-study: • www. ● Reacting to enquiries and giving advice. ● time – It is necessary to create a level of interest in self-study that can compete with the other activities in the learners’ lives. however attractive and cheaper they might seem. ● requires tutors to assess the worth of online contributions. financial rewards. there are ‘blended’ courses which combine online and face-to-face teaching. ● does not confine teaching to specific times. In our Academic Writing course. a mid-course tutorial. Almost all the universities in the Czech Republic now offer them. Self-study Each part of an online course starts with self-study information input and concludes with tasks. ● Resolving potential study conflicts. ● learner support – A close link between self-study and classroombased tasks. Finally. and the teachers can concentrate more on listening and speaking activities in class. Students can. there are only three face-toface tutorials: an introductory tutorial. the traditional role of the teacher is changing. with more than 45 of these being English language courses. where the students meet their tutor who will guide and support them through the whole course. Tutorials Usually. for example. E ● learner motivation – Motivating factors can include job satisfaction. delivering and evaluating tutorials. but all learners can find the time and money for self-study. for example coach. the time available for learners to spend on improving their language skills will always be limited. mediator or tutor. which makes them responsible for its quality. ● Correcting. evaluating and delivering feedback on the students’ individual assignments – and returning them. leader. and it enhances learner autonomy. Tutoring The e-learning courses. ● affordability – The comparatively low cost of self-study is attractive to employers. more than 150 e-courses are offered.etprofessional. E-learning The Faculty of Informatics and Management at the University of Hradec Králové has been intensely involved in the application of e-learning since 1999. ideally within three days. Tutor tasks E-learning tutors have to perform a wide variety of tasks: ● Organising. facilitator. require a new approach to teaching. Consequently. Some students attend regular classes and use the e-courses for revision. regular contact with a tutor.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 57 . Some of them. and the final tutorial.T E C H N O L O G Y E-learning Blanka Klímová finds that online tuition places new demands on online tutors. both for their own students. but instead promotes multiple conversations. such as Written Business English. Conventional face-to-face teaching is sometimes necessary for the development of speaking communication skills. and also for the general public – such courses are attractive to universities as they can be an additional source of income.

cz Pedagogy There is no particular pedagogical approach recommended for e-courses. These involve the creation of friendly and comfortable social environments in which students feel that learning is possible. In addition. and all the students (both present and absent) should be made aware that they need to read them thoroughly before they start work on the online course. However. E-learning can be challenging for students as well as tutors. ● Social roles. The e-tutor uses questions and probes for student responses that focus discussions on critical concepts. Moreover. This means that they don’t receive any marks for these assignments. Lancaster University and University of Sheffield 26th–28th March 2002 Wheeler. 58 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www. Another problem Online teaching/learning is part of a contemporary trend towards personalisation and individualisation of learning which has been made possible by advancements in information technology. Her main field of interest is teaching business English. information about the goals of the subject or announcements about the mid-course tutorial. Problems At the introductory tutorial. Instructions for working in the e-learning environment should be written clearly and concisely. seems to be that the students who opt for e-learning language courses tend to be those with lower levels in the target language. quizzes or assignments – ways in which understanding can be assessed in order to provide feedback. ● They should have the ability to see the big picture. timetabling learning activities and tasks. To avoid problems like those outlined above. S ‘Learning with ‘e’s’ http://steve-wheeler. but students being unsure of where to find all the necessary information and which tools of the virtual environment to use. I ‘Self-study and the business learner’ Talk given at the 37th Annual IATEFL Conference. in our experience.html Accessed 27/8/2009 Blanka Klímová teaches at the Faculty of Informatics and Management of the University of Hradec Králové.blogspot. its content and requirements. The particular structure of each of our lessons is: ● Title. These are the most important in the e-learning process. ● Prerequisites – previous knowledge required to master the lesson. ● They should be good communicators in any medium. ● Body – the content in the form of texts. principles and skills. establishing agendas for the learning activities.com/moderators/ zlbmod. Unfortunately. If this is done. ● They should not be afraid to take risks with new technologies. They must necessarily comply with new requirements if they want their e-learning tutoring to be a success. ● They should be able to transfer good teaching skills into online contexts.E-learning Tutor skills Steve Wheeler has listed seven skills that e-learning tutors should possess: ● They should be able to support and encourage learners. ● assessing performance. exercises and questions. with the structure of each lesson following these basic learning steps: ● informing of objectives.html Accessed 27/8/2009 Gerrard. students should be told not to be afraid of contacting their tutor if they are not sure how to handle particular tasks or assignments. Z L ‘The role of the moderator in a Scholarly Discussion Group (SDG)’ www. it imposes great demands on its creators and the tutors who deliver it. However. she runs courses in the culture and history of Britain and the USA. ● Technical roles.com/ 2009/05/7-skills-for-successful-etutor.emoderators. ● presenting content. ● They should thrive in a culture of change. These involve setting learning objectives. ● Skills to be learnt – a description of the knowledge to be gained in the particular lesson. clarifying procedural rules and decision-making norms.klimova@uhk. They involve becoming familiar. and academic writing. they miss the deadlines of some assignments. ● Tasks. and all the students should be made aware that they need to read them thoroughly slight problems later on. not only for the tutor but also for the students themselves. ETp Badger. Brighton 2003 Berge. they are shown how to use the WebCT virtual learning environment. As a result. ● Managerial or organisational roles. Czech Republic. C ‘Promoting best practice for e-tutoring through staff development’ In Proceedings of Networked Learning: Third International Conference. This makes it impossible for some students to finish the online course. that not all the students participate in the introductory tutorial. ● Goal – a short statement motivating the participants to study the particular lesson. The whole course should be divided into separate lessons. Furthermore. students are acquainted with the e-subject. it is often the case. The principal issue seems not to be problems with the operation of the virtual environment. e-learning can be a successful experience for both tutors and students. ● providing feedback. ● They should be non-conformists. comfortable and competent with the ICT systems and software that compose the e-learning environment. These are possibly the most daunting for academics. Those students who were not present (and sometimes even those who were) at the introductory tutorial often don’t read the syllabus. certain principles are worth following.etprofessional. instructions for working in the e-learning environment should be written clearly and concisely. This can cause Tutor roles Zane Berge has identified four main e-tutor roles: ● Pedagogical or intellectual roles.com • . blanka.


Twitter requires you to have followers. used by the class out of the classroom to chat.com. Britney decide to follow you (which is. unlikely) they won’t be reading your tweets! Twitter has spawned (sorry. They all work on the same principle – you send out a short ‘update’ of a maximum of 140 characters. Nicky Hockly has been involved in EFL teaching and teacher training since 1987. As a far more public forum. If your students have laptops or internet-enabled smartphones in the classroom. What does that do? It’s a bit like SMS or text messaging. Do this by following one person already in Twitter. But unless Barack or 3 Is Twitter the only microblogging tool? Twitter is certainly the most popular (and therefore best-known) of the microblogging tools. 5 What about microblogging and professional development? 2 Ah. Microblogging consists of very short messages (or ‘updates’) you send out via the internet. ● Find at least 50 people (teachers) to follow. it exists http://bit. For this reason it is also known as ‘blogging for lazy people’. How many more Ts can I cross before going mad? Social learning? Yes.com) is. we have Twitter for teachers outside of the classroom. and you also need to follow people yourself. Try to allocate. let’s face it.twitter. share links and resources. and to create polls for your students. A tool like Edmodo can also be 60 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www. and so on. mistweet (a tweet you later regret). So you could decide to follow someone famous like Barack Obama or Britney Spears. Nicky Hockly Five things you always wanted to know about explains aspects of technology which some people may be embarrassed to confess that they don’t really understand. No more writing long web addresses on the board. an online training and development consultancy. including Tumblr. She maintains a blog at www. assignments and videos easily. or handing out worksheets – all this can be done online in your now-wired classroom. Once you are connected to a critical mass of other teachers from around the world in Twitter. 4 How does microblogging relate to the classroom teacher? Can I use it with students? There is one microblogging tool which is particularly useful for educators.edmodo. Contact Nicky at nicky. Edmodo allows you to share files.com). yes. ● It will take you a few weeks to get into the swing of Twitter. known as ‘Twitter for teachers’. via Edmodo at the precise moment these are needed in class. If you follow someone on Twitter. For me it has become my most important and up-to-date source of ongoing professional development. you will be able to read their tweets.com and let her know of any other ICT areas you’d like her to explore in this series. hatched) a whole range of related vocabulary. Here are some examples of messages (known as ‘tweets’) I have sent in the past week: @harrisonmike BBC has good podcasting sites for Eng lang learners incl lower levels http://bit. Probably the bestknown microblogging tool at the moment is Twitter (www.etprofessional.com and you can follow her on Twitter at @theconsultantse. and the people in your microblogging network can read it. embedded videos. send in assignments or do quizzes. There is none of the hassle involved with following and being followed by others. then look at who they are following. Plurk and Jaiku. There is a large and active English language teaching community in Twitter already. 15 minutes twice a day in which to read tweets from your network and to contribute your own ideas. and follow the same people! You can use my network – follow me at @theconsultantse.ly/dCiy1d ~ @foxden#Elearning Four ways with webinars http://bit. Here is how to do it: ● Create your own Twitter account at www.com • . microblogging (but were afraid to ask) 1 Blogging yes.T E C H N O L O G Y In this series. In this article. of no more than 140 characters (not words!).emoderationskills. sharing and support. comments and links. One of the big advantages of Edmodo is that you can very easily set up a closed group for your students. she explains microblogging. She is co-author of Learning English as a Foreign Language for Dummies (John Wiley & Sons) and Teaching Online (Delta Publishing). links. dweet (a tweet sent while under the influence of alcohol).twitter. Twitter! I’ve heard of that.ly/cl10JN #elearning #edtech Back from 3 days on beach – heaven! Andorra tmrw but slow vodaphone dongle means bad connections & no Twitter :-( Tweets are typically a mix of the personal and professional. in fact. but they will only be able to read your tweets if they follow you. Edmodo (www. and all they need to join the group is an access key (password). you start to see the benefits. twitterati (cool A-list tweeters who have thousands of followers) … You can read more about Twitter in Issue 60 of ETp. and all you need to do is to join them to be able to tap into a wide network of expertise. and you will be able to read their tweets. You send out a short message via your Twitter account. If we have Edmodo for students and the classroom. She is Director of Pedagogy of The Consultants-E. say.ly/IZaLQ Working on final proofs of new book w @lclandfield Teaching Online (due out soon). which you can bandy around if you want to sound like you need to get out more: tweeple (people in your Twitter network).hockly@theconsultants-e. and all of your contacts (or ‘followers’ in Twitter parlance) will be able to read it if they are logged in as well. but there are other odd-sounding ones. Twitter is particularly suited to creating professional networks. The content of your microblogging messages is necessarily short (some would say superficial). you can send them handouts. but ‘micro’? Does this refer to very small blogs? In a way.

etprofessional. and it is really worth exploring. Just key the words into ‘Easy define’ and it will search for all ten words at the same time and give you a dictionary definition for each one.languageguide. I love learning about the origins of words and it can make teaching vocabulary so much more interesting. Encourage the students to print the sheets out and learn the words. In this issue I want to focus on some quick.etymonline. German and Spanish. Let’s say there are ten words in the text you don’t understand. too. My students really like this and find it very useful.com/10simple/index. this useful tool will come to your rescue. resources. which I have created. It is not perfect and the definitions tend to be quite high-level. but it is a very useful tool. they will appear immediately on the screen. that will show you step-by-step how to use these tools. They are all very simple to use and you can demonstrate them to your students very easily. The site does a lot more and can also be used for French.html What a fun tool this is! It gives you five minutes to think of the most common 100 words in English. www. Fosbury flop and hallmark.html Russell Stannard is a principal lecturer in ICT at the University of Westminster. You can find free help videos. I keyed in soccer and it informed me that it is an • www. This is great fun to do with students. There are also other languages on this site.com/index. You can submit tips or articles.org/english/ This is a superb visual dictionary. Hover your cursor over the name of each set to see what words are covered in it. This can save you a lot of time as you can do multiple searches and then print out the resulting definitions. useful tools that can help either you or your students. You just key in a particular word and it provides you with a collection of words that rhyme with it. information and selected articles.html This can be very helpful for students who need to find certain verb forms or conjugations.net When you are preparing lessons about pronunciation and you quickly need to find some words that rhyme. You simply press the start button and begin writing in the words you think will be on the list. I received very clear and easy-to-read explanations of the origins of these words. Use a talking dictionary: www.php This is a great site if you want to know where a word comes from. They can listen and repeat them. Imagine you are a fairly high-level student and you are reading a text. The site has some other interesting sections. Just key in the word you are interested in and click on the ‘OK’ button. Find words that rhyme: www. at: www.reverso. two cards or nine small cards per page.com/100-Most-CommonEnglish-Words-Quiz. Russell Stannard celebrates sites which seem simple but do so much. Provided you have a printer.etprofessional.eslflashcards.Webwatcher Web T he flood of useful technologies and tools on the internet never ceases to amaze me. He won the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Initiatives in Information and Communications Technology for his website www. I have used it several times in class and it has gone down really well with my students. The quality of the pictures is extremely good and there are plenty of cards to choose from. plus a few more. He was also one of the winners of the 2010 British Council ELTons awards. the. Find the most popular words in English: http://quizicon. click on ‘Search’ and it produces a large table with all the different conjugations. Look words up quickly in a dictionary: www. abbreviation of Association in the term ‘Association Football’ with er added to the end. I can see potential for students to use this tool.com/ The more I use this tool. renew your subscription or simply browse the features. If they actually are in the top 100. It is very easy at the beginning (everyone can predict that words like a. Keep sending your favourite sites to Russell: russellstannard@btinternet. advice. I also looked up London.com Find the origins of words: www.com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 61 . The words are very clearly pronounced and the level of detail is excellent.rhymes.easydefine.com/ This site is amazing. this is a superb tool. Just click on the category you want and a page will open up with lots of pictures related to that topic.teachertrainingvideos. too. It offers numerous sets of illustrated vocabulary flashcards and they are all free.com Visit the ETp website! The ETp website is packed with practical tips.com. UK. Find a verb conjugation: http://conjugator. You can see the list of sets in the middle of the screen. that and but will be on the list) but it gets harder and harder. too. and you are limited to just five minutes. It really is hard to keep up with so many great pieces of software.net/conjugationenglish. and. the more I like it. Click on the name to see the cards. You can choose from three different ways to download them: either one card. Print out some flashcards: www. to get extra pronunciation practice. Roll your cursor over the pictures and you will hear the words pronounced and see them spelled out on the screen. Simply key in the word.teachertrainingvideos. These are divided into groups according to how many syllables they have.


competition. particularly at One technique for comes in the form of a prize correct one winning a point for their team. – can function as much-needed pressureparticularly if the reward the student being the first to ‘swat’ the release valves. but only word beginning with that letter scores a wishes to boost the collective energy levels scoring points for jobs that no one else has point for their team. funny hats for Keeping classes an overall spirit of more dynamic when conducted in a competitors. Like any technique. who can exclaim. often try to squeeze every last ounce of requires each team to provide definitions of • www.. under constant example. which is team games – provided they are to pass the soccer ball. enlivening collaborative to be the loser. most words being the winner. for view of the strong motivational power of close/well-fought/exciting contest’. toy. worrying that about early on in our lives: teammates. now!’ When the time is up.net. you have two prevails within the room. each applauding the winners. We example. we should also say something such come in last in a race. fly is to include a competitive element. Teachers A popular vocabulary revision game rsenior@iinet. Alternatively. tend to switch off. and groupwork. youngsters seeing who can teacher has written the word to be defined). ‘a word that can be with common words. or item of clothing. as does the behaviour of the Most students are familiar with pairteammates for their failure to win – and teacher. composition of teams changes on a regular swats. The teacher can say. foot formed by the letters EZIRP’. and so on. Competitive games C ompetition is something we learn recently-studied words for one of their effort out of their students. thought of. power to enliven and motivate. ETp words or concepts as possible associated opposite of “heavy”’. and so on. If In the ‘Letter of the alphabet’ group says how many words they have we give a reward.. can be used encourages creative thinking) is to have the the letter S!’ The first person to call out a to advantage by any language teacher who groups read out their lists of jobs. the teacher calls out. Keeping classes under constant pressure is run fastest. for friendliness and generosity counters for the scorers. But of course competitive games pressure is often with class members minutes to come up with as many English can be conducted successfully words for jobs that you can think of. Children quickly ‘Word-swat’ is another favourite often counterproductive since students learn of the excitement of games. so Classes can easily be tasks is to include a learn how humiliating it is to although we should praise the winning divided into teams: those let teammates down or to competitive element sitting on the left of the room team. Teams can support their elected panel who The overall atmosphere in language sit at the front with bells and buzzers. shouldn’t we encourage must remain constantly alert to the fact distinctive name for itself puts students in competition in our language classes? that students can blame weaker the mood. who is seated in front of them valuable teaching time will be lost if they toddlers competing for the same with their back to the board (on which the allow anyone to relax for a single moment. conducted in a spirit of friendliness and fun how exhilarating it is to win a competition – The teacher then defines one of the items. everybody! That was a versus those on the right. matchsticks or competitive spirit.In this column Rose Senior explains why certain teaching techniques and class management strategies are effective. it should be something game. conferences around the world. with the result that little desperately rushing to grab a seat in Two students holding plastic fly swats further learning takes place. or shared as widely as possible. Children also learn filled with linguistic items from the lesson. and identifies specific issues that can assist all language teachers in improving the quality of their teaching. such as because of the physical activity involved. etc.au. . and that at all times members to press. ‘The name of thought of. In as ‘Well done. counterproductive following our example by starting . it must be appropriate for the having groups of students think of as many mental activity: ‘a word that means the class and must not be over-used. points of their classes. particularly at the end of the puzzles posed by the teacher. ‘And now. use props: a vertical enthusiastically as they might. One opportunity to settle scores with rivals. day when everybody is tired. everyone. but they do not always that individuals can use class competitions everyone. ‘a word or tree (with or without the aid of beginning with the prefix “dis-”’. A more inpiece of furniture or any other category) In sum. dictionaries). ‘Right. the group having thought of the such as a packet of sweets that can be an animal (or sport. bells and buzzers for panel Brainstorming activities become instantly basis. without any props at all. the end of lessons when – and how devastating it is It is always tempting for students to students have worked hard. Competitive ‘musical chairs’ or shouting to teammates stand on either side of the board. with its innate depth version of this competition (which beginning with . We spinning wheel (like a roulette wheel) technique for enlivening collaborative tasks should therefore ensure that the containing the letters of the alphabet..com • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • Issue 70 September 2010 • 63 . Variations on this theme include can be scored by simple word recall or however.etprofessional. They also become too serious about winning. Allowing each team to choose a competition. (spinning the wheel) . classes can sometimes become ready to work out the answers to linguistic Rose Senior is a language teacher educator who runs workshops and presents at oppressive.. such as mouse. . for the greatest word game of all collaborate with their peers as designed to provide light relief as an time!’ If possible.

to Prize crossword 43. used with home *** To push air through something (such as a whistle) with your mouth *** Someone whose job is to treat people who are ill or injured *** Used for stating the purpose of an object or an action *** To put something in someone’s hand *** Something that you hope to achieve *** To allow someone to have or do what they want (formal) *** A word used for referring to a man or boy who has already been mentioned *** Preposition of place.macmillandictionary.500 most common words in English (www. harm or destroy something. elected group of people in some countries who meet to make laws *** To show something by holding out your finger *** To take something that belongs to someone else without permission *** A long sticky band for joining things *** Used to form the infinitive of a verb *** The day after today *** A hard white object inside your mouth *** The failure to use something valuable in an effective and beneficial way *** To finish first in a competition (3rd person singular) *** To want something to happen FREQUENT WORDS ** A personal quality that attracts people to you and makes them like you ** Books and stories about imaginary events and people ** When skin or bone grows back together and becomes healthy again ** A cover for a container ** A gas that all animals breathe ** To fail to include something. 14 9 16 9 22 7 11 25 9 22 7 11 5 9 6 11 25 17 26 9 21 9 5 5 17 8 3 11 8 13 17 10 11 11 8 7 21 16 3 10 23 6 9 6 14 9 25 17 8 9 11 13 3 14 9 8 5 10 11 20 11 20 2 6 10 17 8 5 5 10 10 5 7 5 16 26 10 22 5 10 14 14 19 25 10 18 18 17 1 7 8 17 14 10 17 10 8 1 20 11 19 9 15 13 9 8 3 17 8 18 9 1 5 11 17 5 11 9 25 8 13 11 20 17 3 14 9 5 11 9 10 16 12 Ten correct entries will be drawn from a hat on 10 November 2010 and the senders will each receive a copy of the second edition of the Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners. you will be able to read the quotation. not forgetting to include your full name. either deliberately or because you forget ** A colour between red and yellow ** Rest and enjoyment ** To make a legal claim against someone FAIRLY FREQUENT WORDS * A continuous. PO Box 100. but not in the right order. usually using a weapon or equipment developed by modern technology 64 • Issue 70 September 2010 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional • www.Prize crossword 43 ETp presents the forty-third in our series of prize crosswords. making a loud noise * A container for putting rubbish in * An amount of light from the sun * A sailing boat LESS FREQUENT WORDS – Edition (abbreviation) – To leave your country in order to live in another country – A strong clear alcoholic drink made from grain and juniper berries – A journey to Mecca that Muslims make as a religious duty – The ability to solve problems in new and clever ways – Original Equipment Manufacturer (abbreviation) – A piano that plays music by itself – Post office (abbreviation) – A Latin word used in expressions such as sine __ non – Teenage (abbreviation) – To hit. Send your entry (completed crossword grid and quotation). 14 1 18 17 10 10 17 5 20 1 7 10 18 25 13 17 17 5 5 12 7 11 9 10 13 9 1 10 5 19 13 19 10 25 10 26 N 10 24 11 25 H 9 4 17 22 5 17 10 8 10 14 20 G K Chesterton L 1 14 2 15 3 16 4 17 5 18 6 19 7 8 9 22 10 23 11 24 12 25 13 26 H 20 N 21 L To solve the puzzle. Pavilion Publishing (Brighton) Ltd. applauded for its unique red star system showing the frequency of the 7. postal address and telephone number. West Sussex. The definitions of the words in the puzzle are given. used with bed *** The object form of I *** A book about imaginary events *** Touching a surface or an object *** Used for saying what is the right thing to do (usually followed by to) *** An official. PO18 8HD.etprofessional.com • . When you have finished.com). Chichester. ENGLISH TEACHING professional. UK. VERY FREQUENT WORDS *** Preposition of place. find which letter each number represents. You can keep a record in the boxes above. but not very strong pain * To hit something hard.

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