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ENGLISH Issue 77

November
2011

Tprofessional
EACHING
The Leading Practical Magazine For English Language Teachers Worldwide

Slow English
Simon Andrewes

Tools for taxi drivers


Nergiz Kern

Teaching the unteachables


Paul Bress

Putting the accent on accent


Kar-Man Lee

practical methodology

fresh ideas & innovations

classroom resources

new technology

teacher development

tips & techniques

photocopiable materials

competitions & reviews

w w w . e t p r o f e s s i o n a l . c o m
Contents MAIN FEATURE TEACHING YOUNG LEARNERS

SLOW ENGLISH 4 ONCE UPON A TIME ... 23


Simon Andrewes signals the steady rise of ELF Yaser Khajavi and Roohollah Heidari
celebrate storytelling

FEATURES LIGHTING UP TIME 25


Dorinda Maio Phillips celebrates Christmas
TEAM SPIRIT 8
Scott Lauder teaches his students that points
mean prizes TEACHER DEVELOPMENT

TEACHING THE UNTEACHABLES 10 REAL REFLECTION 1 54


Paul Bress doesnt let the downbeat get him down Simon Brown wants teacher training materials
to reflect real life
HOLISTIC GRAMMAR TEACHING 5 12
Rod Bolitho deconstructs determiners
TECHNOLOGY
PRACTICAL POETRY 16
Kevin Ottley uses poems for language TOOLS FOR TAXI DRIVERS 56
and pronunciation practice Nergiz Kern recommends blended learning to improve
an essential tourist service
LOOKING BACK AT OPEN LEARNING 19
Laura Bergmann and Gemma Ruffino FIVE THINGS YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO 60
asses their success KNOW ABOUT: APPS
Nicky Hockly reminds us theres an app for this, that
USING GRADED READERS 26 and the other
Karen Wilkins champions classroom use
of graded readers WEBWATCHER 61
Russell Stannard finds a helpful shark
EAP: AN ALL-ROUND CHALLENGE 9 29
Louis John Rogers discusses specificity
REGULAR FEATURES
OVER THE WALL 34
Alan Maley considers the nature of happiness LANGUAGE LOG 40
John Potts
A PROCESS TEACHERS BOOK 37
Lee Shutler advocates annotations DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY 63
Rose Senior
STRATEGIES FOR LEARNING LEXIS 46
Darius Langhoff analyses vocabulary acquisition IT WORKS IN PRACTICE 38

PRESS GANG 49 SCRAPBOOK 42


William Chaves Gomes uses news

PUTTING THE ACCENT ON ACCENT 51 REVIEWS 44


Kar-Man Lee believes there are ways to improve
pronunciation COMPETITIONS 41, 64

GIVING CHANGE A CHEERFUL NOD 53


Mrudula Lakkaraju embraces teachers and institutions INTERNATIONAL SUBSCRIPTION FORM 32
who embrace change
Includes materials designed to photocopy

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 1


Editorial lthough none of the articles in this issue deals November, at least in the UK, can be rather a dreary

A specifically with motivation, it is a topic that


occurs in quite a few of them.

In the conclusion to their series of articles on open


month with little to motivate us except, perhaps, the
prospect of the imminent arrival of Santa Claus. Dorinda
Maio Phillips explains how she turns the Santa story to
good use with her classes of young learners. She
learning, Laura Bergmann and Gemma Ruffino evaluate
remembers her own childhood when the ban on open
the success of this new way of learning with a class of
fires in London led to fears that Santa, finding all the
teenagers and conclude that increased motivation for
chimneys blocked up, would fail to deliver his sackful of
students and, equally, for teachers is one of the
presents through the new gas pipelines. She neednt
observable benefits.
have worried: Simon Browns email address reveals that
Paul Bress and Scott Lauder look at motivation from the good saint can sneak in anywhere, and at least one
another angle: how to deal with students who are elf has got into Simon Andrewes main feature!
unmotivated or even deemed unteachable. Both
recognise that there are no easy answers, but Paul
offers five strategies for survival when faced with a
classroom full of reluctant students, and Scott explains
how he made competitive team games an integral part
of his teaching and classroom management and Helena Gomm
succeeded in turning around one recalcitrant group of Editor
helena.gomm@pavpub.com
learners.

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2 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


M A I N F E AT U R E their accustomed right to impose their
own language norms on other speakers.
Slow English, as the chairperson called

Slow
it, democratised the conference process;
its aim was to level out the playing field
so that no group had a natural linguistic
advantage. It was also practical, in that
complicated and disruptive processes of
simultaneous translation could be avoided.
The permeation of ELF throughout
the world over the last 25 years is well

English
documented. Globalisation has created
a need for a means of communication
that transcends the limits of national
boundaries. In education, similar
imperatives are at work. The use of
English for communication exchanges in
which the presence of native speakers is
either non-existent or of no particular
relevance is now ubiquitous. For the sake
of brevity, I refer to some supporting
evidence I provide elsewhere 2.
Simon Andrewes owards the end of the 1980s,

sees a steady shift in focus


from EFL to ELF.
T I went to an international
conference in Denmark.
Opening the event, the
chairperson announced: The language
of this conference will be English. But,
My own recent experience of
teaching ELF was working for Kinepolis,
the Belgian multinational cinema chain,
in Spain. The Spanish junior managerial
staff were being trained by the Belgian
he went on, with very effective pausing higher management, yet the language of
and emphasis, it will be Slow English. communication was neither Spanish nor
And, saying this, he glared menacingly French nor Flemish, but English. As yet,
at the native-speaker contingent. Some the cinema chain has no presence in any
time later, I realised I had had my first native-English-speaking country. Its
encounter with English as an
International Language, or English as a Globalisation
Lingua Franca (ELF) as I will call it.
In 1995, Robin Walker relates 1, has created a need
there was one talk given on the subject
of International English, or ELF, at
for a means of
that years annual IATEFL conference. communication that
In 2009, by way of contrast, there was a
whole conference dedicated to it at
transcends the limits of
Southampton University. English as a national boundaries
Lingua Franca has certainly come of
age over the last couple of decades.
empire to date only extends from
Belgium across France, Spain and
What is ELF? Switzerland and just recently into Poland.
If ELF has come of age and taken on a Yet English has been chosen as the
unique and distinctive identity, its corporate means of communication for
character is still evolving. Yet, intuitively, purely pragmatic reasons. English is so
that Danish conference leader almost a clearly the world dominant language that
quarter of a century ago recognised and future expansion perspectives make it the
defined ELF essentially for what it was: preferred choice. Twenty-five years ago,
a new, almost ready-made tool for French may have been seen as a more
international communication. It was a appropriate cross-cultural means of
modified form of native-speaker English communication for Kinepolis. Today,
and, interestingly, one to which native the choice of French as a corporate
speakers were expected to adapt. In fact, lingua franca, in spite of the companys
in the context of that conference, native predominance in French-speaking
speakers who were known to use their countries, would be seen as a hindrance
higher proficiency in the language to for future expansion and a potential
promote their own agendas were denied obstacle to transnational communication.

4 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


Contexts enunciation, a moderate speed of
delivery, appropriate pausing and Shorter phrasing serves
The need for English in the professional sensitivity to the particular audience.
and academic worlds in cross-cultural Several years ago, in an issue of Speak
to overcome difficulties
contexts is widely recognised today in
all sectors of Teaching of English to
Up, the Spanish magazine for learners of of comprehension if
English, there was an item on different
Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), varieties of English. I used to use this in the listening skills of
be it publishing, course design, syllabus
planning, teaching, training, assessment
class for listening comprehension. These the audience are
were not variations of international
and examinations, whatever. The English but of inner-circle English 3, less developed
University of Cambridge ESOL mostly North American and British. The
Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) speaker who proved to be easiest for my of nuclear stress, has been called the
examination, for example, is marketed as learners to understand, I remember, was grammatical function of intonation 4.
a demonstration of competence in English a Yellowstone Park tour guide. I realised The rules covering the placement
for high achievers in the professional and that it was her role as a tour guide, rather of phrase boundaries through pausing
academic world, its publicity than her standard American accent, that are to some extent flexible, but in the
acknowledging the fact that English is was the key to her comprehensibility. end are determined by their
an international language, used globally Because she was accustomed to grammatical function, which, in turn, is
for business and study [my emphasis]. addressing visitors from different parts to make meaning clear. Take this
Hitherto, the CAE has been of the country, and indeed from all over sentence, from a book by David Crystal
understood and marketed as an exam for the world, she had developed good about English as a global language:
learners wanting to live and study in a rhetorical practices along the lines English over the past two or three
native-speaker English environment. suggested in the previous paragraph. hundred years has repeatedly found itself
Today, even if it is not so well reflected
in the right place at the right time.
in the content of its exam papers, the
It could conceivably be spoken in
Cambridge exam underwrites the Important factors in one breath, as one phrase,
candidates competence in English in ELF
uninterrupted by pauses. In this case,
contexts. Which brings us back to the the comprehensibility the nuclear stress would coincide with
initial point made about Slow English.
English as a Foreign Language, most
of the tour guide sentence stress and fall on the last word:
time. Such phrasing would indicate that
typically, was learnt for interpersonal were her clear and the sentence is a single grammatical
transactional communication; crudely
put, it was the language of getting what
moderately-paced unit. At the same time, it would assume
of the listener a close familiarity with
you want on a personal level in an delivery, pausing and the text and/or the subject matter. But
English-speaking environment. Typical
contexts of using ELF, by contrast, are nuclear stress patterns even in a native-speaker context, in
order to aid comprehension, the
workplace professional and managerial
sentence is more likely to be broken up
meetings and academic tutorials and
into smaller grammatical units, or units
seminars. Skills required may include Nuclear stress of meaning, along the lines of:
reporting, exchanging and/or passing on
Although the Speak Up item did not English / over the past two or three
ideas; participating in conferences; giving
relate to international English, the hundred years / has repeatedly found
and understanding talks in a variety of
lessons that can be drawn from it are itself in the right place at the right time.
contexts; giving and appreciating
valid for ELF. Important factors in the In this case, the nuclear stress would
presentations; and analysing,
comprehensibility of the Yellowstone fall on the words English, years and time.
summarising and/or synthesising ideas.
Park tour guide were her clear and These two pauses would help the listener
Generally speaking, these settings
moderately-paced delivery, her pausing follow the speakers meaning if delivered
for cross-cultural communication
and her nuclear stress patterns. to a broader audience, for example at an
through English are scenarios of public
Just as in written language, sentences English teaching conference.
speaking, calling for, apart from good
and punctuation are used to help the The utterance could be further
language skills, basic rhetorical
reader recognise the grammar and broken down, like this:
competence in areas such as clarity of
syntactical structure and so the English / over the past two or three
meaning of what is being said, so in hundred years / has repeatedly found itself /
Typical contexts spoken language, the listener is given in the right place / at the right time.
help to follow meaning by means of Shorter phrasing serves to overcome
of using ELF are stress placement and pausing. In a short difficulties of comprehension if, for
workplace professional spoken phrase, uttered between two example, the listening skills of the
pauses, one word or syllable will carry audience are less developed or if the
and managerial meetings more emphasis than all the others. This speakers accent is an unfamiliar one. A
is what we call the nuclear stress of the possible scenario for such a delivery might
and academic tutorials phrase. Nuclear stress normally falls on indeed be an international conference,
and seminars a lexical item towards the end of the where assumptions about listener
phrase. This phrasing, and the placement competence are not so easily made. 

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 5


Slow
contexts. Nuances of tone to indicate Pronunciation for participation in
politeness, sarcasm, friendliness, conferences, debates, lectures, seminars
annoyance, etc are likely to be lost on and business meetings in international
ELF users. Much of the subtlety of (ELF) contexts requires different


English attitudinal function is culturally
conditioned within a native-speaker
English speech community and is not
easily accessible to outsiders.
norms than pronunciation for natural
native-speaker (EFL) contexts, where
the non-native speaker is clearly in the
minority: a foreigner, expected to
adapt to the native speakers fixed and
Intonation
Pronunciation given norms. The EFL learner seeks to
Although nuclear stress is vital for adapt to and integrate into an existing
comfortable comprehension in ELF Strong and weak syllables are another community. The ELF learner is already
contexts, intonation, it would appear, is problematic aspect for learners of the part of an international community that
not. Units of meaning carrying nuclear pronunciation of English. The schwa is has chosen English as its medium of
stress in English are also described as notoriously difficult. Moreover, we communication. Consequently, the aim
tone units and nuclear stress as tonic know that native speakers will eliminate of all participants is to ensure
stress. This is because of the intonation its application in contexts in which they maximum comprehensibility for the
patterns that form around the nucleus want to ensure comprehension, such as whole of that community, and to this
of a spoken phrase in native-speaker when clarifying meaning in teaching, for end the norms may be constantly
Englishes. In David Crystals sentence, a example, or in public speaking a negotiated within certain pragmatic
fall in pitch on the word time would context which we have said is typical for parameters. The shift of focus from
indicate the rounding off of the whole ELF. Weak syllables work against EFL to ELF will not only affect the
grammatical unit. However, these clarity of enunciation. So, in ELF choice of pronunciation norms and
intonation patterns are not crucial for communication it would not be models, but also the choice of
comprehension, and may vary regionally problematic for the schwa to be classroom activities. ETp
among inner-circle Englishes. In my pronounced in a word like arrive for
view, in ELF contexts the pitch of the example as // but shorter, quieter,
1 Walker, R The Pronunciation of English
nuclear stressed syllable can usefully be and less forceful than the //, say, in
as a Lingua Franca OUP 2010
substituted by alternative factors such as apple. (Closer to /rav/, then, than
/Prav/.) In a similar way, aspects of 2 http://business.asiaone.com/Business/
loudness, length and force, and these are News/Office/Story/A1Story20101121-
enough to fulfil the grammatical pronunciation in connected, fast speech, 248352.html Also: Alina Maria Zaharia
function of nuclear stress and phrasing. which kick in naturally in native-speaker Radu Lolescu The globalisation of
That is, the exact pitch of the words English at around 350 words per minute, English as a corporate language
English, years and time in the second are counterproductive for, and tend to Annals of the University of Petrosani
be avoided in, contexts where clarity of Economics 2009. Both sources are
version of Crystals sentence quoted quoted in my article on Communicative
above and the intonation patterns that delivery is of paramount importance. A English Language Teaching in Modern
form round them in native-speaker speed of delivery of 350 words per English Teacher (April 2011).
English are not crucial. As long as the minute is something that few non-native
3 The inner circle refers to the parts of
words carrying the nuclear stress are speakers manage to attain. Besides, we the world where a form of English is
given greater emphasis than the have hopefully by now established that both the official language and
preceding ones and are drawn out ELF is slow English! widespread mother tongue: the UK,
the USA, Australia, New Zealand,
somewhat, the listener is given sufficient
grammatical indicators to make sense of
 Ireland, Malta, anglophone Canada
and South Africa, and some Caribbean
the utterance without too much effort. My assumption is that ELF has now territories. The concept was developed
The importance we place on nuclear taken over from English as a Foreign by Braj Kachru in the late 80s to early
stress and pausing is, then, due to the 90s in his Inner, Outer and Expanding
Language (EFL) in the mainstream of
role they play in the vital grammatical Concentric Circles model.
English language teaching. This fact, if it
function of clarifying meaning. The is one, has consequences for all sectors 4 Roach, P English Phonetics and
attitudinal function of intonation, on Phonology CUP 1991
and all aspects of TESOL, even if it is
the other hand, is not essential in ELF only a question of a shift of focus. The
consequences this fact/assumption has for Simon Andrewes has
pronunciation may be more far-reaching been involved in TEFL
since the mid-1970s. At
Although nuclear stress than those it has for other aspects of present, he is DoS at the
language production, and that is what English department of a
is vital for comfortable this article has been concerned with. With
higher educational
college in Greenwich,
comprehension in ELF, pronunciation for public speaking London. One of his
greatest defects as a
moves into the centre of our focus. Much teacher, he regrets to
ELF contexts, of the focus of EFL was on interpersonal say, is that his attention
is more easily attracted
intonation, it would exchanges and communicating individual to the grand overview
and maybe idiosyncratic responses and than the nitty-gritty
appear, is not preferences; rarely on communication
detail.
simon@granadalabella.eu
for the public domain.

6 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


IN THE CLASSROOM

Team spirit
Scott Lauder considers he idea of using team games of behaviour that should ordinarily be

competitions arent only for


young learners.
T with learners other than
children was first planted in
my mind some time ago when
a senior teacher mentioned, as a
humorous aside, how she had become
present but are not such as the
completion of homework tasks, the
bringing of the requisite coursebooks,
studying for vocabulary quizzes and
even concentrating for boring reading
ridiculously competitive on a personal and grammar tasks. In many instances,
development course when the instructor if the lack of these things is recorded, it
began handing out tokens for a Best is for punitive purposes. Here seemed an
Group award. opportunity to utilise, instead, a positive
My memory of this comment lay reinforcement strategy.
dormant until many months later, when
I was faced with a 20-week semester The question of team
teaching two classes of more than 20
young Arab women aged between 18 and
games
20, some of whom had demonstrated a The use of team games is not without
history of weak study skills on similar its issues. Some practitioners feel wary
courses. The seed began to germinate. about encouraging overt competition and
Could, or even should, a similar strategy the giving of extrinsic rewards. They
be used with these learners? How would worry about the effect such methods have
they respond? Would it help to achieve on the students intrinsic motivation: if it
the kind of behaviour and motivation becomes entirely, or mostly, extrinsically
that I wished to see? orientated, what will happen when they
enter a classroom without this kind of
reward? In a sense, the student will have
Some practitioners become conditioned to thinking in
feel wary about extrinsic-reward terms and will be unable
or unwilling to adjust easily to a different
encouraging overt set of conditions. If that is true, then the
proposed systematic use of team games
competition and the may be irresponsible if students
giving of extrinsic become less willing to perform just for
intrinsic satisfaction.
rewards But the intrinsic/extrinsic dichotomy
may not be quite as definitive as we
Of course, the ad hoc use of games imagine: after all, when a teacher
as a means of enlivening a long day, praises a student in front of a class, is
brightening a dull lesson or introducing that not a (weak) form of extrinsic
the members of a new class to one reward? Conversely, when a team game
another is a time-honoured practice results in some kind of extrinsic reward,
common enough in many institutions is there not a degree of intrinsic
and teaching situations. However, team satisfaction gained by the student?
games used more systematically to As for students and their
address problematic or undesirable perceptions of themselves, team games
behaviour in college students is perhaps inevitably produce winners and
less commonly practised; especially losers. However, that does not mean
when they are used to encourage aspects that the same students or groups always

8 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


win. A variety of tasks as part of a and revision took place in the time that That my use of team games ensured
semester-long competition helps to the students had to confer. To avoid that the students in my class learnt
ensure different winners and losers students not studying and relying instead more than they might otherwise have
along the way. on their team-mates, not every spelling done would be an unjustified claim.
It could also be argued that any or vocabulary quiz was made into a team However, when there were reading tasks
classroom management technique that game. In other words, some of the to be done or spelling tests to take, the
increases peer-to-peer negotiation, quizzes, on an intermittent basis, were students participated willingly and
fosters a sense of responsibility within kept as individual tasks. collaborated enthusiastically plus their
the group and encourages basic good homework was mostly done and the
behaviour is, at the very least, worth 4 Vocabulary treasure hunts correct books were mostly brought.
trying. Occasionally, I made a list of common Of course, the use of team games
and not-so-common items around the may not be the only or prime reason
The integration of team college. In teams, the students had to find why these students changed their
the objects, photograph them with their behaviour the causality remains
games mobile phones and return to class with unresolved, as does the idea that the
Here are some of the ways that team- the evidence. Points were awarded on a minor success I have enjoyed might be
game tasks were integrated into my sliding scale, according to which group repeatable in other contexts.
classroom: returned when. It was one of the few Nevertheless, these students enjoyed the
times the students could legitimately use thrill of competition, just as that senior
1 Homework completion their most prized possession! This task teacher had. The seed, sown so long
The students were divided into teams had the added advantage of levelling the ago, did seem to germinate. ETp
and each team received a point if academic field so that less academically
Scott Lauder is currently
everyone in the team had completed the gifted students had as much chance as studying for a doctorate
requisite homework task. Even if only the most gifted to score points. at Durham University,
UK.
one person in the team had not done it,
no points were awarded. This led to 
very vocal protests initially when some
but not all the members of one team At the end of the semester, the points
had done the homework. The same from all the tasks were totalled and gift
team quickly learnt from this experience vouchers as well as certificates awarded
and peer pressure ensured that it didnt for the first-, second- and third-placed
scottangus_65@yahoo.com
happen again! teams. In other words, about 50 percent
of the class received some kind of
2 The right books reward or recognition. Interestingly, by
Many of the students were reluctant to
bring the required books to class. This
the end of the semester, the award of
points for bringing the correct books and
TALKBACK!
Do you have something to say about
was then made a task for which points completing the homework was almost a
an article in the current issue of ETp?
were awarded. As with homework given; instead, the main variables became
This is your magazine and we would
completion, the same rule applied: all the spelling, vocabulary and reading
really like to hear from you.
the team members had to have the quizzes (as well as the treasure hunts).
Write to us or email:
correct books or no points were
editor@etprofessional.com
awarded. Many of the weaker students
who had previously shown a reluctance
to bring their books quickly sought to
gain easy points.
IT WORKS IN PRACTICE
3 Spelling, reading and Do you have ideas youd like to share
vocabulary quizzes with colleagues around the world?
The students were given spelling and Tips, techniques and activities;
vocabulary quizzes once a week, for simple or sophisticated; well-tried or
which they were asked to study. When innovative; something that has worked
this was a team game, the students would well for you? All published contributions
take the exam individually but time receive a prize! Write to us or email:
would be given at the end of the quiz for editor@etprofessional.com
the teams to confer. After conferring,
only one paper was chosen from each of Writing for ETp
the teams as a representative paper, and Would you like to write for ETp?
points were awarded accordingly. This We are always interested in new writers
had two beneficial effects. Firstly, it and fresh ideas. For guidelines and
reduced the time it would normally take advice, write to us or email:
to mark an exam such as this. Secondly, editor@etprofessional.com
a good deal of peer-to-peer discussion

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 9


IN THE CLASSROOM

Teaching the
unteachables
Paul Bress counsels against despair.

2 Set up genuine communicative 5 Let your students have a say in


icture the scene. A class full of 14-

P or 15-year-old kids, chewing gum,


with their feet up on the desks,
listening to their iPods and texting on
situations.
The last thing you should do is to give
prescriptive grammar rules to
what and how they learn.
The unteachables will probably feel
that their time is very precious and they
their mobiles. In you walk to teach your unmotivated students. Its much more may resent diktats from above. They
English lesson and you know that this likely that they will be motivated by using will probably not respond very well to a
must be the least motivated class in the English as a means of communication. rigid syllabus. However, if you turn the
whole world. In your mind, these kids Again, this means determining precisely tables round and give them the
are the unteachables. the kinds of situations they interact in on opportunity to say what they want to
Most teachers have a sad tale to tell a daily basis and encouraging them to do learn and how they want to learn it,
about a horrible class they have had to these in English. For instance, you could youll be encouraging them to be more
teach. They have found themselves at carry out mock roleplays on mobile motivated. Of course, the language they
their wits end, pulling their hair out phones, during which they arrange to use to communicate their desires will
with frustration and dreading the start meet up at a particular time and place. not be couched in ELT jargon, but you
of every lesson. But is there anything should, through trial and error, be able
you can do to teach these so-called 3 Praise your students for any to make out what they are saying!
unteachable students? Id like to suggest progress they make.
five steps you can take and if you take If your students are hostile to you, its 
all of them, then you stand the best possible you may feel the same way and Im not promising that following these
chance, not only of surviving the class, sometimes have the urge to deride them. guidelines will result in the difference
but also of motivating the students. Of course, this will only lead to between night and day. However, I would
resentment on the part of the students, say that it should prove sufficient for a
1 Focus solely on the topic and they may decide never to cooperate radical change in the degree of motivation
areas that the students are with you again. Instead, if you take the of the students, and you should eventually
interested in. trouble to listen out carefully for reach a point where you feel that you
If you slavishly follow the topics in a absolutely any progress that any student have most of the class on your side.
coursebook (even one for young is making, and then point out that this Moreover, if we look at the bigger
learners), you are very likely to come student has made progress, it should picture, I think its fair to say that the
unstuck. In an attempt to please a wide prove much more motivating. Dont same principles that apply to the
variety of markets, publishers fill their forget, these students arent adults yet, unteachables also apply to the
coursebooks with topics which are likely and part of them may still be looking teachables. They are sound principles in
to be of general interest and unlikely to for praise from a parent-like figure. all language teaching its just that
cause offence anywhere in the world. when you have less motivated students,
Unfortunately, this tends to make them 4 Use English the whole time. they become paramount. ETp
bland and too general to interest If you just use English for key parts of
Paul Bress lives in
unmotivated students. You need to use a lesson, then your students will have Whitstable, UK, where
material that is more specific and missed out on a very important learning he works as a part-time
teacher of English to
tailored to the interests of your students. experience. Moreover, they will see the overseas students and
For example, if they are interested in focus on English as being a chore. also writes novels. His
novels are: The Man
music, its worth finding out the exact However, if you keep talking in English Who Didnt Age, The
bands and songs they listen to whose throughout the lesson, they will hear it Dysfunctional Family,
For Adults Only and The
lyrics are in English. By using these lyrics being used in a communicative way and Check-out Operator, all
as teaching texts, rather than a more will learn without even being aware of published by Fast-Print
general text on music, youll be much it. In this way, the whole lesson becomes and available in Kindle.

more likely to catch their attention. a communicative situation. paulbress@talktalk.net

10 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


G R A M M A R in spoken English. It may also be
connected with a widespread belief
among learners that skipping an article,

Holistic
or getting one wrong in English, is not a
major crime and, in any case, is not
going to interfere with communication:
articles are seen as irritating mosquitoes
rather than as elephants, such as verb
tenses or modal auxiliaries.

grammar
However, the correct use of articles
in English is often vital to good
communication and there are systems
which can be teachable, even at a
relatively low level. The problem is that
many teachers have simply never been
taught to engage fully with grammar at

teaching 5
discourse level. Here is a very simple
awareness-raising exercise, which can be
used with a lower-intermediate class:

Activity A
Read this short text and answer the
questions that follow.
Rod Bolitho determines a strategy A tornado1 is a very strong rotating
wind. Tornadoes 2 are often caused by
for teaching determiners in discourse.
thunderstorms over land or at sea.
They can destroy almost anything in
very time I ask practising Attacking articles

E
their path. The tornadoes 3 that hit
teachers about the grammar parts of the mid-west of the USA
topic they least like teaching, All of the above comments are
recently were the strongest this
the responses nearly always understandable for different reasons.
century.
include articles (along with lexico- But underlying each of them is one of
grammatical items such as prepositions two broad issues: 1 Why is a used here?
and phrasal verbs). When I pursue this 1 Teachability 2 Why is there no article here?
further and ask why they dislike You cant parcel the topic up and teach
teaching articles in English so much, 3 Why is the used here?
it in a lesson or a series of lessons as
I get comments like these: you can with, say, the present perfect or Now write a short text about
Because theyre messy. comparatives and superlatives, topics tsunamis following the same pattern.
which can conveniently be presented You may need these words to help
Because there doesnt seem to be a
and practised at sentence level within a you: wave; earthquake.
system you need to keep coming
PPP paradigm. This has led, at worst,
back to them.
to large-scale avoidance of articles by
Articles are used in different ways in textbook authors and, at best, to token The three questions can be discussed
my language. treatments of the topic in easily and answered in L1 if necessary, as
identifiable and practisable contexts awareness-raising is not about practising
The rules dont always seem to be here it is about engaging the learner
right when you listen to native
such as geographical names (definite
article with rivers, seas and oceans but cognitively with the basics of the article
speakers. system. The practice exercise on
zero article with street names, castles
Our textbooks dont really help much and palaces and mountains; definite tsunamis is a chance for the learners to
with articles. article with superlative adjectives, etc). check whether they have understood the
system, and to understand its value in
Honestly, I dont know how to teach 2 Learnability communication. It is also, of course, a
them. Many teachers Ive worked with confess first step towards reinforcement.
I did a fun exercise based on metaphors to never having mastered the topic
for grammar topics with a mixed- themselves. This may have its roots in a Dealing with
nationality group of teachers, and an lack of correspondence with L1. Slavic
Austrian colleague declared, Articles in languages, for example, get along very determiners
English are like mosquitoes in your nicely without articles, and even the But to stop here would be just to scratch
bedroom; just when you think you have most advanced Russian or Polish the surface. Articles are part of a bigger
got on top of them and you relax, one speakers of English often show a subsystem, operating at discourse level,
comes back and bites you! cavalier disregard for articles, especially generally covered by the term determiners.

12 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


Determiners are used in front of nouns to trigger a discussion about contrasting
refer to something specific or something ways of marking meaning in English Referencing
of a particular type. They include articles, and L1. Anaphoric reference is indicated by
demonstrative pronouns (this, these, that, a word (or words) referring back to
those), possessive adjectives (my, you, his, Deconstructing something earlier in a text.
her, its, our, their), so-called general
determiners (eg some, a few, both, each,
discourse Cataphoric reference is indicated
by a word or words relating to
any) and adjectives which function as At a more advanced level, there is a
something later in a text.
determiners (eg next, last). Here is an need to look into markers of all types in
exercise at intermediate level, which order to locate articles and determiners Exophoric reference is indicated by
draws attention to the importance of in a much more comprehensive view of a word or words referring to an idea
determiners, this time in spoken English. the way discourse is constructed and of or information which is beyond the
the key role of some of those little text but usually assumed to be
Activity B mosquitoes. This kind of exercise is best understandable to the reader.
based on an authentic text.
Work in pairs. Read this conversation
aloud. Does it make complete sense Activity C
to you? What words could you add
to make sense of it? When you have Work in pairs. As you read this diary entry,
decided, read your new version answer the questions alongside.
aloud and see how it sounds now.
We were camped in the square1, watching 1 What does the writer assume
Traveller Hello, is this lost property about the reader? How do you
events unfold in front of our eyes. There
office? know?
were people with banners2 and others
Clerk Yes, can I help you? 2 Was everybody carrying a
shouting slogans. The side streets were
Traveller I left mobile phone on train banner? How do you know?
blocked off by militia with shields and
morning.
batons. They were mainly just standing
Clerk train?
there, watching. This was different from last
Traveller 6.30 from Liverpool Street
to Norwich. time3, when they charged at all the 3 What does the writer assume
demonstrators and lashed out with their here?
Clerk Can you wait moment,
sticks4. Maybe they understood that this 4 Which word is echoed by sticks
please?
here?
Traveller Sure. demonstration5 was going to be peaceful.
5 Which demonstration?
Maybe they were just aware that everything
Clerk No, nothing was found on
train. was being captured by TV crews from all
Traveller Oh dear! Maybe someone over the world.
found it and liked it. Do you What we saw next6 was evidence of 6 What does this draw the readers
think there is hope? that7. Some of the women in the crowd attention to?
Clerk You never know! week went up to the militia officers and gave 7 Evidence of what?
someone handed in wallet 8 Specific flowers? How do you
them flowers8. I cant imagine that
day after finding it. know?
happening back then9. Some of the officers
(based on a real conversation overheard in 9 When? How do you know?
actually put the flowers10 in their uniform
the customer service office at Norwich
10 Specific flowers? How do you
station) buttonholes. Then, for some reason, my
know?
part of the crowd started to surge forward
The exercise draws attention to the and I began to feel scared. I dont really
way a conversation between two people remember much after that11 ... 11 After what?
is built up as collaborative discourse,
with meaning dependent on clear and (from a friends diary, edited and reproduced here
with permission)
unambiguous use of determiners. With
a weaker class, the conversation could
be presented as a gap-fill, but this would This activity raises awareness of the 
deprive the learners of the opportunity complex web of meaning at discourse
to compare the impact of the two level, and it contains examples of A staged teaching approach over an
versions when spoken, and it would be different kinds of reference (anaphoric, extended period might move through
less cognitively demanding. In a cataphoric and exophoric) as well as a the three stages illustrated by the
stronger monolingual class, awareness range of other ways of creating examples in this article, starting at basic
can be further raised by translating the cohesion in written discourse, including level with the article system embedded
conversation into their own language to the use of articles and determiners. in mini discourse contexts, moving into 

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 13


Holistic
Activity B 4 batons: an example of a near-
Traveller Hello, is this the lost property synonym used to achieve lexical
office? cohesion.

grammar Clerk Yes, can I help you?


Traveller I left my mobile phone on the
train this morning.
5 The one she is now describing this
(expressing immediate closeness)
rather than that (which would express

teaching 5
distance).
Clerk Which train?
6 What we saw next draws the readers
Traveller The 6.30 from Liverpool Street attention to what is about to follow.
to Norwich. (cataphoric reference)
 Clerk Can you wait a moment, please? 7 evidence of that points back to the
a wider range of contexts for
determiners, and from there to a study Traveller Sure. previous sentence. (anaphoric
with advanced students of the different reference)
Clerk No, nothing was found on that
ways in which discourse is stitched train. 8 Definitely not. There is no article or
together to ensure that it is coherent. determiner here.
Traveller Oh dear! Maybe someone
Working at discourse level is more 9 A vague reference to former times or
found it and liked it. Do you
challenging than working at sentence perhaps simply to the last
think there is any hope?
level, but it enables the learners to see demonstration. (either anaphoric or
the big picture and to deconstruct as a Clerk You never know! Last week
exophoric reference)
basis for constructing their own someone handed in a wallet
meanings, rather than requiring them to the day after finding it. 10 This time we know which flowers (the
build up meaning from sentence level definite article makes this clear) the
without support or guidance. Activities Activity C ones the women gave them.
like these are best tackled (anaphoric reference)
1 As this was part of a daily blog, the
collaboratively, giving the learners the writer assumes that the reader 11 After the crowd began to surge.
chance to compare ideas and, knows which square she is referring (anaphoric reference)
importantly, to talk about language. to as the square. The reference is to
Rod Bolitho is Academic
shared knowledge beyond the limits Director at Norwich
of the text. (exophoric reference) Institute for Language
Education, UK.
Key to activities 2 Probably not. The word others which Previously, he spent 17
years at the University
follows indicates this. It refers back
Activity A College of St Mark and
to people. (anaphoric reference) St John in Plymouth. His
1 Because this is a general statement. most recent book is
3 Again, the writer assumes that the Trainer Development,
2 Because this refers to all tornadoes. reader is aware of the meaning of the co-authored with Tony
Wright.
3 These are specific examples of time reference: the last time.
rodbol44@yahoo.co.uk
tornadoes. (exophoric reference again)

ENGLISH TALKBACK!
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IN THE CLASSROOM

Practical
poetry
Kevin Ottley lifts ention the word poetry present a few problems. As we know,

language practice from the


works of the great poets.
M and many people
immediately get that eyes-
glazed-over expression
before suddenly remembering they have
an important appointment to rush off to.
many learners find the sheer number of
vowel sounds in English challenging, a
difficulty compounded by the fact that
there is often no direct correlation
between English spelling and
This might be because many of us were pronunciation. In the above simple line,
force-fed poetry at school, being drilled six different vowel sounds are used
in, and obliged to repeat parrot-fashion, (maybe seven, depending on dialect),
greats of literature such as Tennysons these being /a/, /e/, /P/, //, /I/ and /i*/.
The Charge of the Light Brigade and Each of these can be extracted and
Longfellows The Song of Hiawatha. drilled, then reassembled and practised
Poetry at school was often as exciting in the whole line.
and relevant as tables of logarithms and The opening line of Wordsworths
the dates of medieval battles. Daffodils, I wandered lonely as a cloud,
This is a great shame. As this article also lends itself to the above exercise, not
hopes to demonstrate, English poetry is least as, in this example, the similarly-
not all dull or difficult. There are sounding (to some ears) vowel sounds
hundreds of thousands of poems out /P/ and /a/ feature in near proximity.
there, many of which, if selected
judiciously, can be utilised in an ELT Consonants
classroom. For example, poetry can be
exploited to support pronunciation at Consonant sounds can be practised in
both segmental and suprasegmental the same way. The Shelley line contains
levels; it can be used to introduce students contrasts of the unvoiced and voiced
to lexical devices such as synonyms; sounds /t/ and /d/ and /f/ and /v/, which
examples of poetry can promote a many learners of English find
freeplay of ideas between students as problematic, especially when in the final
they explore and discover a poem for position of a word. Also, the normal
themselves; and, finally, students can be pronunciation of traveller is /trvlP/,
encouraged to create verse for themselves, whereas many learners, not used to
either with simple translations or even consonant clusters in their own language,
via self-compositions. would opt instead for a three-syllable
articulation, ie /trvPlP/. The cognate
travel could also be introduced, and the
Vowels allophone /l/ contrasted with that in
The opening line of Shelleys poem land. There is a difference here. The
Ozymandias, I met a traveller from an former, so-called dark allophone,
antique land, is neither grammatically occurring at the end of a word, is formed
nor lexically challenging for learners of with the tip of the tongue behind the
English at a pre-intermediate level and teeth but the back of the tongue raised.
above. Phonetically, however, it might The latter, light or clear allophone,

16 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


occurring at the beginning of a word, is doesnt mean it should be recited thus.
formed with the back of the tongue Thirty years on, I can still recall
fairly low. Finally, the line from passages from Longfellows Hiawatha,
Wordsworth affords an opportunity to but struggle to repeat anything from the
practise the difficult /w/ phoneme, as Bront novels I studied at the same
well as the tricky /kl/ consonant cluster. time. The reason I am able to do this is
because of the poems instantly
Stress
Vowels and consonants recognisable dum-de-dum-de-dum-de-
dum rhythm; however, when read aloud Introducing learners to
The following activity gives the students in this fashion, it sounds completely concepts such as a line or
an opportunity to practise both vowel unnatural: we dont speak like this. an expressions pre-head,
and consonant sounds. Because it is always a good idea to head and tail is unnecessary.
Give small teams of learners a expose learners to normal speech as Simply, given short simple
typical phonemic chart complete with often as possible, it is the spoken rather utterances such as the above from

iStockphoto.com / Vital Paplauski


examples (ie i* = read; = sit; etc). than the written rhythms of poetry Shelley and Wordsworth, the learners
Practise vowels and consonants which students need to hear and should be able to grasp quite soon the
separately. Then dictate a line of verse, practise. Both Shelleys Ozymandias and principles behind stress-timing and,
and ask the teams to decide which Wordsworths Daffodils appear on first with practice, be able to identify for
sounds they hear. To make this exercise reading to be syllable-timed. To take the themselves the key words in an
more competitive, assign a score to each Shelley example, the line could be read utterance. Single lines of poetry are an
of the sounds, the more difficult ones thus: I met a traveller from an antique ideal length for this exercise. Neither of
diphthongs, for example having a land, where the counted syllables are the above examples contains more than
higher score. Repeat the line of verse underlined. However, according to ten words.
half a dozen times with five-second normal speech intonation, which tends An additional exercise is to
pauses in between. Give a prize to the in English to stress content words rather familiarise the learners with content and
team which scores most points. than function words, the naturally function words. The former, generally
stressed parts of the line would be: I stressed, include nouns, most verbs,
Pronunciation met a traveller from an antique land. adjectives and adverbs; the latter, usually
Moreover, as a fall is clearly discernible not stressed, include determiners,
Single lines of poetry, being bite-sized
on the second syllable of traveller and a auxiliary verbs, prepositions,
and easy to recall, afford great
rise on the second syllable of antique, conjunctions and pronouns.
opportunities for practising
the result is that the normal spoken Dictate a few lines of verse and have
pronunciation at a suprasegmental level.
intonation of the line would be, I met a the students underline all the content
English differs from many languages in
traveller from an antique land which words. When they are familiar with the
being stress- rather than syllable-timed,
varies quite a bit from its written, principle, they can practise in pairs.
a fact which often leads to non-native
speakers of English sounding as if they syllable-timed equivalent.
are over-enunciating (and which, from Synonyms
the other side, influences complaints Intonation While all language has synonyms,
from learners that native speakers of poetry has them in abundance. It can,
English speak too rapidly and swallow It is, perhaps, more useful to talk about
intonation rather than pronunciation. therefore, be used to broaden the
too many words). While it is true that learners store of lexis. The whole first
poetry in English is often composed In the Wordsworth line, the key word is
lonely. Everything hangs upon it. verse of the Wordsworth poem is:
according to a strict syllabic count, it is
equally important to bear in mind that Replace this with another similar I wandered lonely as a cloud
it belongs to an oral tradition of adjective, alone for example, and the That floats on high oer vales and hills,
storytelling: it was written in order to be mood of the line changes. Consequently, When all at once I saw a crowd,
spoken. In fact, poetry based upon a when the line is spoken aloud, lonely is A host, of golden daffodils;
frequently plodding syllable the most heavily emphasised word; the Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
count, was usually preceding and following phrases I Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
composed in that wandered and as a cloud are, in
comparison, less stressed. The Shelley All of the underlined words have
fashion in order for it synonyms which, while possessing more
to be more easily line, however, has two intonation groups.
The words traveller and antique are both or less the same lexical value, would
recallable; but that sound out of place, or at least slightly
key, not least because they link the lines
main idea and, as a result, both words wrong, if used indelicately. Consider an
receive equal intonational importance. alternative version of the same verse:
The two lines could thus be reproduced I walked alone as a cloud
as follows: I met a traveller from an That swims on high oer vales and hills,
antique land and I wandered lonely as a When all at once I saw a crowd,
cloud, where stressed syllables are A host, of golden daffodils;
underlined, and the nucleus/nuclei of Beside the sea, under the trees,
the line is/are shaded. Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. 

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 17


Practical
perhaps to generate debate rather than Of course its bad; it was written by
just discussion, is to give small groups George Bush for his wife Laura! The
of students the first line or phrase of a point is, if he can do it, ...

poetry poem, and set them free to explore where


this might lead. For me, this is similar to
browsing in a bookshop, when the first
Ive been surprised, pleasantly, at
the willingness with which students
approach the task of composition, as
 While native speakers of English take line of a novel, or even its cover, compels well as the quality of the finished
for granted the difference in meaning you to continue. The difference with this products. The best example I ever
between float/swim, lake/sea and exercise is that the only limits to this received was from a Korean student.
beneath/under, these may not always be particular voyage of discovery are the Offered as a translation, he later
apparent to learners. Likewise, there is learners imaginations. Its fascinating to confessed it was self-penned:
no guarantee that learners at pre- compare the results between rival groups.
rain against the window
intermediate level and above will know A slightly different take on this is to
raindrops running
the word wander, nor be aware of the use the first and last lines of a poem.
down your face
subtle difference in meaning between this Give the students the first line of
word and the superordinate walk. Finally, Anthony Thwaites Mr Cooper: Two
the use of lonely and beneath in the verse nights in Manchester: nothing much to

should illustrate the distinction between do and encourage an all-class
For many learners of English, poetry is
these words and alone and under. discussion about how they might spend
not the turn-off it sadly too often is for
As an exercise, I give a class of two nights in Manchester, or indeed in
British students. This might be because
learners the entire Daffodils poem, but any large city. After a few minutes,
literature, generally, is a more evident part
with the words which have synonyms recite or display the poems next lines:
of their history and tradition. Writers,
blanked out. There are 15 in all. Some
One of them I spent partly in a pub poets and musicians frequently played a
time is spent discussing the overall
Alone, quiet, listening to people who central role in a nations emergence as an
meaning of the poem, its effect and the
Didnt know me. independent country. Their faces often
writers personality. Also, the poems
appear on banknotes and coinage. During
archaisms eg glee and oft are dealt The learners can now reflect on the
the revolutions of the late 1980s it wasnt
with, including the difficult couplet, A mood of the poem and its protagonist.
unusual for poets to be seen supporting
poet could but not be gay / In such a Depending on the level of the class,
other revolutionaries in the offices of
jocund company. In small groups, the vocabulary such as solitude, nosy,
national TV stations. The nearest we
students are encouraged to fill in the eavesdropping and at a loose end can be
come to this in Britain is perhaps with
gaps in the poem without any help. elicited. Divide the class into small
pop music lyrics. While these, too, could
Pairs of synonyms are then handed out, groups and write on the board the poems
be used in class with learners of English, I
the differences in the meanings of these closing line: And Mr Cooper dead.
would encourage teachers to explore more
are discussed, and finally the students Inform the learners that they need to
deeply our countrys rich heritage of
have to gap-fill the correct words. The build a story, in prose, from beginning to
literature and poetry. There are many
success for the students of the exercise end as convincingly and as imaginatively
gems out there waiting to be discovered.
is manifold. They learn a few items of as possible. Set a time limit.
The voyage could be extremely rewarding,
vocabulary; they discover a rich new
and educational. ETp
dimension of language; and they Composition
become familiar with a classic of
English literature. It should be made clear that the Full texts of the poems referred to in this
previous activity does not require the article can be accessed online:
learners to compose a poem. This can be Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley:
Discussion attempted, however. To begin with, they www.englishclub.com/listening/poetry-
ozymandias.htm
As the above example illustrates, the use can be encouraged to translate simple
of poetry in the classroom can aid verses from their own language into Daffodils by William Wordsworth:
www.love-poems.me.uk/wordsworth_
discussion. We all want our learners to English. These could be short poems, i_wandered_lonely_as_a_cloud.htm
freely exchange ideas, and the early part haiku, even song lyrics. Translated verses
Mr Cooper by Anthony Thwaite:
of the previous exercise discussing the printed alongside the original texts and http://wartimehousewife.wordpress.com/
meaning of the poem, its effect complete with illustrations look great 2010/11/21/sunday-poem-63
and the writers personality when pinned up around the classroom.
is certain to generate a The next step is to get the learners to Kevin Ottley has taught
lot of conversation. compose for themselves. In order to English in Hungary,
Bulgaria, Germany and
Another way to motivate them, I often begin by dictating the UK. He is a lecturer
achieve this, and the following four-line poem, at LeedsMet University
and a freelance teacher
Roses are red, violets are blue of English. He is
interested in the welfare
Oh the lump in my bed, how I miss you. and motivation of
The distance, my dear, has been such a international students
studying at UK
barrier universities.
Next time you want an adventure, just
k.ottley@leedsmet.ac.uk
land on a carrier.

18 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


IN THE CLASSROOM

Looking
back at open
learning
Laura Bergmann n Issue 76 of ETp, we followed a affluent urban area, is unlikely to be

and Gemma Ruffino


evaluate the long-term
I class of ten year olds in their first
few weeks of open learning (OL)
to help you to imagine what it
could do for your classroom. In this
issue, we will join a different class of
representative of many other
institutions. Remembering the
subjective and non-generalisability of
this account, we will consider Laura
and her students experience over the
benefits. 14 year olds taught by the same last four years.
teacher, who have been learning with
this method for four years, to see Change of focus
whether reality has lived up to their
Although research has been somewhat
teachers hopes. Like many OL teachers,
problematic, and has left large areas
Laura introduced the technique after
uninvestigated, we can still identify
seeing it in action in a primary school.
several key areas where teachers could
That was four years ago, and now that
expect to see long-term improvement
her first class have passed through the
when using OL with their classes. The
school, she wants to evaluate how
first is increased motivation. We often
successful open learning has really been.
notice a drop in motivation with the
But first, a caveat. The empirical
onset of puberty, as school seems
evaluation of open learning is
irrelevant to the students everyday lives.
problematic: firstly, because there is no
OL can mitigate this by enabling the
consensus on what exactly it is.
students to learn according to their own
Secondly, many of the benefits, such as
interests. Laura experienced increased
affect and motivation, are difficult to
motivation amongst her students the
quantify. Thirdly, it is difficult to
more she allowed them to follow their
exclude social effects from any
own interests. One student, Alexandra*,
evaluation. Any type of education that
agrees:
parents have to opt into for their
children, as schools using OL often When you were writing a text, you
require, attracts a high proportion of could choose a topic that you were
interested and motivated parents. This really interested in. That made writing
type of parenting is a significant factor it a lot easier, and I think you
in achievement. Although Lauras automatically make fewer mistakes
students (and their parents) did not when youre writing about something
actually opt for OL, her school, in an that is real to you. 

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 19


Looking
right, so they put in a lot of work to
make sure their final product would be
understood by their classmates and

back at open was free of mistakes.

learning Change in criteria


In an OL situation, research suggests
that we would expect to see the role of
 Laura had included interest-based the teacher change over time, becoming
questions with greater regularity as the more of a coach. Laura found that the
years went on. She says: role wasnt what she expected:
I noticed that they worked better and At first, I saw this coaching role as
produced better results, the more more relaxed, compared to
interested they were. I also began to conventional teaching, but I realised you
realise that many tasks could easily be have to be more exact, if anything. You
applied to much broader topics, and have to define your goals for each
that giving them a chance to bring in session precisely. You also have to keep
their interests could harness real records of each child, to know where
passion for their work. they are at any particular stage. When I
didnt do this, I couldnt give them what
The key here is identifying the core
they needed individually.
element of the task. If you are asking
the students to give their personal The students may not recognise this
opinion on keeping animals in zoos, explicitly, but they seem to notice the
then the focus is really on functions like side effects: You could learn the things you wanted
giving an opinion and providing
I think you can ask for more help in this to, not just the stuff you already know
evidence for your point of view. This
kind of class, says Bianca, because how to do, says Sebastian.
actually has nothing to do with the
only the teacher knows youre asking. Deciding for themselves what they
topic itself, so you can invite the
The rest of the class dont know. needed to learn had other side effects:
students to give their opinion on any
other issue, even a new computer game. Peter says, It wasnt like the teacher They suddenly became more critical,
Laura notes: was the one deciding whether your recalls Laura. They wanted to know
answers were right or wrong. The what the purpose of each exercise was.
What my students loved most were
answer key is private.
completely free tasks like writing a
They also realise that what they do in
magazine in groups that could be As the students cease relying on the class can make a difference in their
printed for the other students or teacher to drive their learning forward, achievement a key aspect of several
producing a radio report about a topic. they experience their own agency, theories of motivation.
With these tasks they really wanted to sometimes for the first time in their In a normal classroom, the teacher
communicate and they wanted to get it lives. tells the students what they are expected
to be working on at any given moment.
In an OL classroom, the students are
only told what they have to have
completed by when, but are not given
any further direction. This should
develop their time management skills,
and according to Laura, this is evident
in her students without exception:
It doesnt seem to be linked to their
ability. And their other teachers have
commented that this class is
unbelievable, because the kids just sit
down and get on with it.

She also notices that they work well


together, and help one another to
understand:
Ive noticed some of them doing
exercises a second or third time, to
show a friend how it works. I think both
sides benefit when that happens.

20 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


Since she began using OL in this class,
Laura has not had to discipline a single
student. However, several of them act
up in other subjects, with other
teachers.

Change in achievement
These competencies and skills are
interesting, but the main question has to
be whether the students cover the same
ground as in conventional teaching, and
achieve as well as could be expected.
Studies suggest that we should expect to
see higher achievement across the
board, from the strongest to the weakest
students. Laura says that the class have
covered the same topics as the other
classes in their year learning
conventionally, and that their test scores
are much higher than the other classes
in the year. While the weaker students
read The Lord of the Rings aged 13 a achieve, and monitor their students
book that English kids of that age would regularly by looking at their written
find challenging. work and engaging them in
conversation in English, each student
What could be behind this increased
can reach their full potential. And it
achievement? One reason might be that
isnt only about learner motivation. The
the learners spend much more of an OL
slight increase in workload is
lesson actually on-task. Markus admits:
compensated for by the increased
I definitely do more work in OL. You motivation teachers feel when students
know, usually you dont have to pay achieve levels never even dreamt of in
attention for the whole lesson at school. normal lessons, and the improved
You can tune out during most of it. But discipline and less difficult classroom
in OL, you have to work all the time. management make teaching much more
pleasant. ETp
Students also exhibit a different
approach in preparing for assessment,
as they have to continuously make their * All the students names in this article
own judgements about what they have have been changed.
already mastered and what they still
Laura Bergmann has
need to work on. Finally, the learners been working as a
are under less pressure because they teacher and coursebook
writer for 11 years. She
dont have to keep up with their peers, teaches English in a
or give their answers in front of the secondary school in
Graz, Austria, and has
whole class. Jelena says: written coursebooks and
digital materials for the
I felt much less stressed out, because 1014 age group. She has
you didnt have to finish what you were also conducted seminars
mainly profit from the fact that the on open learning
doing at the same time as everyone else throughout Austria.
teacher can make time to give them
in the class. If you were finding
extra help without having to worry laura@futurefactory-software.com
something difficult, you could just take
about the rest of the class being bored,
your time to get the hang of it at home. Gemma Ruffino is a
Laura considers the most gifted learners freelance editor and
to be the real winners in OL: materials writer based
 in Vienna. She is
The most gifted students are miles currently completing
research in ELT
ahead of the others, because they are Lauras experience has shown that OL materials development
more motivated to forge ahead. They can work well for 1014 year olds if it is at the University of
Cambridge, UK, and
dont have to hang around anymore carefully planned by the teacher. It also teaches at the
waiting for the others to catch up. Some certainly needs more work and strategic University Language
Centre.
of them just sit there reading English planning than conventional lessons, but
newspapers and magazines, and then it was worth the effort for her. If
gemma@ruffino.co.uk
we talk about them. Three of them even teachers know what aims they want to

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 21


Language Learner Literature
Awards 2011
Congratulations to the winners of the
2011 Language Learner Literature Awards. Congratulations from
The LLL Awards are given by the Extensive Reading Foundation ENGLISH
(ERF), a not-for-profit organisation that supports and promotes
extensive reading in language education. The winning book in each Tprofessional
EACHING
of five categories is chosen by an international jury, taking into
account the internet votes and comments of students and teachers to all the winners and finalists.
around the world.

Young learners Adolescent and Adult: Intermediate

 Winner  Aladdin  Winner  The Everest Story


adapted by Gill Munton, by Tim Vicary
illustrated by Kristin Varner Published by Oxford University Press
Published by Macmillan ISBN: 978-0-1942-3643-0
ISBN: 978-0-2307-1980-4 Judges comments: This was one of the more
Judges comment: It is amazing that this interesting non-fiction readers we have come
well-known story is absorbing and fun even if across for a long time. It will be of interest to
it is retold in very simple English. most young adult readers. Mount Everest is
Finalists eternally intriguing, and here, the mountain
Animals in Art by Richard Northcott (OUP); itself is like a character from a novel.
The Owls Song by Paola Traverso (Black Cat) Finalists
Leaving No Footprint: Stories from Asia retold
Adolescent and Adult: Beginner by Clare West (OUP); Not Above the Law by
Richard MacAndrew (COUP)
 Winner  Just So Stories
by Rudyard Kipling, adapted by Elizabeth Adolescent and Adult: Upper-intermediate and Advanced
Ann Moore, illustrated by Daniele Fabbri
Published by Black Cat  Winner  Dragons Eggs
ISBN: 978-8-8530-10013-1 by J M Newsome
Judges comment: These enchanting stories Published by Cambridge University Press
have the incantatory quality of oral literature ISBN: 978-0-5211-7904-1
and are simply a delight to read. Easy and Judges comments: Excellent storyline, very
engaging. Gorgeous illustrations. good development of characters, this story is
Finalists pitched not only at the right level, it will also
The Game by Sue Murray (ILTS and Hueber appeal to the major target group of readership,
Verlag); Under the Bridge by Lynda Edwards young adults. This book is hard to put down as
(Pearson Longman) it takes you on unexpected paths.
Finalists
A Lion Called Christian by Anthony Bourke
Adolescent and Adult: Elementary
and John Rendall, adapted by Jane Revell
(Scholastic); Two Worlds by Helen Everett-
 Winner  A Little Trouble in Dublin
Camplin (CUP)
by Richard MacAndrew
Published by Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 978-8-4832-3552-2
2012 Awards
Judges comments: This exciting book
features a set of twins in Dublin, in Ireland, on
a school trip, and a false bank note. The clever
Have you enjoyed a reader that was
twins solve a mystery that has an unexpected published in 2011? The nomination and
ending.
voting procedures for the 2012 Language
Finalists
The Black Night by Denise Kirby (ILTS and Learner Literature Award will be posted on
Hueber Verlag); The Time Capsule by Arianna
Operamolla (Helbling)
the ERF website (www.erfoundation.org).
TEACHING YOUNG LEARNERS 

Onceupon
listener can affect the storyteller, giving
instant feedback and reactions and
displaying understanding of the story. At
the same time, the storyteller can use
this feedback to guide the narration.
Storytelling can be used as an
effective tool to improve different
aspects of language learning. As

atime ...
Natasha Malkina asserts, it meets the
emotional, cognitive and psychological
demands of pre-school children.
The first and the most beneficial
aspect of storytelling that weve noticed
in our own classes is that it provides an
opportunity for the teller to practise the
skill of speaking in front of an audience
and for a good length of time, with the
Yaser Khajavi and Roohollah Heidari suggest added benefit of instantaneous feedback.
In the process, both teller and listeners
multiple strategies for storytelling. are able to develop their understanding
of vocabulary and discourse

S
torytelling is one of the oldest Today, the art of storytelling construction. Narration of a story can
human pastimes: it is as old as continues in different forms and we use involve a great variety of new words and
language itself, and since the different devices to convey a story. In the teller can practise using these words
dawn of human civilization, this article we will focus on oral story in context. This can greatly enhance
people have used it to fight off boredom. telling or oral reproduction of stories,
The art of storytelling evolved naturally and will explore the use of storytelling
because there were always some people in teaching programmes. At its simplest,
who preferred telling stories and some storytelling is the oral
who preferred listening to them. In many Storytelling in
cultures, people wanted to keep records reproduction of a story,
language learning
and memories of past events alive, so whether it be a past
storytelling acquired an important Storytelling has been widely used to
position and those who had a talent for enhance the oral, auditory and visual memory or a piece
it became highly respected members of capacities of people of all ages. Indeed, of literature
society. Archaeology suggests that the it is the oldest teaching method that
Egyptians were the first to write down has been widely and consistently used
their stories. The Romans are known in different societies throughout the both the storytellers and the listeners
to have been particularly good at world. E M Pedersen argues that knowledge of vocabulary: they can get a
spreading stories as are gypsies, storytelling is the original form of good sense of the primary and
whose nomadic lifestyle enabled them education, maintaining that a simple secondary meaning of words, together
to carry tales far and wide. Throughout narrative will always be the with a feel for the different connotations.
the Middle Ages, royal families hired cornerstone of the art of teaching. Another beneficial aspect of
storytellers or troubadours and they At its simplest, storytelling is the storytelling is that it can improve the
told tales of courtly love and heroic oral reproduction of a story, whether it storytellers awareness of grammatical
martial accomplishments. be a past memory or a piece of structures. Using appropriate tenses,
Besides providing entertainment, literature. In fact, it goes beyond mere paying attention to the references of the
storytelling has been used to pass on story reproduction as the good pronouns, using different types of clauses,
family lore, values, ideas and beliefs, storyteller tries to recreate the linking ideas, and so on are all involved in
common history and heritage in fact, experiences in a story, not only through successful storytelling. Besides all these,
it has enabled the whole human words but also through such things as which could be described as the verbal
experience to be conveyed from one gesture, posture, intonation, eye contact, aspect of language, storytelling can also
generation to another and from one etc. What makes storytelling a unique help both the listeners and the
culture to another. As a result, it can be experience for the teller and the storyteller to improve their non-verbal
said that it is an inseparable part of listener is that both sides affect each abilities: the use of gesture and posture
human civilisation. other in a reciprocal manner. The to convey mood and meaning. 

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 23


TEACHING YOUNG LEARNERS 

Onceupon
each of these intelligences here as this 7 Intrapersonal intelligence
has been done many times before in ETp. Get the students to discuss whether the
events in the story have an echo in your
1 Linguistic intelligence

atime ...
own lives. Ask your students to reflect
In order to help the students develop on the stories by finding similarities with
their linguistic intelligence, ask them to things that have happened to them or
retell and/or rewrite a story that has to people they know.
 It is often said that learning a been told to them in their own words.
language is learning a culture. By using In addition, you can ask them to try to 8 Naturalistic intelligence
stories from the language that is being choose adjectives which best describe Tell stories of how things in nature
learnt, we can help to bridge the gap the characters in the story. might have come to be as they are.
between two different cultures. As There are many stories which are
2 Logical-mathematical
Malkina puts it: in early language teaching, related to animals and nature. These
intelligence
storytelling can be one of the main tools for can be very helpful in activating the
children to become culturally literate; or as Ask your students to look for rhythmic students naturalistic intelligence. ETp
Susan Craig et al argue: storytelling is a patterns, repeated words, sequences
great way to bridge apparent cultural divide and recurring themes in the stories. It Pedersen, E M Storytelling and the art of
by encouraging many interpretations of the can also be good to read them only the teaching English Teaching Forum 33 1995
core story the teacher is telling. first part of a story and get them to Malkina, N Storytelling in early language
Finally, a very important aspect of guess the rest. teaching English Teaching Forum 33 1995
class management is creating a positive Craig, S, Hull, K, Haggart, A G and
3 Musical intelligence Crowder, E Storytelling: addressing the
atmosphere in which the students can
Play background music for the students literacy needs of diverse learners High
reveal their utmost abilities. Storytelling Beam Research (www.highbeam.com/doc/
can create this atmosphere; as Pedersen during the reading or retelling of stories.
1P3-72379878.html) 2001
points out, a story is a time to share Ask them to find a suitable rhythm for
Puchta, H and Rinvolucri, M Multiple
feelings. If a relaxed, happy relationship reading a story aloud. Suggest that they Intelligences in EFL CUP 2005
between storyteller and listener is try to find sound patterns in the story,
established, it draws them together and add rhythms to enhance the action and Yaser Khajavi is an ELT
builds mutual confidence. Teachers words, make some sound effects for the instructor and teacher
trainer. He currently
should provide a classroom environment story or tell the story in rap or rhyme. teaches English in high
school and at Islamic Azad
that will stimulate thought and feeling University, Izeh branch,
4 Spatial intelligence Iran. He is also an editorial
while cultivating listening and speaking
Let the students draw pictures board member of Theory
skills: stories can contribute to the and Practice in Language
establishment of just that kind of illustrating the events in the story in Studies. Articles by him
sequence or ask them to draw pictures have appeared recently in
environment. English Language Teaching
We would agree with Herbert of the characters. Use a concept and HLT magazine.

Puchta and Mario Rinvolucri that mapping technique to create a yaserkhajavi@yahoo.com

students motivation relies to some summary of the story. Roohollah Heidari has an
MA in English literature.
extent on the atmosphere of the class He teaches English
5 Bodily-kinaesthetic
and on the relevance for the students literature at Islamic
intelligence Azad University, Izeh
of the activities set by the teacher. In a branch, Iran. He has also
class which is focused solely on Get the students to use movements taught English literature
linguistic exercises, those with strong and gestures instead of words to tell and translation courses at
Payam Nour Universtiy
linguistic intelligence will benefit, while parts of the story and to mime the and State University of
events of the story. Creating a dance Shahrekord, Iran.
others may do less well.
that tells the story can also be helpful.
One good idea is to roleplay the story,
Storytelling getting the students to play the
rh.heidari88@gmail.com

strategies different characters.


This brings us to the second part of Writing for ETp
our article, in which we suggest some 6 Interpersonal intelligence
Would you like to write for ETp?
strategies to strengthen, by means of Have a discussion about the social and We are always interested in new writers
storytelling, the different types of personal relationships of the characters and fresh ideas. For guidelines and
intelligence proposed by Howard in the story. Ask your students how advice, write to us or email:
Gardner in his theory of multiple they feel about these relationships and editor@etprofessional.com
intelligences. We dont propose to define how they could be improved.

24 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


TEACHING YOUNG LEARNERS 

Lighting up time
Dorinda Maio Phillips entertains her students with seasonal stories of Santas, sacks, pirates and presents.

D Relic robbers
o you believe in Santa Claus? is (in spite of the Clean Air Act!).
a question I am frequently Unfortunately, he lit the filter end and
asked by my young pupils as Now we come to the pirates, a vital great flames shot up, nearly setting his
Christmas approaches in fact, it is a ingredient for any exciting tale! Long ago, beard on fire. Oh come on, he said, lets
question raised by pupils of various bands of maurauding seamen roamed have a break! and we went upstairs to
faiths and some of them seem quite the seas, pirating relics. In this instance, the staff cafeteria, not forgetting to put
bewildered by what they have been told they were seamen coming home from out the sign:
about him by their parents and others. delivering goods, but even groups of
Growing up in London, it didnt take monks are known to have stolen relics
NE
me long to work out that there was a I tell my pupils that you could earn a lot SANTA HAS GO
INDEER
Santas Grotto in every large shop and of brownie points by bringing relics back TO FEED HIS RE
to Europe in those days. Thus in 1087, a CK
that he couldnt be in all of them at the AND WILL BE BA
same time. Round about then, the group of seamen arrived in Myra and AT 2 pm.
Clean Air Act made householders block demanded the remains of Saint Nicholas.
up their chimneys and change over to They forced the people to hand over
electric or gas fires. This generated the saints bones and they brought
Sources and notes
earnest discussion amongst us them back to Bari, where they were Morton, H V A Traveller in Southern Italy
youngsters about whether anybody placed in a new tomb. Methuen 2002
could get through the gas pipes with a You can introduce lots of non- The Clean Air Act of 1956 was a UK Act
sackful of presents. You can guess our textbook vocabulary in a discussion like of Parliament, passed following the Great
conclusions. this I frequently get my pupils to talk Smog of 1952 in which more than 12,000
about subjects as diverse as the people are reported to have died. It
created smoke-free zones, particularly in
The real thing Romans, the Vikings, Antarctica, Borneo
London, where one could only burn
and the Monarch Butterfly because, special fuels or use electricity or gas. It
We were lucky enough to have parents actually, they know quite a lot and are remained in force until 1964, but even
who explained that Santa Claus was a eager to talk about these things in after that few people went back to having
legend, stemming from the true story English. I help them to string complete coal fires.
of the kindly bishop Nicholas of Myra sentences together, and the effect can At www.sacred-destinations.com you can
(today known as Demre or Kale in find pictures of the Church of St Nicholas
be seen much later in their exam results
Turkey) who, in the fourth century, in Myra, Turkey.
where they often get four, or even five,
went out secretly by night, putting gifts There are also various internet sites
shields for the speaking component of dedicated to the Basilica of San Nicolas in
through the windows of the poor or the Cambridge YLE exams. Bari, Italy. See, for example:
placing coins in their shoes. As he was www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/bari-images/
a bishop, they added, he probably wore
a long red robe. Dorinda Maio Phillips
So that is what I tell my young has been teaching
English to young
friends and they listen wide-eyed as I learners in Geneva,
add, Whats more, you can still see his My first job was in a department store Switzerland, for over
15 years. Her main
tomb today at the Church of Saint Nicholas and, come Christmas, I was usually objective is to get them
in Bari, Italy! (Here, I get out an atlas.) asked to work on the till at Santas through the Cambridge
ESOL YLE exams and
Their enthusiasm for the subject is a Grotto. Once, after a particularly busy on to First Certificate
great opportunity to introduce some morning, Santa came staggering out of in preparation for
starting university.
new vocabulary, teach a little geography his grotto: I need a beer! he gasped,
maiodino@bluewin.ch
and tell some seasonal stories. lighting a cigarette with unsteady hands

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 25


R E A D I N G

Using graded readers


Karen Wilkins gets her teeth into a good story.

s it time for a renaissance for graded If you are using the same reader with comments on Minas attempts to help

I readers? Do they deserve the mixed


press they sometimes have in the
language classroom?
an entire class, there are many different
kinds of activities that you can do with
the students, working individually, in
the men in killing Count Dracula and
the other vampires:
Ah, that wonderful Madam Mina!
I became interested in simplified pairs or groups or as a whole class. In She has mans brain a brain that a man
readers as a student of Spanish in Spain, addition to reading the text, in my classes should have were he much gifted and
and I found them an invaluable learning we discussed the issues of the female womans heart. The good God fashioned
tool. Since they had proved so useful for role in Dracula, listened to the text on her for a purpose, believe me, when He
me, I decided to introduce graded readers CD and answered questions on it, wrote made that so good combination. Friend
in English to my teenage learners. advertisements for Draculas house and John, up to now fortune has made that
I chose a simplified version of even drew pictures of our impressions woman of help to us: after tonight she
Dracula because of the current from the first chapter. must not have to do with this so terrible
popularity of books (and films) such as affair. (Stoker)
Twilight and The Vampire Diaries. I What you win In the reader, this passage is
discovered, however, that these stories You can use a graded reader to introduce abridged as follows:
are not universally liked and that the your learners to social, cultural, even Madam Mina, I will not ask you to
choice of the right reader is crucial for political and historical issues whilst join us. It will not be womans work. You
learner motivation. Ideally, the learners improving their reading skills. And, if it have already travelled for today and you
should enjoy the reading experience so has an accompanying audio cassette or will need to rest.
much that it converts them to reading in CD, you can use it to practise all four Mina wanted to go with them, but
English outside of the classroom! language skills Van Helsing refused.
I would like to share here some of Literature can invite us into what In the case of Dracula, the richness
the activities we did with the book and J R R Tolkein described as a secondary of language, the introduction to
look at the pros and cons of using a world. Readers can open doors to Victorian England and the social and
single graded reader with the whole class. universal truths and make for interesting cultural issues that are raised with such
class discussions. They also improve the complexity in the original could be
What you can do learners skills of understanding viewed as lost in the reader, and for this
One of the most common suggestions inferences and deducing meaning from reason I think readers have sometimes
for the use of readers is to set up an text. In addition, literature can help them been avoided.
extensive reading programme. In fact, it to build a cultural understanding of the
appears that rather than using graded origin of the text. This is important in

readers in lessons, learners are generally itself, but can also develop language Although Dracula wasnt a total hit with
encouraged to read outside of the skills, particularly vocabulary. my students, we still enjoyed it, and,
classroom, as homework, by delving with the right class, I would certainly
into a schools library and, ideally, What you lose recommend using it. I plan to continue
keeping a reading log of books read. One of the criticisms of readers is that trying new readers with my classes. I have
Nevertheless, it would seem to me to be they are not authentic texts because recently found a Penguin bestsellers list
essential for teachers taking this route they are not written for native speakers. and I will consult this list and my students
to have at least one lesson on how to However, surely a text written for the when choosing which one to use. ETp
use readers at the start of a course of second language learner and then read
Rice, C Bram Stokers Dracula Pearson
study. More importantly, the teacher by the second language learner is a text Education 2000
has to have a genuine enthusiasm for that finds its intended audience and is
Stoker, B Dracula Penguin 1994
reading and literature that, hopefully, hopefully understood by the target
will rub off on the learners. audience and possesses, therefore, its Karen Wilkins has taught
Of course, rather than just own authenticity? in Spain, Japan and the
encouraging learners to read outside Though I personally think that UK. She has a degree in
English which developed
class, you can use graded readers in the readers are real, genuine and authentic what looks to be a
classroom and schedule special reading texts, it can be argued that something is lifelong love of literature.
She is currently studying
lessons. It has been suggested that, lost in the simplification process. Compare for an MA in TESOL and
within such a lesson, learners should be the original of Bram Stokers Dracula will then be returning to
Spain.
given time simply to read, possibly with the version from the graded reader:
kaz20@hotmail.com
joined by the teacher. In Stokers original, Van Helsing

26 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


EAP An all-round challenge 9
Louis John Rogers wonders how specific we should be.

he array of acronyms in almost However, this is only one shift along ESAP or EGAP?

T any field is quite astounding, and


ELT is no exception: EFL, ESL,
EAP, ESP, CALL, EOP, to name
but a few. Whilst there may not be the
need to understand all of these acronyms,
the specificity spectrum. We soon
discover that many students are not
happy to do just a general Business
English course they want English so
that they can work in the legal sector or
In the field of EAP it has been widely
debated for a number of years whether
we should aim to teach English for
Specific Academic Purposes (ESAP) or
it does indicate a general desire to name the medical sector. So we find ourselves English for General Academic Purposes
exactly what the aims of our courses are. questioning again the aims of our course (EGAP). Few would argue that there are
In other words, the specificity of our and the extent to which we are meeting no general skills that are required in and
courses and how they are differentiated our learners needs and satisfying their transferable to a range of academic
from other courses is a concern to ELT aims. disciplines after all, nearly all students
practitioners and to the students taking Even when we do go more specific, will need to listen to lectures and take
these courses. In general English settings, the questioning still doesnt stop there. It part in seminars. However, at the same
what to teach the students is as wide as could be argued that these are once again time there are obviously vocabulary sets
the imagination of the teacher or, at the too broad in nature and that Medical that are discipline-specific and genres of
very least, the coursebook writer. To English is still too diverse a field. Do writing that feature more greatly in one
some, this freedom of doing what we pharmacologists, GPs or nurses really discipline than another. If we are to have
want or feel like is a liberating experience. need the same language or skills to an EGAP course, then how useful is this
To others, it can be a frustrating complete their jobs? However, if we are to course to our learners? If ESAP courses
experience as it feels as if the course become more specific, then how specific are delivered, then how specific do they
should be named English for No Specific can we or should we be? Also, which do need to be? Perhaps a more pertinent
Purpose. For those teachers who fall into we place more weight behind: specificity question, though, is: Which approach is
the latter camp, it can be quite exciting or transferability? Many people do not more appropriate to the aims of university
and refreshing to move into an area such study one specific subject, work in one education as a whole?
as Business English or English for role for their entire life or even have one job
Academic Purposes. The feeling of my that doesnt require multiple transferable For EGAP
students have an aim or my teaching skills. So, by being specific, are we doing Ken Hyland presents a number of
has a purpose and focus can feel quite students a disservice by ignoring the arguments for both General EAP and
empowering to some teachers. shifting and varied nature of life? Specific EAP. The arguments for General
EAP include the suggestion that it might
iStockphoto.com / Neustockimages

be too challenging for both teachers and


students to teach and learn an ESAP
genre. Teachers may feel they lack the
necessary subject knowledge to be able
to deliver such a specific course, and
perhaps students also lack sufficient
proficiency to deal with the specific nature
of an ESAP course. Other key arguments
include the idea that there are generic
transferable skills useful across a range of
disciplines and that there is a common
core language. In addition to these points,
there are a range of arguments that derive
not from a pedagogic perspective, but
from a more mundane practical one.
Some subjects do attract large numbers
of international students and there could
easily be 20, 30 or 40 students on a pre-
sessional English course aiming to
progress onto the same degree. However,
other degrees may only have one or two
students trying to gain entry. Few
institutions would have the resources,
time or facilities to run specific EAP
courses for all the students coming onto 

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 29


iStockphoto.com / Peter Austin
An all-round challenge 9
 their full range of degree courses. Some
institutions in the UK have over 500
degrees, so clearly a high level of
specificity would not be a practical option.

For ESAP
In favour of Specific EAP, Hyland presents
a number of other perspectives. Firstly,
that subject degree tutors do not have
the time, inclination or expertise to teach
discipline-specific features, so there is a
need for these to be taught in the EAP
classroom. However, the main argument
presented is that we do not actually
know clearly enough what the core
transferable language and skills features
are in EAP. In addition to this, we can add
point for its creation. The GSL, some argue, notes, it is perhaps the re-evaluation and
the perspective of motivation and its
is in need of updating words such as recreation of lists like the GSL and AWL
importance in engaging a learner. At a
shilling still occur within the list. Regarding that is needed, rather than a range of
recent conference on the topic of
the words that appear on the AWL, Tse subject-specific lists. Arguably, such lists
engaging and motivating students in the
and Hyland point out that a number of also need to take into consideration that
EAP classroom, it was felt by many of the
words intuitively seem to be in the wrong language often occurs in chunks that can
presenters that the more specific the
place; job is on the AWL, examine is on and should be learnt together and not as
course, the greater the motivation in the
the GSL and the word dissertation is not individual words in isolation.
learners. The same argument could,
on the AWL. Furthermore, which word is
perhaps, also be drawn in other specific
academic: quantitative or qualitative?
fields, such as English for Occupational
One of the main recommendations
Variety
Purposes (EOP). In this context, it is not How specific or interdisciplinary academia
Hyland and Tse make is that subject-
uncommon for courses to be designed is can vary between courses, institutions
specific corpora should be used instead
around a needs analysis and for the and countries. To attend a university in
of lists such as the AWL, but, as John
syllabus to be negotiated with the learners. the UK at undergraduate level, students
Eldridge writes in response to their article,
there are challenges and possibly flaws in apply to their desired college through the
Vocabulary this approach. Subjects are not necessarily Universities and Colleges Admissions
very specific, and even a degree that can System (UCAS). Their website is
In recent years, there has been an
sound very specific in nature can actually essentially a database of courses that
acknowledgement that there may possibly
be quite broad and interdisciplinary. prospective students can search through
have been too great a focus on the four
Therefore, transferability of language should in order to make an application to their
skills and that there has been a need to
possibly be the aim and, as Eldridge desired course. It gives us an insight into
refocus EAP courses on language
development. Of course, this then opens

iStockphoto.com / Francesco Ridolfi


the discussion as to what language should
we be teaching our students? It is hardly
surprising that the debate on specificity or
transferability quickly appears again. One
academic vocabulary list that has been
taken up by many is that created by Averil
Coxhead, who analysed 3.5 million words
from 414 texts across 28 topic areas. On
the basis of this, she created the Academic
Word List of 570 word families that are
used the most frequently across a range of
disciplines. This study was embraced to
such an extent that the AWL can be found
in many published EAP materials. However,
more recently the list has come under
scrutiny and criticism, including that by
Hyland and Tse, for its methods of corpora
collection and the fact that it uses the
General Service List (GSL) as a starting

30 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


just how interdisciplinary UK education importance of ESAP. Clearly, if specificity
can be. A quick search for the word
Business brings up well over 3,000
enhances motivation and learning, then
steps need to be taken, where possible, to ENGLISH
courses. A more specific search for
Accountancy brings up nearly 700 courses
which combine Accountancy with an array
address this. Providing support in wider
academic areas such as Management,
Business, Law or Biological Sciences is a
Tprofessional
EACHING
of subjects; Management, Divinity, Law, IT, step many universities have taken, and
Economics, Spanish, Biology, Broadcast this no doubt provides valuable and This is your magazine.
Media, Geology, Psychology, HR, Finance, valued support for both teachers and We want to hear from you!
Leadership, Mandarin, Logistics and learners. However, whether moving into
Maths. All students on these courses will even more specific areas is a viable aim
have at least one major in common with for most institutions is debatable. It is
each other, but then diversify into a much also questionable in this multidisciplinary
wider group. Admittedly, this is simply educational context how much more IT WORKS IN PRACTICE
considering the topic from a degree name specific we should even consider moving. Do you have ideas youd like to share
and does not take into account the Yet, if we choose to go down the route of with colleagues around the world?
individual modules a student will have to EGAP, we need to be confident that the Tips, techniques and activities;
study. Some degrees can appear quite language we are focusing on is actually
simple or sophisticated; well-tried
similar at face value, but when analysed broad enough and transferable enough
or innovative; something that has
at a modular level actually become much across disciplines. Understandably,
worked well for you? All published
more diverse. Other degrees, Real Estate research needs to continue, and is
contributions receive a prize!
for example, require students to specialise continuing, into this area. Magali Paquot
Write to us or email:
in three broad areas: Finance, Law and has created a 930 Academic Keyword
Economics. How wide and varied would List and, no doubt, more lists from a editor@etprofessional.com
the specific needs of these students range of corpora will be produced.
be? Whilst it could be argued that this
interdisciplinary nature is a particular
feature of the UK education system and
 TALKBACK!
that other countries, for example some So, arguably, it is not an either/or situation. Do you have something to say about
Western European countries, are much ESAP is not a pinnacle we should aspire an article in the current issue of ETp?
more discipline specific, there are many to and EGAP is not so generic that it This is your magazine and we would
other examples in the English-speaking should be derided. Both have their place, really like to hear from you.
world that are very varied in nature. The but an ESAP course should always keep Write to us or email:
United States, for example, could be said in mind the interdisciplinary nature of editor@etprofessional.com
to be even more interdisciplinary, with academia and the shifting nature of
students taking modules from a large learners throughout their academic life,
diverse pool from across the entire and thus remain broadly specific. ETp Writing for ETp
university. Some universities even make it
Would you like to write for ETp? We are
compulsory for a Social Science student Coxhead, A A new Academic Word List always interested in new writers and
to take a Science module, and vice versa. TESOL Quarterly 34 2000
fresh ideas. For guidelines and advice,
Eldridge, J No, there isnt an academic
write to us or email:
vocabulary, but TESOL Quarterly
Viability 42(5) 2008 editor@etprofessional.com
Taking it to a broader level, we arguably Hyland, K English for Academic Purposes
have to consider the aims of the institution Routledge 2006
in which the course is delivered. Many Hyland, K and Tse, P Is there an Visit the
universities, including some of the most
famous in the world, have at the heart of
academic vocabulary? TESOL
Quarterly 41 2007
ETp website!
Paquot, M Academic Vocabulary in The ETp website is packed with practical
their mission statement the word
Learner Writing: From Extraction to tips, advice, resources, information and
interdisciplinary. Cambridge University, for
Analysis Continuum 2010 selected articles. You can submit tips
example, writes in its mission statement
that it sees the interdisciplinary nature of or articles, renew your subscription
Louis Rogers is a Course or simply browse the features.
the colleges as a major stimulus to Tutor at the University of
teaching and learning. If a university values Reading, UK. He is the www.etprofessional.com
author of Reading Skills
at its core cross-curricular disciplines and and Writing Skills, in the
learning, then where does this leave the DELTA Academic
Objectives series, and ENGLISH TEACHING professional
argument for ESAP? Are institutions to be the Intermediate and Pavilion Publishing (Brighton) Ltd,
expected to provide four, six, eight, ten Upper-Intermediate
Business Result Skills PO Box 100, Chichester, West Sussex,
specific courses to enable each student to for Business Studies PO18 8HD, UK
deal with all the subjects they encounter? workbooks, published
by OUP. Fax: +44 (0)1243 576456
Such arguments obviously dont Email: info@etprofessional.com
negate the potential need for and l.j.rogers@reading.ac.uk

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 31


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Over
the
wall ... Alan Maley ponders
the pursuit of happiness.

hat is happiness? Is it a Golden Rule: Behave towards others as we can thoughtlessly inflict? Action, the

W peak experience of ecstasy,


or more akin to a state of
relaxed contentment and
equanimity? Can it be consciously had?
Or is it something that only occurs when
you would like them to behave towards
you (and its converse!). In the second
step, Look at your Own World, we are
encouraged to start by reviewing the
world closest to us ourselves, our
sixth step, offers practical advice about
incorporating acts of kindness and
consideration into our lives, and
describes the benefits which accrue from
this. The seventh step, How Little We
we are not actively pursuing it? Or families and our communities and to Know, is a plea for scrutinising more
something we can only appreciate in seek out opportunities for compassion. carefully the mystery of our existence.
retrospect? The third step, Compassion for Yourself, Without the humility to admit our own
makes the important point that we need ignorance, we will lack the capacity to
Twelve Steps to a to be kinder to ourselves if we are to be feel for others. The eighth step, How
Compassionate Life more compassionate to others. We need Should We Speak to One Another?

Karen Armstrongs book is a practical


guide to leading a more compassionate Is happiness something that
life and thereby achieving a form of
only occurs when we are not
happiness both for oneself and for
others. In the preface, she sets out the actively pursuing it?
aims of the recently-founded Council of
Conscience: to restore compassion to to be aware of our own frailty and of our emphasises the need to develop forms of
the centre of morality and religion. This strengths, and Armstrong suggests a way compassionate discourse where we
flies in the face of a rabidly self-centred of doing this by reflecting on the four learn to listen and react in non-
capitalist world where the Four Fs immeasurable minds of Buddhist confrontational ways, even to views we
(feeding, fighting, fleeing and thought, namely: loving kindness, strongly disagree with. The alternative is
reproduction) are central. The rest of the compassion, sympathetic joy and continual and escalating conflict. The
book offers a practical guide to personal equanimity. The fourth step, Empathy, ninth step, Concern for Everybody,
iStockphoto.com / Steven Robertson

action which will achieve a greater suggests ways of developing this quality suggests the need to move beyond our
degree of compassion. She argues that the ability to project oneself parochial concerns to a concern with
we cannot expect others to change in imaginatively into the shoes of another. global issues. Knowledge, the tenth step,
this direction unless we ourselves do so. The fifth, Mindfulness, is a plea to urges us to find out more about issues
The first step, Learn about Compassion, observe ourselves as we go about even we are involved with. All too often, our
reviews the overwhelming agreement in the smallest activities of our daily lives. pronouncements are based on a
all world religions and humanistic How can we maximise concern for others profound ignorance of what we are
philosophies on the centrality of the and minimise the hurtful words and acts talking about. The eleventh step,

34 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


Recognition, directs our attention to
those moments of illumination,
rambling and repetitious, yet among the
archaic language there are nuggets of

epiphanies, when we suddenly recognise concise wisdom and many pithy quotes,
There are of course plenty of other books
an issue for what it really is, and then act some of which are included below.
on issues related to happiness. One I
positively on it. The twelfth and final step, Essentially, the philosophy of Marcus
would have reviewed if space had
Love Your Enemies, returns to the Aurelius is a simple one:
permitted is Daniel Golemans Emotional
centrality of the Golden Rule. Hatred and
Life is short; live it well: No longer talk Intelligence, which will already be familiar
war simply breed more of the same.
about the kind of man that a good man to many readers. Though not specifically
Counter-intuitive it may be, but ultimately
ought to be, but be such. directed towards achieving happiness, it
only peaceful action proves worthwhile.
explores a form of intelligence without
This is an important book, designed not Nothing lasts for ever; change (and which happiness of any description
simply to be read but to be acted upon. loss) is in the nature of things: The would be unachievable.
perfection of moral character consists Novelist Margaret Drabble recently
Happiness: Lessons in passing every day as (if it were) remarked, being happy isnt all there is
from a New Science the last Thou art a little soul in life but, for most of us, feeling happy
bearing about a corpse (however we define that elusive state) is
Richard Layards book comes at the
happiness conundrum from a different preferable to feeling depressed. And
Suffering and pain are natural, so get
direction. He documents and discusses certainly for teachers, being reasonably
used to the idea: nature brings
the scientific, economic, sociological and happy seems central to their ability to
nothing which may not be borne by
philosophical bases for happiness. cope with the multiple demands of the
thee. Nothing happens to any man
Layard is a neo-Benthamite economist job. Yet it would appear to be increasingly
which he is not formed by nature to
who believes that government should be difficult for people to find happiness, in a
bear.
directed to achieving the greatest good world characterised on the one hand by
for the greatest number. He Be content with what you have and galloping greed and on the other by
acknowledges that happiness comes appreciate it for what it is: Think not desperate need, both of which give rise
both from within and from without, so much of what thou hast not as of to unprecedented violence.
though the bulk of his book emphasises what thou hast of the things thou We cannot learn happiness from a
what governments can do to promote hast select the best, and then reflect book, but these titles at least help point
happiness. Part One outlines the how eagerly they would have been us in the right direction! ETp
problem, namely why, despite huge sought, if thou hadst them not.
growth in income and material goods, Be kind to others, but do not expect For most of us,
happiness has not increased (especially praise or reward for it: a man, when
in the West). One prime reason is that we feeling happy
he has done a good act, does not call
constantly compare what we have with out for others to come and see, but he is preferable to
what others have and are thereby goes on to another act
dissatisfied: the envy factor. Another is feeling depressed
that having more leads us to want even Do not resent malicious acts towards
more: the greed factor. In Part Two, he you; it changes nothing: When thou art
looks at what can be done about this. His offended with any mans shameless
solutions are provocative, and many of conduct ask thyself, Is it possible
them challenge the current economic that shameless men should not be in Antoninus, M A The Meditations Collins
credo. Among other things, he advocates the world? It is not possible. Do not 1950
raising taxes as a way to rein in the then require what is not possible. Armstrong, K Twelve Steps to a
workaholic rat-racing which characterises Compassionate Life The Bodley Head
Avoid show; enjoy simplicity: 2011
much of our lives. And not everyone will
outward show is a wonderful Goleman, D Emotional Intelligence
share his views on the desirability of
perverter of the reason Bloomsbury 1996
treating distress with drugs. His final
chapter bears careful reading as it Pay no heed to praise (flattery) or Layard, R Happiness: Lessons from a
helpfully summarises in twelve truths all New Science Penguin 2005
blame (carping critics).
the arguments he has advanced.
There is an order in the universe; Alan Maley has worked in
the area of ELT for over
The Meditations everything is therefore connected. 40 years in Yugoslavia,
Whatever acts we perform will, Ghana, Italy, France,
Marcus Aurelius wrote his Meditations China, India, the UK,
therefore, affect others. Singapore and Thailand.
between 170 and180 AD, and they have Since 2003 he has been
remained a touchstone for Stoic The Meditations offer a somewhat a freelance writer and
consultant. He has
philosophy ever since. Arranged in 12 austere recipe for the way to live the published over 30 books
books (actually chapters) they put good life, but there are many resonances and numerous articles,
and was, until recently,
forward recommendations for living the with the other books reviewed here. What Series Editor of the
good life not necessarily what we Marcus Aurelius sees as the ideal is not Oxford Resource Books
for Teachers.
would understand by the happy life. so much happiness but equanimity and
self-respect. yelamoo@yahoo.co.uk
They are to the modern eye somewhat

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 35


R E S O U R C E S cover and where they should be by the
end of a month/term/quarter, etc.
However, if this is something displayed

Aprocess
on the wall of the staffroom, teachers
dont want to have to refer to it when
they are actually preparing lessons,
something which is often done at home.
One possible (and simple) idea is to
staple an exercise book into the cover of
the teachers book, clearly divided into

teachers
sections. Then you simply encourage
your colleagues to write advice and ideas
clearly and legibly in the appropriate
space. The advice could be specific:
Dont do exercise 3 until you have revised
the present perfect + for and since, or it

book
could be related to supplementary
materials: To supplement page 77 do the
spot the difference activity from Play
Games with English 2 or it could be a
warning: Dont do the task! It doesnt
work! When a book is full, you can
simply archive it and start a new book.
Lee Shutler proposes teachers develop an ongoing dialogue

on what works and what doesnt.
This idea is especially useful for assisting
e all use them. We all dive but only if the timings of their lesson newly-qualified teachers, who may not

W into them to find out how an


activity is supposed to work.
But have you ever thought about your
coincide with yours. Other books simply
provide activity notes and answers. The
problem that teachers in the field
know where to look for supplementary
ideas, or for summer school teachers
who dont have the time to look around
teachers book? Publishing companies encounter is how to take that teachers a new staffroom: they can refer to the
spend thousands on developing and book and make it a useful resource in advice written in the exercise book and
marketing the students book their own teaching context. use that to assist their planning.
championing the author, the method It gives newer teachers an
and its USPs. But what happens to the opportunity to learn from more
teachers book? Often it is written by
It gives newer teachers experienced colleagues at the second
someone completely different, with an opportunity to learn most important time in their
some minimal contributions from the professional development when they
star author to justify their name on the
from more experienced are preparing their lessons. It also gives
cover. Lets not forget that for every colleagues at the the more experienced teachers a sense of
teachers book sold, the publisher is worth as they are sharing good practice,
probably selling 2030 students books.
second most important and being seen to be doing so.
Recently publishers have had a rethink time in their professional It does make your teachers books
about how to increase the importance slightly heavier, and they will require
(or saleability) of the teachers book by
development when more space on the shelf. However, I feel
including photocopiable activities, they are preparing this is a small price to pay for increased
progress tests, end-of-course tests, etc. efficiency in lesson planning, teacher
However, a question still remains.
their lessons development and the creation of a
Who is the teachers book for? Is it for teachers book that is relevant to your
state-school teachers in a range of The time-honoured method is to courses and your context. ETp
different countries? EFL teachers in scribble notes in the teachers book.
Lee Shutler has
private language schools in the UK? When one copy is shared between recently been Academic
Evening classes around the world? It is colleagues in an institution, this can pose Manager of a British
Council school in
impossible to answer. When the problems. Scribbled notes look untidy Incheon, Korea, and has
teachers book is written, the authors and many teachers writing is illegible to taught and managed
schools in Italy, Japan,
and editors must have an imaginary others. So how can we develop a shared Korea and the UK since
class in their heads. It is perfectly teachers book so that it is a useful and 1990. He got his DTEFLA
in 1994 and MA TESOL
understandable that this imaginary class time-saving resource for lesson planning? from Canterbury Christ
will have grown from their own Some schools produce flipcharts or Church University, UK,
in 2007.
experiences of teaching. Some books spreadsheets showing the course and the
leehls65@yahoo.co.uk
will provide lesson plans. That is useful, syllabus which tell the teachers what to

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 37


IT WORKS IN PRACTICE More tested lessons, suggestions, tips and techniques which have all
worked for ETp readers. Try them out for yourself and then send us your
own contribution. Dont forget to include your postal address.
All the contributors to It Works in Practice in this issue of ETp will receive
copies of Writing Sentences and Writing Paragraphs by Dorothy Zemach
and Carlos Islam, published by Macmillan. Macmillan have kindly agreed
to be sponsors of It Works in Practice for this year.

Problem, what problem? Back to black


Id like to describe a pre-intermediate- doesnt want one. He doesnt want to go I would wholeheartedly
level activity which went especially well for walks with me. What should I do? recommend the game Black
and was very much appreciated by my Moving house Stories (published by MOSES and
senior students (aged 60 and over). They I am moving into a smaller house. I have available online via amazon.com)
not only enjoyed the activity but also a lot of books which belonged to my for use in the language classroom.
successfully mastered a rather difficult parents. I cant take them all with me to It works like this: The students
grammar point. my new house. How should I get rid of get the end of a strange (usually
them? Should I throw them into the bin? very macabre) story (eg When
Step 1 Introduction
the fire was finally brought under
After spending several lessons on Step 4 Speaking control, a diver in a wetsuit was
teaching modal verbs (should, have to, Next, I asked the students to work in found under the burnt remains of
must, dont have to, etc) at a pre- groups and take turns to tell the other a tree.). The teacher has the
intermediate level, we came to a section students in their group about their whole story and the students have
of our coursebook that involved a problem. Then I collected all their to find out what actually
problem page text. problem letters, created new groups of happened by asking questions. It
The students seemed to find it quite two or three people and distributed the is a fun way to practise questions
difficult to remember all the new letters randomly. I asked them to work in the present or past tense and
grammar, and I wanted them to be able together and discuss the problems in usually gets the majority of the
to practise it by focusing on the meaning their new groups and to produce some students in the class involved. I
of the text rather than the grammar written solutions. generally have them ask yes/no
itself. I came to the conclusion that they
Step 5 Reading questions and tell them that they
should speak about their own problems,
The groups took turns to read the letters have to come up with their
creating their own problem page.
version of the story after the
and the solutions aloud.
Step 2 Writing tenth no. There are various
I asked the students to write their own The students began eagerly to solve the versions of the game available in
problem-page letters using modals, each problems, looking for the best and German (crimes, ghost stories,
on a separate piece of paper and about fairest solution to each one. They strange deaths) and there are
one paragraph long. We could have done stopped thinking about the grammar and now also two versions in English
this in class but, unlike my younger developed confidence in their speaking (and several other languages),
students, these students like working at ability. Afterwards, they noticed that which of course makes it much
home, so I decided to set it for they had practised all four language easier to use in the English
homework. skills in the course of one lesson and had classroom because you can assign
been able to express their own ideas the role of the storyteller to one
Step 3 Correction (advice, suggestions, recommendations) of the students (who is only
I then collected the letters and corrected and to discuss problems with each other allowed to answer correctly-
them. Here are some examples:
in English. formulated English questions).
Shall I buy a dog? Magda Horakova Britta Hoffman
I would like to buy a dog but my husband Bratislava, Slovakia Leipzig, Germany

38 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


Mobile business challenges
Theres nothing like a challenge to bring gestures and body language were used activities competitive by giving pairs a
out the best in a student and thats why by the speaker. time limit to collect as many as possible,
adding a bit of competition can liven up The pair with the most notes wins, but or by asking for the first pair to find a
a class. With the popularity of mobile they must replay the video and certain item to raise their hands.
devices and m-learning, we teachers show/explain their notes to the 5 Photos
have a whole new world of teaching others. You could also ask them to
Get the students used to photographing
activities available to us. In the field of copy the gestures.
boardwork so that they can refer to it
business, a mobile is essential so why 3 Appointments later. You can also upload their photos to
not for the classroom too?
Set up a mingling activity where the net to form a record.
These activities are all variations of
students must book appointments with Then in a subsequent class ask them
old favourites, but they use mobile
each other for the following week, but to look back and explain all the items
phones to create a more interesting
let them record them on their phones from a certain lesson in one minute, or
classroom dynamic and they can all be
and also swap phone numbers. The to find an item and explain it.
done competitively. They also teach
person who makes an appointment 6 Video feedback
students that they can and should be
with every student wins.
using their electronic devices to help Making a video recording of a student
You should also add a news flash at
them learn. speaking activity allows you, and them,
some point by announcing that certain
to pinpoint any problems they may have.
1 Mobile dictations students have been asked to attend a
However, getting the students used to
Let the students video record you conference on Wednesday and so
being filmed and assessed can be
speaking, explaining or presenting cannot keep any appointment on that
difficult. So, start with yourself and post
something. day. They then have to call anyone
a video online of you speaking and get
Ask pairs to replay the recording and they have arranged to meet on that
the students to assess you. Then repeat
use it as a dictation exercise. day to cancel or reschedule the
this with a recording of a different
The first pair to finish wins and reads meeting.
student every week, but keep it positive!
out what they have. 4 The net in the class You can make this challenging by asking
2 Body language Most mobiles have internet access, so let the other students to give two pieces of
Ask the students to video record one your students use it. An online advice to the student who was recorded.
member of the class delivering a dictionary, a thesaurus or just a Google That student then selects the best piece
presentation. search for a new term can all be useful, of advice.
Ask them to replay the video in pairs but you should set very specific rules Phil Wade
and make notes of what types of about this to avoid surfing. Make these Bordeaux, France

Meet the podcast producers


I learnt about podcasts a few years ago when I wanted to Note: The best way to learn how to download podcasts is to go to
brush up on my Spanish. I was immediately amazed to Russell Stannards website TeacherTrainingVideos
find so many free resources for learning not only foreign (www.teachertrainingvideos.com) and watch the video on iTunes.
languages but a wide range of subjects. I was totally Here are some popular podcast providers:
inspired by the TED Talks (www.ted.com). Soon I wanted Listen to English (www.listen-to-english.com)
to be part of this community of content providers, so I ESL Pod (www.eslpod.com)
started my first series of QualityTime-ESL Podcasts. There Fun English Lessons (www.china232.com)
were already many excellent series going, so I had to Splendid Speaking (http://splendidspeaking.podomatic.com)
choose a niche that was different from the usual Just Vocabulary (www.justvocabulary.com)
monologues or dialogues. I chose oral exercises based on Podcasts in English (www.podcastsinenglish.com)
grammatical structures, which is how I learnt both French ESL Aloud (http://esl-aloud.com)
and Spanish. Today I also produce exercises to work on Culips ESL Podcast (http://esl.culips.com)
vocabulary and oral training using quotes and song lyrics. English in the Real World (www.learnoutloud.com)
This has become my hobby, and I enjoy getting all the Better at English (www.betteratenglish.com)
positive feedback from learners who have progressed Marianne Raynaud
thanks to my podcasts. Crolles, France

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 39


LANGUAGE LOG

Want
John Potts charts the intricacies and idiosyncrasies,
the contradictions and complications that make
the English language so fascinating for teachers and teaching.
In this issue, he thinks a good explanation is wanting.

All I want is the truth. (John Lennon) Lets look at another example, this time using the present
participle form as a predicative adjective:
These days, most speakers of English express their
requirements, needs or desires by using the verb want: as 7 He was appointed, but was soon found wanting and
Greta Garbo once said, I want to be alone. (Though, in quickly dismissed.
fact, she denied this: I never said I want to be alone. Its clear here that wanting means something like deficient
I only said I want to be let alone.) or inadequate, and that leads us to its old meaning, namely
lacking, missing. Examples 14 and 7 now make sense:

1 As we lacked anything better to do, we visited the


Nearly all learners meet this word very early indeed cemetery and looked for old names.
according to one publishers wordlist, want is the 93rd most
frequent word in English. It would be more accurate to say 2 Shall I say his behaviour is unprofessional, as I dont have
that learners generally meet it as a verb its the 14th most a better word for it?
frequent verb because want is also a (countable) noun, 3 If we fail, it wont be because we didnt try.
though this usage is far less common. And whats more, its
meaning as a noun isnt always very clear if we try to apply 4 For the lack of a nail, the shoe was lost.
its current meaning as a verb, namely need/require/desire. 7 He was appointed, but was soon found to be without the
necessary qualities and quickly dismissed.

And even examples 5 and 6 take on more nuanced meanings:


Here are some examples of want as a noun:
5 The once-luxurious hotel is now dilapidated and its
1 For want of anything better to do, we visited the facilities sadly lack the necessary repairs.
cemetery and looked for old names.
6 The third of the Four Freedoms proposed in 1941 by
2 Shall I say his behaviour is unprofessional, for want of a President Roosevelt was Freedom from Hardship.
better word?

3 If we fail, it wont be for want of trying.

4 For want of a nail, the shoe was lost. This sense of something lacking or missing, in fact,
represents the earlier meaning of want as a verb: the
5 The once-luxurious hotel is now dilapidated and its current meaning of need/require/desire started to take hold
facilities sadly in want of repair. only in the 18th century. The move to the newer sense is
6 The third of the Four Freedoms proposed in 1941 by understandable if you lack something, then logically you
President Roosevelt was Freedom from Want. may need or desire it.

First of all, as these examples show, want as a noun is The older meaning still survives in fixed expressions, in
often used in fixed expressions. Secondly, the verbs some regional varieties and in literature and the Bible:
meaning (need/require/desire) doesnt really make much The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23)
sense in examples 1 to 4.
I measured the Tail of the dead Rat, and found it to be
two Yards long wanting an Inch. (Jonathan Swift,
Gullivers Travels)

40 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


LANGUAGE LOG Want

The children will be well cared for and will want for a move towards using this form is in fact happening. One of
nothing. my learner dictionaries includes this example: Next year,
shell be wanting a bigger house.
Your hair wants cutting, said the Hatter. (Lewis
Carroll, Alice in Wonderland)

If you ask me, that child wants a good smack!


Finally, there is a proverbial expression Waste not, want
This last example still survives in some British regional not that you may wish (want?) to teach your learners in
varieties, followed either by a noun or a gerund: If you ask these days of austerity. And should a student ask for
me, that child wants smacking! synonyms for a foolish or stupid person, you could offer the
archaic want-wit. A much more contemporary term of
My granny would often say this, to which I (predictably and
disapproval is a wannabe, describing a person who wants
no doubt tiresomely) replied No I dont, Granny! I suppose
to be famous, but isnt.
this did show some early language awareness on my part.
However, her sentence would be baffling to most current And here is the complete nursery rhyme quoted in example
speakers of English, especially those from North America. 4 above:
Notice, too, that the current version of her sentence would be For want of a nail, the shoe was lost.
If you ask me, that child needs smacking! and that need + For want of a shoe, the horse was lost.
gerund has the force of a passive infinitive (= needs to be For want of a horse, the rider was lost.
smacked). Its a good example of how language shifts in For want of a rider, the battle was lost.
meaning over time: my grannys rather archaic wants For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost.
smacking means that the smacking is whats missing in this And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
situation, whereas the modern version focuses on the
need/requirement for punishment, rather than on its absence. John Potts is a teacher and teacher trainer
based in Zrich, Switzerland. He has written
and co-written several adult coursebooks, and
is a CELTA assessor. He is also a presenter for
Cambridge ESOL Examinations.

Moreover, the modern use of want (as a verb) is still


developing: although traditionally classed as a stative verb
johnpotts@swissonline.ch
and, therefore, not found in progressive/continuous forms,

COMPETITION RESULTS
9 22 9 13 7 10 8 7 17 4 11 3 10 4 Congratulations to all those readers who successfully completed our
S U S T A I N A B L E O I L
13 20 11 2 24 3 6 18 Prize Crossword 47. The winners, who will each receive a copy of the
T H E C D O X P Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, are:
7 11 2 20 3 22 18 13 13 7 17
A E C H O U P T T A B
13 3 20 8 10 4 17 16 7 10 8
Rodia Athanasiou, Lagadas, Greece
T O H N I L B R A I N Jerome Barbezat, St Nexans, France
11 26 11 8 13 7 2 13
E V E N T A C T Bernadette Bichet, Prigonrieux, France
25 11 3 22 3 19 7
M E O U O F A Christine Charpentier, Hinx, France
11 8 24 4 11 9 9 7 16 25 1 14
E N D L E S S A R M Q K Abayneh Haile, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
8 3 3 18 18 3 16 13 22 8 11
N O O P P O R T U N E Alison Hyde, Wolverhampton, UK
13 7 16 5 11 13 16 21 11
T A R G E T R Z E Celia Belda Rivero, Salamanca, Spain
13 3 23 3 21 3 8 11 12 11 11 18
T O Y O Z O N E J E E P
Katharine Scott, Ternay, France
17 3 25 11 8 13 3 16 11 Jessica Taskinen, Brownsville, USA
B O M E N T O R E
11 6 13 16 7 2 13 13 5 15 Sonia Whitehorn, Yarmouth, UK
E X T R A C T T G W
7 8 11 23 11 19 3 16 7 8 11 23 11
A N E Y E F O R A N E Y E
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 25 7 14 11 9 13 20 11 15 3 16 4 24 17 4
Q C O L G X A N S I E J T M A K E S T H E W O R L D B L
14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 10 8 24
K W R B P F H Z U Y D M V I N D Mohandas Gandhi

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 41


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

Festive food
In continental Europe, there
held in 1194 that began with
are many festivals which take
a brave maiden slicing off the
place in the holiday months,
head of the towns count.
which may (or not) appeal as
The count enthusiastically
a way of spending our hard-
exercised his droit de
earned rest. For example,
seigneur to sleep with every
how about La Tomatina?
newly-wed bride. One such
It is often billed as the bride, Violetta, revolted
biggest food fight in the
against the count and
world and takes place every
For many people, the summer holidays will now seem a decapitated him with a sword
August in the streets of the
distant memory, but wherever we are in the world, there is to save her honour. She then
Spanish town of Buol. La
usually some festivity to look forward to. Whether we call set fire to his castle.
Tomatina involves throwing
it a holiday or a vacation, it is a time to enjoy ourselves Violettas actions sparked a
overripe tomatoes at friends
and (we hope) to forget about work for a while. revolt by stone-throwing
and strangers alike. The
townspeople against the
festival is supposed to start
counts troops. The oranges
once someone has managed
used in the modern day re-

Holiday hang-up
to climb a greased pole to
enactment of the battle are
retrieve the ham set on top,
part of the excess of Italys
as of
have very different ide but in practice few people
production quota. The good
Different people often in the US a wait for this feat to be
semite National Park townspeople of Ivrea are,
relaxation! I visited Yo d spectacular achieved. There are some
g the many glorious an therefore, helping to maintain
few years ago. Amon ht up, called rules (all tomatoes must be
face over a mile straig orange prices!
sights is a sheer rock elves by crushed before being thrown)
people amuse thems
El Capitan. And many r park at its but, in truth, it is everyone
Playing with food and drink
cliff. Pulling into the ca
climbing this endless antities of
for themselves. After an hour
is not confined to Europe.
ully laying out vast qu
foot, I saw a man caref him if he was
of bombardment, firefighters
In Thailand they have the
his car. When I asked
climbing gear next to t he had just
clean the streets (and the
Songkran festival. This
way down, he said tha crowds) by hosing them
on the way up or the t of his two- involves a massive water fight
b. It transpired that ou down with water. How this
finished his annual clim ek every year
where people throw water at
he had taken one we holiday/festival started no
week summer break, ndous
each other and even shoot
ars) to make this horre one knows exactly but,
(for 21 consecutive ye get up the
at strangers with water guns.
k most of the week to bizarrely, it is said to honour
vertical journey. He too of provisions the towns patron saint!
This is done to bring good
al of four large sacks luck and prosperity in the
cliff, starting with a tot from it like
the rock face, hanging coming year and can be
(you actually sleep on
iStockphoto.com / Anne-Louis Quarforth

to two by the To rival La Tomatina, Italy


insect) which reduced considered an act of kindness,
some giant pupating , and that there has a food-throwing event
that it was fascinating bearing in mind that April
end. He assured me luding one of its own: the Ivrea
temperatures in Thailand can
tures of El Capitan, inc
were many special fea on one ledge
carnival. The town of Ivrea
reach well over 100 degrees
t was uniquely found
species of tiny frog tha word for it!
battles things out with
Fahrenheit (40C)! Even the
s content to take his
over half way up. I wa oranges, replicating a battle
elephants join in

42 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


A load of bull Noble greeting
If fruit and water A group of tourists escorted around the
seem a bit tame,
Bull Run is more maybe the Pampl
your thing? ona British Houses of Parliament suddenly found
The ostensible pu themselves in the presence of the then Lord
rpose is to trans
Domingo throug fer bulls from Sa
h walled-off stre nto Chancellor, Lord Hailsham, resplendent in full
ets to the bullring
matadors will lat , where
er fight them. Lo wig and gown. Spying behind the group the
runners who race ts of pe op le joi n in as
through the narro figure of Neil Marten MP, the Lord Chancellor
ahead of the bulls w crowded street
in the hope of av s
way. Severe injur oiding injury along called out in greeting Neil! with dignified
y and even deat the
h is not unheard vigour. And all the tourists kneeled.
of.

iStockphoto.c
All-swimming, Bad planning
all-dancing as struggling to
make herself

om / Mitchell We
ds or Ca st le w
Win
A tour guide at ming into land at
UK festivals are frequently rather gentler. In the ro ar of lo w -flying aircraft co
heard over th e tourist, who
village of Abotts Bromley in Staffordshire, the or t. Sh e w as interrupted by a
Airp they
nearby Heathrow anners, and why

isberg
ancient Horn Dance is held on the first Monday t w as w ro ng with the town pl
demanded wha
after the first Sunday after September 4th. Six the airport.
stle so close to
had built the ca
deermen wear reindeer horns and, following a
ten-mile course, perform a dance in 12 different
locations in and around the village, while a
musician plays traditional tunes on a melodeon,
accompanied by a triangle.

Rather messier is the Bog Snorkelling


Championships, held near Llanwrtyd Wells in mid
Wales. The aim is to swim two lengths of the
60-yard Waen Rhydd peat bog with flippers and
snorkel in the fastest time. There are different
competitions for men, women and children and
even a fancy-dress category.

s
Holiday madnes grown for desig
nating days as
e fa sh io n ha s
, th
In the Americas ranger ones:
lid ays. He re ar e some of the st
specific ho
areness Day
Penguin Aw
Bubble Wra
p Appreciatio
n Day Room with a view
Thumbs? Day
an d D og s H ad Opposable Some holidaymakers asked a hotel for a quiet
s
What if Cat ay
as to Work D room overlooking the river. The hotel provided
r Your Pyjam
National Wea one with a tranquil view over the gentle stream,
at Day
Hug Your C the water meadows and the bridge. They forgot
r a Walk Day
ouseplant Fo
Take Your H to mention, however, that the bridge was going
rigerator Day to be blown up by demolition men at a quarter
Haunted Ref
ners Day to seven the next morning.
National Whi

Scrapbook compiled by Ian Waring Green

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 43


Reviews
does is present the key aspects of any supplementary reference book for
A Business Guide For Beginners
business in a very accessible and student self-study, providing business
by Des OKeeffe
digestible fashion for a non-business knowledge for subsequent classwork. It
Legend Business 2010
person, an upper-intermediate and above would also be perfect for an
978-1-9074611-8-7
language student or even a new business entrepreneurship or management class
Business English teachers sometimes English teacher keen to learn the ropes. on a foundation or pre-MA preparation
need to supplement their coursebooks The style of writing is relaxed and friendly course. At university level, it would
with more business-related materials. and the book is visually appealing, definitely be of value as an introduction
Perhaps a new topic in the coursebook thanks to countless headings, concise to any business degree. As it says on the
has sparked interest and the students and informative sections, bullet points, cover, this book centres on what
wish to learn more about it, or maybe business is actually about ... its basic
some background reading is concepts and terminology and, by
necessary to understand an stripping away so much of the high-
upcoming text. We often delve into brow and complicated aspects found
books on business for a variety of in other books, it manages to get back
reasons, sometimes for more to basics and teaches the essential
information or material for our building blocks to set up your own
lessons, sometimes just for pleasure company or to understand how a
and students should be multinational works. For these reasons,
encouraged to do this, too. Helping it is ideal as an addition to a business
teachers to understand the nature English teachers resource shelf or for
of business as well as helping them use as a reference book for business
to teach their students English is students.
something that many coursebooks Phil Wade
do very well, but it seems natural Bordeaux, France
that we cement this knowledge
with a more solid foundation in
order for us to understand more English Through Art
of what we are teaching. A core by Peter Grundy, Hania Bociek and
understanding of business is, of Kevin Parker
course, also invaluable for Helbling 2011
students as it provides a central 978-3-85272-288-7
framework from which they can
study more specialised topics As someone who has been involved with
and related language. English Teaching professional since the
A Business Guide For very first issue and, more recently, with a
Beginners provides just such a solid series of Teacher Development books, I
basis for any future business student, diagrams and the regular inclusion of have to confess to being hopelessly
business English teacher, enthusiast or though-provoking questions. Most biased. I think materials that provide
someone who simply wants a business stimulating of all are the real-life extra support for teachers are hugely
quick fix. The book is organised into examples from the authors career, many important.
four parts. Part 1 serves as an of which involve entertaining humour, For this reason, I have to express my
introduction, answering the question such as his admission that he used to admiration for Helbling Languages for
What is business? and covers numerous start every answer in a job interview with publishing their Resourceful Teacher
key business concepts. Part 2 moves on I or me. This gives the book a tone of series at a time when a lot of cutting
to the principal functional areas of a familiarity and makes it a pleasure to back is taking place. Not only that, they
company, such as marketing and read, even when it is addressing difficult are producing them swiftly and efficiently,
operations. The practical aspects of financial issues. There is certainly a and in such diverse areas as interactive
starting your own company are covered feeling that the author enjoys business whiteboards, self-esteem and, recently,
in Part 3. The final part delivers recipes and wants the reader to do so, too. The art.
for success and tops it all off with, my main message that comes across is that English through Art contains 100
personal favourite, how to get noticed, business is not complicated, but that creative activities for enlivening
a section which provides a wealth of there are a just a few things that every classrooms, stimulating students and
invaluable advice for anyone starting out manager or young entrepreneur should widening their horizons. The solid volume
in this field. know and that this is what you get from (232 pages) is accompanied by a CD-
This is not an MBA-level coursebook, the book. ROM, slipped inside the back cover, with
but it doesnt claim to be either. What it This book would work well as a a selection of 50 full-colour reproductions

44 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


Reviews
from the National Museum and Gallery of
Wales. These works of art (although you
Essentials of Online Course
arent limited to using these in the
Design: a standards-based
activities) are also reproduced in an
guide
by Marjorie Vai and Kristen Sosulski
Appendix at the back of the book, along
Routledge 2011
with a quick-reference guide to help you
978-0-415-87300-0
find suitable activities according to
student level and time available. Essentials of Online Course Design
From a general point of view, the is exactly what the title and subtitle
publisher suggests the book can be suggest: a standards-based guide
adapted to a wide range of educational to creating an online course. While
scenarios, and each particular activity the book contains excellent
starts off with a specific set of practical suggestions on visual
instructions, including aim, language design (Did you know that a text
focus, materials suggested and with a jagged right-hand margin
preparation needed. reads better than one justified on
Language skills are developed (there both sides?), collaborative
are chapters called Vocabulary building activities, assessment and
and Writing) but, also, language is used feedback and, especially, on
communicatively throughout the book resources that engage
(with chapters called Whats in a painting? (Chapters 4 to 8), this is not an
Being imaginative, Being creative, Making activities cookbook. Instead, Marjorie
decisions, amongst others). Vai and Kristen Sosulski have created a various thought-provoking articles and
As the Introduction points out: art holistic vision of what an online course clips (embedding various types of media
stimulates visual meaning and this can for adults should be, and have codified it is strongly recommended by the authors)
stimulate description or provoke in 88 key standards. Each of the ten and many useful templates, and is a
comment. This language can then be chapters guides the reader through one strong supporting component to the
worked on. aspect of course design: from laying the book.
Mike Burghall foundations (identifying learning The books drawbacks follow from its
Madrid, Spain outcomes and creating a syllabus), advantages. The fact that such a wide
through designing materials to range of issues is covered inevitably
actually running the course. Each leads to reduced depth, and as the
chapter explains and exemplifies authors aim to make the book accessible
the relevant standards, which are to all professionals in the field, fairly basic
also summarised in a checklist at concepts (eg discussion forums) are
the end. The intended result? A often spelled out in great detail, which
user-friendly online course with may seem condescending to those
simple and clear design which already well-versed in online teaching.
ensures high student Deliberately built-in redundancy, which is
engagement and achieves clear meant to enhance learning, and a large
learning outcomes. number of self-evident statements (eg
By the end of the book, the The syllabus feature is an essential
reader will have a clear component of the course environment
understanding of how to and Engaged learners are active
structure such a course and participants in the learning process) may
which criteria the materials disappoint the advanced reader who is
need to conform to. As Michael looking for meatier content and a faster-
Carrier mentions in the paced presentation.
Foreword, this is one of the Overall, planning an online course
main strengths of the book: it involves an understanding of teaching
covers both organisation and online and a sound grounding in course
design and the methodology planning. This book examines both
behind course design. aspects and, as such, may be interesting
The companion website to professionals planning online courses
(www.routledge.com/ and for those studying course design.
textbooks/9780415873000) Alina Razina
contains samples from online courses, Moscow, Russia

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 45


V O C A B U L A R Y Listen to the sound of the word.
Use the keyword method.
Use cognates, if available.

Strategies
Use semantic grids.
Cognitive strategies
Use verbal repetition.
Use word lists.
Take notes in class.

for learning
Attach English labels to physical
objects.
Use written repetition.
Use flashcards.
Keep a vocabulary notebook.
Metacognitive strategies

lexis
Use English-spoken media (TV,
recorded songs, films, etc).
Test yourself with word tests or
quizzes.
Continue to study the word over time.
Skip or pass a new word.
Darius Langhoff looks at the various ways
As you can see, this inventory divides
in which students learn new words. the strategies into two sections: those
for discovering information about a new
here are many different types Use glossaries or word lists. word, and those for consolidating a word

T of language learning strategies


(including communication
strategies, compensation
strategies, social strategies, etc). Recent
stress on the importance of lexical
Use flashcards.
Social strategies
Ask the teacher for an L1 equivalent.
Ask the teacher for an illustrative
after its first encounter. It implies that
certain strategies have different purposes
(discovery versus consolidation), whilst
others can be used for either purpose
(eg the analysis of affixes and roots).
sentence. However informative it might be,
acquisition has led to a corresponding
Ask classmates for meaning. such a large inventory has its
interest from scholars and applied
Determine the meaning in the course shortcomings. It is unthinkable to
linguists in the topic of vocabulary
of a groupwork activity. imagine students being instructed in the
learning strategies. I should like to
describe here some of the more important use of all 39 strategies. The list needs to
Strategies for consolidating be shortened and the more important
issues in this emerging sphere of interest.
a word once it has been strategies identified.
encountered A study by Stoffer showed how this
Classification Social strategies smaller number of strategies could be
An organised treatment of vocabulary Practise the meaning in a group. derived. A survey involving 53 lexical
learning strategies seems impossible Interact with the teacher and/or strategies was given to 707 undergraduates
unless a reasonably extensive catalogue native-speakers. studying a foreign language at a university
is compiled. Having accomplished that, in the United States. A factor analysis
Memory strategies
we may get a clearer overview of the on the results was then run and this
Combine the word with a graphic
different strategies as a group, and then demonstrated that the strategies could
representation of its meaning.
appreciate them globally, rather than be clustered into nine groups:
Use semantic mapping.
analysing them in an individual manner. 1 strategies involving authentic
Arrange words spatially on a page.
The inventory below is an example of language use;
Analyse the morphology of a word.
such a catalogue. It can safely be said 2 strategies involving creative activities;
Repeat the new word aloud when
that most of the important strategies 3 strategies used for self-motivation;
learning.
are listed here, although this overview 4 strategies used to create mental
Paraphrase the word.
may not be comprehensive. connections;
Learn the words which make up
idioms together. 5 memory strategies;
Strategies for discovering 6 visual-auditory strategies;
Form an image of the words
information about a new word 7 strategies including physical response;
meaning.
Determination strategies Link the word to a personal 8 strategies used to overcome anxiety;
Identify the part of speech. experience. 9 strategies which organise words.
Analyse the affixes and roots. Match the word with its synonyms These nine categories can be used to
Check for an L1 cognate. and/or antonyms. devise a more viable and realistic
Use a bilingual and/or monolingual Grade adjectives on scales. vocabulary strategy instruction
dictionary. Use the new word in a sentence. programme.

46 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


Combined strategies culture. Schmitt and McCarthy found inferring from context, applying
that Taiwanese PhD students displayed mnemonics and closer analysis of a
Individual strategies are seldom used in
a quite different approach to learning words morphology.
isolation: learners tend to use several in
strategies than Taiwanese first-year
combination to reach their objectives.
Successful learners employ many
students, even though they were Teaching vocabulary
educated in the same school system.
strategies; poor learners employ few.
The most likely explanations for this are
learning strategies
Furthermore, the multiple use of strategies If instruction in lexis learning strategies
proficiency and motivation differences.
is mostly intuitive and subconscious. is to be incorporated in the curriculum,
This indicates that various personal
Imagine an elementary lexical activity: an effective method of teaching them
factors interact in complex ways when a
learning words from a list. The use of a must be evolved. Evidence so far on the
student is making a strategy choice.
word list alone may be considered as a best method is inconclusive. According
On the other hand, not every
strategy, but students always go beyond to Chamot and Rubin, some strategy
personal trait seems to make a difference.
that and tackle each lexical item in instruction studies report an observable
A number of learning styles have been
different ways. They will certainly try to degree of success whereas others report
recognised so far, the most common
remember the meaning and form of the only limited success, or even a
being visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and
word. They will engage other strategies downright failure due to student
tactile. These styles are, by definition,
for remembering the meaning (probably a objections. It appears that a lot hinges
personal, so we should expect them to
memory strategy) and still others to retain on the proficiency of the learners and
affect which vocabulary learning
the words form (perhaps verbal and on the knowledge and acceptance of the
strategies are used. Paradoxically, there
written repetition), or strategies which teachers involved.
has been no significant correlation
encompass both (taking down the form Stoffer makes the suggestion that
found between them and the use of
and meaning in a vocabulary notebook). strategies should be performance-based,
vocabulary learning strategies.
If the students are serious about learning, and that the only ones which can feasibly
they will need a strategy to revise the be taught are those affecting the
items on the word list. This varies from External factors
immediate task in hand. In any event,
a scheduled review habit to a more External factors are also involved in the vocabulary learning strategies seem to
spontaneous commitment to review the process of learning strategy use. have great potential but the controversy
words whenever it is convenient. The Amongst these factors are the mode of as to how they can be taught continues.
learners may also be tempted to use the language use, the learning environment
new words where possible, or to test and the nature of the words to be 
themselves on their retention. All in all, it learnt. When students learn new lexical
seems clear that learners employ various items from written or oral word lists We have looked at some vital aspects of
strategies when acquiring new lexis. they employ different strategies, which vocabulary learning strategies. This
means the mode of input determines domain of applied linguistics is still
underdeveloped but, if recent interest is
Personal factors the technique of acquisition.
maintained and research increases, we
Some teachers allow the use of
As Anna Chamot and Joan Rubin point should hear more about it soon. ETp
bilingual dictionaries in exams, but not
out, strategy selection is idiosyncratic
monolingual ones. Such a policy may
and depends on numerous factors, Chamot, A U and Rubin, J The learning
well work against the generally accepted
including task, text, proficiency level, strategies of ESL students In Wenden, A
view that students should prefer and Rubin, J (Eds) Learner Strategies in
context of learning, background
monolingual dictionaries. This sort of Language Learning Prentice Hall 2006
knowledge and learner characteristics.
testing policy may have the unwanted Oxford, R L Language Learning
For example, glossaries prove more
side-effect of altering what students Strategies: What Every Teacher Should
useful for beginner-level students, whilst
believe is worth studying and changing Know Newbury House 1990
words embedded in context work best
the way in which they study. Schmitt, N and McCarthy, M (Eds)
for advanced students, and students who Vocabulary: Description, Acquisition and
The frequency of a word may also
are initially more proficient are more Pedagogy CUP 2001
be relevant in the choice of a particular
liable to use associations in recall tasks. Stoffer, I University foreign language
lexis learning strategy. The lower the
One of the conspicuous personal students choice of vocabulary learning
frequency, the more crucial the choice of
factors which affects the choice of strategies as related to individual
the most effective strategy. Seeing things difference variables University of
vocabulary learning strategies is the
from the teachers standpoint, Schmitt Alabama 1995
students cultural background. Chamot
and McCarthy suggest that lexis can be
and Rubin report that the vocabulary
considered from a cost-benefit viewpoint: Darius Langhoff is an
scores of Hispanics who underwent ESL instructor working
high-frequency words are so essential that
strategy training showed a greater in teacher training
the cost of teaching them is repaid by the colleges in Upper Silesia,
improvement than the scores of a Poland. He is also a
ensuing benefit; low-frequency words, on
control group. However, Asians from a translator of scientific
the other hand, are not met often enough literature in English,
strategy training group (who were German and Polish. In
to merit explicit group teaching. Since
reluctant to do the training) performed his free time, he plays
not enough lesson time can be allotted to the guitar and draws.
worse than the Asian control group who
teaching low-frequency words, certain
used their familiar rote repetition
remedial techniques are advocated: melampus@wp.pl
strategy. Learners also vary within each

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 47


R E S O U R C E S Finally, headlines assume shared
cultural and general knowledge between
reader and writer. For example, The

Press gang
London Paper published an article about
the actor Hugh Grant, star of the film
Notting Hill, who was questioned at
Notting Hill police station in London
about an alleged act of violence against a
paparazzo. The headline read: Notting-hell.

William Chaves Gomes views newspapers Visual aids


Peripheral information in pictures,
as a valuable resource. diagrams, maps or other visual aids plays
an important role as it provides clues as to
eading is part of our everyday Adjective + noun: Super Secret what the article is about, helping the

R lives and whatever reason we


have for doing it, we read for
meaning: to get something
from the writing. Newspaper articles can
come in handy in the classroom as they
Supper (Metro)
Because space is a prime constraint on
headlines, brevity is essential. For this
reason, headlines are full of abbreviations
and acronyms. They also simplify
reader decide whether to read it or not.

Writing style
The style of language used in
newspaper articles can be neutral,
bring a variety of text types, provide emotional or descriptive, depending on
grammar by omitting determiners,
massive amounts of information and the writers intention and the impact
possessive adjectives and prepositions,
expose students to authentic language they want to create.
as well as the verb to be.
in use. Akira Tajino points out that they Articles tend to be written in the
The idiosyncratic use of tenses is
are choosable in other words, the third person in order to achieve greater
another special characteristic of
students can select what they want to impersonality but, at the same time,
headlines:
read according to their needs and they make use of direct and indirect
The present simple is often used to speech. Passive constructions are also a
interests, increasing their motivation
indicate the past: Paltrow sings on common feature as they distance the
and, consequently, exposing them to
Glee (The Daily Telegraph). writer from the facts:
varied linguistic features. Teachers can
The present simple is also used to refer Mortgage lending is believed to have
also exploit newspaper articles as what
to events happening at the moment: sunk 43% in January (The Independent)
Scott Thornbury terms TAVI, text-as-
Germans investigate Liechtenstein Journalists favour dramatic and
vehicle-of-information, or TALO, text-
princes tax (Times Online). concrete vocabulary over abstract words
as-linguistic-objects, helping learners to
The infinitive is frequently used to and lots of adjectives. Quite often, long
develop a range of language competencies
refer to the future: Government to cap expressions are used as adjectives, as in
such as reading comprehension,
legal bills in libel cases (Times Online). Annoying Im A Celebrity star enjoys
grammar/vocabulary work and
discussions in class of the issues raised in Headlines are often full of irony, new-found respect in the art world
them. Paul Sanderson reminds us, also, of metaphor, repetition and word play, as (Metro). Newspaper articles can also
their general educational value, keeping us in And they didnt live happily Eva after attract the readers attention by using
informed and expanding our knowledge (Metro) above a story referring to typography, such as capital letters,
of the world, and their cultural value: actress Eva Longoria who divorced her italics or bold for emphasis.
an important feature, given that culture basketball-star-husband Tony Parker.
and language go hand-in-hand. Stylistic features like alliteration, the Problems and solutions
repetition of a consonant at the
Style and structure beginning of several words, as in Fickle Headline headaches
finger of fame: Sadie Frost (Metro), and Students often say that they dont feel
Newspaper articles have their own assonance, the repetition of one motivated to read newspaper articles
stylistic and structural features. particular vowel sound in a group of because, to start with, they dont
words, as in Steer clear of the deer (The understand the headlines the language
Headline news Evening Standard), are also very common. is too concise and esoteric.
Headlines have to attract the readers The use of italics or underlining is
attention and make them interested in another characteristic, as in Yes, Britain Whats in the gap?
reading more about the subject. They did hand terror suspects to US (Metro). One activity to tackle this problem
are normally brief and to the point, Headlines can also use euphemism involves giving the students a series of
usually consisting of a short phrase or to soften the truth or reality of a words commonly used in newspapers and
two or three words combined in situation, as in Queen of soap Wendy asking them to use them to complete
different ways. For example: loses her cancer battle (Metro). On the gaps in headlines. As a follow-up activity,
Short phrase: Sex after 50 (The other hand, one way of attracting the you can then discuss the meanings of the
Guardian) readers attention is by the use of headline, do some work with any difficult
Noun + noun + noun: Britneys dramatic or shocking imagery, as in vocabulary and then, perhaps, elicit what
paparazzi challenge (Metro) Jade Goodys dying wish (Times Online). the students think the articles are about. 

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 49


Bottom-up processing
Press gang
every single word in the text. Besides,
A considerable number of students cite many learners associate newspaper
unfamiliar lexis in newspaper articles as articles with boring long texts about
an obstacle. However, other factors in politics and the economy.
 bottom-up processing such as lexical To motivate them, ask your students
Whats the story?
density, idiomatic use, unfamiliar to browse through a newspaper and
For a matching activity, give the students
grammar and sentence length and select what to read. If the texts are
several different headlines and get them to
complexity may pose an equal threat to relevant to their interests, there is a
guess the story behind each one, ignoring
their understanding. On the other hand, better chance that they will engage with
or guessing the meaning of unknown
if we subscribe to Stephen Krashens them in ways that encourage a deeper
words. Then invite them to read the
input hypothesis, a text should ideally level of language processing. If you
newspaper articles for each headline and
be just above the students level of choose the article, however, always
to match them to the correct one. As a
comprehension. provide a lead-in to arouse the students
follow-up, you can ask the students to
A possible solution might be to interest and do a pre-reading task to
give each article an alternative headline
select newspaper articles based on the activate their schemata. Students should
and help them to analyse the differences
relative level of difficulty for the also be given the chance to skim
between the original version and their
students shorter texts and more visual through the text to check their
versions in terms of language.
support for lower-level students or, as predictions before reading again for
Whats missing? stated before, by grading the task. more detailed comprehension.
Show the students some headlines and Possible activities are:
elicit the words that are needed to turn 
them into proper sentences. For Have you noshed it yet?
example, they can transform Mulligan In this activity, described by Jennifer Newspapers can be a valuable teaching
to play Daisy (The Daily Telegraph) into Altman, the teacher uses Yiddish words tool to help students develop their
either Mulligan is going to play Daisy or in a sentence to encourage the students reading skills. As educators, it is our
Mulligan will play Daisy. By doing this, to infer meaning. For example, they responsibility not only to teach the
you both help the students with have to say what the word noshed means language itself, but also to prepare our
sentence construction and make them in Have you noshed the film Avatar yet? students to face the real world, where
aware of the peculiarities of headlines. Glossary real language is used in real contexts.
Give the students a glossary of difficult Even though many learners see reading
Top-down processing words from a newspaper article. By newspaper articles as a daunting
Problems occur when writer and reader doing this, the vocabulary load is challenge, their attitude may well
have different experiences and knowledge reduced and referring to a glossary is change if you make them aware of the
of the world. Schema theory, as not as time-consuming as looking up idiosyncrasies of the language used in
Christine Nuttall explains, suggests that words in a dictionary. headlines and articles and equip them
we have a mental structure, or schema, in with the tools to interpret it. ETp
which our minds organise our knowledge Discourse analysis
of the world, based on our experiences. Help the students to analyse a Altman, J Building vocabulary: guessing
Journalists often assume that their newspaper article by focusing on meaning from context The Language
readers share this knowledge, be it world, discourse markers and cohesion devices. Teacher 2002
socio-cultural or genre knowledge. Nuttall, C Teaching Reading Skills in a
Lexical cohesion
However, a reader whose schema does Foreign Language Macmillan 2005
Help the students to identify the
not sufficiently overlap with the writers Ross, N Making the headlines Modern
different words or expressions used to English Teacher 12(3) 2003
will be unable to interpret the text.
refer to the same thing or person.
Other top-down factors which affect Sanderson, P Using Newspapers in the
text difficulty include the length, the Focus on the passive Classroom CUP 2003
density of information and the presence Ask the students to underline all the Tajino, A News is news Modern English
or absence of visual support. sentences in an article which show that Teacher 12(1) 2003
Before asking students to read a the writer is not 100 percent sure Thornbury, S Beyond the Sentence:
introducing discourse analysis Macmillan
newspaper article, it is a good idea to whether the information given is really
2005
brainstorm ideas and engage them in true or not. When the students identify
predicting activities to activate any the sentences (many of which will
William Chaves Gomes
relevant schemata that will help them in contain passive constructions), highlight has been teaching and
their top-down processing. the fact that use of the passive is training teachers in the
UK and other countries
Think carefully about the tasks you characteristic of news articles. for 15 years. He also
design when working with newspaper designs components for
Choice coursebooks for various
articles. Even a very challenging article publishers. He is
can be used effectively with pre- As I have already mentioned, most currently working as an
ELT consultant, teacher
intermediate students if the task is not students dont like reading newspaper and teacher trainer in
too demanding. According to Scott articles simply because they find them London, UK.
Thornbury, teachers should grade the difficult to understand or because they
task, not the text. believe that they have to understand wichago@hotmail.com

50 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


P R O N U N C I AT I O N difficulties for me. This is also why I feel
uncomfortable acknowledging my past
history as an English teacher back home in

Putting
Hong Kong: the fact that I am an English
teacher must seem ironic to my listeners,
who struggle to cope with my accent.
My inability to communicate
effectively in conversations has certainly
had an adverse impact on my self-esteem.

the accent
However, it has also driven me to take a
deeper look into the problems confronted
by learners of English. I feel compelled
to investigate the source of the difficulty
regarding accent and what could be
done to improve the situation.
Certainly, we cannot readily assume

on accent
that the problems facing one linguistic
group apply equally to others of diverse
language backgrounds. However, it is
hoped that through using my experience
and that of others like me, teaching
practitioners and policy makers can
come up with more effective programmes
to promote the improvement of learners
Kar-Man Lee stresses With limited vocabulary, awkward
ability to express themselves properly in
expressions and poor fluency, I always
English, with ease and without heavy
the importance of spoken find it a great challenge to converse with
accents.
native speakers. Worse still, my English
performance. carries a strong accent, which makes
comprehension almost impossible. It is One of the greatest
so embarrassing to see how people are
filled with bewilderment and struggle to difficulties that learners
understand my words, even after I have of English confront
made multiple attempts to clarify.
is their inability to
his is how I feel as an English

T learner who has left Hong Kong


distinguish between
in pursuit of advanced study in different speech sounds
the United States. I noticed how
poor my oral English was immediately
upon arrival in this new country. When Instruction
my papers were being inspected by a US
immigration officer, I could hardly Systematic and explicit phonetics and
answer any questions without having to phonology instruction can help
repeat myself. It was not that I didnt language learners with pronunciation.
understand what he asked, but rather One of the greatest difficulties that
that he could not comprehend my learners of English confront is their
heavily-accented English. inability to distinguish between different
speech sounds. They are assured that
each sound is unique, yet the subtle
Communication difference between words like pan and
This seemingly incidental communication pen goes unnoticed to their ears. This is
breakdown, however, was not an isolated also why they may persistently say He is
case, nor was it temporary and transitory. like dead when they mean to say He is
My heavily-accented spoken performance like Dad. While learners of English may
has continued to haunt my life in the have no idea how the words in spoken
United States, interfering with my daily form are distinct from one other, native
conversations with local native speakers. speakers are just as puzzled: wondering
Even after three years of studying in an how anyone could think that this
English-speaking country, I still find the contrastive pair could possibly be the
accent problem a great impediment to same! In this case, intensive exposure to
unrestrained self-expression, although the target sounds is a prerequisite for
written communication has fewer accurate reproduction. 

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 51


Reduction
Putting
where English is not the dominant
language of most residents.
A foreign accent is caused by systematic Fortunately, with the advent of

the accent approximation of English sounds in a


distorted manner, and first language
technology, this problem can be
ameliorated by using multimedia

on accent interference is, then, an important


contributing factor. One common
problem is excessive reliance by learners
educational materials, as Glge
Seferoglu points out. Even if teachers
are not familiar with the use of the

Production on the sounds they have acquired in international phonemic alphabet (IPA)
their first language to replace any or if their own English is accented, they
In addition, being able to conceptualise unfamiliar English phonemes. For
the abstract process of speech production can incorporate films and songs
example, the English /C/ sound does not featuring native speakers into their
is the key to learning success. An effective exist in Mandarin and Cantonese. Alice
teacher should not simply describe the lessons. There are also websites for
Chan reports that in order to fill the reviewing basic pronunciation (eg
mechanics of sound production, such as discrepancy, Mandarin-speakers will use
how the lips should be shaped and how www.rachelsenglish.com/sound_chart),
the /s/ sound instead of /C/, whereas their interactive online activities involving the
the tongue should be positioned, but also Cantonese counterparts tend to replace it
should be able to recognise sounds which manipulation of speech sounds (eg
by /f/. This sometimes results in errors www.oup.com/elt/global/products/englishf
are being pronounced incorrectly and to such as he is sinking instead of he is
provide feedback and corrective measures. ile/elementary/c_pronunciation/) and
thinking. Chinese students often adopt electronic books that can be listened to
When teaching young learners, a English names, as their real names can
teacher can use a puppet to explain how on the computer. All these aids provide
the different parts of the vocal tract (the educational opportunities for learners
tongue, teeth, lips, vocal cords, alveolar Phonology training to maximise their contact with the
ridge, palate, velum and nasal cavity) target language and break through the
contribute to the articulation of a correct
for learners would be vicious circle in which improper
pronunciation is transferred from one
sound. For older students, instruction more beneficial if it generation to the next.
supported by computer simulations of
sound production can help them better focused on accent 
understand the necessary lip shape, reduction along with
mouth position and tongue movement There are multiple ways to correct
for each sound. Activities involving basic introduction of ESL/EFL students accent-related
copying the necessary mouth movements problems. However, attempts to strive for
could be very useful in helping those
English sounds a complete elimination of a foreign accent
with difficulty in producing sounds such could be unrealistic, especially because
as /r/ and /l/, which require more be hard for non-Chinese speakers to the ability to acquire a new sound system
complex movements of the tongue. pronounce, and it is not unusual to hear declines with age. A more reasonable goal
students calling themselves Mafew should be limiting mispronunciations
caused by accent, which, in turn, will
Interference (Matthew), Timofy (Timothy) or
improve overall comprehensibility and
Samanfa (Samantha). In view of this,
Although instruction on producing promote efficient communication with
teachers should help learners to identify
proper English sounds could improve a native speakers. ETp
their patterns of pronunciation errors,
learners overall pronunciation, it may not
explain how certain sounds are being
necessarily target the specific errors that Seferoglu, G Improving students
inappropriately articulated and pronunciation through accent reduction
stem from first language interference. In
implement intervention techniques to software British Journal of Educational
most existing phonology programmes,
reduce deviations in the current speech Technology 36 2005
oral drilling is relied upon as the way to
from the desired accent. This requires more Chan, A Y W Advanced Cantonese ESL
train correct pronunciation of English.
than just expertise in English phonology. learners production of English speech
The underlying premise of this approach sounds: problems and strategies
Knowledge of the learners native language
is that the learner is a blank slate, readily System: An International Journal of
and understanding of how one language
receptive to input. However, one feature Educational Technology and Applied
influences the pronunciation of another Linguistics 38 2010
that differentiates non-native speaker
could help teachers to facilitate production
students from native speakers is that they
of speech which more closely resembles Kar-Man Lee is an
already have a well-established linguistic
the accent of the norm. instructor at the
system in their native language(s). When University of Houston,
USA, having previously
the newly-introduced mechanism of
speech production is inconsistent with Exposure been a graduate student
there. Her research
the existing one, learning effectiveness is interests lie in exploring
In addition, extensive exposure to quality different pedagogical
reduced. Therefore, phonology training input (within the classroom setting and strategies which can
for learners of English would be more help ESL students
beyond) can make a big contribution to achieve higher levels of
beneficial if it focused on accent pronunciation development. However, English proficiency.
reduction along with basic introduction the shortage of native-like language
of English sounds. idalkm@hotmail.com
models is a concern, especially in areas

52 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


IN THE CLASSROOM teachers. It is relatively easy for teachers to
maintain control over classes run in this
way and much more difficult for them to

Giving change
hand over responsibility for learning to the
students. Change can result in insecurity
because it takes teachers into new areas
which they may find uncomfortable.
However, most teachers would

a cheerful nod
acknowledge that using each learners
unique way of processing information is
the best way of learning, rather than
forcing a single approach on them.
Recommendation
Mrudula Lakkaraju fights for greater flexibility
My second recommendation is that
in Indian classrooms. teachers should try to trust their
students and strive to become
We would rather be ruined than changed; time slots are rigid parameters, and it is facilitators rather than teachers.
We would rather die in our dread next to impossible to smuggle anything
Than climb the cross of the moment into the classroom past the watchful eye Changing infrastructure
And let our illusions die. of the different regulatory boards of Most classrooms, even at undergraduate
W H Auden education. The majority of the authorised level, resemble school classrooms with
texts, which are usually outdated, are fixed seats, an arrangement which screams
hange is the impetus for growth

C and progress. So most of us


believe, yet we are often unable
to apply this to all areas of our life and
already familiar to the students and offer
hardly any degree of challenge.
Recommendation
My first recommendation, therefore, is
of teacher control. If we want to reduce
the role of the teacher and enhance the
role of the student in the classroom, then
space has to be created to allow for this
profession. Owing to prevailing cultural
to do away with prescribed texts at and some other, more suitable classroom
contexts, change is often only permitted
undergraduate level and give the teachers set-up needs to be introduced.
with a grim nod in certain areas, a
reluctant one in some other areas and a licence to choose from the infinite variety Recommendation
cheerful one in the fewest areas possible! of material available, such as online texts, My third and final recommendation,
newspapers, podcasts and blogs. Real-life then, would be to relax the rigid
Changing regulations contexts will facilitate the acquisition of infrastructure of the classroom and make
The observations mentioned here are all four language skills. The teacher sure that more flexible arrangements are
solely those of the author, and are made should have the liberty to choose any possible having chairs and tables that
with particular reference to the traditional text which is appropriate for the learners can be moved around to allow for
modes of teaching prevalent in India. This level of comprehension. This should be pairwork, groupwork, etc.
article aims to discuss how changes could relatively easy to do as the teacher will
be implemented to make English teaching have a good knowledge of the students 
more effective, and I hope that teachers in level. Furthermore, different students
The focus of this discussion has been
other contexts may find my comments are within the class could work on different
the majority of Indian educational
also relevant to their teaching situations. texts. I believe that most teachers, given
institutions at undergraduate level. I
The changes I recommend are simple, the choice between using one common
would like to make it clear that I exclude
but they could make a big difference. text for the whole class and using a
from all criticism those teachers, trainers,
variety of texts with different students,
To achieve change in India, where facilitators and institutions of English
would opt for the latter.
English is taught as a second language who have had the courage and wisdom
An ideal situation would be for the
at the undergraduate stage, three to experiment with and taste success in
teacher to spend time with each student
different aspects need to be addressed: their methods of teaching and training
on individual work. This is clearly
and have thus embraced change. ETp
1 Change in the rules of academic somewhat utopian, but one practical
institutions solution would be to create challenges Mrudula Lakkaraju is
2 Change in the perception of how for each student to work through and presently a Professor at
language can be acquired Geethanjali College of
learn from that experience. By using Engineering and Technology,
3 Change in the infrastructure different texts and contexts of learning, Hyderabad, India, and is in
the teacher is, in fact, maximising the charge of the Centre for
Basically, all that a teacher has is the Advancement of Career and
classroom and a given time slot in which potential of the classroom within the Human Excellence. She has
strict timetable set by the institution. a doctorate from Osmania
to work with the students to aid their University, Hyderabad, and
language acquisition. Most English is a post-graduate Diploma
taught through textbooks, following a
Changing attitudes in English Studies from
the English and Foreign
determined course of action which focuses At undergraduate level, English classes in Languages University,
India still resemble high-school classes, Hyderabad.
on syllabus completion within a stipulated
owing to the rigid mindset of most dr.mrudulalakkaraju@gmail.com
period of time. Predetermined texts and

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 53


TEACHER DEVELOPMENT

Real
reflection 1
Simon Brown argues n the last two external CELTA A landscape gardening brochure

the case for authentic


materials on CELTA courses.
I assessments I have done, I have
observed four trainees giving
somewhat muddled final lessons
which just scraped over the to standard
line. All four of them had planned from
Clips from a well-known British
sitcom
A tabloid article
A TV guide
coursebooks. In the last two course
Four of the six lessons were awarded
timetables Ive looked at, one had no
above standard passes and the other
input session on authentic materials and
two represented the best lessons the
the other had just one session on using
trainees had given at that level. All the
songs in the classroom on the last day
lessons were delivered and received with
of the course when all the teaching had
enthusiasm and with a very obvious
finished. There is, of course, no
sense of pride. In stark contrast to this,
obligation to include authentic materials
were the nervy and formulaic
sessions on courses and I have met some
coursebook lessons of the
tutors who feel very strongly that using
aforementioned assessments. These had
real-life materials is something that either
the following as their topics:
trainees cant cope with or is an area
which is almost decorative on a CELTA The futures (yes, all of them!)
course, and that there are other far more Relative clauses
important things for trainees to master.
I take a contrary view on this and see Definite articles
the promotion and use of authentic Transitive/intransitive phrasal verbs
materials as not only liberating for the
While there was evidence that each
trainees, but proof that they have
trainee was putting into practice
become largely autonomous, especially
CELTA methodology, and while their
in terms of planning.
plans were staged and timed logically,
there was a general lack of brightness
Authentic materials and a real sense of jumping through
A recent course I was involved with hoops, as if they were teaching for the
illustrates well my own institutions qualification rather than for the
philosophy. There was a spectacular learners. On reflection, it all seemed a
array of final lessons, all using authentic little too extrinsic.
materials. Ill take my group of six as If we are to promote autonomous
examples of the materials used (all with teachers, we should be providing the
an upper-intermediate group of learners): trainees with obvious opportunities to
facilitate autonomy. This would naturally
A Joni Mitchell song involve incorporating and highlighting
A Christmas menu from a local authentic materials in the course
restaurant timetable at an early enough stage for

54 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


TEACHER DEVELOPMENT

the trainees to have the time to  of courses will be replaced by lessons
assimilate and embrace the idea. The showcasing a spirit of independence
added motivation is that the skills and pedagogical imagination.
assignment (a compulsory written In my experience, the trainees, although In my next article, I will look at
assignment in which the trainees are initially daunted, come up with some another kind of reflection: the reflection
asked to select a text and plan a lesson fantastic ideas and there is a real sense that CELTA trainers need to undertake
around it) can be used as the basis for of excitement generated. We then give at the end of their courses in order to
their final one-hour lesson. At present, them the rest of the week to choose a make use of trainee feedback. ETp
trainees are not actually required to use suitable piece of material for the group
the skills assignment as their final lesson, they will be teaching in their last lesson Since writing this article I have had feedback
which seems to me rather wasteful. and to present a draft copy (remember from one of the CELTA courses I assessed.
that this is also essentially a draft copy They took on board my suggestions and
implemented them on the following course.
of their skills assignment) for us to
Authentic teaching comment on.
The results were very positive and the main
course tutor for that course declared that she
The way we deal with this in my To make these ideas really work we, had never seen such exciting final lessons
institution is as follows: as trainers, need to believe in them and that this authentic focus had liberated
the trainees. She added that these lessons
At the end of week two or the ourselves. I am not suggesting that we
had certainly helped to boost a couple of
beginning of week three, we timetable make this compulsory as there may well Pass candidates to Pass B.
an input session on authentic materials, be trainees who do not want to take this
which goes hand in hand with a session scary although liberating step and Simon Brown has taught
on resource materials. In previous who prefer to work within the safer in France, Spain and the
UK, and he is now a
courses, I have timetabled a whole confines of a coursebook. However, if freelance teacher,
morning in which we look at using we are promoting from the interview CELTA tutor/trainer and
assessor. He is
materials which reflect the reality of the stage the fundamental idea that our interested in the welfare
students lives and their exposure to aim is to create confident, autonomous and motivation of CELTA
candidates as they
English: DVDs, songs and newspapers. teachers, then the proof of the pudding progress through their
After an initial brainstorming session is not only to raise their awareness of life intensive training, and is
beyond the coursebook, but actively to an enthusiastic
about what constitutes authentic advocate of teachers as
material, the trainees are given a encourage and promote this. Ultimately, humanists rather than
worksheet (see below) to use with three the number of dry, hoop-jumping lessons linguistic technicians.

pieces of authentic material. that we often observe in the final days snickolas2002@yahoo.co.uk

AUTHENTIC SKILLS

Your trainer has given you three What are the learners going to When designing tasks we must make
examples of authentic texts: be doing with the text? (reading, them achievable and motivational.
1 a (tourist) leaflet
listening, gist, detail, language Let your authentic mantra be Grade
study eg functional language, the task, not the text.
(ideal for lower levels)
grammar structures and lexical
2 a tabloid newspaper article
As a rough guide to timing your
sets)
lesson (one hour) you may find this
(ideal for higher levels)
What are the learners going to helpful:
3 song lyrics be doing after the text? (The text
510 minutes before the text
(easily adaptable for both levels) needs to act as a springboard to
a productive stage based on its 2025 minutes with the text
For each of these texts, you need to
theme(s) prioritising speaking
consider the following in terms of 1520 minutes after the text
over writing.)
using them in the classroom with
Please note that these timings do
either of the groups you have taught: The crucial concept you need to
not add up to one hour. The missing
embrace while doing this is that
What are you going to do before time should be dedicated to
learners at all levels need to be
the learners see the text? (creating thorough feedback stages and
exposed to and feel comfortable
interest, lead in, context, should potentially include a planned
with all types of authentic material.
prediction, brainstorming) error-correction stage.

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 55


T E C H N O L O G Y

Tools for
taxi drivers
Nergiz Kern prepares podcasts for learners on the move.

An English course for taxi drivers? job (eg hello, goodbye, hotel, airport, I based the syllabus on functional and
When did you say? Next week? Um, terminal, room, shop, buy, pay) with emergent language, such as explaining
yes, well, sure no problem! which they tried to communicate with the fare, recommending hotels or
tourists by combining them with non- restaurants, offering assistance, etc. The
t was already two months into the verbal communicative strategies. content consisted of typical

I semester when I was asked whether


I could run a practical English
course for the taxi drivers of Bursa,
in Turkey. The city wanted to become
more attractive to tourists and to offer
They were all highly motivated as
they had immediate use for English and
they knew it would make their job
easier and help them increase their
income. Here are some of their
conversations which occur throughout
the different stages of a taxi ride. I
provided some examples, which were
then developed further in class by the
students with my help. After all, who
them improved services and where comments (translated by me) before and would know better what kind of
better to start than with those whom the during the course: language is used in such situations than
tourists often meet first and see last? The the taxi drivers themselves? They are
Tourists prefer taxi drivers who speak
problem was that we only had about two also the experts on local events, sights
English.
months for the course, the taxi drivers to see, hotels, etc.
and I all had busy schedules, there were They are more trusting when we I provided only very brief grammar
no appropriate coursebooks or speak English. explanations, usually as a kind of
materials readily available, and I had to summary after a couple of lessons, and
When you speak English and make
start the following week. avoided using grammar terminology.
small talk, you receive a higher tip.
There was no time for me to create This allowed me to introduce early on
any course material in advance, so I Tourists book you for tours when you structures like Would you like to? Do
decided I would do this together with my speak English. you mind if? and Could you?, which
students. In this article, I will describe my would normally be taught at a much
I had a foreign passenger last week
students and their needs, the course, what later stage, but which taxi drivers need
and I could already speak a bit of
the issues were and the solution I came to use frequently.
English with them.
up with: a blended learning approach
including some easy-to-use and free I made small talk with a tourist and The issues
tools for podcasting and blogging. I will the tip was good.
also provide step-by-step instructions This all worked very well, but I knew it
would not be enough to get them
on how to create such material. The course speaking and understanding spoken
The course took place at the taxi English in such a short time and that
The students association. In the classroom there was they would need more support and
The taxi drivers ranged in age from 26 a large whiteboard, a projector and practice. Turkish grammar is very
to 52. They were all high school screen and wireless internet. The different from English, and Turkish
graduates and had a very traditional students all had mobile phones (but not learners of English tend to have
educational background. Their English all were smartphones) and access to the difficulties pronouncing English words,
ranged from almost non-existent to internet at home. not so much because the sounds are
false-beginner level. Most of them did Given the short duration of the difficult but because they often
know a couple of words related to their course and the students level and needs, pronounce English phonetically like

56 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


Turkish. Their intonation also tends to access podcasts and transcripts quickly environment can help learners with many
sound flat because English is a stress- and easily. I also occasionally provided of their needs. Several studies report that
timed language, whereas Turkish is additional exercises and links to useful students speaking, listening, vocabulary
syllable-timed. For these reasons, the websites here. and grammar skills have all improved
taxi drivers needed a lot of exposure to The taxi drivers had a lot of through podcasting. Transcripts of
spoken English. downtime, which they could use to podcasts can help students with speaking
practise their English by listening to and pronunciation. Podcasts have also
The approach podcasts and reading transcripts of been found to be good revision tools,
them on pdf documents. I deliberately something which was confirmed by my
Taking the situation and the students kept the recordings to around two students.
other needs outlined above into minutes so that they could make use of Podcasts provide flexibility,
consideration, I realised that I needed a even short periods of waiting time. portability and autonomy and promote
more flexible approach. Betty Collis and As my students were familiar with active, mobile learning, which is
Jef Moonen list five dimensions of the internet and mobile phones, I did important in adult education and life-
flexibility, all of which I found to be not have to give them any training in long learning. The technology that
relevant for this course: how to use these. However, I did spend allows us to offer our learners this
1 programme some time introducing the online mobility and flexibility is mostly
2 study material material and the website, explaining available for free and is easy to use. It is
3 location their purpose and how they could best a low-cost, low-barrier technology,
make use of them. which makes it sustainable.
4 forms of communication
5 types of interaction
The podcasts
In order to achieve this flexibility, I
decided to provide a blend of A podcast is a series of digital media
interactions and tools to help my files (these can be either audio or video)
students reach their goal. This involved that are released episodically and can be
face-to-face contact, the use of online downloaded from the internet. Many
material, including a class blog, and a teachers associate podcasting with series
series of podcasts, which they could made for a global audience, usually
listen to on their mobile phones. consisting of general or business

Blend
n

To
tio

o
c

ls
ra
te

podcasts Audacity
In

-face
ce-to
fa
blo
mo g
bile
e
onlin posterous
Creating sustainable
courseware
Blended learning often means
considerable investment in financial,
Social interaction on this course English, where the content is generic human and technical resources, which is
mainly took place face-to-face in the and determined by the teacher or one reason why many teachers are
classroom. This met the students podcast producer. Teachers also often reluctant to use technology in their
expectations and made them feel at think that podcasting is difficult and classes, even in cases where they know it
home because the classroom was time-consuming and that podcasts are would make a difference to their students
situated in their work environment. This expensive to produce. learning. This was an issue for my
is where the collaborative content The content of the podcasts which I students and me as well, so I set about
building took place and where I could made for my students was co-created by designing sustainable courseware by:
provide immediate feedback and help, the students and me in the classroom. I using a limited number of easy-to-use
without any need for technology other took snapshots of texts we developed and freely available tools;
than the whiteboard. on the whiteboard to use as a basis for a
In addition, we used a blog, for which recording script. After class, I would making the familiarisation with tools,
I chose the simple-to-use Posterous restructure these texts a little and add tasks and layout easy;
platform. This mainly served as a delivery some more examples. making access to material easy and
platform, which allowed the students to Using podcasts in a blended flexible;

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 57


Tools for
taxi drivers
using RSS, tagging and search tools
so that students could easily find the
relevant material;
creating reusable material that could
easily be updated, reorganised,
reassembled or copied for new
courses.

Creating a podcast blog 5 Attach the pdf and audio file to the listening to the podcasts and reported
What is great about Posterous and email in the order you want them to that this really helped them with their
similar platforms is that you can simply appear in the blog. pronunciation and retention of the
send emails, with attachments of 6 Write any additional text (which is
language we worked on. An additional
podcasts and pdf files of the transcripts, benefit was that any students who
not in the pdf) into the body of the
as blog posts. This makes it very easy missed a class could review what we did
email.
for beginner bloggers and very in the lesson and so catch up more
convenient and time-saving even for the 7 Send the email. easily.
more experienced. Audio recordings are Because the students enjoyed using
8 Now go to the website and check
also easily made today without much their mobile phones and listening to my
that everything is as you wanted it.
technical know-how. recordings, I asked them to work in
You can always edit the material,
pairs to create dialogues from what we
Here is how: the blog post or its appearance
did in previous classes and to record
1 Write the text for the pdf document later.
these dialogues on their phones. This
and the audio recording. 9 Protect the blog with a password if way, they reviewed the language, chose
privacy is an issue. those sentences that were most
2 Record the audio with Audacity (or
meaningful for them and were able to
any other recording software), edit In a very low-tech environment, for act out typical dialogues from their own
if necessary and save the file in mp3 example if some students have no access situations.
format. (Check to make sure the to or knowledge of how to use the I provided help and feedback during
sound quality is good.) internet, the pdf and audio files can be the writing and recording process. The
other students listened to these
dialogues in class and gave feedback to
each other. And a final point: it is also
possible to allow the students to post
their own recordings to Posterous via
email. ETp

Collis, B and Moonen, J Flexible Learning


in a Digital World Routledge 2001
https://posterous.com/
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/

Nergiz Kern has


developed and taught
3 Open your email program. transferred to the students devices via a general, business,
technical and EAP
4 Put the email address of your blog
USB stick or Bluetooth. The pdfs could courses in various
also be handed out as hard-copy contexts in different
into the address field (in my case countries for 11 years.
printouts if the students have no She also trains teachers
this was taxienglish@posterous.com)
computers at all. in using technology,
and put the title of your blog post especially 3D virtual
in the subject field. If you havent worlds, in language
yet created a blog, you can simply  teaching. Currently, she
is in the last stages of
send it to post@posterous.com. If her studies for an MA in
Educational Technology
you want to add tags, write them My students were proud of having their and TESOL at the
between double brackets after the own website and appreciated the University of
Manchester, UK.
title in the subject field with additional material which they could
commas (see top image). nergizkern@gmail.com
use to practise outside class. They liked

58 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


T E C H N O L O G Y
In this series, Nicky Hockly explains
Five things you always
wanted to know about apps
(but were afraid to ask)
aspects of technology which some people
may be embarrassed to confess that they
dont really understand. In this article, she
applies herself to apps.

students will have at least a mobile


1 Ive heard the phrase theres
an app for that, but what is
an app?
phone. In developed countries, these
phones are increasingly likely to be
5 How can I start using apps
with my learners?
Here are some simple steps you can take:
An app (or application, to give it its full internet-enabled smartphones, and many
English language apps now available are  Find out whats available, for example
name) is a software program. Although
designed for these. However, there are by reading the apps review I recommend
apps can be downloaded to, or accessed
also English language mobile products above. You dont need a smartphone
from, any computer, the word has
available for lower-end mobile phones yourself to know whats out there.
become synonymous with the programs
on mobile devices, particularly the iPhone one example is the BBC project Janala,  Find out what sort of mobile devices
or iPad. This is because the catchy which makes very affordable language your students already have and what
slogan Theres an app for that first lessons available via basic mobile they use them for. If some of your
appeared in a marketing campaign for phones to learners in Bangladesh students have smartphones, do they use
Apples iPhone. Apple were granted (www.bbcjanala.com). any English language learning apps? You
trademark rights over this phrase in 2010, Of course, even in developed may find, for example, that some of them
but that hasnt stopped lots of spoof countries we are not at the point where already have dictionaries on their phones.
Theres an app for that videos appearing every learner in every classroom has a
 Provide your students with a list of
on the internet. My favourite is at smartphone. Nevertheless, some of your
what you consider to be useful (ELT and
http://bit.ly/B4vrD. students may have them and it is part
non-ELT) apps. You could start simply by
You can buy apps for an iPhone or of our job as English teachers to know
recommending a few podcasts, for
iPad at Apples App Store and apps for what resources are out there for our
example these can be downloaded to
an Android mobile device at Google students, and to be able to point them
smartphones and mobile devices, but
Marketplace. In this article, we will look towards these.
they can also be accessed from regular
at apps that are specifically made for computers. Take a look at the lesson plan
mobile/handheld devices.
4 So what apps are good for
learners of English?
by Ana dAlmeida for introducing learners
to the British Council Flatmates podcast
Youll find smartphone apps for all sorts
2 So you download apps to your
mobile phone? of things: grammar, vocabulary practice,
pronunciation, listening, dictionaries ...
series at http://bit.ly/go0mhd.
 Encourage your students to use apps
Well, to a smartphone and/or to other regularly over a period of time (eg two
mobile devices such as a tablet There are also courseware apps that
weeks). Then get feedback in class time
computer. We need to distinguish provide mini-lessons, complete with text,
on how they are finding the experience.
between web apps and native apps. audio and even video. Most ELT apps
You may find that this encourages others
Web apps are apps (software programs, tend to be repackaged versions of self-
in the class to try using apps.
remember) that live on the internet. This access materials already available on the
web or in self-study print workbooks. In other words, start out small, and get
means you need to be connected to the
There are notable exceptions, with apps regular feedback on your students out-
internet via your mobile device to use
designed to encourage interaction via of-class use of apps. If they feel that the
them. If you are not connected to the
social media, eg Facebook, Twitter, etc. efforts they are making to practise their
web, your web app wont work.
The apps designed by the British Council English are recognised and appreciated
Native apps, on the other hand, live
are, in my opinion, currently some of the and that they are learning something
on your device, so you dont need to be
best in our field (see http://bit.ly/bS6f7y). they are more likely to continue. ETp
connected to the internet to use one all
the data that the app needs is stored on I dont have space here to review specific
Nicky Hockly is Director of
your handheld device. So you connect to apps, but youll find a fairly comprehensive Pedagogy of The Consultants-E,
review at http://bit.ly/cd57IC. an online teacher training and
the internet once, to download the app, development consultancy. She
but after that you dont need a There are also plenty of apps around is co-author of Teaching Online
connection in order to use it. which are not specifically designed for (DELTA Publishing), which was
nominated for a 2011 British
ELT, but which can make wonderful tools Council ELTon award. She is
for learners to produce language with. currently co-authoring a book

3 Im a classroom English
teacher. Why should I care
about apps?
Take a look at a video by Gavin Dudeney,
which demonstrates how you can make
on digital literacies and
maintains a blog at
www.emoderationskills.com.
effective use of some good non-ELT Contact Nicky at nicky.hockly@theconsultants-e.com and
Mobile devices are becoming increasingly apps: http://bit.ly/haernd. let her know of any other ICT areas youd like her to
ubiquitous, so the chances are that your explore in this series.

60 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com


Webwatcher
Web Russell Stannard
recommends a site for sharing.

www.brainshark.com/mybrainshark over all the slides you want to add voice to, you simply click on
End Recording Session. Your asset and the voice narration will
A lot has been said and written about digital storytelling. I am be uploaded into your content area and you will be able to play
not always keen on the meta-language that often surrounds back the whole presentation with the sound. It will run from slide
technology and education, but I am actually quite fond of this to slide automatically. Below, you will see the link assigned to
particular term. I have always thought that technology should the presentation and you can then send this out to your friends,
open the way for greater creativity in language tuition, and digital students or teacher as an email.
storytelling is really just about getting students and teachers to
use technology to tell stories. These can be in written or oral Getting into gear
form and can be supported by a whole range of media, such as
There are lots of things you can do with this site. Here are just a
video, pictures, drawings and other documents.
few ideas.
In this article we are going to look at one absolutely fabulous
tool that offers a whole range of wonderful opportunities for Pictures
digital storytelling. It is called myBrainshark and it is probably one Get your students to upload a series of pictures and then talk
of the most powerful tools we have looked at in Webwatcher. about them. It might be pictures of their friends, a holiday, a
Basically, it allows you to upload pictures, videos, place they like, a sporting event they attended in fact, anything
PowerPoint slides in fact, any type of document you like add they like. If their language level is low, they can just load one
voice narration or commentary and then share the resulting picture, but you can get higher-level students to upload a whole
recording with students, colleagues or the wider world. This site series of pictures.
is slightly trickier to use than some of the others I have shown
Presentations
you, though it is really not that hard and, once you know the
This is a great tool for practising giving presentations. Get the
system, you should be able to upload material relatively easily,
students to prepare and upload a series of PowerPoint slides
then add your own audio and share.
and then record themselves giving a presentation. They can
record and re-record as often as they like, and then share the
Getting started
resulting recordings with you and their classmates.
First, you will need to sign up to myBrainshark (the entry-level
tool is free). Once you have an account, you simply go to Upload Word documents
Content. You can choose what type of content you want to You could ask the students to write out a timeline of their life in a
upload. Just click on the relevant tab, then simply find the digital Word document and then record themselves talking about it.
asset from your hard disk (digital asset is a term that describes This is a good way for them to practise past tenses. You could
anything on your computer, such as a picture, a PowerPoint also get them to write out the basic structure of a story and then
presentation, a video, a Word file, etc) and click on Open. A upload it and add audio.
window will then appear where you can add information about Video
the asset you have just loaded, such as a title or a description; The students can upload video content and then add narration.
you can choose some categories to include it in and also add This could be a video they have shot themselves. Loading video
some tags. All this information helps to make your assets easy to is done in just the same way as loading pictures or documents.
find and easy to share. Look on the right, and the site shows you
the progress as your file is uploaded and then converted into a 
format that myBrainshark can work with. (You dont have to worry
about any of this: it is all done automatically.) I believe this tool has the potential to transform the types of
Once your asset or a series of assets have been loaded, just activities we get our students to do. It is great that one tool lets
click on the Next button and this is where the fun starts. You you upload so many types of documents and then add voice
need to click on the button which says Click here to record narration. The site can even be used for podcasting. I would
using your microphone and then you will be able to record really encourage you to try it out. As usual, I have provided some
yourself talking about the document, picture or PowerPoint file help videos to show you how to use the site. You will find these
that you have uploaded. The tool will ask you if you want to use at www.teachertrainingvideos.com/brain/index.html. ETp
the Flash plug-in to connect to your microphone; simply click on
Allow and then you will be ready. Each slide from your asset or Russell Stannard is a Principal Lecturer in ICT at the
each picture will be shown in a list. Click on the slide you want University of Warwick, UK, where he teaches on the
to add a commentary to, and then click on Record. When you MA in ELT. He won the Times Higher Education
Award for Outstanding Initiatives in Information and
have recorded your audio, click on Stop and you will be asked Communications Technology in 2008, TEFLnet Site
if you want to save, preview, retry or discard it. You can play of the Year in 2009 and a 2010 British Council ELTon
award, all for his popular website
back your recording, check that you are happy with it and then www.teachertrainingvideos.com.
click on Save. The audio will be added to that slide and the
system will then move you onto the next slide and you can add Keep sending your favourite sites to Russell:
russellstannard@btinternet.com
a further recording. It is really easy. Once you have recorded

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 61


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

Digital technology
ducational institutions around the their students the opportunity to screen and then explain the meaning of

E world are rushing to invest in


technology in the belief that it will
make classroom language learning
a more vibrant and engaging experience. In
this article, I focus on just one piece of
demonstrate their own technological skills:
giving PowerPoint presentations, showing
comic strips with speech bubbles containing
dialogue they have created, projecting and
describing digital photos of favourite
difficult words, or display a series of
grammatically incorrect sentences and
have the students identify and correct the
grammatical errors contained within them.
In such circumstances, the dynamism of
technology, the LCD projector, which can possessions, and so on. In sum, wise digital technology is lost, since text
display on a whiteboard, interactive teachers use technology selectively to help projected from a pdf or Word file is static,
whiteboard or pull-down screen whatever make student learning a more dynamic, visually unappealing and difficult to read
material the teacher chooses to project meaningful and memorable experience. (particularly from the back of the room)
from a computer. This single piece of Technology sometimes captivates less unless the font size is significantly enlarged.
hardware has enormous implications for experienced teachers, leading them to It is often not only technologically but
classroom teaching, since an internet believe that digital activities will also pedagogically unwise for teachers to
connection enables teachers to have their automatically promote learning because of use LCD projectors to consolidate
classes view not only material their potential to enliven grammatical understanding. In the case of
downloaded from dedicated Technology sometimes classes of less-than- error correction, the students need first to
educational websites, but captivates less enthusiastic students. While work on their own, reading each sentence
also data from countless it is true that bright, eye- closely, identifying the error(s) and making
information and entertainment
experienced teachers catching, rapidly-moving their own corrections. (For this they need
websites: images, video clips, podcasts, images accompanied by engaging sound individual worksheets on which they can
cartoons, news items, documentaries, effects are often attention grabbing, it is write.) The teacher can then project a
interactive games, online virtual worlds, also true that students can quickly tire of master copy of the sentences and invite
and so on. Here, I discuss some of the learning activities that display the wow suggestions for corrections, encouraging
effective and less effective ways of using factor but that lack substance, or that are whole-class discussion of alternatives where
LCD projectors in language classrooms. not fully exploited by the teacher. appropriate. When it comes to multiple-
Language teachers who have regular A further temptation for less experienced choice grammar exercises, there are myriad
access to classrooms with LCD projectors, teachers is to underestimate the time taken: interactive quizzes available on the web.
who teach relatively small classes 1 to preview videos for their relevance and Since these give instant feedback on
containing motivated students, who have appropriateness for the personal performance, students
sufficient time, resources and technological age and maturity of their Teaching entails far more are better doing these on their
know-how to prepare digitally-based classes; and 2 to prepare
than simply selecting a own working either at
learning activities, who do not work within suitable learning tasks individual workstations or on
tight syllabus constraints and who have for general-purpose video and pressing the their own computers at home.
ready access to technical support are well videos (which are unlikely play button It is clearly advantageous
placed to enhance their teaching through to be accompanied by for language teachers to be as
the use of technology. Some of these downloadable lesson plans). Such teachers digitally literate as possible in todays world
teachers become technological converts, need to remember that teaching entails far and there is no doubt that the facility to
talking in glowing terms of the benefits of more than simply selecting a video and project digital images for whole-class
technology and regarding teachers who pressing the play button. viewing can be a powerful educational tool.
have not embraced it as digital dinosaurs. Effective classroom teaching involves a However, we must keep in mind that it is
Wise teachers decide what they are balance between teacher-fronted teaching not the technology in itself that leads to
going to teach and then find digital materials (when the teacher instructs the class from effective teaching: it is the ability of
to enhance their lessons. As a matter of the front of the room) and student-centred teachers to use the technology wisely and
course, they critically evaluate each new learning (when students work alone, in pairs appropriately. ETp
web-based activity that they find or have or in small groups to complete tasks set up
recommended to them. Such teachers by the teacher). If teachers acculturated into
gradually build up knowledge banks of dispensing knowledge in time-honoured
websites they like, find useful and can ways feel obliged to use LCD projectors, Rose Senior is a language teacher educator
readily re-use with different classes such they tend to use them in ways that support who runs workshops and presents at
conferences around the world.
as one that depicts the meaning of idioms their accustomed teaching styles. For
rsenior@iinet.net.au
pictorially. Many astute teachers also give example, they might project a text onto the

www.etprofessional.com ENGLISH TEACHING professional Issue 77 November 2011 63


Prize crossword 50
ETp presents the fiftieth in our series To solve the puzzle, find which letter each number represents. You can keep a record
of prize crosswords. Send your entry in the boxes below. The definitions of the words in the puzzle are given, but not in the
(completed crossword grid and right order. When you have finished, you will be able to read the quotation.
quotation), not forgetting to include your
VERY FREQUENT WORDS ** A British aristocrat
full name, postal address and telephone number, to Prize *** A series of actions or events that show ** To make a choice from a range of
crossword 50, English Teaching professional, Pavilion how things normally happen possibilities
Publishing (Brighton) Ltd, PO Box 100, Chichester, *** Not healthy ** An exclamation showing discovery
West Sussex, PO18 8HD, UK. Ten correct entries will be *** A country with its own land and ** Making you feel ashamed or unhappy
drawn from a hat on 10 January 2012 and the senders government FAIRLY FREQUENT WORDS
will each receive a copy of the second edition of the *** A device for speaking to someone who is * Someone who cant stop taking drugs
far away * To suffer patiently over a long period
Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners,
*** To form a connection in your mind * A payment that an author gets each time
applauded for its unique red star system showing the between different people or things their book is sold
frequency of the 7,500 most common words in English *** The star that gives us light and warmth * A glass container with a lid
(www.macmillandictionary.com). *** A word used to refer to things in a group, * To surprise someone very much
especially when considering them separately LESS FREQUENT WORDS
*** A word used for connecting possibilities A party (informal)
25 20 25 4 17 16 19 3 4 18 7 26 and choices Relating to populations
10 19 18 3 4 19 4 10 25 4 2 23
*** Advanced in years A flower with an unusual shape
*** Part of the body with the hand at the end A unit for measuring weight (abbreviation)
2 23 10 14 3 1 21 25 19 15 25 23 *** A business or company An organisation or business (abbreviation)
*** A period of 365 days Clever or skilful
4 14 23 2 21 25 21 19 1 1
*** Fair Someone who is old enough to receive a
2 9 19 8 19 13 25 12 19 24 25
*** A word used for comparing one person, government pension
thing or situation with another Not willing to give information, especially in
8 1 24 23 23 25 1 25 25 8 *** An area of business, involving decisions a way that is irritating
about how money is spent or invested Oxfordshire (abbreviation)
6 25 19 23 24 7 4 3 1 2
*** As You Like ___ is a play by William Someone who treats the sick (abbreviation)
4 2 9 2 4 24 5 3 3 4 15 Shakespeare. A friend (informal)
*** Indefinite article Extremely pleasant and polite in a way that
1 3 10 2 16 21 10 23 *** A word used after a negative statement seems false
when adding another negative statement An abbreviation in job adverts after an
22 7 24 21 3 14 3 21 14 19
*** The beginning of something amount of money used to show how much
19 23 8 4 19 21 3 2 4 2 19 16 *** The system by which a countrys trade, someone will earn if they work as well as
industry and money are organised they are expected to
23 25 19 26 21 2 4 17 3 23 21 14 *** To put something with another thing or An object that floats on water to show
group of things ships where it is safe to go
23 16 25 19 10 25 18 7 26 3
*** Frozen water A winter sport
16 8 19 1 2 2 26 1 10 *** Existing in the physical world, not in a A feeling of being nervous or uncomfortable
story about a situation
23 2 6 19 26 21 6 10 2 6 23 25 *** Not odd or rough To improve something that is not very good
*** She Stoops ___ Conquer is a play by by including something that is good
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Oliver Goldsmith. The relationship between an organisation
N *** Something worn on the head and the public (abbreviation)
14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 FREQUENT WORDS Someone who pretends to like an important
L ** Not involving war or violence person in order to get something from them
** Part of the body between the arm and the An international organisation that
25 4 25 23 15 6 19 4 1 16 25 23 24
hand encourages countries to work together
3 24 21 19 4 10 25 10 2 4 11 7 25 23
** Tidy (abbreviation)
** Very keen to do something A bull with no testicles
19 26 26 21 14 3 4 15 24
Benjamin Franklin ** To offer a particular amount of money for Used in business letters to indicate the
something at an auction subject being written about

64 Issue 77 November 2011 ENGLISH TEACHING professional www.etprofessional.com