December 2005 - issue 12/05
Welcome to the December Newsletter.
We're running a bit later than usual this month - busy times.
Richard Kiely finishes his three-part series of articles about
using television, the article this month is titled 'Television in
TESOL - The research agenda'. Greg Gobel also returns with an
article & lesson plan around the theme of pragmatics, 'Some
problems with functions and speech acts and some solutions
through pragmatics to help upper intermediate learners.' & there
is a lesson plan about a rat found in a jar of gherkins.
More free Google GMail accounts to give away - if interested, get
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to support the newsletters & the site. Thanks.
Click on one of the books to get to the .com or .co.uk site or
use the search box at the bottom of the page.
Happy teaching &, for those of you who have them, happy holidays!
1. THE SITE
3. TEACHING LINKS
4. DAYS OF THE MONTH
5. BOOK REVIEW
6. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
7. PS - Internet/computer-related links
8. THE BIT AT THE END
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1. THE SITE - ARTICLES
Television in TESOL - The research agenda by Richard Kiely
In my previous articles I presented an overview of television in
TESOL, and a detailed discussion of how I used a specific piece
of television data in my own teaching. These articles represent a
conventional teacher's perspective, where the goal is to furnish
the programme with activities which engage, motivate and inspire
the students and teacher, while focussing on aspects of language
form, language and communication, and the wider cultural context
of language use. The teacher's concern is about making the
classroom an effective learning environment. Teachers know from
experimentation with different material types, data sources and
teaching strategies what works to create the kind of classroom
they are interested in. What may not be clear from teaching
action alone is WHY and TO WHAT EXTENT. As practitioners,
teachers have a real time sense of what is successful and what is
less successful with particular groups. Where an activity is
successful, they re-use and extend the idea. Where it is
unsuccessful, they leave it, move on and try something else. This
process constitutes valuable learning in itself, and is an
essential element of that factor so appreciated in employment
contexts: 'experience'. It does not however, lead to explanation,
either for the teacher or the wider professional and academic
communities. A research perspective is one way of working towards
explanations and thus, understandings of the links between
classroom processes and learning.
There are many different perspectives on research carried out by teachers, in many ways different routes and modes of transport
towards the destination of knowledge construction. We can
consider the ROUTES as traditions of enquiry...
To view the article
Some problems with functions and speech acts and some solutions
through pragmatics to help upper intermediate learners by Greg
'All learners of a foreign language are familiar with the
disturbing sensation of understanding every word, and the literal
meaning, but somehow missing the point.' Cook (1989: 41)
Functional language has been a focus in ELT over the past three
decades with varying amounts of emphasis, from the Functional-Notional syllabus to a minor component in multi-layered
syllabuses. However, in my experience learners often do not get
the 'whole picture' regarding understanding and using functional
language from coursebooks that teachers and learners are often
expected to use and 'work through' in many language schools. I am
currently teaching an upper intermediate course in which the
learners have difficulties coping with appropriately interpreting
and using functions. This paper investigates some problems that
learners have with functions and suggests possible solutions for
helping upper intermediate learners.
McCarthy says, 'Speech acts refer to the communicative intention
of what is said or written. In speech-act theory, all language is
seen as doing things' (McCarthy, 1998: 179). Dörnyei and Thurrell
say they 'carry out an action or language function' (Dörnyei and
Thurrell, 1992: 80).
'No utterance is completely context free in terms of meaning and
function. Nevertheless,...it is possible to classify utterances
into a very small set of functions' (Hatch, 1992: 121). Searle
determined five general types of speech acts (summarized from
Hatch, 1992: 121-131):
Directives - trying to get someone to do something
Representatives - committing, in some way, to the truth of an
Commissives - committing to doing or not doing something
Expressives - expressing emotion in some way
Declarations - bringing changes to the way things are
van Ek (1980) describes six self-explanatory main functions of
* imparting and seeking factual information
* expressing and finding out intellectual attitudes
* expressing and finding out emotional attitudes
* expressing and finding out moral attitudes
* getting things done
* socializing (Finocchiaro and Brumfit, 1983: 23)
Sub- and micro- functions can be categorized, e.g., instructing, commanding, suggesting, and requesting are types of 'directives'
or getting things done'. Although speech acts may be direct
(e.g., Put that gun down!), 'the majority in everyday
conversation are indirect' ( Dörnyei and Thurrell, 1992: 80).
'Language learners can easily misunderstand indirect speech acts
and take what has been said at its face value' so 'making
learners aware that such structures have a "surface" and "real"
meaning can therefore be very important' ( ibid : 80-81). In
other words, there is often a hidden meaning of utterances which
can be problematic for learners to convey and interpret.
Consideration of the response that a speaker expects from her
listener is necessary. There are two possible responses, 'an
expected, polite reaction (e.g., accepting an invitation or
complying with a request), and an unexpected, less common or more"difficult" reaction (e.g., turning down an invitation, or
refusing to comply with a request). These two types of reaction
have been called preferred and dispreferred answers respectively'
( ibid: 43). Yule says that preferred responses show less
distance, 'closeness and quick connection,' while dispreferred
responses show more 'distance and a lack of connection' (Yule,
To view the article
The accompanying lesson plan:
Time: 60 minutes
Learners will be better able to use functional chunk expressions
to give instructions and ask about how things work in the context
of giving and receiving instruction to operate a device. (stage
[Expressions: First of all..., Can you see a ___ that says
____ ? , The next thing is to..., What you need to do is..., Have
you got that?, Got it? You should be able to see a..., Look out!,
Hang on a minute., This one/thing here?, If you want to _______
then you have to _______, What if I want to..?
To sensitize learners to prominence and tonal movement. For
learners to make attempts at identifying these. (stage 3)
For learners to be able to classify chunk expressions into
specific pragmatic categories: telling how to do something,
checking instructions, warning or correcting what someone is
doing, saying that you understand, asking for help or asking for
more time. (stage 3)
If time allows and learners are not overwhelmed with the
expressions and subsidiary aims above another subsidiary
phonological aim will be to raise learners' awareness of linking
in the expressions, e.g., final consonant linking with initial
vowel, some assimilation, some intrusion, some elision. (stage 3)
For learners to practice extensive listening while putting
pictures in order. (stage 2)
For learners to practice intensive listening by identifying
expressions in the listening text. (stage 3)
We are currently progressing through module 4 in the coursebook, Cutting Edge Upper Intermediate. The lesson previous to this one
was a review lesson for the upcoming internal upper-intermediate
exam, after which we will have three days left before the winter
break to go over problematic bits on the exam and finish module
At the beginning, the learners will do some vocabulary matching
sheets focusing on language that is particular to the devices
that will be used in the lesson. This pre-teaching will hopefully
help them feel more comfortable and more successful in giving
instructions to each other through the lesson. The lexis will
include (washing powder, liquid, drawer, knob, power button,
mouse, mouse pad, icon, screen, viewfinder, handle, lens cap,
record button). Additionally, learners will get the instructions
chart and think of a few expressions for each functional category
to see what they know and prepare for the mini-test in stage 1.
The last 15 minutes of this particular class will be spent either
continuing to practice giving instructions if learners are still
interested or with a quick question/answer session to review for
the internal end of term exam that is coming up. In a future
lesson we will look at written instruction.
This lesson focuses on functional language for giving and
responding to instructions in the context of how to use devices.
The coursebook ( Cutting Edge Upper Intermediate, page 47) is a
good departure point, but needs to be adapted to help learners
more fully manipulate, use and understand this functional
language. This class understand the usefulness of functional
expressions from previous lessons, but we need to take a deeper,
look, spending more time learning and using them - especially in
more pragmatically contextual and realistic ways, which the book
does not always provide.
The lesson follows a test-teach-test format - an appropriate
strategy because the learners will have a clearer reason for
using the new language in the second test phase knowing they had
not used it at the start of the lesson, or will be using it more
comfortably and effectively than at the start. Also, from the
teacher's perspective, I tend to feel more comfortable knowing
which areas need more focus based on the first test.
In stage 1, giving each other instructions on how to operate a
device, learners get some fluency practice early on and test out
how effectively they can give instructions, and especially how
they respond to instructions. I have noticed in the past that
learners tend to listen to operational instructions without
taking a very active role in the conversation.
In stage 2, learners listen to a dialogue in which the
interlocutors give and receive operational instructions. I have
adapted the coursebook's dialogue to include additional and
slightly different functional language and to increase the
challenge and authenticity by having the new speakers speak a bit
more naturally than the coursebook speakers do. The task in this
stage is to order pictures (catering to visual and auditory
learners) according to the interlocutors' instructions and
responses to gain an overview of the dialogue and prepare for the
more intensive listening and language focus. In stage 3,
attention is focused on target functional language through a
sequence of lifting the expressions off the tape (to increase
challenge and interest, rather than simple tape dictation into
gaps), identifying the appropriate function and pertinent
pragmatic information about the expressions, chorus and
individual drilling, and identification of prominence and tonal
movement. This should provide learners with a helpful
introduction to the target language from both conceptual/usage
and phonological perspectives. The book suggests focusing
learners on whether the expressions are for giving or receiving
instructions, but I feel a more helpful and precise
categorization scheme will lead to more appropriate and confident
* The giver: 1. telling how; 2. checking instructions; 3. warning
* The receiver: 1. preferred responses, i.e., acknowledging you understand; 2. dispreferred responses, i.e., requesting help.
Stages 4 and 5 give learners the opportunity to give and receive instructions in semi-controlled and freer speaking tasks, which
ensure the receivers are involved and have a reason to listen.
This should help learners become aware that instructing is a
cooperative type of communication, not simply a one-sided affair.
To view the plan
Asda in a pickle after rat found in gherkins.
Time: 60 minutes??
Level: Intermediate upwards
To give extensive & intensive reading practice
To review the present perfect tense
To give freer speaking practice
To view the plan
Thanks to Richard & Greg.
ARTICLES - If you've given a course or seminar or have a lesson
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TO GET IN TOUCH
No ordinary Master's: become an action researcher with Aston
University's MSc in TESOL Aston University Language Studies Unit:
A couple of recent posts:
Jennifer has got a really interesting teaching scenario:
Engaging students comes out as key in classroom participation,
and it has an important role in developing and supporting
learners' sustained study outside the classroom too. When I did
my original EFL training (at BLC in Madrid) the value of
individual tutorials was stressed, just as it has been in the
latest DT Tip.
But now I'm teaching in China, in most of my classes I have 60 students, and I teach about 360 students each week. In previous
years I've tried to see each student, but the amount of time it
takes now feels overwhelmingly impossible.
Could anyone manage it? At the same time I'm marking work for
this number of students, so I don't have much in the way of free
This sort of scale of problem isn't uncommon in a lot of
countries around the world. It's a feature of the wealth of a
country, the political decisions about how much to invest in
education, the shortage of teachers available simply to put in
front of a class, let alone a teacher who's actually trained and
can speak English.
So, I'd like to know what anyone else does to try to engage their
students when tutorials may well not be feasible. Or feasible
maybe once in a year? There must be others using DT's forums with
similar experiences - and maybe good ideas.
On the positive side, I'd like to say that until I was given
these enormous classes this year, I'd have doubted anything
useful could be achieved, and I'm actually surprised at how
successful lessons are sometimes.
I'm searching for the solutions for the Unit Tests in the
Longmans CAE Gold coursebook for the Units 3,4,5 and 6. Our
teacher just "corrects" our tests by saying to us whether our
answer is wrong or right. If it is wrong we don´t get to know
which answer is right. Please help my learning for my cae test
and tell me the solutions for the units 3,4,5 and 6. Thank you to
Lina would like some advice:
I have a group of 26 seven year old Greek children whom I teach
for 40 minutes 4 times a week. They're all lovely and smart
children, but I have problems with discipline. I've been teaching
for two years only, but I am full of energy and willing to do
anything to make the lesson as interesting as possible. The only
problem is that I work in a private primary school and I am not
the one who decides about the lesson plan (what to be taught,
homework, pages to be covered etc). Besides that, the headmaster
has made it clear to all of us that "noise" cannot be an issue in
our school. I really can't think of a way to keep them quite Sad
The truth is that among my students there are some children who
need special attention and care. I have one mildly autistic child
(who until recently could not be kept inside the class but is
extremely smart), a child with an atrophic arm (who keeps on
teasing the other children) and a child who studies English for
first time in his life and thinks he's unable to catch up with
the rest of the class. Please give me as many advices as possible
to check which one can work best with them. Thank you ps: I've
tried incentive cards and stickers but don't help. We get on very
well and they like me but they seem unable to control their
energy and voice Confused
Brenda would also like some advice:
I am not an Elementary teacher yet. I will graduate from East
Carolina University in May of 2006. I've been in several
classrooms but now I am doing my student teaching and am in the
classroom the whole day and I've noticed some things about a
student that I could use some help with.
I hope I am not bothering anyone here, but I would be glad if
someone could give me information about how to deal with problem
students. I have a student that seeks attention and misbehaves.
The regular teacher and assistant just ignore the fact that it is
repetitive and the child seeks attention of me. He is very loving
and wants to hug me constantly and hold my hand in the hallways,
but misbehaves in the classroom. The teachers say that he is just
bad and thinks I don't know what he is all about. Does anyone
have any suggestions on what I should do to try to change the way
he acts or what could be happening? The teachers have been
teaching for a while and I'm sure this method is effective for
them, but I feel that the student needs something more Do you
have any help or suggestions?
bayan needs some ideas:
I have studied English language in my country & would like some
expressions & phrases used in the class by the teacher to his/her
Debbie would like to know:
I teach ESL in a Middle/High school and my students are Hispanic.
I am looking for a national organization/club for my students.
There are many different clubs at school but none that my
students can relate to. I would like to organize a chapter of
some type of club for my students so they can feel like they have
a place of their own. I have heard there is a national culture
club of some sort. If anyone has any information I would really
What are some ways to enhance class participation amongst
students who fail to participate?
BLItefl are advertising their course in Boston:
EFL Program for Native and Non-Native Speakers of English at The
Boston Language Institute! Intensive 4-week TEFL Certificate
courses (120 hours) offered monthly. 12-week Saturday programs
also offered. Our teacher-trainer program is based on giving TEFL
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from experienced ESL teachers. Special TEFL Certificate Program
for Non-Native Speakers of English also offered.
Boston Language Institute: English Teacher Training (TEFL
Certificate) Programs for Native and Non-Native Speakers of
Joy ETEC offers:
Hi, my name is Joy working for ETEC Agency in S.Korea. If you are
looking for a cozy and friendly workplace, this institute is the
best choice. An institute in Dae gu has a vacancy for a highly
qualified young male teacher.
Lots of different Forums to choose from. Check them out. Post
your jobs, your CV, your questions, finds on the net, ideas,
activities, questions, grumbles, suggestions, your language
courses, your training courses...they are there for you to use.
At DevelopingTeachers.com we occasionally carry out consultancy
work. The different projects have included tutoring DELTA
candidates by email, offering advice on curriculum design &
materials choice & short training courses in person & by email.
If you would like us to help in any way, please do not hesitate
to get in touch.
3. TEACHING LINKS
If you have visited a site that you think would be beneficial for
all or would like your site to appear here, please get in touch.
Podcasts are making the news these days. These are basically mp3
downloads of radio programmes, one of the early sponsors being
Apple, hence the name. Fur teachers they are clearly a very
useful source of exposure & information for our students as well
as information for us as teachers. Here are a couple of links:
Good article about podcasting from the BC/BBC site.
Yahoo launches its own Podcasts - 'audio recordings posted
online, much like short radio shows'. Lots of authentic
listenings to download for free.
Madrid Young Learners' Podcasts
bit by bit
'English Conversations is the collaborative work of Kyoto-based
educators, Mark White and Aaron Campbell. We believe that
internet based audio and video casting applications hold
tremendous potential in global education and second language
learning and plan to explore their uses on this site over the
next several years. Our goal is to create learning resources and
have fun doing it.'
'sushiradio.com offers you short, interesting tidbits on a
variety of topics, made by people from all over the world.'
Lots of podcasts to choose from.
Education section from Podcast Alley
Talking of podcasts, Ricky Gervais, of The Office, together with
Stephen Merchant (co-writer of The Office) and Karl Pilkington
started a podcast on the Guardian Online on the 5th. The cult of
Karl will be with us shortly to be sure. To download it:
Get your students following the instructions online to build the
perfect paper plane.
4. DAYS OF THE MONTH
A few days to plan your lessons around in December:
1st - World Aids' Day
7th - Pearl Harbour Day
21st - Winter Solstice (& June 21st)
World Peace Day
24th - Christmas Eve
25th - Christmas Day - Xmas lesson ideas:
26th - Boxing Day
31st - New Year's Eve
Tolerance Week - 1st week of Dec.
International Language Week
To see the list of Days
Wikipedia's excellent focus on days of the year:
Some holiday origins.
5. BOOK REVIEW
A new review up - 'English for Business Life' - Elementary & Pre-
Intermediate Courses by Ian Badger & Pete Menzies (Marshall
Cavendish). An excellent course series for the business student.
To read the review
BUYING BOOKS - XMAS SHOPPING?
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through our Books page. You will pay the same & we will receive a
few pennies to keep the site & newsletters free. Thanks.
Click on one of the books to get to the .com or .co.uk site or
use the search box at the bottom of the page.
6. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
Free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail.
Recent Tips have included:
- Questioning it - more on writing feedback - student questions
about their work
- Writing back - approaches to individual feedback on written
- Buy Nothing Day '05 - teaching ideas
- Developing - ways to help yourself develop
- Participation - in answer to the Forum post above - ideas to
get students involved
- Halloween & other things - lesson ideas & links to useful
To see the Past Tips
To sign up to receive them
CAMBRIDGE ESOL TEACHER TRAINING COURSES
Train in Spain - Courses running in the near future at the
British Language Centre in Madrid:
CAMBRIDGE CERTIFICATE IN ELT to ADULTS - CELTA
Part-time course twelve-week course starts January '06
Full-time four-week courses; January, February
CAMBRIDGE CERTIFICATE IN ELT to YOUNGER LEARNERS - CELTYL
Part-time course twenty-week course starts mid-January '06
CAMBRIDGE CERTIFICATE IN ELT to YOUNGER LEARNERS EXTENSION
Part-time course ten-week course starts mid-January '06
CAMBRIDGE DIPLOMA IN ELT - DELTA
Full-time two-month courses, January/February, April/May, July/August '06
10% discount on all courses if you mention the newsletter!
Reasonably priced accommodation can be arranged for the duration
of all courses.
7. PS - Internet/computer-related links from SiteSkimmer.com
A few computer use rules of thumb:
- make copies of all-important files
- run scan disk & then defragment the hard drive
- use firewall software
- use a virus scan & update the files every week
- install security patches that software providers offer
- update your DirectX files regularly
- don't open attachments without scanning for viruses first
- don't respond to spam - just delete & forget
- don't send personal or bank information by email
- turn off your computer at night
The following links are taken from the SiteSkimmer.com
Linkletters. Sent out free every fortnight, fifteen links every
issue to follow up & help you enjoy the internet. To subscribe:
The Louvre online.
'Your brain has areas for different skills, and you can develop a
range of talents. You have areas for music and maths, language
and physical ability and even an area for imagining things in
three dimensions. Tease your brain and find out what you're good
Nice effect irregardless of the choice of characters.
'Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing
sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows,
GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.'
'Desktop Calendar XP is a simple and cost effective way of
beautifying the calendar on your desktop. It is a lightweight
tool which will not clobber your system and its interface is very
easy on the eye. The calendar covers two hundred years. It meets
all your needs without much difficulty in setup or maintenance.
It enhances the functionality of your calendar as it comes with a
beautiful Real-time Desktop Clock and other useful inbuilt
utilities such as Wallpaper Manager, System Date & Time Changer,
Date Calculator, Alarm, etc. Desktop Calendar XP comes with an
Image Pack containing twelve beautiful images.'
Interesting optical illusions
Check out The World of Zen.
If you're interested in Deja Vu....
'PopupTest.com provides a simple and independent source for popup
window testing. Whether you are developing a popup killer
software or you are thinking about purchasing one, you can use
our sample popups to test the effectiveness of the application.'
8. THE BIT AT THE END
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