February 2002 - issue 2/02
Welcome to the February Newsletter
There was a lot of excitement over here when
the new currency came out so this month we've got a lesson
plan & a few sites about the euro. All seems to have gone
very well with the change with most people using the euro
after the first couple of days so as not to get confused mixing
the two currencies.
As well as Valentine's Day, the Chinese New
Year is nearly upon us so there's a lesson plan about this
- see The Site section below - & there are links to last
year's Valentine's Day lesson plan, with a new plan coming
up in next week's Teaching Tip, & for teaching ideas check
out the Romance theme in the Feb. 2000 Newsletter too. Also
new on the site there are some articles, one with an accompanying
By the way, if anyone has got a Harry Potter
lesson plan then send it in. If we get a good response we'll
put up a collection of Harry plans.
1. THEME - the euro
2. THE SITE - lesson plans
4. E-MAIL COURSES
5. TEACHING LINKS
7. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
8. TRAINING COURSES
9. PS - Internet/computer-related
10. THE BIT AT THE END
1. THEME - the euro
lesson plan that accompanies the newsletter this month uses
the 'euro' as the focus. The lesson begins with a questionnaire
about the euro & then goes on to a prediction activity
on the text used. The text, taken from BBC Online, is about
a boy in the UK who made money from a mistaken currency exchange
rate in a department store. It has been divided into two for
a 'mutual dictation' task - in pairs the students dictate
their parts of the text to each other & when they have
the full text they do a comprehension task. The follow up
tasks include a discussion & roleplays to choose from.
You can find the lesson plan at:
A few links to get
materials on the euro:
Lots of articles, many now a bit out of date,
but still worth checking out.
Euro essential from the European Commission.
Guardian's special report on the euro
Online Guardian quiz from UK perspective.
Here are some haikus on the euro from a British
point of view, from a Guardian newspaper competition. For
more get along to:
A rainbow of notes
Divided up into cents.
To some it makes none.
by Diarmuid Fogarty
recipe for success or
menu for failure?
by Sue Sims
the euro is here
but not actually here
it's just over there
by Steve Wiseman
It won't affect the
pound in your pocket and pigs
glide in formation
by Peter Charles
Champagne, red carpet
welcomes "euro" baby's birth!
by Prema Mootoo
Euroka! Well, not quite.
Sterling stays while other
currency has gone.
by Michael Jefford
A new currency:
you can use it anywhere
you go in Europe.
by David Eldridge
For more on haikus, check out the 4th
February Teaching Tip, Hopeful Haikus. This looks at what
they are, some examples & a procedure on using them in
Back to the index
2. THE SITE
As well as the Euro lesson plan there is
another plan that moves away from Europe & over to the
Chinese New Year falls on February 12, 2002. It is the first
day in the Year of the Horse & the year 4699 by Chinese
calendar. If you were born in 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966,
1978 or 1990 then this is your year. There's a lesson plan
about this - there are a series of Fortune Cookie Sayings
to start of with & then a reading about the Chinese New
Year. This is followed by an introduction to the Chinese calendar
& an interpretation of the animal signs. Lots or reading
a Valentine's Day
the February 2000 Newsletter that had Romance as its theme
There are some excellent new articles on
the site this month.
Jeanette Corbett is back with an article
& lesson plan about grammar. As Jeanette says at the beginning
of the article, 'What
is grammar and how should we teach it ?',
As so much has been written about grammar
we could be forgiven if we admitted to confusion. Each person
whether a learner or a teacher has an opinion. Likewise different
styles of teaching equate to the varying opinions on how it
should be taught, if indeed it should or can be taught.
So two questions with very open answers,
which I will attempt to reply to in this paper. Firstly, I
will look at what grammar is considered to be from the learners
perspective and that of the teacher, including my opinion.
Then I will answer second question looking at how grammar
is being taught today, focusing on it's usefulness for the
learner and my experience.'
upper intermediate/first certificate level lesson plan
Main aim: To introduce and review comparisons through a text,
then heighten students´ awareness of the use of modifiers
and nouns with comparatives.
a) Vocabulary: to introduce and revise vocabulary
associated with the family.
b) Speaking: To give students the opportunity
to talk about their families & use comparisons as required.
c) To evaluate student knowledge of
character and description adjectives related to people.
is learner autonomy & how can it be fostered' is the article
from Dimitrios Thansoulas this month. The introduction
to the article:
'Over the last two decades, the concepts
of learner autonomy and independence have gained momentum,
the former becoming a 'buzz-word' within the context of language
learning (Little, 1991: 2). It is a truism that one of the
most important spin-offs of more communicatively oriented
language learning and teaching has been the premium placed
on the role of the learner in the language learning process
(see Wenden, 1998: xi). It goes without saying, of course,
that this shift of locus of responsibility from teachers to
learners does not exist in a vacuum, but is the result of
a concatenation of changes to the curriculum itself towards
a more learner-centred kind of learning. What is more, this
reshaping, so to speak, of teacher and learner roles has been
conducive to a radical change in the age-old distribution
of power and authority that used to plague the traditional
classroom. Cast in a new perspective and regarded as having
the 'capacity for detachment, critical reflection, decision-making,
and independent action' (Little, 1991: 4), learners, autonomous
learners, that is, are expected to assume greater responsibility
for, and take charge of, their own learning. However, learner
autonomy does not mean that the teacher becomes redundant,
abdicating his / her control over what is transpiring in the
language learning process. In the present study, it will be
shown that learner autonomy is a perennial dynamic process
amenable to 'educational interventions' (Candy, 1991), rather
than a static product, a state, which is reached once and
for all. Besides, what permeates this study is the belief
that 'in order to help learners to assume greater control
over their own learning it is important to help them to become
aware of and identify the strategies that they already use
or could potentially use' (Holmes & Ramos, 1991, cited
in James & Garrett, 1991: 198). At any rate, individual
learners differ in their learning habits, interests, needs,
and motivation, and develop varying degrees of independence
throughout their lives (Tumposky, 1982).'
Alex Case has another article up, this one
Preparing Intermediate Students to Tackle Authentic Texts'
& is about:
'The theory and practice of taking the stress
out of authentic reading texts.
Simply from the two terms used, it seems
obviously preferable to use something 'authentic' rather than
'inauthentic', but when you are tackling an authentic piece
of reading text in a foreign language for the first time,
or have possibly tried and failed many times before, this
is easier said than done. This article plans to examine how
the stress can be taken out of this experience for intermediate
students. To this end the article will examine
- my own personal interest in this area
- a brief history of reading in EFL
- reading in general in both L1 and
- classroom activities to prepare these
students for authentic texts
- how well current published materials
deal with this skill.'
If you've given a course or seminar or have
a lesson plan & would like to give it a public airing
then do send it to:
ADVERTISING - If you are interested in advertising on the
site or the Weekly Teaching Tip & this Monthly Newsletter
then please get in touch at:
Back to the index
Here's a nice warmer sent in by Annie Jones
in the UK:
'When my students come in at the beginning
of the morning they're yawning away & in no mood for anything.
So to wake them up I get them to stand in a circle & we
all do a few physical warm-up exercises together. These are
mainly stretching exercises like touching your toes five times.
It works & it's fun. We can then all get on with a productive
lesson. I sometimes do this during a lesson & I imagine
the same can be done for the class that begins at the end
of the day too.'
Thanks Annie - do you have a favourite warmer?
Send it in & we'll publish it here & put it in the
warmer list on the site.
4. E-MAIL COURSES
Maximise your time by getting started on
quality personalised teacher development course. There
are a couple of sample pages to view.
5. LINKS FOR TEACHING
An excellent support site for the FCE &
CAE Cambridge exams - both students' & teachers' sections
with fortnightly newsletters.
Lots & lots of links related to vocabulary. Scroll down
past the first bit.
And lots of grammar quizzes that you could direct your stds
for extra consolidation after looking at the area in class.
Online English Grammar.
A ten-part business English course to help
with work & travel. You follow two characters in Manchester
through videos, readings, vocabulary work & quizzes.
Internet-Based Projects for Business "Networking"
- list of resources
From University College London - 'The Internet Grammar of
English is an online course in English grammar written primarily
for university undergraduates. However, we hope that it will
be useful to everyone who is interested in the English language.
IGE does not assume any prior knowledge of grammar.
The Internet Grammar of English will be accessible free of
charge to users from UK educational institutions (i.e. for
those who log in from a domain ending in .ac.uk). For a limited
trial period only, IGE will also be accessible free of charge
to all other users.'
Also from University College - 'The Survey of English Usage
(SEU) is an English Language research unit, based in the Department
of English Language and Literature at University College London.
This department was rated 'excellent' in the Teaching Quality
Assessment, and was awarded a 5* in the 1996 and 2001 UK Research
Back to the index
Near Venice, Italy
Our school, located in the heavily industrialized
northeastern part of Italy (about 35 miles from Venice) is
looking for teachers for both general and business English.
Applicants must be native speakers, preferably with teaching
experience. Contact us - Mike Brown Sed Etiam srl, via Forniz,
1,I-33080 Porcia (PN) tel. +39 0434 591277 email@example.com
Full-Time English Teacher Wanted at the Banana
Kid English School. Established school in Utsunomiya-city,
seeks motivated, energetic native English speaker in April
of 2002 to teach children and adult. 250,000yen 280,000yen/month.
40 hour work-week includes teaching / preparation. Sponsorship/furnished
housing provided. Casual atmosphere/dress, long summer holiday
Contact : firstname.lastname@example.org
Qualified EFL teachers part and full-time
required in and around Madrid for in-company work must be
mother tongue English and have some ELT experience. Please
send CV to email@example.com
can post CVs on the site & employers can post job adverts
- both are free services at the moment.
7. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail. Last week haikus
& next week a Valentine's Day lesson plan. Sign up!
Train in Spain - Courses running in the near
future at the British Language Centre in Madrid:
CAMBRIDGE CERTIFICATE IN ELT - CELTA
Part-time twelve-week course, April >>
Full-time four-week courses, April, May,
CAMBRIDGE DIPLOMA IN ELT - DELTA
Two month full-time course: July & August
Reasonably priced accommodation can be arranged
for the duration of all courses.
You can see brief descriptions of all of
the current courses on the BLC web site http://www.cospa.es/blc/TED/ttframe.htm
The postal address of Teacher Education at the British Language
Centre is Calle Bravo Murillo 377, 2, 28020 Madrid, Spain.
The phone number is (00 34) 733 07 39 & the fax number
is (00 34) 91 314 5009.
The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Back to the index
9. PS - Internet/computer-related links
Google whacking anyone? The task is to find the shortest number
of everyday words that can be entered into the Google search
engine that come up with one - but only one - "hit".
A very casual way to see the date & time
- created by Yugo Nakamura. The "Industrious Clock"
is a small, Macromedia Flash movie (@160 Kb) that uses your
Web browser to display your system clock. What's the point?
Well does there have to be one?
And while you're there check out the rest
of the site out the rest of the Yugop site. Click on the dots.
Another showcase site.
More lovely web effects.
"[I]nner concerns do not have their
issueless private character by nature. They do so only when
[we are] increasingly unable to assimilate the data of the
world around [us] by way of experience. Newspapers constitute
one of the many evidences of such an inability. If it were
the intention of the press to have the reader assimilate the
information it supplies as part of his own experience, it
would not achieve its purpose. But its intention is just the
opposite: to isolate what happens from the realm in which
it could affect the experience of the reader. The principles
of journalistic information (freshness of the news, brevity,
comprehensibility, and, above all, lack of connection between
the individual news items) contribute as much to this as does
the make-up of the pages and the paper's style... Another
reason for the isolation of information from experience is
that the former does not enter 'tradition.' Newspapers appear
in large editions. Few readers can boast of any information
which another reader may require of him." Worth checking
Buy a book the cheapest way - feed in a book
& get comparisons of online prices.
Optical illusions galore - present deduction, it looks like
And more 'a site devoted to optical illusions,
3D stereograms, online games and other mind-teasing oddities!'
'At the core of the story in The Fellowship
of the Ring are five very different types of beings, united
in a desperate battle against the Dark Lord, Sauron. It is
by their actions that the future of Middle-earth will be decided.
Men are a fledgling race just coming into their own, Hobbits
are gentle and close to nature, although have an inner strength
which shows itself in adversity. Elves on the other hand are
noble, proud and immortal, while Dwarves are short, loyal
and incredibly tough. Wizards, of course, are supremely powerful
So who are you most like? Will you be brave
like Aragorn, or do you have the perseverance and courage
of Frodo Baggins? Perhaps you possess Gandalf's magical powers,
or the vision and wisdom of Galadriel? Or maybe you see yourself
as Boromir, the valiant warrior?? '
You've always thought you could have psychic powers, no? Here's
your chance to find out.
'Many people have had precognitive dreams and successful intuitive
hunches and would like to know, "Could I be psychic?"
We've created some informal tests for "psi" abilities
based on the same techniques used in more formal laboratory
experiments. You'll get immediate feedback about your performance,
however keep in mind that your results should be considered
suggestive, as high scores in these tests can be due to chance
as well as to actual abilities. Only repeated testing can
distinguish between "lucky" scores and genuine skills.'
An alternative history of the web
If you are the type who likes reliving films or books through
lego then this is where you must really go!
Back to the index
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