February 2003 - issue 2/03
DEVELOPING TEACHERS.COM Newsletter
Welcome to the February Newsletter.
Over here in Europe we're having a really
cold time. It's been some time since I've known it like this
in Madrid. Roll on the Spring.
This month we welcome Tanju Deveci &
Rolf Palmberg to the articles section. Tanju's article looks
at research findings & thoughts on the brain in the learning
process & Rolf's looks at Multiple Intelligences. Dimitrios
joins us again with articles on demotivation & three views
Have you been to the Forums yet? They are
there to complement the site with an interactive element.
We hope you find them a friendly place to meet other teachers
from a wide variety of teaching situations with a host of
different challenges. Join in.
1. THEME - The brain
2. THE SITE - lesson plans
3. BOOK OF THE MONTH
5. E-MAIL COURSES
6. TEACHING LINKS
7. ENGLISH IN CAMBRIDGE
9. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
10. TRAINING COURSES
11. PS - Internet/computer-related
1. Theme - The brain & intelligences
A brain-based approach to teaching English
as a second language by Tanju Deveci
The information about how the brain works is accumulating
continuously. It seems like there is no end to this information,
and we will be having even more information about the way(s)
the brain works as the science of neurology develops. It goes
without saying that learning is dependent on the way our brain
works. Therefore, we, as teachers, need to adapt our teaching
techniques according to the brain research.
Maybe one of the most important findings
of the brain research is that the brain is much more malleable
than previously thought. The specialized functions of specific
regions of the brain are not fixed at birth but are shaped
by experience and learning (Genesee, 2000). Here, the word
'experience' is the key word, and when we consider that learning
and teaching provides individuals with new experiences, the
role of learning experience aided by teaching and teachers
seems clearer. That is to say that teaching and teachers can
actually make a difference in brain development.
However, experience should be purposeful
and meaningful if we want the brain to change in a desirable
fashion. The importance of meaningful learning appears to
be crucial in Caine and Caine's (1994) twelve principles of
learning as well. They assert that the search for meaning
is innate. We cannot stop this search, but channel or focus
it. The human brain survives by searching for meaning, and
responds to meaningless and meaningful information and situations
differently. Therefore, if we want our learners to use and
develop their brains we need to teach for meaningfulness.
Before going any further, I believe that it is essential to
mention Caine and Caine's all twelve principles, which, I
feel, contribute to the search for meaning in one way or another:
1-The Brain Is a Parallel Processor: The
human brain is always doing many things at one time. Therefore,
teaching must be based on theories and methodologies that
guide the teacher to make orchestration possible. Teachers
need a frame of reference that enables them to select from
the vast repertoire of methods and approaches that are available.
2- Learning Engages The Entire Physiology:
The brain is a physiological organ functioning according to
physiological rules. Stress and threat affect the brain differently
from peace, challenge, boredom and happiness. Everything that
affects our physiological functioning affects our capacity
to learn. Stress management, nutrition, exercise, and relaxation,
as well as other facets of health management, must be fully
incorporated into the learning process.
3- The Search For Meaning Is Inborn: The
human brain tries to make sense of our everyday experiences.
This is in its nature, and we cannot stop it at all. Therefore,
in our classes we need to exicite our learners, and arouse
their curiosity. Our learners need to discover information
themselves. In this way, they will be challenged.
4- The Search For Meaning Occurs Through
Patterning: Patterning refers to the meaningful organization
and categorization of information. The brain is designed to
perceive and generate patterns. "Meaningless" patterns
are isolated pieces of information. Learners are patterning,
or perceiving and creating meanings all the time. We can influence
the direction.The information should be organized in a way
that allows brains to extract patterns.
5- Emotions Are Critical To Patterning: What
we learn is influenced and organized by emotions. Emotions
are crucial to memory because they facilitate the storage
and recall of information. The emotional climate in the school
and classroom must be monitored on a consistent basis. The
environment needs to be supportive and marked by mutual respect.
6- The Brain Processes Parts And Wholes Simultaneously:
There are significant differences between left and right hemispheres
of the brain. However, the two hemispheres are interactive.
7 - Learning Involves Both Focused Attention
And Peripheral Perception: The brain absorbs information of
which it is directly aware and to which it is paying attention.
This means that the brain responds to the entire sensory context
in which teaching or communication occurs.
8- Learning Always Involves Conscious And
Unconscious Processes: Students need to review how and why
they learned. This will let them take charge of their own
learning and they will develop personal meanings.
9- We Have At Least Two Different Types Of
Memory: A Spatial Memory System And A Set Of Systems For Rote
Learning: We have a natural, spatial memory system that does
not need rehearsal and allows for instant memory of experiences.
However, facts and skills that are dealt with in isolation
are organized differently by the brain and need more practice
and rehearsal. We, as educators, need to know that teaching
devoted to memorization does not facilitate the transfer of
learning and actually will interfere with the development
10- We Understand And Remember Best When
Facts And Skills Are Embedded In Natural, Spatial Memory:
We learn languages through multiple interactive experiences
involving vocabulary and grammar. Our language is shaped both
by internal processes and social interactions. Therefore,
success in learning a second language will depend on using
all the senses and immersing the learner in a multitude of
complex and interactive experiences.
11- Learning Is Enhanced By Challenge And
Inhibited By Threat: The brain downshifts under threat, and
it learns optimally when appropriately challenged.
12- Each Brain Is Unique: Systems in every
individual brain is integrated differently, which means that
we need to provide choices to attract individual brains.
read the article
Rolf Palmberg's article is also about the
brain & intelligences 'Starting with multiple intelligences
- activities for foreign language teachers'
'Inspired by Rosie Tanner's two papers on
Howard Gardner's MI Theory and how to apply them in foreign-language
teaching (Tanner 2001a, 2001b), I decided to expand her suggestions
into an eight-step activity plan for teachers who are familiar
with Gardner's MI Theory in general but do not know exactly
how and where to start.'
read the article
Some links to information on the brain &
Learn all about the brain.
'BrainConnection.com is dedicated to providing
accessible, high-quality information about how the brain works
and how people learn. Many discoveries are being made in areas
that relate to the human brain, including language, memory,
behaviour, and aging, as well as illness and injury. We believe
that access to this information can provide practical tools
for teaching and learning as well as valuable insights into
almost every aspect of our daily lives.'
Brain explanation & links at About.com
Role of Brain-Based Learning and Alternative Methodologies
in EFL by Marjorie Rosenberg
2. THE SITE
Did you hear about the Crosdale family in Coventry? They discovered
'a cash machine that wouldn't stop giving out money, they
withdrew £134,410. Now three of them are in prison.
Was their crime really that bad? Philosopher Julian Baggini
considers their case.' To
see the lesson plan
This month brings two more articles by Dimitrios
Thansoulas. The first continues the
theme of motivation from last month's article
'Student Demotivation' by Dimitrios Thansoulas
We have elsewhere concerned ourselves with student motivation
and what teachers can do to foster it. In this article, we
shall introduce the notion of 'student demotivation', mainly
drawing upon Dornyei (2001), among others. Besides, we shall
try to establish a connection between teacher expectations
and student achievement, thus casting the phenomenon of demotivation
in a meaningful framework, within which both teachers and
students are salient participants.'
read the article
The second article is titled 'Three views
of teaching' by Dimitrios Thansoulas.
The three views are; Teaching as doing: the
behavioural view, Teaching as thinking and doing: the cognitive
view & Teaching as knowing what to do: the interpretivist
view. Here's what Dimitrios says about the first:
'Teaching as doing: the behavioural view
Generally speaking, teaching is seen as doing-as behaviours
and actions which supposedly lead to learning. According to
Rosenholtz (1989), teaching is mainly instructional (my emphasis).
However, in the current state of education, especially in
the United States, teaching is to a great extent custodial.
Teaching is doing, and "doing" entails taking care
of learners (Freedman, Jackson, and Boles, 1983; Lightfoot,
1983a). For some (Apple, 1985; Liston and Zeichner, 1990),
this behavioural view is resultant in 'de-skilling' (Freeman,
1996), as it breaks teaching down into routinised activities
leading to intensification in teachers' work lives when their
jobs become like the repetitive performance of routine tasks
(Apple and Jungck, 1990).
The domain of educational inquiry which investigates
this view of teaching-as-doing comes under the paradigm of
process-product research. This kind of research seeks to relate
what teachers do in class, in other words, the processes they
use, with what students do, or learn, as products of lessons.
Within this view, teaching resides in the generalised patterns
of activity and behaviour derived from what teachers and learners
do in the classroom. Thus, teaching becomes a still-life of
behaviours (Freeman, 1996), detached from both the world in
which it is embedded, and the person who does it.'
read the article
Thanks to Tanju, Rolf & Dimitrios.
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
ADVERTISING - We reach a few thousand teachers every week
with the Weekly Teaching Tip & the same each month with
the Newsletter, not to mention the site. If you've got a book,
anything that you'd like to advertise, then
do get in touch at:
This month there's a review of 'Laughing Matters' - Humour
in the classroom by Peter Medgyes (CUP, 2002)
'a difficult book to review - it's similar
to when you get a new coursebook & you start off by reading
all of the cartoons. Here, the problem is that so much of
the materials are compulsive reading that it took me a while
to get round to the activities. Imagine what it must have
been like to write it!'
read the rest of the review
Please don't forget to go through the
books page when you want to buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
. The books have links to both .com & .uk & if the
books that you want aren't there, do a search with the search
boxes at the bottom of the Books page. We get a little bit
& you pay the same. Every little helps to keep the newsletters
Lots of different Forums to choose from.
Post your jobs, your CV, your questions, finds on the net,
ideas, activities, questions, grumbles, suggestions, your
language courses, your training courses
5. E-MAIL COURSES
& maximise your time by getting started on a quality personalised
teacher development course.
6. LINKS FOR TEACHING
The Language Tools page from Google - they
never cease to amaze me. On this page you can search in specific
languages or countries, translate text or type in a web page
& it'll come back translated into the language of your
choice! The actual translations seem to suffer the same limitations
that most on the web do. Still well worth passing it on to
all of your students.
If you're unsure about what a particular
idiom means, here's a site to help you out.
'Pop-Up Dictionary is a program that can
help you to translate and memorize chosen words of many foreign
languages. Just add your words, set the time, and the program
will be asking you the translations of chosen words from the
You can also create vocabularies and dictionaries and organize
words in them, sort dictionaries by original word, translation
or transcription, view slide show, customise text fields with
your own fonts and colours and choose encodings for many languages,
such as Western European, Hebrew, Arabic etc.'
Formerly known as The Human-Languages Page,
iLoveLanguages is still your biggest and best guide to language-related
MERLOT is a free and open resource designed
primarily for faculty and students of higher education. Links
to online learning materials are collected here along with
annotations such as peer reviews and assignments.
Internet Resources for Language Professionals
Have you got any favourite teaching links?
Post them in the Forums or send them in.
7. ENGLISH IN CAMBRIDGE
If you or your students are thinking of the
UK for an English language course then The New School of English
in Cambridge should be at the top of the list of schools to
Here are a few reasons for choosing The New
School of English
- centrally located in the city of Cambridge
- small enough to provide very personal attention to our students
in the classroom
- accommodation and in their social activities
- no large numbers of one nationality
- high-quality language classes with experienced, well-qualified
- self-catering residential accommodation in the summer for
students who want more independence
If you mention that you found them at Developing
Teachers.com, you'll get a 5% discount on the course fees.
To visit their web site:
8. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
Free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail.
Recent Tips have included:
- Getting it right at the beginning
- Memorable music
- Speaking grades
- Interesting writing
- Defining voice of the punk years
see the Past Tips
sign up to receive them
Here are a few jobs that have come in recently.
If you would like to advertise a job, please go to our Forums
first & post the advert in the Jobs Forum. We will then
pick it up & post it on the site as well. All for free.
Northeast university of Science & Technology/Daqing Petroleum
Institute need ESL/EFL teachers for next semester, beginning
March 1, 2003.
1/ Return airfare paid
2/ Salary is a generous 5000 RMB per month
3/ Modern, comfortable accommodation provided
Contact: Robert Easterbrook:email@example.com
or go to: www.pdrzone.com/dqpi/form.htm
and fill in the application form.
Language Destinations S.L. (Serrano, 93) is looking for experienced
freelance Business English teachers with university degrees
and recognized TEFL qualifications (CELTA/Trinity). Experience
outside of the English teaching field is an advantage.
In addition, we are looking for a number of bilingual (English-Spanish)
Spanish teachers, with experience and teaching qualifications,
to teach intensive Spanish classes within our academy.
We offer excellent remuneration and full backup and support
for our language instructors.
Please email CV to firstname.lastname@example.org
Zhengzhou City, Henan province, China
Zhengzhou International Language School - our School belongs
to the Zhengzhou Education Government. We have 70 students
in our school & all of them want to go abroad for studying.
Private school with government support. Tel no: 0371-3755406
Salary: no more than 4000RMB Student: 9 students in grade
three of High school Age: 18-19 Visa: We will pay the travelling
expenses & solve the visa for the teacher. Accommodation:
The flat will be provided - air-condition, refrigerator, furniture,
bed and so on. (Please see the contract) Work hour: 20 hours
Requirement: Native English speaker with ability to teach
math and elementary computer knowledge.
Contact: Frank Wang email@example.com
Beijing Ladder Information Engineering Co. Ltd., a subsidiary
of Ladder International Corporation in Taipei, was established
in 1992. Now, it is regarded in China as one of the forerunners
in publication and marketing of English learning materials,
as well as implementation of English learning programs. Ladder
provides well-proven, high quality services and products to
thousands of students and companies. The Education Department,
has successfully joint-ventured with elementary and high schools
in Beijing to implement English teaching programs in their
curricula. At present, we have a total of more than 4000 students
and 12 foreign teachers.
Our detailed offer is as follows:
1.Monthly salary 5000RMB, including income tax deducted by
2.Apartment provided or living allowance 2000RMB.
4.Working visa provided for a one-year contract;
5.Round-trip airfare provided (no more than 8000RMB) for a
If you would like any additional information
regarding our program, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
We would be thankful if you could forward your relevant documentations,
resume, copy of passport, diploma and relevant certificates,
My name is Linda Kim, owner and director of Linda English
School in Seoul, Korea. I would like to recruit Canadian native
English speaking teachers, no experience needed, as soon as
possible. If you have teachers who are interested in coming
to Korea, please contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Information: email@example.com
Phone: (86-10) 68364860 ext. 29 Fax: (86-10) 68365338
new CV up from Srija Sinha
As with the Jobs, please post CVs first in
the Forums & then we'll take them up from there.
in Spain - Courses running in the near future at the British
Language Centre in Madrid:
CAMBRIDGE CERTIFICATE IN ELT - CELTA
Full-time four-week courses, next courses: February 10th,
CAMBRIDGE DIPLOMA IN ELT - DELTA
Full-time eight-week course, April/May '03
5% discount on all courses if you mention
Reasonably priced accommodation can be arranged
for the duration of all courses.
11. PS - Internet/computer-related links
'E2 can be a very, very confusing place at
first. This website has grown from being a very simple user-written
encyclopaedia (see E1) to a very complex online community
with a focus to write, publish and edit a quality database
of information, art and humour. When you make an account here
you join not only a team of dedicated writers but also an
entire micro-society and community with its own pop culture,
politics, beauty and blunders. It's not perfect. In fact,
it can be pretty messy. It's cool as hell, though...'
Have you ever tried to download the internet?
Check this out.
'Dave's Quick Search Deskbar is a tiny textbox
that Dave Bau designed for search hounds with weary mouse-fingers.
Unlike the Google Toolbar, this little deskbar lets you launch
searches without starting a web browser first, directly from
your Windows Explorer Taskbar.' Compatible with Windows95/98/2000/XP
and IE 5.5 or higher.
Enter two words to see which is the most
popular i.e. which brings more results on Google.
Funletters for Outlook Express are easy to
use, quick to send, and FREE! Many of our Funletters are animated,
and are available in a wide variety of popular choices. You
can even add your own music or sounds to Funletters if you
'UltimateZip the freeware archive utility
for the new millennium' - free.
A huge page that tells you what those start
up programmes actually are. Start >> Execute >>
Type in Msconfig >> go to Start & there you'll see
a list of the programmes that start up when you turn on your
machine. You'll probably find that a lot of them are not that
necessary. Check out this page to see what they are. From
Eyeball to eyeball. Lovely site.