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January 2000 - issue 1/00

Developing Teachers Newsletter

Phew! Made it through the holidays & the Y2K scare - the first being infinitely more difficult than the latter. Now it seems we should be worrying about February 29th!
I was in the UK for most of the Xmas break & there were no problems with the millennium date change - no planes falling out of the sky, no multiple car crashes because of traffic lights being confused & no general pillaging in the streets. A lot of people seemed extremely disappointed by this lack of action & this disappointment was then vented in the form of questioning the value of the money spent on the precautions in the first place. It was as if they'd been cheated out of some form of entertainment. A funny lot. It may be the same elsewhere but I hear that in the States praise was being heaped on the architects of the non-event. Good discussion points for the class.

Connected to all of this is the article in the attachment on 'the bug that stayed under the rug' - lots of things you can do with it.

Next month's theme will be about romance - Feb. >>Valentine etc. ..So all contributions welcome. Hope that you are all well rested & looking forward to the new millennium - not that we will actually see much of it but ... happy teaching.

Alistair

INDEX
1.THEME
2.LINKS
3.LITERATURE
4.A QUESTIONNAIRE
5. PS

1.THEME
The Millennium - a few ideas:
- roleplays on taking back those unwanted presents.
- present swap: give out presents & they have to swap to get what they want - see Christmas Swapping in the Intermediate Communication Games.
- best/worst things about the past millennium.
- prediction of things to come in the new one. - resolutions for the new millennium - could get a 'human charter' together.
- vote on the 'personality' of the past millennium - variations on the balloon debate..
- personal accounts - what it means to each student, if anything - letter to the editor?
- personal accounts of the New Year celebrations - write a letter to a friend.
- what to put into a time capsule - 10 things from the last millennium.
- design a quiz - world/local history from the past millennium. -

some ideas on using the attached article:

a. predictions from the title followed by a quick extensive read of the first general section to confirm predictions
b. hand out the 'They said....' lines & the following sections, mixed up, & they have to match up.
c. could use each of the sections in a 'jigsaw' reading activity - each student has a heading & section & they talk with each other to exchange their information - the situation could be a newspaper office with journalists collating info & then they decide on three of the sections for insertion in the article, hence rejecting the other seven sections i.e.. The communicative purpose of the activity.
d. language work: 'they said that...' reporting (& also 'said, reported, claimed - transform to active equivalents), past tenses (past continuous, simple, perfect & passives), lexical fields of millennium fears - unfounded, failure, meltdown, paranoia, glitches, threat, worries, stocked up, concerns, terrorists or hackers, alarm sounded, least prepared, shut up business, crunch, averted, etc..
e. follow up activities - reports from the different places mentioned - change the info into disasters & report what happened orally or through e-mail dispatches etc. - letters to the editor ...

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2.COURSES
A reminder; Pre-Diploma course - in need of new ideas? thinking about the Diploma course?Then this is the course for you.
An eight week mini-Diploma course to give you exciting new ideas & a taster of the Dip course without the hard work! 32 hours, 2x2 hours a week, Monday& Wednesday mornings. Begins on Monday 14th February 2000.
Teaching the Younger Learner - we ran this last year & it was a great success. It is packed with ideas & activities to give the different age groups fun lessons. Eight week part-time, 32 hours, 2x 2 hours a week, Tuesday & Thursday mornings. Begins on Tuesday 15th February 2000.
Teaching Phonology - isn't it time you got to grips with it? Do you find yourself looking for ways around it & feel guilty? A very practical course with the theory clearly explained. A six week course, two & a half hours each Friday. Begins on Friday 18th February 2000.
DELTA courses - the professional qualification. If you've been teaching for two/three years or more & you would like to extend your career then this is for you. It's an in-depth look at English language teaching that takes you on many different but connected routes. The next full-time courses last for eight weeks & are in April/May and July/August. Lots of discount for early application.
Interested? Then do get in touch very soon. You can see brief descriptions of all of the current courses on our web site www.cospa.es/blc/

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3.LINKS
www.economist.com
A very useful site for material for your business students. There are a variety of up-to-date articles - not the full version as for that you have to subscribe to the paper magazine. There are two newsletters that are sent on Thursdays - the headlines from the different sections of the magazine - nice material - lots of snippets of news useful for discussion work. (When you register at the site you get to download a free Economist screensaver.)

www.thisistrue.com
Lots of short wacky articles are sent weekly by e-mail to use as warmers or more extended reading skills development.

http://webster.commnet.edu/HP/pages/darling/grammar.htm
On his travels around the net Gerard has come across this site that is concerned with helping you to become a better writer. It is written by a Professor Charles Darling at Capital Community College in the US for students on their English courses. So it is primarily aimed at native speakers but there's no reason why advanced learners might not find it useful. It is an on-line grammar book & combines with bringing it into your writing. The Eminent Quotables & the Anomalous Anonymies are fun reading. Worth checking out.

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4.FREE LITERATURE
From Nedra, a source of free books - http://sailor.gutenberg.org/ Stacks of them! Thanks Nedra.

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5. A QUESTIONNAIRE
Here's another one. We're currently planning a teachers' course for teaching business English & we would like to cater to teachers' specific needs & interests. We would appreciate it if you could take a couple of minutes to respond. Thanks.

TEACHING BUSINESS ENGLISH ( "Business English" includes English taught in a company context.)
1. When you first began teaching business English, did you find you were adequately prepared in terms of background/previous training?
2. What published ELT business materials have you found most/least interesting?
3. Apart from published ELT materials, what other sources/materials have you used in this type of teaching?
4. Have you used materials from the students' own jobs/companies?
5. Have you encountered any problems in the teaching of 'business English'?
6. If you were to do a course related to teaching business English, what areas/aspects would you like the course to focus on?

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6. PS
http://askjeeves.com/
In response to the WebFerret I was talking about last time Nedra has sent this one. It lets you enter your query in real English (i.e. Where can I find information about English academies in Madrid?) & searches a number of other search engines, including www.metacrawler.com/ which in turn searches multiple engines, allowing you to define your search nicely (by phrase, keyword).
We have also found a worthy competitor to the Web Ferret I referred to in the last issue. It is again free, is called Copernic 2000 & you can download it from www.copernic.com It uses specialised engines for the search you want. On the free version you get to use six categories: the Web, E-mail Addresses, Newsgroups, Buy Books, Buy Hardware & Buy Software - & on the pay version for c.$40 you get 20+ categories. In order to download Copernic 2000 it might be an idea to first download Go!Zilla from www.gizmo.net , free again, & this programme enables you to download programmes safely without fearing a break in your connection as you simply go back to the site & continue - Go!Zilla has saved what you began.

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