January 2001 - issue 1/01
Welcome to the Newsletter & the New Year.
Another year - another new millennium, the
real one this time - & I was wondering whether the profession
had changed over the past year & whether it will change this
coming year. I soon came to the pessimistic conclusion that
not much had or will change. Teachers will continue to be
paid badly, work long & unsociable hours & the profession
will have the same profile with the layperson. The idea that
teaching English is only good for a year out while at university
is still being perpetuated - by a well- known prince among
others. Demeaning & ageist attitudes abound.
Not all is pessimism though. I've always
thought that teaching must be a dreadful job if you didn't
like it & the other side is true as well - if you do like
it, it is one of the best jobs you can have, a very creative
& rewarding job. It is a job in which the teacher is constantly
developing skills & creativity - skills that more than qualify
teachers to carry out many other jobs that involve people
& management. It's a job where you are helping & contributing
to your learners' possibilities & where one can see progress
So it's not the actual job that's the problem
but the conditions in which the profession exists. So what's
the solution? Open up a language school? Not many of us have
the financial means. There are lots of people trying to make
ELT more professional - organisations that need our support
such as IATEFL (http://www.iatefl.org)
& TESOL (http://www.tesol.edu
) & the recently formed British Institute of English Language
It is through this type of teacher organisation that some
changes will come about.
Join these organisations &, on a smaller
scale, if you haven't already, why not start a teacher development
group in your own workplace or town. This could be a meeting
twice a month. You could pass on great classes that you've
recently given, activities that you've thought of & materials
you've designed. You could discuss a pre-set area, perhaps
members could take it in turns to prepare something.
For sure, employers need to pull their weight
& with continual pressure, professionalism will slowly evolve.
Put your energy into changing the things that you can & make
it work for you.
This month, due to the holiday, the theme
is a reduced one & takes a retrospective look at the year
gone by & the one to come through providing you with a few
links where you can cull material for the New Year lessons.
The Xmas Draw was won by Simon Gill in Olomouc
in the Czech Republic - congratulations. The activities sent
in are at:
Happy teaching! Happy New Year!
6.WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
1. THEME - the New Year
2000 Quiz - here you'll find a list of questions about
the past year - get your students to write some more local
Twenty-five images, selected from 750.000, which are thought
to sum up last year. There's also a video of the year's major
'The year 2000 started with the promise of global meltdown
caused by computers inability to recognise any date ending
in 2000. But despite the dire warnings, there were no major
problems and, free from the threat of the Millennium Bug,
the last year has seen some dramatic advances in science,
technology and medicine. BBC Science takes a look back at
some of the highlights of the year.' A good article for intermediate
last January's newsletter for end/beginning of year activities
- change millennium ideas to those for last year.
As the internet was all the rage last year,
if your students are regular surfers you could get them to
collate their top/bottom ten web sites.
The Independent newspaper is running a joke competition. Print
off the jokes & run the competition in class. Then compare
the results with your own. Great reading practice.
To give you an idea, here is the winning joke - most have
a slightly adult bent.
Good luck, Mr Gorsky
On July 20, 1969, as commander of the Apollo
11Lunar Module, Neil Armstrong was the first person to set
foot on the moon. His first words after stepping on the moon,
"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,"
were televised to Earth and heard by millions. But just before
he re- entered the lander, he made the enigmatic remark: "Good
luck, Mr. Gorsky."
Many people at NASA thought it was a casual remark concerning
some rival Soviet Cosmonaut. However, upon checking, there
was no Gorsky in either the Russian or American space programs.
Over the years many people questioned Armstrong as to what
the "Good luck Mr. Gorsky" statement meant, but Armstrong
always just smiled.
On 5 July, 1995, in Tampa Bay, Florida, while answering questions
following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26-year-old
question to Armstrong. This time he finally responded. Mr.
Gorsky had died and so Neil Armstrong felt he could answer
the question. In 1938 when he was a kid in a small Midwest
town, he was playing baseball with a friend in the backyard.
His friend hit a fly ball, which landed in his neighbour's
yard by the bedroom windows. His neighbours were Mr. and Mrs.
Gorsky. As he leaned down to pick up the ball, young Armstrong
heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky. "Sex! You want sex?!
You'll get sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!"
Another one - I don't mean to offend anyone
- look what is said about the British after all - this might
be an interesting start to national stereotypes:
How many nationalities can you offend
in one joke?
On a beautiful deserted island in the middle
of nowhere, the following people are stranded:
* 2 Italian men and 1 Italian woman
* 2 French men and 1 French woman
* 2 German men and 1 German woman
* 2 Greek men and 1 Greek woman
* 2 English men and 1 English woman
* 2 Japanese men and 1 Japanese woman
* 2 American men and 1 American woman
* 2 Australian men and 1 Australian woman
* 2 New Zealand men and 1 New Zealand woman
* 2 Irish men and 1 Irish woman
One month later, the following things have
* One Italian man killed the other Italian man for the Italian
* The two French men and the French woman are living happily
together having loads of sex.
* The two German men have a strict weekly schedule of when
they alternate with the German woman.
* The two Greek men are sleeping with each other and the Greek
woman is cleaning and cooking for them.
* The two English men are waiting for someone to introduce
them to the English woman.
* The two American men are contemplating the virtues of suicide,
while the American woman keeps on bitching about her body
being her own, the true nature of feminism, how she can do
everything that they can do, about the necessity of fulfilment,
the equal division of household chores, how her last boyfriend
respected her opinion and treated her much nicer and how her
relationship with her mother is improving. But at least the
taxes here are low and it is not raining.
* The two Japanese men have faxed Tokyo and are waiting for
* The two Australian men beat each other senseless fighting
over the Australian woman, who is checking out all the other
men, after calling them both 'bloody wankers".
* Both New Zealand men are searching the island for sheep.
* The Irish began by dividing the island into North and South
and setting up a distillery. They do not remember if sex is
in the picture because it gets sort of foggy after the first
few litres of coconut whiskey, but they are satisfied in that
at least the English aren't getting any.
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2. JOB IN HUNGARY
A spell in Hungary? Lovely country. Eva writes:
'We are a private language school in Hungary preparing students
for international exams mainly. We also teach business English
at intermediate level. We are currently looking for an enthusiastic
native teacher of English as a foreign language.' Contact
Eva Bangocs head-teacher - email@example.com
For a limited period you can post an abbreviated
version of your CV on the Developing Teachers.com web site.
This will give you a high profile amongst employers who visit
the site. For more information
3. YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Send your questions about teaching to us.
Anything from classroom management problems through to grammar
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4. E-MAIL COURSES
The 30% discount continues during January.
Maximise your time by getting started on a
quality personalised teacher development course.
For your business-oriented students, a very useful site -
5.000 definitions and 15.000 links between related terms.
The following list of points about security
came in a newsletter from Zone Labs
http://www.zonelabs.com & it looks good for classroom
There's a lot you can do with it:
- read & put points in order of importance
- give one to each std & they mingle & fill out an information
sheet, deciding on the four most important points
- add more points
- present simple & adverbs of frequency focus
- as a springboard for getting together a list of classroom
- discussion - how realistic are the points? paranoia fuelled
by business interests? - etc.......
Rules of the Internet-connected Household
from Zone Labs
A free Internet security policy for your family. Post everywhere
you have a computer Locking up when leaving the home is the
responsibility of everyone in the family, right? Develop the
same rules for computer and Internet security, and make sure
everyone who uses a computer in the home follows your home
1.We believe computer security is the business of everyone
in this home.
2.We never download freeware or shareware from web sites we
3.We never swap software, games, or files, unless we're sure
they don't contain viruses.
4.We never open email attachments unless we know who they're
5.We never respond to spam or junk mail.
6.We don't give out our address, phone number or other personal
information in chat rooms.
7.We don't shop at web sites that don't respect our security
8.We always use passwords and we change them often.
9.We never use pirated or copied software.
10.We make sure our computer and Internet security are always
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6. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
As always, free
weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail. Sign up!
Courses running in the near future at the
British Language Centre in Madrid:
GETTING TO GRIPS WITH PHONOLOGY
A twelve hour course taking place over six Fridays, 12.00>>14.15,
during the February & March.
A thirty two hour course, Monday & Wednesday mornings - 11.00>>13.15,
during February & March.
CAMBRIDGE CERTIFICATE IN ELT - CELTA
Full-time four-week courses: February, March, April ...
Twelve week part-time courses: January>>April & then April>>June.
CAMBRIDGE DIPLOMA IN ELT - DELTA
Full-time eight-week courses: April & May & then 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/ttframes.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
This is a very welcome Christmas present from my favourite,
incredibly quick, search engine Google. They are making searching
even easier. Instead of going over to a search site to hunt
down something you can do it straight from your links toolbar
- IE or personal toolbar - Netscape.
To start with you need to put the feature on your toolbar.
There's no downloading as it's only a bookmark & all you have
to do is drag & drop from the site into the links section
of your toolbar & there you have it! Now when you've got a
page open all you have to do is highlight a word & Google
will automatically give you a list of search results - from
over one billion web pages. From there you go on to what you
want. I searched for 'engine' & in 0.1 seconds it found 140.000.000
That's not all - when you go to another web page, click on
the Google search & a search box will open, write in what
you want, enter & it will show you every page that matches.
You need x4 browsers plus for this to work.
There's also 'Google Scout' - which gives related sites to
the page you're on & 'Google.com' - that takes you to their
search home page. Magic. All is clearly & visually explained
at the site. Slap it on!
IE users on a PC
Netscape users on a PC http://www.google.com/options/winnetscape.html
IE users on a Mac
Netscape users on a Mac http://www.google.com/options/macnetscape.html
Here's another button to add to your toolbar - a dictionary
- highlight, click & Merriam-Webster gives you a definition.
If you're interested in comparing the search engines around
then this is for you. Among the things you get to find out
are the sizes of each database & the number of dead links
A newsletter from Help.com, Newbie Notes, offers tips & advice
on all things to do with your computer - 'a new column that
translates geek speak into layman's terms. 'Until computer
manufacturers start thinking like car manufacturers, your
computer--unless you own an iMac--generally looks the same
as your cousin Vinnie's. Stop pondering the variations of
gray, because just as mothers, teachers, and self-help gurus
have always said, it's what's happening on the inside that
matters! Subscribe & see.
Another font site - zap up your documents free of charge.
All are listed by category & also alphabetically so it's easy
to get around. Easy to install.
This newsletter is a free service of the
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