November 2004 - issue
DEVELOPING TEACHERS.COM NEWSLETTER
Welcome to the November Newsletter.
Interesting article from the BBC site:
Learning a second language "boosts" brain-power,
Researchers from University College London studied the brains
of 105 people - 80 of whom were bilingual.
They found learning other languages altered grey matter -
the area of the brain which processes information - in the
same way exercise builds muscles.
People who learned a second language at a younger age were
also more likely to have more advanced grey matter than those
who learned later, the team said.
Scientists already know the brain has the ability to change
its structure as a result of stimulation - an effect known
as plasticity - but this research demonstrates how learning
languages develops it.
The team took scans of 25 Britons who did not speak a second
language, 25 people who had learned another European language
before the age of five and 33 bilinguals who had learned a
second language between 10 and 15 years old.
The scans revealed the density of the grey matter in the
left inferior parietal cortex of the brain was greater in
bilinguals than in those without a second language.
The effect was particularly noticeable in the "early"
bilinguals, the findings published in the journal Nature revealed.
The findings were also replicated in a study of 22 native
Italian speakers who had learned English as a second language
between the ages of two and 34.
Lead researcher Andrea Mechelli, of the Institute of Neurology
at UCL, said the findings explained why younger people found
it easier to learn second languages.
"It means that older learners won't be as fluent as
people who learned earlier in life.
"They won't be as good as early bilinguals who learned,
for example, before the age of five or before the age of 10."
But Cilt, the national centre for languages, cast doubt on
whether learning languages was easier at a younger age.
A spokeswoman said: "There are conflicting views about
the comparative impact of language learning in different age
groups, based both on findings and anecdotal evidence."
However, she said it was important to get young people learning
languages in the UK.
Only one in 10 UK workers can speak a foreign language, a
recent survey revealed.
But by 2010 all primary schools will have to provide language
lessons for children.
The Guardian are running a spelling quiz - can you get 100%
right? Check it out at:
For those of you who have been fortunate to have listened
to his programmes on the BBC at some point in your lives,
I'm sure you'll agree that it was a very sad moment on hearing
that John Peel had died. Apart from being a genuinely nice
bloke, the effect he had on contemporary music over the last
35 years has been enormous. Sorely missed.
Spread the word: If you enjoy receiving our Newsletter please
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See the note in 'the bit at the end' about ReferWare.
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
Recognising and dealing effectively with student goals and
aspirations by Katie Evans & Seth Atkin
When an individual accesses a learning programme, there are
numerous pressures and interests involved, many of which are
external to the individual and the learning programme itself.
These may include the labour market, requirements from other
educational institutions, and a world that demands updates
to understanding on a regular basis. With the complexity of
demand brought by every individual learner it is becoming
harder to immediately identify what their learning and longer
and aspirations may be, particularly for courses such as initial
and further acquisitions of the English language.
The needs of language learners are a global discussion, involving
focus on the status of English in relation to local languages.
Whilst in a café in Berlin I was party to a discussion
about the needs of language learners in Slovakia. At the heart
of the discussion was the local requirement in Bratislavia
for people who work in the service industries to speak English.
This provides a brief focus on the local demand; in order
to work in a café in their own country a person needs
to speak English. Here we see the demands of the employer
which have serious implications for the person trying to access
that employment. As educators we need to ask, why should this
be the case in a country where the national language is Slovak
and not English, and is also a language understood by several
neighbouring countries? This discussion took place just before
May 2004. On 1st May 2004 Slovakia, among several other Eastern
European countries, became part of the expanded European Union.
As the EU
expands, travel opportunities grow, with several budget airlines
opening flights to a range of new EU destinations. Therefore,>
local language can no longer be defined by state boundaries
alone; there are now para state blocks which enable travel
and provide challenges to the more geographically confined
language groups. It is not now enough just to be able to speak
your mother tongue when applying for a job in Slovakia; the
English language has risen to international prominence through
travel and migration opportunities as well as the further
spread of electronic communication via the Internet. The Internet
poses further challenges to the geographically confined cultures
and languages, whilst at the same time potentially making
them more accessible. Thus there are demands placed on the
local provision of services to the public as it is quite likely
that a broader spread of people will access these services,
and thus broader language knowledge is required. Media has
also shaped the common language for communication over the
past few decades, with American dominance in media and mass
communication. Therefore the global pressure on local services
has come to bear weight and English has become a requirement
for jobs with public contact in countries where English is
not a commonly used language and where previously it was not
needed so much. Ease of travel and the development of mass
communication have been accompanied by the spread of huge
multinational corporations and the opportunity to work in
these money-making organizations means that people in different
countries have to attain a similar level of qualifications
to compete with each other. With the local job market bowing
to global need, the need of each individual student should
not be assumed to be that of the traditional local market.
The learner may well have much more complex needs than that,
relating to wider issues of employment and working within
the global context. As a result, demands for education services
may increase and place extra demands on the education service
provider. Education may then be seen as more lucrative and
as services develop more competition may emerge.
This increasingly competitive world of education means that
tutors will be faced with learners with a myriad of learning
and long-term, wider, more global aspirations. It can also
mean that students could be placed on courses for which they
are not really prepared. This mean they may either have gone
straight onto a course without the correct preparation or
they have tried to prepare well but have been given inadequate
advice as to the appropriate learning route to take to reach
their learning and longer-term goals. It is imperative, in
the now-demanding world of education that a tutor and learner
can realize the learner's potential to ensure that the most
suitable learning route is taken.
So, as a tutor, how much do you know about your learners
when you first meet them? Do you assume that because a learner
is applying for a certain course, then they are doing so for
certain, quite obvious reasons? Do you also assume that each
learner who applies for a course will have exactly the same
learning needs as the next learner, whose needs will mirror
those of the learner next to them? Do we take learners as
an individual case-in-point, or do we throw a blanket over
them all and put them in the same needs basket?
To read the
rest of the article
Love in a time of TV hysteria - an upper intermediate &
upwards plan centred around reality TV in India & the
unfortunate situation that Arif & Gudiya find themselves
in. The general aims:
To give intensive & extensive reading practice
To give freer speaking practice
Other aims depending on language focus & follow up...
To see the plan
Thanks to Katie & Seth.
ARTICLES - If you've given a course or seminar
or have a lesson plan & would like to give it a public
airing, get in touch.
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 1000+ unique
visitors a day to the site. If you've got a book, course,
job...anything that you'd like to advertise, then do get in
TO GET IN TOUCH
Back to the contents
No ordinary Master's: become an action researcher with Aston
University's MSc in TESOL Aston University Language Studies
A few recent postings:
annemcln is getting together a really useful list - any ideas?
Hi, I want to create a list of some good sites that can be
used by teachers for research purposes. These links should
have authentic and verifiable information that can be used
for inclusion in lesson plans. I saw one such site -- (http://www.nationmaster.com/).
They really have a huge collection of stats on all countries.
A must use site. They have some nice lesson plans too - http://www.nationmaster.com/lps/intro.php.
Can anyone suggest other useful sites please?
I am thinking about using the book "Innovations"
by Hugh Dellar and Darryl Hocking, which is based on the lexical
approach, next semester with my pre-intermediate/intermediate
students (adults, evening classes in Germany). From the description
of the book it's exactly what I want - lift students off the
intermediate plateau, enable them to use the structures they
have studied for so long, provide meaningful input, focus
on spoken English. My question is - has anyone used this course
and does it really come up to the expectations it raises?
Does it work? Does it really improve students' spoken English
- more natural, greater vocabulary, better listening skills?
I doubt that a (although very natural and rather long) dialogue
per half-unit is really enough input, and that student gain
much from talking among themselves other than losing their
fear of speaking. I am a non- native speaker and even though
I try to use only English in class I don't think they are
exposed to enough good input to really get better in a non-English
environment, not even with this course. What do you think?
I am doing a unit plan on spiders in a few weeks. I have some
ideas already, but does anyone else have anything that stands
out to them that might help me??
ellis77 wants to know:
A lot of my intermediate students (121 classes) are interested
mainly in conversation, therefore I need to find easy articles
to read so that we can speak about them afterwards. Does anybody
know any addresses where I can find what I need?
Costadina23 has a problem:
I have a problem with some students who can't pronounce the
words, or rather they don't want to try. After trying to get
one student to try to pronounce words correctly, I asked her
why she wouldn't try, and she replied, that she can't because
it isn't her language. She can spell the words after writing
them several times but she refuses to pronounce them, just
mumbles most. What can I do to get her to want to read?
gmoine needs advice:
Has anyone got any sound advice regarding risk assessment
when planning an external trip? My pupils will only have to
walk 500meters to their destination, but im still concerned
about the poss risks and hazards on route....
I have a group of 32 four year olds, whom I teach for 30 minutes
twice a week. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can manage
such a large group? I am not too worried about discipline
as I will have another teacher in the class to help, but I'm
not sure how to go about activities or what kind of activities
to use. Can anyone help?
Jerry Fang is looking for 30 teachers for China.
eipthailand has an interesting offer:
I run a school in a Burmese refugee camp in Thailand that
takes the 20 most gifted refugees from the Thai-Burma border
and educates them in skills they need to run their community
organizations. At EIP students learn a number of different
skills including critical thinking, proposal writing skills,
translation, teamwork and communication skills. EIP has become
one of the most dynamic and most effective English language
schools along the Thai-Burma border. One main reason for that
is at EIP we have amazingly creative teachers. The teachers
often experiment with different teaching methods and have
had excellent results. EIP is a fabulous place to experiment
with teaching because our students are extremely gifted young
adults who are willing to try anything. There's an amazing
energy in the classroom. I am looking for experienced, creative
teachers who would be interested in working at EIP for 5-10
months. We can only offer enough money to live on (200-300$
a month), but EIP is such a dynamic place to teach that I
wonder if there are countless seasoned teachers who have taught
in mainstream schools for years and are dying for an adventure
and somewhere that fosters creative teaching. Thanks, Brooke
Treadwell EIP Co- Coordinator
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...they are there for you to use.
Back to the contents
3. TEACHING LINKS
Lovely Flash site of mazes for the general English & business
English learner - reading, vocabulary & problem solving.
Christian Aid young learners' site.
'The Drama Teacher's Resource Room, a place where you can
kick back and find some ideas for your classroom or production.'
For native English speaking younger learners although some
Barb Wired - Online newspaper written by secondary school
students in New Zealand.
Online help with some soundf from OUC International.
Including help with newspaper reading skills.
Have you got any teaching links? Send
Back to the contents
4. DAYS OF THE MONTH
Some days to plan your lessons around in November:
5th - Bonfire Night - for
some lesson ideas - Remember, remember
11th - Remembrance Day
16th - International Day for Tolerance
17th - World Peace Day
25th - Eid Al Fitr
28th Buy Nothing Day (varies)
US Thanksgiving Day - 4th Thurs. in month.
Buy Nothing Day in US - day after Thanksgiving.
To see the Days of the Year
Some holiday origins.
Back to the contents
5. BOOK REVIEW
This month we review 'Just' a series of four books for intermediate
learners; Just Vocabulary, Just Listening & Speaking,
Just Reading & Writing & Just Grammar.
To read the review
Just Listening & Speaking
Just Reading & Writing
All the above link to Amazon.co.uk - the books don't seem
to be available at Amazon.com yet.
If you're going to Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk then please
go through our Books page. You
will pay the same & we will receive a few pennies to keepthe
site & newsletters free. Thanks.
Back to the contents
6. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
Free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail.
Recent Tips have included:
- A bit of creativity - a brief look at harnessing creativity.
- Get hip to chav - lesson ideas around an article about 100
years of buzzwords.
- Minimalism - minimal pair activities
- To sit or not - factors in deciding on whether to enterents
for public ELT exams or not.
To see the Past Tips
To sign up to receive them
Back to the contents
ESOL TEACHER TRAINING COURSES
Train 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 November 18th &
Part-time course twelve-week course starts January '05
CAMBRIDGE DIPLOMA IN ELT - DELTA
Full-time two-month courses, January/February, April/May,
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
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 Site Skimmer.com Linkletters.
Sent out free every fortnight, lots of links to follow up
& help you enjoy the internet. To subscribe: http://www.siteskimmer.com
The Official God FAQ
Welcome to Random Acts Of Reality, a Blog based in London,
England, written by an E.M.T working for the London Ambulance
Service. Also, number one search result for "Womble porn".
All names have been changed to protect the guilty. This Blog
was previously known as "Why I Hate Humanity" but
the antipsychotic medication seems to have kicked in.
The World's Top 100 Wonders
Join the political circus, choose your candidate & fire
him out of a cannon - really nice timewaster.
If anyone's looking for a Xmas present for me...I'd send you
lots of postcards, honest.
Lots of true facts to impress your friends - & students.
Great material for info gaps - present & past simple,
'Whether news system, message board or product database -
create your own web database in a few minutes - for free!'
'Wizmo is an extremely useful "Windows Gizmo" I
created when I could not find anything else on the Net to
do similar jobs. Wizmo is a multi-purpose, miscellaneous Windows
function, "catch all" with a growing list of uncommon
but useful features and capabilities.' Free.
'A complete graphical strategy game in your browser. no flash
- no java - no install battle your friends online from anywhere!
'What is Phishing? -Phishing attacks use 'spoofed' e-mails
and fraudulent websites designed to fool recipients into divulging
personal financial data such as credit card numbers, account
usernames and passwords, social security numbers, etc. By
hijacking the trusted brands of well-known banks, online retailers
and credit card companies, phishers are able to convince up
to 5% of recipients to respond to them.'
Back to the contents
8. THE BIT AT THE END
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