November 1999 - issue 1/99
Developing Teachers Newsletter
This is the first of many newsletters aimed
to keep us in touch with you & you in touch with us and, hopefully,
you in touch with everyone else on the mailing list.
Initially we'll start out monthly - the next will arrive before
Christmas with ideas for Xmas classes. We are starting out
very generally - there'll be a thematic section, a section
on interesting web links & other free newsletters to subscribe
As we progress we hope the newsletter will evolve, change
& grow. As mentioned, each issue will have a theme - this
one is about 'warmers' - if you would like to collaborate
by sending in ideas and activities then all contributions
will be welcome.
list of warmers in addition to the ones below.
The themes for the next couple of issues
are: December - Christmas & festivities January - things to
do with the Millennium Even if your idea/activity is not connected
please send it anyway - there's room for everything.
4.A SHORT TASK
There are those who love them and those
who won't go near them. It's really down to how you define
a 'warmer'. The latter group prefer to think about the lesson
& the material & then evolve a 'beginning' from that. That
might end up being what the first group consider a warmer
- a fun, interesting activity that gets the learners doing
something, preferably speaking, in English while waiting for
late-arrivers ie warming them up so they are more receptive
to what comes next.
Those that like warmers per se might spend 5-10 minutes on
an un/related activity. I suppose it comes down to a difference
The main thing to keep in mind is not to waste the group's
time. What might be fun for you might not go down too well
with a group who attend class for only 3 hours a week. I am
personally partial to the warmer coming from the theme/material
of the lesson & creating noise in English.
Below are just a couple of warmers & we hope that it will
stimulate you into sending us your favourites.
Here's an article from the Guardian Weekly by John Ezard,
page 9, 4th -10th November 1999.
A FEW WORDS IN YOUR
The words that caught the mood of the
decade are all there in a book published last week -
clone, concentration camp, gene, fetishism, paranoid,
déjà vu, hangover, depression. Except that the decade
was not the 1990s but the 1900s.
The Guinness book of the 20th century cites buzzwords
for each decade to show that there are few new things
under the sun. Clone was coined in 1903 by the journal
Science to mean a 'plant propogated by the use of any
form of vegetative parts'. It was borrowed for genetics
in 1970 by an author who said people 'most likely to
replicate themselves will be narcissists - and the clones
they produce will also be narcissists'.
As is better known, the first protest over a concentration
camp came in the house of Commons in 1901 during the
Boer war. The mouse was christened in1965 by English
and Engelhardt in their book Computer-Aided Display
as 'a device called a mouse which we have developed
for evaluation as a means of selectively displaying
The Guinness word list also includes:
1900s: curriculum vitae, hot dog, electronic;
1910s: jinx, floozy, birth control, loony bin;
1920s: deadline, gaga, cold turkey, superstar, media;
1930s: Muzak, ecosystem, satellite;
1940s: loo, gremlin, antibiotic, teenager, soap opera,
1950s: fall-out, hype, discotheque, DIY;
1960s: drop-out, serial killer, rubber johnny;
1970s: child abuse, veggie-burger, soundbite, trainer;
1980s: toyboy, chatline, wannabe, car boot sale, Yardie;
1990s: ethnic cleansing, stalk, road rage, quality time,
new lad, cyberstress.
So, what to do with it?
For more advanced levels it's a very nice reading text. For
a warmer you could dictate some of the diffent things & the
learners write under the decade where they think it came in
- a comparison & discussion then ensues - going on to a discussion
on Spanish/L1 words at different periods this century. This
could be adapted to different levels. Careful as this might
go on. Thanks to Helen for passing this on.
Here are a few warmers in no particular order.
Some you could link in to the theme of the lesson & others
could stand on their own
- Persuasion - stds think of their favourite colour & then
persuade their partner that their colour is 'better'. Works
very well. Could be used with fave animal, time of day, TV
programme ... anything.
- Keeping track of the learners' lives - if you know they
have just been for an interview, ask them how it went etc
..it's showing a personal interest in the individual that
can easily be forgotten in the rush to get on & through the
lesson, the units, the course. You do this anyway but build
it in to the lesson.
- Instant spontaneous roleplays - could come from a previous
lesson - just state the roles & the situations & get them
on with it without any thinking time. Eg "A is the customer
from the article on bondage wear that we read about the other
day B is the seller - A goes to complain about a problem with
it. Off you go."
- Put up a big square on the board & get the stds to fill
it in with different coloured pens, if you have them, with
different objects. Then introduce the idea of the flea market
& then set the scene: A bought the picture & wants to put
it in the living room B hates the picture & doesn't want it
anywhere in the flat. Have a discussion - any kind of conflict
& you've got a conversation. - Your ideas???????
A couple of interesting sites to visit, or 'cool' sites -
the operative word on the net.
A site worthy of a daily visit by everyone when on line. This
gives you the opportunity to provde food for the hungry in
the world. You click on the button on the home page & the
sponsors provide the food - you can only do it once a day.
It's a United Nations site so bookmark it & give a quick visit
each time. www.britannica.com
The Encyclopedia Britannica - it's free & on-line. Everything
you wanted to know - well, nearly everything - I went in for
a quick check the other day & looked for English language
teaching but didn't get much back. While I was there I couldn't
resist the feature they had - billed as a Britannica.com Happening
- Psychedelic Rock - the history of it - showing my age I
suppose. It is very nicely done with lots of info that you
forgot & quizzes. It not only looks at the 60s but more recent
psychedelic rock. Looks like those 'cool dudes' over at Britannica
are trying to do something serious about their image. It is
also a good place for links. There are also a several newsletters
- one is 'Site of the Day'
Another service that we might be able to develop is news about
jobs - for you, your employers, us ...in the different parts
of the world. To begin with, does anyone know of teachers
on the south coast of Spain & Melilla & Ceuta - biggish sized
ports where Transmed ferries work - it's a short EL course
tailor-made for their employees.
4. A SHORT TASK
Henny has asked if you would take a couple of minutes to fill
in the following questionnaire & email it back to us. Many
thanks RESEARCH PROJECT An aspect of cultural diversity, ignored
by teachers and course writers alike, is that of lesbian &
gay culture. In the ELT classroom it has tended to be dismissed
as a minority or taboo issue and it has been easier for everybody
to pretend it does not exist and render it invisible. At the
same time this is not an easy area to tackle as some people
find the topic embarrassing, morally offensive etc. and there
is a lack of positive models for people to refer to. I would
really appreciate it if you could find time to complete this
mini-questionnaire and return it to me:
1. Has this issue ever come up in one of
your ELT classes?
2. If you answered yes to no.1, could
you state in what context, in which country and how?
3. Do you think this issue should come up in the ELT classroom?
Why? Why not?
4. Do you know of any ELT material that deals with this issue?
5. Have you ever designed any material dealing with this issue?
A couple of lines about mailing lists. I was reading the other
day about the dangers of signing up for different newsletters
- not this one I hasten to add. We've all done it but if you
haven't here's how to avoid a problem in your in-tray. When
you're at a biggish web site, they offer you a list of areas
to chose newsletters from & you opt for half a dozen. This
may be asking for trouble. The less ethical companies use
this as a way of getting mailing lists together which they
then sell to all & sundry . You are then bombarded with loads
of useless spam mail. And then when you're fed up with that
& you try & get off the mailing lists, they ignore you. Or
you get an email out of the blue from them & if you respond
to say you want out they know it is an active address & sell
it on again. Watch out there's spam about. (Now there's one
for you - why is it called 'spam'? - all answers on the back
of an email.
Back to the