November 2000 - issue 11/00
DEVELOPING TEACHERS.COM Newsletter
Welcome to the Newsletter.
Last month one of our subscribers, Zelda,
wrote to us asking for ideas on teaching the phonemic chart
so instead of including it in the 'Questions Answered' section
we're going to make it the theme this month.
In the Questions Answered section we pose
a question to you & this month we are starting a jobs service
in the newsletter & on the web site. Hope you find the ideas
& links useful.
As always, contributions & suggestions are
very welcome - e-mail them to email@example.com
Please e-mail a friend the Developing Teachers
4.LINKS FOR TEACHING
7.WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
1. THEME - the phonemic chart
The phonemic chart has been around for quite
a while & in the not too distant past the chart constituted
the sum of pronunciation in the classroom. We used to spend
lots of time teaching the sounds & trying to iron out difficulties
with minimal pairs.
In recent times we have come to realise that
phonemics is only a part of pronunciation development. Phonology
can be seen in terms of suprasegmental aspects & segmental
aspects. The former includes intonation & the latter, the
bits, the individual sounds. In terms of communicative effectiveness
the suprasegmental aspects are vital for successful communication
- get the intonation wrong & there could be a breakdown. As
to the segmental side of things, the context will probably
sort out any sound problems. So the time we used to spend
on sounds has diminished & increased on intonational aspects
because of this recognition of what is more useful.
That's the theory anyway. I suspect that
not much has really changed. Working with sounds is relatively
easy when compared with working on intonation - there are
some that say that you can't teach intonation. It is difficult
as much of it is very much context-bound & intuitive. The
phonemic chart is easily definable & teachable - safe for
both the learner & the teacher. Moreover there are still very
solid reasons for dealing with the phonemic chart.
- it helps students perceive the differences between sounds
- it helps in the overall awareness of phonology
- it helps the teacher anticipate some problems
- it helps when used as a reference for correction
- it helps with sound/spelling difficulties
- it is a valuable study aid used in dictionaries & coursebooks
thereby encouraging learner independence
- it helps with the recording of vocabulary
In the Phonology section on the web site
you'll find the phonemic
chart, a key to the different sounds & a chart with the
voice & unvoiced sounds marked. There are also two linked
pages of phonemic
activities, as well as a page which gives an introduction
to some features
of sounds in combination.
It took me a long time to get around to learning
the chart. After several years of existing in the classroom
guiltily without it, I was fortunate enough to have someone
to teach it to me. I found that I didn't need to remember
the word that highlighted the sound as it was easier to learn
the sounds in relation to each other. I have put example words
below the chart on the site for those of you who are on your
own but if you do have a colleague who knows the sounds then
get them to teach you. It shouldn't take long. Another approach
is to learn the sounds gradually as you introduce them to
Here are a few guidelines:
1.Introduce the sounds gradually. If you
go straight into teaching the whole chart you'll overload
the students, demotivate them & put them off any future development.
Begin with the schwa & expand with the monophthongs as they
crop up in different contexts. With a beginner class on day
one you can introduce the schwa - highlight it in the vocabulary
you introduce & work on production from the start. Use the
easily identifiable consonant sounds in conjunction with the
vowel sounds. Review the sounds you have covered with short
warmer, filler & cooler activities.
2.Work on recognition first - the students
have to be able to actually hear the sound. Then move to discrimination
so they can tell the difference between the sound you are
looking at & other similar sounds. After this you can safely
move to production. The message here is a lot of listening.
3.Use mouth visuals to show what is happening
when the sounds are made. You can use your hands or pictures
to show what is happening to the tongue & lips.
4.Use gestures to remind your students of
a sound e.g. mime showing a baby in your arms for the sound
5.Use the sounds & the phonemic chart as
a reference for corrective work & be aware that your students
are going to have problems & that it will take time to overcome
them. Explain this to your students & ask them to be patient.
6.Introduce the voiced & unvoiced distinction
early on. Here are three ways to help students differentiate:
a. Put your hands over your ears & say the sounds. You'll
hear the voiced sounds.
b. Put your hand on your throat. You'll feel a vibration with
the voiced sounds.
c. Put a piece of paper in front of your mouth & you'll see
it move with the unvoiced sounds. This distinction will then
be useful for discrimination & correction & also if you want
to introduce the plural & 3rd person singular ending rule
& the past tense ending rule. For the rules
the activities' page.
7.Work on the features of sounds in combination
as they crop up in context - weakening, linking, intrusion,
elision & assimilation. For their definitions see the
sounds in combination page.
8.Integrate work on sounds with other aspects
of your lessons. For example, when teaching vocabulary, highlight
difficult sounds, mark them under the word & get your students
to copy them down. If the students cannot see the relevance
then they will lose interest.
9.Develop dictionary use. If the sounds are
known to your students they can be fairly autonomous with
new vocabulary with a good dictionary. Don't forget to teach
them how to use the dictionary effectively.
Above all, make learning the sounds fun &
don't take it too seriously!
A few links connected to phonemics:
For a directory of where you can get the phonemic symbol fonts
to install on your computer.
The web site of thttp://www2.arts.gla.ac.uk/IPA/ipafonts.html
he International Phonetic Association
A run through of all the sounds together & in isolation. For
each sound there is a mouth & lip diagram, a recording of
the sound, recordings of the sound in isolated words. For
teachers & students alike to get to grips with the sounds.
Check out the 'New Randomizer' - minimal pair man/men
Lots of activities on sounds at this mammoth site.
IATEFL Pronunciation SIG - good for links & there's a collection
of articles on phonology.
Two interesting sites:
The Phonemic Inventory of Modern Standard Vulcan http://www.lasatha.org/vald/
A Vulcan Academy Linguistics Department Web Booklet
A couple of recommended books:
Sound Foundations - Adrian Underhill
A teacher awareness book that takes a systematic approach
& has lots of practical ideas.
Speaking Clearly - Rogerson & Gilbert (CUP)
More for the learner & very well built up in simple & clear
These are just two of the many ELT-related
books that you can order through
the Developing Teachers.com site. We have used all of the
books on the list & recommend them. At the bottom of the page
is a search engine for the Amazon site. Please use the list
& the search engine to buy your books as this is one of the
ways that helps with our expenses in providing you with this
free newsletter. It is just the same as if you went direct
to Amazon - you still get the discounted books. Thanks.
If you are after an ELT book & the list doesn't cover the
area or you are after alternatives then do get in touch &
we can recommend other titles.
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2. YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
As the theme is responding to a request I'll
put a question to you all. Large classes in rural China? Any
ideas for large classes in general? Answers on the back of
an e-mail for the next issue of the newsletter. Thanks.
3. E-MAIL COURSES
If you want to develop your teaching but
can't make it to a face- to-face course then this is for you.
Each course is personalised to take into account each participant's
teaching experience, you can take your time with each module
& fit it into your weekly timetable as you want & you get
lots of personal feedback by e- mail. For a very high quality
course get along to the
e-mail course page.
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4. LINKS FOR TEACHING
The long-awaited re-launch of Seamus O'Muircheartaigh's SayIreland.com
- the first educational site dedicated to bringing the uniqueness
of Ireland to a worldwide audience. Although devoted to all
things Irish, it has more than a foot inside Spain. For the
language teacher there's a Teachers' Room & lots of free materials
are planned - on the site at the moment there's a seminar
on learner autonomy. For the English language learner there
is the chance to do an online evaluation to determine language
level, work on vocabulary, grammar & reading skills online
with a variety of tasks & also find out where to learn in
Spain & Ireland. For interest in Ireland there is the Arts
& Entertainments' section that keeps you up with the cultural
side of Ireland, as well as connections with Ireland abroad.
CDs, videos & books with Irish connections can also be bought
through the site. Stay in touch with the newsletter & bookmark
Takako's Great Adventure - get your students involved in his
Lots for the English language teacher;
lesson plans, training info, jobs, discussion groups, a web
guide & much more. 'Inspire' is the newsletter. Worth checking
out. http://www.peoplespot.com A site all about people - the
ordinary, the celebrity, obituaries, biographies & live information,
statistics & records - just about anybody is reachable here.
Here is a very useful site - a portal
for online dictionaries, giving you links to more than 1800
dictionaries representing more than 230 languages. These dictionaries
are organised into five different sections: 1. Language Dictionaries
2. Speciality Dictionaries
3. Multilingual Dictionaries
4. Translation Engines
5. Other Indexes
You'll spend a lot of time just looking around - an excellent
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Courses running in the near future at the
British Language Centre in Madrid:
CAMBRIDGE CERTIFICATE IN ELT - CELTA
Full-time four-week courses: mid-November, January & February
CAMBRIDGE DIPLOMA IN ELT - DELTA
Full-time eight-week courses: January - March
You can see brief descriptions of all of the current courses
on the BLC web site
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
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We're beginning a jobs' service on the web
site for employers who are looking for teachers. This will
be a free service & all you have to do is send a brief description
to email@example.com We will publish the advert
in the newsletter & post it on the site at
the recruitment page.
China - Nanjing
Currently looking to recruit new staff. A small private school,
teaching mostly young professional adults that offers a generous
wage, accommodation a short walk from the school, and return
airfare. For more information contact Gus Latchem on firstname.lastname@example.org
Spain - Vitoria
'We have a vacancy for a part time teacher, approx. 23 hours
a week, preparation time included. The contract is from mid-November
'00 to the end of June '01, but might beextended for one more
month. The pay, including the proportional part of the two
extra payments which will be paid on a monthly basis instead
of as lump sums at Xmas and June, is approx.134.000 pts/month.
There is also a severance pay at the end of the contract.
If interested please contact Yolanda Gómez Campayo at Level
English Services, C/ Francisco Javier de Landaburu, 24,bajo.
01010 Vitoria-Gasteiz Spain Tel./Fax: 945175809 email@example.com
An American-registered Internet company offering language
services to businesses and individuals. The editor network
provides native -speaker level translations and editingfor
several different languages. As Kelly says: 'We are in searchof
entrepreneurial individuals interested in joining our network
as 'senior editors', responsible for starting up and maintaining
a local branch of our company in a city in which we don't
yet have an office. Plentiful editing work, profit sharing,
and stock options are available for the right person.
Anybody interested in throwing a lot of energy into a new
part-time project should drop us an email; we'll tell you
how to make a branch office successful.' If interested, contact
Kelly McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone at (48 50) 159 8228.
7. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
Free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail.
Here's something to help you out when surfing the net. It's
similar to Alexa & Netscape's 'What's related' but is much
more sophisticated. You don't have to do any searches at all.
It is installed at the top of you browser & goes into action
when you open a page by giving you a series of related & categorised
links. Unlike utilities like Copernic or Web Ferret or Search
engines, you don't have to open anything up to make a search.
What you might be looking for might be sitting right there.
If not then carry out your normal search.
When I view the Developing Teachers.com site I'm given the
following categories at the top of my browser: Teacher Training,
English as a Second Language, Language Schools, Teacher Resources,
Jobs, Student Resources & Online Resources. In each category
there are up to 60 links given. It makes searching easy. The
download for installation is very quick but unfortunately
it only installs on Explorer.
Something else for your browser toolbar. WebMonkey, an excellent
web building site, is giving away a toolbar that helps you
have your favourites at your fingertips.
For those who are in need of ideas in the early hours of the
morning. Lots of links aimed mainly at the geek.
This newsletter is a free service of the
Developing Teachers.com and is Copyright (c) 2000 Developing
Teachers.com. All rights reserved.
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