October 2004 - issue
Welcome to the October Newsletter.
We are branching out a bit more at the site this month with
the launch of three general web hosting plans. This is in
addition to the online course support hosting plan. These
three plans are very affordable & each contains cPanel,
the excellent control panel from which to administer your
web site. So if you are looking at putting up a site or changing
to a new host, do check us out first - there is a brief explanation
a little further down the newsletter & a link to the site.
You might well be wondering what all this web hosting is
about. After all, the site is about English language training.
True, but involvement in Developing Teachers.com has taken
us to many places & the web hosting road is one of the
roads that took our interest. This means another service that
Developing Teachers.com can offer. We hope you find it useful.
This week we have a look at teaching advanced learners with
an article by Diane Hall & Mark Foley. If you have articles,
activities & lesson plans - please do send them in for
Spread the word: If you enjoy receiving our Newsletter please
email it to a friend.
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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
Advancing the advanced Diane Hall & Mark Foley
(This is an adaptation of a workshop given at the IATEFL
Conference in Brighton, 2003)
Teaching advanced students in any environment can be one
of the most rewarding experiences in language teaching, presenting
as it does endless opportunities for real language analysis,
using real materials and having in-depth discussions. However,
it can equally be the most frustrating experience. Teachers
new to advanced-level classes often erroneously think that
their students will no longer have problems with grammar,
but this is not the case. In any advanced class there are
as many language problems as there are students, and often
a lot more, so how do we counter these and 'advance the advanced'?
In this article, we are going to discuss the problems we have
encountered as teachers of advanced classes, and the way that
we feel it is best to approach teaching grammar to advanced-level
students. In it we draw on materials that we prepared and
which are published in the Longman Advanced Learners' Grammar.
2 Why advanced students experience problems with
Many advanced classes have the problem of mixed levels, especially
if the students come from different schools or backgrounds.
Students are unlikely to have all mastered the same aspects
of the language: students will vary in their knowledge of
the language and will have different strengths and weaknesses.
In addition, some advanced students may suffer from a lack
of motivation as they feel they already know most of the language
and are bored by having to go over the same things again.
With advanced students there is often a disparity between
what they understand and their ability to produce language.
The move to more objective, computer-marked testing systems
emphasises understanding more than production, and also trains
students in certain exercise techniques, e.g. use of elimination.
Another issue is the apparent disparity between the fact that
we expect students to produce coherent continuous text (written
or spoken) but we tend to teach by focusing on single-sentence,
single-structure exercises. Students need to work with language
in context in order to produce natural language.
One of the problems with correcting students' work at advanced
level is that the grammar appears to be perfectly correct
at the level of individual items but it doesn't seem to work
with the rest of the text. A key issue is often the choice
of structure and whether it is appropriate to the narrative,
in terms of time/tense, formality and discourse relations.
Students may produce language which appears correct on the
surface, but we know it isn't natural English. This is one
of the most awkward things to deal with as we first have to
understand what the problem is, which can be more difficult
than correcting it!
3 Finding and dealing with specific problems
To see more clearly what we mean, have a look at this short
section from an advanced student's writing. Can you identify
four errors in the English?
When I entered to my room, I discovered that it was absolutely
dirty. I complained and the maid came, but she didn't clean
it properly up. Also removed by her but not returned were
the towels and I had to go to reception later to ...
The errors here are as follows:
1 entered to: incorrect use of a dependent preposition with
a verb that does not require one - a 'lexical/grammar' error
2 absolutely dirty: incorrect use of an ungradable modifier
with a gradable adjective
3 didn't clean it properly up: incorrect position of adverb
in a phrasal verb
4 Also removed by her but not returned were the towels: a
number of problems and typical of the kind of 'layered' error
that an advanced student might produce, such as incorrect
use of a fronted adverbial phrase (removed by her) with inversion
(were the towels). This is only incorrect in terms of discourse,
i.e. lack of cohesion with the previous sentence, disobeying
the information principle of putting known information at
the beginning of a sentence. There is also incorrect use of
an emphatic form (inversion) in a non-emphatic context and
incorrect use of the linker also. The use of the passive is
also inappropriate in this context.
The first step in dealing with errors of the advanced student
is to be able to identify them, as is illustrated above. We
now want to look at a particular way of identifying problems
that students have and ways of dealing with them.
You can't help until you know what the specific problem is.
This can be different for each student, especially in mixed-level
classes, and trying to identify your students' problems through
their written work can be extremely time-consuming and arduous.
Our solution is to use diagnostic testing. The use of diagnostic
tests can identify specific problems once you have identified
the general area, e.g. conditionals. Diagnostic tests also
objectively demonstrate to students who feel that they 'know
everything' that they do indeed have gaps in their understanding.
The section below shows the kind of test that can be used
to look at gradable and ungradable adjectives:
[Students tick the correct sentences and correct the errors.]
1 Casualties during the Crimean War were very enormous.
2 Steve's new girlfriend is very attractive.
3 Clients are advised that Miami tends to be more boiling
than Los Angeles during the winter months.
4 Milan Cathedral is slightly huge.
[from page 32, Longman Advanced Learners' Grammar]
Obviously the text would contain more items than this - ideally
20 or more. Students check their answers (or the teacher goes
through them) and in this way the teacher can build up a picture
of problems that the majority of students have in the class,
or students themselves can keep notes of the problems they
have. In the Longman Advanced Learners' Grammar, each item
in the test is cross-referred to the particular section in
the Reference part of the book that deals with that language
area. The teacher can either go through the relevant parts
of the reference with all the students (then have them do
the relevant exercises) or have individual students read the
sections that they need and then do the exercises individually.
the rest of the article
Thanks to Diane & Mark
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
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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:
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 doing research for a Master of Education degree and would
appreciate information that would help me with a knowledge
of the necessary ingredients for training TESL elementary
(primary) school teachers.
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....
chrissyuk would like collaborators:
I have a TEFL and I am currently studying for my Masters where
my dissertation is focused on the area of training for teaching
Business English for teachers who teach English as a foreign
language. I was wondering and hoping if anyone would mind
completing a questionnaire for me about their teaching experiences
and attitudes to different types of training please. Any help
most gratefully received.
I would like to solicit ideas from you guys... could you help
me find sample words or expressions from a language which
are fossilized? this would be very helpful in my study in
graduate program. thank you very much!
plume needs ideas:
I was asked to prepare a workshop on technical reports. I
wondered if you had any ideas or advice. I was thinking of
making them work on vocabulary (if you have any documents
about cars!), then on grammar, some writing games, but I don't
know any and I don't know what are the most frequently used
structures in technical reports... Then I wanted to introduce
translation to finally have them write reports without the
need of their mother tongue. What do you think? Thanks!
Jerry Fang offers:
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iaa_Taiwan offers - among many of his ads posted:
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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
Google Alerts - say you want an article about the topic you
are covering next week & can't lay your hands on anything,
you might just give up or waste a lot more time looking. Google
comes to your rescue once again. Get along to Google Alerts,
type in the key words & Google will send you a list of
articles that have appeared that day. You receive a daily
email with the list of articles until you cancel. Wonderfully
'NetLingo is an award-winning dictionary of Internet terms.
It contains thousands of words and definitions that describe
the online world of business, technology, and communication.
We're here to educate and entertain you about the lingo used
in the online world :^)' Useful for all.
William Dobbs writes, 'pass-english-exams is a suite of software
for students preparing for the Cambridge exams FCE, Advanced,
Proficiency and BEC. Each program contains over 500 exercises
in grammar, reading, listening and writing. 5 'mock' exams
and a 5,000-word exam-specific multilingual audio dictionary
are also included. Demo versions can be downloaded from this
'a magic journey to the land of Fairy Tales where dreams come
alive before your very eyes!' Webquest to create own fairytale.
A webquest that looks 'at what makes a book enjoyable &
reflect on your own learning journey'.
Story Fun - build up a story.
'In this etymology game you'll be presented with 10 randomly
selected etymology (word origin) or word definition puzzles
to solve; in each case the word or phrase is highlighted in
bold, and a number of possible answers will be presented.
You need to choose the correct answer to score a point for
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4. DAYS OF THE MONTH
Some days to plan your lessons around in October:
3rd - Reunification Day in Germany
5th - World Teacher's Day
9th - John Lennon's birthday
John Lennon lesson plan: http://www.developingteachers.com/plans/lennon.htm
10th - World Mental Health Day
12th - Columbus Day
24th - United Nations Day
29th - Internet First Created - 1969
31st - Halloween
Halloween lesson ideas: http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips42.htm
To see the Days of the Year
Some holiday origins.
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5. BOOK REVIEW
This month we review 'Pronunciation Practice Activities'
by Martin Hewings (CUP). Here's how the start of the review
A new book on developing phonology in the classroom is always
welcome & this one, 'Pronunciation Practice Activities'
provides a very solid practical overview.
To begin with, quite a few books for developing pronunciation
assume a knowledge of phonology on the part of the teacher
before they can begin to use the material effectively but
here we have a succinct summary of each area plus a discussion
of some areas of debate within pronunciation teaching, such
as which models to provide for our students & which areas
are considered most important. A useful introduction for most
To read the rest of the
To buy the book at Amazon.com - might not be available here
To buy the book at Amazon.co.uk:
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 keep the site & newsletters
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6. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
Free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail. We are having
a break so the Tip will return on 20th September.
Recent Tips have included:
- Monitoring - tips & techniques
- The teachers is.. - a look at some attributes of the 'effective'
- A time & a place.. - when to correct oral errors.
- Sounding right - some common sound problems with corresponding
techniques for helping.
To see the Past Tips
To sign up to receive them
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CAMBRIDGE ESOL TEACHER TRAINING COURSES
Train in Spain - Courses running in the near future at the
British Language Centre in Madrid:
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Full-time four-week courses, next courses November '04 &
Part-time course twelve-week course starts January '04
CAMBRIDGE DIPLOMA IN ELT - DELTA
Part-time, six month course, mid-October >> March '05
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.
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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
People Like Us - UbuWeb: "We strongly believe in the
power of profit through free distribution. Often people have
never heard of an artist because they aren't being distributed
through as many channels as they should be, due to the very
poor state of music/media distribution for non-major label
music coupled with ignorance of the way that avant garde art
forms infiltrate mainstream culture. Also many prints of a
work are allowed to go out of circulation or are deleted for
no reason other than cost effectiveness by a label/publisher.
This makes perfect sense financially, but no sense whatsoever
that a year's work by an artist should also disappear for
such reasons. So get all of this while you can, and we completely
endorse getting one's work out there, no matter what. If you
don't share, your profit is limited."
"Abridged Too Far" is a collection of audio work
first conceived through experimentation through or on radio.
Given that this was the initial point of inspiration, it feels
most appropriate to release this on the internet which has
similar 'on the air' qualities. The experience found from
internet broadcasting and sharing is very different to that
of the world of retail - the effect is immediate and far fetching,
plus the feedback can be immense. It is a good feeling to
know the work is far more likely to reach it's intended audience
since it transcends physical borders.'
'This site is here so I can return to the internet community
the help and advice I was given when I first came on to the
scene. The site is mainly targeted at Privacy issues but I
have also included Security and Viral issues with, hopefully,
a UK bias on what is clearly a US biased area. With the introduction
of Broadband facilities in the UK we have made a big step
towards the capabilities of our US cousins. We will only now
be hitting some of the security issues they have been plagued
with for years. '
George Soros has started blogging
If carrots could talk…send the message.
Hunt the Duck game.
'This page contains some works of "anomalous motion illusion",
which might make sensitive observers dizzy or sick. Should
you feel dizzy, you had better leave this page immediately.'
Bored of the Beckhams - say no more!
Record consumption of marshmallows.
'Celebrating the art of the culinary disaster.'
'CouchSurfing.com helps you make connections worldwide. You
can use the network to meet people and then go and surf other
members couches! When you surf a couch, you are a guest at
someone's house. They will provide you with some sort of accommodation,
a penthouse apartment, or maybe a back yard to pitch your
tent in. Stays can be as short as a cup of coffee, a night
or two, or even a few months or more. When you offer your
couch, you have complete control of who visits.'
What is the Hospitality Club? Our aim is to bring people together
- hosts and guests, travelers and locals. Thousands of Hospitality
Club members around the world help each other when they are
traveling - be it with a roof for the night or a guided tour
through town. Joining is free, takes just a minute and everyone
Welcome to www.VillainSupply.com, Your Online Source For Everything
EVIL? If you are a supervillain, mad scientist, warlord, dictator,
or despot, then this is the place for you.
Back to the contents
8. THE BIT AT THE END
This newsletter is ReferWare. If
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Has to be.
Disclaimer - all of the recommendations
for computer-related software are personal recommendations.
We take no responsibility for anything that might go wrong
when downloading, installing or running them - not that anything
should, but you never know. It's your decision, your responsibility.
The same applies to the jobs mentioned above. And anything
else that you can think of that we might be responsible for
as a result of this newsletter!
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