Developing Teachers.com
A web site for the developing language teacher

October 2004 - issue 10/04

DEVELOPING TEACHERS.COM NEWSLETTER

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 instant fame!

Happy teaching!

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See the note in 'the bit at the end' about ReferWare.

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INDEX

1. THE SITE

2. FORUMS

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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WEB HOSTING

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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)

1 Introduction

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 grammar

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.

To read the rest of the article

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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 every week with the Weekly Teaching Tip & the same each month with the Newsletter, not to ention 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 touch.

TO GET IN TOUCH

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No ordinary Master's: become an action researcher with Aston University's MSc in TESOL Aston University Language Studies Unit:
http://www.les.aston.ac.uk/tesol/

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2. FORUMS

A few recent postings:

Annemcln asks:
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?
http://foro.developingteachers.com/viewtopic.php?t=513

chepkerich asks:
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.
http://foro.developingteachers.com/viewtopic.php?t=475

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....
http://foro.developingteachers.com/viewtopic.php?t=519

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.
http://foro.developingteachers.com/viewtopic.php?t=512

rioliza asks:
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!
http://foro.developingteachers.com/viewtopic.php?t=507

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!
http://foro.developingteachers.com/viewtopic.php?t=504

Jerry Fang offers:
A Large Number of Native Speaker of English and Volunteers Are Sought Urgently For Chinese "Hope Project" If you wish to become one of the member of this significant and impressive project, you are more than warmly welcomed by the Central Government of China, the relevant governments of local communities and as well as those needy school kids of the vast and poor rural area of China.
http://foro.developingteachers.com/viewtopic.php?t=518

iaa_Taiwan offers - among many of his ads posted:
Located in PingTung city, about 40 minutes from Kaoishung city, need 2 full time teacher, close to Kenting National Park! bodysurf! dive! Mon to Fri:AM09:00~11:30(teaching hour), pm13:30~14:00 (office hour), PM114:00~18:00(teaching hour), and also Sat class, only from AM 09:00~12:00, but not every Sat, only for every odd Sat of the month, that is about 2 times per month, total about 40 working hours per week, and about 25 teaching hours and 15 office hours. school pay 50000 per month. plus free accommodation, INS, Work Permit, and if teacher do very good job, and stay for 12 months, which is teacher finished the first year contract, school will pay $130000 NT as teacher's BIG YEAR BONUS!! Kid's age from 03~12 years old. school also offer free lunch, and the accommodation is about 5 minutes walk from school. average 15 students per class.
http://foro.developingteachers.com/viewtopic.php?t=506

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.
http://foro.developingteachers.com/

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3. TEACHING LINKS

http://www.google.com/alerts
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 easy.

http://www.netlingo.com/
'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.

http://www.pass-english-exams.com/
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 site.'

http://www.longwood.k12.ny.us/ridge/wq/savona/index.html
'a magic journey to the land of Fairy Tales where dreams come alive before your very eyes!' Webquest to create own fairytale.

http://www.users.bigpond.com/brade27/bookquest/intro.htm
A webquest that looks 'at what makes a book enjoyable & reflect on your own learning journey'.

http://stuff.mit.edu/storyfun
Story Fun - build up a story.

http://www.etymologic.com/
'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 that question.'

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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
Nobel Prizes

To see the Days of the Year

http://www.holidayorigins.com/home.html
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 goes:

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 teachers.

To read the rest of the review

To buy the book at Amazon.com - might not be available here just yet:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0521754577/developingteac0b

To buy the book at Amazon.co.uk:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0521754577/developingteache/

BUYING BOOKS?
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 free. Thanks.

http://www.developingteachers.com/reading.htm

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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' teacher.
- 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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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

http://www.ubu.com/sound/plu_abridged.html
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.'

http://www.pseudo.co.uk/
'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. '

http://georgesoros.com/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Home
George Soros has started blogging

http://www.wordplays.com/fcgi-bin/scrabble.pl
Scrabble help.

http://www.chridmeister.co.uk/flash/carrot.html
If carrots could talk…send the message.

http://www.laserp.com/fun_stuff/duck_hunt_game.htm
Hunt the Duck game.

http://www.ritsumei.ac.jp/~akitaoka/index-e.html
'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.'

http://www.boredofthebeckhams.com/
Bored of the Beckhams - say no more!

http://www.ericisgreat.com/100peeps/index.html
Record consumption of marshmallows.

http://www.metafilter.com/
To bookmark.

http://www.burntfoodmuseum.com/
'Celebrating the art of the culinary disaster.'

http://www.couchsurfing.com/
'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.'

http://www.hospitalityclub.org/
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 is welcome.

http://www.villainsupply.com/
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.

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8. THE BIT AT THE END

This newsletter is ReferWare. If you enjoy reading it and find useful information in this newsletter, you are asked to help spread the word about it. You can do this by forwarding a copy to your friends, telling them about it, and/or putting a link to http://www.developingteachers.com from your site. You cannot:

1.Post this newsletter in part or in whole on your site.
2.Forward this newsletter issue after issue to people - just send them a single issue and tell them to subscribe.

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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