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Teaching Tips 196

Speaking recorded
Fooling around!
Developing!


mobile phoneSpeaking recorded

In this age of the smartphone we can use mobile phones to enhance language learning in many ways. One of these ways is to record your students in class. We no longer have to plan & get some cumbersome equipment together as we can simply switch on the recording facility on a phone.

The data that you collect can be very useful. You probably take lots of notes as your students speak & give feedback on good & not so good things they said. Along the way a lot can be missed. The recording catches most of it. At first the students will be self-conscious about being recorded but the more you do it the less they will notice.

The recording can be used to show a before & after progress record e.g. this is you at the beginning of the course/the month/the week/the lesson & this is you now - assuming that there is actually a discernible difference!

You can use a section of the tapescript to work on in class, showing the students what they said & asking them to analyse it, using & developing their noticing skills, &, if they can, improve on it. Your job is to show them that they are capable of making it better or, if this is difficult, teaching them the bits that they need. You might want to look at specific language or concentrate on strategies for developing the sub-skills of speaking & listening.

The tapescript of them speaking is evidence for the students in front of them & your reaction to their needs is plain for all to see. Everybody wins.

Recordings are especially useful for showing the students how boring they might sound as they are usually concentrating on what to say rather than how to say it. This awareness can help them consider the importance of intonation.

The recordings are obviously useful to provide a record for you to refer to. You might well be surprised at what you discover. Take notes from the recordings you collect on a group & feed your observations on their needs back into the lessons.

And then there is encouraging the students to record themselves at home, listening to themselves & seeing if they can improve. Speaking homework can be set, the student recording themselves on their phone & then emailing it to you for appraisal.

Clearly this can still take our time if we transcribe parts of the recordings but using this now & then is very much appreciated by the students.

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ufo hoax
Fooling around!

So YouTube was a competition all along. Google have just announced that it has been a 8-year-long contest and that they are finally starting the process of choosing a winner, which should take a decade to trawl through all the videos. The site will shut down imminently & the winner will be the only video on the site when it relaunches again on 1st April in 2023. So if you want to see any videos on YouTube, you'd better get a move on before they're gone.

http://www.youtube.com/youtube?feature=etp-pd-jke

And then there's also Google Nose:

And here are a couple of more interesting stories for the day:

The world's first mobile phone - in 1938:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2301996/Was-worlds-mobile-
phone-1938-film-shows-woman-talking-wireless-device-time-travel-
family-say-disappointment-conspiracy-theorists.html

Twitter without vowels - you have to pay to use them:
http://blog.twitter.com/2013/03/annncng-twttr.html

Google SCHMICK - Simple Complete House Makeover Internet Conversion kit:
http://google-au.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/renovate-your-house-on-
street-view-with_1.html

The Guardian Goggles:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/video/2013/apr/01/guardian-
goggles-video

The anti-Drone hoodie:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2013/mar/31/anti-drone-
hoodie-big-brother

Virgin launches glass-bottomed plane:
http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/blog/virgin-atlantic-
launches-worlds-first-ever-glass-bottomed-plane

News report about the growing trend of hipsters in Dalston, east London, keeping penguin as pets:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xb6nbQBtDPg

Boden, the clothes shop, introduced the Marylebone Man-Skirt:
http://www.boden.co.uk/en-GB/blanktemplate.aspx?MasterName=
2&SegmentID=1&Title=Mens%20Marylebone%20Skirt&content=
mens-marylebone-skirt&cm_mmc=email-_-Miscellaneous-_-
LM__BRWT6HB8xog7t4-_-main

Barclaycard PayWag;

Here's a summary of this year's stories to use - students read - don't tell them they are jokes initially - & discuss, then rank them in order of imaginativeness, believability etc:

Some stories in the news on Monday 1st April, 2013 - what do you think?

- Google have announced that YouTube has been a 8-year-long contest and that they are finally starting the process of choosing a winner, which should take a decade to trawl through all the videos. The site will shut down imminently & the winner will be the only video on the site when it relaunches again on 1st April in 2023.

- the Times newspaper reported that Nasa is planning a $2.6 billion robotic mission to catch an asteroid in a giant bag and tow it to the Moon as part of a long-term programme that could one day lead to the permanent settlement of humans in space.

- Twitter announced that if you want to use vowels in your tweets you'll have to pay, otherwise it remains free to use.

- Google also announced 'Google Nose', which provides smells for whatever you type into the search engine – just "bring your nose as close as you can to the screen and press Enter".

- hotels.com claims to be offering the Belgian Suite of Buckingham Palace (an "iconic palace in the heart of London") from 1 April for £10,000 a night.

- Pirate Bay, says that "we hereby announce that we have moved our servers from the evil North Korea to the greatest ...nation in the entire world … The United States of America, ..... yeah!."

- Boden, the clothes shop, introduced the Marylebone Man-Skirt - "Trousers made sense when men rode horses, ploughed fields and trawled for fish. But now that so many of us are sat in front of a computer monitor all day the man-skirt is a smart choice."

- the BBC ran a report on the growing trend of keeping penguins as pets in an area of London.

- Virgin announced that it is introducing a "glass-bottomed plane" for its new route to Scotland.

- the Guardian newspaper announced Guardian Goggles, augmented-reality glasses that allow readers to surround themselves constantly and in real time with the approved Guardian view of your local fishmongers, cinemas and restaurants – and will even censor objectionable opinions in rival newspapers.

- Barclaycard issued a video explaining PayWag, a credit card put into a dog's collar so that they can pay for things in shops.

- Battersea Dogs & Cats Home announced that it has started training its dogs in more unusual "life skills" such as hoovering, gardening and washing up, in a bid to help them find new homes.

- Radio 4's Today programme this morning, reporter Nicola Stanbridge announced that barcodes would replace numbers on the sides of trains, so trainspotters can simply photograph it with a barcode reader on their smartphone.

- the Daily Mail newspaper showed photographic proof of the first mobile phone in 1938.

So it's April Fool's Day on 1st April, a time for practical jokes in
quite a few Western countries. Nobody really knows where or when
the tradition began, the first time it was mentioned was in
Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales'. On Wikipedia they say 'Many writers
suggest that the restoration of the 1st of January as New Year's
Day in the 16th century was responsible for the creation of the
holiday, but this theory does not explain earlier references.'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Fools%27_Day
On the same page there is a list of well known public practical
jokes,that includes the Guardian's spaghetti harvest supplement.

Here are a couple of our own from past Tips - we've stopped them as we do get credible questions about them!

'Cognitive & affective feedback':
http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips17.htm

'Stir It Up':
http://developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips33.htm

---------------------

Below is a history of April Fool's Day from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_fool%27s_day#History

History

The origins of April Fool's Day are unknown, although various theories have been proposed. It is considered to be related to the festival of the vernal equinox, which occurs on March 21. Prior to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1582, it was observed as New Year's Day by cultures as far apart as ancient Rome and India. New Year was originally celebrated from March 25 to April 1, before the Gregorian reforms moved it back to January 1. The English first celebrated the day on a widespread basis only as late as the 18th century, though it appears to have reached England probably from Germany in the mid-17th century. Its first known description in English originates with John Aubrey, who noted in 1686: "Fooles holy day. We observe it on ye first of April. And so it is kept in Germany everywhere."

The custom of playing practical jokes on April Fool's Day is also very widespread and of uncertain origins. The victim of a joke is known in English as an April Fool; in Scots as a gowk (cuckoo or fool); and in French as a poisson d'avril (April fish). It has been suggested the custom may have had something to do with the move of the New Year's date, when people who forgot or didn't accept the new date system were given invitations to nonexistent parties, funny gifts, etc. Originally, April Fool's Day jokes concentrated on individuals (sending someone on an absurd errand such as seeking pigeon's milk) but in the 20th century it became common for the media to perpetrate hoaxes on the general population.

Here are some ideas on using the above text:

  • present it as a cloze - take out every nth word & the students fill in the gaps from the contextual clues. Cloze tests were first designed to check the readability of texts & they can be quite hard, so have a go at completing it yourself first. Also there might be more than one right answer. After the task, you could pick up on one or two of the answers & give further practice.
  • for free software so that you can create cloze tests on your computer, ready to print off:

    http://drott.cis.drexel.edu/clozeproze.htm

    This is a very small download that doesn't need installing - just click on it. You need to create a text file with the text you want to use in it eg. text.txt. Then create an empty file eg. text1.txt . Double click on the programme & first enter the interval number - every nth word you want omitting eg. 9, then press 'enter', then write text.txt, then 'enter', then write text1.txt , then 'enter'. Finally go to your text1.txt open it & see the cloze text you have just created, together with the answers - very easy! Keep it all in one folder for ease of use. See below for a cloze I created of the History text. If your students find it difficult, have the answers at hand - jumbled up! - to give out while they are completing the task.
  • present it as a selective cloze - take out all of the verbs or all vocab connected to a certain field. Nice for reviewing an area.
  • after dealing with the text, the students could think of tricks they could play, the most imaginative being the 'winner'.
The origins of April Fool's Day are (1)____________, although various theories have been proposed. It (2)____________ considered to be related to the festival (3)____________ the vernal equinox, which occurs on March 21. (4)____________ to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar (5)____________ 1582, it was observed as New Year's Day (6)____________ cultures as far apart as ancient Rome (7)____________ India. New Year was originally celebrated from (8)____________ 25 to April 1, before the Gregorian reforms moved (9)____________ back to January 1. The English first celebrated (10)____________ day on a widespread basis only as (11)____________ as the 18th century, though it appears (12)____________ have reached England probably from Germany in (13)____________ mid-17th century. Its first known description (14)____________ English originates with John Aubrey, who noted (15)____________ 1686: "Fooles holy day. We observe it on (16)____________ first of April. And so it is (17)____________ in Germany everywhere."

The custom of playing (18)____________ jokes on April Fool's Day is also (19)____________ widespread and of uncertain origins. The victim (20)____________ a joke is known in English as (21)____________ April Fool; in Scots as a gowk ((22)____________ or fool); and in French as a (23)____________ d'avril (April fish). It has been suggested (24)____________ custom may have had something to do (25)____________ the move of the New Year's date, (26)____________ people who forgot or didn't accept the (27)____________ date system were given invitations to nonexistent (28)____________, funny gifts, etc. Originally, April Fool's Day (29)____________ concentrated on individuals (sending someone on an (30)____________ errand such as seeking pigeon's milk) but (31)____________ the 20th century it became common for (32)____________ media to perpetrate hoaxes on the general (33)____________.

ANSWERS

1 unknown
2 is
3 of
4 Prior
5 in
6 by
7 and
8 March
9 it
10 the
11 late
12 to
13 the
14 in
15 in
16 ye
17 kept
18 practical
19 very
20 of
21 an
22 cuckoo
23 poisson
24 the
25 with
26 when
27 new
28 parties
29 jokes
30 absurd
31 in
32 the
33 population

On the same page as the History text there is mention of some notable April Fool's jokes, for example:

Television licence: In another year the Dutch television  news reported that the government had introduced a new way to detect hidden televisions (in many countries in Europe, one must pay a television licence to fund public broadcasting) by simply driving through the streets with a new detector, and that the only way to keep your television from being detected was to wrap it in aluminium foil. Within a few hours all aluminium foil was sold out throughout the country.

A couple of ideas for using this:

  • Give out or dictate the first part up until '...broadcasting) ' & the students work together & complete the text, reading them out & deciding on the most interesting, & then reading the remainder of the original.
  • Use the text as a dictation & then focus on the tenses - past perfect, past simple - & past passive.
  • you could use the text as a running dictation - see:
    http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips30.htm

------

Here's a lesson plan on April Fool jokes:

Preliminary information

Time: 75 minutes??

Level: Intermediate upwards

Aims:
To give intensive reading practice
To give freer speaking practice
To give freer writing practice
See the texts for possible language aims

Assumptions:
That the stds will be interested in the topic of April Fool's Day.
That the language will not be too difficult to get the overall meaning of the texts.

Anticipated Problems and Solutions:
Some of the vocabulary may be challenging >> dictionaries on hand/ meaning from context tasks.
Structures - depending on level - have a good look at the texts you want to use. You may want to provide tasks focusing on the vocab & language with each text.

Aids: Quotes & Texts below with permission from the Museum of Hoaxes

Procedure

Stage 1 - Intro to the theme of April Fool's Day through the 'fool' quotations
15 mins tch<>stds, std<>std

1. Elicit the vocab: a fool, foolish, to act the fool.
2. Handout the quotes & in pairs read & discuss the ones they like.
3. Feedback - class - elicit their faves & discuss why. Ask if they know any in their own language?
4. Introduce/elicit April Fool's Day - maybe through the day they celebrate in their country to play pranks on each other. Elicit what kind of things are done on a day like this. During this introduce vocab connected to the lexical set: to play a joke on, a prank, to be taken in, gullible, etc....

Stage 2 - Reading
15 mins tch<>stds, std<>std

1. Explain the activity - the stds read one of the past pranks, work on the text, & then get together with other stds to explain their prank & rank them in order of imaginativeness, effectiveness, fun etc..- a jigsaw activity.
2. Handout texts - stds in pairs read & help each other with comprehension - poss. have dictionaries on hand. You could add comprehension & vocab tasks at the end of each text. Be on hand to help out when all else fails.

Stage 3 - Jigsaw speaking activity
20 mins tch<>stds, std<>std

1. Put stds into two or three different groups - each having read a different text, depending how many you have in the group. The stds explain their stories & then together they rank them. Also encourage them to write down new vocab they learned from each other.
2. When they have an order either get one std to go to the other group to explain the order & justifications or go back to the original pairs & they compare what they have heard & their group's orderings.
3. Feedback - on both the task achievement & the language, both difficulties & good things that came up.

Stage 4 - Stds design their own April Fool's joke
20 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds

1. Set up the activity, explaining that they are going to design their own & write a report of it for all to read & then put them on the walls to vote on most imaginative.
2. In small groups/pairs stds discuss & write - be on hand if needed.
3. Stick up reports on walls - stds wander round reading each others.
4. Vote on best - could be done informally in a class discussion.

A few quotes about fools & foolish things

However big the fool, there is always a bigger fool to admire him. (Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux)

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly, is to fill the world with fools. (Herbert Spencer)

Looking foolish does the spirit good. (John Updike)

Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed. (Mark Twain)

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees. (William Blake)

Experience is a dear teacher, but fools will learn at no other. (Benjamin Franklin)

A fool must now and then be right by chance. (Cowper)

It is better to be a fool than to be dead. (Stevenson)

A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. (Douglas Adams)

The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year. (Mark Twain)

The surprising thing about young fools is how many survive to become old fools. (Doug Larson)

Some April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time

1. The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
In 1957 the respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in, and many called up wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti trees. To this question, the BBC diplomatically replied that they should "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."

Spaghetti harvest

2. San Serriffe
In 1977 the British newspaper The Guardian published a special seven-page supplement in honor of the tenth anniversary of San Serriffe, a small republic located in the Indian Ocean consisting of several semi-colon-shaped islands. A series of articles affectionately described the geography and culture of this obscure nation. Its two main islands were named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse. Its capital was Bodoni, and its leader was General Pica. The Guardian's phones rang all day as readers sought more information about the idyllic holiday spot. Few noticed that everything about the island was named after printer's terminology. The success of this hoax is widely credited with launching the enthusiasm for April Foolery that then gripped the British tabloids in the following decades.

3. Sidd Finch
In its April 1985 edition, Sports Illustrated published a story about a new rookie pitcher who planned to play for the Mets. His name was Sidd Finch and he could reportedly throw a baseball with startling, pinpoint accuracy at 168 mph (65 mph faster than anyone else has ever been able to throw a ball). Surprisingly, Sidd Finch had never even played the game before. Instead, he had mastered the "art of the pitch" in a Tibetan monastery under the guidance of the "great poet-saint Lama Milaraspa." Mets fans everywhere celebrated at their team's amazing luck at having found such a gifted player, and Sports Illustrated was flooded with requests for more information. But in reality this legendary player only existed in the imagination of the writer of the article, George Plimpton.

4. Hotheaded Naked Ice Borers
In its April 1985 issue Discover Magazine announced that the highly respected wildlife biologist Dr. Aprile Pazzo had discovered a new species in Antarctica: the hotheaded naked ice borer. These fascinating creatures had bony plates on their heads that, fed by numerous blood vessels, could become burning hot, allowing the animals to bore through ice at high speeds. They used this ability to hunt penguins, melting the ice beneath the penguins and causing them to sink downwards into the resulting slush where the hotheads consumed them. After much research, Dr. Pazzo theorized that the hotheads might have been responsible for the mysterious disappearance of noted Antarctic explorer Philippe Poisson in 1837. "To the ice borers, he would have looked like a penguin," the article quoted her as saying. Discover received more mail in response to this article than they had received for any other article in their history.

5. Alabama Changes the Value of Pi
The April 1998 issue of the New Mexicans for Science and Reason newsletter contained an article claiming that the Alabama state legislature had voted to change the value of the mathematical constant pi from 3.14159 to the 'Biblical value' of 3.0. Before long the article had made its way onto the internet, and then it rapidly made its way around the world, forwarded by people in their e-mail. It only became apparent how far the article had spread when the Alabama legislature began receiving hundreds of calls from people protesting the legislation. The original article, which was intended as a parody of legislative attempts to circumscribe the teaching of evolution, was written by a physicist named Mark Boslough.

6. The Sydney Iceberg
On April 1, 1978 a barge appeared in Sydney Harbor towing a giant iceberg. Sydneysiders were expecting it. Dick Smith, a local adventurer and millionaire businessman (owner of Dick Smith's Foods), had been loudly promoting his scheme to tow an iceberg from Antarctica for quite some time. Now he had apparently succeeded. He said that he was going to carve the berg into small ice cubes, which he would sell to the public for ten cents each. These well-traveled cubes, fresh from the pure waters of Antarctica, were promised to improve the flavor of any drink they cooled. Slowly the iceberg made its way into the harbor. Local radio stations provided excited blow-by-blow coverage of the scene. Only when the berg was well into the harbor was its secret revealed. It started to rain, and the firefighting foam and shaving cream that the berg was really made of washed away, uncovering the white plastic sheets beneath.

7. The 26-Day Marathon
In 1981 the Daily Mail ran a story about an unfortunate Japanese long-distance runner, Kimo Nakajimi, who had entered the London Marathon but, on account of a translation error, thought that he had to run for 26 days, not 26 miles. The Daily Mail reported that Nakajimi was now somewhere out on the roads of England, still running, determined to finish the race. Supposedly various people had spotted him, though they were unable to flag him down. The translation error was attributed to Timothy Bryant, an import director, who said, "I translated the rules and sent them off to him. But I have only been learning Japanese for two years, and I must have made a mistake. He seems to be taking this marathon to be something like the very long races they have over there."

8. Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity
In 1976 the British astronomer Patrick Moore announced on BBC Radio 2 that at 9:47 AM a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur that listeners could experience in their very own homes. The planet Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, temporarily causing a gravitational alignment that would counteract and lessen the Earth's own gravity. Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment that this planetary alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. When 9:47 AM arrived, BBC2 began to receive hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation. One woman even reported that she and her eleven friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room.

9. The Left-Handed Whopper
In 1998 Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a "Left-Handed Whopper" specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, "many others requested their own 'right handed' version."

10. Whistling Carrots
In 2002 the British supermarket chain Tesco published an advertisement in The Sun announcing the successful development of a genetically modified 'whistling carrot.' The ad explained that the carrots had been specially engineered to grow with tapered airholes in their side. When fully cooked, these airholes caused the vegetable to whistle.

11. Guinness Mean Time
In 1998 Guinness issued a press release announcing that it had reached an agreement with the Old Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England to be the official beer sponsor of the Observatory's millennium celebration. According to this agreement, Greenwich Mean Time would be renamed Guinness Mean Time until the end of 1999. In addition, where the Observatory traditionally counted seconds in "pips," it would now count them in "pint drips." The Financial Times, not realizing that the release was a joke, declared that Guinness was setting a "brash tone for the millennium." When the Financial Times learned that it had fallen for a joke, it printed a curt retraction, stating that the news it had disclosed "was apparently intended as part of an April 1 spoof."

12. Drunk Driving on the Internet
An article by John Dvorak in the April 1994 issue of PC Computing magazine described a bill going through Congress that would make it illegal to use the internet while drunk, or to discuss sexual matters over a public network. The bill was supposedly numbered 040194 (i.e. 04/01/94), and the contact person was listed as Lirpa Sloof (April Fools backwards). The article said that the FBI was going to use the bill to tap the phone line of anyone who "uses or abuses alcohol" while accessing the internet. Passage of the bill was felt to be certain because "Who wants to come out and support drunkenness and computer sex?" The article offered this explanation for the origin of the bill: "The moniker 'Information Highway' itself seems to be responsible for SB 040194... I know how silly this sounds, but Congress apparently thinks being drunk on a highway is bad no matter what kind of highway it is." The article generated so many outraged phone calls to Congress that Senator Edward Kennedy's office had to release an official denial of the rumor that he was a sponsor of the bill.

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developing

Developing!

Are you getting enough? Teacher development, that is. Do you feel that you are developing your teaching? Is your school providing enough ideas & directions?

Or is it your job to provide ways for the teachers in the school to develop? Do you have enough ideas, & provide enough avenues?

More often than not the answer to the above is 'not enough'. This may be due to a lack of time, finances or interest. In the more serious language schools, teacher development is rightly seen as key to successful teaching, happy teachers & happy clients. Here are a few ideas to follow up:

- regular seminars on practical areas - developing listening skills, language practice activities. This is the usual way of dealing with staff development. It is also a useful way to encourage teachers to become involved in teacher development/training by inviting a teacher to give a session.

- seminars of interesting teaching/learning-related areas eg. neuro-linguistic programming - visit http://www.useyouredge.com/. Invite specialists in to give talks on areas that may be peripherally related to teaching.

- invite publisher reps in to talk about how to use the coursebooks they sell. It's the least the publishers can do with the exorbitant cost of coursebooks & the extras in the coursebook packages, plus the regular updating & re-issuing of the coursebooks that mean extra investment.

- invite reps from the exam boards to give a talk on how best to go about training for the particular exam. Again, with the rising fees to sit the exams, the exam boards need to get into schools more & give more direction to the teachers that promote their exams.

- same level idea swap groups - for example, all teachers with pre-intermediate groups get together to share ideas, materials & options.

- lesson ideas, plans & materials swap - a variation on the above but a bit more free-for-all with all interested teachers getting together to learn from each other & share interesting stuff about their lessons.

- co-timetabling - this is especially important with the newer teacher. A senior teacher or the DOS sits down & goes through the two or three-week timetable with the teacher. Timetable is a difficult skill as it needs experience of materials & approaches to provide a balanced diet for the students. Without this experience, the teacher understandably relies heavily on the coursebook. The helper can provide direction & cut a lot of corners for the new teacher. A very useful task for all.

- troubleshooting sessions. This is a chance for teachers to get solutions to pressing problems they might have. Careful it doesn't degenerate into a moaning session so maybe not a regular focus for meetings. Once in a while it can be very refreshing & liberating as you realise that others are going through the same as you.

- observations - the observer could be a peer of a senior teacher. Whoever observes, it is essential that the reasons for the observation are clear, that it is developmental & not evaluative. I personally have the privilege of watching lots of lessons & there is always something to be gained from every one of them.

- do some 'action research' - pinpoint an area of interest in your classes & do some experimenting & reflecting.

- teacher buddies - teachers pair up for co-development through a term or academic year. The activities could include meeting twice a month, an observation of each other each month & general interchange. You could encourage the pairing up of new & experienced teachers or similarly experienced teachers.

- find other areas of teaching to become involved with, for example becoming a Cambridge oral examiner, take on a new level or type of class you haven't taught before or helping to organise a local conference.

- reading - see our Book Page for ideas http://www.developingteachers.com/books/reading.htm - read what you're interested in.

- subscribe to English language teaching magazines: ET Professional - http://www.etprofessional.com/ , Modern English Teacher - http://www.onlinemet.com/ , English Language Teaching Journal - http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org/

- spend time reading articles at Developing Teachers.com - http://www.developingteachers.com/articles_tchtraining/articles_
index.htm
, Humanising Language Teaching - http://www.hltmag.co.uk/index.htm & other ELT-related sites & importantly non-ELT related sites such as TED - http://www.ted.com/

- do a further teaching qualification such as the excellent Cambridge
ESOL DELTA modules, see:
http://developingcourses.com/ &
http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-qualifications/delta/

- send in articles to Developing Teachers.com -
http://www.developingteachers.com

- development group - a regular get together for a discussion of general development from own lesson observations, taped excerpts of own lessons & excerpts from teaching diaries, discussing the results of action research projects etc. You might set tasks for members to complete before each session & then use the data they bring along as the focus of the session eg. for a focus on teacher talk, members could be asked to tape three sections of three of their lessons & type up short transcripts, look at them & discuss them together.

Use 'Tasks for Teacher Education - a reflective approach' by Rosie Tanner & Catherine Green (Longman) to provide a springboard to the sessions.
Amazon.com:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0582316634/
developingteac0b

Amazon.co.uk:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0582316634/
developingteache

BTW, if you have written anything about setting up, carrying out & evaluating classroom research, we would be very interested in publishing it in the articles section of the site. Please do send it in.

- online development group - using a forum board or a content management system such as Moodle it is easy to stay in touch & use the medium as a vehicle for teacher development.
Developing Teachers.com, through our sister site Developing The Web.com, offers teachers their own web space with these programmes set up & ready to go. For more information:
http://www.developingtheweb.com/

- join IATEFL http://www.iatefl.org/ or TESOL http://www.tesol.org/, or a locally established teacher's organisation - ask around to see if one already exists.

The thing that most of the above ideas have in common is that they are all collaborative activities. Teaching can be a solitary experience if there isn't this sharing & helping out, & sometimes we just expect it to be happening in the staffroom. Maybe it is for some, but then again, maybe it isn't for others. Formally organising development can solve this problem, making it inclusive for all.

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