The good listener & reader is constantly
making predictions. An example of this is when we sometimes
can't keep it to ourselves & have to finish off the other
A: So I was going along Main Street &
turned left into
B: Yes, Church Lane.
There are various levels of prediction. Here are some of them:
at the cultural level - give the theme of the tape eg. about
a member of the Royal Family & the students predict his/her
daily life. They then listen/read to confirm.
Prediction at the discourse-type level
- get them to think about what kind of discourse they are
going to listen to. eg. a TV political debate - will it be
short or long, formal or informal. What kind of language will
the expect to hear.
Prediction at the content level -
show the headline or pictures related to the conversation
& students predict what it might be about.
Prediction at the discourse level
- play the first part of the tape & the students predict
the rest. Or play sections & they predict the next - good
for short stories.
Prediction at the sentence level -
play half a sentence/ clause & the students predict the
Prediction at the grammar level -
play a part & predict the grammar that will follow - 'If
you keep on doing that, __________'.
Prediction at the word level - play
an utterance& & the students predict the following
word - 'the film was in black & _____'.
You might argue that our students are going to do this naturally.
Maybe, but awareness does no harm. It is one of the steps
that gets them away from tunnelling & gets over the idea
that they know quite a lot of what is said or written before
they read & listen, & they can save time by becoming
more efficient & effective listeners & readers.
to the contents
This week the Tip is in the form of a link
& if you are in any way remotely connected to the teaching
of professional people then this is of interest. The
BBC World Service Learning English site has several excellent
devoted to the theme of work.
There's a ten day interactive business English
course, for free, a section on business words in the news
& a whole series of programmes about management gurus.
All are useful but the last one can easily be turned into
a very popular twelve part course. The Management Gurus series
has been designed by Charles Handy, a management guru himself.
Here's what he says in the introduction:
'These days practically every city in the world has a School
or Institute of Management and if you want a good start to
an executive career, then get yourself and MBA degree and
become a Master of Business Administration.
Management has always been the invisible
ingredient of success. The pyramids of Egypt and the Great
Wall of China could not have been built without good management
systems. Good ideas are wasted unless someone turns them into
a workable activity or business, by management.
But the art of management still seems very
elusive. Unlike the physical sciences, in management there
seem to be no absolute laws. As new technologies arrive and
people find new needs, managers have to adapt and experiment
to stay in business.
That's where the gurus come in. Their role
is to interpret and spread around what seems to be working,
helping managers to cope in a world that changes fast.
The twelve significant gurus we'll be looking
at often use common sense, but they see the sense before it
becomes common and that's what can give companies and their
managers the competitive edge. The insights and methods of
the gurus can make a big difference to the way we manage our
The gurus that are interviewed:
Rosabeth M. Kanter
Each module has an interview with the guru,
a text of the interview in pdf format, a short text with the
'highlights' of the interview & also some useful business
vocabulary from the interview.
All you need to do is download it all &
you have a course. But you say, 'I don't know anything about
business management!' OK, but with the right group, your students
will certainly know something of it & anyway, why not
learn from the interviews together? You're the language teacher
not the business teacher so let your students get on with
the ideas & you help them sort out the language. They
will come away with both!
If you can't download & save the oral
interviews, you could tape the interviews with a colleague
& if they want to hear it from the horse's mouth they
can go to the web site themselves.
There are obviously many things you could
do with the material. You could ask the students to take notes
while listening, prepare special tasks or give the script
for them to follow while they listen. After some language
work, get the students to collate the ideas & discuss
them in relation to the interviews they have already heard.
Still sceptical? It does work. I've seen
the course work with a group of middle managers. Beforehand
there was a waiting list to get on the course & during
& after the course the participants enthused about it.
And if you want to find out more about Charles
Handy & his ideas, a recommended read is:
Empty Raincoat' - Charles Handy (Arrow)
Even if you're not
teaching professional people this material can still be used
with the general adult class. Apart from the general interest
value of the series!
to the contents
We looked at an awareness activity
on memory in a past Tip.
Here we'll look at one memory technique in
more detail. Tony Buzan, in his excellent book 'Use Your Memory'
(BBC Publications), says 'Quite simply, if you want to remember
anything, all you have to do is to associate (link) it with
some known or fixed item ...calling upon your imagination
He then goes on to give the following Memory
order and/or sequence
One of the simple memory systems is the Link System. As well
as the above principles, or elements, you will also use the
With the Link System he says 'using these
Principles you will be exercising the dynamic relationship
between you left & right brain cortex & thereby increasing
the overall power of your brain.'
The Link System is a way of remembering lists
through creating an imaginative story, combining the Principles.
Here is part of the example Buzan gives:
'Imagine, for example, that you have been
asked to shop for the following items:
a silver serving spoon
six drinking glasses
biological washing powder
Instead of scrambling around for little bits
of paper (everyone has either done it himself or seen others
desperately fumbling through their pockets for the missing
slip) or trying to remember all the items by simple repetition
and consequently forgetting at least two or three, you would
simply apply the Memory Principles in the following way.
Imagine yourself walking out of your front
door perfecting the most amazing balancing trick: in your
mouth is the most enormous silver-coloured serving spoon,
the handle-end of which you are holding between your teeth,
as you taste and feel the metal in your mouth.
Carefully balanced in the ladle-end of the spoon are six exaggeratedly
beautiful crystal glasses, through which the sunlight reflects
brilliantly into your bedazzled eyes. As you look with delighted
amazement at the glasses, you can also hear them deliberately
tinkling on the silver spoon. Going outside into the street,
you step on the most gigantic yellow and brown coloured banana,
which skids with a swish from under you. Being a fantastic
balancer, you barely manage not to fall and confidently place
your other foot groundward only to find that you have stepped
on a shimmering white bar of pure soap. This being too much
for even a master, you fall backward and land seat down on
a mound of eggs. As you sink into them, you can hear the cracking
of the shells, see the yellow of the yolk and the white of
the albumen, and feel the dampness soaking into your clothes..........'
This is obviously for the native speaker, helping them to
remember lists. I very much doubt any of us would ask our
students to memorise the above list!
So could this help our students? Very much
so. Clearly if we present vocabulary in lexical sets in the
first place it helps this Link System enormously - we're starting
the process off for the students. Talk to your students about
this, giving them the Principles & get them to work out
examples of their own for a given set of vocabulary, discussing
the scenarios with each other - not only memory but language
practice here. Then they will be better prepared to use this
technique outside of the classroom not only with their language
learning but with any aspect of their lives.
'Use Your Memory' at Amazon
to the contents
the Past Teaching Tips