April 2001 - issue 4/01
Welcome to the Newsletter
It's birthday time. Developing
Teachers.com will be 1 year old this month. It certainly doesn't
seem like a year. The number of people visiting the site is
steadily increasing, as are the subscriber lists for both
the Newsletter & the Weekly tip - there were lots of new
subscribers in March. Welcome to you all.
The feedback you're giving us
is very positive - it really is a shame that we've got to
keep the day jobs & not devote more time to putting up
lesson plans & ideas. Thank you all for your support.
We will keep regularly writing materials & teaching ideas
so do keep coming back to the site & please recommend
the Newsletter & Tips to colleagues & friends. If
you would like to contribute an idea or an article then please
do send it in. Thank you all for the support.
1.THEME - DIARIES
THEME - Diaries
If the internet is anything
to go by, diaries seem to be making a huge comeback these
days. It's probably the ease with which anyone can write &
be seen that gives instant empowerment to public diary writers
that is to blame for this mushrooming. Or as Kingsley Amis
said 'If you can't annoy somebody, there's little point in
There's even a special name for the diaries & diary writers
- they are web logs >> 'blogs' & the people are
Whilst looking around the net
for blogs I was amazed how developed the whole area is. A
few of the blogger types I found were called Overstuffed Bloggers,
Naked Bloggers (you have to have written your blog while naked
at least once), Aston Villa Bloggers (anything to escape reality!),
Undercover Bloggers, Pavement Bloggers, Groggy Bloggers, Guttersnipe
Bloggers, Husband & Wife Bloggers, Sibling Bloggers
& the list goes on! Some of these are very interesting
& amusing but the majority, that I found at least, were
far from it. Jean Jacques Rousseau said, 'To write a good
love letter, you ought to begin without knowing what you mean
to say, and to finish without knowing what you have written.'
Maybe the same applies to diaries,
lesson plan to accompany the theme this month uses an
article from Newsweek about
.you guessed it - bloggers
& the blog phenomena.
It would be great to see our
students starting their own blogs - in English. If anyone
manages it then do let me know. Here are some links, from
the Newsweek article in the lesson plan, to help you get started
& use as a massive source of material.
These have been mentioned in
Do you ask your students to
write learner diaries? Here are a few reasons why they make
a very interesting component of a language course.
- they really are an excellent
source of feedback on the lessons you give
- you can gain an insight into
the processes your students are going through
- the students will gain insight
into the processes they are going through
- they are an ideal opportunity
for you to give individual feedback
- they help students to feel
a part of the course design
- they provide lots of authentic
fluency writing practice
I would generally get the students
to do the diaries in class - 15 minutes each week or fortnight.
If they have nothing to say about the lessons then they can
write what they like. Check out the link above for how to
go about introducing them.
I was discussing learner diaries
on a training course recently & Susan, a diary writer
herself, suggested that it might even be more productive if
the learner diaries were private. I think that this approach
would help learner training enormously as they can write about
how they really feel & become more aware of the processes
s/he is going through with the language. With a semi-public
diary there will always be the danger that the student might
write what s/he thinks the teacher will want to see.
It could be argued that students
might be developing fluency writing even more if they knew
it wasn't going to be assessed. On the other hand, the student
may want correction & it is this outside viewer that will
push him/her to work harder at accuracy.
The problem with a private diary
is that, apart from asking the students, it is very difficult
to evaluate how successful the project is. But then if the
students are happy with it, it is successful. I haven't actually
done it like this but if you have, let me know how you got
article on the site, Henny Burke looks at the benefits
of learner diaries in teacher training courses.
Diaries on the net - those that
don't fall into the category of blogs. Here are a few eclectic
links to glean material from:
You think you can write a diary
- check this man out - the diarist of diarists, Mr Pepys.
One among many links.
'The Anne Frank Internet Guide
is a collection of WWW resources about Anne Frank (1929-1945).
Anne's famous diary does not only give a face and a voice
to the victims of World War II, but it is also an impressive
portrait of a courageous and wise person.' Go straight here
for anything to do with Anne Frank.
The Strange Case of the Lost
Elvis Diaries. A 17-part online mystery to use with your advanced
students. Give them an episode a week - together with strategies
on how they might effectively read it at home - extensive
first & then go back to only a few select difficult parts
&/or choose a few vocab items to add to their vocab notebooks
after having tried to guess from context & then looked
in the dictionary for confirmation, if necessary. It would
be worth spending some time in class each week recapping the
story so far & predicting what might happen next.
The War Diaries - about the
Kosovo conflict from A.G. in Belgrade.
Prison audio diaries.
US civil war diaries.
Prison & teenage diaries
Field diaries of the First World
War by A.C.M.Thomson.
A 'directory of cyberjournals
joined by an extra-special bond. Husbands and wives, lovers
and partners, parents and kids, even sisters and brothers.'
The real story behind the discovery
of the tomb of Tutankhamun in Howard Carter's own words.
Not really material for the
classroom but here to highlight the extraordinary eclectic
nature of the net.
It's basically a travel site & the diaries are a list
of clean, toilet facilities/bathrooms around the world for
the person on the move. One for the hygienic to bookmark!
to the contents
2. THE SITE
Last Sunday we sent out a Teaching
Tip about 'Cognitive Confusion' & the benefits for our
classes. April 1st - until 12.00am - is a bit different where
I come from. Don't believe everything you read! Only on this
day - honest. To
see the Tip.
If the PS section at the end
of each Newsletter interests you, did you know that all of
the PS sections published so far are all on one page on the
site? You don't have to trawl through all of the past Newsletters
to find something you're looking for. There's a link from
the Past Newsletter page or go directly there with
You might want to use the page
in class. There would be some interesting reading material
for the computer/net interested student - & you'll be
passing on some useful sites & downloads.
Also on the site there's the
whole list of links,
on one page, mentioned in the Newsletters.
This one's on the site - on
page - but as it is such a good one, it deserves repeating.
It's simple enough in that you get the students in pairs/small
groups discussing how they got the scars they have on their
bodies - tell them they don't have to talk about them if they
don't want to. It usually goes down a storm. In the general
feedback elicit the more interesting stories.
The other day Matthew had us
all squirming when he told us about the sewing needle he got
lodged behind his kneecap without knowing it! An operation
was needed to get it out. Good for the beginning of a course
when all are getting to know each other.
to the contents
4. E-MAIL COURSES
Maximise your time by getting
started on a quality
personalised teacher development course.
Gerard sent me this site by
putting my name through their anagram maker & coming back
with such gems as 'an idiots slick rain', 'slick radiation
sin', 'kiss in coital nadir' among about 100 other anagrams.
Put your students' names through it for them. Don't know my
name - work it out if you can!
If you're starting a new theme
in class & you're wondering how to begin, get along to
Quoteland & grab a few quotes to sink them in. There's
an excellent reference links section that's well worth bookmarking.
I couldn't find any about 'diaries' or 'writing' though. The
only one I found on a quick search of other sites: 'Memory
is the diary that we all carry about with us." - Oscar
Wilde - at http://www.quotationreference.com/
A great index of all things
for the younger learner, vetted for suitability & easy
to use. If you can get your kids on the net at your school
this would make a great starting point. US based.
So you're teaching a group of
computer-related professionals & you're not sure what
to do with them. Get along here for lots of tech support stories.
Lots of reading & speaking fun for the computer-minded
If you've got a buzzword that
is foxing you, this is the place to sort it out. Apparently
I 'google' quite frequently & I might be a part of the
generation D & there are a few pain points in my bank
balance! "verbing: It's Corporate America's favourite
pastime -- the practice of turning a perfectly good noun into
a verb. Example: "We're transitioning to the new building
in April, just after we finish databasing the surveys."'
I'm not writing this at all - I'm newslettering.
If you're toying with the idea
of a stint in China, you must check out the TEFLChina Teahouse
- nice name, eh? 'Insights from teachers in China' - there's
a lot of advice on living & working there plus a host
of teaching ideas. The e-mail lists would be a lifeline anywhere
in the country & even more so if you found yourself in
the remoter areas. Check it all out before you go - I don't
imagine you could be too prepared for the experience.
'this is the place where all
of your made up words, slang, webspeak and colloquialisms
become part of the dictionary as well. we take the words you
use every day, but aren't in the dictionary, and put them
into ours.' A couple of their entries:
mental goalie - the part of your brain that keeps you
from saying out loud the evil/stupid thoughts that are sometimes
your first response to questions or situations
karenizing - An office worker act. Pretending that
he /she is totally busy with office work but in fact, the
person does not have a single project / work.
I've mentioned the Onion before
- a satirical e-zine. Now there's another to give it a run
for its money. A few good laughs to be had.
Another excellent satirical
site. Check out the Stupid Question Hall of Fame - here's
'Stupidest question ever: Do
you work here?
No, you dumb m----. I was getting
ready today and decided that the only thing that would make
me feel sexy was a blue chambray shirt with IKEA printed across
it eight different times. Then I thought, let me accentuate
my figure flaws by tucking said shirt into pleated pants that
could possibly be less flattering if they were white. And
I purposely sewed another f---- IKEA tag into the seam of
the pleated pants to get my point across.
It looked alright, but then
I decided that some old work shoes would really complete the
ensemble. Add a fleece jacket that says IKEA three times and
I was all set!
But something was still missing,
so I smeared dirt and sweat all over my face, added some BO
in a can, and bruised myself up. Finally, I thought, I will
pull an eighty-pound pallet through the store while shopping.
YES, you ridiculous f----. Why
in the world would I be wearing this outfit, with IKEA written
across it 4,578,902 times, if I was just shopping? Why would
I be WORKING if I didn't work here? Why would I be leaning
against the WORK station, searching through an IKEA computer
system and answering the goddamn piece of s---- m---- IKEA
telephone, if I didn't work here? What the f---- goes through
your mind when you ask that stupid question, you lame a----
Did you see my name badge, you
unevolved a----? The one that clearly says "SARAH at
your service!" Did you notice my fake chipper smile and
the fact that I convincely looked concerned when you snapped
at me and screamed, "EXCUSE ME MISS!" from across
No stupid questions my ass.
Any question whose answer is blindingly, painfully obvious
("How long are these curtains?" - "Well, just
like it says clearly on the package, they are 89 inches long.")
is a stupid question. Any question that comes from any idiot
who is too f---- stupid to possess a critical thought is stupid.
I hate my m---- job.
to the contents
The other day I received an
ad sent by e-mail for a senior teacher in the International
House schools in Beijing & Jinan, China. If interested
contact Julia Bishop (email: email@example.com)
at International House, Queensland, Australia. Might be a
good place to begin looking for a job in China.
The Academy of English Studies
(British Council accredited) is looking for qualified EFL
tutors (minimum requirement Camb. CELTA or equivalent) for
our summer school, from 30/07 to 07/09.Our students are mainly
university students and working professionals. Accommodation
provided on Exeter university campus. We also teach specific
option courses such as translation, literature, business and
so on. I suggest anyone interested visit our web site www.aes.uk.com
and then get in touch with me Jane Harkess, Director of Studies
attaching a copy of their cv.
7. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
As always, free
weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail. Sign up!
to the contents
Don't you get a bit fed up when
you've just done a search & you're faced with an enormous
amount of links to check out? This is a neat little toolbar,
that sits on the left of the page, that shows you thumbnails
of the sites that are in the search page, it shows thumbnails
of all the links on a web page, it helps you save these thumbnails
while surfing & it also helps you e-mail friends with
these thumbnails instead of just the link! It's free &
it works with Internet Explorer, versions 4 & higher.
Nice idea - check it out.
'As word processing software
becomes ever more advanced, with the ability to correct syntax
and spelling errors, these familiar programmes begin to impose
a standardised corporate language onto our writing - subtly
altering its meaning. Working with the programmer Jon Pollard,
Takahashi has produced a new and fully functioning online
version of these platforms which undermines this dehumanising
process. Reclaiming the initiative back from the software,
Word Perhect presents an idiosyncratic hand drawn interface
leading to a set of functioning but strangely altered tools.'
It's fun & different so check it out.
Did you use the newsgroups at
Deja like me, only to find you'd recently lost most of My/Your
Deja? Shame but, fingers crossed, it looks like normal service
will be resumed shortly courtesy of my favourite search engine
Google - google groups are in the process of being created
using the 500 million messages from Deja that date back to
'95. I just wish they'd get on with it! There are some other
similar interesting sites that might well be more attractive
if they take too long.
When you see this site you wonder
why there aren't more like it around. It's basically a lot
of lists of sites on one page. So by bookmarking this page
you are saving yourself the job of bookmarking lots &
lots of very useful sites. I've got loads of bookmarked sites
in different folders but I usually only go to about 5% of
them. If you're searching for a type of site, it's worth checking
what they have here first. Very useful.
You've probably been there &
come back empty-handed. You had a question you wanted answering
about some Microsoft product - who hasn't got 10 million questions.
So, you thought the logical step would be to find the answer
on the Microsoft site. You go there & spend half an hour
trawling the mammoth site & come out with nothing.
The Microsoft Knowledgebase was originally designed to be
used by its own technicians to help resolve user problems.
When solutions were found they were put on the site for all
to benefit. Unfortunately it's got so big now that it's very
difficult to find anything. Until now, that is! Get along
to the Knowledgebase keyword page & bookmark it. Use it
& it'll save you bags of time.
If you're feeling a bit bored
or find a site you'd like to take your anger out on then this
could be for you. Just type in the url & see a mangled
version. I put DT.com in & was impressed - might take
a few pointers.
At PC World at the above link
you can download the Procrastination Clock. This will calculate
how long you have left to live. It's based on the statistical
averages related to birthday, gender & race. Comforting
To end on a note of warning!
My Internet love is a corpse-hoarding
By Lucy Sherriff at The Register
Trevor Tasker's online romance went from steamy to chilly
when he flew to the States to marry his love, only to discover
that she was an old age pensioner with a corpse in her freezer.
Trevor, 27, met Wynema Shumate in a chat room, and exchanged
electronic love notes with her for months. After she sent
him photographs of herself in her smalls he decided to up-sticks
to the States to be with her.
However, the photographs were taken over 35 years ago, and
Trevor was met at the airport by a rather larger, and older
woman than he expected. Shumate is now 65, and weighs in at
an impressive 20 stone, according to a report in The Sun.
But fair play to Trevor, he was not to be deterred and resolved
to stay for a holiday despite his shock.
But worse was to come, because Shumate had kept the dead body
of her former flatmate, James O'Neill in her freezer, because
she wanted to continue living in his house, and keep drawing
money from his account.
O'Neill had died of natural causes, but Shumate had tried
to cut off one of his legs in order to fit him in the freezer.
She has since been sentenced to a year in jail for fraud and
unlawfully removing a dead body.
Trevor has apparently vowed never to go online again. His
mum said that he was very embarrassed about the whole affair.
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