A web site for the developing language teacher

August 2001 - issue 8/01


Welcome to the August Newsletter

I found an interesting article recently about the 'Fencemaster' & his one-man crusade on behalf of cyclists in central London - more on this below - & as part of the lesson plan, the Fencemaster has given us permission to use the photos, & the text, from his site, so we thought some ideas on using pictures & photos might fit for the theme this month - catch the eye & reach the brain! We had cuisenaire rods as a theme last December so check out the site for lots on those. We'll look at other visuals in future newsletter themes & the Weekly Tips - still not subscribed? Get along to the site & fill in the box with your e-mail address.

Apart from the theme, there are lots of teaching & computer links, a fun warmer & some jobs advertised. There's a very interesting link to Journal of the Imagination in Language Learning and Teaching - great title - in the teaching links section. It's a good time of year to post your CV for free on the site, or an advert if you are looking for teachers - get in touch if interested.

If you have a web site please consider putting a link on it to Developing It really does help. If you would like an image for your site.

Subscriptions & hits to the site are growing - thank you if you have already told colleagues about the Developing site & the newsletters & please keep spreading the word.

Happy teaching!











9. PS - Internet/computer-related links


1. THEME - catch the eye & reach the brain

Firstly, some different visual aids available to teachers: white/blackboard - pictures. posters & photos - realia: objects brought in classroom/the classroom/the teacher/the learner - phonemic chart - video - OHP (overhead projector) - cuisenaire rods - board games - computers etc..

And a few reasons for using visual aids:

help convey meaning
interest value
aid to memory
change of focus
change of pace
stimulate the imagination
outside topics become more 'real'

The good thing about visual aids is that they are there to use so take up no preparation time & they can be used at any stage of the lesson. That's assuming you've got the ones you want as, on the contrary, there's nothing more infuriating in not having 'that' picture. It's always worth keeping your eye out and keep collecting them. Nowadays with the internet it's much easier to find pictures - there are some links later.

Here are a few ideas on using pictures & photos:

- using a dramatic but unexplained situation picture, stds discuss what happened, is happening, might

- write a narrative.

- write a dialogue.

- write caption, slogan etc.

- using the pic as a springboard, stds write one line and then hand on to next std to add the next line to the dialogue or narrative to develop a written chain story. At the end each std has a story in front of him that has been made up by the whole class.

- on giving out the pic, the stds arrange themselves in the same positions as the characters in the pic and
on a sign from the teacher they carry on the action and dialogue from the pic.

- dubbing: using a picture of a person, stds brainstorm all questions they can think of to ask him/her
(they could take notes on the questions). Then give the picture to a student who becomes that person.
Stds then interview std. If other characters are involved as a result of the questions then, as they come
up, assign them to another std who answers in that name - similar to the Teaching Tip 'Come on in &
take a seat'.

- tch has one pic covered up & very slowly uncovers it as stds make deductions about the content. It
might/could/must/can't be.. etc
- think of ten different uses for the objects in the picture.

- interviews with characters in the pic.
- std A has a pic & std B asks questions to discover content of the pic.

- give a different pic to each std, then in groups of four they work out connections between their pics &
then they work out a story.

- to set up situations.

- to promote discussions.

- to use in non-linguistic tasks in reading & listening activities e.g. order pics/choose appropriate
pic/find differences between pic & text/add info to pic.

- to convey moods & attitudes.
- to teach specific language points e.g. pics of people doing things to introduce verbs.
- brainstorm vocabulary.

- pics describing cultural aspects of L2 culture - discussion.

- postcards, a selection at hand is always useful e.g. for prompts in postcard writing, as prompt in

- adverts: stds write own/give ad a slogan.

- design the next in the series if ads.

- warmers & games;

- spot the difference: std A has pic & std B has same pic but for 10 differences. Without looking at each others they discover the differences.

- memory: look at pic for one minute, turn over and brainstorm what can remember.

- odd one out: std A has several similar pics, chooses one, and std B asks questions to guess which one he chose.

- doodles: stds doodle & then try & explain each others.


Here are a few links to enable you to find the picture or photo you need:

Lots & lots of links to free clip art sites.

I use this quite a lot for 'that' photo. Quick & I usually find what I'm looking for.

Having said that about AltaVista, it looks like I'm about to change to Google - see comments in the PS section below.

You have to sign up but they're still free.

From - free photos.   

More free photos.


To the lesson I mentioned above about the Fencemaster.

I must admit we're being a bit self-indulgent with this. The Fencemaster & his witty site appeals to our sense of humour. Apologies if it's not your cup of tea - or your students for that matter.
This is a classic example of English eccentricity at its best. There is a cause that affects the individual & his/her rights, the method of attack is harmless & it is recounted in an amusing & friendly way. The Fencemaster is fast becoming a cult figure on the net at large. The anti-Globalisation movement will have nothing on this in times to come.

To give you an idea of the site, here is an excerpt from his newsletter:

Newsletter #5 - 20-July-2001

Welcome and thanks for staying with me even longer. Week five.


I cannot get over, in case you didn't read it online, how pleasant the three policemen that came to see me were. The landlady of the fence had, of course, asked them to go and arrest me. I am generally cool about policemen. To get on with them you have to try not to break any laws, you even have to make sure you don't look like you might be about to break any. The Fencefather-in-law was the Metropolitan Police heavyweight boxing champion three years running a while ago. I have to be careful.

The three officers that came to see me (about the fence) were really very nice. But why McGlashans couldn't pop across the road themselves to discuss things, I don't know. The officers were shown into the boardroom, which was a smart move as there are biscuits there, and they really did seem to want to put their helmets on the fence. I'm sure of it.

I had to give them my name. I said 'Fencemaster', but suspected the larger of the large officers was reaching for his CS gas, so gave out my normal 'street' name (or 'office' name). They also wanted my address, so rather cleverly I thought; I gave them my real one. Your Fencemaster was feeling pretty pleased with himself after that start to the day. Oh yes.


A few sensitive souls were kind enough to express concern when I appeared 'down' after the attempt by the landlord earlier this week to have me arrested. I have had free legal advice from some supporters who are barristers, solicitors, even hardened dangerous criminals, so I feel better now.

The highly tenuous book deal I was foolishly pinning my hopes for future financial security on fell at the first hurdle, as these things do. Probably because I haven't actually written the book yet.


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There are some new articles on the site this month.

'The use of a process-oriented approach to facilitate the planning and production stages of writing for adult students of English' by Nicola Holmes with an accompanying lesson plan.
Nicola looks at how process writing can be used successfully in the classroom & proves her point with a comprehensive lesson plan. In the appendix, there are some interesting examples of first draft compositions, initial teacher feedback and second drafts written after teacher and peer feedback.

'The Present perfect (and the past simple)' by Sarn Rich.
This is an overview of current thinking about the present perfect & practical classroom ideas. Sarn also offers his own insights into this tricky tense & accompanies it with a lesson plan.

If you've given a course or seminar or have a lesson plan & would like to give it a public airing then do send it to:

Contact Page

If you are interested in advertising on the site or the Weekly Teaching Tip & this Monthly Newsletter then please get in touch at:

Contact Page



This is a fun warmer that Joanne Shipp did on a training course recently. You need some cards with objects written on them - one sock, an empty CD case, a kilo of heroin, one bicycle wheel ….. Hand one to each student & put them into groups of 3 or 4. They then have to choose someone in their group & try to persuade them that they desperately need that thing. The student being persuaded can resist & give arguments as to why they don't need it. The others in the group then vote as to who should have it. And so on until everyone has had a go at trying to persuade someone. Lots of fun.

Thanks Joanne.

You must have a favourite warmer! Send it in & we'll publish it here & put it in the warmer list on the site.

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I received the following e-mail last month:

'I edit the annual Journal of the Imagination in Language Learning and Teaching. We have just archived online the entire text of all the 86 articles from Volumes 1 through 5. There is no charge for this material - teachers anywhere can print it out. I think that this material will be of considerable value to classroom teachers and teacher-trainers in many countries.

You are most welcome to examine the website via "Special Programs" on the New Jersey City University (Jersey City, New Jersey, USA) homepage. The complete address is The Journal is produced by the University's Center for the Imagination in Language Learning. It is of interest to teachers of language at all levels--kindergarten through college--as well as to graduate students of education.

Volume 6 is current and is available in book form from the address given in the site. Requests by instructors for complimentary examination copies of that volume will be honored.

Known and respected internationally, the Journal features the work of scholars of the first rank from many countries including the USA, as well as of writers who have not before appeared in print.

The total number of articles in these five issues would seem to qualify our publication as a primary source of information on the relationship between the imagination and language acquisition.

I enthusiastically encourage you to pass along this notice to anyone who might be interested.


Clyde Coreil, Editor

(enough said, ed.)

Celebrity obituaries galore engagingly & personally written, care of Rory Borealus. Material for the higher intermediate student & up.

Here's an interesting tool to help you remember facts. You store what you want to remember into a data file & you are shown the info at intervals. One to pass on to your students.

'The Rosetta Project is a global collaboration of language specialists and native speakers working to develop a contemporary version of the historic Rosetta Stone. In this updated iteration, our goal is a meaningful survey and near permanent archive of 1,000 languages. Our intention is to create a unique platform for comparative linguistic research and education as well as a functional linguistic tool that might help in the recovery of lost languages in unknown futures. '

'This Web site and its associated mailing list are devoted to recently coined words, existing words that have enjoyed a recent renaissance, and older words that are now being used in new ways.
Each weekday, The Word Spy presents a new word, its definition, and a citation (usually from a major newspaper or magazine) that shows how people are using the word. You also get extra goodies such as background on the word's formation, a list of related words from The Word Spy database, quotations on words and language, and more. Paul McFedries'

upsell, verb
To attempt to persuade a customer to purchase a more expensive item.
"Theater staffs have developed the technique of 'upselling,' or convincing patrons to buy larger sizes of popcorn and drinks for a discount. Kathy Warning, UA's director of food services, says she recommends trying to upsell to about half the customers."
-Dave McNary, "Popcorn Power," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

mouse wrist, noun
Pain in the wrist caused by excessive or improper use of a computer mouse.
"By the end of the day, your eyes are red and your vision a little blurry. Your secretary is complaining of neck pain, and your graphic designer has a bad case of 'mouse wrist.' You know you need to do something fast. It's time to 'ergonom-ize' your office."
-Nancy Christie, "Ergonomic Office Products," Office Solutions, July 1, 2000

Also found at the above site is this handy Crossword Companion. Just type in the letters you know & a '?' for the letters you don't know & it'll come back with possibilities.

And another - Words about Words.

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Teachers can post CVs on the site & employers can post job adverts - both are free services at the moment.

Madrid, Spain - The Madrid Business School is seeking experienced native teachers for regular classes and/or shortcourses. Requirements: freelance and diploma qualified. Various openings:

1 Part-time on fixed timetable from October 2001 to June 2002 to teach groups of business students
in preparation for the UCLES Business English Certificate exams (we are an authorised
examining centre).

2 Teachers with a business background for short courses in companies in specialist fields such as
finance, HR, sales.

3 Teachers for intensive courses of general English.

If you are interested, please send your CV to Departamento de Idiomas, CESMA, Escuela de Negocios
Paseo de La Habana, 43, 28036 Madrid. Fax: 91 458 3802 E-mail:
We are closed for the month of August but details can be sent through and we will be in touch after 3.9.

Arahova, Greece - Qualified teacher wanted to teach in the charming and popular ski resort of Arahova, Greece from September to May. Arahova is ten kilometres (approximately six miles) from Delphi. Accommodation is provided. European nationals only. Reply by POST including a curriculum vitae and a photograph to Mrs Sandra Hays-Papageorgiou, Arahova Viotias, 32004, GREECE. For information regarding life in Arahova and the surrounding area contact Please write ARAHOVA in the subject line.

Reus, Spain - Teaching General English to adults and children. The levels of the classes range from complete beginners to CAE and may include some Business English. 15-09-2001 until June 2002, beginning: 15 Sept. 2001. Contact:

Sales agent - Worldwide agents for international EFL materials company. Good knowledge of local market and TESL/ESL or teaching certification required. In-company teaching and business English experience preferred. Position begins ASAP. Apply by e-mail enclosing CV/resume ("not as an attachment") to



As always, free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail. Sign up!

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Train in Spain - Courses running in the near future at the British Language Centre in Madrid:


Full-time four-week courses: September, October & November


Six month part-time course: October '01 >> March '02

Reasonably priced accommodation can be arranged for the duration of all courses.

You can see brief descriptions of all of the current courses on the BLC web site The postal address of Teacher Education at the British Language Centre is Calle Bravo Murillo 377, 2, 28020 Madrid, Spain.
The phone number is (00 34) 733 07 39 & the fax number is (00 34) 91 314 5009.
The e-mail address is

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9. PS - Internet/computer-related links                          

I'm sure you want to know when we last updated Developing, no? I learned this trick the other day. Open a text file - NotePad or the equivalent that you use & type in the following:



Then 'Save as' "last_modified.url" - without the quotes - in c:\windows\favorites.

When you are at a site, click on this in the favourites & it'll give you the date the page was last modified. Magic.

Talking of magic - back to Google - my favourite search engine - & their lightning search that seems like magic. They have now incorporated an image search. The engine chooses pages of thumbnails from over 150 million images! Phew! Take a while to get through. When you click on a thumbnail you're given a top frame of the picture & the bottom frame is the site it's from. They just get better at Google.

'Google Zeitgeist - Search patterns, trends, and surprises according to Google
For both breaking news and obscure information alike, people around the world search on Google at With a bit of analysis, this flurry of searches often exposes interesting trends, patterns, and surprises.
On a monthly, weekly, and sometimes daily basis, this Google Zeitgeist page will be updated to reflect lists, graphs, and other tidbits of information related to Google user search behavior.'

Lots of free programmes to help you & your computer stay safe.

Viruses are in the news again. Here's a useful site that helps you discover if your system is protected or not against malicious scripts. You can ask for an e-mail to be sent to you containing a VBS attachment. When you run it, it attempts to read your registry. It doesn't do any harm though - it's just to see if it can get that far without being detected. If it does get that far you need some protection!

If you're in the market for a new computer or parts for your present one, check this site out before going to buy. They give you the lowdown on just about everything - & fellow geeks will help you out in the forums. There's also a good tutorial on building your own computer - for those dead times between lessons!

I don't really know what this is doing in the newsletter but this seemed a good enough place as any to put it. Join Jeff, Scott, John, Virgil, Gordon, Alan, Brains (a true geek hero) & Lady Penelope & Parker on Tracy Island - it had everything! I always wondered what happened to Mum but it seems she died prematurely, no details given. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I wouldn't bother.

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