December 2006 - issue 12/06
DEVELOPING TEACHERS.COM NEWSLETTER
Welcome to the December Newsletter.
Have you been on YouTube recently & found yourself wanting to use one of the videos in class? Normally you can only do that if you have an internet connection in your classroom, but now with the Firefox browser, an extension & a small player you can show the video offline on your laptop in class. We tell you how in the Teaching Links section.
This month Juliet du Mond joins us with an article about drama & movement. Juliet looks at dance & parallels with drama in the classroom. Also joining us for the first time is Malgorzata Bryndal with the first in a series of articles, this one about predicting & interacting in the reading skill. There is also an accompanying lesson plan. Cambridge ESOL have sent in another article as well. The Teacher Knowledge Test (TKT), is a new test aimed at developing the non-native teacher of English. If you offer teacher training, then this is well worth investigating.
Don’t forget that we run online teacher development courses, personalised & individual courses for every level of teaching experience. Maybe now’s the time to invest in your teaching. To find out more:
1. THE SITE
2. TEACHING LINKS
3. DAYS OF THE MONTH
4. BOOK REVIEW
5. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
6. PS - Internet/computer-related links
7. THE BIT AT THE END
1. THE SITE
ONLINE DEVELOPMENT COURSES
Time to develop your teaching from the comfort of your computer?
The online courses are hosted at one of our sister sites, DevelopingCourses.com (http://www.developingcourses.com ). The individual, personalised courses develop with the experience, needs & interests of each participant at their own rate.
We use Moodle, an excellent course management system, each course having its own password so only the individual participant plus the trainer can gain access. The central focus on the courses within Moodle is the forum & where there may be three or four different threads going on at the same time. Attached to these are a variety of resources. All are very easy to operate in Moodle. Choose between the full, seven-module course, & an elective four-module course.
For more information, get in touch & check out:
Movement & Drama in ELT - by Juliet du Mont
Drama activities in the language classroom are a well established tradition, but the mention of movement tends to provoke a question regarding its relevance to learning a language.
I have always loved both words and movement. Twenty years ago in New York I began experimenting with uniting the two by creating a dance solo accompanied by words rather than music. Dance and words are often viewed as unnatural partners but during this process I became aware of inherent parallels in terms of rhythm, flow and phraseology.
Much more recently in Nairobi, Kenya, I was working on an ELT classroom-based research project which touched on different learner types, and became especially interested in the kinaesthetic learner. At the end of the project one of the participants remarked that for her learning had to do with the whole body, all of the senses, linked to her experience of life. She said, ‘One learns with everything’. This comment gave impetus to the construction of an outdoor dance floor under the tree canopy which became the context for experimentation with integrating movement and language learning.
In this paper I will say why I feel incorporating movement into learning a language is important, examine why it is not widely used, and briefly recommend groundwork and approaches for including movement in ELT.
According to British drama educator Dorothy Heathcote, effective drama is achieved by taking students´ minds off themselves. Fluency in language learning is certainly much helped by students losing self-consciousness, and drama, by appealing to the imagination, is an excellent way of achieving this. But how is drama separable from movement? As Barker says, ´…acting is above all a physical activity…´ [1977, p.27], which implies that movement’s presence in the ELT classroom should automatically be guaranteed.
Capturing the imagination of your learners supplies a precious learning tool. In Nairobi, the fact of learning English in the open air was already different, but add to that the invitation to learn whilst moving freely and you have a situation which is original to the point where in the case of adults, a moment of acclimatization is necessary. However, the unusualness of the learning situation caught their imagination, creating an openness to experimentation with various ways of learning through movement.
The oral and visual senses are those traditionally associated with language learning,but approaches involving the other senses also have great power to capture the imagination, e.g.the tactile sense which acts as reinforcement to the visual in memorization, or can be used in isolation to elicit description from the learner who describes an object with the eyes closed. Both smell and taste are also triggers for description and storytelling, especially powerful when eliciting memories. However, there is also that often neglected extra sense, the kinaesthetic. This is sometimes used as a synonym for touch, but whose broader meaning according to The American Heritage Dictionary is the following: ‘the sense that detects bodily position, weight, or movement of the muscles, tendons, and joints’. It is this sense which I suggest is a widely underused tool in English language teaching. Using movement in the ELT classroom as an adjunct to visual and oral input enhances fluency, can facilitate the learning of tricky language areas and helps to create a learning-receptive state.
To view the article:
The importance of predicting and interacting with texts in developing learners reading skills by Malgorzata Bryndal
1. Introduction: the benefits of teaching and learning the skill of reading.
For most EFL learners reading in English is a daunting and demoralising task. They do not enjoy it, are often nervous about it and, if they can, avoid it outside the language classroom. As Stanley (2005) and Harmer (2001) point out such insecurities about reading in English are reinforced by the way reading is usually approached in the language classroom. The authentic purpose of reading is often submerged by the purpose of language improvement (1), moreover, traditional reading exercises tend to concentrate on the unfamiliar in the text rather than encourage the student to rely on what is familiar, which only adds to anxiety and negative expectations. There is then a confusion of aims: the students are not being taught reading and how to develop reading abilities per se, but rather a written text is used as a vehicle for the introduction of new vocabulary and/or structures (McDonough & Shaw 2003).
While language improvement is a natural, highly desirable by-product of reading, reading lessons should be preoccupied with authentic purposes of reading where the attention is on the meaning rather than the language of the text (Nutall 1982). Reading lessons should aim at creating better readers through reading. When teachers choose the right kind of material (and use appropriate teaching techniques) and the students are successful, then the benefits of learning to read are obvious. Harmer (2001) notices that students who read a lot seem to acquire English better than those who do not. They improve their general language competence but also get a lot of affective benefits from reading (which, in turn, foster motivation to learn English); success in reading and its associates skills, most notably writing, makes learners come to enjoy language learning and to value their study of English (Nation 1997). Without much exposure to reading material in class EFL students are unlikely to make much progress.
2. Interactive reading, schemata and cognitive reading strategies.
Recently reading in L2 has been described as an interactive process, with the emphasis on the role of the reader and the knowledge s/he brings to the text. Hedge (2000) refers to this process as a dynamic relationship between the reader and the text, in which the reader performs various cognitive tasks and combines his/her knowledge with the information in the text to make sense of it.
The interactive view of reading draws heavily on the schema theory (Carrell 1987, Carrell & Eisterhold 1988) which proposes that readers possess different conceptual frameworks, called schemata (2) which they bring to the reading of a text and which they use to understand what they read. New knowledge can only be processed coherently in relation to existing knowledge frameworks, and efficient readers activate the necessary frameworks to assist in decoding the text being read (cf. Cook 1989, McCarthy 1991).
There is now considerable body of research (e.g.: Alderson & Urquhart 1984 in: David & Norazit 2000) which suggests that teachers need to pay attention to activating schematic knowledge and it is reflected in the emphasis on a pre-reading stage in current reading methodology. Still, it may be the case that a certain level of language competence is necessary before any training in the use of schematic knowledge can be effective.
Making sense of the text is facilitated not only by activating relevant schemata, but also by employing cognitive reading strategies which are determined by the type of the text we are reading, the purpose we are reading for and the type of information we want to obtain. It is impossible to list all the reading strategies, as a lot of them are not accessible for analysis and there is much individual variation amongst readers - each learner uses an individual mix of strategies in relation to a particular text and topic. E xhaustive lists of strategies are given by Munby (1978) and Klein et al. (1991). From the teacher’s and learner’s point of view though the strategies suggested by Harmer (2001) and Hedge (2000) seem to be the most important. These include:
* identifying topic,
* predicting and guessing,
* reading for gist (skimming),
* reading for specific information (scanning),
* intensive reading (reading to understand everything in detail)
* receptive reading (e.g. when reader wants to enjoy a story),
* reflective reading ( involves episodes of reading a text and then pausing to reflect),
* interpreting text (critical reading),
* extensive reading (reading for pleasure)
Although most learners use these skills in their L1 (consciously or subconsciously) they do not always transfer them into English. This implies that to be successful readers in English the learners need explicit instruction in recognising the strategies required for a particular text type, and training in their application.
To view the article:
The lesson plan aims:
* To help students develop the predictive skills of reading via the use simulated authentic text (stages 2, 3, 4, 5).
* To develop students’ ability to read a text (using skimming and scanning) by getting them to answer comprehension questions and respond to the text on a personal level (stages 3, 4, and 5).
* To provide students with an opportunity to practise the use of and reinforce the learning of the second conditional via a speaking activity derived from the reading (stage 6, 7).
To view the plan:
The development of the Teacher Knowledge Test by Mick Ashton and Clare Harrison, University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations
English language teachers are in demand worldwide. In such a rapidly growing field and with the range of experience and types of English teacher, how can institutions be certain of their quality? And how do teaching professionals set themselves apart and develop their careers?
Requests from government ministries and schools around the world has led to Cambridge ESOL creating the Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT), a new qualification focusing on the core professional knowledge needed by all teachers of English as a second language. TKT is intended to be accessible and relevant to teachers at any stage in their career, whatever their background and teaching experience, and is ideal for teachers who need to enhance their knowledge, as well as people aiming to enter the teaching profession.
TKT is a flexible test – created specifically to fit in with busy working lives. The three modules (Language and background to language learning and teaching; Lesson planning and use of resources for language teaching; Managing the teaching and learning process) can be taken together in one session or separately, as well as in any order. There is no compulsory course component or teaching practice in TKT: candidates an choose to prepare for the test through self-study or by following a guided course of study. Results are given in bands, with the opportunity for both inexperienced and experienced teachers to demonstrate their particular level of knowledge.
The range of teacher experience within the profession is huge. From new graduates with no training attracted to carrying out short stints of English language teaching in an overseas country, qualified teachers given new responsibilities for English, to the more experienced teachers working in many schools. How do you create a test for teachers which will be appropriate and valuable to the full range, no matter their situation, their level of English, the age group they are teaching, and the context in their country?
Developing TKT has been a major exercise in consultation and testing. In late 2002 , Cambridge ESOL sent out questionnaires to various teacher training institutions worldwide in order to gain reactions to the proposal to develop a new test for teachers which would be quite different in format and concept from the existing Cambridge ESOL teaching awards. The consultation provided a basis for Cambridge ESOL to develop TKT in such a way that it would have relevance to teachers working in different educational sectors in a wide range of countries.
To view the remainder of the article:
Thanks to Juliet, Malgorzata & Cambridge ESOL.
ARTICLES - If you've given a course or seminar or have a lesson plan & would like to give it a public airing, do get in touch.
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TO GET IN TOUCH
At Developing Teachers.com we occasionally carry out consultancy work. The different projects have included tutoring DELTA candidates by email, offering advice on curriculum design & materials choice & short training courses in person & by email.
If you would like us to help in any way, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
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2. TEACHING LINKS
Download YouTube videos for use in class.
Have you seen a video on YouTube that you'd like to use in class but can't because you don't have an internet connection in the classroom? With the Firefox browser it's very easy. Here's what you do:
First of all, if you haven't already got it, download the Firefox browser at: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/ & install it - all very easy. Then get along to: http://javimoya.com/blog/youtube_en.php & download the 'VideoDownloader Firefox Extension'. After installation, a small icon will appear at the bottom on the browser & all you need to do when you are watching a video is click on the icon & download the video. Save it on your hard drive, adding the extension '.flv' to the file. Now get along to: http://www.martijndevisser.com/blog/article/flv-player-updated & download the FLV player to watch the videos through. You're ready to go. It really is quite easy & the downloads mentioned are very light.
If you have a laptop to take into class, this is an excellent way to provide listening/viewing material.
Jim Kalb's Palindrome Connection.
Material for lessons at Buy Nothing Christmas.
More business English.
Glossary of linguistic terms.
If you have visited a site that you think would be beneficial for all or would like your site to appear here, please get in touch. Thanks.
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3. DAYS OF THE MONTH
A few days to plan your lessons around in December:
1st - World Aids Day
7th - Pearl Harbour Day
21st - Winter Solstice (& June 21st)
World Peace Day
24th - Christmas Eve
25th - Christmas Day
A selection of links on the site:
The spirit of Christmas? http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips76.htm
Happy holidays - http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips91.htm
26th - Kanzaa
31st - New Year's Eve
Tolerance Week - 1st week of Dec.
International Language Week
To see the list of Days:
Wikipedia's excellent focus on days of the year:
Some holiday origins.
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4. BOOK REVIEW
There’s a new review up on the site of The Internet by S.Windeatt, D.Hardisty & D..Eastment (OUP - Resource Books for Teachers). Here's how the review starts:
You are probably fairly proficient in internet skills to have found your way to this page. But is this enough to deal with this huge area in your lessons? The Internet is at hand to help with an array of very practical information & activities. You might be lucky enough to carry all this out in your classroom, but even if you cannot, you may still be able to use a lot as homework tasks as your students may well have an internet connection at home.
To read the review:
To buy the book from Amazon.com:
To buy the book from Amazon.co.uk:
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/books/reading.htm
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DEVELOPINGTHEWEB.COM - WEB HOSTING
More web space & bigger bandwidth!
Developing TheWeb, our associate web hosting site offers three very affordable hosting plans - all with cPanel - Bronze $8/month, Silver - $12/month & Gold - $15/month. For details:
phpBB Forum installations - up & ready to go without any need to know anything about web design. A simple way to instantly create your own online community. For details:
Online Course Support: Moodle installation, 300mb of space, 1gb of bandwidth/month - $12/month Even comes with a PayPal module so that you can integrate charging for your courses. For details:
Pay for the year to get two months free & your bandwidth doubled! Pay for six months & get a month free! Very reasonable domain registration also offered - .com - $20/year.
Reliable & friendly hosting services. For more information:
5. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
Free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail.
Recent Tips have included:
SWOT - an activity for the business group as well as a way of reflecting on our role as teachers.
Manners Maketh Millionaires - lesson material on cross-cultural awareness
Buy Nothing Day '06 - lesson material
Tolerating discussions - Lesson ideas for International Day for Tolerance
Working with dialogues - ideas on using....
To see the Past Tips:
To sign up to receive them:
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6. PS – General 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
'2006 marks the 25th anniversary since SPL first began licensing images. View some edited highlights here in Pick of the Pics.'
'The Random Acts of Kindness™ Foundation inspires people to practice kindness and to “pass it on” to others. We provide free educational and community ideas, guidance, and other resources to kindness participants through our website.'
A visual search engine - a taste of things to come!
'"In the Womb: Animals" is an unprecedented two-hour world premiere special that takes you inside the hidden world of animal pregnancy. Using state-of-the-art visual effects, computer graphics and real-time, moving 4-D ultrasound imagery, we can see inside the unique world of animal fetal development in a way never before possible. For the first time, these pictures shed light on how an elephant, a dolphin and a dog develop in the womb.'
‘ WikiDumper: The Official Appreciation Page for the Best of the Wikipedia Rejects’
Check your reaction time.
'Network for Good is the Internet's leading charitable resource, bringing together donors, volunteers and charities online to accomplish good. At www.networkforgood.org, users can donate to more than one million charities and search from among more than 36,000 volunteer opportunities.'
Listen to a telemarketeer getting uncomfortable.
Talks & videos of Alan Watts, Timothy Leary & like-minded advocates.
An index of Borat videos.
101 Zen stories
Best inventions of 2006.
'Making knowledge about Iraq available globally is the goal of the Olivebranch Network; beginning with this blog.
This blog uses the words of many Iraqi’s including several popular Iraqi bloggers; but it is also open to professionals or soldiers or others with experience with Iraqi culture. The network so far has over 20 contributors but details about them are not yet being released for reasons including both administration and security.'
The All-TIME 100 Albums.
'the election of the New 7 Wonders of the World ... be part of the making of history!'
Fun kaleidoscope toy to play with.
Maps of war.
'The Guide to Great Art on the Internet'
'Say No to boxed software! The future of applications is online delivery and access. Software is passé. Webware is the new way to get things done.'
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7. THE BIT AT THE END
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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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