A web site for the developing language teacher

December 2007 - issue 12/07


Welcome to the December Newsletter.


7. PS - Internet/computer-related links


1. Hello

We are collaborating with the ELGazette digital edition this month. The ELGazette is a UK-based newspaper devoted to all things English language teaching. To see the current edition for free online, follow the link below & fill in a few boxes:

Michael Berman, a regular contributor to our articles section, is offering a download of each unit of his business book 'ON BUSINESS AND FOR PLEASURE - An Upper Intermediate Course For Business English students'. Each unit will be up on the site for only a month to download free of charge. Link to the unit one download:
Please see information about Michael's new book below. An ideal Xmas present.

Help support the site by going through our book page to get to Amazon:

Gabi Bonner looks at using songs in the classroom this month, 'Singing the Praises of Songs: Some Practical Ideas for Using Music with your EFL Students'. The intro to the article is below.

From a recent Tip:
I love finding articles that have several sections to them that can be used in different ways with different levels. A short while ago I came across '101 gadgets that changed the world' on
the Independent newspaper website ( It's a really interesting
article with the term 'gadget' being used in its rather broad meaning, & could really have been substituted for 'invention'. It is really long so please go to the following link to view it: There is a pdf download link there as well.

So at the start of this season of goodwill we thought we would combine giving away some of the books we have reviewed on the site with this week's Tip. All you have to do to be entered in the draw is to send in one, several or many ideas on how to use the text with any level to the email address given below. The ideas can use the whole text (!! - it's very long & there are a couple of entries that might not be suitable) or any part of the text.

It would be great if we could get 101 ideas together to match the article's 101 gadgets. The more ideas you send in the more chance you have of winning one of the following:

Once Upon A Time - Morgan & Rinvolucri (CUP)
Dictation - Davis & Rinvolucri (CUP)
Lessons From Nothing - Marshland (CUP)
Personalising Language Learning - Griffiths & Keohane (CUP)
Extensive Reading Activities for Teaching Language - Bamford &
Day (CUP)
700 Classroom Activities - Seymour & Popova (Macmillan)
Global Issues - Sampedro & Hillyard (Oxford)
Using Newspapers In The Classroom - Sanderson (CUP)
The Internet - Windeatt, Hardisty & Eastment (OUP)

The ideas sent in will be added to the article page at the link above.

If you are getting your Christmas lessons together, you can find a few ideas here:
If you have more ideas, please do send them in & we'll add them to the list. You will also be added to the book draw above.

Please send ideas for the gadget article or the Xmas list to: or use the contact form on the site:

Have you downloaded your evaluation copy yet? Developing has teamed up with Tony Buzan's website iMindMap. Tony Buzan invented mind maps & they have now entered the digital age with an excellent programme that lets you design your own mind maps on your computer. To download a trial version & find out more, click on this link:

If you have any information you'd like to include in the Monthly Newsletter, please do email it with the subject: 'Monthly News addition'. Thanks.

Happy teaching &, if you celebrate it, Happy Christmas!


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.

ADVERTISING - We reach more than a few thousand teachers every week with the Weekly Teaching Tip & the same each month with the Newsletter, not to mention the 2000+ unique visitors a day to the Site, & the site has the Google PR5. If you've got a book, course, job...anything that you'd like to advertise, then do get in touch.



At Developing 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.




Time to develop your teaching from the comfort of your computer?

The online courses are hosted at one of our sister sites, ( ). 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, to get in touch & check out:


As mentioned above, Michael is offering a unit a month of his business English book. To download the first unit:

Michael also has the following book out:

The Nature of Shamanism and the Shamanic Story by Michael Berman

The book makes out a case for the introduction of a new genre of tale, the shamanic story, which has either been based on or inspired by a shamanic journey, or contains a number of the elements that are typical of such a journey. The stories featured are the Book of Jonah from the Old Testament, two traditional stories from the Republic of Georgia–The Earth will take its Own and Davit, a contemporary German tale Bundles, and the Korean story of Shimchong, the Blindman’s Daughter. By making use of textual material from a number of different cultures and times, the intention is to highlight the pervasive influence shamanism
has had and to show how the “new” genre being proposed is a universal one. The research questions addressed include 1) defining what shamanism is, deciding whether it should be
classified as a religion, a methodology or a way of life 2) considering whether a case can be made out for the introduction of a new genre of tale and, if so, what its characteristics are.

It is hoped the book will be of interest not only to those involved in the study of shamanism but also to those whose interest is in the study of literary texts. Since the old bearers
of shamanic traditions quite often were, and even today are, illiterate, the study of their folklore–epic songs, laments, narratives–undoubtedly provides a rich source for research.
Michael Berman BA, MPhil, PhD (Alternative Medicines) is a part- time teacher at Oxford House College in London, a writer, and core shamanic counsellor. Publications include A Multiple Intelligences Road to an ELT Classroom and The Power of Metaphor for Crown House Publishing and The Shaman and the Storyteller for Superscript. Michael has been involved in teaching English as a Foreign Language to adults for over thirty years and has given presentations at Conferences in Austria, Azerbaijan, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, and the Ukraine.

Articles on by Michael:
Teaching Tales from the Sufi & Hasidic Traditions by Michael Berman
Journeying, Storytelling & Spiritual Intelligence by Michael Berman
Making Use of Divination in the Classroom by Michael Berman
The Art Of Storytelling by Michael Berman
The Storyteller: Shaman and Healer by Michael Berman
Multiple Intelligences Revisited by Michael Berman
Storytelling for the Classroom by Michael Berman
Warrior, Settler or Nomad? by Michael Berman


Singing the Praises of Songs: Some Practical Ideas for Using Music with your EFL Students by Gabi Bonner

''Songs are like an EFL teacher's Swiss Army Knife: portable, multi-purpose, handy, easy to use, and really just fun!'' (Murphey: 2002).

We hear songs on the TV, on the radio, in the supermarket, in the restaurant, at the pub, at concerts. We sing songs at religious services, in our head, in the car, under our breath (hopefully) when walking down the street, and even in the shower. Songs and music pervade almost every part of our lives and thus provide us with rich and invaluable examples of authentic material which can be easily exploited in the EFL classroom, with wonderfully
positive results.

Why Use Songs?

The reasons to use songs in language teaching and the benefits of this are numerous and span all areas of language processing, from cognitive and linguistic to affective.

Using songs as part of language learning can be theoretically supported by Steven Krashen's affective filter hypothesis and it can also aid automaticity (Gatbonton and Segalwitz: 1988). Krashen's affective filter hypothesis postulates that optimum learning takes place in a non-threatening, low anxiety environment with high stimulation. According to Krashen, the learner's emotional state (his/her inner feelings and attitude) acts like a filter that can be adjusted and either impedes or welcomes input needed for language acquisition. Negative emotions, such as anxiety, demotivation or lack of confidence act
like a filter and can prevent the learner from responding to the linguistic input from his/her environment. Music helps create and sustain an environment which evokes positive emotions, lowering the affective filter, and thus facilitating language acquisition. Songs also provide a break from classroom routine, and learning through songs develops a non-threatening classroom atmosphere in which the four skills can be enhanced (Lo and Li: 1998).

The main cognitive reason for using songs in the language classroom is that they help learners develop automaticity, which is 'a component of language fluency which involves both knowing what to say and producing language rapidly without pauses' (Gatbonton and Segalwitz: 1988). The ability to memorise is critical to the language acquisition process, since it would be virtually impossible to acquire language without memory. The repetitive nature of songs helps students to memorise and thus automatise chunks of language.

Songs can be used to help learners acquire vocabulary and grammar, improve spelling and develop the linguistic skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking (Lalas and Lee: 2002).
Other reasons why using songs is advantageous in language acquisition are that it provides authentic examples of the target language and target vocabulary, grammar and patterns are modelled in context, and it's an enjoyable experience for learners and teachers alike.

Which Songs Should I Use?

Now that we've seen how useful songs are for language acquisition, let's have a look at how to use them effectively in the classroom. I've found it most motivating to use songs that
the students are already familiar with, or songs of a genre that I know my students like. How do I find out what kind of music my students are into? Simple: ask them! Set aside five or ten
minutes of a lesson near the beginning of the semester and do one of the following things:

a) Just have an informal whole class discussion about favourite music, singers and groups.
b) You could give students a few minutes in pairs or groups of three to brainstorm and try to reach a consensus on the most popular genre of music or group or singer and then have a whole class discussion.

c) You could set students a writing task for homework in which they are required to write about their favourite music/group/singer etc.
d) You could ask one student every few weeks to bring in a song that they like with the lyrics and possibly some background information on the singer or group, and then you can take it away and prepare some activities for the next lesson. Easy.

To view the rest of the article:

More articles by Gabi:
'Lessons Taught and Lessons Learnt': Reflections on my First Year
as a TEFL Teacher by Gabi Bonner
“Silence is Golden“: Going to Extremes to Reduce TTT by Gabi Bonner


You've probably heard lots about Moodle, the framework for providing online courses. Have you thought about having your own? At Developing (a sister site of Developing we provide you with your own Moodle for only $12/month or $60/seven months. Your Moodle installation comes with 300mb of space & 1gb/month of bandwidth.

We set it all up for you & you provide the courses. You don't need to provide the actual course, this can simply be an online presence, a way of keeping in touch with your students, a meeting place with individuals or whole classes, an extension of your lessons.

We like it so much that we run our own online development courses at Developing with Moodle. For more information:

Reliable & affordable Web Hosting for the English Language Teaching Community!

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'The Electronic Village Online Sessions - For six weeks, participants can engage with ESOL experts in collaborative, online discussion sessions or hands-on virtual workshops of
professional and scholarly benefit. These sessions will bring together participants for a longer period of time than is permitted by the four-day land-based TESOL convention and will
allow a fuller development of ideas and themes of the convention or of professional interest in general. The sessions are free and open to all interested parties. You do not need to be a TESOL member to participate.' January 14 - February 24, 2008
Material for a different Xmas lesson.
'Ten Excellent Online Apps For the Innovative Teacher'
Steven Pinker tells us about the relationship between language and thought. Plus, quackery; elephants on acid; and a new song from our Science Weekly troubadour Jonny Berliner
English Grammar Guide

'The difference myth - We shouldn't believe the increasingly popular claims that boys and girls think differently, learn differently, and need to be treated differently.'
'The Visual Dictionary Online, the dictionary with a new point of view. A quick glance at the index is all it takes to connect words with images. Explore the 15 major themes to access more than 6,000 images and see words like never before.'
Sample and share these bite-sized snacks to get a taste of creative ideas from the UK about just about everything – from the Big Bang to dot com.
Perfect English video at YouTube.
And then there's the Berlitz advert.
'Teacher Training Videos - These videos were created for teachers to help them to incorporate technology into their teaching. My own background is in teaching English, so some of the sites are specific to ELT and are grouped separately. The rest are for all
teachers and there is also a section for those interested in more difficult multimedia products like Flash and Director.'
Vocab stuff.
Guardian Languages - 'Do you want to learn English? Guardian Languages offers everything you need. Our unique learning and teaching method brings you exciting real-life language practice – whether you are at a language school or studying by yourself.'

If you've 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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A few days, among many, 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
Xmas in general
26th - Kwanzaa
Boxing Day
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.



New review: 'Dictation New methods, new possibilities' by Paul Davis & Mario Rinvolucri (Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers CUP)

'Dictation' is one of my favourites in the Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers series. It has been around for a while, being first published in 1988 & in its thirteenth print in 2002. The book looks at a much maligned area & brings many fresh & varied approaches to it. To read the review;

And check out all the other reviews:

If you know of a useful book that we haven't looked at & that we should review, do let us know & we'll see if we can get a review together.

If you're going to, or 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.

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Free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail.

Recent Tips have included:
- Gadgets Galore - Reading skills
- Scotland the Brave - Writing skill
- High or Low? - Different levels
- Use the language - Speaking & language
- War - Lesson ideas
- Spooky lessons - lesson ideas for Halloween.
To see the Past Tips:

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7. 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

Computer Gender Joke
A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine. ''House'' for instance, is feminine: ''la casa.''
''Pencil,'' however, is masculine: "el lapiz.''

A student asked, ''What gender is 'computer'?'' Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether ''computer'' should be a masculine or a feminine noun.

Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men's group decided that "computer" should definitely be of the feminine gender (''la computadora''), because:
1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;
2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;
3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be Masculine (''el computador''), because:
1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;
3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.
'Donation gifts let you make the world a better place! Share them with your friends and family, and use them for all your charitable giving. Find out how it works.'

'Surfer dude stuns physicists with theory of everything.'
'Can't make up your mind? Load up any two pictures and let the world decide for you.'
'Real-life Superheroes: 10 People with Incredible Abilities.'
' - Over 1500 Brain Teasers and Riddles For You to
'Welcome to ELEVATORRULES.COM. There are two reasons that you might have for coming here. One reason would be to learn more about elevator etiquette so that you become a better person and help those around you to have a better day. If this describes you, you most likely saw a sticker in an elevator or heard about this web site while conversing pleasantly on an elevator. To all of you we say hello, and good for you. You are making the world a better place - one elevator ride at a time. On the other hand, you may be the second type of visitor....'
The Webby Awards' 12 Most Influential Online Videos of All Time
Lovely photos.
'Images have become the mainstay of our experience of historical events and occasionally people have felt the need to manipulate those images to support their views or manipulate the truth. Since the advent of the Internet, we are now also seeing a large number of “photoshopped” images created for humor or popularity. This is a list of 15 of the most famous manipulated images.'
'Welcome to TuneSquare Beta 1.1 - The wide-open place for you to discover new and exciting music from great unsigned and independent acts. As an artist on TuneSquare, you are making money while listeners around the world are downloading your songs for free!'
'25 Skills Every Man Should Know: Your Ultimate DIY Guide'
'Forgot what song that was? Search for music by singing or humming. All you need is a microphone.'

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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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