A web site for the developing language teacher

December 1999 - issue 2/99

Developing Teachers Newsletter

We have had a lot of very positive feedback about the first newsletter - thank you for your comments. It has been really nice to find out what many of you are now doing.

We often chat about it, wondering who is still teaching & where people may be. If you have interesting news of colleagues from your course then do let us know. Also if you know of anyone who hasn't done a course with us but would like to receive the newsletter then just tell them to send us an e-mail.

This newsletter has a festive theme - Xmas & the New Year. It's always nice to do the Xmas lesson: British customs incorporating vocab comparison with Spanish customs etc. - it all means that the holidays are nearly upon us.

Hope you find some of the activities useful. The Millennium will soon be here so, if we survive all of the Y2K hype, the next newsletter will be about Millennium things. Please send in ideas - thanks.

By the way, this week's article from the 'English-to-go' site mentioned below has four articles about what people will be doing at the turning of the Millennium.

Whichever part of the world you happen to be in we all wish you a very happy holiday.

Enjoy & be merry!








THEME -Festive activities
It always seems to be the last lesson before Xmas that actually deals with Xmas. Why not build up to it from now on?
- presents - stds decide which presents they give to famous people - Clinton, Milosevic, Blair, Aznar etc. They could secretly decide on the person individually & then decide on the present - they then read out what the present is & the others guess the famous person. What would they give each other (/their teacher)?
- there are literally hundreds of sites offering all things to do with Xmas. Here are just a few. takes a look at the conspiracy theories surrounding our man with the white beard. Nice short readings for intermediate & up. you need to do a search for Xmas things - this is the general site for the Hearst group of magazines - lots if you look. click on the country/continent to see how they have a good one. Jigsaw reading/speaking activity loads of links. loads more links ranging from the weather report in the North Pole to Santa's FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) through to recipes & jokes.
- roleplay: a variation of the What's On decision making roleplay - the family sit around with the TV guide & decide what to watch.Each has a rolecard with preferences on it e.g.. Little Johnny wants to watch the war film while Grandad wants the the King's speech etc. All do battle to come to a decision - makes it more productive if their rolecards are written in such a way so that they can come to an eventual decision, everybody conceding something but getting something as well. It might be an extended period of viewing - give them all a copy of the TV guide beforehand (some scan reading activity beforehand? & discussion about Xmas activities & TV habits & programmes at Xmas afterwards?).
- if you can use the Internet with your students you could get them to send festive e-cards to each other.
- here's a Xmas vocab list: Christmas Eve/Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve/Day, Merry/Happy Christmas, Happy New Year/Millennium advent calendar, nativity scene, inn, stable, crib, wise kings, shepherds cards, carols, carol singers, tree, decorations, midnight mass, presents, wrap up, mistletoe, parties, Queen's speech, cracker, snowman, holly mince pies, turkey, cake, pudding, champagne, Father Christmas, sleigh, reindeers, jingle bells, chimney, stocking Christmas Carol, Scrooge
- get stds to design an alternative Xmas &/or alternative taking in a homeless person for a week or giving a % of your money to charity..
- storytelling - tell the stds the story of Christmas Carol - try to do it from memory & not from notes as it comes out much more authentically- stds then write a summary of the story & maybe change it around &/or give it a different ending - prize for the most imaginative version.
- festive problem pages - stds write Xmas problems & another replies e.g. don't know what to buy boyfriend, how get out of visiting Grandma on Boxing Day .
- New Year resolutions - how can they make their learning more effective - follow up on it to see if they are using these new strategies.
- there's a nice piece of material in Streamline Directions unit 51 - consisting of a series of letters to someone who failed to get the job as Santa - lots you can do with it - originally taken from The Times Countdown to Christmas in 1980.
- misc. ideas: recipes, remembrances on Xmas' past (used to/would), debate for/against banning Xmas, write alternative Queen/King's speech, charities.


In addition to the CELTA & DELTA courses, we are offering the following in the New Year; Pre-Diploma course - in need of new ideas? thinking about the Diploma course? Then this is the course for you.
An eight week mini-Dip course to give you exciting new ideas & a taster of the Diploma course without the hard work! 32 hours, 2x2 hours a week, Monday & Wednesday mornings.
Teaching the Younger Learner - we ran this earlier this year & it was a great success. It is packed with ideas & activities to give the different age groups fun lessons. Eight week part-time, 32 hours, 2x 2 hours a week, Tuesday & Thursday mornings. Teaching Phonology - isn't it time you got to grips with it. Do you find yourself looking for ways around it & feel guilty? A very practical course with the theory clearly explained. A six week course, two & a half hours each Friday.
Interested? Then do get in touch soon. You can see brief descriptions of all of the current courseson our web site


If you don't know this site, consider it as an early Xmas present. You get a free reading-based lesson plan each week sent to you by e-mail. It comes from Reuters & the standard of the lessons is very high - both the texts & the way they are exploited are interesting & they are usually integrated with other skills too. For a small fee you can also have access to the 'Teachers' Room' & other lesson plans & activities. There are quite a few ELT sites offering plans & activities but they do tend to be quite basic & this one is more than commendable.
This is the web site of the very popular daily newsletter, with a weekly summary newsletter as well, all to do with personal computers, Windows etc. This is written by Chris Pirillo who has a friendly, chatty style. The headings he uses include GnomePrograms, GnomeSystem, GnomeCandy, GnomeFavourite, GnomeDesktop & GnomeTip & each of these contains a link & brief description. Very informative.


4.FREE LITERATURE Apart from hosting a very interesting site, Adobe are giving away a stack of literary classics for free. Among the titles are Through the Looking Glass, Christmas Carol, Frankenstein, Gulliver's Travels, Northanger Abbey & Walden & On The Duty Of Civil Disobedience. All you do is download the ones you want. Check it out soon if interested as it's not sure how long they'll be there. If you have problems getting to the page go to first & then click on the 'free books'. Pass the address on to your students.


Many thanks to all those who took time out to fill in the questionnaire. If you haven't actually got round to completing it yet, then there is still time. So far I have managed to amass about 30 responses and am hoping to receive about 100.
The research is forming part of a talk that I shall be giving at TESOL-SPAIN in March 2000. The title of my talk will be - Cultural Diversity: Managing same-sex orientation in the ELT classroom. which should fit in quite nicely with the theme of the Convention which is "Managing Learning". The Convention itself will be held at the Universidad San Pablo-CEU, Calle Julián Romea 23, 28003 Madrid. Dates 24, 25, 26 March 2000
If you would like more information about TESOL-SPAIN, then you can visit their web site at;
I look forward to receiving more questionnaires. Henny


6. PS
For the Xmas sites mentioned above I used the WebFerret & it has made life much easier for general web searches. Write in 'Christmas' & this device queries all configured search engines simultaneously, discarding duplicate results (not always!) & gives you a list of 500 sites! It takes seconds to get results & then all you do is click in the list on the site you want to visit. No more laborious opening of the search engines.. You can download it for free from - There are pay versions of their products too. Slap it on your desktop.

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