A web site for the developing language teacher

February 2003 - issue 2/03


Welcome to the February Newsletter.

Over here in Europe we're having a really cold time. It's been some time since I've known it like this in Madrid. Roll on the Spring.

This month we welcome Tanju Deveci & Rolf Palmberg to the articles section. Tanju's article looks at research findings & thoughts on the brain in the learning process & Rolf's looks at Multiple Intelligences. Dimitrios joins us again with articles on demotivation & three views of teaching.

Have you been to the Forums yet? They are there to complement the site with an interactive element. We hope you find them a friendly place to meet other teachers from a wide variety of teaching situations with a host of different challenges. Join in.

Happy teaching!



1. THEME - The brain & intelligences

2. THE SITE - lesson plans & articles









11. PS - Internet/computer-related links


1. Theme - The brain & intelligences

A brain-based approach to teaching English as a second language by Tanju Deveci

The information about how the brain works is accumulating continuously. It seems like there is no end to this information, and we will be having even more information about the way(s) the brain works as the science of neurology develops. It goes without saying that learning is dependent on the way our brain works. Therefore, we, as teachers, need to adapt our teaching techniques according to the brain research.

Maybe one of the most important findings of the brain research is that the brain is much more malleable than previously thought. The specialized functions of specific regions of the brain are not fixed at birth but are shaped by experience and learning (Genesee, 2000). Here, the word 'experience' is the key word, and when we consider that learning and teaching provides individuals with new experiences, the role of learning experience aided by teaching and teachers seems clearer. That is to say that teaching and teachers can actually make a difference in brain development.

However, experience should be purposeful and meaningful if we want the brain to change in a desirable fashion. The importance of meaningful learning appears to be crucial in Caine and Caine's (1994) twelve principles of learning as well. They assert that the search for meaning is innate. We cannot stop this search, but channel or focus it. The human brain survives by searching for meaning, and responds to meaningless and meaningful information and situations differently. Therefore, if we want our learners to use and develop their brains we need to teach for meaningfulness. Before going any further, I believe that it is essential to mention Caine and Caine's all twelve principles, which, I feel, contribute to the search for meaning in one way or another:

1-The Brain Is a Parallel Processor: The human brain is always doing many things at one time. Therefore, teaching must be based on theories and methodologies that guide the teacher to make orchestration possible. Teachers need a frame of reference that enables them to select from the vast repertoire of methods and approaches that are available.

2- Learning Engages The Entire Physiology: The brain is a physiological organ functioning according to physiological rules. Stress and threat affect the brain differently from peace, challenge, boredom and happiness. Everything that affects our physiological functioning affects our capacity to learn. Stress management, nutrition, exercise, and relaxation, as well as other facets of health management, must be fully incorporated into the learning process.

3- The Search For Meaning Is Inborn: The human brain tries to make sense of our everyday experiences. This is in its nature, and we cannot stop it at all. Therefore, in our classes we need to exicite our learners, and arouse their curiosity. Our learners need to discover information themselves. In this way, they will be challenged.

4- The Search For Meaning Occurs Through Patterning: Patterning refers to the meaningful organization and categorization of information. The brain is designed to perceive and generate patterns. "Meaningless" patterns are isolated pieces of information. Learners are patterning, or perceiving and creating meanings all the time. We can influence the direction.The information should be organized in a way that allows brains to extract patterns.

5- Emotions Are Critical To Patterning: What we learn is influenced and organized by emotions. Emotions are crucial to memory because they facilitate the storage and recall of information. The emotional climate in the school and classroom must be monitored on a consistent basis. The environment needs to be supportive and marked by mutual respect.

6- The Brain Processes Parts And Wholes Simultaneously: There are significant differences between left and right hemispheres of the brain. However, the two hemispheres are interactive.

7 - Learning Involves Both Focused Attention And Peripheral Perception: The brain absorbs information of which it is directly aware and to which it is paying attention. This means that the brain responds to the entire sensory context in which teaching or communication occurs.

8- Learning Always Involves Conscious And Unconscious Processes: Students need to review how and why they learned. This will let them take charge of their own learning and they will develop personal meanings.

9- We Have At Least Two Different Types Of Memory: A Spatial Memory System And A Set Of Systems For Rote Learning: We have a natural, spatial memory system that does not need rehearsal and allows for instant memory of experiences. However, facts and skills that are dealt with in isolation are organized differently by the brain and need more practice and rehearsal. We, as educators, need to know that teaching devoted to memorization does not facilitate the transfer of learning and actually will interfere with the development of understanding.

10- We Understand And Remember Best When Facts And Skills Are Embedded In Natural, Spatial Memory: We learn languages through multiple interactive experiences involving vocabulary and grammar. Our language is shaped both by internal processes and social interactions. Therefore, success in learning a second language will depend on using all the senses and immersing the learner in a multitude of complex and interactive experiences.

11- Learning Is Enhanced By Challenge And Inhibited By Threat: The brain downshifts under threat, and it learns optimally when appropriately challenged.

12- Each Brain Is Unique: Systems in every individual brain is integrated differently, which means that we need to provide choices to attract individual brains.

To read the article


Rolf Palmberg's article is also about the brain & intelligences 'Starting with multiple intelligences - activities for foreign language teachers'

'Inspired by Rosie Tanner's two papers on Howard Gardner's MI Theory and how to apply them in foreign-language teaching (Tanner 2001a, 2001b), I decided to expand her suggestions into an eight-step activity plan for teachers who are familiar with Gardner's MI Theory in general but do not know exactly how and where to start.'

To read the article


Some links to information on the brain & learning:

Learn all about the brain.

' is dedicated to providing accessible, high-quality information about how the brain works and how people learn. Many discoveries are being made in areas that relate to the human brain, including language, memory, behaviour, and aging, as well as illness and injury. We believe that access to this information can provide practical tools for teaching and learning as well as valuable insights into almost every aspect of our daily lives.'

Brain explanation & links at

The Role of Brain-Based Learning and Alternative Methodologies in EFL by Marjorie Rosenberg



Did you hear about the Crosdale family in Coventry? They discovered 'a cash machine that wouldn't stop giving out money, they withdrew £134,410. Now three of them are in prison. Was their crime really that bad? Philosopher Julian Baggini considers their case.' To see the lesson plan


This month brings two more articles by Dimitrios Thansoulas. The first continues the theme of motivation from last month's article

'Student Demotivation' by Dimitrios Thansoulas

We have elsewhere concerned ourselves with student motivation and what teachers can do to foster it. In this article, we shall introduce the notion of 'student demotivation', mainly drawing upon Dornyei (2001), among others. Besides, we shall try to establish a connection between teacher expectations and student achievement, thus casting the phenomenon of demotivation in a meaningful framework, within which both teachers and students are salient participants.'

To read the article


The second article is titled 'Three views of teaching' by Dimitrios Thansoulas.

The three views are; Teaching as doing: the behavioural view, Teaching as thinking and doing: the cognitive view & Teaching as knowing what to do: the interpretivist view. Here's what Dimitrios says about the first:

'Teaching as doing: the behavioural view
Generally speaking, teaching is seen as doing-as behaviours and actions which supposedly lead to learning. According to Rosenholtz (1989), teaching is mainly instructional (my emphasis). However, in the current state of education, especially in the United States, teaching is to a great extent custodial. Teaching is doing, and "doing" entails taking care of learners (Freedman, Jackson, and Boles, 1983; Lightfoot, 1983a). For some (Apple, 1985; Liston and Zeichner, 1990), this behavioural view is resultant in 'de-skilling' (Freeman, 1996), as it breaks teaching down into routinised activities leading to intensification in teachers' work lives when their jobs become like the repetitive performance of routine tasks (Apple and Jungck, 1990).

The domain of educational inquiry which investigates this view of teaching-as-doing comes under the paradigm of process-product research. This kind of research seeks to relate what teachers do in class, in other words, the processes they use, with what students do, or learn, as products of lessons. Within this view, teaching resides in the generalised patterns of activity and behaviour derived from what teachers and learners do in the classroom. Thus, teaching becomes a still-life of behaviours (Freeman, 1996), detached from both the world in which it is embedded, and the person who does it.'

To read the article

Thanks to Tanju, Rolf & Dimitrios.

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:

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This month there's a review of 'Laughing Matters' - Humour in the classroom by Peter Medgyes (CUP, 2002)

'a difficult book to review - it's similar to when you get a new coursebook & you start off by reading all of the cartoons. Here, the problem is that so much of the materials are compulsive reading that it took me a while to get round to the activities. Imagine what it must have been like to write it!'

To read the rest of the review

Please don't forget to go through the books page when you want to buy from or . The books have links to both .com & .uk & if the books that you want aren't there, do a search with the search boxes at the bottom of the Books page. We get a little bit & you pay the same. Every little helps to keep the newsletters free. Thanks.



Lots of different Forums to choose from. Post your jobs, your CV, your questions, finds on the net, ideas, activities, questions, grumbles, suggestions, your language courses, your training courses…

Check them out



Relax & maximise your time by getting started on a quality personalised teacher development course.



The Language Tools page from Google - they never cease to amaze me. On this page you can search in specific languages or countries, translate text or type in a web page & it'll come back translated into the language of your choice! The actual translations seem to suffer the same limitations that most on the web do. Still well worth passing it on to all of your students.

If you're unsure about what a particular idiom means, here's a site to help you out.

'Pop-Up Dictionary is a program that can help you to translate and memorize chosen words of many foreign languages. Just add your words, set the time, and the program will be asking you the translations of chosen words from the dictionary.
You can also create vocabularies and dictionaries and organize words in them, sort dictionaries by original word, translation or transcription, view slide show, customise text fields with your own fonts and colours and choose encodings for many languages, such as Western European, Hebrew, Arabic etc.'

Formerly known as The Human-Languages Page, iLoveLanguages is still your biggest and best guide to language-related Web sites.

MERLOT is a free and open resource designed primarily for faculty and students of higher education. Links to online learning materials are collected here along with annotations such as peer reviews and assignments.

Internet Resources for Language Professionals

Have you got any favourite teaching links? Post them in the Forums or send them in.



If you or your students are thinking of the UK for an English language course then The New School of English in Cambridge should be at the top of the list of schools to consider.

Here are a few reasons for choosing The New School of English

- centrally located in the city of Cambridge
- small enough to provide very personal attention to our students in the classroom
- accommodation and in their social activities
- no large numbers of one nationality
- high-quality language classes with experienced, well-qualified staff
- self-catering residential accommodation in the summer for students who want more independence

If you mention that you found them at Developing, you'll get a 5% discount on the course fees. To visit their web site:



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- Getting it right at the beginning
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Here are a few jobs that have come in recently. If you would like to advertise a job, please go to our Forums first & post the advert in the Jobs Forum. We will then pick it up & post it on the site as well. All for free.

Northeast China
Northeast university of Science & Technology/Daqing Petroleum Institute need ESL/EFL teachers for next semester, beginning March 1, 2003.
1/ Return airfare paid
2/ Salary is a generous 5000 RMB per month
3/ Modern, comfortable accommodation provided

Contact: Robert or go to: and fill in the application form.

Madrid, Spain
Language Destinations S.L. (Serrano, 93) is looking for experienced freelance Business English teachers with university degrees and recognized TEFL qualifications (CELTA/Trinity). Experience outside of the English teaching field is an advantage.
In addition, we are looking for a number of bilingual (English-Spanish) Spanish teachers, with experience and teaching qualifications, to teach intensive Spanish classes within our academy.
We offer excellent remuneration and full backup and support for our language instructors.
Please email CV to

Zhengzhou City, Henan province, China
Zhengzhou International Language School - our School belongs to the Zhengzhou Education Government. We have 70 students in our school & all of them want to go abroad for studying. Private school with government support. Tel no: 0371-3755406 Salary: no more than 4000RMB Student: 9 students in grade three of High school Age: 18-19 Visa: We will pay the travelling expenses & solve the visa for the teacher. Accommodation: The flat will be provided - air-condition, refrigerator, furniture, bed and so on. (Please see the contract) Work hour: 20 hours Requirement: Native English speaker with ability to teach math and elementary computer knowledge.
Contact: Frank Wang

Beijing, China
Beijing Ladder Information Engineering Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Ladder International Corporation in Taipei, was established in 1992. Now, it is regarded in China as one of the forerunners in publication and marketing of English learning materials, as well as implementation of English learning programs. Ladder provides well-proven, high quality services and products to thousands of students and companies. The Education Department, has successfully joint-ventured with elementary and high schools in Beijing to implement English teaching programs in their curricula. At present, we have a total of more than 4000 students and 12 foreign teachers.
Our detailed offer is as follows:
1.Monthly salary 5000RMB, including income tax deducted by the government;
2.Apartment provided or living allowance 2000RMB.
3.Paid Holidays;
4.Working visa provided for a one-year contract;
5.Round-trip airfare provided (no more than 8000RMB) for a one-year contract.

If you would like any additional information regarding our program, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We would be thankful if you could forward your relevant documentations, resume, copy of passport, diploma and relevant certificates, etc.

Seoul, Korea
My name is Linda Kim, owner and director of Linda English School in Seoul, Korea. I would like to recruit Canadian native English speaking teachers, no experience needed, as soon as possible. If you have teachers who are interested in coming to Korea, please contact me.
Contact Information: Phone: (86-10) 68364860 ext. 29 Fax: (86-10) 68365338

There's a new CV up from Srija Sinha

As with the Jobs, please post CVs first in the Forums & then we'll take them up from there.



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

Full-time four-week courses, next courses: February 10th, March 10th

Full-time eight-week course, April/May '03

5% discount on all courses if you mention the newsletter!

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


11. PS - Internet/computer-related links

'E2 can be a very, very confusing place at first. This website has grown from being a very simple user-written encyclopaedia (see E1) to a very complex online community with a focus to write, publish and edit a quality database of information, art and humour. When you make an account here you join not only a team of dedicated writers but also an entire micro-society and community with its own pop culture, politics, beauty and blunders. It's not perfect. In fact, it can be pretty messy. It's cool as hell, though...'

Have you ever tried to download the internet? Check this out.

'Dave's Quick Search Deskbar is a tiny textbox that Dave Bau designed for search hounds with weary mouse-fingers. Unlike the Google Toolbar, this little deskbar lets you launch searches without starting a web browser first, directly from your Windows Explorer Taskbar.' Compatible with Windows95/98/2000/XP and IE 5.5 or higher.

Enter two words to see which is the most popular i.e. which brings more results on Google.

Funletters for Outlook Express are easy to use, quick to send, and FREE! Many of our Funletters are animated, and are available in a wide variety of popular choices. You can even add your own music or sounds to Funletters if you want!

'UltimateZip the freeware archive utility for the new millennium' - free.

A huge page that tells you what those start up programmes actually are. Start >> Execute >> Type in Msconfig >> go to Start & there you'll see a list of the programmes that start up when you turn on your machine. You'll probably find that a lot of them are not that necessary. Check out this page to see what they are. From Paul Collins.

Eyeball to eyeball. Lovely site.

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