A web site for the developing language teacher

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2010 - issue 1/10


Welcome to the January/February '10 Newsletter.


8. PS - Internet/computer-related links


1. Hello

Welcome to the first newsletter of the new year. If you have had hols, hope you are rested.

We're continuing the newsletter in the same vein.. This month we come to the end of Hank Kellner's photographs & writing series of articles, but we continue with Michael Berman's Conversation Themes. James Broadbridge joins us for the first time with an article about 'Consciousness Raising in the EFL Classroom' & Neil McBeath returns with more from Oman with an analysis of 'Military Culture, Academic Culture and Omani Culture'.
Do keep sending in any plans & articles that you would like to see published.

Happy teaching in 2010!


We continue to offer a new unit in Michael Berman's twelve intermediate conversation lessons 'Let's Talk About It'. Each month we have the chance to download a new unit of the book. To visit the page:


We are continuing with the chance for you to try out Moodle for a month free of charge. As you know we offer web hosting to language teachers at Developing ( & one of the hosting plans is the online course hosting with Moodle software. With this you can provide a meeting place online, courses, lessons, forums & a host of other things with this content management system. So if you would like to try it out for a month, send an email to with 'MoodleTrial' as the subject.
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'Twitter' declared top word of 2009

Global Language Monitor's vast survey of print and social media places Twitter ahead of Obama and H1N1 as most used word

As world leaders prepare for the climate-change summit in Copenhagen and stock markets around the world get the Dubai shakes, a Texas-based algorithm has declared "Twitter" the top word of 2009.

According to the Global Language Monitor (GLM), the social media website has been the most popular word in the print and digital media around the world this year, followed by Obama in second place and H1N1 – the name of the virus behind the epidemic of swine flu which has swept through Europe and the US – in third.

Other words in the global top 10 include "stimulus", "deficit" and "hadron" with Stephenie Meyer's popular Twilight series pushing "vampire" into the top five.

According to the president of GLM, Paul JJ Payack, Twitter is a word that sums up the recent rise of social media.

"To us it's kind of a surprise that Twitter came up as number one rather than Obama," he said, "but that tells you how big Twitter is globally." The success of the word is not just because social media are "taking the world by storm," he continued, but because it's "a fun word" which has spawned a whole vocabularly of tweets, twictionaries and even twitterature. "It's like Obama – you don't have a lot of play on the word Gordon Brown, or George W Bush – whereas you do with Obama, and you can with Twitter."

GLM's software tracks the frequency of words and phrases in print and digital media, the internet, the blogosphere and databases such as Lexis-Nexis, to try to understand what people are really talking about. "We try to open it up as wide as possible," said Payack. "We look at broad swaths of the internet, we try to get at everything."

Payack is confident that the results reflect the conversations people are having in their own homes or on the street.

"There is no way to measure every word spoken on the planet," he said, "but since people use social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin, as well as blogs, to such a great extent, we can see how they are thinking (and feeling) to an unprecedented extent."

According to Fiona McPherson, a senior editor at the Oxford English Dictionary, it's a very different exercise from the lists of new words published by dictionaries every year. "We've already got 'vampire' in the dictionary," she pointed out. However there are overlaps in the kind of data they are looking at.

"Twitter is undoubtedly a word of the year," she continued. "It hasn't made it into the OED yet; because nothing ever comes out once it's gone in we normally need to have a history of usage over five years. But it's certainly something that could make its way in."

While lexicographers have traditionally leaned more on literature and newspapers, she added, individual tweets might be valuable references in the future: "If the dates were verifiable, and they were properly archived then I don't see any reason why not." But Twitter's number-one slot is perhaps a function of the kind of data GLM is looking at, she continued. "It's self-perpetuating in a way – you're talking about what you're doing."

Michael Jackson's death is commemorated in the top phrase of 2009, "King of Pop", while Barack Obama leads the list of names. Other phrases in the top 10 include "climate change", "too large to fail" and "cloud computing", and US politics dominates the list of top names, with Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Rahm Emmanuel and Sonia Sotomayor joining the president.

GLM has also identified "global warming" as one of the most used terms of the decade, which Payack suggests is an indication that mainstream political parties are trailing behind voters when it comes to their perception of green politics.

"The consistently strong performance of terms such as 'climate change' and 'green' over the past decade shows that people on the ground are very attached to the environment," said Payack, "that they are embedding these ideas in their lives."

GLM's top 15 words of 2009

1. Twitter

2. Obama

3. H1N1

4. Stimulus

5. Vampire

6. 2.0 (term borrowed from computing, meaning 'next generation')

7. Deficit

8. Hadron

9. Healthcare

10. Transparency

11. Outrage

12. Bonus

13. Unemployed

14. Foreclosure

15. Cartel


Facebook invades dictionary: 'Unfriend' is Word of the Year

The New Oxford American Dictionary has named "unfriend" - which means deleting a 'friend' on a social networking site such as Facebook - as its 2009 Word of the Year.

Oxford senior lexicographer Christine Lindberg said the word had both currency and potential longevity.

"In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year.

She said most prefixed words beginning with 'un' were adjectives, such as 'unacceptable' or 'unpleasant'.

"There are certainly some familiar 'un-' verbs (uncap, unpack), but 'unfriend' is different from the norm.

"It assumes a verb sense of 'friend' that is really not used (at least not since maybe the 17th century!). Unfriend has real lex-appeal."

Richard MacManus, editor of Readwriteweb, said it was an odd choice given the growth of websites like Facebook.

"All the trends indicate there has been more social networking activity this past year - not less (as 'unfriend' implies). Facebook and Twitter have rocketed in popularity."

Social media consultant Simon Young also said he was surprised by the choice, as he didn't believe 'unfriending' was a significant part of social networking culture.

Recent words of the year have been mostly environment-related, including hypermiling (strategies to increase gas mileage such as removing roof racks or overinflating tyres, locavore (eating only locally produced food) and carbon neutral.

Mr Young said breaking the cycle by selecting a social media phrase could signal the start of a new trend.

"But I hope that goes together with environmentally friendly words into the public consciousness."

Other Word of the Year finalists

Hashtag - a # sign added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets that contain similarly tagged items and view thematic sets

Intexticated - distracted because texting on a cellphone while driving a vehicle

Sexting - the sending of sexually explicit texts and pictures by cellphone

Freemium - a business model in which some basic services are provided for free, with the aim of enticing users to pay for additional, premium features or content

Funemployed - taking advantage of one's newly unemployed status to have fun or pursue other interests

Birther - a conspiracy theorist who challenges President Obama's US birth certificate

Teabagger - a person who protests President Obama's tax policies and stimulus package, often through local demonstrations known as "Tea Party" protests (in allusion to the Boston Tea Party of 1773).

Deleb - a dead celebrity

Tramp stamp - a tattoo on the lower back, usually on a woman

Source: NZ Herald


New words of 2009: the year tweetups and snollygosters arrived

Staycation and zombie bankers catching on along with jeggings and simples, say lexicographers

A year of snollygosters, jeggings and tweetups marked the end of the 21st century's first decade, according to word enthusiasts who have spent Christmas burrowing into Britain's biggest linguistic database.

The three words lead the list of hundreds of new English coinings in the Oxford English Dictionary in the last 12 months, along with novel uses for familiar words, such as simples, unfriend and zombie banking.

"It has been another rich year," said Susie Dent, the lexicographic specialist from the TV show Countdown, who led the comprehensive scanning of more than 2bn words. "Last year, we found that 'credit crunch' was the most familiar new word, and the effect of the recession has stayed with us through 2009."

Staycation – a money-saving holiday in the UK – is an example, an elision of words that caught on immediately. The zombie bankers are only one of a rich vocabulary from the fallout of the City's near-meltdown: paywalls, freemiums (free service providers with paid-for premium extras) and bossnapping, to oppose sackings or pay cuts, are other popular newcomers.

The overwhelming influence of the internet also continued unbridled, with unfriend coming from the practice of dropping a contact from a Facebook site. Voted the word of the year by the New Oxford American Dictionary, it shares the honours in the UK with the alternative defriend, which is nearly as widely used.

Tweetup has prospered via the more friendly social networking practice of organising gatherings through Twitter, using the rhyme with "meet" in the traditional way of creators of new words. Simples, meanwhile, comes from an older-fashioned source.

"It appeared on the 'compare the meerkat' TV adverts for insurance and quickly become a catchphrase said by anyone [to] mean something very easy to achieve," said Dent. "It really seems to have captured the public's imagination in 2009."

Jeggings, another top scorer in usage terms, comes from the traditional word-marrying school of new terms – mixing jeans and leggings to describe new clothing style. Snollygosters, meaning "shrewd, unprincipled people", is actually an old word revived: first recorded in 1855, it fell into obscurity until the first stirrings of election fever in the early autumn.

The survey also notes new words in overseas English, including hatinator (hat and fascinator) to describe the latest headwear craze in Australia, and hohum, a New Zealand coining for those who prefer to observe rather than act.




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An Analysis and Example of Consciousness Raising in the EFL Classroom by James Broadbridge

The purpose of this paper is to examine the use of Consciousness-Raising Exercises in the EFL Classroom. It outlines the differences between Consciousness-Raising and more traditional Grammar Translation techniques, and then goes on to discuss the arguments both for and against the use of Consciousness-Raising in the classroom. The final sections then focus on the problem of when and where to use these types of activities and practical issues involved in focusing on grammar in the Japanese university EFL classroom.

With the advent of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT), grammar teaching was almost “forced underground” (Miller 2002: 144). Teachers who still felt it to be an important part of the learning process, were forced to do so discretely through fear of admonishment from their peers. With the claims of the CLT movement holding such power, it was inevitable that there would be some form of backlash against the abandonment of hundreds of years of teaching practice. This has occurred with the rise of Consciousness Raising (CR) as a method of teaching grammar.

CR, as described by Ellis is: “an attempt to equip the learner with an understanding of a specific grammatical feature - to develop declarative rather than procedural knowledge of it.” (Ellis 1991:234) It involves a focus on a specific form of the language, which is highlighted in a variety of ways. When teaching grammar through CR, teachers do not teach any grammar rules directly, rather they provide information in the form of data, which contains the form to be focused upon. From this data students are encouraged to engage in cognitive activities, which allow the students to create rules about the language for themselves, bringing the language to a conscious level. CR activities can take many forms, but general principles of an inductive, focus on form remain constant. Examples of CR activities can be found in the Appendix, and will be discussed within this article to highlight some of the characteristics of CR.

CR is not intended to replace CLT in any way, and as we shall see later, CR can be used within communicative language lessons. In using CR, a return to the failed method of Grammar Translation (GT) is not being advocated; they are two very different approaches. What CR does, is to allow teachers to highlight problem areas, which are evading acquisition, and develop exercises, which can facilitate the acquisition of these troublesome forms. The main differences between CR and GT will be discussed in the following section of this article, with later sections focusing on the arguments for and against CR, and also problems involved with using CR in the classroom.

Differences between Consciousness Raising and Traditional Grammar Teaching
CR differs in a number of ways from GT and the following section will highlight some of these differences.
1. CR can act as a supplement to language learning, rather than the main focus, therefore it is perfectly suited to the communicative classroom as it complements this method of teaching.
2. There is no need for a metalinguistic knowledge, as stated by Ellis: It is perfectly possible … to develop an explicit understanding of how a grammatical structure works without learning much in the way of grammatical terminology.” (Ellis 1991:234)
3. CR differs in the route of bringing grammar to an explicit level, whereas a GT teacher would teach the rule, with CR it is a way of discovery as the students create the rules for themselves.
4. CR does not attempt to impart the grammatical rules of the whole language. Instead it only focuses on certain items that have thus far failed to be acquired by the students in that particular class.
5. CR allows the teacher freedom to spend as much or as little time as required on the particular form. As noted by Sharwood-Smith (1981) an important feature of CR is the degree of explicitness and elaboration. Sharwood-Smith described four varying styles of activity, with the style being adjusted to suit the student and the form being focused on. An example of the differences between the styles of activity can be found when looking at Appendix 2 and 3. In Appendix 2 less technical metalanguage is used, than in Appendix 3. It is only a slight difference, but the increased use of metalanguage can have the effect of losing a students interest in the activity, a point which will be discussed in more detail later in this article. All of the activities in Appendix 1-3 would fall into the category Sharwood-Smith described as being: less explicit with the students forming the rules themselves; and also more elaborate, with the activity being broken down into stages to aid the knowledge of the appropriate generalization. (Sharwood-Smith 1981: 54) These activities take this form due to the audience they are aimed at, with all of these activities being designed for similar classes, but through making the activities more explicit by focusing more on complex metalanguage, or more elaborate by spending more time on the structure, CR can be used for a wide variety of students and structures.

The differences between CR and GT were succinctly described by Rutherford: “CR is a means to attainment of grammatical competence in another language.” (Rutherford 1989: 24) which the learner contributes greatly to. Grammar Teaching represented an “attempt to instil that competence directly.” (ibid) CR protagonists are fully aware that the methodology, which GT was based upon, was ineffective, and believe that CR is a way of gaining the benefits knowledge of the L2 grammar brings, whilst doing so in a way that promotes its acquisition.

To read the rest of the article:


English in Military Culture, Academic Culture and Omani Culture – Maintaining the Balance by Neil McBeath


This paper examines House’s (2009) definitions of culture, places them in an Omani context, and then demonstrates how Gardiner’s (2006) description of basic infantry training applies to the Sultan’s Armed Forces.

The paper then outlines four sets of materials designed for SAF personnel, indicating how these were designed for men with ever increasing levels of formal education.

It then turns to academic culture, demonstrating that potentially problematic linguistic and pedagogic issues can be resolved in the Omani context.

The paper concludes by describing four approaches to academic writing, suggesting that the academic genres approach is to be preferred.


As this paper which intends to examine the impact of English on three different cultural areas, it seems appropriate to begin with a definition of terms. This paper, therefore, takes its starting point from a paper by House (2009) who offers three contrasting definitions.

Culture defined

According to House, there have been two traditional views of culture. The first was the humanistic view, which captured “the ‘cultural heritage’ as a model of refinement and an exclusive collection of a community’s masterpieces in literature, fine arts, music etc” (House, 2009, p. 109). This is the view that values a “high” and exclusive culture, frequently the product of wealth and leisure, while disregarding everything else. In a nutshell, the gardens are admired but the gardeners are ignored.

The second view is the anthropological concept of culture, which focuses on how a community lives its life – “all those traditional, explicit and implicit designs that act as potential guides for group members’ behavioural patterns” (House, 2009, p. 109). In this instance, culture is defined in terms of behaviour, and can be sub-divided into behaviour deemed “appropriate” – that is, appropriate in the eyes of the community, according to social standing, age or gender.

House also, however, suggests that “with the rise of post-modernist, cultural studies-inspired thinking, the whole notion of culture has come under attack.” (House, 2000, p. 110). In the post-modernist critique “pure culture” does not exist, because stable social groups do not exist. External influences and the behaviour of individuals constantly destabilize groups, and hence the concept of culture is little more than the idealization of a concept serving primarily to reduce the differences between people living in any one area.

The post-modernist conception is attractive, and helps to explain why, for example, Shakespeare’s plays could have been “low”, demotic culture to his contemporaries, but became “high” culture with the passage of time. It also explains how, in the Sultanate of Oman, the 40 years since His Majesty’s accession have seen radical transformations, and yet Omani society has integrated these changes into its culture; accepting the changes because of the benefits they confer.

Holes (2009) reminds us of the extent to which Oman has changed. The Renaissance of Oman is dated from the 23rd of June, 1970, but it takes little thought to realize that practical changes did not occur overnight. The development of a modern state required an infrastructure that remained incomplete until approximately 1985. It is, therefore, no exaggeration to suggest that the first fifteen years of His Majesty’s reign were devoted to the laying of foundations – a basic road network through northern Oman and down to Dhofar; electricification; health and education systems and a series of government ministries to oversee the workings of the system.

The infrastructure alone brought transformations. Holes (2009) reminds us that “The rate of social and economic change in the Gulf in the last 50 years, and especially in the last 20, has been giddyingly fast, and certainly much faster than at any time previously. Before this sudden acceleration there seems to have been a long period of stability, one might almost say stagnation, in the way of life, no matter who occupied the seats of power. In a sense, when we talk about 50 years ago in the Gulf, we may as well be talking about 200 or 300 more years ago, so slow was the pace of change until recently.” (p. 217).

This picture is easily confirmed. Photographs taken in the 1960s show us an unrecognizable Oman that – a country of tribal loyalties, where most people were subsistence illiterate subsistence farmers and/or fishermen; where water came from wells, where travel was limited and based on the stamina of a donkey or camel. Holes (2009) recalls that “In the mid 1980s, it was still a common experience to meet elderly Omanis living no more than 60 miles from Muscat who had never been to it in their lives.” (p. 233).

This, of course, partly explains why the Marxist insurgency in Dhofar never spread. The insurgents were unable to carry their fight north, while northern Omanis had no interest in events so remote from their own sphere. In 1981 I encountered almost the same attitude from a sailor in a class at Muaskar al Mutrafaa. When asked if there was a cinema in Seeb, 10 kilometres from the camp, he had no idea. He lived in Fanja – 20 kilometres in the other direction. He had never been to Seeb in his life. He had no relatives in Seeb and, therefore, had no cause to visit the town.

To read the remainder of the article:

Other articles by Neil:
CLIL, or Deep Level ESP? by Neil McBeath
The Three Most Critical Factors in ELT by Neil McBeath
Teachable versus Unteachable Materials; Two Examples of English for Military Purposes by Neil McBeath


Using Photographs To Inspire Writing VIII by Hank Kellner

“Everything is funny as long as it happens to someone else.” So wrote the American humorist Will Rogers. That statement certainly is true, even though the young boy shown in this photo seems to be unaware of the events that are taking place around him.

One way to use a photo like this one is to present it to students with only a few accompanying “trigger” words designed to stimulate their imaginations. For example, you could pair the photo with words like humor, laughter, jokes, funny situations, or others. Then you could ask the students to write opening paragraphs based on the first thoughts that come to mind when they view the photo/words combination.
To complete the assignment, you could ask the students to write longer works based on their opening paragraphs. In some cases, students may wish to exchange their opening paragraphs before writing their compositions.
Another approach would be to conduct class discussions using thought provoking questions that will help the students formulate ideas for stories, poems, or even expository pieces based on the concept of humor. Students will readily respond to such questions as: (a) What is the little boy in this photo thinking? (b) Why are the two adults laughing? (c) What are some of the funniest things you have ever seen in a film or on television? (d) What does it feel like to have someone laugh at you? (e) Who is the funniest person in your class, and what is funny about this person? (f) What are some things that make you laugh (g) In what ways can laughter be harmful?

Long Live Books and Reading!

Silhouetted against a window, a girl appears to be engrossed in the book she is reading. At a time when motion pictures and television seem to capture the attention of so many people, is this girl the exception rather than the rule? What is it about the book she’s reading that holds her attention? In what way can reading a book be more satisfying than watching a film or television?
To teach specific writing skills, you could ask your students to discuss only the main character in a novel they have read. For this assignment, they should discuss the character they have chosen emo-tionally as well as physically. They should also tell how their characters dealt with conflicts or problems that were important in the novel they chose.
Of course, many students either don’t enjoy reading, or are outwardly hostile to doing so. If that’s true of the students in your classroom, you could ask them to write compositions that cite specific reasons for their aversion to reading.

Behold the Lowly Onion

Students who have handled most onions know that they have to be careful when doing so. If they’ve peeled or chopped onions, they might have cried. If they chewed on them, their mouths might have smarted. Worse yet, some students might have found that people turned away from them after they ate these members of the Allium plant family.
One or more of the responses described above could easily inspire any number of written compositions. Alternatively, you could present your students with several suggested writing assignments.
For example, you could ask them to describe an onion in terms of what it looks like, tastes like, feels like, and smells like. This approach will encourage them to describe an object in terms of sense impressions. On a more creative level, you could ask your students to personify an onion and reveal what it’s like to be peeled, chopped or sliced, added to a salad, and drenched with salad dressing.

Promote Narrative Writing…With Humor

In Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, adjunct Instructor of English Amber Luck promotes narrative writing by showing her students at Hennepin Technical College photographs depicting people in situations in which what is happening isn’t immediately clear. “The assignment,” she writes, “for each student to choose one person in one of the photos and write the story behind the picture from that person’s point of view.” The students then take turns reading their stories aloud to their classmates. “The results are often hilarious,” concludes Luck, “and the assignment works as a community-building exercise, as well as an introduction to narration.”

Create an Image File

At Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Linda Dick uses many interesting, creative techniques to help her students create stories, poems, and expository pieces. In her creative writing classes, for example, she asks them to create an image file: a folder full of magazine images and/or Internet images of anything. “In the classroom,” she writes, “I ask the students to choose one of the images. Then I direct some of them to write a biography, others to create a scene, and still others to create a plot line.” Finally, the students put everything together spontaneously. “In that way,” she concludes, “they learn a great deal about the elements of fiction.”

There Is No Limit

As you can see, there is no limit to the ways in which you can use photographs to inspire writing. You can use them to help teach the different forms of rhetoric. You can use them to help your students write biographies or family histories. You can use them to help teach figures of speech, poems, or short stories. Or, if you wish, you can simply present photographs to your students without comment or discussion and allow them to create compositions based on whatever the photos suggest to them.

Hank Kellner is a retired educator and the author of WRITE WHAT YOU SEE: 99 PHOTOGRAPHS TO INSPIRE WRITING. Although the official publication date for the book is April 1, 2009, it should be available directly from Cottonwood Press earlier than that--most likely in late January, 2009. Visit the author’s blog at http://hank- Contact the author at Visit Cottonwood Press at Photo by the author. Poem by Jerry Kato. The author will contribute a portion of the royalties earned from the sale of this book to The Wounded Warriors Project.

To view the remainder of the article:

Other articles by Hank:
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 7
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 6

Using Photography To Inspire Writing 5
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 4
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 3
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 2
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 1


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.

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English Today reaches 100!
The upcoming issue of the widely-circulated Cambridge University Press journal, English Today, devotes most of its space to a celebration of 100 issues, as well as to the stellar contribution of ET’s founding editor Tom McArthur to the journal and to ELT across the world.
Cambridge University Press has made the 100th issue available online for FREE until the end of March 2010

Dell H. Hymes, a prominent anthropologist, linguist and folklorist whose work mined the rich, often overlooked territory where language and culture intersect, died on Nov. 13 in Charlottesville, Va. He was 82 and lived in Charlottesville.
Create your own images for the classroom - simple to use.

E-learning and Web 2.0 tools for schools
Macmillan English Campus - 'bringing you news of the latest developments on MEC, tips and ideas on the best ways to exploit MEC with your learners, and behind-the-scenes info on what we have been up to recently (and where).'

The World’s 50 Best Open Courseware Collections

100 Awesome Open Courses for Bibliophiles - 'Book lovers and collectors don’t have to stop learning after they graduate college. There are loads of free courses to take online that will supply you with reading lists, information about the history of books and manuscripts, linguistics, foreign literature, ancient texts and more. Here are 100 awesome open courses for bibliophiles.'
A UK site that is consulting with the public to see what are the biggest challenges facing the future of education. There's a lesson plan attached as well.
Academic Earth - Free video courses from leading universities.
'The Smart Network'
25 best online resources for finding and viewing educational videos.
The best of Lifehacker 2009.
Rocketboom Institute for Internet Studies
CoSketch is a multi-user online whiteboard designed to give you the ability to quickly visualize and share your ideas as images.
Simple sharing
• Anything you paint will show up for all other users in the room in real time.
• One click to save a sketch as an image for embedding on forums, blogs, etc.
Zero hassle
• Runs in all common browsers without plugins or installation.
• No registration
The World Festival of Creativity in Schools, Sanremo, Italy, 2010
The World Festival of Creativity in Schools, the 12th edition, is considered unanimously as the most important event for creativity in schools on the international scene. This is the only event with 30 different contests at the same time. Last years edition was attended by thousands of participants from 112 school from all over Italy and from 23 other countries, with 7.000 hotels nights and 19.000 visitors in the expo.
Applied Language Learning publications from the US Defence Language Institute - see Academic Journals: Applied Language Learning (16).
Also Academic Journals: Dialog on Language Instruction (10)
Mashable - HOW TO: Learn and Practice Languages Using Social Media
Working Papers in TESOL & Applied Linguistics - Vol 9, No 2 (2009).
Study Guides & Strategies

How to Find Anything Online: Become an Internet Research Expert.

Download Tony Buzan's iMindMap. Try it out & see how efficient it can make you.

If you've visited a site that you think would be beneficial for all or would ike 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 January, February & March:

1st New Year's Day
6th Three King's Day
7th Coptic Christian Christmas .
8th Elvis Presley's official birthday
20th-ish Martin Luther King Jr Day - 3rd Monday of Jan.
25th Robert Burns' Day - Scotland's national poet
26th Indian Republic Day
26th Australia Day
Eid ul-Adha - on the tenth day of the Islamic
month of Dhul Hijja - varies in the Gregorian calendar
Chinese New Year

2nd Groundhog Day
6th Waitangi Day - New Zealand
14th Valentine's Day
21st International Mother Language Day

1st St. David's Day - Wales
2nd World Book Day
8th International Women's Day
10th United Kingdom Commonwealth Day
17th St Patrick's Day
20th/21st First Day of Spring
22nd World Water Day
26th Independence Day of Bangladesh
27th World Theatre Day

To see the list of Days:

Wikipedia's excellent focus on days of the year:

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Free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail.

Recent Tips have included:
Happy New Year - Lesson ideas
Christmas Intelligences - lesson ideas
Questions - Lesson ideas
Revisiting Rods - Visuals

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There's a recent book review of the excellent 'Working with Images' by Ben Goldstein (CUP) up on the site. Here's how it begins:

Here's another new title in the excellent Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers series. On the back cover of Working With Images:

'The power of images to stimulate ideas and discussions is currently underexploited in the majority of language coursebooks, and yet the ability to interpret images and analyse one's reactions to them is a crucial aspect of life in today's visual world where advertising and multimedia play such an important role.'

Couldn't agree more. Choosing appropriate visuals to complement & stimulate should be a part of every lesson plan - catch the eye & reach the brain. It does take a while to find that specific image but with the internet life is a lot easier. For photos my first port of call is a search of Google Images & then if I need some clipart I go to Microsoft's Office online clip art page: Two among many sources.

There hasn't been much literature about using visuals in the classroom but I do remember when the excellent 'The Mind's Eye' (Maley, Duff & Grellet 1980) came out. And then there was 'Pictures for Language Learning (Wright 1989). Along the way Earl Stevick published 'Images and Options in the Language Classroom' (1986). So Working With Images is a very welcome addition.

To read the rest of the review:

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8. 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

11 Outstanding Sites That Will Improve Your Photography - 'The mission of this site is to provide photographers with information and inspiration that will help improve their skills and inspire to create more interesting photography. I have listed 10 other sites that I have found to also be very helpful. They contain tons of information that will get you on the right path and help you take your photography to the next level.',2817,2356002,00.asp
Top 50 blogs of 2009
61 Free Apps We're Most Thankful For

The 100 Best Books of the Decade

Johann Hari: Accept the facts – and end this futile 'war on drugs' - We are handing one of our biggest industries over to armed, criminal gangs.

Top Ten Discoveries of 2009: Nat Geo News's Most Viewed
Foodista - The Cooking Encyclopedia Everyone Can Edit
'Charity Navigator, America's premier independent charity evaluator, works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the financial health of over 5,400 of America's largest charities.'
Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.
Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.
Make your own books - & then give them as presents!
Swaptree - swap cds, dvds, books & games.
Recording sessions.
'Welcome to Trailblazing, an interactive timeline for everybody with an interest in science. Compiled by scientists, science communicators and historians – and co-ordinated by Professor Michael Thompson FRS – it celebrates three and a half centuries of scientific endeavour and has been launched to commemorate the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary in 2010.'
Rock music journalism from the past 50 years.
A great new site for unsigned bands - sign up your band for 10gbp & sell your tracks & receive all the money. Stream loads of music - worth checking out.,28757,1934027,00.html
The 50 Best Inventions of 2009
Tunechecker - excellent - checks out the price of music downloads - ITunes seems to be the expensive option, there are alternatives. Just because you've got an ipod doesn't mean you can't shop around for music.
10 Greatest Open Source Software Of 2009
The 10 best new Firefox add-ons of 2009
Offering a streaming web music service that randomly generates playlists based on your mood.
The International Dunhuang Project: The Silk Road Online
'IDP is a ground-breaking international collaboration to make information and images of all manuscripts, paintings, textiles and artefacts from Dunhuang and archaeological sites of the Eastern Silk Road freely available on the Internet and to encourage their use through educational and research programmes.'
20 Best Science Fiction Books Of The Decade
'Posterous is the dead simple way to put anything online using email. We launched in July 2008 and we've been steadily growing and adding features. We love sharing thoughts, photos, audio, and files with our friends and family, but we didn't like how hard it was... so we made a better way. That's posterous. We're super excited to see what happens when blogging becomes as easy as email, and we hope you enjoy posterous as much as we do. Thanks for trying it.'
'CouchSurfing is a worldwide network for making connections between travelers and the local communities they visit.'
The 101 most useful websites
'Letters of Note is an attempt to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos. Scans/photos where possible.'

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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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