A web site for the developing language teacher

July 2001 - issue 7/01


Welcome to the July '01 Newsletter

This month's theme looks at e-mail & how to write it, something that a lot of our students will eventually need to do in English at some time. We have included some materials for classroom below as well as the lesson plan on the site.

There are the usual section links' sections; for teaching & the computer/internet links. If you come across a site that you think would be useful for all to know about then do send us a mail. BTW, the links are all checked & working at the time of sending out the newsletter - apologies if you sometimes find yourself  'we
can't show you this at the moment' message - links are changed without warning.

If you're after some summer reading & you want to get some books through Amazon, don't forget to go through the site - either the listed books or the Amazon search. Every bit helps to keep both the Tips & the Newsletter free. Thanks.

Happy teaching!











9. PS - Internet/computer-related links


1. THEME - E-mail

E-mail is everywhere. I use it more than the phone these days. It's quick & convenient. I imagine all of you reading this use it. But do we know how to use it 'properly' & how do we teach our students to use it effectively. What is 'proper' e-mail writing? Who decides what is right & what isn't? I've never read anything
about how to write an e-mail, just getting on with it & transferring my ideas on letter writing to the e-mail format. I seem to have done OK but I'm not sure that that's enough though.

A few people have tried to define e-mail writing guidelines & I have listed the links below to the more interesting ones. 'Netiquette' is the term for these 'rules' for sending effective mails & not upset anybody. As the e-mail is ubiquitous we do
need to look at the genre with our students. What might be straightforward in their own language can easily become a struggle in English. It's not enough to expect them to transfer L1 skills to English.

In the lesson plan on the site there are a list of Dos & Don'ts taken from a Guardian Weekly article about e-mail plus acronym & emoticons matching tasks & a reading text about an e-mail hoax - the writer's child is turning into a monkey! To see the plan:

There are many ways of looking at e-mails with your groups at every level. Communicative activities you have done with letter writing can be done with e-mails with even greater effect due to the almost immediate arrival & response times. Project work is easy & fun. I have felt guilty in the past asking students to write off for information that you know that they are not going to follow up & buy the product. The information they receive is used as a comparative activity only. With e-mail it is much easier for companies to send information out at next to no effort
or cost.

Students match up acronym & definition, emoticon & definition:

BTW "By the way"

FWIW "For what it's worth"

FAQ "Frequently asked question(s)"

FYA "For your action"

FYI "For your information"

IMHO "In my humble opinion"

IMO "In my opinion"

IMNSHO "In my not so humble opinion"

TIA "Thanks in advance"

:-) smiling

:-D laughing

;-) winking

{} hugging

O:-) angel

X-) I see nothing

:-X I say nothing

:* kissing

:-s after a bizarre comment

-< mad

:( sad

|-P yuk!

A short quiz compiled by netiquette experts. The Yahoo! Mail Netiquette Quiz tests your understanding of expressions commonly used by 'savvy' e-mail and instant messenger users.

A Chris Pirillo article - of Lockergnome fame - a general
article about netiquette.

A 10 minute course in online writing style.

The Smileys and Acronyms Dictionary.

Common e-mail terminology.

The Net: User Guidelines and Netiquette - Index By Arlene H.

They say 'Business Netiquette International is the Web's prime "Netiquette" site for business etiquette, keeping international business in mind. This means company to company e-mail, not personal messages between business colleagues.'

'A Beginner's Guideto Effective Email'

About's section on e-mail.

Emily Postnews, foremost authority on proper net (tongue-in- cheek) behaviour, gives her advice on how to act on the net. Material for the savvy students - if they're not then they won't get it!

'How to Hoax-Proof Yourself' by Walt Howe

Charles Hymes provides great tips for spotting Internet hoaxes so you don't end up participating in them. He also includes a list of famous hoaxes and links to related information


I was recently sent the hoax about the file you need to delete in order for Windows to work well - which in reality would disable your system. The sender was clearly just passing an e-mail on without investigating whether it was true or not so if
recipients of her mail had deleted the file she would have been directly responsible for the damage caused. Not an envious position to be in! So here's a text I found on It would make a good classroom introduction to e-mails & e-mail hoaxes. As mentioned above, the lesson plan on the site contains a chain mail hoax.


WASHINGTON, D.C.--The Institute for the Investigation of Irregular Internet Phenomena announced today that many Internet users are becoming infected by a new virus that causes them to believe without question every groundless story, legend, and dire warning that shows up in their Inbox or on their browser. The
Gullibility Virus, as it is called, apparently makes people believe and forward copies of silly hoaxes relating to cookie recipes, E-Mail viruses, taxes on modems, and get-rich-quick schemes [perhaps conspiracy theories should be included here].

"These are not just readers of tabloids or people who buy lottery tickets based on fortune cookie numbers," a spokesman said. "Most are otherwise normal people, who would laugh at the same stories if told to them by a stranger on a street corner." However, once these same people become infected with the Gullibility Virus,
they believe anything they read on the Internet.
"My immunity to tall tales and bizarre claims is all gone," reported one weeping victim. "I believe every warning message and sick child story my friends forward to me, even though most of
the messages are anonymous."

Another victim, now in remission, added, "When I first heard about 'Good Times,' I just accepted it without question. After all, there were dozens of other recipients on the mail header, so I thought the virus must be true." It was a long time, the victim
said, before she could stand up at a Hoaxees Anonymous meeting and state, "My name is Jane, and I've been hoaxed." Now, however, she is spreading the word. "Challenge and check whatever you read," she says.

Internet users are urged to examine themselves for symptoms of the virus, which include the following:

the willingness to believe improbable stories without thinking the urge to forward multiple copies of such stories to others a lack of desire to take three minutes to check to see if a story is true

T. C. is an example of someone recently infected. He told one reporter, "I read on the Net that the major ingredient in almost all shampoos makes your hair fall out, so I've stopped using shampoo." When told about the Gullibility Virus, T . C. said he
would stop reading e-mail, so that he would not become infected.

Anyone with symptoms like these is urged to seek help immediately. Experts recommend that at the first feelings of gullibility, Internet users rush to their favorite search engine and look up the item tempting them to thoughtless credence. Most
hoaxes, legends, and tall tales have been widely discussed and exposed by the Internet community.

Courses in critical thinking are also widely available, and there is online help from many sources, including Department of Energy Computer Incident Advisory Capability at

Anti Virus Research Center at

McAfee Associates Virus Hoax List at

The Urban Legends Web Site at

Urban Legends Reference Pages at

Datafellows Hoax Warnings at

Those people who are still symptom free can help inoculate themselves against the Gullibility Virus by reading some good material on evaluating sources, such as Evaluating Internet Research Sources at

Evaluation of Information Sources at

Lastly, as a public service, Internet users can help stamp out the Gullibility Virus by sending copies of this message to anyone who forwards them a hoax.


Here's a combination of hoaxes that have been sent over the past few years - the mother of all hoaxes!

I know this guy whose neighbour, a young man, was home recovering from having been served a rat in his bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. So anyway, one day he went to sleep and when he awoke he was in his bathtub and it was full of ice and he was sore all over. When he got out of the tub he realized that HIS KIDNEYS
HAD BEEN STOLEN, and he saw a note on his mirror that said "Call 911!"

But he was afraid to use his phone because it was connected to his computer, and there was a virus on his computer that would destroy his hard drive if he opened an e-mail entitled "Join the crew!" He knew it wasn't a hoax, because he himself was a
computer programmer who had worked on the software that saved us from Armageddon when the year 2000 rolled around. His program prevented a global disaster in which all the computers get together & distribute the $600 Neiman Marcus cookie recipe under the leadership of Bill Gates. (It's true - I read it all last
week in a mass e-mail from BILL GATES HIMSELF, who was also promising me a free Disney World vacation and $5,000 if I would forward the e-mail to everyone I know.)

The poor man then tried to all 911 from a pay phone to report his missing kidneys, but reaching into the coin-return slot he got jabbed with an HIV-infected needle around which was wrapped a note that said, "Welcome to the world of AIDS."

Luckily he was only a few blocks from the hospital---the one, actually, where that little boy who is dying of cancer is, the one whose last wish is for everyone in the world to send him an e-mail and the American Cancer Society has agreed to pay him a
nickel for every e-mail he receives.

Isent him two e-mails and one of them was a bunch of x's and o's in the shape of an angel (if you get it and forward it to twenty people you will have good luck, but ten people you will only have ok luck, and if you send it to less than ten people you will have BAD LUCK FOR SEVEN YEARS).

So anyway the poor guy tried to drive himself to the hospital, but on the way he noticed another car driving along without his lights on. To be helpful, he flashed his lights at him and was promptly shot as part of a gang initiation....

To use the two texts above in an e-mail format all you have to do is copy the text, paste it into a new e-mail & send it to yourself - then print off an authentic looking e-mail text!

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There are some new articles on the site this month.

Darron Board, who has previously been featured with his article & lesson plan about ICT in language teaching, offers a perspective on vocabulary & learning strategies.

If you've given a course or seminar & would like to give it a public airing then do send it to:

ADVERTISING - If you are interested in advertising on the site or the Weekly Teaching Tip & this Monthly Newsletter then please get in touch at:



This is a bit of fun pop psychology. Put the following symbols on the board & ask the students to copy them down. Then tell them to draw some pictures very quickly, each one incorporating a different symbol - so they draw 6 pictures - & put a one or two- word description above or below the picture. The symbols are a
small circle, a key, a small box, a vertical line, a wavy line, a dot.

The first picture is sometimes a flower, the third a window of a house, the fourth a tree & the last the top of a mountain. The interpretations are that each picture tells you how you see an aspect of yourself. In the order of the pictures they are how you
see yourself, your friends, your family, your sex life, your job & lastly your future. In the feedback ask what they a few of them had for each picture. Lots of fun.

If you've got a favourite warmer that you'd like to share, then
send it in.

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Maximise your time by getting started on a quality personalised teacher development course.



Called the 'E-mail Projects' - not sure how much e-mail comes into the projects but the site could be a useful springboard for developing your own internet projects for your students.

A very useful stop off for you & your students that helps to make you as better writer. Paste in your text & it gives you a word frequency analysis.

I came across this site recently - it should have figured in the last newsletter about storytelling. My first taste many years ago with what could be done in the classroom with computers came through 'storyboards'. I was & remain impressed by these.

They consist of texts, all blanked out, & the user has to supply a word & it is inserted whenever it occurs in the text. Gradually the text is built up. If you get stuck a 'hint' button supplies a letter or word. It is a challenging &, if the text is chosen
well, interesting activity. Get your students along here.

Similar to this site looks for specified articles. Excellent resource.

Dumb everything - facts, crimes, laws, warnings etc - lots of fun reading & discussion material.

'Linguistic Funland' - An extensive site for teachers, students & educational web designers & a full links page. Worth a trawl.

'This web site (from Kevin Cunningham) is designed to provide an overview of the Internet and some of its uses, and to help teachers incorporate the Web into the EFL / ESL curriculum. It also introduces some of the many resources available to EFL /
ESLteachers on the Net. We begin by taking a look at the Internet itself and how it works. This is followed by a brief foray into the functions of the two most popular browsers that people are currently using. After that, we examine some search engines and learn how to find things efficiently. Next, we see how e-mail works and how to compose, send, and reply to messages. Then we look at WebQuests and find out how they can be powerful learning tools for students. Finally, we examine the pedagogy behind including the Internet in the EFL / ESLclassroom, with suggestions for its use, and finish up with a collection of EFL / ESLlinks that should take you on further paths of discovery.'

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Teachers can post CVs on the site & employers can post job adverts - both are free services at the moment.

Here's a job in China - this one printed in full:

We're searching for ESL teachers to teach in China! We are looking for 3 ESL teachers to work at Shanda International House in Jinan China in the Shandong Province and International House Qingdao. Shanda International House is in the grounds of Shandong university. It has been recently renovated to western standards and well equipped with a large computer room ( internet access), self access centre, movie room (DVDs). There is a wide selection of teaching resources and teacher support systems. The majority of classes have students from 16 to 35 years old with a few junior classes. General English and IELTS exam courses are the
main types of classes. We are also running a foundation course for students.
Job title: English TEFL teacher
Location: Jinan or Qingdao China
Starting date: Various - initially 16.7.01, 3.9.01 and 18.2.01
Qualifications: Minimum a degree and a RSA CELTA certificate or equivalent EFL/ESL qualification.
Experience: None necessary. Your salary will be worked out on the experience you have.
General job description: Teaching 24 face to face teaching hours and 3 hours material development hours in a school of approx 200 students (Jinan) or 60 (Qingdao) ranging from juniors, high school to adults. Most classes are general English and IELTS exam training courses.
Pay and benefits:
Salary: 4000rmb(Approx. US$530, AU$ 850) per month if no experience 5200rmb (Approx. US$680, AU$1100) per month if minimum 600 hours of appropriate teaching experience. Remember living expenses are very low in China with teachers living on approx $80 AUD a week.
Accommodation: Free 3 shared western style flat with all modern facilities, a room each, a utility (power) allowance 5 minutes walk from the school (Jinan) or a similar 2 shared flat 10 minutes walk from school (Qingdao).
Medical: Basic insurance cover for within China plus 1000rmb allowance per year for medicine and doctor visits
Holidays: 27 days per year
Flight: An allowance of up of $1400AUD ( approx US $748) allowance which easily covers a return economy flight from most major cities in the world
If interested contact Julia Bishop - - International House QLD, 130 McLeod St, Cairns , 4870, QLD, Australia - fax: 00 61 7 40 313 464 - Website:



As always, free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail. Sign up!

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

Full-time four-week courses: August, September, October & November

Six month part-time course: October '01 >> March '02

Reasonably priced accommodation can be arranged for the duration of all courses.
You can see brief descriptions of all of the current courses on the BLC web site The postal address of Teacher Education at the British Language Centre is Calle Bravo Murillo 377, 2, 28020 Madrid, Spain. The
phone number is (00 34) 733 07 39 & the fax number is (00 34) 91 314 5009. The e-mail address is

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9. PS - Internet/computer-related links                                        

'News for Nerds. Stuff that matters.'

'Our weekly newsletter is devoted to helping you get the most out of the Microsoft Office suite, whether you're using Office 97, Office 2000, or Office XP. In addition to news, advice, tips, tricks, advice, and opinions, you'll find reviews of the best in
office products, from printers and low-cost scanners to Office add-ons. We invite you to explore our Standard (free) edition of The Office Letter online.'

If you happen to be a budding writer check this out: 'E2 can be a very, very confusing place at first. This website has grown from being a very simple user-written encyclopaedia to a very complex online community with a focus to write, publish and edit a quality database of information, insight and humor. When you make an account here you join not only a team of dedicated writers but 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...'

An interesting collection of voted 'top ten' sites, products, news headlines & people - each sub-divided several times.

'Wordmap is the leading specialist in knowledge maps' - a very popular search engine with some. Do a general search or choose the theme. Some say it gives more accurate results than Google.

Walt's Navigating the Net Forum.

Informative & clear computer-related site - bookmark it for when you have a need.

A walk on the dark side - well, looks pretty harmless to me & anyone who pre-empts hate mail with a set of readymade responses can't be all that bad! They say: 'Congratulations on your decision to join the forces of darkness! Evil always needs more tools... I mean... agents... for its unholy army of the night, and by joining now you can rest assured that your remaining years will be spent pursuing the 'good' things of life: lust, greed, debauchery, the slaughter of hapless innocents... Your favourite hobby can become a lifelong career! Thus, this handy guide has been created to nurture any potential lunatic into a lifetime of evil and destruction.'

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