A web site for the developing language teacher

July 2002 - issue 7/02


Welcome to the July Newsletter

Summer has settled with a vengeance here in Spain & the World Cup is over. Excellent competition this time. I won't go on about Spain's bad luck ....

If you're about to embark on a summer intensive course I hope you have a lot of fun. They can be.... honest. A lot of work but everyone is in a holiday mood so all is more light-hearted.

This month we've got the usual sections. The theme contains an article by Marjorie Rosenberg about Superlearning. There are more excellent articles from Scott Shelton & Michael Berman, & teaching & PS links. Andy from Bangkok has let us in on the origins of the Bluffer's Guide to TEFL & gives us a couple of extras.

There aren't any reader sites this month though - do send any ELT-related sites that you've built & we'll give them a mention.

A big thank you to those who have bought books from Amazon by going through the site. Please keep using this avenue. We have recently added a donations link if you would like to do your bit to keep the site & Newsletters free. There's a link on the Front Page that takes you to our PayPal account. Thanks.

Happy teaching!


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See the note in 'the bit at the end' about ReferWare.



1. THEME - Superlearning

2. THE SITE - lesson plans & articles









11. PS - Internet/computer-related links



1. THEME - Superlearning

There is another article from Marjorie Rosenberg on the site. This is the third in her series of articles for us & titled, 'Superlearning Techniques in Language Teaching.' Here's the first part of the article:

Is there a method, which motivates learners to become more independent? What possibilities are there to help learners trust their instincts and discover resources within themselves? How do these factors help them to learn a foreign language?

These questions are becoming increasingly important as global communication takes on a major role in our lives causing the demand for language courses to grow at a steady rate. In addition, learners at the adult level want courses to be enjoyable as well as efficient and in schools teachers find themselves competing with outside distractions, which didn't even exist when they themselves were pupils.

In my opinion, superlearning is a method which takes all of the above-mentioned points into account. Superlearning, as it is used today, is a method which incorporates input from people from all over the globe. Its origin can be traced to Suggestopedia, which is a holistic model of learning and teaching developed by the Bulgarian psychiatrist and educator, Dr. Georgi Lozanov (Suggestology and Outlines of Suggestopedy, 1978). His original work dealt primarily with improving memory, breaking down barriers to learning by reawakening the childlike curiosity of the learner, and teaching on both conscious and subconscious levels. Also important to the development of Superlearning, was the Nobel Prize-winning work of Dr. Roger Sperry from California Institute of Technology dealing with the differing functions of the right and left hemispheres of the brain. In the field of education, Donald Schuster and Charles Gritton (Suggestive Accelerative Learning Techniques, 1986) set out practical uses of suggestopedia for schools and universities. They adapted many of the Lozanov's original ideas to language learning and their book can be partially regarded as a practical handbook for the classroom. Many other ideas have been added to Lozanov's original contribution including Second Language Acquisition from Stephen Krashen, Total Physical Response from James Asher, and the NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Sensory Acuity and Processing models from Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Contrary to popular belief, a superlearning class does not mean that the students lie on the floor, listen to slow Baroque music and let themselves be "sprinkled" with vocabulary words in a state of total relaxation. A superlearning class consists of specific phases which make up a learning cycle.

To read about the phases & the rest of the article

Here are a few links related to specific humanistic approaches:

Lots of information on the Silent Way & materials to buy.

Lonny Gold, Founder of the National Council of Suggestopedia, Director of Trajectoires Associées, Paris, explains.

A Suggestopedia lesson plan on

'Welcome to NLP.NET - Your source for some of the most valuable resources on the Internet. With links to some of your favorite sites, we are providing places for you to visit with articles, books, tapes and CD's, seminars, training programs, and other areas of interest for those interested in their own personal development, as well as learning to use NLP as a human development educational set of tools.'

An introduction to suggestopedia

A community language learning lesson plan.

A word of caution: if you are not familiar with the above approaches, it is not enough to pick up the techniques & dive in - each approach is far more than the sum of its techniques.

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Scott Shelton is back to tell us about an excellent experiment he carried out with his students. Titled, 'Promoting fluency and accuracy through planning, telling, transcribing and noticing'

'My interest in providing meaningful opportunities for learners in the classroom to increase both their fluency and accuracy began when I first started teaching many years ago. Early this year, I was introduced to the ideas put forth in this paper and the subsequent experimental lesson, which it is based on, at a teacher development seminar. Since then I have wanted to try these ideas out in my classes to observe how they work in action. I decided to make a fusion of the two central ideas I was introduced to and experiment with them in the classroom. In this paper, I will attempt to give the necessary background information in both the theory behind these ideas and how they can be put into practice.'

To read the article

There is an accompanying lesson plan - the main aims: to promote fluency through planning and noticing language though transcribing and correcting recorded anecdotes. The subsidiary aims: Provide opportunities for long turns in speaking and give intensive listening practice.

To read the plan

Michael Berman has another article, 'Storytelling for the Classroom 1', the first of four parts.

The Burden Basket
In the Native American tradition, the Burden Basket was hung outside the Tipi as a reminder to guests to leave their personal complaints or problems outside before entering. The custom was honoured or the visitor was permanently barred from returning again because entering another person's home with a black cloud of worry or neediness was considered to be very bad manners. Being in the present moment and being willing to be a welcome guest requires strength of character. If everyone considered the Sacred Space of others before speaking or acting, balance would more easily be maintained in all communal living conditions.

To read the first part of the article

Thanks to Marjorie, Scott & Michael.

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:

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

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Let's Write a Story - a classroom activity by Rolf Palmberg, Department of Teacher Education, Åbo Akademi University Vaasa, Finland

Let's Write a Story is based on an old party game called 'Consequences', and despite its title, the activity practises and strengthens all four language skills, i.e. listening, speaking, reading and writing. Since the activity presupposes some knowledge of the foreign language grammar, it is best suited for intermediate students and above. This is how it goes.

Display an overhead transparency showing a picture of a beach, a landscape, a town, or people at work. The topic is irrelevant, so long as the students are reasonably well acquainted with the vocabulary of the picture. Ask the students to take out a lined sheet of paper and a pencil, and to put their initials in the upper corner of the paper. Next, ask them to write the following sentence on the second line of the paper: "Yesterday, when I went to the beach, I ..." and to continue writing on the story, using the transparency and their imagination as stimuli, until their teacher says 'Now'.

Every time the teacher says 'Now', the students must stop writing (they may complete the word they have started on, but not the sentence) and pass their sheet of paper to the student sitting on the left (this works best if the students are sitting in a circle). Next, ask the students to read the stories from the beginning and then go on writing until they hear their teacher say 'Now'. Emphasise that the new words have to fit together to make a logical context.

When the students have passed on their sheets of paper a number of times and eventually get back their original papers (identified by the initials), ask them to provide the stories they have got with an appropriate title (to be written on the top line) and a suitable ending. Allow a couple of minutes for this.

By this time, the students will be very eager to hear the stories they have created. Therefore, ask everyone to read out their final product aloud, one student at the time. You will find that the students listen in a very concentrated manner to each other, and there will be occasional laughter in the class, the stories being sometimes illogical and in most cases revealing each student's personal interests and sense of humour.

Comment. In my experience this activity works best if you ask the students to pass their papers to the next student after a specific period of time, instead of asking them to complete a specific number of sentences (as suggested in several activities of this type). What is more difficult is to decide on is the time to be allowed for the students to read through the beginning of the stories and to continue writing. This, obviously, is dependent on several factors, such as the number of students in the class and their proficiency level in the foreign language. The more students and the longer the reading/writing time, the longer the time for the stories to be written and read out aloud. A practical way for the teacher to organise this is to wait until most of the students have finished reading and started writing, and then count to ten (ten seconds) before saying 'Now'. (As the activity progresses, the reading time will obviously take longer and longer as there will be more and more text to read.) In a class of 10-12 intermediate-level students the activity will take about half an hour.

Thanks Rolf.

Have you got a favourite warmer! Send it in & we'll publish it here & put it in the warmer list on the site.

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A new section in the newsletter & on the site. We will be occasionally recommending books & publishing reviews.

We have a review of Tessa Woodward's 'Planning Lessons & Courses' (CUP). To see the review

The review was written by Henny Burke, who has three excellent articles on the site.

Please don't forget to go through the books page when you want to buy from Amazon - we get a little bit & you pay the same. Every little helps to keep the newsletters free. Thanks.



Relax this summer & maximise your time by getting started on a quality personalised teacher development course. There are a couple of sample pages to view.

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Lots of articles from Eric. Who's Eric? The ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics is operated by the Center for Applied Linguistics, a private non-profit organization. ERIC/CLL provides a wide range of services and materials for language educators, most of them free of charge.

On-Line Resources and Journals: ELT, Linguistics, and Communication by Kenji Kitao and S. Kathleen Kitao. Check out the links in the new www sites.

From the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages (ADFL) - the ADFL Bulletin Online. The complete archive of the ADFL Bulletin (1969-present) is now available online for searching by faculty members and graduate students in ADFL-member departments. You may Search the Bulletin archive or Browse Tables of Contents of past issues. Non-members may view the table of contents of the current issue, get information About the Bulletin, and request a copy of the Bulletin.

'41,000 free educational resources reviewed by UK teachers'

Man with long beard travelling around Japan has a web site with 'Activities, games and fun ideas for teaching children English'

Have you got any favourite teaching links? Send them in.



Disclaimer - as with any job check it out carefully. We don't endorse the schools that advertise below. The ads are sent in & we mention them here & put them up on the site.

A note for advertisers - please post your advert in the Forum - see the link from the Front Page - then we'll put it on the recruitment page & mention it in this newsletter.

Macpherson School of English in Poland is seeking professional EFL teachers to teach high levels + FCE, CAE,CPE prep. classes. Motivated, energetic and enthusiastic about teaching person would fit our team perfectly. We don't offer heaven but down to earth hard work, which sometimes gives satisfaction. We offer generous local rate of pay, work visa reimbursed, assistance with arranging accommodation. Contact person : Renata Szumilas, Macpherson School of English, Ul.Dworcowa 12, 66-400 Gorzow Wlkp/Poland. phone: +48 95 7203 578, fax: +48 95 7205 389

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

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Free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail. Recent Tips include:

- View the video - ideas on using video clips

- Read out - reading aloud activities.

- A bit mixed up - dealing with mixed-level groups.

- Keep on moving - ideas on getting the students moving around the classroom

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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 '02

Big discounts on the August course fees!

Six month part-time course: October '02 - March '03

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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10. The Bluffer's Guide revisited

Have you seen the Bluffer's Guide to TEFL in the articles section of the site?

We never knew where it came from until Andy got in touch:

I can tell you that the original Bluffer's Guide was produced by a teacher at The British Council Bangkok about 8 or 9 years ago.
That teacher may wish to remain anonymous, as he is now a lecturer at a University in Britain. However, I will check for you.

It was originally in hard-copy form but I used OCR to convert it to the Word version that still circulates.

Just to prove the point I include another couple of gems.

Andy D

My Way

And now the end is near
And so I face the final lesson
My friend, I'll say it clear
I'll state my aim of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's dull
I've taught each and every Headway
And more, much more than this
I drilled it my way

Standbys - I've had a few
But then again too few to mention
I glued what I had to glue
And winged it through
Without exemption
I planned each intensive course
Each sad step-task along the byway
And more, much more than this
I drilled it my way

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I cut out more than I could glue
But through it all when there was doubt
I mixed it up and gave it out
I monitored it all and I stood tall
And drilled it my way

I've elicited, I've mingled and counselled
I've had my gap-fill, my share of losing
And now as peers deride
I find it all so confusing
To think, I drilled all that
And may I say, not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no not me
I drilled it my way

For what is a Tefler?
What has he got?
If not his rods, then he has not
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The register shows
I took the blows
And drilled it my way
Yes it was my way

For the other 'gem'

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11. PS - Internet/computer-related links

Set up your very own lemonade stall & see if you've got what it takes to make money!

Toast leaners untied!

WebMon is a freeware web page monitoring program - it saves you time and keeps you updated by automatically checking web pages to see if they have changed. A 709k download.

Have your own way with him.

'Sticky is a (free) Post-It Notes application that has just turned 2.

Get your glasses out - they claim this is the world's smallest web site.

The private and individual use of the AntiVir Personal Edition is completely free of charge!

Download a few puzzles.

'The charities ...(lots of links)... all allow you to donate money just by visiting their web sites, without spending any of your own money. The charities get paid from sponsors who pay a fee for each banner advertisement that is displayed. Every time you visit the site, a donation is automatically made to that charity.'

Who doesn't? Nothing beats marmite on toast on a rainy afternoon. Well, not quite. OK, you so don't like marmite, I'm sure you can't help it - get along to

Excellent anagram game to fill an empty 10 minutes.



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