A web site for the developing language teacher

July 2007 - issue 707


Welcome to the July Newsletter.


7. PS - Internet/computer-related links



Think collective nouns - a crowd of people, a litter of pigs, a gaggle of geese, a school of fish, a cast of actors....Now what do you think the following collectives should be called:
estate agents, actors, football managers, MPs, TV chefs, lawyers, stand-up comedians, bankers, 4x4 drivers and journalists?
These were the words chosen by the Independent Newspaper which invited readers to send in suggestions. To see the article & responses:

A couple of pages devoted to collective nouns:

This month we have another article by Damian Rivers, this time 'A reflective analysis of pre-course pedagogical considerations for teaching a business English course in Japan' & although it centres on Japan, it is very relevant to business English everywhere.

Glenda Demes da Cruz joins us for the first time with 'From limitation to motivation: fourteen tips on how to enhance motivation in the EFL class'. All very practical & useful.

There's also a new book review, this time by Scott Shelton & dealing with two new phonology books, 'English Pronunciation in Use Elementary' by Jonathan Marks (CUP) & also 'English Pronunciation in Use' by Martin Hewings (CUP). check it out below.

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The first five units of 'Fullspate', the advanced coursebook, are still up for free download at:

As usual, thanks for reading.
Happy teaching!


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ARTICLES - If you've given a course or seminar or have a lesson
plan & would like to give it a public airing, do get in touch.

ADVERTISING - We reach more than a few thousand teachers every
week with the Weekly Teaching Tip & the same each month with the
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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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A reflective analysis of pre-course pedagogical considerations for teaching a business English course in Japan by Damian John Rivers


The tuition of 'Business English' within Japan is a growing area and offers a number of context specific challenges for the EFL teacher. Many corporate programs are constructed with very little attention paid to factors such as curriculum design, course objective and teacher evaluation. This article aims to provide the prospective 'Business English' instructor with a practical framework for assessing and preparing for a corporate English course through a reflective analysis of student and teacher beliefs, attitudes and knowledge with reference to the language-learning process. These concepts will be discussed and then visually represented in the form of the SBAK+ and TBAK+ as suggested by Woodman, (1998).


Within the typical 'Business English' classroom environment there are basically three distinct components which must interact in a productive manner in order to reach a desirable outcome for all parties.

The student population, comprising of many individual differences in:

- Learning objectives
- Previous language experiences
- Motivations for study
- Areas of strength and weakness
- Preferred learning styles and methods
- Beliefs about what they need to progress

The teacher, an individual who brings to the classroom:

- Their own teaching beliefs
- Their own expectations for the course and students
- Their own preferred teaching methodology
- Their own experiences teaching
- Their own areas of strength and weakness
- Beliefs about what students need to progress

Finally, we have the course structure, situational variables, class personality and learning materials, which in many cases are what binds the teacher-student together in the pursuit of what are expected to be shared goals of attainment. In addition to these factors, the teacher-learner interaction within an EFL context is often molded by language teaching theory. The theoretical approach to language teaching can be decided by either an institution that directs the teachers' behavior or by the teacher acting alone. Japanese corporate teaching is one area in which language teaching theory is often totally absent. This is partly due to the fact that those individuals who organize and prepare the course are not qualified educators; they have very little knowledge with regard to the theoretical applications within the teaching-learning process. In a great deal of cases, this leaves the teacher alone with little other than a loosely defined set of objectives to work from. These objectives are usually focused around "improving the students' TOEIC scores" with the aid of a standardized, non-specific textbook.

There are though, a number of relatively simple steps any prospective 'Business English' instructor can take it order to provide a better structural teaching environment to maximize the teaching and learning processes. Theses steps refer to the creation of a SBAK + (Student Beliefs, Attitudes and Knowledge) and TBAK+ (Teacher Beliefs, Attitudes and Knowledge) analyses. To complete these visually structured analyses the teacher must take a highly reflective view of their prior teaching experiences and identify what they wish to achieve during the up coming corporate program. They must also communicate with a student (usually a designated class leader) in order to construct a visual representation of the student's expectations and desires for course. Using these visual, reflective tools as a basis for course design and material selection is an excellent way for the 'Business English' instructor to empower themselves and the students by introducing knowledge and awareness of the many variables involved in the teaching-learning process.

Beliefs, Attitudes and Knowledge (BAK)

Woods, (1996) originally proposed the term 'BAK' (beliefs, attitudes, knowledge) in order to capture the connected aspects that inform teacher perception and behavior within the classroom. These BAK's were not static and changed frequently, the teacher needed to constantly re-address his or her own BAK's as the teaching situation changed or evolved. Woods referred to teachers non-specific experiences as 'hotspots'. It is essentially how a teacher resolves these 'hotspots' that will influence the shape and form of their new BAK base. Woods, (1996) stated, "traditional categorizing teachers into pre-determined groups hides the dynamic aspect of BAK, and oversimplifies our understanding of the concept and the process of teacher and curricular change" (p.246). Woodman, (1998) elaborated on the BAK proposal to form SBAK+ (student) and TBAK+ (teacher) methods of analysis.

The current analysis focuses on the construction of a SBAK+ and TBAK+ prior to a 3-month intensive 'Intermediate Business English' course at a major Japanese electronics’ manufacturer. The teacher (myself) was provided with limited information concerning the course structure and objectives. Upon request, I was provided with a list of student names, ages and TOEIC scores. After a brief analysis of this demographic data it could be assumed that they would have been educated in a very rigid, disciplined public school system during the 1970's and 1980's. In many cases English language tuition would have been seen a minor element and very much focused on grammar-translation, repetition of set phrases and other drill type behaviors. Although such experiences would certainly play an active role in the formulation of beliefs and attitudes towards English, the popularity currently enjoyed by the language within Japan should provide them with a balanced platform of mixed views, opinions and attitudes not based on one experience alone. Of course, these observations are entirely pre-course and represent an element of speculation concerning the specific class make-up in terms of prior educational experiences.

The first step in the construction of a SBAK+ is to meet at least one of the prospective students for a discussion concerning a wide range of student centered issues. The discussion should be based on the SBAK+ questionnaire outlined by Woodman, (1998).

To view the plan on the site:

Other articles from Damian:
False Hope & Goal Setting In The ESL/EFL Classroom by Damian Rivers



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From limitation to motivation: fourteen tips on how to enhance motivation in the EFL class by Glenda Demes da Cruz

When asked about the characteristics of a motivated teacher, an EFL student answered, “A motivated teacher likes what she does. We can feel this passion in her classes. She makes the language easier, and gives such wonderful classes that time seems to fly, and we can’ wait to attend her next class”.

How many times in our lives do we catch ourselves willing to feel motivated, willing to motivate our students, but then get frustrated when we feel our students are not motivated to come to our classes?

It is not impossible to be that motivated teacher the EFL student described above. The teacher plays a very important role in her students’ motivation. Since there’s no such thing as a “motivation formula”, we, as teachers, should reflect on how we can motivate our students and keep their motivation high.

How to become a motivation factor?

The teacher should get to know her (1)students, to start with. According to Ur (2000), a motivated learner has the following characteristics: he makes an effort to handle tasks and challenges and is confident in his success; he finds success in learning important to promote and keep a positive self-image; he feels the need to overcome difficulties and succeed in what he does; he is ambitious and likes challenging, proficiency tasks and high grades; he is aware of the goals of learning and of specific activities and directs his efforts to succeed in them; he makes strong efforts to learn and is not discouraged by obstacles or apparent lack of progress; he is not disturbed by temporary lack of understanding or confusion and knows his understanding will come later.

If a student does not present any of the characteristics mentioned above, or none that might show motivation, the teacher can, and should, try to motivate him. The point is how to motivate this student, or even groups of students, who the teacher believes would not feel motivated to learn under any circumstances? Unfortunately, as mentioned above, there is no such thing as a “motivation formula”. However, there are some points which can be considered:

1. If you do not know what motivates a student, ask.
There are some ways of making that question indirectly. The teacher could observe the students in activities which involve personal preferences, opinions, concepts, etc. Ice-breaking activities are very helpful in the process of getting to know what subjects your students really enjoy talking about, as well as other preferences.

2. Evaluate your own motivation level, as well as your students.

Close your eyes for a minute and think of the class you are about to give. How do you feel? Motivated? Great! A little unmotivated? Think of your students, think of how well and carefully prepared your class is. Were there any obstacles or lack of interest during class preparation? Think about the reason you are there and how important you are in your students’ learning process. They need you. They need to feel your motivation. Look at your students in your class. Are they motivated? If you feel they are not motivated, try something they might like to do. 5 to 10 minutes of your class dedicated to motivation can make all the difference.

The article continues at:


'Slow Food is a non-profit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization that was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. Today, we have over 80,000 members all over the world. Find out more about us and what we do.

We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to pleasure and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible. Our movement is founded upon this concept of eco-gastronomy – a recognition of the strong connections between plate and planet.

Slow Food is good, clean and fair food. We believe that the food we eat should taste good; that it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health; and that food producers should receive fair compensation for their work.

We consider ourselves co-producers, not consumers, because by being informed about how our food is produced and actively supporting those who produce it, we become a part of and a partner in the production process.'

Download the Slow food companion, a 46 page pdf explanation - ideal classroom material.

Guardian interview with founder Carlo Petrini:,,2104903,00.html
Our goal is to provide an online community for sharing instructional videos. We seek to fill a need for a more educationally focused, safe venue for teachers, schools, and home learners. It is a site to provide anytime, anywhere professional development with teachers teaching teachers. As well, it is a site where teachers can post videos designed for students to view in order to learn a concept or skill.
'Tony Buzan is the world's leading expert on the brain and is the inventor of Mind Maps®, the thinking tool used by over 250 million people. Mind Mapping helps you to excel in every area of your life by allowing you to achieve your full mental potential. A Mind Map is a tool for any thinking task.'
Translate text into different dialects - ' has been created to provide quality entertainment for anyone on the internet. Currently, the the site is still quite small, ignoring the excellent Ali G translator (and the other dialects from the British Isles), and we will be adding more features in the coming months.'
20 Most Amazing Coincidences - interesting reading material. Check out the other pages on the site too! is a website for instant messaging from absolutely anywhere. Whether you’re at home, on campus, at work, or traveling foreign lands, hop over to on any computer to access all of your buddies (on AIM, Yahoo!, MSN, Google Talk, ICQ and Jabber) and chat with them, no downloads or installs required, for free!
meebo rooms allows you to instant message and share links with friends and visitors on your site.
'The TalkDog Comic Online resource is designed to support the development of effective speaking and listening skills for children aged 5–11 years. The resource consists of interactive activities, games and stimulus screens; all presented by the TalkDog cartoon character and friends.

The materials are compatible with interactive whiteboards so that you can use this resource with the whole class as well as with small groups. You will find that many of the modules act as a lively stimulus for whole-class discussion, or circle time.

As well as helping you to deliver speaking and listening objectives, the TalkDog Comic Online also supports your work in PSHE and Citizenship, making especially helpful links between communicating and emotional literacy. Download the curriculum guidance document for the full list of objectives.'

If you've visited a site that you think would be beneficial for all or would like your site to appear here, please get in touch. Thanks.



A few days to plan your lessons around in June:

1st - Canada Day
International Joke Day
4th - US Independence Day
14th - French Bastille Day
Wimbledon finishes
Tour de France bicycle race

To see the list of Days:

Wikipedia's excellent focus on days of the year:
Some holiday origins.



There's a new review from Scott Shelton of 'English Pronunciation in Use Elementary Book with Answers and 5 Audio CD Set' (English Pronunciation in Use) (Paperback) by Jonathan Marks (CUP) & also 'English Pronunciation in Use Advanced Book with Answers and 5 Audio CDs' (English Pronunciation in Use) (Paperback) by Martin Hewings (CUP)

Taken from the beginning of the review:

'If you were to ask one hundred students of English what they would like to improve upon the most, or what area of English gave them the most reason for concern, experience tells me that English pronunciation would more than likely top their list - or it would certainly have a well worn place in the top three.

Add to this suggestion the idea that if a similar survey were taken among 100 teachers, pronunciation has a very good chance of coming high up on the list of areas in which they felt somewhat less prepared to teach, or an area in which they feel there is a lack of straightforward, accessible and easy to use material, available for both teachers and students.

If this is anywhere near the mark, then Jonathan Marks, Martin Hewings and Cambridge University Press have done us all a very big favour.

In these two volumes of the just-out-on-the-market, English Pronunciation in Use (CUP 2007), Marks is responsible for the book aimed at elementary students, while Hewings delivers the advanced level material. Both have a similar layout and are designed for both self-study and classroom use and include not only five audio CDs which model and expose the language to the learner, but also include a CD-ROM which in itself contains 'hundreds of additional interactive activities to accompany the book'.'

To read the whole review;

BUYING BOOKS If you're going to, or then please go through our Books page. You will pay the same & we will receive a few pennies to keep the site & newsletters free. Thanks.



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7. 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
Flixn puts video everywhere. Our users can record instantly from their webcam and post their recordings on blogs, in messages or comments, and even send video emails.
Leopard is a programming language that has been created especially for beginners. It's a fantastic first step for programming newcomers, and the language has been taught in classrooms all over the world. The flexibility that it provides has also made it a useful tool for experienced programmers who want to develop applications and prototypes quickly. The syntax of the language itself can be compared to a mix between BASIC and Visual BASIC, although the natural way in which you write programs in Leopard is far more understandable than that of either of those tools.
'You Have To Eat ... So Why Not Learn To Cook and Eat Well!
Game of tennis?
'the first true social networking website devoted to bringing together people who enjoy cooking and baking. It’s an online community where you can make new friends, exchange recipes, share ideas, find answers to your questions, download coupons and, in general, get inspired about one of life’s great pleasures.'
'The web site is dedicated to the gardens of Japan, and more specifically to the historic gardens of Kyoto and its environs. Although many of these gardens are located within Zen Buddhist monasteries, this site does not explore the influence of Zen Buddhism on Japanese garden design, an influence that is often a matter of conjecture rather than historical evidence.'
Sleep problems?
Famous last words, such as:
The executioner is, I believe, very expert and my neck is very slender.
Anne Boleyn

All my possessions for a moment of time.
Elizabeth 1

Let down the curtain, the farce is over
François Rabelais

Don't pull down the blinds! I want the sun to greet me!
Rudolph Valentino

Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.
Oscar Wilde
The Happiness Formula - BBC
The place to see if there are updates to any of your software.
Vision Research - Movie Gallery
Take some time off & fly through the clouds - click 'sky'.



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