A web site for the developing language teacher

June 2000 - issue 6/00


Welcome to the Newsletter.

Summer is here in Spain & it's time for all of our students to head for the beaches & mountains with English being the last thing on their minds! So combine English & your students' holiday plans & spend time on the theme of holidays & travel - there are a few ideas below to help you out.
I can never work out why some coursebooks have holidays as a theme in one of their first few units. It makes students coming back from their holidays feel even worse about having to wait for another year before they're off again! Look at it before they go.

If you need any clarification about any of the ideas then do get in touch & we'd be only too glad to help out.

Seems we're in for a heavy dose of sport this summer with the Olympics in Sydney & the Euro Cup football competition coming from Holland & Belgium - so not to be left out we'll give you some links & ideas on using the theme of sport in the next newsletter.

Contributions on any of the sections are welcome - e-mail them to

Happy teaching!


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6. PS


1. THEME - Travel/Holidays

Travel with a bit of a difference - the fourth dimension! They say that time travel is theoretically possible but we'll have to wait for a while until we can actually zip around. A site with clear & comprehensive explanations for the lay person. There's an amusing section about 'underestimates of technology'. Lots of usable material.

- ideas for time travel: which period of history would you like to have lived in & why, what changes will we find in 50/100 years time - good for conditionals, the classic future perfect/continuous presentation e.g. We will be living on Mars By 2050. We will have invented a cure for cancer by the end on this century.

- is a very nice, well-organised site with lots to offer the teacher. In particularthe theme holidays looked very exploitable. There are three themes; Twilight Zone, Music & Beaches - each consisting of 8-10 locations around the globe. The Twilight Zone looks at places that are famous for their paranormal happenings; the Bermuda Triangle, Crop Circles in England, Dracula's Castle, Roswell in the US, Mummy's Curse in Egypt etc. Great material for jigsaw activities & the younger learner.

- A couple of general travel sites - all you need to sort out any travelling. Project work - plan a virtual holiday?

- > Recreation > Travel > Tips for travel stories & lots of travel tip links.

- chronological timetable around the theme of holidays: types of holidays, scanning adverts/brochures, booking in a travel agents, preparations, travel stories, complaining to the travel agent in writing & in person.

- travel vocab: contrast the differences between - trip, travel, journey & voyage. Put sentences on the board with the words in & the stds work out the differences between the target words. Could add in excursion, ride, flight, cruise. Other travel vocabulary - categorise: Transport (coach, boat, plane etc..), Places (dock, garage, station etc..), Travel (flight, crossing, cruise etc..). & People (steward, pilot, rider etc..).

- discussion points: what essentials to pack, how pack, when travelling on bus, you read/chat/sleep/, where like to go with unlimited money, best/worse place been to, disasters that have happened on hols etc.

- scan reading holiday ads from an English lang. newspaper stds then write off for information & when received work out the best deals/places. The same idea if you have access to the Net - arrange a trip: the best flight for times & cost, the best hotels & things to see in the chosen place. Take in maps & brochures... Could be a mini-project.

- write a series of tips for visitors to the stds' city/town - could be written to get the visitor into as much trouble as possible! Good for practice of  'have to' - obligation & lack of obligation 'don't need to' e.g. you don't need to stop when a policeman asks you to/you have to drive on the left .

- write a brochure for stds' home town/country: history, landmarks, festivals, facilities etc. If there are different places then they could 'sell' a holiday to each other.

- holiday complaints - forthcoming lesson plan.

- ideas for the younger learner class - holidays with the Martians: imagine they were beamed up for a holiday - what did they do, where go - write a brochure etc. /design their ideal summer camp...

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Courses running this summer:
Full-time four week courses: July - August - September - October There's still space on each although August is filling fast.

Full-time eight-week courses: July/August & October/November
Part- time six month courses: October to Easter each academic year


You can see brief descriptions of all of the current courses on our web site If you would like to contact the BLC by e-mail, snail mail, phone or fax then please use the details at the end of the newsletter.


Get along to - a huge site dealing with just about everything. The ESL site contains a huge store of materials for learners & teachers alike. This site is run by Kenneth Beare & includes a weekly newsletter. Worth bookmarking & passing on the address to your students.
Whether you love them or hate them urban legends are here to stay. So why not create your own? The urban Legend Generator allows you to make a few selections & there you have your own legend to mail to your friends. It's a bit like the game consequences - you choose the subject, scenario, action & consequence & then it writes the story for you& gives you the possibility of sending it by e-mail to friends. Great fun for instant stories.
For the best net hoaxes. Lots of reading material.
Lots of wacky & bizarre reading material for your lessons. Just what you need to get away from that stale reading that's coming up in the next unit. Fortean Times links you to other sites for articles such as; 'Phantom limbs materialise with new study' (from the New Scientist & not their title), 'Man's privates saved by a penny', 'Jesus loses case against the church' & 'Patients resort to DIY plastic surgery' among other gems!
As they say on the site; 'It was founded in 1973 to continue the work of Charles Fort. Throughout his life, Fort was sceptical about scientific explanations, observing how scientists argued according to their own beliefs rather than the rules of evidence and that inconvenient data was ignored, suppressed, discredited or explained away (which is quite different from explaining a thing).

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Henny, the Co-DOS at the British Language Centre has made available three articles she has written.
They are:
- Listening to the Learners: The Role of the Learner Diary in RSA/UCLES CTEFLA Teaching Practice.
- Using the In-Service Feedback Session to Actively Promote Teacher Self-Development.
- Cultural diversity - Managing Same-Sex Orientation in the Classroom.
This is an interesting talk about the questionnaire we sent out with last November's newsletter. It's about how gay & lesbian culture is handled in the ELT classroom.
You can see these on this site.
If you have any comments that you'd like to send directly to Henny then mail her at



Have you had a look at the back issues at ? Last week there were ideas on how to make your students sound more interesting through an awareness of pitch. This week we look at classroom language & the need to teach it. Check it out & sign up. Or send an e-mail directly to It's free!

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6. PS
A springboard for everything & anything to do with the Internet experience - impressive.
If you want to surf the web without banner ads & pop up windows then download the WebWasher. It's free, takes up less than 1Mb in size & is easy to install. It saves time as the ads aren't downloaded -it's white space instead - & how often do you actually click the banner ads?
For free reference sites these take the proverbial biscuit! You'll never need to go anywhere else. Check them all out to find one that suits! The Bartleby site especially is full of goodies - they say they are the "most comprehensive public reference library ever published on the web." The site is divided into four sections:

Reference -
Verse -
Fiction -
Non-fiction -

Here are some of the things they've got: Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language,Third Edition; Roget's II: The New Thesaurus, Third Edition; Simpson's Contemporary Quotations; and The American Heritager Book of English Usage, Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, Strunk's Elements of Style; six poetry anthologies, including the Oxford Book of English Verse; EmilyPost's Etiquette; the Cambridge History of English and American Literature: An Encyclopedia in Eighteen Volumes; Frazer's the Golden Bough (1922) and Thomas Bulfinch's Mythology (1913). Among many more!
With these & we're spoilt for choice.
I gave you a few time-wasting sites last month but this beats the lot. You know the parcel bubble wrapping that you can pop? Well, now you can do the same on the web - run the cursor over the bubbles & pop! And then they recharge so you can really waste some serious time! Not quite the same as the real thing though.
Called the mother of all search engines! It apparently accesses 4.2 million pageviews monthly. Check it out.
Another new search engine with a big future from AltaVista.
Bet you thought that the Net went on forever. Check out the very last page.


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