June 2001 - issue 6/01
Welcome to the June Newsletter
This month we're having a quick look at storytelling.
It's a great tool for the classroom - who doesn't like stories?
And there are literally hundreds of sites about stories &
Also in the Newsletter, there are links to some more articles
on the site, an advanced sound/spelling warmer, jobs &
lots of teaching & net links.
Summer is arriving here. It's suddenly got
very hot - Spring came & went in a flash. In the Teaching
Tips in June we'll have some ideas for summer school teaching.
2. THE SITE
3. WARMER - A new
4. THE BLUFFER'S GUIDE
5. E-MAIL COURSES
7. DELTA SUPPORT
9. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
10. TRAINING COURSES
11. PS - Internet/computer-related
1. THEME - Story Telling
Story telling is a very under-used technique
& activity in the English language classroom. Here are
some possible aims:
To give listening practice
To introduce a theme
To expose students to specific language areas
To introduce specific language - vocab, structure, function
To increase awareness of the target culture
To increase awareness of other cultures
To 'pass on' a story
To integrate a natural form of communication into the classroom
And when students tell their own stories,
all the above &:
To give practice in telling a story in English
To practice specific language through the story telling
To diagnose language weaknesses
To provide oral fluency practice
It is a natural, entertaining & captivating
activity that uses language - perfect for us. How about a
language course taught solely through the medium of stories?
lesson plan this month uses a web page 'Effective Storytelling
- A Manual for Beginners', with kind permission from Barry
McWilliams & is from his storytelling web site. The idea
behind the plan is not only to help the learners with telling
stories in English but also to develop an appreciation of
storytelling & hopefully to help them with storytelling
in their own native language.
Barry's web site address is:
The web page we use is:
see the lesson plan &
the reproduced material
An excellent book for storytelling &
the ELT classroom is ' OnceUpon a Time' - Morgan & Rinvolucri
(CUP) - every school should have one. There is some sound
advice on how to go about telling a story, lots of classroom
ideas & best of all, a collection of story skeletons.
A skeleton is the best way to begin as you can make the story
more natural as you fill in the language. If you
try to memorise a story it will come out sounding contrived.
With a skeleton all you have to remember are the facts.
A few ideas connected to storytelling:
As a way of getting your students into stories,
tell stories about events that happened to you since you last
saw them & encourage them to do the same. Use stories
for introducing a new theme/lesson.
Play around with beginnings, middles &
ends of stories - the students
providing the missing parts.
Drama - mime stories
- tell the story & the students mime
- the students could walk around in a circle as you tell the
- students tell each other stories to mime.
- give three key words - the students invent
a short scene & the others try to guess the original words.
- a variation on the above - give a short
story to mime plus three or four adjectives - surprise, anger
etc that they should include - the others guess the adjectives.
- you begin eg. 'One morning Ben got up &
went to work.' A student is invited to continue with another
sentence & so on round the class. You provide the linkers
- 'and then', 'so', 'next', ....' finally'.
- good for conditionals. 'If Josh had gone
to the party he would have met Helen', 'If he had met Helen
he would've seen the film', 'If he'd seen the film, he would've
- To teach vocabulary - choose a group of
vocab that you want to teach & think up an anecdote or
story that includes the vocab. As you tell the story use the
vocab naturally but check the meaning as you go on. At the
end elicit the meaning of the words & if told clearly
they should be able to come out with them.
- Give key words or picture prompts &
students invent a story.
- There are some ideas in this week's Teaching
Tip 'Picture the story' which gives some ways of using
picture stories in class.
A university creative writing class was asked
to write a concise essay containing these four elements
The prize-winning essay read:
"My God," said the Queen. "I'm
pregnant. I wonder who did it?"
A SELECTION OF STORY SOURCES ON THE WEB -
there are lots sites on the web & the sites below have
excellent links' pages.
This is Papa Joe's Travelling Storytelling
Show! ..'serving the ancient art of storytelling in the 21st
century. To be a storyteller, you need only to tell stories.
To be a better teller, tell more stories.'
An excellent ring of storytelling sites -
connected to Papa Joe's site as he was a founding member.
And this is the links page at the ring site:
The Story Palace is the place to get your
stories for the classroom - masses of them.
'..online resources regarding children's
and adolescent literature.'
This is an excellent site. It looks at the
why & how of storytelling, has a great story library -
the stories in the plan are taken from here - & with the
link below, lots of ideas for storytelling in the classroom.:
This is a site 'with content on fairy tales,
folk tales or mythology; stories, essays, discussion, creative
writing, and anything related to the literature of myths,
fairy tales and folk tales ..'
Some sites we've mentioned before in past
newsletters that are connected to storytelling:
We couldn't finish this section on storytelling
without some mention of the recently departed hitcher - Douglas
Adams. A few links to check out:
The Earth Edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide
to the Galaxy!
As with most things, the more you tell stories the easier
Back to the index
2. THE SITE
There are some new articles on the site this
The first is from Mark
Wilson titled 'Is My Map To Scale?' which offers a series
of teacher development tasks which help 'to provide ways of
questioning the relative value of various aspects of our classroom
practice... The tasks are intended for in-service training
sessions or teacher development or discussion
There are two new articles on the site from
Professor Edna Aphek. These are about children as trainers.
As Edna says: 'The Net Generation, is a generation that combines
the values of humanism with societal and technical aspects.....In
a world where many children speak the language of the computer
and the internet as their "mother tongue", where
many of them possess the qualities
that make good teachers, it would be most appropriate and
only logical to train the children who know, how to teach
other children and adults computer and internet skills, be
it other children in their schools, or children in other schools.'
first article is about children teaching other children computer
skills & the
second article is about children teaching senior citizens
If you've given a course or seminar &
would like to give it a public airing then do send it to:
Articles can be, as two of the above are,
about an aspect of training outside of ELT. I'm a big fan
of looking to other disciplines for ideas to help us with
our job as language teachers so please don't restrict contributions
I came across this on the net the other day.
Give it to your advanced students to get into a sound/spelling
A NEW ENGLISH LANGUAGE
The European Commission has just announced
an agreement whereby English will be the official language
of the EU rather than German which was the other possibility.
As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's Government conceded
that English spelling had some room for improvement and has
accepted a 5 year
phase-in plan that would be known as "Euro-English".
In the first year, "s" will replace
the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil
servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped
in favour of the"k". This should klear up konfusion
and keyboards kan have 1 less letter. There will be growing
publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome
"ph" will be replaced with "f". This will
make words like "fotograf" 20% shorter.
In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the
new spelling kan be ekspekted to reach the stage where more
komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkorage
the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent
to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes
of the silent "e"s in the
language is disgraseful, and they should go away. By the fourth
year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th"
with "z" and "w" with "v". During
ze fifz year, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from
vords kontaining "ou" and similar changes vud of
kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.
After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl
riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun
vil find it ezi to understand ech ozer.
If you've got a favourite warmer that you'd
like to share, then send it in.
Back to the index
4. THE BLUFFER'S GUIDE TO TEFL
Nobody has got back to me to claim ownership.
If you do know who has written it please let me know &
all credit will be given. Perhaps the author doesn't want
to be recognised! If you have any contributions of your own
to the Bluffer's Guide, then send them in. To
see the full guide on the site.
Here's some more from the tongue-most definitely-in-the-cheek
Guide to TEFL.
Tefl's most sacred word and the barometer for all classroom
atrocities. The Communicative Approach was designed for those
who can't handle grammar and who never grew out of Blue Peter.
To win the hearts of your tefl buddies look critically at
any coursebook activity and intone: " Hmmm, not very
communicative is it?" Communicative is such a vague woolly
term that it can exploited to advantage on numerous occasions.
Even though no one can
adequately define it, it is of course "a jolly good thing."
Current orthodoxy has it that "error correction is much
neglected. This is the line of argument a bluffer should take.
In truth, however, it is highly knackering and totally ineffective
so no one bothers with it. Nonetheless, a good time-wasting
activity is a bit of 'creative error correction' - the technique
of inventing errors for on-board correction. A useful sleight
of hand to follow monitoring.
Grammar is anathema to teflers. Do not mention the dreaded
'G' word as this is tantamount to declaring yourself a linguistic
fascist. True blue teflers feel uncomfortable with grammar
as they do not understand it. Similarly, avoid all reference
to semantics as this discipline threatens the entire bedrock
Everybody knows, but naturally refuses to admit, that this
is a complete load of drivel. LT has been flavour of the month
for over a decade which is a highly depressing thought in
itself. Nevertheless, it is a cardinal sin for the tefl bluffer
to knock LT in any shape or form because otherwise you will
embroiled in the sort of tedious argument best avoided. Should
the subject of LT raise its ugly head, nod sagely and say
something enigmatic like "Learner Training is alright
in theory, the problem lies in the methodology." Do not
expand on this. LT comes in handy for scoring TefI brownie
points in a workshop. Regardless of the subject under discussion,
bang your fist down
firmly on the table and declare: "Don't forget the Learner
Training!" Your audience will be suitably impressed.
5. E-MAIL COURSES
Maximise your time by getting started on
quality personalised teacher development course.
Back to the index
'Visit the UK's biggest online library of
English teaching resources for photocopiable worksheets, lesson
plans and schemes of work - everything you need for planning
tomorrow's first lesson or (for the very efficient) next term's
scheme of work ..these are downloadable and photocopiable
- all you have to do is find a suitable topic and a photocopier!
The Teachit libraries
now offer over 1000 pages of free resources! And don't forget,
as well as English teaching materials, we also offer resources
for teaching Drama and Media Studies, and online lessons to
access 'live' in the computer room (teaching made easy?!).'
An excellent quote portal - lift them out
for your lessons.
Anything & everything to do with calendars
- 'Comprehensive categorized calendar catalog currently containing
countless correlating connections & calzone recipes!'
Your personal newsportal! This site collects
headlines from 1578 sources around the web and lets you manage
them in new ways.The appearance of the site is very customizable
(skins, language, pages etc.).
Haiku's galore - get your students writing
Lots & lots & lots of US-based newspapers
& articles online from one page.
Good news for everyone....'the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology will make the materials for nearly
all its courses freely available on the internet over the
next ten years'. Now this is what the internet should be about.
A directory of online courses, online learning
and online education in 37 subject areas offered by educational
institutions, companies and individuals from all over the
world - online training, long distance learning, distance
education, e- learning & web-based training
Back to the index
7. DELTA SUPPORT
We've recently been contacted by a teacher
starting a Cambridge DELTA teacher training course, asking
for support with the assignments - a very good idea. We have
lots of experience with the course so if anyone else is in
the same position & would like some on-going external
support throughout the course, then do get in touch.
can post CVs on the site & employers can post job adverts
- both are free services at the moment. Check out:
There are a few CVs up at the moment - two
recent ones. The first from Emma Robinson who is looking for
teaching work in the US. And the second is from Susan Bowen
who is looking for teaching work in France or the UK. Can
you help out? If so, get along to the site for their contact
A couple of jobs:
The International School of London currently
seeking 2 full-time ESL teachers to start in September 2001.
Applicants must have TEFL/TESOL certification and some experience
of working with young people in the 11-18 years age group.
We are looking for enthusiastic, dynamic teachers prepared
to give lots of ideas and energy to their classes. ISL is
a modestly sized International
school with approximately 350 students, of which many participate
in some stage of the ESL curriculum. The ESL department is
a busy area and working well with other subject teachers is
imperative, therefore the successful applicants will be committed
and proven team players. If you are interested in applying
for these positions, please email your CV with covering letter
Please type 'FAO ESL Department' in the subject line. Please
note that applicants must be legally able to live and work
in the UK.
There's also a post for Director of Education
to work at Qingdao International House in Qingdao China from
16.7.01 or later - a 12 month contract. For more contact Julia
9. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
As always, free weekly practical teaching
tips by e-mail. Sign up!
Train in Spain - Courses running in the near
future at the British Language Centre in Madrid:
CAMBRIDGE CERTIFICATE IN ELT - CELTA
Full-time four-week courses: July, August
CAMBRIDGE DIPLOMA IN ELT - DELTA
Full-time eight-week courses: July &
Six month part-time course: October '01 >>
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 http://www.cospa.es/blc/TED/ttframe.htm
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Back to the index
11. PS - Internet/computer-related links
Do you reckon your reflexes are good? Don't
mind wasting a bit of time? And end up wasting quite a bit
of time? Get along & test yourself! An Olympic sport in
Karenware is Karen Kenworthy's site. She
is the author of PowerTools - the free Windows programme that
'makes life easier with Windows'. There's the Power Tools
to download, many more useful free programmes & a newsletter
to subscribe to.
This is a site devoted to helping you find
the most suitable search engine for your specific purposes.
They say that 'specific topics will be found more efficiently
with specific search tools'.
Another troubleshooting site for your computer
For those with an e-complaint, you can see
if anyone else has had a problem with a particular product
or provider & you can post your own for all to see.
If you're ever in need of updating your drivers,
then this is the place. They have a huge database of drivers
& resources & all free.
For something a little different! A star
in the making - cool crooner.
And after Eugene, sit back & enjoy this
- a treat in flashy design.
To the past