June 2003 - issue 6/03
DEVELOPING TEACHERS.COM Newsletter
Welcome to the June Newsletter.
This month's theme has an article about listening
& pronunciation by Richard Cauldwell from Birmingham University
in the UK. 'Streaming Speech: Listening and Pronunciation
for Advanced Learners of English' is an article about a ten-part
electronic course that Richard has developed. It's really
nice to find a course like this as phonology & listening
courses combined are few & far between - especially when
they're this good. We like the course so much that we have
come to an agreement with Richard that offers a discount to
Newsletter readers on the course price. All you have to do
is say you found Streaming Speech through Developing Teachers.com.
Read the article & then check out his site.
We also have articles on 'My Methodology'
by Costas Gabrielatos, 'Schools and Ideology: A Critique'
by Dimitrios Thanasoulas & 'Designing a twenty hour timetable
for advanced learners' by Scott Shelton. In addition there
is a book review of Ruth Wajnryb's book 'Stories - narrative
activities in the language classroom'.
Do you plan lessons around important days
of the year such as Halloween, Easter, Thanksgiving? I try
to but always seem to miss most of the lesser known days,
realising too late that it would 've been a good idea. With
this in mind, we're collating a Days
of the Year reference guide to help us remember.
If there are more days to add please do let
us know by posting in the Forums. Thanks.
1. THEME - Streaming
2. THE SITE - plans &
4. E-MAIL COURSES
5. BOOK REVIEW
6. CVs & JOBS
7. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
8. PS - Internet/computer-related
The two-sides rule in teaching listening
and pronunciation by Richard Cauldwell
1. Pronunciation: the misrepresentation
I have long believed in the rule that listening
and pronunciation work are two sides of the same coin - the
coin being 'the spoken language'. This is the two-sides rule
which has an important implication. Every time you do a pronunciation
activity, you are teaching students something about the spoken
language. Therefore, like it or not, you are teaching students
something of how to listen. So if pronunciation activities
consist primarily of the accurate articulation of the segments
of isolated words, then students are learning - like it or
not - 'facts' about the spoken language. These 'facts' are,
of course, not facts at all - they are misrepresentations.
Unfortunately, such misrepresentations are common: vocabulary
lists, and dictionaries give information about the pronunciation
of the citation forms of words, and promote a view of the
spoken language as a sequence of citation forms - words bounded
by pauses, stressed, with falling tones. Clearly, this is
a misrepresentation of the spoken language as experienced
by the listener. It is also (because of the two-sides rule)
a misrepresentation of speech-production - in pursuit of segmental
accuracy (a worthy aim in itself), students practise disfluent
The listener's experience of normal speech
(however one might choose to characterise 'normal') is of
a stream, words flow into each other in patterns (tone-units,
tone-groups, breath-groups, pause-groups) in which some words
retain resemblance to the citation form and others are pulled
out of shape.
2. Ying's dilemma and the sound-shape
Pronunciation work therefore, insofar as
it focuses on citation forms promotes a view of speech which
is an obstacle to effective listening. Students learn ideal
sound-shapes for words (citation forms), but do not learn
the wide range of sound-shapes that a word can have when 'streamed'
in normal speech. Even within the speech of one speaker, words
take on different sound-shapes according to their position
in the variety of patterns known as tone-units. These sound-shapes
vary according to speed, volume, whether the words are prominent
or not, whether or not they are the location for tones. We
don't teach this variability in our work on speech. We should
- because students are asking for it, as the words of Ying's
'I believe I need to learn what the word
sounds like when it is used in the sentence. Because sometimes
when a familiar word is used in a sentence, I couldn't catch
it. Maybe it changes somewhere when it is used in a sentence'
(Goh 1997, p. 366)
For Ying, words that are 'known' become 'unkown'
in streamed speech. This is 'Ying's dilemma'. Our typical
response to Ying's dilemma has been to throw our hands in
the air and say that the only way around this problem is immersion
or osmosis: immersion by living in countries where the language
is spoken (Rost, 1990) or tested osmosis, unmediated by pedagogic
intervention, in the form of extensive listening.
We throw our hands in the air because we
believe that the variability is so great, so unpatterned,
that it is impossible generalise, and therefore impossible
to teach. I disagree. There are patterns in the stream of
speech: and we can use these patterns as a mode of presentation
of speech for both listening and pronunciation materials.
If we do, then it is possible to teach pronunciation in such
a way that it represents normal speech more accurately, and
practises accuracy and fluency simultaneously. In doing so
it thereby promotes a picture of speech, which aids, rather
than obstructs, the acquisition of listening skills.
3. Streaming Speech
'Streaming Speech: Listening and Pronunciation
for Advanced Learners of English' is an electronic publication
which aims to solve the problem of the misrepresentation of
speech. It does this by using normal spontaneous speech as
the model to be imitated and emulated; and it rejects the
'immersion' and 'extensive listening' solutions to the problems
of teaching listening, by paying close attention to the fastest
stretches of speech, where Ying's dilemma is likely to be
at its most acute. It makes use of the patterns of speech
identified in the work of David Brazil (Brazil, 1994, 1997)
- he calls them tone units, I call them speech units - to
present samples of spontaneous speech for both the teaching
of listening and pronunciation. A key feature of the publication
is the use of web-based multi-media technology, which allows
students to click on a line of transcript, and to hear it
as it was originally spoken.
3.1 The speakers
Streaming Speech is a ten-chapter electronic
publication which features recordings of eight speakers of
English from the United Kingdom (seven speakers) and Ireland
(one). All the recordings are of unscripted, spontaneous speech,
and contain many features that would be edited out of the
written language: pauses to give planning time, re-starts,
self-corrections, repetitions. Such features provide a discourse
syllabus for both listening and pronunciation which I shall
return to in 3.3 below.
All of the speakers are associated in some
way with the University of Birmingham in the UK: they are
either lecturers (full-time or part-time), or senior figures
in the administration. Their recordings are largely (but not
wholly) monologic - and this makes them suitable for the identification
of samples for modelling pronunciation. All but one of them
consist of biographical talk: the exception is of one person
giving a lecture on early English grammar. There is one accent
from Dublin in the Republic of Ireland (Chapter 8) but the
other accents are close to Standard Educated British English
- again this makes the recordings suitable for use for modelling
pronunciation. There are however some slight differences,
with two speakers having certain characteristics of a London
accent, and two others have characteristics of the British
3.2 Two layers and a filling
The first eight chapters have a common structure,
which has its origin in the two-sides rule - but is best thought
of as a structure akin to a cake with two layers, with a filling
in between the two layers. The top layer consists of two sections
devoted to listening, the bottom layer consists of two layers
devoted to pronunciation. But first, a description of the
read the article
Discount on the course! If you'd like to
buy a Streaming Speech course you will receive a discount
if you tell Richard you heard about it at Developing Teachers.com!
Richard's web site is at: http://www.speechinaction.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/
& not only contains the Streaming Speech course but also
the excellent Centre for Discourse Intonation Studies. All
very well worth checking out.
Richard's other article on the Developing Teachers.com site
is titled, 'Grasping
the nettle: The importance of perception work in listening
Back to the index
SHELTER INSTITUTE COURSES
Learn to build a house at the Shelter Institute
this summer - and pick up some new teaching techniques at
the same time! Earn teacher recertification credits and/or
college credits as you enjoy a learning vacation on the coast
of Maine. Design, build, or contract your own home, saving
money and building equity in your future. Teachers who take
our course often find themselves building houses every summer
thereafter. Visit us on the web at http://www.shelterinstitute.com
or at our wooded campus 873 Route One, Woolwich, Maine 04579.
Call (207) 442-7938. Next class runs July 7-25.
2. THE SITE
Here are the new articles on the site this
My Methodology by Costas Gabrielatos
Much has been written in the ELT literature
about the importance of a teacher's self-awareness, and the
extent to which personal views and interpretations shape teaching.
I for one am convinced that knowing why I teach the way I
do gives me control over my teaching and development. Prompted
by an online discussion on ELT methodology1 I decided to draw
a brief outline of my practices and the rationale behind them,
as an exercise in self-awareness. I expected to end up with
a short piece, but the more I thought about the 'what' and
'why' of my practice, the more I wrote. I apologise for the
list format, but a proper text would defy the purpose of the
exercise. Of course this isn't a comprehensive account, and
I would be surprised if it contained anything that hasn't
already been said or done. Still, it's unique, because it's
a subjective interpretation of thinking in ELT and its informing
disciplines through an individual teacher's personal filters.
I present it as an invitation to colleagues to share their
own personal theories and methodologies.
read the article
Schools and Ideology: A Critique by Dimitrios
Introduction The pressure upon schools to
improve and raise achievement is unlikely to recede over the
next decade, which would suggest that the school effectiveness
and school improvement research fields are likely to remain
influential and popular with practitioners and policy makers
alike. Until recently, these two traditions have gone their
separate ways, mainly because of differences in methodological
orientation and ideological position. The purpose of this
paper is to provide the background and context for the analysis
and critique of school effectiveness and improvement, within
a cultural and political framework. More specifically, the
present work sets out to portray the various processes that
permeate the core of educational systems in most western societies,
and show that schools are nothing but political arenas where
the struggle for power and domination is the norm.
read the article
Designing a twenty-hour course for advanced
learners by Scott Shelton
Introduction The following document outlines
a twenty-hour course designed for an identified group of advanced
learners who are preparing to sit the examination for the
Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English at the end of the
term. It is divided into two parts. The first provides a rationale
for the course, the process by which the course content has
been selected and sequenced, as well as a brief examination
of the principles of syllabus planning and how these were
applied when planning the course. How this course reflects
the learning needs of this particular group is also addressed,
as well as how these needs were determined.
read the article
Thanks to Richard, Costas, Dimitrios & Scott
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 - We reach a few thousand teachers every
week with the Weekly Teaching Tip & the same each month
with the Newsletter, not to mention the 1000+ unique visitors
a day to the site. If you've got a book, course, job...anything
that you'd like to advertise, then do get in touch at:
Back to the index
Lots of different Forums to choose from.
Post your jobs, your CV, your questions, finds on the net,
ideas, activities, questions, grumbles, suggestions, your
language courses, your training courses...
From the Teaching Forum:
In response to Captain Kangaroo's great list
of vocabulary pre-teaching activities, ryandalcampbell responds:
'Following on from Capt Kangaroo's sterling
pre-reading efforts here's an occasionally amusing technique
for brightening even the dullest textbook reading:
Split your class into teams of roughly equal
numbers using whichever technique you use for deciding teams
(a communicative task to pick the teams is normally best if
time is not too pressing eg: 'Find the four people whose birthday
is closest to your own and make your team' etc etc. Once the
teams have formed allot each a paragraph in the reading. Tell
them that this is their paragraph and they must defend it
from the sneaky other teams who will be trying to steal points
from their paragraph. Every team must have at least one paragraph.
If there's any spare paragraphs left call these the bonus
rounds. Give the teams a shortish period of time to read the
passage (basically enough time for a good look at their own
paragraph and a skim at the rest).
Once the time is up ask each team for a buzzer
noise (mine generally like a scream or an aaaaaaaaa for this)
(the buzzer noise is to stop them all shouting at the same
time and also just for an extra giggle). Then explain the
2 points for a question answered correctly
in your own paragraph. No penalty for an incorrect answer.
5 points for a question answered correctly from another teams
paragraph but -2 if wrong. In the bonus round it's a quick
fire 3 points for a right answer -3 for a wrong answer. If
you've used up all the paragraphs for the teams the bonus
questions can come from anywhere in the passage.
Generally these types of questions work best:
Start with straight factual questions who? What? Why? etc
then move these onto inference questions with students having
to infer answers from the text or the grammar in the passage.
You can make this as hard as you want for your students and
use it to concentrate on any weak areas. Students love the
quick fire questions and seeing their score shoot up and down
with the negative scoring. Speed is the key so if you don't
think quickly on your feet, pre prepare the questions.
Rationale: This is fun and can be made as
challenging as the teacher wants. It's adaptable to almost
any coursebook reading. Focusing on one area as here has been
proven in native speakers to increase comprehension of the
whole passage so it should have similiar and even more beneficial
effects for learners. It encourages students not to get bogged
down in one word but try to work it out from context. There's
tons more benefits of this but try it and see what works for
see Captain Kangaroo's activities
Can you offer advice on the following recent postings?
- kracker would like some information on
- Javier would like some advice on how to use the idiom sections
in the Language In Use workbook.
- ryandalcampbell wants to know why we use 'many a'.
- asia's after project ideas for younger learners.
Check them out: http://foro.developingteachers.com/
Back to the index
4. E-MAIL COURSES
& maximise your time by getting started on a quality personalised
teacher development course.
5. BOOK REVIEW
The review this month looks at Stories -
Narrative activities in the language classroom by Ruth Wajnryb
'Stories & narratives have long been
seen as an important tool in the classroom for both the teacher
& the student. For the teacher they provide a versatile
activity that can be fitted in almost anywhere in a lesson
for a multitude of different aims & for the student, they
are an important part of both productive & receptive communicative
ability. 'Stories' by Ruth Wajnryb, author of 'Grammar Dictation'
helps to enrich this area.'
read the rest of the review
Buying books? If you're going to Amazon.com
or Amazon.co.uk 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.
ENGLISH IN CAMBRIDGE
If you or your students are thinking of the
UK for an English language course then The New School of English
in Cambridge should be at the top of the list of schools to
Here are a few reasons for choosing The New
School of English
- centrally located in the city of Cambridge
- small enough to provide very personal attention to our students
in the classroom
- accommodation and in their social activities
- no large numbers of one nationality
- high-quality language classes with experienced, well-qualified
- self-catering residential accommodation in the summer for
students who want more independence
If you mention that you found them at Developing
Teachers.com, you'll get a 5% discount on the course fees.
To visit their web site:
Back to the index
6. WEEKLY TEACHING TIPS
Free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail.
Recent Tips have included:
- Student Teachers - ideas for giving the class back to the
- Skeleton texts - helping with reading skills
- There once was a teacher.. - ideas on using limericks in
- Silently Chatting - using the chat room idea for writing
see the Past Tips
sign up to receive them
7. CVs & JOBS
Mary Anne Zabawa is looking for a job in
the Middle East, Su Laforge in Costa Rica is looking for a
change & Scott Chiverton in California is on the move.
Check out their CVs at:
We are starting to get postings of CVs in
the CV Forum. If you'd like to have your CV on the site then
please go to the Forums first. We will then pick it up &
give it a page on the site. The same goes for job adverts
- in the Jobs Forum & then on the Recruitment page of
the site. Thanks.
Back to the index
CAMBRIDGE ESOL TEACHER TRAINING COURSES
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, next courses July, August &
CAMBRIDGE DIPLOMA IN ELT - DELTA
Full-time eight-week course, July/August '03
5% discount on all courses if you mention
Reasonably priced accommodation can be arranged
for the duration of all courses.
8. PS - Internet/computer-related links
Back in 1996, I created the original Ancient
Scripts web site during the wee hours of the morning. I have
been a great enthusiast for writing systems and linguistics
in general, but I could only find meager resources on the
web about this subject in those early days. So I went to work,
taking class material from Linguistics 11 (Writing Systems)
at UCB as well as my own research in dusty libraries. Many
years later, despite problems with servers and having to earn
a living, Ancient Scripts is still running.
'The best place on the Internet - the ultimate
online HelpDesk, the home of computer support: AnswersThatWork.com'
And on AnswersThatWork.com, 'Through our
support service we often come across problems caused primarily
by programs running in the background, programs which in most
cases start at the same time as Windows. Sometimes these programs
are useful and need to be there; quite often, however, they
are not needed, and in too many cases they cause severe problems.'
Check out which ones you need.
Your chance to vote for the seven modern
wonders of the world.
The Online Resources Handbook - 'deals with
practical aspects of using the rapidly growing global on-line
information resource, in which the Internet plays an increasingly
important part. The book is distributed in a form designed
to be easily accessible with the maximum range of computers,
printer types, and search programs. In this way, it is compatible
with most electronic reading devices for the blind. Many frills,
such as fancy formatting, extraneous characters or tags, have
been omitted to achieve this... The main subject of the handbook
is what you can get out of the global online resource.'
Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive.
Yahoo's search page.
'A place for those who like to take quizzes
and especially for those who like to make them.'
If you like the number 37.....
Free access to Google, AOL, Yahoo, eBay,
and others on your desktop.
To the Past