A web site for the developing language teacher

March 2000 - issue 3/00


This month's theme is Film & Cinema as it's nearly Oscar time. We had the Spanish equivalent in January - the Goyas - & Pedro Almodovar predictably swept the board. There is obviously a lot of material on the net about film but the ones that stand out on my search are the ones providing scripts to films - see the links below.

This month's lesson plan deals with the film 'The Beach' & Leonardo DiCaprio.

For those of you who are new to the newsletter, a brief explanation. In each issue there is an introduction - the section you are reading now - followed by a theme. The theme contains ideas and activities to use in your classes centred around a different subject each month. Then come the sections on the teacher training courses we are running, links to web sites for resource material, free literature sites, news/jobs & finishing with the PS section of useful computer/internet related links. I hope you find most, if not all, of the sections useful.

Happy teaching.

Please e-mail a friend 'Developing Teachers'. Thanks. ************************************************


7. PS



- Check out any of the following for good material on the cinema & the Oscars: , , , , , . - - an excellent source of info about film. The author, Timothy Dirks, lists his top 100 all time favourite films - you'll probably disagree. Lots of other related topics including the famous film quotes page.
- - a massive collection of film scripts. Gone are the days of transcribing pages of the script to use in class. Just copy & paste the part you need.
- - 'Great Scenes from Movies for Roleplay' - an excellent resource which gives you the scripts, the vocabulary & the functions used.
- Oscar quiz - check out the Tim Dirks site above.
- Oscars - discuss equivalent in own country - language of prediction & comparison before 'X will win because...' - language of past criticism afterwards 'X should've won because...' - language of dis/agreement with the Oscar results
- Lexical field - actor, actress, star, an extra, a bit part, producer, cameraman, studio, to shoot a film, still, clip, excerpt, set, on location, to edit, script, lines, costumes, action, different genres (western, comedy, adventure, sci-fi etc), screening, premier, critic, reviews ...
- A good opportunity to review narrative telling.
- Famous film quotes - match film, character & quote - there are a few in the lesson plan.
- Film reviews - stds could write them for films they have recently seen to swap around for colleagues to read & add comments when seen - an on-going mini-project. There are several net chat groups for stds devoted to this as well.
- Cinema What's On Guide - a similar procedure as given for the lonely heart's guide we mentioned in the last newsletter - we would naturally scan a cinema guide so give out one to each stds & you ask a question, the stds look quickly for the answer & raise their hands when they have found it - wait till half have their hands up & elicit the answer & locate it for those who are having difficulties. Have eight to ten questions ready e.g.. Where can you see 'The Full Monty? What time/How much ...etc. It's a very good way of gauging the scanning ability in the group.
- Making a film - imperatives - do you remember Streamline Departures - there's a unit which gets beginner stds to act out a short scene using imperatives from the director on tape - total physical response - a great effective way of building up elementary stds store of verbs. A possible procedure would be to act it out yourself, taking on both roles while stds listen & watch you, after several times the stds then act out to the tape & then they write their own instructions in small groups for a short scene & you can feed in the verbs they need. The one std reads out the verbs & the others from the group act - for the rest of the class to observe.
- Interviews with the stars - dubbing - this involves the class discussing a picture of a film star & writing a list of questions they would like to ask the person in the picture. When a series of questions has been complied, give the picture to a std who takes on that role & the others interview her/him. A well prepared roleplay then ensues.
- Interview with a film star - one word collective person - this is a fun , challenging roleplay. There is an interviewer & three/four stds take the role of the one interviewee. Each std supplies one word in the response to a question e.g.. Why did you start acting? A:Well B:at C:school D:I A:was B:always C:involved D:in A:the B:Christmas C:play. Each std has to continue the utterance so that it makes sense. Can be difficult but lots of fun.
- Day in the life of a film star - this could come as a continuation of the previous activity - stds write up a typical day by way of compiling the responses from the interview - they take notes when they ask the questions.
- Discussion topics - Does violence in movies influence real-life events? - Prefer the book or the film? - The film star you would like to meet? What say/do? - Where prefer to sit in the cinema? Front, middle, back? Why?
- Roleplay ideas - son wants to be an actor, Dad wants him to be a doctor like him, Mum is caught in the middle - you are an actor in the middle of shooting a film & the director wants to change your lines (reduce them!) & you disagree strongly etc.
- Have a class outing to the cinema & then use it in class.
- Using video clips - saved for a future issue!
Thanks to Steven Wallace for contributing some of the above.

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The British Language Centre is offering this recognised training course in teaching business English - the only centre in Spain running this. It is aimed at the teacher who either wants to get a solid grounding in this area or business English teachers who would like an official qualification to show for their experience. The course covers three main areas; the professional skills required of the business English teacher, effective methodologies for the business English classroom & thirdly the basic business concepts & practices that the business English teacher is expected to be familiar with. It is a thirty hour course that runs intensively over a week or part-time over ten weeks.

Other courses we are running at the moment:
You can see brief descriptions of all of the courses on the BLC web site


Not only a news, sports & features site about Britain but it is also linked up to over eighty local sites that are maintained by the local newspaper of the area. This allows you to keep up to date on news in a local community & let your students know what happens in the local news. Instead of always looking at national news you could choose an area to draw articles from & build up interest in the area. The main page has links to articles from all over the country under headings such as Hot Topics, In The Courts, Would You Believe It?, Heart Warmers & Heroes & Villains amongst others - all highly usable in class. I found an article about an ancient law still on the books that allows an Englishman to do away with a Welshman. Reasonable you may think but then it goes on to be just a bit too much like hard work in that it must be in Hereford's Cathedral Close on a Sunday & you must use a longbow & stand exactly twelve yards from the victim. That's local news for you.
More newsletters! Never feel you're teaching out on a limb again. The British Language Centre - with the 'Developing Teachers' newsletter is a member of the ESL Newsletter Network. To sign up for other excellent (and free!) newsletters for ESL students & teachers go to this link.
This is the famous ESL Café from Dave Sperling, the guy who was already set up on the net before anyone in the ELT world realised its potential. This is a huge site with a stack of useful info, forums, e-mail & an excellent links section - for both teachers & students. For those attending the TESOL Spain conference in Madrid this year Dave will be giving three talks.
This is Chris Vallely's site devoted to crosswords. As well as the existing crosswords there is a new one each week both for native speakers & also intermediate upwards stds - photocopiable. There is a good links page where you can connect to a link for some software to download that designs your own crosswords.

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Lots of classics.
Bill's complete works. Why not try out an excerpt or sonnet in class?


5. TESOL CONFERENCE - Madrid, Spain - 24th - 26th March 2000. The theme of the 23rd TESOL-Spain National convention is 'Managing Learning: Learning and Helping to Learn'. This year there will be over 110 presentations by speakers on a host of ELT subjects and there will also be publishers' presentations. For more information phone Spain 617 864 318 or e-mail The web site is



I've recently received information about summer jobs in the UK & Ireland & full-time posts in Costa Rica. The former are Embassy CES, who have recently taken over the ILC operation. They have lots of summer work in thirty two different locations. The contact is Matt Hill, the Recruitment Manager, & his e-mail is .The Instituto Britanico school in Costa Rica contact is Tim Groombridge & his e-mail is

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7. PS
A vast collection of newsgroups. My brother put me onto this after telling me how he got his Walkman mini-disk repaired free of charge after quoting to the manufacturer other similar cases he'd found in a newsgroup. So last week I thought I'd check it out for the scanner I'd promised myself for Xmas. The pros & cons were discussed - an Acer Scan Prisa 620 U by the way - & I felt happy going to buy it & haven't looked back since. It doesn't have to be computer related either - anything is discussed. Another similar site, considered better by some, is , ,
After mentioning the last month here are some more excellent dictionaries of computer terms all free. Check them out & find which one suits you.


Developing Teachers' is written by Alistair Dickinson at the above address.

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