A web site for the developing language teacher

March 2002 - issue 3/02


Welcome to the March Newsletter

Thank you to everyone who has been completing the Poll on the Front Page of the site. If you haven't seen this, it's to find out who you are teaching. The categories to choose are general adults, professionals, teenagers, younger learners (7-12), even younger learners (3-7) & other teachers. At the time of writing, we have had 192 people take the poll with the following results:

general adults - 33%

professionals - 21%

teenagers - 23%

younger learners (7-12) - 14%

even younger learners (3-7) - 4%

other teachers - 5%

We'll keep the poll up for a while, & we'll be adding more polls. If you haven't visited please stop by & let us know who you teach. Thanks.

This month's newsletter takes feedback on written work as its theme with Seamus O'Muirchartaigh contributing his seminar notes. There is also a new Books section & we begin with a review of 'Knowing Me, knowing You' by Jim Wingate, the review being written by David Holden. There are some new articles & plans up on the site, some teaching links, plus the usual PS section of computer/internet links. Hope you find it all useful.

Happy teaching!

Please e-mail a friend the Developing Teachers Newsletter. Thanks.

See the note in the bit at the end about ReferWare.



1. THEME - giving feedback on written work

2. THE SITE - lesson plans & articles








9. PS - Internet/computer-related links



1. THEME - feedback on written work.

To see the article

Here are a couple of writing articles from the site:

'The use of a process-oriented approach to facilitate the planning and production stages of writing for adult students of English as a Foreign or Second Language' by Nicola Holmes

And the accompanying lesson plan

'Formal Letters for Everyone: Ideas of why and how to bring formal letters into every classroom in fun, interactive ways' by Alex Case

Back to the index


There are some more excellent new articles on the site this month. Thanks go to Jeanette Corbett & Dimitrios Thansoulas.

Jeanette Corbett's article this month finds her experimenting with intonation in the classroom. The article it 'Raising student awareness of intonation at discourse level'

There is an accompanying lesson plan designed for Camb. Proficiency level. Her aims in this lesson:

Main aim:

To develop student's listening strategy, by raising their awareness of intonation at discourse level, particularly pitch level

Exam focus: develop their listening strategy for listening tasks - matching

Subsidiary aims:

a) Practise reading for gist and for specific information

b) To develop student awareness of voice patterns in a dialogue between native speakers, highlighting the features of natural discourse e.g./ topic management, turn taking etc.

c) To develop student awareness of the use of fillers in natural speech

Dimitrios Thansoulas has a new article 'Constructivist Learning'. Here is the beginning of the article:

Only by wrestling with the conditions of the problem at hand, seeking and finding his own solution (not in isolation but in correspondence with the teacher and other pupils) does one learn.
John Dewey, How We Think, 1910
As a philosophy of learning, constructivism can be traced to the eighteenth century and the work of the philosopher Giambattista Vico, who maintained that humans can understand only what they have themselves constructed. A great many philosophers and educationalists have worked with these ideas, but the first major contemporaries to develop a clear idea of what constructivism consists in were Jean Piaget and John Dewey, to name but a few. Part of the discussion that ensues grapples with the major tenets of their philosophies, with a view to shedding light on constructivism and its vital contribution to learning. As a revealing gloss on this issue, it could be said that constructivism takes an interdisciplinary perspective, inasmuch as it draws upon a diversity of psychological, sociological, philosophical, and critical educational theories. In view of this, constructivism is an overarching theory that does not intend to demolish but to reconstruct past and present teaching and learning theories, its concern lying in shedding light on the learner as an important agent in the learning process, rather than in wresting the power from the teacher.

To read the remainder

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 - If you are interested in advertising on the site or the Weekly Teaching Tip & this Monthly Newsletter then please get in touch at:

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Word Change - this warmer really gets your students thinking about grammar. Write a lengthy sentence on the board & volunteer a student to come out to the board with the pen/chalk. The class & the student have to change the sentence word by word but the sentence must still make sense. One word at a time can be changed - keep the original sentence on the board & write the new word below the one it changes. And any word can be changed any time, even the new ones. The key is to keeping grammatical sense.

For example, with this sentence:

I went on holiday to China during the summer and found the people very friendly.

Change 'China' for 'Norway' >> change 'friendly' for optimistic' >> change 'went' to 'came' etc each time writing the new word below the word it changed. Works well for conditionals too.

You must have a favourite warmer! Send it in & we'll publish it here & put it in the warmer list on the site.



A new section in the newsletter & on the site. We will be occasionally recommending books & publishing reviews.

David Holden has a review of 'Knowing me, Knowing you - Classroom activities to develop learning strategies and stimulate conversation' by Jim Wingate (Delta Publishing). Read before you buy. David is a teacher trainer at the BLC in Madrid.

To can see the review

Thanks David.

If you would like to review a book for us do get in touch.

Please don't forget to go through the books page when you want to buy from Amazon - we get a little bit & you pay the same. Every little helps to keep the newsletters free. Thanks.

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Maximise your time by getting started on a quality personalised teacher development course. There are a couple of sample pages to view.



A very nicely updated site full of useful 'stuff' for both learner & teacher.

Lexical Freenet - a comprehensive 'connected thesaurus'. I typed in 'language' & was given 128 paths to follow up, & it narrows down the more you continue. Very good.

'Welcome to LangPix, your portal site for photos to use in your language lessons and lots more! All photos on this site are available for you to use free of charge for educational purposes.'

'Welcome to the HyperGrammar electronic grammar course at the University of Ottawa's Writing Centre. This course covers approximately the same ground as our English department's ENG 1320 Grammar course….This package is designed to allow users a great deal of freedom and creativity as they read about grammar. In addition to the regular navigational links (``up'', ``next'', ``previous'', ``home'', etc.) HyperGrammar allows users to create and follow their own lines of thought. On its first appearance on any page, every grammatical term is linked to its definition. A user reading about nouns might jump to the simple subject, and from there to subordinate clauses -- users are not required or even encouraged to use this material in order.'

A very comprehensive site devoted to the writing skill. Lots of advice & handouts. Worth a dig around.

Back to the index


If you are a children's EFL teacher from US, UK, Canada, or Oceania, and can teach adults too, Foreign Language Training and Consulting Center in Beihai, China, can offer you wonderful opportunities to travel (Vietnam, Hainan Island, Guilin all close by) and enjoy the sunshine.

Your job will be to get the students talking and having fun through games, music, props, puzzles, art and whatever resources you enjoy using/can bring along. You will always have a helper and class sizes will be under 20, ages 4 to 16. To work in our school, just love the kids and tolerate their parents. Have a grateful attitude and be self-motivated. We're not looking for whiners and crybabies, except as students!

The school is new, the building is new, and the city is new. The classrooms are huge, and your free apartment will be surprisingly spacious. You can have internet free all the time, and when the kiddies are gone you can be at one of South China's cleanest and most attractive beaches (Silver Beach) in
ten minutes. Send your cover letter, resume, references, and date of availability to . If we telephone you, you may choose your contract option. Airfare is paid. You will make from 3 to 5 thousand yuan, but must be experienced.

Teachers can post CVs on the site & employers can post job adverts - both are free services at the moment.



The Tips that we've had recently include:

- An individual approach - ideas for catering to the individual within the group.

- Arouse, confront, dare, stimulate, provoke... - about creating 'challenge' for your students

- Love & money are in the air! - a Valentine's Day plan based around an article about the money that's ploughed into the day.

- Hopeful Haikus - using these Japanese verse in class

- Running Around - running dictations

To see the Past Tips

To sign up to receive them

Free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail. Sign up!

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Train in Spain - Courses running in the near future at the British Language Centre in Madrid:


Part-time twelve-week course, April >> June '02

Full-time four-week courses, April, May & June '02


Two month full-time course: July & August '02

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 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

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10. PS - Internet/computer-related links

'Hello, my name is Joe, and I'm a new economoron. That's my catchy name for people who find themselves in my current situation, an economoron. Kind of like an alcoholic, except I bought into the New Economy.
I got fired from my job last week because I was unmotivated. I had been unmotivated ever since the stock market "correction" in April. That was six months ago. As a result of that correction (and some fancy paperwork by the Chairman) the options I held in my company were reverse split by a factor of six to one. That meant that the 15,000 options I once had were cut to 2,500 options. ' And the story goes on.
Like the Hunger site you click to donate only this time your click provides Joe with about a quarter of a French fry. He finishes his entertaining essay, 'And tell your friends…. we're running out of gourmet coffee.' At the time of my visit, he had collected $27.79 with the Amazon Honor system & as for food the equivalent of three cigarettes - only one click a day allowed.

"MultiDesk is a virtual screens application that allows users to have multiple virtual screens on one monitor. It is like having multiple desktops. You can organize applications into different desktops. This way, your screen will not be cluttered with fifty-six opened windows, and you will be able to find an application quickly. The next best thing to multiDesk is a shovel."

'Maybe you are a geek girl and maybe you just suspect you are. Stranger things have been true. I have created this website for geek girls everywhere--present, future and potential--so we can explore our geekhood together, and see what we can find out about it. Geek girls, geek women--we're out there, and we need to see that we're not alone.'

Modern living - nice site. .

A free utility that helps you get over a Windows drawback - print the directory of your folders, subfolders, files etc. Right click in Explorer & print off a copy of any directory.

Watch our fearless hero in a flash movie.

Worthless words of the day.

From the beginning of recorded time -man has been influenced by color. Newborns are nurtured by them, calmed those by baby blues & baby pinks. Even our use of colorised language categorises our nature. We talk about having "Blue moods". .being "Green with envy" or "Red with embarrassment"
... or even "Seeing the World through Rose Colored Glasses"…
In this respect our lives are contingent on colour. We are all products of our past and colour plays a dominant role. By choosing various colors, in order of preference, from a color spectrum, it is possible to ascertain various characteristics of a person at a specific time. It has been found that people with similar traits have predilections for specific colors. And according to ones moods at a particular time, one's outlook on life will change…These color preferences compound a profile which is amazingly accurate.. Try it…….You'll be fascinated and above all amazed.'
Well, worth a look anyway.



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1.Post this newsletter in part or in whole on your site.
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Sorry about the restrictions - has to be.

Disclaimer - all of the recommendations for computer-related software are personal recommendations. We take no responsibility for anything that might go wrong when downloading, installing or running them - not that anything should but you never know. It's your decision, your responsibility. The same for any job advertisement.

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