A web site for the developing language teacher

March 2004 - issue 3/04


Welcome to the March Newsletter.

This month should see a change of server for Developing Hopefully all this will mean is the site being down for 24 hours, with some of the facilities on the site taking a bit longer to reconfigure. Well, that's the plan anyway. Have to see how it goes. Please bear with us if things don't go quite as planned!

You may remember Jennifer McLean writing to us in the April 2003 edition of the Developing newsletter. Jennifer told us about her experiences of teaching English to the Deaf in China. It seems that things have moved along quite a bit since then as a couple of weeks ago I received a copy of the document: 'The Stakeholders Position on the Teaching of English to Deaf Learners in China'. Jennifer has this to say:

Hello again Alistair,

Since we last communicated about teaching English to Deaf learners as a foreign language, several organizations supporting ESL and applied linguistics professionals have published agendas making special educational needs (SEN) among their top priorities. During the last three years I have received correspondence from many EFL teachers working with SEN students, either within an inclusive (mainstream) classroom, or in special education settings. Among these correspondences I found a great deal of confusion and misinformation about appropriate pedagogical practices for Deaf learners and students with disabilities. My colleague, Dr. Tang Ying, who teaches English to Deaf adults has received similar correpondences and has expressed that he shares my concerns for the potential negative impact of under-qualified teachers upon the developing Chinese Deaf community. The Chinese Deaf and hard of hearing population is estimated by the United Nations as being excess of 100 million people (Galloway 2000). The trend toward meeting the needs of SEN students in EFL appears to be increasing with some new urgency and we feel this is a positive trend. However, bearing in mind that foreign teachers in the developing world can have great influence in their assigned schools and communities and the human travesties experienced historically by Deaf people under the auspices of well-intended, but misguided hands, we decided the time was ripe to assert our preferences as stakeholders in international Deaf development. We therefore gathered together what we believe to be the key advocates for Deaf development in China and drafted a document to express our preferences. Our intention is to encourage qualified Deaf educators to come to China to share knowledge about Deaf education and teach English and foreign sign languages. We hope that EFL teacher placement agencies and organizations will set appropriate standards for prospective teachers of the Deaf and support the momentum of this growing area of applied linguistics.

Galloway, A. (2000) Deaf Children in China. P 49. Washington, D.C: Gallaudet University Press.

I am currently teaching at Beijing Union University's College of Special Education, English/ASL to Deaf learners and the Sociology of Deafness and Disability to teacher education students (hearing).

Yours for progress,

Lan Qing (Jennifer McLean)

Please note: We wish to retain the copyrights for the Stakeholders' Statement, in the interest of making it available to as broad an audience as possible.

The Stakeholders Position on the teaching of English to Deaf Learners in China can be seen below.

Please keep telling co-workers about the newsletters & the site. Thanks.

Happy teaching!










8. PS




STREAMING SPEECH: A Course in Listening and Pronunciation for Advanced Learners of English - An electronic publication that aims to solve the problem of the misrepresentation of speech.

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!



We, the undersigned, as legitimate stakeholders in Deaf education and cultural development in China, assume the following position on the teaching of English to Chinese Deaf learners.

1. Given that the English language is a mandatory part of the National curriculum and given the potential socio-economic significance of English language learning for the developing world, we assert that optimum methods should be employed to provide fair opportunities for Deaf learners to access the English language, and

2. That those methods be informed by sound, relevant, research in teaching practices and outcomes appropriate for Deaf learners, and/or be inferred by relevant a priori research in the absence of directly obtainable data.

3. We assert our preference for whole language, communicative, approaches that meet the linguistically distinct needs of Deaf learners as is consistent with summative theoretical research-outcome derived recommended best practices in both Deaf education and foreign language teaching pedagogy

4. Based upon these preferences, we further assert that practitioners should be fluent, or have certification of near-native fluency, in an appropriate mode of manual language (not the student's native sign) and English, since both cognitively and culturally a bi-lingual, bicultural, learning environment is indicated to promote efficacious outcomes in language acquisition among Deaf learners, and that as members of the global Deaf community, Deaf peoples have the right to access and learn the appropriate foreign signed language with the required foreign host language.

5. Finally, in keeping with the published policies of the majority of organizations serving English language teaching professionals regarding respect for cultural and linguistic minorities, and Deaf education and cultural organizations in the English speaking world, we expect foreign language teachers endeavoring to teach Deaf learners in China to have expansive knowledge in, and respect for, Deaf culture, Deaf languages and history, and to be prepared to impart such knowledge in a manner befitting a well-formed foreign language teaching curriculum..

Lan Qing, MA Beijing Union Univ College of Special Ed Beijing

Sun Han Lin Shun De School For the Deaf Fo Shan, GD

Plus seven other signatories. To see all please see the article on the site

The above signatories represent key people advocating for Deaf development in China. Additional signatures had, or being sought, from other key advocates and the Chinese Deaf community at large will be kept on file with China's National Association of the Deaf.

Except where indicated by an asterisk (*) all of the above signatories are both physiologically and culturally Deaf. Additional signatures will be kept on file with China's National Association of the Deaf.

For additional information please contact Tang Ying or Lan Qing

To see this article on the site

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Dealing with complexity in Part 2 of the Speaking exam at Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) level by Sandra Bradwell

'Becoming a more effective communicator is not simply a matter of practicing the spoken language; practice certainly helps, but the real improvements come from planning how to approach a speaking task and evaluating how well you spoke' Lynch/Anderson (1992:1) It is also essential to be in a 'language rich' environment where the teacher's role is to push learners to complex and varied language use instead of allowing them to fall back on a very limited range of expression.

Most students at advanced level can express what they want and need to say in English. Students who have been to an English-speaking country can generally speak more fluently and confidently and have developed a lot of the strategies inherent in normal conversation because they have had many opportunities for interacting with people and a greater exposure to English in a natural setting. Students who have not had this opportunity need to watch videos, exploit satellite television and radio broadcasts and maximise opportunities for speaking in the classroom. For students preparing the CAE exam, it is not sufficient to have a good command of English, they need to be trained in and develop skills which are demanding for a native speaker. Part 2 of the CAE speaking exam requires students to compare and contrast photos and then speculate or hypothesize about what people are doing in a minute. 'The inability to take up long turns in conversation is a feature of many second language speakers' according to Richards (1990:70). Consequently a lot of work needs to be done to prepare learners for this very demanding task.

To read the article at the site

And the accompanying lesson plan has the following aims:
Main aims
· to train students in speaking skills and strategies for Part 2 of Paper 5 Speaking
· to provide students with an opportunity for fluency speaking development

Subsidiary aims
· to develop the listening skill: active listening and listening for specific
· to widen the students' range of vocabulary and expressions for Part 2 of Paper 5 Speaking
· to provide an opportunity for students to evaluate the task with specific criteria

And can be read on the site



This is a reading & speaking lesson plan called 'Lost Property'

This uses an article from the International Herald Tribune about lost property offices & attitudes to lost property in Japan.


Thanks to Jennifer & Sandra.

ARTICLES - 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 1800+ 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:

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No ordinary Master's: become an action researcher with Aston University's MSc in TESOL Aston University Language Studies Unit:



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...they are there for you to use.


Get Google to define words for you & your students. Type in 'define:the word you want defined'
'This tool was designed to allow users to easily add phonetic script to their websites. All you have to do is click on the symbols you want, then cut and paste the code provided into your own html pages. Designed by The University of Victoria -Humanities Computing and Media Centre.'

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Some days to plan your lessons around in March:

1st - St. David's Day - Wales
8th - International Women's Day
10th - United Kingdom Commonwealth Day
17th - St Patrick's Day First Day of Spring

To see the Days of the Year
Some holiday origins.



This month we've got a review of 'Uncovering Grammar' by Scott Thornbury (Macmillan Heinemann) by Scott Shelton. Here is how he begins the review:

'Uncovering Grammar, by Scott Thornbury, makes an extremely convincing case for grammar as an emerging process, a process in which the EFL teacher has an essential role; that of one who would aid in activating this innate process, serving as guide-helping to set up appropriate conditions, and interacting with learners to eventually 'uncover' their grammar - ultimately activating the process of generative grammar emergence.'
To see the review

To buy the book at
To buy the book at


If you're going to or 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.

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Free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail.

Recent Tips have included:

- Badge Aid - links for St David's Day & uses for badges/stickers in class
- Leaping - ideas for a lesson on Leap Year
- Contrasting - ideas for practising contrastive/corrective stress
- From Your Valentine - Vday lesson ideas & links
- Pronunciation & comfortable intelligibility

To see the Past Tips

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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, next courses April, May, June '04 Part-time twelve-week course, M/W/F 10.30-14.00, starting April 12th

CAMBRIDGE DIPLOMA IN ELT - DELTA Full-time two-month course, April/May, July/August '04

5% discount on all courses if you mention the newsletter!
Reasonably priced accommodation can be arranged for the duration of all courses.

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8. PS - Internet/computer-related links

A few computer use rules of thumb:

- make copies of all important files
- run scan disk & then defragment the hard drive
- use firewall software
- use a virus scan & update the files every week
- install security patches that software providers offer
- update your DirectX files regularly
- don't open attachments without scanning for viruses first
- don't respond to spam
- just delete & forget
- don't send personal or bank information by email
- turn off your computer at night
Optical illusions
'We are offering lower than industry rates for the services we provide. We do it all, we are flexible, and we have teams of willing students, who want to market your product, run sampling campaigns, and who will do what it takes to get your product or service noticed. We do it all with forehead advertising.'
Whack the penguin!
The Music Nerd Test
'The Entire Bayeux Tapestry -The Bayeux Tapestry has preserved the glory of the Norman Conquest of England, and the drama of Harold of Wessex and Duke William of Normandy for over 900 years. Usually attributed to William's wife Matilda, the Bayeux Tapestry in fact was more likely commissioned by William's half-brother, Bishop Odo of Bayeux (also Earl of Kent), for display in the Bayeux Cathedral, which was consecrated just eleven years after Hastings. The 231-foot-long tapestry is a Norman document, but the style of the figures sewn in colored wools leads some scholars to believe that Englishmen from Canterbury actually stitched the Bayeux Tapestry.'

And then make your own tapestry:
The White House - the trusted Department of Homeland Security
Submit a question - 'This sociological project is about the study of knowledge among human society and how it can differ and change.',12543,572388-1,00.html
Looking to boost your science smarts? First test your IQ organ, then follow our 6-point brain regimen. Soon you'll be crunching bogus claims and citing stats with the best.
If you're thinking of downloading Real Player then go to the BBC site & the version you'll get will be spyware free & apparently expiry free! All due to an agreement between the BBC & RP.
50 page guide to looking after your cds & dvds.
National Do Not Spam Registry

Keyboard shortcuts.
English Heritage site - lots of info.
Are you a geek?
'A lot of people have discovered that they can make a little extra money by auctioning off on the internet those extra knick-knacks they have lying around. After all, as the saying goes, one person's trash is another's treasure. But sometimes, trash is just trash. This site is dedicated to the research and study of the most bizarre items found for sale on internet auction sites. Not the obviously fake auctions, like the infamous human kidney, but truly tacky stuff that people really, honestly, believed that someone would (and in some cases did) buy. '
Pigeon in a lawn chair.
Update the Java on your machine.
Time on Mars
A test of you internet speed.
The home of practical computing - get your answers here.
Checks to see if your favourites are still there.
"Our purpose is to have some fun while writing about the things that matter in life - music, art, theater, technology and literary pursuits. It strikes us that it's important to actually enjoy life - though the health and morality police increasingly frown on such frivolity."
'The Ultimate List of Uses For...' - the site where the useless is made useful. The purpose of this site is to take some essentially useless objects and breathe new life into them by devising a whole load of alternative uses.
'WatchThatPage is a service that enables you to automatically collect new information from your favorite pages on the Internet. You select which pages to monitor, and WatchThatPage will find which pages have changed, and collect all the new content for you. The new information is presented to you in an email and/or a personal web page. You can specify when the changes will be collected, so they are fresh when you want to read them. The service is free!'
'Coolstop - home of the best of the cool daily pick. Online since October, 1997, coolstop's mission is to provide fresh pointers to the non-commercial, creative side of the web. Celebrating the magic of personal expression, excellence in web design, and original content, the best of the cool daily pick recognizes a great site every day.'
BIODIVERSITY - Understanding and Conserving the Web of Life - Our planet is literally teeming with life. An amazing variety of habitats, people, plants, and animals-everything from penguins to peas and bacteria to buffalo-are all interconnected in a fragile web of life we call "biodiversity." And every member is essential to keeping this web in balance.
The Nit Picker's Guide to the Lord of the Rings
For fans of 70s music.

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1.Post this newsletter in part or in whole on your site.
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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 applies to the jobs mentioned above. And anything else that you can think of that we might be responsible for as a result of this newsletter!

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