A web site for the developing language teacher

November 2002 - issue 11/02


Welcome to the November Newsletter

A very big welcome to all of our new subscribers. We hope you find the Newsletter interesting & useful.

This month the Books section & the Theme combine to promote Alan Maley's book 'The Language Teacher's Voice'. There is a re-published interview with Alan & a link to the review.

We now have over 60 articles on the site, which makes for a great source of reference. This month Jake Haymes joins us with an article & a lesson plan about teaching vocabulary in combination. We also have previous writers with new articles: Dimitrios Thansoulas provides two articles: one about what teachers bring to the teaching-learning process & the other is his thesis on language & culture. Marjorie Rosenberg tells us about the challenges of working in vocational schools in Austria & Edna Aphek looks at why some teachers find it difficult to adapt to the new technologies.

You will have probably received an e-mail about the Forums we have recently set up. Get on over there, register in 15 seconds, a little longer if you want to use a wacky avatar, & get posting.

We have recently changed servers & although the hosting company assures us that all is fine, we are not 100% convinced. If you experience any problems with the site, we would appreciate it if you could let us know. Thanks.

See you in the Forums.

Happy teaching!


Spread the word: If you enjoy receiving our Newsletter please e-mail it to a friend.

And point them to the site.


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



1. THEME - the language teacher's voice

2. THE SITE - lesson plans & articles








10. PS - internet/computer-related links




Have you noticed that one of the most important teacher tools - the teacher's voice - goes unnoticed in the literature about language teaching? Amazing really. For this reason we have decided to review Alan Maley's book 'The Language Teacher's Voice' (Macmillan Heinemann).
You can find the review at...

You can go through the site to buy the book from but it seems that it is unavailable on

And to complement the review we have been given permission to re- publish an interview with Alan Maley where he talks about the book.

The Language Teacher's Voice: An Interview with Alan Maley

First published in The ETJ Journal Vol.3 No 2. Summer 2002 & then

(Many thanks to Alan Maley, Jim Kahny & Sean Smith)

To read the interview...

Interview by Jim Kahny, Director, Language Institute of Japan (LIOJ), Odawara, Japan.


Remember the competition to win a copy of 'Discussions That Work'? A copy should be winging its way to Prof. María Inés Lorenzo Peruggia in Mexico City for her speaking activity. Congratulations María.

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

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Jake Haymes joins us this month with an article & plan titled: The Value of Teaching Lexis in Combination. Here's how he begins:

The impact of Lewis' Lexical Approach and the emergence of vast computer generated lexicons such as the Birmingham Corpus, together with a move towards more learner centred approaches, appear to have raised the profile of vocabulary in recent years. Since more is now known about the lexis employed by native speakers, the climate is right to implement a more systematic and
informed vocabulary syllabus. Previously, either because it was difficult to select, difficult to make systematic, or felt by structural linguists, such as Hocket, (1958) to be the easiest aspect of a second language "Vocabulary was necessary to give students something to hang on to when learning structures, but was frequently not a main focus for learning itself." Harmer (1991). By limiting learners to the minimum lexis required to activate structures, the sentence-making machine was only able to produce output which was one dimensional and largely irrelevant to the learner's needs and interests. Patterns were not filled with the colour of vibrant or pertinent language and consequently remained uninternalised. However, perhaps because lexical items,
rather than structures or functions, describe the world and our feelings towards it in an emotionally expressive way, the learner has always had an innate desire to develop lexical competence. Certainly the most common question in my classrooms is 'how do you say...?'

To read the article...

And the lesson plan:

Main Aims:
-To present and give controlled practice in ten frequently used multi-word lexical items.
-To provide learners with speaking practice to activate personal engagement with the target language.

Subsidiary Aims:
-To provide comprehensible input.
-To give practice in listening for language chunks.
-To have the students express their reaction to the story by being responsible for its completion and allow them the opportunity to employ the target language in spoken production should they feel ready to do so.
-To raise awareness of techniques for storing vocabulary.

To read the lesson plan...


Dimitrios Thansoulas joins us again with two articles. The first is titled 'What do teachers bring to the teaching-learning process?' Here's the introduction:

I have argued elsewhere (see "Constructivist Learning" and "What is learner autonomy and how can it be fostered?" - see the articles section on the site for these articles) that knowledge does not belong to a teacher who is supposed to deliver it ad placitum; it is rather the result of social interaction and the
meanings the teacher and the students construct together. This process is not a linear sequence of events but a dynamic phenomenon, whereby the teacher, who is more knowledgeable, is called upon to act, among other things, as a mediator, influencing and being influenced by the students, who happen to lack this knowledge. In reality, this process is far more complicated than it seems, as there are a host of factors that affect its outcomes, for example, learner abilities, the classroom environment, infrastructure, etc. Here, we will only examine the role of the teacher and his / her contribution to (language) learning. Of course, teachers in the real world come in all shapes and sizes, exhibiting a wide range of different personalities, beliefs and ways of thinking and working. Thus, we cannot hold that someone who uses methods and models of teaching that differ from the ones informed by research is necessarily a "bad teacher." After all, the present paper is a far cry from a list of injunctions or guidelines on effective teaching. Its main purpose is to draw our attention to a vast theoretical plane, of
which language teaching is only a small part.

To read the article...

In addition Dimitrios sends us his thesis ' Language and Culture'. As he says;

This thesis is concerned with the contribution and incorporation of the teaching of culture into the foreign language classroom. More specifically, some consideration will be given to the why and how of teaching culture. It will be demonstrated that teaching a foreign language is not tantamount to giving a homily on syntactic structures or learning new vocabulary and expressions, but mainly incorporates, or should incorporate, some cultural elements, which are intertwined with language itself. Furthermore, an attempt will be made to incorporate culture into the classroom by means of considering some techniques and methods currently used. The main premise of the paper is that effective communication is more than a matter of language proficiency and
that, apart from enhancing and enriching communicative competence, cultural competence can also lead to empathy and respect toward different cultures as well as promote objectivity and cultural perspicacity.

To read the thesis...


Marjorie Rosenberg returns this month with the article 'Is it a Challenge Teaching English to Students in Vocational Schools?'

'Having worked for the past 10 years in the training of vocational school teachers, I felt this question should be addressed in order to define appropriate methodology used to prepare teachers for their work in vocational schools. Training of teachers takes part at both the 'Berufspädogogishe Akademie' (BPA) and the 'Pädagogisches Institut', implying the necessity to discover which methods should be incorporated into a training module at the BPA. Unlike other educational facilities in Austria for modern secondary schools and grammar schools, there is no clear definition of pre-service and in-service training for the vocational school teachers who teach English. Because vocational school teachers are not actually 'English teachers', the majority
of teachers who attend the 'Vorbereitungslehrgang' at the BPA had already had some experience in teaching English although most of them have not received any formal training as English teachers.'

To read the article...


Another article from Prof. Edna Aphek ' Clashing Cultures: Why some teachers have difficulty using the New Technologies'

What is it that causes some people to vehemently avoid using computers and the internet, whereas others readily, rapidly and eagerly adopt the New Technologies? Is it technophobia? Or are there deeper reasons for this aversion to the use of computers and the Internet in particular?
Most of the people I know who are "computer- phobic" watch television, use a microwave, talk on the telephone and drive a car.
For the last six years I have been involved in integrating the ICT in education. Though much of my effort has been quite successful, I often met and still do, a number of teachers who have been most reluctant to adopt the New Technologies as a useful, valid means in their work.

To read the article..

Thanks to Jake, Dimitrios, Marjorie, & Edna.

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 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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At the time of writing we've got 31 registered users with 50 posts. Do get along & register - it's a 15 second task - & then you can post, reply & edit.

Here are the current Forums:


There is an enormous pool of knowledge amongst the Newsletter & Tips subscribers & the visitors to the site that it makes sense to bring this together for the benefit of all. We will be there to give advice & suggestions if needed.

It doesn't take long to register & there are lots of avatars to choose from.

There is a link on each page of the site to the Forums & to get there directly...

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Relax in the comfort of your own computer & get started on a quality personalised teacher development course.

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Received this mail the other day:

In the not too distant future, a historical event will unfold. Teachers and students will come together and empowered by enthusiasm, will attempt to set a new world record for the World's Largest Simultaneous lesson.
This record attempt is of momentous proportions with far reaching effects. Using an Instant Lesson about Landmines, teachers all around the world will educate students on this important topic within a defined 24-hour period.
English-To-Go Ltd. pushed the record's boundaries last year by gaining support from an impressive 2006 teachers who taught 79,739 students in 114 countries. This year we want to make it even bigger and better!
On 12 November 2002 English-To-Go will endeavor to not only increase awareness and understanding of the problem of landmines but also beat last year's record and the current Guinness World Record. It is a free event and any teacher can participate! We aim to have our success published in the 2004 edition of the Guinness Book of records.
For more information please visit
Thank you for your time, please contact us if you require more information. We look forward to hearing from you,

Kind regards,
'NetGrammar provides extensive grammar practice through a great variety of reading, writing and listening activities. It is suitable for self-directed learning and also as an extension to regular classwork.' Nice supplementary stuff for your students.
Here's one from Gerard - 'Link letters together to make words. Then click submit! Don't let the red tiles reach the bottom, or your library will catch fire!'

Have you got any favourite teaching links? Send them in.

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Disclaimer - as with any job check it out carefully. We don't endorse the schools that advertise below. The ads are sent in & we mention them here & put them up on the site.

A note for advertisers - please post your advert in the Forum - then we'll put it in this newsletter.

Head of Studies, Alicante, Spain
A long-established private language school in Alicante, with courses in English, French, German and Spanish for children, adults, professionals and institutions, requires a Head of Studies to join the staff in December-January. Candidates should have native-standard English and basic Spanish, at least five
years' ELT experience, at least one year in a position of responsibility in an educational institution, and a European nationality. Please fax CVs to 965 131254 Or e-mail them as attachments to

Teachers can post CVs on the site & employers can post job adverts - both are free services at the moment. There is also the Jobs Forum for both of these.

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Free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail. Recent Tips have looked at:

Spooky lessons - Halloween lesson ideas
Unlocking beginners - helping beginners to see what they already know
A question of time - staying on track while being flexible
A balance of power - looking at the power of the teacher
Promoting a healthy profile - attributes of the 'good' language

To see the Past Tips...

To sign up to receive them...

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

Full-time four-week courses November 25th '02, January & February '03

Reasonably priced accommodation can be arranged for the duration of all courses.

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Here's a fun warmer to get those cells working.
Your replies must be spontaneous and immediate, with no deliberating or wasting of time. And no cheating!

1: You are competing in a race and overtake the runner in second place. In which position are you now?

Answer: If you answered that you're now in first, you're wrong! You overtook the second runner and took his place; therefore you are now in second place.

For the next question try not to be so dim.

2: If you overtake the last runner, what position are you now in?

Answer: If you answered second to last, you are wrong once again. Think about it... How can you overtake the person who is last? If you're behind them, they can't be last. You would have been last. It would appear that thinking is not one of your strong points.

Anyway, here's another question to try. Don't take any notes or use a calculator, and remember, your replies must be

3: Take 1000. Add 40. Add another 1000. Add 30. 1000 again. Plus 20. Plus 1000. and plus 10. What is the total?

Answer: 5000? Wrong again! The correct answer is 4100. Try again with good calculator. Today is clearly not your day, although you should manage to get the last question right...

4: Marie's father has five daughters:

1. Chacha
2. Cheche
3. Chichi
4. Chocho
5. ????

Question: What is the fifth daughter's name? Think quickly... you'll find the answer below....

Answer: Chuchu? Wrong! It's obviously Marie! Read the question properly.

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10. PS - Internet/computer-related links
Well..internet tips really.
Radio is certainly one of the winners to come out of the internet. Here is the 'Radio-Locator, the most comprehensive radio station search engine on the internet. We have links to over 10,000 radio station web pages and over 2500 audio streams from radio stations in the U.S. and around the world.'
A good online tech dictionary that helps you learn. Lots there.
Coffee anyone?
'The aim of CoSIC is to provide accurate, balanced and consistent information to all audiences across Europe who have an interest in coffee, caffeine and health. The primary objective is to bring balance to the coffee and health debate.'
Find out which are the most popular programmes being downloaded.
If you are in a part of the world where there are a lot of mosquitoes then this is for you. Install the programme & it emits sounds at a frequency that keeps mosquitoes at bay. Looks like this comes out of Thailand.
Software to help you with you security. 'Slap' is quite nice - it send a message to anyone trying to gain access to your computer.
Check out how drunk you are.
'Gnod is my experiment in the field of artificial intelligence. It's a self-adapting system, living on this server and 'talking' to everyone who comes along. Gnods intention is to learn about the outer world and to learn 'understanding' its visitors. This enables gnod to share all it's wisdom with you in an intuitive
and efficient way. You might call it a search-engine to find things you don't know about. Gnod is a self-adapting system that learns about the outer world
by asking its visitors what they like and what they don't like.
In this instance of gnod all is about music. Gnod is kind of a search engine for music you don't know about. It will ask you what music you like and then think about what you might like too. When I set gnod online its database was comlpetely empty. Now it contains thousands of bands and quite some knowledge about who likes what. And gnod learns more every day. Enjoy :o)'
You need a calculator? Look no further - c/o Jim Martindale.
'Grandpa says that those kids can hold the button for hours but they can't hold a job!'
Lots of riddles.
Games, games & more games.
'The coolest way to find interesting content and meet people on the Internet - through shared personalities instead of a shared taste in one single subject.'

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This newsletter is ReferWare. If you enjoy reading it and find useful information in this newsletter, you are asked to help spread the word about it. You can do this by forwarding a copy to your friends, telling them about it, and/or putting a link to from your site. You cannot:

1.Post this newsletter in part or in whole on your site.
2.Forward this newsletter issue after issue to people - just send
them a single issue and tell them to subscribe.

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 goes for any job advertisement. And anything else that you can think of that we might be responsible for as a result of this newsletter!

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