A web site for the developing language teacher

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2009 - issue 5/09


Welcome to the November/December '09 Newsletter.


8. PS - Internet/computer-related links


1. Hello

In this month's Newsletter we are joined again by Michael Reid from Greece with an article titled 'Education for ...Peace?' which looks at the extent to which we may be able promote peace in our classrooms. Rolf Palmberg from Finland is with us again, this time looking at 'Reading tasks for logical-mathematical language learners', Abdullah Coskun from Turkey takes us into 'The Changing Face of English: ELF', looking at how the non-native teacher should respond to the teaching of English as a Lingua Franca & Hank Kellner continues his series on 'Using Photographs To Inspire Writing'. And there are the usual sections & links - hope you find it useful.

Happy teaching!


We continue to offer a new unit in Michael Berman's twelve intermediate conversation lessons 'Let's Talk About It'. Each month we have the chance to download a new unit of the book. To visit the page:

It's back to school! And we know how busy we are at this time of year! There's a site that can make preparing for class a bit easier - - If you are looking to make your own tracing worksheets, or for high quality science workbooks - then you should really have a look at the new

Based on the solid foundation of our KBTeachers' really easy to use math generators and telling-time worksheet makers, KBT has created new counting money activities will help you engage
your students in learning to identify U.S. coins and their individual value.


We are continuing with the chance for you to try out Moodle for a month free of charge. As you know we offer web hosting to language teachers at Developing ( & one of the hosting plans is the online course hosting with Moodle software. With this you can provide a meeting place online, courses, lessons, forums & a host of other things with this content management system. So if you would like to try it out for a month, send an email to with 'MoodleTrial' as the subject.
You can find out more about Moodle at:

Friendly web hosting for the ELT community.


Lesson plans, activities & articles are very welcome.
Send them to


If you have any information you'd like to include in the Monthly Newsletter, please do email it with the subject: 'Monthly News addition'. Thanks.


ADVERTISING - We reach more than a few thousand teachers every week with the Weekly Teaching Tip & the same each month with the Newsletter, not to mention the 2000+ unique visitors a day to the Site, & the site has the Google PR5. If you've got a book, course, job...anything that you'd like to advertise, then do get in touch.




If you come across any interesting articles on your travels on the net that you think might be interesting for readers of this newsletter, do send us the link.

Glaswegian translators respond to job adverts

A translation company seeking Glaswegian interpreters said that it had been swamped with applications.

Today Translations is looking for people who understand the Glasgow accent and can translate it for puzzled visitors to the city.

Successful candidates will provide services such as interpreting during business meetings and on conference calls.

The company has had 80 applications since it placed an advertisement in The Herald, a Glasgow-based newspaper, yesterday.

The advert calls for ''speakers of Glaswegian English with knowledge of vocabulary, accent, nuances, to meet interpreting needs of clients who find it an unexpected challenge''.

Mick Thorburn, spokesman for Today Translations, said they decided to offer the service in response to requests from clients.

He said: ''In the last couple of months we've had people asking if we have a service for Glaswegian.

''Probably what's driving it is that Glasgow is becoming a big business centre these days, and the Commonwealth Games are going to be held there.

''Really the service will be for people who might come from places like Japan and might be in Glasgow on business, and may have learnt BBC English and suddenly realise they don't really understand everything that is being said.''

The interpreters will be employed on a freelance basis and could earn up to £140 a day.

Mr Thorburn said that if the service is a success it could be expanded into other UK cities with notoriously difficult accents.

Dr Jane Stuart-Smith, a Reader in English Language at the University of Glasgow, specialises in the Glasgow accent.

She said it can be hard to understand both for native English speakers and foreigners.

She said: ''The Glaswegian accent has a range of varieties, ranging from those close to standard English to those that are much closer to Scots, so the broad varieties of Glaswegian which are linguistically and structurally more different from standard English you would expect people to find harder to understand.

''Non-native English speakers or southern English people who are used to standard English or American find the sound system of Glaswegian different and these differences mean it will be difficult to understand.

''We have overseas students coming to the university who have not had any experience of Scottish English but have been taught received pronunciation. For the first few weeks you can see them getting used to it, but they adapt very quickly.''

She said a study published this year found that southern English speakers found the Glaswegian accent hard to understand.

However Glaswegians found southern English as easy to understand as speaking to other people from Glasgow.

Dr Stuart-Smith said the Glaswegian interpreting service seemed a good idea, but stressed that Glasgow was not the only UK city with a difficult accent.


Quiz: weird and wonderful words

Adam Jacot de Boinod, a former researcher on QI and author of The Meaning of Tingo, trawled the English language until he was deepooperit (worn out) for exotic specimens of words for his new book, The Wonder of Whiffling, published today by Particular Books. Test your knowledge of the extraordinariness of English with our quiz, drawn from his book

Answers further down the newsletter

1. What does broggle – coined in 1653 – mean?

1. To fish, especially for eels, by thrusting a sharp, baited stick into holes in the river bed
2. To make the first tentative advances towards courting
3. The bulge of male genitals through trousers
4. To spend one’s money before it is earned

2. What is the job of a fottie?

1. Officer appointed to keep the walls of a city in repair
2. Searches sewers for rats
3. Female wool-gatherer
4. Male servant of a prostitute

3. How was a pimple referred to in Tudor-Stuart days?

1. A turkey egg
2. A push
3. A zit
4. A yellow-top

4. What are you doing if you are snoaching (coined in 1387)?

1. Whipping a numbed limb with nettles to restore its feeling
2. Shouting with your mouth wide open
3. Impersonating an ox
4. Speaking through your nose

5. What is a clitherer?

1. A woman with too much to say
2. A polite, effeminate man
3. An older woman on the prowl
4. A good-looking man who works as a decoy for burglars by charming the housemaid

6. What 15th-century term means a hornless cow - and thus, a fool?

1. Jobbernowl
2. Slubberdegullion
3. Goostrumnoodle
4. Doddypoll

7. What might you be doing if you were snirtling?

1. Spying on colleagues
2. Laughing in a restrained manner
3. Crying in a whimpering fashion
4. Doing trivial work to convince people you’re busy

8. How would you have been described in the 16th century if you were a dandy?

1. A prick-me-dainty
2. A sashmaree
3. A hinchinarfer
4. A galligaskins

9. What is blepharospasm?

1. A headache which covers the entire head like a helmet
2. The act of spattering someone with saliva
3. A slight cough
4. Uncontrollable winking

10. What might you have been doing in the 16th century if you “felt as if a cat had kitten’d in one’s mouth”?

1. Drinking too much
2. Eating rotten food
3. Smoking a bad pipe
4. Brawling

Answers further down the newsletter


The death of language?

An estimated 7,000 languages are being spoken around the world. But that number is expected to shrink rapidly in the coming decades. What is lost when a language dies?

In 1992 a prominent US linguist stunned the academic world by predicting that by the year 2100, 90% of the world's languages would have ceased to exist.

Far from inspiring the world to act, the issue is still on the margins, according to prominent French linguist Claude Hagege.

"Most people are not at all interested in the death of languages," he says. "If we are not cautious about the way English is progressing it may eventually kill most other languages."
According to Ethnologue, a US organisation that compiles a global database of languages, 473 languages are currently classified as

Among the ranks are the two known speakers of Lipan Apache alive in the US, four speakers of Totoro in Colombia and the single Bikya speaker in Cameroon.

"It is difficult to provide an accurate count," says Ethnologue editor Paul Lewis. "But we are at a tipping point. From here on we are going to increasingly see the number of languages going down."

What is lost?

As globalisation sweeps around the world, it is perhaps natural that small communities come out of their isolation and seek interaction with the wider world. The number of languages may be an unhappy casualty, but why fight the tide?

What we lose is essentially an enormous cultural heritage, the way of expressing the relationship with nature, with the world, between themselves in the framework of their families, their kin people," says Mr Hagege.

"It's also the way they express their humour, their love, their life. It is a testimony of human communities which is extremely precious, because it expresses what other communities than ours in the modern industrialized world are able to express."

For linguists like Claude Hagege, languages are not simply a collection of words. They are living, breathing organisms holding the connections and associations that define a culture. When a language becomes extinct, the culture in which it lived is lost too.

Cross words

The value of language as a cultural artefact is difficult to dispute, but is it actually realistic to ask small communities to retain their culture?

One linguist, Professor Salikoko Mufwene, of the University of Chicago, has argued that the social and economic conditions among some groups of speakers "have changed to points of no return".

As cultures evolve, he argues, groups often naturally shift their language use. Asking them to hold onto languages they no longer want is more for the linguists' sake than for the communities themselves.

Ethnologue editor Paul Lewis, however, argues that the stakes are much higher. Because of the close links between language and identity, if people begin to think of their language as useless, they see their identity as such as well.

This leads to social disruption, depression, suicide and drug use, he says. And as parents no longer transmit language to their children, the connection between children and grandparents is broken and traditional values are lost.

"There is a social and cultural ache that remains, where people for generations realize they have lost something," he says.

What no-one disputes is that the demise of languages is not always the fault of worldwide languages like our own.

An increasing number of communities are giving up their language by their own choice, says Claude Hagege. Many believe that their languages have no future and that their children will not acquire a professional qualification if they teach them tribal languages.

"We can do nothing when the abandonment of a language corresponds to the will of a population," he says.

Babbling away

Perhaps all is not lost for those who want the smaller languages to survive. As the revival of Welsh in the UK and Maori in New Zealand suggest, a language can be brought back from the brink.

Hebrew, says Claude Hagege, was a dead language at the beginning of the 19th century. It existed as a scholarly written language, but there was no way to say "I love you" and "pass the salt" - the French linguists' criteria for detecting life.

But with the "strong will" of Israeli Jews, he says, the language was brought back into everyday use. Now it is undeniably a living breathing language once more.

Closer to home, Cornish intellectuals, inspired by the reintroduction of Hebrew, succeeded in bringing the seemingly dead Cornish language back into use in the 20th Century. In 2002 the government recognised it as a living minority language.

But for many dwindling languages on the periphery of global culture, supported by little but a few campaigning linguists, the size of the challenge can seem insurmountable.

"You've got smallest, weakest, least resourced communities trying to address the problem. And the larger communities are largely unaware of it," says Ethnologue editor Paul Lewis.

"We would spend an awful lot of money to preserve a very old building, because it is part of our heritage. These languages and cultures are equally part of our heritage and merit preservation."


Babies' Language Learning Starts From The Womb

ScienceDaily (Nov. 5, 2009)

From their very first days, newborns' cries already bear the mark of the language their parents speak, reveals a new study published online on November 5th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. The findings suggest that infants begin picking up elements of what will be their first language in the womb, and certainly long before their first babble or coo.

"The dramatic finding of this study is that not only are human neonates capable of producing different cry melodies, but they prefer to produce those melody patterns that are typical for the ambient language they have heard during their fetal life, within the last trimester of gestation," said Kathleen Wermke of the University of Würzburg in Germany. "Contrary to orthodox interpretations, these data support the importance of human infants' crying for seeding language development."

Human fetuses are able to memorize sounds from the external world by the last trimester of pregnancy, with a particular sensitivity to melody contour in both music and language, earlier studies showed. Newborns prefer their mother's voice over other voices and perceive the emotional content of messages conveyed via intonation contours in maternal speech (a.k.a. "motherese"). Their perceptual preference for the surrounding language and their ability to distinguish between different languages and pitch changes are based primarily on melody.

Continue the article at:


Answers to the quiz:

1. What does broggle – coined in 1653 – mean?
Correct answer: To fish, especially for eels, by thrusting a sharp, baited stick into holes in the river bed

2. What is the job of a fottie?
Correct answer: Female wool-gatherer

3. How was a pimple referred to in Tudor-Stuart days?
Correct answer: A push

4. What are you doing if you are snoaching (coined in 1387)?
Correct answer: Speaking through your nose

5. What is a clitherer?
Correct answer: A woman with too much to say

6. What 15th-century term means a hornless cow - and thus, a fool?
Correct answer: Doddypoll

7. What might you be doing if you were snirtling?
Correct answer: Laughing in a restrained manner

8. How would you have been described in the 16th century if you were a dandy?
Correct answer: A prick-me-dainty

9. What is blepharospasm?
Correct answer: Uncontrollable winking

10. What might you have been doing in the 16th century if you “felt as if a cat had kitten’d in one’s mouth”?
Correct answer: Drinking too much




Our main site with a host of teaching ideas, plans & articles.

A choice of online development courses to enhance your teaching.

A range of web hosting options for teachers.



Education for...Peace? by Michael Reid

Surely no one would object to the idea that it would be good to squeeze a few activities into the curriculum to promote peace. But once we see that our students are basically good and peaceful individuals who sit obediently at their desks is there really much left for us to do? Of course it would be good, and fun, to organize a "Poster for Peace" competition, for instance, but since our students are already so good and peaceful and obedient, aren't we really preaching to the converted?

There is reason to think, though, that the goodness, the peacefulness and, above all, the obedience of our students are part of the problem, and if this is so, there may be something for us to do as teachers that is not just a matter of preaching to the converted.

As a way into this line of thought we might recall the research of Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo(1) - certainly not recent research but arguably still very relevant. They looked at the way ordinary citizens - all of them apparently good and peaceful and obedient individuals - behaved when given a social role which encouraged them to take actions causing suffering to others. In Milgram's experiment the volunteers agreed to act as teachers using electric shocks supposedly to improve the memory of a student whose voice (whose screams) could be heard from the room next door. The "teachers" had their instructions from an authoritative-looking scientist in a white coat, and they were told to punish incorrect answers by pushing a button administering the mildest electric shock, then increasing the level of the shock for each successive incorrect answer.

Most volunteers made some objection when they first heard the screams from the adjacent room, but when reminded of their agreement to complete the research and when assured that if anything went wrong they would not be held accountable, they dutifully continued following their instructions, applying larger and larger electric shocks.
Interestingly, before the experiment Milgram asked a number of psychiatrists to estimate the proportion of the experimental subjects who would agree to keep increasing the voltage to a level that was clearly marked as lethal. The estimate was 1% - a figure equal to the assumed proportion of pathological sadists in society. What Milgram discovered, though, was that 65% of his volunteer teachers agreed to keep pressing the series of buttons, despite the screams (which eventually ceased), all the way up to the one marked "450 volts Danger XXX", and no one quit before they got to 275 volts.

The findings of Zimbardo's famous prison experiment at Stanford University were equally disturbing. When given the opportunity to become prison guards he saw otherwise good and peaceful and obedient citizens turn into brutes. Some of the volunteer guards did not sink so low and were obviously unenthusiastic participants in the brutality, but not one of these "good" guards tried to stop the inhumane actions of his colleagues.

To read the rest of the article:

Other articles by Michael:
The New Michigan ECPE Speaking Test by Michael Reid


Reading tasks for logical-mathematical language learners by Rolf Palmberg

Introduction and aim

We are not all the same. According to Howard Gardner, creator of the Multiple Intelligences (MI) Theory, we all have personal intelligence profiles that consist of combinations of eight or nine different intelligence types. An important message of the MI Theory is this: if education is to work as effectively as possible, teachers should take into account their learners’ MI profiles rather than ignore them (Gardner 1983, 1993).

The aim of the present paper is to give examples of reading tasks that are particularly attractive to logical-mathematical language learners. Such learners, according to Gardner’s MI Theory, are particularly fond of logical reasoning and numbers. They especially enjoy tasks that involve problem solving, finding patterns, categorising words and objects, completing brain teasers, and asking ‘why’ questions. The tasks presented below therefore go beyond what Neville Grant refers to as “plain sense reading”, i.e. the ability to understand what is stated in a text, or simply, the ability to “read the lines” (Grant 1987).

TASK ONE – jigsaw reading

The first task is based on the principle of jigsaw reading, but it has an additional twist. The teacher starts by pre-teaching (or revising) the most relevant vocabulary items in the sample text ‘The Window’ (taken from Berman 2008; see Appendix 1). Next, s/he divides the class into groups of three to four learners. Each group is given a copy of the text, which – just like a real jigsaw puzzle – has been cut into pieces (there are seven pieces, each constituting one of the first seven paragraphs – the last paragraph should not be handed out). The learners’ task is to arrange the paragraphs (marked A-F for reference purposes) into their correct order, and, within each group, to come up with a suitable ending to the story.

After each group has presented their ending of the story, the teacher reveals the correct order of the paragraphs (which is D-A-F-B-E-C-G) as well as the original ending (the missing eighth paragraph). If there is time, the learners are encouraged to discuss the moral of the story or to decide which group has the best ending.

TASK TWO – deductive reading

The second task requires learners to be able to draw inferences from a text, i.e. to “read between the lines” (Grant 1987). The teacher hands out a modified version of ‘Monologue 9’ (Mortimer 1980 p. 18; see Appendix 2), a text that was originally written to test learners’ listening comprehension ability. The learners’ task is to read through the text individually and answer twenty comprehension questions. It is a good idea to translate the questions into the learners’ mother tongue before handing them out. In doing so, the teacher can better judge whether the learners have in fact understood the text.

When the learners have answered the questions, they are asked to compare and discuss their answers in pairs or in groups of three or four.

To read the remainder of the article:

Other articles by Rolf:
What website counters can tell us - Operation MathLog revisited by Rolf Palmberg
Making a holiday trip – a lesson plan by Rolf Palmberg
Starting with multiple intelligences – activities for foreign language teachers by Rolf Palmberg


The Changing Face of English: ELF by Abdullah Coskun

The Face of English: ELF
English has taken up a new status as the world’s lingua franca enabling English users to communicate across cultures for various purposes mostly with non-native speakers from various L1 backgrounds. Considering not only the increasing number of non-native users of English but also the learners’ purpose of learning English, there seems to be a need for a switch from EFL (English as a Foreign Language) to ELF (English as a Lingua Franca), the difference of which has been nicely pointed out by Jenkins (2004). She suggests that speakers of EFL utilize English mainly to communicate with NSs (native speakers) of English generally in NS contexts and their purpose in learning the language is to speak like a NS. On the other hand, speakers of ELF use English primarily to communicate with other NNSs(non-native speakers) from various L1 backgrounds and in NNS settings and there is no point for these speakers in trying to speak like a native-speaker. This current change in the number and the purpose of English learners in EFL settings is likely to influence some of the important curriculum components, such as the place of the local non-native teacher, intelligibility, intercultural communication and teacher education the curriculum development in ELT.

The Local Non-Native Teacher
Despite attempts to promote the non-native teacher in the ELT world, course book writers, curriculum developers, school directors, teacher educators, testing professionals and even non-native practicing teachers seem to take their stance on the side of the native-speaker whose definition has not even been agreed on yet. Therefore, it would be true to say that most teachers of English are under the bombardment of the native-speaker norms and have a tendency to hold the idea that the goal of learning English is to help students become as native-like as possible. This goal seems irrelevant in contexts where learners’ interest in learning English mainly lies on utility purposes like finding a job, having access to better education, communicating people from different language and culture backgrounds rather than integrating into the British and the American way of living. Moreover, as Canagarajah (1999) claims, non-native teachers have made up 80 percent of all the English teachers around the world and there is a growing recognition that the responsibility for implementing the curriculum and pedagogy should be given to the local teachers. Canagarajah has also rightly pointed out that local non-native teachers are supposed to know the expectations, beliefs, capabilities and assumptions of local learners and they are more aware of the importance of developing a curriculum matching with the learning culture in the community.

There is a growing research on the diversity of the English language in NNS different settings. The so-called native-speaker pronunciation has also been questioned because it cannot be clearly described. Within the ELF research movement, the term “intelligibility” has gained considerable attention as an alternative to the native-speaker norms.

One of the most important pillars of an effective ELF communication is to be intelligible to the interlocutor and as Jenkins(2000) points out, “there is really no justification for doggedly persisting in referring to an item as ‘an error’ if the vast majority the world’s English speakers produce and understand it” (p.160). By observing non-native learners of English from different language backgrounds in classroom conversations to analyze the causes of problems of comprehension in their use of English, Jenkins set priorities in teaching pronunciation and provides a set of phonological features that are important for intelligibility in communication between NNSs. She developed a “lingua franca core” list (e.g. all the consonants are important except for 'th' sounds as in 'thin' and 'this') requiring pedagogic focus for production in ELF classes and a “non-core” list (e.g. word stress, stress timing) including pronunciation aspects that do not seem to be essential for intelligibility in ELF interactions. In order to help learners become aware of the changing place of English in the world, comprehend English-speaking people from various L1 backgrounds and to avoid communication breakdowns in lingua franca communication, we should provide our students with materials from different intelligible English varieties. Also, accommodation skills like making repairs, paraphrasing and rephrasing that reduce the risk of miscommunication and help learners adjust their English for their interlocutor should be emphasized in an ELF curriculum.

Another point in need of a change within the discussion of pronunciation is the “Common European Framework” (CEF) assessment criteria. CEF has been criticized by researchers like Ahvenainen (2005) who claims that it promotes pluralingualism that includes the idea that all levels of language competence should be accounted for but it still talks about achieving native-speaker competence when drawing up assessment criteria as in the following examples:

* …sustain relationships with native speakers (level B2)
* Appreciates fully the sociolinguistic and sociocultural implications of language used by native speakers and can react accordingly. (level C2)
* Can hold his/her own in formal discussion at no disadvantage to native speakers. (level C2)

These levels indicated in CEF seem contradictory within an ELF framework that calls an awareness and tolerance of variations in English.

To read the remainder of the article:


Using Photographs To Inspire Writing VII by Hank Kellner

“Sometimes dreams alter the course of an entire life.”
Judith Duerk, American psychotherapist-author

If you’re like me, you probably have a love-hate relationship with your computer. On the one hand, it can sometimes drive you crazy. On the other hand, it allows you to do things you couldn’t easily do otherwise. For example, in less than a second you can convert a positive image to a negative one. And after you’ve done that, you’ll be able to use your negative image in many different ways to help students overcome their reluctance to write.

For example, you could combine your image(s) with a poem to stimulate group discussion that will lead to written assignments. You could ask your students to write about one or more of the dreams they may have had. You could encourage them to speculate as to the meaning of dreams. Or you could simply show them a “dream” photo linked to an appropriate poem and allow them to write whatever comes to mind.

A Dream

A dream slipped into my room
The other night while I slept.

“Who are you, dream?”
I asked softly.

“I am you,” she said.
“I am who you are,
And who you were,
And who you want to be.”

“Then stay with me,”
I whispered.
“For if it’s true
That you are me,
Then surely I am you.”

Jerry Kato

How To Connect Seeing with Writing
Valerie Reimers is a Professor of English in the Department of Language and Literature at Southern Oklahoma State University. Reimers has developed an assignment that asks her students to discover convergences between visual images and verbal texts as they create both. First, she directs them to create photographs and, without looking at them, immediately write journal entries describing what they saw and hoped to capture in the photos. “In this way,” she writes, “the students connect seeing with writing.”
A few days later, Reimers directs the students to view printed versions of their photos, describe in writing what they see in their images, and compare/contrast their descriptions with the journal entries they had written earlier.
For the third and final part of the assignment, Reimers requires the students to submit a portfolio consisting of three sets of photos and written entries for evaluation and to share with their classmates. “Doing well on this assignment,” she concludes, “doesn’t depend on photographic skills. Rather, it depends on the careful choosing of subjects and the effort put into writing about them.”s To Inspire Writing VI by Hank Kellner

To view the remainder of the article:

Other articles by Hank:
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 6
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 5
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 4
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 3
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 2
Using Photography To Inspire Writing 1


At Developing we occasionally carry out consultancy work. The different projects have included tutoring DELTA candidates by email, offering advice on curriculum design & materials choice & short training courses in person & by email. If you would like us to help in any way, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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Another tragic story of teachers under threat.
Gerard Kelly's page for his students at the Division of English and Creative Writing, Northumbria University.
Should the US Adopt Spanish as Its Second Language?
TED University: 100 Websites You Should Know and Use
`The Web is constantly turning out new and extraordinary services many of us are unfamiliar with. During TED University at this spring's TED2007 in Monterey, Julius Wiedemann, editor in charge at Taschen GmbH, offered an ultra-fast-moving ride through sites in many different areas, from art, design and illustration, to daily news, blogs and curiosity. Now, by popular demand, here's his list of 100 websites you should know and use.'
Language Learning & Technology Journal - Special Issue on Technology and Learning Pronunciation
The Educator's PLN - the personal learning network for educators
4 Web Tools to Learn Any Language - Acquiring new skills and learning new things is one of the most important things we can possibly do in our lives. Aside from making us smarter and more capable, some research suggests it can even make us happier. No matter if you are in school or studying on your own, learning a foreign language is a great addition to your skill-set.
These days, I speak 3 languages and write software in a dozen more. I’m obsessed with using my neuroscience research to make my learning even more effective, and I’m constantly asking “how could I do this better?” Thankfully, there are some tools out there that can really help, and I’ve compiled a some of them along the way.

50 Essential Web Apps for Freelancers
Directory of UK ELT Research 2005–08

Equal Opportunity and Diversity: The Handbook for Teachers of English
50 Educational Apps for the iPod Touch

Download Tony Buzan's iMindMap. Try it out & see how efficient it
can make you.

If you've visited a site that you think would be beneficial for all or would ike your site to appear here, please get in touch. Thanks.

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A few days, among many, to plan your lessons around in November, December & January.

5th Bonfire Night
7th Marie Curie's birth 1867
11th Remembrance Day
16th International Day for Tolerance
17th World Peace Day
20th Universal Childrens Day - UN
22nd JF Kennedy assassinated 1963
25th Eid Al Fitr
28th Buy Nothing Day (varies)
30th St Andrew's Day, Scotland
US Thanksgiving Day - 4th Thurs. in month. Buy Nothing Day in US - day after Thanksgiving.

1st World Aids Day
7th Pearl Harbour Day
10th Human Rights Day
21st Winter Solstice (& June 21st)
World Peace Day
24th Christmas Eve
25th Christmas Day - Xmas in general
26th Kwanzaa
Boxing Day
31st New Year's Eve
Tolerance Week - 1st week of Dec.
International Language Week

1st New Year's Day
6th Three King's Day
7th Coptic Christian Christmas .
8th Elvis Presley's official birthday
20th-ish Martin Luther King Jr Day - 3rd Monday of Jan.
25th Robert Burns' Day - Scotland's national poet
26th Indian Republic Day
26th Australia Day
Eid ul-Adha - on the tenth day of the Islamic
month of Dhul Hijja - varies in the Gregorian
Chinese New Year

To see the list of Days:

Wikipedia's excellent focus on days of the year:

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Recent Tips have included:
To poppy or not - Lesson ideas
Keeping it in English - Classroom management
Happy 40! - Lesson ideas
A question of timing - Classroom management & planning
Food - Lesson ideas
Notes on a small island - British life & culture - lesson material
Spell It Out - Spelling
European Day of Languages - Lesson material
Getting them reading & writing - Writing skill
Lesson shapes - Lesson planning
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8. PS   General 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
Top 7 Places to Watch Great Minds in Action
7 of the Most Inspiring Videos on the Web
Atlas Obscura - 'a compendium of the world's wonders, curiosities and esoterica'
The 50 best things to eat in the world, and where to eat them
Videos - comedy.
Excellent blog.

50 years of space exploration - excellent visual representation.
10 Sites to Learn Something New in 10 Minutes a Day
Fictional wikipedia.
Get money for your old gadgets.

The Guardian chose the most interesting 10 performers on the Trafalgar Square plinth experiment. For me the best was TellTale who read out secrets that were texted into him on the plinth - excellent. To watch him:
Avalanche Skier POV Helmet Cam Burial & Rescue in Haines, Alaska - amazing video
Vimeo is a respectful community of creative people who are passionate about sharing the videos they make.
Top 10 Ways to Get More From a Cameraphone
Lots of amusing photos & videos.

Top 5 Vista Tweaks To Increase Internet Speed

95 websites you should totally bookmark today

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