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November 1999 - issue 1/99

Developing Teachers Newsletter

This is the first of many newsletters aimed to keep us in touch with you & you in touch with us and, hopefully, you in touch with everyone else on the mailing list.
Initially we'll start out monthly - the next will arrive before Christmas with ideas for Xmas classes. We are starting out very generally - there'll be a thematic section, a section on interesting web links & other free newsletters to subscribe to.
As we progress we hope the newsletter will evolve, change & grow. As mentioned, each issue will have a theme - this one is about 'warmers' - if you would like to collaborate by sending in ideas and activities then all contributions will be welcome.
For a list of warmers in addition to the ones below.

The themes for the next couple of issues are: December - Christmas & festivities January - things to do with the Millennium Even if your idea/activity is not connected please send it anyway - there's room for everything.




There are those who love them and those who won't go near them. It's really down to how you define a 'warmer'. The latter group prefer to think about the lesson & the material & then evolve a 'beginning' from that. That might end up being what the first group consider a warmer - a fun, interesting activity that gets the learners doing something, preferably speaking, in English while waiting for late-arrivers ie warming them up so they are more receptive to what comes next.
Those that like warmers per se might spend 5-10 minutes on an un/related activity. I suppose it comes down to a difference in perspective.
The main thing to keep in mind is not to waste the group's time. What might be fun for you might not go down too well with a group who attend class for only 3 hours a week. I am personally partial to the warmer coming from the theme/material of the lesson & creating noise in English.
Below are just a couple of warmers & we hope that it will stimulate you into sending us your favourites.
Here's an article from the Guardian Weekly by John Ezard, page 9, 4th -10th November 1999.


The words that caught the mood of the decade are all there in a book published last week - clone, concentration camp, gene, fetishism, paranoid, déjà vu, hangover, depression. Except that the decade was not the 1990s but the 1900s.
The Guinness book of the 20th century cites buzzwords for each decade to show that there are few new things under the sun. Clone was coined in 1903 by the journal Science to mean a 'plant propogated by the use of any form of vegetative parts'. It was borrowed for genetics in 1970 by an author who said people 'most likely to replicate themselves will be narcissists - and the clones they produce will also be narcissists'.
As is better known, the first protest over a concentration camp came in the house of Commons in 1901 during the Boer war. The mouse was christened in1965 by English and Engelhardt in their book Computer-Aided Display as 'a device called a mouse which we have developed for evaluation as a means of selectively displaying text entities'.
The Guinness word list also includes:
1900s: curriculum vitae, hot dog, electronic;
1910s: jinx, floozy, birth control, loony bin;
1920s: deadline, gaga, cold turkey, superstar, media;
1930s: Muzak, ecosystem, satellite;
1940s: loo, gremlin, antibiotic, teenager, soap opera, fax;
1950s: fall-out, hype, discotheque, DIY;
1960s: drop-out, serial killer, rubber johnny;
1970s: child abuse, veggie-burger, soundbite, trainer;
1980s: toyboy, chatline, wannabe, car boot sale, Yardie;
1990s: ethnic cleansing, stalk, road rage, quality time, new lad, cyberstress.

So, what to do with it?
For more advanced levels it's a very nice reading text. For a warmer you could dictate some of the diffent things & the learners write under the decade where they think it came in
- a comparison & discussion then ensues - going on to a discussion on Spanish/L1 words at different periods this century. This could be adapted to different levels. Careful as this might go on. Thanks to Helen for passing this on.

Here are a few warmers in no particular order. Some you could link in to the theme of the lesson & others could stand on their own
- Persuasion - stds think of their favourite colour & then persuade their partner that their colour is 'better'. Works very well. Could be used with fave animal, time of day, TV programme ... anything.
- Keeping track of the learners' lives - if you know they have just been for an interview, ask them how it went etc's showing a personal interest in the individual that can easily be forgotten in the rush to get on & through the lesson, the units, the course. You do this anyway but build it in to the lesson.
- Instant spontaneous roleplays - could come from a previous lesson - just state the roles & the situations & get them on with it without any thinking time. Eg "A is the customer from the article on bondage wear that we read about the other day B is the seller - A goes to complain about a problem with it. Off you go."
- Put up a big square on the board & get the stds to fill it in with different coloured pens, if you have them, with different objects. Then introduce the idea of the flea market & then set the scene: A bought the picture & wants to put it in the living room B hates the picture & doesn't want it anywhere in the flat. Have a discussion - any kind of conflict & you've got a conversation. - Your ideas???????


A couple of interesting sites to visit, or 'cool' sites - the operative word on the net.
A site worthy of a daily visit by everyone when on line. This gives you the opportunity to provde food for the hungry in the world. You click on the button on the home page & the sponsors provide the food - you can only do it once a day. It's a United Nations site so bookmark it & give a quick visit each time.
The Encyclopedia Britannica - it's free & on-line. Everything you wanted to know - well, nearly everything - I went in for a quick check the other day & looked for English language teaching but didn't get much back. While I was there I couldn't resist the feature they had - billed as a Happening - Psychedelic Rock - the history of it - showing my age I suppose. It is very nicely done with lots of info that you forgot & quizzes. It not only looks at the 60s but more recent psychedelic rock. Looks like those 'cool dudes' over at Britannica are trying to do something serious about their image. It is also a good place for links. There are also a several newsletters - one is 'Site of the Day'



Another service that we might be able to develop is news about jobs - for you, your employers, us the different parts of the world. To begin with, does anyone know of teachers on the south coast of Spain & Melilla & Ceuta - biggish sized ports where Transmed ferries work - it's a short EL course tailor-made for their employees.


Henny has asked if you would take a couple of minutes to fill in the following questionnaire & email it back to us. Many thanks RESEARCH PROJECT An aspect of cultural diversity, ignored by teachers and course writers alike, is that of lesbian & gay culture. In the ELT classroom it has tended to be dismissed as a minority or taboo issue and it has been easier for everybody to pretend it does not exist and render it invisible. At the same time this is not an easy area to tackle as some people find the topic embarrassing, morally offensive etc. and there is a lack of positive models for people to refer to. I would really appreciate it if you could find time to complete this mini-questionnaire and return it to me:

1. Has this issue ever come up in one of your ELT classes?
2. If you answered yes to no.1, could you state in what context, in which country and how?
3. Do you think this issue should come up in the ELT classroom? Why? Why not?
4. Do you know of any ELT material that deals with this issue?
5. Have you ever designed any material dealing with this issue?


A couple of lines about mailing lists. I was reading the other day about the dangers of signing up for different newsletters - not this one I hasten to add. We've all done it but if you haven't here's how to avoid a problem in your in-tray. When you're at a biggish web site, they offer you a list of areas to chose newsletters from & you opt for half a dozen. This may be asking for trouble. The less ethical companies use this as a way of getting mailing lists together which they then sell to all & sundry . You are then bombarded with loads of useless spam mail. And then when you're fed up with that & you try & get off the mailing lists, they ignore you. Or you get an email out of the blue from them & if you respond to say you want out they know it is an active address & sell it on again. Watch out there's spam about. (Now there's one for you - why is it called 'spam'? - all answers on the back of an email.

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