A web site for the developing language teacher

October 2001 - issue 10/01


Welcome to the October Newsletter

Back to work & the start of the academic year over here in Europe. A struggle, for sure.

With the recent events in the US & everybody turning to the different media for news, we thought newspapers & the news would be a suitable theme this month. We look at a few ideas on using newspapers & give lots of links for you & your students to use.

If you are looking for a Certificate or Diploma course to follow then, as regular readers know, we recommend the British Language Centre in Madrid. This is a friendly, professional & supportive school that tries to get the best from each trainee. Both CELTA & DELTA results are excellent - the June Diploma results were the best from any centre running the course. See the Training Courses section below for contact details.

Happy teaching!




2. THE SITE - lesson plans & articles







9. PS - Internet/computer-related links



You could easily centre a whole language course around the media; newspapers, magazines, TV & radio news & online news. Perhaps some courses already do draw most of their materials from these sources.

A lot of people read the newspaper for pleasure, to keep up with events, & it is this inherent interest that makes the news ideal for the classroom. We can use several newspapers together, look at one & all of the sections & narrow down to an article of interest to each std, just look at the front page, a selection of articles or just one article. Within the language, culture & the genre there are a host of things we can do with newspapers.

By using newspapers & helping our stds to read them, by providing efficient strategies, we are helping them to read English-language newspapers outside of class by choice & we are therefore helping them to teach themselves.

Here are a few ideas on using newspapers - a lot of the activities can also be used for online news site reading:

- Stds buy one a month, bring to class & swap around.

- Encourage stds bring them in whenever they can get hold of them.

- Buy several on the same day - compare stories & styles - & discuss whether things in articles are true/exaggerated or not by comparing with same articles in other papers. Also could write a new article containing all the info from the different newspapers about a story. Could also compare with radio & TV broadcasts.

- Broadsheet v Tabloids comparison - read article in broadsheet & rewrite in style of a tabloid & then compare with real tabloid article - advanced learners, tricky task.

- Buy a newspaper & then the same over the next two/three days to collect the 'letters to the editor' about the articles, news stories in original newspaper. Lots you can do with them.

- Compare news in English paper with local paper - how different/similar is the story.

- As a class a collection could be made of articles that the students feel are typical of GB/US/Aus society. As most of our students are more likely to use their English to communicate with other non-native speakers of English this may be a redundant activity - they might not be interested in English culture - & you may feel it better to deal with internationally available newspapers such as the Financial Times or the International Herald Tribune.

- Front page: predict > quick scan to confirm. When using the different sections of a newspaper don't forget to train students to use the skills & strategies that native speakers use with particular articles/sections - we scan the TV guide but skim an article - match skill & article.

- Headlines - passives - present perfect.

- Pictures - write caption/headline & then onto the story. Draw picture to go with an article.

- Read story & write headline - from headline, write story. Compare with originals

- Scan read the different sections of the paper with an accompanying question sheet to answer.

- Stds find article of interest, read & report.

- Language used in the articles - reported speech - discussions on why used & why indirect speech - stylistic choices. Lexical cohesion - students highlight all vocab connected to the area - discuss choice & offer alternatives. Cohesive devices in general.

- Stds make their own newspaper - project work - team up with other classes of similar level.

- Take away beginning, middle or end paragraphs or a mixture of them - stds fill in the missing parts - compare with originals.

- Responding to articles: roleplay characters in articles, discussion & speculation, letter writing to the editor, letters to characters in articles, alternative articles e.g. a more optimistic version….

I subscribe to The Guardian Weekly, a hard copy newspaper, as this provides a round up of news not only from the Guardian in the UK but also Le Monde & the Washington Post. It offers a wide variety of articles & a bonus is that as a subscriber I am e-mailed a list of all of the articles each week & can request as many of these as I like to be sent by e-mail. Great for classroom use - highly recommended.

Here are a few sites:

On Developing there is a news page with current affairs & business daily headlines as well as links with major news' sites.

'Your Gateway to Newspapers, News Media, and News Sources' - over 9000 sites.

A search engine for world news.

UK-based online sites of newspapers

The Economist offers free weekly e-mail newsletters.

US-based online papers

The Wall Street Journal


International Herald Tribune

Australian & New Zealand-based online news

Sydney Morning Herald

Web-based sites

Satirical views on the news & the papers

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There are some new articles on the site this month.

'Designing a twenty-hour course' by Emma Metcalf. Emma discusses the principles behind the designing of a syllabus for a group of advanced learners. It is divided into two parts: Part One looks at the considerations which were taken into account when designing the syllabus; including explanations and justification of why particular choices were made and criticisms of these decisions with solutions that may be considered for future syllabus design. Part Two includes the course outline and the course plan. Course planning is a vital teacher skill & Emma shows ways of doing it.

Edna Aphek has already contributed several excellent articles to the Developing articles section. These are not directly related to English language teaching but more to do with education & training in general. She has written about training computer skills in China, children training children & children training adults. This present article is an up-date of the Alon project where children trained pensioners to use the internet. Here she talks of the extended project where the pensioners task is to write a chapter about themselves for an e-book. So at the same time that the children are teaching internet & computer skills they also become the learners as they are exposed to the history of their country. Excellent two-way learning. The title of the article is:

'A study in reciprocity: Minimizing the digital divide and the intergeneration gap - Children tutor seniors at computer and internet skills and get a lesson in history' - Prof. Edna Aphek

The original article by Edna is 'Children tutoring seniors at internet skills: an experiment conducted at one Israeli elementary school.'

There's a lesson plan entitled 'Developing students vocabulary range for describing people' by Gerard Eley. This Intermediate lesson looks at the different uses of 'like', brings in bilingual dictionaries & provides listening practice.

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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3. WARMER - Good News

In these rather depressing times it is difficult to open a newspaper & find anything uplifting to read about. In class you could change this around & with the front page of a newspaper in front of the group, ask them to change it into positive news. Or without the paper, get them to think of what has been happening in the world lately & discuss what good might have come out of the events or change the stories around into good news.
This could be an isolated speaking activity, an activity linked in to the theme of the lesson &/or lead on to writing practice. A positive beginning to the lesson.

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



Maximise your time by getting started on a quality personalised teacher development course.

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Mentioned above as well this site takes the work out of keeping up with the news. There is an e-mail service in which 'Jenny' sends you the stories you might be interested in. There is also a 'Dear Jenny' section - letters to the editor that are highly usable. Pass it on to your students.

The Jargon Buster 'is dedicated to plain speaking' & allows you to play against a selection of contestants. When you get the right answer they fly to heaven but when it's wrong they come to a gory end. There's also Death Row - useless jargon of the week, jargon offenders of the week & a very silly 'humiliate a colleague' section. It's in the links section for the advanced learners but you'll probably just end up playing yourself. Takes a while to load - needs Flash.

50 places you must go on your holidays, care of National Geographic. Lots of links, lots of material.

From Boston University Libraries, 'the web resources for teachers dot com' - loads of useful links divided into Resources: Specific subjects, Resources: Multi-disciplinary & The Teacher's Online library - a page to bookmark!

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Here's a part-time job near Madrid - Alcala de Henares, Spain

Exeter Centro de Idiomas in Alcala de Henares is looking for a teacher for a few hours every evening to teach younger learners & adults. Please phone/fax (00 34) 91 881 4866 or

JEL Institute, Korea
'JEL has established about 40 years ago and have 20 branches all over S.Korea. We need many quality teachers for our institutes throughout year.
1. Starting date: throughout year, particularly we are looking for 4 teachers for vacancies in Seoul who can start 10th October. Location: Seoul. Salary/hours: 2,000,000won p/m, 120 hours p/m, Mon- Friday. Students' age: Teaching mainly primary school students and some middle school students. Accommodation: 2-teachers shared APT. Free return airfare.
And connected to the above - Planet People, S.Korea
Planet People recruitment agency is seeking teachers for reputable schools throughout Korea. We currently have a number of very attractive positions available for teachers to start over the next few weeks and months. You can find details of some of these Jobs on our web site If you require further information please contact me by one of the following e-mails; or, sending us details of the type of position you are looking for. We will be happy to find a suitable job for you that will fit your particular specifications.
We offer no Saturday work and often no split shifts, a salary between 1.8 and 2.1 million Won per month (based on qualifications), often no kindergarten, free roundtrip airfare and relocation allowance, medical Insurance and furnished accommodation, completion bonus equivalent to one month's pay.
Planet People recruitment agency always ensures that teachers coming to Korea are given the best opportunity to find the most suitable job and we offer a unique service to continue to look after our teachers once they have been placed. Please visit our web site for general information'

Madrid, Spain
Resource Development International, Madrid needs CELTA qualified teachers to teach General, Exam Preparation and Business Classes. Send an e-mail to Tel: 915746864 Fax: 915045458.

Please note that we accept no responsibility for job offers in the newsletter or on the site. The adverts are sent in & we put them up - nothing more.

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

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As always, free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail. Sign up!



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

Part-time twelve-week course, October >> December
Full-time four-week courses, October & November

Six month part-time course: October '01 >> March '02

*** The June results for the DELTA were excellent - all passed & there were 2 distinctions. Over all centres running the DELTA these were the best results. ***

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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9. PS - Internet/computer-related links       

Pretty quick & accurate metasearch engine, calling on 12 search engines in lots of languages. All you get is a search box - but what more do you want?

Touted as real competition for Google. This search engine gives you three types of result; 'web pages' - authoritative sites relevant to the search term, 'web pages by topic' - top result pages are grouped based on their topics & finally 'expert links' - pages that contain directories of links for related general subjects.' An Ask Jeeves Property.

A really nice variation on the search engine. This one compares 'stuff' - type in two things & the area they are connected to & the results come fast.

A steady hand is needed - sure to be a resounding success. Trace the bunny - you like the bunny or not - find out.

'SoulXchange is the world's first and only online marketplace for the sale and purchase of human souls. This new soul to soul exchange revolutionizes the process of selling a soul -- cutting down on the cost, effort and inefficiency of traditional soul acquisition.' Don't you just love the internet?

The error page begins: 'The page you are looking for is currently too stupid. The Web site might be experiencing idiot writers, or you may need to adjust your browser settings to accept more retarded objects.' And then goes on to give invaluable advice - what you really want to see on a 'Page Cannot Be Displayed' page.

Lots of categories with lots & lots of links.

A mini-maze activity called 'Staying Alive - The Personal Identity Game…The aim of the game is to stay alive! There are three rounds. In each round, you will be presented with a scenario and then offered two choices. The decisions that you make determine whether you stay alive or perish. You should always base your decisions on nothing more than the desire to keep yourself in existence. Also, note that you should take each scenario presented to you at face value. The situation will be as described - there are no "tricks" - and you do not need to worry about other 'what ifs'. At the end of the game you will discover if you have stayed alive or not, although, being a philosophical game, the answer won't be that straightforward...'

Gory stick people deaths - relaxation for those not easily offended & have some spare moments. It uses Shockwave so can take a time but worth it. Be warned - Rob gets lots of Hate Mail.

'You can do anything, or nothing, at Zombo.Com. The only limit is yourself. The infinite is possible. The unattainable is unknown' . Well, if you get further than I did, congratulations.

A healthy way to get rid of your irritations. And while you're there check out what John Hiatt has to offer on the rest of his site - there are some MP3 downloads from his current tour.

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