A web site for the developing language teacher

September 2005 - issue 9/05


Welcome to the September Newsletter.

A shortened & earlier version than usual as we're off on holiday - at long last!

Dr Richard Kiely joins us with articles on the role of television in the ELT classroom. He introduces the series:

'This is a series of three articles on the use of television as a source of material and activities for the language classroom. This article looks at some background issues, and presents a methodological framework for using television material for developing comprehension skills, analysing language forms in interactions, and more widely, exploring televisual literacy - the skills we use to identify TV genres, programme types, and cultural narratives.

The next article illustrates the application of these principles in the use of 3-minute extract from The Royle Family (a BBC situation comedy programme) in a range of lessons over a two-year period. (To appear in early October 2005)

The third article examines some research issues in the use of television in the classroom. It sets out sample enquiries which teachers can develop to understand the impact of television material in their classes, and thus inform both cognitive and socio-cultural perspectives on language learning. (To appear in early November 2005)'

More free Google GMail accounts to give away - if interested, get in touch.

Happy teaching.



7. PS - Internet/computer-related links



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The role of television and televisual literacy in language teaching and learning by Dr Richard Kiely


Technology has changed the life of the language teacher. It has increased the range of resources which teachers can use; it has facilitated display of these resources in ways which eases the task of the teacher; and it has facilitated access to these resources in a way which means that learning can take place beyond the classroom.

Two areas of technology have received a lot of attention in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) methodological literature and in the research which is gradually informing teaching practices. First, the tape recorder has brought sound to the classroom for nearly half a century: as a mainstay of audiolingual approaches, audio recordings have become a TESOL institution, a companion to any serious coursebook, and a focus of teaching skills in initial the computer is a more recent development, and, although there are still many questions about ways to harness its potential, is fast becoming an essential tool of the trade. Television, a technology which combines sound and visual information and presents language use in rich social and cultural contexts, has not had the same impact as these technologies. The aim of this article is to explore the potential of television and set out a framework for using television material in language learning and teaching.


In this article I use television to refer to clips, programmes and other material made for television. Such material typically includes advertisements, and programmes such as news, drama, game shows and reality TV. Also included might be films, and home or student made video material. The typical material is particularly relevant to language teaching and learning as it builds on knowledge of popular culture, and develops tele-visual literacy. Film and amateur video also have particular qualities which make them relevant to the language teaching task, and to a large extent the same principles relating to use in the classroom apply. In brief, television materials has three features:

* data for comprehension is presented visually and aurally;
* it is grounded in and reflects a contemporary social and cultural context;
* comprehension is facilitated by television literacy from another language context.

To view the article


Thanks to Richard.


ARTICLES - If you've given a course or seminar or have a lesson plan & would like to give it a public airing, do get in touch.

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.



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



A couple of recent posts:

ajaneric asks:
I'm developing a university course on listening strategies using segments from movies and TV programs. My Thai learners are false pre-intermediates to intermediates with severe listening problems.
Our classrooms only have computers and projectors, so I've had to iron out a lot of technical issues--converting DVDs to MPEG, splitting the MPEG files into 3-4 minutes segments so I can copy it to my flashdrive, etc. There isn't much relevant material on the Net, so I'd be interested in sharing insights, experiences, and ideas from teachers who have used video in the EFL classroom. I'd especially welcome an ongoing dialog with teachers who use videos extensively in EFL teaching.
I'm facing issues such as whether to use English subtitling (the program I use to rip DVDs allows inclusion of subtitles). My instincts tells me not to, but there may be evidence that subtitles benefit learners.
Also, I wonder whether to provide learners with a complete, though annotated, transcript of the segment at some point later in a lesson. Is there any significant benefit (after all, I'm not teaching reading) or could it could be too much for them to handle. My instincts tell me that I should because learners may use it to study language that interests them on their own. However, in real-life interactions, there are no transcripts, so perhaps it would be wiser to get them used to relying on their memories . . .
It is easy for me to see the potential benefits of using this material for teaching English but difficult to anticipate potential learner problems. One concern is that combining audio and visual information could be a bit overwhelming for my learners, so I plan to first play the video segment with the sound off to sort of acculturate them to the actors, setting, and action. But perhaps I'm wrong. I know you're all as busy as I am, but I look forward to hearing anything you have to say.

Costadina lets us know:
On Sept.12 there will be a fielded discussion on English 4 Sustainability, on the GISIG discussion list of IATEFL. The speakers will be Prof. Graham Harper and John Eyles from E.O.N. org. An organization that works in S.E.Asia, by teaching sustainability to the people in English. Anyone interested in their work, or anything to do with environmental issues, is welcome to join and take part in the discussion. To join, go through our website at

flaxmac has jobs to offer:
in Taipei, Taiwan:
in Seoul, Korea:
& in Tokyo, Japan:

Lots of different Forums to choose from. Check them out. 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.



If you have visited a site that you think would be beneficial for all or would like your site to appear here, please get in touch. Thanks.
The Foreign Language Teacher's Guide to Learning Disabilities - lots of links.
Technology Tips of the Month - From Deborah Healey and the English Language Institute at the Oregon State University, although I'm not sure if it is still active.
Whether textbooks are thrust upon us by those with little expertise in the field, or we are fortunate enough to write our own syllabuses for courses, no one book can meet all the wants and needs of each classroom situation.
Thus, after fifteen years of continually looking through supplementary material and textbooks, trying to remember where a certain grammar explanation or activity was or find more suitable ones, I decided (while unfortunately being unemployed, but fortunately getting unemployment) to start a data-base. I actually started it in 1995, then didn't work on it for over two years while working on my Master's in ELT.
As you will see there are 71 books in the data-base. Please have a look at this listing before you download because the FAST FIND FILE (approx. 1.5 megas) will be of no use to you unless you have the same books . In the FAST FIND FILE, the books are listed on two sheets in EXCEL. The first sheet is titled 'Supplementary Material' (e.g. resource packs, Keeping Talking, Discussions A- Z), and the second sheet is titled 'Textbooks' (e.g. Headway (not the brand new ones), Milestones, Cutting Edge). While browsing it, you should keep in mind that I had no plans for publishing it in any way. It was simply done for my own private use. In any case, I do hope you will find it helpful and a time-saver.
Do- It- Yourself English Teaching Activities - Language Discovery and Exploration Tools for English Teachers, Translators, and Writers.



A few days to plan your lessons around in September

7th - Brazilian Independence Day
21st - International Day of Peace
26th - European Day of Languages
29th - Scotland Yard Anniversary
Rosh Hashanah

To see the list of Days

Wikipedia's excellent focus on days of the year:
Some holiday origins.



'Real English Grammar: Intermediate to Upper Intermediate' by Hester Lott (Marshall Cavendish) is a relatively new grammar book well worth recommending to your intermediate students.

To read the review

To buy this from Amazon .com:
To buy this from Amazon

To see the recommended book index

If you're going to Amazon .com or Amazon 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.



Due to the holidays, the Tip will reappear on 19th September.

Free weekly practical teaching tips by e-mail.

Recent Tips have included:

- You don't say! - an idea for developing the discoursal function of intonation.
- The long tail - lesson ideas around a business-related
- The youth of today - lesson ideas for International Youth Day & also advanced conversation ideas.

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

Part-time course twelve-week course starts October '05
Full-time month courses in October, November & December '05

Part-time course twenty-week course starts October '05

Part-time course ten-week course starts October '05

Full-time two-month courses October/November '05, January/February '06
Part-time course six-month course starts October '05

10% discount on all courses if you mention the newsletter!
Reasonably priced accommodation can be arranged for the duration of all courses.


7. PS - Internet/computer-related links from

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

The following links are taken from the Site Skimmer .com Linkletters. Sent out free every fortnight, fifteen links every issue to follow up & help you enjoy the internet. To subscribe:,aid,120784,00.asp
'30 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do on the Internet. The Web is learning new tricks every day. These surprising sites and services will help you solve problems and save time--and one might even make you a star.' From PC World.
Dull Men's Club - 'A place in cyberspace where Dull Men can share thoughts and experiences, free from pressures to be in and trendy, free instead to enjoy the simple, ordinary things of everyday life.' Very funny at times.
'Random Engrish slogans - This page shows random Engrish slogan for your happiness. Please enjoy!'
'The greeting card poems you'll find here will help you express your feelings and get closer to people. They are designed to give the people you care about warm feelings toward you, or pleasant tingles, or sometimes even happy tears.'
'The Flapper - The paper airplane that flaps its wings when it flies. All you need is a piece of typing paper, a penny and an inch of tape.'
Thrift deluxe is a London Based DIY site for cool people....As the name 'thrift deluxe' implies we provide inexpensive DIY projects that are uber cool. This site has no real business model other than to gain sponsorship so that contributors can experiment enough to develop enough quality concepts for the site. The reason this site was started was because currently there is nothing like it and we were hoping to fulfil the creative niche although we hope our site appeals to people not in the creative industry.
ISBW ( is dedicated to slackers, goof-offs, procrastinators, loafers, "long lunchers", and web addicted employees worldwide. We strive to be the best online starting point for web surfing slackishness so bookmark this page right away.



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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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