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Teaching Tips 109

Ten Commandments
The Oscars
Fire Pig

Ten Commandments

Ten Commandments

There is some material for International Women's Day on March 8th at:
http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips48.htm#women

In his excellent 'Principles of Language Learning & Teaching' H.Douglas Brown gives a list of 'Ten Commandments' for good language learning. He divides the points into the teacher's version & the learner's version. See if you can match them up:

TEACHER'S VERSION
I. Lower inhibitions
2. Encourage risk-taking
3. Build self-confidence
4. Develop intrinsic motivation
5. Engage in cooperative learning
6. Use right-brain processes
7. Promote ambiguity tolerance
8. Practice intuition
9. Process error feedback
10.Set personal goals
LEARNER'S VERSION
Go with your hunches
Dive in
Get the BIG picture
Believe in yourself
Fear not!
Love thy neighbor
Seize the day
Cope with the chaos
Set your own goals
Make mistakes work FOR you

The answers are below.

I'm sure you'd agree, this is a very useful, relevant list of essential areas to work on.
Now have a think about how you can promote these points in your day-to-day teaching.

Are there any areas that you think you could invest more effort into?

Apart from these daily efforts to promote them, it is clearly a very good idea to talk to your students about them. The students might well think that it is easier said than done, & they'd be right, but the argument that 'awareness is half the battle won' is a very convincing one.

Keep the points in your notebook & refer to them from time to time to reassess how much you are taking them into account.

To get hold of 'Principles of Language Learning & Teaching':
Amazon.com:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0131991280/developingteac0b
Amazon.co.uk:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0131991280/developingteache
Amazon.ca:
http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0131991280/developteache-20

TEACHER'S VERSION
I. Lower inhibitions
2. Encourage risk-taking
3. Build self-confidence
4. Develop intrinsic motivation.
5. Engage in cooperative learning
6. Use right-brain processes
7. Promote ambiguity tolerance
8. Practice intuition
9. Process error feedback
10.Set personal goals
LEARNER'S VERSION
Fear not!
Dive in
Believe in yourself
Seize the day
Love thy neighbor
Get the BIG picture
Cope with the chaos
Go with your hunches
Make mistakes work FOR you
Set your own goals

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The Oscars

The Oscars

It's the time of those most irrelevant of awards, the Oscars, so there's an excuse to look at film in class. Here are a few ideas & links:

- Check out any of the following for good material on the cinema & the Oscars: http://www.hollywood.com
http://www.oscars.com
http://oscars.movies.yahoo.com/
http://www.imdb.com/features/rto/2007/
http://www.allmovie.com
http://darkhorizons.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Awards
http://eonline.com
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com
http://www.filmsite.org - an excellent source of info about film. The author, Timothy Dirks, lists his top 100 all time favourite films - you'll probably disagree - there's a paragraph about each of the 100 films which could be exploited nicely in class. Lots of other related topics including the famous film quotes page.

- http://script-o-rama.com - a massive collection of film scripts. Gone are the days of transcribing pages of the script to use in class. Just copy & paste the part you need.

- Oscar quiz - check out the Tim Dirks' site above.

- Oscars - discuss equivalent in own country - language of prediction & comparison before 'X will win because...' - language of past criticism afterwards 'X should've won because...' - language of dis/agreement with the Oscar results

- Lexical field - actor, actress, star, an extra, a bit part, producer, cameraman, studio, to shoot a film, still, clip, excerpt, set, on location, to edit, script, lines, costumes, action, different genres (western, comedy, adventure, sci-fi etc), screening, premier, critic, reviews ...

- A good opportunity to review narrative telling.

- Past Tips around film:
Budding Screenwriters:
http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips51.htm
Shadow reading:
http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips11.htm

- Famous film quotes - match film, character & quote.
http://www.afi.com/tvevents/100years/quotes.aspx - 100 quotes
'To get an Oscar would be an incredible moment in my career, there is no doubt about that. But the 'Lord of the Rings' films are not made for Oscars, they are made for the audience.'
Peter Jackson
'I live in Spain. Oscars are something that are on TV Sunday night. Basically, very late at night. You don't watch, you just read the news after who won or who lost. '
Javier Bardem

- Film reviews - students could write them for films they have recently seen to swap around for colleagues to read & add comments when seen - an on-going mini-project. There are several net chat groups for students devoted to this as well.

- Cinema What's On Guide - a similar procedure as given for the lonely heart's guide we mentioned in the last newsletter - we would naturally scan a cinema guide so give out one to each students & you ask a question, the students look quickly for the answer & raise their hands when they have found it - wait till half have their hands up & elicit the answer & locate it for those who are having difficulties. Have eight to ten questions ready e.g.. Where can you see 'The Full Monty? What time/How much ...etc. It's a very good way of gauging the scanning ability in the group.

- Making a film - imperatives - beginner students act out a short scene using imperatives from the director on tape - total physical response - a great effective way of building up elementary students store of verbs. A possible procedure would be to act it out yourself, taking on both roles while students listen & watch you, after several times the students then act out to the tape & then they write their own instructions in small groups for a short scene & you can feed in the verbs they need. The one std reads out the verbs & the others from the group act - for the rest of the class to observe.
Tip - Action - TPR:
http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips35.htm

- Interviews with the stars - dubbing - this involves the class discussing a picture of a film star & writing a list of questions they would like to ask the person in the picture. When a series of questions has been complied, give the picture to a std who takes on that role & the others interview her/him. A well prepared roleplay then ensues.

- Interview with a film star - one word collective person - this is a fun, challenging roleplay. There is an interviewer & three/four students take the role of the one interviewee. Each std supplies one word in the response to a question e.g.. Why did you start acting? A:Well B:at C:school D:I A:was B:always C:involved D:in A:the B:Christmas C:play. Each std has to continue the utterance so that it makes sense. Can be difficult but lots of fun.

- Day in the life of a film star - this could come as a continuation of the previous activity - students write up a typical day by way of compiling the responses from the interview - they take notes when they ask the questions.

- Discussion topics - Does violence in movies influence real-life events? - Prefer the book or the film? - The film star you would like to meet? What say/do? - Where prefer to sit in the cinema? Front, middle, back? Why?

- Roleplay ideas - son wants to be an actor, Dad wants him to be a doctor like him, Mum is caught in the middle - you are an actor in the middle of shooting a film & the director wants to change your lines (reduce them!) & you disagree strongly etc.

- Have a class outing to the cinema & then use it in class.

- Get students to go to see films & report back to the class - if they go to the cinema a lot, this could be a regular early in the week feature of the lesson. They could write reviews for each other, recommending or not that they see the film.

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Golden Pig stamp

Fire Pig

The Chinese New Year celebrations are underway, starting on the 18th & running for 15 days. It's the year of the Golden Pig, the last of the twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac, & together with the five elements, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water, it makes this year the Fire Pig Year, a particularly auspicious one it seems, especially if you have a child, with expectations in Beijing of 170,000 births, 50,000 up on last year. There won't be a year like this for another 60 years.

Winston Churchill said of the pig: 'I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.'

Unlike Western views of the pig, the Chinese see the pig as symbolising good luck, & at the same time turbulence, this last meaning an increase in natural disasters. Due to the symbol of a pig, those countries celebrating the Chinese New Year are being sensitive to the Muslim populations who have a very different view of the pig. It is also a time of free movement between China & Taiwan.

The Chinese believe the animal ruling the year in which a person is born has a profound influence on personality, saying: "This is the animal that hides in your heart." Here's a reading for those born in the year of the Pig, yours truly included:

'According to customary superstition, the Pig type is usually an honest, straightforward and patient person. They are a modest, shy character who prefers to work quietly behind the scenes. When others despair, they are often there to offer support. This type of person is reserved with those they do not know too well, but as time passes and they gain confidence, those around them may discover a lively and warm-hearted person behind that mask of aloofness. Despite those born in the year of pig having a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, they have few close friends who understand them and share their inner thoughts and feelings. It is easy to put trust in pig type; they won't let you down and will never even attempt to do so.'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pig_(zodiac)

There is a Chinese New Year lesson plan on the site. Part of the lesson plan tells you which animal you belong to. There is quite a lot of reading material here, the first being a lead in with a discussion about some fortune cookie sayings. Then there is a general article about the Chinese New Year, followed by an introduction to the Chinese calendar where students find out which animal represents their birth year. Then students read & discuss an interpretation of their animal characteristics.
http://www.developingteachers.com/newsletterplans/feb3_2002.htm

To celebrate the New Year, the Chinese issue a series of stamps & this year they are stamps with a difference. Have a look at this short article:

Scratch, Sniff And Taste Stamp Introduced In China

In celebration of the Year of the Pig this 2007, Chinese authorities are introducing postage stamps that smells and taste like the popular Chinese dish of sweet and sour pork.

The stamps have been out in the market ahead of the official Chinese New Year which falls on February 18, it was reported.

Postal authorities claim that scratching the stamp will give off a scent of the dish, but when you lick the back of the stamp, it will taste of the dish too.

Britain's Royal Mail was the first to introduce the scratch 'n' sniff stamp in 2001. But its version only gave off a eucalyptus aroma.

New Zealand followed suit in 2004 when it introduced a 45-cent stamp that gives off the scent of New Zealand-bred magnolia when scratched.

http://www.netscape.com/

One wonders what surprise they will have in store for the Year of the Rat! Anyway, this text lends itself very well to an introduction to the Chinese New Year, before going on to the material in the lesson plan, & to an analysis of text organisation & discussion. Here's a short procedure:

1. Put the headline on the board - Scratch, Sniff And Taste Stamp Introduced In China - & elicit/explain 'scratch' & 'sniff' & ask the students to predict what the article will tell them - they could write a series of questions they would like answering &, together with these quesions, they could also predict the organisation of the text.

2. Cut the text up into five paragraphs, jumble them up, give them out & ask the students in pairs to put the paragraphs into a logical order.

3. Class feedback - as you elicit the order, ask the students to justify their answers - why do they choose the order, what are the clues. And, not forgetting the 'response' to the text, what do they think of the stamp idea.

4. A follow up could be the students discussing other scratch, sniff & taste stamps for their own countries, area, special occasions etc..

Have fun with the Chinese New Year in your classes.

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