Dear HLT Readers,
Welcome to the May issue of our magazine. In this issue you can read articles on a variety of humanistic topics, articles contributed by new authors as well as by regular contributors. In his key note article, major article 4, Philip Kerr addresses an issue which is close to all those who read this magazine: humanism. In his article 'Humanising' - What's in a Word?, Philip Kerr, presents the history of the word 'humianising', its meaning and various connotations. Among other things he talks about : "Humanising versus Humanizing humanists, Humanist Psychology, history of Humanising and Humanising in 1999, and Humanising language teaching today". On a related subject in: The Heart of the Matter: 'Fessin' Up, Lou Spaventa, writes about Earl Stevick's manifest regarding his Christianity and how he has been associated with a "humanistic" approach to teaching languages. According to Lou there is an irony that Earl was not a humanist in the classic sense of that term, but a devout Christian. The question is are teachers prepared to deal with such a profound question in their classes: Humanism or real faith?. In: RESPECT! A Leaf out of Ali G's Book, Paul Bress, uses the clichéd word 'respect' which usually reveals the truth about the society, and applies it to the language classroom, asking the teachers whether they give the students the respect they deserve, ranging from being respectful to patronising.
More issues regarding the role of methods and approaches in ELT are discussed in major article 3: Putting Eclecticism into a Framework, in which Philip Hanham talks about the teaching situation in Uruguay and the widespread call for eclecticicism. Teachers tend to select what they like and believe works from various methods and approaches, and mix them together. All this is done in the hope that the students are taught best possible way. Needless to say this growing belief in eclecticism stems from the fact that no one method has been proved to be superior. The author puts forward his own model he calls the PIPA framework. In major article 1: In-house Training - Why Learner Autonomy is the Only Option, Anna Turula introduces us to the world of in-house training as a popular form of adult language education in Poland. Enrolling company staff on in-house language courses is preferred by a number of employers as they are run on the company's premises and the company is or seems to be in control. But this is just one of the superficial arguments for in-house training. Some of the other arguments are that it promotes learner autonomy and self-reliance, just to name a few. Major article 2 touches upon another issue relating to the way teaching and learning are organised. In his article: Administrative Indifference and its Consequences at the Universita Per Stranieri at Perugia, Reynold Harrs shares with us his observations on the clash between the reputation of a school and its failings, which become visible at close inspection. In his first hand experience he found out how a school fails if its administration fails.
A few other articles in this issue touch upon a variety of topics related to our methods of teaching. In his article: Real Magic, Richard Antolak, talks about the "nuances of feeling" in other words the ability to access the thoughts of writers from distant ages, which boarders on magic. He sees the heart of this new "magic" in metaphor, which is the principal vehicle for transporting meaning from one frame of reference to another, and hence becomes a kind of catalyst for revelation. As the author puts it: "Through its use, everyday "mundane" reality becomes enlivened and illuminated" and the learners experience a unique process of illumination, thus enriching the children and their understanding of the world of language and metaphor. In: Psychoeducation, Eliana Pacheco Ferreira talks about the various components of successful teaching and sees the key to success in psychoeducation. The author analyses the various aspects of the "learning processes in its cognitive, emotional, physical and social aspects" as well as the perception of difficulties, the planning of the working of an institution and re-education .
Ezana Habte-Gabr puts forward another way of dealing with some problems in the teaching process, in this case in teaching speaking. In: A Heuristic Approach Towards Teaching Conversational Skills at the University Level the author presents the results of his successful solutions in teaching speaking, in which he put emphasis on developing a content based approach which incorporates immediate feedback. Students are made aware of what they learned during a session and what they could learn on their own, for example using websites and own selection of readings. As the author puts it: "If classes are concluded with an overview of conversational areas such as vocabulary and pronunciation, students will begin to visualize their bank of information. Furthermore, real life concerns of students such as other courses being taken or taught by the instructor should figure into the course, creating a meaningful context for conversation". In: Using 'Checklists' to Train Students in Peer Revision in the EFL Writing Classroom, Doris de Almeida Soares, introduces another interesting idea of training students to reflect upon their own writing in order to provide feedback on their partners` texts using checklists, which in turn help learners become more autonomous writers in the target language. Finally in: Content and Language Integrated Learning: The Basque Country - a Comparison, Keith Kelly who was involved with the Basque multilingual project as a trainer and consultant shares with us his observations on the state of the art of Basque CLIL in comparison to other contexts around the world, relating to various areas of 'contexts', 'integrating content and languages', 'training', 'materials', 'recognition', 'teacher confidence' and 'testing'.
Some alternative methods and approaches, as well as activities can be found in an article in the series - Off the Beaten Path: World Café, by Hall Houston, who presents an innovative methodology that enhances the capacity for collaborative thinking. In the previous March issue, HLT published an article by Michael Berman which caused some reactions ( see Readers letters section). Michael Berman defends his approach in a reply in the letters section and in his article: What's a Life Worth?, where he presents the concept of a shamanic story rooted in the works of Vladimir Germanovich Bogoraz, a Russian writer and anthropologist, especially known for his studies of the Chukchee people. According to Berman such a story can be used "as a springboard into a discussion on arranged marriages or belief in the supernatural".
In the Corpora ideas section in his article: Can Corpora Activities be Fun?, Ken Lackman shares with the readers his ideas for using Corpora in class for identifying patterns, various classroom activities and presents the feedback from students. The Lesson outlines section offers a variety of practical ideas. In: More Choral Speaking in Primary Education, Henk van Ort shares with us more of his brilliant action poems for young learners, in: Are we neglecting our bodily kinaesthetically intelligent learners?, Chaz Pugliese examines how we engage bodily-kinaesthetic intelligences, looks at ELT course books (after Howard Gardner) and offers some practical activities as well as some conclusions. In: Comic Relief in the Business English Class, Monica Hoogstad, looks at humour, an innate human trait which plays a major role in social interactions. She looks at how we can use this effective tool in class, especially teaching business English. In VAKOG Roulette, Hanna Moren-Skowronska, offers a technique that engages the students' natural VAKOG sensory styles as they enjoy discovering the Four Quadrants grid Hanna has designed. Talking of NLP do not miss the Book preview section with NLP Tips - Dreaming of a Class, by Gigliola Pagano in which the author shares with HLT readers her practical NLP ideas for the classroom which hopefully will turn into a book. In: Puzzland: Based on Materials by A. Nesterenko, Edgar Lasevich, Julia Sokol and Alexander Sokol, apply the Nesterenko model to help learners acquire models of thinking, by applying them to new problems and planning own learning. Last not least in the Old exercise section Mario Rinvolucri revisits the "jazz chants' technique: An Old Exercise: From SMALL TALK, Carolyn Graham, OUP 1986.
In the Publications section you can enjoy many book reviews by Tessa Woodward, thanks to our coopeartion with our sister magazine the The Teacher Trainer Journal. Also we have an auto-review of a relatively new type of an ELT publication - the blogg: Florida Teacher Uses Blog and Creates a Free Online Magazine for ESOL Classes, by Susan Alyn,
In this issue you will also find three poignant articles presenting strong emotional experiences of teachers from a variety of countries. In: Coming of Age. The RATE Conference in Iasi, October 2006 by Ovidiu Aniculaese, My Classroom Experience as a Language Teacher: An Inspiring Story of an Encounter with a Tough Class, by Margaret Udo, and in: Teaching as a Matter of Love, by Anna Maria Aiazzi, the authors share with us their powerful experiences in becoming and being a teacher. The voices come from Romania, Nigeria and Italy.
For some entertainment look in the Poems section with poems by Francisco Gomes de Matos, (Conjugating for Peace) and by the tandem Paul Bress and Mario Rinvolucri (Parallel Poems), whereas in the Jokes section Ken Wilson shares with us some jokes from the theatrical world of the the Edinburgh Fringe.
I trust you will enjoy this issue