Dear HLT Readers,
Welcome to the September issue of HLT. I hope you have had a good summer, always assuming of course, it was summer time in your part of the world. At Pilgrims, in Canterbury, the summer was very busy and the spirit of Pilgrims is well captured in Interview with Manfred Hesse conducted by Chaz Pugliese where Manfred offers a personal view of Pilgrims, the Pilgrims spirit and memeories of the various courses he has attended over the last 25 years.
For those interested in young learners there are a couple of articles. In major article 1: Children's Literature Needs to Portray Disability: Three Novels and How they Show Disability, Martin Blaszk, shares with us his personal childhood experience with disability. Now as an adult and a language teacher, he shares with us his reflections on disability itself and how complicated and complex a concept it is to interpret or represent. He talks about the different types of 'disability' and how children's literature is one of the ways of introducing the subject and is a key factor in raising awareness and shaping attitudes in young minds.
In the Lesson outlines section, in her article: Getting Them to Read and Write in English: Seven to Twelve Year-olds, Joan Foster uses oral storytelling as a way to teach reading and writing. She suggests 'a Narrative-based syllabus', which uses stories and poems as a foundation for most classroom work paving the way to literacy. Stories help learners to sequence and organise their thinking, develop their oral fluency, and channel the use of L1 in a class of 'young beginners'. She shows how bilingual stories for 7/8/9 year olds and 10/11/12 year olds, can be exploited and used in various ways, at different levels and with different age groups. The issue of L1 and L2 in a language classroom, this time a more adult one, is continued in major article 3: The Effect of Using Translation from L1 to L2 as a Teaching Technique on the Improvement of EFL Learners' Linguistic Accuracy - Focus on Form. Shahin Vaezi and Mehdi Mirzaei present the results of their study on using translation from L1 to L2 as a teaching technique.
For those interested in 'blended learning' and using IT in class I would recommend the following articles. In his article A Blogging Good Idea, Mark Appleby, shares with us his experiences with blogs as a new teaching tool. A blog is easy to manage and to author and it also offers instant feedback from the readers. Additionally, it is an excellent way of getting information to students and a great forum for out-of-class communication between students . In her article ScribaLab Ver. 1.0 - digital writing @ school, Nuccia Silvana Pirruccello introduces us to the world of Scribala, which is an Italian-English dynamic website for writing skills. It is a system helping to create web communities and a modular toolbox for writing and publishing on the web. The tools offered to the users are both personal and collaborative and there is also a special section which is reserved for teachers who want to develop writing skills projects. In Using Online Comics to Encourage Reading, Writing and Storytelling for ESOL Students, Bill Zimmerman, a journalist, prize-winning newspaper editor and cartoon author, had and idea that it would be an empowering experience for people to be able to create their own comic strips and tell their own stories. He chose the Internet as the perfect place to try out this idea.
In major article 2: Embodied Cognitive Experiential Learning in a Multicultural Foreign Language Classroom, Béatrice Boufoy-Bastick, talks about the importance of promoting language proficiency through designing suitable language curricula, which take on board among other political integration, the economic globalisation of trade and labour movements. It has become imperative to speak a foreign language for professional recognition and social mobility, hence increasing numbers of culturally diverse students are expected to develop functional competence in English and in at least one more foreign language. A response to such a pedagogical challenge is a culturally responsive language teaching approach using multimodal subjectivist techniques. The article presents these techniques using examples from lessons in which French is taught as a foreign language. There is more on course design in an article in the series: "The Heart of the Matter": Is This Any Way to Run a Program? Lou Spaventa shares with us his experience with structuring a teacher training course for practicing teachers of English who wanted to brush up on their language and professional skills. He applied the credit unit formula for a six week intensive course. In Channelling Administrative Issues Towards Humanistic Language Learning - Teaching Africa in the EFL Context, Ezana Habte-Gabr shares with us his experience as an English content based instructor, who both teaches and coordinates. He discovered that administrative work such as roll calling and keeping attendance records can actually be geared towards teaching foreign culture and concepts of other languages to students on social science courses.
There are a number of articles on methods and ideas. In major article 4: Socratic Method: Dialectic and Its Use in Teaching Culture in EFL Classrooms, Servet Çelik presents the theory of knowledge Socrates introduced, and which he called dialectic. It is "the art or practice of examining opinions or ideas logically, often by the method of questions and answers, so as to determine their validity". These days we refer to it as the Socratic Method or Socratic Seminar, "a method to try to understand information by creating an in-class dialogue based on a specific text". The method is based on the premise that it is essential to facilitate students' ability to think for themselves, as opposed to merely providing them with the prescribed so-called valid, acceptable or correct answers. In A View on the Point of View Application of OTSM-TRIZ to Language Teaching, Edgar Lasevich, Julia Sokol and Alxander Sokol introduce us to one of the training methods offered under the Text Technology - a module of the Thinking Approach to language teaching. It allows for the integrated development of language and thinking skills. They demonstrate how this methodology can become the basis for the development of creativity. In an article in his series "Off The Beaten Path": Emotional Intelligence, Hall Houston introduces us to the world of emotional intelligence (also known as EQ) and the four major skills of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self- management, social awareness, and relationship management.
In the Lesson outlines section you will find a wealth of practical ideas. In Sentence Games, Simon Mumford presents sentence level activities which offer a wide range of opportunities for language play such as putting jumbled words in order to make a sentence, and revealing sentences one word at a time. They will appeal especially to those who enjoy using logic, seeing patterns and putting things in order. In the Old exercise section Mario Rinvolucri in Emotions reminds us of a lesson idea based on a text taken from A.R. Orage "On Love and Psychological Exercises", a book which first appeared in 1934. In the Corpora ideas section Chaz Pugliese offers exercises to go with the Cambridge Grammar of English: Exercises from Companion to the Cambridge Grammar of English, and continues a series started by Simon Mumford in HLT issue 4 year 9. Among others, he offers exercises which get the students to work on discourse markers that come in useful when the speaker wants to signal a temporary deviation from the main topic, exercises in the use of the past progressive tense to recap and summarize what was said, and exercises in the use of vague language. There is more on the spoken language in A Detail of Pronunciation and Spelling: My Struggle to Make Sense of …"Erm,…", Seth Lindstromberg shares with us the story of his adventure with the word Er or Erm, as in "Erm, excuse me…". It is a thorough and enjoyable study of this seemingly insignificant word.
There is also something for readers interested in business English, on the lighthearted side. In Sticky Wordplay: Rhymes and Alliterations, Monica Hoogstad shares with us ideas for motivating business English students go beyond the 1,500-word-vocab hurdle. The alternative is a learn-a-language-naturally approach requiring intensive exposure to genuine English texts, from which they learn vocabulary. These activities encourage adult learners of English to play with the language, and to regard the learning process as a celebration of wit and creativity, instead of a laborious, boring task. They also intend to add a touch of fun and performance to the language class. In Business English with a Creative Twist, Vanni (Myfanwy) Cook adds a dose of zest and creative fun into a Business English course or lesson.
The student, his feeling and emotions feature in a number of contributions. In his article Language Anxiety: Creative or Negative Force in the Language Classroom?, Mark Daubney explores language anxiety, seen as fear or apprehension occurring when a learner is expected to perform in the second or foreign language or the worry and negative emotional reaction when learning or using a second language. Language anxiety has been viewed as a particularly negative psychological factor in the language learning process. But when learners are relaxed and motivated, then this barrier is lowered and the language input more effective. What is more there is a link between language anxiety and creativity if the right balance is struck. In Challenging Boredom, Simon Marshall shares with us his experience of working in a UK college of further education in the late 1990s. He was working with a group of learners keen to improve their English for both personal and professional reasons, yet unexpectedly signs of boredom set in. An in-depth research of the topic revealed some fascinating observations and data, the key being "The Five C's": control, choice, challenge, complexity and caring. Boredom, like many other "negative emotions," can be subject of action enquiry where the "sufferer" can participate in the process of remedying their ills.
In the Students voices section Carol Griffiths shares with us My Students' Voices, in which she offers insight into her students' lives in China. She introduces us to a special world of her learners' dreams, hopes, anxieties and problems such as (quote): "As one of the descendents of the Yan and Yellow Emperors, it is my responsibility to spread the unique Chinese culture to Chinese and foreign people with my specialty of English. I will devote my life to this sacred career". Finally in An Emotionally Testing Time, Tandy Taylor writes about the teachers' emotions and the nature of being a native speaker - a TEFL teacher abroad, people who often get used to being cultural chameleons and can usually adapt pretty well to a nomadic lifestyle - two years here, a year there, three years and then time to move on. Because of this itinerant lifestyle it is easy for such a teacher to become complacent and she shares with us her Philippines experience.
There are a number of books reviewed in HLT, which are definitely worth looking at. In Trainer Development by Tony Wright and Rod Bolitho, Mario Rinvolucri reviews a unique book which has grown out of the authors' work together over more than a decade of in international programmes at the College of St Mark and St John ( Marjon) in Plymouth, UK. In Publications Received, Tessa Woodward, the editor of our sister magazine The Teacher Trainer Journal shares with us her views on the books she has looked at, while in Extensive Reading Foundation, Philip Prowse introduces us to The Extensive Reading Foundation (ERF) and announces the winning titles and authors of the 4th Annual Language Learner Literature Award. In the Book preview section you will find details of a new book
The Nature of Shamanism and the Shamanic Story, by Michael Berman, which makes out a case for the introduction of a new genre of tale, the shamanic story. It has been based on or inspired by a shamanic journey and contains a number of the elements that are typical of such a journey. The story "The Earth Will Take its Own" by Michael Berman published in HLT, issue 4 year 8 / July 2006 , comes from "The Nature of Shamanism and the Shamanic Story". Incidentally in the Readers letters section the discussion on the subject continues: Wayne Rimmer replies to the letter by Nathan Brace published in HLT issue 3 year 9/ May 2007.
For your entertainment there are jokes in the Jokes section: Blagues du Jour, which are one-liners, slips of the pen or tongue. They have been translated from the French site Blagues du Jour which runs a page of "pearls" produced by school kids at school, for example: A polygon is a geometrical figure with sides all over the place, To calculate the surface area you multiple the middle by its centre. In the Poems section you will find More Poems by Muhammad Iqbal inspired by some articles he has read.