In English Digital - 2

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IED In English Digital September 2011

Special Feature: Focus on Angola

The British Council magazine for teachers of English in Lusophone countries !













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Intro (Gill Caldicott); Editorial (Fitch O'Connell)


Feature: Focus on Angola

11 Hands On: Language Play 15 Hands On: Making them Speak 17 Hands On: Creating an Online Journal 20 Think On: Research Work: An Upgrade 22 Think On: Basic Theory of ELT 24 Teachers, Writers, Poets 25 Hands On: I Fala Portenglish 29 Hands On: Flashcard Activities and Ideas 31

Think On: A Liberating Force in Education: Critical Thinking

36 Review: Football 37 Think On (Major Article): Say It Again

Design, layout and additional illustration: Paul Driver


Welcome to the second edition of In English Digital. If it proves as popular as the first edition then we anticipate many thousands of teachers of English as readers from across the Portuguese speaking world (CPLP), and beyond. You will find articles that fall roughly into three areas: 'Focus', 'Hands On' and 'Think On'. The Focus section is the first of a series in which we look in some detail at English teaching in one of the CPLP countries, and Angola starts us off with contributions from a leading academic, a school teacher and a student. In Hands On, as the title might suggest, you will find some practical ideas and activities suitable for the classroom, some of them with a special slant towards teaching in a Portuguese speaking environment. 'Think On' provides some weightier food for thought, from critical thinking, to defining a theory of ELT to a major article on the value of repetition in language learning. One important feature of the 'Think On' section is that you can comment on what you read by going to the associated In English Digital blog, which is linked from the article. We hope to see you engaging in robust discussion there! Beyond these three categories you will find a contribution of short poems from Mozambique which we hope will kick off a response from some of you to provide new material reflecting your country for future editions.

As always, we depend on our readers to also supply content, so we would very like to hear from you if you want to submit articles on any of the sections mentioned above. We would also encourage you to contact us to make sure that you are notified as soon as the next edition is published. You can submit ideas for articles or ask to be put on the mailing list by writing to

Bom trabalho! Fitch O'Connell Editor IED Porto, Portugal





I am delighted to have been asked to introduce In English Digital 2. The success and popularity of the first edition tells me that it is finding a natural audience among teachers of English in Portuguese speaking countries and really has the potential to provide a platform for exploring your ideas and issues and add value to the professional community. We invite you, members of the profession, with your expertise and experience, to make In English Digital your own and to steer content to meet your needs by submitting articles and commenting on what you see in this edition. We all know that second language acquisition opens global opportunities in education and business – and especially so through proficiency in English, and so the focus in this edition on Angola is very timely given the strength of the Angolan economy and increasing global outreach Angola is achieving. To all our readers - enjoy this edition - use it, share it, contribute ideas, tell us what you think. Gill Caldicott Director British Council Portugal


Focus on

A Brief Outline Angola - República de Angola - received its independence from Portugal in 1975. It then underwent a bitter civil war which only finally ended in 2002. After independence education at all levels became free and underwent great expansion with some private institutions opening shortly after. Decades of conflict seriously impacted Angola’s infrastructure including its education system. Today the average number of years spent in education for children is 4.4 years (though compulsory education is from 7 to 15) and the adult literacy rate for adults over 15 years old stands at 67.4%. The current population is a little over 16m. The government of Angola spent 2.6% of GDP on education in 2010. In the state budget for 2011-2012, the majority of education funding is for primary education. Together with preprimary education they receive around three times as much funding as secondary and higher education combined. Elementary and Secondary Education in Angola is organised along the following lines: • Ensino Primário: Years 1-6 • Ensino Secundario: – 1º ciclo: Years 7, 8 and 9 – 2º ciclo: Years 10, 11 and 12 English is taught in public sector schools from Year 7, but earlier in the private sector. The usual language of instruction is Portuguese, which is one of six official languages. In total there are 41 living languages in use in Angola.


The rrent State St at e of o f En g l i sh in The Cu Current English Angola in Angola IED: You gave an interesting interview to Voice of America following the 2008 TESOL Conference. Perhaps you could bring us up to date with developments in the teaching of English in Angola. FM: English is studied as a foreign language and grade 7 is still the starting point for English instruction in Angolan public schools. There have been many efforts by the Ministry of Education toward implementing a new curriculum reform whereby taught in whereby English Englishcould couldbebe taught earlier schools in earlier schoolsyears years including including primary. Learners have English for two years and the average amount of lesson time for English per week is 45 minutes each, three times opinion, is times aaweek weekwhich, which,ininmy my opinion, not enough to instruct learners in a nonis not enough to instruct learners in a speaking country. non-speaking country. IED: Has English achieved core subject status? If so, is this reflected across the country equally? Does CLIL or bi-lingual education play a part in the public school system? FM: Teaching English at this level is much more based on lesson plans with traditional teaching methods where classes remain teacher centred. At school pupils are not exposed to the practice of language and many of them enter university without any solid English background. There is no Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) though English remains a subject in the curriculum. In private schools and kindergartens English is taught even in the earliest schools years depending on school policy and facilities they have. IED: What motivates the Ministry to promote the teaching of English in Angola? FM: As you may know Angola is part of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and along with Mozambique, the only Portuguese speaking countries whereas the other fifteen SADC state members speak English. There is a great will both from government and population to implement English in schools so that Angolans can be on equal par with other SADC citizens. The discussions on regional integration, common market, visa waiving, common currency, free movement of people and goods among others were under discussion for the 31st SADC

summit of heads of State and Government held in Luanda in August 2011. IED: What opportunities, or problems, does Angola's increasing wealth offer? FM: Teachers in the world have never been rich, unless they inherited wealth from their ancestors, and Angolan English teachers are no exception. However, there many oil companies operating in Angola and their employees are well paid. It is one of the reasons why able teachers who graduate from teacher trainings schools and colleges have been sucked in by American and British oil companies from the public schools to work with them. As a result of this situation it is common to find a shortage of language teachers in some schools. IED: In the interview with VOA you talked about a degree of code switching between English and Portuguese, especially among young people. Has this trend increased or has it stabilised? Are there any new expressions that have taken hold in the language? The degree of code switching and code mixing among young learners and people has risen lately because of ESP some of them have at university and because of globalization via satellite antennas, internet and much more. IT and electronics expressions outnumber other borrowings.

Francisco Matete Human Resource Manager, Agostinho Neto University, Luanda, Angola and ex-president of ANELTA, was interviewed by IED about the current state of play in Angola regarding the

IED: Is Portuguese the main language of instruction in public schools? How competent are the teachers and students in Portuguese and what other languages tend to dominate



Portuguese is so far the only official language of instruction in Angolan schools and Higher Education institutions. Teachers differ from place to place. In big cities teachers are usually more competent than those in the country for reasons the 30-year war brought. Now with i n f r a s t r u c t u r e reconstruction, it may seem easier to help t e a c h e r s a l l ove r t h e country to face the challenges. This is one of the reasons ANELTA, the Angolan ELT Association, came into being: to enable teacher across the country share experience through regular conferences and through training. There are six national languages (Kikongo, Kimbundo, Umbundo, Tchokwe, Kwanhama and Ngangela) that are broadcast on the radio and TV and are taught in some schools and colleges, but with low level. Beyond the cities these languages dominate, though Portuguese is always there. IED: What is your hope for English language teaching over the next ten years? My hope for the progress of effective ELT development in Angola over the next ten years is bright. There exist m a n y E n g l i s h La n g u a g e C e n t re s throughout Luanda. These centres generally provide a comprehensive range of English language intensive programs but they do not provide workshops or assistance with general English needs, they also do not often offer specialized courses in English for academic purposes, and English for specific purposes. Enrolment at such centres is usually, if not always, on an open enrolment basis. For example, the English Language Centre at Agostinho Neto University, with the assistance of the US Embassy's Fellowship programme, is working toward the possibility to be such a Centre. Located within the Faculty of Letters, but open to all learners of UAN, it would enhance the value of the English department both academically and financially. The English Language Centre should serve the needs of all UAN students. As a goal oriented professional and an academic, we have the vision and expertise to make it happen.

Since many of our course learners are also teachers, we have shared with them various methods of teaching by how we have taught our classes. This is, in fact, how many teaching methodology courses are taught, taught by showing how to teach it. Many learners think that they are putting into practice what they are learning during the course from teachers. We plan on conducting workshops on this subject at the English Language Centre in the near future. This is based on personal requests from the learners themselves, t h o s e w h o a re a l s o teachers of English. We are working at the present time on how to do this and on working out the best schedule for it. Timing is always a problem since many of the learners study, work, and have families. It is also our understanding that more Angolans need to be prepared to enter the English language speaking workplace. Also as a result of requests by learners, we think of designing a workshop on what we call ‘Professional English’. This is designed to prepare Angolans to be competitive in applying for employment. Skills such as filling out work applications, writing resumes and interviewing, the work ethic, and such are greatly needed in Angola. Again, the problem or challenge is not the curriculum or material to use. The problem is when to offer this in order to make it available to the greater amount of learners who are interested in taking it. As a result of the partnership with Paragon Angola, who desire more competent English language speakers to be available for all international companies working in Angola, we have researched materials and created outlines for the curriculum of workshops utilizing the English language for science and engineering learners. We have even created an outline for a workshop that could teach about the energy industry. This could combine respect for natural resources that ‘Mother Africa’ has with the best way to utilize these in order to enhance the future for Angolans. Such a workshop could be directed at all learners at UAN not only the ones in the science and engineering departments.



Teacher Profile Pasi Mafuta Nova

In English Digital got to talk to Pasi Mafuta Nova about her role as an English language teacher in Angola. Pasi manages to combine the demands of her teaching job with studying for her Masters, proving the point that if you want to get a job done, give it to a busy person! IED: How long have you worked as a teacher? PMN: I’ve been working as a teacher since 1997, so that’s 14 years …. and counting. IED: What age range are the students that you teach? PMN: from 15 years old to adults, so they are secundário. In Angola, students at state run schools don’t start learning languages until Year 7, so they are at least 13 before they start. It’s much earlier, though, if they go to private schools. IED: Where is the school situated? PMN: Escola Secundária do II ciclo Nº 3032 is in Maculosso, in inner-city Luanda urban area, but the students come from all over the city. They come from diverse low to middle income backgrounds and

Pasi Mafuta Nova Luanda, Angola

their parents work variously as teachers, civil servants, market traders and the like. IED: How do your students react to learning English? PMN: They find it tough and there can be quite a lot of resistance to learning it. “It’s not our language. Why do we have to learn it?” is quite a common complaint. This might be made more difficult because of the mixed ability classes. When they join us in Year 10 most of them choose English, even if they started learning French before, or it might be that they did not have a language teacher before so they haven’t learned either language. Other students will have done two or three years by then. They all have Portuguese as their L1, so at least we can start from that basis.



IED: What innovative things in the school are you proud of? PMN: The inauguration of the computer room earlier this year. It has 20 computers so 40 students can use it at once if they share two to a computer. It helps the students to do more work on-line in English and this supplements their normal class work. IED: What is the most frustrating thing that happens at school? PMN: The lack of text books can make it very difficult, and sometimes it isn’t easy to print or copy handouts, and we lack tapes for listening and DVD for visual stimulation. So we often have a lack of material to use and we have to rely on the teacher and the blackboard. This doesn’t always work well for language teaching, and the students take a long time to copy out things from the board. Also, once I had to deal with a class of students who were supposed to do Inglês 11-12 but who told me that they hadn’t had any English lessons previously so I had to re-plan the work for Inglês 9-10 for them. This caused some confusion and misunderstanding with my coordinator! IED: What highly satisfying events do you recall? PMN: It is very satisfying when students who didn’t previously know any English start to read and produce short sentences. It makes me very pleased. IED: What do you want to see more of? PMN: I would like to see my students produce the language correctly. IED: What do you want to see less of? PMN: Mixed ability classes, especially in Years 11 and 12. We’d like to cut the numbers of students in classes – we have 50 to 60 in a class – but the demand is so high it is difficult.



About My School Gizela Joaquim Mendonça Student

The 'Instituto Normal 22 de Novembro' was founded on November 22, 1995, on the occasion of national teachers’ day. The institute is licensed as a middle school, and students experience a lot of progress during the 3 years that they are here. Development The school is coordinated in three shifts: in the morning by teacher Nazareth, in the afternoon for by teacher Granato and at night by teacher Culeca. The institute is constituted in the following way: before the entrance we have to pass a security area on matters of safety and uniform, which is there to protect us and assure our well being at the school. Next we have the pedagogic management area, which is the place that works as aiding the management and of the general office where students' documents are store and records are kept. The pedagogic management also has the role of managing teachers, students, and the production of tests There is an amphitheatre that serves as the room for students' and teachers' meetings and meetings of the students' association, debates and seminars. The school has thirteen rooms, ten normal and three rooms belonging to an organisation called PALOP/ (African countries that speak the Portuguese language). This organisation had a programme of training primary school teachers for short period (capacity building programme) . There is a computer science room set up, which also supports students own work and where students can do their work, copy and print. The teachers' room is a comfortable room for the teachers, and it is where they meet to plan classes and do marking, and keep their things. The technical office is where copies of materials are made and this is well equipped, but not enough for all the

students' needs which is why there is a need for their being a computer science room. The general management office is in the main place of the institution, it is there where the Director works and where he signs and authorizes the many documents that are sent to him. The general office works in aiding the pedagogic management, and there the students can apply for student’s card, to do registers and to confirm attendance. It also serves to store some documents, because not everything can be stored in the pedagogic management office.



They have been assisting it in dealing with some complaints and answering doubts of some students. We have at our disposal a snack-bar that although it is small has been helping with our requests for snacks and light lunches. The workers of the healthy snack-bar are well qualified and they give us a good service. The class rooms have problems in air-conditioning terms, which doesn't offer comfort in the classroom being this one of the factors that has been disturbing our teaching, it is that the student doesn't get to pay attention attend from the first moment to the last because it doesn't feel comfortable inside of the classroom. The drink fountains in the school are good from when I began to study here, although I feel the lack in the classroom because with the hot climate at times, one longs once in a while for that help. We have a green space which is another aspect the school. That is in the middle of the school and it supplies us a softer and clean air to breathe while we are at the school. It is looked after by a gardener. We have a field for us to practice physical education, a field which has a part basketball game, one for handball and one for soccer. There is a shady area where we can take our break. There is also a small space that serves as the employees' parking area. Conclusion To summarize, I conclude by saying that the institute is a great place to study. Nothing in this world is perfect and we can understand possible areas for improvement and that is something that the Director works to do.



Language Play: Damian Williams has been involved in English language teaching for about 15 years. In that time he has taught in Russia, Indonesia, the UK and Brazil, and worked as an examiner in Italy, Spain and Argentina. In the last ten years he’s been involved in teacher training, both on Cambridge ESOL teaching awards and delivering short, tailor-made courses for local schools. He is also author of several teacher’s books for Pearson Longman, and co-owner of TailorMade English. He is based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but his work often takes him all round South America. English teacher, ‘How are you feeling today?’ Student, ‘Tense’ English teacher, ‘How were you feeling yesterday? How have you been feeling recently? How will you have been feeling by the end of the week?’ Did you groan when you read that? I hope so, because that makes two of us. I certainly let out an audible ‘oh …’ when I heard that joke, and I wasn’t alone in doing so. But there we’ve hit on an important social function of language used for play. We may have been groaning at the unfunny joke, but we were doing it together. In fact, this is only one of whole range of important reasons for playing with language. So what are the others? Why play with language? It is often argued that the English language class should try to emulate ‘real life’ as much as possible. Tasks and activities should reflect what people do in real life, in order to give Ss the tools that they’ll need to use English outside the classroom. While I wholeheartedly agree with this, I would suggest that many teaching methodologies take a rather narrow view of what is actually meant by ‘real life’ language use. Language Play and Task Based Learning It is unarguable that the most prevailing ideology among language teachers round the world is that of The Communicative Approach, which advocates the u s e o f c l a s s ro o m a c t i v i t i e s w i t h a re a l communicative purpose (as opposed to simply

Practical Ideas for the 21st Century Classroom Damian Williams

practising structures for accuracy). In its purest form, this takes the shape of Task Based Learning (TBL), which (in very simplified terms) advocates the use of ‘real life’ tasks with a communicative goal. A typical Task-Based cycle would see language input coming after the task has been carried out, when the teacher has a better idea of exactly what the learners need, and learners are assessed by achievement of the task as opposed to how well they used specific language structures. Tasks may include, for example, choosing the right candidate for a job, planning a holiday, giving a tour, etc. Much has been written about what exactly defines a task, but let’s take a look at some dictionary definitions: A piece of work which must be done as a duty or as part of a regular routine, and which may be difficult or unpleasant. (Collins COBUILD) A specific piece of work required to be done; an unpleasant or difficult job or duty. (Collins concise) A piece of work that must be done, especially one that is difficult or unpleasant or that must be done regularly. (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Online) Most common collocates for ‘task’ include: impossible, difficult, mammoth, daunting, endless (COBUILD online sampler) Looking at TBL in this way, while perhaps useful for learners in certain situations, doesn’t paint a very pretty picture for the classroom. What these definitions suggest is that defining ‘real life’ language use in this way only reflects part of the way we use language outside the classroom – at work. This may, therefore, be very useful for learners who have to use English for very specific tasks at work (attending meetings, negotiating, giving presentations, etc.). But these aren’t the only reasons for learning a language. ‘Real life’ Language Play In order to gain a fuller understanding of what we mean by ‘real life’ language use, it’s necessary to look beyond just how we use language at work, and a useful way to do this is by looking back at how we learnt our first language. A huge area of language input as children is through the understanding and mutual co-operation found in literature, fairy tales, rhymes, songs, games and rhythmic play. Walk into any primary school and you’ll find colourful books and rhymes which are used to help learn both language and social cooperation. But it doesn’t end there. As adults, we enjoy cinema, books, theatre, songs, etc. – another vast area of language.


Not only do we enjoy language in this way, but it is not limited to the confines of our day-to-day working lives. Puns, poetry, TV novellas, jokes, riddles, dueling and advertisements, to name but a few - we are free to escape the jargon of the ‘here and now’, and escape into vibrant, language-rich worlds. Surely, then, any analysis of ‘real-life’ language use should include this much larger bank of language. Language Play and Culture Another reason for including language play in our classrooms is the distinction between language skills and language itself. In pure communicative approaches, we are essentially language trainers, training our learners in the necessary skills they need to ‘survive’ in an English-speaking environment. With language play, we are true teachers, sharing our love of language with learners and providing the scaffolding they need to reach their full potential. Finally, there is the indisputable fact that language and culture are inevitably intertwined. It is virtually impossible to learn a language without learning its culture. For example, as a learner of Brazilian Portuguese, I found myself learning entire cultural concepts when learning words such as café da manha, cellular, and ótimo (which would sound strange to speakers from Portugal). Indeed, if we look at a very culturally rich area, Brazilian music, there are a whole host of words which reflect Brazilian culture: Samba, Bossa Nova, Forró, etc. By bringing movies, stories, poetry, literature and other imaginary worlds into the classroom, we can exploit this cultural link to language and expose our learners to a rich source of vivid meanings and language. And the resources we can use are virtually limitless. Language Play in the Classroom So what does Language Play in the English classroom look like? Well in order to present this, it’s useful to look at a number of specific areas:

… as rhythmic language apparently stimulates a greater co-ordination of the left and right hemispheres of the brain, thus integrating cognitive capacities which are unevenly distributed between the two, it enables richer cerebral activity … and an increase in memory power. A few years ago I was teaching a small group of business English learners, who had to attend meetings in English with head office. Classes involved lots of role-plays, practising meetings, and specific functions such as staying focused, interrupting, and agreeing/disagreeing. I noticed that however much I gave them useful expressions for these functions, in the heat of the meeting, they were brushed to the side and forgotten, and as a result communication would often break down. As a way of getting round this, I came up with the following dialogue:


Thanks for coming, everyone.


Let’s get down to business.


Does anyone have some suggestions? ___


We need to create a need for our service.


It’s all about how they perceive what we do.


I couldn’t agree with you more.


Can I cut in here? I’m not sure I agree.


What about making some special offers?


So what you’re suggesting is we make them some offers


and hopefully things will pick up.


Has everyone got that? All OK?


Shall we move on to the next point?




Rhythm The first of these is rhythm, and rhythmic language. One of the main benefits of using rhythm in language learning is that it makes it memorable. As Guy Cook points out in his excellent book Language Play, Language Learning (Cook, 2000):

The first step was to drill the sentences with the whole class, while establishing a clear, steady rhythm (clicking fingers or clapping hands). The lines ( ___ ) indicate beats/clicks. Next, the class was divided into three groups: A, B and C, and each group chanted their lines to the rhythm. After that, I divided the class into groups of three, and students practiced the chant on their own. By the time we got round to carrying out the role-play meeting, Ss were actually using the phrases correctly. By starting with a less-than-naturalsounding rhythmic chant, the language had become ‘fixed’, and learners were then able to use it naturally in context, even in the heat of the moment.


Imaginary worlds

Another big area of Language Play involves the use of imaginary worlds in the classroom. This is where language learning can become very interesting, as the scope of learners’ language can be stretched as far as their imaginations. What follows is an activity called ‘Love Story’, in which learners write their own stories with interesting results. First of all, read out the following instructions, and ask students to write one or two-word answers without showing anyone else:

1. A city you’d like to visit. 2. An object in your bedroom.

3. Your favourite part of your body. 4. An adjective to describe someone’s appearance. 5. Your favourite food or drink. 6. A food or drink you don’t like. 7. A number between 1 and 10. 8. A city you would definitely not like to visit.

9. The name of the last place you visited on holiday.

10. An adjective to describe the accommodation you stayed in on your last holiday. 11. A superlative adjective to describe someone’s appearance.

When they are ready, show students the following story framework:

A Love Story

One day I was walking down the street in 1._______ when a/an 2._______ hit me on the 3._______ and knocked me out. When I opened my eyes there was an incredibly 4._______ man/woman leaning over me and asking me if I was okay. I answered; “5._______”.

He/She just smiled and invited me to have a/an 6._______. 7._______ weeks later we got married and went to 8._______ for our honeymoon. Today we live in 9._______ and have a/an 10._______ flat. I can’t complain because my husband/wife always tells me I am the 11._______ thing he/she has ever seen. That’s all I want in life. The End.

Ss tell their partner their story, using the answers they wrote down previously to complete the gaps – the answers are usually quite surprising!


Poetry is another great way of appealing to learners’ imaginations. The use of poetry often brings about mixed emotions, depending on learners’ preferences, but by keeping it simple, it allows for rich use of language.


Then give Ss the framework shown on slide 2. Ss decide what they want to describe and complete the sentences how they want to in pairs. When they are ready, pairs read out their poems to the class, and other students guess what the title is. This can obviously be adapted to practise any grammatical structure or vocabulary you wish.

There are many, many more different activities which you can use to play with language in an interesting, motivating and memorable way with your learners. Please feel free to email me if you would like me to share any more of my ideas, or visit my website for free activities to download.

And finally... As a final note, I’ll leave you with the words of Stephen Fry, an English comedian and actor who shares the same passion for language as all of us English teaching professionals: Only to a dullard is language a means of communication and nothing more. It would be like saying sex is a means of reproduction and no more and food a means of fueling and no more. In life you have to explain wine. You have to explain cheese. You have to explain love. You can’t, but you have to try, or if not try you have, surely, to be aware of the astonishing fact of them.

References Cook, G. Language Play, Language Learning OUP 2000 Willis, J. A Framework for Task-Based Learning Longman 1996 lasted viewed on 24/08/11 lasted view on 24/08/11

Photo: Paul Driver

On slide 1, you’ll see a simplified version of the poem ‘How to be an artist’ by the contemporary American author SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy). Show Ss the sentence starters on the left-hand side, and elicit their guesses as to how each line ends, revealing each ending one-by-one.


One of the main problems that I feel as teacher is to cope with most of the students’ difficulty to speak in class, especially in the early stages. In fact, speaking audibly and without anxiety in a class of 25 to 28 preteens, which provides a "Elisa Sá Costa s hortage of Elisa has been an English o p p o r t u n i t i e s f or teacher for the last 17 years practice, is quite a in public schools and teaches at Escola Básica e Secundária challenge for most of de Sever do Vouga, Master the students. Lack of self-confidence or low degree in English and self-esteem, American Studies by the shyness, fear Faculdade de Letras of the of making University of Porto, cerFfied mistakes as a teacher trainer." a n d becoming ridiculous in front of their peers are some of the reasons that, in my view, prevent students from being risk-taking. There are, of course, some intrepid students who like to talk in class, in s p i t e of the scarce acquaintance that they have with the language, and who are eager to activate the few chunks* that they have already learnt. Yet, most of the others are not willing to try anything else beyond simple drilling activities.

the same time to set the students free from the anxiety that has a debilitating effect on their oral performances, and to keep the entire class interested on what is being said. One of these activities is described below. Activity: Meeting people Level – beginners /elementary Target language – the basics of identity (asking and answering about name, age, address, telephone number, countries and nationalities, expressing likes/dislikes and other personal information…) Objectives – use previously learnt structures and vocabulary; memorizing meaningful chunks

em h t g l n u i f k y a l Ma p a – k a h c e a p o s r p p a

Another fact worth mentioning is the difficulty keeping students focused on what their classmates say. Trying to face the challenge of making elementary students speak (or even be willing to speak) and stimulating them to pay attention to what their peers say, I have planned and tried some different, yet simple strategies, which aim at

Materials – a ball (a soft one, so there isn’t the risk of injure) and a PowerPoint presentation Procedure – whole class interaction

Time limit – about 10 minutes (it may last until about 20 minutes if we want all the students to speak). To start this activity the teacher should tell the students that they are going to play a game, in which they will pretend (the teacher shows the first slide of the PowerPoint presentation below) to be students who are doing a summer course in an international school in London. To get to know each other, they will have to ask questions and to give answers, according to what is shown in the PowerPoint presentation.

*According to Scott Thornbury, chunks are “(…) not assembled word by word but have been pre-assembled through repeated use and are now retrievable as single units. Chunks can be defined very broadly as any combination of words which occur together with more than random frequency.” (Thornbury, 2005: 23)


After the teacher explains that he/she will start the game himself/herself by asking the first question to the first student (PowerPoint slide nº2), then the teacher passes the ball to the student who is going to give the first answer. That learner should give a complete answer, ask the question for the next answer and pass the ball to one of his/her classmates

who is going to answer and ask the following question. Once all the answers are given, the teacher clicks to make the first speech bubble disappear and clicks again to make the second become visible, and continues doing the same until the last speech bubble appears.

PowerPoint slide nº1**

PowerPoint slide nº2

Meeting People Welcome to my class

Pablo Hernandez 13 Calle Neruda, Cancun

These students are doing a summer course at Wentworth Interna4onal School in London. Most of us are from different countries.

Speech bubbles to be included in PowerPoint slide nº 2


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The following (invented) interaction shows how the activity should progress: Teacher: “Hello. What’s your name? (The teacher passes the ball to Student A) Student A: “My name is Pablo Hernandez.” “How old are you?” ((Student A chooses who is going to be Student B and passes the ball) Student B: “I’m thirteen.” “What’s your address?” (Student B chooses who is going to be Student C and passes the ball) Student C: “My address is Calle Neruda, Cancun.” (The teacher changes the speech bubble.) Student C: “What’s your name?” (Student C passes the ball to Student D)



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Alternatives The students can be given more autonomy if the teacher invites them to ask the same type of questions to their own classmates. They should give true answers about themselves. Several topics can be covered with this type of activity, which can be adapted to more advanced levels. The PowerPoint presentation can also be substituted by flashcards. Bibliography: Thornbury, Scott. How to Teach Speaking. Essex: Pearson Education Limited, 2005. Woodrow, Lindy. “Anxiety and Speaking English as a Second Language.” RELC Journal 37 (Dec. 2006): 308-28

Student D: “My name is Natalie Von Stomp.” “What’s your phone number?” … ** For copyright reasons I did not reproduce the original PowerPoint presentation. Obviously, in order to make it attractive for the aimed age group, I used eye-catching and colourful clipart.


Creating an Online Journal for CPD lance y is a free e h c a e P ant Nik nd consult a r e in a tr teacher sk s range of ta e id w a g her doin nline teac o g in n ig s from de r ch a n d ses, resea r u o c g in g train ital teachin ig d w e n r w ay s design fo loring new p x e , ts c u g, prod her trainin c a te g in r of delive o f we b nal design instr uctio ing obile lear n m d n a d e rials bas riting mate w d n a ts c produ a ke b e s t hers to m c a te le b a ies. to en technolog le b a il a v use of a

Nik Peachey

r T rainer fo Associate n a o in ls a Visit g He is T r ust and l a n o ti a c rsity of Bell Edu the Unive t a r e r tu nd Lec g Media a ter teachin s in OL S tm E s e T W A on their M y g lo o n h c Te course.

The importance of careful thought and reflection on what we do as both teachers and learners can not be overestimated in terms of the learning process and retaining information in a way that we can actually use and make part of our experience and practice. Keeping a teaching or learning journal can be a really important part of this process of reflection and writing entries can help us to reformulate what we have read or analyse our experiences and draw conclusions from them which we can later return to, share and reflect on again.

For me Penzu is a really good online tool which can help me, my students and my trainee teachers to do this.

What I like about Penzu * It’s free (though there is a ‘Pro’ version which offers more features) and very simple to use as it looks just like a sheet of paper. * The entries are private, but be can be shared. * It can be accessed from any computer, you just log into your account. * Each entry is date stamped automatically


Here is how to create your learning journal

n ca t Y star . ’ p . u 2 ign g k on ‘S en al and clic th atin urn e d cr r jo by an ate a e r c o t t u l need yo ries tex ntry You wil a r a he t e t n en ing rd and e o c d w n s a s a s d p res Ea d d d a a il . a e ly e, em itl ated ical use. usernam f t o s m d at an the ter is om c ne n agree to o k t ic cl u m o her t u s u j o a u y t o Then yo nd e fr ano s a ’. v ab o ‘Submit mo ry t he t of t t en ing t righ us the e. on pag e th

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How we can use Penzu as a journal tool * We can write short summaries of articles we have read and make a note of what our main personal points of interest or learning were from the article. * We can keep a journal of our teaching or training work and reflect on how classes went, compare these to our expectations and make notes of things we would like to try differently next time. * We can use it as an action research journal recording what we do in each lesson and setting out our objectives for the action research project. We can also ask students to use it to keep a journal of their reflections on our teaching and we can ask them to send us e n t r i e s anonymously so that we can get unbiased feedback from our students on our teaching. * We can include it as part of a peer to peer development program and partner up teachers to watch each others classes, reflect on what they saw and send each other entries. * We can use it as a simple record of what we did in the class and what we want to do to follow it up in the next class. The vital thing with all of these activities is that we return to our entries and reflect on what we wrote s o m e t i m e l a t e r. I m m e d i a t e responses to what happens in our

classes can be very subjective and emotional. If we record those responses and then come back to them at a time when we can be more objective we are often able to gain much greater insights into what happened in the class. In this way the journal enables us to capture thoughts and feelings that would otherwise be lost. What I’m not so sure about * It would be nice to be able to add hyperlinks to the journal entries. You can paste in URLs and links to articles, but they aren’t automatically linked.(I think this is possible in the ‘Pro’ paid for version). *It would be nice to have the option of having images in the text rather than just in the margin (again, available in the ‘Pro’ version) *There is an iPad version but you have to be a ‘Pro’ user and pay for it. I’ve focused here on Penzu’s uses as a tool for teacher development, but it is also a great tool to use with students too. For more information on using Penzu with students check out my teaching manual Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers, which you can read or download for free from Scribd at:


Research work: an upgrade Luísa Lima

Luísa is a teacher at Escola Secundária de Emídio Garcia, Bragança, Portugal. She was recently IED's profiled teacher. You can respond to this article by

Digital natives, net generation, residents… the

following the blog link.

number of expressions used to refer to young people today, to our students, is increasing and

experience of learning a

we, teachers, should be paying a little more

much more complete one.

attention to this phenomenon, instead of just

By this time you must be wondering how research

complaining that they are different from the kind

work can be seen as a challenging, engaging

of students we were, that they lack memory and

activity. Well, it can. You’ll just have to upgrade it!

concentration skills, study techniques and so on and so forth…

Forget about the traditional research work on a subject or a personality. If you ask students to do

Yes, students are different, just as we are different

it, you will probably find a few clone works, mostly

from our parents and grandparents. They were

from Wikipedia or any other site that will come up

born in a different world and technologies have

on that first browser page. If they are a bit

always been around them. Even if they don’t

hardworking, they will blend information and

master them (and, contrary to what many people

images from two or three sites, but they will be

say, they very often don’t!), they do not feel

daunted if they are asked to talk about it and give

threatened by them, as we often do. And so, it’s

an opinion.

my opinion that teachers should start changing too. It’s time we moved closer to them, their interest, their experiences, their world. They may not have developed some skills as well as we think they should, but that may simply be because they don’t really need to. Information is all around them, they only need to know how to get it. And with some guidance, they will. Also, they are better prepared or they will easily learn how to present that information in a much more appealing way than we ever were.

The idea is to make this activity something enjoyable using different tools and the Internet. This year I decided to try a different type of research work. We were talking about democracy and I wanted students to find out information about people who had been relevant in the fight for democracy, civil rights, equality. Social media is the new fad, most students (if not all) are there, they know how it works and I believed they would find it fun. So, students in two of my classes organized themselves into groups and they were

As an English teacher who has always been

assigned a task: to create and run a Facebook

curious about how technology can influence

page impersonating a character or acting as a

teaching and learning in a positive way, I have

member of a particular (real or fictional)

been trying to design activities that will not only

organization. Most of them jumped at the idea (not

make students learn and understand any subject

realising the amount of work ahead), others asked

better, but that will also help them develop other

me if they couldn’t create a blog instead. They

useful skills for all the challenges ahead. It’s

argued they didn’t have and didn’t really want to

important that students learn to be autonomous

get into Facebook and I respected that. Both

and to collaborate. Paradoxical? No. In fact if you

blogs and fb pages became possible.

develop an activity where they will have to work as a group, but with specific tasks in between, they will build knowledge on their own and with the others, enriching themselves and making the

First they had to do some real research and select all the information they wanted to include, then they had to select photos, videos and any other items they thought had to be shown.


They had to decide how they were going to present

everything they had created in class and their

the data they had collected: were they going to do it

conclusions on the work developed, everybody was

chronologically, would they accept comments, other

able to communicate and pass their ideas across to

people posting on those pages, would it be an open

the rest of the class beautifully. When asked about

page or a

closed group only for the

the type of work they had been assigned, some


And then there were legal

complained slightly about the time-consuming


to deal with: if they were

activity, but they all agreed that it had been great, it

Research Upgrade

going to create a

had been challenging, they had truly learned a lot

page or a blog about

not only about the subject, but also about planning,

a living person or as

organization, collaboration and about research

members of an

techniques and digital tools they had never

existing organization,

previously heard of. Those who had opted for blogs

the aim of this project

were a bit envious of all the feedback that Facebook

had to be explained

pages had got, but their work was wonderful, too.

beforehand, information had to be absolutely

However they realized that, had they done it on

accurate, posts and comments had to be serious

Facebook, they would have had a lot more people

and respectful. And, meanwhile, students were

interacting with them. The truth is those pages got a

learning about citizenship, copyright and other

lot of friends and comments from people who had

important issues.

nothing to do with this activity and that made

Then they started building the page or blog, completing the person’s profile, adding photos, important events, comments and that copy – paste habit was impossible to pursue. They had to present things as their own, give them an interesting look, make texts short and appealing. Suddenly it was becoming a lot more complicated than they had initially thought, but they were having fun. And when they started receiving feedback from other students

students feel their work was really moving out of the classroom, that it was being appreciated. In fact the Facebook pages have proved even better than some of our work in online platforms. Why? Because students only logged in the platform and blogs when they knew or felt it was necessary, while they are constantly checking their Facebook pages and so they are bound to see any comments or updates their other page is receiving.

and people at large, they started feeling it was really

This shows that we can use computers and Internet

worth it and they were the ones to ask what else

not just as additive tools, something else that the

they could do to enhance their work. And the

teacher and/or the students may occasionally use in

challenge went one step further: I told them about

class, but as transformative tools – something that

interactive posters (, timelines

changes the way you teach and the way they learn.

(using or,

It’s important that students don’t feel they have to

slideshows, word clouds and other tools they could

“power down” (Prensky, 2006) when they come to

use to present the information they had in a way

school. They have to come into classes not knowing

that would be easy and fun to read.

what’s going to happen, better still, they have to

I must say that this group work went way beyond my

know SOMETHING is going to happen.

expectations and theirs. They were truly involved in it and when the time came for them to present Click here to download some examples of my students’ work.


Some Basic Theory Concepts for the ELT Teacher Joseph Guerra In general ELT teachers have a low regard for theory, perhaps due to the feeling that there is a disconnect between theory and praxis. This type of theory (following Carl von Clausewitz) is however closely tied with praxis and even changes/adjusts in connection with experience through praxis. As a sort of introduction to this type of theory I would like to introduce a few basic concepts to give an idea of how it aids us in observing and planning our lessons. Consider the following aspects of complex systems:

✴ They comprise a large number of

✴ ✴

somewhat similar but independent items, particles, members, components or agents. The system is dynamic - each element continually acts or adjusts to its fellow elements in novel ways. The system adjusts to situations over time. The system is capable of selforganization, whereby some order forms inevitably and spontaneously. Rules and structures within the system become more efficient and sophisticated over time.

Joseph is an American, English language teacher who has worked at the British Council Porto, Portugal, since 1999. He is interested in the application of strategic and social action theory to ELT. You can respond to this article by going to the IED blog.

Now consider a simple formula. P = nm. The meaning is simple, within a system all the possible states (P) consists of the number of members (n) to the power of the number of possible states. If we consider the ELT classroom with 15 students where each student could at any one time be either paying attention to the teacher, daydreaming, talking to another student, concentrating on something else or actively disrupting the class. This would lead to a P of 11,390,625 possible states for a class of 15. Any wonder that teaching is difficult? Consider with the number of possible states at any one time how difficult it is to plan or even teach the class in question. Theory here provides us with a bit of insight as to how difficult the profession of teaching actually is. Now consider this: In general systems theory we have input to a system, output from the system and outcomes over time. Outcomes are the consequences of the output on the external environment. We associate economy with input, efficiency with the ratio of output to input and effectiveness with outcome. The problem is that there is no formal relationship between economy, efficiency and effectiveness whereas there is one between input, output and outcome. We can say that the former are non-linear and the latter are linear, but let’s save that bit for later.

These characteristics cover all types of complex systems including weather patterns, ecosystems and ELT classrooms.

To understand the distinction consider that changes to input does affect output and outcome, but changes in economy do not necessarily lead to efficiency and effectiveness. Cutting costs on raw materials may lead to lower cost, but if the customer sees a reduction in quality, the economic gains will be lost in missing sales. Also the most effective outcome may entail the least efficient means, in terms of time, effort, resources, etc.


Non-linearity is a concept which has many facets. Linked with chaos or complexity theory (or the butterfly effect) and problems in physics and mathematics, non-linearity is also used in strategic theory to define complex social systems, but its applications are not limited to that. Non-linearity is defined most simply in terms of what it is not. That is it is not linear. Consider the features of Linearity, which are: ✴ Proportion - Small inputs lead to small outputs, cause is proportional to effect. ✴ Additivity - The whole is equal to the sum of its parts. 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 8. This feature promotes reductionism where a complicated problem is broken up into manageable pieces, analysed as constituent parts and a conclusion is reached. ✴ Replication - This says that the same actions, done under the same conditions, will turn out the same way. This is what makes linearity so reliable and easy to copy and implement. Replication is the concept behind Standarization. ✴ Demonstrability of Cause and Effect Provides for simple study, what are the causes and effects, that is what is happening is obvious, unambiguous; you can project ahead on what you know, even if it is not very much. Now consider that bureaucracy, most of our evaluation processes and Rationalization are based on an assumption of linearity, as is most of traditional science. This leads us to the features of Non-Linearity, namely: ✴ Non-Proportionality - input and output are not proportional. ✴ Non-Additive - The whole is not quantitatively equal to the parts. ✴ Non-Replication - The same actions under the same conditions can lead to very different results. Non-linear dynamics (this trait) is arbitrarily sensitive to tiny changes in initial conditions. Each situation is unique. ✴ No Demonstrability of Cause and Effect There are simply too many unknowns. We can have a positive or negative effect without being able to recognise the cause, not to mention the effect might not be what we expect either. To complete this let’s, consider how a system (either linear or non-linear) is defined: A system is a set of units or elements that are interconnected so that changes in some elements or their relations produce changes in other parts of the system. The second characteristic is that the entire system exhibits properties and

behaviours that are different from those of its parts. So, why is it important to understand the difference in regards to systems? Suppose that you are working with a system that you think is linear, but find out through experience that it is in fact non-linear? Your linear based assumptions will be wrong. Consider that social systems (that is composed of people) as well as ecological and climatic systems in nature are all non-linear, whereas those systems produced by humans are mostly linear – various machines, production processes, and everything connected with bureaucracy. In education one can see how we organize and evaluate what we are doing is based on linearity (syllabi, traditional lesson plans, examinations), whereas the actual nature of the social system in the ELT classroom is non-linear (classroom dynamics and chemistry, uniqueness of each lesson). A good way of visualizing the distinction is looking at the classroom in terms of two metaphors. The first, or linear, would be a factory, producing standardized goods according to a set plan which is consistently evaluated using linear measures during the process. Raw materials go in, proceed through a systemized process which is constantly evaluated and a finished product – built to exact specifications – emerges. Unit cost (in terms of time, effort and resources) is very important and relatively easily controlled. Failure would be defined in solely economic terms. The second, or non-linear, would be a farm, producing a variety crops and livestock at the mercy of many outside and uncontrollable elements. The farmer is not so much a producer as a nurturer, who allows the animals and plants to develop by their own potential but in a very uncertain environment. Nature sets the rhythm and harvest time comes not according to the calendar, but according to the state of maturity of the crops/livestock themselves. Unit cost, while important to the economic survival of the farm, is difficult to calculate until the end of the process. Failure could be economic or functional: the farm might produce well but have to sell at a loss, based on the market; at the same time functional failure would lead directly to economic failure. Now consider both metaphors in terms of ELT. How does one metaphor apply and how does the other? What insights do the two metaphors provide?


Francisco Langa aka Tanguene (Mozambique)

At Bus Stops better we bring our chairs, you’ll bring your stools. Women bring your mukumi ni vemba sisters, come with capulanas mother, bring your mat ‘ cause you’ll need it to stretch it down to sit on with the children. For centuries it takes while we are waiting, waiting, waiting for a chapa to come!

Teachers Writers Poets Editors Note: 'At bus stops' was a winner in the ELT e-reading group competition. We would welcome contributions to this page, especially from teachers from Portuguese speaking countries and who are writing in English as their second language. Poetry or prose are equally welcome, and we would appreciate pieces in which you bring a little of your country to share with us all. Send your contribution to


Nothing Was There It was an empty place One empty chair Somewhere in a sort of a palace There sat a gentleman in an armchair Who loudly sang:

Chapa - taxi for the people (min-busies, pickus). It carries workers, students and the general public from suburban areas to cities (& vice-verse). It originally appeared as individual initiatives to help people and fill the gap left by the lack of public transport to satisfy the demand on transport and then it became a business. This form of transport appears to be operated chaotically, but it is ultimately very useful!

Leaves of tea Leaves of tea Leaves of tea

Capulana - a big cloth; part of African women traditional dressing, it is folded round the waist and it rolls down till nearly reach the feet.

You turn and see the empty chair And the busy armchair and he loudly sang: Leaves of tea Leaves of tea Leaves of tea

Mukumi is a big capulana made of 4 capulanas (vembas) and women use the two of them for different occasions. Young women (sisters) are expected to put on capulana (vemba) for any special occasion (marriage, party, traditional ceremonies…) but women that are traditional are expected to show respect and culture (mothers etc.) by using Mukumi for traditional ceremonies. It is important to note that Mukumi ni Vemba are sold in one piece of cloth (5 capulanas) and, they go to a tailor and separate one for vemba and 4 are put together to make mukumi.

Leaves of tea Leaves of tea Leaves of tea.

Ni (Ronga) – is the same as 'and' in English


I fala Portenglish Stephen Greene Recently, there has been lots of talk about how Portuguese can be protected from a marauding English language that seems to be trying to take over the world. While there are obvious concerns about the spread and use of English it must be remembered that this is not a new phenomenon, nor is language borrowed only by Portuguese from English. It is useful to remind students of this fact as I have found it can give them some pleasure to see how ‘their’ language has influenced English. It is also a valuable learning resource as students realise that they already know some words in English. The fact that there are many words from English being used in Portuguese should be used by our students to improve their English, but often students are unaware of the English words they see around them every day. Below are lesson plans for three different activities. They can all be used together in one class, or they can be used individually to fit in with other aspects of your syllabus. I would appreciate any feedback about you have used this material and the reactions from your students. You can contact me on or you can find even more material for free download at

Stephen has been a Teacher, Teacher-Trainer and materials writer since 1996. In that time he taught 3-year-old children up to 76 year-old great grandmothers in Poland, Taiwan, Brazil and the UK. He is currently running his own business; Tailor-Made English, and is interested in blended learning and teacher training. He has an MA in Linguistics from The University of Birmingham. He is at his happiest when his students benefit from material he has created specifically for them (and when his beloved Birmingham City win a match!). You can find more of his material available for free download at

2. Distribute the backgrounds to the words. There are six words, so groups of six are best. If you have more than six students you can put them into groups. You might need to give more than one word to a couple of stronger students to make up the numbers, or alternatively you might choose to leave out one or two words. 3. Students read the background and make notes about the information. Stress it is entirely up to the students what information they make use of. If you are able to, it can be useful for students to work in pairs on this activity before they go into different groups. 4. Students mingle and exchange their information to complete their tables.

I fala Portenglish

5. Ask sts if they are aware of any other words that come from Portuguese and are used in English. Wikipedia has a list of words, but as always with Wikipedia you will need to check the reliability of this information.

This activity looks at some words that English has borrowed from Portuguese. Not all of them originate from Portuguese, but they came to English via Portuguese.

6. Use the ‘Extra Speaking’ and ‘Follow Up’ activities below.

Procedure 1. Introduce the words to your students. This can be done in a number of ways; a. show the words in a Powerpoint (or equivalent) presentation. b. dictate the words c. elicit the words. Whichever way you choose, make sure you drill the pronunciation effectively.

Noticing This activity can easily be used with private or small classes as the student is able to talk about the language with the teacher in the second part. It is an excellent activity to encourage students to notice the English around them in everyday situations. All of these photos were taken in about 2 hours, so it wasn’t difficult to find them.

Procedure 1. Show students the photographs. You could very easily find your own examples so that they are more relevant to your students. 2. Ask your students to find English words in the photos and decide if they are English words that aren’t generally used in Portuguese, or words that are used in both English Portuguese. There is grey area here and it might well generate some interesting discussion. These are the words I found and the category that I think they should go in.

English word Dog, house, shop, pink, green, wood, homecare, nutrition, chess, drum, bass, housewear, diner, club,

Portuguese and English word Modem, oi, step, shopping, hotel, flat, aroma, visa, electron, buffet, ticket, auto, original, design, super,

card, fitness, Dick, black, box, park, jet, oil, dip,

chip, bar, chocolates, tennis (tênis).

botanical, garden, hung, knockout, Made in Brazil, world, gifts, scrap. 3. Focus on the different meanings and pronunciation of the words. E.g. ‘shopping’ and ‘tennis’ all have different uses in English compared to Portuguese. It is also very important to check the pronunciation of words that exist in both languages, e.g. ‘chocolates’ and ‘hotel’ have different stress patterns.

4. Ask students if they can think of any other IT words they use that are originally English. Do these have any other meanings? 5. Use the ‘Extra Speaking’ and ‘Follow Up’ activities below.

4. Use the ‘Extra Speaking’ and ‘Follow Up’ activities below.

Extra Speaking

IT Portuguese

1. Why does Portuguese have all these English words?

I constantly find it amazing how many words my students use on an almost daily basis that are English in origin, but they never question the meaning. This activity looks at some of them that are used in I.T.

2. Is it bad that so many English words are being used in Portuguese?


3. Do you think the Portuguese language needs protection from English words? How can this be done?

1. Ask sts to look at the images and say what they refer to. Students should then say if they ever use the products and what they use them for. Check students are pronouncing them with an English accent instead of a Portuguese one.

4. Do you pay attention to English words around you?

2. Students use these words to match them to their original English meaning.

Follow Up

Answers; 1. windows

2. twitter

3. smart

4. web

5. excel

6. tube

7. tube

8. pod

9. mouse

10. notebook

3. Students probably won’t be able to match all of the words. Provide a dictionary or allow them to look up the words on the internet.

5. Are there any areas that have more English words than others?

1. Make a list of English words that you use in your job, hobby, spare time... Are there any differences in pronunciation and/or meaning? 2. As you travel around your town/city in the next week, make a note of, or better yet, take a picture of, any English words that you see. 3. What other words associated with computers and the internet do you use that come from English?


Example Worksheets

I fala Portenglish 1. Your teacher is going to introduce some words. What do they have in common? 2. Read the information your teacher gives you and make a note about any information about it in the table. Be ready to tell your classmates the information. Vocabulary

Information about the word

1. Dodo 2. Tank 3. Palaver 4. Cobra

5. Jaguar 6. Mandarin Dodo


The word ‘dodo’ originally comes from the word to be crazy (doido) but was used to describe a bird on an island in the Indian Ocean. It was believed to be so mad because it would walk up to hungry sailors who would kill it for some much needed protein. The dodo is one of the first recorded examples of an animal being made extinct due to human behaviour. It is now used in English in the phrase ‘As dead as a dodo’.

Today, Mandarin is usually used as one of the main languages of China. In English it can also be used negatively to talk about top civil servants. The original meaning of the word in Portuguese referred to the top bureaucrats in the Chinese government in from the 17th century. It was especially used to describe the kind of language they spoke. Over time, this came to be used for the Chinese language as a whole.



Palaver was originally used by British sailors on the 17th century. They first used the word to mean ‘discussions’ with local tribes in Africa, but it soon changed its meaning to ‘pointless chat’. Today it means ‘unnecessary inconvenience or trouble’

Of course in Portuguese ‘cobra’ means snake. In India the Portuguese found a snake that they called ‘cobra xxx’ or the hooded snake. In English the word is now used to describe this one type of snake.



Nobody is quite sure if this word originated in Tupi or Guarani. It either originally meant ‘an animal that easy meat’ or ‘the animal that kills in one jump’. Today, as well as the beautiful animal it is also famously used as a brand name for a car. The name is often shortened so that people sometimes talk about a ‘Jag’.

A tank was originally a container to keep water, so in this meaning it is similar to the original Portuguese. In 1915 the British were developing a new military vehicle and they used ‘tank’ as a code word to help keep it a secret and because it looked like a petrol container. After the war, the name stuck.

Noticing 1. All of these photographs were taken in Curitiba, Brazil. (See photos) Find the English word in them and then put the vocabulary into the correct category.

English word

Portuguese and English word

2. Are there any differences between English and Portuguese in the way these words are used? 3. Are there any differences in pronunciation, especially in word stress?

IT Portuguese 1. Look at the images. What do they refer to? Do you use any of them? How often? Quiz Find a word or a phrase for each of the meanings in the box.

Clue 1. Something you look out of. 2. Birds do this when they make lots of short, high-pitched sounds. 3. Very clever or intelligent. 4. Something a spider makes to catch food. 5. The verb for the adjective ‘excellent’. 6. A hollow object shaped like a pipe often used to transfer information. Sometimes used as slang for a TV. 7. The sound of a song without any words. 8. A seed container that grows on plants such as peas or beans. 9. A small animal that is supposed to like cheese. 10. A book of paper for writing on.



FLASH! Flashcard activities and ideas Simon Cantle and Raymond Kerr Simon Cantle is a teacher specialising in young learners and very young learners in Lisbon, Portugal.

Raymond Kerr, who was a senior teacher at the British Council in Porto, Portugal, is now the Teacher Development Manager for British Council Turkey based in Istanbul

though, Before we begin

Flashcar d s a re a wo resource in that th nderfully flexible ey can across a be used range of wide var iety of ac ages and levels , in a tiv aims. In this artic ities with a rang le, we w e of activities ill focus , includin o n g for use a few old wit favourite s no doub h younger learn ers, alth , t they c ough an be a older lea dapted fo rners an r d higher levels.

tips. a few of general

ities to make rol of these activ nt co ke ta to all of the n re nt to allow child possible in nearly Firstly, it is importa and maintain their Interest. This is ities, one of the children , tiv them feel involved w. For example, in the first two ac s/ her choice of word. hi lo w be llo d n fo ' activities liste d the other childre ildren to lead the 'guess the card an e ur ct pi e th n ch e th of e can be give on w activity is to allo Another popular e game. to make deliberat the t it is often useful by bu d , te ds en ar w es ck pr re ba ry unds with the vocabula g, scary snake', Secondly, this so become familiar bi ts a s en 'it' ud y, st sa as d s an , and mistake a mouse of rd ca a them on their toes s up ep ld ke ho is g. Th e. . .' rd se ca ou flash dly m It's a small, frien students say, 'no, g the teacher. in ten they enjoy correct s showing the writ ed with flashcard to us ay be w n nt ca lle w ce lo activities be rd. which is an ex rite, have Finally, all of the the picture flashca as l el w to read and w as or , of ho are beginning form instead w as those e os th r fo rm e words, as well ten fo introduce the writ ten form and are able to recogniz writ exposure to the read. to le ab e ar who

Activities Simple repetition Show children cards and say word, getting children to repeat as groups and individually, varying pitch, volume and tone of voice. Chinese whispers Children sit in a circle or line and whisper given word. The last child has to choose the card for the word they hear. If using both word and picture cards, the child has to choose the written form they heard and place it with the correct picture.

Guess the card, incorporating pelmanism The teacher holds a flashcard facing towards themselves. The students are divided into small teams of three or four. Each student in a team is nominated by the teacher to guess the card out loud. They then decide as a team which answer they will choose. This game provides a good opportunity for introducing process language such as: I think it's..., no it's.... it's my turn, etc. When the card is shown to the class, they all have to say the word out loud whether they are correct or not. The team that Is correct gains a point and the card is placed on the board with blu tack, face down. If no student guesses correctly, the card goes to the back of the pack. With older students, the same game is repeated with the word cards. Once all the flashcards are blu-tacked face down to the board, the students move on to stage two which is Board Pelmanlsm.

Board Pelmanism If the board contains both picture and word cards, each word card Is given a number beside it, and each picture card is given a letter beside it. In their teams, the students have to call out combinations, i.e D3. If the word and picture cards match, the team gain a point. This game can be used solely with words or pictures and the students simply call out the relevant number or letter and say what they think it is.

t and, e fron ture, h t o t ents e pic o stud r seeing th of each w g t a s Z ll a e g ck c y Zi acher pposing pla p on the ba it is held e t e h T r face u t the o ere, o s are withou a flashcard y hold it th n the card es, the e e places t, (either th s peg). Wh dents' cloth u n e t e h s t d e u lo t h s rd is ac of t h k it c w a lashca aling f e b t e a h h t ther reve !" ed to ntify w fasten r says, "Go nd ide ut of course to watch a r e v s e itho disco ariou teach try to pponent, (w e quite hil about. Be w o n . b o s t dance heads e can f their tuden The s the back o ). This gam nd bob and ts will bang d d n behin wn flashcar and zag, a two stude y ig o their students z occasionall as the l though as carefu

reads rd s a n d e a c h s a th fl n race them in up their s Dictatiocher jumbles ave to place ictures, word h p a n s g a te usin team The nts c tables, ut. The e stude them o rder on their r game wher vity. o e ti correct This is anoth lead the ac to . s th turn or bo ke It in and easily ta e room out. If you th d n u g alled d aro Pointin rds are place as they are c uld tell a m c c e nd th ou o Flash oint to nergy level y ssroom to sta lay p ts n e e la to e c stud d th e e raise und th ou ne want to to move aro shcard, but y a ts fl studen e relevant running.' th ctivity. next to nd rule of 'no student-led a u the gro nother easily a is is h T

Flashcard a nd Place picture word recognition cards on the b underneath. Point to a pic oard with word cards ture card and students to re ge p repeated all th eat the word. When they t the have e words, rem leaving word o cards only. A ve the picture cards, gain, children words. Next remove one or two of the repeat the Draw a dot w word cards. he and encoura re the cards were. Point ge the studen to the dot ts was there ori ginally. Remo to say the word that ve a couple m replace with ad ore and repeat the wo ot and again ask studen ts to rds on the bo ard, including spaces. Rep ea th removed and t until all flashcards have e been students are a words with o nly the dots a ble to recall all the s prompts.

Flashcard race Flashcards are placed around the room with or without word cards, one set per team of 3 or 4. When the word is called out one student from each team has to bring the correct card or cards back to their table. First one back wins a point for their team. Board slap, matching slap Blu-tack a set of picture and/ or word cards face up on the board. Two teams stand in line in front of the board. When they hear the word, the student at the front of each line has to touch the relevant card, or two cards if both word and picture cards are used. The student then goes to the back of the line and it is the next student's turn. A point is awarded to the team of the first student to touch the correct card or cards. To make this a little less chaotic, if you have two sets of cards, you can blu-tack one set to one half of the board for one team to slap, and the other set to the other half for the other team to slap. TPR revision using flashcard prompts Students are taught a vocabulary set with corresponding actions (TPR, i.e. tall', students stand on tiptoe and stretch arms up high). A nominated student comes to the front of the class. The teacher shows the student a flashcard (word or picture). That student acts out the vocabulary, while the other students have to guess the appropriate word.

Four corners The four corners game has two versions, an A and a B. For both versions, put a flashcard in each corner of the room. Version A - Close your eyes and count to ten. The students run to the four corners of the room. When you finish counting say "Stop!" Any student still in the middle of the floor must quickly find a corner. Now, call out one of the flashcards. Any student standing in the same corner as that flashcard is "out" and must return to his or her seat. Note: if you are playing with very young children don't ask them to sit down. In either case, however, ask all the students in the corner to identify the flashcard or use it in a sentence. Version B - Count to ten with your eyes closed. Say "Stop!" However, instead of calling out a flashcard. point to one of the corners (with your eyes still closed). The students in that corner are "out", and must identify the flashcard or use it in a sentence


A Libera4ng Force in Educa4on: Cri4cal Thinking Celeste Simões Schools make persons all on one pa/ern, orthodoxy. School educa7on, unless it is regulated by the best knowledge and good sense, will produce men and women who are all of one pa/ern, as if turned in a lathe. An orthodoxy is produced in regard to all the great doctrines of life. It consists of the most worn and commonplace opinions which are common in the masses. The popular opinions always contain broad fallacies, half-­‐truths, and glib generaliza7ons. You may not believe it, but this excerpt was taken from Sumner’s Folkways, published in 1906! In his book, he acknowledged the

Celeste has a degree in English and German and a Postgraduate course in Translation Studies from the University of Coimbra. This school year she received a scholarship to finish her doctoral thesis on Translation Studies. She has been teaching since 1991 and has been involved in teacher training. Celeste is a secondary school teacher in the Agrupamento de Escolas de Carregal do Sal, Portugal. You can respond to this article by going to the IED blog.

propensity of our mind to think sociocentrically (i.e. regarding one's own social group as superior to that of others) and the corresponding tendency of schools to replicate the system, functioning as social indoctrinators. Still true, isn’t it? Teachers are part of the system and thus help perpetuate it… OR NOT! We all recognise the potential of teachers as agents of educational and social change, thus having a significant impact on students. So, why not perform our “mission” the best we can, for the sake of our students, future active citizens in our society? Instead of maintaining a neutral position towards the social, political, cultural, and economic injustices that undermine our society, why not assume an active role in their resolution? It is not that difficult, and we just need to get used to planning our lessons to foster critical thinking (CT). According to Linda Elder (on the Foundation for Critical Thinking website), Cri4cal thinking is self-­‐guided, self-­‐disciplined thinking which aLempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-­‐minded way. People who think cri4cally consistently aLempt to live ra4onally, reasonably, empathically. They are keenly aware of the inherently flawed nature of human thinking when leQ unchecked. They strive to diminish the power of their egocentric and sociocentric tendencies. They use the intellectual tools that cri4cal thinking offers – concepts and principles that enable them to analyze, assess, and improve thinking. They work diligently to develop the intellectual virtues of intellectual integrity, intellectual humility, intellectual civility, intellectual empathy, intellectual sense of jus4ce and confidence in reason. They realize that no maLer how skilled they are as thinkers, they can always improve their reasoning abili4es and they will at 4mes fall prey to mistakes in reasoning, human irra4onality, prejudices, biases, distor4ons, uncri4cally accepted social rules and taboos, self-­‐interest, and vested interest. They strive to improve the world in whatever ways they can and contribute to a more ra4onal, civilized society. At the same 4me, they recognize the complexi4es oQen inherent in doing so. They avoid thinking simplis4cally about complicated issues and strive to appropriately consider the rights and needs of relevant others. They recognize the complexi4es in developing as thinkers, and commit themselves to life-­‐long prac4ce toward self-­‐improvement. They embody the Socra4c principle: The unexamined life is not worth living, because they realize that many unexamined lives together result in an uncri4cal, unjust, dangerous world.

Between January and March 2010 I participated in

experiences I ever had. The 3-month course allowed

the E-Teacher scholarship programme, funded

me to deepen my understanding of CT principles and

through the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of

develop activities aiming at raising my students’

Education and Cultural Affairs. The online course I

critical awareness.

chose to attend was Critical Thinking in the EFL

Here I give one such example: a lesson plan (it takes

(English as a Foreign Language) Curriculum,

2 or 3 90m lessons, depending on the class

offered by the University of Oregon (UO), Linguistics/

proficiency) for my 7th grade students on the topic

American English Institute. In spite of the hard work

House. The Table I present at the end was provided

a n d c o u n t l e s s h o u r s d e v o t e d t o re a d i n g

by Agnieszka Alboszta, our UO course instructor. As

bibliography, participating in online discussions and

it focuses on one specific final activity, I will supply

completing tasks, this was one of the most rewarding

information as to the initial lesson steps:

Topic: House Subtopic: House and Homelessness After the usual initial procedures I showed my students a PowerPoint presentation, which depicted several rooms in the White House. Each slide was shown individually and the students were asked to describe what they saw – the building, the different floors, the Dinning Room, the Red, Blue, Green and China Rooms, the Library and the Hall (you have access to a virtual tour on Then, as a way to help the students learn the new vocabulary, I gave them a handout with some word search exercises. The words in the exercises had all been introduced or revised during the oral description of the rooms. It was done in pairs and then corrected (you can choose the best option – either give a handout with the solutions, have the students correct it on a transparency, computer, IWB). Going back to the topic “Types of Houses”, which they had already learned in the 6th grade, the students revised the different types of houses. Then I showed them an image of a slum (something they hadn’t mentioned yet) and asked them to describe the buildings and the infrastructure problems (very simple answers were expected as their proficiency level did not yet allow them to give all answers in English; some vocabulary was introduced by me, as an extension). Leading them through Socratic questioning the students understood that some people neither live in mansions, detached houses, flats nor shabby houses; in fact, they have no house to live in as they are homeless. A final slide with four images was presented, giving the necessary time for the students to describe them. The images were carefully chosen, in order for the students to understand that anyone can become homeless – man or woman, old or young, white or black. Homelessness is a problem that may affect everybody. Although CT is already in use so far in the lesson, I wanted my students to understand there are several layers in everything we see and we must learn to distinguish what’s on the surface and beneath it. I wanted them to move from analysing to evaluating and creating (following the new revised Bloom’s taxonomy). That’s the reason I devised this follow-up activity, as part of one of the tasks I was asked to do while attending the CT course:

I chose the White House as a way to teach American culture, and the students really loved watching the different rooms. They couldn’t stop describing everything they saw!


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I applied all the mentioned steps, and I must say the students’ notes and texts showed a critical awareness that let me hopeful for future assignments. They did not deceive me! Now you try it!! This ar4cle first appeared in the APPI Journal



REVIEW English Through Football! P. Pennyfeather

It's not very often that I can appear enthusiastic about anything related to football, but the appearance of North Star ELT's well timed 'English through Football' is one such occasion. There are numerous ELT books on the market that call themselves 'resource' books, but far too many of them don't really fulfil this function, and are, on the one hand, little more than loosely bound course books, or one trick ponies pretending to be a stable full of thoroughbreds on the other. 'English Through Football' is published by North Star ELT ISBN 978-1-907584-01-5

Susan Thomas and Sarah Johnson's book is what it says on the tin - a real resource book that can be dipped into by a whole host of teachers and students, from beginner to advanced (or at least upper intermediate), and can be used across a real range of classroom environments from high tech to no tech. It's five main sections are divided into a total of 43 units and each unit has a broad spectrum of activities most of which are suitable for students at different ability levels. This is cleverly done by providing a basic platform from which students can explore the possibilities at their own level of competence rather than the tasks being channelled down narrow ability lanes, and this helps the activities to develop into far more natural use of language than is usually found. There is helpful advice for the teacher at the beginning of each activity suggesting the appropriate range of levels, though I suspect that in reality it is the lower level that is the real guide as the upper level ought to be almost boundless (after all, any activity can become an advanced activity, but not all activities can be attempted by, say, elementary learners). The largest section is devoted to 'General English Through Football', and takes various football situations as its cue - the players, the stadium, football kit, fans etc - and there is some very specific language work spotlighted (Prepositions: Spot the Ball, for example, or Players: Action Verbs). I'm not

convinced that the students will gain from knowing that is the focus, but the teacher might, and personally I would have dropped reference to grammar terms. But then I have a problem with grammar without getting hot under the collar, just as I have a problem with actually watching football without falling asleep. Other sections take on quite a new angle, such as looking at the language specific to football, which is going to be of great interest to students who have a passion for the game (as most seem to) and another takes us on a foray into cross curricula activity, or perhaps multiple intelligences, with a well thought out and fun packed Art and Craft section. Each of the Units has photocopiable worksheets for the students and clear, well thought out notes for the teacher. The worksheets are abundantly illustrated throughout by Heather Clarke, whose cartoon-like black and white drawings are perfectly designed for photocopying - a very real consideration as many of the activities are flash card based. Each activity ends with a link to a dedicated internet page called Internet Extra Time offering up to the minute extension activities which provide this resource book with one of its greatest assets: it remains up to date, relevant and able to lock into current events in the world of football. Originally launched to coincide with the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, this book remains as relevant now as then and is able to adapt itself to next year's football season with no difficulty.

If, like me, you find it hard to get enthusiastic about the game itself then I believe you will be thrilled with this teacher's little aid. If you are already a football fan, then what's stopping you? Get hold of a copy and get playing!


Un7l recently, Virginia was Director of Business Development at Britannia Interna7onal English in Rio de Janeiro, and from September has been the Director English at the Bri7sh Council Brazil.


You can respond to this ar7cle by following our blog link.


Introduction Language teaching methods are based on very different views of what language is and how it is learnt. Throughout history, foreign language learning has always been an important practical concern and over the years, a considerable number of new revolutionary methods have appeared in a constant attempt to facilitate the process of learning. However, when we analyse different teaching methods, we conclude that methodological approaches are more evolutionary than revolutionary in their procedures. This article starts with an overview of language teaching methods over the centuries. The most accepted psychology memory model for storage of information is then presented. To conclude, I discuss the importance of the role of repetition and recycling in language teaching to foster and enhance learning. I also make suggestions of activities and tasks that through repetition and recycling promote an effective and motivating process of learning English.

Methods and Approaches In the beginning of the nineteenth century, language teaching consisted of comparisons between the target language and grammar rules from Latin. A typical textbook in the mid-nineteenth century had lessons planned solely around grammar points. According to Richards and Rodgers (1986), “Nineteenth century textbook compilers were mainly determined to codify the foreign language into frozen rules of morphology and syntax to be explained and eventually memorised”. Oral work was reduced to a bear minimum and practice constructed at random as an appendix to what was viewed as the absolute goal of the process, that is, the learning of grammar rules.

Let us have a detailed look at three of the most influential language teaching methods of the 20th and the 21st Centuries. In the Audiolingual Method, language was viewed as a system of structurally related elements for the ʻencoding of meaningʼ (Richards and Rodgers, 1986). The principles that based the method claimed that ʻLanguage is speech, not writing... language is a set of habits...Teach the language, not about the languageʼ. The use of drills and pattern practice is a distinctive feature of the Audiolingual Method. Drills together with dialogues formed the basis of Audiolingual classroom practices. Dialogues were the means used for repetition and memorisation. The learners played a reactive role by responding to stimuli and were expected to learn a new form of verbal behaviour. Drills represent a means to place emphasis on the repetition of structural patterns through mechanical oral practice. That is to say, drills are a form of very controlled practice. Consequently, in mechanical drilling, learners have very little choice over what is said, and the focus lies entirely on accuracy. By the end of the 1960s, however, practitioners concluded that learners considered the Audiolingual procedures ʻboring and unsatisfyingʼ. Practical results demonstrated that most learners failed to transfer skills acquired through the method to real communication outside the classroom due to the unpredictability of language. The need for a major revision led language teaching towards a more cognitive approach. The Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) departs from a theory of language as communication. The approach is based on the principles of cognitive psychology, and advocates that language is a system for the expression of meaning.


The goal of CLT is to develop the learnerʼs ʻcommunicative competenceʼ (Hymes, 1972). Therefore, in CLT meaning is paramount and contextualisation central. Although peripheral, drilling may occur in CLT as one of the techniques used to facilitate memorisation of language chunks. A communicative drill is one in which, although the type of response is still controlled, learners provide their own content or information as a personal contribution. That contribution is believed to guarantee the cognitive aspect valued in the CLT. Five levels of objectives may be identified in CLT. They are:

1. At an integrative and content level, language is seen as a means of communication;

2. At a linguistic and instrumental level, language is becomes the object of learning;

3. A t a n a f f e c t i v e l e v e l o f interpersonal relationships, language is a means of expressing values and judgement about others and about oneself;

4. At a level of individual learning needs, remedial learning is based on error analysis;

5. At a general educational level of extra-linguistic goals, language learning is seen within the school curriculum. The five items above, however, are proposed as general objectives i.e. items that may universally be

applicable to any teaching situation. Local objectives should be defined within a specific environment since CLT believes that language teaching mirrors the particular needs of different language learnersʼ communities. The Lexical Approach also places the tradition of communication of meaning in the centre of language learning. However, it emphasises vocabulary as the main carrier of meaning. Michael Lewis (1997), the name behind the approach, believes that the essential idea in the Lexical Approach is that fluency is based on the acquisition of a large store of fixed and semi-fixed ʻprefabricated itemsʼ, which are available as ʻ...a foundation for any linguistic novelty or creativityʼ. Grammar can only be of use to learners once they have a sufficiently large mental lexicon to which grammar knowledge can be applied. The approach claims that teachers must recognise the lexical nature of language and the centrality of lexis to the creation of meaning. Lewis values the role of repetition in language learning. He reminds us that when a teacher refers to a linguistic item with the observation: ʻWeʼve already done thatʼ, the ʻdoneʼ means ʻmet or seen itʼ but not necessarily that learners have mastered the item. The trouble is that repetition is seen by many as a waste of time and potentially boring for learners. Lewis (1997:51) sustains that research evidence shows that repeating activities may be the most efficient way of improving learnersʼ language. This applies to both lexical and grammatical language.


According to the approach, learners are not likely to acquire a word before encountering it seven times. That, however, does not imply that the word will have to be taught seven times but ʻrecycledʼ as Lewis put it. The process of recycling starts with the concept of ʻnoticingʼ as we demonstrate in Figure 1 below.

Learning and the Brain

Figure 1: Noticing

For years, psychologists have attempted to explain how memory works and how information is stored and retrieved. Language teaching researchers and practitioners are particularly interested in the subject since it is of utmost relevance to the process of learning. Many questions pop up the moment we consider the

Noticing is a key strategy in the Lexical Approach. In noticing, learnersʼ attention is specifically drawn to features of the input to which learners are exposed.

way in which memory works. How is information stored in the brain? How do we retrieve information? What is the role of memory in this process?

The cyclical and systematic process of recycling allows the learner to notice the gap between the current state of their development and the linguistic item available as input. The process of noticing together with recycling will transform the linguistic features of the input into intake and result into successful output (Timmis, I. 2004).

The most popular memory model by psychology presents us with a three-stage memory storage process: • Sensory store • Short-term memory (STM) • Long-term memory (LTM)

As methodological approaches evolved, the belief that learning is not an event but a cyclical process has also developed. There seems to be a strong indication that repetition and recycling play an important role in the process of learning. To search for further evidence that might support the argument that repetition and recycling are central to the process of learning a language, we will now consider the way in which the brain processes information.

The whole process starts with information penetrating the brain through the five senses and reaching sensory store. Sensory store in its turn retains the information for only a split of a second, just enough to develop a perception. After that, information is filtered to ShortTerm Memory, (STM) where it lasts for about 30 seconds. If there is no rehearsal, information will be discarded.


With rehearsal, however, STM will last as long as rehearsal continues. It is worth mentioning that STM is limited in terms of number of items it can hold, i.e., about seven items; that capacity can be increased by ʻchunkingʼ. ʻChunkingʼ as a memory mechanism can be observed in the way we group information in our day-to-day life. When recalling a number such as 14041952, if we group the numbers as 14, 04 and 1952, we are creating a memory/learning scheme called mnemonic device for the number as a day, month and year. By ʻchunkingʼ the information in that fashion, we facilitate the storage of the information because it becomes meaningful. Whether the information retrieved in STM will be sent to Long-Term Memory (LTM) or discarded, will depend solely on the degree of rehearsal, importance and meaning the information holds to the subject. As we have seen, the process of encoding the new information starts when the subject deliberately decides to attend to information captured by STM and comprehends it. The second step is that of consolidation or networking, that is, making associations between the new piece of information and previously stored information. For the transfer into LTM to be effectively accomplished, the information should be rehearsed in different contexts at different times. Once the information reaches LTM, it is stored there permanently. There may be occurrences when people forget how to retrieve the information, but the information will be stored in LTM forever.

Implications for the Classroom Nowadays, most ELT institutions and practitioners claim to favour a principled approach to language teaching, i.e. an approach that borrows activities, tasks and techniques from a range of teaching methods and approaches (Garcia, Sili and Chaves, 2004). The resulting selection of activities, tasks and techniques will mirror the principles and beliefs of the practitioner and educational institution in how language learning actually takes place.

In my opinion, the most influential approaches in the field of EFL since the 1980s are the Communicative Approach and the Lexical Approach. I share the view and belief that learning is not an event but cumulative process. If that is true, learning cannot happen in a linear way. Therefore, I will sustain that a systematic approach to repetition and recycling in the classroom should be an integral part of the process of learning. Tomlinson (1998:15) writes that research into the acquisition of language shows that the process of learning is gradual rather than instantaneous. He goes on to say that ʻ…acquisition results from the gradual and dynamic process of internal generalisation rather than from instant adjustments to the learnerʼs internal grammar.' A cyclical approach of repetition and recycling is then called for in order to help learners internalise the target language. Nevertheless, the idea of repetition is still widely considered a waste of time and potentially boring in language teaching. I will now make suggestions of procedures and activities that through judicious use of repetition and recycling can enhance and motivate the process of learning English. Repetition As we have seen before, although drills are peripheral in Communicative Teaching, they will be used at times to provide an increased focus on accuracy. The use of drills offers the learner support, and helps them focus on complex items to prepare them for subsequent fluency activities. Communicative drills are still controlled, yet learners provide their personal contribution, which guarantees the cognitive aspect of the activity. Drills call the learnerʼs attention towards a new language item and facilitate the process of noticing. They foster chunking of information and allow rehearsal. Rehearsal in its turn aids the retrieval of information in STM for a longer period, increasing the chances of networking and promoting the final storage of the new item in LTM. Drills help learners get their tongues around difficult sounds and imitate intonation that may be different from that of their native language.


To sum up, drills provide a safe environment for learners to experiment the target language. They control the level of anxiety in the classroom and help build confidence among learners, particularly those who are not risktakers. Most importantly, drills provide the opportunity for immediate feedback, something learner values. Let us have a look at a few examples of types of drills and the procedures to implement them in class.

• Repetition drills are usually more mechanical. They

effectively with learners of different age groups at different levels. Step 1: After you have used pictures to introduce vocabulary or to tell a story, stick the pictures on the board back to front in a random order. Step 2: Ask students to guess which picture is which by describing it in a detailed way. Step 3: Ask students to retell the story so that you can put the pictures in the correct order.

support practice with a view to automatising linguistic aspects such as pronunciation.

Guessing games prove useful for the practising of questions, names of classroom objects and describing locations to practise items like prepositions.

Step 1: Make sure that the model you give the class is a clear natural sounding model. Step 2: Use hand movements to indicate intonation, and your fist to beat the stress. You can use join or separate fingers to show word boundaries and where linking occurs in phrases. Step 3: To finalise, use back chaining. This is an attention-grabbing technique and can help learners focus on intonation more easily. Step 4: The teacher may vary the procedure as concerns who repeat (boys only or girls only; students on the left side of the room, etc.), however, the pace must always be lively and snappy.

• Disappearing Text starts with a short text, a list of

This kind of drill is successfully used with teenagers, older adolescents and adults particularly at lower levels.

• Songs, rhymes and chants represent ideal repetition practice for young learners. Music, rhythm will foster the memorisation of chunks language particularly for that age group. like ʻHead, shoulders, knees and toesʼ, provide fun drilling for parts of the body.

and repetition in a foreign Action songs for example,

When accompanied by gestures and actions, songs and chants appeal to different learning styles and enhance the process of learning. Older learners may be selfconscious about singing. However, depending on the age group, the teacher can bring to the classroom rock ʻn roll and pop songs to be used for the same purpose at all levels.

• Guessing games, which require a lot of repetition of the target language, foster practising or recycling of a variety of language items. This kind of drill can be used

vocabulary items or a dialogue. It works very well with teenagers and older adolescents. Young learners, however, lose interest in it very quickly due to their short span of attention. Most adults assume it is a waste of time and find it childish. Step 1: Together with the class, write a short text on the board, i.e. a description of a person or a place, or a short narrative. Step 2: Rub off a small part of the text and ask individual students to read out the text including the part that has ʻdisappearedʼ. Step 3: Gradually rub off more, and more bits, and each time get a different student to repeat the whole text. Because students have to repeat the same text so many times, practice will increase and memorisation will be favoured because of rehearsal. As the activity continues, the game factor to get the text right will make it challenging and motivating to learners. This kind of drill can also be used with learners of different age groups at different levels.

• Mingle activities provide opportunities for a lot of repetition of target language. Find someone who is a mingle-type activity. For example, if we want to practise routines for the use of the Present Simple, the following procedures can be used.


Step 1: Give students flash cards with commands like Find some who... wakes up at 7, eats toast for breakfast, watches TV in the afternoon, etc. Step 2: Ask students to go around the class asking the questions using Do you...? and making notes. Step 3: Once the activity is over, students report back to the rest of the class the answers obtained. As an alternative, students can draw charts, as if compiling the results of a survey, to find out how many students wake up at seven or watch TV in the afternoon. Mingle activities appeal to adult learners and older adolescents at any given level because logical thinking plays an important role in the activity.

• Information Gap activities are often designed to provide highly controlled practice of particular linguistic items. By swopping bits of information, which requires the use of a particular language pattern, the students complete grids or tables, and sometimes even solve a problem. Step 1: Divide the class in two groups, Students A and B. Step 2: Student A receives a shopping list and specifications of products they need to buy. Students B receive different pricing lists with varying prices and specifications of the products available at the different shops where they work. While talking to each other, students have to complete a grid with the information they hear. Step 3: In pairs, students A and B ask and answer questions about the prices and the products. Step 4: The whole class discuss where the products can be found and where the customer would get the best price. Information gap activity is very popular among teenagers and older adolescents. Depending on the content of the activity, adults will find it motivating. This kind of drill can be used at any level.

• Storytelling is not only popular among young learners but is also essential for their cognitive, intellectual and emotional development. In ELT,

storytelling can be used to raise the learner awareness towards new language items and, by the same token, to encourage fun repetition of language. Step 1: Tell the students a story in which the target language item presented appears repeatedly. Step 2: Ask comprehension questions about the story to check their comprehension. Step 3: Tell students you are going to read the story and from time to time you will pause and they have to complete the sentence. Do this as a challenge. Step 4: Retell the story, making strategic pauses every time the language item being drilled appears. Step 5: Repeat the story, challenging different students or groups of students to complete the sentences. The element of fun must be present throughout the activity. The same technique can be applied to reading comprehension passages with students at all levels and belonging to different age groups. The technique fosters language awareness and enhances logical thinking. To conclude, for drilling to be meaningful, it has to be contextualised. It is of paramount importance that learners understand the aim of the activity clearly. Monotonous chanting of decontextualised language will demotivate learners, bore them, and make the activity counter-productivity. Therefore, work on meaning must come before drilling.

Noticing and Recycling Memory researchers have concluded that humans learn by meeting an item cyclically or repeatedly. The emphasis lies on the limited capacity of working memory, as well as, on the importance of meaningful rehearsal. In his book The ELT Curriculum, White (1988) describes different types of syllabi and points out that a good syllabus should incorporate recycling. According to White, the cyclical or spiral syllabus does not merely return to a point introduced earlier, but adds a new dimension to what has been seen before.


In his book The ELT Curriculum, White (1988) describes different types of syllabi and points out that a good syllabus should incorporate recycling. According to White, the cyclical or spiral syllabus does not merely return to a point introduced earlier, but adds a new dimension to what has been seen before. According to Lewis (1997:51) meeting the same several times with no explicit teaching ʻ both a necessary and sufficient condition for its acquisitionʼ. The broad consensus, therefore, is that each time learners meet an item in a new context they understand it more and more, gradually adjusting it internally. That demonstrates the importance and relevance of the process of noticing, and recycling. Let us consider the implications of noticing and recycling for the EFL classroom.

1. Teacher training: One of the main implications for teacher training would be to develop in trainees an increased awareness of and sensitivity to language. This kind of training would equip trainees with the ability to develop language conscious-raising in learners (CR in Willis, 1996) in order to facilitate the process of acquisition. Teachers should be equipped with the ability to develop the process of linguistic awareness raising in class through two kinds of ʻnoticingʼ (Thornbury, 1997 : 326 in Timmis, 2004). First, they would make learners attend to linguistic features of the input to which they are exposed, so that ʻinputʼ can become ʻintakeʼ. Then, learners must ʻnotice the gapʼ by making comparisons between the current state of their developing linguistic system and the target language system available as input. The production of the selected features, however, is not a necessary part of the process. Communicative activities that might give students an opportunity to try out the item could be optional. 2. Teaching materials: Ideally, textbooks should incorporate recycling elements as part of the syllabus. For instance: As part of the Table of Contents, a Recycling Column would be included

to indicate to teachers and students the cyclical process of recycling throughout the course. Within units or lessons, textbook writers design boxes whose aim is to raise learnersʼ attention towards new language items, or items to be recycled. As a spin-off, language tasks would ask the learner to identify, discover, or reconstruct features that appear in the language box. 3. Games: Games have always been a teacherʼs best friend. In ELT, language games can promote recycling of language items in a motivating atmosphere because of its intrinsic fun element. Find below some suggestions of language activities that promote recycling. Memory Challenge Step 1: Divide the class into pairs or small groups. Step 2: Give the groups a challenging time limit (two or three minutes) and ask them to write down as many words, phrases, and/or expressions as they can remember from a specific topic from the previous lesson. Step 2: Ask students to report the words they listed. Step 3: The pair or group that can remember the most items wins. Last One Standing Step 1: Give the class a topic that is part of the syllabus and that they have already studied. Step 2: Ask them to stand up in a circle. Step 3: Clap out a beat and count up to three. Say a word or expression related to the topic. Step 4: After the next three beats, the next student in the circle gives a word or expression related to the topic, and so it continues. Anyone who cannot think of a word/ expression or repeats an expression/ word already said has to sit down and it is the next person's turn. The winner is the last one standing. The Alphabet Game Step 1: Divide the class into three or four teams. Step 2: On one side of the board, write down six categories related to the current topic or syllabus of the course (e.g. countries, movies, verbs, etc.). Step 3: Start the game by randomly selecting a letter of the alphabet and scribbling it onto the board. Step 4: Each team must work together as quickly as possible to find a word for each of the six categories that starts with the chosen letter. Step 5: The first team to complete all six categories shouts "stop!" The class then stops writing. Step 6: A member of the team goes to the board to fill in the categories. Step 7: The teacher checks each word with the class while eliciting what other teams had for each category.



This activity is ideal to do after students have seen prepositions. Step 1: Ask the class to draw a picture of a bedroom or of a landscape, i.e. a picture related to the current topic or syllabus of the course (e.g. countries, movies, verbs, etc.). They should not allow their peers to see the picture they have drawn. Depending on their level, the picture could be more or less complex. Step 2: Put them in pairs - student A and student B. Step 3: Student A describes the picture he drew and student B has to draw it in detail on a separate piece of paper. Then, student B describes her and Student A reproduces the picture. Step 4: Students compare the pictures to find out the differences between them. Step 5: The pair that has fewer differences between the pictures is the winner.

As demonstrated, the evolution of language approaches shows the importance and relevance of the benefits of a process of meaningful repetition and systematic recycling in language teaching. Besides the way in which memory works enhances the need for rehearsal and repetition to accomplish a long lasting process of learning.

Supplementation: In case the syllabus of the course does not include tasks that promote linguistic conscious-raising, the language institute or teacher would supplement it including activities of that nature whenever they identify a ʻnoticingʼ or ʻrecyclingʼ opportunity.

Reading Reference Anthony, E. M. 1963. Approach, Method and Technique. English Language Teaching 17: 63 – 67. Brown, D. H. 1987. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. Prentice-Hall, Inc. New Jersey.

Teacher training plays a central role in endorsing that need through the development of programmes that explicitly aims at increasing the traineeʼs awareness of and sensitivity to the process of learning. Materials writers should include in textbooks elements that promote a process of cyclical learning and that facilitate language awareness raising. Learner-centred classroom procedures can support the necessary use of repetition in class without running the risk of boring and demotivating the learners. At the end of the cycle, classroom teachers should constantly be looking for opportunities to promote repetition and recycling activities to enhance the process of learning. Undoubtedly, the teacherʼs final feedback to trainers and textbook authors is of utmost importance to improve teaching in a constant search for excellence.

Ramos, C. 2002. O despertar do Gênio. Aprendendo com o Cérebro Inteiro. Qualitymark, Rio de Janeiro. Richards, J. C. and Rodgers, T. S. 1986. Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching, Cambridge Language Teaching Library. CUP, New York.

Burden, R. L. and Williams, M. 1997. Psychology for Language Learners. Cambridge Language Teaching Library. CUP, Cambridge.

Timmis, I. 2004. Principled Compromise or Compromised Principles? Folio, Journal of the Materials Development Association – MATSDA, Vol. 9.1, Leeds.

Garcia, V., Sili, R. and Chaves, C. 2004. Country-specific materials: a Brazilian case study. Humanising Language Teaching, year 8, issue 1, Jan. 2006. 02.htm

Tomlinson, B. (edited), 1995. Materials Development in Language Teaching. Cambridge. CUP, New York.

Hymes, D. 1972. On Communicative Competence. In J. B. Pride and J. Holmes (Eds.) Sociolinguistics , pp. 269-293. Harmondsworth. Penguin.

White, R. V. 1988. The ELT Curriculum: design, innovation and management. Wiley-Blackwell. Oxford.

On human memory:

Willis, J. and D. 1996. Challenge and Change in Language Teaching. Heinemann. New York. Krashen, S. D. & Terrell, T. D. 1983. The Natural Approach: Language Acquisition in the Classroom. Oxford: Pergamon. Lewis, M. 1997. Implementing the Lexical Approach. LTP, London. Miller, G. A. (1956). The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on our Capacity for Processing Information. Psychological Review, 63, 81-97. Moulton, W. G. What is structural drill? International Journal of American Linguistics 29 (2, pt. 3:3 – 15)


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