EATE Estonian Association of Teachers of English
The EATE Journal Issue No. 47 August 2015 LITERATURE IN LANGUAGE TEACHING Alan Maley
BRINGING OUR TEXTBOOKS TO LIFE Natalja Zagura
NEWS FROM BROOKLYN Julia Hirsch
NOTES ON LANGUAGE CONTACTS Enn Veldi
WHEN EX-PATS MEET TRADESMEN OR ... HOW THE BRITISH COPE WITH ESTONIAN SERVICE STANDARDS Erika Jeret
INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC SPEAKING COMPETITION 2015, NATIONAL FINAL Zinaida Jevgrafova
THE AGE OF IMAGINATION Adhele Tuulas
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH – TRAVELLING THROUGH TIME Ilmar Anvelt
IATEFL 49TH CONFERENCE IN MANCHESTER Erika Puusemp
LONDON SIGHTS OFF THE BEATEN TRACKS Ülle Kurm
JOHANNES SILVET 120 Ilmar Anvelt
A DREAM COME TRUE Hanna Saare
Experienced Educator ENTICED BY TECHNOLOGY An interview with Meeri Sild
Reading Recommendations CONTEMPORARY YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE IN ENGLISH — A FEW RECOMMENDATIONS BY A LIBRARIAN Annika Aas
MADELEINE THIEN’S DOGS AT THE PERIMETER AS A NOVEL OF MEMORY Eva Rein
Come and Share DOING LONDON WITH TEENAGERS Mare Jõul
EATE Annual Conference Tartu, 24 October 2014
British Ambassador Christopher Holby and Country Director of the British Council Ursula Roosmaa with the EATE Committee Leena Punga opening the conference
His Excellency the British Ambassador Christopher Holby
T천nis Kusmin speaking on how new technology empowers English teaching
Jane Petring spoke about English for Environment
Classroom in late October sunshine
Estonian Association of Teachers of English www.eate.ee Chair
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LITERATURE IN LANGUAGE TEACHING Alan Maley
Freelance writer, lecturer and consultant
Alan has been involved in ELT for over 50 years now, working in some 10 countries worldwide. He has published over 40 books and numerous articles. His main interests are in creative methodology, classroom dynamics, creative writing, literature and drama.
INTRODUCTION Background Literature as part of the language-teaching curriculum has weathered a number of storms over the past century. Initially regarded as the central feature, along with grammar, of language teaching in traditional approaches, it underwent rapid decline during the periods of structural/behavioural ascendancy, and the more recent pragmatic, use-focussed communicative regime. It is only relatively recently that it has regained a degree of recognition as one of the approaches competing for our pedagogical attention. However, it is still at odds with the current focus on speed, efficiency, accountability, performance objectives and value for money in a global consumerist economy increasingly driven by digital technology. What conceivable use might literature have in such a context? WHY LITERATURE? Continuing relevance of the linguistic, cultural and personal growth models? It has been customary to propose three main models for the use of literature: the linguistic model, the cultural model and the personal-growth model. (Maley 2001:182, Duff and Maley 2007:5-6) Do these models continue to have relevance? Literary texts certainly continue to offer a rich and varied linguistic resource, and as such, provide the kind of input for phonological, lexical, syntactic and discoursal acquisition regarded by many as essential for effective language learning, in contrast to the more restricted and narrow exposure offered by many pedagogically-driven texts. They are also an ideal resource for the development of language awareness: of language variation (historical, geographical, professional, sociological), of social appropriacy, of ideological bias, of illocutionary meaning, etc. Particularly in the international context, where multi-cultural encounters are increasingly important, the cultural potential offered by literature is also undeniable. Literature cannot be used to ‘teach’ culture, but it can illuminate the multi-facetted contexts, practices and beliefs our students may be expected to encounter in their professional and personal lives outside the classroom. In the words of Kramsch (1993: 233-259), it can create ‘third places’, from which students can critically examine both their own and other cultures. And literary texts have lost none of their power to promote personal growth, through better understanding of human motivation and action. Students exposed to such texts are opened to better critical understanding of themselves and of others in a rapidly-changing and often confusing and paradoxical world.
LITERATURE AND HOW TO TEACH IT What is literature? How we teach literature will depend partly on our beliefs about the nature of literature itself. Among the more frequently-encountered beliefs are: • that literature is a collection of texts regarded as the most significant within a language or cultural group. Such canonical texts are sanctified by long familiarity and by academic authority. In English, this traditional canon would include works by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickens, etc. It rarely includes work by living authors. And it gathers about itself a cocoon of critical discussion, debate and exegesis which often removes the original works from the centre of attention (Calvino 2000:3-9). This is Literature with a capital ‘L’ and it still can and does form the basis of programmes of study. • that literature is made up of any text which needs to be read aesthetically rather than efferently (Kramsch 1993: 122-4) – or is open to representational, rather than referential interpretation (McRae 1991). In this view of literature, (what McRae calls ‘literature with a small ‘l’) the traditional canon is expanded to include a much wider variety of texts and a much less constrained approach to interpretation. It places the text at the centre of attention and encourages a personal response to it (Rosenblatt 1978). • that literature is defined by a limited number of more or less rule-governed genres or text types. These normally include poetry with its many sub-genres, including songs; fiction, ranging from very short mini-sagas and flash fiction via short stories to very long novels, and including oral as well as written stories; drama, including comedy, tragedy, farce, absurdist plays, radio-drama, etc.; essays and letters; travel literature; biography and autobiography; history; philosophical and religious texts; journalism; speeches; etc. The focus is then on the ways in which such genres are constructed, how they function and what value they may have for their communities of users. • that literature comprises special uses of language peculiar to itself. The focus here is on the literary devices which are found in unusually high proportions in literary texts, though not confined to them. In such a definition, attention is drawn to the figurative/metaphorical aspects of literary texts and to the high degree of patterning found in them at all levels: phonological, lexical, syntactic, and discoursal. Characteristically, approaches deriving from this definition would examine in detail the many literary tropes and devices: metaphor, personification, repetition, parallelism, collocation, rhyme, alliteration, assonance, rhythm, intertextuality, visual layout, etc. and attempt to assign interpretations to them. This view of literature would suggest a more technically-oriented approach to the study of texts. How might literature be taught? Traditionally, there have been two major approaches to the use of literature in language teaching programmes: • Literature as study Here the focus is on canonical texts as objects of study: set books, line-by-line analysis and explication, etc. It essentially centres upon teaching about literature. Typically, this involves a good deal of transmission of received opinions about writers, their lives and times, their influences, critical views of their work, etc. The emphasis is on ‘telling’ rather than on ‘discovery’ and on memorizing content rather than on critical reflection and inquiry. • Literature as resource 2
Here the texts tend to be drawn from a wider range and are used either as samples of language use or as springboards into other language learning activities. In a sense, the literature is secondary to the language learning aims and objectives: it is a kind of vehicle for engaging with the language. This might be characterized as teaching with literature. Both these approaches are open to criticism, however. The literature as study approach tends to focus on canonical texts drawn from Inner Circle countries (Kachru 1992). Such texts are often far removed from students’ lived experience and may be culturally inaccessible. Even when more local texts are chosen, the transmission-dominated model of methodology usually remains unchanged, and this is inappropriate where there is a need for students to become active participants rather than passive recipients. The literature as resource approach may also prove unsatisfactory. It may become nothing more than another way of introducing and practicing language as part of a pre-determined syllabus. The specifically literary value of texts may be overshadowed by the linguistic content and the methodological gymnastics played with it. This approach may be reduced to a box of tricks which students rapidly tire of. This is not to deny that both these approaches may have valuable elements in them provided they are used appropriately. However, I want to suggest a third possible approach, which I shall call literature as appropriation. • Literature as appropriation In this approach, the aim is to enable students to make literature their own, to appropriate it for their own learning purposes in ways relevant to themselves and to the context in which they move. Both the other approaches are to a greater or lesser degree external to the students, what I have termed elsewhere literature from the outside in (Maley 2010). In the approach advocated here, I am suggesting ways of enabling students to get inside the skin of the texts – to apprehend them from the inside rather than simply to comprehend them from the outside – what I have termed literature from the inside out. We may characterize this approach as learning through literature, and it seems particularly appropriate where a personalised and critical appreciation of English is crucial to students’ development as independent users of the language. How might this be done? A number of possibilities suggest themselves: independent work on extensive reading and listening; performance of texts; creation of texts by students themselves, both spoken and written; and a number of pedagogical techniques, including project work, where responsibility is passed largely to the students. These types of work will be described in greater detail in the next section below. Pedagogical applications and practices I suggested above that there were at least four main ways in which literature could be more effectively incorporated into such a context. • • • •
Extensive reading (and listening) Performance Creative writing and speech. Techniques for getting inside the skin of texts.
Extensive reading There has been a growing interest in the potential of extensive reading to promote language acquisition, especially of vocabulary and collocation (Day and Bamford 1998, Goodman 1996, Krashen 2004, Maley 2009, Smith 2004).
For extensive reading to be effective, the following criteria have to be met: 1. Students read a lot and read often. 2. There is a wide variety of text types and topics to choose from. 3. The texts are not just interesting: they are engaging/compelling. 4. Students choose what to read. 5. Reading purposes focus on pleasure, information and general understanding. 6. Reading is its own reward. 7. There are no tests, no exercises, no questions and no dictionaries. 8. Materials are within the language competence of the students. 9. Reading is individual, and silent. 10. Speed is faster, not deliberate and slow. 11. The teacher explains the goals and procedures clearly, then monitors and guides the students. 12. The teacher is a role model … a reader, who participates along with the students. The justification for introducing extensive reading programmes is based partly on research evidence that such programmes produce superior results (see Day and Bamford 1998, and Krashen 2004 for a summary of the research findings). It is also obvious that, given the limited hours of instruction in most programmes, students will never be exposed to enough vocabulary, enough times, to acquire the necessary quantum in classrooms alone (Waring 2006). Out-of-class learning is the only way, and one of the most convenient and proven ways of doing so is through massive independent reading, entailing repeated encounters with vocabulary in context. In one sense, it is contradicting the tenets of extensive reading above to recommend activities. However, even such simple activities as mini-presentations of books read or poster presentations can help to both share and fix the texts in memory. For a more comprehensive set of ideas, see Bamford and Day (2004) and Waring (2000). Extensive reading does not only involve literary texts, of course, but they are among the most motivating genres. Moreover, although we cannot hope to ‘teach’ the many varieties of English which our students will encounter in the EIL world, we can give a certain limited exposure to them through the medium of literary texts drawn from a variety of geographical sources. In a similar way, exposure to extensive listening texts can reinforce and extend language acquisition. There is now a wide range of recorded fiction and poetry available in the form of talking books, DVDs and film. One particularly rewarding and motivating type of listening is to hear and watch authors reading from their own work (see, for example, Astley 2008). In this way, they can begin to tune in to the many authentic voices and accents of living writers. In the absence of recordings, clear and sensitive reading aloud by the teacher can be almost equally inspiring (Maley 2009). Performance One of the most effective ways of getting inside the skin of a text is to perform it. To do this well, the students have to have understood it and lived with it. There are also clear benefits in memorisation (without tears), cooperation, self-esteem and motivation. Performance can take a variety of forms. It may consist simply of students performing short texts they have chosen. A more demanding and intensive type of performance is to ask students in groups of about six to prepare an orchestrated performance of a text. In doing so they will need to consider parameters of volume, pace, pitch and rhythm, as well as which lines will be spoken by one or more speakers, etc. (Maley.1999, 2000). This is related to work in ‘Readers’ Theatre’ by Shirley Brice-Heath (1983) and Courtney Cazden (1993) in the USA. The effects on retention and on motivation and self-esteem are remarkable 4
Creative writing The act of writing creatively has a number of well-documented positive effects both on the learning of the language and on personal and social development. Taking the place of the writer – in fact, becoming a writer – helps students develop greater sensitivity to the ways the language functions, with particular benefits for vocabulary, collocation, rhythm and syntactic variety. The game-like activity of writing creatively in the foreign language promotes willingness to take risks, to try out new things, and in the process, helps develop awareness of the language, of the world and of oneself. Even more importantly, perhaps, the act of creating original texts and ‘publishing’ them (whether on a notice-board, a website or as a leaflet), empowers the students, and enhances their self-esteem (Spendlove 2008). They have in a sense appropriated the language – made it their own. : There are now many resources available to teachers wishing to try out creative writing with their students (Koch 1990, Maley and Mukundan 2011, Matthews 1994, Spiro 2005, 2006; Wright and Hill 2009). Techniques for getting inside the skin of the text There are so many of these that it is not feasible to attempt a detailed catalogue. The following titles are a good starting point: McRae and Vethamani (1999), Maley (1993, 1995), Maley and Duff (1985), Maley and Moulding (1985), Lazar (1993), Tomlinson (1986). Essentially, the activities offered in these books encourage students to engage personally with texts in interesting and challenging ways in order to uncover and discover them afresh. CONCLUSION I began this article by describing the continuing advantages of using literary texts, and how literature fits into different curricular frameworks. I went on to discuss four different views on what constitutes literature, as a preliminary to a discussion of three possible approaches to its use: teaching about, with and through literature, expressing a preference for the last of the three – literature as appropriation, and suggested four major types of activity: extensive reading (and listening), performance, creative writing and techniques for apprehending texts from the inside. Throughout, I have had in mind the kinds of challenges students now face with respect to English, learning and life. Among the most important of these are: • the need to somehow survive the culture of speed and info-glut which threatens to overwhelm them. This implies the need to restore control over time and information, and to make available time for reflection, discrimination and criticism. • the almost exclusive focus on the short-term, utilitarian value of education, with scant attention given to the long-term values of aesthetic appreciation. This implies finding a place for texts and practices which do help develop aesthetic and affective appreciation (Jakobson 1960). • the all-too-frequent priority given to English at the expense of local languages and cultures. This implies the need to use English instead as a way of validating the local rather than submerging it, and restoring self-respect and self-esteem. • the gap between the model of English offered in the classroom and the plurality of English uses outside it. This implies exposing students to many of the varieties they will encounter, even if these cannot be taught explicitly. It is my contention that literature can achieve some success in meeting these four challenges. There are, of course, no easy options, and no sure-fire solutions. Given that literature will always be regarded by some at least as irrelevant, there will be a corresponding need to make a case for it in contrast to the more fashionable, the more ‘modern’, the more technological, the more utilitarian approaches on offer. This entails constantly re-making the way literature is used to keep it fresh, interesting and thus relevant. 5
REFERENCES Astley, Neil (ed). 2008. In Person: 30 Poets. Bloodaxe Books (includes 2 DVDs). Bamford, Julian and Richard Day (eds). 2004. Extensive Reading Activities for Teaching Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Calvino, I. 2000. Why Read the Classics? London: Penguin Classics. Cazden, C. 1993. Performing expository texts in the foreign language classroom. In Kramsch, Claire and Sally McConnell-Ginet. Texts and Context. D.C. Heath. Day, Richard and Julian Bamford. 1998. Extensive Reading in the Second Language Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Duff, Alan and Alan Maley. 2007. Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Goodman, Kenneth S. 1996. On Reading. London: Heinemann. Heath, S.B. 1983. Ways with Words: Language, Life and Work in Communities and Classrooms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Jakobson, Roman 1960. Closing Statement: Linguistics and Poetics. In T. Sebeok (ed) Style in Language. New York: Wiley. Kachru, Braj B. 1992 (ed). The Other Tongue: English across Cultures. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Koch, Kenneth 1990. Rose, Where Did You Get That Red? New York: Vintage. Kramsch, Claire. 1993. Context and Culture in Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Krashen, Stephen. 2004. 2nd edition. The Power of Reading: Insights from the research. Heinemann. Lazar, Gillian. 1993. Literature and Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. McRae, John. 1991. Literature with a small ‘l’. London: Macmillan. McRae, John and Edwin Malachai Vethamani. 1999. Now Read On. London: Routledge. Maley, Alan. 1993. Short and Sweet I. London: Penguin. Maley, Alan. 1995. Short and Sweet II. London: Penguin. Maley, Alan. 1999. Choral Speaking. English Teaching Professional. July 1999. Maley, Alan. 2000. The Language Teacher’s Voice. Oxford: Heinemann. Maley, Alan. 2001. Literature in the language classroom. In Ronald Carter and David Nunan (eds) The Cambridge Guide to Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language, 180-185. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Maley, Alan. 2009. Advanced Learners. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Maley, Alan. 2010. Literature from the Outside In and from the Inside Out. Unpublished paper: Asia TEFL Conference, Hanoi. Oct. 2010. Maley, Alan and Sandra Moulding. 1985. Poem into Poem. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Maley, Alan and Alan Duff. 1985. The Inward Ear. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Maley, Alan and Jayakaran Mukundan. 2011. Creative Writing Activities: Poetry. Petaling Jaya: Pearson Malaysia. Maley, Alan and Jayakaran Mukundan. 2011. Creative Writing Activities: Stories. Petaling Jaya: Pearson Malaysia. Matthews, Paul. 1994. Sing Me the Creation. Stroud: Hawthorne Press. Rosenblatt, M, Louise. 1978. The Reader, The Text, The Poem. Carbondale Il: Southern Illinois University Press. Smith, Frank. 2004. 4th edition. Understanding Reading. Malawah NJ: Laurence Erlbaum Associates Inc. Spendlove, David. 2008. Emotional Literacy. London: Continuum. Spiro, Jane. 2004. Creative Poetry Writing. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Spiro, Jane. 2006. Storybuilding. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Tomlinson, Brian 1986. Openings. London: Penguin. Waring, Rob. 2000. The ‘Why’ and ‘How’ of Using Graded Readers. Oxford University Press, Japan. (free publication accessible on www.oupjapan.co.jp/teachers/tebiki/tebiki.shtml) Waring, Rob. 2006. Why Extensive Reading should be an indispensable part of all language programmes. The Language Teacher, 30 (7): 44-47. Wright, Andrew and David A. Hill. 2009. Writing Stories. Innsbruck: Helbling.
BRINGING OUR TEXTBOOKS TO LIFE Natalja Zagura
Department of English, University of Tartu
Every good teacher understands that we are supposed to teach students, not just present the material from a textbook. For a teacher, the textbook should be a resource, something that one uses creatively in order to match one’s aims and teaching style, as well as to match the students’ needs and interests. No textbook is perfect in itself. However, a smart and dedicated teacher can skilfully adapt it, supplement it with extra materials, if necessary, and drop the activities that do not seem to be relevant for a particular group of language learners. The ability to approach the textbook critically and creatively comes with time and experience. A young teacher is tempted to become overdependent on the textbook and let it dictate how the material should be taught. An experienced teacher can quite easily assess the strengths and weaknesses of a textbook in general and some activity in particular. Over time, it becomes clear to us what types of activities our students tend to enjoy and gain from and which activities just do not work with them. Thus, at a certain point of our teaching career, we acquire a set of our professional tips and favourite types of activities. It is certainly a positive thing that the teacher becomes more skilful at adapting the materials, but at the same time there is a danger that the techniques one uses become static and there is little time and energy for discovering new types of activities and techniques for adapting materials. This is where all kinds of refreshment courses come into play, which make us more aware of what we are doing in the classroom, remind us of the techniques that we might have forgotten and also motivate us to discover and try out the new tips and activities that our colleagues have created and are willing to share with us. The workload of the teacher of English is usually so heavy that little free time is left that could be dedicated to attending some courses or reading on the new trends in didactics. After a long day of work, there is usually little temptation to deal with something else related to teaching. The material has to be concise, practical and easily applicable, only then the overworked teacher might consider looking at it. While looking for some practical materials for professional development I discovered for myself a free online course Shaping the Way We Teach English organised by the US Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs1 and aimed at introducing contemporary methodological topics that foster interactive, studentcentred language instruction. It seemed especially attractive that at the centre of the course there are interactive live webinars, which are recorded and are afterwards available on YouTube2. Thus, any teacher can afterwards watch the videos and webinars that seem interesting and relevant to her/him at the time and tempo that suit the individual teacher. One of the topics that seemed most appealing to me was “Adapting Materials to Meet Your Classroom Needs”. As Estonian teachers of English might be interested in this topic, I have decided to share some information with the help of Open! The web page that contains numerous links to the materials suggested by practicing teachers and specialists in didactics is the post by Larry Ferlazzo “The Best Resources for Adapting Your Textbook so It Doesn’t Bore Students to Death” (Ferlazzo 2011). Every teacher can explore the web sites and presentations suggested there on their own, as the interests and needs of different teachers are different. 1
An Estonian teacher of English can apply for the course through Tiiu Vitsut, Coordinator of Cultural and Regional Outreach Programs at the Embassy of the USA. 2 For finding a wealth of educational videos on YouTube, use search words “shaping the way we teach English”; there is also a separate set of videos in the section Webinars.
Below, I would like to share some ideas and recommendations that were presented at the Shaping the Way We Teach English webinar, developed and conducted by Roger Cohen and Russel Barczyk (28.01.2015). An experienced teacher is probably familiar with a large part of the material presented below, but it is always useful to refresh oneâ€™s knowledge and reflect on why you are teaching the way you do. To start with, we need to identify what it means to adapt language-teaching materials. According to Cohen and Barczyk (28.01.2015), adapting a textbook involves modifying content and/or activities so that they fit our own teaching style and learnersâ€™ needs and preferences. Some of the content might need to be added or deleted, depending on the pace that we want to achieve within a course. Sometimes the teacher might decide that it would be better to reorganise the content, so that activities are presented in a different order; for example, it might seem more effective to start with a reading text rather than address some difficult grammar point on Monday morning. Addressing omissions is also something that a teacher might consider, if she feels, for example, that there is little attention paid to vocabulary or some grammar point in a certain unit of a textbook and the students would need some extra activities related to those issues. Finally, adaptation may also involve extending activities, for example using pyramid discussion3 to activate the learners and make the material more memorable. Looking at the aspects of adaptation mentioned above, every teacher would probably admit that this is what we actually do all the time, either consciously or unconsciously. Why do we do it? Teachers may wish to adapt some activity because it does not seem interactive enough or does not create enough context for the learners to communicate in a meaningful way. In this case, a more communicative activity can be suggested and some extra details when setting the task or even a suitable text could be provided to the students. Sometimes it is necessary to make an activity more motivating for a particular group of learners, so that it would be linked to the studentsâ€™ interests and they would have a reason for doing something. Finally, we might also wish to modify an activity in order to integrate skills (e.g. listening, speaking, reading and writing) and thus make the activity more productive. For example, having listened to a recording reporting some news and having answered the questions given in the textbook, the students may be asked for each piece of the news heard to write a short one-sentence summary, which could be used for the news line, or the students can be asked to write similar short reports about the current events in their country (some local newspaper can be used as a source of ideas for the pieces of news to report). When selecting appropriate activities and adapting them the teacher has to consider several issues, such as class size, learner preferences, student level, culture, the aim to teach learners, not the textbook and the need to activate the students, so that they would have enough opportunities to communicate (Cohen & Barczyk 28.01.2015). Because of space constraints, I mostly focus on the first three issues below. However, all the techniques discussed actually contribute to personalising activities and activating students. Those interested in exploring the topic in more detail are invited to view the complete video recording of the webinar available on YouTube. The teacher who needs to teach a relatively large group of learners faces a number of challenges: student talk time has to be maximised, every learner needs to get attention and feedback from the teacher, it is important that every learner can hear and see the teacher and the information shown on the board or screen has to be visible to everyone (Cohen & Barczyk 28.01.2015). In order to minimise the problems related to the large size of the group, the authors of the webinar suggest that, for example, listening or reading groups with mixed abilities can be created in class and seating can be shifted between listenings/ readings, so that different students could help each other. Mixed skills activities can be suggested, so that there would be enough challenge for every student. Jigsaw listening activities4 and information gap 3
A pyramid discussion is a speaking activity where learners form progressively larger groups as they carry out a speaking task, which normally requires each grouping to reach agreement before joining another group. /.../ Pyramid discussions are useful for practicing a range of functions, including agreeing and disagreeing, negotiating, summarising, and putting forward an argument. (TeachingEnglish) 4 Jigsaws were developed by Elliot Aronson, for extra information see www.jigsaw.org.
are the types of activities that extend the student talk time to a great extent. For example, when working with a long and quite challenging text, the class can be divided into four groups (1, 2, 3 and 4, see Figure 1), each focusing on a particular part of the text and reading, translating and discussing it together. At the second stage of the activity, new groups (A, B, C and D) are formed in a way that there is a member of each of the initial groups (1, 2, 3 and 4) in the resulting mixed groups. Within a mixed group each member is responsible for presenting and clarifying their part of the text to other group members. As a result, every student has an opportunity to talk and synergy is created to maximise studentsâ€™ learning. Figure 1 Jigsaw activity, image by Barbara Tewksbury (http://serc.carleton.edu)
Information gap is another type of activity that language learners usually enjoy. It is not difficult for the teacher to provide pairs of pictures or texts, where text/ picture A contains the information missing in text/ picture B and vice versa. Information gap activities are usually interesting for the students and provide them with an opportunity for meaningful communication. In order to cater for different learner preferences, Cohen and Barczyk suggest that the English teacher should select and adapt the activities so that they would meet different learning styles, i.e. be suitable for visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and tactile learners. For example, an activity suggested below (see Figure 2) can be modified in various ways depending on the learning style we would like to cater for. Figure 2 Sample activity from Interchange,Third Edition 1, ÂŠ 2005, Cambridge University Press (Cohen & Barczyk 28.01.2015: slide 17)
To meet the preferences of tactile learners, work in groups can be organised so that each group needs to write a short story about their activities of the previous weekend using the collocations addressed in the exercise. Each sentence is written on a separate strip of paper (see Figure 3). Stories are switched and another group needs to rearrange the strips of paper so that the activities are in the correct order. As a result, each learner gets a tactile activity. Figure 3 Sample adapted activity for tactile learners (Cohen & Barczyk 28.01.2015: slide 18)
For visual learners, various pictures can be exploited (see Figure 4). The students can be asked to draw schematically either one of the activities that they did or a series of them. Then, the learners can work in small groups or pairs and, based on the pictures, make guesses about the recent activities of their partner(s) – it can be developed into a good extended speaking activity. Another effective technique is drawing the so-called collocation wheels, where collocations are grouped according to the verbs that they have in common. Afterwards, the recent activities of the learners themselves can be discussed with the help of the collocation wheels. Figure 4 Sample adapted activities for visual learners (Cohen & Barczyk 28.01.2015: slides 19-21)
For auditory learners, dictoglossus could be an effective modification of the activity. The teacher might write a text about her/his recent activities, read this text to the learners twice, at a normal speed and the learners need to reproduce this text in writing, taking a note of as much of the text as possible. Afterwards, in pairs, the students compare and modify their versions of the dictated text and, after that, several pairs can read their texts out loud. Finally, the teacher can show the actual text. Having used the new collocations in a meaningful context repeatedly, the students are more likely to remember and use them correctly afterwards. For kinaesthetic learners Cohen and Barczyk suggest such activities as mini-dramas, pairing students or walk and write activity. For example, some student can act out their answers and other students have to guess what the activities are. The teacher can also distribute to the students cards with the key verbs (do, go, have, make, take) and the second parts of the collocations (e.g. “a lot of fun” or “the dishes”) 10
written on them, each student will get one card and needs to find the suitable partner to form a correct collocation. Afterwards, the students complete the rest of the activity in the resulting pairs or groups. In the walk and write activity the students might be asked to walk around and write down the answers of their group mates, so that the findings could be summarised afterwards. The activities like “Walk and write” and “Find someone who...” are a good opportunity to get students move and talk to different people. The classes with mixed ability levels should not be a problem for the teacher if s/he knows how to modify the level of difficulty of an activity and how to turn the different ability levels into an advantage rather than a drawback. Again, various activities involving group work would be a good solution. Moreover, the level of difficulty of a certain activity can be quite easily modified. For example, in a listening activity, the recording can be played in segments, the students can complete the task in teams, instead of working individually, or if gaps have to be completed with missing words, the initial letters of the missing words can be provided. The aim of the present article was to remind the teachers of English of the types of activities that they are probably familiar with but for some reason do not use that often. Hopefully, it will also motivate some of us to reflect on what we do in our classes and why we do it. We can be quite happy with some of the textbooks we use and we can find some textbooks relatively weak; however, in most cases there is an opportunity for the teacher to adapt the activities suggested in the textbook to the students’ and her/ his own needs and preferences. In any case, a good teacher should not become overdependent on the textbook, but rather use it as a resource and bring the textbook to life by approaching the material creatively. Only then is it possible to make a step from presenting the material from the book and start teaching from one’s heart. REFERENCES Cohen, Roger and Russel Barczyk. 28.01.2015. Adapting Materials to Meet Your Classroom Needs. Shaping the Way We Teach English Webinar 15.2. Available at https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=wAToAmbtJbM , accessed on 16 April 2015. Ferlazzo, Larry. 14.05.2011. The Best Resources for Adapting Your Textbook so It Doesn’t Bore Students to Death. Larry Ferlazzo’s websites of the day. Available at http://larryferlazzo.edublogs. org/2011/05/14/the-best-resources-for-adapting-your-textbook-so-it-doesnt-bore-students-todeath/, accessed on 16 April 2015. Shaping the Way We Teach English. n.d. American English website. Available at http://americanenglish. state.gov/resources/shaping-way-we-teach-english-webinars, accessed 16 April 2015. TeachingEnglish. n.d. British Council web page. Available at http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/ knowledge-database/pyramid-discussion , accessed on 16 April 2015. How well do you know Boston? (pictures p. 48) 1. Old City Hall was home to Boston City Council from 1865 to 1969. 2. Faneuil Hall has served as a marketplace and a meeting hall since 1742. The monument in front of the hall is to Samuel Adams, American statesman and political philosopher. 3. Tea Party Museum. The Boston Tea Party was a political protest in 1773 against the Tea Act of the British Parliament. 4. Bunker Hill Museum. 5. Monument to the Battle of Bunker Hill where American colonists fought the British forces in 1775. 6. Old State House, built in 1712-13, one of the oldest buildings in the United States. Served as the seat of the colony government and the state government of Massachusetts, now a museum. 7. Pyramid-shaped memorial to the family of Benjamin Franklin in the Granary Burying Ground. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.
NEWS FROM BROOKLYN Julia Hirsch
Professor Emerita, Brooklyn College, New York
The sky was big, nine years ago, when I first looked out of my eleventh-story apartment window in Brooklyn Heights. My view, which faces east, included tree tops, Concord Village, the extensive apartment complex on the other side of the park, and the tangle of roads and highways that take travelers from Manhattan to Queens. Although the view was neither pretty nor romantic, I enjoyed its urban grit and saw the huge stretch of sky as a timeless – and soothing – blanket over the roughness of the scene. Beyond the hard realities of city life – traffic, noise, the press of people – was the mantle of nature, particularly miraculous on a clear morning when the sun would come streaming in my window and drench me – and my houseplants – in light. Today, almost a decade later, the view has been compromised by the tall towers of new construction. My big sky has been shrinking year by year, month by month, day by day. Change has obliged me to rethink the way I understand my neighborhood and today’s city. And I had to do just that in order, once again, to teach my beloved course on New York City folklore at Brooklyn College, from which I’d retired six years ago. I could see plenty of change in the city all around me – more tourists, soaring rents, more trendy restaurants, more bicycles – but I had to incorporate my perceptions into my syllabus. At a colleague’s suggestion, I read Suleiman Osman’s The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn: Gentrification and the Search for Authenticity in Post War New York (Oxford University Press, 2011). This proved to be excellent advice. Osman writes about the borough I’ve been living in for nearly thirty years, and about changes I’ve observed, if not actually been part of. Osman focuses on Brooklyn Heights which today is the most sought-after part of the borough. It was once a neighborhood not only of elegant townhouses – the kind that Dr. Sloper, in Henry James’s Washington Square, occupied in Manhattan, but also working men’s rooming houses, small shops and humble businesses. As these fell into decay, after World War II, middle-class white professionals who wanted to own a home but didn’t want to leave the city bought up the old structures and turned the rooming houses into single-family homes, to replicate the townhouses, or converted them into two or three apartments. Walls were broken down to create larger rooms, balusters that had been covered over by layers and layers of paint were stripped to expose the original grain of wood, ceilings acquired plaster rosettes, the floors were stripped of rotting linoleum to expose oak planks, many of which had to be replaced due to decay, “water closets” were replaced by flush toilets, sleek bathtubs replaced lion-footed ones which were The author's home in Brooklyn taken outside to turn into planters, the neglected patch of soil full of broken crockery at the back of the house was turned into an attractive garden. In other words, Osman argues, the process of urban change, which accelerated in the late 1950s and went into high gear in the following two decades, was not one of “renewal,” fixing what was there, but of “invention,” creating 12
an urban space that hadn’t been there before in order to serve a particular aesthetic. This aesthetic was not merely about color and shape, size and layout; it also carried with it an implicit social agenda which resulted in the displacement of a poorer, working class population by a more affluent professional one, a shift that also characterized “urban renewal” throughout the city. (An excellent overview of this history can be found in the introduction to Robert Caro’s The Power Broker and the Fall of New York, 1975). Osman’s work resonated with me loud and clear. I remember seeing photographs in the New York Times in the late 1960s of the demolition of small buildings that preceded the construction of the very apartment building I live in, and of its neighbors across the park. And the change that Osman writes about is evident all around me. Smith Street, which features in Jonathan Letham’s 1999 novel, Motherless Brooklyn, had a few family-owned grocery stores and botanicas (shops that sold religious items geared to Hispanic and Caribbean folk beliefs) but also plenty of abandoned buildings thirty years ago. Now it is dotted with boutiques and cafés. All but one of the fabric stores on Bridge Street where I used to buy sewing notions to make or mend clothes are gone, their combined sites giving way to a large apartment building currently under construction. The handsome Beaux Arts style Independent Savings Bank on the corner of Atlantic and Court is now a Whole Foods (an upscale food store which has branches in other American cities, and which I’ve also visited in London, on Knightsbridge). Williamsburg, which was an ethnic enclave for two very different communities, is now full of trendy art galleries, bars, and expensive apartments. The region of abandoned factories and warehouses stretching between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges – what I described earlier as a part of the East River shore line – has acquired the nickname Dumbo (“down under the Manhattan Bridge” – no connection to Disney’s loveable elephant) and is the site of expensive apartment buildings (some new, some renovated commercial buildings), art galleries and upscale commerce. Brooklyn is no longer a raw hinterland, as it is in Thomas Wolfe’s wonderful story, “Only the Dead Know Brooklyn,” or Martin Scorsese’s Once Upon a Time in America, but, as Osman notes, a new Manhattan. All of these changes affect the city’s folklore, its unwritten customs and practices, and especially the survival of ethnicity and immigrant cultures. To begin with, I had the students read Osman. Unlike students I’d taught six and more years ago, this group had a better all-around knowledge of the city and quickly recognized the erosion of differences between Brooklyn and Manhattan. They were well aware that Brooklyn is changing; although only two or three lived in gentrified areas, they knew the borough’s trendy places. And a number of them came from other boroughs, including the Bronx and Staten Island. (Brooklyn College students used to come only from Brooklyn. Now they no longer do. An administrative change in the governance of the City University of which Brooklyn College is part allows students to complete their degrees by taking courses at CUNY colleges throughout the city.) Their relative familiarity with more parts of the borough and of the city made them more receptive to Osman’s argument: they could observe evidence of it all around them. One student, for instance, was almost in tears about the fact that she lives in Bensonhurst (an area hardly gentrified) but would rather live in Brooklyn Heights because it’s “cooler.” And when it came to talking about folklore they knew – an important part of the course – many students spoke with deep nostalgia about “the good old days” ten years ago when, before the era of I-pads and smartphones, they played in the street and spent their free time outdoors on the stoops and in the playgrounds of their neighborhoods, something they agreed they no longer observe children doing in their familiar streets. The older students (a woman in her 30’s, another, in her 50’s) spoke about block parties they had enjoyed in their neighborhoods before “newcomers” came in who weren’t interested in forming a community with their older neighbors. Gone were the shared meals that were a staple feature of a block party, or the practice of decorating a Christmas tree in the middle of the block on someone’s front lawn. And nothing had taken their place. Since I wanted the students to observe the process of “gentrification” more closely and to have a shared experience of it, I sent them to Gowanus, a mixed-use area, that once included small factories, car-repair garages, and a once heavily polluted navigable canal which has for years been the object of neighborhood concern. (A full account of the area is available on en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gowanus Canal). While much of the two square miles of the area still contains modest two-story houses covered 13
with vinyl siding, most of the factories and garages are gone and there is evidence of a new, more sophisticated aesthetic. An old factory (its sign still visible on the outside brick) has been turned into an art gallery and a ceramics studio. Another abandoned house has been turned into an expensive ice-cream parlor. Siding has been replaced by wood or brick facing, larger windows have been installed, bare soil has been planted with flower beds and shrubbery. I gave the students a list of features to look for: a new door with an imposing brass knocker, a café with an “all-American” menu, an Gowanus Canal old factory boarded up and showing a “for sale” sign, a gated driveway bearing a sign “ French Antiques for sale,” and showing a display of wrought-iron café furniture, an old factory painted in an attractive shade of forest green and serving as a banquet hall. Then I asked them what were the implications of these changes. They understood at once that these changes brought a different population into the neighborhood, that the newer sites invited visitors who had no commitment to the neighborhood, that sooner or later these attractions would draw a population interested in buying up declining properties and convert them, and that all of these “incursions” would bring further changes. And they also arrived – unprompted – at the same question. What kind of community would emerge? Displacement was an important theme in our discussions. It tied back to their own experience of the city – of their own neighborhoods. Since many of my students come from Black and Hispanic workingclass families, they understood that gentrification was a challenge to them. A few of the students spoke about wanting to get their own apartment but not being able to afford one: rents in the city have been increasing steadily. One student told me he had to choose between staying in school and living with his parents, or getting a job to support himself – in his own apartment – and dropping out of school (he chose the latter). The personal experiences that students were willing to share were also very poignant. The oldest woman in the class talked about how rarely people in the neighborhood (Park Slope) where she and her family have lived her entire life now like to sit on their stoops and chat: the women who had moved in in recent years were at work, their children in day care, no one was home to look out for them, to look out for neighbors, to get to know them and their families the way women had done for generations when they were still at home, as housewives. A young man talked about a run-down playground in Greenpoint where he and his friends had gone to try out smoking; the place had now been furnished with playthings for young children as well as a dog run; it was no longer deserted, and so it was no longer a good “hangout” for young teens who wanted to try a bit of oppositional behavior. “All the kids are home with their I-pads,” he lamented, “nobody’s out there playing stick ball or “Johnnyon-the-pump.” But Christmas at Grandma’s, in a Bronx or Brooklyn low-income housing project, with family favorites such as ham and apple pie, was still a beloved family practice. A student from Ecuador spoke of how her family had to abandon a tradition of creating and burning a large effigy at New Year’s, and continued to party together in their best clothes. “Burning that ‘old year’ isn’t something you can do in a New York apartment,” she noted, with some regret. Courtship was another popular topic. Three students from two different ethnicities described very similar nuptial practices: parental scrutiny of the aspiring partners, the giving of elaborate gifts, negotiations over a dowry, and the familial expectations placed on the couple. The students had a glimpse of a different kind of social contract in Paris is Burning, the 1990 documentary by Jenny Livingstone about Harlem ball culture, a culture deeply involved with fashion, that draws together homosexual and transsexual Black and Hispanic youths in search of personal meaning and fulfillment. While the subject of the film shocked some of the students, because of its opening presentation of transgressive sexual practices, two of them said they were familiar with ball culture and most of them were interested in the way the film interrogated race, class, gender and sexuality. A few of them even said that they were glad to have seen a film that allowed them to reflect on their own search for identity. 14
Moonstruck, the 1987 film with Cher and Nicholas Cage about love and marriage in a Brooklyn-based Italian-American family was much less controversial and proved a pleasant, “feel good” finale to the course. Some of the students knew the film but found new meaning in some of the scenes (Loretta’s insistence that Donny get down on his knees to propose, the parents’ home décor, the importance of food in the evolution of Ronny’s and Loretta’s relationship). They had had to cross Carroll Gardens, where the film takes place, to get to Gowanus and so were also able to compare and contrast the neighborhood some thirty years ago, with its abundant Italian presence, to Carroll Gardens today, with its expensive toy stores, cafes, yoga salons, specialty food and clothing stores. They were able to see that “gentrification” brings homogeneity and globalization, and that the particular features of an ethnicity get lost. Although this may have little connection to my students’ perceptions of urban life, many more than in the past relied on media to make their presentations. Where formerly students drew diagrams, made posters, brought in quilts or old cloth dolls as objects to talk about, they now used You-Tube to illustrate their presentations. Two students, however, brought in crafts they had made and a third prepared a special dish to illustrate his talk about a foodway. And another, who talked about the folk music he and his father performed in local bars, brought in his guitar and serenaded us with some of the songs he’d written. All in all we managed to find a happy medium between old and new, and I was pleased that for all the changes that have taken place, we were all engaged in learning about customs and traditions in an open and accepting way. But I continue to worry about my neighborhood. The old factory of the Brooklyn Eagle, a local newspaper, has been changed into a luxury apartment building protected by a locked gate. The large biscuit factory that for years was being renovated as an apartment building has finally been completed. Last summer the small cinema across the street that specialized in “art” (non-Hollywood) films closed down and within the last month a small organic restaurant has, too. I asked the dry cleaner next to the now-defunct cinema what was happening to the site, and she said, calmly, that a high-rise apartment building was going to be built there. “What about you?” I asked. “We’re okay,” she said, “we’re not going anywhere.” I wonder.
NOTES ON LANGUAGE CONTACTS Enn Veldi
Department of English, University of Tartu
The present article was partly inspired by the Erasmus Summer School “Language Contact in Contemporary Europe”, which was organized by the Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik of the University of Greifswald in August 2014. The Anglicists in Greifswald focus on the study of language contacts – Amei Koll-Stobbe and Sebastian Knospe are internationally renowned researchers in the field. Greifswald promotes the town as Universitäts- und Hansestadt Greifswald, which points to the significance of the university. The summer school brought together lecturers and students from seven universities in the Baltic Sea area: Gothenburg, Greifswald, Klaipeda, Latvia (Riga), Poznan, Tallinn, and Tartu. In such circumstances, you learn a lot from experts in the field, and you are expected to contribute some of your expertise. Apart from two weeks of informative lectures and seminars, the participants explored and documented the linguistic landscapes of Berlin, which is a truly cosmopolitan city. The summer school ended with a visit to Strahlsund, 15
a beautiful seaside town, and the island of Rügen. However, the present article is not intended as an overview of the presentations made at the summer school. Rather, its focus is on some ideas that could be of interest to our readers. Moreover, the long-awaited publication of Aino Jõgi’s thesis English Loanwords in Estonian in 2014 (completed in 1971) sparked renewed interest in English loanwords locally (see also the reviews by Ilmar Anvelt and Enn Veldi). Thus, the present article has multiple sources of inspiration.
Student assignment at the summer school. Comparison of English loanwords in different languages.
First, I will briefly discuss some basic concepts. The paper “The Analysis of Linguistic Borrowing” (1950) by Einar Haugen was an important contribution to the study of loanwords. According to Haugen, ‘borrowing’ is a misleading metaphor in linguistics because words are borrowed “without the lender’s consent” (Haugen 1950: 211). Nor is there any intention of returning to the lender what was borrowed. Haugen also suggested three types of borrowings: 1) loanwords, 2) loanblends, and 3) loanshifts, based on the “extent of morphemic substitution: none, partial, or complete” (Haugen 1950: 214– 215). Thus, loanwords are borrowings into another language without any morphemic substitution, such as droon ‘drone’, viski ‘whisky’, and selfi ‘selfie’. However, phonemic substitution is highly common, and it can also be “none, partial, or complete” (Haugen 1950: 214). For example, in the Estonian word röövel ‘robber’ the final r has been Contemporary German has many English loanwords replaced by l because of dissimilation, cf. the Low German and English rover. On the other hand, loanblends or hybrid words reveal co-existence of morphemes from different languages. For example, let us compare ööklubi in Estonian and ‘night club’ in English; the Estonian compound is a loanblend where the first component öö is Estonian and klubi is a borrowing. Comparison of the German word Steuermann ‘first mate’ and the Estonian tüürimees shows that the fist component of the Estonian word is German while the second component is Estonian. The third category comprises loanshifts, also known as loan translations, semantic loans, and calques. An example is lasteaed, cf. German Kindergarten (while the English word ‘kindergarten’ is a borrowing from German, it belongs to the first category of borrowings). Comparative analysis of Estonian, English, and German shows that in many cases Estonian and German reveal similar patterns while English is different, for example, sisse tegema and einmachen but ‘to pickle’; lumikelluke and Schneeglöckchen but ‘snowdrop’. Translation loans are also Strandkörbe (beach baskets) in Binz (island of Rügen) common in idiomatic phrases, for example, 16
the meaning of päeva lõpuks in the sense ‘eventually’ is the translation loan of the English phrase ‘at the end of the day’, and kapist välja tulema is the translation loan of ‘come out of the closet’. As is known, the history of the English language poses many challenges to scholars interested in language contacts. A state-of-the art study of lexical borrowings as a source of lexical growth in English is Borrowed Words. A History of Loanwords in English (2014) by Philip Durkin. One should point out that in the course of its 1,500-year history the English language has borrowed words from hundreds of languages. Starting from Middle English the word stock of English has been heterogeneous, and Modern English is heterogeneous and pluricentric. However, nowadays the proportion of borrowings is rather modest in the lexical growth of English and varies between two and eight per cent in the studies by different authors (see Koll-Stobbe 2000: 128–131). While in the course of many centuries English used to be in the role of a borrowing language, by now English has become a major donor language, and many languages borrow extensively from English. Philip Durkin explains this situation as follows:
Schuhbode and kingapood. German words often make you think about their Estonian equivalents.
Prestige borrowing from other languages has greatly declined in contemporary English for one simple reason: right now, English is the prestige language of learning and many aspects of contemporary cultural life, both within Anglophone societies and beyond, and the predominant pattern is for other languages to borrow from English, and not vice versa (Durkin 2014: 49). Peter Trudgill has studied contact-induced simplification and complexification from the perspective of sociolinguistic typology (there is an excellent YouTube lecture that you might wish to watch). This topic was discussed at the summer school by Marcin Kilarski from Poznan. The history of the English language provides a good example of how a synthetic language (Old English) with a remarkable degree of morphological complexity underwent simplification and, as a result, became a highly analytic (isolating) language (Modern English). For example, in Old English nouns had the grammatical category of gender (masculine, feminine, and neuter), and there was extensive grammatical agreement in gender, case, and number which was lost by the period of Middle English. Apparently, loss of morphological complexity in Old English can be regarded as contact-induced simplification as a result of long-time co-territorial contact in a high-contact society. The traditional explanation is that that the languages in contact were Old English and Old Norse. Now it appears that there is an alternative hypothesis that also contacts with Celtic languages might have brought about simplification of morphological complexity. REFERENCES Anvelt, Ilmar. 2014. Posthumous Publication of a Dignified Work. OPEN! The EATE Journal. Issue No. 45, 34–35. Durkin, Philip. 2014. Borrowed words. A History of Loanwords in English. Oxford UP. Haugen, Einar. 1950. The Analysis of Linguistic Borrowing. Language. Vol. 26, No. 2, 210–231. Jõgi, Aino. 2014. Inglise päritolu sõnad eesti keeles. Tallinn: Eesti Keele Sihtasutus. Kilarski, Marcin. 2014. Basics 1: “The contact linguistics tool-kit: language contact in theory and authentic practices”. (presentation slides) Koll-Stobbe, Amei. 2000. Konkrete Lexikologie des Englishen. Entwurf eines Theorie des Sprachkönnens. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. Trudgill, Peter. Languages in Contact and Isolation: Mature Phenomena and Societies of Intimates. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjy1CkH1FOE (accessed on 28 April 2015) Veldi, Enn. 2014. Tulnukad ingliskeelsest keeleruumist. Keel ja Kirjandus. 7, 555–558. 17
WHEN EX-PATS MEET TRADESMEN OR ... HOW THE BRITISH COPE WITH ESTONIAN SERVICE STANDARDS Erika Jeret
Pärnu College of the University of Tartu
In a globalising world where more and more people can afford to travel, flee from ‘bad’ climate, migrate in search of work or settle down temporarily in other countries for work or leisure or both, our neighbourhoods are changing as well. In the 2015 Estonian parliamentary elections, our compatriots cast their electronic votes in 116 countries across the globe (Vabariigi valimiskomisjon, 2015). The National Compatriots’ Programme (Rahvuskaaslaste programm), run by the Estonian Government, “supports the study and use of the Estonian language of the Estonian community that resides temporarily or permanently abroad. The aim being to support expatriates wishing to return to Estonia and offer information about Estonia and Estonian communities abroad” (National Compatriots´ Programme, 2015). From a different perspective, Estonia is becoming more international all the time. In the past we – that is Estonians – were used to having Russians, Ukrainians, or a Kazakh as next door neighbours, today the geography of the catchment area has expanded immensely to the north, west and south. As for the east, it stretches further out too. The range of nationalities is widening, as is the mix of skin colours, religions, attitudes, expectations… When someone settles down in a new place, there is apparently a whole host of everyday little things to deal with – your water and sewage bills, and rubbish collection, gas and electricity, (mobile) phone, Internet connection and TV, car and changing tyres – how do you find out about providers and their services, what needs done by when and where and how. Beware – Murphy will be lurking out there, ready to strike you at the most inconvenient moment. The following is a tiny collection of stories where one of the parties is a British national with or without an Estonian spouse. These are situations taking place on a daily basis near us, and possibly with someone of our family. Let’s say you have a house where some electrical work needs done on wiring and a couple of sockets. You check yellow pages, do the compulsory Google search, speak to your nearest neighbours, colleagues and friends. You end up with a handful of names and phone numbers for individuals and companies. You start contacting them one by one. The result? A number of possible outcomes of your phone calls: Hmmm, we’re only doing larger jobs such as blocks of flats; we are far too busy for the next three weeks/ months – call again in spring/autumn/winter; do you have a blueprint plan and drawings for the wiring for your house? – we can only work to plans and schemes available; okay, very good, I will pass this information on to electricians, my partner, my father. In the case of the last example, a possible scenario is that three months later nobody has contacted you with an interest in doing the job. Exasperated, you start a new search. It results in one positive response to come at such-and-such-a-time and check the site and amount of work needed. The day arrives, you are having your tea and it is still half an hour before the expected visit from a prospective electrician, when the doorbell rings and an enthusiastic man pokes his head round the door. ‘Here I am!’ he declares, ‘What do you want done?’ You explain as best as you can – after all, you are not an expert, he nods knowledgably, following a brief inspection he declares all electrical work and the junction box previously installed by a similarly qualified electrician unsuitable, unfitting, if not rubbish, and tells you to get it all replaced and re-installed. His charges for potential work blind you for a moment or two before kindly escorting him out. In a nutshell, you launch another search for another man capable of doing what you considered a simple job and were tempted to do yourself, except in the maze of coloured wires where colours do not match your understanding of 18
earth, wind and fire, sorry! – earth, live and neutral wire – colouring, you’d rather not risk your dear life. Eventually the job gets done without a murder in your wallet, yet at the expense of lots of little grey cells. What may perplex foreigners is how Estonians shop assistants treat them. Let us imagine a situation in a DIY shop where a foreigner whose Estonian is absent or negligible, is trying to explain in English what he needs. After a confused look from the attendant at the English tirade from the foreigner, the assistant disappears without word. Now what!? Should I follow the attendant, should I wait here? Questions rush through the head of the poor person who only wanted to buy a couple of items. A minute later, the shop attendant reappears with the item requested. Following an alternative scenario, the assistant re-appears with a colleague who has some (or even good) English, and the foreigner explains again. The shopping trip is a success! What makes the assistant’s wordless escape a particularly clumsy scene is when the foreigner is accompanied by a native speaker of Estonian who could have helped to explain had the shop assistant only given them a chance before their escape. Although Visitestonia.com website promotes Estonia as a country where many people have good English, by the same token there are – and quite naturally – people with no or little English. This may lead to the following situation. A gentleman needs a haircut and goes to the hairdresser’s salon. As soon as he has presented his wish to the nearest employee or desk manager, a hairdresser disappears into the back office. All you can hear is comments whizzing across the room in Estonian ‘oh, I do not want to speak to him, I cannot speak English that much’ and with almost perceptible reluctance someone does the job. Another option is when the foreigner is accompanied by his Estonian-speaking spouse or partner who does all the explanation in Estonian, and the conversation goes on between the hairdresser and the spouse and the poor man in need of a haircut feels at a loss until the spouse tells him it is all been discussed and okay now and he may slip into the chair. It is anybody’s guess how many more times this customer returns to the salon which features reluctant service providers. Having a meal out, be it in a simple pub or a more sophisticated restaurant, may turn out a wonderfully memorable affair, or perhaps memorable but for all the wrong reasons. In a fine dining high-end restaurant your server maybe wearing white gloves, fraying a bit, and speak good English. They are attentive to your needs and tastes and are well able to recommend dishes to suit your palate. The fine imagery in your head takes a tumble though, when s/he places your cutlery in front you holding spoons and forks by the service ends. There are situations in pubs and restaurants where the service staff seem to be hiding themselves from customers. One particularly observant and sharp-sighted customer had seen a member of staff in a pub actually crouching behind the bar so that they did not see customers waving their arms and seeking attention. Staff chatting to each other at the bar and paying next to no attention to patrons when the latter need it may be a fairly common sight in some establishments. Observations have been made that what appears to be lacking in the catering industry is thinking independently and anticipating customers’ requests, or, put it simply – what might benefit this person at this particular moment. When now considering a different industry, Estonian handymen have good manual skills and they know what they can provide when an order comes in and they get a contract. However, they also know better than the customer. In this example, a foreign couple decided to have an open fireplace on the ground floor replaced by a good modern heat-storage stove. The job was agreed upon and off it went. Unfortunately, the house owners went ballistically off too, after the finished product was presented. The stove was not as big in floor area as agreed, a completely new chimney was put in through the upstairs bedroom closet while the existing one was dismantled, and a hole was left in the ceiling for the owners to deal with. Dare one complain about deviation from the contract? ‘But we didn’t charge you higher fees because you are foreigners!’ is a good enough excuse, is it not? Estonian handymen adore heavy equipment and machinery too. They absolutely enjoy themselves when presented with an opportunity to drive around your garden in a JCB digger or Bobcat front loader when 19
you are careless enough to contract some digging, laying pipes or similar. Forget about your decorative shrubs, bid goodbye to your flowerbeds, and your lawn in particular, the one you so meticulously mow week after week and admire. What lawn!? – We need space for manoeuvring, and it makes a wonderful playground for a front loader with a heavy bucket full of soil. Deep tracks? Come on, if you want a job done, you have to give up on something! It is hard to imagine the owners’ bewilderment that Estonian workers take it upon themselves to appropriate large swathes of garden without even considering to ask permission. And the path of destruction left in their wake … The manager of the company is equally bewildered when confronted with questions regarding his company’s customer care programme and training of labour. Customer care? But we do everything to the letter laid out in the contract. It should be pointed out here that British-trained workforce understand it as part of their job to tidy up after themselves be it working indoors or outdoors. This is to do with training as well as work safety regulations so that a worksite, e.g. a home, is potentially hazardous to neither handymen or other parties. The mess left behind at sites – house, outdoors, garden, etc – in Estonia may go beyond one’s wildest expectations at times and is thus in stark contrast with work ethics nurtured in Britain. Therefore, it may be also difficult for Brits to come to terms with. These are a few stories collected over recent years in conversations with the representatives of the British community in Estonia. None of the contributors claim, though, that one only gets bad service in this country or that similar situations do not occur in other countries. Yet it is pointed out again and again that customer service needs a lot of training and recognition of proactive approach. In conclusion just two pieces of advice to remember wherever your business: • Customers make paydays possible. • The customer should not fall victim to your service. REFERENCES Vabariigi valimiskomisjon. http://www.vvk.ee/valijale/e-haaletamine/e-statistika/ Retrieved on 10 April, 2015. National Compatriots’ Programme. https://www.hm.ee/en/activities/estonian-and-foreign-languages. Retrieved on 10 April, 2015.
INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC SPEAKING COMPETITION 2015, NATIONAL FINAL Zinaida Jevgrafova
Jewish School of Tallinn
The 7th National Public Speaking Competition run by the English-Speaking Union of Estonia was held at Tallinn Kuristiku Gymnasium on March 5, 2015. This year each participating school had the right to register two students and about 30 participants competed in the National Final of the IPSC representing different schools of Estonia from Tallinn, Tartu, Kohtla-Järve, Viljandi, Jõhvi and Viimsi. More than 90 supporters and guests came to enjoy the speeches prepared in advance on one of the seven themes which were announced in November 2014: •
To be ignorant of the past is to remain a child (ESU)
• • • • • •
Imagination is more important than knowledge (IPSC 2014) In the end, lies and misinformation are no match for the truth (Barack Obama, Sep 3, 2014, Tallinn, Estonia – US Embassy) Economic development depends on human capital more than physical capital (UK Embassy) Traditional gender roles in a modern society (Peep Põder, NPSC 2014 finalist) A battle I am not prepared to lose, (Gertrud Metsa, NPSC 2014 finalist) Technology: Bringing us closer or pushing us apart?
Chris Holtby, HM Ambassador and the Chair of the Panel of Judges, Mihhail Kõlvart, Vice-Mayor of Tallinn, Raino Liblik, Headmaster of the Gymnasium, and Zinaida Jevgrafova, ESUE Chair and Convenor of the NPSC, welcomed the audience and wished the participants good luck. In the first round, the speakers had to deliver their 5-min speeches on one of the seven themes. Then they answered up to 3–4 questions from the audience. The judges had to choose the four best speakers of each heat. In the second round, the semi-final, 12 winners of their heats had to prepare a 3-min speech on a topic chosen by them 15 minutes before that. No question and answer session followed this round. The semi-finalists were Mart Piirimees and Allar Saarman from Tartu Jaan Poska Gymnasium, Kristian Volohhonski from Tallinn School 21, Adhele-Meelike Tuulas from Tallinn English College, Helene Viikholm from Tallinn Jakob Westholm Gymnasium, Julia Andrejeva from Jõhvi Russian Gymnasium, Indrek Pertman from Tallinn Kuristiku Gymnasium, Isabel Kärtner and Merilyn Sepp from Viimsi Secondary School, Mart Veerus and Anette Piirsalu from Tallinn Science School, Jan Martin Prass from Tartu Kristjan Jaak Peterson Gymnasium. The six best speakers, who won the semifinal, competed in the final and delivered their 5-min. speeches again. They were Indrek Pertman, Mart Piirimees, Adhele-Meelike Tuulas, Isabel Kärtner, Mart Veerus, Jan Martin Prass. All rounds of the Public Speaking competition were judged by qualified professionals who are teachers, professional speakers, communication experts, and former winners. Their decision was made according to the Judge’s Guidelines of the ESU IPSC Handbook 2015. Here are the key points that were taken into account: 1) Expression and delivery – use of voice, audibility, use of language, appearance on stage, use of gestures. 2) Reasoning and evidence – original approach to topic, clear structure (opening, body, ending), main ideas supported by evidence / examples, argument / alternative viewpoints, contact with audience, clear purpose. 3) Organisation and prioritisation – creative structure, strong introduction and conclusion, signposting – arguments categorised / labeled, easy to follow and understand, managing time. 4) Listening and response – handling questions, courtesy, originality, relevance of the answer. The Judges for the Final were Chris Holby, HM Ambassador and ESU Estonia Honorary Member, Chever Voltmer, Deputy Chief of Mission at US Embassy, Suliko Liiv, Professor of Tallinn University and ESU Estonia member, Piret Kärtner, Head of Language Policy Department at the Ministry of Education, Phillip Marsdale, International Language Services, ESU Estonia Board member. According to their decision, the best speakers of the National Final 2015 are: the winner – AdheleMeelike Tuulas from Tallinn English College, teacher Bibi Raid (speech – Age of imagination, theme – Imagination is more important than knowledge); the runner-up – Mart Piirimees from Tartu Jaan Poska Gymnasium, teacher Lembi Loigu (speech – Communication via technology, theme – Technology: Bringing us closer or pushing us apart?). Mart won the Audience’s Favourite Award as well. AdheleMeelike will represent Estonia at the International Public Speaking Competition 2015 in London in May where she will compete with more than 50 participants from all over the world. We are very grateful to all our supporters: the US and UK Embassies, the British Council, the Ministry 21
of Education, Tallinn City Government, Tallinn City Council, ILS OÜ. Our special thanks to Margarita Eero and Kuristiku Gymnasium who provided an extremely hospitable atmosphere and made the long day much more pleasant for everyone. The photos of the day can be seen at https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=6A2FCD0907F3D3F8!21247&authkey=!AIjyBRbrr7vhz4Q&ithint =folder%2c What some of our finalists say. Mart Piirimees:
Well, summing up the event I just lived through is quite difficult, because so many brilliant things happened. I went to the event, ready to just have fun, but I did not expect to get through the first round at all, which was in the classrooms with our prepared speech. I gave everything of myself and received quite a lot to my surprise. I made my speech especially for young people, for it was from my perspective and easy to relate to. The magical essence of my speech was that it had a message that everybody already knew, but it had to be said out and people had to hear it with their own ears. The Competition was sincerely beneficial to my knowledge and I believe the best part of it was not finding out that I got some Finalists and judges prizes but listening to speeches prepared by others. Some people complimented me on my active and happy behaviour, but it was all just because of other speeches which made me see the world from other perspectives. But briefly, I thank everyone who was there to support me and everyone who prepared their speeches for such a great Competition!
On March 5, the National Public Speaking Contest was held in Kuristiku Gymnasium. As I had won my school’s preliminary round, I was sent to participate in that competition. But when I arrived, there were many surprises waiting for me. The first being that there were so many participants from all over Estonia eager to get their hands on the grand trophy and win a trip to London. Furthermore, the overall quality of the speeches amazed me with their complexity and great use of English. With that said, I was truly surprised that I made it through the first round and even semi-final to be one of the final six. From there on, the competition was even more fierce. I honestly believe that all the six who took part in the final deserved to win the competition, so the judges really had a hard choice to make. All in all, Adhele-Meelike Tuulas from Tallinn English College was crowned the winner, but I wasn’t the slightest bit disappointed, as I was truly happy to see that the number of Estonians who fluently speak English is rapidly growing, and I believe that competitions such as this one help to keep that trend going.
This year, I had an exceptional opportunity to confront some of the most gifted public speakers of Estonia. But contrary to what one may think this was like – it was one of the nicest experiences I have had in my short life. The atmosphere was truly welcoming and friendly. It felt as if every single person in the room had been waiting for the past week for you to speak – it was uplifting to feel appreciated and valued in a group of people who are extraordinarily fluent in English and have some really intriguing thoughts and ideas about the world we live in. What added to the competition and helped to make it all perfect, was the fact that everything was well organised and everyone involved gave 120% of themselves while being helpful and just amiable. Thank you, Zinaida, and all the teachers and officials involved in the competition for your words of encouragement and for reminding us all just to smile and enjoy the moment. I went home that day with a warm feeling in my heart and a big smile on my face, and I truly hope that I am lucky enough to experience this again next year.
THE AGE OF IMAGINATION Adhele Tuulas
Tallinn English College Winner of the English-Speaking Union Speech Competition, 2015
I believe you have all heard this quote and they say it was Einstein who said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited but imagination encircles the world.” It was around the time of Einstein when digital innovation was making a huge leap forward giving a push towards the Age of Information, which is the current age we are living in now – or at least, that’s what we so strongly hold on to. But what if we have already passed that, without even noticing? I believe it is important to question it, because at least in my experience, knowing where I am, knowing where I come from and knowing where and why I want to go can give me a tremendous advantage in understanding how to develop. Just 38 years after Einstein’s famous quote, Charlie Magee, a communication specialist at the time, suggested that perhaps civilization should not be so concerned about preparing towards the Age of Information, and perhaps we are already moving in an accelerating pace towards an Age of Imagination, as soon, imagination will be one of the crucial things that will help us cope with the masses of information and break free from the boundaries set thus far. In the Age of Imagination, we must learn how to learn in order to be ready to adapt into the fast changing society. This sounded rather fascinating to me and that is why I wanted to share it with you today. In retrospect, as of today, this could be true. Whether we look at today’s science, technology or the individual – the signs are there. The recent scientific developments are taking huge steps towards creating a better life for people in
the future. From a trembling, shaking body, to naming it Parkinson’s disease, to research into the brain, to using electrodes to fight it. From giving a name to HIV and AIDS, to understanding how it spreads, to developing treatments improving the lives of people with the disease and not giving up on finding a cure. Of course, these are only two examples, but in any case, we see that new steps from the past into a brighter future are taken every day, none of them without saying “Imagine a better way...” Technology is at a point at which it has never been before and is changing positions by the year. Let’s take touch-screen phones – new ones are launched every year. The first touch-screen phone was launched around 22 years ago. As of today, we are already able to wear glasses which can take our demands, take us to the desired location while reading out the news. What will happen in the next 22 years? Well, I believe our imagination, perseverance and courage will be a part of the factors determining that. And on the level of an individual? In a globalized, fast-moving, developing world, competition is getting tougher and tougher. Being immersed lately in the research of my own potential university options, I have become used to seeing that, in order to get into the top universities, my knowledge or academic achievement is not the factor which will actually guarantee me success – that can be achieved by around 14 times more people than there are places for. So what matters is how I stand out of those fourteen, how flexible my mind and knowledge is, how I deal with the challenges I have to face ... and of course luck to some extent. More and more, we hear that even knowledge-based work favors strong non-routine, cognitive skills, such as abstract reasoning, problem solving, communication, and collaboration – thinking outside the box and being original. Now, let’s not form beautiful illusions or be rashly skeptical – the Age of Imagination, as Charlie Magee put it, does not mean that “the planet is full of peace and love and happiness just because imagination will be the currency of our future economy. We’ll have just as many “bad” people, doing “bad” things, but they’ll be doing bad things in a different way.” If we take a moment to reflect on the terrifying happenings of today in Iraq or the fuss about Paris, we can see what Charlie Magee meant already back in 1993. We need new ways to deal with what is happening already today – not even to mention what we might face in the future. Of course, no developments or improvements can be done if one does not have the knowledge of where to begin. Thus, knowledge must not be undermined in any case – perhaps that is not the context in which Mr. Einstein was thinking. But if it is indeed true that we are moving towards or already are in the Age of Imagination, then we must radically reconsider the way we approach imagination next to knowledge – starting from our education systems ending with how we discipline ourselves and prioritize in what areas we wish to develop. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe that, only if we understand what has come before us, we can grasp the current situation of today. Only if we grasp the current situation of today, we can speak of development. Only if we learn how to learn, we will have the equipment to be able to play in the wild field this world has become. And hereby, I invite all of you to give the Age of Imagination one more thought and learn how to learn with me.
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH – TRAVELLING THROUGH TIME Ilmar Anvelt
Department of English, University of Tartu
During its history, the Department of English of the University of Tartu has occupied rooms in several buildings. In this brief overview, I am not going into very distant past but present pictures of and comments on the locations of the Department during my working life. I have been working at the University of Tartu from 1972. At first, I worked at what was then called the Department of Foreign Languages, from 1973 at the Department of English.
The so-called Old Languages Building, 18a Ülikooli Street (next to the University Café). The Department was located there until 2001. Entrance to the building was through the iron gates.
The stairwell of the Old Languages Building. The top floor of the building accommodated (clockwise from the top of the staircase) the Departments of Foreign Languages (the predecessor of the current Languages Centre), English, German, Russian Language, Russian Literature, Methodology of Teaching Russian. (in very early times, even the Department of Theoretical Physics at the far end of the corridor) Staff of the Department of English, Head of the Department Oleg Mutt in the middle of the front row (he said about this picture, “I’m like a frog. My wife won’t like it.”)
Language laboratory. The student on the left in the back row is Sven Mikser, the current Defence Minister. On the right, teachers of interpreting Mall Tamm and Malle Laar. 25
The Department of English was the last to remain in the Old Languages Building when all the others had moved out. The picture shows several staff members in the room that earlier used to belong to the Department of German.
Paabel (Bable), the building at 17 Ülikooli Street, opposite the Main Building of the university. Our Department was accommodated there from 2001 to 2002.
Foyer of Paabel where the whole Faculty of Philosophy has had its Christmas parties several times.
The whole teaching staff of our department had to work in one small room in Paabel.
After Paabel, the working conditions at 2 Küütri Street were quite luxurious. We had the whole building to ourselves.
Department library in Küütri Street building. Former Heads of the Department Heino Liiv and Krista Vogelberg at Christmas 2005.
The present residence of the Department of English at 3 Lossi Street. The Department moved to these premises on 20 March 2012. We were quite reluctant to move out from Küütri Street, but in a few days, everyone liked the new rooms better.
The corridor of the Department in Lossi Street. The whole new College of World Languages and Cultures is going to move to this building quite soon.
The library of the Department as it is now. The flag on the wall is a peculiar crossbreed of the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes in our national colours – blue, black and white.
The Department of English has always been part of some larger unit. Until the end of 2014, we belonged to the Institute of Germanic, Romance and Slavic Languages and Literatures. From the beginning of this year, our umbrella organisation is the College of World Languages and Cultures. The photo has been taken at the closing party of the Institute, from left to right staff members of the Department of English Enn Veldi (behind him librarian Karl Erik Saks and Eva Rein), Pille Põiklik, Ilmar Anvelt, Katri Sirkel (left the Department for the Estonian National Defence College). Photos: Ilmar Anvelt, Age Allas, album of the Department of English, Mall Tamm’s private collection
IATEFL 49TH CONFERENCE IN MANCHESTER Erika Puusemp
Department of English, University of Tartu
While visiting Manchester for the IATEFL Conference in April, I came to the same conclusion as previously, namely that every teacher of English should try to once participate in the conference to get the feel of a big international fair and 500+ lectures and seminars to choose from. Having said that, making the choices as to what to listen to is really similar to a lottery: if you do not know the speaker from previous times or other events, you cannot really be sure of how pleasant and/or useful your choices will prove to be. Since there is quite a substantial amount of the IATEFL conference content available online for IATEFL members (http://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2015/ sessions), I have decided not to comment on all the lectures I listened to but rather asked some fellow-participants to contribute to this overview by writing where they came from and what they especially liked about the event, picking one or two highlights to talk about. The following are the contributions by some that decided to answer my plea. * My name is Heather Krehbiel and I come from New Mexico, USA, originally. I got a bachelor’s degree in English, and in 1997, I moved to Germany with my German husband. We live near Frankfurt. I began teaching English to adults in 1998, having no experience and only a grammar book (Murphy’s English Language in Use) to guide me. I’ve mostly taught scientists and engineers since then, and the experience has taught me a lot. I also work as a translator (mostly translating legal documents from German into English). At the conference, I was quite taken by Bindu Varghese’s talk on teaching pronunciation in pairs. She is the director of studies at a language school in New York and developed short dialogues to be spoken by pairs of students from the same language group (i.e. Russians, Latin Americans, etc.) The dialogue includes the sounds that language group has the most difficulty with. The pairs are then corrected by other people in the class who come from different linguistic backgrounds (peer teaching). In the picture on the right, Heather and me are standing in front of the village church in Styal, close to Quarry Bank Mill, a National Trust industrial heritage site, which boasts a cotton mill built in 1784. Styal was built by the Greg family to house the mill workers and is still a thriving community, as participants in the IATEFL tour to the mill learnt from the tour leader Peter Grundy, past IATEFL president, descendant of the mill owners.
* My name is Maree Jeurissen and I am from Auckland, New Zealand. This was my first experience of an IATEFL conference, and I arrived with no friends, and left with many new ones, including Erika. It was interesting to meet people from countries around the world and talk about our similarities and differences in terms of teaching English. My current role in New Zealand is that of lecturer, at the Faculty of Education, the University of Auckland. I lecture on the Graduate Diploma of TESSOL (Teaching English in Schools to Speakers of Other Languages), which is a qualification for primary and secondary school mainstream and ESOL teachers, to support them in working with the increasing number of ELLs (English Language Learners) in New Zealand schools. In our schools, students are learning English as a second language, which is quite different from learning English as a foreign language. Students arrive in school and are immersed in mainstream English medium classrooms. The students come with varying degrees of English language proficiency, and so our diploma aims to give teachers skills, strategies, and understandings to support the learning of English alongside the learning of content/subjects. We stress the importance of maintaining students’ first languages and cultures, teaching English in meaningful contexts, including the explicit teaching of vocabulary and language structures. One session I particularly enjoyed at the conference was ‘Something to MULL over: mapping the urban linguistic landscape’ presented by Damian Williams from the United Kingdom. Damian began taking photographs of environmental print in various places around the world (including signs, graffiti and advertising) to document what he terms ‘linguistic landscapes’, which can be simply defined as ‘things displayed in public spaces’ (Landy & Bourhis, 1997; Shohamy & Corter, 2008). Damian showed examples of the types of images he (and others) had photographed and explained how they helped increase our understanding and awareness of the language and culture of a particular place. Several suggestions were made for how the signs/images could be used for classroom use e.g. • Students suggest the story behind the image • Assign students street names for which they have to find the history • Discussion starters • Treasure hunt – find capital letters, find words that mean, find particular letters/blends (low-level learners). Damian has created a Facebook group of people who contribute images they have photographed, and this has grown to 2,421 members. Currently there are 1,565 images available which have been categorized into 61 albums. Teachers were invited to join the group and send photos. Damian can be contacted at email@example.com if anybody would like to be included in the group. I thought I would share this idea here, because it is one which I think teachers of English around the world can use, and it’s one that I am looking forward to using in my own teaching. * My name is Tatiana Ishchenko. I am a teacher of English in a public secondary school in Nakhodka, Russian Far East. I also run my own business, a small private language school. It was my first time being and presenting at the International conference. IATEFL impressed me greatly. English teachers all over the world met together to share their experience, discuss teaching methods and problems, get new information about new textbooks, technology and have a lot of fun. There are a lot of teachers’ associations all over the world and in Manchester I represented the Russian Far East English Language Teachers’ Association (FEELTA). There was an Associates’ Day on April 10 where we discussed hot issues, learned how to build and develop teachers associations and shared ideas about mutual cooperation. As a presenter, I made a workshop on the global issue “International Youth Forum model as leadership 29
skill building“. For five years, we’ve been organizing an International Youth Forum model where nearly 150 students all over the city take part. Each school chooses a country and makes a presentation on global issues such as education, environment, children’s rights, health, national heritage, and some others. At the beginning, there is a plenary with international guests where the students present a country; then they are divided into groups where they discuss global issues, make posters, watch videos and write an address to the world leaders with students’ suggestions. The Youth Forum model is very popular in our city and I was very happy to share my experience at the conference. I also met wonderful people from all over the world and I hope we can make some projects for our students in the future. You can find all the materials on my presentation in my blog: tanitateacher. blogspot.ru In the picture on the right, Maree, me and Tatiana are enjoying the Mad Hatter Party Macmillan threw for conference participants to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. *
Mgr. Jitka Kolářová freelancer and interpreter, teacher trainer, ESL lector specialized on teaching adults with experience of educating at language schools not only in the Czech Republic (Oxford jazyková škola, s.r.o., Olomouc) but also abroad – Great Chapel College, London, GB, VEC Vancouver, Canada, and Collegium Abad Sola, Gandia, Spain. AMATE member and since 2014 on AMATE board.
First of all, I have to express how blessed I felt when AMATE (Association of Teacher Educators in the Czech Republic) decided that this year the representative was going to be me. Until this year, attending an IATEFL conference was something like a dream, and it came true just a few weeks ago! When I was asked to write briefly on the event, I asked myself, “How could one describe such a great event having only the twenty-six letters of the alphabet?” It is not an easy task to choose one or two pieces of the programme I loved most as it was really packed with great names, topics, ideas. However, I have to admit I was truly taken by the story of E. Ojeda Naveda: Teaching helping teachers (on VenTESOL story). We all have obstacles in our way while spreading the language, but truly, try comparing the situation in Europe to Latin America, Venezuela. I was not only moved but have to admit those guys really are superheroes! Another highlight of the conference programme for me was the plenary session by Joy Egbert on classroom learning, language, and technology. I may be a dinosaur in this aspect, but I still do prefer a paper copy. I would not call myself a technophobe, I handle the latest technology pretty well, but teaching adults who spend their work time in front of the screen taught me that face-to-face communication with a regular paper handout suits my students best. I understand that teaching kids brings other aspects into the classroom for teachers at the same time, but I think technology gets overrated. Technology aside, I loved the way Joy explained the motivation, students’ interest survey and basic engagement principles. Should I go into details about every lecture I enjoyed, it would be an enormously long piece of writing, 30
so let me keep it short and personal. You do not have to be a know-it-all to understand that an event of such repute has its celebrities, vibe and even nightlife! Imagine that teachers, lecturers, teacher educators etc. meet at one place to share, discuss, network, learn and teach, watch and listen, or just simply stay at one place for a number of days. I think even Alice from Wonderland would be surprised by the size and atmosphere of it! The feel was just indescribable, electrifying, absolutely absorbing and inspiring. Well, I reckon you just have to come yourself next time but be careful, it is addictive! This picture features Jitka and Jana, both from the Czech Republic, during poster presentations. Thanks to Jana’s initiative, EATE has now signed a partnership agreement with ATECR (Association of Teachers of English of the Czech Republic (see eate.ee/partners). As to my own favourites, every time I was present at something I enjoyed a lot, I asked the presenter if they were ready to turn at least some of the material into an article to be published in OPEN!, and an overwhelming majority agreed. Although none of these articles have reached me yet, I remain hopeful. J
LONDON SIGHTS OFF THE BEATEN TRACKS Ülle Kurm
There are loads of wonderful destinations for holidays and short breaks across the world – I know it. But whenever I start making plans for my next trip – be it either Norway or France – the odds are that I end up in Britain, including a few days’ stay in London. I love London. I love the atmosphere of the city – the long walks in the streets with friends or on my own, visiting familiar places and exploring new and old parts of it fill me with excitement and make me happy. I’m delighted I’ve inspired my friends, children and grandchildren to join in and visit places and theatres in London. There are a number of things I just have to visit each time I go to London, including Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Oxford Street, Regent’s Park, Borough Market in Southwark, and I have to eat fish and chips in West Hampstead and Dim Sum in the Chinese restaurant called New World. There are many other things I do over and over again when in London. In this article I’m going to focus on a few attractions which might be of interest if you have visited the so-called top landmarks of the capital, maybe been there several times even, and are trying to find something new. 31
The Foundling Museum is one of the places which doesn’t sound attractive enough for a visit by the name of it, but the collection itself and its philosophy are worth the effort. It is a museum which has grown out of the original home for abandoned babies – the Foundling Hospital, which was founded by Thomas Coram. With the help of his famous friends, the painter William Hogarth and the composer George Frideric Handel, Thomas Coram was able to turn his dream into reality and set up the Foundling Hospital. In 1741 the Foundling Hospital opened its doors, so poor and desperate mothers who hoped to save their babies from starvation and public abuse queued to hand over their newborns. They hoped that at the Foundling Hospital their babies would survive. Every child admitted to the Foundling Hospital was baptised and given a new name. Mothers also left a token which could be used to identify their child if they returned to reclaim their child. Over the centuries, more than 25,000 children’s lives were saved. The Foundlings Hospital closed in 1953, but the charity, Coram Family, still continues to look after children, creating better chances for thousands of children across the UK. The museum stands on the site of the original Foundling Hospital. It has a wonderful collection of paintings by Hogarth, Reynolds, and Gainsborough set amongst furniture and fittings. Also on display are artefacts from the Hospital archive – admission records, tokens, uniforms, lesson plans, etc. The museum also owns the world’s largest privately-held collection of Handel material. Go and explore it. The best is to take an underground train to Kings Cross St Pancras or to Russell Square. The Making of Harry Potter is a Warner Bros. Studio Tour which can be experienced 20 miles north-west of London. Take a train from London Euston to Watford Junction Station where special Harry Potter shuttle buses pick up visitors and take them to the studios in Leavesden. To make the Harry Potter films, the original aircraft factory and runway in Leavesden were turned into film-making settings. In huge studio areas the Harry Potter fans, both children and grown-ups, get carried away by the magic scenes and artefacts seen in the films. You can have a walk in Diagon Alley and enjoy the atmosphere of Hogwarts. You can walk around in the Great Hall where festive dinners took place and learn about the slow process of teaching owls for the films. The production crew saved most of the iconic sets, props, and costumes created specially for the films. As the filmmaking started before the last books of the adventures were written, the artefacts were kept – just in case they were ever needed later on. And so it happened – now they are displayed for the fans in hundreds of showcases in huge halls.
Jessica and Robert, my grandchildren, after the studio tour in front of the model of Hogwarts castle
Many of the original cast and crew returned to reassemble the sets and record their memories from filming, and on 31st March 2012, the Studio Tour opened its doors. 32
I truly recommend the tour for everybody interested in J.K. Rowling’s series or just the art and technology of film making. The story behind the screen is just amazing. Book early and be sure to have at least half a day for the experience. The Geffrye Museum of the Home If you are interested in interior design and domestic life through time, this is the place to go. Set in old almshouses, the building has been converted into a fascinating exhibition of family rooms from the 1600s to the present day. There are 11 period rooms, and some gardens outside which don’t open until April. Each room shows you a type of room in a different era, including These are the Geoffrye almshouses where once around 50 people lived the furniture, art, decor, china, etc. Seeing and reading how the middle class lived over the centuries is very informative and interesting. The displays are well supported by explanations and supporting material. I have thoroughly enjoyed all my visits to this museum, which, due to its huge area and gardens, is often called an oasis in the middle of the city. The Abbey Road Crossing is a famous pedestrian zebra crossing in front of the Abbey Road Studios at 3 Abbey Road, St John’s Wood. It is a must for every fan of the Beatles’ music to get photographed crossing the street in the way the Fab Four were doing on the cover photograph of their last studio LP, known as White Album. The place is busy throughout the day with visitors queuing to pose The most iconic zebra crossing in the world – the Abbey Road Crossing for the photos and the traffic waiting to get a move on. It’s fun to see how the site functions. The white walls in front of the studio need to be repainted every three months to cover the graffiti of the devoted fans. Take bus number 139 towards West Hampstead and get off the bus at Grove End Road. As we say in English, “Bon Voyage!”
JOHANNES SILVET 120 Ilmar Anvelt
Department of English, University of Tartu
This spring we marked the 120th birth anniversary of the celebrated Estonian lexicographer Johannes Silvet (12 May 1895 – 17 February 1979). J. Silvet’s long and fruitful life fell into different periods in the history of our country. He received his school education and was a student at Tartu Teacher’s College when Estonia was still part of Tsarist Russia. He graduated from the university in the independent Republic of Estonia already. Although communications were not comparable to what they are today, the society was relatively open. He travelled to the UK several times and improved his qualifications there in 1926, 1928, 1931 and 1938. He managed to publish his English-Estonian dictionary in1939, just before the war broke out. The Soviet society was particularly closed to the English-speaking world; due to the existence of the German Democratic Republic, literature in German was more easily available and travelling, although not easy, was not so limited. J. Silvet was dismissed from his post at the University of Tartu in 1950 and had to stay away until 1956. Along with Oleg Mutt and Arthur Robert Hone, he was one of those to whom we have to be grateful that the living English language survived in Estonia through the period of isolation. J. Silvet retired from the University in 1960 and died in Elva at the age of 83. Johannes Silvet is primarily known for his large English-Estonian dictionary, although his Estonian-English dictionary (first edition 1965) and Lexicon of Foreign Words (Võõrsõnade leksikon, co-authors Richard Kleis and Eduard Vääri, first edition 1961) are also significant. The first edition of the EnglishEstonian dictionary came out in 1939, published by the Estonian Literary Society (Eesti Kirjanduse Selts). In the preface to the first edition, J. Silvet Johannes Silvet in 1930 mentions that in its vocabulary, and even to a greater extent in phraseology, his dictionary largely relies on the well-known Pocket Oxford Dictionary, although he has used many other sources as well. Several other editions of his English-Estonian dictionary have come out in Estonia. For the edition of 1948-49 by Teaduslik Kirjandus, Tartu, he had to reduce the vocabulary related to religion and add new Soviet concepts. It took a very long time, before the next edition was published in two volumes by Valgus, Tallinn (vol. 1, 1989; vol. 2, 1990). He repeatedly said that he would not see this edition with his own eyes, and unfortunately this came true. TEA published a largely revised edition in 2002; many people participated in making additions and corrections to it.
J. Silvet's house in Elva 34
It is not so well known that several editions of his English-Estonian dictionary have been published abroad. In Sweden, the dictionary was published in the small town of Vadstena by Orto publishers for three times – in 1946, 1948 and 1949. In 1947, an edition of the English-Estonian dictionary came out in Geislingen, Germany. Geislingen is a small
town in Southern Germany; after World War II, there was a refugee camp that accommodated nearly 4400 Estonians. In 1956, the EnglishEstonian dictionary came out in Toronto, issued by the same Orto publishing house, which had moved to Canada by then. Silvet’s Estonian-English dictionary was published by Orto in Toronto twice – in 1967 and in the 1970s (the library catalogue does not show the exact year). All of this is a proof of admirable initiative and organisation by émigré Estonians, which can be contrasted to the slow and cumbersome process of book publishing in Soviet Estonia. Enn Veldi speaking about J. Silvet’s dictionaries
An interesting fact is that J. Silvet checked and revised the translations of French texts in the Estonian edition of L. Tolstoy’s War and Peace (translated by O. Truu and M. Sillaots). To mark Johannes Silvet’s 120th birth anniversary, a commemorative event was held on 9 May 2015 at the library of Elva, his last hometown. The introductory talk was given by historian Heli Zirk representing the Club of Friends of Elva Museum. Other speakers were Nora Toots, Enn Veldi and Ilmar Anvelt – former and present staff members of the Department of English, University of Tartu; Reet Kotkas and Anton Vendla – English teachers of Elva Gymnasium, Marju Silvet – Johannes Silvet’s granddaughter.
Reet Kotkas and Anton Vendla (in front row)
A DREAM COME TRUE Hanna Saare Student at Miina Härma Gymnasium
Introduction I’m a student at Miina Härma Gymnasium where I started my studies in form 10 in September 2013. In March 2014 I went to my YFU (Youth for Understanding) exchange year. But not to Europe or America; I chose Japan. I had been interested in Japan for about five or six years before my dream to go to Japan finally came true. I had seen many Japanese TV dramas and listened to a lot of Japanese bands and I really wanted to know how they live there. At first it seemed like something impossible. But then I heard about YFU high school exchange programs. I decided to try, even though I thought it would be just a dream. Until the last moment I was afraid something would go wrong. When I finally came back from my exchange year, I was very happy because the effort was worth it.
Hanna Saare at tea ceremony
Orientation After flying for twelve hours we arrived at Narita airport. We were told to get on a bus which had to take us to the Olympic Centre. Already in the bus everybody started talking to each other in English and making friends with each other, because obviously we could not speak Japanese at that moment yet. I also wanted to talk to everybody, because they were from different countries and seemed so cool. But there was still something holding me back. Even though I had learned English for nine years, I was still afraid to say anything because I was afraid of making mistakes. I wanted to talk to them, but they were foreigners and seemed so fluent. But the urge to socialize and make friends was bigger. By the end of the week I had made many new friends and I had realized that not everybody’s English was fluent and they were just exchange students like me. Even girls from America didn’t seem to care how good or bad somebody’s English was. During these four days we had so much fun. We talked both in English and in our poor Japanese and ate Japanese food and folded origami figures and tried various Japanese games. I really liked the buildings of the Olympic Centre, because it was such a nice place and the sakura trees were about to bloom soon. I was really sad when we had to leave the Olympic Centre. But the most exciting part, meeting our host families, was yet to come. Family After flying for about two hours, I arrived in a place called Matsuyama, in Ehime prefecture. There were three of us: me, one girl from Germany and one from Thailand. Our host families were waiting to pick us up and take us home. From the first moment I met my host family I had the feeling that something was not quite right. To be honest, I lived in this family for less than a week. So I had to stay with my area representative (AR). But, as she was busy all the time, she made 36
me stay in her neighbour’s house for a while. The fact was that my first host family had been able to speak English to some degree, but the family with whom I stayed now could speak no other language than Japanese. But already the first time we met, they warmly welcomed me and their daughter made me run to their second floor. The first days were hard for me. It was still the beginning of my exchange year and I could not speak Japanese yet. But we both tried and I gradually began to understand more and more. By the end of the week we could have small talk already. I was really happy when my AR said that I was going to stay in the same family for the rest of my exchange year. School I was very excited to go to school. Me and the German girl went to the same school. I really liked my homeroom teacher. She was a very nice person. As an English teacher, she translated everything for me and told me the schedule Hanna Saare in Japan in English. I also liked my classmates a lot. Already on the first day the girls asked me to eat my boxed lunch together with them. Even though most Japanese have very poor English they still tried to talk to me. That was really nice of them. Since that day I always ate my boxed lunch with some other girls. I gradually became to understand more and more what they were talking about. So already in two or three months we could have almost normal conversation and we didn’t need to use English anymore. The English lessons were not difficult at all, more like too easy. We never dealt with tenses. Instead, we learned the order of sentence elements as Japanese differs a lot from English. In Japanese the verb is the last word in the sentence. We also read and translated many stories together. But even though my school was one of the best schools in the prefecture, I felt the speed was rather slow. Japanese people learn American English at school, as America plays an important role in Japanese history and society. Other people Even though I met many new people during this year, not many of them could speak English and it was easier for all of us to have conversations in Japanese. I still had a chance to meet some foreign people, too, who could not speak Japanese. But most of the time I spoke Japanese, so my Japanese improved a lot, but my English grew weaker. Coming back Coming back made me feel really weird. At first I wanted to come back a lot, but as I had come to love my hometown in Japan, I started to feel sad when I thought that I had to go back one day. But I couldn’t do anything about it. I still remember the day when I said goodbye and got on the plane. I didn’t cry then, even though I was sad. I also remember meeting my real family. I didn’t have any problem with speaking Estonian. But as I started to go to school again in Estonia, I started to experience problems speaking in English, especially 37
with tenses, as there are only two tenses in Japanese, present and past. Estonian always comes to my mind first, and I even recall most Japanese words, but I have serious trouble with remembering English. I try my best, but as I haven’t spoken in English for about one year, it is really hard for me to read in English or do grammar exercises. Sometimes I’m not even sure about Estonian grammar. I remember very well when I first went to a lesson of Estonian after I had come back from Japan. I had always been rather sure about the Estonian language, but now logical and cohesive writing seemed just an impossible task to me. There are no spaces in Japanese, neither capital letters. Conclusion I’m really happy that I had this opportunity to learn another language and to get to know another country. I feel like this country became my second home. I also learned a lot of new words in Japanese, but this is not enough for me. I want to learn more Japanese kanji and I hope that one day I will get the best level in the Japanese language proficiency test. I also want to improve my English and learn many other languages too. I hope that in the future I will have time to do all this.
Experienced Educator ENTICED BY TECHNOLOGY An interview with Meeri Sild
Why did you opt for English when entering the university? I consider myself a very lucky person, as I have had guardian angels around me. One of my guardian angels was my grandmother whose wisdom has helped me to make my decisions. Her Siberian experience made her look at life from a different perspective. When I was applying to the university and considering different options (English among them), she told me to go and learn foreign languages. I still remember her words – when you know a language you will always have bread on your table. And she was right – at tough times it was always possible to earn extra money. How did you discover information technology for yourself? This was again a pure chance. I was offered to try out a languageteaching programme (Europlus+) with my students. Out of curiosity, I agreed to try it out. My students were really thrilled and motivated. This gave me an idea to start thinking out other ways to make use of technology in the classroom. How do you connect your work as a teacher and as an educational technologist? I have always believed that an educational technologist must have a pedagogical background. One of the most important tasks for an educational technologist is to give methodological advice to teachers. You can’t do it unless you have tried tools and different innovative methods with your students. Right now, I try to concentrate in the first half of the week on teaching, and the second half is devoted to educational technology. But most time my two roles are somewhat blended. 38
Speak about your relations with the Tiger Leap and Information Technology Foundation for Education (HITSA). My first encounter with Tiger Leap Foundation was in 1998 when I was trying out the Europlus+ language learning programme with my students. I wrote a review for them and suddenly was asked to run a teacher training course on it. One thing led to another, and new courses emerged. At the beginning, I ran in-service teacher training courses only for teachers of English but soon the scope of different courses widened, and today the participants of face-to-face and online courses are teachers of different subjects. In 2005, I was asked to help to launch the eTwinning programme in Estonia and since then I have been one of the experts of the programme (eTwinning is a programme of international online cooperation projects). The Tiger Leap Foundation and its successor HITSA have enabled me to develop and grow as a teacher trainer. Today I write teacher-training courses for HITSA, train teachers and participate in different workgroups. What are you like as a teacher? This is the question you should ask from my students. I think that my lessons are not boring as I constantly experiment with new methods and tools. I am really grateful to my wonderful students who let me do it and give me honest feedback. It helps me a lot with my work as an educational technologist. What do you like most about present-day students and what disturbs you most? It is good that students today are more active and outspoken and most of them are interested in learning English. However, it disturbs me when they take learning superficially, as they feel that they already know enough language to cater to their present needs. Has IT considerably eased your work as a teacher? Of course, it has, as there are many things that you can do more quickly with ICT. It is possible to find ready-made materials on the Internet. There are also many blogs online where one can find many ideas for classroom use. On the other hand, it has also made my work more time-consuming as it takes time to find materials and applications to use in the classroom. ICT has changed my teaching methods a lot, and there are so many things I would like to use in the classroom. Have you also worked as a guide or an interpreter? During my university years, I had a possibility to take an optional course to become a guide and from time to time I worked as a guide. Unfortunately, at that time, there were not many English-speaking tourists, and quite often the tours had to be conducted in Russian. But the experience was valuable, and for friends I still sometimes make small tours in Tallinn Old Town. What are your favourite leisure time activities? Do you also consider IT your hobby? I donâ€™t really consider ICT my hobby â€“ it is more a tool for my lifelong learning process. Although I must confess that ICT takes up a lot of my free time, as experimenting with new applications is quite timeconsuming. I am also a hopeless life-long learner. Whenever an interesting online course is offered, I feel an urge to participate. When I have time, I enjoy knitting and cooking. The best way for me to rest is to have long walks at the seaside. What have presentations at international conferences, participation in international projects and membership in international organisations taught you? International experience has given me an opportunity to look into teaching and learning from a different perspective. Contacts from conferences and workshops have enabled me to participate in the work of different online professional development communities. These communities have provided me with endless possibilities for professional development as a teacher and educational technologist. What is your favourite place and favourite cultural phenomenon in the English-speaking world? It is quite hard to pick just one place. From the places I have been to, my favourite is Ireland. I enjoy the landscape, the slow pace of life, Irish humour and even the moody weather. 39
What kind of changes are you looking forward to in school life? First of all, I wish teachers’ work would be more recognized and appreciated in the society. I would also like that schools would prepare students for their future life by developing their 21st century skills that also include good communication skills, entrepreneurship and ICT skills. Meeri Sild was interviewed by EATE Committee members
Reading Recommendations CONTEMPORARY YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE IN ENGLISH— A FEW RECOMMENDATIONS BY A LIBRARIAN Annika Aas
Tartu Public Libary
There has been a lot of talk and complaining about the fact that young people don’t read any more, but when we look at the lending statistics of Tartu Public Library in 2014, we’ll see that several young adult books are on top of the lists. John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars holds the first place among YA literature, followed by Veronica Roth’s Divergent, Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games and Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series. Which is to say, young people do read and especially fantasy and science fiction, both in English and in Estonian. Vampires, angels, monsters and all sorts of mythological creatures have flooded the young adult literature, but as long as the young are reading, there should not be much reason to complain. Since I’m not a great lover of fantasy books, I’ll exclude fantasy and sci-fi books from my current paper and concentrate on contemporary realistic young adult books instead. I do not aspire to present an extensive overview but rather a subjective choice of books and authors, some of which are already very popular with young readers and others are worth to be discovered and popularized. Let me start with the greatest newcomer—the American author of young adult fiction, John Green (b.1977). His books are immensely popular, especially The Fault in Our Stars (2012, in Estonian 2013), also available as a movie, and a little less so Looking for Alaska (2005, in Estonian 2014). I do recommend the first one. Being about 16-year-old Hazel who has thyroid cancer and falls in love with Augustus who has osteosarcoma, it is a good book to evoke discussion about young people’s serious illnesses, about their relationships with friends and family, about love for people and for literature, about the importance or unimportance of leaving your mark upon the world. The book is both sad and humorous, and at times a bit ironical. Looking for Alaska was, for me, a bit of a disappointment, being very “American” in many ways and quite superficial in its depiction of human relationships. However, it has won the Printz Award for teen literature and maybe I’m just too old to judge it. I have to admit, I could not even finish John Green’s book An Abundance of Katherines and have not felt like opening his Will Grayson, Will Grayson or Paper Towns. Anyway, Green is a real modern day phenomenon, being also a YouTube video blogger and exchanging video blogs or vlogs with his brother Hank since 2007, and a creator of online educational videos on various subjects. There is also a wide international fanbase 40
called Nerdfighters who promote and participate in humanitarian efforts. I’m quite sure it’s a good idea to introduce Green’s video blog book recommendations to Estonian teens who like his books. True, they are heavily biased toward Anglo-American books and authors, but at least available to Estonian readers in our bigger libraries. I do like the fact that an author as popular as he is promoting books and reading. Moreover, his realistic books are balancing the flow of fantasy literature for young people. From here, it is good to proceed with a female American young adult author called Gayle Forman (b.1970). Just like Green, Forman tackles serious subjects not in a depressing way. Her book, If I Stay (2009, in Estonian 2014) can actually be recommended to readers of any age. 17-year-old Mia’s life is perfect—loving family and boyfriend, future plans as a gifted musician—until the day her family gets into a car accident and the whole family is killed except Mia, who from then on follows events in a coma “from above”, providing multiple flashbacks into the past. The situation is certainly tough, but the descriptions are not too sombre, there is humour and warmth. The author does not underestimate young readers and is not an overly sentimental storyteller either. It is a book about death, the meaning of life, family, love and music. Where She Went (2011) is a sequel to that first book, but this time not told from Mia’s point of view but from her boyfriend Adam’s three years after the accident. We get to know that after the accident Mia moved away from Oregon to New York to study in the prestigious music school of Juilliard and cut all ties with Adam for no obvious reason. She is now a promising young cellist and Adam has become a famous rock star, starting a world tour with his band. However, Adam is profoundly unhappy, confused and hurt about Mia’s behaviour. The 24 hours they get to spend together in New York City bring a solution to their relationship. As is often the case, the sequel is not as good as the first book, being a little too sweet, especially the ending, but is still worth reading and provides the opportunity to discuss relationships, the dark side of being famous, the contrast between public and private life. Forman has also written Just One Day (2013) and its sequel Just One Year (2013), a novella Just One Night (2014) and I Was Here (2015). Another American young adult author tackling a serious subject served with a romantic sauce is Tammara Webber. The first book in her Contours of the Heart-series called Easy (2012) has also already been translated into Estonian (2014). The book is a college romance but also deals with the topic of rape and violence, as well as with related issues of (unnecessary) guilt and self-accusation, pain from the past, self-defence, etc. The main target audience is a young and romantic teenage girl who will probably adore the perfect male protagonist Lucas (who has all the good qualities in the world, being handsome, sexy, smart, strong, hardworking, chivalric—you name it), but for an older reader the book might seem sickeningly sweet in places. In order not to leave the impression that all popular young adult authors come from America, I will now present a young Finnish author, Salla Simukka (b. 1981), who has written a Snow White crime trilogy As Red As Blood (2014), As White as Snow (2015) and As Black as Ebony (2015). All books have been translated into Estonian as well. The trilogy features 17-year-old Lumikki Andersson who is a nononsense girl attending a prestigious art school in Tampere. In contrast to the main characters in chick lit, Lumikki avoids parties and gossip and is focused on studying and graduating. However, she gets drawn into dangerous and life-threatening events but, of course, proves to be a very tough and brave girl, especially compared to her classmates. The first book in the trilogy involves drugs and money and trafficking (the bad guys are Russians and Estonians!), flashbacks to Lumikki’s past let us presume she has been subject to bullying. Being intelligent and tough, Lumikki serves as a good role model to young readers. The book shows the human face of drug traffickers and the dark side of extravagance and wealth. The second book takes Lumikki backpacking to Prague to meet cult members planning mass suicide and the third book back to Finland to deal with a dangerous secret admirer. In the present-day Estonian reality where many people, including young people, are leaving (or dreaming of leaving) the country to work or study abroad, a good book to read and consider would be NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names (2013), which reached the Man Booker shortlist in 2013. It is not only a superb book to get an insight into African and American culture and way of life but also a superb 41
book to discuss the consequences of moving to any foreign country and dealing with homesickness, rootlessness and adjustment. This is not specifically a young adult book, but the story is told by 10-yearold Darling who lives in Zimbabwe, in a shanty called Paradise (a name that is sarcastic and sincere at the same time). She roams around with her friends, stealing guavas to alleviate their hunger, playing more or less dangerous games and singing pop songs. She doesn’t know it yet, but these are the happiest times of her life. Like most young people in Africa, she dreams of moving away, especially to America, which to everyone seems like a country of their dreams, rich and happy. When the dream comes true one day and Darling moves in with her aunt in Detroit, Michigan, she is shocked about experiencing the “American dream” in reality: the low-paying, backbreaking jobs, ironing flat the pride, sending paychecks back home. She is very very homesick and creates a kind of love-hate relationship with both Zim and America. The book is a good starting point to discuss the many (pseudo)problems in America or any well-to-do country versus the problems in developing countries. Another very good problem novel is Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin (2003, in Estonian 2008), a book about a fictional school massacre, written from the perspective of the killer’s mother, Eva Khatchadourian. The book won the 2005 Orange Prize, and in 2011 the novel was adapted into a film. The book is not so new any more but has become all the more topical in Estonia since 2014—our first school shooting in Viljandi. Being a bulky book with a tough subject, it might seem unsuitable for young readers, but I find the author’s style captivating and her issues important to deserve the attention of young adult readers. Shriver has a superb talent of going deep into different topics; for example, another book of hers, Big Brother, tackles the topic of obesity in an enjoyable, sadly humorous kind of way. A young American author who deserves paying attention to is Emily Lockhart (who has also written books for adults under her real name Emily Jenkins). Her latest book We Were Liars is absolutely worth reading and offers plenty of opportunities to discuss both various topics (wealth and materialism, keeping face, jealousy and crime, racism, etc) and literary issues (intertextuality, metaphorical language, symbolism, allegory, irony, flashbacks) in class. The narrator, almost 18-year-old Cadence Eastman belongs to a very wealthy family who spend their summers on a small private island; in the course of the book, the narrator turns out to be unreliable and the suspense keeps growing, until the ending turns everything upside down. As for the complaint that it is easy to find reading material for girls, but not for the boys, I don’t think this applies to young adult books in English. Girls tend to swallow all the various fantasy series, but what about boys? Well, there is definitely a lot of science fiction and fantasy for boys as well (such as The Maze Runner-series by James Dashner, for example, or Riordan’s Percy Jackson-series for younger readers), but I want to mention two books that are suitable for boys for their male main characters and for tackling the topic of illnesses and being different. R.J. Palacio’s Wonder tells the story of the 10-yearold August “Auggie” Pullman, who was born with severe facial deformities. He is now starting middle school and is desperate to fill in. Chapters present different characters’ points of view, which gives a wider perspective to the situation. The book is at times sad, at times funny, at times maybe even a bit too sweet and softened. Brian Conaghan’s When Mr. Dog Bites is similar in subject to Palacio’s book but is rougher and uses lots of “four-letter-words”. Here the hero, Dylan Mint, is a bit older, 16 years old, suffers from the Tourette syndrome and attends a special school for “difficult” children. Psychologically maybe not too plausible but still offering an insight into the lives and thoughts of children who are different (in terms of health, origin, wealth, etc) but want to—and deserve to—feel “normal” and belong. For some reason, books with main characters suffering from severe illnesses or disabilities have proliferated in recent years (J. Green’s The Fault in Our Stars also belonging to this list), which should be good news to all those teachers, librarians, therapists and others who want to contribute to the increase in tolerance and acceptance of differences in their communities. I promised not to tackle fantasy literature, but I cannot avoid mentioning Rick Riordan. His Percy Jackson and the Olympians-series will probably be enjoyed by those readers as well who do not like fantasy, since the books combine, in an intelligent way, realism and fantasy, ancient myths and contemporary life, and 42
provide a great opportunity to speak about the ancient Greek gods in a playful and inventive way. In the first book, The Lightning Thief (2005, in Estonian 2014), the hyperactive “problematic” teenager Percy discovers he is the demigod son of Poseidon, and that the gods are accusing him of stealing Zeus’s master lightning bolt. He sets out on a journey to the underworld together with his friends Grover—a satyr—and Annabeth, the daughter of Athena. There is adventure and intellectual excitement that make even the adult readers expect the next book in the series with eagerness and impatience. In conclusion, young adults are not such a hopeless bunch of readers as it may sometimes seem. The bulk of young adult literature is rich, especially in the English language—there is enough to choose from, enough to satisfy all sorts of different tastes. Not insignificantly, many of those books become films which, in turn, increase interest in books that have inspired them. The translation geography of young adult literature is very much biased toward Anglo-American literature and most YA books are translated from the English language. Among those, American authors prevail. On the one hand, we can question the dominance of Anglo-American literature on our bookshelves, but on the other hand, it makes life easier for the English teachers who want to tackle YA literature in class or recommend books for home reading. The fact that it takes time for sequels to appear in Estonian means that lots of young people are motivated to read whole series in English.
MADELEINE THIEN’S DOGS AT THE PERIMETER AS A NOVEL OF MEMORY Eva Rein
Department of English University of Tartu
Madeleine Thien’s Dogs at the Perimeter opens with a brief chapter that introduces one of the main characters of the novel, Dr. Hiroji Matsui, who walks out of Montreal’s Brain Research Centre and then disappears. The narrator’s voice attempts to make sense of what has happened by rendering the words of a police officer: “People go to great lengths to abandon their identities /.../ Many of the missing /.../ no longer wish to be themselves, to be associated with their abandoned identity. They go to these great lengths in the hope that they will never be found” (Thien 2012: 1–2). The beginning of the following chapter presents the protagonist and narrator of the novel called Janie whom we encounter in a rather awkward situation. She has come to her house, but instead of entering and going home, she remains outside in the car and observes the movements of her small son Kiri in the flat. Some strange event has led to her radical decision to stay away from her child: “I remember him, crumpled on the floor, looking up at me, frightened. I try to cover this memory, to focus on the blurring lights, the icy pavement” (Thien 2012: 6). With these elements of mystery, the novel begins to reveal a hidden aspect of Canadian diversity. Canada has been and still is a safe haven for the people who have had to leave their homeland to survive a social catastrophe, such as a war or genocide. Dogs at the Perimeter explores the lives of immigrants who outwardly have successfully accommodated to Canada. Hiroji is a leading specialist in the field of brain research and a respected teacher and colleague. Janie works as a researcher at the Montreal Brain Research Centre and, besides a rewarding career, she has a loving family consisting of herself, her husband and a son. This novel subtly draws attention to the issue that immigrants from countries 43
that have seen social catastrophes may carry with them the invisible burdens of violent histories, insurmountable loss and survivor guilt. Moreover, the past events tend to surface with a delay and they may challenge individuals with the inexplicable nature of what is happening to them in the present. The striking openings of the two first chapters lead us to discover that Hiroji and Janie are exactly the kind of characters who, after crossing borders, settling and establishing themselves in the host society, suddenly experience that, while their past is very far removed from the present reality of the host society, it suddenly returns to haunt them. At the same time, there is no way of communicating it to the people around them. However, there is a very special bond between Hiroji and Janie that includes an unspoken recognition of something that they share. At first, it seems that it is the professional ties of being involved in the field of research that aims to unravel the workings of human brain. Yet there is a lingering sense of a further connection between these two characters. It is not articulated but exists on the level of a tentative recognition of something that is hidden yet shared, even though the trajectories of Hiroji and Janie do not seem to have crossed in the past. Therefore, it is understandable that even the people around them cannot possibly guess, let alone fathom what these immigrants may have been through. Dogs at the Perimeter is concerned with the haunting memories of the survivors of the Cambodian Khmer Rouge regime and follows their complicated path of living with the troubling past in the present. At the same time, the novel offers a fascinating and thought-provoking discussion on human memory. In the narrative present of the novel, Janie begins to experience failures of memory. Her memory losses lead to the point that one day she completely forgets to pick up her son from the kindergarten. What is even more problematic for Janie is that she suffers from fits of rage that make her unwittingly hurt her son, which she later bitterly regrets. These uncontrollable events compel her to move out to save her child from harming him. At the same time, she is overwhelmed by vivid flashbacks from her Cambodian childhood of the Khmer Rouge atrocities. In the middle of getting lost in the streets of Montreal or just standing at the street corner Janie is caught with hallucinations triggered by casual phrases uttered by the people that happen to be around her: I am standing at the intersection of Cote-des-Neiges and Queen Mary, snow settling on us, and a woman tells her child, We are safe as houses. The saying falls straight through me. The light turns green, nothing approaches, I begin to walk, and the low buildings seem to bend over me. I see my father in the shape of another person, walking up ahead. /.../ I run up to the man who is not my father, grab his elbow, and spin him around to face me. A stranger swears and flings me away. (Thien 2012: 63) In the aftermath of this episode, it is suddenly revealed that Janie is not her real name but her Canadian name that she got as she was adopted by her Canadian stepmother. Thus, her Canadian identity is shattered and her Cambodian identity has taken over, or it is more appropriate to say, Cambodian identities, because later in the novel she appears to have had several of them, most notably due to the Khmer Rouge policy of making people change their identities and adopt a new life story suitable for the regime. Not only is Janie struggling with the loss of memory but also with being lost between multiple identities. The narrative structure of the novel reminds us of other novels of memory in that there is an event in the present that triggers past memories and takes the protagonist to the journey into her past. However, as the theme of the multiple identities and attempts to retrieve the past come together in the novel, it has been done in an extraordinary way of narrating the story. Each chapter that takes us further back into Janieâ€™s past, creates the sense that one is moving through a building with many rooms. Each time one enters another room, one is to discover that the room is larger than the whole house. The narrative technique of the novel supports the treatment of the issue of memory, so that it is addressed thematically and also structurally, making the reader almost physically encounter the protagonistâ€™s struggle to capture and hold together the multiple and contradictory memories and aspects of her experience.
Novels of memory commonly explore the multi-layered issue of memory primarily from the psychological as well as philosophical perspectives, such as the fallibility and unreliability of memory, which is also true of Thien’s novel. But in addition, it offers an insightful discourse of neuroscience to understand the workings of memory and the power of the metaphors of memory for human existence. Jeanie is especially interested in, for example, the case of Zasetsky, explored by Alexander Luria as Jeanie renders in her narrative a lecture by Hiroji that she had heard as a medical student. Hiroji, who had worked on the Thai-Cambodian border in the late 1970s, thus becomes an important figure in Jeanie’s life to help her to retrieve her memories by exploring their shared past of the historical knowledge of what happened during the Khmer Rouge regime when Jeanie was a small child. In addition to providing historical knowledge, Hiroji has an important role in helping to systematise for Jeanie the scientific explanations to the workings of human brain, some of which she knows from her adoptive childhood as a stepdaughter of a scholar. Last, but not least, Hiroji also introduces Jeanie to metaphors of memory. One of the most significant of them is the memory theatre of Camillo which allows Jeanie to inhabit both the past and he present at the same time: Bopha’s imaginary book came back to me, but now her book was something that I could enter. The pages would remain, like a library, like a city, holding the things I needed to keep but that I could not live with. If such a library, a memory theatre existed, I could be both who I was and who I had come to be. I could be a mother and a daughter, a separated child, an adult with dreams of my own. These ideas, these metaphors and possibilities, were the gifts Hiroji gave me. (Thien 2012: 147)
These metaphors of memory appear to be crucial cultural resources for Jeanie in her attempt to address her haunting past and negotiate her troubled identity.
Come and Share DOING LONDON WITH TEENAGERS Mare Jõul
Over the past three years, I have visited London twice with my grandchildren. In July 2013, I went there with my grandson Jüri, and during March school holiday this year with my granddaughter Kadri and two friends of hers. There are some practical hints I think you might benefit from when you go to London, either alone or with a company. Time of travelling: I have been to London several times, always in summer. This year, for the first time, I did not go in summer when London is teeming with tourists. The difference is remarkable. In July 2013, we stood in line for four hours to get into Madame Tussaud’s. This year, believe it or not, on a Saturday afternoon the queue was 15 minutes long. And once inside, there were not too many people – the girls could take photos with every celebrity they wanted without any delay. In July 2013, we queued for two hours for London Eye tickets and when we finally got them, we were told to come back after two hours and join the queue to get into a capsule. That queue took us another hour and a half, so we spent the whole 45
afternoon to have a 30-minute ride. This year, we queued for 15 minutes for tickets and another 15 minutes to get into a capsule. The whole thing was done in one hour. If I ever go to London again, it will definitely not be in summer. Travelling with children: whether you travel with your own children (if the other parent is not travelling with you), your grandchildren, or with your students, prepare the documents carefully. You will need both parents’ signatures on Letter of Consent, advisably notarised. I used the following form:
Time management: It is advisable to plan your time. Put down what sights you are going to see on each day of your stay, combining sights that are close to each other. We managed to do London Eye and Sealife Aquarium in two hours plus Madame Tussaud’s, Covent Garden and a visit to the theatre all on one day. By the way, if you go to Sealife Aquarium, have a close look at the receipt – it gives the Talk and Feed Times, e.g. Octopus Talk – 11.00, Ray Talk and Feed – 11.30, PenguinTalk – 12.00, etc.
2for1 offers: If there is an even number of people in your company, you can take advantage of 2for1 offers, i.e. you can visit over 150 top London attractions paying one full adult price for two people. You can find the list of these attractions and detailed instructions at www.daysoutguide.co.uk/2for1-london. When you go to London, take along a passport photo and buy a 7-day travelcard at a railway station ticket office. If you fly to Gatwick, Victoria Station is a good place to do that. If you stay in London for five days, a 7-day travelcard will be cheaper than to buy a travelcard every day. In addition to this travelcard, you will need a valid train ticket. So, if you have a return train ticket airport-London-airport, this is valid for 2for1 offers during your stay in London. Shopping for clothes: If you go with teenage girls, you have to plan some time for shopping. Primark, pronounced [prima:k] for its Irish origin, or [praima:k], as the English pronounce it, is ideal for teenagers as the quality of clothes is not important for them. Primark is at the beginning of Oxford Street (Marble Arch underground station) and offers a wide choice of clothes for reasonable prices. And once you are in Oxford Street, you might want to look in at Selfridges (just for curiosity), Marks and Spencer (good quality clothes, not too pricey), and H&M – the girls bought several items for less than £10, as there was an end-of-season sale. Paying the bills: When paying by card and offered a choice to pay the bill in euros or in pounds sterling, choose GBP; the exchange rate is much better. I chose to pay in euros and understood it too late. I quote the receipt and I wish I had seen this text before, not after pressing the button: I recognise that I was given a choice of payment currencies and that I could have paid in GBP. I accept the Exchange Rate used to perform the currency conversion and that my decision to pay in EUR is final. Otherwise, both trips went well. We saw everything we had planned, the weather was not too bad (it rained both in 2013 and this year but not heavily), and my grandchildren and Kadri’s friends were happy. If you have any questions, contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
How well do you know Boston? (Answers on p. 11)
Photos by Erika Puusemp
EATE Annual Conference Tartu, 24 October 2014
Rasma Mozere from the University of Latvia
Aet Sarv's topic was Ten Fun Speaking Activities
Urve Läänemets, Ülle Türk and Kristel Kriisa
Pilvi Rajamäe prepearing to speak about World War I in cartoons
Listening with keen interest Merike Talli introduced the Erasmus+ programme for schools Photos by Reet Noorlaid