EATE Estonian Association of Teachers of English
The EATE Journal Issue No. 50 October 2016 CONGRATULATIONS! FROM EATE NEWSLETTER NO. 1 TO OPEN! NO. 50 Ilmar Anvelt
MANAGING LANGUAGE CHANGE IN THE CLASSROOM Grzegorz Śpiewak
1 2 3
A DYING ART Erika Puusemp
FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHERS TO BE COMPENSATED FOR TAKING INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNISED LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY TESTS Pille Põiklik
THE FIPLV NORDIC-BALTIC REGION CONFERENCE 2016 – A CHALLENGE AND THE CONFIRMATION OF TRUST Ene Peterson
50TH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL IATEFL CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION IN BIRMINGHAM Eva Ojakivi A ROOM WITH A VIEW: LOOKING BACK AT ALMOST 50 YEARS AT BROOKLYN COLLEGE Julia Hirsch
EESTI KEEL JA MINA, THE ESTONIAN LANGUAGE AND I (WITH SOME CULTURAL OBSERVATIONS) Hilary Bird 22 IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF WRITERS AND THEIR CHARACTERS Erika Jeret
WHAT PLACE IS THIS? Erika Puusemp
DIFFERENT KIND OF SUMMER: VOLUNTEER TEACHER IN MYANMAR Tiiu Müür
PIERRE AND JUSTIN Ilmar Anvelt
Experienced Educator LIFE ENTWINED WITH SCHOOL An interview with Leena Punga
Reading Recommendations WHO SAYS NO TO A GOOD CUP OF JOE? Kristi Martin
SECOND-GENERATION ESTONIAN CANADIAN IMMIGRANT’S SEARCH FOR BELONGING AND IDENTITY IN K. LINDA KIVI’S IF HOME IS A PLACE Eva Rein
Come and Share BRINGING THE OUTSIDE WORLD INTO THE CLASSROOM: WAYS OF EXPLOITING DVD MATERIAL Rob Dean
EATE 25TH ANNIVERSARY RECEPTION PÄRNU KUURSAAL, 23 AUGUST 2016
Ladies of the Committee before starting out to the reception
Greetings by Romek Kosenkranius, Mayor of Pärnu
Photos by Reet Noorlaid
Ene Peterson congratulating Erika Puusemp
Teachers from Narva at the reception
Guest speakers and booksellers
An old photo revived - Committee members at Raimond Valgre's monument
Our long-time Chair Leena Punga and Honorary Member Nora Toots
Estonian Association of Teachers of English www.eate.ee Chair Erika Puusemp email@example.com
Editor of OPEN! Ilmar Anvelt e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Current account EE331010152001597007 in SEB
After the PĂ¤rnu Summer Seminar, the EATE Committee elected Erika Puusemp its new Chair. We wish Erika a lot of success on her new post and congratulate her on her recent jubilee.
On 5 September 2016, Katrin Saks defended her doctoral thesis Supporting Studentsâ€™ Self-Regulation and Language Strategies in the Blended Course of Professional English. Congratulations! In the picture, Katrin (left) with her reviewer Karey Yuju Lan PhD from Taiwan.
EATE congratulates Associate Professor Emerita Urve Hanko who will celebrate her 90th birthday on 11 November 2016. Urve Hanko taught lexicology, stylistics and translation theory and has published a great number of translations. We wish her good health and long years!
FROM EATE NEWSLETTER NO. 1 TO OPEN! NO. 50 Ilmar Anvelt
Editor of OPEN!
EATE started its periodical, EATE Newsletter, in November 1992. At first it looked rather modest – small and thin, 15 pages in A5 format. The first issue starts with Ülle Kurm’s article “What is EATE” where the Committee members and their tasks are listed. Nonetheless, we can proudly say that even the first issue was international – it contains short articles by authors from the Netherlands and the United States. Gradually, the publication grew in both its format and contents. The A4 format has been used since Issue 11, May 1997. Articles have been illustrated by photos of authors since Issue 17, May 2000. This was done on the recommendation of Carmen Ruus, the then Chair of EATE. Some of the columns used to the present also appeared rather early, e.g. “Come and Share” was first published in Issue 13, May 1998. The column “Teachers’ Teacher” where mostly lecturers from both Tartu and Tallinn universities were interviewed came out first in Issue 26 in November 2004. The first teacher to be interviewed was Nora Toots, under the title “The Lady Who Never Sleeps”. As the stock of university lecturers seemed to have become exhausted, the name of the column was changed to “Experienced Educator” on Piret Kärtner’s recommendation in 2014 (Issue 45). Since then, we have also interviewed schoolteachers and other educationists. “Reading Recommendations” where methodological literature for teachers and books of fiction are reviewed was recommended by Juta Hennoste and has been published since Issue 41, August 2012. As the publication had become more than merely a newsletter that carries informative news items, a name contest was organised during the 2002 Summer Seminar at Põltsamaa. The name that immediately caught the Committee members’ attention was OPEN! It was invented by Reet Kotkas, a teacher of Elva Gymnasium, and she decoded it as Our Periodical of English News. The first issue under the new name was No. 22, which came out in November 2002. The EATE logo – the little blue cloud designed by the current writer – was first used in Issue 20, November 2001 when our publication still carried the title of EATE Newsletter. OPEN! has been available on the web since 2011. EATE is most grateful to the numerous authors, both local and foreign, who, during the long years, have 2
helped make OPEN! what it is. We thank the official photographer of EATE, Reet Noorlaid, for capturing interesting moments from our events. A lot of thanks to OÜ Studium in the persons of Ülle Kurm and Aavo Kennik, Eve and Andero Kurm who have taken care of the layout and printing of OPEN! We are looking forward to your contributions, especially from new authors.
Aavo Kennik, Ülle Kurm
Andero Kurm, Eve Kurm
MANAGING LANGUAGE CHANGE IN THE CLASSROOM Grzegorz Śpiewak
Macmillan Education and The New School, New York
First, a few warm-up questions: is your healthspan being cut short by your al desko lunch, your orthorexia and the ever-increasing risk of receiving a phish in your e-mail? Does your latte factor leave you enough to spend on dental spas and voice lifts, or will you have to start shopgrifting rather than becoming a full-time seachanger…? If by any chance you are not entirely sure how to answer these, don’t blamestorm – give up some precious me time and read on! You will learn about some of the most recent additions to the English word stock, as well as about some of the more or less outrageous word histories from the (more or less) distant past. Even more importantly perhaps, you will get a few tips for how to respond to language change – both as a teacher and as a life-long learner of English. In way of introduction1 My personal interest in language change has been essentially pedagogical — like a lot of my ELT 1
This article is a modified version of my article in issue 12 (54)/2007 of The Teacher. I should like to thank the Editors for permission to reprint this material.
colleagues, I am always on a lookout for fresh task ideas, new activity types, and/or untapped resources to bring to my classroom. But I genuinely hope that the material that follows will be engaging for you as language learners (we all are!) as well as language teachers. It has been inspired by several recent publications on the topic of language change, most notably by the absolutely brilliant collaboration between two distinguished grammarians, Jan Svartvik and Geoffrey Leech, English: One Tongue, Many Voices, which I had the privilege to review for the ELT Journal2. The very fact that the two highly influential prescriptive grammarians should engage in a project to do with language change is — to my mind at least — symbolic of a more general tendency to rethink certain long-established views (and prejudices) concerning the origin of language norms, the notion of ‘standard English’, and the status of error. Seen from this sort of perspective, an exploration into language change suddenly seems less of an anecdotical detour. I shall return to the general implications below. Alive and changing Let us return to the opening paragraph of this article: I do hope that you have found at least some of the words and phrases in bold a little (or more than a little!) surprising. I would. They are all very, very new arrivals. So new in fact that they have not — as of November 2007 — been included in an ‘official’ English language dictionary yet3. They are only to be found in the 2006 edition of Macmillan Words of the Year. Don’t despair if you do not have access to this great little book, or to its 2007 sequel: I am including the full set together with their definitions at the end of this article. The thing to notice about a lot of these new lexical inventions is that they tend to remind us of their slightly older cousins: healthspan — lifespan, al desko — al fresco, blamestorm — brainstorm, shopgrifting — shoplifting, voice lifts — face lifts, and so on. As such, they are one conspicuous manifestation of change, a change that is hard not to see as a lexical reflex of changes that are affecting our society, civilization, media, and the world of work: one where we are in such a hurry that we can’t afford to take a proper (‘al fresco’) lunch break and resign to its sad, al desko variant, or a lifestyle which seems to have deprived us of nearly all free time so me time becomes something worth inventing a name for, etc. To be sure, modern English is by no means special when it comes to changes in its word stock. As Svartvik and Leech aptly observe, “only dead languages do not change”. To see this, consider the following collection of lexical oddities: can you guess the reason for the coding in three different fonts? [a] chugger [b] conflux [c] furkid [d] irritainment [e] vastidity [f] senior moment [g] sheeple [h] tortive [i] movieoke [j] wardrobe malfunction No, it’s not to do with their meaning (even though movieoke and irritainment are indeed related), but rather with their status. The two in Arial have ‘made it’ – they are already featured in the MED2, unlike the ones in Agency FB, which — while also very new — are still on a ‘waiting list’: not yet included in a dictionary, but apparently frequent enough to appear in ‘Macmillan Words of the Year’. As for the remaining three in Times New Roman, they used to be on a waiting list’ some 300 years ago and … they
See the end of this article for a full list of references. The dictionary in question is the new, second edition of Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners (‘MED2’).
didn’t make it4, in contrast to some 800 other Shakespeare’s inventions which have survived, including crocodile and skim milk (the latter, originally used in one of the Bard’s historical tragedies, naturally did not mean something that is good for you but a man of weak character). What I am driving at is that change is a permanent fact of (linguistic) life, whether we like it or not. And many of us, particularly adult learners at lower levels of language proficiency, will tend to react to such news with some degree of frustration at the impossibility of ever knowing all those English words. Responding to change For any serious language learner — let alone a language professional — there might seem to be only one responsible course of action: try to learn them all: past, present, and future ones! For the sake of this article, I shall refer to this kind of response as ‘horizontal learning’, to contrast it with ‘vertical learning’. The latter, informally, consists in re-visiting the items we have sort of known for a long time, in order to dig deeper into their patterns of use, multiple senses, collocations, metaphorical extensions, and so on. As such, the vertical response appears more and more valuable as one’s overall level of language proficiency increases. This is not to say that the horizontal response is not a valid strategy. Of course it is, as long as it does not turn into an obsession with cramming in the most obscure, infrequent items, lest one ends up producing deviant passages like this: As I inculcated my amanuensis the sole bona fide mode of indoctrinating a language is to imbibe ten exotic words prior to retiring to somnambulance each evening. If you do not employ exotic words people deem you to be inerudite in the language. [acknowledgement: M. Smolik, personal communication] On the positive note, you could set up a word-watching project: get your students (and yourself) to subscribe to one of the online vocabulary engines, e.g. Macmillan’s ‘Word of the week’ feature at www.macmillandictionaries.com, a product of which could be a new words poster, updated monthly and presented at a summarizing session by a different student (or a group of students) each time. In what follows I want to offer a few specific ideas for the vertical response — again, not because I wish to promote it over the horizontal one. In fact, neither of the two responses is sufficient, they are two complementary strategies. But while vocabulary books are full of horizontal response-type exercises, there seems markedly less on the vertical strategy. Vertical response strategy For a soft take-off, why don’t you try a word origin workout: where do the following come from? source language? sushi wombat tornado mosque bazaar schmalz
conflux meant ‘coming together’, tortive meant ‘twisted’ and vastidity meant what we now refer to as either ‘immensity’ or ‘vastness’ (note that ‘vast’ and ‘-ity’ have survived albeit in two different synonymous expressions).
If you need a helping hand, here are the six donor languages in random order: Persian, Arabic, Spanish, Yiddish, Japanese, Australian. If you are still not sure, look up the key at the end of this article. Needless to say, it is easy to produce a far more tricky variant of this type of exercise: how about penguin, trumpet, denim and slogan (again, answers at the end)? An excellent brain teaser for any language lover, and natural preparation for a slightly more sophisticated exercise type: Romance
assist, aid start, begin conceal wish encounter infant marriage free [source: Svartvik & Leech 2006] The objective here is to discover for oneself one of many reasons for the incredible richness of modern English vocabulary: it so happens that in the above cases English has actually borrowed the same meaning more than once! And the reflection needn’t stop here: one might observe, for instance, that the former Anglo-Saxon words tend to be shorter than their Romance counterparts, which in turn offers one sort of explanation for why the former tend to be colloquial in contrast to the latter, which are neutral/formal. To me at least, this is a new lesson involving familiar pieces of language, i.e. an instance of vertical learning. For a far more labour-intensive exercise type, take a careful look at the panel of examples below. They are a fragment of the results for the word ‘diagnosed’ obtained when querying an on-line concordancing device5: A normal part of aging easily diagnosed covered by government or most If your baby’s hips are diagnosed as loose at birth, she will If you have ever been diagnosed as having high blood pressure, or 48 collapsed on a day-trip and was diagnosed as suffering from dysentery when dread [p] By the time Sam was diagnosed as suffering from leukemia four and almost accidentally, he was diagnosed as dyslexic. Enlightenment came Jamie Whitham. Sadly, Jamie was diagnosed as having a form of cancer and Endometriosis is usually diagnosed by inspecting the female Story, written by 13-year-old Luke, diagnosed as learning-disabled, translates black, and white) have all been diagnosed as having fetal alcohol syndrome I began to develop (eventually diagnosed as multiple sclerosis) and in and other carbohydrates. Anyone diagnosed as diabetic should be given help more frequently than men, have been diagnosed as hysterical; in some ways this
See the ‘webliography’ at the end of this article for a list of useful websites for this sort of exploration.
Afro-Caribbean community are being diagnosed as schizophrenic and even ending On May 11, seven months after being diagnosed as having cancer, Bob Marley I was fortunate when I was diagnosed as my family have always been Sean was diagnosed as dyslexic when he was seven and Glandular fever was eventually diagnosed and Heather decided on two terms A few days later, his ailment was diagnosed : he’s diabetic. This would be bad brought in a consultant who diagnosed heart failure. When I was We had five HIV-infected students diagnosed here last year--but the president I was thirty years old when he was diagnosed . I had a lover for many years, in the brain. Christopher was diagnosed in July last year and now he is Lymphoma with which he was first diagnosed in 1983. Paul Tsongas (Former years. He and his partner were both diagnosed positive and his partner died Since the cases of AIDS being diagnosed today are largely a result of HIV begins the moment the spouse is diagnosed with cancer. Because they do no Seriously ill in 1990 when he was diagnosed with polyps in his intestines. champion Evander Holyfield, diagnosed with heart problems after losing [original source: http://titania.cobuild.collins.co.uk/form.html] Note that even the layout here is itself vertical, which is one reason why it takes a while to get used to it. After all, our reading technique has been exclusively horizontal, from left to right (BTW, I suspect that most of your teenage learners — being the Internet-native ‘thumb generation’ — would find it far less odd than you do!). Anyhow, here are three vertical-strategy queries about ‘diagnosed’: [i] what sort of things can one be diagnosed with? [ii] how serious do these problems tend to be? Can one be ‘diagnosed’ with something trivial? [iii] which prepositions are by far the most frequent with ‘diagnosed’? A few minutes’ intensive reading of the above will surely persuade you that ‘diagnosed’ likes misery. And not just any misery — one can hardly be diagnosed with a running nose or coughing. Typical collocates include leukemia, cancer, tumour, high blood pressure, heart failure, loose hip, or HIV as well as several major mental disorders, like schizophrenia, or dyslexia. For me as language learner, the most revealing cases were these: I was fortunate when I was diagnosed as my family have always been … I was thirty years old when he was diagnosed I had a lover for many years, … He and his partner were both diagnosed positive and his partner died. There is certainly nothing ‘positive’ about being diagnosed positive. And with some diseases, especially AIDS, the idea of contracting it may be so frightening that we choose not to even say what the disease is and leave it, euphemistically, with the ellipsis. 7
As for question [iii] above, note that apart from the obvious preposition ‘with’, our study item clearly likes the company of ‘as’. The syntactic exploration could of course go further: for instance, does ‘diagnosed’ typically appear as the past tense active form or rather than as a passive form? And so on, and so forth. One might try to reject this sort of exercise on the grounds that it is very time consuming and that it offers information which is contained (in its condensed form) in any good learner’s dictionary. My answer to such objections is that [i] learning a foreign language is indeed a time-consuming activity anyway, and [ii] in my experience the learner will tend to retain information that she had to sweat in order to get rather than one which her teacher worked hard to spoon-feed her. Just so that you don’t come off believing I am a fanatic of hard work, here are a few more light-hearted activity types to finish with. First, a ‘daffynitions’ workout. Can you match the words in the left-hand column to their silly, daft pseudo-definitions (hence ‘daffynitions’) on the right? 1
winter sport incurring no expenses
slang for prize money
water barrier built by a Cockney rodent
what you’ll be after you are eight
pain inflicted by dried grass
young people from Asian countries
a way to greet a female friend [source: M. Hoogstad]
All answers at the end of the article. And if you enjoyed these why don’t you try your hand at: ‘across’, ‘ice cream’, ‘warehouse’, ‘horoscope’ or ‘Romania’ …? On a slightly less wacky note, why not re-visit some familiar Nouns and explore their meaning when used as Verbs – i.e. a ‘verbification’ workout: [A] body parts what do the following mean when used as verbs: face, nose, eye, head, arm, elbow, shoulder, stomach, knee, back, leg [A] names of animals what do the following mean when used as verbs: dog, rabbit, badger, crow, duck, bug, ferret, hare
[source: A. Margolis]
For dessert, read through this innocent-looking text. Any interesting phrases…? It was an open secret that the company had used a paid volunteer to test the plastic glasses. Although there were made using liquid gas technology and were an original copy that looked almost exactly like a more expensive brand, the volunteer thought that they were pretty ugly. On hearing this feedback, the company was clearly confused and there was a deafening silence. This was a minor crisis and the only choice was to drop the product line. I am sure that you have now noticed: the piece above is packed full of self-contradictory phrases (‘oxymorons’), like open secret, clearly confused, or paid volunteer. Vertical learning is not only great linguistic fun, but also an effective way to remind ourselves that English can be a fountain of inspiration – one that will never dry out. 8
BIBLIOGRAPHY Hoogstad, M. 2007. ‘Sticky wordplay: puns and metaphors’, IATEFL Voices 198, Sept—Oct 2007. Margolis, A. 2006. ‘New words for old!’, English Teaching Professional 47/Nov 2006. O’Keefe, A., M. McCarthy & R. Carter. 2007. From Corpus to Classroom. CUP. Runddell, M. & S. Granger. 2007. ‘From corpora to confidence’, English Teaching Professional 50/05. Rundell, M. et al. 2007. Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, New Edition Śpiewak, G. 2007. ‘English; One Tongue, Many Voices’. — A review, ELT Journal 61/4: 378—381. Svartvik, J. & G. Leech. 2006. English: One Tongue, Many Voices, Palgrave Macmillan. Watson Todd, R. 2006. Much Ado About English, Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
WEBLIOGRAPHY The Guardian online: www.guardian.co.uk concordancing online: http://ysomeya.hp.infoseek.co.jp polysemy online: www.usingenglish.com/glossary/polysemy.html MED2 online: www.macmillandictionaries.com KEY Opening paragraph healthspan
the period of our lives when we are free from serious illness
whilst sitting at your desk
a nervous condition characterized by an extreme obsession with healthy foods
a message asking you to click on a link to a web page and confirm personal information
the amount of money we waste each day on quick drinks and snacks
a place offering a complete tooth care experience, incl. special vibrating chairs, surfing the net, watching TV, or having a foot massage
surgery on a person’s vocal cords to make them sound younger
to rent sth. for free by purchasing it at a retailer and then returning it within 30 days for a full refund
time to relax and do exactly what you enjoy
people sitting in meetings, allegedly to share ideas but really saying: ‘who made the mistake?’ (source: Macmillan Words of the Year 2006)
Word origin workouts sushi: Japanese, wombat: Australian, tornado: Spanish, mosque: Arabic, bazaar: Persian, schmaltz: Yiddish penguin: Welsh, trumpet: Hebrew, denim: French, slogan: Gaelic Romance words: commence; desire; liberal Germanic words: help; hide; meet; child; wedding
‘daffynitions’ workout  = [f]: hay + stings;  = [g]: youth + in + Asia;  = [e]: be+ nine;  = [b]: free + ski;  = [a]: ill + eagle;  = [h]: hi + Jean;  = [d]: ‘amster + dam;  = [c]: win + dough About the author: A graduate of University of Essex, UK (MA in Linguistics), and University of Warsaw (Ph.D in English & Linguistics). Teacher of English, consultant, project manager, teacher trainer, acclaimed conference speaker, author. Former academic lecturer and deputy director for English Teaching & CLIL at the Department of English of Warsaw University. Currently affiliated with Macmillan Education (Head ELT Consultant for Central & Eastern Europe, key teacher trainer), as well as with The New School, New York (tutor on MA TESOL on-line programme), DOS-ELTea – an independent teacher development centre (founder & president), and deDOMO Education (project leader and head author). An Honorary President and advisory board member of IATEFL Poland.
A DYING ART Erika Puusemp
Miina Härma Gymnasium, Tartu
Although the tendency for people’s handwriting to become ever more and more illegible in this time of (ever shorter) emails and texts will probably render writing letters in hand totally extinct at some point in the future, there should still exist some rules as to how to write a letter or email in such a way that the addressee would 1) understand the content; 2) not be offended by anything; and preferably 3) respond favourably, i.e. do what the writer of said text wants them to do, no matter whether they want to get a piece of information or are seeking to secure a high-paying job. Looking at the exam papers written this spring by students who were just about to enter the job market, or join the multitude of students at universities and vocational schools to further their education, a pretty sad picture of carelessness and ignorance emerged from the work of the average student. If the instructions given to the student in the task were the ones below, and you were the manager of Dream Time Cottage, would you like to get something like the following as a response to your advertisement?
You are looking for a place to hold a youth seminar. Look at the advertisment you have found online. Write a letter of enquiry, introducing your plans for the seminar (dates, topic, participants) and asking for additional information. Use all the prompts.
Size? What kind?
DreamTime Cottage An ideal place for training events. Located in a naturally beautiful area, our facility offers suitable accommodation for families as well as larger groups. Conference rooms available. Sports equipment and catering at an additional cost.
For more information write: James Peterson Dream Time Cottages Peak District Sheffield
Use the pen name Mari Mets/Mart Mets for yoursef. Do not write any addresses. You should write 120 words. Letter of enquiry 1th of July / 7thaugust If Dear Mr J / Dear Peterson / Dear Mrs Peterson / Dear Sir Peterson / Dear Dream Time Cottage / Dear Mr/Ms, Hello! My name is Mart Ment and I am writing to letter like to to that apply for the post of Dream Time cottage. What kind of it is in offer? Iâ€™m writing to apply for my seminar. We need to arrive 3th May to celebrate my bearsday. Could you remove all technology? The planx is a two day event on the first of july. We whona lirn a whole month! No plans! Chatting and eating! Do you have worried me some rooms? My curse begins in 04.06. (held in julay 2116) with two experts, Jimmy Carrot and Tom Potato. What room is avibel, pig or small? You was asked me how many sitplaces are impossible to put in. Your ad sayd suitable acomodation for families. I consume about 30 people take place this seminar. What kind of sports this equipment is? We want do sports in outside. The main topic is swimming underwater. I have my own portable pool but no swimming glasses. Could you provide about 50 persons? I would like to ask is that what you mean by cattering? Is there a sports avenue nearby? And is it inposible? Ask some furthermore questions, bikecycles in there? Play teenis, steel yoga? Catering is a great way to spend free time. What exactly is catered there? How much I must sell to cartering? I need to maximumly minimise expenses (able to pay 1500 euros for the whole weekend). People can fit inside a strict budget. Can we have some salery because we have big group? Anserv me in hurry! Wright me back! You can type me about it! Waiting forward, Yours sincefully Mari/Mart Mets
Obviously I am exaggerating a bit here because nobody wrote letters this long, and I’ve also made the handwriting legible, but this is pretty similar to what the average of hundreds of letters looked like. Plus genius examples of spelling like necesserable, aprichiate, cildren, facillity, chost, sinciearly, siminar, furthunelly, sensireously, importa-nt, cattering, scincierelly, preffered, activits… A couple of tips here that might, if followed, help students become slightly better at their letter-writing tasks. The best thing about them is that the writer’s language doesn’t even have to be that much better to score a couple of points more. • Read the task carefully, and use all the information provided without directly lifting a lot of language. • Imagine yourself in a real-life situation like the one described in the task, and write only from that viewpoint. Some logic as to how the world works would be useful. If you want to have a seminar someplace on the same day with a hundred participants, you cannot really send a conference facility a letter and expect them to answer favourably (and quickly enough). • Definitely get people’s names right as in the big world out there, mistakes in the use of names are sure to offend people. • Letters do not need titles. (Stories and articles do, though.) • Make up your mind in the planning stage as to what exactly to write, and in what order. It is not good style (or good anything) to contradict yourself in the course of the letter (e.g. mention different dates, or different numbers of participants). • There are not that many opening and closing salutations to remember that are suitable for formal correspondence, and which stylistically go with which, so these should be of the same level of formality and ideally matched to the task. • It’s advisable to spell words correctly, especially the ones that feature in the task and can therefore be checked and double-checked easily. • If a question is asked, it is advisable to add why such knowledge is desirable, so points should be enlarged but no irrelevant information brought in (As in e.g. “I would like to know how many people your seminar room could seat since we are planning to have around 50 participants at the event,” rather than “I am interesting of room size”.) • Bear this thought in your mind all the time: Would you like to get a letter like the one you have just written? Would you answer it? If you wouldn’t like it, why would anybody? Letters were relatively easy and pleasant to read as opposed to reports, which students had to write as the longer task at this spring’s exam. I dread to think what will happen if/when they need to write even more unfamiliar text types at the exam like articles or proposals. So, good luck teaching the next set of school leavers, and come and share tricks you use and methods that work.
Erika Jeret (left) conducting a tour of Pärnu to the participants of the Summer Seminar (see also photos on p. 51).
FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHERS TO BE COMPENSATED FOR TAKING INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNISED LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY TESTS Pille Põiklik
Language Policy Department, Ministry of Education and Research
It was announced in August that the government will direct more than 800,000 euros into improving people’s language skills through the Minister of Education and Research Regulation No. 51 (“Struktuuritoetuse andmise tingimused tööturul vajalike keelepädevuste arendamiseks”, signed 29 July, 2016). The activities of the regulation are funded through the European Social Fund and by the Estonian government, and they are part of reaching the goals of the Lifelong Learning Strategy by working to bring the labour market and education and training closer. The regulation offers funding for three types of activities: a) improving the Estonian skills of people for whom it is not a native language, b) supporting cooperation between educational institutions that is devoted to developing people’s language skills, and c) increasing the number of foreign language teachers who have certificates of internationally recognised language proficiency tests. The activities are detailed in the regulation available in Riigi Teataja1, but a few more words on the third activity mentioned might be of most immediate interest for teachers of English. More teachers with language certificates The third activity mentioned means that foreign language teachers as well as students studying to become foreign language teachers will be able to receive refunds for successfully taking internationally recognised language proficiency tests on levels C1 and C2. The primary target group for this activity are teachers of English, Russian, German and French. However, teachers of other languages as well as students studying to become teachers of other subjects will also be able to apply if there are enough resources remaining. This will help include lesser taught languages and work towards encouraging CLIL, which should encourage plurilingualism in Estonian schools. In terms of the primary target group, the activity is also important in increasing the number of foreign language teachers with certificates, so that they might then be qualified to become assessors of language proficiency tests themselves. In the end, the aim is to lay a foundation for an attitude by which it is expected that a foreign language teacher who works within the frames of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) has taken a similar test and knows their own language level. Developing this attitude and expectation should also add a layer of certainty to the heads of schools when hiring teachers. Linking (future) teachers to the CEFR The national curricula for basic schools and for upper secondary schools are linked to the CEFR, detailing the levels students should obtain in accordance with the framework. This has clear consequences for the entire system – next to spelling out the levels to be reached, we need to use materials that are equally linked to the framework, and we need teachers to be able to measure students’ progress in terms of the CEFR levels. However, nowhere in this system are we as exacting about the language levels that 1
teachers themselves have. The common understanding is that teachers should be at least a level higher in a language than their students are. That is, teachers taking their students to level B1 should have B2 or higher themselves and teachers taking students to B2 (and hopefully higher) in upper secondary schools should have C1 (and hopefully higher) themselves. Language requirements are set in higher education when enrolling students in pre-service teacher training. However, there is no systematic mapping of where students end up in terms of their language levels. The curricula offered in universities are increasingly varied (encouraging people to become teachers of more than one foreign language or more than one subject) and the proportion of studies done in the chosen language(s) is not fixed since students can make different decisions in designing their study paths. Students also often move to teacher training only on the MA level where subject knowledge is not always as firmly on the foreground as it may have been in the past. For these reasons, it is increasingly problematic that, as students move through teacher training, graduate and begin their careers in schools, they often do so without measuring their own language levels. Setting up the system of refunding teachers and students Foundation Innove has been tasked with making the funding for the activities in the regulation available, and the documentation is currently being developed. Later this year, applications for the activities can be submitted, including applications from institutions that would like to take the lead with the language certificates activity and work towards promoting language certificates among (future) teachers. After that, students and teachers will be notified of when and where refunds will be made available to them. Making use of this opportunity is voluntary for students and teachers, although in the future, taking an internationally recognised language proficiency test might ideally be part and parcel of foreign language teachers’ pre-service training. As an established part of a teacher’s professional portfolio, it would add a sense of confidence to the teacher and a sense of security to heads of schools and students, not to mention the door it might open to contributing to putting together tests on a national level and helping assess students’ achievements in foreign languages in accordance with the CEFR levels.
THE FIPLV NORDIC-BALTIC REGION CONFERENCE 2016 – A CHALLENGE AND THE CONFIRMATION OF TRUST Ene Peterson
Head of the NBR 2016 organizing committee, Chair of the EAFLT
The Nordic-Baltic Region (NBR) conference of 2016 took place in Tallinn from 9 June until 11 June. The Estonian Association of Foreign Language Teachers (EAFLT), the host for NBR 2016 conference, had great honour to continue the tradition of NBR conferences. In 2012 EAFLT joined the FIPLV regional organization – the Nordic-Baltic Region, a year later the EAFLT became a member of the FIPLV (Fédération Internationale des Professeurs de Langues Vivantes), another year later we were proposed to be the organizers of the 2016 event. The conference organizing committee was formed in 2014. There were 8 of us who started the conference preparation: Ene Peterson (head of the organizing committee), Evelin Müüripeal (teacher of Estonian and Finnish, Vice-chair of the EAFLT), Larissa Panova (the Association of teachers of Russian), Mari Tarvas (Tallinn University, professor of German Literature), Reeli Kaselaid (Tallinn German Upper-Secondary School, teacher of English), Elle Sõrmus (Tallinn Health Care College, Estonian lecturer), Siret Piirsalu (Tallinn Health Care College, language coordinator 14
and Estonian lecturer) and Tõnu Tender (Institute of the Estonian Language, director). Karola Velberg (representative of the Association of Teachers of Finnish), Kati Bakradze (representative of the Estonian Association of Teachers of English) and Laine Paavo (Deutsches Kulturinistut Tallinn / Goethe-Zentrum) joined our working group in September 2015, and Geraldo de Calvarho from Brazil (IDV Schriftleiter) in January 2016. We had 16 meetings, including 8 Skype meetings. The preparation of the conference website, the publication of an Abstract Book and saving the conference presentations on a USB memory stick demanded extra time, money and energy. We did not have any doubts about the choice of the conference venue – Original Sokos Hotel Viru, because the hotel has been a symbol and milestone through the ages – a legend, in which you feel the real heart of Tallinn. The conference aimed at providing a platform for the discussion of the changing roles of the teacher, dissemination of good practices of teaching in the 21st century with a special focus on research insights, innovative ideas and hands-on-activities. The conference programme focused on a wide choice of topics: Language Policy and Language Education Policy; Learning and Teaching Less Widely Taught Languages; Traditional vs. Innovative Teaching Method; The Teaching Profession and Teacher Networks: Today`s and Tomorrow`s Challenges; Emerging Technologies in a Digital Age; Quality in Language Teaching and Learning; Multilingualism and Employability. Although we had a regional conference of the NBR, it turned out to be a world event because it brought together 130 foreign language teachers from 20 countries: Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Brazil, Finland, France, Hungary, Germany, Estonia, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovenia and Turkey. Ene Peterson, Chair of the EAFLT opened the conference. Welcome speeches were made by FIPLV Secretary General Terry Lamb, NBR president Sigurborg Jónsdóttir and head of the Language Policy Department of the Republic of Estonia Ministry of Education and Research. Plenary sessions were scheduled for the start of both conference days: Terry Lamb from the UK (Professor of Languages and Education of the University of Sheffield, Secretary General of the FIPLV) and Mart Laanpere from Estonia (senior researcher at the Centre for Educational Technology at Tallinn University on June 10; Martin Ehala from Estonia (professor and senior researcher at the University of Tartu) and Franz Mittendorfer from Austria (teacher of English, teacher trainer and language consultant) on June 11.
Greetings by Sigurborg Jónsdóttir
Parallel sessions after lunch were conducted in English, German, Finnish, French and Russian. It was possible to listen to 31 presentations and participate in 7 workshops. Ten poster presenters presented their posters during the breaks. The biggest number of presenters and participants were from Estonia (56) and Finland (15). The topics of parallel sessions attracted and engaged the participants in enthusiastic conversations. The conference started and ended with a cultural programme. We had four committee members (Evelin, Karola, Kati and Larissa) who were responsible for the cultural programme: The extensive cultural programme included two tours of Toompea Castle and the Riigikogu building in English (including the possibility to visit the tower of Pikk Herman); a walking tour in Old Tallinn in German, an early music concert at Kadriorg Palace on June 9; a guided tour of mysterious Bastion Tunnels and beer tasting tour on June 11. The reception took place on June 10 at Tallinn Teachers’ House. Welcoming speeches were made by Kati Bakradze, a member of the organizing committee, Deputy Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart 15
and the FIPLV Secretary General Terry Lamb. Young ballroom dancers brought their greeting via the language of dance and music. The conference was a success. Numerous thanks from the participants and presenters during and after the conference are the proof of success. Some examples: “I am willing to thank you for its impeccable management. Certainly a great deal of work, but you and your team made a success of it!” Workshop of Franz Mittendorfer
“Thank you for the wonderful organisation during the conference and for creating a very inspiring atmosphere.” ʺMany thanks to you and your staff for the organization of the Tallinn event. It has been a very useful and an amazing experience for me.”
“We would like to congratulate you and the organizing committee for the excellent organization of the FIPLV Nordic-Baltic (NBR) Conference 2016. We would like to thank you for your untiring efforts and dedication and are also grateful for your cooperation in acceding to our requests regarding the IDV guidelines. This helped in the Round-up singing smooth functioning of the section. The great success off the presentations and satisfaction of our speakers made the effort put in worth its while. … thank you for your collaboration and commitment in helping to promote the German language.“ “The conference was a real success, it was very well organized, the presentations were interesting and most importantly, we all had a chance to meet and establish networks for our future work. Thank you very much for your hospitality and for being true ambassadors of your country.” The organization of the conference was as a challenge as well as the confirmation of trust. The success of the conference was the fruit of two-year labour – preparation for the conference, numerous team members’ meetings, cooperation between team members, Original Sokos Hotel Viru staff, Tallinn Municipal Government, Tallinn Teachers’ House, partners and sponsors. “When you’re surrounded by people who share passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible” (Howard Schults).
50TH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL IATEFL CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION IN BIRMINGHAM Eva Ojakivi
From 13 to 16 April 2016 the 50th Annual International IATEFL conference and exhibition was held in Birmingham, West Midlands, England, UK. The venue was the magnificent International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham, just a stone’s throw away from the Birmingham Canal. I was given the chance to represent the Estonian teachers of English at the event. I am truly grateful to EATE for giving me this opportunity to participate in such an important event. I had never participated in an IATEFL conference before. It was also the first time for me to visit Birmingham. The city is known for being the second biggest metropolitan area (with a population around 3.8 million) in the United Kingdom. Birmingham has been known as once the centre of the Industrial Revolution and the home of the steam engine. Nowadays the key words used to describe Birmingham are regeneration, renewal and grand-scale construction. To be honest, the centre of the city looked like a huge construction site indeed, and the results of the completed works are amazing. Old and modern architecture complement each other perfectly. Another amazing feature about Birmingham was the system of canals. The delegates of the conference had a great chance to enjoy walks along the restored banks of the canals, be it during the lunch breaks or after the lectures. Together with an English teacher from Brazil we managed to find time to enjoy a trip on a canal boat – we just could not resist the singing Brummie boatman! Something that definitely caught my eye in Birmingham were the converted old red phone booths which are now cleverly used as ATMs. Canal walkways greet you in a friendly way.
The organisers had made technology work for their (and the participants’) good. They had even developed an app including everything one needs to know about the events and venues, which has now been in use for several years already. As a result, the load of paper the participants had to carry along was reduced The Conference was also available to follow online. All in all, more than 3,000 delegates attended the conference this year. The huge number of talks, forums, workshops, evening events, poster presentations could really confuse anyone attending for the first time. Unfortunately, one cannot be in several places at the same time. However, if you still managed to get lost in the huge conference centre and could not find the place of the lecture, for example, the staff was extremely helpful to guide you to the right place. It is good to know that a human factor still matters. All the materials are available at http://www.iatefl.org/annual-conference/ birmingham-2016 The first plenary presentations by the Grand Old Man of linguistics and the patron of IATEFL David Crystal (OBE – Officer of the Order of the British
Old phone booths used in a new way. 17
Empire; FBA – Fellow of the British Academy; FLSW – Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales) focused on the changes in the English language from1966 to 2066. The talk illustrated the main changes in pronunciation, orthography, grammar and vocabulary and discussed the chief factors involved – social mobility, globalization and the Internet. He gave examples of newly coined terms and expressions that are already a part of our everyday life, e.g., digital amnesia – the inability to remember basic things as a result of over-reliance on devices for storing information; Skype family – a family in which one parent is living overseas and contact is maintained through Skype; dude food – food that is said to be favoured by men, often including meat; wasband – a former husband; pocket dial – to call someone by accident with a phone that is in your pocket; grey gapper – a person of retirement age who takes a year out of their normal life to go travelling; manel – an exclusively male panel; slashkini – a one-piece swimsuit with lots of cut-outs. Silvana Richardson, Head of Teacher Development at Bell Educational Services, focused her plenary speech on the “native factor”. The lecturer shared research studies, anecdotal evidence and personal experience: how the logic of the market is used to justify current recruitment practices that still keep the view that an unqualified native speaker is preferred to a qualified and professional non-native teacher. The last plenary session was held by one of the leading storytellers Jan Blake who specialises in stories from Africa and the Caribbean. She told two immensely enjoyable long stories of man and woman, life, love, shape-shifters, the wise and the foolish. Listening to the rhythm of her words took you to faraway places and brought you safely back in the end. This was a truly mesmerising experience. After the plenary sessions everyone could choose to attend workshops according to their fields of interest; the range of choice was unlimited. Quite often one could rely only on the name of the presenter when making choices. As for my absolute favourites, I hugely enjoyed talks by Jim Scrivener, Veronica Beningo, Martyn Ford, Sarah Mercer just to mention a few. Following a busy conference day, a diverse evening programme offered a wide range of Hilary and David Crystal rapping Shakespeare. events. Since 2016 is the year of Shakespeare, some of the evening events were dedicated to the greatest playwright of all times. No doubt, the most enjoyable was the event hosted by David and Hilary Crystal – titled Shakespeare, believe it or not. They presented an entertaining potpourri (doing it in rap!) of new and old pieces of Shakespeare, including some unbelievable recent discoveries about the bard (Shakespeare had always wanted to be an English teacher). David Heatfield and Andrew Wright lead the story sharing evening. People from all over the world were eager to share their stories, some of them were really heart-breaking. Such an event was a great experience for me as a teacher of English. It made me feel a part of a big community of English teachers all over the world. Sharing and discussing work-related topics with colleagues all over the world was extremely inspiring and motivating. It made it easier to answer YES to some questions asked by Erika Puusemp in her article about the 46th IATEFL conference in Glasgow (OPEN! 41, 2012, p .29) namely – are you proud to be a teacher? Have you ever volunteered to write for OPEN!? A piece of good advice in the Library of Birmingham. 18
A ROOM WITH A VIEW: LOOKING BACK AT ALMOST 50 YEARS AT BROOKLYN COLLEGE Julia Hirsch
Professor Emerita Brooklyn College (City University of New York)
For some forty years – much longer than OPEN! has been published – I had a desk in an office on the fourth floor of Boylan Hall, on the Brooklyn College campus in Brooklyn, New York. The building, quite new when I started out and a bit shabby today, housed most of the classes in the humanities, as well as the college’s main administrative offices. What was my office has a small window overlooking the handsome quadrangle in the middle of the campus, and affords a view of trees, grass and flower beds, scrupulously tended and filled with different plants, according to season. At times the office held three desks, then six, and finally, in the last two years before my retirement (in 2007), only two. The only new piece of equipment I was ever given was a new computer in 2008, at a time when I still taught one course. Until two months ago, the office, never repainted during my occupancy, finally had its dull institutional green walls covered in a greyish white. The office is going to be used by a colleague who gave up the administrative post she held for twenty years and is returning to full-time teaching. In anticipation of its new occupant, I was asked to clear out the last of my possessions, which amounted to the removal of some books, a crumbling collection of old magazines, and my older daughter’s drawings from when she was a toddler. (Now 49 years old, she was delighted to receive her juvenilia.) In clearing away these last vestiges of my personal life and career, I discovered that my office was a symbol of the 42 years I spent at the College. Those years were charged with opportunity, challenge, satisfaction, and frustration. Parts of my career were as lovely as the view from the window, while other parts were as dreary as the color of the walls. My career at Brooklyn College started in 1964. I had a brand new doctorate and was full of fancy dreams about teaching Early English Literature for which my graduate studies had prepared me. I looked forward to teaching Chaucer in Middle English and surveys of what was then called Renaissance (now “early Modern”) literature. My department numbered well over 80 people at the time, and I was one of four new “assistant professors.” I didn’t notice that I was the only woman among these new hires, and that there were more men than women among the full professors. Nor did I make much of the fact that except for three senior colleagues, there was no racial diversity in my department. My head was full of research papers I wanted to write, and the future was studded with grant opportunities, a few of which I sought, and got. (One of these was the Fulbright which took me to Estonia.) A straight road stood before me which I would be able to travel without too much effort. Slowly the rosy bloom of the early 1960s gave way to an era of political and social unrest. The Vietnam War was stirring up a great deal of protest – marches down the streets of major cities, huge demonstrations in Washington, D.C. – which spilled over to college campuses. Teachers were asked to cancel their classes in protest and I remember being in great conflict about that. What did it say about the worth of the class if it could be suspended for the sake of a political imperative? Were the two goals of humanistic study and political activism antagonistic or complementary? Would my students learn more about justice and human rights by studying John Stuart Mill’s, “On Liberty”, or by their attending a teacher-led “sitin” about the war? I don’t remember now how I resolved my conflict, but I think I conducted my class. That was just the beginning of an era of protest and agitation. At the same time that the Vietnam War was dividing the country, civil rights were becoming a major cause for activism. There was no doubt that the student population of my college in no way represented the diversity of the city, and this became a 19
dramatic political cause that ended up in a historical educational experiment called Open Enrollment. The program had many parts to it, and many implications, but the most apparent on my campus was a huge rise in enrollment. The City University of New York – of which Brooklyn College, along with seventeen other colleges and schools, is a part – was now changing its admissions policies to enable students who had never completed high school, or whose grades didn’t meet the admissions standard, to begin college work. It also granted admission to older students who similarly had not achieved college entrance requirements. To accommodate this change, financial aid was provided for many students – as an incentive to go to college – and additional faculty was hired, especially to staff the many classes in remediation that were now necessary. The Brooklyn College population almost doubled and additional classrooms were created out of ‘temporary buildings’ (structures that didn’t require foundations and could be put up quickly) set up on some of the campus’s grassy open spaces. Inevitably Open Enrollment provoked a great deal of controversy. Many teachers were fiercely opposed to it, as “lowering our standards,” while others were passionate advocates who saw the program as a just and appropriate extension of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program. I found myself stuck between the two extremes. I found teaching students who needed some basic training in reading and writing an exciting challenge. It forced me to rethink my conventional assumptions about how that was to be done. I also marveled at how, if patiently encouraged, students could improve their skills within a matter of weeks. But I was bothered that over time, my students in literature courses had a harder and harder time understanding, and therefore valuing, what we were studying. I even used the lyrics of rock songs they knew to help them get engaged with a text. But they had no more sensitivity to Bob Dylan’s, or the Eagles’ stirring words than to the language and imagery of Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman. What became apparent to both opponents and advocates of the program was its enormous financial cost. By the mid 1970s, New York City was experiencing a serious financial crisis, which was so severe that in the spring of 1975, CUNY closed its doors, without immediate prospect of their reopening. The uncertainty of the future was a terrible shock and affected me badly. At that time, I had rather extensive family responsibilities. I had regarded an academic career as secure, and suddenly I was out on the street. Happily, the crisis resolved within a matter of weeks. Although teachers had to agree to deferred payment of the salaries they would have been paid during the university’s closure, we returned to work and could look forward to a pay check moving forward. Until this crisis, CUNY had always been free of charge. But as an outcome of the crisis, tuition was imposed. Once it cost students nothing to attend Brooklyn College. Today’s annual tuition is $6536, approximately the cost of eight return flights between Tallinn and New York. Although some financial aid is available, many students find it necessary to hold down jobs while going to school. This often prevents them from doing as well as they might. Another crisis of the era affected women’s salaries and professional advancement. One of my colleagues entered the lists of battle by organizing a class action suit against the University and after a great deal of struggle and litigation won a victory for us ten years later. Women who had been on staff when litigation began in 1973 eventually received compensation. As the 1970s went by, the need for curricular changes surfaced. Not only did Brooklyn College need to expand its remediation program, but our new population clamored for “relevance,” a demand that was increasingly in the air in colleges and universities all over the country. I myself devised a course on “Gender in Shakespeare,” a topic which at the time seemed very innovative, but which today is quite commonplace, a change in attitude which reflects how different things were forty years ago. At the same time, I realized that, with my dedication to the literature of the 15th through 17th centuries, I’d soon find myself teaching remedial English only. My own interests were also taking a new direction. I had always been interested in how the arts and social conditions affected each other, and wanted to introduce that interest into my teaching. Interdisciplinary study was getting attention. Some opportunities in the late 1970s allowed me to shift direction. I began teaching courses in our expanding American Studies program (where I could combine literature, photography and other visual arts) and in fact continued to teach in that program until I retired. (My two favorite courses were the Literature of American Immigrant Experience, and New York City Folklore.) Other “studies programs” (including African-American, Puerto Rican, Judaic, Italian, Asian, and Women and Gender Studies) were also created, over time, in recognition of cultures and populations whose importance had been submerged by, or overlooked in, the traditional “Dead White Men” curriculum. Today Milton and Tudor Drama are hardly taught at all, but we have 20
courses in Caribbean literature and Post-modernist criticism. My teaching of remediation, which I did during the summer and during our mid-winter break, also got me interested in the problems of literacy and language acquisition. Thanks to a provision I learned about rather late in my career, I was able to go back to school free of charge (at one of the CUNY colleges) and learn how to teach English as a Foreign Language. The skills I acquired were very useful in my Brooklyn College classes as more and more students were not native English speakers and struggled with “first language interference.” Gradually the bold social experiment of Open Enrollment was cut back, first slowly, then drastically. Many structural changes have occurred within CUNY and many are playing themselves out today. The Brooklyn College campus itself has experienced many changes over the years. Some new buildings have risen, a new theater complex is under construction, ramps were put in place for disabled students, in response to the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1991, the computer has established its utility in the classroom, and the student population is far more diverse than it was in 1964. The central quadrangle of the campus is still lovely, with its seasonal plantings, and students continue to lounge there or play Frisbee on the lawn. What is very striking is the casualness of dress. Although a few Muslim women come to college in full burkas, other women wear shorts and halters when the weather is warm, as it can be from May to October. Male students, too, dress very casually, often in shorts and sleeveless T-shirts. Male teachers no longer dress like business men, and it’s rare to see a man in a tie or jacket, while it’s not unusual to see women teachers wear t-shirts, jeans and sandals. As I look back, I feel enormous gratitude for the career I had. I benefited from what I perceive as a glorious moment in American higher education. Today, it’s very much harder to get a tenured teaching job as more and more universities hire part-timers who don’t require health insurance or retirement plans. It’s also much harder to get research grants, and to publish with an established press. Many other forms of higher education are now available online, and may in the long run reduce the population which actually attends a college “live.” Now that I no longer have any connection to an office on campus, I will not have much reason to visit. But my detachment isn’t new. Despite many attempts over the years to create a faculty common room, there is no congenial place on campus for faculty to meet casually or to linger: there is a faculty dining area but it’s noisy and not a place in which to spend much time. Some of my colleagues decorated their offices with rugs and sofas to make their offices homey. I never did – I always lived far enough from the college so that after I’d done my teaching and met with my students, I wanted go home; for twenty years I traveled more than two hours to get there. With children at home, I had no time to linger. And most faculty members continue to live some distance away. This makes it difficult to have a lasting sense of community outside the ephemeral community of the classroom. Although today I feel detached from the place – it’s no more than a furnished room in my memory, not a treasured home – I can still feel the excitement I felt when I started out so many years ago. I was quite idealistic about the life of the mind, but what I learned from Brooklyn College, is that the heart has to be fully engaged as well. I remember with fondness and admiration a number of my students: Emily who suffered from a debilitating form of arthritis but came to class no matter the weather, Ralph, a young man with a learning disability who did a wonderful job of memorizing and reciting a Wordsworth sonnet, Andrea, who recognized her lack of effort in a survey course and decided to take the course over to do better, Richard, who when he was in the late 30s decided he wanted to be an English teacher instead of a bicycle messenger, Helen, who came back to college after dropping out in 1946, and Jennifer, who came to New York from Puerto Rico on a full-tuition scholarship to become a concert clarinetist but decided she wanted to become a doctor. Today she is an emergency-room surgeon in a hospital in Chicago where she is also engaged in post-doctoral research. They represent what made teaching at Brooklyn College exciting, challenging and rewarding.
EESTI KEEL JA MINA, THE ESTONIAN LANGUAGE AND I (WITH SOME CULTURAL OBSERVATIONS) Hilary Bird
Freelance translator of Estonian literature
When I was born in Bristol, UK, in 1948 I spoke Estonian and my name was Anneliis. I, however, only lived with my Estonian mother, Alice Meikar from Käsmu, Lääne-Virumaa, for nine weeks before I was adopted and became Hilary Bird. I can only guess at the reasons for my adoption as I never met Alice after 1948. She was a refugee and alone in a strange place. My father, an unknown Lithuanian, was in a Displaced Persons Camp in Germany and that’s all I know about him. Whatever the circumstances, I grew up in a happy family with English as my mother tongue. I always knew I was adopted. My British parents told me when I was very young and I grew up with the knowledge. I even knew my original name. Emily and Harry (the familiar form of “Henry”) Bird were not educated people. My father could hardly write and my mother left school (aged 14) to go to work in a chocolate factory, but they were wise and must have known that secrets can be corrosive. I was a clever child and was lucky both with my adopted parents and my adopted country. After WWII there were considerable improvements in education for working-class children (my father was a factory worker and my mother a housewife) and I went to the UK equivalent of a gymnasium – unthinkable, especially for a girl, before the war. A gymnasium in English is called “a grammar school”. The “grammar school” has a similar history to other European gymnasii. In the middle ages the “grammar” taught was Latin because this was the lingua franca of the medieval world. By the 20th century modern European languages – English and French in my case – were also taught. We learned the old-fashioned way. We had language lessons every day and had to memorise vocabulary, learn grammar rules and spell correctly. Our theoretical learning was put to practice by writing short compositions, long essays and reading aloud in class. This method suits me. Later, in the 1970s, I met with systems of “quick fix” language tuition – a three-month German and a one-year Russian course, both taught at universities. Methods including working in language laboratories with tapes made by native speakers, visual aids and attempting conversations with fellow students but, although this system worked very well for others, it did not really work for me. My language skills in Russian (passable) and German (very superficial) are not anything like as good as my French. I discovered my birth mother was Estonian in 1997 after my UK parents were long dead and after searching through official records for 20 years. I was 49 years old. My first reaction was to come to Estonia. I was already booked on a trip to Moscow. That trip was fateful. My friend in Moscow was one of the very few Indians who speak Russian. Ravi had been a translator for the Bolshoi Ballet and had met and married a woman from Georgia (the one in the former USSR) and he kept in touch with his family and his chess-playing friends by Internet. I knew nothing about the Internet then. I thought of it (foolishly) as some new-fangled device that I did not need. All of this now changed. How well I remember that chilly November night in Moscow 2500 km away from the place I called home. Ravi rooted around on the Internet and found the website of the Eesti Rahvusarhiiv and the information I got from the arhiiv changed my life. I was in the company of a Brahmin Indian (whose father is a famous sitar player), an Ossetian (Ravi’s wife) and my travelling companion friend whose background is 100% English. My English friend (for those interested in local lore) is a “Maid of Kent” because she was born in the south-east of the County of Kent in south-east UK. Those born north of the River Medway (that divides Kent) are called “Kentish Maids” ... I myself am a complete mixed bag – my birth mother Estonian, my birth father Lithuanian and my British parents English and Welsh. I made arrangements to break my journey home at Helsinki and crossed the Bay of Finland to Tallinn. As soon as I got off the boat my first encounter with the Estonian language brought total bewilderment ... it was so unfamiliar. All those 22
vowels with strange dots and squiggles! After this, the pace of my voyage of self-discovery, having dragged on at a snail’s pace for 20 years, speeded up. I met my blood kin the following year, having tracked them down with the help of kind Estonians in the UK (met at Eesti Maja), and the Estonian Embassy in London. I took my first real steps in the Estonian language in Nõmme, Tallinn, with my cousin Merike (Merike’s grandfather and my grandfather were brothers). I knew from the first that I would find pronunciation difficult. I remember being totally puzzled by the difference between “a” and “ä.” The fact that I was very deaf by this time in my life did not help. Later I wrote in The Xenophobes Guide to the Estonians, 95% my work and translated by the late, great Mati Soomre as Sellised nad on ... Eestlased. “Spoken Estonian is tortuous. The alphabet has 32 characters with nine vowels, 36 diphthongs and even a few trip-thongs. Whole phrases in Estonian can exist without consonants: aoäia õe uue oaõieaia õueaua ööau roughly translates as ‘the night-honour of a watching dog in the garden of fresh bean-flowers belonging to the sister of my sunrisy father-in-law’. Both consonants and vowel sounds come in three lengths: short, long, and extra-long. Getting pronunciation right requires years of fancy mouth work and no dental braces.” Cousin Merike offered some excellent advice. I asked her how I should approach the Estonian language and she replied that I should take it slowly and “feel my way into it.” Back in London I signed up for Estonian lessons at Eesti Maja, taught by my first sympathetic teacher, and discovered what Merike meant. At first the Estonian language seems to have some attractive simplifications for an English speaker. No gender, no definite or indefinite articles and no pre- or post- prepositions. But I soon found out why the Foreign Service Institute of the USA names Estonian as one of the hardest languages to learn for a native English speaker. I quote again from Sellised nad on ... Eestlased: “The verb has no future tense per se and there is no subjunctive mode (that expresses hope or possibility). The conditional tense is used for something that could take place and the oblique mode is used to indicate actions that supposedly occur but of which the speaker has no direct knowledge – thus, Ta olevat halb inimene means ‘I have heard he is a rotter but as I have no direct knowledge of this person I cannot say for sure.’ This hesitancy to commit oneself is common, and a natural distrust of positivism was not helped by the compulsory optimism of the Soviet system. Estonians never hurry to affirm or negate anything. Instead of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ they prefer to say: küllap vist (‘probably’, or ‘I dare say’) and, of course, ootame, vaatame.” I would now add that long before the Soviets, centuries of worrying that your significant others might be swapped for a dog do not imbue a culture with unlimited optimism. This cultural aspect of the Estonian language is a million miles away from the “Yes we can” attitude (from a Barak Obama 2008 speech in the USA election campaign). Ootame, vaatame is an attitude that is one of the most difficult attitudes for people from the English-speaking “free world” to adapt to when living in Estonia. It is not a question of right or wrong. We are all trapped in space and time but I believe “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” This is an attitude that has served me well. Still chasing my Estonian roots, I left the UK in 2002. I had had a 30-year successful career as a vanemametnik career in local government, but the world had changed and I needed to move on. A serious run-in with cancer, a strong gust of memento mori, my newly acquired Estonian citizenship and cash in the bank collected from life insurance propelled me to sign up for a general humanities course (history, economics, sociology, languages) at Tartu University in 2001. I was awarded a scholarship to study Estonian language full-time the following year at Tartu. And here I must praise my teachers, particularly Katrin Jänese. Our class was a real mix of abilities. The Dutch and Flemish members were excellent learners – they both spoke a minority mother tongue and had been taught language skills very well. The Italians and Spanish were also good, but the course took place in winter and they were plagued by the cold. Stereotypical but true. I and a Korean boy (who wanted to study medicine at Tartu) were by far the most enthusiastic but, 23
it must be said, hard work for our teachers. Me especially as, despite acquiring state-of-the-art Swiss hearing aids, I was by this time deaf as a post. The Americans and Canadians could not tell a verb from a punctuation mark but muddled along cheerfully. Teacher Katrin, luckily, was a grammarian and I, who had been taught languages in an old-fashioned classical manner, profited by this. I soon gathered my own grammar kit to supplement my E nagu Eesti textbook, namely Paul Saagpaak’s monumental Eestiinglise sõnaraamat (Koolibri, Tallinn, 2000) and Juhan Tuldava’s Estonian textbook (Indiana University, Bloomington, 1994). After reading these it became clear to me why, for instance, there are so very few prepositions in Estonian. This function of the language is conveyed in Estonian by conjugating the noun. Unfamiliar but not difficult if you understand the system rather than just clack away like a parrot. Having put my learning on a firm foundation suitable for me, I began to build, concentrating on reading because my hearing would not permit much else. The world that unfolded was fantastic, full of wonders. I have always loved poetry and the discovery of poets, major and minor, was a joy – especially the women – the unknown poets of our ancient oral tradition, Koidula, Haava, Under, Ilmi Kolla, Luik, Vallisoo, Kareva, Soomets, Ahi … Alver is my absolute god. But I also love Kreutzwald. Big boy Kalevipoeg is all brawn and very little brain but oh, how Kreutzwald could write! And I have a soft spot for Suits and Enno, Visnapuu, Barbarus, Johnny B. Isotamm and Viiding (the Jüri Üdi one) ... and more ... I never went back to live in the UK after 2002 and have spent the last 12 years writing an historical anthology of our literature, translating major works. And here I must thank literati Loone Ots, whose brainchild this was, Mati Soomre (and our readership) who kept me going with our Maaleht articles and last, but certainly not least, Doris Kareva, for their support and encouragement ... not to mention all those folks (both in Estonia and the wide world) who thought I was a mad old woman for even attempting such a heroic endeavour ... I now have a contract with Indiana University to publish the anthology. It should be ready for publication by late 2017. Finally, I must comment on what Mati called the “mother’s milk” aspect of translation. Those oddities that only a native speaker understands. Why is the Läänemeri the western sea to Estonians when it is the Ostsee; Østersøen and Östersjön – the eastern sea to the Germans and Scandinavians? Visnapuu’s Talihari is the depth rather than the height of winter to me ... like the British Christmas carol, “in the deep mid-winter” ... Well, it’s all grist to the mill. Edasi! Ja elagu eesti keel!
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF WRITERS AND THEIR CHARACTERS Erika Jeret
Pärnu College of the University of Tartu
In June 2016 I had an opportunity to visit England for a round trip in order to see friends and family and had some time allocated for touring, walking and seeing sights. Part of the tour was compiled to quite literally follow the footsteps of literary heroes and characters from films recently shown on Estonian TV channels. The journey started in Winchester, which is a pretty little town set in the glorious countryside of the South Downs, in the county of Hampshire. Truth be told, I probably first learned the word “Winchester” from books, in association with Leatherstocking Tales or similar. But then again, the Winchester rifle was devised after Cooper had already written his captivating stories on settlers and redskins. Reverting back to the town, Winchester is England’s ancient capital and the former seat of King Alfred the Great. It is portrayed as combining cosmopolitan elegance and rural idyll. The central parts of the town that I was able to explore, first kindly escorted by a knowledgeable local historian, and later on, by myself, revealed an area dotted with medieval and Georgian architecture. Its most outstanding royal visitor was Alfred the Great, King of Wessex. In his person he combined a soldier, statesman and scholar, which earned him the title ‘the Great’ – an honour bestowed on no other English king. His imposing bronze statue can be viewed at the top of the Broadway. Winchester can boast the Great Hall, one of the finest surviving mediaeval aisled halls of the 13th century, which is all what remains of the vast Winchester Castle, first constructed under the rule of William the Conqueror. The Great Hall is also home to the Round Table which visitors can see hanging on the wall. According to legend, this is the table around which King Arthur and his “Knights of the Round Table” met, and it has been famous for centuries for its associations with the legendary ‘Once and Future King’. Although we now know that it originated many centuries later, the table’s mystique still remains, claim local tourism brochures. Well, perhaps Winchester may have been Camelot?
Winchester Great Hall with Round Table
From the tourist’s point of view, Winchester is made very attractive by offering a range of themed self-guided walks with leaflets widely available. An example is the Royal Blood Trail which presents the city’s links to royal visitors and kings baptised, wed or buried in Winchester. The Tudors have been reserved a personal trail in- and outside Winchester with the leaflet containing lots of information and even a quiz.
Two outstanding literary figures linked to Winchester are John Keats and Jane Austen. Keats stayed in the city during the late summer and early autumn of 1819. He is described as having enjoyed a daily walk from his lodgings near the cathedral to St Cross Hospital, where part of the walk is along the Itchen River. Keats was so inspired by the natural beauty of Winchester, that on his return, he penned the ode To Autumn, with the opening lines: 25
“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friends of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run.” Visitors may trace his footsteps when following the Keats Walk. Other literary walks in the wider area of the South Downs include those of William Cobbett, Gilbert White and Edward Thomas. Jane Austen was born on 16 December 1775 at Steventon Rectory in North Hampshire, which now is very much “Austen’s country” where the places she lived in or visited are well mapped and signposted. Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton village near Alton was established in 1947 as an independent museum and now show“Give a girl an education and cases Austen family portraits and various memorabilia, including introduce her properly into the Jane’s ring, sold at an auction for 152,000 pounds. In Chawton, world, and ten to one but she where she stayed for eight years, she wrote her works Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion. It is possible that she revised Sense has the means of settling well.” and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice while in Chawton. Visitors can see some original manuscripts and even stand behind an Jane Austen occasional table at which she wrote. She travelled to Winchester in May 1817 due to a kidney disorder and died a few weeks later on 18 July 1817. She was laid to rest in Winchester Cathedral; in 1900 a stained glass window, funded by public subscription, was erected in her memory in it. The house in College Street that she lived and eventually died in bears a memorial plaque. Evening talks may be available from researchers on various topics, e.g. a true story of servant life in elite households (like Downton Abbey), thus if in town, check the What’s on calendar. Colin Firth, who portrayed Mr Darcy in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, went to school in Winchester in his teens. Firth won further renown as an actor in the role of Mark Darcy in the 2001 film adaptation of Bridget Jones’s Diary, a film touching on Jane Austen’s novel’s plot and characterisation. Joe Wright’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice in 2005 was successful for Keira Knightley and some scenes from this film were shot in Winchester1. Southampton is a short train ride from Winchester and is another Austen spot, for this is where she moved to with her mother and sister after her father’s death in 1805. If we now left Austen’s highly praised work and made a jump in time, Jane Austen’s grave in Winchester Cathedral an epic film related to the port and city is Titanic from 1997, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. All in all, a total of 11 feature films have been shot in Hampshire including Mission: Impossible 5, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Criminal. And who could forget the ITV drama Downton Abbey, shot at Hampshire’s very own Highclere Castle, which was very popular among Estonian viewers, too. Finally, Benny Hill, an imaginative writer and comic performer, was born in Southampton. What is the connection between Downton Abbey and Harry Potter series? The winning answer is that Alnwick Castle stars as the magnificent Brancaster Castle in both the Downton Abbey Christmas specials of 2014 and 2015. The latter was also the very last episode of this world-famous series. And secondly, visitors to Alnwick Castle are able to join the castle’s resident wizarding professors and take part in a broomstick training session, on the very spot where Harry had 1
See also: Jane Austen film locations:
his first flying lesson in the film production of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The castle also features for shots in the Chamber of Secrets. Alnwick Castle is set in the countryside of Northumberland and is the second largest inhabited castle in the country. The family of Ralph Percy, the 12th Duke of Northumberland, does still live in the castle and visitors can actually walk into their impressive library cum living room where the Percys read, watch TV or spend their leisure time like any other family. Family photos are on display and a cosy atmosphere is distinctly perceivable. The castle houses several museums, a number of exhibitions and activities galore; thus, when visiting, allocate ample time for all nooks and crannies. There is no age limit on broomstick training session either. During my visit a session was on and involved about a dozen flying enthusiasts of all ages. In 2016 it is 300 years since the birth of the famous 18th century landscape designer, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown2. The landscape he designed at Alnwick can still be enjoyed by the visitors. Capability Brown’s works were fashionable at the time, his new style and ideas were fresh and informal, and his carefully designed landscapes looked ‘natural’. An exhibition dedicated to his work is partly indoors and partly laid out on the Gun Terrace, where large frames allow visitors to put themselves inside the landscape. The Alnwick Garden, which contains a cherry orchard, Ornamental Garden, Rose Garden, Serpent Garden, cafés, walks and so on, is open to visitors yet charged separately from the castle, and again – save plenty of time for a thorough and enjoyable visit. Durham is a historic city in North East England, today probably mostly known for its university and cathedral (a World Heritage Site). The latter has also attracted the Harry Potter film crew for various exterior and interior shots of Hogwarts for the films Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Chamber of Secrets and The Prisoner of Azkaban. Another British TV series Estonian viewers might be familiar with is George Gently (2012-2014), which is shot on location in Durham City and the surrounding area. It is set during the swinging 60s, where an old-school detective Inspector George Gently (Martin Shaw) finds his way through a world where forensics was still in its infancy and a northern pop group named The Animals famously sang “We gotta get out of this place…” Both Durham Cathedral and Castle provided a stunning backdrop for this popular crime drama.
York is a historic city in Yorkshire (of course), and famous for being steeped in centuries of history, having more world-class attractions per square mile than any other British city, and being Britain’s most beautiful city according to an independent survey by Bing. Harry Potter’s theme remains unescapable though, since the bridge which Harry and Hagrid walk over at Kings Cross was actually shot in York train station. North Yorkshire Moors Railway This heritage railway runs from Pickering to Whitby through 24 miles of stunning Yorkshire countryside. It has some of the steepest gradients of any railway line in Britain, so passengers are assured to hear locomotives (including a steam loco) working hard. Pickering Station has featured in the British TV series Dad’s Army, and classic appearances include Brideshead Revisited (novel by Evelyn Waugh) and All Creatures Great and Small – based on the works of James Herriot, a quintessential Yorkshire vet and author. The beautiful scenery of the Yorkshire Dales National Park was also seen by millions of people in the Harry Potter film The Deathly Hallows. 2
For more information see: http://www.capabilitybrown.org/
Goathland Station (third stop from Pickering) was turned into the bewitching “Hogsmeade” station for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The railway’s shop on the platform was transformed into the “Prefect’s Room” and the Ladies toilets became the “Wizard’s Room”. Goathland was also the centrepiece of the long-running TV soap opera, Heartbeat, as the village of Aidensfield. Passengers alight from the train at Goathland station in their droves and stroll into the tiny village to see the sites where PC Nick Rowan (Nick Berry, who also sings the theme song), his wife Kate, Oscar, Gina, Bernie Scripps, David, Alf and many other characters once roamed, worked and played. All sorts of memorabilia, souvenirs and photos are sold, and eager photographers capture shots of the Scripps garage, vintage police cars and the village pub, the Aidensfield Arms. Sheep trot up and down the main street and nibble grass by the roadside thus enhancing the idyllic rural Yorkshire charm.
Whitby port with abbey ruin Scripps Garage
Heartbeat police car
Heartbeat cast photos displayed
Whitby, the final station on the NYMR line is also included in the Heartbeat series. It is a bustling marina and fishing harbour till today with lots of tourists filling its narrow and winding streets. Many make a taxing journey (199 steps or a narrow road so steep it seems to go straight into the sky) up the hill to Whitby Abbey, immortalised by Bram Stoker and his novel Dracula. It was a Benedictine abbey, destroyed during Henry VIII’s dissolution. JMW Turner visited Whitby at least twice, in 1801 and 1822, and sketched and painted the romantic ruins on the hilltop from different angles. James Cook, a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy also came from Whitby. 28
Cheese and architecture Hawes is a magical little market town and England’s highest, set at 850 feet above sea water. First recorded as a market place in 1307, its lively Tuesday market still entices shoppers in. Home to the world famous Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese and set amidst breath-taking scenery, it’s no surprise Hawes is one of the honeypot tourist attractions of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The roots of Wensleydale cheese are firmly set in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, at the Wensleydale Creamery. “Won’t you come in? Built in 1897, it was the first to be built, and the skilled cheese We were just about to have makers still continue the art of hand-crafting the world famous some cheese…” cheese. Connection to film? This time the main heroes have never been to Hawes, no shots have been filmed in the town but who loves Wensleydale cheese more than one of the best-loved duos in animation – Wallace and Gromit3. Morecambe /ˈmɔːkəm/ is a town on Morecambe Bay in Lancashire, England, located at the foot of the Lake District National Park. Morecambe is primarily a seaside resort with most of the tourism, accommodation and catering offering on the seafront. One of Morecambe’s most famous landmarks is a statue commemorating one of its most outstanding sons, Eric Morecambe (1926–1984) who, coming from Morecambe, took his stage name after the town. Eric along with Ernie Wise formed a double act Morecambe and Wise (or Eric and Ernie). They were very successful and Eric was named one of the 100 Greatest Britons in a BBC poll in 2002. The statue shows him in one of his famous poses and many people imitate it for a photo (a bit like with the Kissing Students statue in Tartu).
Morecambe Bay Eric Morecambe statue with tourist The Midland Hotel in Morecambe is an important art deco luxury hotel situated on the seafront. It still contains original interior design and art pieces by artist Eric Gill from 1933. It underwent a £7m restoration and re-opened for business in June 2008 after hapless years of dereliction and neglect. Even though mostly described as an art deco building, its clean lines and plain white surfaces signpost much earlier developments in architectural styles. In particular, Bauhaus in Germany and De Stijl in the Netherlands, when the underlying principle was that everything from a teapot to a building should be simple and functional in design. Should this ring a bell in Estonia? Truly it should, particularly in Pärnu, which is famed for Olev Siinmaa and his white Functionalist-style buildings (e.g. Rannahotell, Rannakohvik (Beach Café) and detached houses, to name a few). However, returning to my main theme, does the Midland hotel have any film connections? Oh yes – Poirot himself! In the television 3
More on Wallace and Gromit: www.wallaceandgromit.com
episode entitled Double sin, Hercule Poirot decides that his friend Captain Hastings needs a holiday and where better to go than the health-giving seaside resort of Morecambe. It is here that Poirot’s little grey cells are exercised. Exterior views of the hotel as well as the legendary spiral staircase, a ceiling medallion and the mosaic seahorse were used in filming. When the episode was broadcast on 11 February 1990 (12 million people in the UK regularly watched the Poirot series), the hotel was inundated with telephone calls from incredulous people asking “Is it for real?” Very much so, and continues strong as a venue for corporate and private functions and now includes a modern spa section as well. This concludes the sections of my trip where we were looking for links between film or literary characters, authors and actors and places visited. All in all, it was educational, inspiring, attractive and left us yearning for more trips to good old England. Poirot, Hastings and Japp
WHAT PLACE IS THIS? Erika Puusemp
Miina Härma Gymnasium, Tartu
No matter how much travelling you do yourself, the world is supposed to be at your fingertips nowadays, just a few clicks away with all the news feed accompanied by pictures and videos, citizen journalism, and excessive sharing on social media. So let’s see whether you can recognise a town in the US from some prompts both verbal and visual. • It was founded in 1779 and named for an American Revolutionary War hero, and became a town in 1806. • Its population is nearing 700,000; the metropolitan area with its more than 1.8 million people is the 36th-largest in the US. • It’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the region if not in the whole US. • Its main industries are healthcare, tourism, and music. • A battle fought there between the North and the South in 1864 is considered a significant Union victory and probably the most decisive tactical victory gained by either side. • Highest and lowest temperatures ever recorded there: 109°F and -17°F (43°C and -27°C), respectively. • It sits on the Cumberland River in the northern part of the state the abbreviation of whose name is TN. • It’s a home to multiple universities and numerous colleges, including Vanderbilt University, ranked #15 among National Universities. • It’s often called Athens of the South.
• It’s also called Music City since great music can be heard there 24/7, 365 days a year due to its more than 150 live music venues, a lot of them free. • The city boasts sounds of pop, rock, country, gospel, bluegrass, jazz, classical, contemporary Christian, blues and soul. • One of its tourist attractions is colloquially known as the Batman Building. It is currently the tallest building in the state. •
Its legendary country music venues include the Grand Ole Opry House, home of the famous “Grand Ole Opry” stage and radio show, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (one of the world’s largest museums and research centres dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of American vernacular music), and Ryman Auditorium, which is also a US National Historic Landmark.
Some of you might have guessed by now that this is Nashville. Since a lot of its tourism is conference tourism, this is also how I happened to enjoy a visit to this fun- and music-filled city, as it hosted the 2016 International Convention of DKG, an international honour society of key women educators (http:// www.dkg.org/DKGMember/About_Us/DKGMember/About.aspx?hkey=64e3b9c3-9060-4e4f-8a565604d5d9bacb), whose mission is to promote professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education. The benefits were twofold: the chance to listen to some world-class lecturers, and to explore the town. Two of the most inspiring presenters were the American poet Judith Viorst, and Mike Figliuolo, an author and the founder and managing director of thoughtLEADERS, LLC, a professional services firm specializing in leadership development, whose convention lecture is still viewable on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSozQn6MA94). EnjoyJ
Grand Ole Opry, Nashville
Grand Ole Opry
Country Music Hall of Fame
Batman Building Walk of Fame Park 32
DIFFERENT KIND OF SUMMER: VOLUNTEER TEACHER IN MYANMAR Tiiu Müür
Miina Härma Gymnasium, Tartu
In spring 2016 NGO Mondo in Tallinn announced a competition to find two volunteer English teachers to work in Myanmar/Burma the coming summer. South-East Asia was not totally unknown to me, as previously I had done a bit of trekking in the Annapurna region in Nepal and visited India as a tourist. For some time already, my stays abroad were inspired by thinking in terms of doing rather than seeing. Most importantly, I had considered volunteering and testing myself as a teacher in a different cultural context. As volunteering is an urge best cultivated from within, I realised I was ready. So I decided to apply, met the profile requirements and got chosen. The other volunteer teacher was a young colleague Viktoria Rudenko from Tallinn Pae Gymnasium. In order to be well informed and prepared, we had a pre-departure orientation with Mondo staff and were ready to embrace the challenge. So, in early June 2016, Viktoria and I launched on a two-and-a-half-month volunteering experience. We flew from Tallinn through Helsinki and Hong Kong to Bangkok. There we had to wait for the visa applications to be processed and used the time to explore the city. The next plane took us to Mandalay, the second largest city in Myanmar, where we departed. Viktoria headed for Shan State and I took a bouncing night bus to Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State in northern Myanmar. 800 kilometres and 17 hours later I arrived in Myitkyina, which became my hometown for the rest of the summer.
I arrived in the hot and sweaty season with monsoon rains, which can keep you drenched from June to September. However, I was warmly welcomed by colleagues from NSEN — Naushawng Education Network — a non-profit and nongovernmental organization founded by Kachin graduates from international universities. Since its establishment in 2009, NSEN has been providing educational and leadership empowerment trainings in order to enhance democratization in northern Myanmar. NSEN has three major programmes, namely Naushawng Community School (NCS), Civic Education Programme, and Research and Documentation. My task for the summer was to teach academic reading and writing to two groups of students of the Naushawng Community School Naushawng Community School campus. whose aim is to take the IELTS test. 33
The Naushawng Community School is a 12-month training programme administered by NSEN. The programme offers three core subjects: Social Studies, English and Professional Development. Regarding English, in the first semester the students have intensive English language training (four skills). In the second semester the students focus on academic English and in the final semester they prepare for IELTS test. Students admitted to the NCS programme must have passed at least the matriculation exam (the equivalent of our school-leaving exams), or be university students or graduates. At least pre-intermediate level in English is required. At the same time, many of my students had a BA degree from Myitkyina University and some even had a MA in English. This meant that teaching such a multi-level group of students was academically challenging, yet rewarding. Many students expressed their dissatisfaction with the state educational system, including universities. NCS students. They said that students are supposed to memorise what the teacher says and have to recite exactly the same story at the exam. Questions, discussion and what we understand as active or student-centred learning methods are not practised in the state educational system. That is why NCS with its active learning and teaching methods is gaining popularity among many students. The school has internationally experienced faculty which during my stay there had representatives from the USA, the UK, China and Estonia. Teaching is practice-oriented; hands-on learning and practice make up 60% of learning at NCS. Students apply acquired knowledge by conducting research projects, seminars, presentations, debate, writing work and internship. Faculty members offer individual consultations for students throughout the programme. The languages of instruction are English and Kachin. Students are also encouraged to study abroad and to NCS students. apply for scholarships at desired foreign universities, mostly in South-East Asia — Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines and India. After completion of their studies, students are expected to contribute for a better society in Myanmar. Presently the number of students is 50. My main task at NCS was to teach academic reading and academic writing to two groups of students. Both groups consisted of 25 students. I followed the school curriculum and used the textbooks chosen by the lecturers at NCS. For the reading course, we used Inside Reading: the Academic Word List in Context by L.J. Zwier & C.B. Zimmerman (Oxford University Press 2009). The focus was on developing and improving students’ reading skills and strategies. Additionally, I assigned articles from different quality media outlets. The study material for the writing course was Introduction to Academic Writing by A. Oshima & A. Hogue (Pearson Education 2006). We went through basic concepts of essay writing and practised different techniques of producing academic texts. During lessons I could also practise many interactive and student-centred activities, which I had taken with me in my “teacher’s toolkit”. We spoke about H. Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory, different teaching/learning methods and career opportunities. We discussed and wrote about cultural differences and similarities, watched videos about Estonia, etc. After lectures and seminars, I also enjoyed many informal discussions with my students about everyday life, dreams and concerns of the young generation, education, politics, religion, peace and conflict in the region. NCS lectures start at 9 am and last until 4 pm with a lunch break at noon. After lectures students are encouraged to participate in consultation classes and one-to-one classes, do group work or write essays. The School has its own campus on rented premises. It consists of two lecture halls, 34
staffrooms, an office, a science department room and dormitories for students who come from different parts of Kachin State. One third of the students are local, from Myitkyina, and drive to school on motorbikes. Students have to pay for the tuition, accommodation, food and teaching materials. NCS also provides both partial and full scholarships to students with strong academic background but in need of financial support. There is also a library, a gym, a dining hall and a modest kitchen. Students take turns to help the cook in the kitchen. Every day Enjoying lunchbreak. a small team of students helps to compile the menu, drives to the local market to buy fresh products for the day and helps around in the kitchen. The most common dish prepared is rice or rice noodles with different curries and soup. I have to say that it was really delicious and made me appreciate the local cuisine. As I am not a big fan of very spicy food, the students occasionally warned me that some curries are really spicy, what is typical of Kachin food. Our discussions at lunch table gradually grew from comparing Estonian and Kachin culinary issues into conversations deep in content. The vision of NSEN is to build a reliable private university focusing on politics and political economy. NSEN has purchased a piece a land on the outskirts of Myitkyina where they have already started building new classrooms. NSEN staff believes that they can build a nation through education.
With colleagues from state school.
I also had an opportunity to visit a state school. In Myanmar, all state school pupils and teachers wear the same school uniform, which means a white blouse and a green longyi. It is a typical garment worn in Myanmar, by both men and women. A longyi is approximately two metres long and 80 centimetres wide and is worn around the waist, running to the feet. It is held in place by folding the fabric over without a knot. In the streets you can admire people wearing longyis with colourful patterns, both ethnic and modern. I had the most interesting opportunity to see the fabrics being woven in a special district in Myitkyina. Almost everyone in Myanmar wears thanakha, made from the sandalwood-like logs that are ground to a paste and smeared on the skin as sun-block and also for beauty.
Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State is a multicultural place, home to Kachin, Lisu, Chinese and Burmese. It is a vibrant market town on the Ayeyarwady (also Irrawaddy) river and also culturally important, hosting two of Myanmarâ€™s most important ethnic festivals. One of them, the Manao festival, is a nationally important gathering of the six Kachin tribes for costumed dances and feasting, which takes place in Manao park. Quite recently travel to and from Myitkyina was severely restricted due to ongoing fighting between the Kachin Independence Army and the Myanmar military. Now more and more foreigners make it there, very often NGO workers and missionaries. I stayed at the YMCA hostel in downtown Myitkyina. Occasionally I had interesting conversations with travellers and backpackers, who had been exploring South-East Asia for some time. Nearby YMCA you State school pupils in school uniforms wearing thanakha. could find many restaurants serving international
cuisine or grab street-food, including Burmese, Indian, Shan, Thai and Japanese dishes. At the popular night market there are stalls with barbecue, curries and Shan hotpots. The favourite weekend retreat for many locals is Myit-Son. It is a place about 40 km north of Myitkyina, a point where Mayhka and Malikha rivers come together to form the mighty Ayeyarwady river. I also visited it once during a nice outing with colleagues. In addition to the Naushawng Community School (NCS), I also had a brief chance to contribute to the Civic Education Programme. One of the tasks of the Department of Civic Education is to offer 1–2 weeklong programmes to the youth from IDP (internally displaced people) camps. I had a chance to visit three different IDP camps and speak about Estonia and our students’ future aspirations.
Myitkyina is a market town.
In mid-August it was time for the farewell party and goodbyes. At the end of our volunteership, Viktoria and I met up in Pyin Oo Lwin, near Mandalay where we departed in early June. Pyin Oo Lwin is the colonial-era summer capital and boasts a Going on a field trip. beautiful botanical garden. In Bagan we explored the thousands of ancient temples scattered across the countryside. Later it came out that we almost escaped the earthquake that hit the area a few days after our visit and ruined around sixty pagodas. Next we explored the shores of the magical Inle Lake. Our last stop in Myanmar was its former capital Yangon, where we admired the Shwedagon Paya – the most fascinating temple in Myanmar. From Yangon we flew to Bangkok and then back home. I returned home with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, and I already miss my students and colleagues in Myitkyina. In retrospective I view my volunteer experience as a continuation of my own education, an eye-opening experience. I shared my time and professional skills and in return got one of the best and most rewarding summers of my life. For a more detailed account of my experience, see my posts at Mondo’s blog http://www.medium.com/ karmaretk-birmas The project was financed by the development cooperation and humanitarian aid instruments of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
At the farewell party. 36
At the Shwedagon Paya in Yangon.
PIERRE AND JUSTIN Ilmar Anvelt
Editor of OPEN!
It rarely happens in democratic countries that members of the same family become heads of government. One of the exceptions is India where the first Prime Minister after India gained independence from Britain was Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964, PM 1947–1964). His daughter Indira Gandhi (1917–1984, PM 1966–1977 and 1980–1984) and Indira Gandhi’s son Rajiv Gandhi (1944–1991, PM 1984–1989) also served as Prime Ministers of India. Now, the situation is somewhat similar in Canada where Justin Trudeau (b. 1971), the eldest son of Pierre Trudeau (1919–2000, PM 1968–1979 and 1980–1984) became Prime Minister approximately a year ago, ending the nearly ten years of Conservative rule of Stephen Harper (b. 1959, PM 2006–2015). Pierre Trudeau, being then the leader of the Liberal Party, is remembered for implementing most of the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism by adopting the Official Languages Act (1969), which made English and French equal official languages of the federal government. Until then, the status of the French language had been unacceptably low. In 1971, Trudeau’s cabinet made multiculturalism the official policy of Canada. It recognized that Canada had a plurality of cultures within a bilingual framework.
Trudeau is acknowledged for keeping the country together during the 1980 Quebec sovereignty referendum. In his well-known speech a week before the referendum, he extolled the virtues of federalism and emphasised that his name is neither a French nor an English name but a Canadian name. When the no-to-sovereignty side received nearly 60% of the votes, he stated that he “had never been so proud to be a Quebecer and a Canadian.” Therefore, it is also clear that he was disliked by Quebec nationalists.
Another achievement of Trudeau’s s government is the patriation of Canadian constitution. Canada’s constitution was adopted in 1867 (British North America Act). In 1982, it was supplemented by the Constitution Act 1982 which includes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Until then, Canadian constitution could be changed only by the British Parliament, although with the consent of the Canadian government. The 1982 amendments to the constitution were never ratified by any Quebec government, as they do not recognise a constitutional veto for Quebec. Trudeau received John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono during their “tour for world peace” (1969). Lennon said
John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Pierre Trudeau 37
that Trudeau was “a beautiful person” and that “if all politicians were like Pierre Trudeau, there would be world peace”. Pierre Trudeau retired from office on 29 February 1984. On that day, he practised judo with his sons and walked in the snowstorm until midnight. Just the long walk in the snow has become a powerful image of his resignation from politics. When Justin Trudeau was born in 1971, it was not quite customary yet for fathers to be present at childbirth, even in Canada. Pierre Trudeau’s wife Margaret, however, insisted on Pierre’s presence and threatened to go to another hospital. Finally, the doctors relented. Margaret Trudeau wrote, “Justin’s arrival was just as uncomplicated as the nine months he had spent inside.” Justin was the second child in Canadian history to be born to a prime minister in office; the first had been 102 years earlier – John MacDonald’s daughter Margaret in 1869. That Justin would become Prime Minister of Canada was predicted as early as in 1972 by the US President Richard Nixon when he was visiting Canada. During a gala hosted by Pierre and Margaret Trudeau at the National Arts Centre, Nixon said, “I’d like to toast the future prime minister of Canada, to Justin Pierre Trudeau.” Pierre Trudeau responded that should his son ever assume the role, he hoped he would have “the grace and skill of the president.” Justin Trudeau received his education at several schools and universities, including McGill University (the major English-language university of Montreal) and the University of British Columbia. He worked as a schoolteacher, teaching mostly French and math.
Many believe that Justin Trudeau entered politics in October 2000 when he delivered a eulogy at his father’s funeral. The leading Quebec politician Claude Ryan described it as “perhaps [...] the first manifestation of a dynasty.” In the speech that has become known by its French title “Je t’aime, Papa”, he recalls how, at the age of 8, he had made a silly joke about one of his father’s political opponents. He reports his father having said, “Justin, we never attack the individual. We can be in total disagreement with someone, without denigrating them as a consequence.” After that he had introduced Justin to that man and his daughter, somewhat younger than Justin, and they had a friendly talk.
In October 2006, Justin Trudeau criticized Quebec nationalism as an “old idea from the 19th century”, “based on a smallness of thought” and not relevant to modern Quebec. In a public letter he wrote later on the subject, he described the idea of Quebec nationhood as “against everything my father ever believed.” He became the leader of the Liberal Party in 2013. In the federal election on 19 October 2015, he led the Liberals to a decisive victory. The Liberals won 184 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons. Justin Trudeau began his victory speech to his supporters in Montreal, using the phrase of the first Francophone Canadian Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier (1841–1919, PM 1896–1911) “sunny ways” (French: voies ensoleillées): “Sunny ways my friends. Sunny ways. This is what positive politics can do.” Laurier had used the phrase to solve the destructive conflict over French-language schools in Manitoba. The Prime Minister’s official website advertises him as having roots “in the East and in the West, both French and English”. His father Pierre was born in Outremont, a residential borough of Montreal, to a French Canadian father and a mother of mixed Scottish and French-Canadian descent. Justin Trudeau’s mother Margaret, née Sinclair, was from Vancouver, British Columbia. 38
Trudeau identifies as a feminist. “If you’re a progressive, you really should be a feminist because it’s about equality, it’s about respect, it’s about making the best of the world that we have,” he said to a journalist and added, “I will keep saying that until there is no more reaction to that when I say it, because that’s where we want to get to.” Trudeau considers himself a Catholic but not a really active one. He says, “I’m of faith, but I’m just not really going to go to church. Maybe on Easter, maybe midnight mass at Christmas.” Trudeau has publicly expressed an interest in the legalization of marijuana. At a rally in Kelowna, BC, on 24 July 2013, he said, “I’m actually not in favour of decriminalizing cannabis. I’m in favour of legalizing it. Tax it, regulate. It’s one of the only ways to keep it out of the hands of our kids because the current war on drugs, the current model is not working.” Justin Trudeau’s good looks, particularly his tattoo have attracted quite a lot of attention. The planet Earth was tattooed on his upper arm when he was 23, and a stylized raven added when he turned 40 in 2013. The design of the raven comes from Robert Davidson, a west coast artist of Haida and Tlingit descent. While the First Nations people are generally against non-natives using aboriginal symbols, the former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, was adopted into the artist’s grandmother’s clan. Justin Trudeau attended the ceremony at the age of four, so he is technically one of the family. A small incident shows how carefully politicians, and everyone else, should watch what they say and how they are saying it. When asked which of the Baltic states was his favourite, Justin Trudeau replied, “This is not a thing.” The journalists interpreted it as if Trudeau did not know about the Baltic states or considered them unimportant. As he explained later, he was well aware about the Baltics and even used to date a Justin Trudeau’s tattoo woman from one of those countries. He had answered diplomatically in order not to prefer one of the Baltic states to the others. In response, members of the European Parliament representing the Baltic states staged a short video drawing attention to, e.g., the strength of Lithuanian basketball and Skype as an Estonian invention. The video extolling Baltic Power ends with Christmas greetings to Justin Trudeau. SOURCES USED 1984: Pierre Trudeau announces his retirement. CBC Digital Archives. http://www.cbc.ca/archives/ entry/a-walk-in-the-snow. Accessed 22 Sept. 2016. Boswell, Randy. 2013. In a long-lost interview, John Lennon dishes on ’69 peace mission, meeting Pierre Trudeau. O.Canada.com. 25 Sept 2013. http://o.canada.com/entertainment/music/inlong-lost-interview-john-lennon-dishes-on-69-canadian-peace-mission-meeting-pierre-trudeau. Accessed 22 Sept. 2016. Desjardins, Lynn. 2015. New prime minister has a native-inspired tattoo. Radio Canada International. 22 Oct. 2015. http://www.rcinet.ca/en/2015/10/22/new-prime-minister-has-a-native-inspired-tattoo/. Accessed 23 Sept. 2016. Grey, Emma. 2016. Justin Trudeau: I’ll Keep Saying I’m a Feminist Until There’s No Reaction. http://www. huffingtonpost.com/entry/justin-trudeau-feminism-fatherhood_us_56f448a1e4b014d3fe22a29f. Accessed 23 Sept. 2016. Hadzipetros, Peter. 2015. Justin Trudeau makes Baltics a thing, because it’s 2015. Global News. 18. Dec. 2015. http://globalnews.ca/news/2409408/baltics-a-thing-because-its-2015/. Accessed 23 Sept. 2016. 39
Hutchins, Aaron. 2015. The Baltics to Trudeau: Yes, we’re a ‘thing’. 16 Dec. 2015. http://www.macleans. ca/news/canada/the-baltics-to-trudeau-yes-were-a-thing/. Accessed 23 Sept. 2016. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister. Office of the Prime Minister. http://pm.gc.ca/. Accessed 22 Sept. 2016. Justin Trudeau’s ‘sunny ways’ a nod to Wilfrid Laurier. CBC News Nova Scotia. 20 Oct. 2015. http:// www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/ns-prof-trudeau-sunny-ways-1.3280693. Accessed 22 Sept. 2016. Lum, Zi-Ann. 2015. Justin Trudeau Tattoo Of Haida Raven Is ‘Badass’. The Huffington Post Canada. 23 Oct. 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/10/23/justin-trudeau-tattoo-raven_n_8371022. html. Accessed 22 Sept. 2016. Meet Justin Trudau: Teacher, Father, Advocate, Leader. http://www.liberal.ca/rt-hon-justin-trudeau/. Accessed 22 Sept. 2016. Trudeau, Justin. 2015. Je’taime Papa: Justin Trudeau’s eulogy to his father. The Globe and Mail Archives. Published 23 Oct. 2015. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/jetaimepapa-justintrudeaus-2000-eulogy/article26923529/. Accessed 22 Sept. 2016. Trudeau, Margaret. 1979. Beyond Reason. New York: Pocket Books.
Experienced Educator LIFE ENTWINED WITH SCHOOL AN INTERVIEW WITH LEENA PUNGA
During the Summer Seminar in Pärnu my colleagues from the Committee surprised me. I had left the room for some minutes, and when I returned, they announced that I had been voted to be the next person interviewed for OPEN! I was confused. Why me? What has been so interesting in my life that the readers could be interested in? During many years a lot of interesting people – teachers, university professors have been interviewed and now me?! I asked Ilmar, Erika, Kati, Tiina, Katrin and Juta to be co-authors, but all in vain. So here come the answers to the questions asked by them. Why did you become a teacher? It goes back to the basic school (põhikool in Estonia). To receive the certificate of basic education, we had to pass three exams – Estonian, maths and English. In my essay in Estonian in wrote about my wish to become a teacher. And I have to confess that I have never regretted my choice. After secondary school I had to decide where I should continue my studies. And my choice was influenced by my husband (we got married years later). As we were good friends at that time already, many people were sure we would both end up in Tartu University, but I decided to prove that I can make my choice independently, without being influenced by somebody else. So I entered Eduard 40
Vilde Tallinn Pedagogical Institute and graduated as a teacher of English for basic and secondary school. I have been offered other posts at school or even other jobs outside school, but I have always answered – teaching is something I like and enjoy doing. I didn´t notice my age when working at school, among young and cheerful students. At the beginning I was a very strict teacher. I believed that being strict would help me to achieve better results and higher level in both my personal development as a teacher and the command of the language of my students. I like Piret Kärtner’s advice – be firm at the beginning, you can be relaxed and nice later. As time passed, I became more considerate and flexible. What kept you at school for more than 40 years? The feeling of being useful, new and challenging situations every autumn, every day being different from the previous ones, surprises from my students, even from the ones who sometimes seem not to like studying and school. I respected my students and I felt they respected me. Some years ago one of my colleagues was very surprised that my students greeted me with a smile even during the holidays. What could be done to attract young teachers to school? A complicated question. The people who come to school because of the call of their heart will come to school anyway, and they should be offered support and help in the beginning and shouldn’t be looked at as rivals. The older generation should accept the fact that some day they should step back and give floor to the younger ones. Payment should be reasonable, but for highly motivated young people respect from students, their parents and the whole community and our society is very important as well. Any ideas how to achieve the above-mentioned things? I do not have any. If you do, let others know. You have seen several phases of language education throughout times. What has still remained the same? When I started as a young teacher, my aim was to be a good teacher and teach my students as much as English possible. This was my aim till I retired. There have always been and still are some students who want to learn more and others who believe they know enough and don’t want to learn any more. Schools, students, teachers – they are there. You have lived and worked at many places in Estonia. Which was the best place for living? Which was the best school to work at? I have worked in three different schools – Tsirguliina and Puka in Valgamaa and Lähte in Tartumaa. For me, the best place for living was Puka. We had quite a big flat, a sauna, a small fruit and vegetable garden and, of course, I was younger and full of energy. The best school for me was in Puka as well. The number of students was not big, about 200, all the colleagues were nice and friendly. Have you punished your schoolchildren? What for? Yes, I have. It happened in the first autumn I started as a teacher in Tsirguliina. Our generation remembers that every autumn almost everybody was sent to the country to help our farmers. So one morning me and my grade 5 were sent to pick potatoes. Suddenly I noticed two boys in the far end of the field. They were acting strangely – throwing stones at something. When I reached them, I saw who the victims were – small frogs. Without thinking too long, I slapped the boys on their faces. Only after that I realised what I had done. My first thought was – bye, my teacher’s career. But nothing happened, not after some days or even weeks. Years later, I asked the same boys about the fact, but neither of them seemed to remember or at least said so. The only corporal punishment, but very vividly remembered, at least by me. 41
What did working as a student hostel matron give you? A new, different situation compared to the classroom and actual teaching. I understood that students need somebody to talk to besides learning some new rules or doing homework. On the other hand, the year at the student home was rather tiresome, the shifts of 24 hours made me feel that I could never get enough sleep and every new day started with “I wish my shift was over!” What has been most difficult for you in your work as EATE Chair? The first year was the most difficult. It took some time to get to know the other members of the Committee. But, step by step, we became a good team. Everybody suggested what could be their task in organising the events. By now I am sure that everybody whom I have been working with is good at organising the events, be it finding the presenters for the conferences, editing our OPEN!, making lists of participants, sending out invoices, doing whatever is needed. There have been some difficulties, especially when new members for the Committee have been nominated. Voluntary work is not suitable for everybody. But preparing the events and making “the machine” work is all voluntary work. I am very thankful to everybody I have worked with. Your grandson has attended school in several foreign countries. How do you compare his educational experience with ours? My grandson studied at Tartu Mart Reinik School for two years. Then he studied at International School in Riga for the next two years. He found these schools quite different. In Tartu he had quite a lot of homework, in Riga he did most of the work required at school. The classes were not so subject-based as they are in Estonia. This August they moved to Denmark and my grandson continued his studies at NGG International School where he started in year 7. It was quite a surprise for me, as he is only 11, will be 12 in December. But in the new school they follow Cambridge Secondary 1 programme and the numbers are used only to mark the age of students. The main difference for me is that twice a year the students have to take Cambridge Progressive tests in three core subjects – English, maths and science. To make a long story short – schools are different in many ways – our students have fewer holidays during the year and longer summer holidays whereas in many countries the schoolyear starts in the middle of August, they have four shorter holidays during the schoolyear and summer holidays are shorter, only 6–8 weeks. Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and memories. EATE thanks Leena Punga for her enthusiastic work as EATE Chair from 2007 to 2016. Leena Punga was interviewed by EATE Committee members.
How well do you know Pärnu? (photos p. 51) 1. Monument to Johann Voldemar Jannsen. J. V. Jannsen founded the newspaper Pärnu Postimees in 1857. 2. Editorial office of Pärnu Postimees. 3. St. Catherine’s Church, built in 1768. 4. Tallinn Gate, completed in 1669. 5. Monument to Gustav Fabergé, Baltic German goldsmith (1814–1893). 6. Monument to the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Estonia. The Declaration was read out from the balcony of the Endla Theatre. 7. Pärnu Concert House.
Reading Recommendations WHO SAYS NO TO A GOOD CUP OF JOE? Kristi Martin
Allecto AS, Tallinn
I have been an avid tea drinker most of my life – my mornings start with a mug of green tea, followed by several herbal concoctions during the day and a cup of Earl Grey with milk in the evening. I never enjoyed the bitter tasting brown brew that is worshipped by many and drunk by gallons in staffrooms. Therefore, when informed last spring that my kitchen will in a month’s time be inhabited by an espresso machine, and I as the early riser in the family will be the one operating it in the mornings, I was quite shocked. It was like asking a vegan to cook the Sunday roast. Well, as I know how to make French press coffee, and I can press a button on any appliance, I was not worried at first. Then I heard that the shining monstrosity would be a semi automatic, meaning it would require more than a button-pusher because why wouldn’t you want to regulate and control everything about your coffee. Now that I have become more used to making and even drinking coffee, though I still only enjoy cappuccinos and flat whites compared to espressos and macchiatos, I would like to share my journey into all things java with all tea lovers and coffee novices who are contemplating the exploration of the world of coffee. My first steps were taken with the help of books, as I like to gather information before applying it in practice, and I was not going to attend a barista course not knowing all the terms of the trade beforehand. The selection of books written on the subject of (making) coffee is quite vast. Below, I list titles that still occupy my bookshelf from the mounds I leafed through as I find them useful or informative. The book I’d recommend to start with is Coffee Obsession by Anette Moldvaer, as it is full of diagrams and pictures that accompany the tips and techniques explained in the book. It tells you step-by-step what to do when grinding, tamping or brewing as well as gives instructional guides for making specific drinks. The page I found most useful when brewing my first shots explained why the espresso made tasted bitter, burnt or watery and how to make it better. The steaming, stretching and frothing of milk as well as the ins and outs of making latte art are also described with the help of accompanying pictures, but in order to get the best results, I would recommend buying a milk thermometer, watching videos and practicing a lot. With over 100 recipes of different coffee drinks, one of which also includes “Vana Tallinn”, and information on how and where coffee is grown and roasted as well as how to taste it, Coffee Obsession is an excellent resource book for every budding enthusiast. The World Atlas of Coffee by James Hoffman is for readers who yearn for more information, because the author who is a coffee roaster, world champion barista and coffee blogger offers a wealth of knowledge regarding the entire process of bringing coffee from the farm to the cup. Espresso aficionados will enjoy the country-by-country synopsis of the world’s major coffee producers and most vibrant coffee-growing regions that provides information which has 43
previously been unavailable to anyone except industry insiders including the description of a coffee’s character depending on the terroir. In addition to the treasure trove of info, the book contains beautiful photographs and looks appealing on your coffee table. Another book you might consider for your coffee table to inspire conversation, even though it is small in size, contains more text than illustrations and due to ill-considered design (which has light brown text on a dark brown background) is somewhat of a difficult read, is The Little Coffee Know-it-All by Shawn Steiman. The book is written in a question-answer format and explores the “why” and “how” of coffee in an approachable way; so you will begin to distinguish Arabica from Robusta, know if there is a difference between shade-grown and full-sun coffee as well as whether a dark roast will give you a bigger ‘buzz’ than a light roast. After reading the book you become more comfortable among the coffee obsessed discussing the benefits of a siphon coffee maker or comparing the quality of different coffee beans. The last coffee book on my shelf is The Curious Barista’s Guide to Coffee by Tristan Stephenson which I required to complete the set of the author’s Curious Bartender books that includes a book on cocktails, a book on whiskies and a book on gin. I have come to appreciate the book; besides looking great next to the others, it provides an insightful peek into the history and evolution of coffee, highlighting the cultural influence of the beverage, including the elements that comprise the ethos of cafés and coffee houses. The pages of the book also include some unique crafted recipes, including Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Butter Coffee and Coffee Liqueur, but I am yet miles from trying my hand at the weird and wonderful, as I have just started making a nice and consistent flat white. The various books on coffee gave me the confidence to approach my former nemesis and now morning companion with a steady hand. A good grinder, scales and a timer combined with frequent caffeine-induced energy bursts helped make an espresso shot to suit my own tastes. A thermometer and months of practice have produced the flat white I now enjoy every morning. Coffee has become a worthy hobby but not an intense passion, and when faced with the choice between a perfect cup of coffee and an ideal mug of tea, I would still favour the latter. That said, I still do not consider abandoning my new friend for a trendy Chemex Coffeemaker or my espresso for a fashionable cold brew.
SECOND-GENERATION ESTONIAN CANADIAN IMMIGRANT’S SEARCH FOR BELONGING AND IDENTITY IN K. LINDA KIVI’S IF HOME IS A PLACE Eva Rein
Department of English Studies, University of Tartu
K. Linda Kivi. If Home is a Place. Vancouver: Polestar Book Publishers, 1995. The issues of home and exile can be found in the works of Canadian writers of all backgrounds. The problems of belonging and identity often become most complicated when they are caused by a social catastrophe. Among them are occupations and wars in the countries of origin of many immigrants to Canada from across the globe. This characterises also the experience of Estonian refugees who left their homeland during the Second World War and their descendants. Karen Linda Kivi is an Estonian Canadian writer born in Canada to a family of Estonians who escaped the turmoil of the Second World War when the country was ravaged by the alternating Soviet and German occupations. The novel If Home is a Place renders the story of a family through four women. The focus is on the second-generation protagonist Esther who grows up in Canada with the stories of her ancestors about Estonia and their experience. On the one hand, this legacy is an important source of Esther’s identity, yet on the other hand, it also appears to be a burden. The novel’s title and prologue that elaborates on it ask fundamental questions about the meaning of home. In the context of the novel, it becomes clear that this questioning stems from Esther’s confusion about her identity and insecurity in her belonging. Moreover, as the motto of the novel, a quotation from Eva Hoffman implies, parents’ stories can have an overpowering effect on the lives of their children. This makes it difficult for the children to let go of the past and move on with their lives. The following chapters of the novel shift between the past and the narrative present, starting with the autumn of 1943 followed by the summer of 1988, then September 1944, the autumn of 1988, and towards the end of the novel the reader is taken to January 1948 and the late autumn of 1991. The narrative spans countries and continents that mark the trajectory of the refugees from Estonia via Germany to Canada while the structure of the novel further emphasises the historical and geopolitical upheavals that have left a mark on the lives of all the generations in the protagonist’s family. As a result, identification with the historical homeland is complicated – there is a strong affiliation with the old place, but its borders have changed as a result of occupation and war, and it is lost. There is also difficulty identifying with the host country. Esther finds herself caught between two cultures – the Estonian and the mainstream Canadian ones. As an adult, she suddenly realises that the stories about Estonia she had been growing up with, were actually like fairy tales for her because she lacked her own experience of Estonia. However, Esther’s relationship with Estonia is heavily influenced by what and how is told as well as what is silenced about Estonian history and family history. Most importantly, she inherits not only aspects of Estonian culture, but a patriotic obligation of someone living in a free world to keep Estonian culture alive. This also includes participating in the meetings of protest against Soviet leaders’ visits to Canada and carrying placards “We need to resist assimilation. Stop Russification. Free the Baltics Now” (p. 31). In the narrative present of the novel the reader witnesses the consequences of Esther being exposed to the recurrent stories of the menace of the Soviet Union and devoting her life to the Estonian cause – she is overly cautious, convinced that in order not to cause trouble, she should live in the shadows, not to have her own aspirations or expect much from life. She is still carrying within her “the frustration of never quite finding /.../ the definitive place where she would belong” 45
(p. 44). Pursuing her own interests to study agriculture in university disappoints her parents because in their mind “The New World promised so much; anyone could become a doctor, a lawyer, a biochemist, professions which offered security, respect and cleanliness” (p. 68). Years later, having been accepted by the academia, at some point she finds it difficult to negotiate its expectations and her own pursuits. It is in this sequence of dead-end situations in her life that Esther gradually comes across media coverage in Canadian newspapers of Gorbachev’s announcement of perestroika, sometime later of the Estonian Supreme Soviet Declaration of Sovereignty. Esther struggles with the fears instilled in her and comes to a realisation that everything is possible, even Estonia becoming free, if there is a will. The revelation of a family secret about her grandmother’s background raises further questions about her family members and their choices and even more so about Estonia and Estonians. Like many immigrants in Canadian literature, struggling with their identity and anxious to know more about their roots, Esther decides to travel to her ancestral homeland. This is an important step on her journey of making sense of the shifting and troubled concept of home, as it often appears in the immigrant experience, and finding out where she belongs. The story of Esther’s search for home and identity in Kivi’s novel is a rewarding read for the Estonian audience for several reasons. Although during the 25 years of independence interaction between Estonians in Estonia and Canada has been technically possible, there are still aspects of the lives of Estonians in the diaspora that are little or even not known to the other side. Even though the iron curtain has come down a generation ago, on both sides there are still traces of invisible barriers in the families that can be best overcome by attending to each other’s experience and stories. Although Kivi’s book is a fiction, it draws on the accounts of Estonian refugees in Canada and the story of Esther’s family tells the story of many people and families in the Estonian diaspora. Sometimes the form of fiction is the best way to tell about issues that people wish to hide or forget, or to explore the backgrounds of paradoxical reactions to important events. One such event whose impact Kivi’s novel addresses is the restoration of Estonian independence. It should be a most desired development to happen – the members of the diaspora community have either longed for the reversal of historical injustice, or like Esther and her parents, they have even devoted their lives to fighting for it. But, as the novel reveals, the declaration of Estonian independence first causes confusion in Esther and the whole Estonian Canadian diaspora. Esther is wondering: “What now? Who are Estonians if they weren’t opposed to the Soviets? What had she ever been taught about living for something instead of against it? What exactly was she for?” (p. 245). This signals the beginning of the protagonist’s critical questioning of the premises of her upbringing as well as some values that she has been cherishing and which have also formed a core of her Estonian identity so far. Towards the end of the novel comes Esther’s poignant and powerful rendering of a shock on the individual and community level in the Estonian diaspora in Canada that follows the initial confusion:
Why where they all at a loss now that Estonia has thrown off the shackle? The Estonian community had become a dazed contingent of somnambulists, particularly those of Sofi and Elmar’s generation, going through the motions of their daily lives. /.../ Great. Wonderful. She was Canadian. Yes. Finally, she had been freed from her duty to uphold the banner of the free Estonian. Her term had expired. The people in the old country could do it themselves now. (p. 261) This implies that Esther needs to revise her concept of Estonian identity and her own role and place as an Estonian in the changing circumstances. Most significantly, she realises that she must take responsibility for her own life now as there is no longer a “cultural destiny to accuse, no room to stand the eternal victim’s ground” (p. 261). Ultimately, this paves a way to the possibility of Esther’s homecoming in Canada and constructing a more rewarding hybrid identity for herself that combines her Estonian and Canadian heritage.
Come and Share BRINGING THE OUTSIDE WORLD INTO THE CLASSROOM: WAYS OF EXPLOITING DVD MATERIAL Rob Dean
Teacher trainer and academic consultant, Poland
Is video just for watching? – At home, yes, but class time being a
precious commodity means that time spent viewing video and DVD needs to be carefully focussed quality time! The following are some ideas with this principle in mind.
Why Video / DVD? It’s Authentic. It brings in the outside world. It adds an extra dimension to listening. It allows your classroom to visit any place in the world (and beyond!). It’s Motivating. Students like it. It appeals to visual learners. It can present opportunities for multi-layered learning – developing learners’ knowledge of the world as well as their language. It’s Accessible. Coursebooks often come with a DVD nowadays, some with graded content and some authentic. Authentic DVDs are plentiful and cheap in the shops and have the advantage of switchable language and subtitles. Video material can be downloaded from the internet. Of course, one must be aware of copyright restrictions when using commercial DVDs in schools. It’s effective with mixed levels. In reality, every class has a mixture of learner preferences, abilities and therefore levels of competence. Video material lends visual support to learners who otherwise struggle with the ‘disembodied voice’ that is characteristic of audio tracks on CD.
What can you use in class?
• • • • •
News / weather reports Documentaries Adverts Music videos Chat shows
• • • • •
Comedy sketches / sitcoms Feature films (contemporary and classic) Nature programmes YouTube / Podcasts Students’ own video….
… in short, almost anything! It is worth bearing in mind that commercially released DVDs (movies, TV series, etc.) have strict copyright conditions that officially ban their use in public places such as schools. When it comes to streaming YouTube material, local regulations vary from country to country, however.
What can you do with video material? Receptive work (Exploring the language in the video) a) Accuracy work – analysing language Just as with audio cassettes or CDs, DVD/video can provide a rich source of language – grammar, functions, vocabulary and pronunciation that can be analysed in context before going on to controlled and freer practice. Authentic DVD can also be an excellent source of real colloquial language that can be exploited in the same way. The study of colloquial language is often very motivating for learners, and the visual element of video/DVD can make it very memorable. b) Fluency work – for gaining information and/or as a model for a task This use of DVD/video reflects what we do outside the classroom in real life. In class, this typically involves the use of general and detailed listening tasks – again, as used with audio CDs and cassettes. Using video as a model for a task can be an extension of this whereby the learners use the DVD material as template for a communicative task that they go on to create themselves – e.g. a news report, or cookery programme. Productive work (Using the material as a stimulus for learners to produce language of their own) This is perhaps the area with the greatest potential, as it is not always necessary for learners to understand all the dialogue; the focus here can be more on reacting to the visual aspect of the material. a) Accuracy work This involves the learners using the material as a means of practising specific aspects of language – for instance describing the action using present tenses or guessing what will happen next using future tense structures. b) Fluency work This involves learners using whatever language they have at their disposal to react to the material in some way – as we do in real life. This could involve viewing and then discussing opinions on the material.
Some practical activity ideas § Deducing dialogue from pictures: Use a short scene with plenty of action. Play the scene without the sound. Students have to write a dialogue for the scene and act it out. They then watch the original again, this time with the sound, to compare. § Deducing pictures from dialogue: In this version you only let them hear the dialogue/ soundtrack at first (blank or cover the screen). Get them to use their imagination and decide what images go with it – who the people are, what they look like etc. This is particularly good with something that has lots of sounds on it as well as / instead of dialogue. § Sound and picture, two versions: Use two sequences of four to six minutes with plenty of action. Half the class sit facing the screen and both watch and listen. The other half sit behind the screen and just listen. Play the sequence a couple of times and get the students to make notes on what they see/hear. Pair off the students from the different groups and get them to report to each other. Swap the groups over and repeat with the second sequence. Then show the sequences together with all students watching. Choose two sequences as above, but in this version half of them listen to the soundtrack only (record the sound on an audio tape perhaps), while the other half do silent viewing. Get them 48
in pairs to exchange impressions and ‘fit together’ words/sounds and images. They swap over for the second sequence. TV ads – two activities Use a 20–30 second video sequence with a voiceover as opposed to a dialogue e.g. an advert. Students watch without the sound. Students create their own voiceover text (they may need to watch the video with sound down several times). Students then perform their text with the pictures for the rest of the group and the class decides which version is the best one. Alternatively, give them a ‘sterotyped’ product such as sweets for kids / washing powder etc., and get them to decide before viewing what the ad will be like. As a follow up you can get them to think of their own alternative (serious or otherwise) ad for the product – images and voiceover. § Running commentary: Use a sequence with plenty of action. Students sit in pairs so that one person in the pair can see the screen and the other person can’t. Play the video with the sound down. Those who can see report what’s going on to those who can’t. Students then swap over and repeat. § Circle writing prediction: As a follow-up to the previous activity, get students to predict what will happen next as a circle writing activity. Students then watch the next part of the video to compare. § Prediction again: Students watch the opening and closing scene of a short sequence. They then decide what they think happened in the middle. Or they could watch a whole scene, and decide what the next one will be. Or the beginning and end of a film. Lots of possible variations here. § Shadow reading: For any sequence you have a transcript for, you can get the students to shadow read to develop their fluency and pronunciation. Allocate a student or two per role, and they read from the script along with the video. You can repeat this a few times, with the students changing roles. Good for focusing on pronunciation features, intonation etc. Tip: get the students to highlight their role on their copy, so that each time they swap roles they can also swap copies to see what they need to read for each part. § Strip dialogues: Use a sequence where a few people are interacting. Make a copy of the tapescript for the sequence and cut it up. Show the scene without the sound and students have to put it in order. Play the video with the sound for students to check. Students can then act out the scene or shadow the tape. § From transcript to voice - Type out a maximum of about 20 lines of dialogue from a scene. Start a new line every time a different person speaks, but don’t give any indication of who is speaking. Students read the script and have to decide what the situation is, how many people they think there are and who says what. Students then act out the scene a few times, swapping roles each time. Students watch the original scene on the video to compare. Because of the amount of pre-viewing tasks, students should be able to understand more or less everything and it can give lower levels a great sense of achievement when they can understand something considered to be quite difficult and authentic. § Guesswork: Get half the class to do silent viewing, while the other half ask questions to find out what is happening. Re-run the sequence a couple of times as necessary. § Video for scene setting / introducing a topic: this can be a nice way to liven up something that doesn’t look terribly inspiring at first. For example, a clip from Mr Bean’s disastrous exam day to introduce ‘how to pass exams’ type discussion. Can really get them all talking and interested in the subject. § Interview role-play: a news video / a bit of a chat show could be used here. § Play the game (after watching a game show such as Family Fortunes, Call My Bluff, Millionaire etc.). 49
Points to Bear in Mind When Using Video / DVD in Class -
Think about what you want your learners to achieve linguistically – provide a focus. Which of the four categories above do your activities fit into? Learners can watch video/DVD at home in their own time for pleasure and ‘general’ language development.
Gear the tasks to suit the level of the students. Don’t be afraid to use material containing language that is too advanced for their level – as long as the task is achievable through reference to the visual element.
Less is more! In the same way as we rarely use audio material that is more than a few minutes long, so the same should apply to video/DVD. This is especially the case if we are using the material for receptive (language analysis) purposes – more than a few minutes and learners will lose concentration.
Potential Problems – and Solutions Lack of integration Think carefully about how the material fits into your syllabus in terms of topic or language point. Pearson coursebook DVDs come with suggestions as to the optimum time to insert their use into the syllabus. Low Pay-Back Some learners may complain that, firstly, watching video is a ‘soft option’ for a lesson, in which they learn little, and secondly, it is easy for the teacher to use lots of fun activities with video that do not take the learners forward in their language development. Always ensure that you have a clear aim in mind when using such material – and tell the learners why you are doing what you’re doing. They have a right to know! Preparation time This aspect of exploiting video often puts teachers off using it. This is why DVDs accompanying many published courses such as Pearson’s Speak Out and Choices come with readymade lesson plan material. Many teachers have used the structure of these as a template to go on and create their own lesson material to accompany other non-coursebook video. About the Author Rob Dean has been involved in ELT as a teacher, director of studies and teacher trainer since 1994. During this time, he has taught a wide variety of ages and levels in numerous countries in Europe and South East Asia, and is currently based in Poland. Rob now works as an independent international teacher trainer and academic consultant, and travels widely delivering talks, workshops and seminars – as well as online webinars – to teachers all over the world.
How well do you know PĂ¤rnu? Until now, we have introduced photos of various towns in English-speaking countries. This time, however, letâ€™s check how well you know the venue of our Summer Seminars. (answers on p. 42)
7 Photos by Ilmar Anvelt
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EATE SUMMER SEMINAR
PÄRNU 23-24 AUGUST 2016
Katrin Saks and Erika Puusemp sorting out materials before the seminar
Time to relax a little
Crowded corridor between presentations
Interesting presentations attract a lot of listeners
Kristi Vahenurm spoke about cooperative learning
Inga Jufkin - lucky lottery winner
Photos by Reet Noorlaid
Piret Kärtner and Ülle Türk during the coffee-break